Title: Surprises

Author: Pegasus

Fandom: Magnificent Seven

Rating: NC17 to X

Summery: This is not a crossover of anything and Magnificent Seven, but some Highlander, Booker, Alias Smith and Jones, Magnum PI and Black Sheep Squadron characters are brought in. This is a Magnificent 7 ATF story, with Chris taking everyone by surprise with a single question, and getting his own surprise or two. Centered mostly on Chris and my original characters although others of the group of seven are brought in here and there. It is set in mid-2004.

Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven is owned by Trilogy, Mirisch and MGM. All rights and properties of Highlander are owned by Rysher entertainment, Black Sheep Squadron and Booker are owned by Cannell Productions, Magnum PI and Alias Smith and Jones are owned by Larson Productions. The characters of Michael and Eric are owned by me and are not based on any one person (Michael Biehn and Eric Close, in other words, are not who these characters are based on). Patrisha Royal is owned and written by T’PeeJ (Gayle), Kelly Jerrad is owned and written by dangerous liaisons (Brandy), and Aqura Rose is owned and written by Ryche Rose (Molly). The characters of Dathan and Nemesis are owned by Linda Lael Miller.

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

She had just returned home from helping some friends overseas and losing one of those friends in the process. It had been a long flight from Paris, with the layover in LA first and going to Seattle, but Seattle had been necessary to see family still there and at least the flight from Seattle to Denver was relatively short. Since no family member was doing any piloting, her brother Michael and their cousin David went with her. Leaving for Paris had been a whole lot easier, and as she pulled her 59 ‘vette into the driveway, she was wishing she had returned the same way. She hated long flights, especially if she wasn’t in her own plane.

 

She came home to shower and change before going to the office to see the boys (they were all men, but she had never gotten out of saying ‘the boys’ when referring to those six men) and the man she’d loved for 156 years.

 

She still sees the day they met in her mind so clearly, it was the day he found her broken and bleeding; it was also the day she lost her hearing. She had only been four years old, for that time and place, but she was, in reality, too old to remember her actual age. She had been playing on the outskirts of the reservation with her brothers and cousins when they got separated. Before she could catch up to them, a person she both hated and feared grabbed her, and had her mouth covered before she could scream. The man brutally beat and raped her, leaving her on a large boulder he had thrown her against.

 

The boy (at that time he was around 14), had been coming to the reservation to visit with a good friend of his when he noticed the little girl lying there. He had gently picked her up and carried her with him to the reservation. The first to see them was Ben, the friend he came to see. When Ben saw who was being carried, he went to get the Chief – her grandfather.

 

She awoke as her grandfather arrived and she looked into a beautiful pair of green eyes. Mesmerized by those eyes, she didn’t realize he was trying to talk to her and that she wasn’t hearing. She had no idea her name was being called until a hand touched her arm. She turned her head to see who had touched her and saw her grandfather’s worried face. She could see his lips moving but wondered why no sound was coming out. She even went as far as to ask why he was talking without sound.

 

Her grandfather must not have liked the question, because he took her, lifting her from the stranger’s arms, taking her to the hut she shared with her brothers – she’s the youngest of triplets, the oldest being only 4 minutes older then she, and the boys being identical – and checking her over to make sure she was all right. He was thankful he could only find a broken arm for outer injuries, but because he would not exam other areas of her, he didn’t know until he asked what happened, by signing, that she had also been raped. He continued to wonder about her ears, when he remembered his daughter’s new husband was a Doctor.

 

Her stepfather had already heard the news from Ben, his brother, and was entering the hut as her grandfather was getting ready to go find him. Her stepfather felt around her head and checked her ears. He found a large bruise on both sides of her head, just behind and below her ears, and when looking inside he found the passages were blocked so he could not see what damage, if any, had been done internally.

 

Within a day or two she was able to meet the person that found her, and to the amusement of her family, she was very shy around him. She thanked him and when she saw him smile and start to talk she did what her grandfather had been helping her with, she listened by using more than the ears that no longer worked, she listened with her head and heart, and so she heard him tell her she was welcome. Her family wasn’t surprised because she had been practicing on them, and when they saw her smile, they knew she had heard him.

 

As she got into the house and then into the shower she let those memories take her back. To this day, because they still had not been able to find a way to correct the problem (and it was something her own body, even with her powers, didn’t know how to heal), she was still unable to hear, so she never heard the knocking on the door by the next door neighbor that saw her car in the driveway and got a brief glance of her going in the house.

 

The neighbor that saw this was worried something strange may be going on, so after knocking several times and not getting an answer she drove down to the ATF office to speak to someone there. Walking in she found she had to be announced and escorted up to the ATF office.

 

Having taken the call from the security desk, Nathan was not surprised at seeing the woman come in. “Yes ma’am, may I help you?” he asked.

 

“Yes please. Is Mr. Larabee available?” she wondered.

 

“Yes. Just a moment,” he replied, surprised at the question. Going to Chris Larabee’s door, Nathan said “I’m sorry Chris, but there is a woman out here asking to see you specifically.”

 

“A woman? Alright. I’m on my way.” Coming out of the office he shared with Brandi, and seeing who it was, he asked “Is everything alright Jamie?”

 

“I’m not sure Chris. Can I speak to you privately?”

 

“Of course, come on in here,” he told her. When they were both in the office, he closed the door behind him and asked “Why did you need to see me?”

 

“Well, I was just getting into my car when I noticed a car I haven’t seen before parked in your driveway. I went over to see about it and noticed someone closing the front door. I tried knocking, but didn’t get any answer, so I wanted to let you know.”

 

He wasn’t sure, but he had a good idea of who was at home even though she hadn’t said when she would be home, so he asked “What did the car look like?”

 

“Sports car of some kind, older model I think. Blue and white I think were the colors.”

 

“Did you see anything of the person that went inside, male, female, hair color?”

 

“Like I said, I just got a brief glimpse so I don’t know if it was a male or a female, but I thought I saw a flash of blond hair.”

 

He started to smile and walking her to the office door said, “I think I know who that is, and the reason your knocks weren’t answered was….” He stopped in mid-sentence while opening the door, because he heard a female voice that had a cross between French and the Deep South say “Hey guys, your boss in?”

 

The four sitting at their desks never got the chance to answer, because she had seen movement from the corner of her eye and turned to it. What she wasn’t expecting was to see a woman coming out of the office first, and as Chris walked out and saw her, he noticed the change in blue of her eyes. Walking toward her with a smile on his face, all he said was “Hi, beautiful.”

 

Even though the storm was still rising in her eyes, she returned the smile and said “Hi yourself, Cowboy.” Since he had stopped, she got rid of the rest of the distance between them and put her arms around him when she reached him, very happy to be feeling him hold her. At the moment, it was easier having her arms about his waist then stretching to reach around his neck – there was a foot in height difference between them with her being 5 ft and him at 6 ft. Her looks deceive most because she is small in stature, slim (roughly 95-100 lbs.), long, to her waist, blond hair and bright sky blue eyes, and doesn’t look very strong. She has a slight reddish/olive skin tone because of her Kiowa Indian heritage, but most thought she was a half breed because of her hair and eyes, and she was also much stronger then was thought.

 

The woman that had stepped out of their office didn’t know what to make of this. She had not seen this woman who was hugging Chris before, and she had lived next door for a month and a half. Over that time, she had been subtle and not subtle regarding her interest in him and wanting to go out (or go to bed) with him, but each time she was rebuffed – even when she thought she was subtle, he knew what she wanted.

 

Chris finally turned to her and looking down said “Dee, this is our neighbor, Jamie Anderson. She saw your car and noticed you as you closed the door, but because you didn’t answer the door when she knocked, she came by to let me know someone was there.” Looking back up, he said “Jamie, this is Dr. Brandi Masters-Stewart, my girlfriend (thinking to himself that ‘girlfriend’ didn’t anywhere near cover what Brandi was to him). And, what I had started to say was that your knocking probably wasn’t heard, because Brandi can’t hear.”

 

Brandi looked at the woman, smiled and said with a voice that had lost all trace of French but dripped with a heavy southern accent “It’s nice to meet you, Jamie. You must have moved into the house next door while I was gone on one of these last two trips. I didn’t have much time home between the two trips and I didn’t really notice anything while home. It’s nice to know you’re already helping with the neighborhood watch by keeping an eye on our house.” What wasn’t said out loud, but was very much showing in her storm blue eyes was ‘watch the house, fine, but watch or come near the man and you’re history’.

 

Surprise registered on Jamie’s face when Brandi spoke to her. Turning to Chris, Jamie said the worst possible thing she could “Oh, she knows how to talk? I thought since she was deaf, she was dumb too.”

 

Brandi had been watching Jamie’s lips as she spoke and with that statement she saw, out of the corner of her eye, Chris’ jaw harden and knew his eyes were as stormy as hers. Before anyone else had a chance to reply, Brandi said “Well, ya see, it’s like this, I do know how to talk. I learned at a young age, and I read lips very well. So, more than likely, I’m a hell of a lot more intelligent than you. And the only thing keeping you from getting hurt and thrown out of here on your ass is me, but I won’t keep standin’ here saving your sorry ass, so if I were you I would get the hell out, now. While you’re at it, move out of the area. I suggest that because if I see you anywhere near my house it will be me you’ll have to worry about, and I’ll do a hell of a lot more damage than these five would do to you now.”

 

Noticing that the other four men in the room had gotten up from their desks with very pissed looks on their faces and had moved to stand behind Brandi, Jaime turned and fled the building.

 

As soon as she was gone, Chris started laughing, followed by Buck, then Nathan and Josiah, with JD joining so he would look like he understood what had just happened. Still very much pissed, Brandi gave Chris an elbow and glared at Buck, Nathan and Josiah, but she gave JD a look of sympathy.

 

Seeing the look, Buck said “Why the glares to us, but not to JD? He was laughing too.”

 

“For a simple reason Buck. JD doesn’t know why he was laughing, unlike the rest of y’all, and don’t start it again. I’m really not in the mood and I’ll be knocking your heads together if y’all do,” came her reply.

 

Knowing he’d end up on the couch, or the wolves’ bed, if he didn’t stop, Chris tried to not laugh anymore, but he couldn’t keep the grin off his face. With a semi-serious tone, since it was all he could manage, he said “I don’t think that’s someone who will be around anymore. And, I won’t be surprised if her house isn’t empty by the time we get home tonight. I don’t know which she thought was worse, the thought of what you would do, Dee, or the thought of what we would do. I think it would have been interesting to find out.”

 

“True, might have. Thank the Gods we didn’t have to find out though, since I really didn’t want to get arrested for killing her.”

 

JD smiled at that and said, “Arrested, Nic? Who would arrest you?” JD, like the rest of the boys, had been calling Brandi Nic for years. She would use a shortened version of her middle name Nicole whenever she dressed as a boy in the 1870’s. Although, none but Chris and Vin remember that time, this was a memory she kept with the rest.

 

With a smile she replied, “Never mind. I should realize I can get away with murder around here, as long as it isn’t one of you, and I won’t have to worry about a thing.”

 

“Actually,” Nathan piped in, “there may be one of us, even two on occasion, which you could get away with killing and not have any problems.”

 

Looking around more now, Brandi said “Speaking of which, where is Ezra and Vin? I didn’t see them when I came in, and I notice they still aren’t here.”

 

“They’re in Seattle right now. They’ve a friend in the hospital that, along with her father, was in a plane crash. They left a few hours ago,” Chris told her.

 

“Really? Hmm, I can only think of one person they both know who is from that area, but she’s still pissed at Vin, so unless….Damn Ezra, remind me to shoot him when they get back.”

 

“You know this friend of theirs?” Buck asked.

 

“Yeah, Patrisha, I’ve always called her Patty, and I met freshman year of college. I went to Washington State my first year because I wanted out of Seattle, but didn’t want to go University of Hawaii, go figure after growing up between Hawaii and Seattle, so I moved to Pullman and went there, talking Kelly into going with me. It was the worst mistake I had made, but I met Patty, so that made it worth it. Kelly and I left at the end of the year, but I gave Patty my folks’ address so we could stay in touch. She couldn’t believe I was going to transfer to the University of Washington, she hates that school, but I knew what it offered and I really hated Washington State University, not necessarily the school itself – just realizing it was too far from home. So, over the years she and I have stayed in touch, and I heard about the misadventure with Vin, when she got home. Funny thing is I told Vin he should wait, but this was the only time he didn’t listen to me and paid the price for it. Ezra has always been just a really good friend to Patty and protective of her which makes sense why he would go.”

 

Laughing, she saw the look on Chris’s face when he moved along side of her, so she continued “Yeah, I know and I’ll explain later.”

 

Knowing she has known more than she had ever let on, but that he would have to wait, he just nodded.

 

“Gee, Ezra made it sound like no one else knew but the three of them,” JD said.

 

“That, JD, is because Nic is a better bluffer than Ezra. He just don’t know it,” Buck said with a laugh.

 

Changing the subject, Chris asked “How was London? Everything go alright?”

 

“Um, yeah, it was fine,” she hedged, as she headed toward their office. As she headed to the office, she heard a comment Vin made in Seattle. Knowing, because of their bond, he would hear her, she said with telepathy * I did hear that Tanner, and I’m not gonna kill ya. But only cuz I love ya. * Not receiving a reply back, Brandi figured he decided to ignore her.

 

Because he knew her better than anyone else, he knew something was wrong and that she didn’t want to talk about it in front of everyone else, so he turned and followed her.

 

Josiah and Nathan were the only ones that realized something was bothering Brandi and she needed to talk about whatever it was to Chris alone. They shared a look of concern before following Buck and JD back to their desks to return to work. They both had found they were remembering things from the last 130 or so years but weren’t sure why and hadn’t had the chance to ask Brandi about it, yet they both knew the concern they felt about her came from that, but it was more of an older brother caring for his younger sister.

 

When they got in the office, Chris shut the door and as soon as he turned back around, Brandi was holding on to him in tears.

 

“What’s wrong Dee? What happened?”

 

“Connor’s dead.”

 

Needing to sit, he sank onto the corner of her desk, still holding on to her. “Wait a minute. How?”

 

Moving slightly away, she said “Duncan.” Taking a breath to control the tears, she explained. “Remember the place I told you about that Connor went to because he was tired of it all?”

 

At his nod she continued, “Well, it was found. I saw what happened to it before it actually happened, so that’s why I left so, abruptly. I wanted to let Joe and Methos know, and before you ask, yes I stayed with Methos. My letting them know worked to our advantage, and Connor was gotten out before it was, basically, decimated. Duncan must have felt when it destroyed because he showed up in London at Methos’ asking what happened and about Connor. We then followed Duncan to New York, since he returned there to try and get more answers. Joe and Methos tried to discourage Duncan from finding out what happened to Connor and even showed him something they shouldn’t have – the Chronicles that Methos had been working on. None of it dissuaded Duncan, only made him want to find the answers more, so they took him to where Connor was ‘buried’.

 

“What Duncan found instead was Connor very much alive. But the person that did the destruction was after Connor and found them at the cemetery and challenged Connor. Now I should tell you, cemeteries and churches are considered holy ground for them, so for Conner to take the challenge he had to step out of the cemetery. Anyway, Connor tried to fight him, but realized this old-friend-now-enemy was too strong for either him or Duncan to take alone. With that, Connor challenged Duncan, but Duncan wouldn’t take his head. Thorough-out the fight Connor kept trying to get Duncan to take his head with Duncan refusing, and I even tried to tell Connor, as they fought, that it was a dumb idea, but he wasn’t listening. To him, this was the only way. So, the last time Connor got Duncan in a position to take Connor’s head, Connor forced Duncan to do it.

 

“Connor was right; it did take the two of them to win, but at too high a price. I have known him for the better part of 500 years and…” shaking her head, still not believing, she continued “it shouldn’t be. It isn’t right.”

 

Knowing she didn’t need his anger right now, he said “I’m going to let the fact you stayed with Methos slide since I know you don’t like staying in a hotel over there and you gave up the place you had. But do remember, though I do trust you, I don’t trust him and I’m not happy about it. As for Connor, I know what he means to you and I’m sorry he is no longer here, at least physically, for you. But, he is still with you and will be around if you need him. And if you see Duncan, you will also see Connor.”

 

“This is true in regards to Duncan, if I do see him again. But, what makes you say he is still with me and around if I need him?”

 

“I’ve known you for a very long time now and I do know there is more to you than what you’ve told me. I figure you’re quite a bit older than the 10,000 or so years I was told you were, but as to how much, I’m not sure. And from listening to all of you talk over these last six years, and prior to 95, I also know that you may have originally been from Earth, you didn’t live on Earth for a very long time. Since I already know you lived in what is now considered mythological times, I figure you returned about that time, so you’ve watched the change in beliefs of that time, went through the different ages of the world, which is how you met Methos in the Bronze Age, when he was one of the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, since you said before that you were married to one of the Horsemen. I also figured out, just from things you have said, that you have also lived in the future already, but you don’t alter anything by telling someone, anyone, things that will come to happen. What I’m still trying to figure out is, with everything I know you can do, and I’m sure there is more than that, why haven’t your ears healed already.”

 

“Well damn, I knew there was another reason why I love you. As to my age, add anywhere from two to six zeros onto that 10,000 and you’ll have my age. And yes, Kelly is only actually 2 years younger than me.”

 

Noticing the raised eyebrow, she said “Yeah, that makes me several million years old, I know. As to the rest, you’re also right about that, except for the part of originally being from Earth, though if you remember, I did mention I was from another planet, just couldn’t tell you where. We came here young, only to have to leave again. I barely remember it. And, though you thought at one time it was, it wasn’t that I was keeping it from you, it was more of ‘how do I tell him how old I really am and who I am?’

 

“We are all from another planet, including Kelly, but Mike, Eric and I are from a different one than the rest of the family, the names of the planets at this point don’t matter. We were taken away from our home planet and brought to Earth – at that time it wasn’t actually called Earth – at the request of our father. He did not want to have us used against him in a battle he was fighting.

 

“As it was, we had to leave Earth and travel to another galaxy, only to be taken from there and returned to our home and that is where we stayed, first with our father until he was killed, and then with a man that was taught by our father. The three of us decided that it would look strange if we continued to age and be raised by father’s student, so we told him what we wanted to do and he agreed. We would, start over as it were, and call him father.

 

“We knew we would not be questioned, so it worked very well and then he was killed. We were able to stay and help the fight that our real father had been a part of and then our adopted father had been also a part of for a few years and then without any warning we found ourselves in a new place and Alex was our dad. After that it just gets more confusing, so we’ll just say, until we came back to Earth at the time that is now looked at as mythological times, we were moved around the universe a bit.

 

“I am surprised we have been left here, but maybe those that have been moving us, the elders of our people, which now include our real father, have decided we are where we need to be. Our mother has always been the same, though until Josh was born, she never ‘lived’ past our sixth birthday and we never knew why, and yes, she is an Indian, though that term wasn’t what was used to describe her tribe, her people, and my grandfather is really my grandfather and has always been the chief and shaman of his tribe.

 

“To be honest, we have never really known if our real father was also an Indian, but died before we were actually born, or while we were babies, and our mother and us were sent elsewhere, or if the man we have always thought to be our father really is. It is a question Grandfather won’t answer and Alex has no idea, so at this point, besides Grandfather there is no one alive to tell us, and Grandfather has told us, as have our mother, that we are full blood Indian which is why we question who our father really was.

 

“And, you wondered about my ears. Well, that is something that has stumped Grandfather and Alex for the last 156 years. I should have healed, but for some reason, I haven’t. They are questioning everything from the several thousands of years we’ve been on Earth to Jeff’s abuse of me. They are still no closer to finding the reason, which is part of why Alex got out of medicine and went into law. He feels as though he has failed me with not knowing. Now, did I scare you with all that?”

 

Smiling he said, “No, not at all. But I’m glad you told me finally, though I am curious about something else that you never explained. How long have you had your tattoo and bellybutton ring? And what made you get them? And, the blanks you just filled in helps me understand more of some things I’ve seen you do, including making those four out there and Ezra not know, or remember, how long they have been alive. I’m still kinda surprised Vin wanted to remember, but I think that was mostly because he knows what a friend he has in you and he didn’t want to have to start that over or take a chance in losing it, or any memories of…you know what I mean. So he helps Ezra believe they have only known each other since college, which brings me to another thing. Vin told you about what happened with this woman he and Ezra went to see and you never said anything?”

 

Laughing, she said “Let’s see, I’ll start at the top. The bellybutton ring was placed there in 1103, so roughly 900 years ago, and it wasn’t by my choice. I was, hmm, kidnapped by this brother and sister who wanted to, have their line continue.

 

“They had an incestuous relationship with each other, and much to their dismay, could not produce kids, because of a curse placed on the line prior. At the time I lived, with my husband, in Brittany, on the coast of what is now France near Normandy, and the brother must have saw me walking along on my way home, and decided he wanted me for himself, not realizing who my husband was. People thought they were witches, but they weren’t. Any ‘powers’ they had were not real, and I must have done something to show I had natural ones, because he made a comment about it being, I believe it was, nice to have a child that would have natural abilities. What he didn’t know was that I would be able to prevent that, even in a castle that prevented me from using any other abilities.

 

“Anyway, I was to become his plaything, I guess you could say, and to make sure I received him well, I would be given, essentially, drugged food – though even with the drugged food, I was still able to protect myself from carrying a child. But to also make sure I never left his side, unless it was at his request, he had his sister pierce my belly button and then he placed a ring through the piercing and attached a chain to the ring. If I wasn’t where he wanted me to be, he would bring me back by using the chain as you would an animal.

 

“His sister had ‘found’ a young man she took fancy to, and she kept him the way I was – minus the ring, just heavily drugged – and since as I said neither the brother or sister were capable of producing heirs, they would put us together hoping something would come of it. There were even times that my captor would join us with his sister watching, and if he did join in he would make sure the chain was on and would use it if he thought I needed to ‘remember’ my place.

 

“After a time he found another to use besides me, though he only used the drugged food on her, and he would, um, have us both at the same time, though I think it took her a bit of time to realize he was doing that. I also found out, but kept from the brother and sister, that it was her husband the sister had.

 

“My senses and powers were dulled so when a retainer of my husband’s came to let them know that their allegiance was demanded, he recognized me, though I didn’t fully recognize him.

 

“When my husband showed up a week or so later, he asked about me and the other lady there and when it was told that the other lady was the ‘wife’ of the brother but no explanation given for me, he requested, I guess you could say, to take me off their hands. They agreed, and I was finally allowed to leave.

 

“So, because of the circumstances of why it was pierced is why nowadays you’ll rarely see an actual ring there and if it is, it is a small one, though 100 plus years ago I didn’t have much choice as to what was there.

 

“As for the tattoo, I’ve had that, oh, since I was an actual child and I don’t know if it was something my father had done or if it appeared there by itself after we had to leave my father to come to Earth – the very first time. I always thought it was strange that it was a Pegasus, especially when we had to leave Earth and go to another galaxy – that galaxy we went to is known as the Pegasus galaxy and that is actually where Kelly is from. Like my birthmarks, that tattoo has been a type of protector for me. Though it seems that some of the times I needed that protection, it wasn’t there, so I don’t know. I do know, I don’t remember a time from about age three when it wasn’t there. Now as to Patrisha, yeah, Vin did. But, I didn’t say anything because I promised Vin and Ezra I wouldn’t, and you know I don’t break my promises, not at least to those I care about. Vin was very upset with himself and slightly embarrassed about what happened, so when he asked me to promise, because he knew I would tell you, I did.

 

“What he didn’t know was Patrisha was also giving me her side, but she in turn didn’t know Vin had told me, so I filtered through both stories and found the truth. But she also told me a couple of other things that I promised I wouldn’t tell, I don’t think Vin knows about either of them, but Ezra may know of one of them. Though, I think one will come to light with the two of them in Seattle. And speaking of promises, even though I know you said you were letting it slide, you’re not, so I’ll tell you now, you’re right, you can trust me and nothing happened. When I left Paris in ’98, he knew I wouldn’t be back, unless an absolute emergency like this one, so he knew I wasn’t back to be with him, I do believe he realized that got screwed up by him a very long time ago, and that you are who I want. So, you can let it go now, I’m not going anywhere. Besides you were the one that said the only way to get rid of you was to do a disappearing act, and not counting the one I did for three years, I still don’t plan on doing that.”

 

“You didn’t have to tell me that. I didn’t think anything had happened since you said that’s where you stayed, but being the person you are, you wanted to make sure I knew it, so I won’t stay angry about it. I must have looked like you did when you saw Jamie coming out of here. I knew you were angry then, by slight changes in your expressions and the change in your eyes. I also knew it wasn’t directed at me; otherwise you wouldn’t have stayed calm, and you would’ve made your point then and there and left. I would have gotten home to find you had moved in with one of your brothers, most likely.

 

“I love you and I’ve learned with temporarily losing you and with permanently losing Sarah and Adam that it’s about compromises and I have to back down at times. You’ve always done that, probably from learning that lesson a bit earlier, and maybe even a few more times than me. I don’t want to screw up again and lose you for good, so I’m trying, but I may slip up and if I do, just remind me what I’m losing, that should help me remember.” He brought her closer, kissed her until he had her melting against him, cocked an eyebrow and said “speaking of slipping…”

 

She didn’t let him finish his sentence. She brought his head back down and took his lips, mentally putting a shield around the room, to prevent any untimely interruptions, and to prevent any noise they could make from being heard in the bullpen.

 

They started ravaging each other’s lips and mouths breaking apart only long enough to remove the others’ shirt. He wrapped his fingers in her hair while they kicked off their boots, not registering at the moment that they were skin to skin for their upper bodies. Once boots were off, they each went for the others’ jeans, him standing so she could get them off easier. She didn’t just let them fall to the floor she followed them down, helping all the way. Once they were off and he was out of them, she slowly went back up, stopping halfway to take him into her mouth. She ravaged his swollen cock with her lips and tongue, bringing him nearly to the brink before she stopped and finished her way up. By the time she reached the top, she was as ready for him as he was for her, but she knew he wouldn’t fully take her yet. He would want to give what he had just received.

 

He sat back down to not have to reach as far, and finished unfastening her jeans. Sliding them over her hips, he realized he only felt skin, which usually wasn’t unusual, but since she had been with her ex, he figured it was something she stopped temporarily, so, wanting to find something out, he slipped his hands back up her back and only found skin again.

 

Leaning slightly away so he could look at her, he gave her a wicked smile with an equally wicked glint in his eyes.

 

She just smiled, shrugged slightly and reached up to move his hands back down to where they started.

 

With a laugh he obliged and worked her jeans down the rest of the way. Once they were off, he lifted her up so she was even with him and turned so she was on her back on the desk.

 

He kissed her long and hard before following his hands down her body with his mouth. He stopped at her breasts, taking one into his mouth and the other in his hand. The one in his mouth he used gently with his teeth and tongue, causing her to rise and buck against him. He stopped the attack of one, only to take the other in its place, starting the bucking again.

 

Stopping the attack again, he lovingly kissed her butterfly birthmark before he moved down to her waist, only to stop at her pierced bellybutton to play with the gem, that lay nestled there, with his tongue.

 

Somewhere in the back of their minds they heard faint knocking and someone calling Chris’ name, but they ignored it.

 

He moved away from her belly and continued down, only to stop and kiss the Pegasus tattoo on her upper groin/inner hip area. Once done there, he finished his travel down with a brief but loving kiss to her scorpion birthmark, then, as she had, he gave her no warning and took her with his mouth, tongue and teeth.

 

As he bit and sucked her clit, his fingers took her core, not letting her have complete release. She drove her fingers through his hair, moaning and crying his name, all the while bucking against his fingers and mouth, using her body to beg for release.

 

Still wanting to push her farther, he moved his mouth to her core and took her with his tongue while his thumb took over on her clit. He could taste the juices she wanted to release and he found he wanted more than that small taste, so he led her over the edge and let her fall. He took everything she offered him, but he knew there was still more.

 

He stopped his assault to give her what they both wanted. He moved back up her body, but did not enter her. He leaned down to kiss her, letting her taste what he just had, then touched her cheek when she let her eyes close.

 

She opened them for him and he saw they were glazed with passion, knowing his were the same, and without a word from him she simply said “Ride me, Cowboy”.

 

He needed no further encouragement, he took her in one long, smooth thrust and she rose to meet him. They started slow and easy, just enjoying the feel of each other, since they had only had a day or two in between her two trips.

 

Wanting more of him in her, she looked at him and said, “Turn us over so I can ride you.”

 

Not one to argue when he had her this way, he held on to her, stood up and turned around so she could do just that. With him leaning against the desk and her legs wrapped around him and resting on the desk, they sped up the pace for a hard and fast ride.

 

She took all of him she could and when she couldn’t fit any more in, she just went faster. From the moment he let her fall over the edge, there was no stopping her orgasms, he could barely move in her and she would come, so they kept to the fast pace, and she never stopped coming. He had had a brief release just after turning to how they were now, but it was nothing like the one he had when he felt her start again. He let it take over his body so that they came together.

 

Completely spent, he gathered enough energy to turn them around so they fell into the chair that sat opposite of hers. Having no idea how long they sat there curled together, they only roused when they heard someone knocking on the office door and calling Chris’ name again. With a smile, he looked at her and knowing the best she could do was have them dressed and the room straightened, she did just that and removed the barrier around the room. Once that was done, Chris told whoever it was to come in.

 

Josiah walked in and noting the still slightly rumpled look of the two, he just smiled and said “Just wanted to make sure everything was alright in here. It got real quiet and it was thought maybe you were mad at each other and so you killed each other. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, so I’ll just apologize for the interruption and go on back out.”

 

Chris and Brandi knew that the other three wouldn’t be satisfied until they saw for themselves that they were fine, so they walked out behind Josiah. Once in the bull pen, Chris looked at the guys and said, “I’m gonna take Dee home. I’ll see you all in the morning.”

 

They were surprised at that, since Chris was the last one to go home early or to take a day off. But they did know that Brandi had had a long day already and after the confrontation, she had looked more drained then when she walked in, so they didn’t question Chris.

 

Once on the elevator to the garage, they started laughing. Brandi was the first to semi-recover so she said “I don’t think I have ever seen them that speechless. They aren’t use to you leaving like this.”

 

“True,” he said. He then continued cryptically, “but a surprise every now and then doesn’t hurt.”

 

Wondering what he was up too, she replied, “You’re right. Now, what have you got planned?”

 

“Wait and see, my love, wait and see.”

 

On a sigh and a laugh she said, “If I have to, but that’s what worries me. Not to change the subject but are we taking one vehicle or two vehicles home?”

 

“One.”

 

“Then the car or the truck?”

 

“We’ll take the truck and leave your car here. It’ll still be here when we come in tomorrow.”

 

“True, since Ezra’s not here to want to take it,” she replied moving to the truck, once off the elevator. Thinking about it she asked, “Have you checked your phone lately, just in case Vin or Ezra called?”

 

“No, but I’ll do it now,” he said, turning his cell phone on. He noticed he had a voice message and checking it he laughed as he listened, until he got to the end. At her look, he started to explain then just said “here you listen.”

 

Taking his phone she replayed the message and heard “Hey Cowboy, I just wanted to let you know that we made it to Seattle alright. Walked into a hornets nest. If we need the Calvary, you guys will come ridin’ in and save us, right? Not that I need to remind you, but our cell phones are off when we’re in the hospital. We just saw the Doctor about Trisha. The Doctor was making a swing to check on her and Mr. Royal. I may be bugging Nathan later to understand everything. I’ll get out of here for now. Ah damn. See ya later Cowboy. I have to let everyone know Trisha’s brother just pulled in” She started laughing herself at the beginning, and then her hand suddenly gripped the phone tightly, like she was going to break it. Making light of it, she said, “Why doesn’t it surprise me they may be in trouble already?”

 

Deciding to ask later, he followed her cue. With a laugh he opened the driver’s door, letting her slid in first. Once he was in and they were heading out of the garage, she leaned against him and rested her eyes.

 

As they were driving along, she started wondering where they were going. She hadn’t opened her eyes, but knew they weren’t heading toward the house. Still wondering what he was up to, she said “I thought we were going home.”

 

“We are,” was all she received back.

 

“But this isn’t the way home.”

 

Taking a quick glance at her and seeing her eyes closed, he shook his head and laughed, saying “Not yet.”

 

She just sighed and mumbled something in a language that wasn’t Kiowa or English. Though he didn’t understand what she said, he didn’t figure it was any good.

 

When they stopped, she opened her eyes to see where they were. She looked at the open land that was marred only by a long driveway, and work trucks parked at the far end. Looking at Chris she said “Isn’t this the… wait, they’re working on it, does that mean it’s ours?”

 

Knowing he actually surprised her – and hoping she wouldn’t figure out what else he had planned – he smiled and said “Yeah, it is ours.”

 

“When? When I left this second time it hadn’t gone through yet.”

 

“A couple of days after you left for London I got the call saying we owned it. So, I immediately got the rest moving. Come on, let’s walk up and look.” He said turning off the truck and opening the door. Once they were both out, they headed up the drive.

 

As they walked farther up, she could see workers at both the barn and the house. They were in the process of finishing the outside work of the house. He could see the excitement in her eyes when she looked at him, so he said “You can see the house is back to the side where we wanted it. The barn is nearly finished, so we can hopefully move Thunder and Pony in soon.”

 

“Sounds good to me, I’m sure Thunder’ll be happy to be where I am. I can’t believe it really is ours. We’ll actually get to finally move out of the city.” Moving to where she was in front of him, she continued while she ran her hands up and down his chest, “And, you’re going to let the professionals do all the work, right, you haven’t been up here helping at all? I know you can build a house, I’ve seen it, but this isn’t 134 years ago and what we want now is different from what you wanted then.”

 

Closing his arms around her and laughing he replied, “I’ve been letting the professionals do it, though I’ve come down to check on it. Besides, if I started trying to help, I would never hear the end of it because you would be told about it, probably as soon as I was gone.”

 

“Why would I be told? Just who did you decide on for the contractor?”

 

“Ben,” he replied while picking her up and locking his hands under her. After she was settled and had her legs locked round his waist, he gave her a mild look of surprise with a smile. They were far enough away, they wouldn’t get noticed.

 

She started laughing and just shrugged her shoulders saying, “I’m not surprised you decided on Ben and you would be also hearing it from him if you did try to help. As for anything else, you shouldn’t look surprised since I can feel you too. So we either go find somewhere relatively private here or go home right now since we’re both in the same state.”

 

She figured he decided on home since he started heading for the truck, still carrying her.

 

When they finally ended up at home, they were surprised to see Denver PD there. One of the officers came over to them as they got out of the truck.

 

“Doug, it’s good to see you. What brings you and Brad out?” Chris asked.

 

“Hey, Chris. Brandi. I’m actually sorry we had to and Brad, well he’s a bit upset at the moment.” Officer Doug replied.

 

“Why? What happened that put him in a mood? Out of the five of us, he is usually the calmest, unless he and I have had a fight and I don’t remember having any arguments with him lately.” Brandi wondered.

 

“Well let’s just say your brother is trying to hold on to his temper, and though you’re involved, in a roundabout way, it isn’t you he’s upset with,” Officer Doug told her, looking past them.

 

They turned to look at what Officer Doug saw, and noticed where Brad was standing. Officer Doug saw the look that passed between them at who Brad was talking too. As Brad headed over to them, Officer Doug asked “You know that woman?”

 

“Yeah, she came into the office an hour or so ago thinking someone broke into the house. She hadn’t met Dee yet and didn’t realize that’s who it was. She moved in about a month or so ago and must not have seen Dee in the short time Dee was home before having to leave again,” Chris told him as Brad joined them.

 

“She says you threatened her, Bree,” Brad said, giving his sister a kiss.

 

“Well, that depends on your definition of threatening. She made a rude comment about me after I said hello to her, which I took offense to, but Chris, Buck, Josiah, Nathan, and JD did also. I essentially told her that the only thing protecting her from them was me, and that she should move or she would have to worry about me and not them. I was actually hoping she would be gone by now,” Brandi replied.

 

“Stupid bitch,” Brad muttered. Looking up he said, “Not you, Bree. I can guess what she said and I don’t blame you. But, she made a complaint that her life was threatened and we have to follow up on it.”

 

Coming up on the group, Jamie heard only the last sentence.

 

From behind them they heard, “My life was threatened and of course I made a complaint. Now, are you going to arrest her?” Knowing she wouldn’t hear what was said, Brad told her telepathically.

 

Knowing where this was going, Brandi very quietly muttered “There goes that.” Looking at the four people standing there she said “I’m sorry, but if y’all don’t mind, I’m going in, since it’s been a very long day already. Y’all just keep figurin’ out whatchya wanna do and you know where I am if’n ya need me. I’m sure y’all will come to the right dicision, and please hold your tempers. Bradley and Christopher, that does mean you.”

 

All she heard as she walked away, before closing them out, was two very quiet “Oh, hell.” If they said anything else, she wasn’t listening. She wanted that woman gone or she would be arrested because the woman would be dead. She was not going to live next door to someone who still, even with knowing it wasn’t going to happen, wanted in Chris’ bed.

 

The three men watched Brandi leave, trying to decide the best course of action. Brad beat the other two to the punch with, “To me, it doesn’t sound as if she actually said she would hurt you but made the suggestion that moving from here would be in your best possible interests. I gather you moved in while Brandi was gone so you never got to meet her and so you didn’t know Chris was already seriously involved with someone. But you know that now, so continuing on the way you have been will only serve one purpose and all I can tell you is that you don’t want to do that. Take her suggestion and move, find somewhere else to live. Because, if you haven’t noticed, Chris hasn’t looked at you since he got home. I’ll assume he didn’t look at you once he saw Brandi in the office. He has either been looking at her or doing as he is now since she went in, looking at the front door. He may have briefly turned to look not long ago, but even I noticed how brief he looked, Brandi was the one that looked longer. He didn’t seem to care, as it seems he doesn’t care about what I’m saying now.” He looked at Chris with a smile on his face and said “you may as well go in. Oh, did you ask her yet?”

 

Since he had already started for the door, Chris turned and replied “Not yet, but I’m going to tonight. I did tell her we had the land though and about the house.” Chris turned back and headed in.

 

“You’re just going to let her get away with it?” Jamie fumed.

 

“Ma’am, as you were just told, it would be better to move. If we receive another complaint from you, or even about you we will have to assume you didn’t take the advice so wisely given and if it is one from you, you may not have any response to it. If it is about you, I personally will come haul you off to jail for harassment, because that is what this is now with you calling and making this complaint. Seeing how there were five other people in the room when all this happened, and the one involved and one of the bystanders both say it was started by a comment you made, I will be inclined to believe the two of them, both respected members of this community, as are the other bystanders. I don’t know about my partner, but I’m curious as to what you said that started this,” Officer Doug said.

 

“Fine, you want to know what I said. I said I was surprised she could talk since she was deaf. I figured since she was deaf that she was dumb,” was the reply.

 

Though it was difficult, Brad kept his temper in check when he replied “Well then, I can understand why said she was protecting you from the guys and why she suggested you move. She is very intelligent, and, I would say, more so than you could ever think to be. Now as my partner said, this is harassment of them and if we get called into the chief’s office because of what happened here today, I will tell him that you are the one doing the harassing and you were given a suggestion you did not follow.”

 

Finally realizing her mistake, Jamie headed back to her own house. She didn’t want to have to move, but she saw no way other than killing Brandi to get what she really wanted. She found she was in a no-win situation and she hated it. Somehow she would find a way to get back at those five men and Brandi. She would have to think on it and see if she could talk Douglas into helping her. Maybe she could set them up somehow.

 

Brad had been correct as to where Chris’ mind was and it wasn’t on Jamie. He knew how Brandi could be when she was mad, and he also knew she would decide to not ‘hear’ anyone until she had calmed down. He walked in the house and went looking for her. He finally found her in a back bedroom that had everything they had kept from the previous century, only problem was – she was on a warpath and her two wolves, Ares and Hercules, who had put up with him while she was gone, cowered behind him. This he thought was funny, since they never cowered at anything and if it meant protecting either of them, the wolves would kill.

 

He stood there and watched as she methodically broke everything, only to make it whole again to re break it. After watching this happen several times, he walked up behind her wanting to just get her attention, but she turned at the same time, sensing a presence, and nearly blew him up. It took Chris raising his hands in surrender and two heads butting her legs for her to focus on who was in front of her before she continued.

 

As he watched her eyes refocus, he stepped closer, put his arms around her, and never said a word. She put her arms around him and held on tight, suddenly feeling the tears that were burning in her eyes. She hated getting this mad because she usually did something stupid and then would later regret. She was glad that she saw Chris before she had hurt him, because if she had followed through without looking, there would have been no way for her to bring him back and she would have hated herself forever.

 

She had no idea how long they had been standing there or even how long she had been actually crying, but she felt him pick her up and carry her into another room and lay her gently down on a bed. He pulled her boots off and covered her up. She hadn’t even realized he was lying next to her until he drew her up against him so her head was on his shoulder. “Can you hear me?” he asked.

 

“Yeah, though I did shut you and Brad out for a bit,” she replied. She felt his laugh.

 

“I figured as much and I’m not surprised. I had something special planned for you for tonight, but it can wait.”

 

She lifted up slightly to look at him. “Something special? Out with it, Cowboy, what’s going on?” she asked.

 

Trying to keep an innocent and blank look on his face, he said “Nothing that can’t wait ‘til tomorrow.”

 

She sat all the way up now and just looked at him, seeing past the not so innocent look he tried to make innocent. “Sorry, Cowboy, that ain’t gonna work. Either out with it or choose between sleeping on the couch or in their other bed, outside,” pointing to the wolves.

 

Since he didn’t want to sleep anywhere else, he knew he had better ask her then and there. He got up, went to the dresser and pulled something out, opening it and putting something from inside into his pocket then closing it again. When he got back to the bed he sat down next to her and said, “I wanted to do this a better way than the way I’m going to. I had planned, for the night you got back, for us to have dinner out, trying for the romance, even though I know it isn’t a strong point for me. But with all that has happened since you got back today, wait, I’m not counting everything; I thought I would wait til another time. Especially with how upset you were when you came in the house a while ago, but since you asked I’ll do it now.” He knew how hard this was going to be, since it had been 140 years or so since he last asked anyone. He also knew it was time to stop stalling and just do it, so he took a breath, opened the box he held and asked “Will you marry me?”

 

She couldn’t believe what she just heard. She honestly thought he wasn’t ever going to ask her so she sat there mutely for a minute or two. She looked in those green eyes she knew so well and saw he was serious but the strength and courage that usually never faltered was starting too, so she replied “I’m sorry I was speechless but I had to stop myself from asking what took you so long. So instead of that, how about if I just say…Yes.” She almost laughed when he let go of the breath he had been holding, but then he took her hand and put the most beautiful ring, a semi flat sapphire with diamond chips on each side in a swirled pattern, she had ever seen on her finger. Then he simply kissed her.

 

“Okay,” she said with a laugh “this will probably sound stupid, but what the hell, are we going anywhere tonight?”

 

“I hadn’t planned on it, unless you want dinner. If so I’ll go pick us up something. There really isn’t anything here to fix at the moment. Didn’t feeling like shopping while you were gone.”

 

“Don’t blame you there. I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t mind something to eat. I was just curious because I was going to change.”

 

“Go for it. Anything in particular you’re in the mood for?”

 

Giving him a look of ‘I was and can easily be again’ she said, “Yeah, Mexican. Hard to get any kind of Mexican, let alone good Mexican, in London.”

 

Laughing and understanding the look he said, “Sounds good and I’ll also pick up some beer on the way home.”

 

Having already changed out of her jeans and t-shirt into sweats she gave him a kiss and replied, “I won’t argue with that, just make sure it’s not that Colorado piss water y’all drink, Get something good that I’ll drink, please.”

 

Nodding with a smile, he pulled his boots back on, and left the house.

 

Knowing he would be gone around a half hour, she curled up with Ares and Herc on the couch and started watching TV. She really wasn’t expecting to have an object fly through the front window, barely missing her, and exploding in her front room. She didn’t have time to think when it hit the floor just before exploding, only thought to grab her purse with cell phone, Chris’ cell phone (shaking her head that he left it), tell her boys “backyard” and move anything important in the house to a secure spot on her way out back. As she realized she was getting pissed, she opened her phone and dialed the first number that came to her.

 

As soon as the phone was answered on the other end, she said without preamble, “Hey, someone just threw what looked like a firebomb through the front window of our house. Chris left just a bit ago but left his phone here. You mind coming by?” When she heard the answer she hoped for she said, “Thanks, see you in a bit.” Once see finished with that call she called 911 for a fire crew, and headed out front to sit and wait for whoever showed up first.

 

The fire crew, and Fire Chief, was the first to respond. As they got to work trying to put it out, the Chief came over to find out what happened. She first let him know she couldn’t hear so he would have to look directly at her to ask her a question. She then told him exactly what happened and that she had no idea who or why. As she told it she saw a familiar Trans Am pull into the drive. As soon as she was finished with the Fire Chief, she walked over to it. The driver got out, shaking his head, and saying “I don’t know which one Chris will be more – mad that this happened, or worried about you.”

 

A ghost of a smile passed her lips as she said, “More than likely – worried about me. But, I’m fine. I grabbed what was necessary, told the boys out and then followed them. And, anything that we can’t replace or is hard to replace is out of the house. Damn, it’s a good thing it only takes me a thought to do that. By the way, thanks for coming over and as quick as you did. There are only three direct lines I can dial without thinking and yours happen to be the first that came to mind, so I dialed it.”

 

“No problem, I’m glad I was able to come over, also. I can bet who the other two are and it isn’t surprising. Anything I can do to help, other than helping you stay calm?” He noticed the light of the fire catch the ring she now wore, a ring he helped pick out, so he wondered “Should I assume that he asked?”

 

Catching where his eyes were she smiled and said, “Yeah, and not that long ago. When we left the office he took me to see our land and the work that has started. We got home to find Brad and Doug here and the next door bitch had made a complaint against me, and well, I got a bit pissy, and let Brad, Doug and Chris decide what to do about it all. So I guess his plans got screwed up, but he asked anyway.” Looking down, she said “Oh damn, look at my hands, I can’t stop shaking.”

 

It seemed he had always looked at her as a sister (though he hadn’t been able to figure out why), so putting his arms around her to help her stop shaking felt natural and brotherly like. “You will, but probably not til Chris gets home and does this,” he laughed, until he saw the tears slipping down her face.

 

Chris saw the flames as he came down the street and started having the memory of the fire that took Sarah and Adam hit him in the face. He was praying it wasn’t their house. When he pulled in front, just before turning into the drive, he didn’t see the car already parked in the drive; he was only hoping that Brandi and the wolves weren’t inside.

 

Pulling into the drive, Chris got out and with panic setting in, he yelled, “What the HELL?!” He then noticed the other car in the drive, saw his friend was facing away from him, and his fiancée’s wolves standing behind someone protectively.

 

“BUCK, what the HELL are you doing here, and with your arms around Dee?!”

 

Stepping out of Buck’s arms and moving to Chris’, Brandi simply said “I called him. You didn’t take your phone and his was the first number that came to mind to call. Someone threw a firebomb in.”

 

“Where in the house were you when that happened?” he asked, holding her tight.

 

“Um, let’s just say, close.”

 

Moving her so he could see her face he said, “Dee. Someone torched our house with you inside. How close is close?”

 

Turning it over in her mind, she knew he would find out anyway, so it was better to come from her. After stalling as long as she could she replied, “Close enough it barely missed me. But as soon as it came through the window and hit the floor, I grabbed what’s here in my hands, had them go out and followed behind. On the way out, before anything got damaged, I moved what was necessary out of the house. I didn’t call Buck or 911 til I was out back. I thought it would be better to wait out here though so I was seen.”

 

“Don’t start on me Chris,” Buck said. “I got here not long before you and she was upset and shaking, so I was trying to help her calm down. That’s all.”

 

“That’s ok, Buck. When I saw her face I knew you were just helping. I don’t know what we’ll do about this house, though,” Chris said thoughtfully, looking at their house going up in flames, despite the fire crews efforts.

 

Leaning back into him, Brandi said “Talk to Ben. Maybe he can fix this one for us and if it means the new one isn’t finished yet, then, oh well, we live here for a bit longer. Right now, I don’t care. I just want to leave if the Fire Chief doesn’t need anything else.”

 

The Fire Chief walked up, just as Chris was getting ready to go talk to him. “Mr. Larabee, what brings you here?”

 

Realizing the Chief had never met Brandi, Chris said “I live here also. Did you need anything more from her tonight Chief, or can we go?”

 

“I have the information I need and Ms. Masters-Stewart gave me her cell phone number in case I have any further questions. You are free to leave.”

 

Not correcting the Chief for her name, and preferring to have his phone called, he also gave the Chief his cell number, since the Chief already knew how to reach him at work, and then Chris took Brandi to the truck. Herc and Ares followed them and jumped in when the door was opened, followed by Brandi (though she didn’t jump). Looking at Buck, Chris said “I’m not sure about tonight, but I’m going to have to find us a place to stay that accepts pets. I’m gonna have to call Ben anyway. I’ll see if he has any ideas.”

 

“I’d love to suggest my place, buddy, but JD and I don’t have the room for the four of you. If necessary I can take the two boys – if they’d go with me – to make it easier to stay somewhere. Just let me know. And, I’m sure JD wouldn’t mind.”

 

“I’ll do that. Thanks Buck, especially for coming over to help her.”

 

“What are friends for? See ya later.” Buck tapped on the truck door once Chris closed it and then he got in his own car and headed for home.

 

As they were backing out of the driveway, Chris looked at Brandi and asked “Would you dial Ben’s number for me?”

 

“Sure,” she replied, dialing his phone and handing it to him.

 

“Hello,” he heard on the other end.

 

“Ben, its Chris. Can I ask two favors?”

 

“Sure, what’s up?”

 

“First, before you start on the inside of the house on the ranch, would you take a look at our house here in town and see if you can repair any damage, once we get the go-ahead from the Fire Chief, that is. And second, do you know of anywhere we could stay while you’re doing that, and it would have to be somewhere that accepts pets.”

 

“Before I answer either of those, ya wanna tell me why you’re asking?”

 

With a hollow laugh Chris said “Yeah, sorry. House got firebombed this evening, in fact twenty minutes or so ago.”

 

“Crap. Yeah, I’ll take a look as soon as you get the go-ahead to let someone in and as for a place to stay. You four can stay here. I have plenty of room and if you go to work and she doesn’t, I’ll be around to make sure she’s fine. Speaking of which, how is she right now.”

 

Taking a quick look at Brandi, Chris answered, not telling the complete truth “At the moment, still shaken and scared. From what she said, it barely missed her. She got out with the boys just after it came in but before going off – it had hit the floor and she was gone. I don’t know why the hell someone did it, but partly for my own reasons and partly because it isn’t in our jurisdiction, I’m going to leave it to the Fire Chief and arson squad. I know I won’t be objective if I were to look into it.”

 

“Damn, at least she got out in time, even though the worst it would have done to her would be to burn her. Well, come on over and length of time here isn’t important. Have you two eaten yet?”

 

“Not yet, but I have some food that I went to get in the bed of the truck. If she’s still hungry, we’ll eat that tonight. We’ll see you shortly.”

 

“That sounds good. See ya when you get here,” Ben said before hanging up.

 

Ben was more pissed now then he had been after talking to Brad and hearing about the complaint made on her. Brad really wasn’t supposed to say anything, and didn’t give any particulars, but only said that someone had made a complaint about her earlier and that he and his partner hopefully got it taken care of. He understood why Chris wasn’t going to look into this, but he sure as hell was. He had contacts he could make discreet inquiries with to find some answers. As he was deciding this, and deciding not to mention it to Chris, he heard the truck pull up so he went out to help bring anything in.

 

 

Chapter 2

 

Ben watched as they got out of the truck, and then went to get the stuff stowed in the bed. Chris noticed Ben grab the food and beer and said “You don’t need to do that Ben, I’ll get it.”

 

Ben looked at him and continued with what he was doing, saying “That’s all right. You have your hands full.” He then looked at Brandi and said “Hey little one, rough day?” When he received no response to that he said “Brandi Nicole.” Still not receiving a response he said in Kiowa, “Sky Eyes, if you keep ignoring me, I’m going to be even more pissed than I am now.” To make sure she heard him, he repeated the same thing in her mind. She finally looked up and he didn’t like how she looked. He was now very much aware Chris was sugarcoating how she was when Ben had asked. He also understood the underlying worry he heard in Chris’ voice, because he now was also.

 

Following Chris and Brandi inside, Ben stowed the bags in the kitchen. It was still somewhat early, only around six-thirty in the evening, and seeing Brandi was still standing in the entry, Ben asked “Are you guys hungry now, or did you want to see about getting something other than what you have on to wear?”

 

Coming out of her fog slightly, Brandi said “I am a bit hungry and I definitely could use a beer. As for clothes, I guess we’ll need them, but I’m not getting anything that was in the house. I don’t know what condition it would be in at this point. It wasn’t high on the list of things to get out.”

 

Understanding this, Ben said “Don’t worry about it, little one. I was thinking more along the lines of taking you both shopping for new stuff. You’ll be needing it anyhow.”

 

Looking at Chris she said, “That’s fine by me, I can wait to eat. But before going anywhere, I at least want part of a beer.”

 

Chris started laughing. He could see she was starting to relax some, so he said “That sounds good. Share one with me before we leave?”

 

With a slight smile she said “Yeah, that works for me.”

 

A half hour later the three of them went over to Wal-Mart to get some much needed items for Chris, Brandi, Herc and Ares. Ben told them to get whatever they needed, no matter what it was, and that neither of them was going to pay for it. He was taking care of this. Brandi started to open her mouth when Chris said “That isn’t necessary, Ben. We can afford it.”

 

Ben started smiling and said “Yeah, I know you can, but I’m still doing it. Besides the fact that I want too, I’m not going to listen to my brother, her dad, bitch if I don’t do more to help than just having you stay with me. You would find it with any of us Chris when it comes to her. You should know that after this long. All of us boys, especially Eric, Mike, Josh and Brad, are very much protective of her and will do anything at all to help. She is important to us and you are important to her, so,” Ben took Brandi’s left hand and holding it up, he continuing with “it comes with being part of this family. If you haven’t already gotten used to it, get used to it now.” Making it sound as an afterthought, he said “By the way, congratulations. Have you decided when yet?”

 

Brandi gave a slight smile and said “No we haven’t had the chance to discuss it. It’s only, maybe, been an hour or so since he asked and then he left to get food and this happened. Guess we’ll have to figure it out.”

 

“Looks like,” Ben said with a laugh.

 

They finished they’re shopping and headed back to Ben’s. Once home, Brandi fed the boys while Ben and Chris got food ready for the three of them. Before eating, Chris called Buck so Buck would know where they were staying and to thank Buck again. He told Buck he would see him in the morning.

 

Even though it was not long after eight o’clock, Brandi asked which room they were to use because she was ready to turn in. Ben showed her which room he gave them, and had stashed their clothes in, and told her goodnight. Chris gave her a kiss and said “I’m going to be up for a while, but I’ll be there shortly.”

 

“Okay. Thanks Ben and nite,” she said as she closed the door.

 

Looking at Chris, Ben asked “Everything all right?”

 

“Yeah, I’m just still worried about her. I’m hoping she will at least take tomorrow off. And she’s right, we haven’t discussed when to get married, but I’m hoping within the month, three to four weeks from now. Not much time to plan I know, but after this long, I’m sure she knows what she wants and already has it planned out.”

 

Laughing, Ben said ‘Yeah, I’d bet your dead on with her knowing what she wants for the wedding, though having it planned out, not unless she knew you were going to ask her. I also don’t blame you for being worried. She was real pale when you got here and though she isn’t as much now, she is still relatively pale. This is a stupid question, but was her car in the house garage?”

 

Smiling, Chris said “No, it’s sitting in the locked garage at the office. She came in after cleaning up at home and when we left, we took the truck. I figured I’d just get it tomorrow. Maybe have one of the guys follow me and then take me back for the truck.”

 

“After you go in to talk to her, ya wanna run over there and get it? She’ll be fine with Herc and Ares here. No one will get in and if anything happens they’ll make sure she gets out.”

 

“Yeah, that will work since it won’t take long and then I won’t have to worry about it. I get in first anyway, so I can let them know I took care of it already. I’ll be back out in a while.”

 

“Okay, I’ll be ready when you are,” Ben replied.

 

Chris headed into their room for the duration of staying here and noticed she was still awake. Sitting down on the bed next to her he said “I want you to take the next few days off. We don’t have anything really going on right now to where I need you at the office. Also, Ben and I are going to get your car shortly, so it will be you and these two for the short time we’re gone. Alright?”

 

Feeling very tired and upset, Brandi said “I don’t have a problem with taking the time off, but I am going to need to go to the reservation and talk with Grandfather soon. They were having some problems I was trying to take care of before I left for London, which I didn’t get resolved in my trip before London, so I have to try and get it worked out. There are times that being an Indian agent and the Chief’s granddaughter just don’t work well together. And for my car, that’s fine with me. I know you don’t want to be gone long anyway. You’re almost as bad as the rest of the men in this family, except – you don’t get as overprotective as they do.”

 

He brushed a hand over her face and wondered “I thought of something not to long after we left the office, but I forgot to ask you. Whatever your answer is, I won’t get upset, but I wanted to know. Since I know nothing else was used, did you…?” Not quite wanting to finish the question.

 

Even without him finishing, she knew what he was asking. She told him honestly, “No, I didn’t do anything this time or, when I was home before leaving for London. For that matter, I didn’t in the few months before leaving for DC on Indian business.”

 

“So, there’s a chance?”

 

With a smile, she replied “Oh ya Cowboy, a very good one. So how soon do you want to get married?”

 

He started laughing and with a smile he replied “The sooner the better, but not ‘til after Vin and Ezra get back.” With her reply to his question, he knew it was about 100% guaranteed. This was something he was very happy about, if it works the way they were both thinking.

 

“That makes sense to me and works for me. Let’s work on it tomorrow though; I don’t think I’m going to be awake much longer.”

 

“You’re already fading. Get some sleep, and we’ll be back shortly.” He bent over gave her a kiss and said “I love you and get some sleep.”

 

Smiling she replied “I love you too. Don’t stay up too long when y’all get back. You need some sleep also.”

 

“I won’t be staying up much past the time we get back. Get some sleep.” Softly laughing, he turned out the light and left the room.

 

They had no problem picking up her car and both knew they were being followed home, but the good thing was the person following was more interested in staying with Ben in Chris’ truck. Chris got back to Ben’s first and parked in the garage, so when Ben got back, he was walking through the house, looking like he had been there the entire time.

 

Chris waited for Ben to come in and then asked “They still out there?”

 

Going over to close the front drapes, Ben looked out and said “Across the street and if they didn’t see us get in the truck together, they have no idea why someone left and who was here.”

 

“Hopefully we can keep it that way. I’m going to turn in. I didn’t realize how tired I was. See ya in the morning.”

 

“Yeah, sleep good, Chris.”

 

Not wanting to wake Brandi or the boys, he left the light off when he went into the bedroom and got undressed. She was lying facing his side with the boys at her back. As soon as he was in bed, she curled up next to him with her head on his shoulder, and a leg draped across his waist. He put his arms around her and feeling her damp cheek, he rubbed her back as he fell asleep.

 

He wasn’t sure which it was that woke him up, being hard or her wetness on his waist. Hoping not to wake her, he relaxed his hands on her hip so he wasn’t holding her as tightly. He then opened and closed his fist trying to will himself back to sleep. She woke the moment his grip lessened and then she felt his hand fisting on her hip. She shifted slightly bringing her leg over the top of him a bit more and letting it slid down his leg a bit. She then felt against her knee why he was awake. She purposely leaned into him more so she was resting almost over the top of his hip and slowly moved her leg against his already hard cock. She knew he didn’t realize she was awake, so she moved her hand down his chest and waist and took a hold of him, stroking him gently.

 

With her, it was sometimes hard to know if she was actually awake or not, so he took his chances and slid his hands under the shirt she wore, along her bare ass. When she moved in closer to him and her hand moved a bit faster he smiled in the dark and brought his hands to the front of her shirt and unbuttoned it.

 

Leaving the shirt on, but open, he slid one hand in to take one of her breasts, and moved the other hand down to take her with his fingers. The moment he did, she bucked against him and let out a soft cry, letting go of him. The moment she let go, he knew he had to take her. She watched him looking at her, so she asked “Wanna make double sure it’s guaranteed?”

 

His only response was “Ah, hell,” as he pulled her completely on top of him and speared her. She arched her back and tried to keep her cries of pleasure quiet.

 

Their hands locked together and they took each other with hard, fast thrusts, neither wanting gentleness right then. At some point, though neither knew how or when, she was on her stomach with him behind her, still giving it hard and fast, and she took it with equal measure, giving back the same as she took.

 

At some point she arched her back again. He pulled her up so she was sitting on his lap with his cock still ramming into her, his hands taking their fill of her breasts. She leaned her body into his and laid her head on his shoulder, keeping the rhythm going, their hands locking together again around her waist. When they both came at the same time for the last time, he emptied himself completely into her.

 

They finished as they started, hard and fast. Without saying it, they knew this was one of those “I love you but I want to just fuck you” times. They had given gentleness to each other earlier in the office, and they needed it then, they didn’t need or want it this time.

 

They sat as they were for a few extra minutes to give their hearts and their bodies a chance to slow and cool. When they completely relaxed, they fell to the bed in a heap, both laughing quietly. She turned under him so she was facing him again and kissed him. Not the bruising ones they had just been giving each other, but a soft and gentle one.

 

He then moved slightly, laid down and brought her back to where she had been originally laying against him. As she made herself comfortable, she stretched and made a noise that sounded like a purr. Within a minute they were both back asleep, feeling content and loved.

 

When he got up to get ready for work, he moved quietly as to not wake her. He left the bedroom and walked out to find Ben in the kitchen. Looking up from the paper he was reading, Ben smiled and asked “Sleep better these last couple hours?”

 

Shaking his head, and joining Ben at the table, Chris replied “Actually, yeah. Did we wake you?”

 

“In a roundabout way, but not because of any noise, you both were very quiet. Because she was upset and with her being here in the house, I’m more tuned to her feelings and such, so when she woke up, I did too and I realized right away why I did. I laid there a few minutes to see if there was any noise and when I didn’t hear any, I went back to sleep. I woke back up for a very short time when she was relaxed again, just before you both fell asleep. It would be the same for any of my nephews, including her brothers, had you stayed with them. They though, unlike me, would also razz her about it. You won’t hear any more of it from me and she won’t hear any of it from me. Anyway, on to something else, I checked outside when I got the paper and our friend is gone.”

 

Neither realizing she was up and heard the whole thing, she said from the doorway, “What friend?” She felt it was better to let them think that was all she had heard of the conversation.

 

Chris got up, walked to her, and asked “Hey, what are you doing up? I checked just before coming out here, and you were still asleep.”

 

“The boys are hungry, and you didn’t answer my question. What friend?”

 

Knowing it wouldn’t do any good to evade the question, Ben answered as he got up to get food for Herc and Ares “We were followed last night. Don’t think it started here, otherwise they wouldn’t have been fooled so easily and yes I’ll get to that. We think it started from the office and that whoever it was, didn’t know there were two of us. We took Chris’ truck over. We pulled into the garage and he got out and got in your car. The person or persons must not know your car, because when we each pulled out we saw them, but they didn’t follow Chris, who went out first. They followed me in his truck. I took them on a city tour so he could get back here and park in this garage and get in the house, coming from back here into the front room about the same time I pulled up. I had to hunch over slightly so they wouldn’t realize the difference in height between the two of us; otherwise it looked like Chris coming up and into the house, from a parked car across the street in the dark. We looked out the front window again before he went to bed and they were still out there. Maybe waiting for him to leave, who knows? I checked when I went out for the paper and the car was gone, which I take to mean they left and decided it wasn’t worth it to hang around. That or Brad driving by in a police car did it. I called him after Chris went to bed and asked him to drive by in one and check out the car. I haven’t heard anything yet from him, but then again it is still early.”

 

“And no one told me this, why?”

 

“First, because you were asleep when we got back, and second, you had already had a rough day and there wasn’t any reason to add to it,” Ben told her. He noticed her pointed glance to Chris, and almost said that they had other things on their minds when they woke up earlier, but he kept his mouth shut.

 

Brandi saw Ben start to say something and then close his mouth, so she did a quick look of his last thought. She decided to help him dig his grave. Drippingly sweet she replied, “You’re right, there were other things occupying us earlier.”

 

Chris started to laugh, but with a look he shut up. Ben looked overly uncomfortable and wisely kept quiet.

 

Seeing the weariness in her, Chris suggested “Why don’t you go back to bed, babe. When they finish eating, I’ll let them outside for a few minutes, and yeah, I’ll keep an eye on them. Then I’ll let them back in the bedroom when I let you know I’m leaving. You don’t have anything you need to worry about right now. I’m sure your grandfather will understand you not letting him know right away that you’re home. You already know that if Ben goes out, he won’t leave you alone. Someone will be here with you. I would prefer you stay inside today, but no one will force you to. I just want you to rest. You had three flights and a visit with Alex followed by a rough day once you were home. So, sleep as much as you want and do nothing all day. Be lazy.”

 

She knew he was right so she said, “Fine. I’ll go back to bed and I won’t do anything today, including going out. Will you let me know if the Fire Chief finds out anything, or if he gives the go-ahead for going back into the house?” At Chris’ look, she continued, “I’m not going to, but I thought Ben may be able to check the damage and maybe see if there was anything he could bring us clothes wise, or any of the boys’ stuff. Books, computers, things from the office, everything I’ve kept from the last few thousand years, and anything else I thought of that needed to be kept safe I moved elsewhere. If we need any of that, you can stop to get it, in fact you may want to get the laptop since it has things you may need on it.”

 

“Good idea, I’ll stop on my way home. Now, back to bed with you and go back to sleep. I’ll let you know when I leave.”

 

“Okay, I’m going. I’ll see you in a few hours, Ben.”

“Okay, sounds good little one, sleep good.”

 

Smiling at the two of them, she headed back to their bedroom. She was asleep the instant she hit the pillow and didn’t even stir when Chris came back in with Herc and Ares and then gave her a kiss before leaving for work. Laughing to himself, he knew that was his proof as to how tired she was. He also knew she would want to know why he didn’t tell her bye.

 

For the first time in a long time, Chris was the last to arrive in. The four men sitting at their desks all looked up as he strode through. Buck was the first to speak up. “How’s Nic this morning, any more problems last night? Oh, I noticed her car was gone. What happened to it?”

 

Chris stopped and looked at Buck with a smile, saying “She’s better. Exhausted and not quite herself, but better. Problems? Could say that, Ben and I were followed when we came and got her car last night. It is more like Ben was, since he was in my truck. He took them on a wild goose chase to give me time to get back to his place and park in the garage. They were out there for who knows how long last night, but gone this morning.”

 

“Do ya think it has to do with your house?”

 

Not having heard about this yet, Nathan, Josiah, and JD looked at each other. Josiah spoke up first. “What happened at your house last night, Chris? We know that Buck left here quickly and didn’t say where he was going. We thought maybe he was late for a date.”

 

“He was going to my house to stay with Dee til I got home. A firebomb was thrown through our front window, almost getting Dee. She called Buck since I didn’t have my phone with me. I’m letting the Fire Chief do the looking into it. None of us here are touching it, as much as I want too. As to being followed. Don’t know if it does or doesn’t. Ben called Brad last night after I went to bed to have Brad drive by and check out the car that was doing the following, but have no idea as of yet on that front. So you all know. We also had a run-in with our neighbor, the woman in here yesterday when Dee got in. Our neighbor made a complaint against Dee, but I think it’s all worked out. At least that’s what I’m hoping. Have to wait and see with that one.” Chris then looked pointedly at Buck, knowing Buck had a big mouth at times, and said, “Did you tell them?”

 

Buck had to think on that one a minute, and then realizing what Chris was asking, said “No, I decided to leave it for you.”

 

Nodding at this, Chris looked at the other three and said “I asked Dee to marry me and she accepted. We haven’t decided on the exact date, but probably about a month from now, after Vin and Ezra get back.”

 

The three congratulated Chris and asked him to pass it on to Brandi. Now, he thought to himself, I’ll have to tell Vin and Ezra. It wasn’t that he didn’t like doing it, but he knew how close of friends she was to both men. She and Vin had known each other almost as long as she and Chris had. She and Vin could talk about anything without Vin getting embarrassed or start feeling like a fool. He also knew that at one point, they had lusted after each other, but lusted isn’t the right word. She fell in love with Vin a very long time ago and they nearly made love, but it never happened, neither could go through with it. Though he never asked why, he figured it was because of him and her feelings for him since they first met. She knew more about this best friend of his than he did. There were times that she and Vin would go to a corner to talk privately, or she would kick him out of their office. But then again she would do that with Ezra also. She was one of the very few people that Ezra trusted completely and had complete faith in. If Chris would ask about what was said, she would just shake her head no so Chris would know it was something she was asked not to repeat.

 

Both Ezra and Vin knew that if she was not specifically asked to not say anything, or repeat anything, she would tell Chris. And that she wasn’t telling it to him as they’re boss, but as they’re friend.

 

They realized she told Chris everything – well up until the day before it had been almost everything, since that is when he finally found out the complete truth about her, something she hadn’t shared, only because she was a very private person and that was just the way she was – and they accepted that fact.

 

She held their confidences because she did care about them and she valued their friendship. Just as he never told Vin how she really feels about Vin, because she trusts him to not tell and it wouldn’t be his place to pass that on.

 

She would defend any person in that group, though there were times she’d reconsider defending Buck, and maybe want to kill Ezra, because they all were her friends and one was her lover, and fiancé.

 

He knew, as they all knew, that he would be the first she would defend or if necessary, back up. Though only he knew, the next would be Vin, followed very closely by Ezra.

 

If she were alone and having to defend them or back them up, she would be hard pressed as to who to pick, but if Chris is with her, she goes with Ezra, and he goes with Vin.

 

Like the older six of the team, she is very protective of JD, like a big sister would be. But then again her younger brother Josh is about JD’s age and she wouldn’t want to see Josh doing this, or any other police work which is why it was good she wasn’t living in Seattle now.

 

All her life she has been surrounded by men and very few women. It’s something that has bothered her, even to this day. He remembered her mentioning Patrisha at times, but never saying much. Now he knew why, another friend with secrets to share only with her, but at least another female friend.

 

He knew he got overprotective of her and sometimes worried too much, but it was something he couldn’t help. She had been there, for years, before he married Sarah and Adam’s birth, she had stayed his friend when he married Sarah and had been a friend to Sarah and like an Aunt to Adam – and Sarah knew how Brandi felt about Chris, though Brandi never said anything and never made any advances on him, but Sarah knew from watching the way Brandi looked at Chris.

 

Sarah asked Brandi and when asked, Brandi told Sarah, but also said that she would never come between Chris and Sarah. He knew this because he had overheard the conversation without either of them knowing it.

 

Brandi had also been there after Sarah and Adam were killed, in the background at first, but just out enough he could see her, then as that first year past, she emerged more so by the time he met the other six men, she was there – out in the open – keeping her hand out in friendship and more if he asked.

 

And when he went back to Ella for that short time, before finding out Ella was behind the deaths, Brandi gave him a piece of her mind – and none to quietly – before she left. She won’t ever think so, but it was funny, and she was there to help them fight when Ella took off, and then she stayed in Four Corners til she was satisfied he was healing before heading back to Rock Creek and her own problems.

 

He could look back now and see that he would at times take for granted that she would be there, and when she would visit while he was in Four Corners they were lovers, and he knew then as he did now, that he had been the only person she had given herself to willingly, he didn’t count Vin only because they never went completely through with it.

 

He had known then, in Four Corners, he had always had feelings for her and had, because she was back in his life, started questioning his hardened heart and his attitude toward life. He also recently realized just what her vision on that long ago day had been and when it was to happen.

 

He realized nine years ago when they broke up because of something he said, and realizing after it happened and she was gone that it was stupid for him to say, and she went to Paris – to Methos – that she’s what healed him after Sarah and Adam, and he thought he lost the only other good thing to happen to him. Then she came back.

 

He decided to win her again, only doing it right this time, and he didn’t want to lose her. He is trying not to do the things that sent her away last time. He must be succeeding since she’s still with him and is marrying him. If they find out she is pregnant, and he is really hoping she is, he knows he will be even more protective and even worrying more during the pregnancy. He knows she can protect herself and she can’t be killed, but their baby (or babies) can be since the baby would be half mortal, half human – he wasn’t sure what it was – even though they’d have some of what she is and some of the powers she has. It will be interesting to see how their kids grow up.

 

He didn’t remember walking back to his office, but found himself there. He was brought out of his memories and thoughts by the ringing of his phone. His mind still not focused, he sounded irritated when he answered with “Larabee”.

 

“Mr. Larabee, this is Fire Chief Richards. I’m sorry if I caught you at a bad time.”

 

“No Chief, that’s all right. Did you find out anything?”

 

“We have the incineration device that was thrown through your window and have a forensics lab looking it over for anything that might help. Other than that, we have no information.”

 

“What about the house? Can we have someone look at possible repair?”

 

“That’s not a problem. Our investigators may still be looking around also, but I’ll let them know you’ll be sending someone to take a look about repairing, as long as that is all it will be.”

 

“Yeah, that’s all. And maybe to see if anything is salvageable. Otherwise, no one in this office will be looking into what happened. I’m leaving it up to you.”

 

“That’s good to know. When I saw you show up last night I wondered if you were going to take over any investigation. I will let you know if we find out anymore. Have a good day.”

“Thanks Chief, you too,” he stated before hanging up the phone. He sat there looking at the phone but not really seeing it when JD walked in.

 

“Hey Chris,” he said “are you sure you don’t want us to look into what happened to your house. It wouldn’t take much, and…” JD didn’t get to finish because Chris turned very stormy eyes to him and said through clenched teeth “No one, and I repeat, NO ONE, in this office is going to look into it. Fire Chief Richards and his team of investigators will do that. If I find out anyone here is looking in to it, there will be hell to pay. Is that understood?”

 

“Um, yeah Chris, um, sorry for bringing it up,” JD stammered as he back out the door.

