All It Took Was You

by

Ali Vali

 

Part 6

"Harry?" Desi’s head popped off the pillow after hearing the muffled name through the closed bedroom door.

"Honey, I think someone is at the door for you." The thought of moving was not an option Desi was willing to address at the moment. Running up the stairs after Harry had resulted in a leg cramp and the doctor with the magic fingers had offered swift relief.

"Yes?" Harry shouted toward the closed door not moving from her position on the bed.

"Are you naked?" asked Mona. Seeing June at her bedroom door moments before had made the older woman start laughing, but she had volunteered to venture into the exotic zone, as Mona liked to think of it, down the hall.

"Do you want me to be?" Mona heard what sounded suspiciously like a slap to naked skin. In fact Desi had just delivered the blow to Harry’s butt for her smart answer to Mona.

"Come to the door Harry," answered Mona in a no nonsense voice. Harry crossed the room and opened the door a sliver big enough to stick her head out.

"Yes darlin’, what can I do for you?"

"When did the baby eat last?" Harry smiled at the inquisitor at their door. Mona was standing there tapping her foot with her hands on her hips trying not to take up too much time.

"Thirty minutes ago so he’s good to go for a friendly visit with his grandmothers." Mona nodded her head and started back toward June and Bobbie’s room stopping when Harry called out to her. "Tell Bobbie I think she’s a weenie for not coming out here herself, but we love her anyway."

"Harry you are so bad," said Desi from the bed. It had taken Harry all of about ten minutes to get them both naked from the time they had entered the room. Harry’s explanation had been it was better to administer the massage that way.

"No baby I’m good, I’m very, very good. Now let Dr. Harry rub what ails you."

"Don’t get carried away doctor, Ellie said you don’t want to break anything down there." Desi gave her a no-nonsense look over her shoulder as Harry moved back into position.

"I promise only to rub the parts that are on the outside baby, no worries. I have been dying to touch you all day." Harry started on the calf muscle that had cramped on the way up the stairs working her way down to a small delicate looking foot. When she pressed her thumb into the arch Desi let out a long moan.

"Oooh knock yourself out honey, though I don’t know why you would want to? I need to lose about fifty pounds before I even start to resemble what I looked like nine months ago." Desi sounded every bit as disgusted as she felt. She loved Jack and wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything, but the little guy had done a number on her figure.

"Breast feeding and about six weeks will bring back the Desi you are used to seeing in the mirror my love, but just remember that I love you no matter what you look like. Um….that didn’t come out right did it?"

"Just for that you get to look at the front." Desi rolled over and put her foot back into Harry’s hands. Instead of moving back to the massage, Harry started kissing at the toes before moving up Desi’s body closer to the blonde head for a better look.

"Save me from the torture," teased Harry as she hovered over her partner. Desi ran a finger softly over the stitches on Harry’s brow admiring the job that Nurse Sally had done.

"If I send your mouth into the line of duty it won’t hurt these will it?"

"No just don’t scream, your parents are in the next room. I don’t want them thinking that I am some kind of barbarian." Needing no further encouragement Harry started back down Desi’s body learning some of the new terrain along the way.

"But you are a barbarian Harry, but trust me honey, it works for you." Desi let her head drop to the pillow under it as Harry started placing soft kisses to her collarbone. It was nice to feel her partner on her without the bulge getting in the way. Having Harry pin her to the bed had been a complete turn on for Desi from the first time they had made love. When she had gotten pregnant it was something Harry refused to do not wanting to hurt the baby.

"Promise me you’ll tell me if anything hurts ok?" asked Harry. She had moved down some more and two pink nipples stood alert and called her name.

"Don’t worry about anything sweetheart, just go with you gut and I’m sure I’ll be fine. Now let’s get going because after this you still owe me a chicken salad sandwich." Bright green eyes closed as Harry moved her kisses to Desi’s breasts. Moving further down, Harry started softly never pressing too hard on any one spot. Desi was still healing and the doctor in her didn’t want to do anything that would impede her progress.

When Harry got to the to the top of Desi’s thighs she made herself comfortable lying on her stomach. With Desi’s feet on her shoulders, Harry could see a little bloody discharge mixed in with the usual liquids she found in the general vicinity but there was no way in hell she was going to stop. She used just the tip of her tongue to start a massage of a different nature getting an instant response from Desi. Harry felt two feet push into her shoulders as Desi’s hips came up and off the bed a little.

"Ok, that’s really good." To make sure Harry wasn’t thinking of moving, Desi grabbed two fists full of hair and hung on.

"Yes, I would have to agree with you baby." It was the only conversation Harry was willing to stop for as she flattened her tongue and applied a little more pressure. She reached up and tweaked a nipple between her fingers getting some unintelligible grunt out of Desi.

"Faster honey," ordered Desi. Her hips picked up the tempo Harry had set, and true to her word Harry’s hands never went near anything lower than Desi’s nipples. To keep up her end of the bargain Desi kept her volume to a quiet roar. With a few more swipes Harry sent Desi over the edge then moved up the bed to hold her as the after shocks rippled through her body. Desi finally opened her eyes when she felt Harry pick up her hands and examine them in the moonlight.

"Can I ask what you’re doing?"

"Just checking for all the hair I just lost. You were pulling pretty hard there at the end pumpkin."

"If I can’t make any noise then I have to let my energies out some other way." Desi smiled up at her then leaned up and kissed the tip of Harry’s nose. "Thanks honey, I think I needed that. The kissing we did earlier, and the thought waiting six weeks to do anything about it was working my nerves."

"Well I’m glad that we were able to work something else on you baby. And speaking of baby, think Jack has outlived his welcome down the hall?"

