All It Took Was You

by

Ali Vali

 

Special Note. I wanted to thank Raven for helping me with this part and changing some of the story line.

 

Part 5

The first two weeks of Jack’s life were spent at home relaxing in the rooms upstairs. Harry had taken the time off and was starting to get the hang of parenthood, though the thought of going into surgery with only four hours of sleep a night was making her head spin. Desi promised her that when the time came she would buy Harry some earplugs and hope for the best. Serena had kept them updated on the manhunt going on from New Orleans to the gates of Angola, but so far it was as if the swamp had swallowed the four remaining men whole and it was not ready to give them up.

Mona had been acting as secretary for Harry as well as cook for the family since Dr. Basantes had turned off her beeper the minute they stepped through the door with the baby. The two sets of grandparents were enjoying their short babysitting stints when the girls squeezed in a nap, and the hospital and medical school had called only in cases of drastic emergencies for phone consultations, knowing that Harry wasn’t going to leave the house under any circumstances.

Harry’s medical offices ran as scheduled with other attendants seeing the patients that couldn’t be rescheduled and the easy work load had allowed all her employees to come by the house and meet Jack. The clinic phones had gotten busier toward the end of the second week since the patients knew Harry was due back by then, so it wasn’t suspicious to Irma the receptionist when a man called Friday afternoon trying to schedule an appointment with the tall doctor.

"When will she back?"

"She should be back in the office Monday morning sir. Would you like for me to check and see when the first available appointment is for?" asked Irma.

"I really need to see her before then if it’s possible."

"Well sir it’s Friday afternoon now, so Monday is your best bet unless you want to go out to the free clinic at the Desire Housing Development tomorrow. Dr. Basantes is helping a friend administer free immunizations tomorrow." Irma looked at the appointment book for Monday’s schedule and went on, not realizing that the free information she had just given out was exactly the opportunity he was looking for. "How about Monday at three in the afternoon Mr. ?" The only answer Irma got was the dial tone from the other end signaling the man had hung up.

Harry took the steps two at a time after finishing her run on the treadmill in the workout room. It had taken her waking Jack up a couple of times before Desi had exiled her from the room to burn off some energy. Harry had found that their son had the same effect on her as his mother when it came to physical contact. She loved looking at him as he tried to focus on her face when she was talking to him, and she loved the way he felt in her arms when she held him. Going back to work was going to be a nightmare.

Stepping quietly into the room, Harry saw both Desi and Jack in the bed taking a nap. Desi was on her back with a hand on the baby lying next to her. When she heard the shower running Desi opened her eyes and smiled. At least she’s learning.. The recovering blonde figured the baby would be spoiled rotten in a month’s time if Harry kept up at the rate she was going, not that she was fairing any better in the holding him category. It was so much nicer to hold him while he slept that it was a struggle to let go of him when naptime rolled around.

"Hey sweetie, want me to put him down for you?" asked Mona. The housekeeper had followed Harry upstairs to see what they wanted for dinner. The girls had promised to venture out of their bedroom and into the dining room to join everyone that was coming over.

"Thanks Mona, he should be out for another hour before the dinner bell rings again. At the rate he’s going I should be hospitalized by next week from dehydration," joked Desi. The fact she was going to have a moose for a child should have crossed her mind before now, considering the genetic pool she had dipped into.

"Yeah but think about how nice they grow up to be and how happy you are going to make some young lady or man someday. The Basantes clan is a collection of overgrown troublemakers from the time they come out the womb, but hell if they ain’t easy on the eye. I always thought God made them that way so that the folks in their lives don’t kill them at an early age. You mix that dark hair and those blue eyes with your good looks, and Jackson is sure to be a killer in the handsome department," said Mona as she looked down on the sweet sleeping face. She was betting if she had known Harry at this age the face would not have varied much from the one she was looking at now.

"I remember walking down the hall in high school one day on my way to meet Harry for a ride home when I saw her leaning up against her locker reading a book. She had finally grown into that body and her looks had lost all traces of adolescence and it took my breath away. From that one moment, I wanted her to be mine in every way and not just as my best friend. I’ve always loved Harry, but that was the first time I ever lusted after her," said Desi. The same blush that had crawled down Desi’s face then was making a reappearance much to Mona’s delight.

"And was she worth the wait Desi?" Mona’s question made the red on Desi’s cheeks flush hotter and darker making the young woman fan herself from thinking up an acceptable answer.

"Think about the best time you have ever had Mona then multiply that by infinity and you’ll get your answer. Harry is multitalented in a whole lot of different areas, and that part of her that strives always to please is an extra added bonus," laughed Desi.

"Well girl, I didn’t think all that screaming was because she was hurting you," quipped Mona bringing the blush up a notch.

"You are so mean to me," said Desi. The two of them were laughing quietly when Harry stepped out of the bathroom. To avoid the temptation that would get her thrown out of the bedroom again, Harry walked directly to the bed and stretched out next to Desi.

