Title: Work (it) out!
Chapter 6: Epilogue

Author: Ann
Rating: (G to NC-17): G
Spoilers/Warnings: After TS
Summary: Ranger does a week of working out Stephanie style

Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine. For more information on the workout-programs:

The last one of my little "work out" series. Hope you enjoyed it. Best of luck to everybody who is trying to get in shape! J

Epilogue

The beeping of an alarm woke me up from a very deep sleep. Mmm, I needed to think again. That beeping sounded suspiciously like Ranger's alarm… That would mean I was in Ranger's apartment again and since so far nobody had moved, I took it that Ranger wasn't here…. Again. Jeez, what did a woman need to do to get this guy into her bed? I mean: I kept him out of my bed for so many times and now that I wanted him there it seemed almost impossible! I hit the alarm and it stopped beeping and I rolled onto my back, thinking hard about yesterday. Let's see, I remembered the gym. He had been there, despite his fatigue. About halfway through the lesson I had noticed that he seemed to be in a world of his own, he was no longer looking around him and had this very concentrated look on his face. He found his zone. He was dripping with sweat and his clothes were soaked. There was nothing against that, actually. He wore a tight, black sleeveless t-shirt which now stuck to his every muscle and black shorts. Yummmmm! We were all soaked in sweat for that matter, but it didn't improve most people's looks. But with Ranger it did. I saw that every time the trainer said we had to increase the resistance Ranger did. Most of the time, especially towards the end, people would smuggle a little bit, and either increase only minimally, or not at all. On occasion I would decrease the resistance, so I would actually make it through the lesson without fainting, which I considered an important thing. Ranger didn't seem to agree, he increased his resistance with a lot, like he was a professional cyclist or something. I knew the guy was fit, but this was pushing it. Oh well, if he fainted I got to tease him with it for the rest of his life, so there's an advantage to everything I suppose. After we did the cooling down and we got of our bikes to do some final stretching, I saw Ranger swaying on his feet out of the corner of my eye. He better not really faint, because I sure as hell wasn't strong enough to catch him. But he gave me a reassuring smile, so I suppose he felt okay. He made it through stretching without further incident and we walked towards the locker rooms together.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah." Conversational wonder, this man.

"I thought for a moment I had to catch you." He just smiled. We had arrived at the doors leading to the locker rooms.

"Want to have a drink in the bar afterwards?" he asked.

"Yeah, that'll be nice."

"Okay, see you in 15 minutes there."

We drank energy drink to fuel up and talked about general things at the office. My search results were improving, and more and more Ranger would not only ask me to give him the facts, but also about my feeling about a certain person. He asked me if I would be interested in working more cases rather than just loose searches. It would mean I would still do searches, but on specific cases I would also be a part of the team assigned to find or investigate a person. Not only would I gather information from the computer searches, but also go out in the field and basically use my spidey sense to tell me how I felt about this person. I thought it sounded great. We went back to the office afterwards, where it was quiet. Ranger had given everybody who wasn't strictly needed off until 1 pm so they could catch up on some sleep. Lester, Bobby and Tank were still there though. That was something that I liked about Ranger too: his work ethic. Here were 4 guys who already made long hours, covering for their employees so they could catch up on some sleep. Ranger once said he did it because he knew that he could handle it and that he wanted his employees to be sharp when they were working. Also, he said, he didn't have a family at home and from what I understood, neither had Tank, Bobby or Lester. And then he had grinned at me and said: "being the boss, my salary depends on the profit that Rangeman makes. So the more profit, the richer I get. That's worth a few extra hours." It had made me curious as to what kind of profit Rangeman was making, but it seemed nobody knew. I knew that Ranger owned the majority of the shares, and that Lester, Tank and Bobby had a few, but Ranger could override them all on a decision if he wanted to. There were some investors who provided funds for a nice return I imagined, but they had no say in how the company was lead. Ranger was smart and he was an alpha personality. Nobody could tell him how to lead his life, nor how to lead his company.

It had been a quiet day, I did a lot of searches, and almost cleared my inbox by the end of the day, because not a lot of searches had come in. I was waiting for the computer to finish the last 2 when Ranger appeared in my cubicle.

"Babe, you won't believe it, but we have to work tonight." We?

"Who's we?"

"You, me and 2 guys for back up."

"Did I miss something?" As far as I knew, my work day ended at 6pm today. I had started earlier as well, so I was surprised to hear this bit of information.

"We need you to do a distraction tonight. Are you available?" He knew I was, since he asked me to have dinner with me and I had accepted. But nice of him to give me a chance to bail out.