 

He knew they were concerned, but, even though it was his house, it wasn’t in their jurisdiction to investigate. He wanted to find the bastards that did this so bad he could taste it, but he told the Fire Chief, Brandi and Ben that he was leaving it to the Fire Chief and his men. And as much as he hated it and it killed him to do it, he was going to do just that and leave it alone.

 

He was getting ready to call Ben when his phone rang. “Larabee” he answered.

“Hey, cowboy, can I have your baby?” he heard.

 

With a laugh he replied, “I think that can be arranged. What are you doing up? I figured you’d sleep a bit more.”

 

“I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I decided it was better to just get up and be lazy. I don’t remember you telling me ‘bye’ this morning either.”

 

“You were sound asleep, babe. You didn’t stir at all when I gave you a kiss. What’s going on, other than you’re probably bored.”

 

With a laugh she said, “That’s true, I am. I just wanted to see if you’ve found out anything this morning, either from the Fire Chief or Brad.”

 

“Talked to Chief Richards a little while ago and he said they have the device and he has a forensics team looking it over. Otherwise there is nothing yet and nothing from Brad yet. JD was just in here and I was probably harder on him than I should have been, but he said the four of them want to investigate it. I told him in no uncertain terms are they to do any investigating. I don’t blame them, because I want to find out who did it, but I said no one in this office was going to look into it and I’m going to hold to that. On the up side though, Ben can go take a look at the damage and see if there is anything that can be salvaged and brought to you. If he leaves though, I would prefer you stayed there and that he has someone come stay with you while he is gone. And before you say it, I know I’m being overprotective, and I can guarantee that when we find out that you are pregnant, it will only get worse. So live with it. By the way have you had anything to eat yet?”

 

“Actually no, I’m not hungry. I’ll tell Ben both things and I wasn’t going to say anything about how protective you are. I do understand your feelings and the guys’ feelings on it, but I’m glad you aren’t going to look into it or let them look into it. I like and prefer y’all stay safe since we have no idea who or why. We may never know which pisses me off, because I’d like to skin them alive for doing it. Hopefully Brad will find out something about who tailed you and Ben last night. And, because of that, you don’t have to worry about me leaving this house. I don’t even plan to sit anywhere near the window if I’m in the front room.”

 

“Understandable. Tell Ben if he can’t find anyone else to stay with you then to call me and I’ll come home. I don’t think my mind is here anyway and if they need me, they can call.”

 

“I’ll do that. If I don’t see you soon, I’ll see you tonight. I love you.”

 

“Yeah, I’ll see you later. I love you too, babe. Bye.”

 

“Bye, Cowboy.” After hanging up the phone she went to let Ben know what Chris had said.

 

Ben wanted to get over to the house as soon as he could, so he tried Mike, Dave, Gray and Adam and no one was available to come by, though each understood the reasoning. He ended up calling Chris and asking him to come home. As soon as Chris arrived he was gone with the promise he would bring anything salvageable home.

 

“Any word from Ezra or Vin yet?” Brandi asked after Ben had left.

 

“No, and don’t think we will ‘til they’re about ready to come home. I told Josiah, Nathan, and JD, when I got to work, that we’re getting married. Telling Vin and Ezra will be more difficult, I think. I’m not really sure how to approach that one.”

 

She could see it really was bothering him on how to tell the two that were gone, so she said “Don’t worry about it. I’ll tell them myself. If either of them has a problem, and I don’t think they will, that’s too damn bad, it isn’t their decision. Speaking of which, I guess we should figure this out. I need to let dad know so he and Josh can come out. I’m sure you’ve probably already guessed it, but I do have some ideas.”

 

“Yeah, I figured you did. Is four weeks enough time? I don’t think we should wait too much past that though.”

 

“You’re right, we shouldn’t wait too long and four weeks is fine. Hell, we could fly everyone to whichever wherever we decide. I know what I want to wear – just have to order it and it isn’t fancy. But blue jeans, for you or any of the guys, are out of the question. Wearing your boots is fine, but I would prefer a suit on y’all. As soon as we decide where to go, we can start looking at places to actually have the ceremony and reception. As soon as I can leave the house, I’ll go get a ring for you, or maybe Mike and Jess or Mary would be willing to go with me. So, did I missing anything?”

 

He started laughing. When he was able to start talking again, he said “I know I didn’t take you to pick out a ring, but I wanted to surprise you. I would, though, like to help you find one for me. Especially since I know what the rest of yours looks like and I can help you to know if what is picked will go with yours. Sounds good for where to look, but before we go get on Ben’s computer, let’s decide on an exact date.” He got up and got the calendar from where it was hanging on the wall. “Wait, depending on how long it’s been, we have between now and two weeks before we find out for sure, right?”

 

Shaking her head and smiling, she said “Yeah, something like that.”

 

“Ok, that would put your due date seven to eight months after we get married. This is June 30th. Four weeks would put us at July 28th. How does that sound?”

 

“Yeah that works and if we’re right on my being pregnant, at least I won’t have to go through the summer being heavy with it. Well then, let’s decide where. Do we want Reno, Tahoe, or Robin’s Nest?”

 

Not realizing where the last place she suggested was, he asked, “What, or where, is Robin’s Nest?”

 

Laughing, she said, “Robin’s Nest is in Hawai’i and it’s the estate. You’ve been there, but you must not have looked at the name.”

 

“Which would you prefer?”

 

Smiling, she said, “Hawai’i.”

 

Not surprised, he replied, “Then that’s where it will be. Do you want me to call and talk to Jonathan to let him know?”

 

“Yeah, that would be great. I’ll make up a list of who I want to invite and if it sounds good to you, give him the number. You can also let him know not all of them will be staying at the estate. First though, I want to call Seattle and talk to dad there.”

 

She grabbed the phone Ben kept in the office she dialed her dad’s chambers, hoping he wasn’t on the bench at the moment. She handed it to Chris in case he wasn’t in his chambers since she couldn’t hear the ringing.

 

As soon as Chris heard it be picked up, he handed the phone to her.

 

“Judge Stewart” she heard.

 

Smiling she said “Hi, daddy. I have good news and bad news. Which would you prefer?”

 

“Hi, sweetheart. Well, if the bad news is about your house, Ben told me. So what’s the good news or did Chris finally get around to asking you?”

 

“Yeah, he did. It will be on July 28th at the estate – Robin’s Nest.”

 

“Why so soon unless you’re pregnant.”

 

Laughing she said “That’s a very good possibility, but…”

 

“Brandi Nicole.”

 

“What? I’m old enough to decide if that is what I want, and besides that isn’t the reason. It’s a good reason but not the one. We’re doing it in four weeks because we want to and I for one have waited long enough. Besides, if it weren’t for the fact that two of our friends are out of town at the moment, we would be probably be doing this next week.”

 

“Okay, I was just hoping for a little more notice.”

 

“Sorry, he only asked yesterday, so this was the best I could do for letting you know.”

 

With a laugh, he said “Well, since he just asked, then I’ll accept it. So, July 28th at Robin’s Nest, at what time. Also have you called to let Jonathan know?”

 

“Eleven am. and we haven’t called him yet. Chris is going to do that next. Tell Josh for me and make sure he gets the time off, please.”

 

“I will. Does anyone else know yet?”

 

“Only Ben, but we just decided the time and place. He’s over looking at the house right now, so I was going to let him know that part when he gets back. Why?”

 

“Just wondering. Would you like me to call the rest of the boys, Robin – even with Chris calling Jonathan – and your grandfather and tell them all of it? Have you talked to your real father lately?”

 

“Just a sec,” she told him. Turning to Chris she asked “Are you fine with daddy telling everyone else in the family about us getting married and the time and place?”

“Yeah, that’s fine. Less time you need to spend on the phone and one less thing for me to do.”

 

Going back to her dad, she said “No I haven’t, so tell him also and that’s fine with the rest, but I’ll tell grandfather. I need to go see him in the next day or two anyway. Just tell them to let us know in the next day or two if they are going to make it or not. They can reach us here at Ben’s for now, and probably the next couple of weeks.”

 

“Ok, I’ll let them know. And I’ll call New Orleans and tell my parents. And Brandi, I’m happy for you, for both of you. Love you, baby girl.”

 

“Thanks, daddy. Love you too.” She hung up the phone and turned back to Chris saying “He said he is happy for us. I’m glad I caught him and was able to talk to him for a few minutes.”

 

“So am I. Was he asking you why the hurry? Wanting to know if you’re pregnant?”

 

“Yeah, he did on both counts. But I can understand. He has raised us for so long now, even if we have another ‘father’ from starting over, like now with Robin, that it gets forgotten that he isn’t our father by blood. He worries, and wants the best for all of us.”

 

“True and it doesn’t help with him being a judge, and four of his kids being in law enforcement; one Seattle PD, one Denver PD, one independent government contractor working with the ATF, one FBI, out of Virginia – and one a lawyer. Makes him worry more I think. And I really think he would be much happier if you were strictly at a college teaching physics or old world history instead of working with the ATF. Not just teaching part time as you do now. As to the rest of the family, is he calling Robin also?”

 

Her eyes filled with amusement and she gave a laugh, saying “Yeah, he is. You’re probably right, especially about me, something nice and safe for his little girl. I have no idea what father, real, original one, will say about it though, or if he has been keeping his usual eye on me. Him I haven’t seen for a while, which is very surprising. I usually hear something from him, or see him every couple of weeks. I don’t know. Dad did ask if I’ve heard from him lately, which is what I said no about. Oh well, have to find out later.”

 

She turned to the computer, putting in site. When it came up, she knew exactly where she was going. The next page that came up had a very pretty but classically simple pale pink dress. It was fitted only where it needed to be, and came to just above the knees. He liked the dress she had chosen and ordered, along with a matching pair of four inch pumps. He was glad to see she didn’t have any problem with getting married in such a short amount of time, though he knew the biggest thing would be the exact number of people going.

 

After talking to Alex, she made a list of those she wanted to have there and those she was certain about – the other six of team seven (with respective girlfriends/wives), and Ben would be there, but she wasn’t sure about her dads, brothers, cousins, or grandfather. When done, she handed him a list of 32 names – that included Robin, Jonathan Higgins, and Tom Magnum – and at least 14 of those she wrote down would be staying in a hotel.

 

Chris called Hawai’i.

 

“Robin Masters estate,” he heard.

 

“Jonathan, its Chris.”

 

“Chris, is everything all right?”

 

With a laugh he said “Everything is great. I’m not sure if Alex got a hold of Robin yet, but Dee and I are getting married at the end of July. Wanted to have the wedding there at the estate if possible, and stay for our honeymoon,” they hadn’t actually talked about it, but he knew that she would want to stay there for their honeymoon. Continuing, he said, “Is that going to be a problem? I have a list of how many people that are invited that includes you, Robin, and Tom and if everyone on the list shows, not everyone will be staying there at the house. There are at least twelve people that will be staying at a hotel, but we’re going to make sure on that. There may be a few more staying elsewhere.”

 

“I don’t see a problem with the wedding being held here. How many people, including us, is there going to be?”

 

“Thirty-two, but some of those are couples. We will let you know how many for staying at the house when we have a better idea. I know I can guarantee that besides Dee and I, Eric, Mike and Jessica will. Along with Ezra and Kelly – I think you already know Kelly and Ezra works with me, Vin and Patrisha – Vin and Dee have been friends a long time besides him working with me also and Dee has known Patrisha since college. As for Alex, Brad, Josh, Grey and Mary, Adam, David, and Wind Rider, I’m not sure.”

 

“If she would like those you are not sure about to stay here, that should not be a problem either. What day would you be arriving and just so I know, how long would you be staying?”

 

“Great, I’m sure she’d rather have them stay there at the house,” he said and saw her nod. Continuing to Jonathan, he said, “We’ll be there on the 26th and staying through the 3rd of August.”

 

“That is fine. Are you all coming over at the same time?”

 

“Yeah, to make it easier, and in our plane. Anyone that decides to go home before the 3rd, the can get their own way back.”

 

“I will arrange with Mr. Masters for limousines to pick you all up at the airport then. I will also make sure to have plenty of champagne. Would you like me to take care of the food and cake?”

 

“Actually Jonathan, you may want to have something else besides champagne, that isn’t alcoholic, available. Dee is possibly pregnant. Diet coke, Pepsi, and seven-up would be good. Sure if you want to handle the food is great, but would you put Coors on the list to get also. The cake I’m not sure about. Dee and I can talk about that and let you know.””

 

“I will make sure to that soda for you and I will have some Sparkling Cider available also. Please do let me know about the cake, even you get a top for it and bring it with you.”

 

“Thanks. We’ll see you next month and I’ll call in the next week to let you know about the cake…”

 

“All right. Congratulations to you both. We will see you soon.”

 

“Alright, and thanks again Jonathan. See you soon. Bye”

 

“Goodbye Chris,” he said.

 

Hearing a knock, as he hung up, Chris said “I’ll be right back, someone’s at the door.”

 

Turning to him, she replied “Okay, I’m not going anywhere.” Even though they hadn’t talked about it, she ‘heard’ him tell Jonathan about staying there for the honeymoon, and she was glad about that.

 

She hadn’t realized anyone came into the room until she heard “Hey, Bree.” She turned and smiled seeing her older brother (by 4 minutes) and his wife.

 

“Michael, Jessica, what are you doing here?”

 

Mike walked over and gave her a kiss on the head and said, “Just talked to dad. Good for you and it’s about damn time. Also wanted to tell you that we’ll be there, in fact, if it will insure me to go, I’ll help with the flying. I also talked to Eric just before we left and he said he’ll ask now for it off and make sure he is there. I haven’t talked to anyone else yet. Dad said you were going to tell grandfather? What about father or Robin? Planning on telling them?”

 

“Yeah, I’m going to tell grandfather, since most likely I’ll go out there tomorrow. Dad is going to tell Robin and as for father, I haven’t seen him lately so I don’t know what is going on with him. If I see him, ya I’ll tell him, but,” she looked up and raised her voice slightly, “I have to be able to see him for that, seems he’s hiding.”

 

Mike started laughing and said “Yeah, I think you’re right on that. He probably is hiding, though I don’t know why, since I haven’t seen or heard from him either. Dad said you were here, why?’

 

“Right now, we don’t have a house. It went up in flames last night.”

 

“Did I hear you right? It went up in flames?”

 

Chris decided it was better for him to tell her brother. Looking at Brandi and receiving a slight nod, he said “You heard right. It was done on purpose, some type of firebomb. Dee and the boys got out just before or just as, it was going off, but it came close to hitting her. Ben’s looking at the house right now to see if it can be repaired and to see if anything is worth salvaging. Damn, I just thought of something I was going to do on my way home and forgot. Are you going to be here for a while?”

 

Mike looked at Jess, and getting his own nod, said “Yeah, we can be. Why?”

 

With a look of relief at not having to leave Brandi alone, he replied “Dee put everything that couldn’t be replaced in a safe place, which only she and I know about, and I meant to stop and pick something up from there and I didn’t. So, that’s what I need to do. It shouldn’t take me long and I didn’t want to leave her alone since we aren’t sure if the person that did that to the house is after her or both of us, or just crazy. Before you ask, no I’m not looking in to what happened and I’m not allowing any of the others in my office to look into it. Knowing Ben, he is discreetly looking into it and all I can do about him, you, your brothers, or your cousins, is ask that you don’t, but unlike those in my office, I can’t stop any of you. All I ask is that if you do, please be discreet since I told the Fire Chief it was being left in his and his team’s hands.”

 

“Not a problem. I won’t make any promises about not looking into it, but I can promise you won’t hear about it if any of us do. Go do what you need to and we’ll keep her company.”

 

They suddenly heard “What’s going on in here? You three having a party and didn’t invite me?”

 

Brandi turned around with a smile and said “Hey Brad, what brings you by? Or do you have anything about who followed them last night?”

 

Not surprised she found out, Brad replied “Unfortunately not, so I have no idea if it was connected to your house or not, but I’m still checking. I came by because I talked to dad and he gave me the good news, with the date. Count me in and are you making a list of those you know will be there.”

 

Laughing she replied “Actually I wrote up the list of everyone inviting and I have a separate one for those I know are coming. See, I’m adding your name to those that are for sure. I’m glad you will and I know Chris will be. From what I could hear of Chris’ side, it sounds like you, Josh, dad, Gray and Mary, Adam Dave, and Grandfather will be staying at the house besides five of us.”

 

“Good and speaking of which, is Chris at work?”

 

“Nope, he came home since Ben wanted to go look at the house. He just ran to get something he needed, he’ll be back shortly.”

 

“Okay. Your honeymoon going to be over there also?”

 

“Yeah, and any of you that are coming that decide to stay is fine. Anyone that decides to come home prior to August 3rd gets home on their own.”

 

“Good to hear brat. I just wanted to stop by and let you know, and now I’ve gotta get to work. See ya later.”

 

“Yeah, and thanks Brad, for letting me know. See ya later.”

 

Once Brad was gone, Brandi looked at Mike and said “I’m gonna go lay down for a while. If the phone rings and it’s for me or Chris, and if he isn’t back, would you come wake me up?”

 

“Sure thing Bree, wait…” he said to her going to the phone. “Hello?” he said.

 

“Hey. Is Chris there? I was told to call here for him,” said the caller.

 

“No, I’m sorry he stepped out for a bit. Is it something Brandi can help you with, and will she hear you?” Mike asked.

 

“Yeah she will and she can probably help,” was the reply.

 

Mike turned and handed the phone to Brandi, who said “This is Brandi.”

 

“Hey Nic, Nat said you and Chris were there. Somethin’ wrong with your house?” he asked.

 

Smiling, she said, “Hey Vin. Yeah – went up in flames. Ben is checking the damage. But I’m sure that isn’t why you called, and Chris can tell you about it when you get home. What’s up?”

 

“Me and Ezra was hopin’ to spend an extra week. You think Chris will mind it?”

 

With a laugh, she replied “No, that’s fine, as long as y’all are home by the 26th of next month. Oh give Patty my best please.”

 

“I’ll do that when she wakes up. Why, what’s going on then?”

 

“I don’t think you want to miss my wedding, in Hawai’i.”

 

“You’re what? Who’re you marryin’?”

 

Laughing she said “Since it’s not you, it’s Chris and don’t let him hear ya say that. He may get upset.”

 

“Damn, it’s about time he asked. He should have asked 134 years ago. We’ll be home for that, even if I have to hog tie Ezra to get him home.”

 

“Good, glad to hear that. You boys take it easy and don’t be givin’ Patty a hard time when she wakes up. Otherwise, you both have to answer to me, got it,” She asked with a laugh.

 

“Yesum. I gotta go find Ezra to let him know. I’ll see ya in a couple of weeks.”

 

“Sounds good. Stay outta trouble. Bye”

 

Laughing he said “Won’t make any promises but I’ll try. Bye.”

 

Brandi hung up the phone on her end and just shook her head. Looking at her brother, she said “Ok, I’m going to go lay down now. When Chris gets back, let him know I need to talk to him, so please wake me up if I’m asleep.”

 

“Will do, Bree. Have a good rest.”

 

She went back into their room to lie down, falling asleep instantly.

 

Chris got home to find no sign of Brandi. He asked Mike and was told that she went to lie down, but wanted to talk to him so if she was asleep go ahead and wake her.

 

He said bye to Mike and Jess and then went to check on Brandi. Seeing her sleeping so peacefully, he didn’t want to wake her to talk to her, since he also had something to tell her. Realizing he was tired, he kicked off his boots, emptied his jeans pockets, and crawled in bed next to her, asleep instantly.

 

Brandi woke sometime later to feel herself cradled by Chris. She rolled over in his arms so she was facing him and put her head on his chest. Her movement must have woken him because he tightened his grip for a moment then rubbed her back. She lifted her head, looked at him, gaining a smile, so she said “Hey handsome, you may want to be careful. My fiancé could come back anytime and he wouldn’t be happy to see you here with me.”

 

Laughing he only said, “I’ll take my chances.”

 

She smiled and sat up, saying “I told Mike to have you wake me when you got in, I had something I wanted to tell you.”

 

“He told me, but you were sleeping good, and I decided to lie down too. Until then, I hadn’t noticed how tired I was. I had something to tell you also. I got the strangest call today.” Noticing the look on her face, he asked “What is it?”

 

“Well, it’s kinda funny, because I did too. Vin called. First he asked why we weren’t at home and I just told him there isn’t one at the moment and you would explain later. Then he asked if he and Ezra could have an extra week. Told him I didn’t think you would mind, as long as they were home by the 26th of next month. He asked why and I told him I didn’t think they’d want to miss my wedding. He actually asked who I was marrying. I told him it was you and don’t say that to you. Who called you?”

 

“Ezra. Asking the same thing. Not about the house, but about staying an extra week. I get the feeling those two didn’t talk to each other first and decide who was going to call and ask. I did tell Ezra the same thing you told Vin about when to be home by, and got the same reaction. I don’t think it will be a problem getting them back here.”

 

Laughing, Brandi said “No, they’ll be home in time. I thought you were having trouble about telling either of them, what happened?”

 

“It just worked since he wanted the extra week. Now they both know and don’t have to worry about it. You hear from anyone else?”

 

“Yeah, Brad came by and said he’ll be there. I don’t know about Adam, Dave, or Gray and Mary. Unless they called and Mike talked to them, and wrote it down, have to wait and see. Those I know for sure are: the rest of your team with their ladies, all four of my brothers and Jessica, Alex, Ben, Robin, Jonathan, and Tom. I’ll tell grandfather tomorrow and I’m sure he’ll be there,” she told him with a smile.

 

“That doesn’t surprise me or who will be there for sure. And if the boys want to, they can take the week off also.” He noticed her start to yawn, he said “Come on, Dee, lie back down and close your eyes. May as well take advantage of the day and get what sleep you can.”

 

“I won’t argue. What about you? You gonna try and sleep some more?”

 

“Yeah, I am. If you would lie down so I can.”

 

With a mischievous look on her face and trying not to laugh, she replied “Yes, sir,” and lay back down. Getting comfortable, she asked “You plan on sleeping fully dressed?”

 

With a laugh he answered “Yep, to make sure we actually slept.”

 

Finally where she wanted to lay, she said “Okay. Hey, Cowboy?”

 

Smiling to himself he just said “Mmm-hmm?”

 

“I love you.”

 

“That helps since I love you too. Now sleep.”

 

She barely heard the last word before she was out, followed closely by Chris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

 

Neither heard Ben come home. After looking around the house, (and seeing Chris’ truck in the drive), he figured they were in their room. He was just about to make sure when there was a knock on the door. Opening the door, Ben was very surprised at his visitor.

 

“Wind Rider, it’s good to see you but what brings you by?” Ben asked.

 

“Soaring Eagle, it is also good to see you. I was looking for Sky Eyes. I went to the house where she lives with Christopher, but all I found was a burned out shell. Have you heard from her?”

 

Smiling, Ben said “Yes, sir, they are staying here.”

 

“When did she return home?”

 

“Yesterday afternoon. These two days have been rough for her so she was going to wait until tomorrow to go out and see you. Chris had asked her to stay inside today and to get some rest. In fact, I was just going to check on her. I have been gone, but Chris is here, and since I haven’t seen them anywhere else in the house, I was going to see if they are both asleep.”

 

Ben knocked gently on the door, in case Chris was awake. Not getting any answer, he quietly opened the door. He knew they must be tired if both were fully dressed, her in her sweats, him still in his jeans and shirt. Ben went to Brandi’s side of the bed and gently shook her, saying “Wake up, little one. There is someone here to see you.”

 

All he received was a mumbled non-English comment.

 

“I’m not going away and you’ll want to see this person. It will save you a trip tomorrow.”

 

Chris woke up hearing this last sentence. He only looked at Ben and without actually asking, received a nod from Ben as to who it was.

 

“Dee, come on babe, wake up. You can come back and get more sleep after you’ve seen this visitor. Ben’s right, it will save you a trip tomorrow if you take care of it now.”

 

They both noticed the raw energy, giving her a faint golden glow, and backed up slightly, knowing the damage it would cause, when just as suddenly the light from her started to dim and she sat up straight saying “By the Gods! Who the hell…” not finishing because she realized the only person that would be able to bind her like that. Looking at Ben with stormy eyes, she fumed “Why didn’t you just say that’s who it was?”

 

Trying not to laugh, Ben answered “Figured I’d do it the hard way instead. Now get up and get out there, he went by your house all ready.”

 

The only reply he got from that was a quiet “Oh, fuck,” as she got up.

 

Trying to not look pissed, Brandi walked out to the front room with Ben and Chris. When the older man waiting turned around, though her eyes were still stormy, she smiled and went to him.

 

Hugging him, she said “Grandfather, it is very good to see you. What brought you into town?”

 

Tilting her face up further to see, he asked “You are not happy to see me, Granddaughter?”

 

Looking chagrined and trite, she told him “It isn’t that I’m not glad to see you, I just don’t like to be woken from a sound sleep or to suddenly find a bind on my powers.”

 

Nodding his understanding, and glad she didn’t lie to him, he said “The binding was more for your protection. I am very sorry that I made Soaring Eagle wake you, but I was very worried when I saw your house. I know that we still have reservation business to discuss and complete, but it can wait for now. Tell me what happened?”

 

She shrugged and said “Not much to tell. Someone threw something through our front window, right next to me, and when it went off, the house was on fire. By that time, I was out back with Herc and Ares, and had called 911 and a friend since Chris had left shortly before without his phone. But he wasn’t gone long and after talking to the Fire Chief, he talked to Ben and we came over here. He is being like you, daddy, or any of the rest of these guys and making sure I stay safe – though I’ve actually yet to die – with staying in and making sure I rest. Yesterday, with the exception of three things, wasn’t that great of a day.”

 

“Tell me what else went wrong and then what was right.”

 

“Well, the plane coming back from Paris, seemed to take longer than I thought it should have, we had a long wait in LA and ended up having to switch to a different flight than planned to Seattle, which gave us less time with daddy and Josh. To get home and go in to clean up before heading to the office, to get spied on, to get to the office and meet the, hmm, woman, that lived next door. I’m saying lived because I’m hoping she has finally moved. Anyway, to be called, basically, stupid because I can’t hear, to get home about two or three hours later to find she made a complaint against me, so Brad and his partner were at the house when we got home, because she thinks I threatened her, to having the house torched. The good things, one I’ll skip, but the other two are, we have the land we wanted outside of town and Ben has already started the building on it, and Chris and I are getting married. He asked me last night and I accepted.”

 

He knew his granddaughter well, and knew what she had skipped over for the good and what she had wanted to say about the neighbor. “This woman thinks as most do, someone unable to hear must be ‘deaf and dumb’, which is not the case with you, and since she made a complaint against you, it must mean that you put her in her place on that. I am sorry about the house you have been living in, but that is good that you will have a new one to move into, when Soaring Eagle can finish the work for you. As to your getting married, I am very happy to hear that. When is it to take place, and where?”

 

“Next month, July 28th, in Hawai’i at Robin’s Nest. I know that it is short notice and I’m sorry about that, but I’m hoping you’ll be able to come. I really want you there. We will all be flying over together on the 26th to make it easier.”

 

“I will be there, especially since you are going to fly everyone over at one time. I am happy for you, Granddaughter, for both of you. I will take my leave now. We can work on our business at a later time, but no need to hurry. Take some time for yourself and find the answers you are looking for with your house.” He walked to her and gave her a kiss, with her giving him one in return. “I will see you when the time is right. If it is not before your wedding, than it will keep until you are home again.”

 

Nodding, she said “Thank you, Grandfather, for all of it. I will see what I can find out for you also, and I’ll let you know what I find as soon as I can. If I don’t see you before, I’ll see you next month.”

 

Nodding to her, he turned and left the house.

 

She turned and looked at both men sitting there, trying to look innocent, and told them “I’m going back to my nap. If anyone wakes me before I wake up myself, yes Chris, this one time this includes you, there will be hell to pay and Grandfather won’t be here to protect anyone. Oh before I do, what did you find out Ben?”

 

“Not good, little one. Nothing worth salvaging, including the house itself. I would have to totally gut it and start from scratch. It’s up to you two as to what you want to do, but since we’ve already started on the ranch house and barn, you may as well wait for it to get done and just move in there, getting all new everything. So, just let me know. You can stay here until the house is finished, so don’t worry about that.”

 

“Great, thanks. We can talk about it later, Chris. I don’t think…” was all she got out before she fainted. With a look of concern, Chris gently picked her up and carried her back to bed. After getting her settled, he went back out to talk to Ben.

 

Also looking concerned, Ben asked “She all right? She isn’t one to go out like that normally.”

 

“Yeah, I think she is. I know she’s exhausted, so it probably just finally caught up to her.” He didn’t say the rest of what he was thinking, since he didn’t figure it would affect her quite this soon. In another month, maybe, but not yet, but then again they have no idea when she may have conceived. He decided to ask her about seeing Adam, her doctor, tomorrow, just in case. If she is already, it would have been from before she left for Paris or even DC, and would explain why she said she hadn’t done anything to protect then either.

 

Chris called the office to make sure everything was fine, and hearing it was, he decided to finish his nap also. He quietly closed the door when he got back into the bedroom, undressed and crawled in next to Brandi, putting his arms around her and bringing her close. He was asleep instantly and both did not wake until the next morning.

 

As he got ready for work, he noticed she was awake, but still looking foggy. Coming over to her, he requested “I would like you to do something with me today. I want to take you to Adam and have him make sure you’re alright. What’s the last thing you remember from yesterday?”

 

She had to think about it. Finally she said “Saying to you that we could talk about the house later. It seems I was starting to say something else, but if I was, it’s a blank. Why, what happened?”

 

“You fainted. I want to make sure there isn’t anything wrong, and, to have him see if you may already be pregnant. Since you’re already awake, it’s probably better we go now. I can call and tell the boys I’ll be late.”

 

“What will you tell them for why?”

 

“You fainted and I’m taking you to see Adam to make sure you’re alright. They don’t need to know anything else at this point.”

 

“All right, just let me get dressed.”

 

“Just put on the sweats you came over in, you only wore them for a few hours the day before yesterday.”

 

Grabbing them from a pile and making sure they were clean, she told him “I’ll wear them. You would think you were in a hurry.”

 

“I just want to make sure you’re fine. I’ll meet you in the kitchen when you’re done. I’m going to go call Nathan, and let him know. He can pass it to the rest.”

 

Starting to change, she said “I’ll be out shortly. If you don’t see me in ten minutes, come make sure I didn’t go back to sleep.”

 

“I will. But try not to.” He left the room laughing and was still laughing when he called Nathan.

 

“Morning, Nathan,” he said when the phone was answered. “Sorry to call now, but wanted to let you know and to pass on that I’m going to be running late.”

 

“Sure, Chris. Is everything alright?”

 

“I think so, but Dee fainted yesterday evening and I’m taking her to see Adam before coming in. I don’t know how long we’ll be there.”

 

“Sounds good and I’ll let the others know. Let me know if there is anything I can do.”

 

“Will do. Thanks Nat.”

 

“Sure, Chris. See you when you get in.”

 

“Yeah, bye.”

 

“Bye.”

 

True to her word, Brandi was out in ten minutes. Ben was glad to see them both awake and a bit more color in her face. Having heard Chris on the phone, Ben asked “How soon are you leaving to go see Adam?”

 

Realizing Ben heard him, Chris said “As soon as we get something to eat. I want to make sure she’s alright.”

 

“Don’t blame you there. So, little one, are you coming back here when you’re done or are you going in with Chris?”

 

“If he doesn’t mind, I thought I would go in. At least there I can feel productive and that’s where my notes for the reservation are. I may be able to get something done on that,” she answered.

 

“That sounds good. One of you let me know about the house here in town, what you want to do about it. You can get me on my cell. I’m going to be out looking for things for the ranch house and barn today, just in case. Oh Herc and Ares will be fine here. I’ll be back and forth and can make sure they get out and have enough food.”

 

“Thanks Ben. I’m sure I can guess what we’ll do, but Chris and I will talk about it and he’ll let you know.”

 

“Sounds good, see you both later,” Ben said as he grabbed his keys to go.

 

Getting ready to make himself something to eat, Chris looked at Brandi and asked “Anything in particular that you want to eat?”

 

“No, I’m not hungry.”

 

“Dee, you need to eat something. I’m betting you haven’t eaten since…” he didn’t quite finish because he looked up at the same time and noticed her color change just before she bolted out of the room. He followed her into the bathroom in their room, finding her sick. He grabbed one of her hair bands then stood behind her, holding her hair out of the way. Once it looked like she was settling, he put the band around her hair and grabbed a washcloth, getting it wet and then wiping off her face. This concerned him more. He put the seat down on the toilet and then sitting down, he brought her up onto his lap saying “Something is going on Dee. You don’t get sick, at least not like this. And I’ve never heard you say you aren’t hungry. Are you doing better now?” Seeing her nod, he continued “We should head over to see Adam then and find out why you’re doing this.”

 

She didn’t say anything, only nodded, so he stood up while still holding on to her and carried her out to the truck. Once he was in, he wasn’t surprised to see her lie down, with her head on his lap.

 

He drove to Adam’s office as quick as he could without taking a chance of a ticket. Once there, he got her inside and told the receptionist “Hi, we don’t have an appointment, but I think Dr. Stevens would be willing to see her.”

 

Adam heard Chris’ voice and came over to see what was going on. Seeing his cousin pale and green, he opened the door from the waiting room telling his receptionist “He’s right, I’ll see her. It’s my cousin and I’m the only one she will see. If she is coming in, then it’s serious. Whenever you see her come in, you need to let me know immediately and show her back. She is NEVER to wait.”

 

“But Doctor, your first appointment is here. What is he supposed to do?”

 

Turning to look at the man in the waiting room, Adam said “I’m sorry Mr. Daniels. Do you mind waiting? This is more of an emergency.”

“No, that’s fine, Doctor, and I can tell it is, since she’s passed out.”

 

Turning back, Adam saw that Brandi was in Chris’ arm’s completely out. He motioned for Chris to follow, saying “Here, lie her down on the bed. Do you want to tell me what happened?”

“Not really sure. I know she was tired from the trip home and then having a run in with a neighbor, and being in the house when a firebomb was thrown in. We’re staying at Ben’s and have been since day before yesterday. Well, there is also that little thing of asking her to marry me, which she did accept. She fainted last night in the middle of saying something, and this morning she didn’t want anything to eat and I know she didn’t eat yesterday. In fact, when I mentioned eating this morning, she ran for the bathroom.”

 

“Did she actually throw anything up, or was it more dry heaves?”

 

“She did a little, but not much. She laid down on the way over here, but she looked this pale before we left. I had already decided last night when she passed out that we were coming in to see you today. This morning only confirmed the necessity of it. I have never actually seen her this sick, so what is going on?”

 

“I’ll run some tests, but as an extra precaution, any possibility of her being pregnant?”

 

“Yeah, actually a very good one.”

 

“I’ll run that too then. I’ll find out what’s going on. Do you have to be at work anytime soon?”

“No, I called Nathan, told him I was bringing her to see you and that I’d be late, since I didn’t know how long we would be here.”

 

“Good, I would rather have you here with her. Oh, I knew about you two getting married. Alex called me, Gray, and Dave yesterday. We’ll be there and Gray will be bringing Mary. Now, with regard to Bree. How has she slept the last couple of days?”

 

With a slight laugh, Chris replied “She’s done almost nothing but sleep. It’s as if she is more tired than usual. She’s done a bit of traveling over the last two months, but she isn’t usually this tired afterward. It’s unusual for her to sleep this much.”

 

Adam started to laugh. Receiving a funny look from Chris, Adam said “Sorry, but it’s nice to see the usually very unflappable Mr. Larabee, showing his feelings about someone. I don’t think the rest of the boys in your office would believe it and would probably just laugh if they were told. I’m not meaning that’s bad, Chris, but you don’t usually show any feelings, unless Bree is around. It’s nice to see she has that effect on someone other than the males of this family and to me it shows how much you care about and love her.

 

“There was a time I wondered if you would notice her, trying to break the ice you held around your heart. I do understand why you were like that, I think I would too if something happened to someone I loved, and she did too, but she wanted to help you heal and when seemed she was starting to help, you went to Mexico to get drunk and then returned because that bitch wanted your help and sent Buck and JD to get you.

 

“If you didn’t notice, that put a, I guess you could say, steel cage around Bree’s heart. Yeah, she stayed around to help save you, but she left after she knew you were healing, but you hurt her and that was something that took most of those two months to heal. You two are good for each other, balance each other, and you always have. It’s good to know you finally noticed it.”

 

“I wish I could say you were wrong about the way I acted before, but I was thinking about it yesterday, and I came to the conclusion that I just took for granted she would be there, though I never realized I had hurt her as bad as I did with my attitude. If the boys know it, or have seen it, they haven’t said anything.”

 

From the bed they heard, “They know it, or at least Nathan and Josiah do, and they won’t say anything because they have seen you mad, Chris. Um, Adam, didn’t you promise me something?”

 

Smiling, Adam responded “Yeah, I did and I just broke it. Though I’m sure I’ll get it later, right now there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. Since you’re awake, I’ll tell you both what I’m going to do. First I’ll draw some blood for testing, including a pregnancy test, and have my lab across the hall run it. Before you ask, yes I have my own personal lab, with staff that I trust. I have it because of you, Bree. I don’t trust a regular lab to run the tests and then question irregularities in your blood. After I drop it off, I’ll do a complete exam on you Bree. I already have my suspicions after what Chris told me, but I’m not ruling anything out until I have confirmation. So, which arm?”

 

“Doesn’t matter, take your pick.”

 

“Alright then, left arm this time,” he told her and went to get the tubes he needed for the tests he was going to do.

 

Adam took the samples and then left to take them to the lab. Not sure of what had happened, Brandi asked “So, how’d I end up in here?”

 

“You passed out again, and I carried you in. Do you remember me putting you in the truck and coming into the office here?”

 

“Um, actually, no. I remember sitting on your lap after throwing up, and you saying we were coming here but nothing after that.” Seeing a tear slip down her face, Chris sat down next to her and held her, letting her cry.

 

Adam walked in about the same time with one of his nurses, but not in time to hear what Brandi said. He looked at Chris and let his eyes ask the question of if she remembered getting there. Seeing Chris shake his head no, Adam walked over and rubbed a hand over her back, saying “Bree, I’m sorry, but I have to take a look at you now. Chris isn’t going anywhere. He’ll be here the entire time. I need you to lie back though. That’s a girl. I’m going to do the routine stuff first, alright?” Seeing her nod, he took her vitals and checked her ears, noting the slight swelling just below and behind – as it was when she lost her hearing – and her eyes then continued with “Good. That all looks fine, I still can’t see much into your ears, but at this point I’m not sure they will ever heal. Now, I’m going to continue on with my exam, which is why my nurse is here, but while I’m doing that I want you to talk to me. It doesn’t matter what about. Tell me how Paris was, or if you talked to your father or grandfather about getting married. Just talk to me.”

 

“You didn’t ask what I remember from last night or just a while ago. I did talk to grandfather, and he is coming to the wedding, then after he left I remember I was saying I was going to bed, then nothing until I woke up this morning. Then this morning, Chris talking about eating made me nauseated so I went to the bathroom. After I finished throwing up, and he wiped off my face, I was sitting on his lap with him saying we were coming in here, then nothing. Not getting in the truck, coming into the office, and not coming back to this room, ‘til I heard you talking. Um, let’s see, Paris, nothing to tell except Connor is dead, by Duncan’s hand. Going over was a lot quicker than coming home, but we stopped in Seattle to see dad and Josh. I haven’t talked to father lately, so he doesn’t know that I’m aware of. What else? Oh, we got the land, so Ben is building our new house and barn, but we haven’t talked about if we want the house in town fixed in the meantime. I’m thinking it would be better to tear the one in town down and sell the property.” She looked at Chris then and he just nodded his agreement, so she continued on “Herc and Ares are fine, they didn’t get hurt in the fire, I made sure they got out with me. They live up to those they were named after. Ezra and Vin are in Seattle for a couple of weeks. Um, let’s see what else…” There was sudden silence.

 

Both Chris and Adam noticed she quit talking and looked at her. Realizing at the same time that she passed out again, they said in unison “Damn.” Just finishing up his exam of Brandi, Adam looked at Chris and said “She’s going to the hospital, now. In fact, I’ll go with you, because I want to make sure they check her in.” Looking at his nurse, he said “Tell Sandy to cancel at least my morning appointments and tell Mr. Daniels I’m sorry, but I had to leave. I’ll let Sandy know if she need to cancel and reschedule the rest of the day. If the lab comes over with the results of Brandi’s tests, call me immediately on my cell phone or in the ER. I need to know those results.” Looking back at Chris, he said “Since I’m sure you have a light and siren on your truck, we’ll take it and I want you to use both. Get her dressed and I’ll meet you in the hallway.” With that, Adam turned and left the room.

 

Within two minutes, Chris came walking out of the exam room carrying Brandi. They hurried out to the truck, got her and themselves in and they were gone, with light flashing and siren wailing all the way. They were both glad to reach the hospital in record time and without being stopped. Rushing into the emergency room, Adam said “I’m Dr. Stevens and I have a patient that needs to be seen now.”

 

“Yes Doctor, and what’s the emergency?” the woman behind the glass asked.

 

Before he got the chance to reply, the doors to the main area of ER opened and a doctor came striding out, walking over to Adam. “Adam, what’s going on? We heard a siren coming in but didn’t receive a call.”

 

“John, I’m glad you’re here. The siren was from us coming in. You may remember my cousin Brandi. She has passed out three different times in the last twenty-four hours and waking with no memory of the incident. She hasn’t eaten in, how long did you say Chris?”

 

“The last time I know she ate was night before last. She didn’t eat that I know of at all yesterday and I ended up being with her most of that time.”

 

“Oh, John, this is Chris Larabee, he and Brandi are getting married. He is also a better source on the last forty-eight hours than I am. But I don’t plan on leaving just yet. Chris, this is Dr. John Reynolds, one of the best in emergency medicine.”

 

Non-pulsed, Dr. Reynolds said “Bring her on back. I don’t blame you for not leaving Adam. Mr. Larabee, it’s nice to meet you. You’re with the ATF aren’t you?”

 

“Yeah, I am,” was all Chris answered.

 

Showing them to a treatment room, Adam had Chris go in first saying “We’ll be right there,” and then said to his friend, “John hold up. My cousin is special, you could say. I’ve already taken blood for testing and am just waiting on the results. From the symptoms they describe her as having and from her exam, I am nearly positive she’s pregnant, but I just want to have the blood test as the final word. What concerns me though, and why I had her brought in, is her passing out and not remembering it, and having not eaten. She doesn’t really get very sick, at most sinus and allergies, an occasional migraine. She cannot tolerate most narcotic pain meds, her body reacts to them. I think she should be admitted for observation and fluid replacement, but I’ll let you decide on that one.” Seeing someone motion to him from the nurses’ station, Adam said “Excuse me, it must be my nurse with the results.” Walking over to the phone Adam picked it up and said “Dr. Stevens.”

 

“Yes, Dr. Stevens. We got the lab work you wanted back. Would you like me to read it too you or fax it to you there?” His nurse asked.

 

“Go ahead and fax it, so I can have a copy here.” Turning, he noticed the fax coming through. Once it was completely sent he grabbed it to prevent it from being taken for someone else’s chart. “Great, got it. I’ll let you know when I’ll be back in.”

 

“Yes, doctor.” And the line was dead. Looking back toward the room Brandi was in, he heard screaming in his mind causing him to run to see what was wrong.

 

The first thing he saw was Brandi trying to get away from Dr. Reynolds. She looked up, saw him and said, “Adam, help. I must have fallen asleep and when I woke up, this man was looking at me. What’s going on, and where’s Chris?”

 

Schooling his features to not show the alarm he felt at her wondering about Chris, he replied “It’s alright, Bree. This is Dr. Reynolds and he is just looking you over to help me figure out what’s wrong. Chris and I brought you to the ER because you passed out again at my office in the exam room.” Noticing she was also fighting Chris’ touch, he said “Chris is right beside you. He’s the one touching you. It’s alright. No one is trying to hurt you.” He never got the chance to say anything else, because she was suddenly out again.

 

Looking at the two men standing there, he said “I got the results back. My suspicions are confirmed. She is pregnant, which explains the being overly tired, and nausea, but not the passing out. I can see what you’re going to ask, Chris, and at least 4 weeks, but more likely more than that. Congratulations, dad, but I’ll hold off on giving you a cigar or buying you a drink for now. This time, when she woke up, bothered me, especially since she wasn’t seeing you next to her, Chris. And her eyes weren’t focused. It was almost as if it was a dream for her, though she looked awake.”

 

“Thanks, Adam,” Chris replied to the congratulations, “but you’re right, we’ll have to wait. This didn’t just bother me; it scared the hell out of me. She looked at me but was more looking through me and seeing something else. What in the hell is going on?”

 

Dr. Reynolds spoke up then, “That, gentleman, is what we are going to find out. I’m going to admit her to the medical floor, for the reasons we discussed, Adam. I am going to put in writing that I‘m turning her care over to you. With exception of the swelling by her ears, and what brief look I got, I can’t see anything that would cause her to be doing this. I’m going to go call upstairs for a bed and I’ll be back to let you know.” He turned and left the room.

 

As he walked out, Brandi came to. Finding she had a nasty headache, she asked to no one in particular “What’s going on and why do I have a headache?”

 

Both men turned and looked at her. Noticing she was being stared at from both sides, she looked at both and said “What? It’s a simple question. By the way, I can tell we aren’t in your office now Adam. Where are we?”

 

Adam noticed her eyes were focused and she was talking to both himself and Chris, so he said “We’re at the ER. We brought you in when you passed out again. Bree, can you tell me what’s happened in the last hour?”

 

She looked at both Chris and Adam, wondering where that question came from. Seeing that she wasn’t going to get any help, she simply said “No.”

 

“That’s what I was afraid of. You seemed to have woken a little while ago, but you weren’t focused and you seemed afraid of both Dr. Reynolds and Chris. You also asked me where Chris was when he was standing right next to you. Dr. Reynolds is going to have you admitted to the hospital for observation and fluid replacement. The fluid replacement is because you haven’t eaten in over twenty-four hours, and that isn’t good on you. But you’re not the only one affected by the loss of fluids. You’re pregnant, sweetheart, and your body being depleted like it is right now isn’t healthy for that baby – or babies, and I don’t want to take any chances of you having any problems, so you’re doing this my way, without arguments. Understand?”

 

Feeling very scared that she woke up without actually waking; she replied “Yes, I do. Wait, I am? Well that’s something at least. Guess we’ll have to celebrate later. Adam, why would I have done that? Wake up, without being awake?”

 

“I don’t know, but the swelling around your ears hasn’t gone done. I won’t be able to figure it out until we get you rehydrated and see if the swelling does go down. That swelling may also be why you have a headache.” He stopped what he was saying because Dr. Reynolds walked back in.

 

Seeing Brandi awake, he said “Good morning. Can I finish looking at your head?”

 

Looking at the other two, she said “Finish? When did you start?”

 

Not understanding, he replied “Just a little while ago before Adam came in. Don’t you remember? I introduced myself to you and told you I was going to look you over to see why you’ve been passing out.”

 

“Actually, no I don’t remember. Though you do look vaguely familiar, I don’t remember you introducing yourself recently. I don’t mind if you look at my head, but if you had already started, you did so without me knowing or realizing.”

 

Seeing the confused look on Dr. Reynolds face, Adam said “She wasn’t actually awake then John. She doesn’t remember any of it. Can we give her some Tylenol, she’s complaining of a headache.”

 

Sort of understanding, Dr. Reynolds said, “Of course, after I re-look at her head. With exceptions of the swelling and it looking like the tubes in her ears are blocked, everything looks ok. When did the closing of the canals happen and when did this swelling first occur?”

 

Answering for her, and sticking to the answer that was decided on for this life, Adam said “Both around eleven years ago. She was in the Navy and had an accident, got hit in the head. She completely lost her hearing with it and was put on reserve status.”

 

Thinking he heard wrong, Dr. Reynolds asked “You can’t hear?”

 

“No sir, I can’t, at least not with my ears.”

 

“If not with your ears, then how? You seem to respond like someone that is able to hear.”

 

“My grandfather taught me, after I lost it, to listen with both my head and heart. It helped that I had lost it later in age, instead of as a child, because I didn’t have to learn to talk. I don’t always ‘hear’ as clear as someone without a hearing loss, but I read lips very well also, and know sign language so I can compensate.”

 

“That’s interesting. You’re right Adam, she is special. Since you weren’t with us when I did it, I’m sure you’ve noticed, but a nurse came in and put in an IV, and I had them start you on a bag of sugar water. I was out making arrangements to have you admitted to the medical floor, so now we are only waiting to the confirmation that there is a bed for you, and we will take you up. Once you leave here, Adam is taking over care, so in regard to anything that may have to do with upstairs, talk to him about. I’m sure he’ll be going up with you and writing what orders he wants for while you’re there. Your length of stay up there, though, will be up to Adam. They usually only consider observation less than twenty-four hours, usually twenty-three, but your doctor can change that anytime in those twenty-three hours. Oh, you wanted some Tylenol for the headache. I’ll get that for you,” Dr. Reynolds said, just before leaving the room.

 

“Adam?”

 

“What?”

 

“Does Chris have to leave, or can he stay with me?”

 

“He can stay. In fact I was already planning on adding that to my orders. Even if I decide to keep you in here past the cut off time for observation, he’ll be able to stay. You shouldn’t be alone, and I already know that both of you would rather have him stay than one of us. Herc and Ares will be fine with Ben, and if he needs any help, Gray will be available, even if he thinks he isn’t. Am I right Chris, about you staying?”

 

With a smile, Chris replied “Yeah, I’d rather be here, and since she asked, we know she would rather it also. I’ll let the boys know I’m here with Dee and if they need me, they can call in directly or have me paged. I’m sure they don’t like cell phones being used in here.”

 

“Speaking of which, have you talked to anyone since calling Nathan this morning? And if you haven’t, shouldn’t you so they don’t start worrying about you?” Brandi asked.

 

“No, I haven’t and I will once you’re settled in a room. I’d already been thinking about that.”

 

“Just making sure. Are you going to tell them now about the baby, or are you going to wait? I don’t think it would hurt anything to tell them now. But that will be up to you”

 

“Since you’re fine with telling them now, I see no reason to wait. When I call, I’ll just throw that in,” Chris said, starting to laugh.

 

Dr. Reynolds walked back in with Brandi’s Tylenol and to let them know confirmation was received, so she would be heading right up.

 

She took her Tylenol, thanked Dr. Reynolds and lay back down. She was hoping the Tylenol would help, because her head wouldn’t stop pounding. She couldn’t remember the last time she had a headache like this.

 

Within a few minutes of her lying down, two nurses came and told all three that they were heading upstairs. Brandi wasn’t overly enthused about have to stay in the hospital, whether it was overnight or several days, but she knew it was necessary so she didn’t complain.

 

Lying there with her eyes closed, heading upstairs, she blocked everything but Adam’s and Chris’ voices, while she willed the pain to go away. At one point she asked Chris “Will you let me know when we get there? I would rather move myself to the bed.”

 

He had thought she was asleep since her eyes were closed, so he was surprised to hear her. Looking down, he replied, “Yeah, I will. Rest for now.”

 

She felt the gurney move out of the elevator and then stop. When it didn’t start moving again, she realized she wasn’t hearing Adam’s voice so she opened her eyes, sat up and said “Adam, what’s going on? Why aren’t we going to a room?”

 

Walking back to her, Adam calmly told her verbally and with sign, “It seems there was some mix-up in regard to your room. They are calling the supervisor to get it straighten out. It shouldn’t take too long.”

 

“What do you mean a mix-up? I thought Dr. Reynolds said everything was set. If they didn’t know I was coming up, I’d rather go home,” she said, anxiously.

 

“Sorry Bree, not an option, I can’t keep an eye on you there to make sure you’re drinking enough or getting what nutrition you need right now. We’re going to wait until they get it straightened out. Lie back down, close your eyes and block even us out. I’m not going to ask if your head still hurt’s because I can see it does. Take Chris’ advice and rest,” he told her.

 

One of the floor nurses saw Adam signing and talking to Brandi, so she walked to him and asked, “Can she hear? I saw you signing, but also heard you talking to her, so I was just curious.”

 

Smiling, Adam replied, “Actually, she can’t hear, at least not the way the rest of us hear. She learned a trick to hear with her heart and mind, not her ears, when she lost her hearing. Sometimes the only way I can get her to actually listen is to do both. She won’t be able to tell me later she didn’t understand me, that way.”

 

“Hmm, interesting concept. Well, I think this should be straightened out shortly and I believe she was going to be in 317. We should know for sure shortly. Oh, I’m Cindy Roberts an RN on this floor,” she told him.

 

“Hi Cindy, I’m Dr. Adam Stevens, but call me Adam, and this lady is my cousin and patient, Brandi Masters-Stewart and her fiancé, Chris Larabee. It’s nice to meet you. Now I’m curious, do you sign?”

 

She smiled at him and said, “Yeah, I do. I have a brother who was born deaf, so the family learned to sign as he did. Makes it easier for communication.”

 

“It can unless they don’t want to listen, so they close their eyes, and in her case, block out the voice,” he replied with a laugh.

 

One of the other nurses came over and looking like she wasn’t happy about it said, “It’s confirmed, she’s been admitted. She’s going to 317. I’ll be her nurse today, so follow me and I can get report, and get her paperwork going.”

 

Seeing that Brandi wasn’t going to get the care she deserved, Cindy spoke up and said “That’s okay, Connie, if you don’t mind, I would like to have her as one of my patients. She can’t hear and I know sign language, so I can be able to talk to her.”

 

Nurse Connie stopped and looked at Cindy and said, “Fine, go right ahead, I have a full load anyway.”

 

Cindy turned to the ER nurses and said, “Come on with me. We can get her settled in and then we’ll worry about a report. That way, if Dr. Stevens hasn’t done his orders yet, it will give him time.”

 

Smiling bigger, Adam followed the gurney down the hall with Chris at his side. When they got to the room, before anyone had a chance to move her, Chris walked over and gave her a light shake and nodded. Smiling at him, Brandi got off the gurney and got into the bed. All three nurses looked very happy about not having to move Brandi.

 

While the extra nurse took the gurney back down, Debbie, Brandi’s nurse from the ER, gave report to Cindy. Adam took the time to write out his orders and when the ladies were done, he took the open chart, showing Cindy, and said “Something Debbie didn’t tell you is that Brandi is pregnant. I would prefer, and yes I wrote it, that she only have clear fluids, crackers, that type of thing right now. She hasn’t been hungry and I don’t want to push her into throwing up. Why she was admitted, and for the moment it is just a twenty-three hour hold for observation, was because of the fact that she has been passing out, mostly from dehydration – she hasn’t eaten in about thirty-six hours. As you will see, I also Okayed for Chris to stay the night. She doesn’t want to stay, but she will if he is here with her. She is stubborn and pigheaded, and may tell you no when it comes to having to have anything to drink. If she does, leave it there, Chris will get her to do it. They’ve been together a long time and he knows ways of getting around her that even her dad, her brothers, my brothers and I can’t do.

 

“She may bitch about being here. Let her bitch, and then tell her she has no choice in the matter. If you have to, use me as a threat for that. That’s all I can think of to add. I’ll be here for a while, so I can help with whatever you need and so can Chris. So I’m going back to her room. I’ll see you when you get there.” He turned and walked back to Brandi’s room, disappearing inside.

 

When he walked in, Brandi’s eyes were closed and Chris was lying behind her on the bed rubbing her neck. “You awake?” he asked her.

 

“Yeah,” Brandi said wearily.

 

She opened her eyes briefly and looked at Adam. The pain filled look in her eyes made him remember to go add something to her chart. As he started heading back out the door, he heard “Adam.” He turned to see what she wanted, so she continued, “I don’t know how long ago I got that Tylenol, but it isn’t helping. Chris is helping slightly, but unfortunately not enough. Can I have something stronger for this headache?”

 

He knew it was hard for her to admit how much it hurt. Narcotic type pain meds reacted badly with her system. She knew this, which meant for her to ask for something stronger meant she had thought it through, and she was willing to take the risk. With a sigh, he answered “Yeah, you can. I’ll just make sure there are specifics with regard to what I order.”

 

He walked back over to where her chart was and picked it up. Cindy gave him a questioning look to which he said, “I forgot something. She can have Tylenol every four hours as needed for headaches or general pain. But, because the Tylenol she got in the ER isn’t working for her right now, I’m ordering Demerol 10 mg IV. This is a now dose though she can have it again if Tylenol isn’t working, and I’m adding a stipulation in that before it is given again, I want to be notified. Under no circumstances is any nurse to just give her the Demerol. If she needs something later, give her Tylenol. If she is desperate, she will ask if she can have something stronger, and actually that is when I want to be called. I’m leaving my home number and my cell number, so if I’ve left here for the evening, I can be reached.”

 

He handed the chart back to Cindy and then continued, “If you are ready, I’ll go back in with you so you can give her the Demerol and then do what you need to do to have her completely admitted. Oh – I can tell you now. She won’t change out of her sweats. She’s more comfortable in her own clothes.”

 

Cindy had been writing in the med orders as he finished talking. She looked at him and said “Let me put this order sheet in to go to the pharmacy and sign out the Demerol for her. Then I’ll be ready to go in. Go ahead and I’ll be right behind you.”

 

With a nod, he moved back down to Brandi’s room. Walking in, he noticed Chris still in the same spot, but no longer rubbing her neck. When he caught Chris’ eye, he asked in a quiet voice “Is she asleep?”

 

“Yeah, she just fell asleep.” Because he had been wondering about her wanting stronger medicine, he asked “Will whatever you ordered that’s stronger than Tylenol affect the baby?”

 

Adam heard and understood the concern in Chris’ voice. With reassurance, Adam said “No, not with how I ordered it. It is a now dose and then if she needs it again, I’m to be notified. To be honest Chris, although I did take that into consideration, it wasn’t the top thing that concerned me. I was more concerned with what I could have her get that she could tolerate okay and I think this will be tolerated. She is getting Demerol and at the lowest dose there is for it. While it’s being given and for the few hours it stays in the system, I will be here, in fact I’ll be here with you till this evening. So, if you want to use that phone and call your office, best to do it now while she’s asleep and I’m keeping an eye. She will sleep more comfortably after it, and without the look of pain she has now.”

 

Chris turned away from Adam, looked at his watch and noticing it was only around 10AM he headed over to the phone.

 

Cindy walked in then and told Chris, “I am having a cot sent up for you, Mr. Larabee. That way you don’t have to sleep in a chair.” Noticing that Brandi was asleep, Cindy continued, “After I give her this, you two will have to help me with some of these questions. Here, Adam, why don’t you both look it over and answer what you can. I’ll fill in my assessment and anything we can’t get done now, I’ll do when she wakes before I leave today.”

 

She handed a form to Adam for him and Chris to go over. While they did that, she moved her watch to where she could see it, and started to push the Demerol into the port on the IV tubing, making sure she gave it in the correct amount of time, flushing the line with sterile water after giving the med.

 

While she was giving the med, Adam had been watching her and watching Brandi for any signs of distress, which would have been immediate. Seeing Brandi tolerating it fine, he returned to helping Chris. They got done what they knew, and it was more Chris that knew what to put on the form, and Adam handed it back.

 

Cindy went through and did her full assessment on Brandi, maintaining Brandi’s privacy the entire time – she didn’t care that one was Brandi’s doctor and the other Brandi was marrying.

 

After Cindy was done and had left the room, Chris went back to the phone and placed his call to Nathan’s direct line.

 

“Jackson” Chris heard.

 

“Nathan, its Chris. Would you tell the other three that I won’t be in at all? I wanted to let you know early enough.”

 

“Sure Chris. Is everything okay?”

 

“Yes and no. On the yes side, we found out this morning that Dee is pregnant, which, from what Adam said, contributed partly to how she is now. On the no side, we brought her to the ER because she has been passing out and not remembering what happened just before she did. The ER doctor had her admitted to the medical floor, writing in Adam as her doctor – which he is, for observation and to get fluid replacements. We’re in room 317, so if you need me, just call the hospital and ask for that room. I won’t know until later tonight or tomorrow morning if Adam is going to have her stay longer than overnight in the hospital, so I’ll let you know what’s going on as soon as I can. I’ll be staying here with her until she can go home.”

 

“Okay Chris, I’ll pass that on. Is there anything you would like us to do? What about her wolves, are they alright for now?”

 

“They’re fine. Ben will keep an eye on them. Right now, I can’t think of anything I need any of you to do, but I’ll let you know if something comes up.”

 

“That sounds fine. I have the room number down so if we need to talk to you we can call. Give her our best and we’ll talk to you later.”

 

“Yeah, thanks Nathan. I’ll talk to you later.”

 

Nathan hung up the phone in the ATF office for team seven and turned to look at the other three sitting there.

 

“Is Chris coming in?” JD asked.

 

“No, he’s at the hospital with Nic. She was admitted to the medical floor because she has been passing out, he said. Oh, he also told me that they’re going to have a baby. They just found out this morning. It seems they have her in for observation and fluid replacement, but he doesn’t know if Adam will have her stay longer than overnight. He’ll let us know what’s going on.”

 

“Can we go see her?” JD asked.

 

Josiah answered before Nathan or Buck could, after having watching the expressions on Nathan’s face while on the phone with Chris, “Nathan has her room number written down there, son. We’ll go by this evening. She must have just gotten settled or Chris wouldn’t have called yet, so we need to let her rest for now JD.”

 

“All right, Josiah. I guess she would need rest right now.”

 

Glad that he could make the boy understand, even a little bit, Josiah went back to what he had been working on, only to find his mind wandered back to Brandi.

 

Brandi woke, around 1145am, only to find herself wrapped comfortably in Chris’ arms. Not realizing he was awake, she turned slightly only to feel his hand move to her waist and feel the rumble of his laugh. She turned to face him and looking a bit more relaxed, she said “Laugh it up, Cowboy ‘cuz if there isn’t anything between you and that floor, it won’t feel too good when you hit it.”

 

Trying very hard to stop laughing, but not keeping the smile from his face, Chris replied “You must be feeling better.”

 

“Yeah, it doesn’t really hurt now. I’m thirsty also. What did Adam say I could have?”

 

“Liquids and crackers, to help keep you settled for now. If liquids stay down tonight, he’ll go from there in the morning.”

 

“That sounds fine to me. Where is he?”

 

“Went for a walk so you could rest. He should be back soon.”

 

“What time is it; I really could use something to drink.”

 

Chris looked at his watch and answered “Almost noon. I figure there should be something coming soon. If not, I’ll see what I can do.”

 

Just about then one of the other nurses brought a tray for Brandi, sitting it in front of her. The nurse took off the lid and brought in front of Brandi. Brandi took one look at what was there and was pushing the tray and the nurse out of the way to be able to get to the bathroom, grabbing the IV pole on the way. Chris wasn’t far behind after giving the nurse a dirty look. Adam decided to walk back in at that time, only to see Chris making a mad dash to the bathroom. Not seeing Brandi in bed, he figured Chris was helping her, until he got to where the nurse was trying to get her balance still and he saw the tray sitting there.

 

Coming unglued, he ranted, “Who in the HELL ordered this food for her, because it wasn’t me. She is not to have anything BUT clear liquids and crackers today. I know that her nurse didn’t change my order, but someone had to. I don’t appreciate my orders being changed or contradicted by someone. Now, I want you to get her some clear liquids and hopefully she’ll want some.”

 

Brandi and Chris came out of the bathroom to hear his last words, and shaking her head Brandi said “No Adam. She can bring them, but I’m not thirsty anymore and even though I had gotten rid of the headache, it’s back again. All I want at the moment is rest. Maybe I’ll go back to sleep and have my head feel better without having to take anything this time.” She got back into her bed, with Chris sitting down next to her.

 

Adam was still very pissed, but also very concerned about her. When he had left the room, she was pale, but not greenish pasty like she was now. He could also see the pain clearly in her eyes again. Nodding his head he replied, “That’s fine. Try and get some more sleep then, and there will be water and 7up here when you wake up. I’m also not leaving this time, so don’t worry about that.”

 

“Thanks Adam. I was feeling better and was thirsty, if that helps.”

 

“Yeah, it does. Oh, so you know. While I was out, I called Alex, your brothers, my brothers and Ben and let them know you were here and why. Which includes the baby, all right?”

 

“I don’t mind. I’m sure this room will be full of people this evening. So in the meantime, I’m going to see about some sleep. Did anyone call Kelly? Oh, would you make sure the nurse that brought in that tray isn’t allowed back in here after she brings whatever you told her to bring?”

 

“I didn’t and I don’t think Chris did earlier, but one of us will make sure to call Kelly. Yeah, I’ll make sure that nurse isn’t in here again. Get some rest now.”

 

Brandi laid her head back down and snuggled into Chris, falling fast asleep immediately. Finding he couldn’t keep his own eyes open, Chris followed her into sleep.

 

Chris woke up after only about an hour. Seeing Brandi was still asleep, he gently moved from beside her and put the rail up on that side. He looked to where Adam sat sprawled in a chair with his eyes closed. Not wanting to wake anyone, he quietly picked up his keys and headed toward the door. He was surprised when he heard from behind him, “Heading out?”

 

Chris turned back to Adam and said, “No, I’m just going to Ben’s to get some things for us and then stop and get her fiddle from where she stored it to protect it. I’ll be back shortly, and she’ll probably stay asleep while I’m gone. You looked like you were asleep also.”

 

Quietly laughing Adam replied, “Nah, just resting my eyes, but it gives the good allusion to any who walk in with looking like I am asleep. I’m betting you’re wrong about her staying asleep while your gone, but I know you both need more than what your wearing right now. Her fiddle huh? Good idea, if everyone else shows, we can get some music going and help her feel a bit better.

 

“Oh, I wanted to tell you before I tell her. I want her to get up out of that bed as little as possible. I really don’t even want her walking into the bathroom, but that I’ll take up with her.

 

“And, if you notice anyone coming in to give her any meds with the IV, call me – if I’m not still here. You know, like she does, how she reacts normally to narcotics, and I don’t want to take any chances. Especially now, and I know you agree with that. I’m already thinking of keeping her here longer, but I’ll see if Alex, Josh, or Eric can stay during the day so you can go to work if you want to.

 

“I’m going to adjust my schedule to be here as much as I can to prevent mix-ups like her lunch, and to make sure she doesn’t get Demerol unless I say so. Anyway, you go get what you need to. I’ll still be here when you get back. It’s only 1pm and I don’t have anywhere I have to get to either. I canceled the rest of my day today and had Sandy reschedule all my patients.

 

“Don’t be surprised if Alex, Josh and Eric are here when you get back. More than likely, they will come by our non-conventional means of getting places, like how Brandi went to Paris. Sometimes it’s just quicker when you need to get somewhere and its two hours or more by plane.” Seeing Chris smile at that, Adam knew Chris understood.

 

As Chris was getting to the door, Adam suddenly said, “Hey, Chris, you may want to get something to eat while you’re out. I’d ask you to bring me back something but…Yeah actually, call the room here when you’re getting ready to come back and I’ll let you know what I want. I can always take it outside so Brandi doesn’t see or smell it.”

 

Chris didn’t say anything, only nodded, and then was out the door.

 

Within fifteen minutes of Chris leaving, Brandi’s dad, Alex – Judge Stewart, arrived, with Joshua, and Eric – two of Brandi’s brother’s, one older by two minutes, the other younger by six years. They noticed Brandi asleep and Adam right where Chris left him, sprawled in a chair. At 6’8” it was hard to be comfortable anywhere without sprawling. Looking around, Alex asked, “Adam, I thought you said Chris was here also? Did he leave?”

 

Smiling as he opened his eyes, Adam answered “Yeah, just for a short while. Went to Ben’s to get things that they’ll need for while she’s here and then he was stopping to get her fiddle, wherever she stored it when the house went up. I suggested he get something to eat while he was out also. Brandi’s already been in the bathroom to throw up fluids she needs because someone other than me or her nurse decided Brandi needed a regular meal. She can’t stand the sight or smell of food, and…”

 

“And please quit talking about it or I’ll be back in there. I can’t stand hearing about it right now either,” they heard from the bed. Noticing someone was missing, she asked, “Where’s Chris?”

 

“Picking some stuff up. He only left fifteen or twenty minutes ago, so figure about another at least forty-five, but he will be back as soon as he can. Feeling any better?” Adam asked.

 

“Slightly, but not great. Hi daddy, guys. Is this going to cause any problems for either of you when it comes to taking the time for the wedding?”

 

Eric understood the urgency in Adams voice now. Brandi looked, like death basically. Though he would never say it to her or let it be read in his thoughts. Walking to the bed and sitting down, he replied, “I don’t know about Josh, but not for me. This I told them was a family emergency, so they let me leave and I will get the leave for the wedding. I put in for the time off as soon as dad told me. I won’t miss that for anything.”

 

“Same for me as with Eric, sis, I’m not missing your wedding for anything. Besides, I’m over at the chapel now, and still the same Captain as when you left. He understood my needing to leave for this and already told me I still have the time off for the wedding. I think he likes you and wishes you were still there. Oh also, congratulations on the baby. That’s good news. One question though, since you just were in Paris. Chris does realize it’s his, right?”

 

She laughed at that and said, “Yeah, Fuller and I got along good. He’s a good and fair man, and very by the book. If it had still been Jenk, he would have come with you, he and I were that good of friends. I’m glad that neither of you are going to have problems for the wedding. Yeah Josh he does. He knows about Methos and that Methos, and his kind, are unable to have kids.”

 

Alex was still worried about how Brandi looked, so he said “Are you sure you’re feeling all right, sweetheart. You don’t look good. You’re too pale and have a pasty death look to you.”

 

“Yes daddy, I’m feeling better at the moment. As long as you don’t mention that eating word, I’m okay. I still have a little bit of a headache, but not as bad as it was when lunch was brought in. Speaking of which, did anyone leave me anything to drink, Adam?”

 

“Yeah, you’ve got water, 7-Up, and cranberry juice. Which would you like?” Adam asked her.

 

“7-Up sounds good,” she told him. When he handed one to her she smiled and said “Thanks.” She looked at Eric, who was still sitting beside her and asked, “Is something wrong Eric?”

 

Eric gave her a smile in return and answered “Not sure. Hey Adam, did you check her energy levels lately. Feels way down. More so than it should be from the traveling she’s done, the house blowing up, and confrontations with a neighbor. I realize she’s pregnant, and by the way brat, I’m glad to hear it myself, but it seems to me the pregnancy should take them higher, not lower.”

 

“Yeah, I did notice. I’m trying to figure that out also, but what I’m thinking is it has to do with her passing out. The two are linked together and finding the cause and correcting one will find the cause and correct the other,” Adam told him. Looking at Brandi, he continued “Now you, Bree. I’m going to tell you something and give you a choice on another. This first thing I’m going to tell you, I want no arguments on, understand?” Seeing her nod, he continued “You are not I repeat NOT going to get out of that bed for any reason. You want a shower, tough you get a bath in bed. Get Chris to help you, I’m sure he’ll enjoy it. If you need to go to the bathroom, here is where your choice comes in. Since you will not be getting up to go into the bathroom, you can either use a bedpan or have a catheter. The choice on that is up to you. And, last but not least, if you feel the need to throw up again, you get a basin, not the toilet. So, with regard to your choice of bedpan or catheter, which one do you want?”

 

She knew he was serious, but she didn’t like not being able to get up. She really didn’t like the choice of either, but she knew he wouldn’t change his mind, so she answered “Bedpan since I have to choose. I would prefer to not have the other unless absolutely necessary. You do know, if I just lay here all day for however long you’re jailing me, I’m going to get fat and lazy with no exercise.”

 

All four men in the room started laughing. Adam was the first to respond with, “Yeah, right. You fat or lazy, I don’t think we’ll have to worry about that until you’re about six months along. But even then you won’t be either one of those. You might think you’re fat, but you’ll be the only one.” Adam suddenly thought of something he wanted to ask the other three men.

 

Looking at each one, he asked “Would any of you three mind staying with her during the day over the next couple of days here, yes Brandi, I’m having you stay longer than overnight. I’ll have to go to work and Chris may want to go in, but I don’t want her here by herself. We already had a mix-up with lunch, and I ordered Demerol for her if the pain gets too severe, but I want someone to be able to make sure it isn’t given without my approval. For any of you three, Michael or Chris, I would say go ahead and have them do it, just watch her as she’s getting it and have Josh, Mike or Chris call me if something happens with her. With you and Eric, Alex, I wouldn’t worry about you calling me unless you felt the need too, since both of you have been doctors. Anyway, back to my original question. Would that work for any of you?”

 

Alex smiled at his nephew and said “Sounds fine to me and I’m sure these two also agree, but what about at night?”

 

“Sorry, forgot to say that part. Chris is staying with her at night. It was the only way to keep her here. I’m not sure about when she goes home yet for someone with her during the day, in case she has any problems, but I didn’t want to ask since I wasn’t sure how long you would all be here.”

 

“Josh and Eric, I’m not sure about, but I had my calendar cleared from now until the wedding, so I could be here. How long were you both able to take?”

 

Eric looked at his dad and said, “They told me to take what time I needed. I asked if they needed me at all from now until the end of the month and my boss said it didn’t look like it at the moment, but he would call me if he did. So I’m here ‘til the wedding. It’s nice that I work for a special unit and the boss has a wife, who’s also an agent, and a baby. He understands the need to be with family at crises times, but also for good things like weddings. He thought it was funny they both happen to happen within a month of each other, but like I said, no problems.”

 

Josh shook his head and said “Unfortunately I only have a week, since I’m taking time off at the end of the month. He understands, but we have something going on I’m a big part of and we’re hoping to get it wrapped in the next couple of weeks. He said he would let me know if it gets wrapped before I come back and if it does, he doesn’t mind me staying around til the end of the month. I’ll just have to wait to see if I get a call from him and know that if I don’t by next Wednesday, I’m heading home til we all go to Hawai’i.”

 

Nodding his head, Adam said, “Good that helps. At least I know I have two of you for when I let her go home, or in this case, back to Ben’s. Do you three have a place to stay or what?”

 

“I talked to Ben after I talked to you and we’re staying with him. He has the room and I haven’t seen much of my little brother lately. It will be good to talk to him,” Alex replied.