"Are you kidding me, they are probably working up a list on why he should stay with them on a more regular basis. Between your parents and mine, I’ll be shocked if we get him back at all." Desi moved into her usual position pressed to Harry’s side when her partner moved off her. Hearing the sigh Desi released, Harry waited to hear what was on her mind. "It still seems kind of strange to say ‘my parents’ after all this time. Do you like my mother and Bobbie?"

"Yeah baby, I like them a lot. I can’t say that I fully understand her reasons for leaving you and your sister behind, but I’m trying not to judge. Now that we have Jack, I can’t think of either of us just moving away and leaving him with anyone, much less someone like Clyde. But those were different times and prejudices against relationships like ours was even worse than we can even imagine now. As long as June and Bobbie are here to love you and build a relationship with you, then they are welcome in our home. I take my job of protecting you seriously though baby, so if those intentions change they’re out on their butts." Desi tightened her hold around Harry’s waist as an acknowledgement of appreciation for her thoughtfulness.

"I know honey, and I wouldn’t want you to ever change. Now doctor, how about I show you a good time?" Desi pushed a little closer and moved to get on Harry.

"Nope."

"No? You do find me repulsive don’t you?" Desi went to move to the other side of the bed before she started sobbing when Harry pulled her in tighter.

"Desiree you know better than that, I don’t find you repulsive. What I do know is that you had a baby two weeks ago, and you aren’t supposed to be doing anything strenuous. What I have in mind would definitely fall into that category, but it can also wait until you’re healed. Trust me darlin’, I plan to collect with interest." When Desi finally looked up there were tears in her eyes over what Harry had just said. Yeah you definitely aren’t Byron are you? To prove she was telling the truth, Harry gave Desi a repeat performance of their earlier activities before getting up to retrieve their son.

June got up from the large antique bed in the room she and Bobbie were sharing when she heard the knock on the door. A clean freshly showered Harry was standing in the hall wearing a white terry cloth robe when June opened the door. "Is my grandson in any danger of becoming a decadent soul hanging around with you?" The same blush she had seen on Desi’s face earlier in the kitchen was now running up Harry’s face.

"Ah no, decadence lessons don’t come into play until his senior year in high school. Did he behave?"

"Like the little angel everyone knows he is," said Bobbie. She walked up behind June holding a sleeping Jack handing him over to Harry.

"Thanks, we appreciate the last minute baby sitting job." The rumble of Harry’s voice made Jack’s eyes blink open as if looking for his biggest fan. "Hey there little man, I know a beautiful lady down the hall that is missing you like crazy. Did you know you are the luckiest baby in the world in that she’s also your mother." Bobbie put her arm around June as they both watched Harry move back toward the room at the end of the hall cooing to her son the whole way. As a way of telling her he was listening, Jack did a full body stretch in Harry’s arms before curling back up to listen to more.

"I have a feeling that is the kind of parent you would have made my love," June told Bobbie. The pain caused by the separation from her children would never fully heal in June’s heart. But looking at the tall young woman that cradled her grandson as carefully as she did her daughter’s heart, and knowing she had been a part of Desi and Rachel’s lives for so long made it more bearable.

"I think that it is the kind of parents we both still have the opportunity to be sweetheart. The girls are older now, but I think they still have room in their lives to need us. Thanks to the type of young women they grew up to be, we still have the chance to help them out. They forgave you June. Try to forgive yourself now."

"They’re both great aren’t they?" asked June in a tone that begged for reassurance.

"Yes my love, and they found wonderful people to share their lives and their children with. I think that they also find it an extra-added bonus to add us into that equation. Let’s try to be happy and make up for lots of lost time." June nodded her head before looking up into Bobbie’s eyes. Had it not been for the compassionate woman that had shared her life, June would have lost her mind years ago. Bobbie pulled her back into the room and closed the door.

"Hey," said Desi softly when Harry walked in with Jack. She took a mental snapshot of her two favorite people and how good they looked together. Jack was only two weeks old but he seemed to be undergoing constant changes. He was becoming more alert and it amazed Desi that he seemed to know when Harry was around.

And Harry, it was just fun to think about it. Considering how she had acted when Desi was pregnant, she knew that once the baby was born Harry would be a goner. It was nice to be right watching her when she interacted with their son. There would never be a moment, Desi knew, when she would have to ask Harry to play with him or spend time with him. Just like she had done with Rachel so many years before, Harry would make sure Jack knew that he was wanted and loved. That there was one person in the world besides Desi that he could turn to and count on to always be there. Harry had done for Rachel what Clyde had never gone out of his way to do, and it made Desi happy to know that Jack would have the same.

"Jack was just telling me how much he missed you. He totally agrees with me in thinking you are the most wonderful person in the world." Harry laid the baby in the middle of the bed on his back so that they could both look at him. He was dry and content for the moment so she thought they could enjoy a little family time together. Desi wiped away the few tears that had run down her face as Harry sat down and reached out to hold her hand. "What’s the matter baby?"

"Nothing, just happy is all. Really honey, I saw you walk in with him and it made me think how great it is that we finally have our family. That, and how lucky Jack and I are to have you. I know it sounds sappy, but I think I was about fourteen when I first thought about what it would be like to have a baby with you." Desi picked Jack up and cradled him in her arms so that they could both move closer to Harry. She was pulled in by one long arm and kissed on the temple. Jack got a finger to hold so that Harry could admire his tiny fingernails.

"That would have made me fifteen, and I was thinking about how I could kiss you and not have you run screaming into the night. You were starting to fill out in the most wonderful places and it made my heart race whenever you stepped into the room. You know what the greatest thing is?" They both watched Jack blink his eyes and wave one small fist in the air.

"What?" Desi turned a little so she could see Harry’s eyes when she answered.

