Hunter had watched her all day. Her mood had been - odd, to say the least. He thought at first she might have been stressful or nervous about her upcoming trip to Quantico, but no. He had been her partner for more than three years, and had known her longer than that. He felt like he knew her better than he knew anyone, even his own family. He had made a couple of gentle inquiries before feeling like he had stepped on a rattlesnake, and he decided to leave it alone for the time being.

McCall knew she should just tell Hunter what was bothering her. She had wanted to call him the night before, when the feeling began creeping up on her. 10 years. It was ten years ago today when her and Steve had married. A simple yet elegant ceremony, with their parents and friends, academy instructors, Steve's captain. For a short time, they were happy and blessed. Too short a time, before his life was cut short, and her heart shattered.

"William 57, come in please," Hunter said with a smile, interrupting her thoughts.

McCall's head snapped up, her brow furrowed in irritation. "What? I'm trying to concentrate here."

Hunter, recognizing her temper rising, took a breath and steepled his hands together before continuing. "You know, it's gettin' kinda into the afternoon here, and all your concentrating on that report has gotten you one typed sentence." McCall sighed, adjusting her typewriter. "Come on, I'm starved, want to get some lunch? We could go to Max's. I know it's your favorite greasy spoon."

McCall had tried to ignore Hunter's attempt at conversation. But the words 'greasy spoon', even though she had said them a hundred times herself, brought Steve's face front and center to her mind and she felt herself almost physically recoil back in her chair. She brought her hand up to her mouth to try to cover her cry, then quickly got up walked away from their desks.

Hunter blinked, his brain taking a moment to spur his body into action. He grabbed his coat off the back of his chair and quickly followed McCall down the hallway that led to the interrogation rooms.

DeeDee stopped at the end of the hall, her shoulders shaking in silent cries. "I should have stayed home today," she thought to herself, while trying to regain her composure. "Don't bring this stuff to work," Steve would have told her.

Hunter approached her quietly, his jacket draped over his arm. "Hey partner," he said in barely above a whisper. "What's going on?"

She looked over her shoulder at him, and the sadness and grief in her eyes nearly broke his heart. This caused him to step forward and take her elbow, his face creasing with worry. "Talk to me, what's going on?" he said with tenderness.

McCall took a breath. With a nod of her head towards one of the private interview rooms, she invited Hunter to follow her inside. Rick hesitated, then went in behind her and shut the door.

McCall walked to the window, looking outside but not really seeing anything. Absently she toyed with the long necklace that had been tucked in to her blouse. It was the one that Steven had given her, that she always wore on their anniversary.

Hunter walked around the table and sat on the corner, close but not so close as to make McCall want to move from her spot. He placed his coat on the table. The sunlight glinted against DeeDee's dark hair, and sparkled in the tears on her cheeks and still in her eyes. He knew not to press her, so he just waited.

"You don't know what today is, do you," McCall said softly, her tears making her voice rougher than normal. It really wasn't a question, and she knew he didn't.

"I have a feeling I should," Hunter replied, thinking maybe he had forgotten something important. He saw her fidgeting with the necklace; he knew the jewelry was significant, but his mind blanked as to why for the moment.

McCall gave a half-smile at him over her shoulder. "Well, no, I don't guess you should. I mean, you didn't know us then. Me and Steven, I mean."

Hunter watched her after she turned back to the window. The strands of the necklace slid back and forth through her fingers, her nails scratching against the pendant on it. Steve's name echoed in his ears for a moment. Then, his eyes widened in realization. "DeeDee," he breathed. "It's your anniversary."

McCall only nodded in answer, her eyes drifting closed. Rick stood up and reached a hand out to lay on her shoulder. Tears fell onto her cheeks, but she resisted the urge to turn into his embrace. "Why didn't you tell me, remind me, or somethin', huh? I could have covered for you today."

This inflamed McCall's temper again, irrationally, she would realize later. She pulled away from Hunter's closeness and put her back to him. "I don't need to be babied, all right, I can handle myself."

"At ease, Sergeant," Hunter replied, a little firmly. "I was only trying to help."

McCall sighed, and rubbed the bridge of her nose. She slowly turned back to face him, and walked up to him as he sat back down on the edge of the conference table. "I.. I know, I am sorry."

Hunter gave her a small smile, reaching out to take her hand for a moment. "Hey, it's all right. I'm sorry too." After a pause, he asked, "How long?"

