|Story 1 What Now?
Author: robertwnielsen PM
Summary: String finally knows Caitlin loves him – and that he loves her. So what do they do now?Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Romance - Chapters: 8 - Words: 68,497 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 06-26-11 - Published: 10-29-10 - id: 6436313
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 8 – Changes Coming On
Disclaimer: As usual, I don't lay any ownership claim on these characters – they belong to either Bellisario or Universal. I'm just playing around with them.
A/N: This (finally) is the next chapter in my "What Now" story arc. References are also made to certain events in my Love Will Turn You Around story line, particularly in reference to Hawke and Caitlin's wedding day. For continuity information, please check the other stories in the "What Now" Storyline, including Many (UN)Happy Returns, A Day To Remember, and Paybacks Can Be Brutal. For continuity purposes, this story takes place around four months after the events of Paybacks.
A/N 2: Thanks to AtCrBr, Nellis Air Shark, LadyMidnight1973, Rkady, Ladyhawke620, and Sirius7 for your reviews. Hope you enjoy this latest chapter – robertwnielsen
Summary – Hawke and Cait get some news that promises to change their lives forever.
"Cait? Caitlin? You all right?" Stringfellow Hawke had come into the sleeping loft and found his wife Caitlin sitting on their bed, tears streaming down her lovely face. Quickly, he walked over and sat down next to her, slipping one arm around her shoulders and pulling her close to him. "Come on, sweetheart, talk to me. What's wrong?"
"Oh...nothing. Everything...I guess," Caitlin mumbled as she tried to get her thoughts to coalesce into something that would resemble a sentence. "I'm...I'm just..."
"Scared?" Stringfellow answered, and looked into the eyes of his wife. "That's okay, Cait...so am I," he admitted. They were due at the OB-GYN in a few hours for Caitlin's sonogram, and both were worried as to what they would find out. Is the baby going to be healthy? What if...what if something's wrong? I mean, seriously wrong? Hawke had asked himself, and Caitlin, these questions over and over again. They both had agreed that no matter what, their child would be accepted and loved. "Cait...you're not having second thoughts about this...are you?"
"No, Hawke," she replied, smiling through her tears. "I want this baby...our baby. It's just...scary...you know?"
"Yeah, Cait...I do know," Hawke replied as he helped Caitlin dry her tears. "And like I said, I'm scared too...it just means I've got that much more to worry about—both you," he paused and stroked Caitlin's belly, where their child resided, "and our child. But...are you sure there isn't something else bothering you? You haven't been acting like yourself at all...practically since the day we found out you were pregnant."
"I've been wondering when you were gonna bring that up, Hawke," Cait said with a sad smile. "And I'm not gonna fib about it...but, the day we found out I was pregnant...was Daddy's birthday. And...I was happy to find out...but at the same time, it made me a little sad."
"Aw, Cait," Hawke said as he laid her head on his shoulder, "Why didn't you tell me about this before? I mean...I'd forgotten when your dad's birthday was...and I should have remembered. I'm sorry, Cait."
"No need to apologize, String," Caitlin said with a sigh. "It's just...hard, sometimes. You know how it is."
"Yeah, Cait...I do know how it is," Hawke answered her. "I have to admit, I've wished my parents were still here a lot since we've been married...and even more so now that we're having a baby. But I think they're all very happy for us, Cait. I hope you believe that, too."
"Yeah, I do, Hawke," she replied, and Hawke noticed the beginnings of a smile. "And, Hawke? Thanks."
"Anytime, Caitlin," Hawke answered, glad to see Caitlin smile again. Quickly, they finished their morning chores, then left in one of Dom's choppers, headed to the hangar.
"Hey, Dom. You okay while we're gone?" Hawke asked the older man after he and Caitlin had landed outside the hangar.
"Huh? Whataya mean, 'gone?' You just got here, for Pete's sake," Dom said, then remembered. "Oh...I completely forgot—today's the day. I must be getting old...you'd think I would've remembered something like that. Well, be sure to let me know what happened, all right? I'll keep things together around here." Suddenly, Dom noticed something wrong.
"Cait? You okay?"
"Yeah, Dom...I'm...fine," Caitlin replied, but she knew from the sound of her voice, and Dom's expression, that Dom didn't buy it.
"Aha...and I'm Leonardo da Vinci. I didn't just fall off the pizza wagon, you know. Come on, sweetheart...talk to me. You and String aren't having problems...are you?"
