Ab Initio

by Cruise

Disclaimers: This is a sequel to my uber story Indiscretions. The characters in this story are of my own creation and are in love. If the idea of two women sharing a loving and intimate relationship bothers you or if you are under the age of 18 please find material more suited to you. The song "Bailamos" by Enrique Iglesias (Paul Barry/Mark Taylor-Rive Droite music) is used without permission and without intention for profit. It is highly recommended by the author to listen to the song during parts of this story as it makes the scene more effective.

Special Thanks: To Mary and Laura for their wonderful advice and for sharing such a beautiful moment from their lives for this story. To Mary for her support, advice, proofreading and editing prowess. To Stoley, for her friendship and maintaining my web site. To my beloved Peruvian Princess Monica for her advice, support and love. To all of the fans who support the story and my writing. You're all greatly appreciated.

Comments: You can feed the bard at Cruise@clububer2000.com

and visit my sites: www.geocities.com/cruise1313 or www.clububer2000.com

Part 7

Rayne turned back towards the house and saw the other agents running down the yard to her. She took off running towards the garage as they approached. "One of the agents is down, I'm heading off in pursuit. Check on him and his partner." She shouted as she passed them and tried to open the door to the garage, realizing the side door was locked. "Fuck!" She shouted angrily and kicked the door in. She scrambled through the garage and hopped on her dirty bike, quickly firing the engine. She squealed the tires as she turned the bike around and drove it out of the opening she had just created when she kicked in the door. She screamed the motorcycle across the yard and jumped the sand dune, landing with a jolt on the beach. The jar knocked the wind out of her momentarily and she sped the motorcycle down the beach towards the assailant that was ahead of her, finally catching her breath.

"Max, go back!" She shouted as she passed the winded, but dutiful dog that continued his pursuit until he heard her command. She throttled the bike as much as it would go and tucked low on the motorcycle to cut down on the wind resistance in an attempt to gain ground. It worked and it helped that the guy's motorcycle wasn't equipped for the beach, but hers was. Every time he looked back to see where she was his motorcycle would fish tail and he'd nearly fall. 'You son of a bitch, you're not getting away, I guarantee that!' She angrily thought, her resolve to catch this asshole and her adrenaline coursed throughout her as she moved in on him. He held up his gun as she approached him from the side. She easily kicked the gun from his hand and he scrambled to regain control of the motorcycle that nearly crashed. Rayne gunned her throttle and moved closer to him. She jumped from her bike and tackled him to the beach as both motorcycles kept going until they fell to the ground.

Rayne felt her rib crack when she fell on top of him and then rolled over before ending back on top of him. He struggled to get away from her and nailed her in the side. "Fuck!" She shouted when she felt the excruciating pain explode through her side. She gasped for her breath as the guy stood up and attempted to run, but fell to the ground after Rayne did a leg sweep on him. She jumped on top of him and beat him senseless until he submitted to her. Her rage coursed through her as she recognized the bastard. It was the guy who had done so many terrible things to young children, and he was the guy who threatened her very existenceÉher family. I think he got the hint she wasn't pleased with him as he pleaded for her to stop. She grabbed him around the neck and panted, as she was breathing hard from the fight. She stared into his eyes and wanted nothing more than to choke him to death. He desperately tried to pry her hand away, which had a death grip on his throat.

"Agent Donovan! Stop! Agent!" The out of breath agent shouted as she approached and stopped next to Rayne.

Her trance was snapped and she looked at the agent, finally releasing her grip on his throat. "I've got him, it's okay." The agent calmly assured her as she got off the man and tried to collect her breath, her composure. She intently watched as the agent handcuffed him and stood him up. She struggled to stand and felt the pain in her side.

"Shit that hurts." She whispered, holding her side. "How's the other agent?" She asked, motioning to the one who had been shot.

"He'll live." She chuckled looking at her. "You okay?"

"Oh, yeah, never better." She sarcastically answered.

"You roughed this one up pretty good." She laughed, pleased with her handy work.

"He's lucky. I haven't had my cup of coffee yet. I'm still sleepy. Besides, I think he got those injuries when he fell off the motorcycle." She laughed joined by the agent.

"We'll see about that when my lawyer gets a hold of you." The prisoner angrily answered, spitting blood at Rayne's feet.

"The hell we will." Rayne angrily shouted grabbing him by the shirt and pulling him face to face with her. "The only thing you have to look forward to is being someone's bitch in prison for all the deeds you've done to children. I hear you're not supposed to bend over for the soap in prison. You might want to remember that unless you want a little pickle tickle from the rear!" She sarcastically replied and tauntingly laughed at him, seeing the fear consume him. She released the guy as the agent laughed and led him back towards the house. Rayne picked up her motorcycle and checked it over. She revved the engine and climbed on top of it. 'Finally, we are getting somewhere and this whole mess is over with, now that we've got the head honcho.' She thought relieved and steered the motorcycle back down the beach towards her home.

She rode the bike up to where the other agents were congregated around one of the fallen agents. She turned off the bike and parked it. "How is he?" She inquired as she approached.

"He's dead." One of the solemn agents answered when he turned to her.

"You fucking asshole!" She angrily shouted and attempted to grab the assailant, but was held back by the other agents. The female agent holding him didn't attempt to protect him, as she would just have soon seen Rayne kick the shit out of him again. "I'll see to it that you fry in the electric chair for this!" Rayne vehemently guaranteed as the agents struggled to contain her.

"Get him the hell out of here!" One of the agents ordered the other one, who jerked him away.

"Let me go!" She demanded as the agents still held her.

"Are you sure you won't kill the guy if we let you go?" The agent calmly asked, staring at her.

"Yes, now let me go." She asked as they did so. She walked over to the young agent who was being attended by the paramedics. "How you doing?" She asked with a soothing smile, squatting next to him.

"I'm sorry agent. I tried to stop him, but he caught my partner and I by surprise." The agent explained, breathless from the pain.

Rayne smiled and clasped his hand. "You did a great job agent." She stood up as the paramedics raised the stretcher to transport their patient. "You just hurry and get better." She comfortingly smiled.

"Thanks, I will." He appreciatively smiled as he broke the grip on her hand. The paramedics transported him to the waiting ambulance and loaded him in.

"How are you agent?" A paramedic asked, noting her holding her side and grimacing.

"I'm fine, just hurt my side." Rayne brushed off the concern as she looked back and saw them cover the dead agent. She felt responsible and guilty.

"Let me see." The paramedic insisted and lifted her shirt.

"It's a cracked rib. I'm sure there's nothing you can do for it." She answered, never taking her eyes of the dead agent.

The paramedic palpated the darkened area as Rayne winced in pain. "Yep, it's fractured. You should have it x-rayed to make sure it didn't puncture a lung. You're not having any difficulty breathing are you?"

"Not really." She nonchalantly replied, not concerned for her own well-being.

"I'll wrap it up with an ace bandage and it might help ease the pain a bit. I still recommend that you have it examined." He informed her and grabbed a bandage out of his kit.

"I don't have time for that right now. I have a suspect to question." She replied and watched him wrap the bandage around her side.

"Make sure you do it soon." He advised her and walked away, when he finished his task. Rayne turned her head when she heard her name being shouted by Tom who came running down the stairs. She snickered when his momentum took him face first into the sand. "Dude, what in the hell are you doing?" She asked with a grin as she looked down at the embarrassed agent. His fall broke the solemn atmosphere.

"Making a damn fool of myself! Are you okay?" He worriedly asked, standing up and brushing the sand off of his clothes.

"Yeah, fractured a rib, but we've got one down and one on the way to the hospital." Rayne regretfully answered and motioned towards the fallen agent.

"Damn!" Tom replied saddened by the site. He looked back at Rayne. "I heard the report of what was going on here and rushed over. I thought you were the one down." He answered, the concern etched on his face.

"Shit TomÉyou know me. I'm like a vampire, you can't kill me!" She chuckled and walked over to her motorcycle. She pushed the kickstand up and pushed the bike towards the stairs. She lifted the front of the bike and winced in pain, dropping the bike to catch her breath.

"Here, let me take that." Tom offered and took the bike from her. He maneuvered the bike up the steps and stopped winded at the top to wait for Rayne who followed behind him.

"Thanks, let's go get some answers from this scumbag." She smiled as they headed towards the garage to park the motorcycle. "I'm going to grab some clothes and take a shower at headquarters. Give me a minute to get my stuff ready."

"Sure thing." Tom answered with a smile and watched as she headed into the house. "Hey, Max. How you doing buddy?" He playfully asked, rubbing his dog's back that eagerly wagged his tail in response.

Rayne entered to see a terrified Jayce standing by the window watching everything. "What the hell was going on out there? I tried to go out but one of the agents made me come back inside. Are you okay?" He worriedly asked, looking at her holding her side.

"AahÉyeah, just hurt my rib. We nailed the guy who put the hit out on me, but he killed one of our agents and wounded another." She sadly informed him.

"Oh, man. I'm sorry. Is there anything I can do?" He solemnly asked and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"Yeah, actually there is. I have to go down to headquarters and question this guy. Can you do me a favor and get the door put back on the garage before Lark comes home and don't tell her a thing about what happened."

"Sure, no problem. I'll get it done and Lark won't know a thing." He eagerly answered and watched his sister head down the hall.

Rayne threw some clothes in a gym bag and headed out the door. She got some very strange looks about her attire as her and Tom entered the building. She was normally impeccably dressed so, the sweatpants and t-shirt threw everyone for a loop. She smirked and looked past the people as she headed towards the locker room. "I'll catch you in a few Tom." She replied and pushed the door open.

"Yeah, I'll see if our man has been processed yet." He smiled and headed off as Rayne entered the locker room.

Rayne quickly showered and dressed in black jeans, a gray t-shirt, a black jacket and black boots. She ran her fingers through her wet hair and blew out the breath that she subconsciously, thinking about everything that had happened. She felt responsible for all the lives she put in jeopardy from this whole fiasco. She knew she shouldn't as she was only doing her job, but she did. "It's over." She softly replied and stood up, walking out of the locker room relieved that it was over.

"He's all set to be interrogated." Tom replied, as Rayne approached and stopped.

"Let's get to it." She grinned and entered the room followed by Tom. She sat across from the badly beaten man as Tom sat next to her. She opened the file and smirked as she looked back up to him. "Charlie, I can now add murder to your extensive criminal file."

"Don't forget attempted murder of a federal agent, oh, wait two counts of attempted murder of a federal agent." Tom added looking over Rayne's shoulder at the paperwork.

"Oh, yeah. That's so true. Thanks for reminding me." She arrogantly smiled, looking at her partner then back down to the paperwork and wrote those charges in.

"Any time buddy. That's what partners are for." Tom sarcastically laughed and patted her on the back.

"You two think you are so funny with your sarcastic attitudes!" The man angrily replied, pissed by their smugness.

"Nope just confidant you'll pay for your multiple crimes and happy that we've got the ring leader of your little operation." Tom replied arrogantly.

"Ring leader! You're not pinning all of those charges on me! I'm not the one in charge of the operation!" He adamantly, pleaded, as he was not going to take the fall for everyone.

Rayne was shocked, she thought it was over and she thought he was the ringleader. He obviously wasn't and she tried hard not to show her surprise. "Well, you could always give us some information and maybe we could drop a few charges for your cooperation." Rayne cockily replied, looking back up at the prisoner.

"I want my lawyer before I say anything more and cut a deal." He smugly replied.

"Sure. We'll have someone come in to help you with that right away." Tom sarcastically answered as he rose from the chair and headed towards the door followed by Rayne. They exited the door and stepped down the hallway. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" He mischievously smiled.

"Yes, it's scary. Let's go!" She chuckled and led him down the hall towards one of their holding cells.

"Fuck me. I can't believe he's not the leader." Tom replied surprised as they waited for the doors to open to enter the room.

"He blew me away that's for damn sure. Let's hope this guy sings like a stool pigeon!" She answered and entered the room followed by Tom.

"Hello Norman." Rayne sarcastically drawled with a grin, standing before the holding cell door.

"What do you two want?" He asked, exasperated by the two agents and lay back on his cot, uninterested by what they had to say.

"To see if you've reconsidered your decision to make a deal." Rayne replied, stepping into the cell after the door opened.

"I told you what I want and if you can't give me that then I'm not cooperating with you. I'll take my chances with a good lawyer and a jury." He answered, fluffing his pillow with his hand and tucking it back under his head.

"Jury's don't take kindly to murder's and accessory to murder, especially on a federal agent." Tom informed him with a smirk.

His face turned pale and he quickly sat up. "Murder? I didn't murder anyone or was an accessory to one." He nervously replied, looking at the two agents.

Rayne planted her hands on her hips and looked down at the blanched prisoner. "Sure you were. Because you didn't cooperate with us in the investigation, one of our agents was killed by your ringleader Charlie Phillips who we have in custody down the hall. So, that makes you an accessory." Rayne gloatingly answered.

"He's not the ringleader. He's that sick bastard that has a thing for kids and he's not the head of the operation. I don't want any part of that and I don't want to have accessory to murder pinned on me. I admit to helping out with the computer crimes, but I didn't do anything else. I'll tell you what you want and sign the original deal." He nervously replied as Rayne turned to Tom with her hand out.

He handed her the paperwork they drew up for the deal he would receive for cooperating with them. She opened them, purposely taking her time to make him sweat a little more. "Oh, do you have a pen?" She asked, turning to Tom with a smirk.

"SureÉhere you go." He smiled and handed her the pen.

"Thanks." She smiled and turned to the anxious prisoner. "So, what else do you have to tell me?" She asked, glaring at him. She was eating it up inside that she had this guy nailed and would soon get the information she needed.

"The ringleader is Katy Diaz and she's pissed that you have wreaked so much havoc with our operation."

"That's not a reason to put a hit out on Rayne and her family." Tom interjected.

"It seems she's after you and your family for another reason. She holds you responsible for the death of her brother during one of the raids you led." He explained and stood up.