"Yes. Who am I distracting?"

"Richard Winter. Wanted for murder. You want to be careful with this guy." Oh, great.

"And where am I distracting him?"

"A bar near Stark street." Great area, not.

"And at what time am I distracting him?"

"At around 8 pm tonight."

"And what do I put on to distract him?"

"Babe." I suppose that was my answer.

"I'll have to leave earlier today then, since I also need to eat before I get ready."

"No need. We can eat upstairs. You can drive over to your apartment now to pick up some clothes and get ready after dinner." He had it all figured out.

"Okay." I gathered some stuff and grabbed my bag. When I walked past Ranger he grabbed me and pulled me into a tight hug. It caught me by surprise because he usually didn't show much affection when his men were around. But I liked it all the same. I cuddled into him, my arms wrapped around his neck, my face in his neck inhaling his delicious scent. Our lips found each other and we started a kiss that turned into bonemelting kiss. I moved on to gently kiss his neck and nibbled at a soft spot just under his jaw. I felt his body respond and Ranger stilled.

"Babe." It sounded strained. Oops. I stopped the nibbling and gave him one last kiss on his cheek.

"Sorry." I followed that up with an apologetic smile and slipped past him. Tank was sitting at the monitors and turned his chair around when I walked past him.

"Thanks for that, bombshell. I finally have something to blackmail Ranger with." Oh my god, if Ranger heard that line I was on the first plane to Africa. I quickly checked my back, but it seemed Ranger was still in my cubicle so I hurried out of there.

I picked a nice red dress that I knew looked good on me. I selected underwear to go with it and went into the bathroom to select the products that I needed to look good for tonight. Shampoo, conditioner, razor and shaving gel, moisturizer, make up, brush. One last check to make sure I didn't forget anything vital. Oh, toothbrush and paste. Back in the bedroom I added stockings and red FMP's. And as a last minute decision I added some comfortable jeans and t-shirt. I threw it all in a bag and went back to the office. My computer had finished the searches and I started printing them. I checked my inbox and saw there were a few emails from Ranger and his men.

Hey Bombshell,

Great lip-action this afternoon. Could you make him loose an article of clothing next time? I'll split the pot with you!

Lester.

Hey Bomber,

Liked the way you handled Ranger this afternoon. Am I next?

Bobby.

Babe,

You ruined my reputation back there.

But I hope we can continue this tonight.

R.

It looked like everybody had seen the images of me kissing Ranger. Great. Well, nothing I could do about it now. Two new search requests had come in, and I started the programmes once again while I read through the results from earlier searches to see if I could find any inconsistencies. I forgot about time, so when I heard Ranger's voice behind me, it made me jump. It was already 6 pm and I still had to eat and get ready! I raced up to his apartment and ran straight into the bathroom to start the whole beautifying process. I washed my hair, shaved my legs, moisturized and dried my hair. I put on my super sexy red lingerie and then put on Ranger's robe. I was afraid I would spill some food on my dress, so I didn't want to put it on until we had to leave. When I opened the door of the bathroom, Ranger was laying on the bed. His legs stretched out in front of him. He was still fully clothed, and he was leaning against a pillow. And he was asleep. It was so cute that I stopped my race towards the kitchen for some food and slowly walked towards him. I sat down and looked at him. The tiredness showed more now that was asleep. I supposed it was because his face relaxed and he got a softer look on him. It probably didn't happen often to him that he fell asleep at a moment that he didn't want it to happen. I gently reached over and touched his face and the next thing I knew I was thrown on the bed, and Ranger had me pinned down.

"Uhm, Ranger? Are you okay?" He seemed to wake up completely now, and realisation dawned on him.

"Babe." He groaned. He rolled off me and was now laying on his back next to me.

"What was that all about?"

"Do you realise how dangerous that was?" he asked softly.

"What?"

"Approaching me without my knowledge?" He turned his head and looked at me, his eyes serious.

"Why?"

"Babe, I'm a trained ki…. Mercenary." Was he about to say what I thought he was about to say? I scooted away from him.

"Ehm, Ranger?" He looked at me and covered his eyes with his hands, rubbing his face.

"Nothing, Babe." I thought I was on to a definite something there, but decided to let it go since he looked so tired and didn't seem to want to talk about it. Suddenly he was on top of me again, but this time with a slightly different look in his eyes. The first time his eyes had been cold, ready to take out any threats. Now his dark brown eyes were dilated and hot. His robe had moved during his first attack on me and now the right side of my supersexy red lingerie was clearly showing.

