Disclaimer: all characters belong to J. Evanovich no money is being made from this little venture

Summery: What if the first time Ranger had seen Stephanie Plum wasn't the day she walked into the café, not that she knows that.

He sighed he still wasn't quite sure about this new job, he never thought seven months ago he'd be here, sitting in a piece of shit car with a telescopic camera following some poor saps girlfriend around all day because he wanted to know what she got up to before he decided wether or not to propose.
She was a real piece of work to, she had started the day kissing her boyfriend/the client goodbye at the door where she had then proceeded to drive off literally around the corner and make a very friendly call to a house that was in the process of throwing a swingers party, that eye opening scene seemed to set the theme for the rest of the day.
The woman then went shopping at several high end designer stores were she then spent several thousands on from what he could see tasteless junk, she then stopped and had lunch with the gardener from the boyfriend/clients Estate, who proceeded to fertilise her lawn in the back seat of his orange Cadillac, after that she made a stop at a rather iffy looking adult shop on Sark street were after several black label purchases she made her way over to a rather quaint little house on the outskirts of the burg in front of which he now sat, he checked his watch again 4.00pm his partner should be here any minuet.

Tank, his closest friend and the only other person he would trust to watch his back, understandable seeing as they has spent from basic until there joint retirement from the Rangers doing that very thing day in and day out, which was the only reason why when looking for jobs as newly minted civilians he had agreed to try Tanks idea to work for his Uncles security business, at the moment though they were just learning the ropes, surveillance, tailing, information gathering all things that they had done in the Rangers but now haveing to relearn as civilians, and he couldn't say it was his favourite thing in the world, then just on time the passenger side door opened and the man himself slid in.

"Ranger" he said solemnly, Ric screwed his nose slightly

"Man I hate that name your uncle started calling me it sounds pretentious" he said sighing and snapping a few more compromising shots of the couple that were clearly visible from the dining room window facing the street

"Don't worry I doubt it'll catch on man, what has our little puppy been doing today?" asked Tank peering at the couple still going for it in full view of the window

"The little 'perra el raspar' has had quite the productive day first there was the swingers, then there was the $4500 she then blew on crap in some clothes stores, then I got to see her and the gardener discuss his new lawn fertilisation technique in the back seat of his car, then there was the enlightening couple of hours in the Den of Deviant Delights were she bought a variety of implements that I am sure can only be used if the other participant is a barnyard animal of some description, and now I have been sitting out here for the last two and a half hours while she is yet again busy discussing what appears to be the smoothness and stability of antique cedar tables." He said sounding somewhat disgusted

"Hey that reminds me, how did yesterday go?" said Tank looking over at the tense face of his best friend

"All right as far as any meeting involving Anna and I being in the same room as each other can go" Ric said sighing tiredly

"Hey she's your ex wife now you don't have to have anything to do with that woman anymore"

"But she's also the mother of my child and that if anything means I have to keep a civil tongue in my head at least in front of my daughter"

"How is the minni you any way" asked Tank, whatever Ric had been about to say was cut off as they noticed the forest green civic slow down and pull into the driveway of the house the tail was in.

"Well this can't be good" said Tank as the most heart catching beautiful woman Ric had seen in a long time got out of the car, she didn't have that over advertised beauty of TV actresses and magazine models, but an honest beauty of a supple frame that looked good in the cream satin skirt and pale blue blouse, her shapely legs were bare and she was shoeless, but it was her startling blue eyes that even from this distance drew him in, there brightness and openness seemingly full of contentment and one could almost say innocence, she ran the fingers of her left hand through her hair, and oh what hair it was wild, untamed curls that framed her soft open face and stubborn chin, he couldn't stop himself from snapping a few shots of her, then as she pulled house keys out of her pocket book that was tucked under her arm along with her shoes he realised what was more than likely about to happen and he found himself almost getting out of the car as if he could stop her from entering and getting hurt by what she would find inside.

Instead he had watched almost proudly as she had entered discovered the cavorting pair and using her hair as a handle thrown the woman they were tailing out of the house half dressed along with as he was to learn later her husband of less then a year, but who at the time he had just thought of as incredibly stupid, she then proceeded to lock them out on the lawn while she went up stairs she had then began grabbing the mans expensive looking suits, setting fire to them and throwing them out of the window at him where he stood screaming at her from the front yard, he and Tank had stayed watching the ensuing fight until the police showed up.

Now several years later Ranger sat in his favourite chair looking at a photo he had found while cleaning out a box of old cases from his early years as a bounty hunter and laughed at what the fates had wrought for him in his life, he had fallen just a little bit in love with that woman with the wild hair and stubborn chin that day, though he hadn't tried to find anything out about her happy to have his memories believing that his new life wasn't going to lead itself to relationships.

He was brought out of his reverie by the sound of his bathroom door opening and a curious voice

"Ranger are you sure that this is what you want for your birthday?" she asked running her hands down the material of the skirt to make sure that any wrinkles were smoothed out he took in the look of the cream silk skirt, pale blue blouse and untamed hair and smiled

"Babe its perfect" he smiled at her and she gave a quick laugh

"You know I used to have an outfit almost exactly the same as this years ago now when I first started working for E.E Martin" she said moving further into the lounge she said smiling softly "I was a lot younger then, you know I though that when I asked you what you wanted for your birthday and you said that you had an outfit you wanted to see me in I thought you meant something a little bit different than this" she admitted grinning suggestively, he just gave her his wolf grin and picked up the camera from the floor beside him

"Like I said babe perfect."