"What’s the matter?" Harry asked cupping Desi’s cheek.

"Nothing, Mona and I were just talking about you. I missed you," answered Desi as a way to change the subject. She leaned into the soft hand on her face and smiled up at Harry.

"You were the one that sent me downstairs baby," said Harry trying to sound miffed. They didn’t take their eyes off of each other when Mona started talking until they heard the snapping fingers.

"Before you get all involved in whatever you find so interesting in those pretty green eyes doc, what do you all want for dinner?"

"Surprise me beautiful lady." The smile that lit up Mona’s face told Harry that she had made the older woman’s day. "And as for you beautiful lady, if you missed me after a short run maybe I should pass on going with Kenneth tomorrow," Harry told Desi.

"No, you promised him and he’s counting on you. I just wish I could go with you again this year. I had a blast with y’all the last time you volunteered for this. Those kids need you Harry, don’t back out now. Just think if Jackson didn’t have us looking out for him, wouldn’t you want some good looking, caring doctor taking time out to give him his shots?"

"I guess, I just don’t want to leave the two of you yet." Harry fell back into her pillow depressed that her time to be home all day was coming to an end.

"We can’t fool around yet, but how would you like to make out with me on the swing until your son wakes up and demands his five o’clock feeding?" Desi’s answer came in the form of two strong arms that picked her up and carried her outside. Desi smiled into Harry’s kiss, thinking about Ellie’s stern orders of a six-week hiatus in the bedroom. What you failed to mention Dr. Ellie is that just because you can’t doesn’t mean that you don’t want to, thought Desi as she sucked Harry’s tongue into her mouth.

The next morning Harry drove three streets down from her house to pick up Kenneth at his. The project the two were headed off to was one that they had participated in since getting out of medical school. The clinics located in the housing developments throughout the city always gave free vaccinations, but through a media blitz every fall a Saturday was set aside to remind parents to bring their children in and get them updated on the needed shots. Most of the children they saw were patients of Kenneth’s clinics at Big Charity, but they loved seeing the tall surgeon with him because of the cases of candy bars she brought with her as a reward for sitting still through the examination and shots.

More than one mother sat up straighter when Harry walked in with Kenneth. They all knew through the grapevine that the tall dark hair doctor was single, and they lined up every year to take a shot at catching Harry’s eye. Harry walked into the clinic along side Kenneth wearing a short lab coat, blue jeans and tennis shoes. In a conversation with Kenneth about Jack’s progress she missed the watchful eyes of the man sitting in a late model sedan in the parking lot. He had been waiting for her arrival for an hour and once the two doctors went in through the front door he was headed toward the back entrance.

"Who wants to go first?" Harry put the boxes she was carrying down and greeted everyone in the crowded waiting room. Some of the kids who remembered her from the past few years ran up and started begging for a piece of the assortment of candy they knew were in those boxes. Harry remembered the fun Desi had had the year before handing out treats after Harry was through with their exam. They had to make another candy run before lunch, and the kids that were waiting to see Harry had fallen in love with Desi’s story telling abilities. Harry’s face brightened with a smile when she remembered thinking that her wife was going to be a great parent after watching her with the kids in the clinic. A year later it was nice to see her prediction come true with Jack.

"I’ll go first Dr. Harry. Where’s your lady friend that came with you last time?" asked the seven year old in front of her. The boy had just started first grade and had wanted to tell Desi that his teacher had read them one of the stories she had shared with them the year before.

"She couldn’t make it this year buddy but she did make me bring extra chocolate bars with me," answered Harry as she ran her hand over his head.

"She didn’t want to come?" The little boy persisted. In this neighborhood you got used to disappointment at an early age, and it seemed that the lady with hair like sunshine was no exception to that rule.

"No buddy she did want to come, but we just had a baby and she’s got to stay home until she’s feeling better. Would you like to see a picture of him?" Taking a seat in one of the hard plastic chairs Harry pulled a picture out of her breast pocket and held it out to the little boy. Harry had taken the shot of Desi and Jack sitting on their bed at home and for sentimental reasons had taken it with her that morning.

"He looks like you Dr. Harry."

"That’s cause he is mine buddy. Let’s get started with you so you can have first crack at the candy." After the innocent conversation Harry had with the little boy Kenneth heard the collective disappointed sigh released by some of the women waiting with their children. Harry’s old friend let out a light chuckle because the proud parent putting the picture back in her pocket never seemed to notice the attention she drew to herself whenever she entered a room.

"There you go Max," said Harry three hours later. She held up the box of candy and let him pick one before finishing with his chart. Turning to the boy’s mother she continued her consultation. "He is up to date on all his vaccinations, but I would like to see him in my clinic soon. Max is walking with a slight limp and I want to run some tests to find out why." The woman nodded her head and took the card Harry handed her that contained all the information she would need to call for an appointment. Telling mother and child goodbye, Harry turned her attention back to young Max’s file and filled in the information for the clinic worker’s.

