Disclamier- dont own anything... if you really want to know who does, check
out chapter one..

Personal Note- thanks to everyone that has followed this story to the end. It was
not the best but I enjoyed writing it. To some people that really never liked the
story, I am sorry... Thanks to KL for sticking with me as my faithful Beta!!! To
Jess who came in the last minute but did add to my insanity! To Jules, both of
them. One for the sneak previews on her work and to my nephew who never
stops amazing me!

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Meaning Of Life

By the Untalented JOxER

Epilogue. Five months Later.....


Several months later, the crew was granted another leave. It was only a week,
but that was long enough to enjoy themselves. Nathan and his new son, Lucas,
were checked into a nice hotel near the beach. Kristen had joined the two, but
insisted on staying in another room. Ben had also taken a room with O'Neil,
but his roommate had plans to spend the day in a near-by history museum.
Nathan sat watching Lucas sleep. The teen was moaning in his sleep, and
Nathan couldn't help but wonderer what he was dreaming. Lucas was a
hundred percent recovered from his injuries, but still healing emotionally. He
had nightmares that he'd explain away as just memories.

Several weeks after Dr.Wolenczak was arrested in front of the hospital, Lucas's
father was charged with child abuse and sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.
Nathan had been pleased with the verdict, but wished the man could have
received the death penalty. Lucas had been the primary witness, and it had been
more difficult to see Lucas on the stand recalling what his father put him
through, than it had been to witness the abuse first hand.

Nathan, Kristen, Ben and Katie had accompanied Lucas to the trial. The
defense had tried to make it appear that the teen hated his father was just after
the man's money. There were several witnesses called by the defense, even his
mother, but she didn't want to testify. The prosecutor was the best Nathan had
ever seen. The lawyer was only around thirty years old, but he was a sharp one.
He'd called in the hospital staff and even contacted the maids and butlers Dr.
Wolenczak had hired when Lucas was a just a kid. They all testified that Lucas
was abused, but that wasn't enough. The court wanted Lucas to speak. After
that, they'd called for Lucas's father to take the stand. Dr. Wolenczak was a
great actor and swore to everything in Heaven that he'd never in his life hurt
his son. But there was just too much evidence to the contrary.

The defense was no match for the prosecutor. When the trial was over, it had
only taken a few minutes to find Lawrence guilty. A week later, at his
sentencing, he'd had one final statement make. It had sent the whole courtroom
into chaos. Nathan still remembered the monster's exact words. He'd addressed
the court, but the message had clearly been intended for Lucas…

"I have one final statement to make before you pass down the sentence, your
honor," Dr. Wolenczak had announced. The judge told him to continue, which
he did. " I would like to say that if I had ever hurt my son in any way, he
wouldn't have been alive to talk about it. I will make…I would have made sure
of it, your honor."

Kristen had had to hold Nathan down. He'd understood the thread and wanted
to rip the monster's heart out.. Lucas had clutched the captain' arm, also having
grasped the message. Katie had restrained Ben, so he'd voiced his anger
instead.

"You even think of hurting him again, Wolenczak, and I swear you will never
see the light of day!" Ben had yelled, as the judge told him to stay put. That
hadn't quieted him, however. "You hear me, you son of bitch..." Ben screamed,
even after a warning from the Judge, and then the captain. The judge had
recognized that he couldn't order the lieutenant silent and had ordered the
bailiff to escort Ben outside. Lucas had been taken aback by Ben's outburst. It
finally struck him that Ben really cared for him. He hadn't just been pretending
like most of the adults he knew.

A week later after the sentence was final, Nathan filed for permanent custody
of Lucas. Adoption, really. Nathan asked Lucas's mother to sign papers
relinquishing her parental rights and giving him custody. It hadn't been a
surprise that the woman didn't argue. Within the day, she'd had signed her
rights away. It took two days for Lucas Wolenczak to become Lucas Bridger.