Rayne thought back to the different raids they had done and looked at Tom as they realized which one his death had occurred at. "He fled from us and was hit by a car." Rayne informed him.

"Yep, and she still holds you responsible." He answered.

"Where can I find this woman and what does she look like?" Rayne asked.

"She's blond, has brown eyes and about your height. She's been arrested before so you might have a picture of her on file. She doesn't use aliases. She's too arrogant for that." He explained.

Rayne turned to another agent who stood in the doorway and motioned towards the computer. She turned back to him as the agent quickly pulled up the mug shot. "And where can she be found?" Rayne asked, hoping he would hurry up and tell her what she needed to know, the longer she was free the harder it would be to find her.

"She's probably heading for one of our safe houses in Germany right about now. I can give you the address' of all of them there." He eagerly offered.

"Is this her?" Rayne asked, as the agent handed her a printed copy of the mug shot picture.

He stared at the picture of her. "Yeah, that's her. She's one crazy bitch." He affirmed as Rayne took it back, memorizing everything about her.

"Sign these and we'll get the ball moving." She explained and handed him the paperwork. She turned to the other agent, "Jim, send this picture to Interpol and our other agencies in case she tries to make it out of the country." Rayne handed him the picture and turned back to Norman who gave her the signed paperwork. "You did the right thing Norman." She smiled and waved the paperwork before exiting the cell.

"I hope so." He replied, writing the information down about the safe houses and handed it to Rayne.

"Thanks." She replied and exited the cell followed by Tom. "Get this sent out to our international offices right away." Rayne instructed the agent who quickly scanned it and handed Rayne the paper. They quickly headed back down the hall to talk with their other prisoner and see what kind of information he could give them. "This is good news, now let's hope we can find this bitch very soon." Rayne smiled and opened the door. "Talk to me about your boss Charlie. I know who she is. Tell me where to find her and I'll see what kind of help I can give you." Rayne bluntly demanded. She loved being in controlÉespecially with assholes like him. She relished it.

He looked at her with a smirk, "You'll never catch her. She's gone. We had a plan that if I didn't contact her by now, she would get to the safe house and try to connect with me later."

"Which one in Germany?" Rayne asked, glaringly looking at him.

"How'd you know about that?" He asked, surprised.

"I can be very persuasive when it comes to gathering information." Rayne gloatingly answered, crossing her arms over her chest.

"I want to talk to my lawyer. Have fun trying to find her!" He angrily answered.

"Suit yourself." Rayne nonchalantly answered and exited the door. "This is good news and bad news." Rayne replied, looking at Tom.

"How do you mean?" He asked confused.

"The good news is that we have a substantial lead at nailing this bitch and the bad news is, that I have to tell my wife that I have to go to Germany. She's not going to take it well considering it's so close to the due date." Rayne's emotions ranged from elation to regret for having to go out of the country.

"You stay here. I can handle it." Tom offered.

"No way. I'm going by myself. Nothing against you Tom, but I've already put too many people that are close to me in danger. I'm going over there and I'm going to bring her back kicking and screaming. Besides, I would feel more comfortable knowing that you are here protecting Lark and the baby in case she has some other person out there who will fulfill her orders." Rayne sincerely answered.

"You mean you're trusting me to protect Lark and your child?" He asked with a smile.

"Yes, with their lives and I wouldn't want anyone else to do so other than myself." She answered smiling.

"I'm touched." He appreciatively smiled, happy that she trusted him enough. He knew it was a tough decision for Rayne to do and she only trusted herself with Lark, until now.

"You better hope that nothing happens to them." She warningly teased as they headed down the hall.

"You can be safe in the knowledge that neither of them will be harmed. I promise you that Rayne." He assuredly confirmed and patted her shoulder. "I'm not sure I can say the same about you when you tell Lark you're leaving a few weeks before her due date."

Rayne looked at him and cringed at the thought. "Thanks for bringing that up again. It's a scary thought dude. Wish me luck." She smiled and stuck her hand out to him.

"Good luck." He smiled and hugged her. He patted her on the back before breaking the hug. "Be careful on the trip. I want you back here in one piece so we can both retire from this joint together." He chuckled and looked around the building.

She was surprised by the hug and smiled. "You got it. Can you arrange a flight for me ASAP? The director shouldn't have any qualms about me going over there. Now all I have to do is make it through the talk with Lark. It won't be easy." She chuckled and headed towards the door.

Tom smiled and watched her walk out of the building. "No it won't my friend." He softly replied and headed back to work.

Rayne's thoughts were lost in the events that were about to take place. She wondered how Lark was going to take the news that she would be leaving the country so close to her due date. She hoped she wouldn't be too upset. She was so lost in her thoughts that she faintly heard the song playing 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game'. The tune grew louder as she shook herself from her thoughts and realized it was her cell phone ringing. She clicked on the phone and listened to the voice at the other end of the line through her earpiece. "It's about damn time you answered the phone!" Tom worriedly replied.

"Sorry, I didn't hear it." Rayne dryly answered and made the turn into her neighborhood.

"Well, I've got you set up to leave in two hours. That should give you time to pack and say goodbye to Lark. Have you figured how you're going to tell her?"

"There is no delicate way to tell her Tom. I will just have to say it and hope that she doesn't go ballistic. Hopefully, I'll only be gone a few days. It would be nice to get over there, find this psycho bitch, arrest her and bring her home within a couple of days." Rayne hoped it would go down like that.

"Yeah, that would be great huh? Let's hope the agents that are searching for her now get a solid lead and you can nail her very soon. The agents working on the lead there will be waiting to pick you up at the airport to brief you."

Rayne stopped the car in her driveway. "Alright, I'm home. I'll catch you when I return to the states. Thanks partner, I appreciate all of your help." Rayne gratefully replied and smiled as she exited the car.

"You're welcome and see you soon. Be careful over that way you hear?" He reminded her. He had a bad feeling about this assignment and wished he could attend it with her, but he knew his job of protecting Lark was more importantÉparticularly to Rayne.

"I will. Take care. Bye." She chuckled and clicked the phone off as she grudgingly headed for the front door. She opened the door and called out to Lark. "Honey, I'm home. Where are you?" She looked around and removed her jacket, hanging it on the coat rack by the door.

"She hasn't come home yet." Jayce responded as he turned the corner.

"Good, it will be a little easier to pack." Rayne answered and headed past him down the hall towards her bedroom.

"Pack? Where are you going?" He questioned, surprised Rayne was going anywhere as he followed her into the bedroom suite.

"To Germany to nail that bitch that threatened us." Rayne angrily answered, thinking of the woman who threatened them as she threw her bag on the bed.

"What, so close to Lark's due date? She's going to flip!" He answered surprised.

"Please don't remind me." Rayne shuttered at the thought, her eyes flipping up to meet her brother's then back down to her bag as she stuffed some clothes into it. "I hope to be able to get there, nail this bitch and get the hell out of dodge within a couple of days." Rayne replied, heading into the bathroom.

"Isn't there anyone else that can go instead of you?" Jayce asked, looking up to see his sister exit the bathroom with her hands full of toiletries.

"Sure, but I'm not taking any chances with this one. She's been too elusive and I don't want any fuck ups. If I go, I know that won't happen and we can put this whole mess behind us." She answered and tossed the items in her bag.

"I don't like this at all. I don't have a good feeling about this assignment." Jayce fretted, shaking his head as he looked down at the ground and planted his hands on his hips.

"What's up with you guys? Tom is Mr. Doom too." Rayne asked, surprised by the reaction she was getting from her brother.

"Can I help it if I worry about you're well being? I just don't want anything to happen to you, that's all." He sincerely answered, looking up at her with concern filled eyes.

Rayne smiled and approached him. She placed a comforting hand on his shoulder and met his gaze, "I'll be fine. Thanks for your concern."

"Promise?" He asked, looking deeply in her blue eyes.

"Promise little bro." She smiled and winked as she patted his cheek before returning to her packing duties.

"Well, I'll stay here until you return and take care of Lark for you."

Rayne looked up and smiled appreciatively, "Thanks, I appreciate that." There was an awkward pause between the two of them and they just stared at one another. Rayne approached her brother, "Listen, if anything should happen to meÉ" and was interrupted by her brother.

"Please don't say it. I shouldn't have said anything earlier, I probably jinxed everything." He nervously replied looking down at the ground, he was worried for his sister's safetyÉmore so than usual and he wasn't sure why. He just knew he had a nasty feeling about this trip.

"I have to. If something should happen to me, please make sure Lark is taken care of for me. Make sure she's happy and loved as well as our child. Don't forget to tell her just how much I love and adore her."

Jacye sniffed and wiped the tears that trickled from his blue eyes and looked up at his sister. "I swear to you that I will always be there for Lark and for the baby if anything ever happens to you. Please come back safely." He tearfully replied and engulfed her in a hug.

"I will. Now, stop this. You're making me nervous." She nervously chuckled and patted his back before breaking the hug.

"Sorry, I'll drive you to the airport." He softly replied and exited the room.

"Thanks." Rayne answered and watched as her brother solemnly exited the room. 'Damn, why does everyone think I'm not coming back? It's really weirding me out.' She shrugged off the thought and changed clothes. Rayne dropped her bags off near the door and headed out to the back deck. She stood looking out over the turbulent ocean. The weather had turned fowl and the ocean reacted to it. 'Is the way Tom and Jayce been acting a sign that I shouldn't get on that damn plane?' She wondered and crossed her arms over her chest staring out over the ocean as the rain turned from a drizzle to a downpour. 'Is someone trying to tell me something?' She wondered and scanned her property. She remembered all the wonderful memories she had of the house she shared with Lark. She etched into her memory everything about the spacious beautiful grounds and felt as if she might never see it again. 'Shit Rayne, snap out of it. The gloom and doom twins Jayce and Tom bugged you out. Nothing's going to happen to you and you'll return in no time.' She reminded herself and shook the bad thoughts out of her head.

"Hey, I'm sorry I'm late." Lark replied, breathless as she stepped behind Rayne. Rayne turned around to see her smiling bride before her. Lark's smile left her, "What's wrong?" She asked concerned by the dour look on Rayne's face and approached her partner.

Rayne clenched her jaw and looked down, hoping Lark wouldn't go ballistic. She regretted having to tell Lark she was leaving, but she felt it was the only way to ensure their safety from this woman. "Lark, aahÉwe found the leader we've been looking for all this time." She began and looked up at the smaller woman.

"That's great, I thought you would be happier." Lark enthusiastically answered and placed her hands on Rayne's crossed arms.

"Oh, I am. The problem is, I have to leave and pick up this person."

"What, for how long? Where do you have to go?" Lark questioned, perturbed that Rayne would be leaving.

"She's in Germany and it's for a couple of days. Please don't get upset." Rayne worriedly replied, she could see Lark's eyes were tearing.

"Don't get upset? Please Rayne! Why in the hell do you have to go? Our child is due very soon." Lark angrily replied and stepped away from Rayne.

"Lark, just calm down. I know you're mad, but I have to go. I'll be gone for two days and then I'll be home in plenty of time for the birth of our child. I promise you that." Rayne softly guaranteed as she drew Lark into her arms.

"I don't like this at all Rayne. Please don't go." She tearfully pleaded and looked into Rayne's stormy blues.

"I wish there was another way my love. I have to go, trust me on this one, please." Rayne pleadingly asked and held Lark in her arms.

"I don't like it, but I trust you Rayne and if you think this is that damn important that you have to go across the globe than fine." Lark tartly replied and walked away from Rayne.

"Fuck!" Rayne replied and entered the house. "Lark, I know you don't understand all of this but one day you will. I can't explain why I have to go now, just please trust me and trust that I will be back in your arms in no time." She softly replied as she moved in behind Lark and hugged her.

Lark's tears streaked her face and she pulled Rayne's arms around her tighter. She was mad at Rayne for leaving, but she knew Rayne had to have a damn good reason to leave them and all she wanted was to be as close to her as she could before she left. "Okay, but you have to promise me you'll be back very soon."

"I promise with all of my heart." Rayne whispered in Lark's ear and kissed her cheek. "Will you come with me to the airport?"

"You bet your sweet ass I will." Lark answered and turned within Rayne's arms, hugging her. "I love you so much Rayne Donovan." She tearfully replied.

"I feel the same for you my love." Rayne smiled and kissed the top of Lark's head. "I've got to get going baby." She reluctantly released her hold on Lark and led her towards the door.

Jayce opened the door. "I've got your things in the car Rayne." He slightly smiled and headed back to the car.

Lark clutched Rayne's hand tightly as they walked towards the car. Rayne opened the back door for Lark and helped her into the luxury automobile. She climbed in after Lark was settled and was engulfed in a breathtaking, literally, hug from Lark as Jayce pulled the car out of the driveway. "Honey, I can't breath." Rayne breathlessly informed Lark who loosened her hug, slightly.

"Sorry, I just can't seem to let you go." Lark replied, looking up at her sadly.

"Babe, I'll be fine. Everyone is really freaking me out with the gloom and doom. Why are you all like that?" Rayne asked, as her confidence was taking a severe beating.

"I'm always worried about you when you leave on assignment, but I had a bad dream the other night that you left and never came back Rayne." Lark tearfully admitted and laid her head on Rayne's chest.

Rayne let what Lark said sink in and kissed Lark on the head as she lightly stroked her blonde hair back. "I'll be fine baby, I promise you that and there is no way I'm missing our child's birth or one day of their life." She confidently guaranteed and kissed Lark's head who clutched her tightly, afraid to let go. Rayne pointed out the hangar where the plane she would take was located and Jayce steered the car towards it. He parked the car and Rayne opened the door to exit. "I'll be right back." She smiled at Lark and exited the car.

Jayce opened the trunk and handed Rayne her bags as she donned her long, black leather trench coat to battle the rain that persisted. "Thanks." She smiled appreciatively and headed towards the plane as Jayce sat back in the car.