When the door opened without a nurse calling out a name Harry assumed it was Kenneth coming to get her for lunch. Two large hands closed around her throat before she could turn around and it took a second to calm herself down enough to think of a plan of action.

The escaped Angola inmate had waited three hours in the broom closet for the patient procession into the small exam room to slow down before making his move. The person he had thought so much about was just on the other side of the door and this was his chance.

"Hello doc." The big man didn’t want to hurt her but he didn’t want to take the chance that she would call out to the police officers roaming around outside on their regular patrols.

He felt the long exhale coming from Harry thinking that it was a strange reaction for the woman to have in her situation. He never got to finish his thought as suddenly an intense pain bloomed from his instep, groin and thumb seemingly simultaneously. Harry had relaxed a moment before slamming her foot down on his from her sitting position. The action relaxed his grip letting her get up quickly turn around and bring her knee up between his legs with deadly intent. When that made him double over in pain, Harry grabbed his hand and twisted it behind his back by the thumb. In less than ten seconds he found himself going from the position of power with his hands around her neck, to having Harry over him as his face pressed painfully into the top of the desk in the room.

"Have we met? Wait, let me guess, you didn’t care for my bedside manner and thought you would lodge a complaint. Is that it?" asked Harry. Tyrell didn’t answer right away when she applied more pressure to his thumb. It felt like it was about to pop out of place or something if she pulled up any more.

"No we ain’t met, but we have an asshole in common," answered Tyrell finally through clenched teeth. He was trying to move up the desk slowly in an attempt to release some of the pressure she was putting on his appendage.

"Really? Who would that be big man?"

"Byron Simoneaux." Byron’s last name hadn’t quite made it past Tyrell’s lips when the pain let up on his hand and he was lifted up off the desk and into Harry’s fist. The vicious upper cut split his lip and whipped his head back. Where in the hell did this big bitch learn how to fight? The question floated like a fog in Tyrell’s head as Harry’s other fist knocked the air out of his chest when it connected with his midsection. When he brought his hand up to his mouth to wipe away the blood it found its way back into Harry’s grip and thumb lock.

"Byron Simoneaux is an asshole I agree, so before I start actually breaking shit on your body why don’t you tell me how you know him?" asked Harry in a calm voice. Harry was sitting behind him on the desk not looking at him and her voice dripped with so much hatred that Tyrell thought this might have been a mistake. Sorry Diana, I let you down sister. His continued silence brought her head slightly forward to look at him. "You’re the fourth guy the police are looking for. Tyrell I presume?"

"Yeah doc, and please believe me I’m not here to hurt you. I just want to talk to you." The pain in his thumb was becoming unbearable but Tyrell didn’t feel like he was in a position to complain.

"Talk Mr. Lagrie, I’m all ears."

"If I promise not to touch you in any way again, will you let me up? I’m in a bit of pain here Dr. Basantes," requested Tyrell. The fact she had overpowered him so easily was still making his head swim.

"Funny, I don’t feel a thing," said Harry. Before letting him go she reached over him for something in the supply drawer and was twirling it in her fingers when he lifted himself off the desk. The ease in which Harry twirled the scalpel in her fingers made him think that she could slice off some vital part before he got a hand on her.

"I have a sister named Diana who needs your help," started Tyrell. He stopped when Harry put her hand up.

"What a noble reason to escape from prison Mr. Lagrie. The fact that you took with you the human pile of garbage that is Byron Simoneaux and his family makes me a wee bit dubious of your warm and caring side. Let’s see if I get this straight? You beat a man to death for beating up on your sister, go to jail for it and then escape so that you can schedule an appointment with me? Does that about sum it up?" Tyrell flinched when she took a step toward him not knowing what she was going to do next.

"Yes doctor, that’s about it. Only taking Byron and his posse wasn’t part of my plan. The opportunity presented itself and I took it, I ain’t here to apologize for that. The way I figure it is, I need you to fix Diana and you need me to find Byron before he finds you." Tyrell cocked his head to the side and waited for her to answer. The good doctor had done her homework when it came to the people that were a potential threat to her family. The fact that Byron had tried to take the woman before him on made Tyrell think he was even more stupid than he had given him credit for.

"Tell me Mr. Lagrie how I could possibly need you?" Harry put the scalpel down beside her and reached for a candy bar out of the box on the table. The fact that this guy had made it into the city filled her with dread. If he was here that meant that Bryon was probably roaming around somewhere too.

"You help my sister and me and my posse will find Bryon for you. He don’t like you much doc, and my guess is he won’t mind going back to the farm if he takes you out before he goes." Tyrell explained as he gingerly massaged his sore thumb. As the silence lengthened, Tyrell began to think that the only thing Harry was considering was a call to the police.

"Call my office Monday for an appointment for your sister Mr. Lagrie and let’s see if there is anything I can do." It worked in her favor to let this guy go for now if it meant getting her closer to finding Bryon.