"Ten years," she answered. She continued to finger the pendant of the necklace. "He gave me this on our first anniversary."

"I remember now," Rick replied quietly, studying her fingers moving across the jewel. "You have worn it a few times over the years, you told me about the time he gave it to you." He took a breath. "I am sorry I didn't remember the date, though."

DeeDee smiled at his thoughtfulness. "You don't have to be sorry, Hunter, he was my husband, not yours." That made them both laugh just a little. They spent a quiet few moments just studying one another, before Hunter pulled her into a hug as he stood up from the table. McCall sighed and allowed herself to relax into the embrace, already feeling some of the weight of the day releasing from her. "I should have told you earlier today," she said against his shirt. "With getting things squared away before I go to Quantico, and everything else.." She sighed deeply before continuing. "I should have called you last night when it all started hitting me."

Hunter pulled her back with his hands on her shoulders, staring down into her eyes. "Yes you should have. Partners, remember?"

"Yes, I remember. Partner," she replied with a half-smile.

"You can make it up to me, you know," he smiled, his eyes taking on that teasing glint that she knew so well. It considerably lightened the mood between them.

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah." Hunter paused and took a breath. He didn't want to go too far with this and upset her. He was going to ask her to dinner tonight anyway; just something easy, a last meal before she left for Quantico, but another idea occurred to him. A risky idea. He found it a worthwhile risk, and plunged onward. "Have dinner with me tonight. We'll go to Marcello's, on St. Hyacinthe."

"Hunter," McCall breathed in response. "That's my favorite restaurant." Her smile broadened, and it brought Hunter's smile up, too.

"I know that," he said. He hooked his finger around the necklace. "Why don't you duck on out of here. It's a record low day for homicides in L.A., I think I can handle the reports."

Hunter saw the wheels turning in McCall's head. It was a Friday; DeeDee was leaving on Saturday morning for her Quantico training. He figured she might get in some shopping or have her hair done in preparation for the trip, and his suggestion to bugger out early would give her the time to do that.

"Really?" McCall finally spoke again, her brow creasing, but a smile on her face. "You're not gonna blackmail me with that in six months when you want to go fishing, are you?"

Hunter shook his head. "Scout's honor."

"All right," DeeDee said with a brighter smile. "Pick me up at seven?"

"Sounds perfect."

With a smile now on her face, McCall walked towards the door, pausing as she opened it and looking back at him. "Thank you."

Hunter merely smiled and winked in response, and McCall continued on down the hall. "Maybe we can make a better memory for today," he thought to himself.

He picked up his coat and went back to his desk to get the work of the day knocked out. He wanted to make tonight special. He would need to call Marcello's to make sure they would have a reservation; thank God the kitchen manager was a good friend of his that owed him a favor. He dug out the number for the florist, too.

A little before seven that evening, McCall stood in front of the mirror and studied her appearance. Hair pinned up just right, her nails done, make up perfect. She pinned on her pearl drop earrings, then smoothed her hands over the jacket-like top of her white outfit. Her white skirt flared just so around her calves and ankles. It was a good choice for the night. A deep breath shuddered through her, and she walked over to her and Steve's wedding photograph on her dresser. "Happy Anniversary, baby," she whispered while touching the picture.

So wrapped up in her memories of Steven, McCall never heard Hunter's car pull up out front. Rick climbed out, a single peach-hued rose in his hand. Studying himself in the reflection of the window of the car, he surmised that he passed inspection. Giving the car a quick once-over with his eyes, he was glad that Charlie had loaned him a nicer, newer one - just this once. He nodded to himself in the car's glass, then walked to the front door.

The familiar rapping of Hunter's knuckles against the door sent a smile to McCall's face. "Right on time," she said as she descended the stairs. Giving herself a last look in the mirror, she looked through the peephole before opening the door.

When the door opened, Hunter felt his breath catch in his throat. McCall had always been beautiful; as a man, he would have been blind to have never noticed. He realized, though, that most of the time he never allowed himself to see past her status as his partner and friend in order to fully appreciate her beauty. "Wow, McCall, you look great!" he exclaimed when he finally found his voice again.

McCall nodded, a very faint tinge of blush rising up her cheeks. She nodded approvingly at his grey/blue suit and gestured. "You clean up pretty good yourself, Big Guy."