 

“Oh, daddy, in that case, will you tell him that we want the house here in town demolished. He can concentrate on the ranch house, barn and stables. If he wants to wait on demolishing this house ‘til he gets confirmation from Chris, that’s fine, I’ll have Chris let him know, but he doesn’t have to worry about the rebuilding of it,” Brandi asked.

 

“I’ll do that, baby. I may go drive by it to see what happened. Is Chris looking into it?”

 

Having only been gone thirty minutes, Chris walked in just as Alex answered Brandi, so he said “No, besides the fact it isn’t in my jurisdiction, it’s the fact that it was our house. I wouldn’t be objective about it. Personally, I’m letting the Fire Chief and his men deal with it, as is the rest of my team. But the rest of you, all I ask is don’t let me know or hear that you’re checking into it and I’ll be fine.” He walked to the opposite side of the bed from Eric, dropped the cases he had in his hands, put his keys on the table by the phone, put the rail down and sat on the bed next to Brandi. After giving her a kiss, he said to Adam “You were right on both. I realized I forgot to call as I was coming back upstairs, sorry.”

 

Adam laughed and said “No problem. Since you’re back and they’re here,” pointing to Alex, Josh and Eric, he continued “I’ll just go get something for myself. Oh, they will stay with her if you want to go to work tomorrow and thereafter, and she knows she can’t get out of bed, even for the bathroom, which was what I wanted to ask her about. She doesn’t like it, but I know she’ll abide by it. Won’t you, brat? Oh, one more question Chris. Can I borrow your truck?”

 

Before Brandi had the chance to answer, Chris said “No problem, keys are right here.”

 

Rolling her eyes, Brandi said seriously “Yeah, I will. Only because I know that if I don’t, I’ll probably be made to stay in bed, or at least off my feet til the end of the month. Now go, if you’re going to go have that word I don’t want to hear.”

 

“All right, thanks Chris, and I’ll be back soon,” he said as he left the room.

 

Turning her head toward Chris, Brandi said, “I told daddy to let Ben know we want the house demolished. You still agree with that?”

 

“Yeah. There’s no reason to have Ben fix it since he has to gut it. We can sell the property the house is on and still make a profit.”

 

Alex laughed and said, “Good, now he doesn’t have to ask you, Chris. I’ll tell him I talked to both of you together and that is what you both wanted. Oh, Brandi, did you tell your grandfather about getting married, and does he know you’re here?”

 

“I told him last night about getting married. He came by Ben’s after stopping by the house and seeing what it looked like. As for my being here, I don’t know if Adam notified him or not. Speaking of notifying, have you talked to father, not Robin, lately? Neither Mike nor I have heard anything from him. Have you, Eric?”

 

Looking back at her, Eric answered “No I haven’t either, come to think about it. Have you heard from him, dad?”

 

“Actually, yes I have. I saw him after I talked to you yesterday, Brandi. I told him about you getting married, and he is happy for you. As to why none of you three have seen him, he didn’t say. But I‘m sure you will be since you’re here. He is still keeping an eye on all three of you, just so you know. And speaking of Robin, I did tell him and I also let him know Chris was going to talk to Higgins about having the wedding there.”

 

“All right, I was just checking. Thanks for letting him know about us getting married, makes one less thing to worry about. Chris talked to Jonathan yesterday and let him know about having the wedding there. Didn’t sound like it will be any problem.” At that moment, Brandi saw her nurse come in the room. “Hi, Cindy. These three are only the start of what this room will look like by six tonight or so. This is my dad, Alex Stewart, my slightly older brother, Eric, and my younger brother, Josh. I have two other brothers and two other cousins, besides four out of the six men that Chris works with you may meet, depending on how late you work. And I’m sure they’ll all be here after work. Oh and my uncle, dad’s brother, who will also be here.”

 

“Big family, huh? I’m here until seven tonight, so I probably will get to meet them. I heard about lunch when I got back from mine. I’m sorry that happened and she won’t be back in here at all. Did you throw up, or just dry heaves?”

 

“Both, and Adam wasn’t overly happy about me getting that tray, and, I think, me getting out of this bed to get in there. I’ve been restricted to bed for my duration here, now whether or not he has written it, I don’t know. Oh, wait, if he hasn’t, that means I can still get up,” she said looking at the four men and receiving just what she knew she’d get, glares from all and a tighter grip from one. She laughed at that and said, “I’m kidding. I won’t do it because for one I promised and for two, I have four rats here and I’m not getting into trouble because one of you four snitch. And, Cindy, before you ask, Adam went to get some lunch. Yeah I can say that one without problem, so y’all can stop laughing,” she told them, watching each one try to hide the laugh and smile. Looking around and not noticing a clock, Brandi asked, “What time is it?”

 

Chris was the first to answer with “About fifteen to two. Why?”

 

“Curious, didn’t know how long I had slept. I guess it was only about an hour or just over. Since that’s the case,” looking at Cindy she asked “did you need me awake for anything?” Seeing Cindy shake her head no, Brandi looked at Eric and said “Move it buster before I push you off. I want to sleep and you’re in my way.”

 

Eric looked at her, started laughing and said “Go to hell, bitch. I’m comfortable and I’m not moving.”

 

Hiding her grin, but her eyes lighting with amusement, Brandi answered as she started pushing him off “Been there, thank you, in fact it froze while I was there so they kicked me out. Now, as you can see, you are moving, right, onto, the, floor,” she finished as he hit the floor. She lay down, turning toward Chris to shut them all out, and fell asleep immediately.

 

Knowing that she wouldn’t hear, but staying quiet anyway, Eric said with a laugh “Damn bitch, she did that on purpose. Oh well, I needed to move anyway.”

 

Not quite understanding the way they just acted to each other, Cindy asked, “Is this normal for you to be like this with each other? I’m not trying to be nosy, I’m just curious? And, she said you were slightly older, how are you only slightly older?”

 

Eric started laughing more, along with his brother, dad and Chris. “Actually, yeah, this is the way we act together sometimes. Get my other brothers and our cousins in here and she’ll only get it worse. And, this one” he pointed to Chris “helps us more than her, and he has to live with her. She is the only female of the family, not counting my sister in law and a very close friend of hers that has always been considered a sister, and is very much and very well loved and protected by all of us. She is even loved by and well protected by the rest of Chris’ team.

 

“She will give it back worse than how she takes it, as you just saw. I would never talk about her like that or say something like that to her if I was serious, especially in front of our dad. If he thought I was serious, he’d knock me silly. I haven’t seen her in a few months since I live in Virginia now, so we have to get our shots into each other when we can.

 

“As to the slightly older, we’re two-thirds of triplets. She is the youngest of the three of us. I’m two minutes older than she is and Michael, the oldest of us three is two minutes older than me. Then there is Josh who is nine years younger than us, and Brad who is six years older than us. Mike and I are identical, and then there is the brat there. She’s the oddball. But she’s cute, so I guess ya can’t have everything and I do have three other brothers, so I’ll have to be happy with that, and not let it bother me that the three of us weren’t boys. You’ll be seeing another set of identical twins this evening when our cousin Gray shows up, with his girlfriend, more than likely. He and Adam are identical, and then there is Dave. Poor thing, his twin died at an early age,” he lied, since he, like everyone else, was wishing Jeff was dead.

 

Adam walked back in at the end of what Eric was saying. Hearing the lie, Adam said “Yeah, I remember it being really hard on mom when Jeff died. She mourned him for a time, than realized she still had three other sons that depended on her, so she started letting him go. Now she’s good, wouldn’t you say Alex?”

 

“Hmm, oh yeah. Sorry, my mind wandered for a moment. But that’s enough about that. No sense dredging up old memories. Eric, did you bring your guitar?” Alex asked, changing the subject.

 

“Yeah dad, why?” Eric wondered.

 

“Didn’t you notice that Chris brought in Brandi’s fiddle case? If you have your guitar and we call Gray, Ben and Mike and have them bring something of theirs, maybe we can give this nice young lady a couple of songs this evening.”

 

“I’ll get it later. It’s down in the car. Did you already ask Ben to bring something?”

 

“No, I’ll call all three now. Unless you mentioned something Adam?”

 

“Nope, I didn’t, Alex. Go ahead and call them.”

Alex put in the call to his brother, son and nephew and all agreed to bring a portable instrument.

 

Cindy finished what she need to do in the room and as she was leaving she remember something Brandi had said, so she asked Adam, “Did you write that you wanted her on bed rest yet? She mentioned it, and I didn’t want you to forget, so someone doesn’t come along behind me and get her up.”

 

“No, I didn’t, thanks for reminding me. I’ll go do it now,” Adam said as he got up and followed Cindy out.

 

Looking at his sons, Alex said, ‘What do you boys say to going to Ben’s and resting there for a while. I have a key so we can get in. We can come back in a few hours and visit with your sister and see everyone else. That will also give me a chance to call my parents and your grandfather and tell them she is in here.”

 

“Works for me, dad. I figure I could use a nap anyway. May not have actually been on a plane, but there still is a two-hour time difference for me. I know you two have an hour difference, but at least you’re an hour behind instead of two hours ahead. Besides, like Brandi, I’ve had to do some traveling lately, and I had just gotten back when you called yesterday dad. So I say, let’s go and let Chris get some rest also. I doubt this has been easy on him,” Eric replied.

 

“I’m ready to go also, dad. No reason to wait around here ‘til this evening, with Chris here,” Josh said.

 

“Well, I guess that settles it. We’ll see you and Adam later, Chris. Get some rest. Eric’s right, you’ve probably had it just as bad with worrying about her, and I know she’s only been home since the day before yesterday, so you’re both still catching up with each other. Tell Adam we’ll see him later also, will you?” Alex said.

 

With a smile, Chris replied, “Yeah, I’ll let him know. See you all this evening and get some rest yourselves. Bye.”

 

The three men leaving responded with “bye” and were gone. Chris sat there for a time, thinking about Eric’s lie regarding Jeff. If Jeff ever did show back up and hurt Brandi, Chris knew he would find a way to kill Jeff. Even if it meant going to jail and losing his job, he would still kill Jeff. He had already been wondering to himself if Jeff had anything to do with the house or he and Ben being followed. Maybe one of Brandi’s brothers, cousins, Alex, or Ben will find out something and get it taken care of. He isn’t going to let anything happen to her if he can help it. He lay down, putting his arms around her and let her sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4

 

Adam walked back noticing his uncle and cousins were gone. He looked over at Chris and noticing Chris’ eyes were open, Adam said, “They head back to Ben’s?”

 

“Yeah. They decided to get some rest themselves. They said they’d see you tonight.”

 

“Sounds good.” Adam noticed Chris didn’t look overly happy at the moment, so he asked “Is everything okay? Something happen I should know about?”

 

“Hmm, oh nothing happened. I was just thinking about something when you came in.”

 

“Want to share the thought? Might help.”

 

“Yeah. Got Jeff on the mind now. As much as I wish he were dead, also, unfortunately we all know he isn’t and could reappear at any time. If it isn’t him who’s behind what happened to the house and who was following Ben. If he comes after her again, I’ll kill him. It may be impossible, but I will, even if I lose my job and go to jail. At this point the only thing that matters is Dee. The thought of him still being out there…” Chris didn’t finish what he was going to say because he saw Cindy standing at the door.

 

Looking at both men, Cindy said “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to overhear, but are you talking about the man Brandi’s brother said was dead? If he’s dead, how can he hurt anyone, and why would he be hurting Brandi?”

 

With a sigh, Adam responded “Sorry Cindy, my younger brother is dead. We were talking about someone else.” From the corner of his eye he saw movement. Looking at Chris and seeing the nod, he only said, “Damn.”

 

Cindy looked confused and asked, “What’s wrong?”

 

Brandi turned onto her back and sat up, saying with tears in her eyes and rolling down her face “He knows I’m awake. That’s what’s wrong.” She heard in her mind him say he was sorry, and she only replied ‘I know’.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Brandi drop her head into her hands. Looking at her, he asked “Everything all right, Bree? What’s wrong?”

 

“I just thought of something. Um, did you call Greg or Dennis by chance?”

 

“I didn’t, but I don’t know about Alex. You may need to ask him. Why?”

 

With a slight laugh, she replied, “Well, maybe because I haven’t told either that we’re getting married and I’m not sure if they know I’m stuck here. Shit, hand me the phone, please, Chris, and dial Ben’s.”

 

Trying not to laugh, Chris handed her the receiver and dialed. She didn’t hear anything until “Judge Stewart.”

 

Smiling, Brandi said “Hi daddy. Um, I have a question.”

 

“Go ahead sweetheart, what.”

 

“Well, um, did you call Greg and Dennis yesterday or this morning after Adam called you?”

 

“No, why?”

 

“Because, if someone doesn’t call them and tell them I’m getting married and would like them there, and Gram, and that I’m in the hospital, I’ll never hear the end of it.”

 

Alex started laughing, “This is true, but you know, Larry and TJ will want to come also. I’ll call Greg and Dennis for you. Is Dennis still working in the same place?”

 

“Yeah, and after you tell him about what’s going on please give him the number here and tell him to call me. Otherwise he’ll be pissed at me and I’m not in the mood for him to be pissy.”

 

“I’ll do that. I’m sure Greg will be on the next flight out here to see you now, though.”

 

“Yeah, he will, which is fine. I didn’t go see him while we were there since it wasn’t as long as we thought. I miss him.”

 

“I know sweetheart and I’ll give them both a call now. Get some rest.”

 

“Okay, thanks, daddy. See you this evening”

 

“All right, sweetheart, I’ll see you then.” She handed Chris back the phone.

 

“I take it he is calling for you?” Adam asked.

 

“Yeah. I can’t believe I forgot about them, and if either of you tells them I forgot, you’re history. Now it looks like, if they both say they’ll be at the wedding, there will be thirty.”

 

Chris started laughing and said “You’re the one with the head for math, but where did you get thirty with just adding two?”

 

“Oh sorry, I was mentally adding those that would come with Greg. There will be Dennis, Greg, TJ, Larry, and Gram – Greg’s mom – coming. And just add that Jonathan, Robin, and Thomas will be there is how I came up with the Thirty. Still not too big which is good. Now if none of you mind, I’m going to try and go back to sleep. Please try not talking about something that will wake me like your last conversation did. Oh and if Dennis calls while I’m asleep, go ahead and wake me for that.” She turned to Chris, gave him a kiss and then lay back down, falling back asleep in no time.

 

Cindy just looked at the two men, still slightly confused, but not wanting to ask any more questions. She finished hanging a new bag of IV fluids for Brandi and headed out of the room.

 

The phone in the room suddenly rang, and out of habit Chris picked it up, answering “Larabee.”

 

“Oh, Chris. Is Adam or Brandi available?” a woman asked.

 

“Yes ma’am, Adam is. May I tell him whose calling?” Chris responded.

 

“Oh of course, I’m sorry. This is Jacqueline Stewart,” she replied.

 

A mild look of surprise crossed Chris’ face. Holding the phone to Adam, Chris said “It’s your grandmother. And I don’t think she’s in town.”

 

Adam suddenly had the same look on his face that Chris just had. Coming and taking the phone, Adam said “Grandmamma? Is something wrong? Are you still in Louisiana?”

 

“Yes, we are still at home. That is just what I was going to ask you, young man. Your grandfather and I got a call from Alex, saying that Brandi is getting married at the end of the month but that right now she is in the hospital. Is everything all right with her?”

 

“Yes ma’am, in a way. Yes, she and Chris are getting married at the end of the month and if the two of you can make it, I know she would be very happy.” Their grandmother was also a doctor, so he didn’t feel he was breaking any confidentiality by telling her what was happening with Brandi, so he continued, “I had her admitted to the hospital because she has been passing out. I’m just trying to restore her fluid volume and find out the primary cause of it happening. I know the secondary cause, she’s pregnant, but as I said it isn’t the primary as to why she’s passing out.”

 

“Well, I’m glad you have her there then. That is very good news on both the wedding and the baby. Is she where I can talk to her?”

 

“No ma’am. She is asleep, and I’ve been encouraging her to get as much rest as possible.”

 

“All right then, please give her and Chris our best and congratulate them for us. Also, please tell them we will be there. Alex gave us the information.”

 

“I will do that. I’ll have her call you when she is wake and feeling a bit better.”

 

“Yes, please do. Oh, one other question. Do you know why I would get an out of service for their home phone?”

 

“Yes, ma’am. They are staying at Ben’s because they don’t have a house right now. Before you ask, when you talk to Bree later, she can let Chris tell you or Granddad about it.”

 

“That’s fine. I just wanted to make sure they didn’t change their number and not tell us. I will talk to y’all later, and if not before then at the end of the month. Evening Adam.”

 

“Afternoon, Grandmamma.” Hanging up the phone, he realized that was the last person he expected to call.

 

Adam looked at Chris. “Well,” he said “she and Granddad will be there. She sent their best and congratulations. I don’t think Bree will be expecting them to be there. I know she’ll be glad, but it will be a surprise. You’ll have to tell them about the house later.”

 

“I will. Would probably be best for her to wait a few days before she calls, don’t ya think?”

 

With a laugh, Adam replied “Yeah, I do. The less time on the phone and the more time spent resting the better. I know she wants to talk to Dennis when he calls, and fine, she can do that, but focusing on voices isn’t going to help the swelling go down either.”

 

“Just try and convince her of that. We both know, if she has the choice, she would rather ‘listen’ to what is being said than to shut it all out. “

 

“I know. The stubborn brat that she is. But then again, we could all make her upset at us and then she would do it on her own,” Adam said. After thinking about his last statement, Adam started laughing “Never mind, that would work for the rest of us, we have no problem pissing her off, but I get the feeling you don’t want to do that right now.”

 

Smiling, Chris said “Not at the moment, no. Though I’m sure I could come up with something if necessary.” With that, Chris grabbed Brandi’s address book out, picked up the phone and dialed a number he figured he should know from memory.

 

“Hello,” he heard.

 

“Hey Kelly, its Chris.”

 

“Hey Chris, what’s going on?”

 

With a smile, he said “Not much, but Dee’s in the hospital right now.”

 

“In the name of the gods, why?”

 

“She passed out once last night and a few times this morning and has been throwing up. Not helping that she’s also pregnant.”

 

“What? Y’all are having a baby. That’s great. At least she’s in the hospital if that’s happening. Adam put her in?”

 

Laughing, Chris said “Yeah, he did. And she fought it, still is.”

 

“That sounds like her.”

 

“Yeah it does. We wanted to let you know and also tell you that if you want to come by while she’s here, she would enjoy it.”

 

“If I can, I’ll do that. If not I’ll talk to y’all when she gets sprung.”

 

“That sounds good. Talk to you later.”

 

“Yep and thanks Chris,” she said before hanging up.

 

Chris hung up the phone, laid down wrapping Brandi in his arms, and closed his eyes.

 

The phone rang about four pm, waking Chris. Turning over, he answered “Larabee.” Chris’ rolling over woke Brandi in turn.

 

The caller wasn’t sure what to make of who answered, so asked “Is Brandi available? I was given this number for her.”

 

Not recognizing the voice, but it still not registering in his sleep fogged mind, Chris replied, “Just sec.” He turned back and noticed Brandi’s eyes were open, looking at him in question. He just smiled and said “For you, Dee.”

 

Taking the phone, she said “This is Brandi.”

 

“Hey Bran, I heard you wanted to talk to me?” the caller said.

 

Smiling and leaning more into Chris, she said “Hey Denny, yeah I did. You still at work?”

 

“Yeah, have about another couple hours or so to go. Hey, who answered the phone?”

 

“That would be Chris. There isn’t any way here for me to know if it rings. Oh, don’t let Chick find you on the phone long distance. I don’t think he’s overly crazy about me and I know how he feels about you.”

 

Laughing he said, “I’m not on the business line, so unless he shows up at my door, he won’t know. So that’s Chris. Saw his picture enough, but still haven’t met him. Guess I will at the end of the month. About time too. For me meeting him that is.”

 

“Dennis, you’re not playing games with me are you? You’re gonna be there?”

 

“Already put the request in with Chick. He doesn’t like the fact I’m going out of town, to hell with him and he can fire me. Besides, me play games with you at this point, as much fun as it is, nope, not worth my life.”

 

“True, it isn’t worth that,” she said with a laugh.

 

“Actually, I’m glad he finally asked you also. I know it is something you wanted. I’ll just have to deal with the fact that I’m second best. If I would have thought you’d say yes, I would have asked.”

 

Brandi started laughing harder at that, replying “Yeah, right, sure Den. For you it isn’t commitment, more like committed, like committed to running, staying in trouble, spending time in Juvenile Hall when we were in high school. Oh wait, you have made two commitments, to the badge and then to doing security for Chick.”

 

“Yeah, well you forgot one thing I’ve also been committed too, even though never wanted to make a commitment out of it I will admit.”

 

“Ok, what did I forget?”

 

“I’ve always been committed to you. But with as much as I know you care about me, you’re heart wasn’t set on me, never has been. You’ve been the only one, besides mom, that has kept me on a straight path since high school. And, if I had listened to you then, I probably wouldn’t have gotten in trouble then either.”

 

“Yeah, ok, so I forgot about me. Last couple of days my mind is more gone than normal. And if you say it, you’ll have to deal with Adam, because I’ll be leaving here and giving you what you deserve.”

 

“Not saying a thing. Which reminds me, why are you in the hospital. Your dad didn’t tell me that part.”

 

“Not surprised since I told him to have you call me. I decided to pass out a few times between last night and this morning. Adam figures it’s in part to not having had anything to eat in about thirty-six hours, not drinking enough, and being pregnant. He figures this is the easiest way to get me to do what he wants.”

 

She heard Dennis start laughing before he replied “So is that why the wedding is at the end of the month, or did you not find out until after you decided on the date.”

 

“Found out this morning. Decided on when to get married yesterday, since he only asked the night before last. Remind me to slap you when I see you. Actually, I should get off the phone now since I’m getting glares from Adam. I would say he doesn’t want me talking much. I may not talk to you before the wedding, so I’ll see you then. Oh, and behave between now and then, though I know it will be hard.”

 

“I’ll try Bran. I’ll see you at the end of the month. Take care of yourself lady. Bye”

 

“I will. Bye,” she said than hung up the phone. Looking at Adam, she said “Okay, I’m done.” Suddenly thinking of something, she said out of the blue “Hey, I’ll make you a deal.”

 

“By the Gods, I don’t think I’m going to like it, but, what?” Adam said.

 

Brandi bit her top lip, then said with a smile “Well, if I promise to decrease my amount of talking after everyone leaves tonight, and, I stay in this bed while I’m being jailed here and at home if you feel it necessary. Can I PLEASE get out of it to go to the bathroom and to be able to clean up? I swear that if I do, I’ll either have Chris or a nurse with me. And if it’s you, dad, Eric, or Josh, you can stand outside the door til I say ok. PLEASE, I swear I’ll behave.”

 

Thinking about it and trying not to laugh, Adam finally said, “All right, it’s a deal. Only because you are more likely to not break this one, since it’s your idea. And since I’m sure you’re asking because you want to do one or the other, if not both, go now while you have time. It’s four-thirty and I’m sure within the next half hour, this room will start filling up. I’ll go get some towels for you from Cindy since I’m sure you want to wash your hair also.”

 

With a smile, she said “Thanks Adam.” She received only a nod as he got up. She looked at Chris and said, “I was hoping he would do that. Now, bathroom first, than when he gets back, you can help me clean up if you want to.”

 

“Let’s get you in there then,” Chris replied. Then getting a wicked glint in his eyes and smile to match, he said “Help, of course I’ll help. In fact I’ll do it for you. You’ll just have to sit back and enj… relax,” changing the word he wanted to use at the last minute.

 

Smiling, Brandi said “Yeah, that’s what I thought.” Getting up slowly, with Chris’ help, she went into the bathroom. Adam got back with the towels and seeing no one was in bed, he knocked on the bathroom door saying “Towels are right here when you’re ready.”

 

“Thanks Adam,” Chris replied.

 

Thirty minutes later the two came out of the bathroom. Adam noted a slightly flushed look to Brandi’s face and Chris seemed to have his clothes a bit wetter than it would seem he should, but Adam decided to not say a thing. Looking like he just glanced up, Adam said “Feel better getting clean and having clean clothes on? You didn’t braid your hair did you?”

 

“Hmm, oh yeah, sorry. It does feel better. Thanks Adam. No, Chris did. I wasn’t going to even attempt it.”

 

“Good, glad you didn’t,” Adam said, but never finished his thought. Right about the same time, Alex, Ben, Gray and Mary, Josh, David, Brad, Eric, Michael and Jessica walked in.

 

Coming over to her, Mike said “Hey brat, not enough attention at home?”

 

With a laugh and a shrug, she said “Guess not. You guys bring your portable stuff?”

 

Mike, Eric, Gray, and David said, “Yeah,” together with Gray adding “And I brought something for Adam.”

 

Smiling, Brandi said “Good, shall we have some fun then?”

 

Chris reached down grabbing Brandi’s fiddle and handed it to her.

 

They started with something mild, Allyson Krauss’ “When you say nothing at all”, to Terri Clark’s “Now that I found you”. They were finishing up this last of the two mild songs when Nathan with Rain, JD, Buck and Josiah with Rose, walked in. Chris realized it was still early for them to have left, but didn’t say anything.

 

Seeing them come in, Brandi finished singing than said “Nice of you boys, and ladies, to join us. Find a seat.”

 

Rose watched as Josiah stood to the side and listened on as the rest of them enjoyed the music. The limits of this body were starting to show now. Rose was plagued with throat problems and she had to deal with having a cold and just having allergy problems which affected her throat as well. She decided to just enjoy the music and hum along. Maybe that would not be too bad, but the music took her back to a happier time in her life, a time that was not as hectic as it was today, in this time period. That made her a little sad but she put a smile on her face and eased into Josiah’s warmth.

 

The group went into, John Anderson’s “Straight Tequila Night” and “Seminole Wind”. Then they did George Strait’s “Cross My Heart”. Adam caught Brandi’s eye, thought to her “Devil”, and receiving a nod he told the rest.

 

She started “The Devil went down to Georgia” and during it, when she got to the first time of mentioning the gold fiddle, one appeared on the bed. As Brandi started doing the Devils playing, she let fire fly from her fingertips, her bow making the evil hiss and then all but Mike joining in for the demons. At the end of the song, the golden fiddle moved to Mike’s feet, since Mike was playing as “Johnny”.

 

Brandi saw the slightly confused look on Mary’s face, followed by Gray leaning to her and whispering something. To Gray, Brandi said with her mind ‘Everything ok?’

 

‘Yeah,’ he replied the same way. ‘She was wondering about what was going on with the last song and I said I’d explain later. She knows a little about me, but not about you so I’ll tell her the rest later.’

 

‘Okay, I just wanted to make sure,’ she told him, then saw the slight nod he gave her.

 

They played for the next couple of hours, just having fun and keeping everyone laughing. They did some Diamond Rio including “It’s all in your Head”, and some Sawyer Brown including “The Race is on”. Brandi even decided to include “The Night the Lights went out in Georgia” by Reba McEntire, much to her dad’s dismay. They followed that with Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing” and “Twisting by the Pool”. Then the boys decided to do one for her. As soon as they started she knew what it was and she smiled. They decide to do “Brandy” by Looking Glass, knowing how much she loved the song. Cindy had come in during her break for the first couple songs, and then left after her break was done, but came back when she was off shift, enjoying the ease they all had with each other. Around eight pm, Adam called quits, saying Brandi needed to rest. If anyone wanted to stay a bit longer, great, but the room was going to have to clear out some. The only ones that decided to stay were the four members of team seven, Rain and Aqura. Her dad, uncle, brothers and David left, saying they would see her later.

 

Adam handed Chris a card, saying “Here are home, cell and office number’s in case you need anything. I figured I would give you all three since none may be numbers that will come readily to yours or Brandi’s mind. Doesn’t matter what time you call me, if there is a problem, let me know. If it is after I’ve gone to work tomorrow, I’ll cancel appointments and get down here. I’m going to be out at the nurse’s station if you need anything in the next few minutes, otherwise, I’ll see you sometime tomorrow, and Gray will give me a ride home.”

 

“Thanks Adam, Gray. Hopefully we won’t need you tonight, but I’ll let you know if that changes,” Chris told him.

 

Before they walked out, Mary walked over and gave Brandi a hug, saying “Feel better and get your rest. I can let Billy know that you’re fine. He was worried when Gray said you were here. I’m happy for you both and Gray and I will be at the wedding. Billy will stay with Orin and Evie while we’re over there.”

 

Smiling, Brandi said “I’m glad Mary and thanks for coming by with Gray tonight. I wasn’t sure if you would be and yeah, let Billy know everything is fine, I’m just getting rest. I’ll have Chris let you know when I get sprung.”

 

Nodding, Mary turned and walked out with Gray.

 

As Adam walked out, the pm nurse walked in. She was talking very fast and did not always look at Brandi. Not being able to read the nurse’s lips, Brandi signed to Chris “What did she say?”

 

With a hard look on his face, Chris replied the same way “Her name is, Diane, I think. She’s your pm nurse.” Chris noticed the look on Brandi’s face and asked with sign “Are you listening or blocking?”

 

“Blocking.”

 

“Why?”

 

“The moment she came in and started talking all I got was a high pitched buzz. It started giving me a headache, so I got rid of everything.”

 

“Did you want something for the headache, to keep it from getting worse?”

 

“Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. Tylenol should be enough.”

 

Still talking rapidly, the nurse turned around and noticed Chris and Brandi doing what appeared to her to be talking. Wondering what was going on, she asked “What are they doing?”

 

Nathan was the first to answer with, “Brandi can’t hear. She also couldn’t understand anything you were saying as she tried to read your lips, so she asked Chris what you said. If you’re going to talk to her, you will have to slow down and look at her so she can read your lips.”

 

Nodding her head, the nurse walked to Brandi and said very loudly “I. am. going. to. take. your. vital. sign’s.”

 

As Brandi placed a hand on his chest, Chris looked at the woman and replied, causing Brandi to turn to him, “Um, she can’t hear at all, but the rest of us hear just fine. Yelling to her won’t make it easier for her to hear you, just make us lose ours. All you have to do is not talk so fast and let her see what you’re saying, don’t turn away when you’re talking to her.”

 

“Oh, ok,” the nurse replied, talking fast again and with her back to Brandi. “As I was saying, I need to get your vitals, and then I’ll take all this away for you and bring you something to eat.”

 

Brandi was looking more confused at the woman. Turning back to Chris she asked “Is she still talking and who too?”

 

“Yeah, she is and she thinks to you.”

 

“What did she say this time?”

 

“That she is going to take your vital signs. The rest isn’t important.”

 

“Yeah, okay. Why is she taking my Jell-O and drinks?”

 

“That’s the not important, or better yet, you don’t want to know, part.”

 

Talking to the nurse again, Chris said “It would be better if you left what was here and didn’t get her anything else to eat. Dr. Stevens doesn’t want her having anything but liquids for now. Also, when you’re done, could you bring in some Tylenol for her? She has a slight headache.”

 

“Something for the pain, sure I’ll do that. I’m going to get her some food. I don’t see any reason why she shouldn’t have solid food. There, I’m all done with this. I’ll be right back.”

 

JD looked more confused than Brandi, so he asked “Why did Nic put her hand on Chris’ chest like that? And why the problem with food?”

 

With a smile, Chris told him “She did that with her hand so she knew when I was talking since her back was too me. That way she could turn and look at me each time. She’s blocking all sounds right now. And the food is because Dee isn’t tolerating actual food right now. She is more prone to throwing it up, which may be part of why she has been passing out. Adam is trying to avoid that.”

 

The nurse walked back in and instead of walking to Brandi to give her the pills, the nurse stopped at the IV with a syringe in her hand. Before she got the chance to start, and before Brandi’s shaking got any worse, he got off the bed and said with an icy voice “What in the HELL do you think you’re doing?”

 

With a jump, the nurse turned around and replied “Giving her something for the pain.”

 

His eyes and voice got frostier when he replied “I said Tylenol, which is what she wanted. If you had bothered to notice, Dr. Stevens only wants that given as a last resort and only with him here.” Chris saw Nathan say something to Rain and then head to the door from the corner of his eye. Knowing where Nat was going, Chris looked at Brandi and signed “Listen.”

 

She nodded her head and unblocked the sounds. Just as Chris start to say “Dee, what did…” the nurse started talking over him. Chris saw the moment Brandi closed everything out. Turning back to her he said “Dee, I need you to listen, okay?” Receiving a nod from Brandi, he turned to the nurse and said, as Adam walked in, “You shut up. Good Adam, I’m glad you’re here. You’ll want to hear this.” He turned back to Brandi and said in a normal voice “Dee, what did you ask me for, for your headache?”

 

With a sigh, Brandi replied “Tylenol, but if I have to listen to the buzz I get from her voice anymore, I’ll need something stronger.”

 

Chris turned to the nurse after giving a shutdown sign to Brandi, and asked “What did you bring in for her?”

 

“I thought you said Demerol, so that is what I got.”

 

Adam saw red with this and yelled “How in the HELL do you get Demerol from Tylenol. Beside the fact you are supposed to notify me BEFORE you give it.”

 

Hearing the yelling, the charge nurse came into the room. Not understanding why this doctor she was just having a nice conversation with as he explained why Brandi’s orders were the way they were, was yelling, she asked “Is there a problem doctor? And is it something that can be discussed other than where your patient and visitors will hear?”

 

Adam whirled on the charge nurse saying “Problem, you bet your ass there is. As for hearing, she won’t hear anything, and I have no problem saying anything in front of these men. Chris already knows what is going on, in fact he knows more about what she is going through right now than even I do. And as to the rest of the visitors, they both trust them and if neither of them wanted someone here, they would have said. Now the problem is what I was showing you in regard to the Demerol. It appears your nurse here was asked for Tylenol, but she grabbed the Demerol, and didn’t bother to notify me about giving it.” Adam turned back to the group of men and asked in general “Was she talking to Brandi at all while in here?” Adam saw Chris’ jaw go hard, so he said “Anybody but Chris please tell me.”

 

Nathan had also noticed the look on Chris’ face, so he said “She did, but she was talking fast and away from Nic, Brandi, so Nic asked Chris with sign what was being said. When I explained to the nurse that she needed to talk directly to Nic and slow her speech down, she spoke loudly and made each word a one word sentence of its own. When Chris told her that she didn’t need to talk loud, just slow down and look at Nic, she said ok and went back to talking fast and facing away. She also started cleaning up and mentioned something about thinking Nic needed solid food.”

 

Hearing that, Adam turned back to the nurse and said “Also, had you paid attention to the orders and I’m sure to the report you received, Brandi is to only have clear liquids until further notice. I will explain it to you though, because it appears you didn’t. Looking at, smelling, being around real food is causing Brandi to become nauseated and to potentially throw up. Up until I started pushing fluids only into her here, she was also passing out, more often than I wanted to see today. She starts throwing up, she loses the fluids that have gone in and can possibly pass out again. That is not going to happen, and I would prefer, as I’m sure both Chris and Brandi would, for her to have a different nurse this shift.

 

“If I’m not already known as a problem doctor, or better yet, an ass, I soon will be I’m sure. But that doesn’t matter to me, since Brandi is who I care about and want to get through this. Oh and I’ll just tell you now. It may not be policy to let family members sleep in the same bed as the patient, but while she is here, I can guarantee that the cot that was delivered this morning won’t be used. And if it isn’t liked, add that to the list of my many flaws. Now on that note, I’m going home. Chris, call me if any more problems.”

 

Seeing Chris smile and nod, Adam walked to Brandi’s bedside and motioned “Listen”. Feeling the block go down he said quietly “I’m leaving. I doubt you’ll have the same nurse for this shift. I’ll be in as soon as I can tomorrow.”

 

Even though he knew she was listening, she wasn’t looking at him. Putting his hand to her chin, he said “Look at me Bree,” and seeing her eyes meet his, he continued “Do you still want some Tylenol? I’ll get it in here for you if you do.”

 

With a sigh of resignation, Brandi said “I’ll wait and see if it goes away on its own. I don’t want to be here Adam.”

 

“I know sweetie. But I need you to be here, and right now I think Chris does too. Let us take care of you and try not to complain too much. Now, I’m going to kick everyone else out. You need some sleep.” Bending over he gave her a light kiss, saying “Love you, angel. Be good.”

 

With a slight smile, she returned “Love you too. Never.”

 

Smiling at that, he stood and looked at the four men from team seven that came to visit, with their ladies, and said “Sorry guys. I’m calling an end to this party. If you had any business to discuss with them, it will have to wait til tomorrow. And I’m sure if he hasn’t already, Chris will let you know if he’ll be in tomorrow or not. But now isn’t the time to discuss anything.” Turning to the charge nurse, he requested “Please find someone else for her tonight. She decided she doesn’t want any Tylenol at the moment. She wants to see if it will go away on its own. Don’t be surprised if in an hour or so, she wants it, though. Chris has my numbers if you need to get in touch with me for any reason. Good night.”

 

Chris had started back to Brandi’s bed when he heard Adam say goodnight. Turning he said “Nite Adam. And I should also say, nite boys. Glad you came by. I’ll let someone know if or when I’ll be in tomorrow. If I don’t go in than I’ll let you know if we’re still here or back at Ben’s so you can come by if you want.”

 

JD started to open his mouth and before he was able to say anything, Buck was herding him to the door saying “Nite” over his shoulder. Nathan and Josiah looked at Chris noticing he looked stressed. Josiah said with encouragement “Get some sleep also, Chris. You’re starting to look worn around the edges and it won’t help Nic if you get rundown. You know how to reach us, but I would suggest you take tomorrow off also. We know how to get you if you’re needed.” He then looked at Rose noticing she looked at little tired as well. Leaning down he looked at her. “You okay Rose?”

 

She nodded her head saying “I just want to go home and sleep for a while.” Looking to Brandi and Chris, she said “I hope that you feel better soon, and like Josiah said try and rest some. It might do you both a world of good.”

 

Glad that Nathan and Josiah understood, Chris replied “I may do that, but I’ll let ya know for sure. Thanks.” He would have to ask Brandi later if she started their memories from the past back because of how they protected her.

 

They smiled and nodded at Chris before heading out the door.

 

As Josiah and Rose left the room, he touched her forehead. Just as he thought she was cold as ice. Something was wrong. “I think you need to get to bed as well.”

 

“I am not going to argue this time Preacher man, as long as you can lay down with me to keep me warm.” She teased.

 

“Nope, just holding you tonight is all you’ll get. You need rest and in the morning you’re going to the doctor even if I have to hog tie you and carry you myself.”

 

Waving him off as she shook her head, she told him “I will go; anyway the show tonight has been canceled because of my voice.”

 

“I’ll make you some tea.” They left the hospital and headed to his home.

 

As soon as they were gone, Chris closed the door to Brandi’s room and walked back over to the bed. Stripping off his clothes, he crawled in next to Brandi. Reaching up he turned off the light over the bed and then put his arms around her. He could feel her still shaking, so he brought her closer and held on tighter. The moment she felt his arms around her, she put her head on his chest making herself more comfortable, and then buried closer into him resting her leg over his hip and part of his waist, letting it drape between his legs. If anyone looked at the way she slept, they would think she was sleeping on top of him, and they would be close. They would be very close. She did sleep nearly on top of him, but it was how they were both comfortable. She was just enough weight that he noticed if she wasn’t there, but not all that much that it was too heavy – she fluctuated between 95 and 100 lbs. on the norm. Neither noticed when the new nurse came in to check on Brandi. Seeing Brandi was asleep, she did a quick check of the IV fluids and went back out knowing Brandi didn’t need the Tylenol yet.

 

Brandi woke sometime later to a soft gentle kiss. She turned her head and opened her eyes to see it was still very dark, and when she turned back to look at this man that held her heart, all she saw was a mischievous and wicked look in his eyes and in the way he smiled. She then felt his hands up and down her back and over her now bare ass. She wasn’t going to ask how he got her bottoms off; she didn’t want to know at the moment.

 

Raising herself up so she was now riding his thigh, she let her right hand move over his chest and down, to his already growing cock. As her hand had moved down his chest, his hand had moved to where he could worry her clit with his thumb and use his fingers to start fucking her. He started soft and gentle with his fingers, but in no time, she was urging him with her body to speed up. He started harder and faster with his fingers, pinching her clit with his thumb and index finger, making her ride his fingers and thigh faster and harder and causing her to sit up once in a while, bumping her knee into his now rock hard cock, and speeding up the stroking she was giving him. He could feel her juices flowing down his fingers and over his thigh.

 

Before he had the chance to move her, she was straddling him and sheathing him into herself. He could feel himself starting to come, and not ready to give it all yet, he turned them so she was beneath him on her back.

 

Pulling her legs up to his chest, he gave her as much of himself that he knew she could take that way.

 

When she started begging for more, he turned her onto her stomach and filled her from behind, letting one of his fingers bring the wet juices from her core up to her ass and finger fucked her ass. It had been a while since he had taken her that way and so he was pleasantly surprised to remember how much hotter and wetter it made her, besides making him harder before he started to let go.

 

Wanting even more and having felt a small release from him, she begged for his cock to replace his fingers. Sitting her on his lap, her back to his chest, he did just that, while letting his fingers replace where his cock had just been.

 

When she felt him about to fully come, she raised herself and turned around, sitting back down on his lap and wrapping her legs around his waist, while she wrapped herself around his cock. They rode each other until the dam finally burst for them both, giving her a soft golden glow. They lay back down with her shirt now back on giving soft, love filled kisses and feeling content.

 

Neither was aware there was anyone else in the room until Chris heard a throat softly clear.

 

Moving his head slightly to the side, he noticed a nurse standing there. With a smile, he said “Is something wrong?”

 

Shaking her head, the nurse replied “Not that I know of. I just was checking to make sure everything was good in here. How is her head feeling?”

 

Chris looked at Brandi and asked “Is your head still hurting Dee? The nurse is in here checking.”

 

Turning over and giving a content, satisfied and sleepy smile, Brandi replied “No, actually, it’s gone now. But thanks for making sure.”

 

Smiling to herself since she knew what caused the smile on Brandi’s face she replied “That’s not a problem. I’m Beth and if you need anything during the night, just let me know.”

 

“Thanks Beth, I will.” Brandi turned back over, got herself comfortable on Chris and was back asleep immediately. After saying goodnight to Beth, Chris was right behind her into sleep.

 

At seven the next morning, Beth was just coming out from checking on Brandi, finding her and Chris still asleep, when she passed Cindy on the way to get report. Stopping Cindy, Beth said “Morning Cindy, you taking over with Brandi?”

 

“Oh, morning Beth. Yeah, probably. Did you take over her care from Diane last night?”

 

“Yeah. I guess Dr. Stevens wasn’t happy when he walked out here after you left. Sherri asked if I minded and explained it too me. I told her that was okay with me and I told her not long ago that I would like to keep with Brandi as a patient while she’s here. Did you hear Dr. Stevens make the comment about the cot?”

 

“No, what did he say?”

 

“That it wasn’t going to get used and believe me, it won’t. She’s a lucky lady, not only is he gorgeous, but you can tell how protective he is of her and how much he loves her.”

 

With a confused smile, Cindy said “I know during the day yesterday I could tell from watching the way they talk to each other and the way he would turn on anyone else if it was something against her, but how could you tell during the night. Were they still awake when you took over care?”

 

“No, I think they fell asleep just after Dr. Stevens and their friends left. It was in how he checked to see how she was feeling when I went in around midnight, the way he was holding her when they were asleep, and the way he made love to her.”

 

“What? The way he WHAT?”

 

Laughing, Beth said “You heard me correctly. I didn’t put it in my report, but that’s what was going on. I accidentally walked in, checking on her and they were oblivious to me, getting the most out of the other. I just turned around and left. Waited til a bit later when I went back in. She was dressed when I went back in and the bed looked as if nothing happened. I didn’t say a word to them,” Beth was unable to finish her thought at the moment. The day shift charge nurse walked out from report and seeing Cindy said “Oh you are here Cindy. Good. I’ll let you know when the report for your patient comes up. I have already had a call this morning asking that you be the only one assigned to Dr. Masters-Stewart while she is here. From the look on your face I can see you didn’t know that part. I will explain when I have you come get report.”

 

Cindy looked at Beth with a smile and said “I guess Dr. Stevens was happy with my care of her yesterday, since he is the one that probably called. So, finish what you were saying.”

 

“Okay. Like I said, I didn’t say a word to them when I went back in at midnight. But even if I hadn’t walked in, just from the way they were kissing each other, and the way she smiled when she turned to talk to me, you could tell. She also had a slight glow about her, and yeah, I know that she is pregnant so that could cause it, but this was more of a golden color and I don’t think being pregnant would cause that. Anyway, they’re still asleep, so you won’t have to worry about anything with her for a little while.”

 

“Well, at least now I have a better understanding of why the door is closed. Privacy,” Cindy said with a laugh.

 

“Yeah, and actually he closed it after Dr. Stevens and their friends left. That much I know because I thought it weird at the time. Now I don’t. And, in my opinion, if that’s what they want to do, then I’m not stopping them. I’ll just make sure to look when I open the door before stepping all the way in,” Beth said with a laugh.

 

Cindy saw her charge nurse, Jennifer, motion to her, so she said to Beth “I’ll talk to you later. If I don’t see you before you leave, have a good day and get some rest.”

 

“I’ll do that Cin. Have a good day yourself.”

 

Going in to get report, Jennifer first said “As I told you, Dr. Stevens wants you as her only care giver during the day. If it isn’t you, than it’s me, which is fine by me. Since I had him on the phone, I asked if we could get a bit more information about her. He didn’t mind, so he asked what I wanted to know. I pulled her admit form and saw the neither Dr. Stevens or Mr. Larabee filled in what she likes to be called, so I asked that. He said she prefers Brandi, but you’ll hear any shortening of Brandi or even a shortening of her middle name, Nicole, by Mr. Larabee and their friends when they are talking to her, and if you don’t use Brandi, he said to use Dr. Masters-Stewart, but not and never Ms. Masters-Stewart. When I asked what she type of a doctor is she, he replied that she is a doctor in that she has two Ph.D.’s and two doctorates, not an actual medical degree.”

 

“You may be getting to this, but what are her degrees in?”

 

With a laugh, Jennifer said “I was yes, but that’s okay that you asked. One Ph.D. is in Physics. She has one doctorate is in Old World History, a second doctorate in Criminology, and her second Ph.D. in Criminal Psychology. So I guess she technically is a psychologist, but not out in the regular world. As you already know, she can’t hear, but can read lips very well, and since you know sign, that isn’t a problem. He was very impressed with you yesterday and said he trusts you with her, which coming from him is a lot. When he comes in later, I’m going to talk to him about keeping Beth with her on the second shift. From what Sherri told me, she did very well taking over the mess Diane left. You both should feel good and be proud in the way you handled this. Not that she is a hard patient, just that Dr. Stevens, and from what I saw yesterday, Mr. Larabee also, are very protective of her and are not afraid to say something if it is wrong. Any other questions before you listen to Beth’s report.”

 

“No. Thanks Jennifer, I think you covered it. And that is very nice of Dr. Stevens to feel that way. It’s also very nice that you want to recommend Beth for her solitary evening nurse. Actually, I do have one question. Won’t the other’s get upset that I don’t have any other patients.”

 

“I already took care of that. I reminded them of what happened from the time she came up to this floor to when she got her room and you offered to take her as a patient. I also told them that this was at the request of Dr. Stevens that you be her only nurse. There were still some grumbles, but I don’t think there will be any problems. I’m going to let you listen to report now.”

 

“Thanks Jennifer,” Cindy said before starting the tape. The two women listened to Beth’s report of the night before including what happened for the very short time Diane was Brandi’s nurse. There was no mention of the nocturnal activities, but Cindy made herself a note about them. After they were done listening to the tape, Cindy went to check on her patient, noticing it was nearly eight am.

 

Cindy lightly knocked on the door before slowly opening it. Getting inside, she didn’t see anyone, so she called out “Mr. Larabee, Brandi, is everything ok?”

 

Opening the bathroom door, and dressed only in jeans, Chris said “Hey Cindy, sorry.” Looking back into the bathroom, he said “Dee, Cindy’s here. Come on, you’re gonna wanna wash it anyway. We’ll take care of that in a little while.”

 

Following Chris out, Brandi said “All right, but the sooner the better. Hi Cindy, it’s good to see you.”

 

Keeping her eye’s level with his and not letting them stray to look at his chest, Cindy said “Good morning to you both. While you get settled back in bed Brandi, I’ll tell you the news I heard this morning when I came on,” she noticed a look pass between the two, one that looked secret and guilty at the same time, so she continued “from my charge nurse. She spoke with Adam this morning and it seems that he wants me to be the only nurse you have during the day. And, if I’m not available, like when I’m at lunch or something happens, than it will be Jennifer, my charge nurse. She is going to suggest to him later that Beth, the nurse you had last night except for that first hour or so, be the one with you every night also. Does that sound all right to you?”

 

Smiling, Brandi said “That sounds more than all right to me. Beth, oh yeah, she came in sometime during the night to see how I felt. Yeah, liked her. Oh, Cindy,” pointing to Chris she said “he won’t bite, at least not you. You can call him Chris, he won’t mind. Will you?”

 

Giving her a nudge at her comment, Chris replied “No, in fact I was going to tell you to do just that. I like the fact Adam did that, with just wanting one nurse for you, Dee. Make things easier and won’t have to worry about if something is done right or not.”

 

Rolling her eyes and smiling, Brandi just said, “Yeah, sure, whatever you say.”

 

Very quietly, but knowing she would hear, he said “Bitch.”

 

“Why yes, thank you. Everyone has always thought that, my father included, I believe.”

 

Chris started laughing, grabbed some items out of one of the bags and headed for the bathroom, saying “You gonna keep being a brat or let her get done what she needs too?”

 

“Well, hell, both of course.”

 

“Figures. Behave lady and I love you.”

 

“I love you too, and that word in front of lady, don’t know it.”

 

He didn’t say anything to that just closed the bathroom door so all they heard was his laughter.

 

Shaking her head, Cindy said “I need to get your vitals and check your IV.”

 

“Okay. Um, is there water running in the bathroom?” Brandi asked.

 

“Yes, why?”

 

“I wanted to ask you something else and wanted to make sure we had cover.”

 

“Go ahead and ask. I’ll answer if I can,” Cindy answered as she did Brandi’s pulse and respirations. She wanted to let Brandi finish before checking her blood pressure and temp.

 

“Um, okay, did, um, Beth say anything else about last night?”

 

“Like what?”

 

“Oh damn, I don’t know, anything. Like if she came in any other time than the one I actually saw her?”

 

Realizing Brandi must have known Beth came in, but was still a bit unsure, Cindy said “Actually, she did, but turned around and left right away.”

 

Hearing this last part as he came out of the bathroom, Chris said “Who else knows she came in?”

 

Brandi looked at Chris as he sat down next to her and said, “Sorry, I had to ask. I told you, didn’t I and you told me no, she didn’t. I just had a feeling someone did, but it wasn’t like I was going to stop or anything,” she finished with a slight blush.

 

“Don’t worry,” Cindy assured them, “no one but Beth and I know. That was something she told me privately. She didn’t put it on the report tape. I had already figured yesterday that you wouldn’t be using that cot, Chris. So, what you do is your own business. All I ask is that if it’s during the day, try and use the bathroom. Now, I need to finish with this so I can bring you back some clean towels to wash up with. And I’ll bring enough for both of you. The trays will be coming shortly, so if you aren’t here, I’ll leave them for you.” Cindy finished with Brandi’s vitals.

 

Once the thermometer was out of her mouth, Brandi smiled and not looking embarrassed at all, said “Thanks Cindy. Would you do me a favor after you bring in the towels?”

 

“If I can. What?”

 

“Would you call Adam at his office and ask if I can have a milk shake? It sounds good right now.”

 

“Sure, in fact I’ll call him now, so if he says okay, it can already be coming up for you.”

 

“Great thanks.”

 

Once Cindy was out of the room, they started laughing. Brandi shook her head and said “Got caught. See I told you we would. Not that I care and I would take the chance again,” she said looking slyly at Chris. “But, we have to be more careful. It was worth it though.”

 

He put his arms around her from behind and brought her to him. Resting his hands on her stomach, he said “It was more than worth it babe. I liked that gold you turned,” he finished, kissing her neck.

 

With a laugh she turned her head so he could kiss her lips. Her eyes lit with amusement and love as she said “You did, huh? Hmm, I’ll have to remember that.”

 

Cindy walked back in with the towels and said “All right, break it up for the moment. Here are the towels I promised. I talked to Adam and he was very happy to hear that a milk shake sounded good, so you get one and he said to just let me know if something else food wise sounds good and I can order it for you. He said he doesn’t care if you eat all of whatever it is, so long as you eat some, and it stays down. So that milk shake will be on your breakfast tray. If you want to get cleaned up before breakfast I suggest you do it now. Otherwise, you can wait til after breakfast. Adam said he won’t be in until closer to noon, so you have the morning. I’m going to get a new IV bag to change that one, so I’ll be right back.”

 

“Great thanks Cindy. Since you’re coming right back, I think I’ll wait til after I get my milkshake to clean up.”

 

“Okay, I’ll see you in a minute.”

 

Cindy came back shortly with a new bag for Brandi’s IV. After changing the bag, Cindy left to get Brandi’s and Chris’ trays. She put Brandi’s down on the bedside table so Brandi could reach it, and sat Chris’ on the cot. Picking up her newly acquired milkshake, Brandi looked at Chris and said “You’re not eating that here. Go sit elsewhere if you plan on eating. And if you do plan on eating it here, plan on sleeping over there tonight, and sitting over there the rest of the day.”

 

Grinning at her, he grabbed it off the cot and sat in the chair, just far enough away it wouldn’t bother her. He knew she wouldn’t make him stay on the cot all day if he ate next to her, but he didn’t want her nausea coming back because of the food. He hadn’t realized until then that he forgot to eat dinner because of being pissed, besides the energy they used during the night. He was having fun watching her enjoy the shake. After she finished with it, she went through the juices and Jell-O without a problem, putting to the side what she wanted later.

 

“What are you doing?” she asked him.

 

“Just trying to decide if Cindy should bring you anything else, since you’re devouring what’s there,” he told her with a laugh.

 

“Thanks Cowboy, but I’m good with what’s here. But, are you almost done?”

 

Noting the look in her eyes, he said “Yeah, why?”

 

“No reason, I’m just ready to get, um, cleaned up if you are.”

 

“I’m done,” he said standing up. “Shall we?” he asked.

 

Getting off the bed, she replied “Yeah, why don’t we.”

 

Getting into the bathroom, they got rid of what clothes they had on. As much as she hated it, she started wearing a hospital gown because of the IV. He’d started to gently wash her body when she took the cloth from his hand, threw it in the sink and brought his head down to kiss him. She let that one kiss tell him what she wanted right then.

 

She knew he understood when she felt his hand slip between her legs to feel the moist heat already there. She could feel his hardness against her stomach and wanted it inside her.

 

Though he couldn’t read her mind, he knew, so he lifted her up and onto him, filling her with himself, letting her legs slide around his waist.

 

Moving to where her back was against the wall, they rode the wave hard and fast.

 

This kiss she had started didn’t end until after they both came and he had to sit down.

 

She felt like she couldn’t get enough of him, had to have him all the time.

 

When they were finally able to stand on their own accord again, he finished what he had originally started, washing her from head to toe, including her hair. When he finished her, she returned it, enjoying being able to do this for him.

 

They got dried off and dressed with him re-braiding her hair, before they went back out into the room.

 

As they got back settled on her bed, she asked “Are you going to work today?”

 

Looking at his watch, he noticed it was already ten-fifteen. “No, and I’m going to call now and let them know. I’m glad you remembered,” he told her as he picked up the phone.

 

He didn’t pay attention to which line he called and didn’t know who he would get until he heard “Wilmington.”

 

“Hey Buck, Chris. I’m going to be here at the hospital for the day, so if you need anything, you know where to get me.”

 

“Sounds good buddy. Let us know if you’re still there tonight and maybe we’ll head on back over.”

 

“Sounds good. Talk to ya later. Bye”

 

“Bye, Chris. Oh, tell that little lady we’re thinking of her.”

 

“Will do,” he said before hanging up the phone. “Buck said they’re thinking about you.”

 

“I’m not surprised. Nat and Josiah, I will bet, are worrying the most right now.”

 

“Probably. I meant to ask you. Did you start Nat and Josiah’s memories back?” he wondered.

 

“Didn’t really restart them just helped them along. I know they are starting to wonder about it also, since they are a bit more protective than Buck, JD, and Ez. They just haven’t asked yet.”

 

Nodding his understanding, he said “Okay, let’s see what’s on TV,” he said, picking up the remote. “Does it matter to you what we watch?”

 

“Nope, as long as it isn’t soap operas or talk shows,” she answered.

 

“That won’t be a problem,” he told her. He started bouncing channels, finding News on one channel and Rockies game highlights on ESPN. Since he was enjoying himself flipping through channels, she closed her eyes. When he suddenly moved she opened her eyes back up, turning to look at him. She understood why the sudden movement when he grabbed the phone.

 

“Larabee,” he answered.

 

“Mr. Larabee, just the man I wanted,” came a slightly southern drawl.

 

“Hey Ezra, anything wrong?”

 

“Well it’s funny you should ask that particular question. I called the office to speak with you and Mr. Wilmington informed me that you were in the hospital. Is everything all right?”

 

“With me, fine. It’s Dee who’s the one actually in here.”

 

Ezra’s voice suddenly changed. Chris could hear the worry when Ezra said “Is everything all right with Nicci? Mr. Tanner said she was fine when he talked to her the other day.”

 

“She’s better now, but she had been passing out and hadn’t eaten in thirty-six hours. Not helping that she’s pregnant, so Adam had her admitted so she can get the fluids and rest she needs right now. I also already let Kelly know.”

 

“Well. Congratulations to you both for that also. I will pass on the happy news to Mr. Tanner also, if that is all right with you. Thank you also for calling Kelly so she won’t worry.”

 

“That’s fine about telling Vin, Ezra. Now, why did you call?”

 

“Oh, that. Nothing really important. It’s just that Patrisha’s brother showed up a couple of days ago. He started off bad, and then calmed down. But, I’m sorry to say, he is causing problems again. If there is any way you would be able to send anyone, everyone, down to help, Mr. Tanner and I would be very grateful.”

 

“I’ll see what I can do Ezra. I’ll leave you a voice message to let you know, but it won’t be a problem letting them go. Will just be a matter of how soon they can get there.”

 

“Thank you Mr. Larabee, I will await your call. Please tell Nicci that Mr. Tanner and I are very sorry we aren’t there also right now.”

 

“I’ll do that Ezra. You two be safe til you get some help.”

 

“It’s only a matter of restraining Mr. Tanner. I, on the other hand, have been able to stay calm.” Chris heard a very quiet ‘bull shit’ from next to him.

 

“Keep it that way. I don’t want or need either of you arrested. I’ll get back to you shortly. Call me on this phone if you need anything else before I get back to you, or even after.”

 

“I will do that,” was all Chris heard before Ezra hung up. Turning to Brandi, he asked “Is this the brother who Vin was talking about?”

 

“Yeah, and he is a real problem. Before you say anything, I know you wanted to ask about it, and things came up, so you didn’t. I had forgotten about it myself until just now.”

 

“Did you want me to tell you what Ezra said?”

 

“Nope, no need to. I wasn’t trying to listen in, it just happened that way. Call the boys back and let them know. JD can find them the next available flight, so they can get there as soon as possible. That way at least they know help is on the way. If they need anything else we can deal with it then.”

 

“Okay,” he told her and turned back to dial the office again.

 

“Wilmington,” he heard.

 

“Buck, Ezra just called me. Have JD find the next flight out to book you four on and get out there to help Vin and Ezra. If anything comes up Dee and I will deal with it here.”

 

“You sure you want all of us to go. She isn’t ready to come back in yet, is she?”

 

“No, but we’ll worry about it when the time comes. I’m sure about all four of you. Just get out there and let me know if you need anything else. We’ll get it to you.”

 

“Okay. I’ll let you know when JD’s finished with the flight arrangements.”

 

“Talk to ya soon. Bye.”

 

“Bye Chris.” Shaking his head, Buck hung up the phone. Looking at the other three he said “Looks like we’re going to Seattle also. Find us a flight JD, the sooner the better.”

 

“Okay, Buck.” JD turned back to his computer and found the next flight out for them, leaving at noon. Once Buck had the information he called Chris back.

 

Still bouncing between the two channels, Chris turned to answer the phone when it rang again.

 

“Larabee.”

 

“Hey Chris, got the flight information for you. We’re leaving in the next five minutes because the plane leaves at noon, so we should arrive around two-thirty, our time, to Seattle.”

 

“Ok, what flight number so I can let Ezra know which one to watch for.”

 

Taking the paper JD wrote it down on, Buck read “Flight 5046, American Airlines. I’ll call ya when we get in.”

 

“Got it. Sounds good Buck and be careful.”

 

“Will do. Talk to you later,” Buck replied before hanging up.

 

Nathan called home from his desk to let Rain know he was going to be gone for a few days to couple weeks and told her that he and the rest of the boys, all but Chris, were going to help Vin and Ezra in Seattle.

 

At the hospital, Chris then called Ezra and left a message of when to expect backup. Now all they had to do was wait to see if anything else was needed or just to see what happens.

 

“I just thought of something,” Brandi said, turning to look at Chris.

 

“What? And should I be worried?” he wondered, with a smile.

 

Smiling back, she said “Nah, no need to worry. Do you think the boys will pass on to the front desk on how to reach you, or are you going to call and let them know?”

 

“I’ll do it, just in case. The boys may be more interested in getting out of town, than passing the info on,” he replied turning to pick up the phone and dialed.

 

“Jim, Chris Larabee. You’ll be seeing the rest of my team leaving shortly. They are going to be out of town, so all calls that come in will have to go to you for now. If anything comes through that can’t wait, call me at 555-6794 room 317.”

 

“Yes sir, Mr. Larabee. Isn’t that the number for the hospital?”

 

“Yeah, it is. Brandi is here for a couple of days. When we leave, if I don’t come in, I’ll let you know another number to reach me at besides my cell phone.”

 

“All right Mr. Larabee. Please give Dr. Masters-Stewart my best.”

 

“Thanks Jim, I will,” he replied before hanging up.

 

“Okay, so how much time we got to kill before Adam shows?” she asked.

 

Looking at his watch, he said “Only about a half hour if he’s going to be here at noon. Why, what did you want to do?”

 

She didn’t have to look at him to know what he was thinking. She started laughing and said “Actually that wasn’t what I was thinking of, surprisingly enough, but good idea if we had a bit more time. I was actually thinking of closing my eyes but I want to be awake when Adam comes in.”

 

“Go ahead and do it. I’ll make sure you’re awake when he comes in. Lie back down or just curl up here against me. If you want to sleep, don’t fight it babe.”

 

“Okay,” she said with a yawn, curling into him with her head against his shoulder. “Thanks Cowboy, I love you.”

 

Smiling, he replied, as he placed a kiss on her head, “You’re welcome babe, I love you too.” He moved the blanket so both of their laps were covered.

 

He knew the moment she fell asleep. He laughed to himself because it took less than thirty seconds for her to go out. He sat there just bouncing between News and ESPN (highlights of the game between the Rockies and the Milwaukee Brewers from the night before), not really watching either. Cindy came in to check on Brandi and check her IV. Seeing Brandi asleep, she just nodded to Chris and quietly told him she would be back in with Adam when he arrived. Knowing if he said anything, Brandi would be awake, he just nodded to Cindy to let her know he heard.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5

 

Adam walked in the room at noon. Seeing Brandi asleep, he sat down in the chair by her bed asking Chris, “How is she feeling today?”

 

“Better so far. She enjoyed and didn’t have any problems with the shake this morning. She wanted me to wake her up when you got here.”

 

“I’m not going anywhere for a while, let her sleep. She can use it. So, who won that game?”

 

“Milwaukee, but I’m not paying much attention. I don’t think she realizes how tired she is. Oh, I sent the boys to Seattle today. Vin and Ezra needed some help. I know you want her to rest as much as possible, but I may have to have her go in with me if anything comes up. She can stay at the office while I go out if necessary, but I know I‘ll need her help.”

 

“You must not have any idea how long they may be gone. If she has to go in, than she has to go in, but I think the couple of days she’s here will help a lot. Besides, if she wants extra sleep, I’m sure she’ll let you know.” Adam noticed Brandi’s head lift into his field of vision, so he said “Good Afternoon beautiful, have a nice nap?”

 

Turning around and seeing Adam, Brandi replied “Yeah, I did. How long have you been here?”

 

“Not long, and since I’m not leaving for a while, I told Chris to let you sleep. Hungry?”

 

“Sort of, but nothing is standing out for sounding good, if that’s what you’re wondering.”

 

Laughing, Adam said “Yeah, basically. You can have more than just clear liquids if you want. You have whatever you feel you can tolerate, just don’t overdo on anything. Chris said he may need your help with everyone else gone. That’s fine, just don’t overdo there either. I’m not letting you go til tomorrow sometime, so you have the rest of today and til at least noon tomorrow to take advantage of not having to do anything. After that, all I ask is that you rest as much as you can and if your body is asking for sleep, listen to it and do just that. And drink as much fluid as you can handle. In a bit I’m going to check the swelling. If it’s gone down, you’re going to have an MRI done of your head today. I want to make sure nothing else other than the swelling and lack of fluids caused you to pass out. The loss of memory while passed out doesn’t worry me; no one will remember what happen while out like that. It’s the not remembering just before you would pass out and the fact that you appeared awake while still out. There is no radiation involved as there would be for an X-ray, so it’s safe. Have you needed anymore Tylenol since last night?”

 

“No, and actually I didn’t need it last night either. My headache went away on its own.”

 

“Good. Now, get some more rest if you want. I’m gonna sit here and watch whatever Chris lands on for a bit.”

 

She looked toward the TV and saw the highlights from the baseball game being shown. Turning slightly so she could watch also, she made herself comfortable on Chris’ lap. She was still trying to find just the right position, and could feel the hardness of him, when Chris leaned down and said, “Quit squirming and settle down. You’re not making it comfortable.”

 

Giving him her best innocent look, she replied “I’m not? Oh, and I thought I was, or at least it felt like it to me.”

 

“You know what you’re doing and quit for now. I’ve been trying to not move to calm something down, only to have you get it started again.”

 

“Oh,” she replied still looking innocent. Giving one more wiggle, she settled herself and said “I’m comfortable now.” She had wanted to make sure he stayed hard, and to be able to feel the hardness against her ass. Adam sat in his chair trying to ignore them and trying not to laugh. He almost asked if they wanted him to leave, but figured he knew the answer and it would have been too easy.

 

Cindy came in about that time to bring the two their lunch trays and to change Brandi’s IV. Seeing Adam, she said “I didn’t realize you were here. Have you been here long?” She continued with hanging the new IV bag after sitting both trays on the bedside table and moving it to where Chris could reach it from where he was sitting.

 

“No, not very. I was just kicking back for a while before I actually do anything. I’m trying to decide which game I’m enjoying more.”

 

Cindy gave him a confused look because the only game she had noticed was the one on the TV. Brandi and Chris heard him and without moving a muscle, Brandi gave him an elbow jab. Brandi knew it hit its mark when she heard a let out of breath by Adam along with a groan of pain. Cindy looked at Adam and asked “Are you okay?”

 

“Yeah,” he answered, “I must have just moved wrong and pulled a muscle. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” He also directed a thought at Brandi, saying ‘You deserved that and I’ll get you back, brat.’

 

Brandi started laughing out loud for what appeared no apparent reason. She just looked at Adam and with an imperceptible shake of her head she told him no. Cindy was even more confused, but decided not to ask. Chris was trying hard to not laugh so he wouldn’t get a real elbow.

 

“I’ll let you know if I need you Cindy. Thanks though.”

 

“That’s sounds good.” She left the room wondering what was going on.

 

After lunch, Adam checked Brandi and noted the swelling had finally gone down. Looking at Chris and Brandi, he said “I’ll be right back, I’m going to go order that MRI.” As he started out the door, he turned and said “Don’t start anything you can’t finish in the next five minutes. It will only take me that long or less to write this order. And I really would hate to embarrass you. NOT.”

 

As soon as Adam was out the door, she turned to face Chris, putting her arms around his neck. Smiling down at her, Chris just shook his head while meeting her halfway. They ravaged each other’s lips while she stirred the heat by wiggling around. She heard him groan just before she moaned, both wishing they had longer than the five minutes or less Adam gave them.

 

They suddenly heard “Time’s up. I don’t want a show.” They took their time letting go, giving each other a look that said it would be continued and finished later. Brandi turned back around and got resettled on Chris’ lap, making Chris hope the later was sooner. When she was resettled, Chris brought the blanket back up over her lap and rested a hand across her abdomen.

 

Adam left after 1pm letting Chris and Brandi know someone from radiology would be up to get her for the MRI soon.

 

Once Adam was gone, Brandi turned her head slightly so her cheek rested against Chris and closed her eyes.

 

Leaving the one hand resting where it was, Chris moved his other hand under the covers and into her sweat pants feeling her heat wet his fingers. He slowly stroked her clit before sliding into her core.

 

From the moment she felt his hand slip under her waist band, her body was on alert, ready for whatever came next. The slow stroking undid her so by the time his fingers had slipped into her, she was falling.

 

Anyone walking in would not realize what was going on. Neither made any obvious movements to show, but his fingers fucked her hard and fast, causing her to squeeze his fingers the way she would have his cock.

 

Trying to keep from licking her lips and moaning, she looked up at him with glazed eyes and asked “Um, you wouldn’t mind sliding one of those back to another place, would you?”

 

He didn’t say anything, just bent down to kiss her while she felt his fingers separate, one staying where it was and one moving to fill another hole.

 

She knew she was losing all coherent thought, so while she still had a trace and when a break came in the kiss she said on a quiet sigh “I need you so much. Take me now.”

 

He knew he was as far gone as she was, so in answer he said “I need you as much, but not yet, when we come back up from your test. You’ll just have to let this hold you, like I am.”

 

He took her mouth again and he heard the whimper she gave. He moved the finger that filled her core back to join the other causing her to squeeze his fingers tighter and make her wetter. His fingers fucked her ass until he felt like he would explode himself, so he moved them back to her core and felt her body shudder.

 

She moaned and whimpered into his mouth as she shuddered, causing him to nearly take her then. He slowly moved his fingers back through the heat and out of her sweats to have that hand join the one on her abdomen.

 

She had barely enough time to get her bearings again before they came to take her for the MRI. Chris went down with her and she was in and out in no time, back up to her room by two-forty five.

 

When the tech from radiology had come to get Brandi, Cindy went in with him. Cindy noticed that Brandi seemed overly relaxed to Chris’ tenseness, but said nothing of it.

 

When they returned, Chris was still looking tense and almost as if he was in pain. Though it was hard not to give into temptation, she didn’t look below his waist to see if that was the problem. She did notice the looks that passed between the two though, as if saying to each other ‘We’re almost there. Soon, very soon.’ They also looked like they wanted to devour the other.

 

Following the tech back to Brandi’s room, Cindy helped get Brandi settled back in.

 

As the tech was leaving, Cindy double checked the IV bag to make sure it was still good and noting it was, she said “Unless you need something, I won’t need to check that bag for a couple of hours. So, other than checking your IV bag, you won’t see me until your dinner comes around five-thirty, and by then it will be time to change the IV again. Brandi, let me know if you want me to add anything to your dinner tonight. I’ll leave you two alone and I’ll close the door in case you want to take a nap. I’ll make sure no one bothers you.” She turned and left, closing the door behind her.

 

“Thank the Gods. I need you and I want you, now,” Brandi told him as she pulled his shirt off him.

 

He wasn’t far behind her with getting the gown off her. The back was untied and both arms unsnapped with it pooling at her feet, before his shirt was completely off. Since she was standing on the bed, he had her sweats off in no time.

 

Before she had the chance to reach down to undo his jeans, he moved forward and first kissed her abdomen where their baby lay, then took his tongue to the stud in her belly button, going up slightly to give attention to her butterfly birthmark, then back down to give the same attention to first her tattoo and then her scorpion birthmark, finishing it with his tongue dipping into her core and then sliding across her clit. He then moved off the bed to make getting his jeans off easier.

 

When she moved to him, she noted he had undone his jeans already. Moving his hands out of her way, she slid his jeans to the floor, and before he moved to join her on the bed, she gave him as much as he gave her; she flicked her tongue across the head of his achingly hard cock before she pulled him down to her.

 

He wasted no time entering her. She rose to meet him, taking as much of him as she could. They started hard and fast, just wanting to give some release.

 

As she tumbled into another orgasm, she felt his, but she knew that wouldn’t be the only one from him.

 

He sat up, taking her with him, so she was sitting on his lap, riding him. They started ravaging each other with bruising kisses, trying to get their fill. His hands cupped and kneaded her breasts as they rode harder.

 

He could feel the change in her breasts, the new heaviness, and he enjoyed it, though he had always enjoyed the way her breasts completely filled his hands.

 

Although they had meant to, they never slowed down to gentleness. They took and ravaged each other with a hard and dizzying pace. He came twice more before they finally came together one last time. They collapsed on the bed still entangled together. They had no idea how much time had passed, nor did they care. When Chris finally felt like he could move, he grabbed the sheet and blanket and covered them up. They both fell instantly asleep wrapped together.

 

At five-thirty, Cindy knocked on the door and not receiving an answer, she cautiously poked her head in. Seeing the room dark and no movement, she quietly walked in and noted they were asleep. She quietly changed Brandi’s IV bag and left the dinner trays for them for later, quietly leaving.

 

As she was closing the door, Adam and his brothers walked up. Seeing Cindy close the door, Adam asked “Is everything okay?”

 

Looking up and seeing the men, Cindy answered “Yes, everything is fine. They’re asleep and I don’t think you want to go in there.”

 

Wondering what she was talking about, Adam said “If everything is fine, why not.”