Lark sat in the car parked near the jet on the tarmac with the door opened watching Rayne discussing plans with the crew. She wasn't pleased that she had to leave so close to her due date and had the worst feeling about this trip that she just couldn't shake. Lark wasn't sure why she was having them, but they terrified her. Maybe it was that stupid dream she had the other night, something, but she didn't like the feelings she was having. Lark watched her tall lover stride gracefully across the tarmac towards her. Her heart skipped a beat when Rayne smiled at her with her dark hair blowing to the side from the wind that kicked up from the roar of the airplane engine starting.

'Oh, she's so sexy, confidant, the love of my lifeÉmine.' Lark thought, appreciative of the sight walking towards her dressed impeccably in her snuggly fitting black jeans, black mock turtle neck shirt, her black boots and that sleek black leather trench coat. Lark sighed happily and struggled to stand up out of the car. She accepted the strong hand offered by her soul mate and sidled up close to her taking in her lover's specific scent that she loved so much.

"What are you smiling so wickedly about my love?" Rayne asked with a mischievous tone as she slipped her hand around Lark's back, shifting her to stand to the side of Lark's expanded abdomen. She left her hand draped over Lark's shoulder so her opposite hand could rest on Lark's stomach. She lightly rubbed her hand in circles as Lark slipped her hand around Rayne's waist. Her other hand lovingly moved up on Rayne's that comfortingly stroked her abdomen.

"I was just appreciating how incredibly sexy you look in that outfit especially with your gun and badge clipped to your belt." Lark answered smiling and kissed Rayne's chin.

"I was thinking the same thing except I was picturing you with nothing on but a gun belt and a cowboy hat." Rayne teased and wiggled her eyebrows. She was glad that Lark's mood had changed for the better, as she couldn't take that solemn attitude she had, it was very upsetting and nerve racking especially considering she would soon be boarding the plane.

"Oh, now that would be attractive with my huge belly." Lark chuckled and rolled her eyes in disbelief at the thought.

"I thought so, you know I find you incredibly sexy as a pregnant woman." Rayne whispered in Lark's ear as she leaned down and placed soft kisses along her ear, cheek and neck.

"Rayne DonovanÉyou are so friggin weird." Lark laughed, lightly rubbing the small of her back.

Rayne leaned back and laughed, "I can't help it that I'm attracted to you. You're a gorgeous woman." Rayne answered, sexily capturing Lark's lips for a passionate kiss. Rayne broke the kiss with an astonished look on her face and looked down at her hand. "I think our baby agrees with my assessment. Do you feel that? Our little pumpkin is very active today." Rayne smiled proudly and continued to rub Lark's belly feeling the small kicks and waves of motion under her hand.

"The baby always responds to you that way honey. You know you're the only on that's able to get the baby to move. Besides, they don't want you to leave either." Lark whined disappointedly, looking into the blues that stared at her.

"Lark, don't make it any harder than this already is okay?" Rayne asked, the sadness filling her blue eyes.

"I'm not purposefully doing that, it's just that I have this bad feeling and the baby is so close to joining us." Lark answered, the tears filling her green eyes.

"I thought you were past this bad feelings. I have left many times before and nothing has happened to me yetÉnor will it." Rayne answered, trying to reassure her worried lover whose tears began to fall.

"Call it the law of average's or whatever, but I can't help how I feel and I can't get over it. I thought I could, but I can't." Lark tearfully answered, growing more anxious by the minute.

Rayne's heart sank seeing Lark so upset and wiped her tears away. "I promise that I'll be back before you know it and I promise to rub your pudgy toes when I get back." Rayne reassuringly answered and smiled at her last comment.

Lark laughed through her tears as Rayne lovingly wiped them away. "I'm going to hold you to that and I'll overlook the pudgy comment." Lark smiled, pointing at Rayne to get her point across.

Rayne laughed and leaned down to her. "Anything for my princess." She whispered, capturing the partially parted lips before her for a deep, moist soul-searing kiss.

Lark broke the kiss breathless, "You give me another one of those kisses and I'll deliver our baby right here!" Lark exclaimed with a chuckle as her palm held Rayne's face and her thumb lightly stroked her cheek.

"Excuse meÉAgent Donovan. We need you to board now." The ground crewman informed Rayne.

Rayne glanced over her shoulder with a perturbed look from the intrusion. "I'll be there in two minutes." She gruffly answered and turned back to Lark who began to cry again. "BabyÉdon't do this to me. Please. You know how much I hate to see you cry. I'll be fine." Rayne answered, wiping away Lark's tears before engulfing her in a tight, loving hug.

"Promise me again that you'll come back to us." Lark pleadingly whispered sadly.

Rayne broke the hug looking deeply into the sad green eyes before her. "I promise from the bottom of my heart to come back to the both of you. There is no way I'm missing our child's birth honey." Rayne softly and sincerely answered, passionately kissing her soul mate. "Now, go on and get in the car." Rayne ordered Lark, breaking the kiss as she helped her into the car. Rayne knelt on one knee outside the car and placed her hand on Lark's stomach as she leaned down. "Keep your mommy settled and don't come out of there before I get back." Rayne sweetly spoke to the baby as Lark lovingly looked at her lover and lightly ran her fingers through her dark, slightly damp hair from the rain. "Don't forget that I'm to catch you when you come out so, no funny stuff while I'm gone." Rayne teased as they laughed. "Bye pumpkinÉI love you." Rayne whispered and kissed Lark's stomach. Rayne glanced to the side. "Make sure you drive carefully Jayce because you've got some very precious cargo here." She warned him with a mischievous smile and a wink.

"You can count on me sis." He threw over his shoulder unable to look her in the eye. He was too upset.

Lark's heart fluttered, her pulse raced and her tears flowed harder that the time she dreaded was now upon them. "You promise me again Rayne." Lark tearfully demanded, staring deeply in Rayne's eyes.

"I promise babyÉdon't worry so much." Rayne lovingly smiled, kissing Lark deeply. She broke the kiss locking blues with greens. "I love you sweets." She replied with a heartfelt sincerity and kissed her again.

"I love you Rayne." Lark answered, clutching Rayne's hand tightly who broke the kiss.

"I'll see you soon babe." Rayne smiled and winked as she brushed the back of her hand across Lark's cheek, backing away from the car with Lark's hand still grasping her own.

She kissed Lark's hand and reluctantly let go and closed the door. Rayne jogged towards the plane and effortlessly climbed the stairs with her long legs. "Wait Jayce, don't leave yet." Lark shouted, alerting him to stop, as she didn't want to miss seeing Rayne once more. She pushed the button never relinquishing her stare at her lover as the window opened, giving her a clearer picture of the woman she loved so much. Rayne stopped at the top of the stairs. She turned to Lark smiling and blew her a kiss, feeling a terrible pain in her heart as she saw the sadness and tears in the green eyes of the woman she loved with all her heart.

Lark smiled and returned the kiss, crying harder and watched her soul mate disappear behind the closed door. Rayne took her seat next to the window and watched as Jayce and Lark drove off, her heart pounding with fear that she might never see Lark again. She was now having the same fearful feelings that Lark had, maybe all the gloom and doom had finally gotten to her despite her resilience to fight it off, maybe not. 'Let's hope we are both wrong baby.' Rayne softly replied as if Lark could hear her and wiped the tears from her eyes as she buckled her seat belt while the plane prepared to take off.

Rayne's flight was long and brutally fretful, as she couldn't shake her worried thoughts of Lark. She had hoped that taking this supposed 'desk job' she would be away from Lark less than she was beforeÉoh, there was a difference with her travelingÉa minute one and she grew very tired of it particularly seeing the pain and terror in Lark's eyes before she left. If there wouldn't have been a hit put out on them she would not be traveling here and would be home with Lark. She couldn't wait to nail that bitch and reminded herself to make sure the woman pays for her betrayal.

'This is it, my last assignment. I'm not doing this anymoreÉI don't want to do this anymore.' Rayne thought, her fear consuming her. She felt the same way she did the day she met with the director to resign. She lost it and didn't want it anymore. She loved being a Secret Service agent, but she loved Lark and their child more and no matter what kind of assignments they would offer her even though they promised she wouldn't have to travel so much, she would still have to do it and she no longer wanted that. She should have quit a long time ago and she shouldn't have made this trip. She seriously regretted her decision to do so. Rayne flipped on her laptop and began to compose her resignation letterÉthe only traveling she would do was with Lark and their child. She smiled widely, her heart aflutter each time she looked at the sonogram picture of their child that she had attached to her laptop; right beside the picture of Lark she had there too. She finished her letter and sent it without hesitation or regret and traced the tiny form in the picture with her finger, smiling proudly. She removed the picture from her computer and slipped it in her coat pocket along with Lark's, close to her heart and hooked her seatbelt when the pilot announced they were making their approach to the airport. It was too late to order the pilot back home. The thought crossed Rayne's mind more than once during the flight.

Rayne stepped off the jet and descended the stairs in a hurry, eager to get to work and get home. She wanted to get there, meet her contact, pick up the scumbag and get the hell out of the country. She approached the car waiting to pick her up and stopped in her tracks when she caught a glimpse of her contact that stepped out of the car. Rayne's demeanor turned sour in a hurry and she shifted her bags with uneasiness, trying to keep from tearing her contact's head off.

"Rayne, I had no idea you were the one I would be dealing with on this case until I got here a few minutes ago."

"Danielle, I wouldn't fucking put it past you for setting this shit up!" Rayne angrily spat, walking past her towards the car as she threw the bag into the trunk of the car.

"Agent Donovan I presume?" The man cheerfully greeted who opened the trunk for her and held his hand out to shake hers.

"You presume correctly agent?" Rayne sarcastically asked, shaking his hand.

"Oh, sorryÉagent Huard. I've heard a lot about your heroics in the agency."

"Yeah, wellÉdon't believe everything you hear." She answered agitated and sat in the car, slamming the door behind her.

"Is she always this gruff" He asked Danielle, surprised at her demeanor considering how he heard she was such a cordial person despite her tough demeanor.

"No, only around me." Danielle regretfully answered and opened the door, sitting in the passenger's side of the car.

'Wait until Lark hears about this, she's going to freak!' Rayne thought, her anger boiling at the sight of Danielle. 'WellÉmy love was right when she said she had a bad feeling about this trip.' She shook her head in disbelief.

"ListenÉaahÉRayne. I just wanted to apologize." Danielle hesitantly stammered looking over her shoulder at Rayne who interrupted her.

"Save it for someone who gives a flying fuck Danielle. Only speak to me about the case. Is that clear?" Rayne spat out fiercely with hate in her blue eyes.

"Crystal." Danielle sarcastically answered, and turned back around, regretful at what she had done to Rayne. She never wanted to see the hate in those blue eyes, but that's exactly what she got. She handed the file on the suspect to Rayne who snatched it from her hands before looking at it. Agent Huard watched and listened to the obvious hatred from Rayne and Danielle and figured it was best to keep his mouth shut. He definitely didn't want to ruffle the tall and very angry Agent Donovan's feather, that's for sure. "You'll be happy to know that we have nailed the suspect and the paper's for extradition are being reviewed by a magistrate as we speak."

"That's the best news I've heard all day." Rayne answered, perusing the paperwork before her. 'Very good news. That means I get the hell out of here sooner than I thought.' She inwardly chuckled and smiled at the thought of getting home sooner. "I trust that you are taking me to the courthouse?" Rayne asked, peering up from her paperwork at Agent Huard who looked at her through the rear view mirror.

"I thought you might like to get to the hotel and rest up before we headed to the courthouse."

"Well, AgentÉyou thought wrong. Take me to the courthouse. I want to get this over with, pronto!" She angrily answered and looked back down at the paperwork as the agent nervously gulped the lump in his throat and fulfilled his orders.

Rayne spent the majority of the day vehemently stressing her point on various occasions as to how imperative it was for the prisoner to be extradited back to the United States which the magistrate fought her tooth and nail on. He dismissed her from his chambers, informing her he would look over the paperwork and get back to her the following day regarding his decision. Rayne's mood had turned more fowl by the fact that the stupid judge wouldn't budge and sign the paperwork. They all headed to the hotel for the remainder of the evening. Her attitude turned worse when she found out they would all be sharing the same hotel suite. "Huard, get on the horn to get everything set up for when the judge signs the paperwork so we can high tail it out of here." Rayne ordered as she sat on the couch punching in the numbers on her cell phone and rested her forearms on her legs waiting for the ring.

"What are you in such a hurry to get back for?" Danielle asked with a laugh in an attempt to lighten the mood.

"None of your business." Rayne angrily retorted, flashing her a hateful look and glanced back down at the phone when she heard Lark's angelic voice on the other end. "Hey baby." She affectionately replied her demeanor instantly changing.

"Rayne I'm so glad you got there safely." Lark excitedly exclaimed with a sigh of relief. "I've been worried sick."

"Are you okay? How are you feeling?" Rayne asked concern and glanced up to see Danielle sitting in the chair across from her reading a magazine. She stood up and walked to the other side of the suite for privacy.

"I'm okay, I guess." Lark answered, non-committing.

"What is it? Is the baby alright?" Rayne asked, her concern growing.

"Don't worry the baby and I are fine. I guess I just worried myself sick. Honey, I hate us being apart." Lark admitted and began to cry.

"Me too honey. It's not for much longer though. We have the prisoner in custody and all we are waiting for now is for the magistrate to stop being a prick and release her." Rayne explained, still angry over the magistrate's reluctance to sign the paperwork.

"Why is he being so difficult?" Lark inquired.

"I have no idea." Rayne answered exasperated by the magistrate's reluctance to help.

"My parents are on vacation there, maybe my dad could put a little pressure on him and make him see it your way." Lark chuckled.

"Yes, that might work and it will get me home quicker." Rayne excitedly replied.

"Great, I'll give him a call and set everything up for you sexy!" Lark laughingly replied and blushed as if Rayne was standing before her.