Hunter wrinkled his eyes in a bigger smile. "Well thank you very much." He then remembered the rose in his hand. "For you."

"Hunter!" McCall exclaimed, in both surprise and delight. She took the rose and smelled it, giving him a smile from her eyes through her lashes. "Thank you. These are my favorite."

"I remembered," he replied. "And I remember why." He reached out and took her other hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Let's make tonight a celebration, all right? A celebration of all the good times you two had, and all the other good things in life. Deal?"

McCall gave him a smile. "I can only promise to try. Come on in while I put this in some water, then we can go."

A short while later, Hunter and McCall arrived at Marcello's and were guided to their table. Hunter held the chair, but McCall stopped short before she moved to sit in it. Sitting on the edge of the table, next to a chilling bottle of champagne, were 11 more of those peach roses. The card sticking out of it said, "Happy Anniversary". Pausing to finger one of the rose petals, DeeDee then turned and leaned up on her toes to kiss Rick on the cheek. "Thank you, they're gorgeous."

"You got it," Hunter said easily, tucking her chair into the table and then moving around to take his own.

They talked about so much in the more than two hours they were at Marcello's. In the beginning of the evening it was all about Steve - stories Rick had never heard, some he had heard more than once, but he didn't mind. He knew she needed to talk, so he let her. She shed a few tears here and there, but when it was all said and done, she felt a lot better. Soon they were laughing and joking and sipping champagne, enjoying each other's company. Staring into her dark eyes while she laughingly told a story from her Academy days, Hunter felt his insides do a somersault. He'd known of his feelings for her for some time, but had never given voice to them. Had never entertained the thought of them protruding into the wonderful friendship they had developed. But ... just once, he thought, as he sipped his flute of golden liquid and studied her. Just once..

McCall finished off her glass of champagne, and caught sight of the rest of restaurant when Hunter was asking for their check. They were the only ones left besides the staff. She glanced around a bit more, then grimaced. "I think we might have kept them here a bit late," she said with a light sparkling in her eyes.

"Yeah, but I don't think they mind," Hunter replied, handing over some cash and a nice tip to their waiter. He motioned to the roses, now gathered in a damp paper towel and tied in a bundle. "Want me to carry those?"

"Not on your life, you might crush one!"

"I would do no such thing!" he replied with mock indignation. They shared a laugh and left the restaurant, McCall cradling the roses in the crook of her arm.

When they pulled up in front of McCall's house, they were still laughing and talking. After a few minutes, DeeDee looked toward the house out the passenger side window, then turned back to Rick. "I still need to pack, but I am so wired now I know I could never sleep. Want to come in for a bit, help me pack? Maybe have some coffee?" She looked down at their hands, joined and lying on the seat between them. "I'm not ready for this night to be over with."

Hunter watched McCall closely as she looked at the house and then back at him. He could hear the pleading in her voice. And, truth be told, he wasn't ready for the night to end, either. He hadn't had a night like this in - well, years, really. He realized how happy it made him to see her happy. "I would love some coffee," he replied, and quickly got out of the car to open the door for her.

"What, you don't want to help me pack? I've done most of it already!"

"I'll help pack too," he replied with a smile and a wink as she stepped out of the car.

Once inside, McCall put the flowers in a vase with the single rose from earlier, arranging them just so before setting them on the table. Hunter promised he would keep an eye on her house while she was gone to Quantico; DeeDee lamented that the roses would be long dead by the time she got back in six weeks. She wanted to enjoy them for as long as she could, so she sat them in a great spot to be seen from almost every vantage point downstairs.

They both chatted and laughed easily for a while as McCall packed more things for the trip. Part way through the packing, she started to make the coffee then got distracted as they each told stories and discussed the various unique individuals they had encountered over their partnership together. Although neither knew it was happening to the other, they were both feeling a pull towards one another as the evening grew quite late. Hunter would start to say something, then would stop. McCall would do the same, both fearing the feeling.

Finally, as McCall was finishing up the coffee, Hunter's mind began screaming at him. "Come on, Rick, she's going to be gone for six weeks. You're going to lose this moment and never get it back again. If you're going to do it, you have to do it now."

When McCall walked back to him with the coffee cups in her hands, their eyes met and locked. It seemed an eternity passed in those few seconds. They each felt the energy from the other. DeeDee took a deep breath and slowly exhaled; Rick took the coffee cups from her and placed them on the counter behind him. Turning back to her, he cupped her face in his strong hands, focusing on her eyes. Seeing agreement in them, he leaned down to kiss her. Slowly, but full of passion, need, desire, longing, and years of what-ifs.

