Beginnings

Chapter Twenty-one

December 31, 2003

7:15

Jess looked in the mirror one last time. It was the first time she was going out on New Year's Eve since she came back home. It was always a work day when she was on the mountain. Matt gave her and Cutler the night off. He told her he wasn't condoning their relationship, just taking Cody off her hands for one night. She smiled. Robin had done her hair and the dress she had on was the most expensive thing she's ever worn.

"Wow." She turned to see Matt standing in the locker room door way.

"Is it too much?" Her brother shook his head.

"A waste on Cutler but not too much." Jess smiled.

"I know you don't like the two of us together Matt but he makes me happy."

"I know. I'll get over it when I'm eighty or ninety."

"I'll have out grown him by then." She smiled. Matt leaned against the wall.

"Can I ask you something without you being offended?"

"You can try."

"If you feel like he isn't the person you want to spend the rest of your life with why do you stay together?" She looked at her brother.

"You know when you comfortable with someone and its working sometimes you're happy with right now and forever can wait."

"You deserve forever Jess." She smiled.

"So does he." She turned back to the mirror and finished getting ready.

8:30

Jess sat at the bar with her drink. Jake was waiting on a couple on the other side of the bar and Cutler was no where to be found. A half hour wasn't a really long time to wait but with Jim Cutler it could mean too many things. Jake set another drink in front of her.

"I told you that the man was no good for you kid." Jess looked up at the Rockingham's owner and head bar tender.

"You've knowing me long enough to know that if isn't bad for me I don't take the time." Jake laughed.

"I know. Just be careful. Bad gets you hurt."

"Just because you found the perfect woman doesn't mean we all have to give up our fun." Jess looked around one last time. It was eight fifty-five. Jess grabbed her purse and took out some cash and threw it on the bar. "Tell him not to bother looking for me."

"Thata girl." Jake smiled and watched Jess walk out the back door.

9:30

Jess walked down the path that circled around the property surrounding the station and the Hawkes cabins. Matt had finished his last spring. Jess felt like she should build hers but she felt if she did she would have to settle down. Settling down was not an option right now. Here was where she wanted to be but she was restless. She wanted something more but needed it to be here.

"You get stood up?" Cutler stood a few feet down trail.

"Yeah. I though I would just walk out my heartbreak."

"I'm sorry Jess. I got ready to go and got in my truck and I headed up the mountain." He stopped in front of her. "I can't make any promises Jess." She smiled and touched his cheek.

"No one is asking for any promises Jimmy. Just what we have is good enough for me." He took her hand and held it.

"You deserve promises and you deserve perfection, not just good enough." She squeezed his hand.

"If I was unhappy I wouldn't be here." He knew Jess wouldn't say no to him. She never could. He had to be the strong one this time but he was failing fast. The ring he had for her was in his pocket. He never loved anyone but her. He kissed her.

"You're my everything Jess." He took out the ring. "I spent the last hour and a half telling myself if would be better if I just never showed up tonight and have you hate me forever. Telling myself you were better off without me." He opened the box. "I know how you feel about marriage. But I need you to know I'm committed to you." He slid a small heart shaped ruby surrounded by diamonds on her finger. She looked at the ring and then at Cutler.

"It's beautiful Jimmy." She kissed him. "I do love you, you know that right?" He looked into her deep sad brown eyes. He knew how she felt. She would stand by him and love him for as long as he would let her.

"I love you too Jess." The snow started to fall. Jess knew this was right. Jim Cutler was the one person who had been there for her since she was a little girl. He would always be her friend even if he wasn't always her lover.

May 3, 2004

Cody knew the pain would get better but this morning was one of those days when he felt it would never leave his soul. Jess had moved out of his cabin and back in with Cutler. She still came a couple of times a week to catch up on old horror movies and find some new favorites. Sometimes Cutler came sometimes he didn't. Mornings were rough. The pills the doctor had given him to sleep at night left him cloudy the next day so he rarely took them. This morning he wasn't sure he wanted to get up. He heard noise in his kitchen and smelled coffee. Getting up he went into the kitchen, Jess was standing at the sink.

"Something wrong, Jess?" She turned and looked at him.

"No, I just made coffee. I have stable duty so I thought I would come by and start your coffee."

"Thanks. What's wrong?" She could never hide things from him.

"I got a job offer." Cody looked at his sister.

"Where?"

"The FBI is looking for field operatives for their Seattle office. I didn't apply for the job they just ask me."

"Are you going to take the job?"

"I think I am. I have to go next week for an interview but they told me I have the job if I want it." Cody paled. He couldn't tell her that he didn't want her to go but he had no right to ask her to stay.

"What does Cutler say about you leaving?"

"He said it would be good to get away for awhile. I know I won't have a job with the Rangers but I can always find something if I decide to come back." Jess went to the door. "We'll talk more later." She left. Cody ran his hand though his hair. The morning wasn't starting off like he would of liked it and the day isn't getting better.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Jess sat at the front desk. It was late and she hadn't seen Cody or Matt for hours. It was probably a good thing. She knew that her brothers would talk. Lately things have gone way off track with her life. She had always wanted to be here with her family but now with Cody slipping farther and farther into himself she just needed to take a step back. The front door opened and the team came in. Jess looked up and Cutler threw his gloves at her.

"My bike needs a tune up." She smiled.

"What do you want me to do about it?"

"Please Jess; will you tune up my bike?"

"Sure." Standing up she headed out the back door before her brother's caught her alone. Cutler watched her go. Something was bothering her and he wished she trusted him enough to tell him what.