"No, Dom...it's nothing like that," Caitlin said. "It's just...the day I found out I was pregnant...was Daddy's birthday. And it just hit me all at once...he never got a chance to see me get married...and he won't get to see my baby."
Wow. No wonder she seems down, Dom said to himself. "Have you talked to String about this?"
"Yeah, Dom...we talked about it before we came. It's just...hard...you know? But...knowing you and Hawke are here helps a lot," she answered him honestly, and the two shared a friendly embrace.
"Well, Cait," Dom said as he glanced at the clock, "you two better get outta here, or you're gonna be late. Don't worry...I'll keep things together around here while you're gone."
"Okay, Dom. We'll be back soon," Hawke said as he and Caitlin walked towards a Santini Air Jeep.
"You all right?" Hawke asked once they left the hangar.
"Better now," Caitlin replied, and gave Hawke's hand an affectionate squeeze. "Dom just asked what was wrong...so I told him."
"Cait...Dom cares about you like you were his own daughter," Hawke said. "That's one of the reasons he tried so hard to get us together." Hawke had to smile when he recalled just how hard Dom had pushed to get the two of them to where they were. I thought Dom would drive us both insane, Hawke said to himself.
"Oh, I know, Hawke," Caitlin said. "I think Daddy would have liked you...you know? At least, he would have liked you once you got your head out of your ass." She grinned at her husband, and he returned the smile, since he knew she was right.
"Yeah, you're right, Cait," Hawke replied. "And I know my parents would have loved you," he said with a smile. "But, I don't think they would have been too thrilled with me taking so long to figure out how I felt. It's probably just as well...between my parents and your dad, I wouldn't have stood a chance, if they were all still here," Hawke said with a wry smile.
"You're probably right, String," Caitlin replied. "Well...here's hoping we get good news for Dom."
"Cait...why wouldn't it be good news?" Hawke asked. "You take good care of yourself, you don't smoke...you only drink occasionally...everything's going to be all right," he replied, glancing over at his wife and giving her a reassuring smile.
"I hope so, Hawke," Caitlin replied. "I sure hope so."
The rest of the trip passed in silence, and before long, they had arrived at the OB-GYN clinic. They quickly checked in and went to the waiting room, where they barely had a chance to sit down before the nurse came out and took Caitlin to a changing room, then to the exam room where the doctor would perform the sonogram.
A few minutes later, the nurse came back and escorted Hawke to Caitlin's exam room. "We're just about ready, Mr. Hawke," the doctor told him.
"Sounds good," Hawke replied as he walked up next to his wife and took hold of her hand. Within a few minutes, Caitlin felt the ultrasound machine being passed over her belly, and a short time later, the picture came up.
"Oh...oh, my," the doctor mumbled, not quite convinced that what she was really what she saw. She stared at the image on the screen for several minutes, as if she were trying to convince herself that the picture she was seeing was real. She quickly printed it off, making copies so Hawke and Caitlin would have pictures for whomever requested them, then wiped the gel off Caitlin's belly and allowed her to sit up.
"Doctor? What is it? Is something wrong with my baby?" Caitlin's voice cracked as she began worrying again. Something's wrong. I know it. She felt Hawke's hold tighten on her hand, and was glad that he was there with her.
"Oh, no, Caitlin," the doctor replied, smiling, as she retrieved the photos. "Nothing's wrong at all. I just wasn't sure that what I saw was really what I saw...but there's no denying the evidence...your babies are just fine."
The doctor's statement rang in the examination room for a moment, then Hawke and Caitlin looked at each other, and at the same time, demanded, "Did you say 'babies'?"
"Yes...Caitlin, Stringfellow...you're having twins," the doctor said, and handed them the sonogram photo. "See? Here's one head...there's the other...this is an arm...and another arm...and a leg...another leg...another arm...another arm...and another leg...and another leg." Hawke and Caitlin followed the doctor as she pointed to the images of the different body parts of their children.
"And...did you want to know the gender?" the doctor asked. Caitlin glanced at Hawke, who shrugged.
"I...I suppose so," Caitlin replied.
"Two girls," the doctor replied, smiling, then her expression grew concerned. "Mr. Hawke? Are you all right?"
