A/N Some things in this story may not make perfect sense, but it had to happen to make some things work. So please; bear with me here. Oh, and all reviews are much appreciated. Whether positive or negative, they will help determine the outcome of this story and others. Thanks!)
Previously on "Early Edition": Excerpt from "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
"Daddy, can I go? Can I go, please?" Arianna asked.
"It's a letter from Arianna's school," Gary said slowly, while reading, "She, along with 9 other students has been selected to go on a six day field trip."
"Where to?" Marissa asked.
"New York City." Gary answered, looking up from the paper.
"Oh, Arianna," Gary said, "You know, I would love to go with you and chaperone your trip, but I can't leave. I've got the Paper to deal with."
"You're letting that Paper run your life." Marissa told him, "Go to New York with your daughter and have a good time for once."
"Here, Arianna," Gary finally said, "You can go on the trip and I'll go with you if the Paper slows down enough."
Gary picked up the Paper, looked at the front page, and gasped."
Without saying a word, Gary turned the Paper around so that Arianna could see the front page. When she saw it, she gasped too Instead of saying "The Chicago-Sun Times" on the front, it said, "The New York Times".
"Arianna," Gary finally broke the silence, "We're going to New York City."
"Daddy!" Arianna screamed, "Look out!"
It was too late. In his haste to get away from the police officer as quickly as possible, Gary had through the faulty banister and onto the carpeted floor below of the museum.
"It's all my fault/" Arianna blamed herself, "If I hadn't asked daddy to come with me, we wouldn't be in this mess."
"Arianna," Dr. Clint Cassidy began to explain Gary's position the best he could to the girl, "By the time your father got here, he had been without air for several minutes. We have managed to get him stabilized though. He is in a deep coma. He has some badly bruised ribs, and one broken arm. But, those should be as good as new in a few weeks. I'm surprised really; it should have been a lot worse… he could've broken his neck."
"Wh-when will h-he wake up?" Arianna managed to ask.
Clint sighed, and leaned forward across his desk. "I can't promise you he will wake up, Arianna," He admitted, "Some people wake up and do just fine. Other people, well… some of them never wake up."
When Arianna saw her father; his eyes open, her eyes filled with tears. He was alive! He would be okay!
Clint wondered; would Gary Hobson magnetize trouble as well as his daughter?
Gary and Arianna were getting ready to head home and it felt wonderful.
"Ready to go, Arianna?" Gary asked.
"Bye, Clint." Arianna said.
"Good bye, Clint," Gary said, picking up he and Arianna's bags, "And thanks again."
"Good bye," Clint replied, watching them walk out the Westbury doors, "And have a safe trip home."
"Arianna," Gary said quietly, "We can't go home just yet." He showed her the article in the Paper and the girl's mouth dropped open in surprise. The article read; Over 500 Missing after San Francisco Explosion – Thousands Feared Dead.
"Looks like we're not taking the next flight to Chicago, honey," Gary announced, "We're going to California."
Arianna sighed and leaned back in her seat. Here we go again.
And now, the continuing story…
"Wow!" Arianna said, barely above a whisper. Her nose was pressed against the window of the airplane.
Gary smiled silently, as he rolled up the Paper. They had caught the next flight to San Francisco and now were only a few minutes from landing.
"Oh, look, daddy!" Arianna gasped and pointed, "Isn't that the Golden Gate Bridge? Oh, it's so beautiful!"
Gary nodded, "Yeah." He had to agree with her. It was beautiful. But, his mind was occupied with the Paper and the article that had caused him to go from the east coat to the west coast within 24 hours. He shook his head. How would he handle this one? He glanced at his watch. "3:32 PM." He muttered. That only gave him 2 hours to find and stop the explosion!
Just a little while later, Gary and Arianna were busy collecting their few bags and were trying to get a cab. Gary sat the Paper down for a moment to pick up a bag and what he found when he turned around almost didn't surprise him.
"Uh, Arianna," He said, staring at the newspaper.
"What is it, daddy?"
He turned the paper around and she gasped. The Paper was not the New York Times anymore! It was now the San Francisco Chronicle! Arianna's mouth dropped open. This was absolutely amazing!