"Oh, you are so incredibly sweet to me my love and I thank you, profusely." Rayne chuckled. "Let me know what you find out from dad. Lark, aahhhÉyou should know that my contact here is Danielle." Rayne reluctantly and softly replied, holding the phone away from her ear when she head Lark shout very loudly. She hated to have to tell her, but she didn't want Lark to find out from some other person.

"What? What are you doing with her? How could you do this?" Her heart raced and the anger coursed through her. She felt sick to her stomach and the tears welled in her eyes.

"LarkÉnow, hold on." Rayne attempted to calm her furious lover down. It wasn't working.

"How could you not have known?" She accusatorily asked in disbelief.

"It was never revealed to me Lark."

"Is she there now?"

"Yes, we are all stuck in the same suite together." Rayne answered, pulling the phone away from her ear in anticipation of the next loud comment.

"How in the fucking hell could you stay there with her?" Lark angrily shouted.

"Lark, I don't have a choiceÉthere is nothing else availableÉtrust me. You know I hate this as much as you do." Rayne answered, hearing no response. "Lark?! Are you there? Lark!" Rayne shouted and heard nothing but static. She quickly redialed the number and got a busy signal every time she tried. She tried again and her cell phone went dead. "Fuck!" She spat frustrated and angry that she couldn't get through. "Damn piece of shit!" She replied and tossed the phone across the room. She regretted what she just did to the phone when she heard it smash in pieces when it hit the wall. She quickly padded across the room and switched phones when agent Huard was off the hotel phone and had no luck with that one either. Rayne dialed the operator who informed her there was trouble on the line and would report the problem. "Fuck!" Rayne exclaimed in frustration and dialed Lark's cell phone, which was turned off. Rayne phoned Lark's parents hoping the local calls were not affected. She was relieved that they weren't and the Congressman agreed to meet them in the morning to see what he could do to help speed up the process. Rayne told him what happened with Lark and he assured her he would try to call her to see if he could contact her as Rayne was worried something might have happened to her. He told her he would call her right back. She thanked him and clicked the phone off. She paced back and forth chewing nervously on her lip and hoped that nothing had happened to Lark. The wait seemed as if it was an eternity as she anxiously paced back and forth waiting for his call. After five minutes of waiting, the Congressman phoned her. "Hi honey. I couldn't get through to her either. I'll keep trying and hopefully I'll get through later. As soon as I talk to her I'll call you." He reassuringly informed her.

'Damn." Rayne disgustingly thought. "Alright, thanks. I'll try to get through to her one way or another and I'll see you both at the courthouse tomorrow morning. Let's hope we can get the matter solved and be back home late tomorrow." She hopefully answered and hung up the phone. She looked up at Agent Huard and Danielle who sat in disbelief of her recent outburst and when her eyes caught theirs they quickly looked away. "SorryÉaahÉbad phone connection. AahÉCongressman Morgan is here on vacation and has agreed to meet us at the courthouse tomorrow to see if he can encourage the magistrate to reconsider his position on delaying the extradition. Let's hope he can." She informed them, embarrassed by her reaction.

"Hey, that's great. Any help to get this thing going is a welcome blessing to me." Agent Huard enthusiastically smiled and headed towards the refrigerator for a drink.

Danielle noted the distain in Rayne's look and thought it was best to leave the room until she calmed down. Rayne plopped herself on the couch and leaned her head back against the pillow. She rubbed her temples that pounded from the headache she had. 'I can't believe she got so pissed off at me. I thought she trusted me.' Rayne thought in disbelief in regards to Lark's reaction. 'I shouldn't be surprisedÉI was pissed too when I saw Danielle.' Rayne sat up quickly when it dawned on her to send Lark an email. She grabbed her laptop and quickly hooked it up to compose her email. Rayne explained the phone problems she was having and that she would be home very soon to see her. She included some mushyÉyet, heartfelt sentiments that she knew Lark would love and hit the send button. She was happy that the email made it through. She hoped Lark would check itÉvery soon. She also sent an electronic card and hit the send button after previewing it. Rayne turned the computer off smiling from the cute card she sent Lark and wished she was home holding her 'I'll be there soon my loveÉsoon.' Rayne sent out silently, as if Lark could hear her and lay back on the couch as her headache finally began to subside. She was happy that Danielle found something else to occupy herself with in another room, as she just couldn't stand to be near the woman. She pushed the negative thoughts of Danielle out of her head and instead, thought of her beautiful partner and how happy they were with one another and in anticipation of their first child. Rayne closed her eyes, picturing Lark with her radiant smile and how it made her feel so complete, so wonderful, so loved. She quickly fell asleep with that wondrous woman on her mind. Danielle entered the room and looked at Rayne who slept soundly. 'I've got to have her. All I need is another chance to convince her without Lark interfering.' Danielle thought and smiled as she pulled the plug for the phone out just enough for it to not work and not alert someone if they looked it that it was unplugged. She had to do something to insure that Lark didn't call during the night and that Rayne would not be able to talk to her the next day. 'I've got to make her see that we are meant to be together.' Danielle maniacally thought with an evil grin. She wasn't sure what her plan would be to get Rayne back, but she would think of something. All she needed was for Lark to doubt Rayne's devotion to her.

Lark frantically tried to get in touch with Rayne, but was unsuccessful as the operator informed her there was a problem with the international phone lines due to bad weather in the area and that the problem had been reported. She suggested that Lark call back later. "Damn it! What was I thinking about yelling at her?" Lark chastised herself wearing a hole in the carpet from her pacing. "Oh, baby I'm so sorry." Lark tearfully replied, hoping in some way Rayne could hear her. She was snapped out of her frantic pacing by the doorbell that rang incessantly. She opened the door to find an extremely worried mother-in-law standing before her.

"Lark, what's going on? I've been ringing the bell and you have the chain lock on and I couldn't get in with my key. Why are you crying? Is something wrong with the baby?" She desperately fired off the questions, not giving Lark a chance to answer.

"Oh, mom. I yelled at Rayne over the phone and now I can't get in touch with her." Lark answered, engulfing Maria in a hug and began to cry harder as she entered the house.

"It's okay Lark. I'm sure she isn't mad at you. There's no reason to be so upset." Maria soothingly answered, trying to reassure the distraught woman.

"She probably isn't, but I just have this awful feeling that something terrible is going to happen and I want to talk to her. I need to tell her I love her." Lark answered, her tears falling faster as Maria broke the hug and began to wipe them away.

"Honey, she knows you love her. Now, come on you're going to give my grandbaby an ulcer with all of this worrying you're doing." Maria answered, reassuringly and put her arm around Lark's back leading her towards her bedroom. "Lay down and calm yourself while I get you some warm milk to settle you." She lovingly smiled and comfortingly patted Lark's arm.

"Mother, I hate warm milk." Lark protested and climbed into bed.

"I know, but my grandbaby needs it instead of tea so, humor this old lady and try to stomach the milk." She warmly smiled before exiting the room.

Lark settled in the bed comfortably positioning herself against the pillows feeling much better. She glanced sideways and stared at the picture of Rayne on her nightstandÉone her favorite'sÉof her laying prone with her head turned to the side, intently staring into the camera. She picked it up smiling and held it before her lovingly looking into the blue eyes that looked back at her. Lark wished she were looking into the eyes that she adored so much in person. She lightly traced her finger down Rayne's strong jaw line then across her lips and thought about how much she loved her. She lay the picture face down against her heart and wiped the fresh tears that fell as she looked up at the wall sized picture of her laying on top of Rayne from their photo shoot. She felt more at ease staring into the sexy blue eyes of the woman she loved more than life itself and her revelry was halted when Maria brought in the warm milk. 'Oh, yum.' She sarcastically thought when she caught sight of it.

"Here sweetheart." Maria replied with a warm smile and handed Lark the hot beverage, sitting next to her on the bed.

Lark was reluctant to sip the milk, knowing full well she wouldn't like it. She hated cold milk and the thought of warm milk was just plain gross, but she knew there was no getting out of this one with Maria being so persistent about it. Of course, it was also for the baby, so that helped. Lark was surprised that she actually liked itÉwell; it probably had something to do with the strawberry flavoring in it. "This is not too bad." Lark mused with a smile and took another sip.

"I figured you wouldÉit was the only way I could get Rayne to drink it when she was a kid." Maria answered, smiling at the fond memory. "Oh, how she hated milk and wearing dresses." Maria chuckled remembering the many times she tried to get her to wear them.

"Really?" Lark answered with a laugh.

"Oh, yeah. Her father and I used to fight with her to put on a dress. She would pitch a fit about them and would cry when we made her wear them." Maria laughed and shook her head.

"Why'd you make her wear them then?" Lark asked, chuckling.

"She looked so damn adorable in them. We finally decided that it was causing her too much stress and we bargained with her. The only time she had to wear one was for our family Easter dinners." Maria laughed, shaking her head at Rayne's insistence to not wear them.

"You mean Rayne actually bargained with something like that?" Lark asked in disbelief, knowing how much Rayne hated to wear a dress.

"Yeah, but the little shit won out and wore the dress only once after that for the next Easter." Maria snickered at the fond memory of her daughter.

"How'd she manage that?" Lark asked with a chuckle and loved talking about one of her favorite subjectsÉRayne.

"Well, she buttered up her father who took her sideÉof courseÉand she didn't have to wear them after that. She's always been daddy's little girl and has gotten away with a lot because my husband just can't say no to her." Maria laughingly informed Lark who joined her.

"Yes, she is definitely daddy's little girl and I think she's mommy's little girl as well." Lark answered, flashing a mischievous smile towards the older version of Rayne.

Maria laughed and looked down, slightly embarrassed. "Yeah, she is, along with her two brothers." Maria conceded with a chuckle. "Let's hope your baby doesn't have her disdain for beautiful dresses if it's a girl!" Maria laughed and rubbed Lark's belly.

Lark laughed and yawned. "Ooh, excuse me. Well, I don't want to force the issue on either Rayne or the baby if it's a little girl, but I'm hoping I can get the baby into a dress if it's a girl." Lark answered, yawning again. "I'm so tired."

"It's the milk. I told you it would make you feel better." Maria smiled and pulled the covers up on Lark. "Now, go to sleep. I'll be visiting with my youngest son in the next room if you need me. I'll see you in the morning."

"Thanks mom. I feel a lot better." Lark answered thankfully, still clutching the picture of Rayne to her heart.

"Goodnight sweetie." Maria warmly replied and kissed Lark's forehead before walking to the door and turning the light off. She smiled gratefully that her daughter had chosen such a wonderful and delightful woman to spend the rest of her life with. Maria had worried terribly about them during their separation and had hoped that one day they would be together. They had to get back together, she remembered telling her husband or they feared Rayne would totally withdraw herself from life completely. Maria gently closed the door and headed off to find her son. She remembered the hurt, pain and betrayal she saw in Rayne's eyes at that time. She desperately wanted to take that pain away from Rayne with no luck in doing so. Her daughter was too damn stubbornÉa trait she wished she had never passed on to her. She was happy now that everything had been worked out and that they were more deeply in love than ever. Maria smiled at how she has never seen Rayne so happy. The way Rayne's face lights up at the mention of Lark or the baby, just fills her heart with so much joy and happiness. 'Now, if I could just get that incorrigible younger son of mine to find a woman like Lark or Holly, my job as a mother will be complete.' She thought with a chuckle and entered the family room to see her son sprawled out on the couch watching sports with his boxer shorts on and socks. 'Oh, this one's going to be difficult to match up with someone.' She chuckled, shaking her head and sat next to him on the couch, settling in to watch the football game.

Rayne woke earlier than everyone else, eager to get their prisoner and get back home to begin a new chapter in her life with Lark and their child. She showered and dressed, wondering why she had been so selfish before by not ever considering a career change. Maybe if she hadn't have been so stubborn her and Lark would have never separated before, but that was then and this is now. She didn't have any second thoughts about her impending resignation with the Service that would take affect as soon as she returned from this assignment. The only thing she wanted to do was spend her time with Lark and their child. "Child." Rayne softly replied, smiling from the pride and joy she felt inside that her and Lark would finally have a child in their life. 'I've got to get homeÉsoonÉnow.' Rayne eagerly thought. "Let's go you two, up and at them!" She shouted, waking the other two who jumped up still half asleep. She shook her head disgustingly as she examined her phoneÉwell, the pieces of it. 'You did it up good with that damn hot headed temper this time Rayne. This one will come back to bite you in the ass, guaranteed.' She admonished herself and put the damaged phone in her computer case.

"It's still early." Danielle whiningly protested, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes and climbed out of the recliner she fell asleep in. Agent Huard had offered her the bed, but she gave him the excuse that she had some work to do and would be up late, for him to take the bed. Yeah, her work was staring at Rayne the majority of the night who had fallen asleep on the couch. She envisioned her life with Rayne and how she would separate her from Lark and fell asleep with that thought.

"Yeah, the earlier we start the quicker I get home. Let's go." Rayne tersely answered, gathering her belongings as her fellow agents scrambled to get themselves ready to join her.

Danielle knew that Rayne would be eager to call Lark and just didn't want that to happen. She had a sick hope that Rayne would magically fall for her on their way home, especially with Lark out of sightÉout of mind. She picked up the receiver to the phone and clicked the button of the phone. "DamnÉmy mom is going to be pissed that I didn't get in touch with her." Danielle replied, playing it off as if the phone lines where still down.

"You would think that they would have fixed the problem by now." Agent Huard answered as they gathered their belongings and followed Rayne out.

'Damn phones! I'll just have to call her later.' Rayne angrily thought and headed out the door.

Agent Huard hurriedly checked them out of the hotel as Rayne waited by the car after loading the luggage in there for the stragglers who ran out of the building in a scramble to join her. "What's so friggin important that we have to rush home for?" Danielle asked, agitatedly as she hurriedly put her coat on approaching the car.