"Yeah...yeah, I'm all right, Doctor...just thinking," Hawke stammered, as he realized the full implication of what he'd just heard. Twin daughters. Great. As if having one daughter around the cabin wouldn't be trouble enough...we're going to have two to worry about.
"Hawke, we'll be okay," Caitlin said, as she smiled at her husband. "Besides, think how thrilled Dom's going to be when he hears."
"Dom?" The doctor asked, puzzled.
"Dominic Santini," Hawke replied. "He raised me and my brother Saint John, after our parents were killed, and he looks at Caitlin like a daughter." The doctor nodded her understanding and gave Caitlin copies of the sonogram, then Hawke was ushered back to the waiting room while Caitlin dressed. Shortly afterward, they were heading back towards the hangar.
"Can you believe it, String? We're having twins," Caitlin said, her eyes shining. "You know, String, I never told you this...but when we first got together, I used to wonder what a four or five-year-old girl with your eyes would look like, when she charged into the loft to wake us up on Christmas morning."
"Well, Cait...just wait four or five years...and you'll see it...twice. There'll be one waking each of us up," Hawke replied. "Of course, they might have your eyes...not that there would be anything wrong with that, you know."
"Oh, I know, Hawke," Caitlin said, smiling. "I just can't believe it...do you know if this has ever happened in your family? Because, I sure don't think it's ever happened in mine."
"Not that I know of, sweetheart," Hawke replied as they pulled up at the hangar, and found Dom headed outside to meet them.
"So? How did everything go? You okay, Cait?" Dom started firing questions as soon as Hawke and Caitlin had climbed out of the Jeep.
"Slow down, Dom," Caitlin ordered. Dom, seeing the look in Caitlin's eyes, forced himself to relax, and Caitlin continued, "Dom...everything's fine. We're all just fine." Caitlin noticed Dom's expression change to confusion at the word "all."
"All?" Dom asked, shocked.
"Dom...We're having twins" Caitlin replied, smiling, and was not surprised when Dominic began to faint. "Dom...just relax. Come on...sit down," she guided him over to a chair in the office, and helped him sit down. "You okay?"
"Yeah...yeah, I'm fine, sweetheart. Just a little surprised, that's all. Twins, huh?" Caitlin and String both nodded, smiling. "Geez, String...when you do something, you do it right!" Dom laughed and exchanged a friendly embrace with his younger surrogate son, then extended one to Caitlin. Suddenly, a thought struck him. "Do you know...?"
"Yeah, Dom...twin girls," Caitlin replied, smiling. "The doctor told us."
"Well, congratulations, you two. And String...I just wish I knew if I was gonna be around fourteen or fifteen years from now...to see the look on your face when those girls start dating," Dom chided his friend. "'Course...if they find two guys like you and Saint John...how could they go wrong?" Hawke couldn't help but notice the smiles in both Dom and Caitlin's eyes at that question.
"I don't know, Dom. I guess we'll all find out," Hawke said, as the three resumed their workday.
Saint John's apartment
"Hello?"Saint John Hawke heard as someone answered the phone. He thought the voice sounded familiar, but wasn't sure.
"Yes...Saint John, is that you?"
"Yeah...how are you?"
"Oh...I have my good days, and my bad days," Erin O'Shannessy replied. She was recently divorced, and had reverted to using her maiden name. "Seems kinda weird that I still feel this way...I've been a divorced woman for a while now...and he wasn't worth my getting upset...but I do. But, I didn't expect you to call. Heck, I even forgot that I gave you my number at Cait and String's wedding So, what's up? Something wrong with Caitlin? Or String?"
"Nothing I know about,"Saint John replied. "Of course, knowing my brother like I do, that doesn't really surprise me. I haven't talked to him for a few days. I was...just thinking about you."
"Well, then you've got one better on me, Saint John," Erin answered, and Saint John thought he could hear the smile in her voice. "'Cause I haven't talked to either one of them for weeks. I sure hope nothing's wrong," Erin said, then realized what Saint John had said a moment ago. He's been thinking about me? That's a surprise.
"Well...you could always come out here and find out," Saint John replied.
"Is that an invitation, Mr. Saint John Hawke?" Erin asked.
"Well...do you want it to be?"
"Maybe," Erin replied, but her tone of voice indicated something else.
"Okay then. It's an invitation. Why not come out here, maybe you can catch me up on what's happening in your life...and we can track down our renegade relatives," Saint John replied.