Kenneth walked in and paused right after she had given Tyrell his directions. He had finished with his last patient of the morning and was ready to go to lunch with Harry. His friend looked deceptively calm eating a candy bar with a scalpel next to her leg and the man standing across from her was bleeding from a large gash in his lip. "Ready to go Harry?"

"Yep." Harry pulled out a card from her back pocket and handed it to Tyrell before heading out of the exam room ahead of Kenneth. With one more look at Tyrell, Kenneth turned and followed her out. He wasn’t about to ask why the guy was bleeding and why Harry wasn’t doing anything to stop it.

As soon as the passenger side door closed, the two of them sat in the Range Rover for a few minutes not talking as they watched Tyrell limp out the back door to an old car parked in the corner of the lot by the dumpster. Kenneth looked down to Harry’s flexing fist after Tyrell drove slowly away trying to think of a way to frame his question.

"What in the hell is going on?" asked Kenneth, so much for finesse.

"Whatever do you mean Kenneth?"

"Who is that guy and why does he look like he’s having a bad day?"

"He is having a bad day because he made the mistake of grabbing my throat when he walked through the door. I took exception to that and damn if his foot, family jewels and face didn’t get in my way in trying to release his hold on me." Harry started the car and pulled out of the lot headed toward the local neighborhood restaurant they ate at when they were in this part of town.

"What in the hell does that mean?" The cell phone clipped to his belt came off and Kenneth was dialing 911. He stopped when Harry grabbed it from him and shook her head.

"That asshole was the one that helped Byron and his twisted family get back into the city. Forgive me if I want him to roam around for a while longer if it means me finding the fucker before he finds Desi and Jack." At a traffic light Harry turned and faced Kenneth to see if he was going to cooperate if she handed the phone back to him. When it looked like he would, she continued down the street waiting to go into details once they were seated in the restaurant.

After they ordered Harry explained what had happened and what Tyrell wanted from her. Kenneth sat and listened without offering any input knowing it would not be appreciated at this point in the conversation. When Harry finished Kenneth looked into her blue eyes and tried to gauge the level of fear she must be feeling at having her family threatened. "Are you going to tell Desi?"

"Yes I am. I really don’t want to but I promised her there would be no secrets between us, so I have no choice but to tell her. You know Kenneth, I should have killed the mother-fucker that night I broke his jaw. The only thing is, I would have done it in front of Desi and that I didn’t want to do. I just hope the bastard is smart enough to stay the hell away from my family."

"Where do you think he is?"

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"That’s the third time you’ve asked me that in an hour Mike, I don’t know where he is. I woke up and the crazy mother was gone," said Byron to his brother. The three of them had spent the last two weeks by the docks eating out of garbage cans and trying to stay out of sight. They had gotten up that morning to find that Byron Sr. was nowhere to be found.

"What are we going to do Byron? I’m for leaving the city and trying to make a fresh start somewhere else." Of all the things Mike was missing, the shower they had run out of at Angola was high on his list as he raised his arm and sniffed.

"Don’t worry about fresh starts Mike, we are going to have every opportunity at that but I have some unfinished business with Desiree and her big dyke. Tonight we’ll start walking toward the uptown area and see what my wife has been up to while I was rotting in jail. The bitch didn’t even come to visit." The tone of voice Byron was using didn’t hold a hint of sarcasm making Mike think that his brother was just as crazy as his father. Either that or both of them have really strong senses of denial, thought Mike as he watched his brother’s profile.

"Byron, you and Desi aren’t married anymore, remember? She divorced you so there was no reason for her to visit you in jail," said Mike in an attempt to bring the man back to reality.

"I know that dumb ass, but no papers are going to make me believe that Desi doesn’t still belong to me. That girl never could figure out what was best for her. I’m thinking once we sit and have that long overdue talk she will come around to the way things are. She married me and she’s going to die married to me if that’s what it takes to get her back."

The old man was getting closer to his destination as the sun started to go down. Despite the cooling temperatures Byron Sr. was sweating by the time he sat down in the alleyway behind his old house. At dusk he heard the slamming of two car doors and a few minutes later the lights at the back of the house came on. He forgot about the chill that was setting in when he realized there had been two people coming out of the car and entering the house. Monique had found someone else to take his place while he was in that vile place she had sent him.

"Oh darlin’, I hope you are ready for me tonight because I’m dying to see you," Byron mumbled to the garbage can next to him. In the light that spilled out of the kitchen window Byron could see the changes to his house and yard. There was a new coat of paint on the outer walls and trim, and newly planted shrubs and flowers bordered neatly trimmed grass.

His laugh sounded demented as Byron whispered, "Hi honey, I’m home."

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"I’m up here honey," Desi yelled out the bathroom doorway. The baby and she had spent the day in the room doing some rearranging in the closet getting out some of the clothes she had worn early on in her pregnancy. After feeding Jack, Desi had taken in him into the bathroom to get him cleaned up before Harry got home.