 

“Well, let’s just say they took care of some excess energy they had then they fell asleep. And unless you want to embarrass yourselves and your cousin, it would be better to go on home for the night. I do realize you’re her doctor Adam, but right now she wouldn’t be thinking of it that way.” Noticing the three still looked stumped; she continued “Okay, I’ll be blunt. They spent the last couple of hours taking advantage of each other, and no I didn’t go in, I just happen to notice the looks and vibes they were giving off before and after she went for her MRI so I gave them the privacy to do just that. I did just check on Brandi and they are asleep, and without clothes, at least she is so I figure he is also. Now, I’ll be surprised if they wake up anytime soon, so goodbye. You can call later to see if they are awake if you want, but right now, you’re all leaving.”

 

Adam suddenly remembered how they were before he left. Turning to Gray and David, he said “She’s right guys. Let’s go. We can grab something to eat and call after a while to see if they woke up. We all know how Brandi can be if she gets interrupted, whether it’s her sleep or anything else. I’m not in a hurry to see them, and we can call Alex and the boys to let them know to call the nurses’ station first and ask for Cindy.”

 

Gray shook his head, trying not to laugh, and said “Fine by me. I was getting hungry anyway. Maybe we’ll see you later Cindy.”

 

“Ok, have a good time and I’ll possibly talk to you later. Oh and if it’s after seven-thirty, you or anyone else for Brandi will want Beth,” she told them as they went to the elevator.

 

Adam turned and said “That’s right; Beth is on with her tonight. Well if I don’t see you later, I’ll see you tomorrow, Cindy.”

 

“All right. Bye gentlemen.” Once the elevator doors closed, Cindy laughed to herself. Beth is going to get a kick out of this one, she thought.

 

The light from the hallway when Cindy opened the door woke both of them, but neither moved. They didn’t want company, they were too comfortable. When Cindy came closer, they closed their eyes to make it look like they were still asleep. Seeing that the dinner trays had been left after Cindy left the room, Brandi raised the head of the bed up so they could eat. Wanting something a little more than the liquid stuff she had, Brandi helped Chris with his dinner, leaving the light off. Chris turned on the TV, leaving the volume low, found the pre-game show and left it there so they could watch The Rockies play the Detroit Tigers. Just as the pre-game was finishing, Brandi felt Chris turn and looked to see why, and noticed he was answering the phone.

 

Picking it up, he said “Larabee.”

 

“Chris, Buck. I tried calling just after we got here but no one answered.”

 

“Hey, Buck. We were probably out of the room, downstairs, at the time. Any problems?”

 

“Nope. We got in ok, took a cab to the hotel and checked in but haven’t talked to Ezra or Vin yet. Haven’t even been to the hospital yet, all we’ve done is get settled in. We’re eating now, still on Denver time, and then heading over to see what’s going on. One of us will call you if we have any problems or need anything.”

 

“Okay. Remember, all six of you, be careful. I don’t want or need anyone in the hospital, or arrested.”

 

“Will do. Oh, As soon as we know how long we’ll be here, one of us four will call and let you know.”

 

“Do that, and looks like she’ll be out of here tomorrow, so call my cell or Ben’s house after tomorrow afternoon. Talk to you later,” he finished and hung up the phone.

 

As Brandi was moving to lean against Chris, he moved her a little more so she was sitting on his lap. Getting comfortable so she could still see the TV, she asked “Everything okay?”

 

Resting his head on top of hers, he answered “Yeah, they haven’t seen Vin or Ezra yet though. They’re heading to the hospital after they eat to find out what’s going on. As soon as they know how long they’ll be there, someone will let us know.”

 

“Good. I didn’t like James when I first met him, he gave me the creeps – maybe he reminded me of Jeff in some ways – but anyway, the more I found out about him, the less I’ve liked him. And you know that if I don’t like him, Vin and Ezra feel even less for him.”

 

“True. Your opinion of someone is usually dead on. You just saying he’s trouble is enough for me.”

 

She didn’t say anything to that, just laughed. Thinking of something else, she asked him “If you see Cindy and I don’t, would you let her know I’d like some scrambled eggs and toast in the morning.”

 

“Of course.”

 

Around seven she found she couldn’t keep her eyes open so she decided to close them for just a few minutes and was back asleep. Cindy came in to check again and found Chris awake watching the game in the dark with Brandi asleep on his lap.

 

“Did you want me to turn on the light?” she asked.

 

“No, this is fine.”

 

“Have you been awake long?”

 

Smiling he said “Since you came in earlier and left dinner.” Nodding toward Brandi, he continued “She helped with mine and enjoyed it. By the way, she wanted you to know she would like scrambled eggs and toast in the morning. Just that, and nothing else with it, except some milk.”

 

“Sure, I’ll let the kitchen know. Adam and his brothers came by around five-thirty. I would have let them in if I knew you were both awake.”

 

Shaking his head, he replied “That’s why you didn’t know. We didn’t want the company, and actually still don’t. If anyone asks, would you let them know we’re still asleep?”

 

“Sure, and since Beth is getting ready to come on, I’ll let her know also that you don’t want to see anyone,” she told him, trying to stay looking at his face instead of the part of his chest that wasn’t covered by Brandi.

 

“Thanks. Ask her also if she can wait for anything she needs to do in here. Dee just went back to sleep and she doesn’t wake nicely if someone, other than me, is trying to wake her.”

 

“I’ll let her know. Have a good night Chris. I’ll see you in the morning.”

 

“Night Cindy. Thanks.”

 

Cindy walked out of the room, only to be asked by Jennifer if they were awake yet. After having Cindy tell her no, Jennifer picked the phone back up and said “I’m sorry Dr. Stevens, they’re still asleep. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

 

Adam laughed on the other end and said, “Would you let the charge nurse that takes over for you know that Beth is to be the only one taking care of Brandi, and that I would prefer that Beth not have any other patients. Oh and a question for you. How do I go about seeing if I can have them look after Brandi when she goes home, if necessary?”

 

“I’d be happy to pass that on to Sherri,” seeing Sherri pass, Jennifer gave her a signal to wait a minute, and continued on to Adam “and I’ll look into that tomorrow for you and let you know when you come in.”

 

“Great, thanks. I’ll see you all tomorrow then,” he told her then hung up the phone.

 

Sherri gave Jennifer a questioning look when asked to wait. Hanging up the phone, Jennifer turned to her and said “Dr. Stevens has made a request that he wants only Beth to take care of Dr. Masters-Stewart, Brandi. She has a couple of Ph.D.’s and a couple of doctorates, so she is Dr. Masters-Stewart. Anyway, he would like Beth and only Beth, other than you, to be taking care of Brandi, and he would prefer that Brandi is Beth’s only patient if possible. It should be possible, we didn’t get any admits today and Cindy had only Brandi today.”

 

“That shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll pass that on to the other nurses. If they don’t like it, oh well, I’ll remind them of last night and why Beth took over.” Sherri saw Beth coming through, so she said “Beth, why don’t you and Cindy find a place to do report since you won’t need to hear any of the rest. If I need anything, I’ll come find you to get it when I’m done.”

 

“All right Sherri,” Beth told her than followed Cindy to a quiet place.

 

Cindy passed on the events of the day, including they’re activities of the late afternoon. She also let Beth know that they didn’t want any visitor’s so even though Chris was awake right now, if anyone calls, they are asleep. Cindy told her of them waking from a nap when she checked them when dinner trays arrived and their feigning sleep, so they wouldn’t be bothered. She also passed on Chris’ request at waiting on vitals for now because Brandi was asleep and didn’t wake nicely. Beth understood that, and wrote herself a note. Once they finished Cindy left for home and Beth went to take a peek in to say hi and do a visual to make sure everything was okay.

 

When Beth opened the door, she thought they both must be asleep since the room was dark, until she saw the light of the TV and heard the low sound of it. Starting to turn on the light, she jumped when she heard “Please leave it off. We left it off when we woke up and don’t want it back on tonight.”

 

Turning to Chris, Beth said “That’s fine, I can understand. I just came in to let you know I was here and to just make sure everything is okay for now.” She walked over to the side of the bed with the IV pole and checked the fluids. Finding there was still enough in the bag, she turned back toward the bed and had to keep her mouth from falling open and keep her eyes level with his. She saw him laugh, but it was so quiet she didn’t hear it, and it made her embarrassed. “Um, let me know if Brandi wakes up so I can get my assessment done on her, please.”

 

“I’ll do that. Thanks Beth.”

 

She gave him a nod and left the room.

 

From below he heard, “That wasn’t a very nice thing to do, to either of them. But at least that’s all they saw. I have to admit, though, it is nice to look at. And touch, and” moving her head slightly, she said, as she did, “kiss, and…oh, causes that also when I touch or kiss.” She sat up and turned to continue on with her kisses across his chest.

 

To stop the onslaught, he lifted her slightly so she was sitting on her knees, straddling him, her head even with his. He brought her to him and started ravaging her mouth with his own. Not needing to hold her head, he put one hand on her ass, plunging into her. The other hand he brought up between them and started caressing her breasts.

 

She held on to him like her life depended on it, while she rode him like she hadn’t seen him in weeks.

 

The hand resting on her ass slid down to where his fingers felt the wet heat coming from her. He slid his fingers through the wetness and brought them up slightly, letting them slid into the tightness there.

 

Releasing her mouth, he used his arm to lift her up a little more and claimed a breast with his mouth. Her head fell back in surrender while she pounded his cock and rode his fingers, feeling the wetness increasing and aiding his fingers more.

 

She could feel her body sliding to the bed; he let her slide, following her and staying joined. He adjusted her legs so he could stay riding double and keep the claim on her breasts. When he knew she was at the point of begging for his cock to replace his fingers, he replaced both with his lips and tongue, sending her farther than she already was.

 

His tongue and teeth pulled at her clit, and when she thought he was done, his tongue delved into her hot core, drinking the wetness there, only to take that wetness back a little more. By the time his tongue had finished with her, she was moving on the bed like a woman in heat, wanting to be taken, in any way he wanted to.

 

Without any warning, his cock slid into her ass as his fingers took her core. She sat up slightly to be able to ride his cock and fingers better, feeling herself tighten around both.

 

Feeling they were both near the end, she moved herself to slide him back into where is fingers last were. Riding like they were running from the devil they came together with a white hot fury, then falling to the bed with him on his back and her on top of him.

 

Staying joined to him she lay with her head resting just under his chin and her upper body covering him completely. Looking down at her, he started to laugh and said, “You gonna watch anymore of the game?” Feeling her shake her head, he asked “You gonna go back to sleep?” Feeling her nod, he said kissing the top of her head “Nite babe. I love you.”

 

Snuggling in a bit more, she replied “Hmm, I love you. Nite,” she said, not getting it finished before she was out.

 

The game was finishing up when Chris suddenly felt Brandi thrashing around, like she was trying to get away from something. Fearing the worst, Chris turned her onto her back, saying “Sorry babe.” He could now hear her sobbing and telling someone to stay away, and he saw the tears flowing down her cheeks. He turned to grab the card Adam left and the phone. Once the phone was answered, he said without preamble “Adam, you need to get over here now. We have a problem.”

 

“What kind of problem Chris?”

 

“The type where she’ll wake up bruised in the morning.”

 

“Damn that bastard. I’ll be there in a flash.”

 

“Make it real quick, even if you have to fly,” Chris told him before hanging up the phone.

 

Adam took him at his word, and appeared. “I’ll need your help which means having to get out of that bed, so you’ll have to put some pants on. Door’s locked so no one will walk in.”

 

Getting up and pulling on his jeans, Chris sat back down on the edge next to Brandi. Adam looked at him and asked “Was she lying this way when the nightmare started?”

 

“Nope, she was curled on me sleeping quietly when I suddenly noticed her start thrashing. I turned her over so I would be able to tell easier if that’s what it was. All I had to see and hear was her crying and I called you.”

 

“Okay. Like I said, I need your help. I need to get into that dream, nightmare, whatever you want to call it, and I need you to hold her and help coax her into letting me in. Gray may show up shortly, he was bringing my car and coming to help. If he does, tell him I’ll let him know if I need him to join me. Okay, hold her. Also get her hair out of the braid.” Chris lifted her head, took out the braid, running his fingers through to let her hair hang loose and lay on the bed behind her instead under her, then placed her head on his lap, holding her to minimize the thrashing while Adam attempted to breach the barrier on her mind.

 

“Damn, this is going to be harder than I thought,” Adam said to no one in particular. Hearing the door slam open, both Chris and Adam looked to see Gray coming into the room followed closely by Beth.

 

“I’m sorry Chris, I tried to keep him out, but he said it was an emergency.” Finally noticing Adam there, she said ‘Who are you and how did you get in here?”

 

“Beth, this is Dr. Adam Stevens. I called him and he has a way of getting by people without being noticed.”

 

“I’m sorry Dr. Stevens. May I ask what you’re doing?”

 

Knowing he sounded short, but not caring, Adam said “Trying to stop a nightmare. Nice to meet you Beth, but please leave and don’t allow anyone in here without the permission of one of us.” Looking at his brother, his mirror reflection, he said “Good Gray, glad you’re here. It will take us both.”

 

Making sure Beth had left and closed the door. The two brothers work slowly at Brandi’s barriers. After considerable time and energy, they both entered her mind with Gray going in as a wolf. Once in her dream, they worked at getting her out of it. Gray attacked anyone that came near her while Adam tried to get her free. Adam knew what Chris’ fear was, the same as Adam’s; Jeff would figure out she was pregnant and do harm that way. As it looked, she had only been beaten up, not raped. She would wake with a few bruises and the memory of how they got there would return when she saw the bruises herself.

 

Adam worked quickly, glad Gray changed form. Adam noticed the change as she realized it was he and Gray there trying to help.

 

Looking at Adam with tears in her eyes, she only said “Save me.”

 

He nodded, picked her up and took her to a safer place in her mind. Chris noted the change in her from where he was and knew they got her safe.

 

He moved her head off his lap and gently picked her up, blankets and all and cradled her on his lap, rocking gently. Knowing Jeff would pick up on it, he did his best to keep his fear for her and their baby out of his conscious mind.

 

He suddenly felt someone watching him and looked up to see Gray standing there. “Where’s Adam,” Chris asked, feeling stupid.

 

“Went to go get that nurse to bring her something for the pain she’ll wake up with. By all that is holy, I’m going to get that bastard. He does this only because he knows what she means to us.” Looking up, Gray said “Sorry Chris, I know you already know that. I’m just frustrated.”

 

Neither realized Brandi was awake until they heard, “Gray?”

 

Smiling at her, he replied “Yes, love?”

 

“Thanks. Even though I know Adam was talking to me, it was hearing the growling that made me know it was the two of you. I think I’m going to be a bit black and blue in the morning, but” she said and as sank deeper into Chris’ arms “at least all he did was hit me with this one. He scares the hell out of me.”

 

Adam walked in hearing that last part, so he said “He does all of us angel, he does all of us. I’m just glad Chris called when he did. Now, Beth is going to give you some Demerol. I’m sure you think you don’t need it right now, but you will.”

 

Giving a hollow laugh, Brandi said “Actually I could use it now. I feel like I’ve been thrown to the wolves.” Looking at Gray, she said “Sorry Gray, but it’s true. Just not the wolves I’m used to.”

 

Laughing a little, Gray replied “It’s okay love, I understand and I figured who you were excluding from that. Besides it gave me a chance to come and see you, since I wasn’t able to earlier.” He raised an eyebrow to her to let her know what he meant. She slightly shrugged, just enough for him to see and Chris to feel, but didn’t say a word.

 

Beth gave Brandi the Demerol that Adam said to give, for this one time he upped it to 20 mgs because he wanted her to also sleep the rest of the night. He didn’t tell Brandi he increased the amount, he only said “This should also help you sleep the rest the night. How are you feeling right now, honestly?”

 

“Not as scared, but off balance, shaky, dizzy. Not nauseated or anything like that, but just not quite right. I already know that I’m going to be black and blue and hurting tomorrow, but I’m glad it will be from just getting hit.”

 

He was nodding his head as she said how she was feeling. Now he answered with “You aren’t the only one. Maybe I should order something for Chris to help him stop shaking. All he could do was hold you and watch, not help us with anything else. Okay, enough of this. Sleep for you, lady. Tonight and tomorrow, I’m making an exception for my having to be here if you need more Demerol. Let Beth know tonight or Cindy know tomorrow if you need it, and don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t try to tough it out. Later, we’ll talk more.” He bent over to give her a kiss, saying “Love you angel. Sleep good.”

 

Gray walked over after Adam stepped away, gave her a kiss and said “Nite love. Don’t forget I love you too. Have a good sleep. Remember if you need me, just call and I’ll be here.”

 

With a smile she said “Thanks Gray, I’ll remember. I love you both too. Thanks to both of you also.”

 

They both nodded and left the room. Beth watched them leaving and shaking her head, said “I don’t see how you can tell them apart. I’m going to leave you so you can get some sleep. I’m not worrying about the rest of my assessment of you; your vitals wouldn’t be accurate anyway at this point. I’ll turn off the light and close the door so you don’t get bothered. If you need anything before I come check on you later, just ring and I’ll be here.”

 

Covering a yawn, Brandi said “Thanks Beth, I’ll let you know if I do.”

 

Once Beth was out of the room, Chris pulled his jeans off and crawled back in next to Brandi, wrapping his arms around her and putting her back against his chest. Hugging her tight then letting his hands rest protectively on her abdomen, he asked “All he did was hit you, Dee?”

 

Leaning back into him, she replied “Yeah, that was all, I promise.”

 

“I don’t think Adam wanted to ask, but where?”

 

“Nowhere between my chest and my thighs. My face, arms, legs and chest will be sorer than they are now, but those are the only places. I don’t think he knows, because he would have taken advantage of it. I’m sorry I scared you also.”

 

“It was more that he did. You did a little, only because I couldn’t help. He did, because of what he can and will do to you. At least Adam, Gray and the guys can help pull you out. I wish I could promise he won’t hurt you anymore, but I can’t.”

 

“I know you want to, and maybe someday you’ll be able to. But I also know I’m safe with you. He can’t get to me as easily now. That is something he does know, and he hasn’t crossed that line until now. Maybe I’m a bit more vulnerable now, I don’t know, but at least we know we’ll have to keep better watch for him.” Yawning again, she said “I’m going to close my eyes. I’m having hard time keeping them open.”

 

“Close them then and try and sleep.”

 

“Okay. Nite Cowboy, love you.”

 

“Nite babe, love you too.” He made sure they were covered, gave her one final hug and then followed her into a deep and dreamless sleep.

 

They slept the night through and didn’t wake until after change of shift in the morning. The smell of breakfast is what ended up waking them. Feeling hungry, Brandi dug into her egg’s and toast. When she noticed the milk, she just looked at Chris and smiled. She kept the sheet up to above her chest since they hadn’t ever gotten dressed the night before, but she hadn’t realized Chris pulled on his jeans temporarily. As they ate, Cindy walked in and smiled, saying “It’s good to see you both awake. I heard you had a rough night.”

 

Chris answered, since his mouth wasn’t full “You could say that. The bruises Dee has right now will get looking worse before they start healing and going away. Adam had Beth give her some Demerol so she would sleep without pain.”

 

“That’s what I understand. Beth also let me know that if you feel you need more, Adam is fine with me giving it to you without him here. So, if you need heavier than Tylenol, just ask and I’ll bring it in.”

 

Brandi smiled and nodded at her, not wanting to put the fork down. Laughing and glad to see Brandi eating, Cindy checked the IV bag and noting it had some time, she left the room.

 

After finishing eating, Brandi moved the tray away and curled up next to Chris, shutting her eyes. Anyone coming in would only be able to see her bruised and swollen right eye. Chris noted she was having a hard time getting comfortable, so he asked “Do you want me to call Cindy and have her bring in some Demerol?”

Feeling Brandi nod, Chris pushed the call light.

 

Cindy came in, followed by a man. Looking apologetic, Cindy said “I’m sorry, but this gentleman wanted to see Brandi, and since you called, he followed me in.”

 

“That’s fine Cindy. I called because Dee wants the Demerol.”

 

“All right Chris, I’ll be right back with that,” Cindy answered then left the room.

 

Having heard Cindy, Brandi slid her arm with the IV out from under the covers and opening her eyes, she lifted her head to see who was there. The moment she saw who it was she smiled and said “Greg, you’re here. I’m surprised though I know I shouldn’t.” Turning slightly toward Chris she said “Chris Larabee, Greg Boyington.”

 

Chris smiled and said “It’s nice to finally meet you. Dee’s told me about you.”

 

Laughing, Greg replied “Probably all bad. No, I know it wouldn’t be since she always preferred staying with my mom than where she grew up at that time. It is good to meet you also Chris. She had told me some about you and I have to say – I was impressed then and even more so now. I understand better now why she acted how she did with some of the men in the black sheep.”

 

Not wanting it to go on any farther and embarrass her any more, Brandi said “Enough already. If y’all want to start that – you can leave the room thank you.”

 

Both men started laughing as Cindy came back in. Not wanting to know what was going on, Cindy just gave Brandi the Demerol, flushed the tubing and then left.

 

Greg had noticed Brandi’s face when he came in, and noticed the bruising of her right arm when she pulled it out. Since the nurse had given Brandi Demerol, he asked “What happened? How did you get bruised?”

 

Not wanting to talk about it, Brandi just said “Jeff, in a nightmare.” She then put her head back down on Chris’ shoulder and went to sleep, blocking out any talking the two men would do.

 

Chris and Greg just visited, keeping off the subject of Jeff since Greg was well aware of Brandi’s feelings regarding that subject having seen and heard, in the 40’s, what Jeff could do to her. The two became fast friends and learned more about each other now than they had with what Brandi had told each of them about the other. Chris also made sure to write down where Greg was staying so Greg could be told when they left the hospital and settled back at Ben’s.

 

Adam showed up around Ten am, as Greg was leaving. They said hi to each other and visited a minute before Greg left for his hotel.

 

Noticing Brandi asleep, Adam asked “Any more problems last night or this morning?”

 

“No, she slept the rest of the night without incident. Cindy just gave her some Demerol, so I figure she’ll sleep a while.”

 

“She eat anything for breakfast?”

 

“Yeah, scrambled eggs and toast, with a glass of milk I threw in. She ate them like she was starving and hasn’t had any problem since eating.”

 

“Good. I already have her MRI results, but I’ll wait til she wakes up to tell you both. I will say, though, that she will be leaving today. And, if you want extra help, I received permission from the hospital to use Beth or Cindy if they are needed. Just let me know so I can let them and the hospital know what we are doing.”

 

“You may as well set it up, especially if you want her to get anything heavier than Tylenol for pain. I know she’ll feel better about being at home, even if it is Ben’s for right now.”

 

“Yeah, she will, that’s true. Okay, I’ll set something up, since she may need more than the Tylenol right now with all the pain that was caused last night. Speaking of which, did she tell you anything about it?”

 

“Yeah. He only beat her up, and for some reason kept it to her chest and above or her legs. I don’t think he knows or realizes about anything else.”

 

“Good, that’s something. I’m going to go and I’ll be back in a couple of hours. If she wakes before then, call me and I’ll see if I can get here sooner.”

 

“Sounds good. See ya then.”

 

“Yep,” Adam said before leaving the room.

 

Chris lay back down, taking Brandi with him, and just held Brandi while she slept. He was hoping she was right in that Jeff wouldn’t bother them as much now. Even though he had already known, he was glad she said that she felt safe with him. Cindy came in to check how Brandi was doing after the Demerol and seeing Brandi asleep she turned and was heading out the door when Chris’ voice stopped her. “Would you do me a favor Cindy?”

 

“Sure Chris. What?”

 

“Would you have a grilled cheese sandwich and bowl of chicken noodle soup sent up for Dee for lunch with another glass of milk?”

 

“Sure, I’ll go put that in now. I take it she’s tolerating food better now?”

 

“Yeah. Besides, I think she’ll like that better than most anything else for lunch.”

 

“Okay, I’ll take care of it. How is she feeling otherwise?”

 

With a quiet laugh, Chris replied “She’s asleep and hasn’t moved, so for now she’s comfortable. Adam was here and said he’d be back in a couple of hours.”

 

“I saw him before he left. Though he didn’t write anything regarding it, it sounded like he is sending her home today.”

 

“That’s what he told me, but I don’t see her actually leaving until after lunch.”

 

“That’s probably true. I’ll be back in to check on her after a bit, if you need anything in the meantime, let me know.”

 

“Yeah, thanks.”

 

“Sure,” she told him, and then left the room.

 

Not planning on sleeping, only resting his eyes, Chris closed his eyes and fell asleep. He woke a couple hours later feeling Brandi move slightly. Opening his eyes, he looked at her and noticed she was still asleep. He moved her slightly so she would still be lying down, and then sat up, noticing Adam was back. Chris’ sitting up stirred Brandi more so that she was now awake. She rolled over and also noticing Adam, she held the sheet to her chest and raised the head of the bed up, saying “Hey Adam. When did you get here?”

 

Smiling Adam replied “Just a few minutes ago, this time.”

 

“This time? You were here earlier? What time is it?”

 

“Yeah, I was, around ten this morning. You were asleep. It is now,” Adam looked down at his watch and replied “twelve-fifteen. You were both asleep when I just walked in, so I decided to sit here until someone woke up. Since you’re both up, I can tell you what your MRI results are.”

 

“Good, what are they,” she asked.

 

“Everything looked fine. There was nothing to show why there was swelling. All I can say as to why you’re passing out and not remembering the few minutes before you do, is that you haven’t been eating and then you get stressed. Your body is compensating for it, protecting you and the baby from getting hurt. Which means eat and try to keep the stress down.”

 

“I’ll do my best with the eating, but as for decreasing the stress. I think that will be harder considering the rest of Chris’ team is in Seattle at the moment, and we’re trying to get everything done for the wedding at the end of the month.”

 

“I know it will be hard, but try. You have the rest of us to help with things, take advantage of it. Alex and Eric will be here til the wedding, use their help when you can. I want to let you go home today, but only if you’ll promise me you’ll slow down and not let yourself get stressed. Let everyone else help.”

 

She looked at both Chris and Adam and realized she was in a no-win situation. With a sigh, she said “Promise, I can’t, but I will do my best to slow down and let everyone else help. At least the stuff with wedding reservations can be done online, so that will help. I’ll do a little each day and I won’t do anything about the Indian reservation until next month. So, get to go home?”

 

Laughing, Adam said “Yeah, you do. I didn’t figure you would be able to promise that, but I thought I would try. I already know Chris won’t let you overdo on anything and will help you keep from being stressed. You can go after lunch. I’ll go write the order now.”

 

“Cool. Thanks Adam.” That was the best news she had heard in the last couple of days. She really hated having to be in the hospital, and she was very glad to be going home. She suddenly realized Adam mentioned lunch. Turning to Chris, she asked “Did you ask Cindy to send me up something or is it still juice and such?”

 

With a smile Chris said “Yeah, I did. Grilled cheese and soup sound ok?”

 

“Yeah, sounds perfect,” she said just as Cindy brought in the trays.

 

Seeing Brandi awake, Cindy asked “Feeling better?”

 

Smiling, Brandi said “Yeah, a bit. Don’t hurt as much now. And, Adam is letting me out of this jail. Though knowing him, he’ll be having either of you two girls coming by to help, if I need it still.”

 

”That’s what he told me, about you going home. He’s writing it now. As to anything else, I haven’t heard, but I won’t be surprised. I’ll be back in after you eat to get that IV out and I’ll bring in some towels for you both to clean up with.”

 

“Thanks Cindy,” Brandi called as Cindy headed out. Brandi ate her lunch the same way she ate her breakfast, like a woman starved and about to have it removed. Chris just shook his head and laughed. When he finally calmed down enough to talk, he said “Slow down Dee. It’s not going anywhere since we aren’t living in a time anymore where food is scarce.”

 

Swallowing, she looked sheepish and said “Sorry, guess I had forgotten how real food tasted until eating some of your dinner last night. I hadn’t realized until this morning that I was actually feeling hungry and I guess it got the best of me.”

 

“That’s ok, it’s understandable. I just want you to slow down and not make yourself sick from eating too fast.”

 

“Oh, sorry. Well, screwed that up then since I’m done. Hey question for you?”

 

Laughter lighting his eyes, he asked, “What?”

 

“Can we make a stop on the way home?”

 

“Depends, where?”

 

“Well, you have my ring, but I don’t have one for you. That’s what I want to stop and do.”

 

“That I think we can do. Oh, I meant to ask you. When you ordered that dress, you didn’t order it in a size one did you? I know that’s your normal size, but… I was curious.”

 

“Good on the ring. No I didn’t. I took the possibility into account and got a size three. I figure taking in is easier than adding to later.”

 

“Just making sure since I didn’t look when you put the order in. I thought it would be a dress you would want to wear again, but would want to make sure it was fitting without any problem now.”

 

“I don’t mind you asking. I’m glad you pay attention to stuff like that, but then again you usually have over the years.”

 

Laughing and shaking his head, he finished his lunch.

 

“I just realized something,” she told him.

 

Swallowing he answered “What?”

 

“My hair is down. Wasn’t it up when I went to sleep last night?”

 

“Yeah. Adam had me take it down before he went in to get you last night. I’m surprised you hadn’t noticed it already since you’ve been laying on it.”

 

“Hmm, okay. I’m surprised also, but guess just didn’t faze me that it was down. Doesn’t matter at this point. Ya know, I was thinking.”

 

Unsure where this was now going, he said “What?”

 

“Hmm, well, I was thinking about cutting my hair. Short.”

 

He moved the table out of the way and turning, he pinned her to the bed lightly, making her giggle. With a wolfish smile he told her, “Don’t even think about it. Not even as a joke. I love your hair, it’s sexy. You take away the hair, you take away my fantasies. Okay so you already know them, but still.” He then bent down and took her breath away with only a kiss. Her arms wound around his neck and held him there. They didn’t break apart until they heard, “Enough already, I thought I told you before I didn’t want a show. Can’t you wait til you get to Ben’s to do that?”

 

Flicking her gaze to Adam she said “You don’t want a show, get the hell out. Can’t wait til Ben’s, want him now.” Looking back at Chris, she reached up and nibbled on his bottom lip, feeling his hand slide between her legs.

 

“Okay, I’m leaving. I’ll be out here at the nurse’s station waiting. Ring when you’re done and I can come back in,” Adam said before walking out and closing the door.

 

All they heard was that he was leaving and the door close. As soon as the door closed, Chris pulled the sheet off and let his fingers explore the moist heat of her while his mouth first ravaged her mouth, then moved down to a breast. Her hands wandered where they could reach, from his waist to his shoulders and back down. Her body bucking with each touch he gave her. While his fingers entered her, his mouth moved to claim the other breast. As she rode his fingers, she kept her moans quiet, though she wanted to scream out loud. When she couldn’t take anymore, she begged “Please, take me now.” That was all he needed to hear to engulf himself in her. They moved hard and fast, taking and receiving as much as they could. They kept going until they both finally felt that last surge before they came together. Turning slightly so he would fall to his side instead of on her, they laid there resting until they felt they could move again.

 

When they were finally able to think straight, Chris grabbed the covers to pull them back up and rang the call light so Adam and Cindy could come back in.

 

Both Cindy and Adam walked in together. Shaking his head, Adam asked “So, are you ready to leave, now?”

 

“Yeah, I suppose so,” Brandi told him with an innocent look.

 

“About damn time. As soon as Cindy gets that IV out, you’re free. And since Chris’ truck is here, you don’t have to worry about a ride. I was going to say, go get ready to go, but since I see that look on your face, the shut the fuck up and let me out look, I’m going to continue. You of course won’t have an IV, but the only pills I’m giving you are what you can get anywhere, Tylenol. So, if you are in need of anything else, as in Demerol, you will have Cindy or Beth around. That will be a shot, which will only be accessible to either of them. That’s one reason you aren’t getting it in pill form, you know the rest of them, which we can discuss later if necessary. One more thing about you being able to take the Demerol, I want you to exhaust all possibilities of anything else, preferably Tylenol or an equivalent, before you ask for anything stronger. I think you know my reasons, but if you’re not sure, we can discuss that later also. Understood?” Adam asked Brandi.

 

“Yeah, and even though I think I know those reasons, I still would like to talk about them later,” she replied.

 

Adam nodded and left the room. Cindy removed the IV wondering what Adam meant, but not voicing her questions. Once she was done, Cindy said “That’s it. The stuff is there for you to use to clean up. Just let me know when you’re ready to go.”

 

“I will, and thanks Cindy,” Brandi told her.

 

Once Cindy was out the door, Brandi sat back and looking at Chris, said “He doesn’t trust me.”

 

“He does and you know it. Don’t start saying, or even thinking it.”

 

“Too late. Hell, I had a problem, key word here being had.”

 

“Yeah, you did and it was one that wasn’t your fault. He’s just being careful and keeping any temptation of it away from you. If you absolutely need it, he’s made it available for you, but only added the extra step of keeping it monitored so you would have to ask for it, not just go get it. And remember, it isn’t just you he’s thinking about this time.”

 

Sighing, she replied “I know, and I am too. But that happened around 230 years ago. Hell that was long before I ever met you. Why worry about it now?”

 

Chris realized something was wrong here. Getting up, he pulled on his jeans and walked to the door. Opening it, he looked out, saw Adam and waved him back over. When Adam got to the door, Chris said “You’ll have to talk to her about it sooner than you think. She has no memory of this last time.”

 

Adam’s face darkened with anger, “Does she remember it happening at all?”

 

“Yeah, roughly 230 years ago, which I already know about. Though she probably does know your reasons, she thinks you don’t trust her with it around.”

 

“Alright. Get ready to go and when you let us know you’re ready, I’ll have Cindy wait and I’ll come talk to her. Damn, I’ll have to get her to let me full scan so I can check for any missing memories. She’s gonna hate that.”

 

“True, but will she believe just being told about it? I’m not real crazy about it having to be done either, but if it will get her to see your reasoning, and ok my concern, better than it has to be done.”

 

“Nope she won’t believe it with just being told. I wish there was some other way, Chris, but I don’t see one. I’m not going anywhere so let me know when you’re both ready.”

 

Nodding, Chris closed the door and went back to Brandi. Motioning for her to join him, he headed toward the bathroom. She wondered what that was about at the door, since she didn’t hear him call a name. Looking up at him as she walked into the bathroom, she asked “Who were you talking to?”

 

“Adam. Before we leave he’s going to talk to you, and need you to do something for him.”

 

“It happened again, more recently, didn’t it?” she asked looking at him intensely.

 

He knew she wouldn’t read his thoughts without asking first, but the look she gave him made him wonder, so he asked “What brought you to that?”

 

“If that’s your nice way of asking did I read your thoughts, no, I didn’t. Just kind of figured it with the way you’re acting and since you went to talk to Adam instead of answering me. That’s why he’s being careful now. But, when?”

 

He could tell she wanted to believe but was still fighting it. “Adam will help you find the when. Now, come on. Get in the shower and I’ll help with your hair and anything else.”

 

She nodded and got into the shower stall, with him behind her. They cleaned up quick and got hair washed, hers taking a bit of time with its length. Once out, she wrapped her body and her hair in towels and went out to get dressed. She felt like she was sleep walking, like she was in a dream. Knowing one way to make sure she wasn’t asleep, she said “Hey Chris.”

 

“Yeah, babe.”

 

Hearing that made her smile a little, so she continued with “Kiss me?”

 

“You do realize if I do that now, we may not make it out of here.”

 

“Yeah, I do, but humor me please.”

 

Chris smiled as he walked to her, with a towel around his waist. When he got to her, he reached down and slightly lifted her, putting his arms around her waist. When she could reach, she put her hands on his shoulders and helped bring herself even with him, letting her arms go around his neck once she was even. When he kissed her, she knew it was real by the way she melted against him. When they came apart, all she managed was “Um, ok, definitely real.”

 

Laughing, he said “Glad I could help.” He set her back down so they could get dressed.

 

Once they were both dressed and he had Brandi sitting down, Chris opened the door to let Adam know they were ready. Then Chris joined Brandi in the chair, sitting her on his lap and running a brush through her hair.

 

Adam closed the door behind him when he walked in. Seeing Brandi and Chris in the chair, Brandi with her eyes closed, he sat on the edge of the bed. Wondering what was going on, Adam nudged Brandi’s toe and said “Hey beautiful.”

 

Brandi opened her eyes and looked at Adam with a semi-smile. He noticed a slightly passion glazed look, with a twinge of fear under it. “Hey yourself,” she told him. She then noticed an odd look cross his face, so she asked “What’s wrong?”

 

“That’s what I was wondering. Tell me what you’re afraid of.”

 

She looked down for a minute, and then looked back at Adam, simply saying “Not knowing.”

 

“Fair enough. I want to help with that, if you’ll let me.” At her nod he continued, “Ok, I have to ask. Other than the obvious reasons, Chris, why are you brushing her hair?”

 

Chris looked over at Adam and said, “Keep her relaxed, and make things easier for you.”

 

“All right, I can understand that.” Adam looked back at Brandi and asked “I need your help Bree. I need to do something you aren’t going to like, but it has to be done.”

 

“What do you need to do?” she asked.

 

“Basically, I need to search your mind, see if I can find a lost piece of memory.”

 

“Ok, but before I agree, tell me this. From when?”

 

“Between twenty and twenty-two years ago.”

 

“So that would put it when I was in high school this time. Yeah, ok. Do it, but I only want to see what I need to know right now, not relive it.”

 

Nodding Adam said, “Close your eyes again and let yourself relax. Don’t think about anything but my voice and the brush through your hair.” Since Adam wanted Chris to hear what was going on, he continued speaking out loud, while he also switched to talking to her in her mind. “Ok, that’s a girl; I want you to only listen to my voice in your mind. Good, now let’s go back to your years in high school. Wait, stop, something isn’t following here. Did you meet Dennis and Kelly after school this day?”

 

“I thought so, I was supposed to. We were going to go to the game together. But I don’t remember getting to the game.”

 

“Ok, then we’ll piece it together and I’ll see what I can find. Here you are waiting for Dennis and Kelly that much we know. Since you just disappear and then are later at the game, let’s see what happened in the time between. Well here’s something. Does this person look familiar at all to you?”

 

Brandi jumped and Adam could feel her heart start to race, but she answered “No. Why?”

 

Feeling like he was starting to walk on thin ice, Adam said “It appears you got a ride with him. But we aren’t looking at why right now.” Adam decided to not tell her that this person she ‘got a ride with’ had come up to her from behind and grabbed her, sticking a needle in her arm to put her out cold. “Now, I’m not going to be talking to you for a little while, while I see about reconstructing this, so just concentrate on Chris brushing your hair, all right?”

 

“All right.”

 

Adam could feel her wanting to focus on what he was doing, but she tried to stay relaxed and focused on Chris. Adam, found the rest of that memory. He saw her thrown in the backseat of a car and being driven to the outskirts of town. Adam saw that Jeff was waiting for his buddy and Brandi. Jeff appeared to be happy that she was already passed out from the drug she was given. Adam watched as Jeff pulled out several other vials with only one needle and syringe, and started injecting her with all different drugs. As he watched this memory unfold, he was gently putting it back into the spot it was taken from. As much as he wanted to, he couldn’t leave out Jeff and his friend using her in other ways. From the way it looked, they barely got her back in time for the game that night, and by the time she got to the game, she was starting to come back around. She had felt sick throughout the game and ended up sitting on the sidelines instead of being out with the rest of the cheerleaders because of it. She went home after the game with the family, feeling like she had the flu, but not knowing why when she had felt fine all day. Alex and Chris took her to the hospital the next day to find out why she was so sick, and Alex asked for drug testing, all that they had, as a precaution. Adam had been an intern in the ER and when he saw Brandi being brought in, he asked to have her as a patient. He ran all the tests Alex asked and let Alex and Chris know the results, though they didn’t tell Brandi what they found. From all the drugs that were still in her system, they knew what the cause was, adding to it that Brandi was complaining of pain, or more like feeling she had been torn open, so with a nurse and Brandi’s consent, he did a full exam. He did tell her the results of that and he let her know he had to tell Alex. Adam asked why Alex wanted the drug testing done, and both Alex and Chris said Brandi was ‘not acting like herself’, she was stumbling around, off time with the rest of the girls, having to sit more often than not, drinking whatever she could, like she had just walked across a desert without water, and at halftime, when they both went to where they could talk to her, she wasn’t focused and didn’t seem to know who they were. Chris was in the Navy as a SEAL and had managed to get the weekend off, so he flew over Friday afternoon for the weekend to see her and had wanted to spend time with her before the game. Since she didn’t come home before the game, it got him and Alex worried and then her behavior during the game made them worry even more. The three knew Jeff was somehow involved, but they weren’t sure how with the drugs. There was no way to prove it either since Brandi had no memory of what happened from after school til the game.

 

Adam shook himself free from both of their memories and made sure hers were back intact. Taking a deep breath, he told her “I’m done. You should now be able to remember that missing time. You shouldn’t relive any of it, but if it starts to feel like you are, remember you’re safe now with Chris. And, none of us are going to let anything happen to you, we will all protect you as best as we can. You can open your eyes now.”

 

Brandi’s eyes slowly opened and Adam no longer saw fear there, it was replaced by anger. “Why in the hell did he do that,” she fumed.

 

“Because he could, and can,” Adam told her. Sighing, he continued “Bree, it’s over now; Alex, Chris and I were pissed enough at the time that it would’ve included you being pissed. Now you know why he would come at you with a needle when he would corner you at school after that. And, why you were afraid, even though you had no conscious recollection of it. You also now know why I want it monitored for you to get any heavier pain meds and why I watch it so much closer. I do trust you, but he did get you addicted to some of that stuff, and I don’t want to have to put you in here because of problems with the drugs. None of it was your fault, it was all his fault. With bringing out this one memory, you will start to remember the addiction and problems you had then. Remember, the only person on the force that actual knew you had a problem was Jenko, and that was because you told him. It is and was not on your record at all. Alex has been able to keep it off. I didn’t mean to have you think I didn’t or don’t trust you. All right?”

 

“Yeah. Thanks Adam, at least I have some idea now of what happened. I only told Jenk because he and I were friends and I wanted to be honest with him, and so he would know why I wasn’t into drug busts heavier. He didn’t have a problem with it and never said a word to anyone else that I know of. I do know you trust me, but I think it was that fear of not knowing that made me think that you didn’t. There was a couple of minutes after getting out of the shower, I felt like I was sleepwalking, like none of this was real.” She smiled and said “I found out quick that it’s real. And until you showed me with bringing that back out, I wanted to keep thinking that he hadn’t done that to me again to. Well now I do believe it, so you won’t hear much of an argument from me about the pain meds.”

 

Smiling himself, Adam said “Good, glad to hear that. Now, are you ready to get out of here?”

 

“Oh, most definitely.”

 

“Good, I’ll have Cindy come do what she needs to with you and then have you wheeled downstairs.” Seeing her look, he continued “Sorry lady, those are the rules. You can’t walk out on your own.”

 

“Alright, fine, if that’s the way it’s gotta be.”

 

“It is. I’ll be right back.” Adam walked to the door, opened it and motioned to someone. When Adam turned back into the room, Cindy was behind him.

 

Seeing Brandi was ready to go, Cindy said “I know he went over this with you already. Rest as much as possible, no stress, eat what’s tolerable but make sure to eat, and drink lots of fluids, Tylenol or other non-prescription medication for pain, Demerol 10mgs IM – intramuscularly (in a muscle) also for pain if nothing else works, Beth and I to be there if any extra help is needed and for pain management. Notify him if symptoms reoccur, or pain gets worse. The Demerol has already been called into a pharmacy, and Adam said he would pick it up later and take it over. I called for the wheelchair while Adam was in here and they are here now, so they’ll take you on downstairs and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

“Ok, thanks Cindy. I’m sure Adam already gave you directions to Ben’s house, so we’ll see you tomorrow.” Brandi sat down in the wheelchair and let herself be escorted out of the hospital with Chris and what belongings he brought over.

 

Once they were both settled in the truck, Brandi asked “Can we still go look for your ring before going home to Ben’s?”

 

“That all depends on you Dee. You feel up to it?”

 

“Yeah, I do. Besides, I want to get it done and out of the way. I don’t want to have to worry and wonder how I’m going to get it later.”

 

Nodding, Chris said “That’s fine. Any jeweler in particular you want to stop at.”

 

“Nope, you pick.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6

 

Chris took her at her word and found a jewelry store to look for his ring. What he didn’t tell her was it was the same one he got hers at. They looked at the different styles using her engagement ring and what he told the salesperson the wedding band looked like. They finally found one they were both happy with, a gold band with three diamond chips on it. Simple but tasteful and would go with her ring without problem. They paid for it and took it then since no sizing had to be done. They decided on the way home from the jeweler that they would finish the reservations in Tahoe in the next few days. They wanted to do a final add up on how many would be there for the wedding. Brandi suddenly thought of something on the way home and asked “Do you have the other part of my ring or was it in the house?”

 

“I have it. It’s at Ben’s now. It was in my pocket when I went to get food. That’s what I took out before I asked you.”

 

“Good, I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t gone also.”

 

“Nope, it’s safe.” He felt her nod as she put her head back on his shoulder.

 

When they got to Ben’s, she headed straight for their room. Her dad and brothers saw the bruising, and wondered what had happened. With the nightmare the night before, the Demerol this morning and the episode with Adam, Brandi was exhausted and planned to sleep for as long as possible. Chris saw the look on the other faces and with a slight shake of his head he followed Brandi to the bedroom.

 

Since she was wearing sweats, Brandi just crawled into bed saying, “You may as well tell them what happened. They’ll be wondering and asking me about it otherwise.”

 

“I was already planning too. I didn’t want them to ask as we walked in though.”

 

With a smile, she said “Alright.” Yawning, she continued “Don’t forget to call Jim on the front desk to let him know we’re here now, and leave one of the guys a message with the same thing. Oh, and one of y’all call Greg and tell him.” She looked at the bedside clock and seeing it was three-thirty, she said “I only want to sleep a couple of hours, please. Come and get me up by six, if you’re still up.”

 

Giving her a kiss, he said “Don’t worry, it will all get done and if I’m not asleep also, I’ll make sure you’re awake.”

 

“Sounds good,” she told him before she fell asleep. Walking out of the room, he laughed.

 

Going out to the front room, Chris first called the office, “Jim, Chris Larabee. We aren’t in the hospital now. You can reach me on my cell phone or at 555-8347. That is Brandi’s uncle’s where we are staying right now.”

 

“Got it Mr. Larabee. Thanks for letting me know.”

 

After hanging up that call, Chris dialed Buck’s cell. Getting the voice mail, he said “Buck, it Chris. We’re back at Ben’s so call me here or on my cell if you need anything or are reporting in.”

 

Last call he did was to Greg’s hotel. After getting put through to the room, he heard “Hello” on the other end. “Hey Greg, its Chris Larabee. Wanted to let you know she’s out of the hospital and were at Ben’s now.”

 

”Good to hear that. What’s the number?”

 

“555-8347,” Chris told him and then gave Greg directions on getting there. Before hanging up, Chris said “She’s asleep right now, so you may want to wait before coming by to see her.”

 

Laughing, Greg answered “Yeah, she never did wake easily if someone else was waking her before she’s ready. I’ll come by this evening then.”

 

“That sounds good,” Chris told him and hung up.

 

Alex looked at Chris and asked “So, tell us about the bruises and her swollen eye.”

 

Knowing he wasn’t going to get out without saying anything, Chris replied “She had a nightmare last night. Adam and Gray came by to get her out of it.”

 

“What did that bastard do to her?” Alex fumed.

 

“Beat her only, in the arms, chest, face and legs. She’s tired and sore from it. With Adams help, she regained a memory that she didn’t realize was lost.” Seeing Alex’s look Chris continued “From just over twenty years ago when you and I took her to the ER the day after the game. Adam wants her Demerol monitored by Cindy or Beth, they’ll be coming to help and give any Demerol she may need from the soreness of last night. Anyway, he let her know that and she told me that she thought he didn’t trust her and that she hadn’t had any problem in over two hundred years. I let him know and it was decided that she should know what happened this more recent time. Well, she now understands his reasoning, but she isn’t overly happy about any of it. That it happened again and that Adam is trying to protect her from herself.”

 

“It wasn’t her fault though,” Eric said.

 

“No, Eric, it wasn’t. But if you remember, he would keep grabbing her and giving her drugs to make her dependent on it all. It took us quite a bit to get her off all of it and not wanting any of it. Her going to college, joining Seattle PD, and then working out of the Chapel helped, as did her joining the Navy. I had to pull some strings to keep it from showing on her record so she could go to the academy. Just as you boys are, she’s doing what she loves. Eric, all three of you know and believe that justice is right, and I think it has to do with your father and those of his order. Like him, you three bend the rules at times, but unlike him none of you will break them. You all want justice done, she more than you or Michael. She never has liked not remembering that night or any of the other times he did that to her – she would only have a fleeting memory and a need for the drug that she didn’t understand. Whether I agree or not, it was something Adam needed to do,” Alex said.

 

Nodding his head, Chris continued with “Even though she didn’t say anything, I know that when we stopped to get my ring, the looks we got at the jewelry store bothered her.”

 

“What kind of looks,” Alex asked.

 

“Like they were wondering if I beat her up and if so why were we getting married? I know she wanted to say something, but she didn’t. She let them stare and wonder.”

 

“No wonder she went straight to bed. Can’t say I blame her there. You look like you could use some sleep yourself Chris,” Alex told him.

 

“Yeah, I’m going to lie down in a while. First I’m going back to Ben’s office and take care of a couple of things for the wedding.”

 

“Ok, we’ll leave you to it then. Oh, you want me to let Herc and Ares back in?” Alex asked.

 

“I’ll do it. They can stay with me til I go in the bedroom,” Chris said heading to the back of the house. Letting the wolves in, he had them go with him back to the office.

 

Getting out his cell phone, Chris called Pearl Harbor Naval Weapons Station, the Chaplains office.

 

“Pearl Harbor Chaplains office,” said the voice on the other end.

 

“This is Captain Chris Larabee, may I have the chaplain on duty please.”

 

“Yes, one moment sir.”

 

“This is Chaplain Davidson. May I help you?”

 

Chris smiled and said, “Mark, its Chris Larabee.”

 

“Chris, it’s good to hear from you. What can I help you with?”

 

“I’m getting married at the end of the month and we are having the wedding there. I was wondering if you or any another chaplain would be available.”

 

“Tell the date and time and I can check.”

 

“July 28th at 1100,” Chris told him.

 

“I’m available. When were you and your fiancée going to be arriving?”

 

“On the 26th.”

 

“Then after you arrive and get settled, would you both come by and see me. Where is the wedding?”

 

“Robin Masters estate, Robin’s nest.”

 

Laughing, Mark asked “And how did you manage to get use of his estate?”

 

“Marrying his daughter is how. She and I have been together a long time, even when we were both still in.”

 

“You’re marrying Commander Masters-Stewart? How is she doing?”

 

“Yeah I am and she’s doing good. Don’t think she misses the Navy at all though. She’s an independent now and enjoys it.”

 

“That’s good to know. Give her my best and I’ll see you both on the 26th.”

 

“Alright and thanks Mark,” Chris said as he hung up the phone.

 

He got up from the desk and headed out of the office and into the bedroom, the wolves following him. He pulled off his shirt and boots, and emptied his jeans pockets before sliding in next to Brandi. Once Chris was in, the boys laid on the bed at the foot.

 

Feeling Chris join her, Brandi curled against him in her sleep.

 

Brandi woke a bit later feeling her sweatshirt come off and hands moving to her breasts. Her body arched, wanting more.

 

Her hands had been resting at his waist during sleep, and now they moved to the front of him, unbuttoning and unzipping his jeans. Rising up over him, she pulled them off of him. On her way back up, she stopped and took him in her mouth, running her tongue around the head and up and down the shaft before devouring as much of him as she could.

 

When he couldn’t take anymore, he brought her back up even with him, turned them over, and removed her sweatpants. He let his fingers wander between her legs, finding her moist heat. His mouth devoured hers, while a hand caressed a breast and his fingers made her shatter.

 

She lay under him running her hands up and down his chest and trying to lock her legs around his waist so he would take her. Each time her legs started to wrap around him, and elbow would keep her from going any farther.

 

He had moved from one breast to the other, but his fingers never stopped their assault on her.

 

When his fingers slid into her she moved on them like she would his cock, wanting his cock.

 

She moaned into his mouth and the wetter she got the more she moaned until he finally let his cock take her. Her legs wrapped around him and she met him thrust for thrust. They gave each other everything they had before they came together in a blaze, her body taking on a soft golden hue again.

 

He collapsed just to the side of her, still holding on to her and keeping them joined, rubbing her back. They curled up as they were, gave each other a kiss and fell right to sleep, sleeping like the dead and long past when she wanted to wake up.

 

When Brandi woke, she was still curled into Chris, but she had a bad headache and the rest of her body ached. Trying to move as gently as possible, she winced and moaned in pain when she felt movement from the end of the bed. Looking down she saw Ares had moved and rocked the bed. She heard from beside her “Ares, settle.”

 

Looking at Chris she said “Too late. I’m awake and in pain.”

 

“I was afraid of that when I just heard you. What hurts?”

 

“Besides my body, I have a bad headache.”

 

He looked at the clock and said “Let me get you some Advil and see if that helps. Beth is probably here and so I’m sure is Adam.” He got up and went into the bathroom, getting the med. “If this doesn’t help, I’ll go see who is here and get you some Demerol. But let’s give this at least an hour, to make sure.”

 

Taking the pills and water, she said “Alright. I think I can do that.” She swallowed the pills with the water and sat the glass on the table beside her. “I’m not getting up anytime soon either. Before you ask, no I’m not very hungry right now. You would think I was after taking advantage of you, but I’m not. I know that is part of why my body hurts, but I wouldn’t change it, it was too much fun.”

 

“Yeah it was fun and it probably is why you’re hurting a bit now. If you get hungry later, we can get something, but right now, resting is fine. If you can, try going back to sleep, you’ll feel better. I’m not in any hurry to get up yet anyway.”

 

“What do we need to do still for the wedding?”

 

“Nothing but the cake. I called Pearl and got us a chaplain. I talked to Mark Davidson in fact and he will be the chaplain. He sends his best. We need to go see him after we get in and settled at the estate on the 26th.”

 

“When did you do that?”

 

“Before coming in to lie down. Figured I would take care of that while I was thinking about it.”

 

“That’s good. Now it is something less to worry about. Thanks.”

 

He leaned down and kissed the top of her head, saying “Not a problem. Less stress for you.”

 

“Yeah, it helps.”

 

“Good, now try to go back to sleep, babe.”

 

Closing her eyes, she said “OK. I love you.”

 

Smiling he said “I love you, too. Nite.”

 

“Nite.” She curled back into him and was back out immediately.

 

She woke to screaming. Not realizing she had been the one to scream, she also found herself being gently rocked by Chris, feeling tears running down her face, with the door to the room suddenly being thrown open.

 

From the door they heard “What the hell?”

 

She turned to look at five worried faces. Looking from them to Chris she asked “What’s wrong?”

 

Ben was the first to get his voice back. “That’s what we were wondering little one. We heard you screaming.”

 

“I wasn’t…” she started. After a minute she continued “That’s what woke me up, the screaming. I didn’t know where it had come from.”

 

“It came from you,” Ben told her. “Were you having a dream? Do you remember anything about what was going on?”

“No, I don’t remember any dreams at all. I woke up, I don’t know how long ago, with my body aching and a headache. Chris got me some Advil and I took it and went back to sleep, hoping that it would take care of it. Next thing I know, I’m hearing screaming and waking up from that.” Not realizing it, she rubbed a hand over her abdomen like it was aching.

 

Chris noticed the movement and asked “You alright? Is your stomach bothering you?”

 

Looking at him she said “I think I’m ok, I just feel like I was kicked in the stomach.”

 

Keeping her covered, Chris lifted the covers and looked at her abdomen, noting a large bruise forming off center.

 

Seeing his eyes hard when he looked up, all five in the doorway knew what happened.

 

Brandi saw the eyes before he looked up and knew so she let her mind search back over what happened while she slept. When she found it she reviewed it in her mind. Taking the hand Chris had resting on her hip, she laid it across where there baby lay. Looking at the other five men, she said “He was pissed because Gray and Adam took me away the last time. He still doesn’t know, but he wanted to make sure I knew he was angry. All I can see is that he hit me some more, but since I was screaming, maybe I’m not wanting to see anything else. I do know everything is as it should be, he didn’t do any damage. I also know I hurt like bloody hell, so, Adam, can I please?”

 

“Yeah. Beth is still here. I’ll have her bring it in,” Adam told her.

 

Trying to smile, Brandi said “Thanks. I won’t bother you any more after that.”

 

Smiling at her, Adam said “No bother brat.” Adam suddenly thought of something and asked “When did she take that Chris?”

 

Looking at the clock, Chris answered “About three hours ago.”

 

Nodding, Adam headed back out to tell Beth.

 

Beth came in and gave Brandi the shot in her thigh. Within fifteen minutes of getting the shot, Brandi was back asleep curled up against Chris, with Chris following close behind her.

 

They slept through the rest of the night without incident. When Brandi woke up it was late morning (around Eleven AM). She hadn’t opened her eyes, but she could still feel Chris next to her. Wanting to snuggle in closer to him, she moved toward him, only to find a block. Opening her eyes, she found Herc lying on top between them, pressing his nose at her and licking her face. “Good morning baby, did you miss me?” All she received for an answer was a bark. She heard Chris start laughing at the treatment she was getting. Reaching a hand out and grabbing him, she said “What’s so funny Cowboy?”

 

Moving Herc out of the way, he rolled on top of her and said “You and Herc. And in case you’re wondering, they’ve been out. They woke me up a few hours ago since mom was asleep.” He bent his head down and nuzzled her neck. She felt his intake of breath from what her hand was doing just before he said, “Keep that up and you’ll have to pay the price.”

 

Looking up at him with innocent eyes, she asked “And what price might that be?”

 

He smiled wickedly and said, “Before I extract it, how are you feeling.”

 

She didn’t say a word, just showed him with her body and her hands, moving one of his hands to her most sensitive place.

 

Taking the hint and feeling the wetness already there, he ran his fingers from her clit to her ass and back, feeling the wetness increase with both passes. His free hand laid claim to her breasts.

 

As her body arched, wanting more, her hand increased its speed on his already hard cock. Her free hand reached up to him, bringing him to her. With a smile, he leaned down and took her lips with his, ravaging them. His thumb took over her clit while his fingers plunged into her core. Her body arched to meet and ride his fingers as she moaned into his mouth.

 

Removing his mouth from hers, he moved down to claim a breast, shifting from one to the other while also kissing her butterfly.

 

Keeping his fingers and thumb going, he headed down the rest of her body, stopping to lay a kiss where their baby lay and suck on the small sapphire that lay nestled in her belly button.

 

Moving farther down, he stopped at her Pegasus to nip and kiss it. He continued on, going slightly farther than where she thought, and hoped he would stop, to kiss her scorpion.

 

Though she had been trying to move so he would take her with his mouth, it was an unexpected surprise when his tongue replaced his thumb. His thumb took over her core and his fingers moved back slightly farther, sending her farther over the edge than she already was.

 

His mouth and tongue ravaged her clit and core, keeping the onslaught going until she was begging for him to take her.

 

Rising back over her, he took her mouth with his as he sheathed himself in her heat. They rode hard and fast, taking and giving everything they could.

 

At some point, he had rolled them over so she could ride him though he never let go of her mouth since he knew her cries of pleasure would turn to screams.

 

When they finally came together the last time, they felt as if the world had exploded.

 

When she was finally able to talk, after having sagged against him, she said “I’ll be glad when Ben gets the ranch house done. We need to be in our own home.”

 

Laughing, he replied “You’re right. That way you can make all the noise you want and not have to worry about someone coming in.”

 

Smiling, she told him “That’s exactly it. Besides the fact it will be nice to be in our own home again.”

 

He laughed as he ran his hands up and down her back and ass, letting fingers of one hand slide between where he still lay nestled inside her and her ass.

 

His free hand moved to the front of her, caressing her breasts and running across her abdomen.

 

She had been able to feel his semi-hard state as they were talking, but his wandering hands had him getting harder, and the more the hands wandered and caressed, the harder he got.

 

Her mind was becoming unfocused again as her body succumbed to his hands, so after he heard a knock and said to her “We need the covers Dee,” she didn’t quite understand. At first she gave him a confused look, but as his words sunk in, she nodded and moved the covers to where he could reach to cover them up. Once covered, he said “come in.”

 

Eric opened the door and said “Hi.” Turning her head to see him, she noticed both him and Josh standing there. Knowing what they had interrupted when they knocked, Eric smiled and said in an ancient language only he and Brandi would understand “Having fun?”

 

Answering him the same way, she replied “Trying to, if you would be so kind to leave.”

 

He laughed and said “Yeah well, I had to make Josh wait the last ten or fifteen minutes so as to not interrupt, but it appears if we had waited another five minutes, we would have been interrupting more than we are now.”

 

Giving him an exasperated look, she switched to English and said “Did you guys want or need something?”

 

“Actually,” Eric said, also in English, “Wanted to make sure you were feeling ok.”

 

“I’m feeling great, thanks,” she told him.

 

“Good. Oh by the way, Josh and I are going with dad, so you will have the house to yourselves for the next few hours. Cindy came by while you were still asleep earlier and said if you needed her to just call and she’ll be right over. Her number is on the fridge.”

 

“Ok, thanks. Have a nice time and bye.”

 

With a laugh, Eric said “Bye brat,” and closed the door.

 

“Even though I couldn’t understand a word either of you said, I’m going to guess he was giving you a bad time about interrupting,” Chris said to her.

 

Smiling she replied, “Yeah, he was. Though I guess Josh wanted to knock a bit ago and Eric had to stop him. I think they’re going with dad was a last minute idea of Eric’s.”

 

“Looked that way to me,” he said as he picked up where he had left off.

 

After Eric had closed the door, Josh asked “Why are we going with dad?”

 

Eric just shook his head and said “To let them have more privacy than they have right now.” Looking at their dad, Eric said “We’re going also if you don’t mind.”

 

“I heard and I figured that you were when you started talking to Brandi. Come on, let’s go then. I want to take a look at that house before Ben has the demolition crew there.”

 

While Chris and Brandi gave themselves to each other again, Alex, Eric and Josh were at the old house looking over the damage.

 

Getting to Chris and Brandi’s destroyed house, all three started looking around. Walking over to his dad, Eric said “I don’t think Jeff had anything to do with this. From what Brandi described and from the looks of what’s left now, it looks more professional than anything Jeff could do.”

 

“I think you’re right,” Alex told him. “I can also see why they just want to demolish it. It would take more to rebuild it than it’s worth. It’s too bad, it was a nice house. I doubt we’ll find anything here to help with finding out who did this, though. Why in the hell would someone do this, especially with someone home? Unless that was the whole point, they wanted to hurt or kill Brandi, but not Chris, which leaves out Jeff also, since he doesn’t care who gets hurt. Ok, enough of looking around here. Let’s go out to see how Ben’s doing with the new house.”

 

“Sounds good to me,” Eric replied, also gaining a nod from Josh. “Since it’s the fourth, maybe we can see about having everyone else over for a BBQ tonight. I’m sure that would help Brandi also.”

 

“No harm in asking,” Alex said with a laugh as they got in his car.

 

Feeling content and relaxed, Brandi had no problem staying in bed all day. Chris seemed to agree with the idea, since he had not made any move at getting out of bed either. A thought just occurring to her, Brandi said “I know all we need to get ordered is the cake, but we haven’t figured out from where.” Lifting her head from his shoulder, she looked at him and asked “Are we taking it with us from here, or are we getting it over there?”

 

“Good question,” he replied. “If we get it here it goes seven hours on the plane. We can go look at get ideas for what we want and I can call Higgins and tell him what we want so he can order it there.”

 

“Ok then, when do you want to look around here?”

 

“Even though it’s already,” looking at the clock, Chris said “Three, and we should get up and start today, about the only thing I want to do at the moment is get something to eat. Otherwise, staying where we are doesn’t bother me, and I know it doesn’t bother you. So let’s go look around tomorrow, besides places may be closing early if not already closed since today is the fourth and Sunday.”

 

Stretching like a cat, Brandi replied “You’re right, staying right here doesn’t bother me, but you’re also right about needing food, especially since I haven’t eaten anything since lunch yesterday. Tomorrow for looking at cakes, hmm, that sounds good.” Having not realized the date, she continued “It is the fourth isn’t it. With everything that’s gone on, it’s hard to believe I’ve only been home just about a week.”

 

Giving her a kiss he said “I know. You said you could eat. Shall we see what there is?”

 

“Yeah, might as well.”

 

They got up, threw on some clothes and headed to the kitchen, taking Herc and Ares with them and letting them out. Looking at what was there Chris asked her “What sounds good?”

 

She started laughing and said “What really sounds good is a grilled cheese sandwich.”

 

He looked over at with a smile and shook his head. “All right, if that’s what you want. Come to think of it, it does sound good.”

 

Chris pulled out bread, butter, cheese and a skillet and made them each a sandwich. While they were sitting there eating, her dad and brothers got back.

 

Surprise at seeing them awake and up showed on Alex’s face. Giving his daughter a kiss, he said “So decided to join the living, did you? Figured you’d stay in bed all day.”

 

With a smile, she replied “Planned to go back to bed after eating. Only got up to eat and let the boys out.” Knowing one place they had just been, she wondered “So, what did you find out when you went by the house?”

 

“Well, from how it looks now and from you said sweetheart, I don’t think it was Jeff. Besides the fact that it was after Chris left, and Jeff wouldn’t have cared who was in the house, I think it was a professional job and targeting you Brandi. Though, from the remains, I don’t see how they’ll be able to figure out who, much less why, unless the arson squad found more than the device itself. On the up side though, we also went out to the ranch house to see how Ben was doing with it. It’s coming along nicely.”

 

“Well,” Chris said “at least we know who it wasn’t. I don’t consider that as looking into it. I do have some thoughts as to who may have wanted it done, and I already considered the fact Dee may have been the target, but I’m not going to do anything about where my thoughts are going on it. If the Fire Chief or Arson squad asks me for ideas, then I’ll tell them, otherwise, I’m keeping it to myself.”

 

Brandi looked at Chris and asked “Are you thinking…”

 

Before she finished the thought he only replied “Yeah.”

 

She only nodded and finished her sandwich.

 

Her dad and brothers just shook their heads, having forgotten how easily Chris read her and knew what she was going to say without being able to actually read her mind.

 

Having just remembered something, Eric said “Oh, you feel up to a BBQ tonight? I brought it up to Ben and he liked the idea. I’m going to call everyone else, but I thought I’d see if you felt up to being outside for it.”

 

“As long as it’s later this evening, yeah, it sounds good,” she told him.

 

“Ok, then somewhere around eight or nine tonight, which is what I was thinking anyway so we can be outside to maybe see any fireworks.”

 

“That’s fine. Now, if y’all will excuse me, I’m going to take a nap.” She leaned over and gave a Chris a kiss and said “Stay and talk to them if you want. But, will you also let the boys back in at some point.”

 

“Yeah I’ll let them in. I’ll be back in a bit,” he told her with a smile.

 

She smiled back and nodded to him, going back to their bedroom.

 

As soon as she lay down she was asleep. She was tired enough that she only stirred enough to curl up next to him when Chris came in to lay down with her. She had been asleep for nearly four hours when Chris went to wake her up. Gently shaking her, he said “Dee, it’s time to wake up.”

 

“No, it can’t be,” she mumbled. “I just fell asleep.”

 

“Ok, just fell asleep just about four hours ago,” he told her.

 

Opening her eyes, she said “Can’t be after seven. I feel like I haven’t slept all that long.”

 

“You slept. You were out when I came in and you barely moved then. You needed it, but I guess I did too since I haven’t been up long.”

 

“Hmm, yeah, long enough to have taken a shower though.”

 

Smiling he said “Yeah. I figured I’d wait til after I did to wake you up. But, it’s time to get up if you’re still feeling up to joining the BBQ.”

 

“Ok, I’m getting and yeah I am,” she told him as she climbed out of bed.

 

She showered and got dressed then they headed to the kitchen to see if any help was needed.

 

They were still in the kitchen when Gray, Mary, and Billy got there. Seeing Chris and Brandi, Billy ran over, hugged them both and said “Mom told me you were getting married and having a baby. I think that’s cool. She also said I have to stay with Grandpa and Grandma when her and Gray go to the wedding. That’s not fair, I want to go too.”

 

Chris was still shaking his head at Billy’s comments when Brandi got down to Billy’s level and said “Thanks kiddo, I’m glad you think it’s cool. As for you having to stay here, Mom’s right, besides, you would get bored with all the grown up stuff there is there. They don’t have anything that you could do. You’ll have loads more fun here I’m sure.”

 

With a look of ‘yeah right’ to her, Billy ran out to the backyard, while the four adults laughed and followed him out.

 

The rest of the family showed just after eight and everyone milled around Ben’s backyard waiting for the food and having a good time. Ben and Alex manned the grill, doing hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken. They had potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, and lots of beer (Diet Coke for Brandi). Both Chris and Brandi wished the other six of Team 7 weren’t out of town. They would be having a great time if they were here. At dark, everyone found seats, got comfortable and watched the fireworks. Ben had a great view of them from his backyard. By eleven the gathering was wrapping up, with everyone saying their good nights, that they enjoyed themselves and the food and then leaving to go to their respective homes. Feeling like she was barely staying awake, Brandi told her dad, Ben, and her brothers’ goodnight and gave them each a kiss, leaving Chris for last. Since he was right at her height sitting in the chair, she leaned over to give him a kiss, saying “I love you.”

 

Returning the kiss he replied “I love you,” then suddenly grabbed her, pulling her onto his lap. Laughing, she looked up at him and said “I was going to get some sleep.”

 

Smiling, he told her “Go ahead and sleep then. Hey Ben, can you throw me that blanket?” Catching the blanket, Chris covered her up once she positioned herself to be comfortable. She was asleep very quickly, which was no surprise to any of them.

 

“Do you have any idea Chris on when I can go in to take down the house here in town?” Ben asked.

 

“No. One of the things I’m planning on doing tomorrow is calling the Fire Chief and seeing if they’re done with it and make sure he won’t have a problem with it being demolished. Dee and I have some things to take care of also tomorrow, but I’ll let you know as soon as I talk to him. We may just go out to the ranch and let you know so you won’t have to worry about keeping your phone with you.”

 

“That’ll work. Do they have any ideas on it yet?”

 

“Not that I know of, but I haven’t talked to him in a few days. Did Alex tell you what he thought about it?”

 

“Yeah, and makes sense to me. At least we can cross him of our list, unfortunately.”

 

“It’s true it’s unfortunate we have to cross him off for this, Ben, but we all still have that very long list that he’s still on,” replied Alex.

 

“True,” Ben said, then changed the subject. “Did you two get everything figured out for the wedding yet?”

 

“Yeah, started setting things up with Higgins on the 30th and I called Pearl and got a chaplain for us yesterday. Only thing really left, except checking with Higgins on how everything is going, is a cake,” Chris replied. “Which is what we are going looking at tomorrow. We are going to get ideas and then I’ll let Higgins know what it is we want so he can order it over there,” he said with a grin.

 

“She care that you finished it up, Chris?” Alex wondered.

 

With a smile, Chris replied “Actually, no. She was glad I did. She won’t have to worry about doing it herself. Especially since she doesn’t like to be on the phone with people she can’t hear and she hates to use the TDD lines, though not all places have them.”

 

All five started laughing, knowing they wouldn’t wake her up. Getting his laughter under control, Ben said “I wouldn’t have cared or worried if you’d used the house phone. I actually have a good phone plan because of calling Alex in Seattle, and Deb in Mississippi. And you’re right, she hates Pepsi, so she’ll want something other than that and something to help settle her stomach if she gets nauseated.”

 

“Well, if you guys will excuse me, I’m going to put her to bed and get some sleep myself. I’ll see you all tomorrow,” Chris said as he got up, still holding Brandi.

 

He received “Nite Chris,” from the four of them. Getting into the bedroom, he first got her into her sleep shirt and under the covers before he got out of his clothes and climbed in beside her. She never woke up, just curled back into him once he was in. He was asleep immediately.

 

She woke up feeling better. She knew she fell asleep on Chris’ lap in the front room, but didn’t remember him bringing her to bed, or changing her clothes. She figured she must have been sleeping like the dead to not remember, since she will semi wake up if moved usually. She had no idea what time it was because she wasn’t ready to open her eyes, and since she was still lying on Chris, she knew he hadn’t moved either. Finally opening her eyes, she looked up at him, smiled and said “Good Morning?”

 

With a laugh, he said “Yeah still is. For about another three hours yet. Since I know how you slept, how are you feeling?”

 

“Much better. Ready to look at cakes, or, at least, will be after taking a shower.”

 

“Mmm, alright.” she replied half listening while she got a bit more comfortable.

 

Sitting up, and bringing her with him, Chris said “Now, if you’re ready, shall we get in the shower?”

 

Giving him a cat like smile, she turned so she was sitting on his lap, facing him and said “It can wait, I’m not quite ready yet.”

 

Letting her push him to the bed, he kept his arms around her and brought her back down with him. With a wicked grin, he pulled her shirt off over her head. He took a breast in one hand and brought her head down with the other to be able to ravage her lips, while that hand moved through her hair.

 

Sliding her legs down from his waist, she felt his rock hard cock against her and she moaned into his mouth. She lifted her hips slightly and sheathed him in her moist heat, lying still for a few moments to enjoy the feel of him.

 

He started moving slow, wanting to prolong her orgasm. Without her telling him, he knew that, like he did, she wanted it slow and easy this morning and that was what he was going to give her.

 

She was receiving no breaks between orgasms and that suited her fine. He was taking his time between his long, slow strokes of her, letting her almost come completely down only to take her slowly back up.

 

He was driving himself insane but was enjoying what it was doing to her, including her soft cries and moans. When he felt her tighten around him and go over the edge again, he joined her, but only just enough to give him some release because he wasn’t done yet.

 

Her body gave a start at feeling him come and then she sighed. When she realized it wasn’t complete she groaned and he laughed. His laugh told her there was more to come.