"Well...I'll think about it," Erin replied hesitantly. "I'll...um...I'll talk to you soon, all right, Saint John?"
"Okay, Erin," Saint John replied, and he hoped she didn't pick up on the sadness in his voice. "Talk to you later, then." He hung up the phone, surprised at how disappointed he was.
As Erin heard Saint John hang up, her mind was filled with questions. Why in the world did I hesitate? He's just being friendly...and after all, he is my brother-in-law. It's not like...she had to stop herself. Or...is it? She couldn't help but remember what it had felt like dancing with Saint John at Hawke and Caitlin's wedding. Oh, stop it, Erin! She told herself fiercely. If Cait knew what I was thinking right now...she'd either kill me, or laugh in my face. And, I don't know which would be worse. Sighing, Erin picked up the phone again, and made a call to the airport.
"Cait? Can I talk to you for a sec?" Dom asked later that afternoon.
"Sure, Dom. What's up?" Caitlin replied, with a smile on her face that indicated she was over her emotions of earlier in the day.
"Well...you were telling me earlier this morning about how it felt...finding out you were pregnant on your dad's birthday and all...and I wanted to apologize for not realizing it sooner. I should have known—that date's marked on the calendar, along with all our birthdays...and your anniversary, of course," Dom said, knowing that even Michael and Marella's birthdates were marked.
"Dom, it's fine," Caitlin replied. "String was the same way this morning before we came in...and it's okay—you two can't be expected to remember every single detail of all our lives," she continued with a grin.
"Well, thanks, Cait...and remember...you ever need somebody to talk to...or just listen to you...I'm always here for you. You know I love you like you were my own daughter, right?" Dom asked.
"I know, Dom...and, thanks. I might take you up on that every now and again," Caitlin said, even as they exchanged another friendly embrace.
"Anytime, Cait. Any time," Dom replied. Hope Cait means that, Dom said to himself.
"Cait? You okay?" Hawke walked over to where Caitlin was standing. He'd noticed Dom talking to Caitlin a few minutes earlier, and was concerned.
"Yeah, String...I'm fine," she answered him, and Hawke was relieved to notice a smile on her face. "Just...thinking about what we found out this morning."
"Yeah," String replied as he slid an arm around her shoulders, "I've been thinking a lot about that, too...but we can talk about it at home, all right?"
"Okay, String," Caitlin replied.
"By the way, what were you and Dom talking about? Looked like you were having a pretty serious discussion before," Hawke said.
"Nothing big, Hawke," his wife told him. "Dom just wanted me to know that he was here...if I ever need somebody to talk to...like he is with you, you know?"
"Yeah, I do know," Hawke replied, relieved that there hadn't been something more serious going on. "Of course, you know I'm always here for you, too, right?"
"Of course I know that, Hawke," Caitlin answered, smiling at her husband. "It's just nice to know there's somebody else around, in case you're not, for whatever reason."
"I know, Cait," Hawke replied. "I'm glad you feel like you can talk to Dom...heck, I remember a time you didn't feel like you could talk to either one of us."
"Yeah...but that was before you and I figured out how we felt about each other, String," Caitlin said, "And I was still uncomfortable around Dom...looked at him more as a boss, and not so much as a friend. But that's all behind us now. Now...it feels like we're...a family, just like you said we were." She had to pause and wipe a tear from her eye, then noticed Hawke doing the same.
"Yeah, Cait," he answered her. "We're a real family, all right."
"What's wrong, you two?" Dom demanded, having walked over and found both Hawke and Caitlin wiping tears from their eyes.
"Nothing, Dom," Hawke assured his friend. "We're just talking about...family, that's all."
Dom's expression brightened. "Yeah...and the family's gonna be getting bigger before long," he said, and winked at Caitlin. "These next five months are gonna pass before you know it."
"I sure hope so," Caitlin retorted. "You men...you have all the fun, and then leave us women to do the hard work!" Both Hawke and Dominic recoiled at the force of Caitlin's statement, then noticed the gleam in her eyes. "Oh, I'm just teasing, you guys!" She wrapped her arms around both her husband and Dom, and shared another embrace.
"And to think, you're going to go through another five months of this, String," Dom said with a grin.
"It might surprise you to hear this, Dom...but, I'm looking forward to it," String said with a smile directed at his wife.
"Good answer, Hawke," Caitlin replied, and winked at him.
