|Knock Three Times
Author: Akasha617 PM
Babe short that was meant to be a one-shot because I was feeling sappy and fluffy. Now it has some closure.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Angst - Ranger M. & Stephanie P. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 2,554 - Reviews: 37 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 03-13-08 - Published: 07-26-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3682908
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Just a one-shot, one of those things I couldn't get out of my mind.
I appreciate all comments, as usual, they mean the world to me
Disclaimer: I still don't own any of the characters. -sigh-
Knock Three Times
"Yo." I sat up in bed, glancing at the clock. Two in the morning. While there were a number of people that could call me at this hour, I knew it was Stephanie. It was a feeling.
"Ranger, I…I'm sorry to wake you," she said. I had to smile. Like I ever gave her a hard time about waking me. She knew I'd help whatever time it was.
"The last time I called you at this hour I was naked and cuffed to the shower rod, right?" She giggled nervously. I remembered that time and couldn't help thinking it would have a whole other outcome if it happened now. For starters, I wouldn't let Morelli get away with it. But more importantly, I wouldn't just leave.
"Everything okay, Babe?"
"Uhm…I'm sorry I'm calling so late but…I just got home and…there's someone in my apartment and…could you come over, I…"
I was already out of bed. "Babe, what…," the line was dead. I hit the end button and dialed her number, but it went straight to voicemail. Fuck.
I grabbed my shirt and cargos on my way out of the bedroom, calling the control room with my free hand.
"Who do we have on or near Hamilton?" I asked Junior when he picked up. I was even more irritated now because it had taken two rings for him to answer. He checked his board.
"Santos and Brown are on Hamilton, just returning from the Hillman account," he said.
"Sent them over to 310 Dunworth immediately," I barked. I knew I didn't have to tell Junior or the team what they were going to do there. They knew the address.
"Right away," Junior confirmed and disconnected.
I was standing at the elevator with my gun belt in hand, but I didn't have the patience to wait and took the stairs down.
When I got to the garage I called Santos for an update. They were still on their way. I called Steph and got her voicemail again. I felt panic. It was an unusual feeling, I didn't do panic, or fear, or any of those. Unless Steph was involved. "Babe," I sighed exasperated as I got into my truck and sped out of the garage. If I was honest with myself, I'd have to admit that the reason I'd fought for so long to keep my distance was because of those feelings.
I'd been in my share of tricky situations. War was never easy. But I'd never been afraid. I'd never feared anything until I'd feared for Steph's life the first time. The first time I thought I couldn't make it in time, she'd be dead by the time I'd find her.
I'd hated the reality of it. I knew there was this woman I cared so much about it scared me to think of my life without her. If any of my men said something like that to me, I'd laugh in their face and call them a sap. And that's what I was, a sap.
I'd told her once that I had the muscle and she had the power. It wasn't a joke.
I ran a red light shaking my head.
It was my fault she was in danger. No, I hadn't sent her a stalker or a lunatic, but I'd refuse to be with her. I knew she'd broken up with the cop and still I kept my distance. Why? Because it scared me that she could scare me, idiotic as that is.
My phone rang and I hit the speaker button, "Talk."
"We're on location," Santos reported. "NTR outside. Bobby's taking the fire escape, I'm going up the stairs inside."
"I'll be there in less than five," I said and hung up. It was unlikely cops were out at this hour to catch speeders, but if they were, I couldn't care less.
I took the corner of St. James and Dunworth on barely two tires, coming to a screeching halt in front of Steph's building, right behind Santos' SUV.
I was up on the second floor in a flash. Santos was by the door. The lock was broken, some amateur's version of breaking and entering.
I just looked at Santos and he motioned towards the living room. I didn't dare breathe until I realized he was showing me the destruction, not Steph's body.
I almost laughed out loud when I realized whoever had broken in had ransacked her apartment, but she wasn't here. Just outside her front door, I'd tried to prepare myself for the worst.
"She's not here," I stated the obvious and turned when I heard a noise from the bedroom. Seconds later, Bobby came into the living room.
"No sign of struggle in the bedroom," he said. I wanted to shake them both for what they weren't telling me. I could see my Babe wasn't in the apartment, but where was she? Now that the relief from not finding her hurt or dead had worn off, I was getting worried again.
"Where is she?" I glared at Santos and Brown. Yes, that's how I thought of it, I glared. Not that I'd admit it to the men, but she has me thinking in her terms. Apparently it worked because Santos lowered his eyes, Brown cleared his throat.
It wasn't fair to make them responsible for her, I reminded myself. And if it was anyone's fault she'd been alone tonight, it was mine.
I ran a hand through my hair. Where had she been until two AM anyway? She wasn't back with the cop, was she? It would serve me right for staying away and out of her bed so long, but I hoped it wasn't true. When I found her, I'd find out. When, not if, she was fine, I just had to…
I turned at the sudden noise from the foyer.
Steph stood, looking like a lost little girl, her hair wet and matted to her scalp, her eyes wide. She looked like she'd seen a ghost.
"Babe," I said and pulled her into my arms a millisecond later. She threw her arms around my neck and held on like a drowning swimmer.
I didn't notice when Santos and Brown left, when I finally looked up and they were gone, the front door closed as far as it would go.
"Babe, don't you ever scare me like that again," I whispered into her hair. She just sobbed and held me closer.
"Shhh," I said, "It's all good. I'm not gonna let you go…"
"You promise?" She sobbed. I picked her up, unable to answer her right away because I thought my voice might break. I cradled her close to me and carried her over to the bedroom.
"I promise," I finally said when I put her down on the bed and slid in behind her, covering us both with the blanket.
I held her until she stopped shivering and then I ran my hands over every part of her body, assuring she was unhurt and here, in my arms.
And I'd never let her go. A promise was a promise.