"My entire life." Rayne answered as the seriousness in her tone consumed her face before sitting in the car and settling herself.

Danielle was dumbfounded and felt a throbbing hurt that she wasn't part of that lifeÉRayne's. She climbed in the car and sat in silence wondering what it must be like to be Lark and to have someone like Rayne in their life. 'It must be wonderful.' She answered her own question and glanced over her shoulder at Rayne who stared aimlessly out the window. Her thoughts were far away and certainly not in the present. 'If I hadn't of decided to be honest with her, I would be with Rayne right now.' Danielle sadly thought, regretting her decision to tell Rayne she set Lark up. She was sure that she would be with Rayne if she hadn't have confessed to her. Maybe she still had a chance. She hoped.

Agent Huard parked the car as everyone quickly exited the car. Rayne urgently scaled the stairs to the courthouse and smiled when she saw Congressman Morgan and his wife standing just inside waiting for them. "Hey, momÉsir." She smiled and hugged Lark's mother before shaking the Congressman's hand. "I see you two are eager to get an early start too." She chuckled.

"Wait you haven't heard?" Julia asked, surprised.

"No, what? Is something wrong with Lark?" She worriedly asked.

"She's having labor pains." Julia answered, informing Rayne who's face blanched from the news.

"Shit! I knew I should have called last earlier. We've got to hurry. I've got to get back. Is she okay?" She nervously asked and felt her heart race as the sweat beaded on her forehead.

"There's no need to get all upset. It could be false labor pains and if they aren't, it's possible that she'll be in labor for quite some time." Julia smiled, attempting to reassure Rayne.

"Just the same, I spoke with the magistrate earlier and your prisoner is about to be released." The Congressman explained with a proud smile that he would soon be a grandfather.

"Oh, you are awesome. Let's get this bitch and get the hell out of here." Rayne hurriedly replied and headed off. "Oh, can I use your cell phone?" She asked the Congressman and took it when he offered it to her. She quickly dialed in the number for Lark's cell phone and heard that dreaded message that the cellular customer was not available. "DamnÉwhy does that woman even bother having a phone if she never turns it on?" She asked, aggravated. "I've got to go. Can you keep trying to get a hold of her for an update please?" Rayne asked and turned to leave.

"We'll do honey." Julia called out with a smile.

"Rayne, we will meet you at the airport and have the plane ready for our immediate departure." The Congressman shouted down the hall.

"Excellent, we'll be right behind you." Rayne turned around and shouted back. Rayne signed the appropriate paperwork for the extradition of the prisoner as Danielle and Agent Huard escorted the prisoner to where Rayne was located. Rayne watched as the prisoner struggled to walk with the shackles on her feet and hands. Rayne's anger mounted as the woman drew closer. "Get comfortable in those, you'll be wearing them for quite some time." Rayne smirked arrogantly and grabbed the paperwork as they all headed for the car.

"I should have just killed you myself instead of relying on men to do the job for me." The woman snidely remarked.

"Keep it up and I just might shove your ass off the plane in mid flight and explain that you attempted to escape." Rayne sarcastically answered and heard a low snicker from Huard and Danielle. Rayne grabbed the shackles around her hands and forcefully pulled her behind her as the woman desperately tried to stay on her feet. "Get up!" Rayne angrily shouted as the woman stumbled to her knees on the steps.

"Give me a break!" She shouted back.

"The hell I will! You are responsible for the death of one of my colleagues and you threatened my family and me! I'll give you a break alright, a broken bone!" Rayne shouted and pulled her along as the woman finally regained her footing after a few steps. "Get in!" She maliciously ordered and opened the door to the car, shoving the prisoner in the car that slammed their head against the car and shouted out in pain. "Ooh, that had to hurt, gotta watch your head." Rayne sarcastically laughed and sat in the car next to the prisoner.

"You're enjoying this aren't you?" The woman angrily asked looking at Rayne who was laughing.

"Immensely." She cockily answered.

"We'll see how much you laugh when my lawyer hears about this treatment and nails your ass." She arrogantly smiled.

"What treatment? Can I help it you're clumsy and fell down the stairs?" Rayne asked, glaring at the woman. "Did you two see this woman getting any bad treatment?" Rayne turned to Danielle and Agent Huard with a mischievous grin.

"I don't know what the hell she's talking about." Danielle added cockily and turned to face forward.

"Me either." Huard answered and started the car.

"We'll see." The prisoner angrily replied as Rayne maniacally laughed infuriating the woman more. If you thought she cared, think again.

It seemed as if the ride took forever to get to the airport, but it was a matter of just a few minutes. Rayne couldn't keep her mind off of Lark and hoped that she would be okay and that she wouldn't deliver the baby before she got there. She was relieved to see the airport off in the distance. 'I won't be long now baby. Just hang in there.' Rayne silently pleaded to Lark.

"I can't believe I created such a huge fuss when it was just false labor pains. I'm sorry mom, Jayce." Lark apologized, slightly embarrassed as they entered the house.

"Don't be sorry. It's better that we checked just in case honey, but you should get in bed and try to get some rest like the doctor advised. You've been too stressed out about Rayne being gone and not speaking to her dear. She'll be fine and there is nothing to worry about with her. You know that, her heart lies with one person and that's you. Now, stops stressing yourself out." Maria smiled reassuringly and led her down the hall.

"Good idea. I'm exhausted." Lark smiled and yawned. "Thanks, again." She chuckled and climbed into bed.

"Just shout if you need anything." Jayce smiled and held the door for his mother as she exited the room, closing it behind her.

"I will, thanks." Lark smiled and snuggled into the warm bed, 'I hope Rayne isn't too worried.' Lark wondered and tried to call her father, with no answer. 'Hopefully, they are on their way.' She thought hopeful and quickly fell asleep.

Rayne saw the disgusted look on the Congressman's face when their car stopped next to him. She quickly exited the car and approached him. "What's going on? Is Lark alright?" She nervously asked.

"I haven't heard anything from Lark yet, but I've got some good news and some bad news."

"Give me the bad first and get it over with." Rayne replied, planting her hands on her hips and braced herself for the bad news.

"Well, all small planes are grounded."

"What? Why?" She angrily asked.

"Bad weatherÉthey don't feel it's safe enough for the smaller planes to leave right now and they don't anticipate the weather getting any better for a few days as they are expecting another front coming through right behind this one. The good news is, I pulled some strings and got us on a military transport plane. The problem is we will have to take a round about route home. They have to make a brief stop in Macedonia to drop of relief supplies before heading home." He explained, unenthusiastically.

"Oh, you've got to be kidding me. That is too close for comfort with the close proximity of Kosovo." Rayne answered, shaking her head in disbelief that sometimes shit happens and that it can come back to revisit you in a haunting manner.

"Tell me about it. I don't like being that close either considering the opposition would love a piece of me, but Macedonia is a safe haven with NATO still there and it will get us home sooner." He explained, nervously fidgeting with the change in his pocket at the surety that he was a hated man and it wouldn't be a pretty sight if the opposition got their hands on him.

"I guess we'll have to take our chances. Thanks for arranging it. Is this the transport?" She nervously smiled, pointing to the plane and hoping that nothing happened. She had enough of opposition from that country and would just as soon avoid them.

"Yep, they are ready to pull out." He answered and watched as Rayne walked back to the car.

"Here's our chariot back home." Rayne sarcastically replied and took her bags from Agent Huard who held them out for her.

Danielle led the prisoner towards the plane. "It was a pleasure meeting you Agent Donovan." Agent Huard smiled and held out his hand.

"Oh, you're not going back with us?" Rayne asked surprised as she hoisted her bag strap over her shoulder and shook his hand.

"No, I have to finish up some loose ends here before I return to the states."

"DamnÉtoo bad you aren't going with us instead of Danielle." Rayne answered with a chuckle and headed towards the plane.

"Those two have some serious issues going on with them." He replied, shaking his head as he sidled into the driver's seat in the car before heading off.

Rayne entered the large plane and nodded as the officer acknowledged her. She stopped and checked out the seating arrangement. Danielle had the suspect shackled securely in her seat and Rayne wasn't pleased to find that the only seat available was against the opposite wall next to Danielle. She contemplated sitting next to the prisoner and thought it might be the lesser of two evils, but decided she wanted to kill Danielle slightly less and settled in the small seat next to her. She buckled her seat belt in anticipation of the flight. Their seats faced the opposite side of the military plane with the cargo securely fastened down in the middle of the plane, just to the left of them. Rayne noted the three airmen sitting directly across the plane from her next to the prisoner. "If she gives you a hard time, just shoot her." Rayne teasingly laughed, joined by the others as the large plane lumbered noisily down the runway.

The flight was loud and the seats were horribly uncomfortable, but she was going home. 'I can't wait to see Lark, to feel her in her armsÉto kiss her.' She thought smiling which quickly turned dour when she heard a loud clap and felt a thundering thud followed by a loud explosion. She felt the plane shift violently as the plane tilted upward on her side.

"What the hell was that?" Danielle shouted in horror.

"We've been struck by lightning and the engine's to the left are gone! We're going down!" One of the flight crew shouted as the plane shook violently.

"Oh, my god!" Julia Morgan shrieked horrified, clutching her husband's hand as everyone struggled to brace themselves in their seats.

Rayne felt the Congressman grab her hand and she turned to him. "Take care of my baby, my wife and my grandchild if anything happens to me." He pleaded through fearfully green eyes.

Rayne was stunned, terrified at the reality that they all might die and that she would never see Lark again. "IÉaahÉwill, but we're going to make it!" She stammered and shouted back to him as the noise was deafening and the violent shake of the plane was harrowing. Her heart pounded with fear and she had never been so scared in her entire life. She glanced over at Danielle who was violently ill and put her hand on her back for comfort. "Hang in there!" She shouted, hoping they would make it out of this alive. She felt so helpless and out of control. She hated it that her destiny was in someone else's hands and not hers. She closed her eyes and saw Lark's face before her. 'It isn't suppose to happen this way. I'm supposed to grow old with Lark and watch our children grow before our eyes, along with our grandchildren. Stop this! You're going to make it, fight! Fight!' She shouted inwardly, trying to renew her faith that she was not going to die in that plane crash. She heard the snap of the binders holding the cargo when her side of the plane shifted downward. "Fuck, the cargo is coming loose and we'll be crushed to death!" She shouted and unbuckled her seatbelt.

"Rayne, get back in your seat!" The Congressman shouted urgently and attempted to leave his seat but was stopped by his wife.

"Please, don't leave me!" She shouted terrified and clutched on to him. He tried to console his wife and to break free to help Rayne, but she wouldn't let go of him.

Rayne struggled to reach the cargo to secure it and fell down before she reached it. The plane dipped to the opposite side and slammed her into the cargo. "Owww!" She shouted in pain as she hit the solid object. She scrambled to her feet and desperately tried to tie the binding down. "DanielleÉDanielle! Help me!" Rayne shouted and looked at her who sat with her head hanging down, unconscious. Rayne searched the plane for help and saw that the cargo had already pinned the people on the opposite side of her. If she didn't secure it, everyone on her side of the plane would all be crushed to death. Rayne struggled mightily and mustered all the strength and will power she could to tighten down the cargo. She was satisfied the cargo was secure and looked up just as the pilot shouted.

"I can't hold it any longer!" The pilot announced as Rayne felt a violent thump that shook everyone extremely hard and threw her to the ground.

She struggled to stand and could see the treetops through the cockpit of the plane and knew impact was very soon. The engines roared and the plane screamed as their descent seemed to speed up. They could hear the screech of the metal against the trees and felt the thud each time the plane hit a tree. Rayne dove at her seat and desperately grabbed for it to try and secure herself.

"I love you Julia!" Congressman Morgan shouted and clutched her hand tighter.

"I love you honey!" She shouted and cried harder.

The plane's nose dipped down and Rayne's grasp of the seat belt hanging down released and she slid past her seat towards the front of the plane. "Rayne!" The Congressman shouted turning his attention to her and desperately tried to grab her to no avail as she passed by. "Rayne!" He shouted anxiously.

"Lark, I love you!" Rayne fearfully shouted and felt another violent jolt of the plane as it dipped to her left before she slammed into the bulkhead at the front of the plane. The force nearly knocked the wind out of her and she gasped for air. She clutched the handle on the wall with a death grip in anticipation of impact and felt a thud as darkness consumed her.

"Rayne!" Lark shouted and sat up in bed, her heart pounding in her chest from fear. She had been peacefully sleeping and saw a horrible image of Rayne in distress, shouting her name. She sat still, trying to collect her breath and to calm her racing heart. Lark's heart returned to its steady beat and she layback wondering why she had such a bad dream. 'It's probably just my wild imagination.' Lark attempted to reassure herself as she rolled onto her side, cuddling Rayne's pillow tightly to feel closer to her. She drew in a deep breath, inhaling her lover's scent that still lingered on the pillow. She couldn't shake the feeling she had and picked up the phone, quickly dialing Rayne's cell number. 'DamnÉshe must not have it turned on.' She thought frustrated and dialed her father's phone with no luck. 'What is going on?' She asked, growing more concerned. Lark got out of bed and paced the room back and forth. There was no way she was going back to sleep and headed into the nursery that was adjacent to their bedroom suite. She looked around the room and picked up a stuffed bear that Rayne had purchased for the baby. She adoringly smiled and cuddled the bear to her cheek as she lovingly rubbed her stomach as the baby moved. She sat in the rocking chair that was next to the window and looked out over the darkened ocean, slowly moving back and forth. 'Where are you my love? Are you alright?' She asked inwardly and hoped that Rayne was fine. Lark attributed the bad dream to her negative thoughts she had before Rayne left, thinking they were projected into her dream. She closed her eyes and saw the woman she loved in her visions as she rocked back and forth.