 

He rolled them over and gently rubbing a hand over her abdomen, he looked down at her. He never tired of looking at her. Asleep, awake, dressed, or how she was now, he loved to watch her. He also loved the way her hair spread across the pillow now, and the way it spread across him while she slept. Feeling her start to relax, he started moving again, keeping the slow pace he started with.

 

Her eyes had drifted shut, but she opened them again to see him watching her with a smile on his face. She wondered what he was thinking. She didn’t read it from his mind even though she knew he wouldn’t mind. She felt him start to move and she moved with him. She didn’t mind the slowness, in fact she enjoyed it, and it seemed to increase her awareness more. She was also enjoying the feel of his hand rubbing across her abdomen.

 

After a few minutes, he stilled his hand and moved it up her body as he leaned down to take her lips with his. He could feel every part of her, except where he was sheathed, melt as he kissed her. From the one place she didn’t melt, he could feel the wetness increase, surrounding him. The more he devoured her, the wetter she got and the more she tried to increase their speed. Her body arched into him and he slid an arm under her to hold her there. Though he did not speed up the pace, he shortened the intervals between strokes while he feasted on her breasts.

 

She was dying a slow sweet death, and as much as she was enjoying it, it was driving her mad. Her hands gripped his shoulders while her legs wound around his waist, trying to bring him in more. Her brain was as mushy as her body; she couldn’t keep a coherent thought in it. She knew she wanted something, but couldn’t figure out what it was. When she felt his body tense for a moment, she remembered what it was she wanted.

 

He felt her tighten again and knew he couldn’t wait anymore. When the grip lessened, he joined her in falling over the edge. He emptied into her completely this time, enjoying the ride down.

 

His body dropped onto hers and he turned to his side to keep from crushing her and the baby. Putting his free arm around the other side of her, he laid there holding her while they calmed. When he felt both of their heart rates and breathing return to normal, he asked “Ready now?” with a smile.

 

Smiling up at him, she said “No, but I know we need to get it done.”

 

Nodding his head, he said “Yeah and you can always come back and take a nap.”

 

“Ok, then let’s get to it if we’re going to go,” she said with some resignation. She was comfortable where they were and didn’t want to get up.

 

Laughing, he told her “Come on, get up. Let’s get in the shower.”

 

They got showered and dressed and noticing it was now closer to lunchtime, decided to have lunch out.

 

Seeing her dad in the living room when they walked out, she said “Daddy, Chris and I are leaving. Would you let the boys back in if I let them out right now?”

 

Looking up Alex said “Of course. You two have a nice time.”

 

“Thanks, we will. See you in a couple of hours.”

 

“Ok, bye.”

 

“Bye,” she told him and they headed to the back door to put the wolves out on their way.

 

As they got around front and to the truck, he remembered he wanted to make a phone call. Pulling out his cell phone, he dialed the phone and when it was picked up, he heard “Fire Chief Richards.”

 

“Chief, this is Chris Larabee. I wanted to know if you were through with our house. My fiancée’s uncle is going to demolish it for us and I wanted to make sure he could go ahead and do that.”

 

“Yes Mr. Larabee, we are done. I understand someone was by yesterday looking around. You wouldn’t know who that was, would you?”

 

“Yeah, it was her dad and brothers. Her dad just wanted to see the damage.”

 

“That’s fine if he was just looking at the damage also. We’re still looking at what we found and following up information on who may have done it.”

 

“Alright. Right now it will be easier for you to reach me on my cell phone. I’m not yet in the office this week. Please let me know whatever you find out or if you have any questions.”

 

“I’ll do that. Thank you for checking with me before he did any demolishing.”

 

“No problem. Thanks again,” Chris told him.

 

“Your welcome,” was all he heard before the Fire Chief hung up.

 

Opening the door to the truck, he moved so she could climb in and then he slide in.

 

They left Ben’s house and headed to the different bakeries in town. The second one they looked at they found what they wanted, a champagne cake, three-tiered with white frosting, and pink roses. Looking at what the bakery had for tops Brandi just shook her head and told Chris “No” to what there was. Looking at him with innocent eyes, she smiled and said, “You know what would be good, for the groom, a cowboy dressed in black.”

 

Chris started to laugh and just said “No.”

 

She just shrugged while she laughed.

 

They wrote down all the information on it so Chris could call and let Higgins know what they wanted exactly.

 

They headed to florists and party stores to look at cake tops. Not finding anything they liked, they went by Michaels crafts to see if there was any there they liked that she could do herself. Not finding anything there, she said “Disney store or a Hallmark store. Pick one.”

 

He drove to the closest Hallmark store. Going in to look, they only found a cake serving set with champagne glasses set that they liked. He looked down at her and asked “Do you want to go by Disney or go out and talk to Ben and look online when we get back?”

 

“Let’s go out to the ranch and talk to Ben and then look online. At Disney they’ll just have Mickey and Minnie and as much as I like Mickey – I don’t want to pay for the ones they have.”

 

“Ok, let’s get these and get going then.” They paid for the set and left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 7

 

 

Chris drove out to the ranch and parked on the side of the road. They got out and walked up to where Ben was. Smiling she said “Hey Ben, how’s it going?”

 

Turning around, he smiled and said “Hey little one, Hi Chris. Good. So what do you think?”

 

Chris looked around and said “Looks good. I talked to the Fire Chief today. He’s finished and said you can go in to demolish the other house. He hasn’t heard anything still, but will let me know when he does.”

 

“Good, I’ll get a crew over there in the next couple of days. Got the barn and corral done so whenever you want to bring the horses in is good. I made sure Thunder has plenty of space to himself, since I don’t know how he and Pony get along together.”

 

Smiling, Brandi said “That devil doesn’t get along with anyone, including other horses, except me. He’ll tolerate Chris and Vin but barely. I’m glad you gave him some room.”

 

Chris laughed and said “That’s about it with that one. If I thought I could get away with it that horse wouldn’t be around anymore.”

 

Giving him a thin smile, Brandi said “Seems to me Vin tried that before and wasn’t allowed either, and that was before and after y’all got thrown by him, so don’t push your luck Cowboy.”

 

Laughing harder, he said “Wasn’t planning on it. I already knew I can’t get away with it, so I don’t even plan on trying.”

 

“Good,” was all she said.

 

Ben just shook his head and said “Ya know little one. That beast of yours is a devil child and…” He didn’t get to finish because of the glare she was giving him.

 

“Yes, he is a devil child, but he’s my devil child. Y’all can just stop that train of thought or both of you can sleep here – in the barn.”

 

“Little one, might I remind you that it is my house you’re living in at the moment. You can’t tell me I can’t sleep in my own bed.”

 

“Wanna try me?” she asked sweetly.

 

“Never mind, forget I said anything,” Ben said.

 

Chris wisely kept his mouth closed and kept from laughing so he wouldn’t have to sleep here alone in the barn. Knowing her though, she would want the horses brought over today and then have him sleep in there with them. Not gonna happen in this lifetime or any other.

 

“So, do you want to see the barn, or what’s been done on the house so far?”

 

Smiling at the cave in she got, Brandi said “Sure, why not both.”

 

Ben showed them the inside of the barn and who should be where. Brandi knew it wouldn’t matter how much room you gave him, Thunder still wouldn’t be happy sharing space with another horse. He never has. The inside was big and very nice – a big step up from where both horses were at for now, and it was even nicer than the one Ben built for her that was in Mississippi.

 

At the house, the brick work and stucco was being finished up on the outside, so at least from the outside it looked like a finished house. Looking at the two of them, Ben said “Since you didn’t know until a few days ago that Brandi was pregnant, I noticed you hadn’t specified which of the other five rooms would be considered a nursery, so I added an extra room off the master bedroom for it. As the baby or babies, get older, I can always add extra rooms or make modifications to what you have now, to suit. The way I designed it and will have it built on, it will work whether it is only one baby or triplets, and I’m going to bet it will be twins or triplets.”

 

Chris and Brandi were standing there looking over the progress of the house. He was standing behind her with his hands resting across her abdomen, her hands resting on top of his, fingers laced together. Smiling, Chris said “Glad you thought of it, Ben. I don’t think it crossed our minds at all.”

 

“I didn’t figure it had. I did figure now would be the best time to add it on and I didn’t think you would mind that I did.”

 

“Don’t mind at all,” Chris told him.

 

“It’s looking good, Ben” Brandi said. “Chris is right, it hasn’t crossed our minds and I’m glad you thought of it. My main thing lately is trying to keep from getting sick or passing out.”

 

Chris laughed, and rubbing a hand over her abdomen, he said “Yeah, making sure you’re doing ok has been more of a concern. We probably wouldn’t have thought of it until November or December.”

 

Ben laughed and said “That’s why you have me doing the building, so I can worry about things with the house right now. Oh, while you were in the barn, I sent out some men to demolish the other house. We’ll clean up the rubble also and make sure it is ready for you to sell. It isn’t something we normally do – make sure it’s clean and ready to sell, though we do clean up extra rubble – I’m making an exception this time for you.”

 

Smiling, Brandi said “Thanks Ben, that helps.”

 

“You’re very welcome little one. I need to get back to what I was doing, so I will see you later. Walk around if you want, just be careful where you step.”

 

Chris and Brandi nodded to him and wandered for a while longer before heading back to Ben’s.

 

When they got back, Brandi went to Ben’s office and getting online, she went into e Bay to find a cake top. When she found one she liked she called for Chris to come look. She showed him what she found when he walked in, and liking it also, he told her to go ahead and order it if she wanted it. Since it didn’t have any bids and the buyer had a ‘buy it now’ on it, she bought it. She sent the buyer her pay pal information, so it would be taken care of.

 

She signed off and they walked back out to the front room, noticing Eric and Josh were back.

 

They both went to their room to lie down.

 

Having left his cell phone on, he woke up from it ringing. Turning over, he answered it with “Larabee.”

 

“Chris. Sorry to bother you. I went by to see you and found no one in the office. Is everything all right?” asked Director Travis.

 

“Yes sir, everything is fine. The boys are all in Seattle. Vin and Ezra had a personal matter to take care of and needed some help. Dee hasn’t been feeling good and so I took time to be with her, since we don’t have any open cases at the moment.”

 

“Is Brandi doing all right?”

 

“Yes, sir. We’re going to have a baby and she hasn’t been doing all that great with it this last week, even had her in the hospital a couple of days. We’ve also been using the time to get everything for our wedding at the end of the month done.”

 

“Well, that’s good news on both counts. Mary had mentioned you two were getting married and about the baby and that Billy would be staying with Evie and I while she and Gray go to the wedding. Jim gave me the number to her Uncles, but I didn’t even think to try it first.”

“Was anything wrong, sir?”

 

“No nothing, just thought it strange that you all were gone. That office isn’t usually empty unless you are all out working a case together.”

 

“Alright. Oh, I probably won’t be back in until the boys get back next week, somewhere around Tuesday I would figure, unless something comes up that I need to go in for.”

 

“That’s fine. Take a break and enjoy this rest with Brandi and give her my best. I’ll see you sometime after you are all back in. Have a good afternoon.”

 

“Thank you, sir and I’ll do that. You have a good afternoon also,” Chris replied before hanging up the phone.

 

Having woke up when he answered the phone, Brandi looked up at him and said “Who was that?”

“Director Travis, checking in, since none of us is in the office.”

 

“Mmm hmm,” she replied as she felt his hands sliding under her shirt, her body arching to meet him.

 

He pulled her shirt off, took her lips with his own while his hands claimed her breasts.

 

Her hands unbuttoned his shirt then slid it off him, hating that it caused his hands to move away from her for that short time. She then wrapped her arms around his neck, bringing his head even closer. She felt a hand slide down to her jeans, unbuttoning them and then sliding inside, over her heat, while his mouth moved to claim a breast. She cried out in pleasure, her hips rising to meet him.

 

His fingers started working her, going from massaging her clit to filling her core to fingering her ass, making her hotter and wetter the more he continued. He moved his hands long enough to first slide off her jeans, and then to remove his own before he continued his onslaught of her.

 

He glanced at her and noticed the heavy lidded eyes she looked back at him with were glazed with passion. Smiling to himself, he moved his mouth down her body, nipping here and there.

 

When his tongue touched her clit, she bucked at the wave of pleasure that moved over her, crying out. While his mouth took over her clit, his fingers continued their onslaught of her. After the slow sweet assault his mouth and tongue gave her clit, including the little pulling he did on it with his teeth, she felt fingers start in again, and then felt his tongue take her core, causing her to buck even more and bring herself closer to him.

 

Her mind engaged enough to say “By all that is holy,” before becoming fogged again. He still had fingers working her ass, making her drip even more.

 

She wanted him, right then and it didn’t matter how. She only knew she wanted his cock in her. She also knew he wasn’t finished and wouldn’t give it to her yet. She’d be happy right now just to give him back what he was giving her.

 

He continued his assault until he knew she would start begging. Moving back up her, he took her lips with his and kissed her until she melted and long after.

 

Getting him to roll her over, she moved down his body, nipping here and there, until she reached his rock hard cock. She surrounded him as far as she could with her mouth, using her lips and tongue to bring him as close to the edge as she could without him going over. His hands fisted in her hair, his body matching rhythm with her mouth. When he couldn’t take anymore, he reached down and lifted her to be back even with him, plunging himself into her as soon as he could.

 

They took each other hard and fast right then and keeping it going for as long as they could.

 

He suddenly sat up, and moved so she was on her back under him, her head at the foot of the bed. She hooked her legs around him, wanting more of him. They had not slowed down yet. He bent over and took a breast in his mouth, causing her to buck against him and increase their speed. The more he ravaged her breasts the more she took of him.

 

After taking his fill of her breasts, he brought himself out of her, only to turn her onto her stomach and reenter her, giving her even more of him.

 

One of his hands moved underneath her and started playing with her clit, feeling her wetness surround him more. Keeping himself balanced with the arm that was under her, he used the fingers of his other hand to slide from where he was in her to her ass, fingering her ass occasionally.

 

Between his fingers on her clit, his fingers in and around her ass, and his cock in her, she was dripping and tightening around him continuously.

 

Wanting to feel her tighten in both spots, he gently moved out of her, lowered her hips slightly and slid into the tightness of her ass, feeling her muscles tighten and her wetness slick his fingers as she took all of him. He took her slow now, wanting to prolong the pleasure it gave them both.

 

Her head dropped to the bed as she sighed and moaned, moving with him and wanting it faster. He wouldn’t increase the speed, just moved slow and steady, letting his fingers take her core.

 

She didn’t know how long had passed since he started this sweet onslaught of her, but she knew when it was time to have him back in her core.

 

Shifting slightly, she slid him out of her, rolled onto her back and turned so she was lying correctly on the bed, wanting to watch him.

 

Laughing at how they had been laying, he turned around also, and then smiled down at her as he entered her again. This time they were slow and steady until neither could wait any longer. In one final push they came together, with him giving her all he had, and having no idea how long they had been making love.

 

He leaned down on his forearms and kissed her long and hard, making her body think it wasn’t done, smiling at her reaction.

 

Chris’ cell phone rang again. He answered it with “Larabee.”

 

“Hey Chris. How’s everything?”

 

“Hey Buck. Good so far. What’s up?”

 

“Wanted to let you know we’re staying til next Tuesday. We’ll come home on the same flight as Vin and Ezra.”

 

“That’s fine. There’s nothing going on right now anyway, so I decided to take the week off unless something does. Perk of being the boss.”

 

“That’s good to know that you’re not getting swamped in cases. We’ll let you know if we need anything. Have a good week.”

 

“Do that. You guys have a good week, also. See you next week,” he said before hanging up the phone.

 

As he hung up the phone, Brandi had a thought. Looking at Chris, she asked “Would you dial Adam for me, please.”

 

“Of Course,” he said, as he dialed and handed it to her.

 

She sat up and waited til she heard an answer, not being able to hear the dialing or ring. When she heard “Hello,” she smiled.

 

“Hi Adam,” she said.

 

“Hey brat, what can I do for you?”

 

“Well, I’m curious. Are you sure about when I’m due?” She noticed Chris had moved to sit behind her and was resting his hands across her abdomen, so she leaned into him.

 

“Why?” Adam asked.

 

“I know I’ve been through a lot recently, but I still seem more tired than I should be. And I’m noticing a weight gain, which doesn’t seem like there should be if I’m only about a month along.”

 

“Do you want to come in tomorrow?”

 

“Sure, what time.”

 

“Let’s make it eleven tomorrow morning.”

 

“Ok, we’ll see you then.”

 

“Yep. Have a good evening, brat.”

 

Laughing she said, “We will,” then hung up.

 

Chris started laughing.

 

Turning to face him, she asked “What’s so funny?”

 

“You’re just noticing. That’s probably because you’ve been wearing sweats mostly if not all the time in the hospital, and until this trip, since you got out. I noticed it while you were in the hospital.”

 

“You didn’t say anything?”

 

Smiling now, he replied “Nope, figured you would eventually notice and ask Adam about it. So we’re going in to see Adam tomorrow?”

 

“Yeah. You don’t mind do you?” she asked innocently.

 

Seeing past the look, he said “Fine with me. I’m curious also.”

 

They got up and dressed, and then headed out to the front room. Since Ben was home, they all enjoyed leftovers from the BBQ for dinner and spent the time just talking and enjoy each other’s company.

 

The next morning Chris and Brandi went by Adam’s office as promised. Walking up to the receptionist, Brandi said “Hi, Dr. Stevens is expecting us.”

 

Recognizing Brandi from last time, the receptionist nodded and got up to get Adam. Brandi turned to Chris and just smiled at the prompt service.

 

Opening the door to his waiting room, Adam said “Come on back.’

 

They followed him through and stopped when he did.

 

Looking at Brandi, Adam said “First things first, on the scale.”

 

She stepped on and seeing where it leveled off, she looked at Adam and asked “What was I last time?”

 

“Exactly 100lbs. You’re up 15lbs, which on you is noticeable. Come into a room. I’ll do an ultrasound, since I didn’t do one last week, and we’ll see where exactly we stand.”

 

When Adam finished – after they saw there wasn’t only one baby but three – Adam said “You’re actually just over 12 weeks along. Remember, I never said you were for sure one month, only that you were at least one month, but I wasn’t as worried about getting an ultrasound while you were in the hospital because I figured you were 8 to 12 weeks along. If it was only one, you wouldn’t be showing for another couple of weeks at least, but because it’s triplets, you’re showing earlier. You’ll be due on January 15th.”

 

Neither Brandi nor Chris was surprised by the fact she was having triplets and that she was already that far along.

 

Adam gave her the next date, before the wedding, he wanted to see her, as long as there weren’t any problems in the meantime. He also told her that they would set up the rest of her appointments then and that he wanted to do an alpha-fetoprotein test, just to make sure everything looked good.

 

She told him okay, and then they thanked him and headed back to Ben’s.

 

She found a package on their bed when she walked into the room. Looking at it, she saw it was from where she had ordered her dress from. Opening it, she tried it on to make sure it would fit ok. After getting it on, she looked at Chris and asked “What do you think? Honest opinion.”

 

“I think we should send it back and get the next size up just to be safe. This one looks a bit tight now.”

 

“Yeah, and it feels a little tight. Ok, you get to call and let them know we need a new one and find out how to send this one back.”

 

“That’s fine, babe. That was a three wasn’t it?” Seeing her nod, he asked “Want a five instead?”

 

She laughed and said “Yeah, I think that should be fine. I shouldn’t have to go higher than that, hopefully.”

 

“Sounds good,” he said with a smile. He liked the fact she was starting to show – it had been too long since he had last seen it. He realized that even though he loved Sarah and wouldn’t have traded her or Adam for anything, he really wanted children – the ones she was carrying and more if possible – with this woman standing in front of him.

 

Suddenly thinking about having to reorder the dress and what clothes she had now, Chris said “Before I call and change that, and yeah I know we have to change it – I want to take you to get clothes that will fit now and over the next few weeks to couple of months. With doing this, we can also be sure of the size you’ll need for the dress to reorder it.”

 

She started laughing. When she calmed enough, she said “You are voluntarily going clothes shopping with me? This is a first and I’m not counting Ben taking us to replace clothes. Gee, I’m ready to go then. This should be fun. Oh – what are we going to do with the stuff of mine that we already replaced?” she asked as they walked out of the room.

 

“Put them away for now. We’ll pick up some storage boxes for them, while we’re out. Any place in particular you want to go,” he said, following her out.

 

“No, but Wal-Mart or Sears are the better places to find me some jeans. Otherwise, I don’t care. We can get everything at Wal-Mart for all I care. I like the clothes there and if I don’t find much, we can go someplace else.”

 

They found everything she needed and wanted at Wal-Mart and Sears, and she found that size five was what fit nice at the moment, but they decided a seven or nine would be better to order her dress in. They bought jeans, shorts, dresses, skirts and tops in size five to twelve, not taking any chances on what she might need the farther she got. They also got three new one-piece swimsuits for her to take on their honeymoon in sizes that would fit. She didn’t think she would have to get maternity clothes because they didn’t make them small enough – they were made for women that were average size before getting pregnant – but she wasn’t going to rule anything out at this point. With carrying triplets, anything was possible.

 

When they got back to Ben’s, Chris called the company about reordering the dress, he thought the nine would be better – and she agreed with him, better to be slightly loose than too tight, and sending back the one they had. Although she didn’t hear him give any explanation as to why they were going from a three to a nine, she figured that they thought he was crazy and wondered why the three was ordered in the first place. When he finished the call, he helped her clean off the bed so she could lie down. She realized she was exhausted already and as soon as her head hit the pillow she was asleep. Chris gave her a kiss and then left the room, letting her sleep. He took Herc and Ares out with him so they could go outside and also be able to eat. Since he hadn’t seen anyone else there, he wasn’t going to leave and leave her alone in the house. Until they found out more about what happened to their house, he didn’t want her to go anywhere, except the bathroom if she wasn’t going to throw up, without someone else there – preferably himself.

 

Chris then called Hawai’i.

 

“Robin Masters estate,” came the very British answer.

 

“Jonathan, its Chris. Do you mind getting the cake also?”

 

“Not at all Chris. Do you know what you want?”

 

“Yes,” Chris told him and gave him the information.

 

“All right I have that.”

 

“Great. Let me know how much for everything and I’ll send you a check. Speaking of which, how is it all going? Any problems?”

 

“No, I have everything set up here for the wedding and reception after. Did you want to have a dinner a night or two before the wedding?”

 

“Yeah, that’d be great, and wherever you want to have it at. Oh so you know, I already got us a chaplain, from Pearl since my thirty years aren’t up yet.”

 

“I’ll set it up for the night you all arrive, around six at the King Kamehameha Club. I will let you know how much everything is, but Mr. Masters may want to help pay for it also.”

 

Chris laughed and said, “That’s true, he might. Well if he does, then let me know how much for what he doesn’t cover, and please let him know he doesn’t have to cover it all.”

 

“I will do that Chris. I’ll let you know what Mr. Masters doesn’t cover and I will talk to you on the 26th unless I need to contact you before then,” Higgins said before hanging up.

 

The rest of the week passed quietly and quickly with Brandi sleeping whenever she could, making sure she didn’t stress and eating regularly.

 

Time came to go back to work, and the day the guys would get back. She didn’t think it was possible that she had only been home two weeks with everything that had happened. In that week before returning to work, they put the property that the house in town was on, on the market to be sold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 8

 

She was sitting at her desk looking over her notes for the reservation. Having blocked all sounds coming in, she saw movement out of the corner of her eye. Looking up she saw Chris walk past and out the door to the bull pen. Wondering what was up she got up and went to the office doorway and looked to the bull pen, seeing all six guys just inside the door.

 

She unblocked the sounds and seeing Ezra and Vin, she smiled and said “Yeah, I see how I rate. You two somehow hear I’m coming home so you found an excuse to leave town.”

 

Both looked up at her. Vin just gave her a grin. Ezra laughed and said “Nicci, if we had known you would be home the same day, we would not have left so soon.”

 

“But Ezra,” JD said, “you said you had to leave immediately.”

 

Ezra looked at the boy and chuckled. “It’s quite all right Mr. Dunne. Nicci is only teasing Mr. Tanner and myself.”

 

Still looking confused, JD just said “Oh.”

 

Shaking her head over JD, Brandi asked “How’s Patty?”

 

“Out of the hospital and restin’ at home,” Vin replied.

 

“Good, I’m glad to hear that,” she replied. “Now if y’all will excuse me, I’m going back to what I was doing and then see if I can come to any terms, or agree, with Indian Affairs.” She turned back into the office but stopped when she heard Vin.

 

“You’ve never agreed with them,” he told her with a laugh.

 

Smiling, she turned back and said, “True, but I keep hoping.” She turned back in and went to her desk blocking all but the music she started.

 

She finished going through her notes then moved her phone to the handset for her TDD and put in the number for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in DC. Once connected, she typed in who she was, where she was from, the tribe she represented, and what she needed. When she was connected with the office she needed to talk to, she asked for a fax number to send them what she had so far on the problems that weren’t being addressed for her tribe. Once she had the number everything was faxed, making sure they were getting it all in English, and then she typed in that it was being sent. When she received an acknowledgement that everything was received, she started asking questions about why these things hadn’t been taken care of. The person on the other end was not giving her any satisfying answer so she started cussing, loudly, but not in English.

 

Out in the bullpen there was laughing going on. Hearing words in Spanish and Kiowa, Vin said while laughing “Those were ones I didn’t think she would know, let alone say.”

 

“I’m sure she’s heard them because of her brothers and cousins, even if she didn’t say them,” Chris laughed.

 

“What’d she say,” JD asked as Ezra started laughing more when Brandi switched languages again. Looking at Ezra, JD asked “What?”

 

“Just more of what would have been thought she wouldn’t know or say. As to what she is saying, Mr. Dunne, I’m sure Mr. Tanner will agree with me on what he understood, they aren’t words that need to be repeated,” Ezra said, looking at Vin. Vin just nodded his agreement.

 

They heard more, but not anything any of them could understand to which if she knew they were listening, she would be grateful.

 

They suddenly heard a very loud crash. Chris, Vin and Ezra hurried to the office to see what happened. What they saw was her computer on the floor in pieces.

 

Looking from it to her, Chris got her attention and motioned for her to listen.

 

When he saw her nod, he said “I know why it pisses me off, but what did yours do to you?”

 

“Wasn’t the computer itself. It was having to use that damn TDD and the stupid idiot, oh wait stupid bureaucratic asshole, that I was talking to who wasn’t giving me any straight answers. Anyone wanna volunteer to call and talk to the idiot I was talking to and see if that has any better effect than the way I have to, cuz if I have to get on that thing again, I’m more liable to show up in his office and kill him,” she said with a chilling smile. Her computer was back on her desk in one piece, though she made no move to work on it. “Please, anyone?”

 

“I’ll see what I can do,” Chris said. “If he does the same to me, we’ll talk about the killing.”

 

“Damn, I wanted to figure that part out first. Oh well. Thanks.” She grabbed the disc and hard copy for the notes, the number and person’s name, got up and handed them to Chris. “Have fun. I’m going to lie down and maybe take a nap.” Since she didn’t have her shoes on, had taken them off when they got in, she laid down on the couch they had in the office, pulled the blanket she brought in with her that morning over her, blocked out all the noise and fell asleep immediately.

 

Vin and Ezra just shook their heads at that and sympathized with Chris on the task he was taking. Without saying a word, they turned and went back out to their desks.

 

After a few minutes, Vin walked back in and asked “Any luck?”

 

“Haven’t even tried yet,” Chris told him. “Had to hang the phone back up and then started looking at what she wanted to know, and makes me glad she had the notes on disc and that I had her put a translation program on my computer, otherwise I wouldn’t have a clue as to what she wrote. Nothing is in English, but she must have translated them as she faxed them. One good thing is she printed off his non-answers to her questions before she killed the computer, and those are in English.”

 

“I realize we’re talking about Nic, but mebbe he didn’t know or understand what she was askin’,” Vin wondered.

 

Shaking his head, Chris replied “He knew. Like I said, she faxed him all her notes then made sure he got them before she started asking questions. This is one of the reasons she hates using a TDD. She can’t get her point across or clarified.”

 

Looking over at her asleep on the couch, Vin asked “She doin’ ok?”

 

With a smile, Chris answered “Yeah, she’s doing good, or at least as good as anyone could do being three months pregnant with triplets. When she gets tired, she gets pissed about something, though doesn’t usually matter what, she then lies down and is out. She’ll usually only sleep an hour or two, but that also depends on how tired she is.”

 

Vin just nodded, still watching the sleeping woman.

 

With a smile to himself and a shake of his head, Chris placed the call to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

 

When the call was answered, he said “Mr. Richard Dennis, please.”

 

“Yes sir, may I tell him who is calling.”

 

“Chris Larabee. He was talking to Dr. Brandi Masters-Stewart a short time ago and they were accidentally disconnected.”

 

“One moment sir.”

 

Chris waited a few minutes, and then the building operator came back on and said “I’m sorry sir, he’s on another line. Can I direct your call to someone else?”

 

“No, he is the person Dr. Masters-Stewart has been dealing with. If the other line he is on is a TDD, that is the one that was accidentally disconnected. She is not on that line anymore and it is no longer hooked up on this end.”

 

With an exasperated sigh, the woman said “One moment sir.”

 

Next thing Chris heard was “This is Richard Dennis. May I help you?”

 

Smiling Chris explained why he was calling – though he didn’t say she was getting pissed and disconnected the call on purpose. Chris then asked if Mr. Dennis received Brandi’s notes all right. When Mr. Dennis told Chris that no notes were received, Chris said that it was interesting because she faxed them and wrote a note to herself, after asking him if the fax came through, and printed off the sheet with his affirmation that the fax was received. Mr. Dennis replied he hadn’t realized that was what the fax was; he hadn’t looked over what she sent yet. In a very controlled voice Chris told Mr. Dennis that it would be a good idea to look over what she faxed as soon as he could and he then gave Mr. Dennis his direct line, suggesting that Mr. Dennis call him and that they could discuss what she wanted.

 

“Why should I call you? Dr. Masters-Stewart is the one I need to speak with,” Mr. Dennis barked.

 

“Yes, but she can’t hear and she would rather, at this point, have you deal with me or one of my agents since then you would be actually talking to a person and not through a TDD,” Chris explained, as he would to a five year old.

 

“You or one of your agents? Who do you work for?” Mr. Dennis raged.

 

“ATF. As I said, you may want to read over her notes for where there are problems on this reservation and call me back as soon as you can with possible solutions. I’ll let her know everything you come up with and I’ll let you know her decision,” Chris replied seeing movement from where Brandi was laying.

 

“How can I be sure you’ll tell Dr. Masters-Stewart?” Mr. Dennis asked.

 

“Just one moment, Mr. Dennis.” Putting the phone on hold, Chris looked at Brandi and asked “Something wake you up Dee?”

 

With a small laugh she said “Yeah, you’re getting upset. I must have let the block down, not realizing it, and then heard you talking to someone trying to hold your temper. Who is it?”

 

“Mr. Richard Dennis with the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” he told her.

 

Seeing how Vin was sitting in the only chair in front of Chris’ desk and the chair in front of her desk was too far away, she got up and sat on Vin’s lap. Looking at Chris, she asked “Ok, so what did he last ask you?”

 

“Wants to know how he can be sure I’ll tell you what’s going on,” Chris said with a smile, knowing what she wanted to do and reaching over to put it on speaker before she asked.

 

“Mr. Dennis,” she said. “This is Dr. Masters-Stewart. You’ll have to excuse me if this goes slower now, because I’ll be getting translations of what you say.”

 

“Dr. Masters-Stewart, that’s fine. I’m sorry we couldn’t finish earlier.”

 

“Mr. Dennis,” Chris replied. “As you can see, I will be informing Dr. Masters-Stewart of whatever conversations we have, if they are not done as this one is – over the speaker phone. I would be telling her anyway since she is the one directly involved as the agent for her tribe. She has told me of some of the problems going on, and I can see where the others are that she found by the brief look I did before calling you. The least you could have done was look over what she faxed to you when you received it so you would have an idea of what she was asking you.”

 

That was a part Brandi had missed of the conversation. When she heard that, she said icily “Since you have not taken the time to look over what I faxed Mr. Dennis, please do so this afternoon and evening and then call us back tomorrow with potential solutions. So you know, it will be done as this is now, as a conference call, and if you don’t call, you have not looked over what I faxed, or I am still not getting satisfactory answers, your supervisor will be notified.” Without waiting for a response, she reached over and disconnected the call.

 

Both Chris and Vin started laughing. Glaring at them both, while trying to hide her own amusement, she said, “At least now I know why I didn’t get any straight answers out of him. I would have thought he would get the fax, and look it over. Personally I still say we kill him. Less trouble.”

 

Laughing still, Chris said “Yeah, but this way is more fun. Besides, this will make him think seriously about looking over everything you sent and calling tomorrow since he won’t know if you’ll carry through with your promise or not.”

 

Vin was starting to get his laughter under control. Amid chuckles, he replied “And he don’t even know if it’s a threat or a promise. Might make him more apt to do it.”

 

Not able to hide her own amusement anymore, she smiled and said “True,” as she moved her left leg around so she was sitting with both legs resting on Vin’s inner thigh.

 

Watching her, Chris just smiled and asked “You gonna lay back down, babe?”

 

“No,” she answered as she leaned against Vin. “I have paperwork I need to get done.”

 

They both watched as she closed her eyes and fell back asleep.

 

Still smiling, Chris said “Yeah, that’s what I thought. When you decide you need to get up, you can give her to me or lay her on the couch.”

 

“You sure she’s only asleep?” Vin asked.

 

“Yeah and she wouldn’t have fallen asleep there if she didn’t feel safe,” Chris told him.

 

As Vin nodded, Buck walked up to the doorway and said “Sorry if I’m interupptin’, Chris, but I just got a call on that arms deal we’ve been waitin’ to hear on. I’m gonna take JD and see if we can get it closed up in the next couple of hours.”

 

Chris nodded and said “Watch your backs,” as Buck turned away.

 

“Will do,” Buck called as he and JD started to leave.

 

The two sat there in the office in companionable silence, with Chris working for about fifteen minutes before Brandi stirred slightly. Looking up as soon as she moved, he also noticed an eye slightly flutter so he said “Dee?”

 

Vin hadn’t realized she had moved until Chris said that and he heard “Hmm?” from her.

 

“You ok?” Chris wondered.

 

“No. Sorry Vin,” she said as she got up, “not comfortable now.” She was more than half asleep but still walked over and got the blanket, then walked around the desk and crawled onto Chris’ lap, falling right back asleep.

 

Vin only smiled as he got up and left the office to go back out to his desk. He wasn’t surprised she got up, but what surprised him was that she fell asleep on his lap and not Chris’ and he had forgotten how good she felt. He knew it wouldn’t do him any good to entertain any thoughts about Nic, especially when he also had Trisha on his mind. But he was starting to notice a thirst that he hadn’t been able to do anything about. He knew he would have to ask her to let him drink.

 

Chris worked around Brandi sleeping on his lap. If he had to get up at all, he would get up with her, and put her in the chair until he got back and picked her back up, sitting back down with her. She never stirred whenever he got up, but he knew she would if he moved her to the couch.

She slept for about two hours and started stirring when his phone rang. Grabbing it he said “Larabee.”

 

“Chris, its Jack. I was looking for Brandi but her TDD doesn’t seem to be hooked up.”

 

“Hey Jack. No, she was using it earlier and got frustrated with it, so it isn’t hooked up. She’s here but taking a nap. What’d you need?”

 

“A teacher. Well, basically a replacement for one of our professors for the summer session.”

 

“Which class and I’ll ask her when she wakes up.”

 

“It’s actually three classes. We have a summer session of Physics going and two psychology classes.”

 

“Ok,” Chris replied, writing it down. “How soon do you need to know?”

 

“The sooner the better. Tell you what. If she says yes, just be out here by 2 this afternoon, no wait make that 1:45 and come by my office first. First class starts at 2:30, so that should give me plenty of time to give her the basics for all three. Call me back if she says no though, please.”

 

“Will do. Talk to or see you soon Jack.”

 

“Yeah, and thanks Chris.”

 

“No problem,” Chris replied before hanging up.

 

“Who was that?” Brandi asked.

 

“Jack Walters. Wants to know if you can do three classes this summer.”

 

“Which ones?”

 

“Physics and psychology. He didn’t say why, only that he needed a replacement. It’s up to you. If you want to do this, we need to be out there at his office by 1:45 this afternoon so he can go over whatever he needs to with you.”

 

“Yeah, I’ll do it, but what’s this we stuff.”

 

“We as in you and me, unless you want one of the other guys to go with you, but seeing how Vin and I are the only ones that actually know sign, your kinda stuck lady. Besides the fact, until we find out differently, you aren’t going anywhere out in public, except the bathroom, by yourself. I’m not taking any chances that it was you that was targeted with our house.”

 

She looked at him and said “Fine, since you’re right about only you and Vin knowing sign. And, as comfortable as I am here, I’m not getting any work done since I’m awake.” Giving him a kiss, she got up and said “I’m going to work on that paperwork I have to get done before we leave since I won’t have a lot of time to work on it with teaching the three classes.”

 

“Ok and you’ve got about an hour to work before we get some lunch. Then you can get more done before we go out to the college.”

 

Smiling at him, she said “Yes mom.” Turning to the door and heading to her desk, she suddenly stopped and started laughing.

 

Wondering what was so funny Chris asked “What, Dee?”

 

Shaking her head, she walked to the door and said “I don’t believe this. Thaddeus, Joshua. What in the hell are you two doing here?”

 

JD walked past as she made her comment and said “You know these two Nic?”

 

Chris had come to stand behind her and was wondering the same thing.

 

“Yeah,” she answered “we’re old friends. So what’d all you two do this time? Wait let’s see if I can guess. Too hard to rob trains these days, so can’t be that. Too hard to rob banks also, so can’t be that. Unless you’ve changed and killed someone, well then you wouldn’t be here and I can’t imagine that ever happening, so what happened?”

 

“Would you look at the welcome we get from one friendly face Joshua? Well hello to you to Brandi. You were wrong on all guesses. These two that arrested us think we were selling guns,” Thaddeus told her.

 

Brandi started laughing more. Instead of saying anything, she turned around, pushed Chris back into their office and closed the door.

 

When she finally seemed to be a bit under control, Chris asked “Wanna explain that one?”

 

Nodding, she said “They are old friends as in 130 years ago old friends. You remember hearing about two outlaws by the names of Kid Curry and Hannibal Hayes?” At his nod, she pointed out to where they had been and continued “Thaddeus Jones and Joshua Smith, respectively. They robbed trains and banks, but didn’t ever hurt anyone. They used their guns more for show. Someone has to be setting them up for this. They are the last ones that would be selling guns. I don’t doubt whatever tip Buck or JD got, but take my word for it Chris, those two aren’t the type that would. I’m sure you remember their reputation. Would they seem the type to you?”

“I remember hearing about them. Didn’t they get amnesty from their governor or something like that?”

 

“Yeah, they did, and all it really did was sort of kept them out of jail. They are more like two that are in the wrong place at the wrong time type guys for any trouble they got in after getting the amnesty.”

 

“When Buck left, he said he got a tip on the deal going down, so I’ll find out more on it. I haven’t had reason to doubt your instincts yet on anything, and I’m not going to start now, especially since you know them.”

 

She started laughing again. When she calmed down again, she said “Um, yeah, haven’t doubted my instincts. Hmmm, well I can come up with two times you did. Though I will say, you did figure it out the second time, but almost too late.”

 

He looked at her trying to remember, and then it finally came to him when she was talking about. He started to say something to her but looked up and said “Come in,” instead.

 

“What were you going to say?” she asked him, a smug look on her face.

 

Shaking his head that it didn’t matter now, he said “Quit looking so smug.”

 

“Why, were you gonna deny it, or do I have to remind you of a name?”

 

“No, I remember it well enough and I’ll give that to you on both counts. In fact I distinctly remember the second time you told me.” He leaned down and gave her a kiss and whispered to her “Enough,” with a slight smile.

 

She only nodded her agreement with him, still smiling knowing she won the point.

 

Looking up, Chris said “Sorry Buck, what’s up.”

 

“I was wondering if you wanted to watch the interrogation, and why was Nic laughing?”

 

“She believes they’re being set up. She doesn’t doubt whatever tip that you and JD got, she just doubts that they actually did it.” Looking back down at her he asked “If you’re right, you want me to let them go?”

 

Her smile got bigger and she said “Hold on to them. I’m sure they’ve done something recently that they aren’t owning up to, I just know it isn’t this. They rob banks and trains, not sell guns.”

 

Nodding to her, Chris followed Buck out. She could hear Buck ask “Nic gonna come talk to them also?”

 

“Only if necessary,” Chris told him.

 

As Chris walked out, Vin walked in, saying “Nic, I need a favor.”

 

Looking up at him, she noticed his color and just nodded.

 

He closed the door behind him then walked over to her, fangs coming out. As she put a block on the door, she gave him her arm and let him take as much blood as he needed. Taking his fill and feeling better, he made sure no blood was showing around his mouth, retracted his fangs, and at her nod, smiled to her and walked out, letting the rest of the boys wonder.

 

After Vin left she worked quietly, only music vibrating on her desk, and quickly, getting caught up in no time. When Chris walked back in, she said “Vin fed, and I’m done. So, how’d it go with them?”

 

Shaking his head, but not surprised that she was done or that Vin fed from her, he said “They have no idea why they were set up, or by who. They are hiding something though. I was thinking about letting you talk to one of them, you’re choice, and see what you can get. But, after lunch.”

 

Getting up, she replied “Sounds good. I can tell you now that it will be Kid, Thaddeus. He talks to me a lot easier.”

 

Nodding, he followed her out to the bull pen. He told the rest of the team that they were going to lunch and would be back in an hour.

 

They had a quiet lunch, enjoying the hour alone. They tried to do that whenever they were both in the office together since more times than not one or both were out in the field.

 

When they got back, Chris looked around at the men in the bull pen. Making a decision, he said “JD, would you put Mr. Jones in the interrogation room for Dee.”

 

“Sure Chris. Who’s gonna be doing the listening?”

 

“Me,” was the only reply received.

 

Nodding, JD left to bring up Thaddeus Jones.

 

Before Brandi walked in to wait for JD and Thaddeus, Chris said “I’ll keep an eye on the time and let you know when it’s time to go.”

 

“Good, then I won’t have to worry about it. Do you have anything in particular you want me to ask him, or is it my call?”

 

“Your call. Go with what you think will work.”

 

Nodding, she gave him a kiss and then went in to wait.

 

“Come on in here,” JD said as he brought Thaddeus in. Looking over at Brandi, JD asked “You gonna be ok Nic?”

 

With a smile, she said “Yeah JD, I’ll be fine. He’s harmless.”

 

Nodding, JD left the room.

 

Once the door was closed, she said “Have a seat, Kid. I believe you have some, um, explaining to do.”

 

“They still think Hayes and I did that, don’t they?”

 

“Running guns, no. But you two are up to something.”

 

With a smile he said, “Come on, Brandi. You know us better than that.”

 

“That’s the point. I do know you and I know when you’re hiding something Kid. Hell, you two shouldn’t even be here anyway. How’d you two end up here?”

 

“We’ve been trying to figure that out. One minute we’re riding down a dusty Denver Street, and the next we’re surrounded by these weird contraptions that make noise.”

 

She thought for a minute, and realized she hadn’t felt any changes in the time line, then asked “When did this happen?

 

“Today, earlier since we haven’t spent the night in this crazy place.”

 

“Ok, so what’d you first do when you found yourself among all those cars? That’s what they’re called.”

 

“Looked for a place to lay low til dark, and then figure out what to do.”

 

“Did you go looking for any banks to see about getting money? Did you see or even talk to anyone?”

 

“Wouldn’t know where to look for a bank here. We did see a couple of guys by one of those, what’d you call it, cars, exchanging what looked like money. They saw us and left, leaving that car. Next thing we know, we’re being brought in here being accused of running guns.”

 

She smiled, knowing what they had been hiding. “Ok,” she said “do you think you could describe them to me?”

 

“Yeah, I can. Hayes on the other hand,” he started but was cut off.

 

“Yeah, I know. So tell me what you remember about them.”

 

She wrote down everything he told her about the description of the two men, including face and head shape, and distance of eyes on the face, so she could sketch them later. When he finished, she said “Thanks, Kid. I’ll sketch these later this afternoon or tomorrow and then you can take a look to make sure they’re accurate. I’ll also find out what happened to bring you both forward and see about correcting it. In the meantime, you’re both the safest here.”

 

When he nodded, she got up, opened the door and called “JD.” When JD walked up, she said “We’re done. He can go back now. Thanks.” Turning back into the room as JD went past her she said “Thanks again Thaddeus. That helped.”

 

He nodded glad he could help, and followed the youngest agent out.

 

She left the room after they did and went to the back room, going in.

 

“Well, I can see why they weren’t talking and what they were hiding,” she told Chris. “Who’s gonna believe that they had been 130 years in the past one minute and then here the next. Buck and JD would have thought they were crazy since they haven’t remembered anything, and even though they knew you were in here listening they wouldn’t have known that you would have believed the story. You knew it wouldn’t take me long, didn’t you?”

 

“Yeah, to most the time travel would be hard to believe. Yeah I did know you would be quick and I didn’t let you do it before lunch because you wouldn’t have wanted to go eat after. You would have put eating off. While you’re feeling good still, you need to eat regularly, and you already know I’m going to make sure you do.” He had moved to her while talking. He put his arms around her and lifted her up so she was looking at him evenly. She put her arms around his neck, bringing his head to her, and wrapped her legs around his waist. He took her lips, ravaging them. When he released her lips, both of them were breathing heavy. Licking her lips, she said “We don’t have time, do we?”

 

“Unfortunately not, or I wouldn’t have stopped,” he said with a glint in his eyes. He had moved his hands to be under her, under her skirt, and let his fingers roam over and around the wet heat of her.

“Um, yeah, that’s what I thought. We’re not coming back in after I get done with the classes today are we?” she asked as she stifled a cry. “Um, oh, I, um, thought, you, said, oh, you, stopped.”

 

With a smile that matched the look in his eyes, he said “Not anymore, for either.” His fingers slid into the heat, causing her to buck and ride, wanting more.

 

Hanging on to him, not wanting him to stop, she asked “Are we, um, going to be, oh, late?”

 

“Possibly,” he told her as he leaned her against the wall, and then leaned in to kiss her neck and take her lips again. She bucked and writhed against him and he knew if he didn’t stop they would be late because he would take her, and lord knew he wanted in her as much as she wanted him in her. His fingers slowed to a stop and he smiled to himself at the whimper she gave.

 

When he released her lips she begged “No, please, don’t stop. I need you now and I know you need me. Please.”

Setting her to her feet, but holding on til she got her balance back he laughed and said “You’re right, I do, as much as you, but we can take up where we left off when we get home. And believe me, we will.”

 

They made sure their clothes were straight and that it didn’t look too obvious as to what they were doing. They stopped in their office to grab her purse and sketch pad, and she put the description in it so it wouldn’t get lost.

 

They stopped in the bullpen on the way out and Chris said “We’re heading over to the University. Since I don’t know how long we’ll be gone, we won’t be back when she’s done. If you need me, my phone’s on. I’ll come back if necessary. If not, see you all tomorrow.”

 

“Bye Chris, bye Nic,” they heard as they left.

 

They got to the University and into Jack Walters office. Looking up as they walked in, Jack said “I was starting to wonder if you were going to be here.”

 

“Sorry Jack,” Chris told him, “Dee was talking to someone that got brought in today and took longer than we thought.”

 

“That’s fine,” he said then he turned and pulled some papers out. Turning back, he looked at Brandi and said “These are for all three classes. There is two hours of psychology, separate classes each an hour long, and physics, lecture only, that I need you to do. Is that going to be ok with you?”

 

“Yeah, that’s fine, but so you know, I’m going to be gone the 26th of this month to Aug 3. What am I doing today?”

 

“The first of the psychology classes, then physics, and then the other psychology class. Three hours total. That’s fine for when you’ll be gone, but may I ask why?’

 

“Yeah, we’re getting married.”

 

“Really, congratulations to you both. I’ll find a replacement for the week or do it myself, with lots of notes from you as to what you’re doing and such since neither are my specialty.”

 

Laughing, she said “Ok, we can talk about it. You got any books for me since I’m walking in blind today, as I know the kids are.”

 

“Yeah, let me look.” He turned away and finding what he needed, he turned back and said “Here, these are the ones on the list for the students to use. The professor you’re replacing had bought his books after deciding on them before quitting. So, he gave them to me for whoever took over.”

 

“Ok. So what rooms?”

 

“It’s there on the paperwork I gave you, and here is a map of the campus.”

 

Looking at both of them, he said “Let me know if Chris can’t make it on a day of classes, and I’ll get another translator for you. The days the classes are is also there in the paperwork, so you should be able to plan easily around it.”

 

“Ok, that sounds good. I think we should head to the first room, so I know where I’m going and I’m not late in.”

 

“Sounds good, and Brandi, thanks for doing this. I don’t know what I would have done if you couldn’t, other than cancel the classes and I didn’t want to have to do that.”

 

“I know you didn’t Jack, and I don’t mind at all,” she smiled at him before they walked out.

 

They got to the room before any students and she sat down to look over what the previous professor had planned for the summer. Some of what he was going to teach she agreed with, some she didn’t, but she figured she could adjust it to what she wanted as she got more into the classes and saw what the classes were like. She looked up when she felt a movement on the desk. She noticed students coming in, looking like they were in the wrong class.

 

She looked at her watch and noticed it was time to start. Standing up and coming around to the front of the desk, she smiled and said “Good afternoon. I’m Dr. Brandi Masters-Stewart. I’m sure I’m not who you thought was going to be teaching this class, but something came up causing Professor Davis to not be able to teach the class this summer. This gentleman next to me is Mr. Chris Larabee and he is here to translate for me because I can’t hear. So, before we start into anything else, I’m going to let y’all ask me anything you would like.”

 

Seeing hands raised, she pointed to one young lady and said “Yes, go ahead.”

 

She watched Chris as the girl asked “Why are you teaching this class? Are you a psychologist?”

 

With a laugh, she said “Actually, yes I am. I am a doctor of Psychology, specializing in Criminal Psychology, but I also have a Ph.D. in Physics and doctorates in Old World History – which can deal with the psychology of cultures – and Criminology. I do not know what Professor Davis’ qualifications were, but I do know I was asked because of mine, and mine are used on a daily basis with my other job.”

 

Pointing to someone else, she was asked “Are you married?”

 

She noted the student being asked got elbowed by a friend and could see the laughter of other students. With a smile, she answered “No, I’m not.”

 

The same student then asked “Will you marry me?”

 

Laughing this time, she said “You’ll have to take that up with Mr. Larabee since he asked me first and we will be at the end of the month.”

 

“Oh,” the student said, looking dejected.

 

With a smile, Chris said “Talk to me after. Maybe we can work something out.” Brandi had been watching him and gave him a slight shove while laughing.

 

Another student asked “If you can’t hear how come you can talk so well?”

 

“I lost my hearing ten years ago, due to an accident. There was, and is, no way to correct it. I already knew sign language spending most of my childhood on a reservation and because I lost it as an adult, I didn’t lose my speech capabilities.”

 

“You spent time on a reservation? Why?” she was next asked.

 

“Good, I’m glad you picked up on that. Yes, because I’m full blood Kiowa Indian.”

 

“Yeah but you’re blonde instead of dark haired. You don’t look like a full blood.”

 

“Another good point, which brings me to this – we have just knocked several stereotypes out of the water. You’re right I don’t, which has always been to my advantage. I especially don’t when I introduce people to either of my dads, since both are white. My real father was Indian, but died just after my mother found out she was pregnant with my brothers and I. She married a white man and passed us off as his, to which he didn’t mind, so he has always been our father. My other dad was her third husband after her and my dad split up. Now for the stereotypes we threw out: Not all blondes are stupid, just because you have a disability – such as deafness – you aren’t stupid and you can still function, which includes talking, as a normal person in society, and looks can be deceiving – what you see may not be what is.”

 

That got her started into the class for both of the psychology classes. The Physics class questions were about the same, but when she said about her Ph.D. in Physics, she was asked “Did you specialize in a certain part of Physics?”

 

Smiling she said “Yes, I did. Quantum physics is what I really like and made a specialty, but I’ve also dealt with Astrophysics. And, I’ve designed and help build 2 motorcycles and a helicopter, among other things, for the government, which is about all I can say on those.”

 

After that they seemed more interested in listening to what she had to teach them in that first class.

 

By the time the three hours were over, she was exhausted, but even more, she wanted to go home and take up where they left off in the office before leaving for the school. She was hungry for him, and she noticed that he stayed were she could see him when she was asked a question, but not were anyone else could really get a good look at the lower half of his body. Except her and she was well aware that he was hungry for her also.

 

They got out to the truck and as she got in she said “All I want right now is hands on each other and you in me.”

 

“Let me get us home, and that can be arranged,” he told her.

 

She only smiled, like a cat, at him in answer.

 

Seeing her smile, he figured he’d better get there quick. With a wicked look in his eyes, he gave her a smile to match.

 

His cell phone suddenly rang. Looking at the ID, he answered. “Hey Ben, what’s up?”

 

“Hey Chris. Are you two leaving work anytime soon?

 

“Actually left there around one-forty, Dee is teaching some classes at the University. We’re leaving the University now. Why?”

 

“Can you both meet me at Lowe’s? I need information on stuff and want to get it ordered today.”

 

“Yeah, we can stop there on our way home. We’ll see you shortly.”

Looking at Brandi, he said “As you heard, we have to put it on hold again.”

 

“Yeah, damn him. What is it he’s wanting?”

 

“Us to meet him at Lowe’s. Said he wants information to be able to order some stuff, so I figure it is for floors, carpets, cabinets and such for the ranch. Since we know what we want, it won’t take us long and we can get home to more important things before we start on any work,” he said with a grin.

 

Taking his right hand, she put it under her skirt and said “You sure this will wait?” When his fingers moved over her and into her, she moved her hips to ride his fingers what she could and slid her left hand against his rock hard cock trapped in his jeans, feeling him move into her hand more.

 

Shaking his head to clear it, he said “Yeah, only about as long as mine will, and I’d almost rather take you here and now just for some relief for both of us. Like I said, we’ll make this fast.”

 

She only nodded as his fingers stayed moving and increased in her all the way to meet Ben.

 

By the time they got to the building supply store, both were tense with wanting and Chris was hurting with it. Ben noticed this as they walked to him, holding hands and walking close together, and almost laughed. He didn’t, only because he knew that if he did Brandi would find some way to make him pay for it.

 

“Thanks for meeting me here. I’m sure you know what I need you for, since you never told me what you wanted for inside the house.”

 

Brandi both smiled and said with effort, “That’s ok. I didn’t even think about it last week. Besides for the most part we know what we want.”

 

“She’s right,” Chris said with greater effort, “with the exception of appliances and most of the furniture, since we didn’t know we would need new ones, we had already decided what we wanted when she drew up the plans. I thought we wrote everything on them.”

 

“Wasn’t on the copy you gave me,” Ben said.

 

Frowning, Brandi said “Maybe we didn’t move them over onto the final plans, oh well, we’re here now.”

 

They headed back to flooring, cabinets, and counter tops. Chris and Brandi showed Ben exactly what they wanted for the kitchen and bathrooms cabinets and countertops, sinks, faucets, the shower heads for their bathroom, the tub for theirs, and the shower/tubs for the other bathrooms, the carpet for the whole house except the kitchen and bathrooms, the vinyl for the kitchen and bathrooms – which would be easy because they wanted the same vinyl in all bathrooms and the kitchen, and the paint colors for the different rooms, writing on the samples which room it would go in. Ben wasn’t surprised at the brand of faucets they picked – Pegasus – since that was something that was part of her. He took them over to the appliances (refrigerators, dishwasher’s, ovens, stoves, and washers and dryers), having them look and tell him what they wanted there. She looked around and then looked at Ben and said “I don’t see Kenmore here, and that’s what I want. Kenmore Elite front load washer and dryer with pedestals, side by side Kenmore refrigerator with ice and water in the door, Kenmore range, oven and dishwasher. So you’ll have to go to Sears to get them, and we aren’t going with you right now to help you decide. I’ll trust you for the range, oven and dishwasher. No white or black. Off white/almond would be fine. And as for other furniture, with the exception of the bed which I know we want a king size sleep number bed, one or both of us can tell you later or go with you at a later time; I did also move some pieces that can’t be replaced out with the rest I moved out of the house for protection.”

 

Writing it all down, he looked at them and said “Thanks again, this helps, and that’s fine with the rest of the furniture. Why don’t you two go ahead and go and if I need anything else, I let you know.” He saw the barely masked relief show on their faces.

 

“Glad we could help and we’ll see you when you get home tonight,” Chris told him, retaking her hand and moving her toward the front of the store before Ben changed his mind.

 

As he got them home as quick as he could without getting a ticket, Ben was calling his house asking Alex and both boys to meet him at Sears.

They were glad they didn’t see the car Alex was driving while in town and they hoped no one was home or at least around to want to stop them to talk.

 

Heading to their room, they didn’t see anyone.

 

Once in, she dropped the bag she carried and turned to him as he closed the door. She moved closer to him, undid his pants and said “Clothes can wait, I can’t.”

 

Smiling and nodding in agreement, he lifted her up, ripped instead of moved the semi-covering lace in his haste, and filled her while he moved toward the wall to put her against for extra support. Her legs wrapped around his waist and they rode each other hard. She had exploded the moment he entered her and she showed no signs of stopping. He took her lips and ravaged them, melting the rest of her body and muffling her cries of pleasure, just in case. He felt her tighten around him again and couldn’t hold back any longer. He followed her over the edge though not completely. Just after he joined her, he felt her relax slightly, so he carried her to the bed and gently laid her down, coming down with her, turning so she was on top of him.

 

“By the gods,” she said, “I do hope you aren’t through.”

 

With a laugh, he said “Not by a long shot, babe. Just figured I’d give us a slight rest before I get you naked and start all over again.”

 

Smiling at him, she moved her hands to start unbuttoning his shirt while saying, “I don’t know about you, but I’m rested enough. But if you keep moving like that, clothes won’t be coming off yet, again.”

 

Her shirt and bra came off about as fast as his shirt came off. She moved off him and off the bed. She took his boots and socks off, and then kneeled back on the bed to take his pants off. Once off, she only made it half way back up before stopping and taking him in her mouth. She ravaged his still hard cock with her mouth, teeth and tongue, making him harder. She didn’t let him go until he pulled her back up to him, rolling so she was now beneath him, taking her lips, melting her again.

 

When he finished with her lips, he moved to her breasts, sucking on and gently biting her nipples, making her arch into him. He ran his tongue along her butterfly before moving down farther. He stopped and sucked on the sapphire in her naval, and then kissed her swelling belly. He took her skirt in his hands to take it off as he moved farther down. Once it was off, he moved up far enough to run his tongue over her Pegasus and scorpion before running his tongue across her clit and core.

 

She arched, giving him more, as he started to suck and pull on her clit with his teeth. She felt his tongue dive into her core, making her world tilt and explode. She bit on her bottom lip to keep from screaming her pleasure making it come out like a whimper. Every once in a while, his tongue would slide out of her and move back a little farther causing her breath to quicken. She was moving on his tongue, wanting. Since she couldn’t reach him, she held on to the comforter, gripping tightly each time she was ready to come, only to find she was taken away from the edge that she wanted to fall off of. Without realizing she was doing it, her tongue snaked out of her mouth like she was trying to lick something. When she felt his shoulder muscles tighten and his tongue increase speed, she knew what she was licking and she smiled to herself, doing it again, and moving a hand slightly on the bed. The sudden stop, quick intake of breath, then starting up again even faster told her she hit her mark.

 

He moved back up her body, taking small bites here and there as he went. When he was even with her again, he took her lips as he claimed her in one smooth motion. She arched to meet him, wrapping her legs around him, and he felt her tighten around him as she came.

 

She was so close to the edge that all it took was feeling him take her to send her over and have all reason and sanity disappear.

 

He laid still for a minute, letting her run over him, enjoying the feeling. When he finally did start moving, it was slow and easy. He wasn’t in any hurry now and he knew she wasn’t either. He held on to her lips, swallowing her cries, his hands wandering over her body. She let her hands skim over his back and chest.

 

When she wanted more of him she momentarily broke the kiss and said “over, me ride,” then sucked on his bottom lip.

 

He rolled them over so he was on his back and her over him. Letting go of his lip, she sat up, rested her hands on his chest and rode him slow and hard, having to bite her own lip to keep from screaming as she came.

 

His hands roamed over the front of her, caressing her breasts. Knowing she wanted to stay sitting up, he raised himself into a sitting position, took one of her nipples in his mouth and sucked on it. He gave both breasts equal attention, making her wetter the more he sucked on her. As he sucked, he raised her hips slightly and repositioned her on his cock, plunging into her ass while moving a hand to take her core with his fingers. He heard her sigh and intake of breath as he entered her and started moving.

 

She started moving with him and then moved so she rode his cock and fingers hard and fast. She could feel herself tightening continuously around his cock and fingers so she stayed wet and dripping and he got harder.

 

When he knew he wasn’t going to be able to take much more without letting go where he was, he lifted her off him, turned her over and filled her from behind. She started moving on him the moment he was in, wanting all of him. From her starting movements now and the way she was just riding him before he turned her over, he knew she was long past wanting slow and easy so he took her the way her body and verbal begging wanted – hard and fast.

 

He felt the one long squeeze she was giving him as wave after wave of orgasms took over her body. Finally giving in to his body, he joined her, emptying into her completely.

 

Once the waves finished, they fell to the bed in a heap with Chris being careful of not putting too much weight on her. They had turned to their side, with Chris behind her running a hand over her still silk clad thigh. Leaning back and into him more, she said “Those will have to come off now. I don’t plan on having them on the rest of the night.”

 

He didn’t say anything, just undid the stalking’s from the hooks on the belt, letting his fingers wander as he went from one leg to the other. He softly chuckled when she arched, moving her hips closer to him while straining for more. He sat up so she could roll to her back. He then moved down, and taking the garter belt in his hands, he took it off of her. He next rolled the left, and then the right stalking down and off her legs.

 

After both stalking’s were off, he gently rubbed each foot before he moved back up. When he got half way up, he stopped, running his tongue along her scorpion first, and then across the already moist heat of her. Her hips moved toward his mouth and tongue, wanting more. As passion fogged her brain, her only coherent thought was ‘please, baby, again’. She didn’t realize she spoke her thought out loud until she heard “Please what again?” from just above her. She could feel his hardness against her, letting her know he wanted her again as much as she wanted him.

 

“Take me,” she said simply. He did with one easy slide. She rose to meet him, wrapping her legs around him and taking him in as far as she could. He took her hands, linking their fingers as they rode hard and fast again. He leaned down and took her lips as her soft cries started getting louder. When they came together for the very last time, her world shattered, throwing her off balance. He dropped to her side, letting go of her hands and taking her in his arms.

 

Snuggling in, she asked “What time is it?”

 

Looking at the clock, he said “Just about nine. I know you have some work you wanted to do. Did you want to get up and work on it and get something to eat?”

 

Shaking her head, she said “No, it’s just doing up that sketch, then looking to see if there are any classes tomorrow and working on a plan for them. It can wait til tomorrow. I’m not hungry. I,” she stopped and yawned, then continued with “am ready to sleep.” She leaned up, gave him a kiss, and said “Love you Cowboy, Nite.”

 

Returning the kiss and not surprised about the rest, he said “I love you babe, Nite.”

 

She barely heard him saying ‘nite’ before she was asleep. Not realizing how tired he was, he wasn’t long behind her in falling asleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 9

 

After only about three hours of sleep, she woke with a jolt, her eyes flying open. Though she didn’t remember turning over, she found she was lying with her back to Chris and his arm protectively around her, keeping her close. She closed her eyes and tried to go back to sleep, snuggling into him. Finding sleep eluding her now, she gently moved out from under Chris’ arm and got out of bed. While pulling on a sleep shirt and sweat pants, she checked to make sure he hadn’t woke. Glad to see he was still sleeping comfortably, she walked out of their room stopping long enough to grab the bag she dropped by the door when they got home.

 

She was so engrossed in what she was doing she didn’t realize anyone else was up until she felt a hand run over her hair. Looking up, she smiled and said “I thought you were still asleep.”

 

Leaning over, he lifted her out of the chair then turned and sat back down with her on his lap as he said “I woke up when you moved in closer trying to go back to sleep. When I felt you get up, I kept my eyes closed figuring you would come back shortly. When you didn’t, I decided to make sure you were okay.”

 

“I’m fine. I got the sketch done so you can take it in with you. I was just working on what I wanted to do for classes on Thursday. Classes are on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s.”

 

“Alright. You’re not going in today?”

 

Shaking her head, she said “No. I don’t know what woke me up, but I was, and still slightly am, nauseated. I also have a slight headache.”

 

“In that case, come on back to bed and get some more sleep. You can work on your class plans later after you get up at a better hour than midnight,” he told her, getting up out of the chair still holding on to her.

 

In their room, he laid her down then took his jeans back off and climbed in beside her. He put his arms back around her as she rested her head on his shoulder and brought her back close.

 

They fell back asleep without any difficulty. She slept through him getting up and getting ready for work, but woke up long enough to tell him bye when he came back in before leaving.

 

She slept through most of the morning without stirring.

 

As she slept at home, Chris worked through the morning, forgetting about Mr. Dennis.

 

Chris’ phone rang around 11am, and not expecting anyone to call and having his work interrupted, he answered it with a very short tempered “Larabee.”

 

“Mr. Larabee, this is Mr. Dennis from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. You and Dr. Masters-Stewart requested that I call today. Is she available?”

 

Smiling to himself since he didn’t think Mr. Dennis would be calling back, he replied “No, she didn’t come in today, but you and I can discuss it and I will pass on the information to her and we can get back to you tomorrow morning with what she decides.”

 

“If she isn’t in for the conference call, I would rather wait until she is in tomorrow.”

 

“That wouldn’t be a good idea. I will tell her you called, but that you wanted to put it off until tomorrow. She will think, and rightly so, that you haven’t looked at anything she faxed you yesterday. I can guarantee you she won’t be giving you time to call here. She will be on the phone to your supervisor as promised first thing in the morning. I still have all the information sitting here on my desk with the questions she asked you yesterday. I will have no problem asking you what she wants to know and keeping track of your answers. So, are we doing this now, or is she making another phone call in the morning?”

 

Thinking that Chris was bluffing that Brandi would be calling his supervisor, Mr. Dennis said “I will wait until I can also talk to Dr. Masters-Stewart.”

 

“That’s your choice. She will be in touch with your office in the morning. Oh just so I have it for her, what is the name of your supervisor.”

 

“Robert Adams,” Mr. Dennis replied still feeling safe.

 

“Thank you Mr. Dennis. As I said, she’ll be in touch,” Chris said before hanging up the phone, not giving Mr. Dennis any time to respond.

 

Chris wrote down the conversation with Mr. Dennis as they spoke. Looking at the time, he decided to go home for lunch to check on Brandi and let her know what happened with Mr. Dennis. Throughout the morning he had called to see how she was, and both Alex and Eric told him she was still sleeping.

 

Grabbing his notes and making sure he wrote down Mr. Adams name, he walked out to the bull pen. Looking at the other six men, he said “I’m going home for lunch and I’ll be back in an hour or so. If you need me, call me there or on my cell.”

 

“You gonna check on Nic?” Nathan asked.

 

“Yeah, from what I’ve been told, she’s been sleeping all morning. Besides I just talked to the BIA jerk she’s been dealing with and I want to let her know what he said.”

 

As Nathan nodded, Josiah said “Take whatever time you need. We’ll call if you’re needed.”

 

Smiling, he nodded and walked out.

 

Getting to Ben’s and inside, he was surprised by what he saw in the front room.

 

Sitting in a chair with a book and paperwork sprawled all over her lap, was Brandi, asleep. Looking at Eric, he started laughing. After a minute, he asked

 

“So when did she get up?”

 

“Not too long after you called an hour ago. She started working on whatever it is she’s doing and the next time I looked up she was asleep. That was maybe a half hour ago.”

 

Walking over to her, Chris started clearing her lap. She opened her eyes as he was moving the last of her paperwork off. “Hi there handsome, what are you doing here?” she asked with a smile.

 

“Hi yourself. Came home to check on you and tell you about the interesting call I just had with Mr. Dennis.”

 

“Oh really, and what was that?”

 

“He decided to not talk to me alone. He wanted to wait til you were there to discuss everything. I had him give me his supervisor’s name and told him you would be in contact with the office tomorrow. Now whether you decide to call them today while I’m here or wait til tomorrow in the office is up to you. I have no idea if he read over anything, because I didn’t give him a chance to tell me. I’d almost bet not since he wanted to wait til you were in to talk about anything.”

 

“Hmm, you’re probably right. He probably just glanced at it, figuring he could look at it as we talked or bluff his way through. As much as I want to call today, I think tomorrow would be better on the speaker phone, so I can watch you and then tell which ever we talk to what I have to say.”

 

“Alright, tomorrow it is. So, are you hungry at all?”

 

Laughing, she said “Yeah, actually I am.”

 

She got up, motioning to Herc and Ares to follow her, and walked into the kitchen with him, leaving her brother sitting there shaking his head and laughing.

 

Getting into the kitchen, she walked to the back door and let the boys out. Moving over to Chris to help, she said “Maybe we should just get it out of the way for calling his Supervisor.”

Smiling over at her, he replied “It’s up to you, babe. If we did though, how do you plan on getting it done?”

 

“You on one phone, and me on another phone. When he’s done talking, you let me know that he’s done and what he said so I can respond appropriately,” she told him with a smile.

“That can work, but I figured you’d want to give Mr. Dennis a day to stew over it.”

 

“True, it would give Mr. Dennis a chance to wonder if I’m actually going to call his supervisor or not.”

 

Chris heard the phone ring and looked up. When Brandi saw him look up and toward the front room, she raised an eyebrow to him when he looked back at her. All he said was “Phone.” She just nodded.

 

Grabbing the phone, Eric said “Hello?”

 

“Hey Eric. Question,” he heard.

 

Laughing, he asked “What Mike?”

 

“Well actually it’s two questions. First, do you have any thoughts on what we should do for Chris?”

 

“I’ve been thinking about it. I have a few ideas that won’t get us in trouble with the brat. I’ll come by and we can discuss it. What’s the other question?”

 

“Jess wanted to know if you could get a list of names and numbers for her and Mary to use for that same brat. Also, Jess didn’t know if they should do just a bridal shower or combine it with a baby shower. Oh, sorry, also – Jess wants you to find out what size the brat is wearing right now, or I guess what size of clothes she has in her closet right now.”

 

“You do realize, big brother, that you asked more than two questions.”

 

“Yeah I do and you can take the big brother crap and stuff it,” Mike said with a laugh and Eric joining him.

 

“Okay, a question for you. Can I ask Chris on that stuff with her without giving it away to him?”

 

“Yeah, you can ask him. Jess and Mary have already been bothering him yesterday and today, but forgot those things.”

 

“Okay, just sec.” Moving the phone away, Eric said “Hey Chris, can you come here a minute?”

 

Coming out of the kitchen, Chris said “Yeah?”

 

“Mike needs a favor and was wondering something.”

 

Walking to Eric, Chris asked “What’s Jess need?”

 

“Three things. A list with addresses and phone numbers of people they can call. What size she is wearing right now, or will be wearing I guess in the next few weeks or so. And last, should they make it a combined bridal/baby shower?”

 

“I’ll go make up the list, but it will be small. Sizes right now would be size nine and up, but on the norm, size one. As for combining, no keep them separate.”

 

“Ok, thanks Chris.” As Chris turned to go make the list in the bedroom, Eric said on the phone “I’ll bring the list, size nine and up right now but size one normally, and no don’t combine. I’ll be leaving as soon as Chris is done with the list.”

 

“Alright, got it all and I’ll see you as soon as you get here,” Mike said before hanging up.

 

Eric walked into the kitchen and said “Hey brat. I’m heading to Mikes for a while to help him with a project he has going. I don’t know when I’ll be home. Chris will be here and I’ll let him know to call me at Mikes if he has to go. Since he’ll be here, I doubt you’ll miss me,” he told her with a smile.

 

Smiling in return she said “Well then, have a good time. Go ahead and take your time.”

 

Shaking his head at her, he walked out, got the list from Chris telling Chris to call if he needed Eric back, and then left.

 

When Chris came back in the kitchen, she laughed as she handed him a plate and said “You’re going to remember to be surprised when they get you were ever they’ll be taking you, aren’t you? Before you ask, I’ll remember to be surprised. I just hope they aren’t going to combine mine.”

 

“Already been asked about combining. Jess wanted to know and I told Eric to tell her no. They haven’t done a very good job at keeping either a surprise, if that’s what they wanted. And, yeah, I will,” he told her as they sat to eat.

 

“No, they really haven’t on either side. I admit, I’ve no qualms about reading Eric or Mike’s mind without permission, but in this case I didn’t have to. It is nice that they’re doing all this.”

 

“Yeah it is,” he agreed as they both got up to take care of their plates after eating. He changed the subject with “I was thinking about something this morning.”

 

Smiling at him, as she ran her hands up and down his chest, she said “Yeah, I bet you were.”

 

With a smile of his own, he said “That crossed my mind also, but it isn’t what I’m referring to now. But since you brought it up and we now have the house to ourselves, that’s a good idea, and I’ll also tell you what I was actually referring to.”

 

He took her hand and walked to their room.

 

She laughed as she went with him. “Ok,” she said “What were you referring to then?”

 

Closing the bedroom door behind him, he told her with a laugh “Thought we’d get you a new car in the next couple of weeks.”

 

As he started talking, she removed his shirt. She had started undoing his jeans when his words stopped her. Wondering why he was thinking of that, she asked “What about the four here on the mainland I have now? What do we do with them and most importantly, why do I need a new one?”

 

Laughing at the mock icy look she gave him, he pulled her sleep shirt over her head then said “We do the same thing we’ve been doing with them. Park them in the late fall, or actually if we get it before we leave, we take the ‘vette over to store with the other three at that point. We won’t get rid of them at all, I’m not going to be stupid on that on,” as he bent to kiss her. “As to why you need a new one,” he continued, resting a hand on her extended abdomen. “We need something besides the truck that will hold five people since three of them will be in car seats and we’ll need to be able to fit three car seats in the back seat, especially since we aren’t always going to the same place at the same time.”