Harry paused at the door for a minute to watch Desi gently pour water of the baby’s stomach while she cooed to him. The scene looked so perfect that Harry hated to shatter it with the news she had to share with Desi. "Hey baby, how was your day?"

"Which one of us are you talking to?" teased Desi turning her head a little to draw Harry into the room. "Because if it’s this little guy here, I want to put my two cents in first before he starts to complain about having to do domestic chores today."

"Don’t waste your breath complaining son, your mother and Mona don’t want to hear it, so it’s a wasted effort." Harry came in and wrapped her arms around Desi’s waist and put her chin on her the smaller woman’s shoulder. She kissed Desi’s temple as a form of greeting so as not to distract her from what she was doing. "Everything go ok today?"

"Yes honey we were great. We missed you though and we’re glad you’re home," answered Desi. Jack was looking past her in Harry’s direction after hearing her voice. "How did your day go today? Did you see a lot of patients?"

"Interesting and yes."

"Interesting?" Desi looked into the mirror to see Harry’s face, not liking the tone of voice she had used to answer her questions. The blue eyes stared back at her and watered up instantly sending Desi into action to see what was wrong. "Honey hand me that towel please?" When Harry held up the bright yellow towel Desi lifted Jack out of the baby tub and handed him over to her so that they could get him dressed. Harry walked out to the changing table they had set up in the bedroom and kissed the top of his head before putting him down for Desi to dry him off. Looking at the two people Harry loved most hardened her resolve and promise to not let anything happen to them.

Desi dressed Jack in a footed all in one set of pajamas and sat him in the infant seat in the middle of the bed. Once he was strapped in Desi turned to Harry and wrapped her arms around the taller woman’s waist and pulled her close. Harry’s odd behavior was scaring her but Desi didn’t want to push her into telling her what the problem was.

"This guy came to see me today," started Harry. The story came tumbling out from over Desi’s head as Harry kept her eyes on Jack. When she was done, Desi took the hand Harry had used to punch Tyrell and kissed the knuckles. Desi understood where Harry’s tears were coming from but she had every confidence that they were going to be all right.

"All he wants in exchange for helping us is for you to see his sister?" They had moved to the sofa and she was sitting in Harry’s lap in an effort to stay close to her shaken up partner.

"Yeah, some guy beat her up and left her for dead a few years back. She survived the attack but it left her in a wheelchair for life. The problem is that even though this woman Diana doesn’t have use of her legs, she is still in horrible pain according to her escaped convict brother. He told me that if I agree to help her then he would get his boys to hit the streets and find the three Simoneauxs." Harry relaxed and put her head on Desi’s shoulder enjoying the fingers her partner was running through her hair.

"And you agreed didn’t you?" The question was whispered into Harry’s ear followed by a soft kiss to tell her that Desi wasn’t upset if she had.

"Yes I did baby. I would have anyway if this guy had called me from jail, he didn’t need to go to such extreme measures. But if it brings me any closer to Byron, I would do anything. If something happens to you and Jack, it would kill me." Harry’s throat closed up from the thought and she couldn’t go on.

"I know, honey. I know. Just like I knew you wouldn’t turn his sister away. That is who you are Harry, and it is the reason that I love you so much sweetheart. I want you to promise me something though." Desi kissed Harry’s forehead letting her fingers drift down to the strong neck that was so tight it had to be giving Harry a headache.

"What?"

"That you will not go anywhere near Byron or his family. If they are in New Orleans then I want you to let the police handle them. I feel the same way you do. If something were to happen to you Harry I could go on just for Jack’s sake, but I wouldn’t want to. You own my heart honey and without you I am lost." They sat looking at the quiet baby for an hour then moved to the bed to pick him up to bring him downstairs with them for dinner.

As Desi helped Mona set the table, Harry held Jack and talked to Serena on the phone to update her on what had happened. "You have to promise me that you won’t go to the police until I have the chance to talk to Tyrell again tomorrow. The only reason I called is that Desi made me, so don’t let me down."

"Harry this is a dangerous game you are playing and you have a family to consider now," answered Serena from the other end. The assistant district attorney was pacing her living room with the phone waiting for Rachel to get back from the movies with Butch. Now that there was a chance that the Simoneauxs were back in town it was making her anxious for their safety being out alone.

"That’s exactly what I’m doing Serena. I tried the police way before and they let the son of a bitch escape from Angola, so this is my way of protecting what’s mine," Harry shot back. Mona looked on without making any comment about what was going on. She was sure that Desi or Harry would fill her in when the time was right. The one thing that made the edges of her lips go up in a smile was the look on Desi’s face with Harry’s last statement.

‘What’s mine.’ Desi let the words ease into her heart and fill one more void. When Byron had flexed his muscle in whom Desi belonged to, it did just the opposite. It was a reminder of the life she had been relegated to with no means of escape. When Harry said it, it was a reminder that Desi was now a part of her family. Harry owned her heart just as much as Desi owned hers. Putting the fork in her hand down on the table Desi walked up to Harry and Jack and put her arms around both of them.

