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There are only two more chapters after this one left until the conclusion of the book! I hope you continue to enjoy them!
Now for more new stuff…
I groan as I hit the off-button on the alarm. I look over, my eyes feel like sand-blasted slits, and groan again…
Four hours of sleep is just enough anymore—especially not after a few beers!
My mind groggily comes into semi-focus and I remember my promise to Chuck to pick Barn up at the airport, while he takes care of our ‘other problem’.
I curse Barn for deciding to come a day early and climb out of bed, trying not to disturb Grace—she can still sleep another hour.
I pad into the bathroom and close the door behind me before turning on the water in the shower.
After a couple of minutes in the steamy shower, the fog in my mind is seemingly transferring to the mirror.
I take a deep breath and turn the water to ice-cold. I am instantly fully awake.
Fifteen minutes later, I am on the way to the airport—after a quick stop at Coffee Cabana for an extra-large grande with three shots…
By the time I get to the airport, I am feeling like a human again. I HAD paced myself last night and made sure I stayed hydrated—I will actually probably have gotten more rest than Barn, all things considered—he spent the night on a plane flying cross-country!
I do a double-take, though, when I see him come out of the security area with a VERY pretty young woman on his arm.
I go over and shake his hand, “Good morning, Barn! Welcome back to NYC. And who might we have here?”
The young woman smiles at me as Barn replies, “Good morning, Rich. I was expecting Chuck? Sorry, this is Brea, my…paralegal.”
She pinches him and he winces good-naturedly. “I mean my girlfriend!” He corrects himself.
“I should have known! It’s nice to finally meet you in person, Brea! I had no idea you were coming, though! Oh, and congratulations, I guess?” She giggles and I smile back at her.
She gives me a brief hug and says, “It’s great to finally meet you, too, Rich! Yes, I FINALLY convinced Barn that we were meant to be more than employer and employee. Welcome to our family!”
I laugh, “I’m not there quite yet—but, hopefully Barn has what I need to speed that up!”
Barn just nods as he squeezes her and smiles.
I say, “Come with me to my car and I’ll take you to the house, Brea. While Barn and I take care of our business of the day—you can use my office as a base of operations, for now. It will be more comfortable than a hotel room and you will have company…”
I don’t elaborate on last night—I don’t want to spoil Chuck and Mindy’s surprise.
We chat as we wait for the luggage, then pile it into the back of my SUV—and it is a good thing I have one!
“Staying for a month, are you?” I ask with a laugh.
Barn rolls his eyes and quips, “You know women!”
Brea pinches him again. This time I am sure it will leave a mark as he just laughs.
We get back to the house just as I hear the coffeemaker beep. Jenny is in the kitchen, looking disgustingly chipper and pouring a cup from the fresh pot.
She smiles at us as we come in and she goes and gives first Brea, then Barn, a big hug, “It’s great to see you guys! How was the flight?”
We chat some more and are just settling in to make some breakfast, when Mindy comes in—her eyes sparkling as brightly as the rock on her finger, which is gleaming brightly in the kitchen spots. She and Chuck had used one of our copious unused spare bedrooms.
She smiles and I introduce her to Brea and Barn, since they have not actually met in person. I leave out the news; although, her ring is clearly announcing itself as it continuously catches the light and sparkles brightly.
Brea seems to notice it, but doesn’t say anything.
Mindy insists on making breakfast—Grace had given her the day off at school. “Grace and the girls have already left and she thought it would be good for me to just relax after last night,” she explains. “Cooking is as relaxing as it gets for me!”
Brea, again, seems to pick up on something; but, again, stays quiet.
Thirty minutes later, we are all enjoying a large, sumptuous breakfast. While we chat about the case, Jenny excuses herself and takes a plate up to Em.
I smile to myself as I hear the shower running. The last few nights have been the BEST of my life—I didn’t think Barn would EVER get my message.
I burrow myself under the covers and giggle—BUT HE FINALLY HAS!
He comes in, wrapped in a robe, and pulls the covers back to kiss me. “Can you change my reservations to New York? I want to leave on the plane today—to be there early in the morning.”
I feel my face fall as he goes back into the bathroom.
It brightens again, as he turns just as he gets to the door, and says, “Oh, and Brea? Make it first class—for BOTH of us. Can you be packed in time?”
I giggle, in pure heaven, and just nod. HE WANTS ME TO COME!!!
I busy myself that day, making the reservations, getting the case files and things together to take with us…
I smile again—with US…
Then go home to pack.
He picks me up three hours before the flight and we drive to the airport. I am not sure—I MAY have overpacked. He just groaned when he saw my three bags and they BARELY fit in his car.
I still don’t know how he can get everything he needs for a week in that ONE small bag!?!?!
We make it to the airport in plenty of time and he parks. He pulls two of my larger bags, while I pull my small one and his.
We make it through security in good time, after checking our bags, and are soon on our way.
