Gaby shivered, the night was getting chilly and though she was quite comfortable leaning back against Dino's chest as they sat on the ground, wrapped up in a blanket they had found rolled on the back of her saddle, she also didn't want to get sick. Dino noticed, and sighed softly, "Cold?"
"Starting to get there… I guess we should go back."
Dino dropped his head, "I was hoping…" he paused, "I don't really want to see anyone else at the moment Gaby, I just want to be… us…" They had been talking quietly for about an hour, with a few tender kisses shared, slowly continuing to heal the hurt the other had been feeling.
Gaby gave him a soft smile, "Just because we have to go back, doesn't mean they have to see us…" Dino gave her a quizzical look, making her chuckle. She jumped to her feet and held out her hand, "Are you coming or not?"
Accepting her hand, Dino followed as Gaby led the way to the horses. Soon she was leading him back to the hacienda, though by a different route to the one Eduardo had brought him on. After a short while, they came to the paddocks that were on the opposite side of the house and Gaby indicated that they should dismount.
Tying her horse's rein to Bianca's saddle, she slapped the mare on the rump, grinning at Dino's expression when he saw the two horses head towards the people gathered around the barbecue. "Jeez Gaby, they'll know we're back."
She chuckled wickedly, "No they won't, but Eduardo will get the message… Now come on, quietly."
Dino followed her smiling to himself, Gaby's 'Artemis' self was alive and kicking, he hoped she would stick around. Stopping next to where Gaby was waiting for him, he asked his question. "What message…?"
Gaby's answer was a deep kiss that took his breath away and stirred his blood, "That we're together… and don't wish to be disturbed…"
"How will he…?"
Gaby chuckled, "I tied my horse to yours… Not the other way around..."
Dino was bemused, "and if we weren't together?"
She raised an eyebrow, "I would have sent Bianca back alone…"
Quietly they made their way around the house, when Gaby stopped next to the wall, "Can you give me a boost?" Dino was curious, but did as she asked. The next moment, he jumped when an old rope touched his arm, "Come on up…"
Dino sighed, he hadn't climbed a rope in years and this one didn't look that strong, but at the moment he would follow Gaby anywhere… From the top of the wall, he realized they were next to the hacienda's courtyard. A short way along, he noticed Gaby lowering herself down to the floor and followed suit. Just as they were walking down the corridor a voice came out of the darkness.
"So… You did come over the wall…" Gaby and Dino jumped as Eduardo walked out of the shadows, carrying two large plates of food and smiling, "Jeez Gaby, you didn't need to do that… You are still mistress of this house, to come and go as you please, we were teenagers the last time you did that."
Seeing the look on Gaby's face he started to chuckle, "Ah… I see…" Glancing at Dino, he could not stop the amusement playing around his mouth, "I brought you some food, it would be a shame to miss out… After your exertion, you may need the sustenance."
Passing Dino the plates he chuckled, "Mind you… If you hadn't wanted to be seen… All you had to do was use the gate… I had it fixed… It doesn't squeak anymore." Winking at Dino, he turned and left…
Dino followed Gaby to the suite of rooms they used at the hacienda when they visited, not believing what he had just heard. Putting down the plates slowly on a small table he saw that Gaby was trying not to giggle and knew that he'd been had…
Gaby began to laugh, "Sorry Dino, I couldn't resist… You were so insistent that I don't change too much, I just let 'Artemis' out to play a little… You know what I'm like… and what I like…"
Reaching out, Dino caught hold of her wrist and pulled her close, his voice dropping, "Oh yes… I learnt that you like your little games Gaby… a long time ago… and I've missed them." Seeing her eyes glinting he smiled to himself, his Gaby was back in his arms, where she belonged, "As for what you like… Didn't you get enough earlier?"
Seeing her pout a little he chuckled and dropped his lips to her shoulder, starting his kisses, at the same time pulling her toward the bedroom. They had a lot of time to catch up on…
Dino glanced at his watch and swore violently, Gaby was going to kill him if he was late this time. She had forgiven him before, knowing how important his work was, but this time he would definitely be in trouble if he didn't make it.
Not even the truth of a delayed flight from London would be a good enough excuse – he had promised to be on time and where Gaby was concerned, he was not going to break that promise, or any others he had made to her for that matter.
Glancing at his watch again, he made his decision. Paying the cab driver what he owed, he stepped out of the cab and glanced around the New York streets, orienting himself. Quickly he realized he was only two blocks away from his destination, but the traffic was bumper to bumper.
Getting a good hold of his bag, he quickly began moving, running along the road until he came to the next junction, he sighed when he saw there was no way through. Ignoring the enraged shouts of drivers, he climbed onto the bonnet of a car and began jumping across from one to another, before sliding across the bonnet of another yellow cab to reach the pavement.
A quick glance at his watch put his feet into motion and he flew along the kerb, sometimes stepping into the road – mainly trying to stay on the pavement, though unable to due to the amount of people out and about that summer evening.
A few minutes later and he had arrived at the building, the receptionist giving directions to the room where Gaby would be waiting. The clock on the wall showed that he was late, only by a couple of minutes, but it could have been hours in his head. Damn... She's going to kill me…
Gaby glanced at the clock on the wall and sighed, Terry had called to say that Dino had caught the flight from London, but it had been delayed. Giving her an arrival time in New York, he had passed on some early congratulations before returning to the conference that he and Dino had been attending.