"And he said Byron and the evil spawn rode into town with him," persisted Serena. Where in the hell are the two of them? Serena asked herself looking out the window for Rachel’s car again.

"Yes, that you can tell the police. Just don’t tell them who told you," ordered Harry squeezing Desi to her. "Tell them to start looking for three homeless looking guys around town. Knowing this group, I doubt they will separate." Harry finished her conversation and clicked off the phone. When they sat down to eat both the young women filled Mona and their parents in on what was going on. Mona promised Harry with conviction that nothing would happen to Desi or Jack while she was at work. With all of them there Harry felt better about having to go back to work.

"Ready for bed?" Desi was buttoning her shirt back up from feeding Jack while Harry burped him.

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"Yeah honey I’ll be right there."

"Well hurry up or I’m starting without you," said policewoman Joann Palmer. She and her husband William were still enjoying the feeling of owning their own home. Any clue or sign of the old owners had been wiped clean by Joann and William in the months they had lived there. Because of her job Joann knew the house’s history, but it hadn’t turned them off from buying it.

The neighbors had welcomed them because of the cleanup they had done both inside and out, and for the two police cars that were always parked in front of their house. The young couple were both patrol cops who had been assigned to the neighborhood they had chosen to live in, and had made it a priority to get to know their neighbors. Joann often saw William sitting down with one of the older residents with his partner having coffee or a coke as she drove past with her own partner. The four of them were part of a new community-policing program that had been enacted by the mayor and the police commissioner.

The first thing that Byron Sr. saw when he came through the kitchen window was the utility belt hanging in the open closet in the hall. He removed the 9mm from the holster and moved toward the laughter coming out of the bedroom. Monique calling out to the guy living with her had sent him over the edge and Byron had decided that they were both going to die.

"Miss me?" asked Byron when he stepped into his old bedroom. William’s red hair and upper body whipped around to the man standing in the doorway with his service pistol in his hand.

"How in the hell did you get in here?" William demanded moving off his wife. Joann’s gun was in the nightstand between the bed and the door and William didn’t think he could get it in time.

"The better question is what the hell are you doing here with my wife?" The gun in Byron’s hand felt good and it felt even better when he raised it and aimed it at the head of the man in the bed with Monique.

"Sir please put the gun down, this is my wife Joann," said William waving his hand behind him at his wife. He had softened his tone in an attempt to get through to the man holding his gun. "Maybe we can sit down and help you find your wife if you let us."

"I don’t need your help asshole, I already found my wife and she’s sitting right behind you," screamed Bryon. When Bryon looked past William he could see Monique sitting there holding the sheet up to cover her naked chest. "Monique you slut. You put me in that hellhole just so you could fuck this guy."

When the name Monique came out of Byron’s mouth, Joann knew who they were dealing with. Monique Simoneaux had died in the front room of the house at her husband’s hand and after escaping from the state penitentiary Bryon had come home. "Sir, my husband is right, Monique isn’t here but if you put the gun down we can help you find her."

The light that flew from the end of the gun looked like a camera flash in the dark bedroom to Joann. One minute she was trying to reason with the crazed man in their house then in the next instant she was trying to hold up William’s dead weight as it slumped on her chest. The blood leaking from the hole in his chest was quickly being sucked up by the white sheets pooled around their bodies. Byron had pulled the trigger when William had reached behind him to comfort his wife.

"Ralph call the police, I just heard a shot coming from next door," said the neighbor’s wife. She was standing in her own kitchen getting a glass of water before bed when she heard the shot go off followed by Joann’s screams.

"Yes that’s right, two police officers live there. It’s the Palmer couple, Joann and William. Please tell them to hurry," said Ralph into the phone. He had heard the shot too as he locked the front door for the night. Not long after hanging up the phone the older couple could hear sirens getting closer to their quiet street. Like a domino effect, the front porch lights of every house on the block flicked on as the police cruisers stopped haphazardly in front of the Palmer home.

"You can’t escape from me this time Monique. They kept telling me that you were dead but I knew it was a fucking lie. I was good to you, you stupid bitch and this is how you repay me?" ranted Byron. Monique was just sitting on the bed cradling the man’s head in her arms and crying not paying attention to what he was saying. "Listen to me you whore," started Bryon again stopping to listen to the noises coming from outside.

Joann had retreated into herself to deal with William’s death. She knew from the size and location of the wound that there was no way that he had survived. William we were supposed to grow old enough to play with our grandchildren here in this house. You left me too soon, thought Joann as she smoothed her husband’s hair down. "No," she screamed when Byron yanked her out of the bed and pressed the muzzle of the gun into the side of her head. The sheet fell away and the crazed man pulled her naked to the front of the house.

"Shut the fuck up Monique, I have to think." Pulling the curtain aside Byron Sr. could see that the front of the house was full of cop cars. There was no way he was going back to jail. "Been there, done that," he said to the assembly outside. Joann cringed when Byron lowered his hand and caressed her breast before putting one arm around her midsection to pull her closer.

