Chapter 9

After the duo finished their showers and changed into something more comfortable, they snuggled together on the bed. As Dee Dee sank into Rick's warm and secure embrace; her back against his chest, she thought of just how close she came to losing this moment and any others like it. The idea caused a slight shiver to travel over her body.

"Are you okay?" Rick asked after feeling her tremble. "Want me to pull the covers up?"

"I'm not cold. I was just thinking about all we've been through, and how close we came to not being here and able to hold each other like this."

Rick raised himself up and over enough to see her face. "We're both safe, now. And so is Jason. We didn't catch Harrington, but that's not to say we never will. We have dozens of his followers in custody and one of them is bound to talk eventually."

"I know. I just can't help but think of how close Charlie and I came to dying, and that Shari did die." She and Rick were now lying on their sides facing each other. "That animal had so many people under his power. Including children whose parents dragged them into this, and they'll now become part of the foster case system if no other family steps up. And he's still out there on the loose. He and his followers were intent on making those in the justice system pay for what they felt we owed him. In their eyes they were mistreated, and wanted their revenge. Harrington could start all over again with a new army. He's obviously one with a talent for brainwashing." She sighed heavily before continuing. "He's shown us that even though we're trained to protect and serve, sometimes we can't even protect ourselves or our own. It's like he's mocking us and saying that the security we do have, is often an illusion. We're not as safe as we'd like to believe. He didn't finish was he started, Rick. He's out there, and he still wants his revenge."

Rick pulled her closer to him. "If he decides to build a new army and begin again, it could be years from now. Even if he decides to go solo on his next rampage, he'll most likely lay low for a long time. Regardless of where is he is or when he'll strike, we can't let him rule our lives, Dee Dee." He placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.

"You're right. When I was in the hospital and got those roses, I said I wasn't going to let him get to me. I've got to stick to that decision and I'll do my best at doing so."

"Good. I'm proud of you." Rick kissed her forehead again, looked into her eyes and smiled. "We've got to make up for some lost time, you know? The night of the Mayor's Ball, we were supposed to go dancing, and afterwards…." He grinned and gave a wink.

"So, what you're saying is that you want to go dancing?" Dee Dee asked with an innocent smile. "Okay, I'll be dressed and ready in a half hour." She giggled quietly to herself as she began getting off the bed.

"Oh, no you don't." Rick smiled broadly as he grabbed her arm. "We're reversing the original plan. I want you in this bed, now. We'll go dancing any other night. Agreed?"

Dee Dee smiled and returned to her place beside Rick. "I absolutely agree." They sealed the deal with a most passionate kiss…. just a sample of what they'd share during that night.

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"Colonel?" A young man entered his superior's room. "Everything you've requested has been taken care of, and the jet is ready for take-off."

"Thank you. You're dismissed." Ethan Harrington replied.

As Harrington made minor adjustments to his disguise, he reminded himself that his perfect plan had been interrupted. He made a mental note to himself. "Many people in the state of California still owe me. And someday, they'll pay. The final judgment will be mine."