"You still make my heart race when you walk into a room Desiree. And you know what else?" Harry was whispering the questions into her ear and Desi was feeling a little racing of her own.

"No, what?"

"I want another one of these little guys. Only next time I think we should have a little girl with blonde hair and green eyes. A little girl that will grow up to be as beautiful as her mother. A little girl that I can spoil as much as I plan to spoil this little fellow and you for as long as you will let me."

"I don’t know if you can put in an order for anything that specific baby, but I’ll give it a shot. The fact that you want to have more children makes me happy. Rachel means so much to me that I want to give Jack that gift." Desi looked over her shoulder and kissed Harry. Before they could get any more involved they found out how quickly Jack could go from contented baby to screaming hungry baby.

After he was fed and asleep, Desi joined Harry in bed ready to go to sleep herself. "Good night honey. Get some rest, tomorrow’s a big day."

"What happens tomorrow?"

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"Tomorrow you get to go and see your new doctor."

"When are you coming home Tyrell?" asked Diana. They talked on the phone several times a day, but Diana had yet to see her brother since he had escaped from jail. His friends had been giving him different places to sleep and she could understand his staying away. An unmarked car cruised by her apartment several times a day looking for Tyrell knowing he would show up at his sister’s sooner or later, so he had been smart to stay away. Diana missed him though and wanted to see him.

"Di you know that can’t happen for a while. I want to take care of you before the bastards that are looking for me find me. Dr. Basantes promised me no cops, and I want to believe her. Hell I don’t mind going back if she can help you. I’m going to see you tomorrow at her office. Chick is going to pick you up in his van and drive you over. I’ll meet y’all there." Tyrell was calling from the payphone down the block from his sisters swiveling his head throughout the whole conversation keeping watch for any cop cars that slowed down around him.

"Can you find those two white boys brother?"

"Don’t you mean three?" Diana relayed the story she had watched on the news that afternoon about the oldest Simoneaux that had escaped with Tyrell. The reporter had been standing outside Byron’s old house talking about the action that unfolded the night before leaving two injured police officers and a dead escaped convict. Yellow police tape billowed in the wind like the house had been decorated for some kind of party.

"I knew that old creep was a crazy fuck. After tomorrow, I’ll start looking for the other two with the help of some of my friends. Though I don’t know if this Basantes woman needs my help. Given the chance today, I think she would have beaten the shit out of me with no problem. If she gets her hands on Junior, who she really has something against, I don’t hold out any hope for him. Get some sleep Diana and I’ll see you tomorrow." Tyrell hung up the phone and pulled his jacket collar up against the cold night air. The wind was starting to blow some clouds in that night and he hoped the rain would hold off until his sister was safely in the clinic the next day.

As he crossed the street to one of the abandoned apartments in the development, Tyrell vowed to keep his promise to help find Byron and Mike. He already had some of his old friends looking around the one place in New Orleans easiest to hide. The French Quarter was big, but not to someone that knew it. Only they hadn’t had any luck yet but they vowed to keep looking.

Tyrell ducked down quickly when he saw the police car coming up the street slowly. The guy in the passenger seat had the spotlight on and was shining it in the empty buildings looking for suspicious movement. He held his breath when they past the garbage can he was hiding behind hoping they didn’t direct the beam to the other side of the street.

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"Man that was close."

"I’m telling you we have to get out of here. First that woman was looking out the window at us and now the cops are cruising around here like crazy. They probably have orders to shoot us on sight if they find us. Let’s go back to the Quarter and look for daddy." Mike’s heart was about to beat out of his chest after the spotlight from the police car scanned the top of the shrubs they were hiding in. After they had jumped down from the wall surrounding Harry and Desi’s house, he and Mike had started to dig through garbage cans looking for something to eat. I didn’t think it could suck any more than this to be me, thought Mike as he pressed his face to the dirt.

"She didn’t see shit you little pussy, so calm down. First off, forget about the old man, he’s gone. There is no way in hell we are going to find him now; he’s on his own. Crazy bastard probably went and got himself caught by now. And secondly, we have to find a way into that house. I didn’t come all this way to leave without Desi now." Byron looked up to find the cruiser about a block away. He sat up and started eating one of the pizza pieces they had found in the can at one of the houses along side Harry’s. A smile broke across his face as he chewed slowly thinking about the woman that had taken Desi away from him. This time it would be different. This time he wasn’t leaving until that tall unnatural bitch was dead.

"The next time you call me that, you are on your own Byron. I’m tired, hungry and stupid for thinking that you could keep me out of jail. The facts are we are going to get caught, and when we do, we ain’t ever getting out. Desi’s big friend in there is going to make sure that will be our reality. I’m thinking the best thing we can do is just turn ourselves in and hope for the best." Oh God, is that a big wad of hair? Mike gagged when he looked at the piece of pizza he was eating.

"Stop being so sensitive Mikey. After I’m finished dealing with my wife, I promise we’ll get out of New Orleans and start over. We’ll go someplace small. Hell, we are great mechanics, how hard can it be? You just have to understand that I can’t leave here without setting things right. Desi was mine Mike, and that bitch took her away from me." Byron had softened his voice trying to get his brother to see reason. If the opportunity came up he would need Mike’s help to carry it out. If the last time he had gone against Harry had taught him anything, it had taught him that he couldn’t do it alone.

"Byron, you lost her because you broke her leg with a fucking bat. Has that little bit of information escaped your warped little mind? Fuck, you are as bad as daddy when it comes to self-denial. I was never any Romeo, but I’m thinking women don’t appreciate when you do shit like that."