"Joann or William come to the door and tell us what’s going on," ordered the voice magnified by the megaphone he was using.

"Monique we are going to go out there and tell them everything is all right. You say anything otherwise and I’ll shoot you where you stand." Keeping the gun aimed at her head Byron opened the door with the other one and pushed Joann forward enough so that everyone outside could see her.

"Sir please lower your weapon and step away from Officer Palmer. You are not doing yourself any favors by harming a police officer. Just step away from her and everything will be all right," said the officer in a normal tone. The bullhorn he had just been using was hanging in his hand at his side so as not to scare the man into doing anything rash.

The neighbors held their breaths as they watched the action on the porch of the Palmer house. Just like Joann had in the bedroom, the police and the couple’s friends watched Byron’s finger turn white from the pressure of pulling the trigger back. At the last minute all of the academy training that had been drilled into Joann’s head took over helping her comrades finish the tableau Byron had begun.

The bullet ripped through her bicep and the minute Joann’s body dropped to the floor of the porch, the police in the yard opened fire. Byron was dead before he hit the wall behind him. The multitude of bullets that hit his body made him perform a sort of jerky dance as each one found its mark. In the end, Byron’s body twisted and fell into the house landing in the same place that Monique had died months before.

The police moved from the yard into the house as soon as the gunfire stopped. They surrounded Joann as the paramedics went to work on her. The only sound that broke the dead silence that had prevailed since the last shot was fired were the orders the paramedics were issuing, and the sobbing coming from Joann. She had lived, but at what expense?

Another group of paramedics rushed passed them into the house, their equipment piled on the stretcher between them. In the back room William was bleeding profusely from the bullet wound in his chest, but his brother officers had found a faint pulse. The neighbors that were standing out in their yards in a colorful array of sleepwear bowed their heads in prayer along with the police present when the young couple was loaded onto separate ambulances and rushed to further life saving care.

Thankfully only one body bag was removed from the scene, and no one would mourn his passing. Two policemen that had witnessed similar violence a year prior at the same address looked at the large blood stain in the living room.

"Where do you suppose his sons are?"

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

"I don’t know."

"Detective Landry is there anything that you can tell me?" asked Harry in a tired voice. Desi was curled up behind her listening to the one sided conversation from the middle of the bed. They had both just gone to sleep when the phone had rung and both thought it was the hospital calling Harry for some emergency. Considering who it was, Desi was wishing now that it had been either Charity or Mercy on the other end.

"Not yet Harry but rest assured that their father is dead. It’s a crying shame that two of our own got injured to accomplish that, but it’s done. Hey on another note Serena told me that congratulations are in order for you and Desi," continued Roger. He was at the Palmer residence bagging evidence after receiving a call about what had happened. He and the other officers couldn’t understand why Bryon Simoneaux Sr. had come back to his old house and attacked the new owners. It didn’t make any sense.

"Thanks Roger, keep in touch." Harry put the phone back in the cradle and rolled back into bed with Desi. The second her back hit the mattress, Desi was lying on top of her trying to get warm.

"I wish that we could make love honey," Desi whispered into Harry’s chest.

"It won’t be long baby and I can’t wait." Harry didn’t quite know why they were having this conversation but Desi’s mind sometimes went around the block a couple of times before pulling up to the point.

"I just want to feel alive and free and that’s what making love to you does for me. I want to say how sorry I am for all of this." Desi propped herself up and put two fingers to Harry’s lips to forestall the coming reprimand. "No let me finish. I’m sorry that my past choices are now bringing us all this pain but I promise that from here on out my choices will be all about you and Jackson. You know what else I want?" Harry’s shaking head made Desi laugh and pull away her fingers so that Harry could talk.

"No, what do you want my love?"

"I would like a chicken salad sandwich." Despite the helpless feeling they both experienced from the call, Desi’s request and Harry’s subsequent laughter brightened the mood.

Byron and Mike watched the kitchen lights come on from their perch on the top of the wall that surrounded Desi and Harry’s house. They couldn’t see in since the inside plantation shutters were closed, but that didn’t matter to Byron. The fact they were sitting there with no one seeing them was good enough for now. Little by little they would get closer till the night came that both Harry and Desi would be within his grasp. In the middle of his little celebration, one of the shutters did open and the two men fell off the wall in a hurry when Harry seemed to look right at them.

"What’s the matter honey?" Jack was in his infant chair on the middle of the table and Harry had been standing right behind her, but when Desi turned around from the refrigerator Harry was gone.

"Nothing I just thought I heard the cat from next door." Harry answered without turning around. It was like a strange feeling of being watched had come over her when she stepped into the kitchen.

"Are you two ok?" asked June as she walked in and tied off her robe. Desi’s mother and partner had arrived back late that night after taking some of their old friends out to dinner. The week they had spent with the girls so far had been great, but she and Bobbie had wanted to give the new family some privacy on the last day Harry was going to be home.