When they parted, her flushed face and passion-darkened eyes gave him all the courage he needed to continue. He kissed her again, her hand now coming up to cup the back of his neck, returning his kisses with need-filled ones of her own. Before either knew what was happening, she was cradled in his arms while their kissing deepened.

DeeDee felt dizzy, heady, full of power and passion and energy that she didn't know she possessed. Rick was bringing it out in her. She molded her body against his when he scooped her into his arms. Rick marveled in his mind at how easily she nestled against him, how natural it seemed.

When Rick broke the kiss several moments later, DeeDee still held on to the back of his neck, her forehead now pressed against the side of his face. Her quick breaths were falling onto his neck and near his right ear. Rick refused to let go of her. "Hunter," she whispered against his skin. "Rick," she added, knowing it would help to get his attention.

Hunter barely heard his name from her kiss-swollen lips, but his first name brought his senses back to somewhat normal. He brought his head up straighter and they locked eyes once again. DeeDee seemed to want to say something, but Hunter spoke first. "McCall, I want to make love to you," he confessed with as much tenderness as he could muster. "I want to do it right." McCall looked confused at his words, or at least it seemed that way to Hunter. "If you don't want this at all...Damn it, I am sorry, I wasn't thinking.. Well, not with my brain anyway."

He made motions to put her down, when her hands gripping on his shoulders stopped him. "Hey," she said firmly. "I didn't say no yet." Hunter recognized the teasing tone in her voice. She paused, considering her words. "I just want to know... why? Why now?"

Hunter knew it was a legitimate question. Why now? After all their years together, why this night. Still cradling her in arms, he walked into the living room and gently sat down on the couch, with DeeDee in his lap and still in his embrace."Want to know why, DeeDee? It's because you're beautiful and so many times I fail to see that. You make me laugh when you laugh, and you make me want to cry when you are hurting. You're my partner and my best friend and the thought of you being in Quantico for six weeks without me to watch your back has been the stuff of my nightmares. I'm afraid you won't come back to me at all." DeeDee processed all this, and Hunter stayed quiet for a few moments. Then, he continued. "And, because I want to wake up next to my partner, my best friend, in the morning, and make her breakfast before she leaves on her trip. I want to make love to you until the sun comes up. If only you will let me." He leaned in and punctuated his last sentence with a small kiss.

Hearing all of Hunter's feelings and thoughts come tumbling out of his mouth made DeeDee feel like she was listening to her own thoughts, as they matched up. She had wondered too, had a few dreams she had never told anyone about. Tonight they might come true. When Hunter gave her another small kiss, she instantly claimed his mouth with her own, lighting a fiery blaze of desire between them that began consuming them.

Hunter scooped up McCall into his arms and carried her up the stairs and into her bedroom. Reluctantly, he released his hold on her so that she could stand up on her own. McCall felt herself waver when once again standing on her two feet. Steve used to make her feel that way. The right kiss would turn her knees into jelly, no matter how many times they made love.

Rick stood at the end of her bed, not yet making any moves towards her. He wanted to be sure this is what they both wanted. DeeDee's thoughts shifting to Steve was almost something Hunter could physically feel. He saw where her eyes landed - their wedding picture on her dresser. He stuck his hands in his pockets and hung his head for a moment, taking a calming breath before speaking. "Hey."

She turned her eyes over her shoulder, the weight in his voice making her brow crinkle. "What? What is it?"

"I am sorry," he said softly. "Maybe this.. Maybe today isn't the right time."

McCall's face softened, and she turned fully and walked up to him, her fingers coming up to play with his tie. She lifted her chin to look at him. Passion had darkened his blue eyes; his desire was evident in every inch of his body. So, she spoke with command and determination, gripping his tie now in her closed fist. "Shut up and kiss me, Hunter."

Rick's mouth parted when a rush of desire went through him at her words, but resisted the urge to claim her mouth once again. He was still determined to do this right, to enjoy every single minute with her. He knew it would never happen again. He cupped her face and began placing tender kisses along her brow, her temple, her cheek. DeeDee's eyes closed and she held on to his forearms, allowing herself to be swept away in the tender kisses. She brought her hands to his tie and slowly started working the knot loose.