The events of the past months had seemed to be fading for the teen. Sitting in
the hotel room, Nathan watched his new son sleep, brushing away the hair that
had fallen to Lucas's eyes. Tomorrow was going to be a big surprise,
something that Lucas would never expect... Nathan smiled at the thought of
Lucas's face, knowing that it was going to be worth the whole trip. On the
other hand, the look on Kristen face…that could be a problem...

Early the next morning, Nathan went to wake up Lucas. He laughed as he saw
Lucas' arm on his side, his leg over the sheets and one of the pillows lying on
the floor.

"Hey.. Hi, da.. Captain," Lucas sleepily greeted, as he felt someone prodding
him. Nathan smiled at the teen.

"Morning."

Lucas could tell something was up, but had no clue what his new father had
plan. He'd just been through the hardest months of his life. The worst had been
testifying in court, but everything had work out. Just like some one promised him.

As Lucas pulled himself out of bed and went into the other room to dress, there
was a soft knock at the door. Nathan opened it, admitting Kristen and Ben -
who were part of the surprise. Lucas came out dressed in a shirt and shorts
combo, and they all headed out to the beach. The teen wondered what the hell
was going on. All he knew was that they were going to eat outside…

"Okay, what's the big deal..?" Lucas finally asked.

"Nothing, we all thought that a nice walk on the beach was a good idea."

"Sure it is, Captain. That's why Kristen didn't bug me about eating a proper
breakfast? This is something strange. What's going on?!"

"Lets just get outside and have some fun," Ben responded, clamping his hands
on Lucas's shoulders.

As they exited the hotel the back way to the beach, Lucas noticed some jet
skies on the dock. He turned to Nathan and grinned. Nathan nodded his head.

"Race ya!" Ben shouted, stripping off his shirt and running to the dock.

"Ouch!" Lucas hollered, pretending pain as he grabbed his left leg. Right on
que, Ben turned to see what was wrong. Lucas pushed past, causing the
Lieutenant to loose his balance and fall. "Haha, fell for the oldest trick in the
book - literally!" Lucas taunted, as he ran towards the stripping his shirt off as
he went.

"YOU LITTLE…" Ben grumbled, as he got up and ran toward the teen.

Lucas continued running toward jet skies, and away from the angry Lieutenant.
As he reached the end of the dock, Ben stopped a few feet away. Lucas heard
his new dad shout a warning to be careful, but wasn't sure who it was intended
for.

"Ben…buddy, I'm sorry, man!" Lucas offered through laughter.

"Buddy, uh huh…come 'ere, kid," Ben responded, taking small steps towards
the laughing teen.

Lucas looked for and escape route, but to no use. Ben launched into the teen
and pushed him off the dock. Lucas screamed as he landed in the icy water, but
was laughing as he bobbed back to the surface. Ben joined in as he tried to help
the teen out of the water. As he grasped hold of Lucas's hand, Lucas yanked
him into the water. Ben hollered as he hit the cold water. Nathan and Kristen
just laughed as they sat at a nearby picnic table. Beginning to wrestle, Lucas
and Ben's laughter intensified. Nathan had been right; it had been worth it to
see Lucas happy.

Eventually, Lucas and Ben grew bored with splashing each other. Both eyed
the jet skis waiting for them.

"Are they really for us?" Lucas asked.

"Yup, the captain rented them for the whole day. He's got other things planned,
but time will tell, kid," Ben replied, as they swam towards the jet skies. Lucas's
smile grew as he pondered what other plans the captain had for him.

"Got to thank dad later," Lucas informed himself, before looking down to see
Ben's statement, but Ben just smiled as he helped Lucas onto his jet ski. After
the two put on their vests and hooked their hands into the strap of the jet ski,
Ben took off at light speed.

"Be careful!" Kristen yelled, but only got a wave from Lucas as he followed
Ben's move.

"Don't worry, Kristen, they will be fine," Nathan stated, as he took her hand
into his.

"Sure, it's all fun and games until someone gets a black eye," Kristen grumbled
as she settled back with Nathan to watch the two children play.


A few hours of riding the jet skis wore the two out. They docked the skies and
headed toward the happy couple sitting at the table. The two laughed as they
saw that they were holding hands.

"What's so funny?" Kristen asked.

