I just wanted to quickly thank those of you who stuck with me and left all the wonderful reviews and sent me great PMs. It's because of you all that I decided to post the rest of this story here.
This is the last chapter. I hope you all have enjoyed it.
Larry stood at the sliding glass doors and looked out at the pool in his backyard. The first thing he thought was that it needed to be cleaned; as did most everything in the house. He sighed and turned around, taking in the living room. There were boxes and suitcases everywhere. Wanting to delay dealing with all of it, he wandered into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. Empty, except for the few things he had bought at the store earlier. He picked up the iced coffee that he had been nursing for more than an hour and returned to looking out the doors.
Off in the distance, just glowing over the horizon, Larry could see the light from the Las Vegas strip. He felt something in the pit of his stomach, but was unsure if it was sadness or excitement, or just an overwhelming exhaustion from everything he had done lately and still had left to do.
Sighing again, Larry turned back to the mess in the living room. He put down his coffee and picked up a pile of books. He started flipping through each of them and sorting them into boxes.
Ed yawned as he pulled out of the employee parking lot of the Montecito. It was late, but despite his weariness, he was wired and decided to drive around some before heading home.
This was a common occurrence for him these days and he even had a normal route, which took him past the McCoy house. He felt like he needed to keep an eye on it for his friend. As he made his way down busy Las Vegas Boulevard and toward the surrounding neighborhoods, Ed let himself ponder the idea that he considered Larry McCoy his friend. When Danny had been hurt, Ed had reacted without thinking, but it had all been to help his friend, Danny. Over the months with Danny out of commission, Ed had had the chance to get to know Larry for the first time. He was unsure of where he stood with Danny these days, but it was nice to think of Larry as his friend.
With his mind wandering, the trip to the quiet neighborhood had passed quickly. Used to driving by an empty, dark house, Ed was surprised to see lights on and a black pickup truck in the driveway. He slowed down and pulled to the curb just down the street.
On the porch, Ed peeked through the window beside the door. He couldn't see anyone but noticed the mess of boxes and packing material. Confused, he rang the doorbell.
Larry smiled as he opened the door to find Ed standing there. "Hi!"
"Hi." Ed returned the smile. "I was just driving by, but didn't expect to see anyone."
"Come on in." Larry stepped back, allowing Ed to enter. He closed the door and the two headed into the living room. Ed surveyed the scene in front of him and realized what he was seeing.
Larry cleared a couple of boxes from the couch giving Ed a place to sit. "I'd offer you something to drink, but there isn't anything. Water?"
Ed smiled. "That's okay. So, you came back to pack everything up? Did you guys find a house in Rhode Island?"
Grinning ever so slightly, Larry nodded. "Come with me, I want to show you something."
Ed followed Larry down the hall. He stopped outside of one of the doors and opened it. Walking inside, Larry motioned for Ed to come in.
After taking a second to let his eyes adjust to the darkness, Ed looked around and found a smile spreading across his face. The room was Danny's old room and was decked out like that of a high schooler from the 90's. But what was making Ed smile was the fact that Danny himself was sound asleep in the bed.
"We decided to come home." Larry whispered as he crossed the room and bent over to take the brace off of Danny's left leg. He pulled a blanket over his son and stood up to watch him sleep.
After a minute, the two men left the room, Larry pulling the door shut behind them. Back in the living room, Ed found himself still smiling.
"I have to admit that I was sure you guys were going to stay in Rhode Island."
Larry pushed aside more boxes and sat down. "Well, we were. We thought we had decided for sure a couple of days after you all left. I started looking for a house and Danny was checking out what his options were. Then I came home one day and found him watching the travel channel. They were showing a whole bunch of shows on Vegas. It was mostly stuff about the casinos and gambling, but it was enough. The two of us sat there and watched the whole four hours of it." He laughed. "We didn't really have to talk about it after that."
Ed smiled and leaned back on the couch. "Well, I can't say that I'm not happy. Everyone will be really excited to hear the news."
"Keep it quiet for now. I know that Danny wants to tell everyone he's back and he's planning to come down the Montecito to talk to you too."
"As long as the mohawk is gone, I'll consider giving him his job back." Ed laughed.
Larry shook his head, smiling. "It's already gone. Michelle took care of it for him; she gave him a haircut yesterday before we left."
Ed let his smile slowly fade. "What about Michelle and Kate? They both seemed to be pretty important to you guys."
"I would say they are very important to us. Michelle is planning to come and visit Danny, but contrary to even what I thought, they aren't a couple. I guess he just really needed a friend and she's who showed up. And Kate, well, she's a different story. We are a couple and we talked about it a lot; I think she's probably going to move out here." Larry found himself grinning like a teenager. "She had to call the VA in town to get all of Danny's records transferred and she asked about open positions. So we'll see what happens."