After a few moments, Rick took hold of her shoulders and began moving backwards toward the bed. He stopped when his legs butted up against it and allowed himself to sit. DeeDee was still standing, but now between his slightly spread legs. Hunter shrugged out of his coat, finished loosening the tie and removed it as well.

McCall watched him while he started undressing. She began undoing the fasteners on the jacket top of her outfit, her mind spinning and reeling with desire and questions. She decided to quiet the questions, and allow herself to enjoy the evening. She knew it would probably never happen again between them - the moment, the circumstances, had been right.

When Rick looked back after removing his tie and beginning to unbutton his shirt, he saw DeeDee slowly slipping out of her top. Milky white skin greeted his eyesight, hidden behind a lacy white bra. His eyes turned upwards and he gave her a smile. He looked further upwards and took note of the pins and clips in her hair. Rising up slowly to his feet, he slowly undid them, letting them fall with a clatter to the floor. He ran his fingers through her dark hair to drape it around her shoulders.

DeeDee turned her eyes upwards to his. "Make love to me, Rick." With those words he began kissing her again, and the hours of the night passed between them in a heady rush of desire and passion.

After the sun was up the next morning, Rick awoke and was keenly aware of DeeDee's small form curled against his side. He hated the idea of waking her, but knew she still had not packed all the way for Quantico. They had started to do that last night, but they interrupted themselves. That thought gave him a chuckle, and then a full on laugh. The deep timbre of it made DeeDee stir at his side. She turned more toward him, her face half-against his chest when she spoke. "What's so funny?" she mumbled.

He leaned down and kissed the top of her head. "Sorry. I was just thinking that we never did finish packing your bags last night."

DeeDee then began laughing too, before turning away from him and stretching languidly with her arms over her head. Rick turned over to spoon up against her, kissing her ear and her neck, his hand resting against her hip and thigh. "Good morning, Partner."

"Good morning, Partner," she said at the end of her stretch, punctuated by a yawn. She stayed there quiet for a few seconds before asking, "What time is it anyway?"

"About 8:00," Hunter answered, still peppering her neck with tender brushes from his lips. "Want some breakfast?"

"Mmm.. yeah, that would be good. Where do you want to go?"

"Uh uh, I am going to MAKE you breakfast here, and it will be a fantastic breakfast," Hunter replied.

McCall chuckled. "Did you pay attention to my fridge at all last night? Remember, I'm not going to be here for six weeks. I hardly have anything, food-wise, in the house."

Hunter was already moving from behind her. "If I can borrow your shower, I'll run down to the specialty market real quick. It won't take long. You can pack while I am gone." He paused while he studied her form stretched out, unmoving on the bed. "Or you can lay there and doze if you want. You look awful cute like that," he finished with a tease in his voice.

McCall rolled over and tossed a pillow at him. "Go take your shower!" she replied, and they both laughed. "Your overnight bag is in the top of the closet in the guest bedroom."

Hunter leaned back down over the bed and gave her a quick peck on the lips. "I won't be long. Don't worry, I'm going to make you the best breakfast you ever had."

"Mmhmm, I've heard that before," she teased him. He winked at her and headed off into the bathroom to shower.

McCall stretched once again on the bed, lying there for a moment before a smile spread across her face. She felt so amazing! Rick had been an attentive and gentle bed partner; somehow, she always knew he would be. He was also passionate and responsive. She wondered what Rick was thinking about all this - this new evolution in their partnership. She didn't want to think about it too hard; she was afraid to.

Standing in the hot water of the shower, Rick's mind kept reliving the hours of the night before. DeeDee was a fantastically responsive woman in bed, as he had suspected all along. She knew all the right places to touch on him, without any doubts. He quickly realized that thinking too closely about it would make him jump out of the shower and go right back to her, breakfast be damned. So he shut off that part of his mind and hurried himself along.

When Rick returned from the market, he noticed that McCall had brought down some of her things. He shook his head. She looked like she was moving to Virginia permanently, with all the luggage sitting at the base of the stairs. He heard DeeDee singing in the shower, a smile coming to his face. He did enjoy her singing, whether he would admit it to her or not. He then set to work on breakfast.