Saint John's Apartment
Saint John was even more depressed after he had talked to Erin. And here I thought that would make me feel better, he said to himself with a sigh. Now I'm worried about String and Caitlin. What he couldn't understand was why he was also so concerned about Erin. Wouldn't that be...I dunno...weird? Getting involved with my sister-in-law? I mean...she is attractive...very attractive, actually. But...Suddenly, Saint John heard a knock at the front door. "Just a minute!" he called out, setting down the bottle of beer he'd been drinking and walking to the front door.
"Erin?" Saint John's shock at seeing Caitlin's sister standing in his front door was plastered all over his face.
"Surprise!" she replied.
"Come on in," Saint John said, smiling, as Erin walked into his apartment. "What are you doing here?"
"You invited me, silly," Erin replied. "Or have you forgotten our phone conversation already?"
She's Cait's sister, all right, Saint John said to himself. Aloud, he said, "No, Erin, I remember. I just got the impression you weren't interested in my invitation. Guess I was wrong."
"Yep. You were wrong," Erin said, and grinned at him. "I thought about what you said...and decided I'd take you up on the invitation. You don't mind, do you?"
"Mind? You're kidding, right? Why would I mind? Like you said, I invited you," Saint John replied, smiling. "Can I get you something to drink?"
"Yeah...I'll have one of what you're having," Erin replied. Saint John got another bottle out of the fridge, opened it, and handed it to her.
"Thanks, Saint John," Erin said, smiling. "So. What's Stringfellow's older brother been up to these days?"
"Oh, not much. I should be at the hangar today, but Dom said I didn't need to be there...but, I'll bet String and Cait are. Hey...I got an idea...you want to..."
"Surprise them?" Erin finished his sentence for him, then took a big swig of her beer. "Sure. Sounds like fun." They both left their drinks on the table, then walked out of Saint John's apartment. A few minutes later, they were on their way to the hangar.
"Dom? We expecting any visitors today?" String called out as he heard a car approaching the hangar.
"Not that I know of," Dom said, "but if they're offering work, we'll take it!"
What surprised everybody was when Saint John got out of the car. "Hey, String! Cait around here?"
"Yeah, she's here. Just a sec," String replied. A moment later, he and Caitlin walked back out of the hangar. "You lookin' for my wife for some reason, Sinj?" Hawke asked, but the reason became obvious a moment later.
"Erin! What the heck are you doing here?" Caitlin asked. Erin quickly walked over and gave her sister a hug, then extended one to String.
"Your brother-in-law invited me," Erin replied. "I'd forgotten about giving him my phone number when you got married, sis...until he up and called me earlier this morning. We got to talking, and one thing led to another..."
"And you decided to come and visit, right?"
"Right," Erin replied, grinning at her younger sister.
"Well, come on in, you two," Dom said, having noticed the new arrivals. "You staying long, Erin?"
"I dunno. I'll figure it out, though," Erin said.
"By the way, Erin...Saint John...we have something to tell you," String said, then turned to his wife. "Cait?"
"Oh, it's nothing, really...just that...I'm pregnant. With twins."
Saint John's jaw dropped almost to the concrete, while Erin grabbed her sister in a congratulatory hug. Finally, Saint John grabbed String and hugged him. "Congratulations, little brother."
"Thanks, Saint John," String replied with a smile.
"Cait, when did you find out about this?" Erin demanded.
"Well, I've known I was pregnant for a few months now," Caitlin answered her sister, "but we only learned that I'm carrying twins this morning." The smile she wore could have lit up the entire Van Nuys airport by itself.
"Do you know...boys, or girls?" Saint John asked.
"Girls," Caitlin replied, still smiling. Congratulatory hugs were again passed all around.
"Hey, you know...I've got an idea," String said with a smile. "Dinner at the cabin?"
"Sounds like a great idea, String," Saint John replied. "Dom? You cooking?"
Dom looked over at String, who nodded affirmatively. "Guess it's spaghetti night tonight," he said, and smiled at the reaction his pronouncement generated.
"So...we'll see you up there after while, guys?" String asked.
"Yeah, I figure we'll come up in an hour or so," Dom replied, as they finished closing down the hangar.
"All right," String replied. "We're looking forward to it!" He and Caitlin waved as they boarded their chopper to head home.
"Well, this ought to be fun," Caitlin said as they approached the cabin. "You think Erin's...I dunno...interested in Saint John, String?"
