"This might not have been the smartest idea," Matt decided studied their supposedly wonderful SUV, which had gotten stuck in a giant mud puddle.
As soon as the wind slowed the pair had jumped in the SUV and hauled ass toward San Diego. It was still dark when they took off, perhaps not their brightest idea, but one that had worked just fine until this point.
"Hey, we're only ten miles from San Diego, if all else fails we walk," Tony shrugged, as they both sought refuge back in the vehicle. The rain was still pounding down, however the wind seemed to have slowed considerably.
"What makes you so eager to get home?"
"My kids are going to be on a plane tomorrow morning, they'll be in L.A. by the afternoon. I'd like to beat them there, or my ex will never let me see them again."
"Damn, now I get what you meant by shrew."
"Yeah, amazing it lasted seven years though, right?"
Matt nodded before focusing back on their problem. "Alright the way I see it, we either grab some branches and try to get the car out of this puddle, or we start walking."
"Do you really want to walk in this?"
"I don't think we'd make it back before we got hypothermia will all this damn rain."
"So we go for the branches. It's now or never." Tony said, pulling the door handle, and diving back into the rain.
Matt dove out after him, each agent going in the opposite direction in search of branches to brace the tires.
Ten minutes later Tony returned to the car with a decent sized branch, and Matt followed a few minutes later with his own sopping wet branch. Together they worked the branches into the mud, both men already soaked to the bone, and soon both covered with mud. When Matt slipped and fell, Tony lost his balance and went with him.
Finally after thirty minutes of pushing, pounding, shifting, and enough cursing to make a cop blush, they finally had the branches placed. After a short game of rock, paper, scissors, which Matt lost, Tony got into the car and started it. When Matt signaled that he was ready, Tony slammed the gas, and the tires spun, as Matt held the branches in the ground, getting splattered with more mud. Finally the car lurched forward out of the puddle.
Matt eagerly leapt into the car, still sopping and now twenty pounds heavier with mud.
"Are you alright man?" Tony asked him.
"Yeah, just a little gross."
"Well, let's just hope that doesn't happen again." Tony laughed as Matt flung mud all over the car.
"Easy for you to say, you didn't get splattered all over."
"And I thank you for that," he smirked as the lapsed into an exhausted silence.
"Tell me about your kids." Matt suddenly asked.
"Uh, well Jeremy is seven and a half, he's already in guitar lessons. Then Maggie, my little princess is almost five, spends every minute she can on a pony named Cinnamon."
"You had Jeremy before you got married?"
"Yeah, that was actually most of my motivation for proposing. I didn't think it was a bad idea until after Maggie was born, Sheila, my ex, didn't really want her."
"Sorry…then why does she have custody?"
"Because I moved to a little apartment across the country, she had a house, so they gave it to her," he shrugged.
"I'm sorry, that has to be rough."
"Yeah, you deal. I'll get them back…so, what about you and Emily?"
"What about us?"
"You guys haven't been married that long right? And she's pretty pregnant?" He asked cautiously.
"Yeah, we found out she was pregnant two weeks after I proposed, so we went to Fiji and got hitched, saving ourselves the trouble of trying to time the wedding around the pregnancy," Matt explained.
"Fiji huh? Nice."
"Yeah too bad Cheryl called us in the middle of it, so Emily could talk down some idiot that everybody had pissed off beforehand."
"You're kidding, right?" Tony asked laughing.
"Oh I wish I was." The two men laughed, as Tony guided the car, and after keeping an iron grip on the steering wheel for an hour, they finally pulled up to the airport, grabbing their overnight bags, and dropping the keys off at the rental store before tearing into the airport to get tickets.
It was still early in the morning, as they took of as early as the stormed allowed them, braving some rather hazardous conditions. As of that moment, all the flights were still very much delayed. Two wet, mud-covered federal agents sent out creative strings of curses. All that effort, and they were still stuck.
Once again that evening Cheryl exited her office to find Emily still at her desk, though her pregnant colleague actually seemed to be asleep. This was the fourth day in a row she'd stayed late, it wasn't a surprise that she was exhausted.
"Emily, time to wake up," Cheryl told her, gently shaking her.
"Huh, what?" Emily looked around as she blinked her eyes awake.
"It's time to go home, you'll sleep better there."
"Oh damn it, I fell asleep?"
"Yeah, and you should have been out of here hours ago."
"Wait, what time is it?"
"Almost eight, again."
"Wow, the last time I looked at a clock it was six."
"And you should have left then."