 

Seeing she was about to make some other comment to try and sway him against, he bent down and retook her lips, effectively silencing her. His hands moved to caress her fuller breasts.

 

She still had more to ask about the car, but she wasn’t going to argue the change in subject or return to the previous subject. Her hands finished undoing his jeans as she leaned into his hands.

 

As she was finishing with his jeans, he toed his boots off, not letting go of her. He knew when she had them undone because she moved them over his hips, letting them fall to the floor. He gently picked her up and laid her on the bed, taking off her sweat pants. He gently laid over her, taking a breast in his mouth, sucking and biting on the nipple causing her to arch under him, as a hand caressed the other breast. His free hand traveled down her body and between her legs. Finding her clit, his thumb caressed it as his fingers moved into her core, shattering her. She bucked and arched under his hands and mouth, sobbing his name, begging for, and wanting more.

 

The more she moved under his mouth and hands, begging from him to give her even more, the less his resolve held. When her begging turned to pleading, he removed his fingers, leaving her briefly hanging, only to enter her smoothly causing her to grip his shoulders and scream, arching up to meet him. Putting an arm under her to hold her there and keep her from moving, his mouth continued its onslaught of her breasts, moving from one to the other.

 

She wrapped her legs around him as best she could, arching against him, wanting more of his cock in her and wanting him to take more of her breasts. She was enjoying the feel of him buried deep in her and not moving, while he sucked and pulled on her nipples. She could feel the tension building in her body, but not being given a release. She then felt a finger slide down her ass to where they joined, making the finger slick, and then moving back up slightly to fuck her ass. The tension she was already feeling built higher with the slow finger strokes he was giving her. As soon as the finger increased speed and started fucking her harder she felt the dam burst, soaking his cock, and she screamed again. With a smile to himself, and without removing his finger, he started moving in her, slowly first, letting his finger match rhythm.

 

She moved under him, trying to increase the speed. He took his time and slowly increased how fast they were going with both his cock and finger, but he kept it gentle with his cock. He finally rolled them over, letting her take him as hard and fast as she wanted. He was loving the wetness of her with what he did. He knew she had been with more than one man at a time long before she met him and that after she met him she had been forced to be with more than one, and if he asked, she would willingly be again. He could see, well, more like feel, why she would. Finger fucking her ass while his cock was in her was a new sensation to him, though he had finger fucked her core while his cock was in her ass, and God help him, he enjoyed the feeling of both, making him wonder what it would feel like to be taking her with another guy at the same time. Just the thought of it made him harder and made him want to pound himself into her. Right now he didn’t think she would notice if he started fucking her harder while she was riding him as hard as she was.

 

He started moving against her harder. Watching her, he noted her head fall back, and then to his surprise, she took his hands, put them on her breasts and started them squeezing her hard, as she said “Oh, yeah. Please, baby, fuck me harder.” He obliged her, taking her harder and faster while she rode him with a reckless abandon and loudly voiced the pleasure it was giving her. When he felt her tighten around his cock, he had a scattering thought that it was the tightest he had ever felt her be, and he came with her, letting everything he had go into filling her. When he thought her body was going to start relaxing, she pulled at him again, drawing more from him. When she finally calmed, she sagged against him with a smile.

 

Looking up at him, smile still in place she asked “Can we do that again. Not just the end here, but, all of it. And if you try to tell me you didn’t enjoy what you were doing to me, you’d be lying, because I could feel different.”

 

All she got for an answer was a smile, as he found the covers with his hands and covered them up.

 

Her smile got bigger. She then kissed his chest and closed her eyes, falling fast asleep. He just smiled as he rubbed her back. Gently, without waking her or removing himself from her, he turned and grabbed the phone, dialing Mike’s number.

 

“Hello?” said the woman on the other end.

 

“Hi Jess, it’s Chris. Just curious, is Eric still there?”

 

“Yeah he is Chris. Did you need him?”

 

“No, he’s fine. Tell him not to worry about getting home for me. Dee decided to fall asleep on me, so I’m gonna be staying here.”

 

Smiling to herself, Jessica said “Ok, I’ll let him know he doesn’t have to hurry.”

 

Hearing the smile in her voice, Chris said “Yeah thanks. Bye.”

 

“Bye, Chris.” They both hung up at the same time.

 

Dialing a random direct line, he heard “Tanner.”

 

“Hey Vin. Don’t expect me back. Eric had to go see Mike, and so he can get whatever it is that they’re doing done, I’m going to stay here with Dee so she isn’t by herself.”

 

Vin started laughing, then said “Alright cowboy, that’s as good a reason as any. See ya tomorrow.”

 

“Yeah,” was all he said before hanging up, shaking his head. Realizing he was tired now, he rested his arms around her, closed his eyes and was asleep quickly.

 

He woke sometime later feeling a slight movement from above him and feeling himself hard in her. He looked down at her and saw her eyes were still closed. He smiled to himself as he ran his hands across her back and felt her try to burrow into him more, taking him into her deeper. As much as he wanted to, he wasn’t going to wake her for another go around. She would have to wake on her own though he figured it wouldn’t be long before she did.

 

Her eyes suddenly opened and she asked “You gonna do something with that, or just let it sit there staying warm?”

 

He just grinned and kissed her as she slid her legs up his sides and started moving. He moved with her. As she sat up after the kiss, he moved faster in her and she kept pace with him pounding on him hard. His hands moved from her waist to her breasts, teasing them and making her wetter. He felt her squeeze him then drip down him, causing him to come. As he started coming she squeezed again, draining him. She sat, enjoying the teasing he was giving her nipples.

 

He brought her back down to him, helping her stretch her legs back out, and said “I have a question for you. And, so you know, I have given it thought and weighed out the good and bad before I decided to ask.”

 

Looking up at him, she replied “Ok, what is it?”

 

“Hell, this is hard to ask. I know you have before, and I know not all were or are good memories, but would you be agreeable to, one time only, let me share you with another guy?”

 

She looked at him and saw he was serious. Tilting her head slightly, she said “Before I answer, I need to know. You’re sure about this?”

“Yeah, I am. I enjoy what it does to you when my fingers and cock take you at the same time. Hell, I like what it does to me. But I want it to be your decision.”

 

“Yeah, I would be willing. On two conditions though.”

 

“Somehow I thought you would be. What are the conditions?”

 

“You have to find the guy, and it can’t be one of the other six.”

 

Laughing he said “Alright, those conditions work for me. I wasn’t going to even ask one of them, since there’s only one that I know you would want, and I like the fact you both never went completely through with it.”

 

“Yeah I know you do, that’s why that condition is in there. Oh and it would be up to you as to when. Especially since two weeks from today is our wedding.”

 

“Alright. I’ll start thinking on who and when. In the meantime, it’s only,” he looked at the clock, and continued “3o’clock. I’m not leaving. I already called and left a message with Jess to let Eric know there isn’t any hurry, and I called and let the boys know I wouldn’t be back. If you want to go back to sleep for a couple more hours, do, in fact I may do the same.”

 

With a smile, she nodded and closed her eyes. He wasn’t surprised how fast she fell asleep. He was less surprised that his eyes closed just after and he was asleep.

 

Not too long after they fell asleep, Eric and Alex got home. Knowing Chris was still there, but not seeing either of them in the kitchen or living room, Eric knocked on their door. Not hearing anything from in the room, he quietly opened the door and looked in. Closing the door, he walked into the living room as Alex came from the kitchen with the wolves.

 

Smiling, Eric said “They’re asleep. It probably wouldn’t hurt to let those two in the bedroom though, dad.”

 

Nodding, Alex went back and opened the door, letting Herc and Ares go in.

 

Coming back out, Alex said “That was good of you to leave and let them have some time alone. I know you told me that Chris also called and said not to hurry, but if you hadn’t left in the first place, he would’ve gone back to work after lunch. I think he did more good here with her. I was wondering something Eric. You, Mike, and Jess realize that they both know what is going on in regard to her shower and his party. Before you start thinking it, I doubt she read yours or Mike’s mind, but you all just haven’t been overly secretive about it. You think you are, but you’re not.”

 

“If they know dad, why haven’t they said anything.”

 

“They want to help you keep the allusion that both are supposed to be a surprise. I can bet that when the time comes, they will act surprised.”

 

Shaking his head over it, Eric decided to not pass it on to his brother and sister in law.

 

Around 5:30, Chris and Brandi walked into the living room.

 

Seeing both, Brandi said “When I saw both boys in the room, I figured at least one of you was back, but not both. When did you get back?”

 

“About 3:15,” Alex said.

 

She only nodded at the answer while Chris said “We’re heading out for an hour or so. We’re going to go ahead and take Herc and Ares with us.”

 

“Sounds good,” Alex replied. “Out of curiosity, we’re you going?”

 

Rolling her eyes, Brandi said “He thinks I need a new car. So, we’re going looking.”

 

Trying not to laugh or agree, Alex said “Have fun then.”

 

Getting out to the truck, they let the boys in first, and then Chris helped Brandi in. As Chris got in and closed the door, Brandi said “I still don’t see why we need a new car. I bet I could fit three car seats into the mustang.”

 

“Knowing you, you could. But, I also know you don’t like driving it in the snow, just like you don’t like driving the ‘vette, t-bird, or the jag in the winter or snow. So, we get you a car that is all wheel drive and will be good in any weather. I was thinking about a Subaru. Any objections to that?”

 

“No, they’re good and reliable cars. You’re right in that I don’t like driving any of the four in the winter, but I was hoping to be able to change your mind.”

 

Shaking her head and smiling, she finished with “Guess not. But I’m sure hope that I’ll have another adult with me if I have all three kids.”

 

Laughing, he told her “Good try, babe. You will have.”

 

They got to the dealer and after looking at what was available they asked a salesman what they had in 2005 models. They found a Silver 2005 Impreza RS Sport Wagon. To the salesman surprise, Chris wrote a check for the entire amount.

 

Once she had the keys, they got Herc and Ares out of the truck, put them in the car, and drove to Ben’s. When they got back, they grabbed the keys to the ‘vette and with each driving a car, they took the ‘vette to storage.

They were gone longer than they thought. Ben was home by the time they got there.

 

They had dinner and while the four guys talked, she shut them out and finished her plans for classes for the summer, knowing she could change it as needed.

 

When she finished, she told them goodnight and went to bed, asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. Chris went in an hour later and she roused only enough to curl up next to him when he got in bed. Neither woke the entire night.

 

On their way into work the next morning, Chris said “I’m going to call Jack and have him find someone to translate for you today. I’ve got some catching up to do this afternoon. As soon as we get in, we can call Mr. Adams and get it out of the way if you want.”

 

“That works for me. Catching up, huh. That’s what you get for slacking off yesterday. Oh wait, you weren’t slacking, just weren’t here working,” she said, giving him a sly grin. “If you want me to eat lunch, you better make sure you grab me, because besides Mr. Adams, I need to find out about room arrangements from Josiah for him and Rose, and JD for him and Casey, and it seems like there was something else I needed to do this morning but for the life of me it’s gone. And don’t say it.”

 

They pulled in behind Vin. Once all three were out of both vehicles, they walked into the building together, laughing about something that was said. As they walked past the desk, Jim, the guard on duty stopped them with “I’m sorry Mr. Larabee, but there is a gentleman here to see Dr. Masters-Stewart.”

 

Brandi couldn’t hear what Jim was saying, but she saw Vin tense from beside her, and she felt the sudden change in energy in the room.

 

Turning, she suddenly smiled and started running, and as she got to a man that was a good foot and a half taller than her, that grabbed her and picked her up, she squealed “Lexi.”

 

“Mischka,” he said as they both heard Chris start laughing. Putting her down, they joined Chris and Vin. “Chris, it’s good to see you again.”

 

“Yeah, you too Alexi. Vin Tanner, Alexi Romanov. Dee and Alexi go back longer than she and I do. You’ve heard her mention him.” Turning to the desk, Chris said “It’s ok Jim. You may want to add him to the list of people ok to come up.” Chris had thought about who for what he asked her and it didn’t come to him until he saw Alexi, or more Brandi’s reaction to seeing him. Chris suddenly turned to Brandi and seeing her partial smile and raised eyebrow, he gave an indiscriminate nod that only she noticed.

 

In the elevator, Brandi started laughing and said “Vin, what Chris didn’t want to say down there was you heard me mention Lex because he was Territorial Governor for Wyoming Territory 130-140 years ago. He was my second, no third husband and so y’all don’t start something, he’s a warlock. And yeah Lex, Vin is and if you keep thinkin’ it, I’ll kill ya myself. And you know I’d hate to do that.”

 

She quit talking because the elevator stopped at that point and she didn’t need anyone else hearing what she said.

 

“Hey Vin, would you mind getting Lexi some coffee, and make sure it’s coffee that everyone will drink, not your usual mud. I want to talk to Chris a sec.”

 

Nodding Vin headed to the coffee pot to make coffee.

 

Getting into their office, she closed the door and looked at him and said “I take it you decided?”

 

“Yeah, you think he will.”

 

Laughing, she said “I know he will. This could be a hell of a lot more fun than I thought. Oh, if you ask him about that now, see if he wants to go with me to my classes this afternoon.”

 

“I forgot about that. He does sign, doesn’t he?”

 

“Yeah, and it would make it easier on Jack.”

 

“True. I’ll find out about that also. Why don’t I now, and since Josiah just walked in, you can ask him about him and Rose.”

 

“Ok. Oh, it’s your call, but unless you really want him there, don’t invite Lexi to the wedding. It will be difficult enough keeping him from wanting to kill Vin. I figured letting them alone these few minutes with my threat will be enough to keep Lexi from doing anything stupid.”

 

“Alright, I’ll think about if I will or not.” He gave her a kiss and then going out to the bull pen, said “Josiah, Dee has a question for you. Alexi, I wanted to talk to you for a minute if possible.”

 

Brandi watched Lexi walk up to Chris and then head to a conference room. Josiah walked in at that point and asked “Everything ok Nic?”

 

Smiling she said “Yeah, I was just curious about something. I know you’re bringing Aqura to the wedding. Or is that the name she is using in this century, or jump?”

 

“She is going by Rose in this jump. But it’s rather confusing at times. Is she Rose or is she Aqura? But I just about got it figured out.” He chuckled. “When you’re done I want to ask you something.”

 

“Ok. So you’re bringing Rose to the wedding. Are you sharing a room?”

 

“Yeah, if that is okay with you, why do you ask?”

 

“I wanted to be able to make sure Chris and I get everyone where they want to be.”

 

“Alright. Although she might be there already with her band doing a couple of shows since they had changed their line up with adding some Forties and Fifties music. So she’ll be flying over early.”

 

“Ok, before you ask me whatever you want to ask, one other thing. I already know everyone else will be flying over with us. Are you going over early with her then or flying over with us?”

 

“I’ll be flying over with all of you.”

 

“Sounds good. Now, what did you want to ask?”

 

“Well, when I first saw her in April, memories of being married to her kept coming to my mind. Before that and since that, I have had memories of being around you and the rest of the boys a long time ago. What is with these memories? Nathan seems to be going through the same thing, but no one else.”

 

She glanced up and saw Chris come through the door, and saw him nod his agreement to tell Josiah. “That’s because you did know me and the rest of the boys and Chris and you were married to Aqura. Y’all were born in the 1800’s and have lived since that time. Chris and Vin were, or are, the only two I gave a choice to for retaining their memories. Think back. Do you remember Chris dying and me ‘saving’ him?”

 

“Yeah, that’s when you told us you’ve lived a long time.”

 

Smiling, she said “Yeah. Well I did the same for you, Nathan, Rain – Nathan asked me to save her, Ez, Buck and JD. Chris was first and then Vin. But for you five and Rain, I buried the memories down so they would resurface when it was time. The only thing I didn’t bury was you five calling me Nic and Buck having the urge to only think of me as a sister. And for Rain and Nathan to be together when the time was right, which it was about five years ago. For you and Nathan, this was the right time for memories to surface and for you, seeing Rose helped them along even more. I’d have to ask Nathan if Rain is remembering at all. The only thing I ask is don’t talk about it in front of Buck, Ez, Rain, Casey, or JD, especially JD and Casey since I’m not sure how much they ever really understood about me. You and Nat can discuss it between you, or either of you can come talk to me or Chris or even Vin, but the other three have to let their memories return naturally as yours and Nathan’s have. Does that help, or answer your question?”

 

“Yeah, it does. Especially helps to know now why Nat and I have felt more concerned about everything with you lately.” Smiling he said “Like an older brother would be.”

 

She smiled and said “Yep that it would. Oh do me a favor, when JD gets here would you ask him to come here. I have a question for him also.”

 

“I would be happy too, oh and then I’m going to head home for bit to let her know.” He smiled again and left the room.

 

Josiah did as Nic asked, then left the office. Getting home to his cabin he shared off and on with Rose, he opened up the cabin to find Rose was playing the piano that she had moved into the place. Her throat problems had gotten worse since they had started to live together. “What did the Doctor say about your voice?”

 

Turning her head to the side where she could see him at last she sniffled. “Preacher man, this body is breaking down. I hate to tell you this but I haven’t got much time left here with you.”

 

He sat down beside her. “What did he say exactly?”

 

“Advanced throat cancer, and my immune system is going downhill fast. This body is not taking the fact my spirit is stronger than the last one. It’s rejecting me and that means I will be carrying on soon.” She tilted her head and placed it on his shoulder. “Don’t tell anyone, please. I don’t want Brandi to know that I will leave again.”

 

“Again? You knew her from Four Corners” He asked and found himself assuming.

 

She sighed, “Josiah, she and I go farther back than that. In my first life I befriended her; she was such a sweet little girl. It was her that caused me to meet the man that triggered this splintered existence that I have to endure.”

 

A twinge of jealousy pricked at him. “Who was he? Do you remember him?”

 

Nodding her head she said, “Obi Wan Kenobi, he was as diligent about justice and the truth as you are. I guess that is my weakness in the type of man I seem to keep gravitating towards.” Her eyes looked at him. “I’m not going to apologize for my past lives Josiah; I have nothing to be ashamed of or seen as a sin.”

 

He shifted oddly, “You loved him?”

 

Nodding her head yes again. “I fell from grace for him. We had only one year but in that year it was worth it. It was worth all the pain and anguish that was and is happening to me now in this hellish pain that I endure time after time. But then there is much pleasure with each life.” She looked into his azure blue eyes. “Preacher man, I would fall from grace for you as well so don’t take the fact I have a soft spot for Obi still. It’s you I love, I married you once a life time ago and now we are back together again. So that stands to say you are more than just a handsome mark on my lipstick case of life.”

 

Shaking his head at last, “God help me but I want to keep you from every harm that could happen. I just love you to dang much too let you go all over again, Aqura.”

 

She touched him gently on his leg. “I’m always with you Josiah, you know that.”

 

He laid his large hand over hers, “Ugh, well speakin’ of Nic, she asked if you and I were going to the wedding. I told her yes, would you come to Hawaii with me? It would mean a heck of a lot to her and me as well.”

 

“Of course, I would love it.” Leaning over she kissed his lips.

 

He felt tears slipping from his lashes. “How long have you got left?” He asked, his voice cracking.

 

Taking him in her arms she didn’t want to tell him the truth so she was vague. “Just enough to make a life time worth.”

****

 

When Chris and Brandi were alone, she asked “What did you find out?”

 

“He’ll be back to go out to the University with you, and he was agreeable to the other. He said he’d let me know on that for when.”

 

She started laughing and said “That doesn’t,” at his look up she turned and saw JD standing there. “Hi JD. I just wanted to ask you something real quick. Are you and Casey sharing a room in Hawai’i?”

 

“Oh, yeah we are.”

 

“You’re sure. You don’t want to talk it over with her first, make sure she’s agreeable to it?”

 

“Nah, I don’t need to talk to her first. Sorry at first I thought something was wrong.”

 

“Sorry about that, I didn’t mean to make you feel that way.” She walked over to her desk and made herself a note about Rose and Josiah and JD and Casey. Looking back at JD she said “Make sure you let Casey know this, unless you have talked to her about it already, so if she wants to change to her own room for any reason, she can.”

 

“I will. Thanks Nic.”

 

“Sure and thanks to you JD.”

 

As soon as JD left, she said “He hasn’t and won’t tell her. So what I started to say was that Lexi’s answer on that doesn’t surprise me, and knowing him, the sooner the better. Did you ask him to the wedding?”

 

“Not yet. Thought I’d wait and see on that,” he told her with a grin. “So, you ready to call Mr. Adams?”

 

“Oh most definitely. This should be enjoyable.”

 

Chris placed the call to Washington DC Bureau of Indian Affairs an asked for Robert Adams. While waiting to be connected to Mr. Adams, Chris put it on speaker phone. When Chris heard “This is Robert Adams” he signed to Brandi to let her know he was on the line. “Mr. Adams,” she said. “This is Dr. Brandi Masters-Stewart and I’m sorry if this seems slow before I respond to you. I can’t hear and I’m getting translation as we go.”

 

“Thank you for telling me Dr. Masters-Stewart. Now, what is it I can help you with?”

 

“Mr. Dennis. I called him two days ago and I even faxed him problems that I found regarding the Kiowa reservation here in the Denver area that I oversee and received an acknowledgement that he received said fax. When I started asking questions about what I faxed, he was giving me the run around. When he was called later by Mr. Larabee, who placed this call and is doing the translation, Mr. Dennis treated him the same way. It then came to my attention that Mr. Dennis had not read the fax, so he had no idea what it was I needed to know. The problems I’m trying to fix, I have been working on since May and I have been dealing with Mr. Dennis with each one. I even flew to Washington to see him personally, but I was not able to get in to talk to him at any time in the two weeks I was there. Mr. Dennis returned the call I asked him to yesterday, but because I was not in, he would not deal with Mr. Larabee, who had all the information and knows what is going on with this. I would not have left it for him if I didn’t trust him to take care of it or bring me the information so I could look at what possible solutions Mr. Dennis came up with,” she saw Chris put up a finger to wait and she heard him say “Go ahead with what you wanted to say Mr. Adams.”

 

“Thank you Mr. Larabee,” he said. Chris heard the smile in his voice. “Dr. Masters-Stewart, do you have there with you what problems your reservation has been having?”

 

“Yes sir, I do.”

 

“Would you or Mr. Larabee please fax them to me? This is my direct fax line,” he said giving the number. Chris got up and sent the fax saying “You should be getting it now.”

 

“Yes, it’s coming through to me, thank you Mr. Larabee. I’m going to briefly look this over and I’ll be right back with you both.” Chris pressed the mute so he could still hear Mr. Adams, but they could talk.

 

“Wha’d’ya think?” Chris asked her.

 

“More interested in what’s going on than Mr. Dennis.”

 

“Yeah, I’d say so,” at a knock on the door frame, Chris looked up and saw Vin.

 

“Sorry, Chris but you have a call out here since your main line was tied up.”

 

“They say who it was?”

 

“Yeah, Alexi, and he said it was important.”

 

“Alright, give me a minute.” Taking mute off, Chris said “Mr. Adams, go ahead and take your time with that. I have another call I have to take. I’ll let you know as soon as I’m back and ready.”

 

“Yes of course, Mr. Larabee. That will be fine.” Chris put the mute back on then nodded to Vin to send it in on the secondary line.

 

When it came through, Chris picked it up and said “Alexi. Didn’t think I’d hear from you this soon.”

 

“Actually, I thought I would see if the two of you wanted to be my guests for dinner?”

 

“Just sec, let me ask Dee.” Putting the line with Lexi on hold, Chris asked “Dinner tonight with Alexi?”

 

Yeah, I don’t see why not,” she told him with a smile.

 

Taking it back of hold, Chris said “Yeah, what time?”

 

“8o’clock. Why don’t you meet me here at my hotel and we can decide then where to eat. I’m staying at the Holiday Inn. Oh, I will be there this afternoon to go with her.”

 

“Alright, that sounds good for tonight and we’ll see you around 2 this afternoon.” Looking up at Brandi, he smiled and said “Listening in?”

 

“Kind of, but not really, he was telling me telepathically also, what he was telling you but he didn’t say ‘where’ to me,” she said with her own smile.

 

He just shook his head. When he heard Mr. Adams say he was ready, Chris took off the mute and said “Go ahead, Mr. Adams, I’m done also.”

 

“Well, I don’t see why you were getting the run around Dr. Masters-Stewart, but thanks to Mr. Larabee and your very meticulous notes, I see that Mr. Dennis did exactly that. I have started thinking of potential solutions, but would like to spend some more time on this. Is one or both of you going to be available this afternoon so I may get back to you?”

 

“Yes sir,” Brandi said. “Mr. Larabee will be here. I have an appointment I can’t miss and it takes up most of my afternoon.”

 

“That’s fine then. I will speak with you this afternoon then Mr. Larabee. Thank you for bringing this to my attention Dr. Masters-Stewart.”

 

“You’re very welcome. Have a good day.”

 

“You too,” Mr. Adams said before hanging up.

 

“Well,” Brandi said. “Looks like it’s a good thing you aren’t going with me today.”

 

“Yeah, I probably could have figured something out for the work here to do if Alexi hadn’t come by and if I’d called Jack and he wasn’t able to find a replacement for me, but this I can’t change. You need answers on it.”

 

“Yeah I know. Did you show the sketch to Kid yesterday?”

 

“Yeah, and he didn’t have any changes to make in it. You get a chance to find out why they’re here and not in their own time?”

 

“No I haven’t though it hasn’t been from lack of trying. He isn’t answering me at the moment,” she said as she got up and moved to her desk.

 

Vin walked in as Chris said “Well, it’s seems normal for him right now. He has been like this lately. The only one who’s talked to him it seems is Alex.”

 

“I know,” she replied as she felt her phone vibrate. Wondering who would be calling, she looked at the caller ID, smiled when she saw Patty’s number and said “Hello” in French.

 

“Bad time,” Patty asked her also in French.

 

“No, not at all. What’s going on?”

 

“Not much. I’m out of the hospital. You knew I was in the hospital didn’t you?”

 

Brandi laughed. “Yeah, I did. Found out when I got home from Paris. Have to say that I wanted to shoot Ezra though. Oh, but unless either of them told you, I wanted to let you know. Chris and I are getting married at the end of this month.”

 

“Really. What day?”

 

“Wednesday, July 28th in Hawai’i, my dad’s, Robin’s, estate. I would love it if you could be there. You won’t be the only one coming from Seattle. I have other friends and my little brother also coming from there. And you won’t be flying commercial either.”

 

“I can’t promise anything, but I’ll try. Is Vin going?”

 

“Of course. See, it’ll give you more time with him.”

 

“Like I need it. God, I’m horny for him, but we get carried away with phone sex and all it does is make me want him more.”

 

Brandi laughed more now. “Well, ya should’ve kept him there a bit longer then.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

Brandi laughed, looking up. She noticed the look she was getting from both since neither could understand, and she just stuck her tongue out at them. Chris laughed and shook his head. Vin just shook his head.

 

“Ya know we were in the hospital at around the same time.”

 

“Really, why were you there?”

 

“I’m pregnant, and Adam wanted to monitor me for some early on problems.”

 

“Chris is the father, right?”

 

“Yeah, since I’d be in trouble if he wasn’t.”

 

“Congratulations to you both. How far are you?”

 

“Thirteen and a half weeks, so just started into the second tri. But it’s triplets, so still get nauseated, and tired and all that. And I feel fat.”

 

“Great, I’m happy for you. Ok, I have to ask. Did you find out before or after you decided to get married?”

 

“Found out after he asked. Actually, found out two days after. He only asked two weeks ago. We just decided to do it at the end of this month. Neither of us wanted to wait.”

 

“Ok, I was just curious. I’m going to get going. I don’t want to wear either of us out from talking. I’ll let you, or Vin, know if I’ll be able to make it or not. Right now I think I’ll be able to, but as you know, things can change at the last minute.”

 

“Ok. I’ll talk to you later.”

 

“Yeah, thanks for the news and the invite. I’ll talk to you soon.”

 

“Ok, bye,” Brandi said and hung up her phone. Looking at Chris and Vin, she said “Don’t ask, won’t tell.” She then went back to working on her computer, ignoring them both.

 

Vin headed back out to his desk to work. Chris and Brandi worked with only the CD’s playing from Brandi’s computer as noise for the next few hours. The only time the silence was broken was when Buck came into see what they wanted him to bring them back for lunch, and then it was only Chris talking to Buck. Once Buck got back and Chris put food in front of her, she hadn’t realized the time or that lunch was ordered. “It’s lunch time already?” she asked.

 

Smiling, Chris said “Yeah, actually past. Eat since you won’t have a chance to grab anything til you get done.”

 

Nodding, she started to eat not really looking to see what it was since she knew Chris would order what she wanted. She started to laugh and said “I should have realized since I was getting hungry. What time is it?” she asked too lazy to look at the time on the computer.

 

Chris looked at his watch and said “Quarter to two, so Alexi will be here any time.”

 

Nodding she asked “Is Lex driving me over or am I taking the truck or what?”

 

Knowing why she was asking, he said “Go ahead and take the truck and have him follow you over. Then you can come back and get me and he can go back to his hotel for now.”

 

“Works for me. Damn, I knew I should have laid down this morning. I’m more ready for a nap then teaching.”

 

He wasn’t surprised she felt that way. He would look up at different times to make sure she was alright and would notice she looked ready to collapse. She looked even more so now, her eyes drifting shut off and on while eating. Getting up, he walked over to her and said “Come on babe, that’s what you’re going to do. I’ll call Jack to tell him you won’t be there and I’ll let Alexi know when he gets here. As for dinner later, we’ll play it by ear and see how tired you are.”

 

She nodded and started to get up, only to start going down again already falling asleep. Chris caught her, lifted her up and put her on the couch, pulling the blanket over her after taking her shoes off. Chris wasn’t surprised at how fast she went to sleep. He was more surprised she didn’t wake when he laid her down, took off her shoes and covered her. He was also glad he was the only one in the office when she started back down because anyone else would have thought she was fainting. Walking over to his desk, he had just picked up the phone and started dialing when Lexi walked into the office. Lexi was surprised to see Brandi asleep. Acknowledging Lexi with a nod, he heard “Jack Walters.”

 

“Hey Jack, its Chris. She’s won’t be there. She did work up plans for the classes if you want me to fax them to you so you can take over for today unless you decide to cancel.”

 

“Thanks for calling me Chris. Go ahead and fax them over and I’ll decide after I see what she has planned. She ok?”

 

“Yeah, but sleeping like the dead at the moment and I doubt she’ll wake in the next couple hours.”

 

“Alright. Oh, do you have my fax number?”

 

“Yeah, it’s here. I’ll send those over as soon as we hang up.”

 

“Great. I’ll see her or both of you next week.”

 

“Sounds good. Talk to you later Jack,” Chris said before hanging up. He walked over to her desk, grabbed the plans she made up and faxed them to Jack.

 

When he finished, he looked at Lexi and said “She fell asleep standing up just before you got here. She’s exhausted right at the moment. If it had been any sooner, I would have called you to let you know not to worry about it. As for tonight, I want to see how she’s doing. How tired she is. If she’s as tired as she was when she got up to lay on the couch, she’ll be in bed and asleep early. She didn’t even make it to the couch. She only made it as far as getting out of her chair before she was out. On the good side, she is asleep. There really isn’t any down or bad side because she needs the sleep and will sleep til she’s ready to wake up, or it’s time to leave and I carry her out of here. If that ends up being the case, I’ll call you when we get back to Ben’s and we can look at rescheduling because I can guarantee that she won’t wake before morning, and if she does it will be for a very short time, not even long enough to eat.”

 

“That is fine with me if it is the case. You’re staying at Ben’s? Why, what happened to your house?”

 

“Someone burned us out with a firebomb. Ben’s been building the ranch house and buildings, and is letting us stay until he’s done with it. He hasn’t given us a date on it yet, but I’m betting it won’t be long after we get back from our honeymoon.” Chris wasn’t surprised by the look that crossed Lexi’s face at that announcement.

 

“You’re getting married. I’m surprised though I know I shouldn’t be. If I may ask, when is this to take place?”

 

“The wedding is at the end of the month and we’ll be gone into the first week of August.”

 

Nodding, Lexi said absently “It’s surprising that she didn’t say anything when I saw her in Paris.”

 

“You were in Paris when she was?”

 

Laughing, Lexi said “If she didn’t say she saw me, it was probably because it was for five minutes on the street because she almost walked into me, her mind elsewhere, or I should say her mind was here. About all we had time to say was ‘Hi’ and ‘why are you here’. I don’t think she told me the complete or real reason she was there. But as I said, her mind was where it has been for around two hundred and twenty-five years, and it wasn’t me.”

 

At Chris’ look, Lexi said “Has she ever told you that the two of you were destined to meet and be together?” At Chris’ nod, Lexi continued “I will figure you just haven’t gotten around to asking what she meant, just took it as it was. I think I would do the same if it had been said to me. You know that Gray, Adam and I found her and Joshua at a monastery in Russia in 1779 and that in 1780 she and I married. And that she and I, along with my younger brother and sister, were taken and held by Jeff while we were on an outing. As to what he did to her and made me watch, I won’t say. Let’s just say that with that, I was surprised she was agreeable to you and someone else when you asked me.

 

“Anyway, I got off what I wanted to say. Starting in 1779, when she was taken to my family’s house, my house when I was home, and on into the early part of last century, she would have dreams and visions. Alex suggested she write them down to help remember them. I found her in the room where she gave lessons to my sister and youngest brother, my sister was Joshua’s age, seven, and the youngest was five. She was writing in a journal and when I walked in, I asked her what she was writing. She looked like she was glad someone asked, because she told me.

 

“She said since she returned she had been having the same dream, only at times it didn’t seem like a dream. She didn’t understand at that point because her memories were jumbled from something he had been steadily giving her since taking her and Joshua six years earlier, even though it had been stopped at some point also. She said she kept seeing a man, but it didn’t look to be anyone from that century. It was also like seeing him over a progression of years, starting at a point where he looked to be her age or just younger, she was sixteen at the time she was telling me, and she was much younger and couldn’t hear his voice but that he had, to quote her, beautiful green eyes. The next time she appeared to be around sixteen and they were in a drinking establishment, she could see Ben behind him. She saw him a few years older and married with a child, and then, where he had been dressed in light colors for the earlier times, he was no longer married and he was dressed in mainly black and very bitter.

 

“She would see him with six other men helping a town as lawmakers, but it seemed as if something was still cold in him. She would see herself throughout these times also, helping him, but not really. She never told me about any final dream with him. As I said, she would have these same dreams and visions, and after a while she realized that was what some if not all were, visions, up through the early eighteenth century.

 

“If you haven’t figured it out, they were all visions of her with you at different points of your lives. She knew you sixty-nine years before meeting you, so fifty-five years before you were even born, and knew that you two were supposed to be together. I would say you were always meant for her and she for you, even if things happened that kept you separate at times. That is why she told you that you two were destined. And, I will say, when Gray, Adam, and I took her to Four Corners after finding her in her barn after what Jeff and his two men did to her, and no I have never been told what actually happened, and I saw her talking to you after Adam handed her to you, I knew she was right. She wouldn’t talk to the three of us, and I had a hard time understanding why she wouldn’t talk to me at the time, but she did talk to you. I understood when I saw that and I knew that although she loved me, and may still, I wasn’t the one for her.

 

“Unless she read it in my thoughts, she never knew that I had a hard time believing those dreams/visions to be true. I didn’t want them to be true. Now, I don’t just defend her, I defend you also, even though I know you are more than capable of defending yourself. In 95 when she left Seattle and went to Paris, she called me also after she got there. She told me what happened and why and the next thing she knew, though she wasn’t surprised at how quick it was, I was in Paris telling her not to be stupid by giving that idiot another chance. I told her that she should fly home and find out if you really were through. She figured you wanted nothing to do with her since you only called to talk to her once and even that was a very short call and, what word did she use, oh yeah, terse. She wasn’t expecting you to be in Seattle on the same day she got back, let alone show up at Joe’s with flowers and an apology.

 

“Yes, we talk a lot, though not as much these days. She is happier than I have seen in a long time. I thank you for that. I’ve given away more of her secrets, but she’ll get over it. At least I don’t go telling everyone I meet. I’m going to guess you know her true age, where she is from and all that at this point. Besides her family, you are the only one to know, even I don’t know that. She probably wrote it in her journal at one point, but I made it a practice to let her tell me, not me read it secretly.”

 

With a smile and a laugh, Lexi stood up and said “Let me know about this evening. Whatever works best for her is fine with me.”

 

“Alright. Thanks Alexi I’ll let you know.”

 

“You don’t have to call me Alexi, Chris. Everyone, except my mother, calls me either Lex or Lexi so either will do.”

 

Nodding, Chris said “Thanks Lexi.”

 

With a nod, Lexi was gone out the door.

 

Chris went back to work, stopping only when Mr. Adams called. Chris got some potential solutions from him and told Mr. Adams that he would talk to Brandi and get back to him. Most likely the next day.

 

She slept through Chris’ call with Mr. Adams, the comings and goings of the other six to discuss things with Chris, and the coming and going of Chris from their office. At five-thirty Vin came into the office and seeing Brandi still asleep, he asked “You leaving soon?”

 

Looking at the time and then at Vin, Chris said “Yeah within the next thirty.”

 

Nodding, Vin asked “Need any help with Nic?”

 

Chris looked over at her with a smile and said “No, but thanks. No need for you or anyone else to hang around. Have a good evening.”

 

Vin nodded and left.

 

This exchange with Vin got Chris’ mind thinking. Chris wondered, and not for the first time, if Vin had a clue as to how Brandi felt about him. She gave enough clues, without actually saying, by how she acted with Vin, little things she would say to Vin, and the way she would flirt with Vin. Chris knew, without Vin ever telling him but by watching Vin around her over the last 134 years that Vin was in love with her. Chris knew for a fact that she didn’t know, though there were times she probably suspected it, and Chris was sure Vin had never told her. Chris knew he wouldn’t lose her, but he did wonder what would happen if either, or both, ever figured it out or told each other. He smiled at the thought of what could happen, though they wouldn’t finish what they started in 1862. Hell, he also knew it wouldn’t change his friendship with Vin since it hadn’t yet. It definitely would be interesting to watch when they did find, or figure, it out.

 

Bringing himself back out of his thoughts, he looked at the time and saw it was time to head home. Going to the couch he gently shook her, saying “Hey babe, time to wake up a little. It’s time to go home.”

 

Her eyes opened slightly, and gave him a confused look.

 

He smiled and lifted her up after he grabbed his keys out of his pocket. As they left the outer office and got into the elevator, she snuggled in closer to him wanting to go back to sleep. In the garage, he unlocked the truck and told her “You need to stand for just a minute so I can open the door. Lean on me.”

 

He put her legs down and opened the door of the truck while she held onto him tightly. He knew she was still tired and wanted to go back to sleep. He lifted her back up and put her in the middle seat before climbing in. Not surprising, she moved slightly toward the passenger seat and lay down, with her head on his lap, sleeping on the way home.

 

Getting to Ben’s, he got out and leaned in to lift her out then carried her in. He got concerned looks from Alex, Eric and Ben, so he said “She’s asleep. Fell asleep around two and woke up just long enough for me to get her in the truck when we left.” He watched as all three visibly relaxed and nodded.

 

He took her in their room, changed her clothes and put her under the covers. As he started to leave the room, he heard “Chris?”

 

Turning he replied “Yeah, babe.”

 

“Are we still meeting Lexi tonight?”

 

Smiling, he told her “That depends on you. You’ve been sleeping for four hours already with little stirring, in fact only when I woke you when we left the office and now are the only times you’ve stirred.”

 

“K. A different day, then.”

 

“I was already thinking about doing that,” he told her with a smile, seeing she was fighting to stay awake. Walking back to her, he sat and said “I don’t need you in the office tomorrow or next week, so I think it would be good if you stayed home and rested. I’ll talk to Eric and see if he can go with you next Tuesday and Thursday to classes. Later this evening, or tomorrow I’ll tell you about Mr. Adams return call and what he has come up with so far. Right now, back to sleep.” He leaned down, gave her a kiss and said “I love you.”

 

Smiling, she said “I love you, Cowboy.” She closed her eyes and was back asleep immediately. He noticed she not only didn’t argue, but didn’t mention, not going to work for the next week.

 

He walked over to the phone, dialed and when he got Holiday Inn, he asked for Lexi’s room.

 

“Hello,” Chris heard.

 

“Lexi, its Chris. She’s out for the long haul. Awake long enough to get to the truck and then woke up a couple of minutes ago for that amount time and she asked if we were meeting you, I told her it was her choice. She asked to make it a different day.”

 

Laughing, Lexi said “I’m not surprised. I’ll call you tomorrow and we can figure something out.”

 

“Sounds good, but why don’t you come by here tomorrow evening instead and the three of us can figure something out for getting together. I’m hoping I convinced her to stay home for the next week or so except to teach her classes.”

 

“That works for me. I’ll see you tomorrow evening then,” Lexi said before hanging up.

 

Chris sat down on the bed after hanging up. He noticed Brandi moving restlessly until he sat down. She must have felt his added weight on the bed, because she rolled to him, putting her head on his lap.

 

Hearing a knock on the door, he said “Come in.”

 

Alex smiled as he came in, and asked “Everything ok?”

 

“Yeah, exhausted and restless.”

 

“She knows Lexi’s in town?”

 

“Yeah, he was waiting for us when we got in this morning. He was going to go with her for her classes this afternoon to translate and then we were going to meet him for dinner later. Just before he got back to the office, she decided she wanted a nap and standing up to go do that, she fell asleep. The way she did it, anyone walking in would have thought she fainted again. I just let Lexi know she’s still asleep, so he’ll come by tomorrow evening and we’ll figure out when for dinner.”

 

“All right, just thought I’d make sure. If you get hungry, or she wakes up and is, there is plenty out there.”

 

Nodding, Chris said “Thanks Alex.”

 

Nodding, Alex left the room.

 

Figuring he’d sit with her for a while, Chris gently moved her head, got up and started emptying his jeans pockets. He happened to look up as Brandi’s eyes opened and she moved for the side of the bed, getting up. Not liking her color, he followed her into the bathroom, not surprised to see her throwing up. He helped keep her hair out of her face and when she was through he wet a washcloth and wiped off her face. He didn’t ask if she was ready to go back to bed, she just nodded to him and he helped her off the floor. He stood with her at the sink so she could brush her teeth before going back to bed.

 

As she got in bed, she asked “Would you call Kelly and let her know what’s going on with everything. I haven’t had a chance to let her know we’re getting married or about being pregnant, and I wanted to invite her to the wedding.”

 

“Yeah, I’ll do it now and I let her know when you were in the hospital about the baby. I talked to Lexi and he’ll come by tomorrow evening to look at rescheduling.”

 

“Ok, thanks,” she said stifling a yawn. Leaning into him, she gave him a kiss, said “Love you, Cowboy,” and lay down.

 

Smiling, he said “Love you, too babe.”

 

Nodding with a smile, she closed her eyes and was back out immediately.

 

Picking up the phone, he dialed Kelly’s number, getting it from Brandi’s address book.

 

“Hello,” he heard.

 

“Kelly, it’s Chris,” he replied.

 

“Hey Chris. How’s Brandi?” she asked.

 

With a smile, he said “She’s good. In fact, she asked me to call you.”

 

“Really, what for?”

 

“She and I are getting married in two weeks, on the 28th, and she wanted to make sure you knew and that you are invited.”

 

“That’s great and about time. I don’t think I’ll be able to be there, but just so I know, where is it at?”

 

“Hawai’i, Robin’s nest, at 11am.”

 

“Congratulations to you both. When’s she due for the baby?”

 

“Thanks. January 15th is the due date.”

 

“Tell her I’m happy for you both and give her my love. I’ll let you know if something changes so I can make it.”

 

“Thanks Kelly. She’ll be staying home until we leave for Hawai’i and for right now we’re staying at Ben’s. If you want to come on by to visit, she’d be happy to see you.”

 

“I’ll remember that. Thanks Chris, and thanks for letting me know.”

 

“Your welcome. Bye.”

 

“Bye,” he heard then hung up the phone.

 

He took off his boots, cleaned out his pockets, and then laid down next to Brandi, putting his arms around her as she curled into him. He fell asleep not long after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 10

 

Chris woke first, around 10pm. As he moved to get out of bed, she woke.

 

“Where are you heading?” she asked, wondering what got him up and leaving the room.

 

“Kitchen to see about something to eat. You want anything?”

 

She smiled at him, licking her lips. “Oh, wait,” she said. “You meant actual food from the kitchen.” At his nod she said “Yeah, I could eat, I’m feeling a bit better right now.”

 

Smiling he left the room to go see what there was to eat.

 

Walking through the living room he was stopped by Ben. “Decided you were hungry?” Ben wondered.

 

“Yeah, we both are. I thought I’d see what was left.”

 

“There’s plenty. Since she didn’t come out, I’m assuming your taking whatever you find back in with you?”

 

Chris just nodded heading to the kitchen. Remembering something, he called “Wanted to let you know. Lexi will be by tomorrow evening. We were supposed to have dinner with him tonight but she was out, so we’re going to figure out plans for getting together then. Also,” he continued as he walked out with food, “Dee will be here, unless she is going to teach on Tuesday and Thursday of next week, between now and when we leave for Hawai’i.”

 

“Sounds good, and can’t say I blame you on that one. No problem with Lex. It will be good to see him; it’s been a while since I have.”

 

“Alright. Night Ben.”

 

“Night Chris,” Ben said with a smile.

 

She was sitting up on the edge of the bed when Chris walked back in.

 

“Everything alright?” she asked.

 

“Yeah, Ben’s up so I was talking to him,” he replied, handing her a plate.

She only nodded as she took the plate and started eating.

 

“You did hear me say I’d rather you not work, except for your classes, tomorrow and next week didn’t you?”

 

“Yeah, I did. With the way I fell asleep today, I’m not arguing it. You’ll be dealing with Mr. Adams yourself, but at least he doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. Were you able to translate my notes?”

 

“Yeah, since you had them on disc and you put that translation program on my computer, and some of it you actually already translated. I keep meaning to ask, what language is that in? Is it the same one you and Kelly have always talked in?” Looking at her and taking her plate, he said “You still look exhausted. I’ll take care of those plates in the morning, but for now, let’s get some more sleep.”

 

Tiredly she answered “Yeah, it is the language Kelly and I talk in. It’s ancient and that’s not just how old it is, that’s the name the language was given since they didn’t have anything else to call or compare it too.” She then nodded, lying down and once the light was off and he was next to her, holding her, she was asleep.

 

Brandi woke about an hour later, getting up and rushing into the bathroom.

 

Chris woke when she started to move from him. He felt her get up and he opened his eyes just in time to see her nearly run into the bathroom. He got up and followed her in, noticing she was throwing up again. He grabbed a hair band and pulled her hair out of the way into a ponytail, securing it. He then grabbed a washcloth and got it wet. When she finished, he knelt next to her and wiped her face off. After he was done, she leaned into him feeling more exhausted.

 

Starting to feel worried, Chris asked “Should I call Adam and have him come over?”

 

“No, not tonight. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow. If I’m still real nauseated and/or I’m throwing up like I have tonight, then you can call when you get home tomorrow.”

 

He didn’t want to wait that long, but he knew she wouldn’t back down on this. “Alright, but how about a compromise for tomorrow.”

 

“What?” she wondered.

 

“If it’s not any better by mid-day, email me and let me know. I’ll call Adam then. Also, tell me if you want me to come home at that point or not.”

 

She only nodded.

 

“You want some help back to bed?”

 

“Yeah,” was all she said.

 

He stood and then helped her to her feet. When she was standing, he picked her up and carried her to bed. He went back into the bathroom to get a toothbrush with some paste on it and a cup of water, bringing them out to her. When she finished brushing her teeth, he set them back in the bathroom to leave til morning.

 

They slept through the rest of the night without incident.

 

He got up and ready for work when the alarm went off the next morning. He took the wolves to let them eat and do their business, bringing them back in with her when done. She woke slightly when he came back in, just enough to give him a kiss and tell him bye.

 

Chris got to the office the same time as Vin, which was usual.

 

“How’s Nic?” Vin asked, since she wasn’t with Chris.

 

“Nauseated and throwing up. We figured with how tired she’s been and the way she decided to fall asleep yesterday afternoon, its better she not come in today and next week. She’ll teach her classes both days next week if she’s up to it, but otherwise, no work.”

 

“Ya know she’ll find some kind of work to do at home.”

 

Laughing Chris said “Yeah, only so she doesn’t get bored.” Chris started to head into his office when they got upstairs, only to turn and say “When everyone else gets here, I have a question for all of you.”

 

Vin just nodded, sitting down and getting to work.

 

“Hey Chris,” Vin said from the doorway. Chris only looked up in answer.

“Everyone else is here.”

 

“Thanks Vin,” Chris stated, getting up from his desk.

 

“Got a question for you guys,” Chris said to the room when he got into the bullpen.

 

All eyes turned to Chris wondering what was going on. Chris could see Buck and Ezra wanting to make a wise ass comment so he just smiled.

 

“Have there been any hits on the sketches that Dee did up of who our friends in lock up saw?”

 

“A few,” Buck answered. “But all dead ends.”

 

“Alright. JD, scan both sketches into your computer, add color and as much 3D as you can.”

 

“Alright Chris, but won’t Nic be upset with us for changing it?”

 

Smiling, Chris said “No, in fact she did them figuring this would need to be done. If you look at the sketches, in the upper corner of each she wrote out the parts of the description needed for doing just that.”

 

“Once Mr. Dunne is finished with that, what are we to do with them?”

 

“Get them out. Whether over the Internet in places you think they’ll get noticed, or by taking them and asking around town. Which means, print each off and make lots of copies. Since it looks like the tip that Buck and JD got on Tuesday was probably made by one of the two in the sketches, we want to get them and get it closed for real.”

 

Nodding, Buck asked “What about the two in lock up?”

 

“They’re fine where they’re at for now. Dee is going to do some checking into why they ended up here in town. They shouldn’t be here in town at all, so they ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he replied and reminded himself to send her an email regarding them and to remember to find out.

 

“Since nobody else has any questions about it and I’m done, let’s get on it and let me know any hits you get on the sketches or if you have any other questions.”

 

They guys nodded and as he turned to go back into the office, Chris could see JD starting to scan the first sketch.

 

There were days like today that it really amazed him at how easy it was for some, ok most if not all 6 of his team and Dee, to use a computer and not quite as easy for others, ok him. He’d like to think it was age, but Josiah was a few years older than he was and Josiah didn’t seem to have any problems. Smiling to himself, he remembered he was usually told that when the computer frustrated him it was because he didn’t have the patience. She was right.

 

Brandi woke 2 hours after Chris left, around 9am, and headed straight into the bathroom. Since she had emptied her stomach the night before and hadn’t eaten anything since, she only had dry heaves but it still didn’t make her happy.

 

Getting off the floor, she washed her face and brushed her teeth then headed into the kitchen.

 

Seeing her come in, Alex said “Morning sweetheart. Can I fix you some breakfast?”

 

She didn’t answer him and he noticed her slightly greenish/pale color. Walking to where she stood, filling the tea kettle, he put a hand on her arm. She looked at him with a question in her expression. “Are you hungry?” he asked.

 

She only shook her head no.

 

“Are you feeling okay? Don’t just shake or nod your head, answer me.”

 

“Not really.”

 

“Should I call Chris?”

 

With a small smile, she answered “No, I’ll let him know later if it stays like this. I’m just going to have some tea and see if it helps.” She finished filling the kettle and sat it on the stove to boil.

 

While waiting for her water, she grabbed her sketch pad and sat at the kitchen table. She made a sketch of a person she wanted to forget, but the destruction of their house started her thinking. Unfortunately with everything that had been happening, she hadn’t had the chance to do more than let the thoughts float around and start to take hold. The thoughts took an ever better hold when they were invading her dreams and wouldn’t let go, as they did the day before. Absently she ran a hand over her abdomen as if trying to protect the babies from just her thoughts.

 

Thinking of something else as she sketched, she asked “Daddy, have you talked to Father lately?”

 

Sitting the tea in front of her, he said “Actually, yeah. Any particular reason you’re asking and haven’t you heard from him?”

 

Taking a sip, she replied “No I haven’t which is one reason I’m asking. The other reason I’m asking is because Kid and Hayes are here. From what Kid told me, they showed up Tuesday morning, having started out in their own time on a Denver street. There wasn’t any shift in the time line that I remember feeling, so I don’t know what brought them here and I wanted to find out if he knew.”

 

“Did you see them?”

 

“Yeah, that’s one way of putting it. They’re sitting in our lock up at the moment, brought in for gun running.”

 

“Great. I’ll find out from him and see about getting them sent home.” Noticing that she had been working on something, he asked “What is that you’re drawing?”

 

“Possibly something else you may have to ask him about. But before you do, I have some further checking to do.”

 

Getting another cup of tea, she headed into Ben’s office to finish up the sketch. She wanted to make sure she had it complete.

 

When it was as done as she could get it, she turned on the computer and then scanned it in, sitting down while it came up on the monitor.

 

Once up, she minimized it for access later. She got online and then started with the DMV, getting past their blocks with her pass codes, to look up Jamie Anderson. Brandi had a bad feeling about who she was, but she wanted to make sure before giving it over to Chris.

 

She found the last address as the one next to them. She went back farther and found no tickets, no suspended license or anything else that could get flagged. She kept going back to see if Jamie was indeed a real person or not. She got as far back as 1998 and then nothing. Finding it interesting and strange, Brandi copied the social security number that Jamie used, and then saved the information to disc, along with the sketch.

 

Going into the IRS data base, by way of her pass codes, she put in the social security number and found that the number was nonexistent. This Brandi found even stranger. She saved this to disc and continued on.

 

As Brandi started to debate on going into the FBI database, she ended up having to get up and run to the bathroom, throwing up all the tea she had been drinking. She rested her head on her arms for a couple of minutes to let herself settle and to make sure she was done for the moment. She got herself off the floor and re-brushed her teeth.

 

When she got back into the office, she found her dad there, looking at what she had on the monitor and then turning to look at her, wondering.

 

Sighing, she said “It has to do with the sketch I was doing. I need to ask you something though.”

 

Noticing the serious and worried look, he said “All right, I’ll answer as best as I can.”

 

“Alright. You remember the woman I told you about, the one that had paid someone to set the fire that killed Sarah and Adam in 1868?” At his nod, she brought up the sketch and said “This is her. Do you think Father would have brought her forward? For whatever reason he had.”

 

“I’m not sure, but I can find out. Why are you wondering about it? Or do you think that the person that was living next door to you and Chris was her with a different identity and, possibly, look and that she had something to do with what happened to your house?”

 

“Yeah I do. And yeah a different look.” Turning and bringing up an enlargement of the driver’s license photo, she said “This is what ‘Jamie’ looks like. But, there still are some similarities. I noticed them when I saw this driver’s license picture, but let’s try this,” she moved the photo of Ella Gaines, using it as a transparency since Ben had the computer set up to do that with his construction business, on top of the photo of Jamie Anderson and showed Alex where the similarities were. She saved the doubled photo also to disc.

 

“Well sweetheart, I’d say your dead on with them being the same. What all did you find out with what you looked up?”

 

“With the DMV I found records for Jamie only as far back as 98, no record of her before that. When I put in her social security number into IRS, there is no record of that social security number ever being used or given out, so it’s like she doesn’t even exist. I was debating about going into FBI or even CIA when I had to throw up again.”

 

“Are you going to let Chris know about this?”

 

“Yeah, as soon as I’m finished with all of what I can get.” Looking down, she laughed and said “Speaking of which, he’s online.”

 

“Then let him know. I think you’ve gone as far as you can. Unless she is a spook, she is nonexistent. I’ll see what I can find out from your father as to if he did and why. Also, don’t forget to let Chris know how you’re feeling.”

 

“I won’t forget. Thanks Daddy.” She turned back to the computer and went into her email. She noticed an email from Chris reminding her about Kid and Hayes and she laughed.

 

She clicked on reply to his and wrote:

 

“Hey Cowboy,

That’s already taken care of, before I even read this.

I’m sending you some information you will be interested in. Before you get upset, yes I did do some checking, but a different kind as you’ll see from what I’m sending.

I had to, it’s been bothering me and from what I’ve got that I’m sending, now I’m scared. You know how little I get that way.

Anyway, if you look you’ll see I’m on also and I can let you know that way how I’m feeling.

Love you, D”

 

Attaching everything she had on the disc, she hit send. She knew he would ping her on IM as soon as he got the note and looked.

 

Chris looked up when he heard he had a message and smiled when he saw who from.

 

He opened it, noticing the attachment and wondered.

 

After reading her note, he opened the attachment and started reading it. When he got to the last of it and saw the two pictures together, all he said was “Hell.”

 

He started printing and then opened his instant messaging. Seeing her still there, he clicked on her name to send her a message.

 

“Hey babe,” he wrote. “Guess this has been bothering you, but it’s had me wondering also.”

 

“I figured you were, but I also knew you wouldn’t check it out. It was something that woke me this morning and I figured it was better to get it done and not put it off any longer.”

 

“Yeah and I can understand your being scared. Though even being as pissed as I am to know she’s around again, it makes me more worried about you and the babies.”

 

She smiled and wrote “I know you are, for both. Now I know why I took an instant dislike to ‘Jamie’ the moment I saw her.”

 

“Yeah, I do too. Do you know how or why she’s here?”

 

“Nope. Daddy’s going to find out when he asks about the other two, but I don’t know…” she stopped writing for a minute to see if she was only nauseated or not. When she realized it was not, she wrote “Be right back,” and ran for the bathroom without waiting for a reply. Coming back, she wrote “Sorry. Anyway, don’t know when daddy will be finding out.”

 

He had a feeling as to what her sudden departure was about, so he asked “How many times since you woke up?”

 

“This was the third. This time and when I first got up I only had dry heaves, but the other time was the two or three cups of tea I had to drink this morning trying to get it to settle.”

 

“Alright, I’m calling Adam then. You want me to come home?”

 

“Go ahead and call him. No need for you to right now. I’ll have Adam call you if he thinks different. I was going to ask if you wanted to come take me to lunch, but I think I’m going to go back to bed and wait for Adam. I’m suddenly really not feeling very good. Oh, you gonna say anything to the boys about what I found?”

 

“Since Vin is the only one with any actual memories of that time, I’ll say something to him. And, since Josiah and Nat are regaining theirs, I’ll see what they remember about all that with her and go from there. Having either Buck’s or Ezra’s memories back would also be helpful, but Buck’s would be better.”

 

“I’ll see if there is anything I can do about starting Buck’s or Ezra’s coming back. If I can, then I’ll try and give some slight help.”

 

“That’ll work. When I call Adam, I’ll ask him to call me if he thinks I’m needed there or not. Go get some rest and if I don’t see you before, I’ll see you tonight.”

 

“Ok, and that’s fine with Adam.”

 

“Alright. Now, get off and go rest please.’

 

“I will. And, I am. See you later. Love you,” she wrote and sent him a kiss.

 

“Good. Love you too,” he wrote back, sending her back a kiss. He watched to make sure she did go offline then called “Vin!”

 

Coming to the door, Vin said “Yeah Chris?”

 

“Come in and close the door please.”

 

Vin did as he was asked then sat down across from Chris.

 

As Chris picked up the phone, he handed across his desk the information Brandi sent and that he had just finished printing.

 

He was watching Vin’s reaction as he heard “Good morning, Dr. Stevens’ office. May I help you?”

 

“Dr. Stevens, please. This is Chris Larabee.”

 

“One moment sir,” the receptionist said.

 

“Chris, is anything wrong?” Adam asked.

 

“Not sure,” Chris replied noting Vin’s look getting darker. Continuing to Adam, Chris said “Could you go by Ben’s and check on Dee?”

 

“Sure. What’s going on?”

 

“She’s throwing up again, not keeping anything down. Started yesterday evening, then again last night about an hour after we had dinner, and then she was just telling me while we were talking online that it’s been another three times today since getting up. Dry heaves twice and the third was the tea she’d had this morning to drink. I think the tea was all she had this morning, nothing to eat. She also just said she was suddenly not feeling good, which isn’t like her.”

 

“Damn. Yeah, I’ll go by. Are you going home?”

 

“Not unless you call after you’ve seen her and need me to.”

 

Understanding, Adam said “All right. I’ll go over now and I’ll let you know either way.”

 

“Alright and thanks Adam.”

 

“No problem,” Adam replied then hung up.

 

After hanging up his own phone, Chris worked his mind back to the problem at hand as he looked at Vin.

 

Vin had been watching as Chris’ expression changed, with difficulty, after the phone call.

 

“Everything alright with Nic?” Vin asked with concern.

 

Understanding Vin’s need to ask, Chris said “Won’t know for sure til Adam sees her.” Putting a hand on the papers Vin set down, Chris asked “What do you think of this?”

 

“Depends on who got the information and sent it to you.”

 

Smiling, Chris only said “Dee.”

 

“Well, then I know it’s real. I thought I heard everyone else saying you didn’t want any of us to check into what happened with your house.”

 

“Don’t, but we both came to the same conclusion as to who may be involved, without actually saying it. It had been bothering her, and she had a bad feeling about Ella, so she finally did some digging. This isn’t saying that Ella or Jamie, or whatever it is she’s going by now, is involved in what happened to the house, but it’s a strong chance. And this wasn’t checking into the house. This was finding out more about someone that made an unjustified complaint against you. And, having a bad feeling about that same person.”

 

“So what do you want to do with the info?”

 

“We’re going to try and find Ella this time and take care of her for good. But, first I‘ll need your help to see what Nat and Josiah remember about Ella and I want to see if Dee is able to help Buck’s or Ezra’s memory any. I also want to get the guys that set up Kid and Hayes first. Sometime this afternoon, let me know if you’re gonna talk to Nat or Josiah and I’ll take the other and we go from there.”

 

“Alright Cowboy. Hey, I hope it’s nothing to worry about with Nic.”

 

“Me too,” Chris said. Vin nodded and then got up and walked back out to his desk to work on finding more places to put the sketches up where they’d be noticed by the right people.

 

“Everything alright Vin” Nathan asked, seeing a looked that crossed between anger and concern on Vin’s face.

 

“Yeah, hope so. Nic’s having some rough times again,” Vin said. Then almost as an afterthought, Vin replied “Chris had something come up that he wants my help with.”

 

Nathan only nodded and went back to work.

 

Adam arrived at Ben’s at 11am to find Brandi in bed asleep.

 

Touching her arm to gently shake her to wake, Adam felt like he’d burned his hand. Looking at Alex, he said “I need a thermometer. I need you to find one for me, even if you have to call Ben to ask.”

 

Alex only nodded to his nephew and went to check Ben’s room for the thermometer.

 

When Alex finally found an ear thermometer and brought it back to Adam, he saw his daughter moving restlessly and crying out.

 

Turning when Alex came in, Adam said “Can you help me and hold her while I check her temp and then check her.”

 

Nodding, Alex sat down and took her in his arms.

 

Somewhere in her dreams, she saw her dad sit next to her, holding her. She settled some and said in her mind and out loud “Daddy.”

 

He murmured things to her he knew she wouldn’t hear, because he could feel her blocking everything, while slightly rocking her. Feeling the heat coming off her, he could understand Adam’s concern.

 

Adam took her temp at 11:15 and seeing it stop at 103.2F, he grabbed the phone.

 

Dialing 911, Adam heard “911, what is your emergency?”

 

“This is Dr. Adam Stevens. I have a patient here in need of an ambulance. She is fourteen weeks pregnant with a temperature of 103.2 and has been throwing up.”

 

“I have an ambulance on the way Dr. Stevens.”

 

“Thank you,” Adam said then hung up.

 

“Are you going to call Chris?” Alex asked.

 

Neither realized Brandi was awake and lucid until she said “No, don’t call him yet Adam. I watched you call for an ambulance which means I’m worse than I thought and yes I’m blocking sounds, less effort. Unless you think he can do anything other than worry, there isn’t any reason to call him. If you decide to call him, you can tell him I said he’d do more good staying at work.”

 

Walking to her, Adam smiled and said “I’m going to call him sweetie because I told him I’d let him know either way. I will pass your message on, but I can’t make any promises as to what he’ll do. And, you’re right, you are worse. You have a high temp. Add that to your throwing up makes me concerned, so you’re going to the hospital.”

 

She sighed, said “Alright,” and then was back asleep.

 

The ambulance was there by 1125, being let in by Adam who went to watch for them.

 

They had her on the gurney and on the way to the hospital by 1130. Adam convinced the paramedics to let Alex go and continue to hold her while he followed. He placed a call on his way.

 

“Larabee.”

 

“It’s Adam.”

 

Looking at the time, Chris said “You’ve seen her already? That was quick.”

 

“Actually, I’m not done. I just stopped for the time being.”

 

Getting worried, Chris asked “Why, what’s wrong?”

 

“I got an ambulance to take her to the hospital. Before you say anything, I’ll explain. I got to Ben’s and she was asleep. When I went to wake her she felt very warm. Alex found me a thermometer and I checked her temp. It was just over 103 so I called for an ambulance. Just as I did she must have woke up because she then asked me not to call you. But, if I did, she asked me to tell you to stay at work; you’ll do more good there. She doesn’t want you to worry even though she knows you will. She’s right about you staying at work though. You’ll do better keeping your mind busy. I’ll let you know if she’s admitted.”

 

Letting go of the breath he didn’t realize he was holding, Chris sighed and said “Alright. I’ll talk to you in the next couple of hours.”

 

“Yeah, and Chris, she is fine. I’m just being cautious because of the temp and her throwing up.”

 

“Thanks Adam,” Chris said before he hung up.

 

Chris sat at his desk running his hands over his face and through his hair.

 

Passing by the open door, Buck noticed Chris just sitting there looking lost, so he walked in.

 

“Hey buddy, you alright?”

 

Looking up, Chris said “Worried. Dee’s on her way to the hospital with a high temperature.”

 

“What’re you doing sitting here?”

 

“Both Dee and Adam think I should stay here. Adam said she’s fine, he’s just being extra cautious. He’s going to let me know if she gets admitted,” Chris told him. Making a sudden decision, Chris asked “How long have we known each other?”

 

Wondering at the question, Buck gave a look of ‘why are you asking’ and then his expression changed, like a forgotten memory surfacing.

 

Chris got up and closed the door.

 

“I was first wondering why you’d asked,” Buck started. “Then it was like I was seeing us in another time and another place. The length of time can’t be possible. You’d think I was crazy.”

 

“Try me,” was all Chris said.

 

“145 years or so.”

 

With a small smile, Chris answered “Yep, that’s about right.”

 

“But how…” Buck started to say. Then he suddenly said “Nic.”

 

Chris just nodded.

 

“Why didn’t I remember before now and why does it seem like you’ve always known?”

 

“You didn’t remember before now because she wanted you, JD, Josiah, Nathan and Ezra to remember when the time was right. And with me, it seems that way because I’ve always remembered. I wanted it that way as did Vin.”

 

Chris watched as disbelief to understanding crossed Buck’s features.

 

“Now I need your help or will when we get the guys that set up the two in lock-up.” Handing him the file Vin looked at earlier, Chris said “Look through this please and then give me your opinion.”

 

Buck took the file and read. Chris could tell by the set of Buck’s jaw that he got to the last picture.

 

Handing it back to Chris, Buck asked “You gonna tell Nic about this?”

 

“She knows. That’s who got all the information together. I want to find Ella this time and take her out of the picture for good.”

 

“Don’t blame you there buddy, but how is Ella here.”

 

“Dee has Alex looking into that. Right now, besides Dee, only you, me and Vin know about Ella. Josiah and Nat are having memories come back and between Vin and I we’ll see what they remember for that time specifically. And, it’s better if you don’t talk about anything from the past that you remember around JD or Ezra. Neither of them remembers anything yet. The rest of yours will come back, but only Dee could say how fast or slow,” Chris told him. Continuing he said “For Ella, Jamie, or whatever the hell she’s calling herself, that stays between you me and Vin. As I said I want to get started on it as soon as we can find those two in the sketches. If it doesn’t get started before we leave, then it will have to wait til we get back, that’s just the way it will have to be. If we find a point in the mist of this current case, that’s great. But this case and any that comes up in the meantime will take precedence over looking for Ella and getting her out of our lives.”

 

“I’ll help whatever I can with it. I’ll also make sure not to say anything around JD or Ez. Besides, I’m not sure what the kid knows when it comes to Nic. Let me know when you want to get started.” Buck watched his oldest friend and could see the worry that Chris was trying to hide. Feeling concerned also, Buck said “Why don’t you head over to the hospital and check on Nic. You’ll feel better if you do.”

 

Knowing he was right, Chris just nodded and headed into the bull pen with Buck.

 

Looking at his team, Chris said “I’ll be back in an hour, two at the most. Dee’s in the ER at the moment. I‘m going over and see how she is right now.”

 

“You’re not going to stay there with her?” Josiah asked.

 

“Actually no. She told Adam while they were still at Ben’s that she wanted me to stay at work and keep my mind busy,” Chris said. He thought to himself that she’ll also not want him to cancel his plans with Vin for the weekend.

 

As Chris left the office, Brandi woke in the ER. Opening her eye’s, she saw her dad sitting there holding her hand and smiling at her.

 

“Hi sweetheart. How are you feeling?”

 

“Like I’m not all here. I’m warm and cold at the same time. How long have we been here?”

 

Hearing the question as he walked in, Adam looked at her and getting her attention, said “Not long. I was checking to see how soon someone will be in to see you.”

 

“Alright. Did you talk to Chris, Adam?”

 

“Yeah, I did and I told him what you said.”

 

“Good thanks. I’m having a hard time staying awake, so if you talk to him,” was all she got out before she saw Chris coming in behind Adam.

 

Also seeing him, Alex got up as he said “I’m going to take a walk. I’ll be back in a while.” Alex leaned down to give his daughter a kiss and left the little room.

 

Smiling at Chris as he came in, sat next to her and took her hand, she said “You timed that perfectly. I don’t want you to cancel your trip with Vin this weekend. You two have been planning and looking forward to this, especially since I know you had to change it to when Vin and Ezra got back from Seattle, and you need to get away. I’m probably just going to sleep anyway and if you want someone staying in my room, then Eric, Dave, or Daddy can sleep on a cot.”

 

“As long as you’re sure. You do know it won’t stop either of us from worrying,” he said as he put his other hand over the one she had resting on her abdomen. Continuing, he said “Having one of them stay with you will help take some of the worrying away.”

 

She smiled and closed her eyes, falling right back to sleep.

 

Chris looked at Adam and asked “She’s real hot, you sure she’s alright and that the babies are fine?”

 

“Yeah, she’ll protect the babies to make sure they’re okay. As for her, yeah I do think she’s all right. I just wish someone would get in here.” Thinking of something, Adam said “I forgot to ask you either time. Was she warm like this last night or this morning?”

 

“No, she was only throwing up. And I wouldn’t have been concerned if it hadn’t been as frequent as it was.”

 

“Ok, I just wanted to make sure, but I know you would have said she was if it was the case. So looks like the fever started sometime after you left for work this morning. That could be why she suddenly wasn’t feeling good.”

 

“Yeah. She said she was going to lie down and get some more sleep. Then that she wasn’t feeling very good. I don’t think it was just the throwing up that was making her feel that way.”

 

“Most likely,” Adam said as a nurse walked in.

 

The nurse walked over to Brandi and started to wake her up.

 

“That wouldn’t be a good idea,” Adam told her.

 

“I need to speak with her about why she has come in.”

 

“Her dad and I did that when we first got here at 1135, and then didn’t see anyone else until you. If you want to speak to someone, you can speak to one of us.”

 

“And you are?”

 

With a thin smile, Adam said “I’m Dr. Stevens, her regular doctor, and this other gentleman is her fiancé. I’ll tell you why it’s not a good idea to wake her. She does not wake well when someone tries to wake her up, especially if she doesn’t know that person; she can’t hear so she wouldn’t hear anything you’re saying trying to wake her; and with this temperature she has, she is having times being awake and lucid, otherwise she is asleep and very out of it. Now what more do you want to know?”

 

“How long ago did the fever start?”

 

“Somewhere between 7 and 11 this morning.”

 

“She is also throwing up. For how long?”

 

Adam looked at Chris, who said “Yesterday evening and then again last night. We ate dinner and an hour later she threw it up. Then from what she told me this morning, she threw up three more times. First was just after getting up which was dry heaves, then a bit later and it was the tea she had been drinking to settle herself that she threw up, and the last was while we were talking and it was dry heaves only.”

 

“Well you do realize that that is normal with a pregnancy.”

 

Keeping his voice under control, Adam said “Yes he does, because I already told both of them that. But, you see, the difference is she is fourteen weeks carrying triplets and should not be throwing up as she has been, especially since she isn’t keeping the fluids down. I would expect nausea still and her to throw up once in a while, but five times within an eighteen hour period, no.”

 

Taken aback by Adam’s controlled anger, the nurse said “The doctor should be in shortly to see her.” She then turned and walked as calmly as possible out the door.

 

By the time the doctor came in, Alex had returned and all three were fit to be tied. And when he asked also what was going on, Adam exploded bringing in Dr. Reynolds, the chief of the ER.

 

“What’s going on here,” Dr. Reynolds asked the ER doctor. Looking around the room, he was surprised to see Adam and Chris.

 

“What brings you back in Adam?”

 

“I had an ambulance pick up Brandi this morning and it arrived to get her at 1125. We were loaded and gone in five minutes and here in another five. Since then we’ve been waiting to see someone. And it seems no one looked at and read whatever the last person we talked to wrote down because we keep getting asked the same thing.”

 

Taking the chart, Dr. Reynolds looked it over. Looking up at the ER doctor, he said “What has taken so long for anyone to come see her. If the triage nurse that took over for the paramedics had looked and paid attention, they would have had you and a nurse in here immediately. You have a woman that is pregnant with a high fever and dehydrated from having been frequently throwing up.” Turning back to Adam, he asked “Has she been awake at all?”

 

“Yeah, twice, once before we came in and once after getting here, as Chris got here, and she was lucid both times.”

 

“Let’s just get her admitted to the medical floor and then you can go from there Adam. I’ll be right back; I’m going to see what’s available.”