The two of them settled into an easy silence while they ate. DeeDee only took a couple of bites of the Mediterranean-style egg dish he had fixed, something which he teased her mercilessly about. She did love the potatoes and the vegetables that were cooked together, and made sure to tell him so. Neither of them broached the subject of the night before; although they didn't realize it, they both thought that they other wouldn't want to talk about it. But their friendship was so good that the silence from it wasn't uncomfortable or uneasy.

As Hunter finished helping her carry the last of the things down the stairs, McCall said, "Will you pick up my car in a couple of days or so? I was going to call a cab, but this is just too much stuff to try to manhandle it into one."

"No, I will not pick up your car," Hunter said matter-of-factly, and she cut her eyes to him when she realized he was being serious. Just as she opened her mouth to speak, however, he continued. "I will, however, give you a ride to the airport and help you with all of this."

McCall smiled. "Works for me." She winked at him, and he just shook his head.

"Hey, that's my line." They shared a laugh, then Rick helped her check all the windows and doors. They carried her stuff out to his car in several trips. Rick went back to lock up the door, then peeked inside. He went to the rose bouquet and took one from the vase before heading out and locking the door behind him.

DeeDee was already settling into the passenger seat when Rick went around and climbed in the driver's side. He wordlessly handed the rose to her with a wink and a smile. She smiled back at him and brought it up to her nose. The car rumbled to life and they headed for the airport.

The drive to LAX wasn't as bad as usual for a Saturday, and Hunter and McCall enjoyed a nice, easy conversation during their trip. Upon arriving at the terminal, Rick flagged down a luggage attendant and pressed a few bills into his hand. The young man smiled brightly and quickly loaded DeeDee's bags onto a rolling cart and into the entryway.

Rick hung back while DeeDee got all checked in at airline desk and they ticketed her bags, then took her carry-on travel bag from her and slung it onto his shoulder. They walked hand in hand through the long terminal hall down to her departure gate. They arrived just as boarding was set to begin.

DeeDee turned to Rick, and he slid her travel bag from his shoulder and helped to settle it onto hers. "Just in time, huh? Good thing traffic wasn't so bad today." She felt nervous, and Rick sensed it. He felt it too. They both wanted to say something, but they both chickened out.

"Yeah. Just in time," Hunter echoed. The words hung between them for a moment, and their eyes locked on one another's.

The gate attendant's voice came over the intercom. "Flight 2215 to Washington, D.C., now boarding at gate A-18."

Slightly startled, McCall turned her eyes over her shoulder to see people going through the gangway door. When she turned back to Hunter, he gave her a smile. He reached up with his right hand and cradled her cheek, his thumb moving across her skin. She smiled and closed her eyes a moment, before once more meeting his gaze.

"I had a wonderful time last night," Rick said, his hand lowering from her cheek to her shoulder, then down her arm to grip her hand in his.

"So did I," DeeDee replied, squeezing his fingers.

Hunter leaned down, cupping her face with his other hand now and kissing her gently, sweetly, tenderly, on the lips. He then pulled her into his embrace, and she lingered there for a moment.

When they parted, Hunter tipped his chin upwards, in a motion toward the gate. "Show those Feds who's boss while you're over there, huh? And keep yourself out of trouble."

"I will," McCall answered, taking a breath. She wanted to say more, talk about last night. Hunter wanted to say more, too, but the flight was boarding. There just wasn't time. He would talk to her about it later.

She started to turn, but his hand gripping hers made her stop. He smiled again at her, and kissed her quickly on the lips. "Call me when you land, Partner."

"Final boarding call, Flight 2215 to Washington, D.C."

"You got it, Partner." With one final squeeze of their hands together, McCall let go and walked the rest of the way to the gate counter. Presenting her boarding pass, the attendant smiled and motioned her towards the door.

Starting to walk through the door, she turned to look back to Hunter. He winked and nodded, and she gave him a bright smile back and a wave. The door shut behind her, and she was lost to his sight.

Hunter walked to the window. All he could see of the plane was the nose, but he couldn't bring himself to leave yet. Unseen by him, of course, McCall settled into her seat and stared out the window. Both of their minds were replaying the events of the night before, and both of them were filled with questions that needed answering. They knew they could not talk about something like this over the phone; so it would have to wait the six weeks until she returned.

Soon the planed taxied away from the gate. Hunter stood at the window a long time after it was in the air. Six weeks never felt like such a long time before. He knew the only way he could get through it was to throw himself into his work. As he left the airport, he set his mind to do exactly that.