Cuddling in the first class seats is a new experience for me—and before I know it, we are landing at JFK in New York City! Another new experience for me—I have never actually been anywhere east of Nevada!
I am looking forward to meeting up with Chuck and am completely surprised when he is not waiting for us. I AM happy to finally meet Rich, though.
I even put with their good-natured bantering about my luggage. OK, so MAYBE three bags ARE too much for a week—but, I had to have room to bring home whatever I buy here, right? Guys just don’t get it!
It takes us less time than I expect to get to Rich’s house and I am happy to see Jenny first thing.
Then I get to meet Mindy. Chuck has talked about her some—and, if I know Chuck, he wouldn’t talk about an engaged woman the way he does her. But, that ring clearly signals ‘engaged’!
He…? Nah! Maybe she just has a thing about diamonds!
After Mindy fixes us breakfast, Barn, Rich and I go to Rich’s office, while Jenny takes breakfast up to Emily—I still need to meet her. I feel bad about leaving the dishes for Mindy, but she insists that we have important work to do.
Rich gets me set up in his office and I pull out the case files. Barn takes them from me with a kiss and looks at Rich.
He asks, “Did you get the appointment with George?”
“At eleven,” he says with a nod.
I know ‘George’ is Rich’s friend, the Assistant D.A.
Barn looks at his watch and says, “OK, then. That doesn’t leave us much time—let’s go through what I have…”
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I lightly kiss Brea on the cheek and quietly climb out of bed to take a shower.
I take one more look at her blissfully sleeping in my bed, right next to where I had just lay myself and grin.
The chance I had taken last week paid off—I had no idea if she was REALLY into me.
I turn back to the bathroom and close the door behind me as I enter. I turn on the shower and decide to take her with me to New York—she has never been and I am going to be there at least a week. Not only would I miss her, but it will be a good test—to see if I should ask her to move in with me.
I get into the shower and grin. I have to stay ahead of Chuck—I think he is getting ready to make some sort of a move on this Mindy of his. I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to move to NYC to move in with HER…
I get out of the shower and put on my robe. I open the door to let the steam out and see Brea buried under the covers.
I smile and yank them back—and play a little cat and mouse with her.
Finally, I let the cat out of the bag and ask her to go with me. Thankfully, she is thrilled!
Of course, I am LESS thrilled when, hours later, as I am trying to cram her THREE bags into my trunk next to mine. Convertibles are NOT meant for this!
We get to the airport in plenty of time and after we (literally) get rid of our baggage, I settle into a seat at the gate and peacefully hold Brea’s hand until it is time to board. I don’t need to review the case, I know it stone-cold and there is NO way out for the bastards on that board—except for the two that have made a good-faith effort at combatting the villainous plot.
The flight is one of the most pleasant ones I have ever had. I normally don’t splurge for first class; I also don’t normally have a…girlfriend…with me.
I grin as I think about that fact—and as she cuddles in next to me with a glass of champagne.
When we land SEVERAL hours later, I am surprisingly refreshed. I guess on long-haul flights like this, first class IS the way to go!
I am surprised to see Rich instead of Chuck picking up—as surprised as HE is to find me with Brea.
He recovers quickly, and after introductions and getting our luggage—plus some grumbling of his own about the luggage (at least HE has an SUV)—he takes us to his house.
After greeting Jenny, I finally meet Mindy—who insists on making us breakfast.
She is nothing like I expected. I had barely missed meeting her the last time I was here—or so Chuck tells me. I guess she was actually getting ‘supplies’ at Katz’s at the same time we were there to eat.
What a small world!
Anyway, she is in her mid-to-late forties and quite stunning—although, her time on the streets still shows a bit.
After Mindy fixes us a WONDERFUL breakfast, Jenny goes to take Emily breakfast and Rich, Brea and I go to Rich’s office. Mindy insists on cleaning up herself—I am certainly going to have to hurry if I am going to beat Chuck to the ‘relationship’ punch. He would be a FOOL not cement a relationship with that woman!
After Brea gets settled in, I take the case files from her and walk through everything with Rich in preparation for our eleven o’clock appointment with his friend, the ADA.
The more I walk through it, the more he grins. Together with what Chuck had just been able to dig up on his own—our little sting operation netted us with enough to surely get the feds interested. I had played like I was interested in buying in on their real estate deal in the aftermath of the school getting shut down.
The evidence that I gathered, in the form of taped conversations—that are completely legal and admissible in court in this instance—are damning. I have it all in nice little digital files that are well backed-up.
He surprises me, though, when he says, “This is just what the DA needs to take it federal and there is no doubt that the racketeering charges will stick—if we want to go that route.”
“You want to go for the kill, yourself, don’t you?” I ask.
He nods and says, “Barn, I just want this to be over with. Then Grace and I can get on with our new life—with Em and Day… But, I SO want to bury these bastards for what they have put Grace through.”