"H-how, wh-why, wh-what..?" The girl, much like her father, was at a loss for words.
"Yeah," Gary gave a nervous laugh, "I guess we're meant to be here, huh?"
Arianna swallowed hard and nodded. This was getting weird; really weird.
Once again regaining his composure, Gary actually read the first headline. And it was exactly what he was looking for; Over 500 Missing after San Francisco Explosion – Thousands Feared Dead. He wished though that it wasn't there. If he had to be saving somebody, he'd rather it be in Chicago. He knew his way around there.
A few minutes later, a cab showed up and the two climbed in. As the driver drove towards the hotel Gary had requested, Arianna watched her father turn the pages of the Paper, looking for anything that needed his attention. After a moment, he stopped, staring at an article that had caught his attention; Two Die in Accident at Local Supermarket
Arianna gasped at the article and the pictures of the victims; a pair of 1-year-old twin boys with blonde hair. The article said that the boys' names were Nicky and Alex Katsopolis. They had been in a shopping cart in front of a soda machine. The machine exploded killing both boys and injuring their mother and young cousin who was with them.
"Oh, daddy, that terrible!" Arianna gasped, staring sadly into the beautiful eyes of the little boys.
Gary nodded, then said to the cab driver; "Hey, pal, stop the cab!"
"Hey, listen, no problem!" The man defended himself and pulled over, "What's the problem, mister?" The man sounded a bit agitated.
"Listen; do you know where Grover's Food Mart is?" Gary asked, reading off the Paper.
"Sure do. Why? Ya hungry?" The man asked, smirking.
"Hun– no! I'm not hungry!" Gary exclaimed, "What business is it of yours anyhow? Just go to Grover's, alright?"
"Fine, fine," The man said, pulling back onto the road, "But this is gonna cost you extra."
"Alright. Fine, whatever. Just hurry up, would ya?" Gary replied.
The man didn't say anything. He just kept driving. Gary leaned over to Arianna and whispered in her ear; "I don't want you talking to this guy, alright? Not unless you have to."
"Why?" Came the reply.
"Just do it," Gary didn't explain, "I'll tell you later."
Arianna could tell that something was bothering her father and she remained quiet for the remainder of the ride. As she watched the cabby drive, she numbly noticed how the afternoon sun reflected off of his gold earring. She also noticed that the man was muttering under his breath some words that Arianna knew if she repeated, her father would be at least shocked.
About 15 minutes later, the cabby pulled into the parking lot of Grover's Food Mart. Gary paid the cab fee and unloaded their bags, all the while searching with his eyes the front of the store for twin boys.
Finally, he spotted them. They were sitting in a shopping cart, being pushed towards the soda machine. Quickly, Gary dropped the two duffel bags he was carrying and took off towards the front of the store.
"Hey, stop!" He called out.
Arianna grabbed the two bags her father had dropped and did her best to run and carry them at the same time. She managed, but it was a slow process.
"Hey, wait a minute!" Gary called again. This time the woman pushing the metal cart, stopped. She looked a bit cautious.
Gary finally reached them, panting for breath, with Arianna not far behind.
"You need to get away from this soda machine, ma'am," Gary told the woman, "It, it's not safe. its g-gonna explode!"
"How do you know?" The woman asked, suspiciously eyeing our hero.
"Please, j-just trust me. Please." Gary begged. Whether it was the desperation in the man's voice or the sincerity in his mud-green eyes, the woman pulled the shopping cart back; and not a moment too soon. Just after that, there was a loud POP! and then a deafening noise. Gary pulled his daughter close to him, in an effort to protect her from any flying debris. After a moment, he released his hold on her, and the girl looked around in awe.
The ground was covered in pieces of metal and exploded soda was everywhere. She looked up at her father and saw that he was covered with sticky soft drink. She also was a bit wet, but not much. Gary had been covering most of her. She looked over at the woman, twins, and the young girl that was with them. They were also covered with soda, but they were all alive and unhurt. That was all that really mattered.
"A-are you alright?" Gary asked them.