Maria entered the kitchen and began to make the coffee. She was unable to shake the uneasy feeling she was having. It was unknown to her why she felt that way, but she had a feeling deep down inside that something was wrong. She was lost in her thoughts and heard the coffee maker gurgle indicating the pot was ready. She poured her coffee and sipped the hot java wondering why she had such a fitful night's sleep. 'I just must be worried about Rayne being so far away.' She thought and jumped out of her thoughts when she felt her husband's arms around her.

"What's wrong honey?" He asked, concerned when he felt the tension in his wife's body.

"Oh, I'm having a really bad feeling that I just can't shake John. When did you get up?" She asked, turning within his arms and held him tightly as she rested her head against his chest.

"About two minutes ago." He softly answered, holding his wife tightly and kissing her head. He had never seen his wife so upset about a feeling. It scared him. "Every thing is fine, I'm sure honey." He replied reassuringly.

They heard the door shut and turned to see their oldest son there. "Mom, Dad." Shayan replied breathless with worry. "What's going on?" He asked, clutching his wife's hand.

"What do you mean?" His father asked, growing more concerned from the worried looks on Shayan and Holly's face.

"I thought you might know. Jayce called and told me he had some bad news and for us to meet him here."

"I knew it, something bad has happened!" Maria answered in tears, standing up with her husband's comforting arms still wrapped around her.

Everyone turned towards the door when they heard it open to see a very distraught Jayce enter. "What's going on Jayce? You look like you've been up all night partying. Did you get arrested or in an accident?" Maria asked, her tone turning angry from her son's haggard look.

"Where's Lark?" He asked, approaching the group with bloodshot eyes and a face streaked from tears.

"I'm right here." Lark calmly answered, entering the room as everyone turned to look at her. "What's going on?" She asked, confused and growing more worried by the pensive looks on everyone's faces.

Jayce inhaled a deep breath and stood before Lark, placing his hands on each of her shoulders. "I don't know how to put this delicately, but I wanted you to hear this from me rather than the news." He began and started to cry.

Lark's heart raced uncontrollably and the tears formed in her eyes. "Tell me what?"

"A buddy of mine at the White House contacted me by phone when I was on my way back here and told me the plane that Rayne, and your parents were on crashed."

"Oh, my god!" Maria and Ray exclaimed horrified and began to cry.

"No! That can't be!" Lark shouted in disbelief, shaking her head as she tried to pull away from Jayce who was afraid to let her go.

"This is horrible!" Holly exclaimed crying and held Shayan who couldn't believe what he had heard.

"No, this just can't be happening!" Lark refused to believe him and jerked away from him.

"It's trueÉunfortunately." He tearfully informed them. "They don't believe there are any survivors according to the reports they've received from the high altitude reconnaissance plane that flew over the scene." He softly added and cried harder.

"No!" Lark screamed as her head pounded, her heart raced uncontrollably and her legs felt very weak. She shook uncontrollably and she couldn't breath. Her head was spinning and she desperately gasped for air before collapsing into darkness.

"Lark!" Jayce yelled and grabbed her before she fell. He scooped her up in his arms and carried her towards the bedroom with Holly and Shayan in tow. "Call the doctor and get her here!" Jayce ordered, laying her on the bed.

"Do doctor's make house calls anymore?" Shayan asked panicked and unsure. "Maybe we should call 911?" He worriedly asked.

Holly rushed to the bathroom for a washcloth and wet it with cold water as Jayce attempted to rouse Lark. "Here put this on her." She ordered, rushing back to the bed.

"They're going to make house calls Shay! Call her OB/Gyn and get her down here. Tell them she passed out and that we're calling the paramedics!" Jayce barked, as he applied the washcloth to Lark's forehead.

"Check her pulse Jayce." Holly advised, which he did.

"She's breathing Holly!" He answered agitated and wiped her face with the washcloth, noticing her extremely pale color.

"How is she?" Maria and John worriedly asked as they entered the room.

"We're not sure." Holly pensively answered as she looked back at them, then returned her attention to Lark.

"The paramedics are on their way." Shayan answered rushing back into the room with the phone in his hand. "I'm calling her doctor now."

"LarkÉhey, honey. Come on, wake up." Jayce softly replied, dabbing the cold washcloth on her face.

"There are the paramedics!" Holly shouted when she heard the sirens and headed to the front door, "What the hell?" She asked confused and frightened when Tom shoved past Holly with another agent behind him, guns drawn.

"Check the house and get to Lark!" He nervously shouted as two other agents entered through the back door with their guns drawn. He rushed down the hall and pointed the gun at Shayan who exited the bedroom to find out what Holly was shouting about.

"What in the hell are you doing?" Holly shouted and moved towards him as he headed down the hall.

"Tom, what are you doing?" He asked nervously, holding his hands up as the gun stared him down.

"Shayan? Where's Lark? What's going on?" He asked, looking around to find out what was happening.

"She passed out."

"What? Why? Is she alright?" He worriedly asked, holstering his gun.

"That's what we are trying to find out." The paramedic replied as he pushed past Tom.

"Her doctor is in route as we speak." Shayan informed them as they entered the room. Shayan turned to Tom, "The plane carrying my sister and Lark's parents crashed and Lark fainted when we told her."

"What? That can't be!" Tom answered in disbelief and grief. "Are they okay?"

"The initial reports say that there were no survivors." Shayan solemnly informed him.

"Oh, my god. I am so sorry. I can't believe this." He replied and shook his head in disbelief as the tears formed in his eyes. "Maybe the reports are wrong and they're alive. I'm going to report this to my director and see if we can get some more information and help with the search." He informed him. He was shocked and devastated that his partner was dead.

"Thanks, we would appreciate it. By the way, why did you bust in here like that?" Shayan asked, confused by the entrance.

"Well, aahÉRayne asked that we keep an eye out on Lark while she was gone." He nervously stammered, hoping he wouldn't continue to question him more.

"She was always so overprotective of Lark." He answered sadly.

"Hey, don't give up hope. They may still be alive. Let me see what I can find out." Tom smiled and winked as he headed down the hall motioning to his men to stand down.

They all anxiously watched as the paramedics examined her and the baby with Jacye staying by her side. "Her vital signs are normal. We should still take her to the hospital as a precaution just in case." The paramedics advised.

"NoÉthat will be a media field day if we do that and she's already under too much stress as it is now." Jayce refused.

The paramedics held smelling salts under her nose and roused her. "What's going on?" Lark asked, embarrassed and feeling uncomfortable with having strangers in her face.

"It seems that you passed out ma'am." The paramedic informed him.

"Is my baby alright?" She worriedly asked.

"We think so. You're doctor is on her way here."

"I'm going to call Elaine and get her here to handle the media." Holly replied, taking the phone from her flustered husband and kissed his cheek for comfort before dialing Lark's agent. She hurried down the hall after hearing the doorbell ring and lead the doctor into the room where Lark was located.

The doctor examined Lark and the baby as the paramedics filled her in on their assessment. "Well, hello." The doctor calmly replied when she began to examine her. Lark looked at her, then everyone around the room before she laid her head back against the pillow without saying a word. "Lark, how are you feeling?" The doctor asked.

"How the hell do you think I should feel? I just lost my entire life?" Lark asked in an angry condescending tone.

The doctor lowered her head down in sadness and looked back up at her. "I'm sorry for your loss Lark, but you do have a baby to think about and I have to be concerned for the both of you."

"You've done your work now leaveÉeveryone!" Lark angrily demanded and looked at everyone. "I want to be alone." She softly answered.

The group looked at the doctor who nodded for everyone to clear the room. They all slowly exited the room stunned by Lark's gruff demands. The doctor was the last person to exit the room and left the door open to monitor Lark from the hall. She took a deep breath, trying to deal with the enormity of everything and looked at the group gathered before her. She smiled when the paramedics waved that they were leaving and turned her attention to the family. "Everything is fine with Lark and the baby, physically. Her vital signs as well as those of the baby are strong and normal. She's a very strong and healthy woman in that sense, but emotionallyÉ" the doctor paused. "She's not well from the news she just received as I'm sure none of you are either. I'm terribly sorry for your loss." She sincerely and warmly replied before continuing, "I'm not qualified to make a diagnosis about her mental state, but from her actions and from her passing out, I would say she's in a state of mental shock." The doctor solemnly answered.

"So, what do we do doc?" Jayce asked with concern.

"Make sure she eats and drinks for the benefit of her nourishment as well as the baby's. Keep an eye out on her for any unusual behavior and I'm going to contact a mental health specialist to speak with her." She soothingly informed them. "I'm going to check on her once again." The doctor smiled and entered Lark's room. "Lark, I'm sorry to bother you, but I want to check you over once more." The doctor informed her as she approached the bed.

Lark didn't acknowledge the doctor's presence as she stared out the window and thought of Rayne and her parents. She was in disbelief, shock, and she was devastated. All she could think about was how terrified her lover and parents must have been when the plane crashed. She couldn't stand to think of the terror and pain they must have all felt knowing that they might die. She desperately wanted to know if they were alive or dead. It pained her deeply to know how terrified Rayne had to have been. She didn't feel in her heart that Rayne and her parents were dead though. She didn't want to believe it, and she refused to believe it.

The doctor sighed worriedly and exited the room. "Lark and the baby are fine. I'm going to stick around for a little while to monitor them." She smiled comfortingly.

"Thank you for coming so quickly doctor." Jayce answered cordially.

"I'm sorry for your family's tragedy and if there is anything I can do, please let me know." She sincerely replied.

"You're doing plenty right now." He smiled and lightly patted her shoulder.

"I need to contact my office and let them know of my whereabouts." She smiled and headed down the hall, flipping on her cell phone.

Elaine entered the house in a panic, "Jayce! I am so sorry!" She replied with watered eyes and hugged him.

"We appreciate you coming." He stoically answered, closing the door behind her.

"There's no where else I'd rather be right now." She solemnly answered and greeted the other family members before slowly entering Lark's room. Lark didn't acknowledge her agent who entered the room and Elaine's heart fluttered from the blank look that Lark possessed as she lay staring out the window. Elaine slowly approached the side of the bed and warmly smiled when Lark's eyes finally shifted away from the window. "Hey, honey." She smiled and sat next to Lark on the bed, holding Lark's hand in her own. "I just wanted to come in and let you know that I'm here if you need me or anything else." She comfortingly informed her, fighting back the tears that wanted to fall. She had never seen Lark this lifeless and it hurt her to see Lark that way. She had always known Lark to be so full of life and now she looked as if she had lost her soul. Elaine was unable to hold back the tears that freely fell, "I'm sorry Lark." She regretfully apologized and wiped away her tears.

"Thanks." Lark softly answered and lightly squeezed her hand.

"I am so sorry all of this happened sweetheart. I'll take care of all of the arrangements. Do you need me to call any of your family members for you?" Elaine asked. Lark nodded her head no before closing her eyes to avoid any further conversation Elaine attempted to have with her. Elaine kissed her forehead and left the room.

"Did she say anything?" Jayce asked anxiously.

"Just thanks." Elaine informed him as she wiped away her remaining tears, trying to grasp everything. "I've never seen her like this before. She looks soul less." Elaine answered in disbelief and trepidation.

"We all are!" Maria cried out as fresh tears flowed harder.

"DamnÉthe media is here." Holly replied disgustedly as she looked out the window.

"WellÉthat's my cue." Elaine answered, drying her eyes and trying to compose herself before heading out to the wolves.

Jayce stopped her at the door and turned her away from everyone else. "The report I received was that the plane crashed over Kosovo after being struck by lightning. There are no signs of survivors at this time and they won't know for sure until a search party can get to the wreckage site. The weather has been bad at the base in Macedonia and they've been unable to get a search team out."

"OkayÉthen that's what I'll go with until we hear more." Elaine smiled and opened the door to a bombardment of flashbulbs, shouting and microphones being shoved into her face.

"Hey, give the lady some room!" Tom shouted and flashed his badge as he stood behind her.

She looked over her shoulder and smiled appreciatively, then turned back to the crowd who moved back, but continued to shout. "People, please. Have some respect!" She shouted holding her hands out to calm the barrage.

"Will Miss Morgan be giving a statement?" One reporter asked.

"NoÉthat's what I'm here for." She gruffly replied.

"Is she too distraught to talk with us?"

"Obviously, wouldn't you be considering what has happened to her? What a stupid question." Elaine sarcastically asked, burning a hole through the reporter with her stare. She's used to dumb ass obvious questions and usually has tolerance for them, but not today.

"Can you confirm that Rayne Donovan was on the plane with Congressman Morgan and his wife?"

Elaine inhaled deeply, fighting her tears at the mention of Rayne's name and the fact that she was dead along with Lark's parents, all of who were like family to her. "AahÉthat's what my sources have told me." Her voice crackled, thick with emotion.

"We had reports that Miss Morgan collapsed and is hospitalized. Can you confirm that?" Another reporter asked, shoving the microphone in Elaine's face. She pushed it back before answering.

"Your reports are wrong. Miss Morgan is resting here as comfortably as she can."

"Why were the paramedics here?" Someone else shouted, interrupting her.

"If you'd give me a chance to continue, I'd answer the questions." Elaine sarcastically answered, flashing a nasty look. "It was a precautionary measure for the well being of Miss Morgan and her unborn child. The family requests your full cooperation and they hope that you will respect their privacy as well as the privacy of Miss Morgan. Thank you." Elaine informed them and entered the house as the group continued to shout out questions. She shut the door and leaned against it, breathing deeply to calm herself.

"Everyone back off, move to the sidewalk." Tom ordered as his agents backed him up. They watched as the group moved away from the house and set up their camps. "Unbelievable. Don't these people have anything else to do than film people's misery? Keep an eye out for them and if they move off that damn sidewalk, arrest them!" He angrily informed his agents before heading back inside.

"Thanks Elaine." Jayce gratefully replied and hugged her.