"You don’t understand shit Mike. How would you like coming home after a hard day and find your woman crying over some bitch she knew in high school? There’s a limit to what a man has to put up with in his own house. I could have made her happy if she had given me the chance." Byron threw the crust in his hand behind him and moved away from his brother. His anger grew as he thought about all the times he caught Desi crying, how she never responded to his touch, never moved when he made love to her. She had never given them the chance to work because she was too busy thinking about someone who had moved on and never looked back.

"Byron, you should have realized that she wasn’t going to love you like a wife should, when the wedding and relationship were worked out by daddy and Clyde. She didn’t have a choice and now I know why. Clyde just didn’t want to deal with the humiliation of having Desi go off with that doctor." Convincing Byron to walk down the aisle with Desi hadn’t been a hard sell for the two fathers. Desi had been a beautiful girl that the Simoneaux boy had wanted to possess from the first time he had seen her. He knew she didn’t love him, but that would come later. His father had managed it in his own marriage and so would he. "It’s not your fault, so let’s just go." Mike spoke softly hoping to reach Byron. There had to be a little bit of reason left in his mind. If it came down to it, he would leave on his own and do what Byron had said. Start over somewhere where people didn’t know him and had never heard the name Simoneaux.

They sat in silence after that in a stalemate. They had been sitting under the bushes for hours and both of them were fighting sleep. In what seemed like a few minutes after closing his eyes, Mike woke up first hearing the rumble of the garbage truck coming down the street. Ah, here comes breakfast. He rubbed his hands over his face trying to ignore how grimy the skin felt under his hands. He looked both ways down the quiet street then shook Byron roughly to get him moving. "Come on it’s time to go. The sun’s coming up."

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"And you are just now waking up? You are going to be one of those kids everyone is envious of, aren’t you my boy?" Harry talked to the wide-awake Jack as she changed his diaper. She had forgotten to close the shutters in their room the night before and the sunlight had woken her up just past six in the morning. They had gotten up a couple of times in the night with Jack’s feedings, but he had lasted from his two o’clock feeding until Harry found him lying quietly in the bassinet when she untangled herself from Desi. He looked up at her with his fist in his mouth as she put on the new diaper trying to be tolerant as big fingers tried dealing with the small snaps of his sleeper.

The one-sided conversation continued as Harry carried him downstairs to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. The only good thing about having to go back to work was that she didn’t have any surgeries scheduled for the next two days. She would only have to make it through clinic hours at the Mercy facility then she could come home. The one interesting appointment Harry did have on tap was Tyrell Lagrie’s sister. There had been no further news on any of the escaped men after the media coverage of Byron Simoneaux’s death at his old house. Mona came into the room and patted the baby’s back as Harry stood watching the dark liquid drip into the carafe.

"Have a good night?" Mona decided on that question since she figured asking to hold the baby on Harry’s first day going back to work was going to be futile. She started taking things out of the refrigerator and putting them on the counter for breakfast trying to decide if she should tease Harry about the night before or not.

"Yes I did, and so did Desi, so don’t tease her about it." Mona looked up with an innocent look on her face and pointed to her chest. "Yes you, don’t stand there like flies won’t land on you Miss Mona. I know you better than that. It’s hard enough having both sets of our parents here without you giving her a hard time too." Harry walked over and kissed the older woman on the head handing Jack over for her to hold for a minute. At the rate he was going with the number of adults in the house, Harry figured Jack would learn to walk when he was twelve.

"Good morning my baby," Mona cooed to Jack. She laughed when he turned his big green eyes on her and sucked on his hand harder. "Harry this little boy is going to be a big wad of trouble just like you."

"Oh yeah, how do you figure?" Harry reached up and took two mugs down from the cabinet over the coffee pot. The steaming cup of tea she had made for Desi was already sitting on the counter cooling off.

"I can remember coming to work for your mama and having you look at me with the same eyes this boy’s giving me now. You could have broken every window in the house, but that wide-eyed innocent look never changed. I can see that in a few years my boy Jack is going to be in here hiding from you and Desi after causing all kinds of hell, looking for protection just like you did when Maria was on the warpath about something." Mona finally looked up from the sweet face when Harry walked over and put down a full mug of coffee the way Mona liked it on the counter.

"He couldn’t have found a better friend than you Mona, I know I never did. I don’t think I could have become a doctor if I had gotten all the spankings I had coming to me."

"Harry, I know I tease you all the time but I love you, and you have made me very proud with the way you turned out. Look at you all grown up with a son of your own, and a woman up there that loves you. I guess what I’m saying is that I owe you for giving me a home and making me feel like part of your family. When I lost my Joseph, my kids wanted me to come and live with them, but I felt better here with you. We helped each other through some rough patches and I’m glad we get to enjoy the good times now." Mona handed Jack back to his mother and tried to hide the tears that had formed in her eyes.

"Thank you Mona, hearing that from you means a lot to me." Mona waved her hand in Harry’s direction trying to get her to be quiet, but Harry kept going. "No, let me finish. The best things in my life are Desi and Jack, but what makes that picture complete is that you are here too, to look after them and protect them, like you did me. This is your home Mona. It’s your home because you are an important part of my family. You are all the grandparents I never had all rolled up into one, and it thrills me that my son will have you too."

"Get out of here, and bring that baby back to his mother Harry, he looks hungry. Then get in the shower and get dressed, you have to go to work today," answered Mona making shooing motions with her hands. Harry leaned over and kissed her forehead one more time before taking her two mugs and her son and going back upstairs.

"Hey baby," Harry whispered when she sat on the bed. Desi sat up and leaned against her taking sips from the mug Harry was holding to her lips trying to become coherent. Her partner handed her the baby when her eyes finally opened and helped Jack find his own breakfast treat.

"I love you." Desi yawned before leaning back for her good morning kiss. The coffee Harry was drinking smelled good but she was going to have to stick to decaffeinated beverages until they had weaned Jack off of breast milk. Desi was already worried about Harry having to go to work with so little sleep; they didn’t need to add to the problem.