I smile. I get it. “Well,” I say, “shall we go meet with the ADA then?”
He nods and we pack up our things and head for his car.
I kiss Brea on the way out and wave to Mindy who is putting the last of the dishes away.
Yes, Chuck would be crazy to let her go!
I wake up to the beeping of my alarm and look over at the other side of the bed. It is SO strange to see another girl in the bed with me!
Kim is silently rubbing her eyes and gives me a cheeky grin.
At first, we were going to camp out in the basement, but it just made more sense to have the comforts of the bed, now that I have gotten soft again, and with the sound-proofing in this house we didn’t have to worry about the party going on downstairs.
I have no idea when the ‘adults’ finally called it quits—Kim and I had come up at midnight, since we have school today.
I also know that Kim would MUCH rather have slept in the room next door—with Em. I am not sure where that will go. If anywhere…
I smile back, “Good morning, Kim. Would you like the first shower?”
“Sure.” she nods. “Then I can help you with your makeup when you get out.”
About forty minutes later, I am looking at myself in the mirror. I don’t look as good as if Kim would have done the WHOLE job, but my first attempts at doing my own makeup—with COPIOUS amounts of help from Kim—are not too bad.
We hurry downstairs and have some cold cereal and hot tea. I also make coffee, knowing the Momma will be down soon—at least I hope she will. The house is eerily quiet—Kim and I are the only ones moving, it seems.
Momma finally comes down about ten minutes before we have to leave and looks like she has seen better days. She gives us a lopsided grin and pours a large travel mug full of coffee. She grabs an instant breakfast shake and we are on our way.
Kim and I chatter on the way to school and Momma is strangely quiet. I am pretty sure she may have had a bit too much wine last night.
Kim and I scurry off towards our first class as soon as we arrive. I am sure that Momma is going to pray for a quiet day, but it doesn’t seem as if she is going to catch a break. I notice that that creepy Mr. Fisher is lurking just inside the door—I think he is waiting to pounce on Momma as soon as she comes in.
I don’t have time to reflect on it, however, since Kim is pulling me towards Dr. Bachman’s room. It is not our first class and I give her a strange look as she knocks and pulls me in.
She smiles at Dr. Bachman, who greets us, “Good morning, Ms. Meyers, Ms. Schlosser. What can I do for you young ladies? I don’t believe you have class with me until this afternoon?”
Dr. Bachman is one of the string instrument teachers—the best in the school; arguably the best in the region.
Kim speaks up and says, “Good morning, Dr. Bachman. No, we don’t have class with you until fifth period—but, I was hoping that you could hook Day up with an electric violin to try out? She is expanding her horizons into e-instruments. She also needs tips on playing the electric guitar.”
I blush as Dr. Bachman looks over at me and smiles, “Is that true? What are you thinking, Day?”
I shrug, “I once thought about an NS CR5, but couldn’t convince my father to let me even contemplate playing an electronic instrument. I don’t have that…constraint…anymore.”
He nods and whistles lowly, “I understand. You’ve certainly set your sights high, though. The NS CR5 is an EXCELLENT instrument, but why do you think you need the fifth string? Unless you are planning on playing alone, the range of the additional string could be covered by say a cello and a guitar if you are playing in an ensemble. Since you have no previous experience with an electric violin, the NS CR4 is probably a better choice for you—you can apply your regular technique immediately without the steep learning curve.”
I shrug again, “At the time, I WAS playing alone. I have no idea what the future will bring as far as playing in an ensemble—although, while in school I certainly have more opportunity to. I WOULD like to take on the challenge of learning the fifth string at some point; however, I see your point on getting my feet wet, first.”
He nods and says, “I have an NS CR4 that you can borrow to see how you like it. It is quite an expensive instrument, though, if you decide to purchase your own.”
I shake my head, “That is not an issue…”
He nods and asks, “And the electric guitar—do you need to borrow one of those, as well?”
I shake my head, “No, I have access to a Gibson Les Paul. I played around on it last night and it is quite different from playing the acoustic or classical guitars that I am used to.”
He grins and nods, “Yes! That it is. OK, I can give you some lessons on that, as well. You ladies better get to class—my first period students will be filing in at any minute now. I will have the NS ready for you to check out in the fifth period and an electric to practice on, too.”
Kim gushes, “Thank you, Dr. Bachman! You’re the greatest!”
As we hurry off down the hall towards our music history class I give her a look, “Whatever was that all about?”
She giggles, “Oh, I have some ideas—and you DID say that you want to learn e-instruments! Besides, Dr. Bachman is the teacher that has taken my e-cello playing to a whole new level. If you really DO want to learn anything electric and stringed, he is who you want to learn from!”
I shrug and nod, “OK! I take your word for it! I was just a bit surprised! Do I need to worry about these ‘ideas’ of yours?”
She gives me an evil grin and just shakes her head, “Come on! The bell is about to ring!”
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