"Great mom, want a sandwich?" The bowl of Mona’s famous recipe came down on the counter along with the loaf of bread as Desi set out to make she and Harry a snack.

"Gosh dear, aren’t you tired of that stuff already?" June sat down at one of the stools along side the counter and watched her daughter work.

"No this stuff is great. I think Mona introduced it to me so that I would get pregnant again right away. What are you doing up, couldn’t sleep?" asked Desi. The sandwiches were temporality forgotten when Harry stepped back next to her. Desi put the knife she had been using down and pulled Harry down for a kiss.

"Bobbie and I were talking and I heard you two walking down the hall so I thought I would check on you before I turned in."

"Nothing serious I hope Ms. Fontaine." Harry reached into the bowl, picked up a piece of chicken with her fingers and popped into her mouth.

"Harry, if Mona catches you doing that I will not be responsible for what happens to you," reprimanded Desi with a swat to Harry’s arm. Harry reached back into the bowl and fed Desi a piece, appeasing the woman who protected her from Mona.

"Please Harry, I wish you would call me June, and no it’s nothing serious. We were just discussing what we wanted to do after Bobbie’s retirement." The tie to her robe became suddenly fascinating and June wouldn’t look them in the eye.

"Would Bobbie consider semi retirement in New Orleans taking up some of Kenneth’s slack?" It was a guess on her part, but Harry was betting that now that June and Bobbie knew they were welcomed, they would want to spend more time with both Desi and Rachel. The fact that there was a new grandson in the mix didn’t hurt her chances of talking them into the move Harry figured.

"You wouldn’t mind us being around so much?" June walked over to Jack and picked him up and held him to her shoulder. Desi smiled at Harry before giving her a quick kiss in thanks for what the big romantic goofball had done for her before answering the question.

"Mom, don’t you think we have had enough time stolen from us? Having you so far away won’t make it easy for us to really get to know each other, and it will make spoiling Jack that much harder. Don’t you agree?"

"You’re right honey. Maybe I’ll get my chance at mothering babies after all," answered June as she kissed the soft dark hair covering Jack’s head.

"Well then that’s settled," said Harry taking a bite of the sandwich Desi had handed her.

"What’s settled?" Bobbie had wandered through the house looking for June after her partner had been gone so long.

"You are moving in with us as soon as you get back from packing up all your stuff. The two of you are welcome to stay here as long as you like, but be forewarned that in five weeks I will be chasing your daughter naked through the house. You will know when that day comes from the shrieking she will be doing, so you might want to consider staying behind locked doors when that day comes, I think it might be for the best." The blush was deep, quick and very visible to everyone in the room, and after Harry got a good look she took one quick step away from Desi.

"Harry Basantes, I can not begin to tell you the kind of trouble you are in." Desi pulled a wooden spoon out of the container on the stove. With sandwich in hand, Harry turned and ran out of the kitchen toward the stairs with a red hot blonde on her heels. Once they had both left the room June and Bobbie looked at each other and started laughing.

"I’m thinking that our little Desi has her hands full with that one," said Bobbie as she wiped the tears from her eyes.

"Yes, but don’t they look like wonderful together? Harry is completely gone on her and I couldn’t be happier. Now I wish that we hadn’t waited so long in coming back sweetheart if only for the satisfaction of watching you beat the crap out of Clyde. The thought of what he might have stolen from them just pisses me off."

"Just like us June, everything works out in the end. We have had a wonderful life together and shared in the joy, however briefly, of two beautiful girls. Now we get to have grandchildren and discover our kids again, so dwell on that my love." Bobbie moved closer to the woman that she had loved for so many years and kissed her softly on the lips.

"Do you think they will give us any more of these?" June asked, kissing the top of Jack’s head again. The wonder of just looking at him hadn’t worn off since the first time she had seen him in the hospital.

"According to our daughter-in-law, they should be well on their way by next year with the next one. Hopefully Desi will forget about that whole birthing experience by then."

"Sweetheart trust me on this one, a woman never forgets that. That’s why babies are so cute, it fogs your brain to the pain." They both laughed again before following Harry and Desi upstairs to deliver Jack back to them.

"You don’t think?" asked June looking up the stairs.

"What?" Bobbie looked at her.

"You know….,"

"Oh, that they’re having sex?" asked Bobbie enjoying her wife’s own blush.

"Yes. I don’t want to go in there with Jack if they are other wise occupied."

"Honey they have to wait a while for that, not as a test to their willpower but because Desi’s body is so not ready for that."

"Well that didn’t stop us after Rachel, or maybe you have forgotten that part?" asked June.

"Nope I didn’t forget that part," answered Bobbie stopping a few feet from the closed master bedroom door.

"Harry….Oh God Harry," they both heard Desi’s voice through the oak.

"And it seems to run in the family," finished Bobbie making a quick about face with June back to their room. Hopefully Desi had fed Jack before they had gone downstairs, if not, June was waking up Mona to go and give him back.

 

Continued in Part 6

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