"I love you too sweetheart."

"Where have you two been?" Desi looked up at Harry after making sure Jack was all right.

"In the kitchen with Granny Mona. She was telling me how proud of me she was for bringing the two of you home. I’m pretty proud of that fact myself," said Harry tightening her hold on her family. "It’s going to be a hell of a long day away from you two."

"You are the best thing that ever happened to us honey, Mona’s right. I know what you mean about being a long day. Jack and I are going to miss you, but we’ll call you a lot today to check on you." They sat together watching Jack eat then put him down when he fell asleep again. While Harry was in the shower Desi went down to help Mona get breakfast together. They hadn’t talked about it, but Desi was getting nervous about Harry seeing Tyrell and his sister. Serena had told her that the man had beaten a man to death and Harry would be alone with him. Desi figured it was her right to worry even though Harry had been truly alone with him the day before, and had taken care of him.

After breakfast, Harry said goodbye to Desi and Jack before opening the back door. The weather was starting to get windy and cloudy, dropping the temperature drastically from the day before. The rest of their houseguests were starting to stream into the kitchen but left the little family alone for a moment. Harry kissed the baby’s head and then Desi’s lips before greeting the four new adults in the room. "You all keep an eye on my two favorite people here, and I’ll see you this afternoon." To the baby she said, "Be good for your mommy little buddy, and don’t let all these guys give you a hard time."

Desi laughed at her partner’s warning knowing that as soon as she walked out the door the two sets of grandparents would be lining up for holding duty. She started them off early handing Jack to the closest one, and Maria happily complied. With her arms empty she walked back to Harry and put her hands on the sides of Harry’s face and pulled her down. When the kiss ended Harry looked like work was the last thing on her mind. "Have a good day honey, don’t work too hard and I love you."

"Does that happen every morning?" asked Raul of Mona. She looked up from the skillet of eggs she was cooking and snorted.

"Yes, but only on clinic days. Surgery days Harry leaves here before the little one gets up, so God only knows how she bids her goodbye on those days."

"Harry, I have to admire you for ever leaving the house," her father said from the table. He lifted the paper up as a barrier before Harry could make any comments.

By ten that morning Harry had seen four new patients and seven follow up patients before Diana wheeled herself into the waiting room. When she saw that there were no suspicious looking people in the room, she called for Tyrell. He had met her and her ride in the lobby and was waiting for her call in the men’s room down the hall. The nurse who took their information explained everything they would be doing that day and the tests which would be necessary before Diana got to see Harry.

"Since your initial surgery wasn’t done at this hospital, Dr. Basantes wants to run a few tests and get some new x-rays of the injury site. Don’t worry though, it can all be done in this building and we’ll have the results right after lunch. Do you have any questions?" asked Becky, one of Harry’s office nurses.

That was a polite way of saying ‘your surgery was done in the charity hospital cause you have no money’. Diana shook her head and signed in all the places where the nurse pointed to in order to have the tests run. She and Tyrell were shocked when they found themselves in one of Harry’s exam rooms at one thirty.

"I’m used to waiting all day to see a doctor, this is different. Thanks for doing this for me Ty, I hope this one can do some good." Like Desi had done so many months before, the siblings sat in the consultation exam room and admired all the pictures of Harry with some of her patients.

"Good afternoon Ms. Lagrie, I’m sorry to keep you waiting. I’m Harry Basantes." Harry held out her hand positioning herself so that Tyrell was in front of her.

"Nice to meet you doctor, you know my brother Tyrell." Diana pointed to the man sitting next to her.

"We’ve met. I’ve been looking at your pictures Ms. Lagrie, and I’m not liking what I’m seeing." Before the two could get alarmed Harry explained that the first surgery had left a tremendous amount of scar tissue in Diana’s back, which would explain her pain. The scar tissue was pressing on nerve endings in her back and that was most likely causing her discomfort. "It’s not a simple procedure but it can be done, and I can almost guarantee that you’ll be more than pleased when we do."

"Is there any chance that you’ll do this for my sister?" asked Tyrell. They had gotten more answers and gotten more accomplished in a day than they had since Diana’s accident. The convict could see where it would have been an easy choice for anyone to leave Byron for this woman. Tyrell could tell that Diana had been instantly taken in by the compassionate doctor holding her hand while she explained what was wrong.

"I assumed that’s why you were here, not just to get my opinion but to retain my surgical services. Of course I’ll do the surgery, all you had to do was ask. You two are aware that I don’t just practice here? I teach at the medical school and Diana’s case will be of interest to my students." Harry started writing orders in the chart sitting on her lap. The look on Tyrell’s face when she had given them the last piece of news did not project happiness.

"You won’t do it here?"

"Do what here?" asked Harry.

"The surgery. You are going to ship her off to Big Charity?"

"Mr. Lagrie, I will agree that life is not fair. Your sister unfortunately is one of the many people in this state with no type of insurance, so yes the surgery will take place there. It insults my integrity as a doctor and as a person that you would think Diana will get any less than my best effort just because of the location." Harry turned her attention to the woman in the wheelchair and reached for her hand again. "I have a lot of influence here Ms. Lagrie, but not that much. What I am talking about here, in case you didn’t understand, is an extensive hospital stay followed by physical therapy. If I do the procedure there, the state picks up the tab and we both get what we want, and that’s for you to feel better than you do now. Is that all right with you?"

"Yes Dr. Basantes, I just can’t live with the pain anymore. Don’t mind Tyrell, he’s just looking out for me like he always has." Diana patted the hand holding hers while she shot Tyrell a look that told him to calm down.