 

The ER doctor Adam yelled at followed Dr. Reynolds out. Adam and Chris started laughing at how quick that took.

 

Within five minutes, Dr. Reynolds was back saying they got a room and yes, unlike last time, they are assigned to it. He told them it would be a few minutes before the floor called for her, but in the meantime Brandi was getting fluids back to help replace what she had recently lost.

 

Looking at his watch, Chris said “I’ll go up with you so I know what room, but then I’m heading back to work.” Running a hand through her hair, he said “I wanted to make sure she was doing alright. Sitting there waiting for a phone call wasn’t helping. Can’t say I really want to go back to work, but rather that then have her stress with getting upset if she wakes up again. I was thinking. I wonder if this was starting earlier yesterday even though she wasn’t showing a fever.”

 

“How so?” Adam wondered.

 

“She fell asleep, standing up, around 2pm yesterday, and when she did, if I hadn’t been right there she would’ve been on the floor and the way she did it, you would’ve thought she’d passed out. Anyway, she slept til about 6 when I woke her enough go home then she woke again for about 5 minutes after we got home and about 20 minutes later when she threw up that first time. She didn’t wake up again until about 10 last night which is when we ate.”

 

“Ok, could be, even if she wasn’t showing an actual temp then.”

 

Five minutes later a nurse came in to take them upstairs.

 

Once she was settled in a room upstairs, Adam went to see if the charge nurse, Jennifer, they had before was there. Finding her, he asked if it was possible to have Nurse Cindy take care of Brandi. Jennifer said that wouldn’t be a problem and went to find Cindy. When they returned, Adam asked if Jennifer could talk to Sherri that evening about Beth being with Brandi. She said she would be happy to.

 

Going into the room with Adam, Cindy smiled and said hello to Chris and Alex.

 

“Are you going to be staying again Chris?” she asked.

 

“Not over the weekend. She didn’t want me to cancel plans I had already made so you’ll need that cot this time. If she is still here when I get home on Sunday, then I‘ll stay til she goes.”

 

Cindy nodded and made a note to get a cot. After getting report and making sure Brandi was settled, Cindy shooed the men out to get her assessment done.

 

Chris wrote down the room number and told Adam and Alex he’d be back before he and Vin left town, not really wanting to leave the hospital right then.

 

Adam told him that was fine and Chris left to head back to work, feeling slightly less worried. Adam went to work on the orders. He decided that she was going to be on bed rest with a catheter while in this state, he didn’t want her to get hurt getting up since she still wasn’t completely awake the two times she woke with him. He also didn’t order anything stronger than Tylenol yet, but he wrote for the Tylenol to be given every four hours when she was awake while she had the fever.

 

Cindy was surprised that Chris wasn’t still there and voiced it to Adam.

 

Adam told her “He went back to work. She had said before we even got here that she wanted him to stay at work. He just needed to make sure she was fine and in a room before going back. He and the buddy he’ll be with for the weekend won’t leave town without coming by. You haven’t met Vin, he was out of town when she was last here.”

 

“Ok. You both can go back in to sit with her if you want. I don’t know what kind of assessment you’ve done Dr. Stevens, but you could do it now if you needed too.”

 

“Yeah thanks Cindy. Oh, I ordered an ultrasound of her and the babies that needs to be done today or tomorrow. I would prefer today.”

 

“Ok, I’ll get on that one first.”

 

Nodding, he and Alex went to her room. Alex called Eric and explained that Brandi was back in the hospital for a few days and that she would need someone staying with her over the weekend. He asked Eric if he minded taking one of the nights. Eric agreed to but wondered who was going to be there the other night since it didn’t sound like Chris would be there. Alex told him that no, Chris was going to be gone and that he, Alex, would take which ever night Eric didn’t take. Eric told him that was fine and that since Alex was already there, why didn’t he stay that night and Eric would stay the next one. Alex had no problem with that arrangement.

 

As Alex finished talking to Eric, Brandi woke up.

 

Looking around, she looked back at Adam and asked “Where’s Chris?”

 

With a laugh, he said “He went back to work. He and Vin will be here after work.”

 

“Okay. Did he come up before he left?”

 

“Yeah, and he made sure you were settled here also. He didn’t leave til almost one. We were downstairs for the better part of an hour or more.”

 

“Alright. I figured he would decide to stay instead of going back. I wouldn’t have been surprised or upset, but there isn’t anything he can do here,” she said with a yawn.

 

Seeing her start to fade again, Adam said “I need to finish taking a look at you and I need to tell you a couple of my orders. Think you can stay with me for a bit?”

 

Nodding, she said “I’ll try.”

 

“That’s good enough for me. First my orders. You are on bed rest. No ifs, ands or buts about it this time. You may wake up at times and be lucid, like now, but I don’t want you getting out of this bed and suddenly falling asleep and hurt yourself. I don’t care who is here, that is not going to change. Next, Cindy is going to come in and give you a catheter, same reason as bed rest, and for anything else you get a bedpan. Don’t like it, tough shit lady. Last and this is not written. When Chris gets back from his trip with Vin and is here, I can’t keep him out of that bed, but you won’t be doing anything but sleeping and since you can’t get out of bed, your out of luck there also. You’ll have to wait til I spring you and you get back to Ben’s. That is another tough shit if you don’t like it. From what it sounds like, Alex will be here tonight and Eric tomorrow,” he looked up to Alex for confirmation and received a nod. “You will be getting an ultrasound today or tomorrow. I’ll let Cindy know it’s ok if you sleep through it, since I would prefer no one but me, Alex, Eric or Chris actually wake you. The ultrasound will be the only way this week I’ll check the babies since you have an appointment for next week with me.”

 

“Okay.”

 

He looked at the vital signs that Cindy took with admitting her and noticed her temp was still running 103. Her heart rate was running a bit faster than normal (90), but he knew that would be from a subconscious worry over the babies. Both her respirations (18) and blood pressure (90/50) were normal for her, but she always did have a tendency to run low for a blood pressure. He was glad to see that it hadn’t bottomed out.

 

Looking at her, Adam said “Tell me if you feel any pain as I press.”

 

She only nodded.

 

He started gently pressing on her abdomen, watching her to see if she flinched or made any other nonverbal actions. Not seeing anything, he asked “You doing ok?”

 

“Yeah. I can feel you pressing, but nothing hurting and no nausea from it either.”

 

“Good. Were you nauseated before you threw up?”

 

“Yeah, but it was real quick going from nausea to having to throw up.”

 

“Ok. You’re only going to get clear liquids. I want to get you rehydrated, and every four hours, if you’re awake, you can have Tylenol. I’m not giving you anything stronger for pain either. I want to get this fever down and you won’t be leaving until it is. So, let’s try to get it down in the next couple of days. I’m going to draw blood and take it back to my lab to have it run and see if you need any antibiotics. If you do, anything I give you will be safe. So, which arm?”

 

She held out one to him.

 

Taking tubes and a vacutainer holder with a needle he drew what he needed, finishing as Cindy came in.

 

“Our lab could have done that and ran any tests you needed,” Cindy told him.

 

“I know Cindy, but with her I prefer doing it myself and running them in my own lab.”

 

Nodding, Cindy walked to Brandi and said “I need to put in a catheter. Now is probably the best time since you’re awake.”

 

“Alright. And when you’re done Cindy, can I get some Tylenol?”

 

“Of course,” Cindy replied then shooed the two men out the door. “First, I want you to listen to what I’m saying so you need to remove any block you have up,” and at Brandi’s nod Cindy continued with “you may feel a little bit of pressure as it goes in and I’m sorry. Once it’s in, you may still feel the need to pee, but it’s keeping your bladder empty. If at any point it gets uncomfortable or starts hurting, let me know and I’ll check to make sure there isn’t any kinks or anything,” as she inserted it. “There,” Cindy said, “that wasn’t bad was it?”

 

“You’re done,” Brandi asked.

 

“Yes, it was that quick and having to watch me talk kept your mind off what I was doing. I’ll get you that Tylenol now,” Cindy told her and then washed her hands after taking off her gloves before leaving the room.

 

Brandi forced herself to stay awake long enough to get the Tylenol. When Cindy left, Alex walked back in.

 

Seeing her still awake, Alex pulled a chair next to her and said “You going to try and get some more sleep?”

 

“Yeah, after Cindy brings me some Tylenol. If I’m asleep when Chris and Vin get here later, will someone wake me up please?”

 

“Of course. Are you feeling any better?”

 

“No, and I have a little headache,” she said as Cindy came in.

 

Cindy handed her the Tylenol and a can of seven up. Brandi took it and lying back down, was back asleep quickly.

 

Someone from radiology came and did the ultrasound, almost leaving without doing it until Cindy told them it was ok that Brandi was asleep.

 

Alex left for the ultrasound to be done and was just getting ready to go back in when Adam got off the elevator.

 

“So what were the results of the blood test?” Alex asked.

 

“Everything is normal, or as normal as it can be for her. No infection. So I have no idea why she’s running a fever like this. She asleep?”

 

“Yeah, and they just did the ultrasound.”

 

“Oh good. I don’t foresee any problems there, but with a now unexplainable fever, I want to make sure it’s nothing with the pregnancy.”

 

“I don’t blame you for that, and neither would she or Chris.”

 

Adam just nodded as they went in. Seeing Cindy, Adam asked “Did they take pictures or give any indication on how soon I would have the results?”

 

“I didn’t see anything left, but they may have put it in her chart. I’ll call down to find out in a couple of minutes.”

 

“That’s fine, thanks Cindy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 11

 

Chris got to the office at 2:30pm after stopping to get something to eat on his way back. “Any luck?” he asked to the office in general.

 

“Not yet, still working on it,” he received from across the room.

 

“Hey Vin, you want me to pick you up at your place tonight?” Chris asked.

 

“We still going?” Vin wondered.

 

“Yeah, I actually forgot until Dee told me she wanted us to go. I have to call Lexi and tell him we won’t make getting together tonight either, but can look at Sunday or next week.” At Vin’s look, Chris said, “We’re going to have dinner with him. He was going to come by Ben’s tonight and we were going to figure out a day, which when I told him that I had forgot we were going camping and fishing. But not worried about it. Before we get the horses I want to stop and see Dee.”

 

“Sound’s good. Picking me up is fine. Won’t take me long to get my stuff together when I get home.”

 

Chris nodded as he walked into his office, closing the door. He dialed the Holiday Inn and asked for Lexi’s room.

 

“Da?” he heard and knew it for yes in Russian.

 

“Lexi, its Chris.”

 

“Oh, I am sorry Chris. I was thinking it would be someone else. Is everything all right?”

 

“Well actually, needed to reschedule the three of us getting together.”

 

“All right. Is something wrong?”

 

“Two things came up. First, I forgot until Dee reminded me today that I had plans to go out of town with Vin and Dee is in the hospital for a few days.”

 

“Is she all right?”

 

“Yeah, she’s fine. She’s in room 315 if you wanted to go by, but don’t wake her if she’s asleep.”

 

All of a sudden Lexi heard in his mind ‘Hang up the phone and get your ass over here now.’

 

Replying back he said ‘I’m talking to Chris, Mischka.’

 

‘I don’t care. Now.’

 

“Something wrong Lexi?” Chris asked when it suddenly got quiet.

 

“No, Chris, everything is fine. So when do you want to decide on a date?”

 

“Sunday or Monday if that works for you.”

 

‘Alexi Nikoli Romanov, tell him goodbye, or I’m going to be telling him to go and arrest you right now. Take your pick.’

 

“Chris, I’m sorry. I will get back with you and Brandi on either Sunday or Monday about that. Something just came up that I have to take care of. I will get over to see her today most likely.”

 

“Alright. I’ll talk to you then,” Chris said as he hung up.

 

Lexi was wondering what she was angry about, especially since she was in the hospital. With a thought, he was gone.

 

Lexi got to the hospital, making sure there wasn’t anyone in the room that would question his unconventional means of entering the room.

 

Coming in, he could see she was awake, but not looking good and ready to go back to sleep.

 

“Yes Mischka?”

 

“Adam, would you and daddy leave for a couple of minutes?”

 

“All right, but if you need anything we’ll be right outside,” Adam told her.

 

Nodding, she focused on Lexi. “You realize I could get in trouble, along with fired for not reporting you.”

 

“For what?”

 

“Don’t give me that Lex. I don’t feel good and I’m wanting to go back to sleep. I only woke up because of the way you answered the phone when Chris called you. Why I heard it, I don’t know, but I got a flash of who’s behind the two I drew the sketches of. Didn’t know that, did you. Don’t even think of screwing with wherever those sketches are. What, in the name of the gods, were you or are you thinking?”

 

“Extra revenue.”

 

Her head fell back to the bed. “Why? You don’t need it and what happened to the man that is part of a royal family that has believed in justice the last 225 years. How in the hell do you know if you’re selling to Jeff or not. He is still around or is that not important anymore.”

 

Adam walked in at that moment and said “I don’t know what this is about, but I’m sorry Lexi, even if she asked you to come here, I’m going to ask you to leave. She is getting upset and it isn’t what she needs right now.” Seeing the questioning look on her face he said “I heard your voice raising is how I know.”

 

She nodded as Lexi said “I’ll be back tomorrow to see you Mischka. I will think on what you just said. I had not thought of that possibility. And, if I have not completely alienated you, then Chris, you, and I can talk on Sunday or Monday about when to get together. Chris suggested one of those days to discuss it.”

 

Sighing and deciding to go ahead and tell Chris, she said “As for your coming by tomorrow, that’s fine. Anything else, we’ll see.” She watched him leave before she closed her eyes.

 

Chris sat there after hanging up with Lexi wondering what was going on. It was almost like when Brandi was talking to someone in her mind. He decided to ask her about it later.

 

As he turned his computer on and waited for it to boot up, he placed another call to a local florist, ordering a dozen pink roses with 4 pink carnations included in the bouquet to be delivered that afternoon, early evening with another the same way to be delivered on Saturday anytime during the day.

 

He didn’t get her flowers often, but when he did it was pink, red, or white roses with four pink carnations added in. He had been adding the carnations in since he gave her four pink carnations the first time in 98 when she flew back to Seattle from Paris and he went to make-up with her. He had kicked himself for not going to her sooner, for letting her be gone the three years she was with her ex-husband, first husband. He had known from previous experience she would only return to Seattle when she had had time to heal and not hurt so much. He gave her four because she was gone three years and the last one just because he loved her. The first time he did it, he just bought four carnations in pink and that had been his reasoning at the time, as stupid as it sounded now. Adding them in was a reminder to himself and her about how much he had hurt her and how he has been, actually they both were, working at keeping it from happening again.

Once the computer was ready to go, he got on line, he looked to see where the sketches had been posted and see if he found any hits.

 

He worked between that and the information Brandi had sent him that morning, seeing if he could get anymore when Vin walked in and said “You leaving anytime soon, or am I going by myself?”

 

Chris looked at the time, not realizing it was that late. “Yeah, I’ll head down with ya.”

 

They headed down and out temporarily heading home.

 

Chris went home and got together his bed roll, rifle and pistols, fishing pole, his first aid kit, cooking supplies and utensils, a couple changes of clothes, radio with batteries in it, a pillow, made sure his cell phone was charged, a deck of cards, a flashlight with batteries and made a note to get two extra sets of batteries just in case, along with toilet paper and Coors on their way out. He was planning on them driving in to where they were going to camp, and have Pony and Peso with them if they wanted to go do any riding, hunting, or fishing away from the camp.

 

Where he was thinking of going, he knew they would be safe for hunting if they wanted to, but he was going to make sure they got regular food, just in case also, adding it to the list. Making sure he had everything, including his phone, he left the house to get Vin, deciding at the last minute to take Herc and Ares with them. He would let Brandi know when they went by.

 

Getting to Vin’s, he made sure Vin had his phone and that it was charged, along with any necessities.

 

Getting in the truck, Vin saw Herc and Ares and asked “Taking them with us?”

 

“Yeah. Otherwise they’ll be cooped up inside all weekend. Figured they could use it also and pets are fine for where I’m thinking. Besides, they’ll help protect us.”

 

“True. Nic know they’re going?”

 

Laughing, Chris said “Not yet. Gonna tell her when we see her.”

 

Getting to the hospital, they went up to her room and noticed that she was by herself. Chris also saw the flowers sitting where she would see them.

 

She was sitting there sort of watching TV with the closed caption on when they walked in. She smiled when she saw them. She gave Chris a kiss in return when he bent down to kiss her and quietly said “Thanks for the flowers, they’re beautiful.” He just nodded to her. Looking at both men she said “You got everything?”

 

“Yeah,” Chris said with a laugh. “And I made a list of what to get on the way to get the horses and leave town. We both have our phones and they’re charged. Also, we’re taking Herc and Ares so they can get out.”

 

“Good, they’ll enjoy this also.”

 

“I thought they might. So where’s everybody or anybody?”

 

“Adam went home and daddy’s getting something to eat. Not sure if daddy went to the cafeteria or left to go elsewhere, so until he gets back I’m keeping myself awake.”

 

Nodding at her statement, he asked “What’s wrong?”

 

Vin suddenly said “I think I’m gonna take a walk. I’ll be back in a bit.”

 

She just smiled her thanks. Looking at Chris, she waited for him to face her. Once he’d turned back to her, she said “I don’t know who the guys in the sketches are, but I know who’s behind them.”

 

“Who?” he asked.

 

“Well first I’ll say I’m sorry I cut your conversation with Lexi short. He was being summoned you could say. He’s behind the two you’re looking for.”

 

“I know this is a stupid question, but, you sure.”

 

“Yeah, but I also know that just my word won’t do anything. He may, if not already, be getting ready to cut ties with the two that set up Kid and Hayes only because I reminded him that Jeff could be one of the buyers and that he had always believed in justice, not doing things like this.”

 

“If he does, think it will make it easier to find those guys?”

 

“Could and could also mean that they decide to roll on him. If that happens, I don’t know if he’ll just take the hit for it himself or take the hit and give some more names. Guess at that point it will be a wait and see. I planned on telling you from the moment I realized it, I just thought I tell him what I know, but not that I was going to tell you. He can’t read me unless I want him to be able to so he won’t know I said anything to you.”

 

“He coming back by this weekend?”

 

“Yeah, said he would tomorrow and if he hadn’t completely alienated me, the three of us would talk on Sunday or Monday regarding dinner and such. That I’m not sure on and we can always talk about it more on Sunday when you get back.”

 

“Yeah, I think we should. Now, I’m gonna get Vin to come back in so we can get going. You still sure you want us to go?”

 

“Yeah. Adam has me figuratively chained to the bed and had Cindy give me a nice little accessory for my time here,” she said, pointing to the catheter bag. “And don’t be surprised if, when you get back, he tries to talk you into sleeping on the cot since he told me that until I’m sprung the only thing I’m getting is sleep.”

 

Laughing, Chris said “Actually I’m glad he did all three of those. You need the sleep more than anything, babe.”

 

Vin and Alex came back in just after Chris said that.

 

Coming over to her, Vin gave her a kiss and said “Get your rest Nic and get feeling better. I don’t remember Chris letting the rest of the guys know your room number, so you shouldn’t be bothered overmuch this weekend. I’ll see ya on Sunday when we get back. We’ll try to stay out of trouble.”

 

“Yeah, sure. Just have fun and don’t do anything too stupid. And make sure those other two boys come back in one piece.”

 

“They will,” Chris told her, giving her a kiss. “I’ll see you on Sunday afternoon.”

 

“Ok, have fun,” she told them and then they were gone.

 

After leaving the hospital, Chris and Vin stopped by the store to get the items Chris had written down, then headed to get the horse trailer and horses. Once they had the horses, they went to an area Chris found recently, not far from the base of the mountains. They let the horses out of the trailer, pulled out their bedrolls, fishing poles, guns, the supplies, and let the wolves out.

 

“I don’t know if either of us is really in the mood to be out here. Sure ya wanna stay?” Vin asked.

 

“You’re right about not really wanting to be out here, but ain’t a hell of a lot I can do in town this weekend. Besides she’s right about us having this planned and needing to get out, so yeah I’m sure.”

 

After setting up camp, they grabbed their fishing poles, and headed to a creek not far. The wolves stayed close to Chris most of the time they were fishing, only wandering slightly for a drink, or to play.

 

After a dinner of fish they had caught, they hit the sack early; both tired from the long day of work and for Chris the worry throughout the day. The wolves curled up close to Chris, missing their mom, knowing something just wasn’t right, especially if dad was giving them food mom wouldn’t ever let them have.

 

The next morning, Chris made drinkable coffee, and then they fixed leftover fish for breakfast. After cleaning up from breakfast, they grabbed their rifles, mounted their horses and took a ride, with Herc and Ares staying close to them both. They both also took their cell phones. Chris decided after the destruction of the house that he wasn’t going to be leaving it behind again. Before leaving and throughout the ride, they would make sure they had service.

 

They hunted small game, rabbits mostly, bagging enough for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning.

 

They got back to camp just after dark and got the rabbit ready to cook. They hadn’t done much talking, but they never really needed too. They got the rabbit cooked and Chris made the coffee again, and the four of them dined on rabbit that night.

 

They kicked back and just relaxed that night, Vin getting out his harmonica to play. They did finally talk, about nothing and everything. Vin was still finding it hard to believe that Chris and Brandi were actually getting married. But then again, he told Chris that he still had a hard time believing that technically he was no longer human. Chris laughed and agreed that it was hard to believe at times. But at least nobody else knew and it was only every couple weeks he needed blood. Vin just laughed, and agreed.

 

Sometime later, they went to bed much like the previous night but more relaxed.

 

They fixed the rest of the fish and rabbit for breakfast, and then took their time getting everything together to go home.

 

Brandi went back to sleep on Friday after Chris and Vin left. Cindy brought her in some Tylenol not long after they left. Brandi drank some of her juice and broth before going back to sleep. She slept through the night and until noon on Saturday, waking not long before Lexi showed. She woke to see a second set of flowers sitting next to the ones she received the day before and she just smiled.

 

“Does that smile mean you are longer upset with me?” Lexi wondered, looking at her as he came in.

 

“No it means I’m enjoying the flowers Chris sent to me. You on the other hand aren’t out of the woods yet.”

 

“I understand. How are you feeling Mischka?”

 

“Tired, mad at you, missing Chris, pick one or all of the above. Still trying to figure out why you thought you needed to sell guns.”

 

“I wanted another way of making money, though when I started I did not take into account that Jeff could be buying from those I was supplying, until you reminded me.”

 

“You don’t need the money, so I don’t know why you thought you needed an extra way to make it. Lex, you’re a hell of a lot smarter than that.”

 

“I am glad you think so.” Looking around, Lexi asked “You are alone here?”

 

“For the moment it appears. Dad or Eric will be back shortly. Sorry Lex but I don’t want to talk about this anymore right now. Since Chris said it would be Sunday or Monday, let’s make it Monday so Chris and I can talk some about it when he gets back tomorrow.”

 

“All right Mischka, Monday it is. I will come by here in the evening unless Chris lets me know that you have been released, then I will go to Ben’s.”

 

“I don’t foresee Adam letting me go until at least Tuesday. I could be wrong, but I don’t see it happening. Figure on coming here Monday evening.”

 

Nodding, he bent down and gave her a kiss and then he left the same way he arrived.

 

Eric came in just after Lexi left. Surprise showing on his face, he said “Didn’t realize you were awake, sis. When did you wake up?”

 

“Not long ago. Lexi was here for a few minutes and he just left.”

 

“Alright. Did you want something to drink or some Tylenol?”

 

“Yeah, I could use both.”

 

He handed her a can of seven-up and then went to ask Cindy to bring her in some Tylenol.

 

Cindy came in and handed her the Tylenol, waiting until Brandi took the pills before leaving the room.

 

After taking the pills, Brandi lay back down and was back asleep immediately.

 

She slept through the rest of Saturday and into Sunday, waking just before Chris and Vin came in.

 

Seeing them walk in, she smiled. She was glad they were back.

 

“So,” she said. “Have a good weekend?”

 

“Actually, yeah,” Chris said, smiling.

 

“But I don’t think Chris was all that lonely at night,” Vin said with a grin.

 

Brandi just raised an eyebrow at Chris.

 

“Herc and Ares slept with me. I don’t think they were real crazy about being away from you, though they did eat good.”

 

“Yeah, I’ll just bet they did,” she laughed. “So, I take it they’re alright also.”

 

“Yeah, they’re fine,” Chris told her. “How was everything here?” he asked.

 

“Good. I’ve slept most of it. Lex came by and I told him to come back tomorrow instead of today. I’ve been thinking about it but wanted to talk to you first.”

 

“Alright,” Chris told her, thinking that was for the better. Leaning down, he gave her a kiss and said “I’m gonna take Vin home. I’ll be back shortly.”

 

“Sounds good. I’ll be here,” she replied sarcastically. Chris just shook his head at her.

 

Vin gave her a kiss and said “Not sure if I’ll come by before you leave here. If I don’t, I’ll see you soon.”

 

“Alright. Thanks Vin,” she said.

 

“If you decide to go back to sleep before I get back, that’s alright. We can talk about Lexi when you wake up again.”

 

“Alright, I may do that since I don’t think I can stay awake much longer.”

 

With a smile, Chris nodded and then he and Vin left to take the wolves to Ben’s and take Vin home.

 

She was asleep when he got back to the hospital around 2:35pm. So as not to disturb her, he sat in the chair next to the bed and turned on the TV, leaving the volume off and the closed caption on.

 

The phone suddenly rang around 4pm. Going to it, Chris answered “Larabee.”

 

“Christopher, I was told Sky Eyes was there. Is she available?”

 

“Wind Rider. She’s here, but sleeping right now. Can I help you with anything?”

 

“I want to come see her. I have some things I need to talk to her about. What would be the best time to come by?”

 

“It’s hard to say when she’ll be awake since it’s varying a lot for when and for how long. You could come by this evening or tomorrow. She’s in room 315. While she’s sleeping I’m just sitting here watching TV. It’s up to you on when you come by.”

 

“You will be there the rest of this evening and tomorrow?”

 

“The rest of this evening yeah, but I’ll be at work during the day tomorrow.”

 

“All right, I may come by in an hour or so. If she is not awake, if you do not mind, I’ll wait with you.”

 

Smiling to himself, Chris said “That’s fine with me if she isn’t awake. I’ll see you soon then.”

 

“Yes, and thank you Christopher.”

 

“You’re welcome,” Chris said than hung up the phone. He sat back down in the chair, wondering what that was all about.

 

Cindy walked in and was surprised to see Chris back already. “How was your weekend Chris?” she wondered.

 

“Hey Cindy. Actually not bad, even with us both thinking more about Dee, but that isn’t surprising. We were only about an hour away, so we came back after lunch. I already took Vin home and Dee’s wolves back to Ben’s.”

 

“Good. Did you stop by here first when you got back?” Seeing him nod, she asked “Was she asleep then?”

 

With a slight smile he said “She was awake when we first stopped. Before you ask. She was asleep when I got back and I was only gone maybe 15 or 20 minutes. We got here around 2pm, she talked to Vin a little and we left around 2:15pm and I was back by around 2:30pm or just thereafter. Is her temp coming down at all? I didn’t see you out there either time to be able to ask and when I came in this last time I sat down and didn’t think about going back to find you and ask.”

 

“It has, but not much. It’s still running high, but it’s closer to 102 now. Adam calls in to check, and he’s been in periodically through the weekend to check on her but hasn’t changed her orders at all. She has been awake off and on, but has mostly slept while you were gone.”

 

“Thanks Cindy. Oh, she’ll have a visitor in an hour or so, her grandfather. Other than that, I don’t think anyone will be by, except maybe Kelly, her oldest friend and as close to being a sister as you can get without being blood related or related by marriage. I don’t think Kelly will be by until tomorrow after I talk to my team, though. I know I’m going to get asked about Dee tomorrow and then a call will be made. I think I’ll be more surprised if that doesn’t happen.”

 

Not understanding why he thought that, Cindy just smiled and checked Brandi, writing her vitals on the chart at the end of the bed and then left the room.

 

Brandi woke just before 6pm to find Chris sitting in the chair finishing dinner. Looking over at her, he smiled and said “Hey beautiful, sleep good?”

 

“Yeah I did. What time did you get back?”

 

“Not long after 2:30. Wind Rider called. He’s coming by this evening, wanted to talk to you.”

 

“He say what about?”

 

“Nope, just said he had some things he needed to talk to you about. Which brings me to what we need to talk about. What do you want to do about Lexi?” he asked as he moved over to her.

 

“Well, that’s a good question. I’ve been thinking about it when awake since talking to him yesterday.” She looked over at him and said “If you disagree, then we can go with that, but I was actually thinking about going ahead with it depending on what happens tomorrow, as in if y’all end up finding them tomorrow and what they say and what Lex does.”

 

“Alright, I’ll see what happens tomorrow and go from there then. We can make the final decision before he gets here tomorrow and if we haven’t decided, he can wait.”

 

Smiling she said “Sounds good to me.” As she finished, she noticed Chris look over to the door. Turning her head slightly, she looked and smiled at her grandfather as he walked in.

 

“Grandfather, it’s good to see you. Chris said you were coming by.”

 

With a smile he said “It is good to see you Granddaughter, although I wish it wasn’t here. I have just come from speaking with your brothers. I thought of bringing them with me, but did not think you would want the room that full since from what Christopher said, you are mostly sleeping and awake for different lengths of time.”

“Yeah, that’s true. I don’t know if anyone told you, but Adam had me admitted because I have a high fever and have been throwing up more than what I should.”

 

“No, I spoke with Golden Eagle, Alex, and he told me you were here but not why. Unfortunately what I need to tell you cannot wait. Do you think you will be able to stay awake long enough to hear what I have to say?”

 

Wondering what in the hell was going on, she replied “Yeah, I’m not feeling tired at all right now.”

 

He only nodded, gathering his thoughts. Watching him, Chris asked “Did you need me to leave?”

 

“No Christopher, it will be easier on her to not have to repeat it later. I do not mind you staying.”

 

Chris only nodded, moving closer to Brandi, taking her hand.

 

The longer Wind Rider took to gather his thoughts, the more nervous Brandi got. Holding onto Chris’ hand tighter, Brandi started having a feeling of dread. “Grandfather, what is wrong?”

 

“Nothing is actually wrong, child. I am just trying to think of the best way to tell you what I need to.”

 

Brandi nodded, wondering if he finally going to tell her the truth.

 

“You and your brothers have long wondered about your blood father. It is not who you have believed it to be.”

 

“What do you mean? If he isn’t our father, then how did we come to be with him and think of him that way? Who is our real father?”

 

Sighing, Wind Rider stated “I will start with the last question. Your blood father was one of my tribe. He was what we are now called, Indian or Native American. So, yes you and your brothers are full blood. Your mother and her husband, your father, had only been married a few months when she found she was with child. When she discovered this, she was unable to tell your father because he and other warriors were on a hunting trip. While they were hunting, there was an accident and your father was killed.

 

“Your mother was heartbroken but realized she still had her child to think about. She came to me and told me she did not want to be there without her husband and that she did not want to raise her child without a father. I was not surprised she wanted to leave, but what I was surprised about, as was your mother when I told her just before she left, was that she was carrying three babies instead of one baby. When I asked her where she wanted to go, she said as far away as possible. So, I sent her to that far off planet where she met and fell in love with the man you have known as your father. He could tell your mother was different and special and when you and your brothers were born, he knew you three would be like her with you being the strongest of the three. Before you three were born, they married, even though those of his order were not supposed to marry, and he accepted and acknowledged you three as his own.

 

“I cannot explain how all three of you are blonde with blue eyes instead of dark haired with brown eyes, as your mother and blood father are. When your mother was ready to give birth, she called to me. I went and helped her and I gave you three the tribal names you carry now. You have had the name Sky Eyes since the time of your actual birth. Although the Wolf is your guide, you, and your brothers including Joshua, are protected by a Butterfly and Scorpion. The birthmarks you each have. You also are protected by Pegasus. That comes from when you were in Atlantis and went with the city to the Pegasus galaxy. You were only about three years old when it showed up, from what your mother told me. I was not there or with you at that time.

 

“Why didn’t you ever tell us this before? When we asked?”

 

“Your mother and Golden Eagle asked me not to. Golden Eagle did not know the truth until this lifetime with you. Your mother chose to not tell him until you three were ‘born’ this last time.”

 

Sighing, she said “Well that sure was nice of y’all to do that.”

 

Wind Rider and Chris noticed she was having a hard time staying awake. Wind Rider started to say something but stopped when he noticed Chris give an indiscernible shake of the head. Instead, Wind Rider said “I am going to take my leave. Rest child and I will see you soon.”

 

She only nodded before closing her eyes and falling immediately asleep. Chris put his free hand in hers and moved the other around her, leaning her into him. He wasn’t sure what to think about what Wind Rider told Brandi. Chris knew it wasn’t what she expected to hear about her father. He also was thinking about Lexi and what to do there. He agreed with Brandi that it depended on what happened with the two men that Lexi used as his middle men. If they turned on Lexi and Lexi decided to take the fall instead of giving any other names that would be the end of it. Chris knew Brandi still cared about Lexi, as she did her first husband – Methos or currently known as Adam Pierson – but his dealing guns and not turning anyone else in would kill any feelings, it may hurt her to turn her back on him but she would do it. The chance that Jeff could be buying something Lexi was selling would make it hurt less.

 

He watched TV until he found his eyes drifting shut. Giving in, he turned it off and after laying Brandi down he removed all but his jeans and climbed in next to her, holding her. He was asleep in no time.

 

He awoke sometime during the night feeling her moving restlessly and repeating the name ‘Lena’, over and over again. He wasn’t sure what to make of it since he hadn’t heard the name mentioned before. He fell back asleep making a note to himself to ask her about it the next day when she was awake.

 

On Monday morning, he got up and ready for work, then gave her a kiss goodbye without waking her. Since she wasn’t awake, he knew he would have to wait to ask her about Lena.

 

Getting into the office, Chris checked the few places he marked for any hits on the gun runners. Not finding any, he made a quick call to the University.

 

“Jack Walters,” he heard.

 

“Jack, its Chris.”

 

“Hi Chris. Everything ok?”

 

“That’s actually why I called,” Chris stopped talking seeing movement in front of him. Looking up, he saw Buck standing in the doorway with a smile.

 

Waving Buck in, Chris continued to Jack, “I wanted to let you know that Dee probably won’t be there tomorrow and right now I’m not sure about Thursday.”

 

“What’s wrong? If you don’t mind me asking?”

 

“She’s in the hospital and probably won’t be discharged until tomorrow sometime. More than likely her doctor will want her to rest as much as possible, doing as little as possible the rest of the week.”

 

“Ok, thanks for letting me know today. I was worried about her when you called on Thursday. Oh, one question. Will she be available this fall? Right now it looks like I may need her for several different classes.”

 

“I’ll ask her and let you know but I don’t think it will be a problem.”

 

“Great, thanks Chris. Talk to you later”

 

“Yeah. Bye Jack.”

 

Looking at Buck, Chris asked “Any hits?”

 

“Yeah, had a message when I got here. Gonna check more into it but thought you’d wanna know.”

 

“Yeah, thanks. If it pans out, let me know and we’ll go from there.”

 

“Will do,” Buck replied then left the office.

 

As Buck left, Chris’ phone rang.

 

“Larabee.”

 

“Chris, Alex.”

 

“Hey Alex. Everything alright?”

 

“Yeah. I wanted to see if it was possible for me to come get Kid and Hayes. They’re going to get sent back to their own time but I didn’t think you wanted them to just disappear from your lock up.”

 

“You’re right, it would be better if they didn’t just disappear. I’ll call down and let Jim know it’s fine for you to come up. Oh, sign in as ‘Judge Alex Stewart’.”

 

Laughing, Alex said “Was actually planning on it to cover both of us. I’ll see you shortly.”

 

“See you soon.” After hanging up with Alex, Chris called down to the front desk.

 

“Jim, its Chris Larabee.”

 

“Yes sir, Mr. Larabee. What can I do for you?”

 

“Judge Alex Stewart will be coming in shortly to pick up two people we have in lock up. Go ahead and let him come up.”

 

“Yes sir, I’ll do that.”

 

As Chris talked to Alex and Jim, Buck was looking into the hit he got on the sketches.

 

Getting on the phone, Buck started with his initial information, and then followed a trail until he hit pay dirt with where they were.

 

Walking into Chris’ office, Buck said “Found them. They’re holed up in some dive hotel on the other side of town, near where we picked up the two in lock up. Shall I pick them up?”

 

With a smile, Chris said “Yeah and take JD with you since the case started as the both of yours. Speaking of the two here, Alex is coming to get them so they can go home.”

 

“How soon is he coming?”

 

“Anytime.”

 

Nodding, Buck walked out of the office. Chris could hear him say “JD lets go. We got them.”

 

Not long after they left, Josiah walked to the door of the office and said “Chris, Alex is here. Said he’s picking up the two in lock up.”

 

“Yeah, he is. They just need to be brought up and turned over to him. I’ll take care of the paperwork for it.”

 

Josiah nodded and went to get Kid and Hayes to turn over to Alex. While Josiah brought them up, Chris had Alex sign he was taking over custody from Chris and team seven.

 

Once Alex and both men were gone and Chris had filed the paperwork, he started looking more into the information Brandi found on Jamie.

 

When Buck and JD returned, Chris told them to put one in the interview room and the other in lock up. He didn’t want them talking to each other until after both were talked to.

 

JD and Buck interviewed each man with Chris watching. Both described Lexi to a T but said the name he gave them was ‘Nick Roman’. Hearing that, Chris knew why he gave that name. Lexi’s full name, per Dee, was Alexi Nikoli Romanov. They didn’t know where to find him and they didn’t have a number to reach him at because he always called them. Sometimes they would meet; sometimes it was done over the phone. They did know that, like them, he was Russian because that was how they usually talked to each other. They very rarely used English when doing business.

 

After the second interview, Buck wondered “Should we use them to get their boss?”

 

Chris already had an idea so he just said “No.”

 

“Then how’ll we get the guy?” JD asked.

 

“Don’t worry boys, we’ll get him. I have something else in mind. If what I’m thinking works, he’ll be turning himself in tomorrow.”

 

“You know who it is Chris?” JD asked, amazed.

 

“Very good possibility, JD.”

 

“So, what’re you planning?” Buck asked.

 

“I’d tell ya, but I’m still working it out in my mind.”

 

By this time it was lunchtime. Vin ordered Chinese for everyone then went to get it.

 

When he got back, everyone, including Chris, took a break to eat and talk.

 

Without preamble, Ezra suddenly said “Kelly tried calling Nicci at Ben’s this weekend, Mr. Larabee and was only told that Nicci wasn’t there. She has been worrying since and since you and Mr. Tanner were gone, I wasn’t able to call and ask you. Is Nicci all right? On Friday Mr. Tanner mentioned she was going through a rough time again which made Kelly more worried when I told her.”

 

“Yeah Ez, Dee’s getting there. She has been having a rough time. She’s had a high fever since Friday morning and when I left to come to work, it was still up. On Friday, Adam took her to the hospital and she was admitted. Her temp has been coming down, but not down far enough yet. If it goes down more and stays down, Adam may let her go home tomorrow sometime. I didn’t say anything on Friday because she has needed the sleep. She has blocked out all sounds since Friday so she may have put up a complete block, which even Kelly couldn’t get through, without realizing it, so Kelly wasn’t able to know or tell.”

 

Understanding and thinking of how to let Kelly know, Ezra just nodded.

 

JD sat wondering about Chris’ comment and Ezra only nodding like he understood what Chris was talking about. He didn’t want to ask though when it came to Nic. There was a lot he didn’t understand about her.

 

They all talked and joked as they finished lunch.

 

“Hey Chris,” JD said. “Can we go visit Nic after work?”

 

Chris knew Ezra would call Kelly as soon as lunch was done and Chris was back in his office. He also knew Kelly would be going to the hospital as soon as she heard.

 

“Actually JD,” Chris said. “It’s probably better not to this time. She’s still sleeping as much as possible and when she’s awake, it’s only for short periods of time. Besides, Adam is trying to keep visitors down to a bare minimum and infrequent.”

 

JD’s face fell and he said “Alright, I guess I can understand that.”

 

Nodding and giving JD a smile, Chris headed back into his office. As he walked away, he heard Vin say “Don’t worry kid, we’ll be seeing her in a week. Let’s give her this week to rest.”

 

Ezra figured Chris knew he would call home to let Kelly know, but Ezra still waited til Chris was back in his office before picking up the phone.

 

“Hello,” he heard and smiled.

 

“Kelly, I have some news for you regarding Nicci.”

 

“Is she ok? Ezra, what’s going on?”

 

“She is in the hospital again. Mr. Larabee said she has been running a fever and has blocked all sounds so she may have put up a full block that, without realizing it, blocked you as well.”

 

“But she’s ok?” Kelly asked, worried about Brandi.

 

“Yes, I do believe she is fine, just running a bit of a fever still and sleeping a lot. He did say Adam is keeping visitation infrequent and a minimum number of visitors. So, none of us here, except Chris, will be going by when we leave,” he told her.

 

“Alright, thanks for finding out and letting me know. If you need me, that’s where I’ll be. See you tonight. Love you.”

 

“You’re very welcome. And I you,” Ezra told her before hanging up.

 

On a whim, Vin asked Nathan if he could talk to him for a minute. Going into a conference room, Vin said “Chris mentioned you have some memories returning from our time in Four Corners.”

 

“Yeah, I do. Do you also?”

 

With a smile, Vin said “Asked her to let me keep mine. I wanted to remember. Think she only gave me and Chris the choice though.”

 

Nathan was surprised by this. Not sure Vin’s reasons for asking, Nathan asked “Why’re you asking about my memories?”

 

“Chris had a situation come up that he asked me to help with. It has to do with a woman Chris knew prior and we all met in Four Corners.” Smiling slightly, Vin then said “And it’s a person Nic hates.”

 

“It that woman, Ella, that got Chris shot and caused Nic to leave town?”

 

“Yeah, so you remember that?”

 

“Yeah, why?”

 

“She’s their neighbor, or was before the house exploded, Jamie. I didn’t get a chance to see her, but I hear she pissed Nic off and good.”

 

With a smile, Nathan said “That she did. You saying that’s the same woman? Didn‘t look the same to me.”

 

“Does when you look at a photo Nic did of Jamie and Ella with one used as a transparency. But they ain’t sure how Ella is here. Nic’s having that looked into.”

 

“Alright. So did Chris need my help in it?”

 

“Yeah, and if Josiah remembers Ella then his too. Not sure when Chris is gonna want to start looking for her, but he’ll let us know.”

 

“Ok and if you or Chris haven’t talked to Josiah, I’ll find out what else he remembers besides Aqura. Does Chris have any information on Jamie, or Ella?”

 

“Yeah, Nic found some information and sent it to him. Ask him to see it so you can know where it stands right now.”

 

“I’ll do that. Thanks Vin.”

 

Nodding, they both walked out.

 

Stopping on his way past, and walking into Chris’ office, Vin said “Talked to Nathan. He remembers her and is willing to help. He may come and ask to see the file you got. Oh, said he’d talk to Josiah.”

 

“Alright, thanks Vin. I’m seeing about adding to what Dee already gave me.”

 

“Alright. Just say the word when you’re ready to work on it.”

 

“I will. Thanks again Vin.”

 

Vin nodded and returned to the bull pen.

 

As soon as Kelly hung up the phone after talking to Ezra, she grabbed her purse and headed to the hospital. When she arrived she stopped at the front desk and asked which room Brandi was in. Thanking the nurse she made her way through the maze of corridors. Getting up to the room, Kelly noticed Brandi awake.

 

Pulling the chair up next to the bed, Kelly sat down so she was facing Brandi to make it easier for Brandi to talk and watch.

 

“Hi, little one.” Kelly said, relieved to see Nic was really okay as Ezra had said.

 

“Hi yourself. I thought you were in the field?”

 

“I was, I had tried to call Ben’s earlier and was told you weren’t there. I was becoming worried about you.”

 

“Oh, damn, I’m sorry. I blocked out everything, I guess it blocked you too.”

 

“Yeah, it did. That’s why I asked Ezra to see if he could get anything out of Chris. He called me this afternoon to let me know where you were and I came straight here.” Brandi nodded, yawning. “How’s your fever?”

 

“Better I think. I want to get out of here, but Adam’s won’t let me. He wants me to rest, and figures I’ll only rest if I’m here.”

 

“Best thing for a fever. And he’s probably right.”

 

“You and Ez doing anything tonight?”

 

“I’m not sure, he says it’s a surprise, a good one he assures me–but you know me I’m always suspicious.”

 

“It’s Ezra,” Brandi simply put, a smile coming to her face.

 

“That man always has something up his sleeve to keep me on my toes. And I love him…Sometimes it’s just…”

 

“Just?”

 

“I can’t put my finger on it. He just does things that worry me. Like assignments–part of his job I know but…that connection. I feel everything he does and it scares me.”

 

“I know. I have that same thing with Chris. Your connection to Ezra may not be as strong as ours but it’s there. And yes, I know it’s scary but I’ve sort of gotten used to it.”

 

“How?”

 

“I take vacations…” She laughed and Kelly joined in.

 

“Yes you do, but unfortunately I don’t have that much down time in my job. We have been talking about sneaking off somewhere…” she trailed off.

 

“Stop talking and do it.”

 

“It’s not me, it’s him. I don’t know what it is but whenever we talk about it he suddenly becomes quiet. Distant. You don’t know anything do you?”

 

“No, I don’t sense anything from him.”

 

“Just me then I guess….I don’t like to be away from work that long…my boss doesn’t like it either. Evil taskmaster he is.”

 

Brandi laughed, “I’ll talk to him.”

 

“I can handle him.”

 

“You’re hiding something from me.”

 

“Who? Me?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Never.”

 

“Yeah right.”

 

“What do you possibly think I could be keeping from you?”

 

“It’s something.”

 

Around 5pm, Lexi came by and saw Brandi and Kelly visiting. Looking up, Brandi smiled at him and said “Hi Lex. Glad you were able to come back. Chris should be here soon.”

 

“That is fine Mischka. I don’t mind waiting.”

 

Within fifteen minutes Chris and Ezra showed up.

 

“You don’t mind if I steal her away do you, Nicci?”

 

“No, Ez. I don’t mind.”

 

“Are you ready for your surprise?” Ezra asked Kelly.

 

“You won’t give me any hints?”

 

“No, I won’t so you’ll just have to trust me.”

 

“I suppose.” She sighed getting up and giving Brandi a hug. “I’ll drop by later.”

 

“Alright. Bye.” Brandi waved as they left.

 

“How long have you been awake, babe?” Chris asked, sitting next to her.

 

“I don’t know, but Lexi’s here and we have to deal with that.”

 

“He can come back if you’d rather get some sleep,” he said as two people walked in the door of her room.

 

“Can I help you with something?” Chris asked, not recognizing either person.

 

Noticing him looking at the door, Brandi’s eyes moved that way. Seeing who one of her visitor’s was, she smiled and said “Hey Dath, what brings you out of hiding?”

 

“First, are you listening?” At her shake, he said “Figures. I’m here, Angel, because your self-proclaimed Guardian Angel isn’t watching out for you. I know Chris is but I wanted to make sure for myself that you were fine. I was unable to get here after what happened to the house you both lived in, and when you were in here a couple of weeks ago.”

 

“Don’t worry about it Dath, and Nemesis is around. You two need to give it a rest for now. I’m not in the mood for either of your childishness.” Looking at Chris, she said “You remember Dathan, don’t you Chris?”

 

“Yeah, I’m sorry I didn’t realize it was you. It’s been a while.”

 

“Yes, it has. At least fifty years,” Dathan said with a smile.

 

At Chris’ nod and laugh, Brandi looked at the woman next to him and said “I’m sorry, have we met. You seem familiar but I can’t place from where.”

 

She started to speak when Dathan laid a hand on her arm. “I’m sorry Angel, blame me. You remember my sister, Alena, don’t you?”

 

The name jogged Chris’ memory with the name Brandi was repeating the night before. He looked at Brandi, but her face was unreadable.

 

Brandi thought about it and there was something familiar about the name. She then remembered having a dream the night before and saying the name ‘Lena’ in her dream, like she was calling to someone. Then, just as suddenly, a wall fell and memories flooded her mind. Keeping her face unreadable, she looked over at Lena, catching her eye. She said for only Lena to hear in her mind “I remember, but now isn’t the time.”

 

Responding in kind, Lena said “I understand. When you’re ready, call to me.”

 

Brandi felt a hand on her arm and turned to Chris. “Dee, what are you saying?”

 

With a smile, she said “I’ll explain later. Right now, I want a nap. You can tell Lexi to come back or deal with him now, your choice. Dath, Lena, you may stay or come back later. It won’t matter since I can’t hear you talking if you stay. So, if y’all will excuse me, goodnight for now.”

 

“Hey,” Chris said, touching her arm, and she looked at him. “I’ll get rid of Lexi til later. Especially since I want to tell you what happened today before we talk to him.” He gave her a kiss and got up, going out the door to break the news to Lexi about having to wait longer.

 

Lena felt a stab of jealousy at seeing Chris give Brandi a kiss. Her feelings hadn’t changed for Brandi in 230 years; she was still in love with Brandi. Turning to Dathan, she asked “Dane, why did you ask her if she was listening and why did she say she wouldn’t hear us?”

 

“Because she can’t hear and hasn’t been able to since 1848.”

 

“Why, what happened to her then?”

 

“Jeff. He beat, raped her, and left her for dead. That’s when she and Chris met. Chris found her on his way into the reservation to see Ben.”

 

“Why didn’t you ever tell me about it?”

 

“Because I didn’t want to upset you and there wasn’t anything to be done about it then. From that point on, because you weren’t around, that is what he did to her anytime he could. You happened to show up after one of those times and gave him hell about it, but since you weren’t always around her anymore, he took advantage of being able to hurt her.”

 

She didn’t say anything, just shook her head and wished she had found Brandi earlier than she had in the 1800’s and that she had stayed around to keep Jeff from hurting Brandi like he did. She remembered the time she had shown up. Brandi had most every bone broken, including those in her face, and was conscious on and off but even in those times of being conscious, it was barely. She also remembered seeing Chris then, though she was never introduced to him. He had been there, going in to see her when she was unconscious (there was something about Brandi being upset with him and didn’t want to see him), and looking like his world was ending, or had already, with Brandi being in that state.

 

Chris stopped just outside the door when he heard Lena ask about Brandi. Lena was familiar to him, but right then he wasn’t placing why. When they finished talking, he quietly closed the door and went to where he saw Lexi standing.

 

“Lexi, sorry to keep you waiting.”

 

Turning to Chris, Lexi said “That’s quite all right. I didn’t realize you were here. Was she ready?”

 

“Actually, no. She’s asleep. I need to let her know what happened today before we decide what we’re doing, but I also wanted to talk to you first.”

 

“Is there a problem?”

 

“That depends on you. We picked up the guys you had working for you and they described you perfectly. You have two choices. Come turn yourself in tomorrow and give us more names, or just come turn yourself in and go to jail. We have an accurate description of you; I just haven’t told the rest of my team who you are. Those are your choices and what you decide to do affects what we do, and even what Dee does regarding you from that point out. Which I’m sure you already realize, so make your choice wisely. I’m going back to her room, and I will see you tomorrow.”

 

Lexi only nodded and headed to the elevators as Chris headed back to the room. Lexi knew he had a lot of thinking to do on this. He was tempted to just take the hit and go to jail, but he knew Brandi wouldn’t have anything to do with him after that if he did go to jail and he wasn’t willing to lose her friendship or her love.

 

Chris walked back into the room and sat in the chair by the bed. He noticed Dathan and Lena sitting, so he figured they must have asked for chairs.

 

“Everything all right?” Dathan asked.

 

“Yeah, just had to talk to Lexi. How have you been Dathan?”

 

“Not bad. I’ve been keeping an eye on Brandi as much as I can, even if I don’t see her as much as I want to. Part of that though is because of the fact you both have a friend that is a vampire and we, meaning witches and warlocks, don’t get along all that well with vampires. Did you ever meet my sister, Chris?”

 

“No, I don’t think I have.”

 

“Chris, this is my sister Alena, though she goes by Lena. Len, Chris Larabee. He and Brandi are getting married in a week.”

 

Chris watched as she first smiled at the introduction until Dathan said he and Dee were getting married. Then the expression changed, almost looking like anger or jealousy, for just an instant before returning to a smile. Chris wondered about it and was now sure he had to ask Dee about Lena.

 

“Since she is sleeping and doesn’t look to be waking anytime soon, we’re going to go. Let her know if she needs me, just call.”

 

“Sure will. Hope to see you both again soon.”

 

Lena and Dathan nodded and headed out the door.

 

Cindy saw them leaving as she brought dinner in for Chris. While she was in the room, she took another set of vitals on Brandi and recorded them at the end of Brandi’s bed; not liking that Brandi’s temperature had went up to 102.3. She also emptied Brandi’s catheter and recorded the output, not liking the low amount Brandi was putting out right now. She knew Brandi had slept most of the day, but she was drinking fluids when awake, besides having the IV fluids going in continuously. Cindy checked the IV and saw she had an hour left on it.

 

Chris noticed the looks of concern on Cindy’s face with Brandi’s vitals and when she emptied the catheter. As Cindy started heading out, he asked “Is everything alright, Cindy?”

Shaking her head, Cindy replied “Her temp has gone up to 102.3 and her output is lower than it should be. I’m going to go and call Adam to let him know.”

 

Nodding, Chris looked over at Brandi and thought she had a fire glow. He had noticed her looking that way the day before and before leaving for work that day. But since getting back after work, it looked intensified. He wondered if Kelly noticed it. He put his dinner to the side and got some cool washcloths, draping one over her face, another one on her chest, and one on each leg and each arm. He hoped it cooled her down some.

 

He had just finished eating and was getting up to rewet the washcloths when Adam came in alone.

 

Looking at her, Adam said “She looks on fire. Did that just start?”

 

“At this intensity, yeah. I was just going to rewet these with cold water in hopes of lessening it. I noticed it last night and this morning, but not like it does now. When I got here after work, it looked as bright as it is now. Before I started eating I put these cool compresses on her, but it doesn’t look like it’s getting any less intense. Why in the hell is her temp back up? Why hasn’t it come down any? And why isn’t she putting any of this fluid she’s getting out?”

 

“I don’t know, but if it stays like it is, she won’t be going home until later in the week. And if that’s the case, I’ll break the news to Jess and Mary that the date has to change. I will have her better and out of here by Saturday or Sunday, though right now I‘m not sure how.”

 

“Have you run any blood tests on her or anything?”

 

“Yeah, Friday. She also had an ultrasound. I’m going to schedule another ultrasound for tomorrow, to check the kids, her kidneys, and her bladder. I’ll draw blood now and take it back to the office to have the evening tech run it. I’ll have him do the same tests, plus a few others to see if we can figure it out. A chest x-ray would also help, but I’m not taking the chance because of the pregnancy.”

 

Chris only nodded as Adam took some tubes and a needle with a holder, vacutainer, to draw them with. As soon as Adam had the tubes drawn, he said “I’m going to go write that order and then get over to the office. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

 

“Alright,” Chris said absently, moving to sit with Brandi and put the rewetted cloths on her.

 

Adam left the room. Getting to the nurses’ station, he took down Brandi’s chart. He wrote the order for the ultrasound, including what he wanted them to take pictures of, and as he started to put the chart back, marked to notify Cindy of the new order, he saw Cindy coming to him.

 

“That was quick for getting here,” she told him.

 

“Yeah, and I’ve been in to see her. I drew some blood and I’m taking it to my office to have it run. I also wrote a new order for you that I want done tomorrow,” he said, handing her the chart.

 

She looked at the order and moved over to the phone to call it in. Before making the call, she asked “Are you coming back?”

 

“Yeah, I will. I have more I want to do, but I want to get this in.”

 

Cindy nodded and picked up the phone. Adam got the next elevator and headed to his office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 12

 

 

Adam got to his office, dropped off the tubes in the lab and then got back to the hospital and Brandi’s room 30 minutes later. Adam was surprised to see Brandi awake.

 

“Hey lady, been awake long?”

 

“No, not really. Chris was just telling me about my temp and everything, since I was wondering why the cloth was covering my eyes. What did you find out?”

 

“Nothing yet. I won’t know anything until tomorrow. How are you feeling?”

 

“Drained, but not tired, hot, but cold at the same time, thirsty, a headache, tired of being here.”

 

“Sorry, you’re staying because I can keep a better eye on you here. I’ll have Cindy get you a 7up and some Tylenol. Feeling drained and being hot and cold together is because of the fever and your body trying to fight it. I don’t know if Chris told you yet or not, but you will be having another ultrasound tomorrow. Depending on what the ultrasound shows and what your blood tests show, you may not go home until later in the week. Now, I’ll be right back.”

 

“But Adam,” was all she got out. Adam was heading out the door. He returned with Cindy. Cindy handed her the 7up and Tylenol, staying to make sure Brandi took the Tylenol.

 

“No arguments. I’ll talk to Jess and Mary if I do keep you longer. Now I’m going to see how your lungs sound,” he told her before moving behind her. He tapped her shoulder, letting her know he wanted deep breaths. When he finished, he moved back in front of her and said “Well, I know where some of the fluid you’re not putting out is going. Your lungs don’t sound good at all. From how they sound, I can safely say you have pneumonia, but whether it is bacterial or viral I don’t know yet. To play it safe, I’m going to order antibiotics for you. I want to have you fever free and better by the weekend, so we can all leave on Monday and you two can get married on Wednesday. You being at home right now won’t help you get better.”

 

Realizing it was a losing battle, Brandi said “Fine. I’ll try not to argue.”

 

“Alright,” Adam told her with a grin. “I’m going to go write that order and then I’m leaving. Call me if you need anything, Chris.”

 

“Will do,” Chris told him.

 

Once Adam was gone, Chris asked “you going to be awake for a little while?”

 

“Yeah, why.”

 

“Tell me about Lena and why you were calling her name in your sleep last night.”

 

Not surprised at his wondering, she said without looking at him, “First I’ll say that I haven’t said anything before because I didn’t remember until when she and Dathan were here and Dathan said her name. I met her 231 years ago in Russia. She and Jeff were the ones that kidnapped Josh and I. That was the first time I met Jeff. They started drugging me that first day to suppress my actual memories and then they would give me new memories. After about a week, Jeff decided he wanted more from me. She took Josh to another room for his bath and Jeff stayed with me on the pretense of helping me with my bath. Instead of a bath, he told me what he wanted me to do. Something, even with the drugs, was telling me that what he wanted from a ten year old was wrong, but I ended up doing it. He asked if I liked it and I told him no. He hit me for that. Just after that Lena showed up and Jeff asked her to join us.

 

“She did join us. They shaved me and then Lena took over the teaching, showing me how to be with another woman. She noticed the mark on my face at some point because she told Jeff he was never to hit me again, especially if she was present. She asked me if I had liked what she had done to me and had me do to her and I told her honestly that I did and when she asked me if I liked her better than Jeff, even though I was afraid of getting hit, I answered her again with an honest yes. About 2 days later I started working outside. After a few weeks, three of the boys, which had been coming over to watch me work, and I was wearing only a sundress that was relatively sheer with nothing under it, decided they wanted more. By this point the doubts I had started with weren’t yelling as loud to me so I didn’t think much about all three wanting me. I went with them when they asked me to go with them around a corner of the monastery. We were in to what we were doing so none of us realized until Lena made a comment, that Lena and Jeff were there.

 

“Lena and Jeff joined us and after a while we took it to my room. At that point, Josh was in his own room. That night, I asked Lena to stay with me and share my room. That first six months to year – up to about my eleventh birthday – Lena and I shared ourselves with each other and whatever of the boys, Jeff or his male assistant happened to show up. Starting the day after my eleventh birthday, they started increasing how much drug they were giving me. Around March of the following year – I was eleven and a half and we had been there for a year and a half – Lena started putting up a note that said only she and Josh were allowed in the room. She was the one giving me the drug at that point also. She had not liked the plan of kidnapping us and doing this with the drugs and such to me from the beginning, but didn’t argue with Jeff about it. She loved him but chose to not voice her disagreement with him about his plan. By my twelfth birthday she was decreasing the amount of drug she gave me, if she gave it at all, unless Jeff was in the room. Also the day I turned twelve, she realized I was pregnant. Didn’t have any idea on the father since there were still the various boys, and Jeff, but the bans became longer and she decreased me down to where I wasn’t getting the drug at all, though I had to act like I was if Jeff was there. She would tell me what she could about me, like they had taken Josh and I, but she also told me that she couldn’t give me back the memories they suppressed.

 

“Dathan showed up when I was seven months pregnant and realizing I didn’t recognize him, he let me call him Dane as Lena did although he did tell me we had met previously, just not when it was. The day I gave birth, Lena didn’t let anyone in but her and Dathan. She delivered the baby. Lena then let me hold my daughter before putting a spell on Anna to make it look like Anna, I named her Annalena, was dead. We had already decided she was going to do this, so when she opened the door, I yelled and screamed and cried that the baby couldn’t be dead. I didn’t call her by name because we knew Jeff would be standing outside the door waiting. When she saw him, she closed the door and then let him know Anna was dead and she was going to go bury her. That didn’t make Jeff happy hearing the baby was dead. He asked how soon the current ban would be off and she told him she hadn’t decided and when he asked her how soon to try and get me pregnant again, she told him never because I was too young. She had had inkling that I was older that what appeared and that I had some powers because we had discovered a couple of them, but she never said anything to Jeff about it. Instead of burying Anna, she went back to the house Josh and I had lived at when they took us, and finding no one there, she went to the closest neighbor, the Romanov’s. Dominique was summoned by her maid and when she saw Lena standing there with the baby, she asked about Lena’s charge as Lena was referring to me. She asked to see Anna, during which Dominique noticed Anna’s birthmarks. Having been told by daddy about them on Josh and me, Dominique questioned Lena further. Feeling she could trust her, Lena told her the truth.

 

“Dominique took in Anna and asked Lena to return to help figure out a way to get Josh and I out. I was thirteen when Anna was born and I spent the most of that year with no visitors other than Lena, Josh and Dathan. Lena had told me that it was up to me if anything more than sleep was to happen between her and I, and nothing did usually except sleep. Lena would go back over the next two years to plan on how to get us out of there. She would also tell me that if I ever got my memories back and remembered my time there that she hoped I would remember her with some kindness for her early change of heart, even if I couldn’t forgive. Somewhere in that first couple years she fell in love with me, and I think I was with her. Either on my sixteenth birthday or within a couple of days after, Lex, Gray and Adam rode by and saw Josh and me. They weren’t who Dominique was going to have go by to see us, but it worked out that they did. Gray and Adam told me that Lexi’s mom, Dominique, was looking to adopt a brother and sister and asked who they should speak to when they returned to inquire. I gave them Jeff and Lena’s names, though I called Lena Alena. I saw a look pass between Adam and Gray at Jeff’s name but at that point I had no idea who Jeff was to the family. Lena had told me that Jeff’s taking me had something to do with his family, but he never told her what. Dominique and Dimitri, Lexi’s dad, showed a little later that evening and ended up taking us home then. We lived with the Romanov’s for that year, though Dominique had let daddy know we were there after she and Dimitri made sure it was really us. I taught Lexi’s younger siblings and fell for Lexi. Daddy helped some memories come back, but told me others would have to return on their own, which was part of why he let us stay at the Romanov’s, to not force the memories. After a year, when I was seventeen, Lexi and I married and even knowing how she came to be, Lexi was Anna’s dad.” She stopped for a minute or two and without thinking about it she ran a hand across her growing abdomen. She felt, rather than saw, Chris’ arms go around her and one join hers on her abdomen. Needing the contact, she leaned against him while tears slid down her face.

 

“If she didn’t want Jeff to hit you, or hurt you, why hasn’t she shown up before now in the last 158 years?” he asked, moving to look at her to ask.

 

After seeing his question, she moved back to leaning against him, but not looking at him. “It’s actually been longer than that, but I don’t know. I do know she was around at one point, for a short time. She wasn’t around when Jeff grabbed me, Lexi, Stepan – Stephan, and Marisha. Jeff and some of the men he had working for him used me, and at times, making Lexi watch. Jeff even went as far as to put Stepan in the room with me, but nothing ever happened with that. Jeff wasn’t in the room so didn’t know any noise made was faked. At this point I don’t remember how we got out of there and I don’t really care. I know you’ve heard about some of this, our living at the Romanov’s, Lex and I getting married, and Jeff grabbing us again, from daddy and Lex, but I doubt they told you about Anna and they wouldn’t have told you about what happened at the monastery since they didn’t know about it – only that Lex was with Adam and Gray when they saw Josh and I there. The one time Lena was around was when Vin, and Kelly followed me when left Four Corners to go back to Rock Creek when y’all got back Red Fork. Lena showed up while you and the boys were there after Jeff had left me in my barn – and Vin had wired you. You had been walking out of my room – yeah I do know Kell let you in when I was out – when Lena was going in. I woke up for a short time while she was there and saw the anger on her face. I wasn’t sure who she was, but I saw her ask Kell what happened and I heard Kell say it was Jeff. Lena was then gone and I don’t know what happened after that. Hell, I have no idea what you guys did while there I was so out of it most of the time. Kell did tell me that you all were making Jeff’s life hell, but didn’t say how. So you never actually met Lena until today, but you have seen her.

 

“I really don’t know what caused me to say her name in my sleep, unless memories from then were starting to leak through. Or, I was dreaming about Anna and because of how much Lena was involved in everything with Anna, I had a brief thought of Lena causing me to say her name. This was one of the few dreams I honestly don’t remember.”

 

Chris moved to be able to look at her again, and asked as he wiped some of the tears away, “You miss her, Anna, don’t you?”

 

With a slight watery smile, she said, “Yeah, at times I do. I have a picture of her that I drew, if you want to see it.”

 

“Yeah, I’d like that. Where is it?”

 

“In storage. I’m surprised you didn’t come across it when you got the laptop or my fiddle. But then again, I think it’s in a box because I wanted it where I could find it but not have to always look at it.”

 

Nodding, he said, “When you’re feeling better, we can go over so you can show it to me. What were you saying to Lena when she and Dathan were here?”

 

“Oh yeah, I forgot I said I would tell you later. Just that I remembered but it wasn’t the time. She said that she understood and to let her know when I was ready. Looking at her reactions to you, I could tell her feelings about me haven’t changed. What you saw was jealousy, not anger.”

 

Chris started laughing with that. “Sorry babe, I’m not laughing because she was, or is, jealous. I’m laughing because I didn’t pay any attention at the time to the look she had when she looked at you. She is still in love with you, though I can’t say I blame her. What about you?”

 

She almost gave him a smart ass answer, but she could see the retort he had for any comment other than the truth, so she said “I was with her then, but right now, I’m not sure since I’m only just remembering it all.”

 

“Thinking of what we’ve discussed about doing with Lexi, made me think of this. If you were given the chance, would you again with Lena?”

 

“If given the chance, yeah I would. But right at the moment, I don’t think I’d want the other person involved with anyone but me. You know how I hate to share, just about as much as you do, which is why I’m still surprised that you brought up what we’ve been thinking about with Lex. Speaking of which, what happened with that?”

 

“When I went out to talk to him, I told him we had the two he hired. I let him know they gave us very accurate descriptions of him. I also gave him two choices. First: he can turn himself in tomorrow and he give us more names, if there is anyone else involved; Second: he can come in and turn himself in and just go to jail. Either way I’d see him tomorrow. He has a lot to think about tonight. It will be interesting to see which he chooses. I know what it will do to you if he just goes to jail and it isn’t something I would want to see happen.”

 

“I know you don’t want to see it happen, but you’re right, I won’t have the trust or respect for him any longer, which, of course, will kill any feelings I’ve retained for him. I guess it’s still a wait and see what happens with him still. Maybe it’s better this way.”

 

“I think you’re right on that, that it is better this way. It’s good that we’ve kept putting off making a decision regarding any of that.” Not liking her color and still feeling the heat coming off her, and thinking she felt even hotter than she had when Adam was in there, he told her, “you don’t look like you can stay awake much longer. Why don’t you lie down and get some more sleep. I’m not going anywhere and I doubt anyone else will be by.” Thinking of something else, he asked, “Can I borrow your ring for the rest of this week and until next Wednesday?”

 

Taking it off and handing it to him, she said, “May I ask for what.”

 

“Yeah, I’m going to have the two soldered together.” What he didn’t tell her was that he also had the third piece to the ring that he was going to have soldered on at the same time. She wouldn’t know about that until the day of the wedding when he put it back on her.

 

“Alright. I forgot about you having to do that. And, I think I will get some sleep,” she said as she lay down. She realized she forgot something, and reached up to him. She pulled him down to her and kissed him. Very quickly, she felt herself melting and her mind losing all thoughts. She also felt his growing hardness against her leg through his jeans. Her body reacted to it, moving against him, wanting him in her. She felt his hands move up her body from where they had been on her abdomen, taking her breasts in his hands. She moved against him more, saying against his lips, “I want you and need you now. Please, take me.”

 

Breaking the kiss, he said, “As much as I want to, babe, I’m not going against what Adam wants.” Bending down and kissing her again, he said with a smile, “I’m going to sit in the chair so I’m not temped.” He got up and moved to the chair, laughing to himself as he watched her try to get comfortable in bed and then move her hips restlessly with need trying to find relief for herself. He understood the need, since his was evident to anyone that looked at his jeans. He grabbed the blanket that was on the cot, and stretching out, he unfolded the blanket just enough to where it was still doubled and then covered himself from the waist down. He then turned the TV on and watched the news and whatever else he could find.

 

As Chris and Brandi talked, Adam wrote the order for the antibiotic he wanted to use, Cefotan 2 grams, to be started IV immediately and then every twelve hours for the next five days. He didn’t want to take any chances by waiting until the next day when he got the results back from the blood tests. Seeing Cindy, Adam took her the chart and let her know about his newest order and why he was ordering it. She wrote it into the med chart, placed the copy for the pharmacy and then went to mix the antibiotic for the first dose.

 

After mixing the Cefotan, Cindy grabbed the new IV bag and went into the room. Seeing Chris sitting there, she said, “Adam ordered her antibiotic. I’m giving her the first dose now, during which her IV fluids won’t be going in, and then it will be every twelve hours for the rest of the week. He only said she has pneumonia, but not what kind.” She put a new pump on the IV pole and then put the antibiotic up and threaded it through the new pump, turning it on and setting the pump for how fast it should go in.

 

Chris nodded and said “He already told her that is what she has and that he was ordering an antibiotic, but he didn’t say what. He also told us he wouldn’t know the type of pneumonia until he gets the results back from the blood tests he took tonight until tomorrow. He was just playing it safe by starting the antibiotic now.”

 

Nodding her understanding, Cindy said, ‘I’m going to leave the door open so I can hear when this gets done. When it does, I’ll restart the other fluids.”

 

Nodding, Chris said “That’s fine.”

 

Before leaving, Cindy retook Brandi’s vitals, noticing her temp hadn’t gone down from the last time.

 

Chris didn’t ask what her temp was. He could tell it was still the same as the last time, if not higher, since the intensity of her glowing hadn’t gone down. He got up and rewet the washcloths with cool water and placed them back on Brandi. As he finished putting them on her, the phone rang.

 

Grabbing it, he answered, “Larabee.”

 

“Hey Cowboy, how’s Nic?”

 

“Hey Vin. Worse. Her temp went up and Adam found she has pneumonia, just not sure what kind yet. She’s already back asleep.”

 

“I was gonna ask about coming by, but I won’t. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

“Alright. Thanks Vin for calling and checking on her.”

 

“Yep,” was all Vin said before hanging up.

 

Chris forgot about the antibiotic hanging until Cindy came in to switch back to Brandi’s regular fluids. As Cindy was changing it over, Brandi woke up again.

 

Seeing Brandi awake, Cindy said “Your antibiotic for tonight is finished. Your next one won’t be until tomorrow morning. Can I get you anything before I give Beth report?”

 

Smiling slightly, Brandi said “Some seven up would be good. When did I have that Tylenol?”

 

“Only about an hour or so ago. Beth can bring you in some close to ten tonight if you’re awake. I’ll get that seven up for you though.”

 

Brandi just nodded as she raised the head of her bed up.

 

Seeing the look on her face when she turned slightly to him to raise the bed, Chris said “Are you doing alright, Dee? You look like something is bothering you.”

 

“I have a bit of a headache,” she told him, looking over at him. She smiled and said “I’ll be fine, since I have to wait. I’ll just watch TV with you until I get tired again.”

 

Cindy came in and gave Brandi the seven up, and then checked to make sure the IV was running smoothly. Looking at Brandi and Chris, Cindy said “I’ll see you both in the morning. Beth will be in not long after report to get vitals, and check the IV and output. Have a good night.”

 

“You too Cindy,” they both told her.

 

Once Cindy was gone, Brandi said, “I was just thinking. No matter what Lexi does tomorrow, can we not do what we were talking about? Old memories are too close to the surface for me to want to with anyone else but you.”

 

Understanding, he said, “That’s fine, babe. You’re what’s important. Oh, I forgot to tell you. I talked with Buck on Friday regarding Jamie/Ella. Before I did that, I asked him how long he and I had known each other. With my asking that, his memories are starting back so he wants to help when I start looking for Ella again. Vin talked to Nathan and Nathan was going to talk to Josiah. The only ones still not remembering anything are Ezra and JD. I think it’s safer for JD to remain in the dark, don’t you?”

 

She laughed and said “I’m not surprised you did that with Buck and I’ll answer any questions I know he’ll have about his memories when I can. At least you don’t have to worry about Nathan and Josiah and I’m sure they both will want to help what they can. I’ll let Kelly worry about Ezra, and, yeah, I do think JD should remain in the dark as long as possible. I just thought of something myself, when you mentioned Buck. Doesn’t he have a Rodeo this weekend?”

 

“Not sure, but I’ll find out. Even if he does, us going will depend on how you feel.”

 

She just looked at him and recognizing the look from a time in the past, he said “I’m not telling you that you can’t go, just that I would rather have you at home feeling good, that close to leaving, and not getting stressed instead of you feeling slightly better and go to watch him and make yourself worse.”