"That's great Larry. Who would have guessed that you would find someone in all of this mess?"
Larry laughed. "Not me."
As Ed's laughter died out, he looked around the room. Focusing back on Larry, he smiled. "So I have to ask… if you guys are staying here, what's with all of the boxes? I was sure you were packing up to move."
"This house is in dire need of de-cluttering. Danny is going to stay here, for now anyway. He's not ready to be completely on his own." Larry looked around at the mess. "I'm also hoping that Kate will be moving in and I never really finished clearing out things after Danny's mom died. It's time to move forward."
Danny stood outside of the main entrance to the Montecito and looked through the glass doors. He didn't see anyone he recognized and couldn't help but feel a little overwhelmed at the sheer number of people inside.
Taking a deep breath, he moved forward and pushed through the door. With the amount of half drunk tourists and people generally not paying attention, he was glad that he didn't need a cane to walk anymore. He still had a noticeable limp, but it seemed to only serve him with people giving him extra room to walk. He made his way to the main service desk and asked to see Ed Deline.
The woman behind the counter asked for his name and Danny realized that she was new. He had to stop and really think to grasp the concept that it had been over a year since he was last here. The woman hung up the phone and said that someone would be down to bring him up to Ed's office.
Fifteen minutes later, Danny was sitting in a chair facing Ed's desk. His father had told him that Ed had stopped by the house earlier in the week and therefore knew that he was back. He was glad that he wouldn't have to deal with explaining his reappearance.
"Danny!" Ed closed the sliding door behind him and crossed the room.
Danny stood up to greet him and found himself caught in a hug. "I-it's good to see you, Ed."
Settling back in his seat, Danny fidgeted and stared at his hands. Instead of sitting behind his desk, Ed pulled the other guest chair over and sat there.
"So… Larry said that you had something to talk to me about."
Danny took a deep breath and looked up at his former mentor. "Y-yeah. I, ah, I'd like to work. But I don't think I can take my old job back."
"Of course you can! Danny, I've just been waiting for you to come back."
Shaking his head, Danny continued. "No, Ed. I don't think I can do it. I-I can't be in charge. My speech isn't clear enough or stable enough to be able to give orders or if something goes wrong…" He paused and looked around. "I wouldn't be able to do it. P-plus, I can't run, so chasing people through the casino isn't a possibility."
Ed nodded quietly. He hadn't really thought through what all of Danny's issues would mean in terms of his work. Now that it was all laid out in front of him, Ed could see that Danny was right. He frowned slightly and leaned back in his chair. "So what are you thinking?"
"J-just Joe security guy." Danny smirked. "I can watch monitors like the best of them. And no special treatment, Ed. I-if it's not working out, tell me. I don't want to be here because you feel you owe me. And if I feel like I'm not keeping up, I'll tell you."
"Okay, kid. You've got a deal." Ed nodded and reached out his hand.
Danny shook it and smiled. "I've missed this place." He looked around. "I just didn't let myself realize it because I was afraid."
"I know." Ed smiled and patted Danny's shoulder.
Mike pushed through the door into the security office, sighing because his lunch break was over. He rubbed his hand across his eyes, trying to refocus on work. Out of the corner of his eye, he noted that Ed was in a meeting. He turned his head to see who it was with and found a smile spreading over his face.
Rushing to his desk, he picked up the phone and dialed Delinda's cell phone, knowing she could spread news the fastest. "Hey, get everyone up here. Danny's in Ed's office right now!"
He hung up the phone and climbed the stairs to Ed's office. Sliding open the door, he caught Ed's eye, who smiled and stood up.
"Danny, man, welcome home!" Mike crossed the room and grabbed Danny in a hug as the other man got to his feet.
Within minutes the rest of their friends filed in, joining them. Delinda was first, closely followed by Nessa and Mary. Seconds later, Sam wandered in and a rare true smile crossed her face.
Delinda pushed Mike out of the way and kissed Danny on the cheek as she hugged him. "You got a haircut!" She grinned and rubbed her hand over his head.
Danny blushed slightly as Delinda stepped back and Nessa moved in. "Really good to see you, Danny." Nessa reached up and kissed his other cheek.
Mary smiled and closed the distance between them to give him a hug. "I'm glad you're here. We missed you."
When the others had moved away, Sam crossed the room and let Danny put his arms around her. She got her mouth as close to his ear as possible and whispered, "I knew you'd be okay."
Danny smiled and scanned the faces of his friends. He knew that whether he could really managed working at the casino or not, the decision to return to Las Vegas had been the right one.