The media onslaught had become extremely overwhelming with the enormous amount of reporters, and TV newscast trucks that littered the street in front of the house. Everyone was sick of hearing news reports after news reports of the crash. The Congressman, Julia and Rayne's faces were plastered all over the broadcasts as one after another reported the same horrible thing. "I swearÉif that's another reporter asking for an interview I'll shoot them!" Jayce shouted angrily, heading towards the front door to see who rang the doorbell. "You'd think the Secret Service would do a better job of keeping these people away from here!" Jayce replied with mounting agitation at the agents posted around the house.

"Jayce, have more respect for them." His father admonished him. "Many are standing guard on their own time out of respect for Rayne."

"I knowÉ" He inhaled and felt bad about what he said. "I'm just frustrated about all that's happening. I'm sorry." He sincerely apologized and opened the door. "Yes? Oh, Senator Abercrombe. Come in." He cordially replied, changing his angry demeanor as he held the door open.

The Senator had made it his personal agenda to help find his very good friend Congressman Morgan, his wife and Rayne. "Hello." He replied grimly and entered the house taking a seat in the chair to inform the family of the news he had. "I'm sorry to have to tell ya'll this, but the military has suspended the search."

Maria gasped in horror, her last bit of hope of the search team quickly finding them extinguished and lay her head on her husband's chest sobbing. She knew the longer it took the team to get to group the worse is was for them. He comforted her the best he could despite the tears that flowed of his own. Holly and Shayan gripped each other's hands for support, crying as well.

"Damn it! Why'd they suspend the search?" Jayce angrily asked, hoping his stubborn sister would be too damn ornery to die in a plane crash and that the search team would have found them by now. He had been holding the family together through this crisis, much to everyone's surprise. He had taken control of everything and made it his point to make sure Lark was well taken care of. Jayce had felt it was his duty to monitor Lark, after all it was his child that Lark carried and he did make a promise to Rayne to do so if anything happened to her.

"I'm sorry. The weather is bad and they are having trouble accessing the crash site, as the terrain is treacherous not to mention the area is hostile with renegade Serbian troops. They are forming a covert team to head into the area to locate the crash site and to hopefully recover the dead. The high altitude recon plane flew over and took pictures of the crash site indicating the plane exploded and there wasn't much left of the crash site. I'm very sorry for being so blunt, but I thought you should know the truth."

"We appreciate that and we would be grateful if you stayed on top of the military to continue the search. I've been in contact with various department heads to see if they can put pressure on them to step up the search effort as well as my son, and the Secret Service. Maybe we can get a fire lit under their asses to do something sooner." Rayne's father informed him.

"The more help the better. If the weather would clear up in the area they would head out. How's Lark doing?" The Senator asked, concerned.

"Not goodÉshe barely eats or sleeps. She sits in her room looking at photos of Rayne and her parents. She's become very withdrawn and she won't talk to anyone other than one-word responses. The psychologist we contacted can't even get through to her. She's very traumatized over everything that has happened and has yet to grieve for her loss." Jayce explained, sadly.

"I assumed she would be. After all, she lost her immediate family. I take it she hasn't mentioned memorial and burial plans for her parents?"

Jayce lowered his head, as did his family at the finality of his statement as it hit them. "AahÉno, she hasn't. I suppose we could talk with her and see what her wishes are." Jayce solemnly answered, wiping the tears away that filled his blue eyes. "I think it might be too soon to consider those plans, but I will talk to her."

"Okay." The Senator nodded sadly. "Please let me know if there's anything else I can do to help." He offered and stood up shaking Jayce's hand.

"Thank you." He smiled as he walked the Senator to the door, which exited. "Someone should tell Lark what the latest development is with everything." Jayce replied sadly and looked at his family who were all too distraught to say anything. "I guessÉI'll talk to her then." Jayce softly and reluctantly answered. He was afraid of what kind of a toll this was going to take on Lark, but she needed to know. He hesitated before opening the door and entered to see Lark watching the videotape of her and Rayne's commitment ceremony." He smiled, fondly remembering that wonderfully happy day and at the sight of his beautiful sister he simply idolized. He couldn't believe he'd never see her, hug her or tell her how much he loves her again. 'What I wouldn't give to hear her call me dumpster boy.' He thought with a chuckle at the pet name his sister gave him. "UhmmmÉLarkÉI aah, have some news to tell you." He nervously stammered and approached the chair Lark sat in and pulled a chair up for him. Lark looked around Jayce as he blocked her view of the TV. "Lark, listen to me." Jayce gently demanded and took the remote control from her, clicking the TV off. He looked into Lark's blank green eyes and began, "They have officially declared everyoneÉaah." He grimly informed her and lowered his head, "Dead." He softly replied, his tears streaking his face. "We need to start making arrangements for your parents and Rayne's memorial service."

"How can you have all of that when they aren't dead?" Lark surely asked.

Jacye looked at her stunned. "Lark honey. As much as I want to believe that it's just not true."

"That's because you're fucking clueless!" Lark angrily spat as she stood up and walked in front of the TV, turning it back on.

Jayce was shocked at Lark's demeanor and wondered if she hadn't gone off the deep end. He was beginning to think that Lark might need to be hospitalized. She refused to face the reality that her parents and Rayne were dead and no matter how far she cut herself off from the real worldÉit still wouldn't bring them back. She simply shut herself down and she was no longer the fun loving, happy person she used to be. She hadn't shed a tear in front of them and Jayce wondered if she was having delusions of grandeur by thinking that they weren't dead. He was becoming very worried about how this was all affecting the baby. He stood before her, "LarkÉyou really need to get a grip on reality and face the factsÉyour parents and Rayne are dead." He firmly replied.

"What the hell do you know?" Lark angrily shouted and looked up at him.

"I know that the baby you're carrying is part of me and I'm not going to sit around and watch you destroy it."

"The baby is mine and Rayne'sÉnot yours! She angrily shouted with a hateful look in her eye.

"My sister is goneÉshe's dead Lark! She's deadÉdamn her!" He shouted frustrated and sad as if Rayne purposely decided to die. He didn't see the slap across his face, but he sure felt it when Lark slapped himÉhard.

"Don't you ever say something like that about Rayne!" Lark shouted and pointed at him. The veins in her neck popped out from her anger and tears filled her eyes.

Jayce finally saw some of Lark's emotions and knew they needed to come out. "Did that make you feel better Lark?" He curtly asked and grabbed her shoulders. "Is it making you snap out of your fantasy world and show some damn emotion? Huh? You haven't shed one tear for my dead sister." He shouted, receiving another slap. "That's it, hit me again Lark! It will make you get out of your self-pity and realize my sister has left us all! Go ahead!" He taunted her.

"I hate you!" She shouted, pounding his chest with her fist as she cried harder.

"That's it, tell me how much you hate me and how pissed off at Rayne you are!" He angrily replied.

"She promised me! She promised she'd come back! She had to go over there for her stupid job that always comes first!" Lark shouted and cried harder as she stopped punching him. "I was pissed off at her and yelled at her the last time I spoke to her! I didn't tell her how much I love her!" Lark hysterically cried out, collapsing in Jayce's arms that comfortingly held her. "Why does her job have to always come first? It's more important than our child and me." She tearfully replied.

Shayan and Holly burst through the door followed by Maria and Ray as Jayce looked up mouthing it was okay. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief before exiting the room. "She knows how much you love her Lark." He softly answered and kissed her head.

"Not enough to have refused this assignment Jayce." She sadly whispered.

"She had to Lark. She did it for you and the baby."

"What?" Lark asked, confused and looked up at him.

"Well, aahÉshe didn't want you to know, but well, the person she had been trying to catch placed a hit out on her and you Lark."

"What? Why didn't she tell me?" Lark asked, surprised by what he was telling her.

"She feared it would put too much stress on you and the baby. She wanted to nail this person so you all wouldn't have to live your life constantly looking over your shoulder. She felt that she was the only one to do the job. She didn't want to take a chance of someone else fowling up the job." He explained.

"She should have told me Jayce." Lark answered, shocked that Rayne withheld so much from her. "That's why she was so stressed out. She should have shared the burden with me, that's what couples do." She softly answered and turned from himÉher voice trailing off as she thought about Rayne leaving her out on such an important fact.

"Lark, do you honestly think that you would have been able to live your life normally and not been looking over your shoulder constantly? How much stress do you think that would have been on youÉthe baby?" He softly asked, approaching her.

"You're right Jayce." She answered and turned to him. "She has her reasons for doing certain things and I believe she truly felt that she was doing this for the benefit of our child and me, no matter how misguided it was. I can't fault her for that and I'm happy to find out that her job was not more important than us." Lark smiled and looked at him.

"You are the most important person in her life Lark and she would never do anything to purposely hurt you. Tom informed me that they received an email from herÉ" He attempted to explain but was interrupted.

"What was it about?" She asked confused.

"It was her resignation letter Lark. She was resigning from the Service." He solemnly informed her, sad that his sister would not be able to fulfill her wish of retiring from the Service to spend a quite peaceful life with Lark and their child.

"Rayne! Rayne!" The voice grew louder. "Lark?" Rayne whispered and struggled to open her eyes. "Rayne!" Danielle shouted and desperately struggled to move the debris that pinned Rayne against the bulkhead of the badly damaged plane. "Danielle?" Rayne asked confused. "Yeah, I've got to get you out of here before the plane blows! Help me if you can. AAAHHH!" She groaned and struggled to move the large crate that pinned Rayne's leg.

Rayne pushed along with Danielle the best she could. "A little more!" She shouted and pushed the crate, moving it just enough to free her leg. She attempted to roll onto her side and groaned from the pain she felt in her side, wrist and leg.

"Let me help you." Danielle replied and knelt down to assist her up. Rayne pushed herself up and fell back down when she felt the explosion of pain in her ankle when she put weight on her leg.

"Oh, fuck that hurts!" She shouted and grabbed her ankle.

"I know it does, but look we've got to get out of here!" Danielle hurriedly informed her and helped her up. "Put your arm around me." She ordered and wrapped her arm around Rayne's waist to help her walk.

They struggled for a few steps and Rayne broke free. "I can walk. Where are the Congressman and Julia?" She worriedly asked and searched the smoke filled wreckage.

"I've already gotten them out. Now, let's get out of here. This thing is going to blow!" She urgently rushed her.

"Grab those packs, we're going to need them." Rayne informed her and grabbed what she could as she limped over the cargo that was strewn about the ground.

Danielle grabbed what she could and turned back to see where Rayne was. "This way Rayne." She directed her as Rayne changed her direction and cowered to cover her face when the wires sparked next to her as she hurriedly climbed over the wreckage to exit the plane. She stopped and looked at the three servicemen that had been sitting across from her. 'Damn.' She solemnly thought and stared at their lifeless bodies that had been crushed by the large crate of food that pinned them there. She pulled their dog tags off and caught a glimpse of the woman who had wreaked so much havoc on her life as she leaned over to remove the last dog tag of the dead soldier. 'Justice served even though it was a harsh one.' She coldly thought and turned away, grasping the tags within her hand as she limped out of the plane. What else could she think? She wouldn't be in this predicament if it hadn't have been for that woman. She felt nothing for the woman except relief that she would no longer worry about her interfering in their lives.

"Come on! It's on fire!" Danielle shouted anxiously and grasped Rayne around the waist, rushing her away from the plane as it blew up and tossed them to the ground. "Aaahhh!!!" Danielle shouted as she hit the ground.

"Owww!!! Fuck!" Rayne angrily exclaimed when she hit the ground and quickly looked up at the plane that was engulfed in flames. She sat up holding her side that hurt from the broken ribs she still had and watched as the plane burned. She felt bad for the people on the plane that didn't make it out alive and now, they lie in a burning inferno. 'What a terrible way to die.' She disgustedly thought and covered her face with her hand. 'I can't imagine what Lark must be thinking right now. Oh, babyÉI'm alive. Don't worry, I'm alive.' She inwardly thought, hoping that Lark could hear her.

"Come on, let's get as far away from this thing as possible." Danielle replied and helped Rayne stand up.

"I can make it." Rayne defiantly refused her help. She was in pain, disgusted by what happened, sorrowful for the people who died in the crash and she desperately wanted to talk to Lark. She needed to let her know she was alright. She tossed a few backpacks over her shoulder and slowly followed Danielle, cursing the pain in her ankle with each step. She dropped to her knees beside the Congressman who lay leaned against a tree with his wife's head resting in his lap.

"Thank god you are alive Rayne." He tearfully smiled and hugged her.

"I feel the same way." Rayne smiled and looked down at Julia who lay unconscious.

After assessing everyone's injuries and attending to the long list of injuries the best they could with the supplies that they had, they sat back resting and trying to absorb the enormity of the situation. Rayne wondered how they would make it out of this situation to find help. The Congressman had a badly fractured leg that was splinted the best it could be along with fractured ribs and a slight concussion. Julia was the worst of the group. She lay unconscious with a bad cut to her head, a broken arm and multiple bruising around her abdominal area. Rayne feared she might have internal injuries, as her pulse was weak, her coloring pale, but couldn't be sure. Her training for first aid just wasn't that extensive to know for sure. She looked at Danielle who sat adjusting the make shift sling for the dislocated shoulder she had. Rayne enjoyed putting that back in place all to well. Other than the dislocated shoulder and a bump on her head, she was the least injured of the group. 'Figures.' Rayne thought incredulously as she shook her head disgusted by the woman. She had a fractured wrist that they stabilized with an ace bandage they found in the small first aid kit they recovered from one of the survival backpacks. Her head pounded from being knocked unconscious and the gash on her forehead would need stitches once they got back to civilization. The injury that was the worst was her ankle and she assumed it was fractured too. They had taped the ankle the best they could right over her boot and the pressure of the tightly wound tape made it feel good, but she wondered how she was going to walk and help with the others.

Rayne examined Julia who had not regained consciousness. Rayne paused and stared at the woman before her. She leaned her chin against her hand that rested on her knee and saw Lark in the woman before her. They looked a lot alike and it hurt her heart knowing that Lark was home suffering from the belief that they were all dead. The tears welled in her eyes and her stomach churned, making her nauseous as she thought of what Lark must be going through. 'I'm such a stupid fuck!' She admonished herself and held her fist to her mouth to quell the emotions that wanted to spill out, her overwhelming guilt consuming her.