"Now Mr. Lagrie, I believe you have a job to do for me." Harry wasn’t holding out any hope that the man would find Byron and Mike but stranger things had been know to happen in New Orleans. The main reason she had insisted Serena not call the police on the big man sitting beside his sister, was his history. What he had done was violent, but it would have been the same course of action she would have taken if someone had done what happened to Diana to Desi.

"You promise you’ll fix her?" There was a look of pleading to be assured in the dark brown eyes that made Harry aware of how much this man had sacrificed for his sister.

"You have my word Mr. Lagrie. You two take the rest of the day and tomorrow to get ready, and I’ll be waiting for you Wednesday morning. Becky will tell you where you need to go and what you need to bring with you. Remember this won’t be a short process so make arrangements to be our guests for at least six weeks." Becky stepped back into the room with a list in her hand when Harry called. After knowing they had no other place to be, she sent them to the hospital to pre-register.

Harry headed to her office to call Desi and tell her how the appointment went and that she was all right. She cracked open a pistachio nut from the bowl on her desk before dialing her house number, smiling when she thought of her favorite potter.

"Basantes’ residence," said Mona.

"What are you wearing?"

"Harry you fool, what do you want?"

"I want to talk to my girl if she’s available."

"Hold on. Oh, before I let you go, when are you coming home?"

"In about an hour, I just have a few more people to see then I’m out of here. Why, you need something?" Harry leaned back in her chair and popped another nut into her mouth.

"No, I have everything I need but, the weather is turning nasty and Desi’s starting to worry about you. That means come home bonehead." Mona pointed her finger in the air like Harry could see her.

"Put your lethal digit away grandma, I’ll be home soon I promise."

"I didn’t think you thought my fingers were lethal, but I’ll keep that in mind the next time you’re feeling frisky." Desi laughed at the choking sound coming from the other end of the phone.

"Sorry." Harry coughed trying to get the pistachio skin out of the back of her throat.

"Don’t be sorry Harry, just get home. It’s freezing outside and it’s starting to rain." Desi gripped the phone as she looked at the driving rain outside from the sunroom wishing Harry were home.

"Just two more patients and I promise I’ll head out. I just wanted to tell you I saw the escapee and his sister, and lived to tell about it."

"Harry, are you sure you are not going to get in trouble for this? If the police find out you are holding out on them, I’m thinking they are going to be pissed. I know you are doing this for me so we can find Byron, but I think you should call Detective Landry and tell him."

"Let’s talk about that when I get home baby. Go kiss Jack for me and I’ll be there in less than an hour, if I can."

The drive home was far from pleasant and Harry was glad the house was so close to the hospital. The rain had started just after nine that morning and had kept up at a steady pace all day. Harry noticed there were cars parked on the median ground on the way home, people hoping the extra eight inches would keep the rising water out of the vehicles. Uptown was beautiful, but a driving rain could flood it in a matter of hours. When she pulled into her driveway, the trees that were visible through the rain were waving and losing the last of their leaves in the wind.

Mona looked up from her cutting board when the backdoor slammed shut to see a dripping wet Harry standing in her kitchen. "She’s upstairs in front of the fireplace waiting for you. And change out of those wet clothes before you go anywhere near the two of them bonehead," shouted Mona to the retreating figure. Harry had leaned over and kissed Mona’s forehead before starting up the stairs, leaving the woman to her domain of pots and ingredients.

"Oooh honey, you are all wet."

"Yeah damn wind was driving the rain so hard that it didn’t make a difference that I parked under the overhang."

"Well get out of that before you get sick."

************************************************************************

"What choice do I have dumb ass."

The two brothers were still sitting in the bushes behind the Basantes house, both shivering as the temperature started to drop along with the rain. Through a hole in the brick fence Byron had seen Harry drive up to the side of the house and run through the unlocked backdoor. He guessed that because of the bad weather there had been hardly no traffic along the back street, and there had been no sign of Desi all day. The need to get warm and dry had become more important than trying to get into the house they were watching as the day progressed.

"We have the choice to get out of here and someplace dry at least. Since we don’t have any money, we are stuck with these clothes, but if we don’t get warm we are going to die out here stupid." Mike was looking forward to going back to Angola. He would have to look at dull gray walls for the rest of his life at night, and hard labor during the day, but he would be dry and full while he did it.

"Come on, there’s got to be some place around here that we can crash for the night and get dry. This stuff doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon," said Byron. He got to his feet and helped his brother up while looking down both ways of the street, trying to find a solution to their current problem. Half way down the block he saw a man putting suitcases into the truck of a car while his wife waited on the porch for him to finish.

"Let’s go." Byron hit Mike on the arm to get him moving. The couple driving down the street never noticed the two men heading toward their house. They were headed to Texas for a week’s vacation and the only thing that they were worried about was the weather they were going to have to drive through.

Seeing no alarm system in place, Bryon broke through the back window and crawled into the dark space. He took a moment to let his eyes adjust and to make sure there was no one left in the house. The room he had landed in seemed to be one of the bedrooms, and he could see the couple had left the bed unmade and the closet doors open. "Come on Mike, there’s nobody here."

Mike crawled in after his brother relieved to be out of the freezing rain. Being on the run for almost three weeks had not been a fun experience, but things were starting to look brighter. They were in an empty house that had a bathroom, and hopefully food that hadn’t been thrown out by someone. Bryon was already taking a tour of the house seeing what booty he could run across, but Mike decided to stay in the master bedroom and take a hot shower. When he stripped and started the shower, Mike took the opportunity to brush his teeth while he waited for the water to get hot. The face looking back at him in the mirror was one he hardly recognized. His beard was almost fully grown in and his hair had gotten longer. There were black circles under his eyes and along with the new hair growth, the gaunt look made him appear to be a different person.