 

“Mmm hmm. Nice save Cowboy,” she told him. He just laughed.

 

Beth came in shortly thereafter. Seeing Brandi still awake, she said “I hear your temperature went back up a bit. I’m going to check it along with the rest of your vitals. Cindy said you got some Tylenol and your first dose of antibiotic around six,” at Brandi’s nod, Beth continued with “if you’re awake at ten, I’ll get you some more Tylenol. That antibiotic will start working in the next day or two. I see Chris put some cool compresses on you, we’ll see if those and the Tylenol Cindy gave you has helped any.”

 

Beth listened to Brandi’s lungs, and then took her temp, pulse, respirations, and blood pressure. She wrote the figures down on the board and said “Your temperature hasn’t changed; it’s still 102.3 so I’ll be checking it again in a couple of hours. Your lungs are very congested, and from what Cindy said, Adam is already aware of that. I noticed she last emptied your catheter bag around five, but you haven’t had much out in the last couple hours and even with having your regular IV fluids stopped for your antibiotic, you still should have out more than what you do. I’ll bring in some more seven up and some juices and while you’re awake, I want you to keep drinking. Force the fluids. If your output doesn’t come up more, I’ll call Adam to see what he wants to do extra, but let’s start with you forcing fluids, and I know that won’t be a problem since Chris will make sure you’re drinking.”

 

Beth took a look at the IV fluids and site then left to get Brandi more fluids.

 

Turning to Chris just after Beth walked out the door, Brandi said “I want to go home. I don’t want to be here. Adam could get a home nurse for me for the IV stuff and this stupid catheter if he really wants me to have it, but I hate being here.”

 

“I know you do, but until Adam says otherwise, here is where you’re staying. It makes both Adam and I feel better knowing you’re here getting taken care of instead of at home.”

 

She sat there with her arms across her chest and glaring at him as Beth came back in.

 

Seeing the look he was getting, Beth asked “Is everything all right?”

 

Chris laughed and said “Yeah, fine, she’s just pouting about having to stay in the hospital and figures if she glares at me long enough I’ll give in and call Adam to let her go home and have care there instead of here. She’s forgetting that it isn’t going to work through and that she’ll have to stay here until Adam releases her.”

 

“Well I know Adam has your best interests at heart Brandi,” Beth told her, receiving a non-committal grunt in response. “Since there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do about leaving, here are the drinks I promised you. Drink it all or as much as you can while you watch TV.”

 

Brandi drank all the juices and half the seven up while she watched TV with Chris until about eight when she realized she had been dozing off and on. Putting the bed down, she looked at Chris and said “I can’t stay up any longer. I know Beth will be in shortly, but I can’t wait. Let her know that we’ll call if I wake up later and need the Tylenol.”

 

Smiling, he got up from the chair, and leaning down to kiss her, he said, “I will, babe. Sleep good and I‘ll join you after a bit.”

 

With a smile and nod, she only said “Love you, Cowboy.”

 

“Love you too, babe,” he replied, noticing her eyes were already closed.

 

Beth came in to check around 8pm and noticed after taking her temp and emptying Brandi’s catheter bag, that there was no change. Just shaking her head to Chris when he looked at her, Beth left and went to call Adam, closing the room door behind her.

 

“Hello,” she heard a female voice answer.

 

“Dr. Stevens, please,” Beth replied.

 

“Just a moment,” the woman told her and then Beth could hear in the background “Adam, it’s for you and from the way you were asked for, I think it’s about Brandi.”

 

“This is Adam,” he said.

 

“Dr. Stevens, this is Beth, Brandi’s nurse. I’m sorry to call you at home and at this hour,” she said thinking she had interrupted his evening.

 

“No Beth, that’s fine. Is something the matter?”

 

“Yes, that’s why I was calling. Brandi’s temp hasn’t come down, even after the Tylenol Cindy gave her three hours ago and her output has not increased. I had her drinking several juices and a seven up between seven-thirty and now. She drank all the juices and half the seven up but all that she has had out since Cindy emptied it at five was fifty to seventy-five milliliters. She has her IV flowing at one hundred milliliters an hour also. I wanted to let you know in case you wanted to add anything to the order or change anything.”

 

“Damn. Yeah, in fact I’ll come on into the hospital to do it.”

 

“You don’t have to interrupt your plans for it.”

 

At first he wasn’t sure what she meant, then realizing that because Mary answered the phone, Beth thought he was occupied, he laughed and said “You’re not interrupting anything and I think I’ll see if my brother and his girlfriend want to come with me since they’ve both been worried since she went in this time.”

 

“As long as you’re sure,” Beth told him.

 

“I’m sure and I’ll see you shortly.”

 

“All right Dr. Stevens, see you when you get here.”

 

Adam hung up the phone and started laughing more. Walking out of the kitchen, he asked “Do you both want to go to the hospital with me to check on Bree?”

 

“Billy’s asleep and I don’t think he should see Brandi at the hospital,” Mary told him.

 

Nodding, Adam said “If I can get someone to watch him while we’re gone, do you want to go?”

 

Mary nodded so Adam went back into the kitchen, picked up the phone and dialed.

 

“Hello,” he heard.

 

“Hey Dave. Got a question for you. Would you mind coming over to watch Billy for a while so Gray and Mary can go with me to the hospital. I need to check on Bree. Her nurse just called.”

 

“Yeah, not a problem, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Bree myself.”

 

“I know. Tomorrow, you can go by and see her. Right now though, do you mind watching Billy?”

 

“Nope, be right there,” David said and hung up the phone.

 

As Adam was hanging up his phone, David showed up.

 

With a smile, Adam said “Thanks for doing this and like I said, you can go by tomorrow, any time.”

 

“Great. If she’s awake let her know I’m thinking about her.”

 

“Will do,’ Adam said and then the three left.

 

Getting to the hospital and up to the third floor, Adam saw Beth. Walking over to her, Adam said “Got here as soon as we could. You may remember my brother from when he was here with me last time Brandi was here,” at Beth’s nod, Adam continued with “and this lovely lady is Gray’s girlfriend, Mary Travis. Mary, this is Brandi’s night nurse Beth.”

 

“It’s nice to meet you,” Mary told her.

 

Realizing this was the woman that answered the phone, Beth covered her embarrassment with, “It’s nice to meet you also Ms. Travis.”

 

All four went into Brandi’s room. Hearing the door open, Chris looked away from the TV.

 

“Adam, you decided to come back in?” Chris asked and then he noticed who was with Adam so he said “Gray, Mary good to see you.” He saw movement out of the corner of his eye as he started to say more, so he looked toward the bed and saw Brandi awake and raising the head up.

 

Smiling, Brandi said “HI Gray, hi Mary. I’m glad you came by, but what’s everyone doing here?”

 

‘Billy?’ she asked in her mind to Gray.

 

Going and giving her a kiss, Gray said “Hey love. We came over with Adam because Beth called him. Dave is at the house staying with Billy until we get back. Also Dave sends his best and wanted you to know he’s thinking about you and will be by tomorrow.”

 

Mary gave her a kiss also and realized Brandi must have asked Gray about Billy, which made Mary glad that Brandi was also thinking of Billy not being left alone.

 

Adam looked at the chart at the end of Brandi’s bed, shaking his head. Looking at her, Adam said “This isn’t good Bree. I’m going to up your IV fluids in regard to how fast it goes in. I also want you to keep pushing fluids when you’re awake. I’m changing the Tylenol to every two to four hours when awake for increased temperature and headache. I would prefer if it’s for a headache that you wait four hours, but because of the fever, I want you to be able to get it sooner.” Looking at Beth he asked “She did get her first dose of the antibiotic, didn’t she?” At Beth’s nod, he then asked “When is the next one due?”

 

“Six in the morning, to keep it twelve hours apart starting from that first dose. The pharmacy called up to ask when the next dose was due so they wouldn’t get it here too early.”

 

Adam looked back at Brandi and asked “What’s wrong?” He could see she was upset by the look in her eyes.

 

“I want to go home, is what’s wrong. I don’t see why you can’t have me doing this same thing at home, with Cindy and Beth coming there instead. I know you want me to have all this extra stuff, the IV and catheter, I have attached, and you want me to stay in bed, but maybe part of the problem is that I don’t want, nor do I like being here. So I’m stressing which I know isn’t helping with the kids, but it can’t be helping me get better either. Granted home is Ben’s right now, but for me, it’s better than being here. Besides, since I’m the only one they’re taking care of, why couldn’t they come to Ben’s and take care of me there.”

 

“If, and this is a big If, I let you go home and have you get nursing care at home, you promise you aren’t going to bother me about how soon you can get out of bed, or the catheter out, or anything else. Because, if it were to happen, the orders I have here will follow at home. Especially if you want to be able to go on Friday night, or whichever over the weekend they move it to, and be able to leave on Monday.”

 

“To be out of here, yeah I will and I’ll follow the orders you’ve written, or told me, until you say otherwise. Besides at home I’ll probably sleep more. And, before you say it, if my temp goes up higher than yeah I’ll let you put me back here and I won’t complain.”

 

“I’ll be right back,” Adam told everyone in the room.

 

Walking out, he saw Sherri. Going over to her, he said “Sherri, I was wondering if I could ask you something.”

 

Turning, she said “Of course Dr. Stevens. What can I do for you?”

 

“I came in to see Brandi since her output isn’t any better and her temp is still up. She asked me about something and I wanted to ask your opinion on what the Administrator and nursing supervisor would say. Brandi wants to go home and have nursing care at home. I am actually thinking about it. The thing is I would like to continue to have Beth for her twelve hours in the evenings and Cindy for her twelve hours during the day be there to take care of her. I would be more than willing to pay to help cover their wages. Do you think it would be approved for that to happen? I don’t really want to change her nurses since I know she and Chris are comfortable with Cindy and Beth.”

 

“When would you want to let her go home?”

 

“Tonight or tomorrow, whichever is easier, but I know she’ll keep badgering me about it until I let her go home, so tonight may be easier.”

 

“Let me call the pm supervisor and find out. Are you going to be here for a while in case she wants to talk to you?”

 

“Yeah, I will be. No matter what she will have nursing orders for while at home, so I need to write what I want to change anyway. Then I’ll be back in her room,” Adam told her as he grabbed Brandi’s chart.

 

Sherri nodded, going to the phone to call the supervisor. She explained the situation to the supervisor and asked about having Beth go with them if Adam discharged Brandi that night. After finishing up with the supervisor, Sherri went over to where Adam was still writing his orders.

 

“Dr. Stevens,” when he looked up, she continued with “The pm supervisor is going to call the day supervisor and Administrator and get back to me tonight. As soon as I hear from one of them, I’ll let you know what I find out.”

 

“Great, thanks Sherri. I appreciate it.” Adam finished his orders and then went back into Brandi’s room.

 

Seeing him come in, Brandi asked “So, what did you find out?”

 

“Nothing yet. You’ll just have to wait until Sherri comes to let us know if we’ll be able to use Cindy and Beth.”

 

“Does that mean if it gets approved by whoever had to be called, then I can go?”

 

Sighing, Adam said, “Yeah it does. You do know you’re a pain in the ass don’t you?”

 

Smiling sweetly, Brandi told him, “Of course and you wouldn’t want it any other way.”

 

Beth walked out to check Adam’s new orders, returning shortly after with some more Tylenol for Brandi and increased the IV pump to 200 milliliters per hour.

 

Sherri came in around 9:15 and said, “Dr. Stevens, I’ve heard back.”

 

Nodding, Adam got up and followed her out the door.

 

“What did they say?” he wondered.

 

“The day shift supervisor and the Administrator both thought it a strange request, but then the Administrator remembered that you had both girls helping for a short time when Brandi went home the last time. It was explained to both that she feels comfortable with both of them and that they have been doing wonderful at taking care of her here, we haven’t had any problems. The Administrator was also told that you would be willing to help pay for them to be private nurses out of your own pocket. Although it is a strange request to them, the three agreed that if this was what was best for Brandi, than it was what would be done. Especially since she is leaving with her doctor’s approval and it is her doctor doing the requesting. So, if you want her to go tonight, she can and Beth can go with you to take care of her the rest of the night. I will call Cindy myself and tell her where she is to report if you will give me the address and directions to where Brandi is living.”

 

“Not a problem. It’s our uncle’s house. This is the address, phone number and how to get there,” he told her writing it all out.

 

“When Beth gets done in there, can you have her come out to see me before leaving?”

 

“Of course. She’ll need to call the pharmacy anyway. We are going to temporarily borrow the IV pole and pumps Brandi has in there, also, let Beth know for when she calls the pharmacy to have them write up how much for the fluids and antibiotics Brandi will be using and send the bill over to my office and I’ll take care of it. For anything else that needs to be paid, the supervisors or Administrator can do the same, send the bill to my office, and I’ll take care of it.”

 

Making herself a note, Sherri said “I will let them know.”

 

Adam nodded and went into Brandi’s room.

 

“So?” Brandi asked.

 

“You’re lucky I’m the one that asked Sherri about it and not you. You are being let free of the hospital, only. For the ride home only, you won’t have the IV fluids going in; Beth can put a port on it temporarily. We are borrowing the pole and pumps, and they can lie down in the back of Chris’ truck. I didn’t write it for you leaving yet, so I’m going to do that and put in for the IV to be stopped for the ride home. While I do that, Beth needs to talk to Sherri and call the pharmacy, so Mary and Chris can help you get changed.” He, Gray, and Beth left the room, closing the door.

 

Beth came back immediately and stopped the pump, unhooked the IV tubing and put in the port Adam talked about so Brandi could change out of the gown easier. She then left again to talk to Sherri and take care of what she needed to before they left.

 

Mary and Chris helped Brandi change out of the gown and into sweats, leaving the catheter bag in a leg of the sweat pants until they got home to keep it out of the way.

 

When Mary opened the door after Brandi changed, Gray came back in. Then about fifteen minutes later, Adam and Beth returned. Beth had a wheelchair with her and Adam had Brandi’s chart.

As Brandi got in the wheelchair, Beth said “We have to stop at the pharmacy on our way out and Sherri is going downstairs with us so she can bring the wheelchair back up. If someone could wheel that IV pole, it would be great.”

 

Gray grabbed the IV pole and followed Beth, with Brandi, out of the room. The group headed downstairs, stopping at the hospital pharmacy to get Brandi’s IV fluids and antibiotics to take with them.

 

Instead taking Brandi out into the parking lot, Chris and Adam went to get both vehicles.

 

Pulling up to the door, they both got out. Gray laid the IV pole in the back of the truck, making sure the pumps wouldn’t get damaged. Chris lifted Brandi out of the wheelchair and put her in the truck, knowing she would lie down and go to sleep on the way. Beth got into Adam’s car with him, Gray and Mary as Chris got into the truck. As soon as he was in, Brandi did lay her head on his lap and was asleep.

 

As soon as they got to Ben’s, Chris woke her up just enough to have her sit up so he could get out and then get her out. After getting her out of the truck, he carried her into the house and into their room, leaving Adam to explain why they were home.

 

Adam looked at both of his uncles and at his cousins (Josh being able to stay until they left for the wedding) and simply said “I let her come home with nursing care to see if she gets any better this way, and so she’ll quit stressing about it. Beth will be here until 7:30 in the morning and Cindy will be here at 7 in the morning. Cindy will be here each day and Beth each evening at least through the rest of the week and they will take care of anything she needs nursing wise. I do know Chris will help with some of it, but you guys won’t have to, unless Cindy or Beth needs help with finding anything. Brandi is still only getting clear liquids, but she can have soup, like chicken noodle, if she thinks she can tolerate it. She isn’t allowed out of bed, still has the catheter and IV.”

 

The four men just nodded, understanding that Adam was letting them know to make sure Brandi followed his orders.

 

While Adam told Alex, Ben, Eric, and Joshua, Chris got Brandi into their room and onto the bed. He pulled off her sweat shirt and sweat pants, hung the catheter bag on the edge of the bed frame, then covering her up. He didn’t bother putting anything back on her to help her get cool and to make it easier when she got the IV hooked back up. He made sure she was comfortable looking, then when back out to the front room.

 

Seeing Chris, Herc and Ares jumped up and ran to him, winding around his legs. Chris leaned over and petted both of them, knowing they had missed him and Brandi. Looking up, Chris said, “She’s in bed and ready to have that IV hooked back up. She’s out now and probably for the night.”

 

Taking the IV pole, with pumps attached, with her, Beth went back and re-hooked up the IV to Brandi’s arm and rethreaded it through the pump it had been on and set it to drip at 200 milliliters per hour. She checked to make sure the IV was flowing properly and that there weren’t any kinks in the catheter tubing, returning to the front room when finished.

 

Adam handed Beth the chart and said, “We’re heading home. Don’t hesitate to call if you need anything else tonight. If everything looks good, Ben can give you a room to use along with an alarm clock, I’m sure, so try and get some sleep yourself, just remember to set your alarm to give her the antibiotic in the morning.” Looking at the five men staying, Adam said, “We’ll see how this works out. I’m hoping she’s right in that her temp will come down and it hasn’t because of being stressed at being in the hospital. Have a good night. Dave will be by tomorrow. He’s watching Billy right now. Night.”

 

Mary and Gray also said goodnight, and all three received a chorus of goodnight from the five men and Beth.

 

“I’ll see you all in the morning, I’m going to get some sleep myself,” Chris told them all. Looking at the wolves, Chris said “Herc, Ares, bed.” The wolves trotted down to the bedroom door and turned to wait for Chris before going in. The three went into the room with Chris closing the door behind them.

 

Beth went in throughout the night to check the IV and keep an eye on Brandi’s vital signs and output, noticing that Brandi’s output came up some with the increase in IV fluids. Brandi’s temp remained the same, which she took as a good sign since it didn’t go up at all. At 6am, she went in to hang the antibiotic and noticing Chris not there, she got the antibiotic started and left the room, knowing she could come back in to finish with Brandi.

 

Chris thought he heard someone in the room when he got out of the shower and seeing the antibiotic going, he knew Beth had been in. He finished getting dressed, and taking the boys, he went to the kitchen. He let the boys outside and then got himself some coffee. Seeing Beth, he said “I left the door open so you can hear when that’s done. Before I leave I’m going to let Hercules and Ares, Dee’s wolves, back in and they’ll just go lay back down with her. They shouldn’t bother either you or Cindy, but if they do let Alex know and he’ll take care of it. If you get hungry or thirsty, there is stuff for tea, soda, cereal, eggs, whatever,” he told her showing Beth where the tea bags, mugs, dishes, cereal, and soda were. He then continued with “If she wakes up, more than likely she’ll want hot tea or seven-up. You and Cindy make yourselves at home,” seeing Ben come in, Chris said “and I know Ben agrees.”

Having heard the last of what Chris said, Ben replied, “Please, do. Raid the fridge and cupboards for yourselves. There is plenty here to eat, more than when it’s just me. And if you can’t find what you want you can always ask my brother or either of my nephews to go get you something.”

 

“Thanks, I’ll remember that. Do you both usually leave at this hour?”

 

“Yeah, we do,” Chris told her. “Ben is building us a ranch house and barn with stables just outside of town so he likes to get going while it’s still cool enough. Me, I just like to get in a bit earlier than my team so I can get any paperwork I haven’t finished up done and have quiet time. I’m going to leave my direct line and cell number so if you or Cindy need anything, you can get me. I’m also going to leave you Adam’s office number and cell number just in case.” He wrote down the numbers and after handing them to Beth, he went to let the boys back into the house. They did just what he said they would, they went back to lay down with Brandi.

 

Before leaving, Chris went in the bedroom and gave Brandi a kiss. She stirred slightly and opened her eyes. “What time is it?” she asked.

 

“Six-thirty, babe. I’m leaving, but Beth is here still. You don’t need to be awake for anything unless you’re thirsty or want some Tylenol.”

 

“No, I’m fine right now.”

 

“Then go back to sleep,” he told her.

 

“’K. Love you,” she mumbled.

 

Smiling he gave her another kiss and said “Love you too.” He watched her fall right back to sleep, and then left for work.

 

He got in at the same time as Vin. They headed up together and Vin asked as they walked into the bullpen “How’s Nic?”

 

“The same, but at Ben’s now. She talked Adam into letting her go home with nursing care. Only time will tell if it will help.”

 

Nodding, Vin then asked “What about them two in lock up. Do you know who hired them?”

 

“Yeah, it was Lexi. I saw him yesterday at the hospital and told him he needed to decide what he was going to do.”

 

“Nic know it was him?”

 

“Yeah, she does. That’s how I actually found out he was behind it. He’s supposed to come in today and let me know which of the choices I gave him he is going with.”

 

“What’d ya tell him for choices?”

 

“More names or just go to jail. He doesn’t have any diplomatic immunity even though he helps the Russian embassy at times, I already checked, so he can go to jail. He doesn’t actually work for the Russian embassy or Russian government, just helps with translations when needed. I think, from what Dee has said, he’s teaching Russian either in a high school in DC or at Georgetown University. I’m not sure and I don’t think she really was either.”

 

“It’ll be interesting to see what he does.”

 

“Yeah, I know. Oh, when Ezra comes in, would you have him come see me.”

 

“Yeah, sure will.”

 

Vin sat down at his desk and Chris went into his office, both getting started on work they needed to do.

 

When Vin saw Ezra walk in, he said, “Chris needed to see you Ez. Didn’t say what about, before ya ask.”

 

Nodding, Ezra walked to the open office door and knocked on the frame.

 

Looking up, Chris saw him and waved him in. Seeing Ezra looking worried, Chris said, “Everything’s fine. I just wanted to let you know, so you could tell Kelly, that Dee is at home, Ben’s. Adam let her go last night with nursing care. I didn’t want Kelly to go by the hospital and think the worse when she didn’t find Dee there.”

 

Visibly showing his relief, Ezra said “I’ll be sure to let Kelly know about Nicci. Thank you Chris.”

 

Chris just smiled and nodded to Ezra as Ezra got up and left the room.

 

The rest of the boys got in and everyone was busy on whatever they needed to be doing. At nine, Chris walked out to the bullpen and said, “I have an errand to run. I shouldn’t be long. The person that hired the two that were brought in yesterday will be coming in at some point. I already told Vin, but so the rest of you know, it’s Lexi. You all met him last week when he came by to see Dee and he was going to go with her to classes last Thursday. Anyway, if he comes in while I’m gone, put him in a room to wait and call me.”

 

They all nodded and told him bye.

 

Chris went to the jewelry store and taking the rings out of his pocket, he told the person waiting on him “I need to get these three soldered together. I need to pick them up on Friday if possible.”

 

“We can solder them sir, but when is the wedding.”

 

“Next Wednesday, in Hawai’i. We’re leaving on Monday morning.”

 

“We can have them ready for pick up on Saturday if that is all right.”

 

“That will be fine. I’ll be here Saturday afternoon then.”

 

He left the rings and headed back to the office.

 

Getting in, he asked “Anything new?”

 

“Nope,” Buck told him. “No sign of Lexi yet either.”

 

Nodding, Chris went back into his office.

 

Around eleven there was a knock on Chris’ door. Looking up, he saw Buck standing there.

 

“He’s here and in room one,” Buck told him.

 

Nodding, Chris got up and went into interrogation room one. He sat down across from Lexi and said, “Well, which is it?”

 

“I was the only one those two gentlemen were selling for, but I can give you a couple of names of others I have done business with in this regard.”

 

“Here in Denver?”

 

“No in DC.”

 

“Alright. Who?”

 

“Arnold Woodward, and Leslie Johns. This is their cell phone numbers,” Lexi told him, writing down the numbers.

 

Taking the numbers, Chris told him “You still will have to do some time, we can’t get around that, but this will help, if it proves to be true information. Because I know what you have at stake in this, I am trusting this to be true, but if I find out it isn’t, there won’t be anywhere you can’t hide from me, or Dee.”

 

More afraid of Brandi, Lexi said “I realize that. I have not even contacted them to let them know of anything going on here.”

 

Chris only nodded, opening the door and saying, “Buck, keep an eye on him. I don’t want him down in lock up just yet.”

 

“Alright. Can I shoot him if he tries anything?”

 

Smiling, Chris said, “Nah, let Vin in here alone with him for a while instead.”

 

Buck didn’t understand how Vin would be a threat, but Chris saw the color drain from Lexi’s face and knew Lexi wouldn’t give Buck any problems.

 

Without saying a word, Chris passed through the bull pen and out the door, going to Director Travis’ office.

 

Walking in, he asked “Is he available, Joyce?”

 

“Yes Agent Larabee, he is. Go on in.”

 

Chris walked into Orin Travis’ office and said without preamble “I have the guy in an interrogation room that hired the two we picked up yesterday on the gun running. He gave me two names of guys he’s dealt with in DC.”

 

Nodding, Travis asked “Can you trust the names are genuine?”

 

“Yeah, though I still want to have them checked out by the guys in DC.

And he knows he’s going to have to do time, but if it does check out I was hoping that maybe we can have the time reduced for him helping us.”

 

“That’s possible, but why?”

 

“He and Dee go back a long ways and I’ve known him for several years now. This is why I trust that the names are on the up and up. He knows what he has to lose with Dee if he doesn’t tell us the truth. Dee is why I think he didn’t just say screw it and take the complete fall. If the names do pan out, I don’t think he should have to go away for the same length of time as the two he gave us or even the two working for him. But I don’t think he should get completely off the hook either.”

 

“I’ll have Director Allen in DC check these two out and call the numbers he gave us and get back to you. Do you have him in lock up?”

 

“No, I didn’t want him anywhere near the other two. Oh, he did say he hasn’t contacted either of those two to tell them what was happening here, so our calling them will come as a surprise.”

 

“Good. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything.”

 

“Thank you sir,” Chris said as he got up to go.

 

“Oh, Chris. Mary said Brandi was in the hospital again. How is she doing?”

 

“She has pneumonia, but Adam isn’t sure the kind yet. She’s home, well Ben’s, now but has nursing care through the rest of the week since she still has an IV and is getting antibiotics through the IV. We took her home last night and she seems to be doing a bit better from it.”

 

“Good. Let her know I’m thinking about her. I’m sure she’ll get better before Monday. From what Mary said, Billy is still asking to go.”

 

Thinking about it, Chris said “Why don’t you, Evie and Billy come also. We can get another room at the hotel if you don’t mind having Billy there with you. I doubt there is much for him to do at the estate, and the hotel, from what Dee said and from what I remember, is close to the beach and other stuff that would be fun for all three of you to do. I’ll tell Mary and Dee and I’ll call when I get home to have an extra room added.”

 

“As long as it isn’t any trouble, Chris,” realizing why Chris suggested Billy stay at the hotel instead of the estate with his mother. Travis knew he would have suggested it if Chris hadn’t since Travis liked Gray and was glad to see Mary happy again.

 

“No trouble at all,” Chris told him, thinking to himself how he was going to tell both Brandi and Mary. At least with Billy staying at the hotel, it left Mary and Gray with having time to themselves if they wanted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 13

 

Getting back into his office, Chris closed the door and picked up the phone.

 

“Clarion News, how may I direct your call?” he heard.

 

“Mary Travis, please,” he replied.

 

“One moment sir.”

 

“This is Mary.”

“Mary, Chris. I’m going to let Dee know when I get home, but wanted to let you know now. I just invited Orin, Evie, and Billy to come to the wedding. I’m going to get a room at the hotel for the three of them and Orin seemed to agree with having Billy stay with them while over there.”

 

“All right, Chris. So I can let Billy know as to why he isn’t staying with me, would you tell me what reason you gave Orin for Billy staying there, other than the obvious.”

 

“Nothing for him to do on the estate and the hotel is on the beach and lots of other things near the hotel that the three of them can do.”

 

Laughing, Mary said, “I’ll let Billy know this evening that he and his grandparents will be joining us and that he gets to stay with them. If he has a problem with not staying with me, I’m sending him to you so you can explain it to him.”

 

“Fair enough. Hopefully between you, Gray and Orin, though, I won’t have too.”

 

“I’ll call Gray and let him know and he and I can let Billy know together tonight. I am glad you invited them Chris. I know Billy really wanted to go.”

 

“I know and Orin mentioning it was what made me decide right then.” Hearing a knock on the door, Chris looked up and said “Come in.” Seeing Vin, he said to Mary “I need to go, but let me know if you and Gray have any problems with it and I’ll help.”

 

“I will and thanks again Chris,” she told him and hung up.

 

Hanging up his phone, Chris said “Yeah, Vin?”

 

“Director Travis is on line 2 for you.”

 

“Alright, go ahead and put him through.”

 

Vin nodded and walked out. As soon as the phone rang, Chris picked it up, and said “Yes sir?”

 

“I called Director Allen, Chris and he has already called both numbers and gotten back to me. Those phone numbers belong to the two men that you were told they belong to. Director Allen is taking care of picking up the two men there in DC and the person that gave you the information will have a reduced sentence. I can’t say right at the moment how much time he will do, but we can and will make a deal for him for the information.”

 

“Thank you sir, I’ll let him know. Oh, by the way, I just let Mary know about you, Evie and Billy going to the wedding. Don’t be surprised if she calls you later to help explain to Billy why he is staying with you at the hotel.”

 

“Maybe I’ll just stop by on my way home to help her and Gray let him know. I’ll call Evie now and tell her the good news.”

 

Chris laughed and said, “Probably would be a good idea on both counts. Thank you again sir.”

 

“Your welcome Chris,” Travis told him then hung up the phone.

 

After hanging up, Chris walked out of his office and into interrogation room one. Seeing Chris walk in, Buck left the room.

 

“The names and numbers you gave me have been checked and were found to be genuine, so you will be getting a deal. How much time you’ll have to serve is not known at this point, but it will be a reduced sentence. We’ll have to put you in lock up here for now, but you’re not going to be where you’ll be able to talk to the other two in there. As for anything else, Dee changed her mind, for her own reasons, so there won’t be anything with that.” Chris got up and opened the door. “JD,” he called.

 

“Yeah, Chris?”

 

“Go put the two in lock up in together then come back and take Lexi down, but leave an open cell between him and the other two.”

 

“Sure, Chris,” JD said heading to get it done. When he was finished moving the two men, JD came back and got Lexi, taking him and putting him in lock up also.

 

Coming back up, JD asked Chris, “How’s Nic doing?”

 

“About the same, JD. But she’s getting the rest she needs which is why Adam doesn’t want her to really have any visitors still.” Chris got up and followed JD out to the bull pen.

 

Looking at his team, he said, “So you all know. Dee is home, at Ben’s, now. She went home last night in hopes that being there she won’t be stressing as much and will get better. Adam still wants her to have as few visitors as possible so she can get as much sleep as possible this week. She does have nursing care still and will through the end of the week. We are still planning on leaving on Monday for Hawai’i. She wants to get better so she can go see Buck ride this weekend at the Rodeo, but that won’t happen if everybody shows up to see her. I know you guys want to see her, and I appreciate that, as she does, but please double check with me before you go by Ben’s. With that, I’m going to go home for lunch. I’ll be back in an hour or so. I’ll let you know when I get back about tonight for visitors.”

 

“Have a good lunch Chris and let her know we’re thinking about her and glad she’s home,” Josiah told him.

 

Nodding, Chris left the bull pen. As he was getting ready to get on the elevator, Ezra stopped him with, “Mr. Larabee, should I tell Kelly to not go by today.”

 

Catching the door before it closed and holding on to it, Chris smiled and said, “No, if you talk to her, just let her know that Dee is still doing a lot of sleeping, in fact probably more now than she had been at the hospital. It’s more that she wouldn’t get any rest if everyone showed up wanting to see her and talk to her. I haven’t called home yet because I didn’t want her to be woken up if she was asleep. She has pneumonia and I’m hoping Adam found out what type she has by now. When he came in after you and Kelly left yesterday, he realized it was pneumonia.”

 

Giving a smile, Ezra said, “I’ll let Kelly know that. She kept saying last night that she didn’t like how Nicci looked when she was at the hospital visiting. She said it looked like Nicci was on fire.”

 

“I was wondering if Kelly had noticed. She looked that way to me and Adam also and in fact, Dee’s temp had gone back up which is why she looked that way.”

 

“I shall indeed pass it on. Have a good lunch and give Nicci my best.”

 

“I will, Ezra, thanks,” Chris told him and let go of the door, letting it close.

 

Getting home, Chris saw Adam’s car in the driveway.

 

Adam was in the bedroom checking Brandi when Chris walked in. Seeing Brandi awake, Chris said, “Afternoon, beautiful. Sleep good?”

 

Smiling at him, she replied, “Yeah, I did. You timed it perfectly. Adam was just about to tell me what he found from my blood tests last night.”

 

Sitting next to her, Chris said, “Good, I’ve been wondering about that.”

 

Sitting down at the foot of the bed, Adam said “It’s a bacterial pneumonia, specifically Streptococcus pneumonia. This time your white blood count was elevated, and since you haven’t been coughing for me to do a sputum sample, I had them test the blood for the different organisms. That isn’t typical, but it can be done. The antibiotic I have you on will work for this pneumonia.”

 

“How did I get it though?”

 

“That’s a good question. More than likely you had an upper respiratory infection, even something mild, that we didn’t spot and it got worse. Could have happened while you were in the hospital the last time, or before you went in and I didn’t catch it, having not seen any signs of a respiratory infection then.”

 

“Alright, so how long for the IV antibiotics?” she wondered.

 

“At least through Friday. I’ll give you an extra five days of it orally to make sure the pneumonia’s gone completely. So everything you have right now, and that includes my orders, stay until Friday afternoon. I also still want minimal visitors with you. Speaking of which, did Dave come by today yet?”

 

“Yeah he did. In fact he left not long before you got here. Hey, would you let Dath know I’m home. I need to talk to him and Lena, but not yet and I don’t know if I have the energy to let him know I’m here and not at the hospital.”

 

“Yeah I’ll let him know. I’ll also tell him to wait til you let him know yourself before they come by,” Adam said as he got up.

 

“Great, thanks. Are you leaving?” she wondered.

 

“Just the room for now. Did you want some tea or soup while I’m out of the room?”

 

“Both would be great, thanks Adam.”

 

“Sure. What about you Chris? Want me to fix you a sandwich or something?”

 

“No thanks. I’ll be out shortly to see what I want to eat.”

 

Adam nodded and headed out of the room.

 

Turning to Brandi, Chris asked, “How are you feeling?”

 

“Not great but a little better. I slept til David got here around eleven. Been awake since then, but only now am I starting to feel tired, though not tired enough where I’m ready to go back to sleep.”

 

“Alright, that’s something at least. Lexi came in today and gave us a couple of names of guys in DC with numbers for them. I gave them to Orin and he called DC. Found out Lexi gave us good information so he will get a deal. He’ll still have to serve some time, but Orin wasn’t sure how much yet. I also told Lexi that anything else is off; you changed your mind for your own reasons. I didn’t tell him your reasons though. Didn’t think he needed to know that part.”

 

“You’re right, he didn’t and I’m glad you told him it was off. At least Orin is willing to make a deal for Lexi and get him a reduced sentence. I wouldn’t expect Lexi to get completely off.”

 

“Didn’t figure you did. Oh, I also invited Orin, Evie, and Billy to the wedding. I’ll call this afternoon to add an extra room on at the Royal Hawaiian for the three of them. I already told Mary and she and Gray will let Billy know tonight also. I let Orin know I told Mary and I think he’s going to stop by on his way home to help them explain to Billy why Billy is staying with grandma and grandpa at the hotel.”

 

“That’s fine, I had already been thinking about inviting them and having Billy stay with Orin and Evie. I was going to talk to Mary about it and see what she thought, but now I don’t have to. Did you say anything to the boys about me being here?”

 

“Yeah, I told them before I came home for lunch. I told them to double check with me before they come by. Then Ezra stopped me in the elevator and asked if he should tell Kell not to come by and I told him to let her know it was alright for her, but that you were still sleeping a lot, if not more than you were at the hospital. The boys are thinking about you and concerned about you.”

 

“I know, and I’m glad. I know that if Kell comes by, Ezra will be by, and I’m sure Vin will come by, but if anyone else asks about coming by, would you make some excuse to Buck and JD for why not to come by, unless Buck is coming by to only see you. Those two think they need to entertain me and talk to me all the time. Everyone else is fine with just sitting and letting me be if I’m not in the mood to talk.”

 

“I’ll just let them know you aren’t in the mood for visitors and that you would hate to sleep through them being here. I’ll be right back. I’m going to fix myself something to eat. Want me to bring it back here and eat with you?”

 

“Yeah, I’d like that.”

 

Nodding, he gave her a kiss and left the room. Cindy came in just after Chris walked out. After changing the IV bag, Cindy took Brandi’s vitals and emptied the catheter bag, writing down her findings on the clip board now kept on the bedside table next to Brandi. Looking at Brandi, Cindy said, “Your temperature is a little better. It’s 102 even. Your output is definitely better now. But that doesn’t mean you can stop pushing fluids while you’re awake. I saw Adam fixing you some soup and hot tea. Did you finish your juices I brought in earlier yet?”

 

“Yeah, and I think Dave took the empty bottles out when he left. I’m trying to drink as much as possible whenever I’m awake. In fact, if someone wants to restock my supply in here so I don’t have to bother anyone for a while about it, it would be great.”

 

“I’ll go get more of your juices and more seven-up and bring it in so it’s here when you want it. You know it’s no bother to get anything for you. I saw Chris as I was getting ready to come in. Did you want him to help you clean up, or did you want to wait and do it a bit later?”

 

“If he has time, I’ll have him help me. Otherwise, you and I can after he goes back to work. If it’s possible, I’d like the sheets changed on the bed, but you’d have to ask Adam if I can get in a chair for that short time of changing it.”

 

“I’ll ask him and we can wrap a towel around you for sitting up so you’ll stay covered. I’ll go ahead and grab some towels out of the bathroom just in case Chris has time.”

 

“Great, thanks Cindy.”

 

As Cindy went to get the towels and washcloth, Adam and Chris walked back into the room.

 

“Here you go brat,” Adam told her as he set the tray in front of her.

 

“Thanks Adam,” she said as she smiled. Looking at Chris, she asked, “Do you have time to help me get as cleaned up as I can in bed, and maybe help me wash my hair?”

 

“Yeah, after we eat I’ll help you clean up, but I’m not sure if washing your hair will work right now. You may have to wait til Friday or Saturday for that. We can talk about it when we get ready to do that.”

 

“Alright, if we find it won’t work, then I’ll wait,” she said as Cindy came out with the towels. Seeing Cindy, Brandi said, “Chris will help me get cleaned up but will you ask about the other?”

 

Nodding, Cindy looked at Adam and asked, “Would it be all right with you if Brandi sat in a chair in here for a few minutes so I can change the bed for her?”

 

Giving Brandi a look which she ignored he said, “Yes, that’s fine as long as it’s only for the time of changing the bed. Now, I’m going to go. I’ll be back by tonight.”

 

“Alright, thanks Adam,” Brandi told him.

 

Nodding only, he gave her a kiss on the forehead and left.

 

After Chris and Brandi finished eating, Chris helped her wash up and they were able to figure out a way so she was able to wash her hair. When they finished, Cindy came in with clean sheets and while Chris was there, after helping Brandi into a towel and then the chair that was in the room, Chris and Cindy changed the sheets so Brandi wouldn’t be lying on sweat soaked sheets after getting clean. Once back in bed, Brandi closed her eyes and was back asleep.

 

Before leaving to go back to work, Chris called the Royal Hawaiian to add Orin, Evie and Billy to the list.

 

She didn’t have any visitors other than family the rest of the week. Kelly and the boys decided it better to let her rest.

 

Her temperature came down steadily through the week so by Friday it was at 98 degrees even. Adam came by at lunch time on Friday and after seeing that her temp was down and staying that way, and her output was up, he listened to her lungs.

 

Taking the stethoscope out of his ears, he said, “You sound clear now Bree. I’ll have Cindy take the IV and catheter out and I’ll write and go get your oral antibiotics to start this afternoon and then keep taking through Wednesday morning. You are off of bed rest, but I don’t want you to overdo it this weekend. I think the girls are doing your shower tonight, so go ahead and enjoy yourself, but if you’re feeling tired tomorrow or Sunday, then rest and don’t go out. Oh, Mary knows you know about the shower. Also, us guys realize Chris knows, or at least your brothers and my brothers do, I don’t know about if the rest of the guys in the office realize he knows. Anyway, you are free, so have fun tonight.”

 

“Thanks Adam. I will take it easy this weekend. I was hoping to go to the Rodeo and watch Buck, but I doubt it. I do still a bit tired; even though I feel a lot better than I did a week ago. How long will Cindy be here today?”

 

“As long as you need her. Why?”

 

“When she’s done taking both of these out, I want to take a shower and I wanted to make sure she was going to be here so I could have her standing just outside the door in case I needed her.”

 

“Good idea and I’ll let her know when I tell her these orders.”

 

“Ok, thanks.”

 

Adam left the room and within five minutes, Cindy was coming in.

 

“Time to take out the IV and catheter,” Cindy said as she walked up next to Brandi. First she took out the IV, putting a cotton ball and piece of porous tape over the area. Cindy then took out a little syringe, changed her gloves and said “All I’m doing is removing the air from the balloon of the catheter and then I will slowly pull it out. You shouldn’t feel any discomfort from it coming out. Are you ready?” At Brandi’s nod, Cindy removed the air and then the catheter itself. “All done,” Cindy told her.

 

“That wasn’t so bad,” Brandi said. Moving to get out of bed, Brandi continued with “Adam told you I wanted to take a shower, didn’t he?”

 

“Yes, he did,” Cindy replied as Chris walked in. “Would you rather have Chris’ help?” Cindy asked.

 

“Help with what?” Chris wondered.

 

“My taking a shower,” Brandi replied as she got out of bed.

 

Grinning, Chris said, “Sounds good, but my help will have to wait for more time. I’m going to fix something to eat. Either of you hungry?”

 

“I am, believe it or not. I wouldn’t mind a sandwich. What about you Cindy?”

 

“That would be great. Thanks Chris. I’m not picky; just fix me the same as what you’re fixing for the both of you.”

 

“Will do, and when you’re done, just come on out to the kitchen.” Stopping Brandi on her way past, he gave her a kiss and said, “Enjoy your shower.”

 

“Thanks, I will,” she told him, returning the kiss and then heading into the bathroom.

 

With Cindy standing outside, Brandi got in the shower and got cleaned up. Coming out of the bathroom, Brandi was smiling as she said, “That is so much better.” Getting dressed, she continued with, “Now I’m ready for food.”

 

They joined Chris in the kitchen for lunch, and enjoyed their sandwiches.

 

Chris headed back to the office around one. Looking at Cindy, Brandi said “Since my dad is here, you don’t have to stay if you have other things you need to get done.”

 

“As long as you’re sure you don’t need me. If you do need me for anything, my number is in the kitchen, just call me and I’ll be back.”

 

“I’m good now, but I’ll remember that. And, thanks for everything Cindy. Will you let Beth know she doesn’t have to come by tonight and also tell her thanks for me.”

 

“I’ll be happy to call her and pass on both messages. You’re very welcome. I didn’t mind it at all,” Cindy said, as she got her stuff together. Smiling, she waved as she left.

 

Grateful for the quiet, even with Alex sitting in the front room with her, Brandi turned on the TV and curled up on the love seat. Herc and Ares lay on the floor next to her.

 

They sat quietly watching TV until Jessica and Mary showed up at around 3pm.

 

They nodded to Alex and stood in front of Brandi. With a smile, Jessica said, “We’ve come to kidnap you sister dear. So, come on since you’re dressed.”

 

Brandi got up and going over to Alex, she said, “I guess I’ll see ya later, daddy.” She gave him a kiss and then followed Jessica and Mary out the door.

 

~~~~~

 

June 13, 2004—

 

Rose looked out at the crowd of people that were packing the mall from the top level of the place. She had been on chemotherapy for six months and Josiah had been at her side through it all, but she hated to tell him that the meds were not working at all. She had sent Marty on knowing that if she was to deal with this she did not need him to see the end result of the destruction of the shell form of her here in this time.

 

The new album she had recorded with her band was sure to take the people that listened to them to a new level of their interest level with her. The Rose who had inhabited the body before her had no concept of the inner workings of music and how it could affect the populace. In the last few months she had scrapped the songs that had been written before for the ones she had created weaving and lacing her soul with in them. It would be the legacy that the Rose was supposed to have just before her tragic death due to cancer. So this that she was enduring was part of what was to be, yet the woman before her would not have achieved it without her help. She had not the insight and the foresight to create the masterful works of lyrical chronicles.

 

Watching her from the distance Obi Wan saw the woman he was driven to follow. She seemed to not be the danger that he had read in the files but as he listened to the CD of the band’s work on the portable Walkman, it clearly sent red flags up with the people he was connected with. The Jedi had not used this medium of travel yet. Only he and Qui-Gon had been able to attain the level of time and space travel like the Neither Realm people. The woman Rose was supposed to have had wrote and arranged all the music of the new CD, but she had somehow told of the belief of another level of existence, of the fall of those who did not follow the divine rules, of that plane’s people, and the spiraling of the lives afterwards living life after life in sorrow, and pain, only to pay over and over for the sins of the core person’s soul. Only people connected to the Neither Realms, their enemies, or the exiles knew what she placed in the lyrics of her music. But the people of this planet and time thought it symbolized the fall of the Angels in the Bible where they were cast out of Heaven to take human forms in the books of Leviticus and of Judges. Obi Wan wondered now if the reason if she was so close to the truth was she Lady Asenath?

 

Sipping on her mug of hot herbal tea she knew it was almost time for the mini concert they were to do there at the mall. Yet she still did not see Josiah yet. It was him that told her she needed to write down all that she remembered so she could make sense of it all.

 

It was him that had prodded her to take up the reigns of heading the band after she woke from a prophetic dream of what was to happen to Rose; of how she was to live her life to the end. This life was full of pain and tragedy unlike her other lives, this life she could not give the one person she loved anything other than her heart. Over and over she kept having problems. One after another telling her the end would be soon.

 

Qui-Gon walked up to see Obi Wan gazing at the willowy woman looking out at the crowded lower floors in the mall. “Have you scanned her yet?”

 

Shaking his head no, “I sense something with her that I haven’t felt in a life time of life times. What if she is Lady Asenath? What if she is the woman that we are to find and check on her plot in her exile?”

 

Qui-Gon got his scanner out that looked like a cell phone for that time period and lifted it towards the image of the woman they were to quite. As the scans came back they were showing she was one of the royal lines of exiles but they could not tell which one due to the fact there was interference. “She is a Neither Realmer. But the scans are not telling much else.

 

Judas Marlon had lowered his hand blocking the signal that was to scan the woman he had been tracking down. She had eluded him once, but not again. He was determined to finish his job in her temptation and seduction to the dark side of the life force they shared.

 

Zankuo appeared beside his new partner to see the woman that Judas was looking towards. “Is this the woman you spoke of Marlon?”

 

Judas looked to the demon. “Yes, I want you to seduce her away from that lackey of an ex-priest she calls her domestic partner. I want you to do whatever you see fit to her just leave her alive so I can finish with her and you will have your power you seek.”

 

With a half-smile Zankuo gazed at the woman and found the taught such power more than a temptation for the down fall of a woman so frail and sweet as this one. “Gladly.” Bowing his head he left Judas.

Obi Wan spotted Judas Marlon in the crowd and as he walked away he seemed to vanish into the throng of people. “Master, it has to be her. Judas Marlon is here.”

 

Qui-Gon scanned the people around them but Judas was gone. “Damn it, he must have slipped away like the brimstone and smoke that he is created from.” He turned to look to Obi Wan but what he saw was the back of him as he made his way towards where the woman they were to interrogate the erase her memories. In a silent curse under his breath, “Damn it,” He now wondered if the mind swipe had worked on Obi Wan clearing out all his memories of Lady Asenath and their relationship with each other. “Ben.” He called out to Obi Wan, but he knew that his call was unheard.

 

Rose walked back into the music store and found her band mates ready to go down to do the mini concert for charity.

 

Mic asked her as she slipped on her coat. “No Preacher Man?”

 

Rose shook her head no. “Work probably held him up.” She didn’t want to tell the guys she was not well, that Josiah and she had an argument about this charity gig.

 

Zankuo found her cup of tea and lifted it filling it with something to help her with the plague that ravaged her body. Walking up he cleared his throat to get her attention.

 

Turning her head she saw the devilishly handsome man with her cup. “Oh, I was finished with my tea.”

 

He then offered it to her. “For your throat, you must drink it so you will feel better.”

 

Obi Wan ran into the music store to see the woman taking the cup from the darkened figure. This was no man but something more sinister and malevolent. “Don’t drink it!”

 

Rose turned her head to see the man making his way towards her full throttle shoving her hand away from her lips with the cup. Quickly she turned to the man who shoved her hand and dashed what was left to the liquid at him in the face.

 

Obi Wan held up his hand stopping time for all but her and anything not of that realm. He just moved around the brew that was in flight. “That is not nice.”

 

Rose looked at him. “Who and what are you?”

 

Obi Wan looked at Zankuo who was starting to disappear. “Tell your head henchman the woman is not for you to mess with.”

 

Zankuo quickly laughed. “I will deal with you later.”

 

Rose could not believe what was happening before her. “Things like this don’t normally happen.”

 

Obi Wan looked at her with her short hair and her willowy form. “Asenath?”

 

She blinked at the name she had not heard herself being called in a very long time. “Who are you?” he stood younger and stronger before her dressed in all gray his hair cropped short and his face was smooth. “I know you.”

 

His heart beat faster as she asked the questions he was not to answer. “My name is Ben and yes you know me from many times ago.”

 

Searching his face his body he looked like no one she had known before. But something about his eyes, his blue eyes she knew who he was. “Obi Wan!” Without thinking she flung her arms around him and planted a kiss on his lips.

 

All that he was supposed to have had erased of their shared past, the love that had separated them casting her out of life to this desert of time and space, it all came back to him in a unexpected rush. He held her closer opening his lips so she could join again with him in the surrendering of souls.

 

Rose felt the healing power drawing her to join with him. Like a moth to a flame she gravitated to his healing and felt rejuvenate as she felt her soul and his intertwine as if it was meant to be. This was what she sought for with Josiah but he couldn’t give it to her. It was with this man. This person that was the one that understood everything she was and would be. Coming up for air she looked at him and saw he understood she was dying.

 

“Oh Asenath, I have to help you.” His hand cupped her face lifting it to look as this shell’s face. “They took as much as they could take from me, but you embedded into the very fibers of me the makeup of my soul. I know that you could use the bits that you left with me. You need it right now more than I do.”

****

Josiah came into the mall to see everyone was frozen as if time had stopped there. He made it towards the stairs to see a man dressed in all black stopping his way towards the upper levels. “What happened here?”

 

Qui-Gon looked at the rather tall and stout man before him. “You must be the counter person to the woman we are scanning.”

 

Josiah furrowed his brow, “Is this about Rose?” A surge of protectiveness for his woman flooded him and he tried to shove the man out of the way.

 

Qui-Gon grabbed the man by the pressure point at his neck behind his ear. “You will tell me everything you know about this Rose.”

 

Josiah didn’t go down easy. “ROSE!”

 

Rose broke away from the kiss with Obi Wan hearing Josiah calling out in pain. “Josiah.” Rushing she went down to find a man over him pinning him down holding his thumb to his cyanotic nerve. “LET GO OF HIM.” Her voice seemed to shake the very ground with the rage in her voice.

 

Qui-Gon let go of Josiah to see his step-daughter before him. “Asenath, I see your powers have grown since you were expelled from the Realms.”

 

“They would have had too since I was like a child when you and my mother cast me out.”

 

Josiah stood up slowly. “You know this guy, Aqura?”

 

Obi Wan corrected him. “That is Lady Asenath to you.”

 

Qui-Gon looked at Obi Wan. “You swiped her mind clean Obi Wan?”

 

He shook his head no. “She will be leaving this time line soon, the shell is dying.”

 

Josiah asked, “Who the blazes are you two?”

 

Obi Wan looked at Asenath, “Care to explain to them? Or shall I?”

 

Rose walked up to Josiah and explained to him, “Josiah, you remember me telling you about Obi Wan? Well this is him.” She held out her hand towards Obi Wan. “The one pinning you down is my step-father from the Neither Realms, Qui-Gon Jinn.” She looked to Obi Wan and Qui-Gon. “This is Josiah, he is my domestic partner in this life time and a couple of life times before.”

 

Obi Wan looked at the man before him a few inches taller than he and said, “At least I know my Lady is in good hands.”

 

Josiah nodded, saying, “Yep, and what are you doin’ here? I thought she said you two might not see each other ever again.”

 

Obi Wan crossed his arms over his chest. “Her soul called out to me through time and space. She is dying and if she does not get the hidden part of her soul she left behind she might be lost forever.” He knew he would have to deal with Qui-Gon later but he went on. “She instilled me with a portion of it as I can tell she left a portion of her soul with you as well.”

 

Qui-Gon snapped, “I thought you were cleared of all her past with you.”

 

Obi Wan looked at him. “Something she taught me is to use all of my mind. So I blocked off a section that could not be swiped and left what she and I had and what she wanted me to save for her there.”

 

Rose stopped all the arguments. “Enough!” Again the ground shook with her simple word; Focusing now at her step-father. “Qui-Gon why are you here? And more so why did you try and mind swipe Obi Wan?”

 

Qui-Gon looked at her and saw she was not evil. Judas had not reached her yet in this life. “Hear me daughter, you accept Judas’ offer in this life I turn my back on you. You hear me?”

 

She got in his face, “You know something that I don’t why then would you be out to stop me from luring him into my trap?”

 

Qui-Gon blinked in surprise. “Trap? You were going to try and trap him?”

 

Standing straighter, “Yes, you see the last past lives I have not been the type to fight back, but in this one I am. Now, I think you need to go and visit your daughter Brandi while you are in this time and on this plane. I have to go and heal myself.” She looked at Obi Wan. “While we have time I need you to heal me with what I left with you.”

 

Obi Wan nodded his head yes. “Time cannot stop much longer. I have to re animate it; can you do the show now with what little you tapped into?”

 

She did feel better. “Yes, I guess I could.” Turning her head to Josiah, she said, “Honey we need to talk.”

 

Josiah didn’t like the way she said that or the fact she could seem to move the ground with her indignant powers. “Alone then without the two suits.”

 

She nodded her head. “Yeah, well that’s just it you know now I have a temper and I have got to tell you the rest of the story of what is going to happen here.” She patted Obi Wan’s shoulder. “Give us some time. Ben get in contact with The Programmer, tell him that I need his services.”

 

Josiah didn’t like the familiar way Rose was with this man. It made him want to know exactly what the heck was going on. But he followed her to a private little area where they could talk. Once there he focused in totally on her. “Care to tell me what’s goin’ on? Are you leavin’ me Aqura?”

 

“For a while, but only long enough to heal this body where I can hold out a little longer. Josiah, I told you about my past so don’t you go and get all holy on me.” She crossed her arms in front of her chest. “I don’t have time for this.”

 

“And I am supposed to just let you go off with the one man I could lose you to, and do it willingly?” He was livid for the first time in what seemed a life time he was truly livid.

 

She touched his hand. “It’s not like that, Preacher man. Have faith in me, you do know and remember what faith is.”

 

She had a point, in a grumble of a voice he asked her. “When will you be back?”

 

Slipping her arms around him, she replied “Before Brandi’s bridal shower. I will then have a day or so around here and then I have to leave again. But I will meet you in Hawaii.”

 

In her eyes he saw she was telling the truth, and that was enough for now. He slipped his arms around her. “Alright then, but you know Angel I love you too much to let you go without a good fight.”

 

Obi Wan walked up to the two of them. “Rose, the time line is correct. You must get ready for the show.”

 

Josiah moved from Rose and balled up his meaty fist punching Obi Wan square in the jaw. “That is just a taste of what will become of you, if you mess with my Angel the wrong way.”

 

Obi Wan got up slow from the floor where he had fallen and rubbed his jaw. He had seen in the viewer of what would happen between him and the Preacher that Asenath had taken as her mate in this time line. “No harm will befall her, not by my hands.”

 

The concert went great and the place was packed with fans of the band and new faces that now was interested in the band’s new work. Josiah watched his woman singing but the way she moved as so unlike her. He now wondered what was happening and if there was some way to help her.

 

After the concert Rose left with Obi Wan to undergo the steps needed to help her in what she was to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 14

 

Qui-Gon knew Brandi was spending time in the hospital due to pregnancy induced stress, so he decided to go back in time a couple of weeks to see her.  He just wasn’t expecting where he’d find her.

~~

Beginning of June  2004 ~

 

Brandi had been in Paris France, helping her ex-husband, Methos, and a very old friend. She had been trying to convince her friend that he didn’t want to let his clansman who he was older than by 74 years and had at least 50 more years of knowledge and experience, take his head. Connor wasn’t listening and thought his way was best.

 

Sitting in her hotel room, she was surprised when she suddenly heard “It’s been a few years my daughter since we’ve seen each other.”

 

Looking up she smiled and walked to him, saying “Poppa, you’re correct, it has been.” She gave him a hug and said “What brings you here now?”

 

“I have seen the one you call Rose, Lady Asenath, and it reminded me I have not seen you or your brothers in quite a while. What are you doing here? I thought you lived elsewhere.”

 

Hearing Rose’s real name made Brandi smile and remember. “I knew she was familiar somehow, but wasn’t placing it until you said her name.” Guiding him toward the sofa, she said “I am here helping my ex-husband, first husband, Methos and some friends of mine. Yes, I do live elsewhere. I live in Denver Colorado in the United States. I wish you would come meet Chris. He has heard of you only over the last 156 years. I also know Mike and Eric want to see you. You haven’t seen them in years either.”

 

“I will come and visit as soon as I can. Obi Wan and I have been taking care of some business. When I leave here, I will go and see your brothers and when you return I will come to see you and meet your Chris.”

 

They sat and visited for another hour or so when he finally said “I must take my leave, my child. I will be back to see you soon.”

 

Nodding in understanding, she gave him a hug and said “Please don’t be such a stranger. There are times I really need to talk to you, and I do, but I’m never sure if you can hear me where you reside now.”

 

“I can always hear you, even though I cannot respond to you. Please keep talking to me; it lets me know you are still thinking of me.”

 

“I will do that, Poppa. I am very glad you came to see me, even if Rose did have to remind you,” she smiled.

 

Not surprised she knew, he only smiled at her as he took his leave, letting her wonder when she would see him again.

 

~~~

July 23, 2004-

 

Rose felt her soul fill with light as she appeared in her apartment. In the darkness she felt HIM, felt the evil lurking in her safe haven. “I know you are here Cole, why have you come after me personally and not sent your demonic minions after me like you usually do.” She caused a spear of white power to appear in her hand floating before her.

 

Cole stepped from the darkness to look at the one other woman, other than Phoebe, that drew him, that eluded him and his loving control. “Lady Asenath, I see that the Programmer has just about gotten you healed. A pity that it will only last long enough to banish Judas Marlon. I have others countless other demons and minions that would willingly track you down to the ends of time just so I can ask you one question.” Before her he caused a blue spear of light, in it was the part of her soul that Judas Marlon had captured.

 

She crossed her arms seemingly to ward him off. “So, all this time I thought it was Judas that was after me but actually it was you.”

 

He walked closer to her with the spear of light. “You can either destroy him, and your path will still be the same or you can answer my question.”

 

“To answer that question the way you want it answered would entailing me embracing what Rose was, I am not evil and being with you I would become that. Like you did with the witch Phoebe Hallowell, so my answer you already know.”

He closed his hand. “I am willing to let you keep your Preacher, I am an understanding demon you could keep him till I allow your body to die.”

 

“You are the Angel of Death now, how in the blazes did you manage that?” She asked him furiously.

 

He shrugged his shoulder, “I have my ways.” Leaning over he kissed her cheek. “I will give you a couple of months; think, you will not have to jump from body to body. You can live you natural days with me in the Neither Realms.”

 

She swiftly went to slap his smug face but he caught her hand pulling her into his arms. “I would rather live out my exile of pain and agony than to let you corrupt my soul for more power.”

 

Taking her lips he reminded her of the passion that they touched upon with she was in another life. Putting every memory of what they had shared in her first life on this planet. Pulling away he whispered to her, “Remember, remember the passion and the excitement we shared.” He then shimmered out of her home.

 

Shaken Rose was flooded by what was happening in her brain. The work that the Programmer had done was now a jumbled mess, just being around Cole caused her to feel a delicious wicked power. Her cell phone chimed letting her know she needed to leave to make it to Mary’s home.

 

Making her way on her motorcycle she felt the part of her soul that he had been holding in the spear now was lacing its tentacles in and among the rest of her soul. He had kissed her infecting her purity with the one portion that she had not wanted back. Rose’s body embraced this new part of her that was like her core.

 

Pulling up at Mary’s drive, she parked the Harley Davidson and took off her helmet. Taking from her saddle bag she had the box with the crystal statue she had brought back with her to give Brandi. Making her way to the door she knew she was a few minutes late but Brandi wasn’t there yet.

 

Rose rings the doorbell and enters when Rain opens the door for her. Looking at Rose, and the rest of the guests, Rain said “Brandi and Jess, and Mary should be here shortly so we should all hide.” Everyone got into their places ready for when the three arrived.

 

Getting to Mary’s, the three walked in the house and Brandi saw her friends all standing and yelling ‘Surprise’. Besides Mary and Jessica, there was Rain, Casey, Aqura, and Kelly. Since she didn’t see Patty, Brandi figured she couldn’t make it out.

 

Rose gave her the box that held the Crystal statue. “I know it is not a gift for a baby but, it will remind you of where your father is.”

 

“Thank you Rose, it’s beautiful.” Brandi smiled softly thinking of him and said “It will remind me of where he is now and possibly be a way for me to talk to him more”.

 

The doorbell rang, and Mary got up to answer the door. Opening the door, she found a delivery man standing there with a box. “Hello,” said Mary.

 

“Is this Mary Travis’ house?” asked the man.

 

“Yes it is,” said Mary. She had no idea where this was leading.

 

“I have a box for a Brandi in care of Mary Travis,” said the man as he handed Mary his clipboard to sign. When she signed it and handed it back, he said “Have a good day.” Then he walked away.

 

Carrying the box into the house, Mary took it straight to Brandi, said, “It’s for you,” and she handed it to the guest of honor.

 

“Who is it from?” asked Rain.

 

“No idea, but let’s find out,” said Brandi with a big smile.

 

“I’ll get it open for you,” said Casey as she broke the seal of the box.

 

Moving the box closer to Brandi, she opened up the flaps and found lots of tissue paper inside. Brandi removed the tissue to find Styrofoam pieces taped like it was going on the space shuttle. When Brandi picked it up, she found they were heavy. “Does anyone have a knife handy?” asked Brandi. Rain and Rose each held knifes to her. “Thanks,” replied Brandi as she took the knife from Rain. Cutting the tape away, she removes the top piece of Styrofoam to find to beer mugs inside. Lifting them up, one had Chris’ name on it and the other had Brandi’s name on it. Passing the mugs on to the person next to her, Brandi let the group get a real good look at them. Removing more tissue, Brandi found a long narrow box. Opening it up Brandi pulled out a table cloth that had been cross-stitched with Chris and Brandi’s name on it and the wedding date. One side had a cowboy and a cowgirl riding horses in the mountains. The second side had two people walking along the beach. The third side had two people driving along in a big black pickup truck and the last side had a couple getting married. It was then Brandi say the initials PGR and she started to laugh. “All of this is from Patty,” said Brandi. The group laughed. On the bottom of the box, Brandi from an envelope, opening it up, she pulled out a note and read it to herself.

 

 

 

 

Brandi,

 

I hope this finds you. Neither the boy wonder (Vin) nor Super gambler (Ezra) could give me a correct address to send this to, so I hit the Internet and found a Mary Travis in Denver, CO and prayed. Of course, I did run a check to make sure it was the right person. Thank the maker I work for the US Gov. They are the biggest tattle tales in the world. I know that Mary wears a size 6 shoe. How’s that one – wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

 

I hope you and Chris enjoy the gifts; I worked hard on the one. For some reason NCIS doesn’t like it when you are out on a stake out and doing cross-stitch, they really do want you to watch the bad guys. What is that all about?

 

I’m sorry that I couldn’t make it to the party, but since I’m in the middle of a case, they don’t want me leaving. What is that about too? So you will have live without me. Ain’t it a shame, yeah you can laugh here.

 

So have fun and stay out of trouble until the wedding, cuz I’m not coming to bail you out.

 

Love, Patty.

 

Brandi had a good laugh over the note and read it to the party. They enjoyed it too. Brandi knew Chris would enjoy it when he read it and would also like the gifts Patty sent.

 

After opening those two gifts, it was decided that the rest of the gifts could wait til a bit later.

 

Looking at the group, Mary said “I think before we open the rest of the gifts or have cake, we should play some games. This first game Brandi can’t play, but you all can give your answers to her and she can figure out the winner. This first game is a trivia game. I want everyone to write down things about Chris and Brandi, like when they met, how they met, how long have they been seeing each other, friends they have – who each has known the longest, jobs they’ve had, has either been married before, any kids from previous marriage(s), relationships. That should be enough. You have 5 minutes, starting now.”

 

Mary moves over to Brandi as everyone writes down their answers. Watching the time, Mary then says “Alright, that’s time. Bring your answers up to Brandi to check and she’ll see who wins.”

 

Having been handed all the answers, Brandi reads them over, grinning at some of them. After going through them all, Brandi finally hands one to Mary. As she says “the only one that knew all the answers for Chris and I.”

 

Looking at it, Mary laughed at who it was, and then said “Well, the winner is, Kelly.” Leaning down to Brandi, Mary asks quietly “do you want me to read the answers.” At Brandi’s head shake, Mary then looks back at everyone and ways “I’m not going to read the answers out loud. Kelly, you have won a weekend at The Omni Interlocken Resort. It is for the Complete pampering package. Here is the coupon for it.” Mary hands Kelly the Gift Certificate for the Complete package – Mountain Rock Massage (80 minute), Omni Classique Facial (75 minutes), Chose from one of three Body Wraps, Raw Earth Manicure, Raw Earth Pedicure.

 

They played more games, guessing how many candies in a bottle – Brandi won – the same Spa package Kelly had won, and then Brandi had to be blindfolded to put on clothes from in a suitcase to see how well she could do – in 5 minutes. She did better than anyone, including herself, thought.

 

When the games were done, Mary went to grab the unopened gifts. Taking the card off the top one, Brandi opened it, smiled and said “From Kelly.” Opening the gift, she took out first a black silk robe that had bluish/gray stripping through it. Without looking at the size, she knew it was for Chris. After putting the robe to the side, she then pulled out a pale pink baby doll negligee – sexy but covering where it needed to. Looking up at Kelly, she said “Thanks sis, I love them and so will Chris.” Taking the next one, she looked at the card, and then said “From Jess. $100. Thanks Jess, I’ll use this well.” Taking the next, Brandi opened the card and said “From Rain.” Unwrapping and then opening the large, flat box, Brandi found a wall sized Dream Catcher, done in a light gray. “Rain, this is beautiful. And it’s just what I need.” Taking the next one, Brandi opened the card and said “From Casey.” Unwrapping and opening the big box, she pulled out a beautifully done, homemade, Throw blanket in Black, Pink, and Gray. “It’s beautiful Casey. You did a great job.” Looking shy, Casey only smiled. Taking the last one, Brandi opened the card, and looked at Mary and said “You didn’t have to get me anything, all this was enough.”

 

Smiling, Mary replied “I know, but I wanted to do something anyway.”

 

Nodding, Brandi opened the gift, also a big box, and pulled out a handmade quilt with old west scenes/pictures that Brandi recognized. Looking at Mary with tears in her eyes, Brandi asked “I love it. Where did you get the pictures?”

 

“Gray made copies of the ones you had for me. I thought it’d be something you both would like. I picked the ones that would be the best for this.”

 

“You both did great.” Looking back at everyone else, Brandi smiled and said :”I love all the gifts, thanks you guys.”

 

“We have one more surprise for you, but how about cake first,” Mary said with a grin.

 

Wondering what was up, Brandi nodded and stood up to move to the table. Looking at the cake on the table, Brandi smiled. It was a cake with a picture of Chris and Brandi on it – done in icing. “I already took a picture of the cake for you so go ahead and cut it,” Mary told her.

 

Taking the knife next to the cake, Brandi made the first cut into it. When she was done, Jess took her back to sit down, saying “We’ll bring you a piece.”

 

Getting her piece, Brandi took a bite a sighed. It was a Chocolate cake with a raspberry filling. As everyone else came and sat down with their own pieces, they all just talked about the different gifts with the gifts being passed around and gawked at.

 

When cake was done and put away, they got into Mary’s van and after Mary put a blindfold on Brandi, left the house.

 

After a short drive, Mari parked the van. Once everyone was out, including Brandi, Mary took the blindfold off. Brandi found herself standing in front of the Grizzly Rose, a country western bar. With a grin, Mary said, “I reserved it just for us with a special show to be had. Chippendale dancers.”

 

Grinning and giggling, Brandi said “Then let’s get in there. I haven’t watched those boys dancing in a while. Wonder if I’ll know any of them. I’ve got an old friend that is a Chippendale dancer.” As they went in Brandi noted Rose didn’t seem herself, and made herself a mental mote to ask Rose how she was doing.

 

Rose had been in a sullen mood since she had been gone and the invasion of what had happened felt out of place. The old Rose came out as she knocked back shot after shot of Whiskey. The drunker she got the more real Rose came forth due to the interrogation of her portion she had not wanted.

 

The ladies all got drinks, with Brandi’s being diet cokes with the explanation of her being pregnant. Within a few minutes of the ladies sitting, the music started and then the guys started coming out, first one at a time.

 

Rain leaned over and asked Rose. “You okay?”

 

Rose snapped, “These faggots can’t dance to save their dicks.” She got up and made her way to the bathroom.

 

Rain then whispered to Casey, “I think I need to call Nathan and get Josiah over here quick.” Rain was trying to keep it quiet as to not alarm Brandi or the rest of the girls, not realizing Brandi had noticed the change in her friend.

 

Rain called Nathan asking to have Nathan call Josiah. Arriving, they find Rose is in the bathroom vomiting black sludge.

 

Josiah gently knocked on the door, “Rose?”

 

In a croaking voice she replied. “Josiah.”

 

Shoving the stall door open he saw something terrible was happening to Rose, something she had warned him about. He could tell that the body was rejecting his wife’s soul. “Nat, let’s get her home. I am going to need your help and I hope that I can get that Programmer guy so we can help Rose.”

 

Nathan looked at Rose as Josiah scooped her up in his arms. “Josiah she looks pretty bad, I think she might be dyin’. “

 

“Nope, Nat she just needs to see the right path again.” Josiah left with Rose in his arms with Nathan and Rain behind him.

 

Brandi watched as Josiah carried out Rose, knowing something was very wrong, but didn’t want to chase after them. Letting her mind look back at Rose going to the bathroom, Brandi watched the events unfold in her mind, and knew it was near the end for Rose in the form she was currently in. Taking some of her own energy, she shifted it to Rose to help her survive for a few more weeks or so. Brandi didn’t want to see Rose go, but not only because she would miss Rose, but she knew it would be hard on Josiah again.

 

Feeling a tap on the table brought Brandi out of her thoughts. Looking up, she grinned and said “Ken, I was wondering if you were here. I hadn’t seen you come out yet.”

 

“Hi Bree and no I haven’t. We split it into two parts so it’s a kind of intermission, but I thought I’d see if you wanted to dance some.”  He refrained from calling her what he normally did since there were others around and wouldn’t understand him calling her Princess.

 

Laughing, she replied “I bet you did. Sure, I wouldn’t mind.” Standing up, she tapped Kelly on the shoulder and motioned toward the stage. Kelly shook her head for not joining Brandi. Smiling in understanding, Brandi got help up onto the stage. Turning, she watched don put a speaker down to the stage so she could feel it.

 

As the music started and she felt it through the floor, Brandi started dancing. As she moved she noted the rest of the guys, with Nathan included, coming in, getting drinks and then and sitting down. With a grin, and knowing what the result would be, she started unbuttoning her top as soon as Chris sat down and looked toward the stage. Moving toward him, she started making her dancing more sensual, slowly removing her top. Noticing the glare start, she blew him a kiss and started to unzip her skirt. Getting the skirt unzipped, she started to slide it over her hips. Before she got the skirt down very far, Chris was on stage, in front of her, placing his hand on hers to stop the skirt from going any farther.

 

Leaning down, he whispered “Keep going and you won’t be having the wedding night you want.”

 

Giggling, she said, just as quietly “I was only just dancing until I saw you all come in. then I was just seeing how far you’d let me go.” Standing on her toes, she then kissed him. Turning back to Ken, she grinned and said “Thanks that was fun.”

 

Giving her a grin, Ken brought her shirt back and said “No problem. Hi Chris, it’s nice to see you again.”

 

“You too, Ken. If you’ll excuse us, I’m going to help Dee off the stage.”

 

Getting her shirt back on and tucked in, Brandi walked with Chris back to the edge of the stage. When he was down, he reached up and helped her down. Looking at him, she said “The rest of the guys haven’t danced yet, and I’m not leaving until they’re done. If you guys want to stay and watch, fine.”

 

Nodding to her, he said “I’ll be right back.” Going back to the guys, he said “They are actually watching the guys dancing – Chippendale’s. Dee wants to watch the rest of the guys and I’m sure the rest of the ladies want to also. I’m gonna stay.” Noting that only Ezra got up, and that was just to move over to sit with Kelly, no one left. Grinning, he went back to sit with Brandi.

 

The ladies gave cat calls and cheers to the rest of the dancers while the guys just shook their heads, but the guys seemed to enjoy the show, more glad the dancers didn’t remove all the clothing.

 

When the show was done, Brandi gave Mary a hug and said “Thanks that was fun. Either Chris or Chris and I will be over to get my stuff tomorrow or the day after.”

 

“I’m glad you enjoyed yourself Brandi, and I can have Gray take it by later. Don’t worry about it. Get some rest and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

 

“Sounds good.” Brandi then gave Jess, Rain, Kelly, and Casey each a hug and told them thank you again. Looking at Chris, she nodded, and they headed out. She was feeling tired and ready to go home and rest until it was time to leave for the wedding.

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