"Could be," Hawke replied with a shrug. "Remember, they were awfully cozy at our wedding."
"Yeah, I seem to remember that," Caitlin replied, smiling at the memory. "They looked almost as happy as we were that day. Which was nice to see, considering what was going on in Erin's life. We'll just have to see what happens, won't we?"
"Yeah, Cait," Hawke said as he brought their chopper down a short distance away from the cabin, leaving the dock clear for Dom's chopper to land. "We'll see what happens." I just hope Erin doesn't make Saint John into some kind of rebound thing, String said to himself as he and Caitlin walked back to the cabin. That wouldn't be fair to either one of them.
"String, don't worry about Erin," Caitlin told her husband. "She knows better than to use your brother as a rebound."
"How the heck did you...ah, forget it," Hawke grumbled. One of these days, I'm gonna figure out how she does that, he determined.
"String...it was written all over your face," Caitlin told him. "It didn't take a genius to figure out what you were thinking just now. You're worried that Erin might use your brother as a rebound from her ex-husband. Well, I can guarantee you – she's too smart for that. If she's interested in Saint John...it's real. Trust me."
"You know I trust you, Cait." Hawke said. "And, you're right – Erin's too smart to do something like that...and, Saint John's too smart to fall for something like that. I think he'd see that coming a mile away. So, I won't worry about it anymore, okay?"
"Good choice, String," Caitlin answered him with a seductive smile; one which held promise for later in the evening.
It wasn't long before String heard the helicopter announcing that Dom and the rest of the evening's guests had arrived.
"Come in, everybody," String announced as Dom led the procession into the cabin.
"I'd almost forgotten how beautiful this place is, little brother," Saint John said as he glanced around the cabin.
"Thanks, Sinj," String replied, and smiled at his older brother.
"Cait, what is your secret? I can't remember the last time I saw String smile so much," Saint John said, marveling in the change in his brother's demeanor. He's like a whole different person, Saint John said to himself. No...he's more like himself again. The way he was before our parents died.
"No big mystery, Saint John—I love him. And, that makes him happy," Caitlin said.
"I can see that," Saint John replied. "And I don't ever want to stop seeing it."
"Don't worry about that, Saint John. I don't plan on letting String go any time soon."
"That's good to know, Cait," Saint John said as he and Erin made themselves comfortable, and Dom went into the kitchen to start dinner.
"And, the feeling is mutual," String said as he put his arm around his wife. "I don't ever want to be without Caitlin, ever."
"I guess it just surprises me, that's all," Saint John said with a knowing glance at String. "But seriously, little brother...doesn't your face get tired from smiling all the time?"
"Nope," String replied, and his grin got even wider. "Besides, why shouldn't I be smiling? I'm married to a wonderful woman, my brother's alive and home...my life is so much better now." He turned and gave Caitlin a short, but passionate kiss.
"Okay, guys, enough with this mushy stuff," Erin said, but her grin gave away her true feelings.
"Hey, guys...dinner's on!" Dom shouted from the kitchen as he carried the spaghetti out to the table.
"Saved," String answered his friend with a smile, and the foursome rose and walked to the dinner table.
Dinner was a pleasant occasion, with the conversation switching between Caitlin's pregnancy and general goings-on at the hangar. Both Erin and Saint John expressed their regrets about not communicating better with Caitlin and String.
"It's okay," Caitlin told her sister and brother-in-law. "Besides, we're just as guilty...we all need to do a better job keeping in touch. Especially with you, Erin."
"Yeah, well...I have had a few other things on my mind," Erin said with a downcast expression. "But, that's over and done with...so I can get on with my life," she said, casting a glance over at Saint John.
"Well, good luck, Erin," Caitlin replied with a smile. "Hopefully things will get better for you."
"Yeah, I hope so," she agreed. "Maybe I'll find somebody like String."
String turned at that comment, and Caitlin responded, "Sorry, sis. There's only one guy like String around that I know of...and he's mine." Everyone laughed at Caitlin's comment.
"Geez, sis. I said 'somebody like String,' remember?" Erin asked. "I can't believe String's the only good guy in the whole world. There have to be other guys who aren't like...well, you know.."
"No, Erin, we aren't all like him," Saint John spoke up, surprising everyone. "Sounds to me like you just got a bad apple, that's all." He smiled at Erin, a warm, friendly smile that nearly took her breath away.