"Yes, yes," The woman replied, a bit shaken, "We're fine. Thank you so much. If you hadn't come along, we, we…" She didn't want to think about what could have happened.
It was then, that Arianna noticed the babies were crying. She didn't know much about babies, but she imagined it was because of the loud noise and the fact that they were suddenly soaked in sticky, ice-cold soda.
"Gee, thanks, mister," The young girl spoke up for the first time, "If you hadn't been here, then…" She left her sentence dangling as she looked at the mess around.
Gary gave a slight smile, "Y-your daughter?" He asked the woman, nodding his head towards the girl.
"Oh, no," The woman shook her head, "This is my niece, Stephanie Tanner. These are my boys, Nicky and Alex. And, uh, by the way, I'm Becky Katsopolis."
"Gary Hobson," Gary introduced himself, shaking Becky's hand, "And this is my daughter, Arianna."
Arianna looked Stephanie up and down. The girl appeared to be about her age and she had long blonde hair. Absent-mindedly, Arianna fingered her own hair, which was hanging just beneath the shoulder. Stephanie smiled kindly at Arianna.
"Listen, how can we ever repay you?" Becky was asking Gary.
"Oh, it w-was nothing, Mrs. Katsopolis," Gary tried, "We just happened to be in the right place at the right time, is all."
"Please; call me 'Becky'," Becky insisted, "And there has to be something we can do for you. You savd our lives! I know; why don't you come over for dinner tonight. Bring your whole family. I want mine to meet you. It's the least I can do."
"Well, I d-don't know," Gary shrugged, and glanced down at his daughter standing beside him. Arianna smiled and nodded, "Alright," He relented, "We'll come over. What time do you want us?"
"How about 7 o'clock. We're having a later dinner tonight." She explained eagerly. Then she quickly told him where they lived.
Gary smiled. If everything went alright, he should have stopped the explosion by then. "We'll be there." He said.
Gary glanced at his watch… again. He was at the San Francisco Power Plant. He had a whole hour until the explosion at the power plant was supposed to happen, but he wasn't sure how it was supposed to happen. He had left Arianna back at the hotel with orders not to open the door to anyone and do not leave the hotel room until he returned. He had seen the worry and fright in her eyes as she promised to obey and it had broken his heart. She had been through so much already back in New York and she knew where he was going could be dangerous. He just hoped he could stop the explosion and get back to his daughter as soon as possible.
He spotted a man in an office and hurried towards him, stuffing the Paper into his back pocket as he went along.
"Excuse me," Gary said, sticking his head inside the small building that made up an office, "Excuse me, sir. Can I talk to you? Please? It, it's very important."
The man looked a bit agitated to be pulled away from the basketball game he was watching on the small television, but he switched the TV off anyway and stood up. "Come on in," He sighed. He pulled out a chair, "Take a seat."
Gary thanked the man and sat down across from him at the desk. "What can I do for you?" The man asked. He sounded like he was in a bit better humor.
"Well, it has just come to my attention that, well, um, I think you should check the electric pressure on that big pole out there." Gary pointed to a huge white and blue striped pole outside.
"What? Why?" The man was starting to sound agitated again.
"Because if you don't this whole place is gonna explode!" Gary exclaimed, waving his hands around to indicate the power plant, "Your workers are gonna be hurt, lots of them dead!"
"Who are you?" The man's dark eyes narrowed. Who was this fool; trying to tell him how to do his job?
"I, I'm Gary Hobson. Now, list– What're ya doing?" Gary exclaimed. The man had picked up the radio on his desk and had called for security.
The man didn't answer and Gary glanced down at the Paper which he now held in his lap. The article was still there, unchanged. He suddenly had a sinking feeling in his heart. If he didn't do something quick, he was going to fail; fail the Paper, fail San Francisco, and most of all, fail his daughter. No! He couldn't let that happen! He would stop the explosion and he would get back to the hotel in one piece; no matter what it took! Nothing could stop him.
A/N Well, that's it for now. So what do you think? Hopefully, it won't be long before the next chapter. So in the mean time (and in between time), comments, questions, and suggestions are all welcome...