"Lehman, what the hell are you still doing here?" Frank demanded as he walked into the CNU.
"Sleeping," Cheryl smirked and answered for her.
Frank looked at her puzzled.
"I fell asleep at my desk."
His expression changed to one of amusement.
"What, those files start to blur together after awhile. If I hear one more idiot blame his wife, girlfriend, mistress, or woman he has a crush on, my morning sickness is going to spontaneously come back all over him."
"So, you're not liking your new assignment too much, huh?" Frank asked her.
"I miss being in the field, I miss the adrenaline, and I miss having a partner. Bouncing from prison to prison and having my only conversations with convicted felons can get lonely, and becomes a little depressing after a while," she railed against her assignment.
"And you miss Matt." Cheryl added.
"That goes without saying."
"That still doesn't really answer why you're here so late." Frank informed her.
"Same thing as you, working."
"Now you see, I should be here. You, Emily, shouldn't be working this late, not with that little bean growing in there," he gestured to her stomach.
Cheryl and Emily gave him questioning looks, and Emily asked, "Bean?"
"It looks like a bean in the sonogram photos," Frank shrugged.
"A few months ago, now it actually looks like a baby. You can even see fingers," she scolded him.
He held his hands up, "Fine, baby. The point is it isn't good for you or the baby for you to work this hard."
"Since when do you know so much about babies and pregnancy?" Emily demanded.
"Since that husband of yours has read half the books in the L.A. library," he shot back. "I get a play by play of every book, believe me, I know more about what's going on in there than most women."
"Isn't that sweet, big, strong, gun-wielding HRT man, knows about babies," Emily teased him.
"Very cute Lehman, you still should be home."
"Fine, I'm leaving now, you both happy?" She asked grabbing her things, and starting to walk to an elevator.
"Hey, we're thinking of our own well-being too, Matt finds out we let you work this late, he'll kill us," Frank told her, as he hit the elevator button for the basement parking garage.
"Let me? So what, since I'm pregnant I can't make my own decisions now?" She demanded, half-playfully.
"Talk to your overprotective husband about that." The elevator jolted harshly as it stopped a few floors down, opening to doors to a seemingly empty VICAP unit, before the doors slid closed again, and the elevator continued shuddering to the basement.
"They really need to do something about these elevators," Cheryl commented gripping the bars along the walls, trying to stay upright as the machine lurched downward.
"They said maintenance is backed up, can't get to these yet," Frank commented, grunting as he smacked into the wall.
"It's a good thing my morning sickness is gone, or maintenance would have something else to clean up," Emily muttered.
"How have you been feeling?" Frank asked suddenly.
"Besides being tired and sore all the time, not too bad. A lot of women have a harder time…" she trailed off, thinking that those women probably don't have to worry about the baby not moving.
"You and Matt have names picked out yet?"
"Haven't even really discussed it yet," she gritted her teeth as the elevator pitched them all forward with it's harsh stop, and the doors creaked open at a snail's pace to reveal the parking garage.
The three gratefully exited the ancient, theme park ride elevator, each wobbling faintly, before getting their legs back under them, and walking on.
"Do you hear that?" Cheryl suddenly asked.
"Hear what?" Frank said, only half paying attention.
"Voices. I figured everybody left already."
"I guess we're not the only ones pathetic enough to still be in the building this late."
"Where did Emily go?" she asked looking around, as Frank did the same, both suddenly aware that the third of their trio had seemingly vanished.
However, Emily had recognized one of those voices, and took off after it. Needless to say Tony and Matt, who'd been talking as they walked toward the elevators, were stunned when a redhead launched herself into Matt's arms. Matt had barely processed what happened when she began kissing him, though once he did, he wasted no time reciprocating.
Tony stood by laughing to himself as he watched the couple, who'd long ago let go of the bags they held in favor of each other.
Emily couldn't believe it when she heard his voice, but he was real and pressed up against her; god, even her body had missed him.. She dug one set of fingers into his usually soft, but now mud covered hair, while the other arm remained firmly around his waist. She could tell he had mud caked on him, but after the six longest weeks of her life, she just didn't give a damn.
That redhead had been the best shock of Matt's life, and a welcome home that most men can only dream about. He'd never missed somebody quite that much, and finally having her back wrapped up in his arms was worth all the mud and more. He went to pull her closer, only to be surprised by the new size of her belly. He broke the kiss and went to pull her back, but she refused, hanging on to him.
"I want to hold you a little longer," she whispered, and he was only too happy to comply, both completely oblivious to the two smirking people that had joined Tony in watching the couple.