"Thanks, Saint John," Erin replied, and smiled back.
A few hours later, Saint John and Erin were ready to leave. "Well, little brother, this has been fun," Saint John told his brother as the two exchanged a brotherly embrace. "Let's do it again, soon."
"That's a deal," String replied, smiling at his older brother.
"I hate to say it, but I agree with Saint John," Erin said. "We definitely need to talk and get together more often. Maybe next time, you two, Dom, and Saint John can come down to Texas."
"That sounds like fun," Stringfellow replied with a smile. Dom led Saint John and Erin back to the dock, and String and Caitlin watched and waved as Dom's helicopter took off.
"Well, that was fun," Caitlin told her husband. "Hope things work out for Erin...and whoever."
"Me too, Cait," String answered her. "I want your sister to be happy...just like we are."
"I'm glad to hear that, String," Caitlin said, as she smiled at her husband. "And who knows? Maybe Erin and Saint John will end up together. That wouldn't be so bad, would it?"
"No, Cait, it wouldn't be so bad," Hawke answered her. "As long as they both end up happy, it would be just fine."
"By the way, String...you said we could talk about the baby...oops...the babies, later," Caitlin said with a smile. "Well, it's later."
"Yeah," Hawke said as he remembered his words from earlier in the day. "I hope what we found out today doesn't change your mind any."
"Nope," Caitlin sighed as she leaned her head against Hawke's shoulder. "I admit it scares me that we're gonna be the parents of twins...but it doesn't change anything. I want our daughters, String."
"So do I, Cait," Hawke replied as he wrapped his wife in his arms. "So do I."
Outside Erin's Hotel
"Saint John, I wanted to tell you...I had a really good time tonight," Erin said when she and Saint John arrived at her hotel. "But I think Cait and String are worried about something."
"Let me guess – you think they're worried that you're using me as some kind of rebound from your ex-husband. Right?" Saint John grinned.
"Yeah. But I would think Cait would know I would never do something like that," Erin said.
"Well, Erin. I think I know you well enough to know that you wouldn't do something like that," Saint John replied. "And, I like to think I'm smart enough to know when someone is trying to do that. And I don't get that impression with you. So," he said with a smile, "what do you say we just see where we go from here?"
Those eyes run in the family, Erin said to herself as she looked up at Saint John. "I...I think I'd like that," she said with a smile. Saint John gently kissed her on the cheek, then turned and walked back to his car.
As he drove back to his apartment, Saint John thought over what had happened during the evening. I don't think Erin would use me to get over her ex-husband, he thought to himself. It will be interesting, though...seeing where things go from here.
As Erin watched Saint John's car leave the parking lot, she thought about the kiss he gave her just before he left. Why would he do that? He knows we're just friends, Erin said to herself. But...why do I find myself wishing we could be more? Is Cait right? AM I using Saint John to try to get over my ex-husband? Brother, I hope not, she said to herself as she walked back into her hotel room and got ready for bed. That wouldn't be fair to either Saint John...or me.
"Well, String...that was a lot of fun, don't you think?" Caitlin asked as they finished the dinner dishes, then collapsed on the couch.
"Yeah...we definitely need to do that more often," String replied as Caitlin sat down next to him. "Of course, Erin won't be around all the time...but it will be nice for the four of us to get together."
"Yeah...I'd forgotten how much I like having my big sis around," Caitlin said as she smiled at her husband. "You get the feeling she likes Sinj?"
"H mm...I'm not really sure," Hawke replied. "I mean, they seemed friendly enough...but I don't know. I suppose, we'll just see what happens with them...kinda like you and me, in the beginning, you know?"
"Yeah, I do know," Caitlin replied, leaning her head onto Hawke's shoulder. "I sure hope they don't dance around their feelings for as long as we did."
"I hope so, too, Cait," String answered. "That wouldn't be fair to either one of them. And just for the record, I want Erin to be happy. And, if she finds that happiness with Saint John...or some other guy...it doesn't matter."
"Thanks, String," Caitlin said. "Of course, I want to see Saint John happy, too. And, if Erin makes him happy, then so much the better, right?"
"Right," Hawke agreed as he stood up. "Join me?" He asked, offering his hand.
"Stringfellow Hawke, I thought you'd never ask," Caitlin said as she stood and took his hand. Together, they went upstairs, where they planned to spend the rest of the evening.