"All right." Byron screamed from the kitchen when he found the keys to the car parked in the garage. The fact the people that owned the house were gone meant they wouldn’t miss it until they got home, and the police wouldn’t suspect them driving around in a new looking sedan. The refrigerator didn’t have much food in it, but there was plenty of beer and sodas. Byron had better luck when he looked in the freezer. The space was crammed with microwave dinners and Tupperware containers of cooked food. "Yes this place will do nicely for now. We even have a key to the front door." He slipped the wad of keys he had found lying on the kitchen counter in a bowl into his pocket and slammed the refrigerator closed. As he went to move away to tell Mike about their good fortune, something caught his attention on the door of the appliance.

Byron cocked his head to the side trying to figure out what he found so familiar about it. The dark hair and the face, he had seen them somewhere before. He pulled the card with the picture printed on it off the frig sending the little magnet that had been holding it up flying across the kitchen. ‘We would like to announce the birth of Jackson Harry Basantes,’ the printing started. He read the whole thing four times before he let the scream of complete fury out. It was the line ‘to the proud parents Desi and Harry’ that had made his blood run hot.

Mike came running out of the bathroom dripping water after hearing his brother scream. "What in the hell was that?"

************************************************************************

"It sounded like something hit the roof." Harry got up from her comfortable spot behind Jack and Desi to see what had made the loud crashing sound.

"Harry?" Raul called up from the kitchen as he made his way toward the stairs. He and Maria had been sitting with June, Bobbie and Mona in the kitchen talking about places they had visited over the years when they heard what had sent Harry into the hall.

"I heard it papi, but I don’t see anything." Harry walked into every room on the second floor of the house looking for anything out of the ordinary. With the Simoneauxs still on the loose she was taking no chances with her family’s safety. When neither she nor Raul could find anything broken or tipped over Harry put on a rain slicker to go outside for a look around.

"You are going to be careful aren’t you?" Desi brought the hood on the jacket up to cover Harry’s head and snapped it closed. Their fears were like a shadow that followed them around. They didn’t talk about them often, one not wanting to add to the other’s burdens, but they were there non-the-less and they would be until Bryon and family were caught.

"I’ll just take a walk around the house and come back in, I promise. On a night like this I don’t want to be outside any longer than I have to. If it will make you feel better, just follow me through the windows." Harry kissed Desi’s forehead and stepped out the back door.

The wind was blowing leaves and other debris across the lawn, and when it hit the exposed parts of her skin it felt close to the freezing point. Harry headed into the backyard first looking up at the house to see if there was anything broken. Desi watched her from the sunroom wondering why her partner had stopped and pulled the hood off her head. Without needed to see anything else Harry headed back inside.

"What did you see?" Desi helped her off with the rain gear frowning at Harry’s wet hair and cold skin. She should have the flu by ten tonight.

"A big oak branch sticking out of our roof." Harry stood and allowed Desi to towel off her head before taking her hand and heading toward the stairs. She needed to get into the attic and see what was getting soaked by the torrential rain still falling.

"Let’s go big guy," said Desi. They headed out of the kitchen followed by the other five adults in the house.

Maria stood at the bottom of the steps leading up to the attic holding Jack, who was getting fussier by the second, and looked up waiting for someone’s head to poke through the opening. "Well, what do you see?"

************************************************************************

"Son of a bitch."

"What?" Mike stood in the kitchen dripping thinking that Bryon had run across someone else in the house. Without another sound Bryon handed him the card in his hand and turned to grip the counter. Mike thought he was trying to anchor himself to something to keep from running out of the house.

The card was a heavy linen paper, with fanciful writing down at the bottom. A picture of one of the most beautiful babies he had ever seen graced the top. It was a birth announcement, and his face paled when Mike saw whose it was. If Byron had been hard to control before, this would prove to be the breaking point.

Mike remembered one of the worst beatings Bryon had given Desi was when he found she had been taking birth control pills behind his back. Bryon had wanted children, it was what men did, procreate. The comments by their parent’s friends on the fact they didn’t have any children after so many years of marriage had driven his brother insane. Byron had taken them to mean that there was something wrong with him not Desi.

"I’ll be home in twenty minutes." Bryon stood at the sink at the back of his father’s garage washing the grease off his hands. Desi sounded almost surprised to hear from him since the sun was still out and it was so early in the afternoon. His habit had been to stop at his favorite watering hole in the afternoons and have a few drinks with his buddies.

"Ok. Dinner’s not ready yet, do you want me to go out and get something?"

"No we can eat later, I just missed you today and wanted to come home and see you. Don’t disappointment me Desiree." The tone of his voice, and the fact he was coming home early clued her in as to why. Unlike other women, Desi didn’t mind that her husband went out without her almost every night. When he did it meant that he usually too forgone to be very amorous when he got home, but about twice a month his need to sleep with his wife outweighed the need to hang out with his buddies.

"I won’t." She hung up trying to hold back the feeling of repulsiveness that always accompanied these calls. "Well I have twenty minutes, that should give me time to take a shower and get ready." Desi spoke to the empty room before heading toward the bathroom.

The steam from the hot shower she had taken was still thick in the bathroom. Desi had stood under the stream of water longer than she had planned in an attempt to relax. It was the reason she didn’t hear the backdoor close and Bryon coming into the bedroom they shared. She pulled the packet from where she kept them taped out of sight under the sink and popped one out. The small blue pill had just cleared the back of her throat when she felt the first blow to the back of her head.

"You fucking, conniving bitch." He started there and worked his way through everything he thought was wrong with her. Unlike the other times she had angered him, Desi didn’t have the protection of clothing, and he railed against naked skin.