"Does she have radar for him or something?" Frank asked amused.
"She must," Tony agreed. "Scared the hell out of me when she launched at him like that, I thought he was being attacked. Nearly drew my gun."
"That forceful was she?" Frank laughed
"You should have seen it, though I have to say, Matt adapted pretty quick."
"Oh shush you two," Cheryl scolded them.
"You didn't see the lightening speed she came in on," Tony defended himself, grinning.
Cheryl rolled her eyes at him, "Hey, how did you guys get back so early?"
"Uh, we left when it was still dark this morning, and thanks to the FBI being cheap and booking round trip tickets leaving the day after we came, we were able to catch the first flight that they let leave."
"The storm didn't let up until late this morning, how did you guys get to San Diego?"
"We drove, and got caught in a mud puddle, but we got there."
"So that explains…" Cheryl gestured to his mud covered appearance.
"Yeah, Matt's worse." Tony grinned at her.
"You ever hear that expression that men are just big boys?" Cheryl asked, while Tony just smiled in response.
Matt and Emily had finally broken apart, and after another, quicker kiss, Matt pulled away from her enough to study her belly, which was much bigger than when he'd last seen her.
"Damn, you can tell you're pregnant now," he breathed, putting a hand gently to her belly. Matt was captivated by the sight in front of him; it almost wasn't real before then, but now, the sight of Emily's grown belly proved that there was truly a baby growing inside her. He placed his other hand on her belly, so that the two covered a decent piece of the surface area, and tried to feel his child.
Emily watched him studying her changed figure, touched by how enthralled he was with it, but fearful at the same time. If she had any doubts before that Matt wanted the baby, they were all gone now, and now she might have to tell him that it wasn't going to happen for them. Then she caught the tale end of their friends' conversation.
"Matt, how bad was the storm when you and Tony started driving?"
"Uh, better than it had been, most of the wind had settled by then. Why?" He took his eyes off her belly for a moment.
"You could have been hurt or killed."
"We're fine. We went very slow, I promise. We just really wanted to get home," he gave her a slightly more masculine version of puppydog eyes.
Emily just rolled her eyes at him.
"He's telling the truth, don't worry. It took us three times as long as it should have to get to San Diego," Tony assured her.
"A three hour drive from that little town to San Diego?" Frank asked incredulously.
"See," Matt turned to Emily, "I told you we went slow."
"Alright, alright, but next time, wait until the dangerous weather clears." She warned him; the two were still very attached, each with an arm around the other, but facing toward their friends, so that the five made a poorly formed circle
"How bad was the damage there?" Cheryl asked.
"A few houses got trees or branches through them, and the power was still out when we left. It wasn't as bad as it could have been though." Tony answered.
"Don't forget about all the crap on the streets. I swear one of those plastic flamingo things blew passed one of the windows of the shelter."
"Nobody else saw that, Matt."
"It was bright pink, how could you miss it?"
"It wasn't only me that missed it, it was every other person in that shelter. I think you started going a little stir crazy."
"I was not, the damn thing blew by the window."
"A pink flamingo, Matt?" Frank asked, laughing.
"It was there, you just missed it because you were looking at the Barbie that flew by," Matt scowled at Frank, and shot his remark at Tony.
"Hey, at least other people saw the Barbie," Tony shot back.
Amused at their banter, Emily was surprised suddenly by a strange feeling in her stomach, her free hand immediately flying there.
Cheryl was the first one to notice Emily's eyes grow wide and mouth gape open, and she grew concerned, "Emily, are you all right?"
"What?" Matt said suddenly pulled from the conversation, and turning toward his wife, who continued to stare wide-eyed into space. "Em, what's wrong?"
Emily could see the concern take over Matt's face, as he watched her stunned expression. She quickly grabbed his hand and brought it to her belly, holding their hands over their child as it moved for the first time inside her womb.
"Whoa…" Matt breathed out, no other word coming to mind to describe the subtle motion beneath his hand.
"Is that the first time the baby moved?" Tony turned to Cheryl.
"Yeah, and thank god it finally did." She told him relieved.
"Kid's as stubborn as it's parents already." Frank commented, but continued at the questioning looks he received. "It refused to move until its daddy was around."
So, this took a little while to get out, but writing three stories at once (and two more in my head waiting to be written) can get a little messy. One more chapter for this story and it should be done. Oh, and if anybody would like to suggest baby names for the future story following this, I welcome them. Take care all!