"Rayne are you okay?" The Congressman asked, breaking her thoughts.

She looked up at him, "No, I aahÉwas just thinking about Lark and what she must be going through. It kills me to think about it." She tearfully replied, staring deeply at him.

He placed the palm of his hand on her cheek and smiled reassuringly, "Don't worry so much. My baby girl is a very strong woman and I'm sure your family is with her right now comforting her. She'll be fine and you'll be home very soon to see her."

"I hope so." She softly answered and wiped the tears that trickled down her cheeks. "My familyÉaah." She replied and felt the tears flow harder. 'I've put so many people in such peril and devastation that it's unbelievable.' As she thought about the pain and hurt that her family must be going through, but most of all Lark. She worried the most about her and their child. She feared this would stress Lark and the baby to the max and hoped something terrible wouldn't happen to them. She wiped away the tears and pulled the blanket up on Julia to keep her warm and to keep her from going into shock.

Rayne stood up, hobbling to steady herself and not put too much weight on her ankle. She inhaled deeply to calm the pain she felt in her ankle and walked towards the ravine not far from the group. She sat down and leaned up against a tree trying to figure out how in the hell they were going to get out of this one. Her spirits were low as well as her confidence. She pulled out a map they had retrieved to try and figure out if she could find out just where they might be. Danielle approached and sat next to her. "Any idea of where we might be?"

"That's what I'm trying to figure out." Rayne replied, looking at the map and looked up scanning the landscape for any landmarks that she might be able to identify on the map. "Well, the best I can calculate from our flight time and from some of the landmarks on this map it looks like we went down around this small townÉ" she paused and held the map closer to her to see the name, "Pristinia Kosovo. GreatÉjust where we all need to be." She sarcastically replied.

"No shit! Of all the fucking places we had to crash." Danielle agreed shaking her head and looking down at the map. "Well, we need to make sure no one knows he's a Congressman and let's hope there aren't any Serbian paramilitary soldiers about." Danielle replied, hoping they could get to help and get the hell out of there without any difficulty.

"I doubt we'll be able to avoid them especially with the explosion from the crash. I'll bet they are heading this way as we speak. They are suppose to be at peace, but the last I heard they were still terrorizing the Albanians in this area. Fuck!" Rayne agitatedly replied and slammed the map on the ground. "This is so messed up." She exclaimed, frustrated by everything.

"Well, we've got to make sure we don't encounter any of them. The problem is they are in no condition to go anywhere." Danielle replied and looked over her shoulder at the Congressman and his wife who lay sleeping.

"True, but there is no way in hell I'm leaving them." Rayne angrily snapped.

"Easy, I'm not implying that. Do you think you can help carry her with that bum leg if we create a makeshift liter?"

"I'll have to. We can't stay here much longer. She won't make it." Rayne worriedly replied and looked at her mother-in-law who lay gravely ill.

"Okay, let me find some things to make one and I'll be right back." Danielle offered and headed off to collect the said items. As much as she hated that woman for everything that she had done to them, she had to rely on her help or they would not make it out of there alive. She looked at the map again, trying to chart their best possible escape route. "Alright, I think this stuff might work. It's not the greatest stuff in the world, but we might get lucky." Danielle informed Rayne as she approached with various branches and vines to create a makeshift liter.

Rayne looked the items over and tried desperately to remember her survival training instructions to see if she could come up with something. "OkayÉI'll see what I can do." Rayne chuckled and shook her head in disbelief that she was in such a primitive spot.

"How far are we from an accessible river or a stream?" Danielle asked, kneeling next to her to look at the map. "We will need to stock up on water. The canteens are about empty and I don't want to take a chance of us not finding anything once we start to head down this mountain."

"HmmmÉwell, oh, there's one." Rayne answered, scanning the map and pointed out the stream on it. She checked the compass on her watch and looked up at the vegetation, then scanned what she was looking for as a point of reference. She used a distinct ridge off in the distance just west of the stream as a reference point. "It looks to be about a quarter of a mile that way from us." Rayne informed her, pointing in the direction she was referring to, then took a quick glance at the map and back to Danielle.

"It shouldn't take me too much time to get there and get back here before nightfall." Danielle assuredly answered, looking into Rayne's troubled blue eyes.

"Do you have your gun?" Rayne asked, looking at her with a serious tone. "You don't know who or what might be out there."

Danielle opened her jacket and flashed her holster with her gun securely tucked away, mischievously grinning. "I'll be back soon." She confidently smiled and stood up.

"Good luck." Rayne replied and didn't look up as she began to create the liter. Rayne's ankle throbbed with uncontrollable pain and she adjusted her construction boot in an attempt to alleviate the pain. It didn't help. She smiled as she looked at them remembering how Lark vehemently insisted that it was okay to wear them without being a construction worker. Lark told her that she bought them for her because she thought she would look sexy in them. Rayne was glad she wore them, as they are perfect for the wooded terrain they were in. Rayne leaned her forearm on her bent knee and looked down at her commitment ring. She missed Lark so much and worried about how her and the baby were doing. 'Maybe she's already had our child?' Rayne worried and hoped that she had not. She knew that Lark must be beside herself thinking that her family was dead. She closed her eyes picturing the love of her life and inhaled deeply, twisting the ring. She hoped in some way she could feel a connection to her beautiful lover. 'It's taking me awhile babyÉbut, I'm on my way.' Rayne sent out a silent message, hoping Lark could in some way hear her. She heard a faint voice calling her name and she opened her eyes to see Julia motioning her over. She sniffed her tears back and wiped the moisture from her eyes as she stood up.

She hobbled next to Julia and sat next to her. "How ya doing?" Rayne asked with a pleasant smile, holding her hand. She was glad that she was awake.

"Lark's rightÉyou are quite the smooth talker." She barely voiced and smiled. She coughed and winced in pain as Rayne wiped the moisture from her brow. She glanced over to her husband who had fallen asleep next to his wife still clutching her hand. She looked back at Rayne whose heart ached with pain that she couldn't do more for Lark's mother. She fought the tears that desperately tried to escape. She wanted to be strong and encouraging for her despite the grim circumstances. "Yeah, well what can I say?" Rayne's voice crackled as she flashed a bashful smile, looking into the green eyes that mirrored Lark's.

"You have a beautiful smile Rayne. Do me a favor and make sure my daughter and grandchild see it everyday for the rest of their lives. Lark loves you so much." She proudly smiled and coughed again.

Rayne smiled and felt her eyes watering at the mention of how much Lark loves her. "I promise to do just that and to love Lark more than life itself as I already do and to let her know that fact everyday for the rest of our lives." Rayne answered, feeling a catch in her heart and fought back her tears.

"I couldn't have chosen a more perfect partner for my daughter than you Rayne. I love you as my own daughter and I ask that you keep an eye out for my husband." She replied breathless.

"Mom, come on." Rayne attempted to reply, but was interrupted.

"Promise me that you'll tell my grandchild that I loved them very much and that I'll always watch over them."

Rayne looked down, unable to keep her eye contact and felt the lump in her throat grow larger. "MomÉyou can tell the baby that when it's born." Rayne's voice quivered when she answered, finding it hard to speak.

Julia squeezed her hand tighter and pulled her closer. "Rayne we both know I'm not going to make it." She whispered.

"That's not true. You're going to make it and stop talking this way. Fight MomÉfight. You have to. I'm not going to let you give up. I won't do it. I'm bringing the both of you home to Lark and we are all going to live a happy, healthy life. You promise me that you'll fight like hell and that you won't give up and I'll get you home to see your daughter give you your first grandchild." Rayne desperately encouraged through the tears that streaked her face.

Julia placed the palm of her hand on Rayne's cheek and lightly brushed away the tears that trickled down her face, "Lark was right, you are so damn stubborn! OkayÉI promise." She smiled and winked at Rayne.

"That's all I need to know and remember, I don't break my promises Mom." Rayne confidently answered and smiled, lightly kissing her on the forehead. She stood up and limped away from the pair. She stood looking out over the ravine and covered her face with her hand. She had an undeniable guilt for the danger and pain she has put Lark's parents in, not to mention what she has done to the two most important people in her lifeÉLark and their unborn child. 'What in the hell have I done? I am to blame for all of this. Shit!' She wondered, pissed at herself for being so damn stupid. She wiped her face and grew angrier with herself as she thought of everything that had happened. 'I've put so many people in distress with what I've done. I just had to come over here. I couldn't have let another agent do this, noÉmy fucking arrogance had to take over! I have hurt the one person that matters more to me than life itself and I've put my child in danger because I had to finish the job. Damn it!' She angrily admonished herself and felt like kicking her own ass. She would have if she could.

Lark's eyes widened at what Jayce had just told her and she excitedly smiled, "Oh, my god. Maybe she sent me an email." She enthusiastically replied and headed for the den where the computer was located. She quickly fired the computer up and impatiently waited for it to connect. She searched her mail and found what she was looking for, an email from Rayne. She smiled as she read the heartfelt letter that explained that she was resigning from the Service as she no longer wanted to put Lark and their child through the heartache and strain of that job. She apologized for taking this long to realize that and to do something about it. She promised to make up for it every day of her life. She told her how much she loved her and that the most important thing she wanted to do was to spend as much time as she could with Lark and their child. Lark wiped the tears from her eyes and checked out the electronic card that Rayne sent as well. She lovingly smiled and looked up at Jayce. "Jayce, I refuse to believe she's dead and I won't until I see herÉher dead body." Lark stammered, finding it hard to say.

"I don't want to believe it either Lark, butÉ" his voice trailed off as he wiped away Lark's tears.

"I can feel that she's still alive Jayce. Can't you feel it?" Lark breathlessly asked so full of emotion, trying to convince him that she was still alive.

"I don't know what I feel other than a lost feeling Lark. Maybe I'm too upset to open up my feelings to anything else." He attempted to explain.

"I just don't feel like she's dead. I feel that she's hurt and lost, but not dead." She explained and saw the look of disbelief in Jayce's blue eyes that mirrored her lover'sÉthe one's she desperately wanted to look into. "I hear her talking to me, as if she's trying to let me know she's alive Jayce." She knew in her heart that Rayne wasn't dead and that she wouldn't miss the birth of their child. After all, she promised she would be home for it.

Jayce stared at her and saw the honesty in Lark's eyes and truly wanted to believe her. "Maybe you're right Lark. I'm going to call in some favors at the White House and see if I can get that search team in Macedonia out there any sooner." He smiled, hopeful. He so wanted to believe Lark and share in her enthusiasm that his sister was alive.

"Thank you Jayce. I'm going over there. I need to be close to her and make sure they continue to search for them. I can't just sit around here worryingÉit's driving me crazy. If I'm there I can be all over their asses to find them." Lark informed him and turned to exit the room.

"WaitÉwhat did you just say?" He asked, surprised and unsure of what he thought he heard her say.

"I said, I'm going over there to be closer to them Jayce."

"Lark, I really don't think that's a good idea. What about the baby?" He asked, concerned.

"I'm sure the baby will be fine Jayce, but if it will make you feel any better, I'll call the doctor." She smiled and lifted the phone to her ear after dialing the doctor's number. "I'm going no matter what." She adamantly informed him. "This is Lark Morgan, I need to speak with Dr. Garzon right away." She replied, looking at Jayce who stood next to her waiting for the doctor's answer. "Hi doctor, thanks for taking my call. I'm going to be leaving for Macedonia as soon as possible and I want you to accompany me."

"What? Lark, are you serious?" She asked, flustered.

"Dead serious. I will pay you twice as much as what you would currently earn to escort me."

"Lark, a flight is not advisable at this point in your pregnancy. You could go into labor in mid flight."

"Well, that's what you are going for, to make sure that doesn't happen." Lark was not wavering; she was going one way or another. "I'm sure I could find another doctor to accompany me there." She threateningly warned.

"OkayÉwell, aahÉwe would need an air ambulance that is fully equipped with vital medical equipment to monitor you and the baby. I'll have my staff clear my schedule." She hesitantly informed her, forming the plans in her mind that she would have to accomplish in such a short time. She covered the phone and ordered her nurse to get working on securing an air ambulance as well as clearing her schedule.

"Good, I have all the money in the world so, spare no expense. I assume you can arrange for the plane?"

"Yes, I've got my nurse working on it as we speak. I'll call back just as soon as we find out when the plane will be ready to leave."

"Thank you, I'll be waiting for your call." Lark cordially answered and hung the phone up. "I'm off to pack." She smiled and turned away.

"Lark, do you think this is such a good idea?" Jayce worriedly asked.

"Jayce, Rayne went there for us. Now, I'm going there for her. I need to be as close to her as possible. Call me crazy, or whatever, but I believe that if I'm there she will feel it and know that I'm there for her and that I haven't given up on her. I would go to hell and back for her. Nothing will keep me from doing that and I feel confidant that this will not harm our child in any way. Besides, I will have access to a full medical staff with my doctor to monitor us the entire trip. Can you inform everyone else?" She asked, exiting the room.

Jayce shook his head in disbelief that Lark would travel across the world in her condition, but he understood why she was doing it. He would do the same for his wife in a heartbeat. He informed the family of the plans and tried to settle their fears about Lark and the baby. They decided that they too would go. Jayce's father called his pilot to ready their plane for the trip as Jayce spoke with a few contacts in the White House to see what strings he could pull to get the search sped up. Maria, Holly and Shayan scrambled around, trying to get everything ready for the trip. Holly insisted that Shayan go without her as she would stay and take care of the boys. He wanted his wife to join him, but knew it would be very difficult for her parents to take care of them alone. He walked his wife out to their car and kissed her goodbye before seeing her off. He helped his father bring the luggage out to the driveway to meet the limo that would take them to the airport port

Continued in Part 8.

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