"You two look so good together," Ben replied, with a wink to the captain.
Lucas laughed.

"You agree, young man?" Nathan questioned.

"Do I have to answer that, dad?"

"Uhh…yes!" Nathan responded, a little shocked that Lucas had called him dad
without changing it to Captain.

"Umm…" Lucas blushed as he tried to think of an answer. Nathan just smiled
and threw the teen a clean towel. Lucas stared at the towel.

"Its pink!" Lucas announced, as he handed it back to the captain.

"Get cleaned up," Nathan requested, refusing the towel.

Ben chuckled as another pink towel headed his way. Caught off guard, he
raised an eyebrow as a young lady nearby laughed. Taking off, Ben turned
switched into the Casanova that he wished he were. Lucas laughed as the lady
agreed to let the Lieutenant sit with her and Ben shot him an okay sign before
beginning to chat with the attractive lady. Lucas asked the captain for some
money for a soda and the captain didn't think twice as he reached for his pocket
and gave him five bucks. Lucas wrapped the towel around his waist and headed
toward the small snack bar near the hotel.

While he waited for his coke, he heard a pretty laugh coming from his right.
Lucas turned to see two young girls laughing as they said their goodbyes and
walked in different directions. One headed toward the snack bar and the other
outside. Something about the laugh of the girl coming his direction was very
familiar. Lucas thought it was odd as he returned his attention to the guy that
was giving him the coke. Turning sharply, Lucas accidentally bumped into the
girl. His drink spilled all over her as they both tumbled to the ground. Lucas
landed on top of the girl as she lay stunned. He enjoyed the moment of
closeness with the brown-eyed girl before finally getting up.

"Oh god, I am so sorry…man, I ruined your jeans. I'm so sorry," Lucas
franticly apologized as he helped the girl up from the floor. "I'm very sorry. I
swear I will buy you a new pair. I'm very sorry that…"

"Hey, hey, calm down. It's only a soda. It's not going to ruin my ten dollar
jeans," the girl replied. Lucas looked at her and smiled. "Nice smile you got
there," the girl commented, as she brushed some ice off her shirt. Lucas went to
the bar and grabbed some paper towels to help the girl wipe away the mess.

"I am very sorry. Look, I can buy you a new pair. Anything to make up for my
clumsiness!"

"Look, umm…?"

"Lucas, my name is Lucas."

"Well, Lucas, you don't owe me for anything. I said it's alright," she said, as
she began to walk away from Lucas. Lucas gently grabbed her arm and stopped
her.

"Please, this was all my fault. Let me do something!" Lucas pleaded. Surprised,
the girl stared at Lucas. She was beginning to open her mouth when Lucas
insisted that there were no arguments on this one. She was stunned by his
attitude and amazed that it might be a match for hers.

"Alright, answer a question and do me a favor," the girl replied, crossing her
arms.

"Sure…" Lucas agreed, uneasily.

"Do you have a girlfriend?"

"…no..?"

"Good, then have lunch with me…around three. Right here…at the very place
you ruined my jeans," the girl said and walked away. Lucas was too stunned to
immediately notice that the girl was leaving.

"Wait, I don't even know your name?" he shouted after her as he came to his
senses.

"Dayna, Dayna Patterson," the girl informed him on her way out of the snack
bar. Lucas was dumbfounded - DAYNA! That what was so familiar about her.
It was HIS Dayna - the girl that in his future was his wife and the mother of his
children!!! Lucas grinned as he looked at the clock near the bar. 1:00 pm. He
quickly gave the thanks to Jesse, knowing that he'd had something to do with
the spilled soda. The first step was taken; his real father was far away and
couldn't hurt him again. Second step was getting a real father – that step had
also been taken. Third step…Lucas speculated he'd figure out at 3:00 pm…..

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ F I N ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WELL, IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE FEEDBACK- TAKE THIS LITTLE
STORY AS PART ONE.. HEHEHE… PART TWO- JUST A TITLE, TO
GIVE YOU SOME HOPE FOR THE FUTURE- MEANING OF LOVE!