"I like this. Is it new?" Ranger said while his finger skimmed the top of the bra.

"Y-y-yes." Was all I could say. His mouth came crashing down on mine and I relived the moment of this afternoon. I heard myself moaning and Rangers hands were everywhere and I was thinking that this would not end at the dinner table when the door to Rangers bedroom opened.

"Ran…" It was Ella. Ranger was off me faster than lightning, leaving me exposed. I quickly closed the robe and sat up. Ella was blushing and so was I. And wait a minute, so was Ranger! Wow!

"Ella. It's okay." Yeah right.

"Ehm, well… I just came to say… ehm… dinner's ready." Ranger gave her a nice smile.

"Thank you." Ella closed the door behind her, clearly glad she was able to leave again. Ranger fell backwards onto the bed and closed his eyes once again.

"I'm never going to get through this day. First we get caught on camera by Tank and now Ella catches us. My mother will know within 5 minutes."

"Your mother?"

"Yeah, Ella is my aunt. She is a sister of my mother." He rubbed his face again with his hands, sighing deeply.

"Oh, great." I hoped that this little incident wouldn't reach my mother.

"Come on, let's have dinner." And he took another look at me in the robe.

"And you better make sure that you keep that robe closed or I won't be held responsible for my actions."

I grumbled something, but got up and tied the rope carefully around my waist.

After dinner we left for the bar and I did my thing. The guy followed me out like a dog would follow a bone. Ranger made the capture and the backup team drove him to the station. Then we returned to his apartment, and his answering machine was blinking. Ranger looked at it and swallowed.

"My mother." Was all he said. Boy, did I know that feeling.

"Is the big, bad bounty hunter afraid of his mother?" I teased him. Dangerous, I know, but great fun. I got a dirty look from him and he sighed while pushing the button to hear the message.

"Carlos, what is this I hear from Ella? Do you have a girlfriend? Why haven't we met her? I expect you to introduce her soon! Hello? (some mumbling in Spanish) Call me, Carlos."

"Right." Was all he said. He deleted the message and got himself a bottle of water from the fridge. He offered me one, but I declined.

"Is it okay to use your bathroom again? I would like to change and get some of this make up off."

"Need some help?" Yes.

"No, it won't take long."

Ranger was stretched out on the couch watching tv when I came back. I had put my jeans and t-shirt on, and my hair still looked great. He opened his arms and I snuggled close to him. It felt heavenly.

"Ranger, what do you want from me?"

"Babe?"

"Well, I have finally figured out what I would like from you, but I want to know how you feel about me." I figured that, since his phones were still turned on, I better get straight to it.

"So what is it that you want from me?" Chicken! He did everything to postpone telling me how he felt. But I felt brave, so I took a deep breath and started.

"I'm in love with you, Ranger. And I realised that I want to have a relationship with you. I know it won't be easy, your life is difficult, and you are not the easiest person, but I want to try. I'm not the most conventional person either, and I think together we could be great. But…" and I took another deep breath for this part.

"… we need to make sure that we want the same thing. I don't need a marriage, but I do need a commitment. And I need a certain level of disclosure. You have to trust me enough to let you into your life and tell me where you are and what you are doing. I understand it if you can't tell me every detail of what's going on, but leaving town for 2 weeks without an explanation isn't going to cut it anymore. Not if you want to have a relationship with me." I slowly turned around in his arms to face him. He looked back at me with a serious look in his eyes.

"Babe," he said softly. I waited patiently for more. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

"I'm in love with you too. And I do want to try a relationship with you. I have been looking for a good moment to tell you all week, but it's been a little crazy. There will be more weeks like this, that I have to cancel dates and …" he stopped at this moment, looking a bit lost. He wanted to say something, but didn't know how to say it. I felt so happy inside, so warm and elated. I couldn't believe I heard the words from his mouth. I had heard them so often in my dreams, and I had wished so often that he would say them to me, but to actually hear him say them, wow, that was the best thing I ever heard. I felt a deep feeling of love settle in me for this man. Ranger was still struggling to find the right words to say to me. I gently kissed his lips.

"Shhh, we'll figure it out." I kissed him again, a little more passionate this time and he responded. Soon I was laying on top of him, kissing passionately.

"Do you still wear that sexy red lingerie?"

"Why don't you find out?"

"Babe." His eyes were dilated, black pools and his voice was extremely low and very sexy. He lifted me up and carried me to the bedroom. He was standing at the edge of the bed with me still in his arms when his phone rang. I think we both immediately deflated like a balloon. Ranger screamed in frustration, and so did I.