An amused smile played around her mouth… He had promised so faithfully to be on time – he was probably going insane by now. How should she react to his arrival…? Relieved? Happy? Nonchalant? Or should she be angry and see how many excuses and ways of apologizing he would come up with?
Chuckling to herself, she decided to go with mild annoyance… Enough to get him a little wound up – but not upset – after all it wasn't his fault that the plane was delayed and Dino's apologies were always worth getting…
A commotion at the door made her turn and raise her eyebrows and she started to chuckle, all thoughts of teasing him gone from her mind. His hair was all over the place sticking out at odd angles, making him look like he'd slept in a haystack. His tie was loose and top button undone and from the pinkness on his face and slight breathlessness, she guessed he'd been running.
Giving him a soft smile she teased slightly, "So… You aren't going to let me down after all…"
Dino grinned back, "I thought for a minute you'd go without me…" Pulling her close, he kissed her gently, "Ready?"
Gaby opened her eyes slowly and smiled to see Dino watching her closely, a relieved look on his face. "Hey… You ok?"
Dino chuckled, "I thought I was the one supposed to ask that question," leaning forward, he kissed her forehead tenderly, "Thank you…"
Dino chuckled, "For everything…" Pausing, he sat up a little straighter, "Do you want to see?"
Gaby rolled her eyes at him, "What do you think…?"
Taking a few steps away, Dino returned and placed the small bundle in her lap before returning with the second, his face soft and full of emotion. Sitting next to her, his voice gave away his relief. "A little smaller as we were anticipating, but the doc was right to make the call and get you in early. Your blood pressure spiked again during the operation."
Gaby had discovered she was pregnant a few weeks after she and Dino had returned to New York from their holiday on the Solomon Islands. Dino had booked the holiday after having a quick chat with Terry from Gaby's Buenos Aires apartment, where they had gone the day after the Barbeque, Eduardo and Consuella understanding their need to be alone.
The two of them had then spent a couple of weeks on a small island, the only inhabitants of a small but well appointed Pacific style house. The first week they had lazed around, doing nothing but enjoying each others company, talking about everything and nothing. Gaby filling in details of her childhood and telling Dino stories of her father, Dino telling Gaby more details about his life with the Delta Force and what had happened later. At one point he had almost come to tears after describing how he had lost one of his best friends on an operation.
Gaby had wrapped herself around him, encouraging him to talk, holding him tightly and Dino had responded. It had taken all Gaby's inner strength to stay quiet and be strong for him, and afterwards he had thanked her for it – informing her that he had never talked about the incident to anyone else. Gaby had sighed, eased his pain with a few quiet words, and both had remained silent for quite a while content to simply be together.
The only thing Dino had been unable to talk about was Cass' death, but Gaby didn't push, knowing that it would be a while before he would talk about it. Not because he didn't trust her, but because the memory was still too painful to be revisited. She knew that one day Dino would talk, and she would be there for him, always.
The second week they had been a little more adventurous, scuba diving and waterskiiing around the islands, but Gaby's favourite part was at the end of their holiday when they had rented a yacht for a few days and they were once again alone.
On their return home, she had at first been afraid to tell Dino that she was expecting after what he had been through with Cass, but a day or so later, he had gently cornered her in the bedroom, noticing that she was hiding something.
She had told him carefully, a little anxious about his response, but she needn't have worried judging by the hug he gave her afterwards and the way he had insisted on taking care of her when complications had begun to set in.
She stared down at the red-head in her arms and looked at the other in Dino's and gave a soft chuckle, "I should have warned you that we'd have twins… You know we won't get a lot of sleep…"
Dino smiled, "Won't be the first time I've been kept up all night… Though this is a much better reason than any other."
As he spoke both babies stirred and opened their eyes, Dino smiled, "Hey guys, meet your mom… She's kinda special you know…" Giving her a sideways look he continued, "Mom… meet James Gabriel and Alessia Grace Bernadino…"
Gaby's head snapped around to look at Dino, her eyes locking with his, tears sliding down her face. They had discussed several names and had even agreed to think about using old family names for their children, though Dino had not seemed keen on the idea. For him to use her father's name and a diminutive of her mother's…
Reaching out her free hand, she placed it gently on Dino's cheek, unable to say anything for a moment, "Thank you… for remembering them…"
Dino gently kissed the palm of her hand and smiled, "The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea – so I combined both our parents' names… James and Grace were my parents' middle names – I just played around a little…"
Gaby blinked away the tears in her eyes, "I think it's a great idea… Perfect in fact…" Looking at her son, she gave Dino a hard look, "Just don't try and persuade him to follow in your footsteps ok…"
Dino chuckled and lifted Alessia closer to her mother, "As long as you don't teach this one how to use a bow…"
Gaby sighed with relief, "Deal…" Looking at him more closely, she noted the glint that had come into his eye, and wondered what he was thinking…
Dino saw the curiosity that crossed her face and had to restrain himself from chuckling, he had one more surprise for Gaby, but it could wait a little longer… For now he wanted to enjoy his family…