Rachel had found her two hours later dazed and bleeding and had driven her to the hospital. For what seemed to be the hundredth time, her sister refused to press charges scared that it would only make their situation worse. The one that had started out to be the protector now counted on her younger sister to take care of her.

Byron had given her a grace period of three months to recover from her lesson before he tried to initiate any intimacies between them again. A week after that, he had broken her leg with a baseball bat, and the pills that had made him so mad had become a permanent part of her of her past, just like Bryon.

The sight of Desi’s battered face was still fresh in Mike’s mind, and now Desi had given Harry the one thing she had solidly refused his brother. A child. Not only a child, but a son to carry on this woman’s name. He looked at the picture again reflecting on how much the baby looked like the woman he had seen at Desi’s side during the trials. That was the one thing Bryon had wanted more than anything, a little boy that he could show off to his friends and mold to be like him.

"I know you don’t want to hear this, but I think now more than ever that we need to leave here. She made her choice Byron, and it wasn’t you. Desi has a life now with this doctor, enough of one that they had a baby. Who knows, maybe it was this Dr. Basantes that had the kid because it sure looks like her in coloring." Mike stared at the picture in his hand. The thought of having a family and someone to share his life seemed like something so remote and foreign because of the mess he was in, it depressed him.

"Does that bull dyke look like someone that would get pregnant to you Michael?" Byron didn’t raise his voice and he didn’t turn to face his brother.

Great, this is all I need. Mike tried to reach Byron even though it was futile. Once the rage took over he was a lot like their father. "Why don’t you grab a shower and I’ll try and find us something to eat. Go on it will make you feel better. After you get some rest things will look better in the morning."

************************************************************************

"If you say so honey, but that looks like one big branch and one big hole in our roof." Desi looked at the damage from behind Harry using the big body to block the cold wind coming through the damaged section of the roofline.

"Baby if it can be fixed by money, then there is nothing to worry about. If that branch had fallen on one of us, then we would have problems. The only thing that won’t be salvageable will be our Christmas decorations I’m afraid. The house needed a new roof anyway, this will only speed up our timeline. Let’s go down and move my parents into another room. If this rain keeps up it’s bound to start leaking through their ceiling before too long." They all moved down the stairs and into the master bedroom where Maria had gone with Jack when it started to get cold in the hall.

Harry helped her father move he and her mother’s possessions into the last empty bedroom while the rest of the household went down to finish dinner. Jack had been fed and was taking a nap in his carrier oblivious to the two women looking at him.

"He looks so much like Harry did when she was a baby. I brought her home from the hospital and wondered if there was something wrong since she didn’t cry and carry on like Raul had done. Harry and her brother both have their father’s coloring and looks, but they couldn’t be more different if I had set out to accomplish just that. Looking at this little guy it seems almost impossible that he doesn’t belong to her. Not even Raul’s children look this much like the Basantes clan. They have the dark hair and the eyes yes, but their looks favor their mother more. Jackson will be the spitting image of Harry." Maria ran her finger along the dark hair softy so as not to wake him. The child she spoke of seemed to have achieved such happiness and a sense of peace in the last year, that it made Maria happy in return. Amazing that all it took was one small blonde to bring back the Harry I remember.

"You don’t know how much I prayed for that Maria. Harry is the kind of person you want more of in the world. I was just happy to do my part in making it happen. I promise to do everything I can to make her happy, I hope you know that."

"I know Desi, you don’t have to try to hard. Harry loves you and will move the heavens to make you and this baby happy, of that I have no doubt. It is time I think, for you to forget the past and live like Harry does for the future. A mother knows her child. I look into those blue eyes now and I see nothing but peace, you have given her that and so much more. Now, my wish is to look into yours and see the same thing. I can’t pretend to know what you went through sweetheart, but now you have a family that loves you, a son that needs you and a woman that worships you. Think of that, and let it finally heal you." Maria moved her caress from the baby to Harry’s partner.

Desi was happy the older woman knew even after all that she had suffered, but there were times when Maria looked at Desi and saw that haunted pained look that broke her heart. With a gentle hand she wiped away the tears that had fallen down the smooth cheeks, and was glad that everyone had given them the privacy to have this talk.

"Thank you Maria." Desi had wondered if Harry’s parents would truly accept her, this put her fears to rest.

"No my dear, thank you. In about twenty-five years or more you will understand why it is so important to have a good person steal the heart of your child. Jackson will always love you, but one day he will not need you. That will fall to the person that he loves. Harry needs you Desi, more than anyone or anything else in her life. My comfort now comes in knowing it is you she can turn to. You are a strong and special woman Desiree Basantes, remember that when you think there are things in this world that might hurt you. That is what stole Harry’s heart when she was barely seven." Maria smiled through her own tears and welcomed the embrace Desi wrapped her in. She was a little angry with herself for waiting so long to have this talk with her daughter-in-law, and that was who she regarded Desi as now.

"It means so much to me that you think that. I doubt myself sometimes, you know? I wonder if I can make Harry really happy, if I’ll be a good mother and it scares me to think what will happen if Byron ever comes back." Desi stopped talking when she felt the two strong arms wrap around her and the kiss that was softly placed on her neck.

"If he comes back, I promise nothing will happen to you or to Jack my love. Not as long as I have breath will anything bad ever happen to you because of Byron." Desi turned and faced Harry intent to make her promise not to put herself in harms way because of her, when Harry put her fingers to her lips. "Nothing will happen to you I promise, and I have too much to live for to take stupid chances. I love you, and we will face whatever life throws at us together. Broken tree branches, escaped convicts and dirty diapers are no match for us baby. I’m looking forward to spending years with you Mrs. Basantes, you have to know that I adore you."

"I love you too, and you’re right. There is nothing we can’t beat if we do it together."

 

 

Continued in Part 7

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