"Can't you let it go to voicemail?" I asked hopeful.

"No, I told them I was not to be disturbed except for emergencies." He gently laid me on the bed and grabbed the phone.

"What?" He answered it.

After another couple of one-word answers he ended the conversation and sighed deeply while looking at me.

"You won't believe this. Lester is being held hostage."

"What?"

"He was driving home when he saw a woman with her car at the side of the road. So he pulled over to see if he could help and she put a gun to his head."

"What does she want?"
"Well, that's the problem. She isn't entirely sane right now, and it seems she has a grudge against men in general. The police is already at the scene and Tank and I will have to go too."

"Can I do something?"

"No, not really. Will you wait for me here? I'd really like to finish what we started… hell, 3 days ago." I had to smile at the frustration that was clearly showing in his face.

"I'll be here. Call me if anything happens."

"Okay." One more thorough kiss and he was gone.

He hadn't called and I fell asleep in his bed around midnight, only to be woken up by his alarm at 5.45 am. I wondered if it was good news or bad that he still hadn't returned. I used the bathroom and padded into the kitchen to drink a glass of water. In the end I went back to bed, I couldn't think of anything else I could do. But I couldn't sleep anymore. I tossed and turned, but the last couple of days kept playing in my mind. So much had happened. And I felt very happy about the things that happened, and even happier about the things that were about to happen. Ranger and I were together! I hardly could believe it, but it was true. And then I heard a sound at the door. I waited, my ears straining to hear more. I heard the sounds of keys being tossed in the dish in the hallway and knew Ranger had returned. Soft footsteps towards the bedroom door. The door slowly opened and Ranger walked in, still wearing his SWAT outfit and full utility belt. He saw I was awake and gave me a tired smile. He sat down on the edge of the bed and I put my arms around his neck from behind.

"Well?" I hadn't been able to read anything from his face.

"The police shot the woman when she started shooting."

"Did Lester get hurt?"

"He got a bullet in his shoulder, but no permanent damage done."

"And the woman?"

"She's still in hospital, but will survive." He was quiet for a few moments.

"She was extremely irrational. I don't think she'll even go to prison, but straight to a mental healthcare facility. She had some bad experiences with men in the past and decided men in general were no good and had to pay for that. Lester was the unlucky one to pull over." I tugged at his vest and he allowed me to take it off him. His utility belt was next. The fact that he didn't get up to put his guns away in the gun locker showed how tired he was. I put his guns in the closet and locked them safe.
"Thanks, Babe." I smiled at him and started unlacing his boots. His socks were next, followed by his t-shirt and the communication system he still had plugged in his ear and attached to his pants. His pants were last to come off and he was indeed going commando. I pulled him up and gently pushed him into the bathroom. I pushed him towards the bath and he stepped in, sitting down. I turned on the water and when it was nice and warm I opened the tap fully. Soon the bath was half full and I turned on the showerhead that was hanging above the bath. I wet his hair and found a bottle of shampoo. I gently soaped his hear while he leaned back in the tub.

"MMmm, I can get used to this." He murmured. Me too. I rinsed his hair and grabbed a sponge and put on some Bulgari and started washing him. There was a suspicious red stain on his hand and when I looked at him with questioning eyes he said:

"That is Lester's blood. I applied pressure to the wound until the paramedics took over." I washed it all away and asked him to get up. When he stood I sprayed him one last time and wrapped him in a fluffly towel and led him to the bed. I dried him off and he slid into the bed with a content sigh. I snuggled next to him.

"Thank you, I needed that."

"My pleasure." I gave him a sweet kiss. Suddenly I had a wicked thought.

"So, what do you think, was I right?" I could see the question mark forming on his face.

"About the workouts?" I knew this wasn't completely fair, but well, with Ranger being so tired I had the best chance of him agreeing with me.

"Babe, this week just about killed me. I can't keep up anymore." Nice, but not good enough.

"But was I right?" He looked pained, like he didn't really wanted to say it.

"Yeah Babe, you were right. Your workout regiment is just as good as mine." He ended with a deep sigh. I gave him a loving smile and gently started kissing him. Soon we were completely entangled.

"Listen, I would really like to continue where we left off last night, but I am afraid I will fall asleep. I'm really sorry."

"No problem, Ranger. Get some sleep. We've got all the time in the world now." He seemed to think about those words and then his face broke into a 1000 watt smile.

"Yes Babe, we do."

The end!