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Jess pulled the carburetor out of Cutler's bike and adjusted it. The man was going to blow up another bike if he didn't be careful.

"Are you hiding?" She looked up to see Matt.

"What do I have to hide from?"

"The fact that you're leaving again."

"Now who said Cody's quit talking."

"When were you going to tell me?" Jess looked into her brother's eyes.

"Two weeks notice is all I have to give." The anger was building.

"Jess you know that's not what I mean."

"If me leaving makes Cody step up to the plate and make whatever it is with him right then I'm going to do it."

"Leaving isn't going to make him better Jess. He just needs time. I have some errands to run in Sacramento tomorrow. Jim and Cody will spend then night here." Jess nodded "You not leaving again Jess." He backed out of the door. "Not this time."

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Jess looked outside at the cool spring night. She felt Cutler behind her and closed her eyes. He didn't like the game that Jess was playing but he would never say so.

"Are you going home tonight?" He took her in his arms and pulled her back against his chest.

"I'll stay here with you and Cody. Maybe if Matt makes him stay here more, getting up in the morning will be easier."

"Do you really think if your not here he's going to want to get out of bed at all Jess. Hell I don't think I'll want to get out of bed if you go." She smiled.

"You've lived without me before."

"I did it but I didn't like it." He kissed her cheek and pulled away. "Dinner's in fifteen minutes. You mom made meatloaf."

"I'll be there." She turned back and looked out into the forest behind the station. She missed the old Cody so much sometimes and they fought about it at great lengths. He told the old Cody was gone. The men that held him captive had made sure of that. Jess knew that man was still there somewhere. Behind his cold blue eyes and underneath the angry facade, he was there. She just needed a way to bring him home.

May 4, 2004

Cody looked at his sister sleeping on the couch in the lounge. It was only five in the morning but it would serve her right if he rousted her out of bed now. He was the one that needed to sleep in but the nightmares kept that from ever happening. He went into the kitchen to Cutler had already made coffee.

"You couldn't sleep either?" He looked at the older man.

"I never sleep well on those damn cots." Handing Cody his coffee Cutler sat down. "How about you?"

"I don't sleep well ever." He looked down at his coffee. "She's really taking the job?"

"As far as I know."

"You're not going to try and stop her."

"Cody, she doesn't belong to me. I can say all I want to convince her this is the worst idea ever and she'll still go. I don't think Matt was in any mood before he left but I think when he gets back the fur is going to fly." Cody shook his head.

"Those two have got to learn that fighting gets them no where. I'll be in my office if you need me." Shutting the door behind him Cody went and warmed up his computers. The fax machine started and he sat on his chair and rolled back to get the paper coming off the roller. Cody looked at the paper. The little girl in the picture couldn't be more then a year or so old. Her black curls and bright smile squeezed his frozen heart. He read the details. Her father had beat up her mother after the courts gave her full custody of the child and he took her. Hitting the intercom button Cody grabbed his holster. "Cutler, wake up Jess. We have work to do."

7:30am

Cody pulled out the map and put it on the table. He knew the land around the lake but Jess knew it better. She spent most of her time growing up running the mountain with him but she liked to be alone sometimes. Those were the times she learned the short cuts and secrets of the mountain.

"Okay the McKnight's place is sixty miles north of here. East of dad's place. The only way up is on horse or ATV. It's been raining for so long I don't know if taking the horses is a good idea." He looked at Jess.

"The four wheelers are our best bet." Jess drew a line with her finger. "Straight up and we can take the fire road from there. If we go up that way and have Izzy and Cutler take the back way there's no way we'll miss him." Cody nodded.

"Let's get going. I don't want this man getting up that mountain with the little girl." Cody threw the pocket map at Cutler and grabbed another for him and Jess. He knew they wouldn't need it but it never hurt to have back up.

9:15 am

"Are you okay?" It was a strange question coming from Cody. It had been Jess who was asking him that question lately.

"I'm fine. You?"

"It's supposed to get cold tonight. I don't want that little girl to spend another night away from her mother." Jess looked at her brother.

"They've been gone almost forty eight hours Cody. Do you really think he'd risk taking her up so far away from civilization?"

"I think he's a coward for beating his ex-wife and taking a poor little child in these mountains before the snow has melted. I think he's headed to the one place where he thinks no one will look for him because it's in the middle of nowhere." Jess saw something in her brother's eyes that she hadn't seen in a long time. He was angry and the anger fueled the passion he had lost when he was taken prisoner.

"Just remember he's armed and dangerous." Cody looked at his sister. He knew she was worried that he was slipping away from them and maybe this was the chance he needed to finish it.

"We will get Ava back to her mother, no matter what it takes Jess but I'm not reckless." She tried to blink the tears from her eyes but she couldn't.

"Promise?"

"Do I really worry you that much?"

"You've been so cold for so long Cody. I'm just scared for you." Jess was never scared of anything. She was the strongest person he knew.

"I'm going to be fine Jess. I promise." He turned back to the trail and started his ATV. Jess knew better and let it go. Now was not the time to start the high mountain drama. They drove silently for a few miles then Cody but his hand up and they both stopped. "Jeep's in the bushes." He got off his ATV and walked slowly to the vehicle.

"I'll radio Cutler." Jess stayed back and watched the surrounding area. "Lady Hawke to Flash."

"Go ahead Lady Hawke."

"We have McKnight's vehicle about twenty miles east of Colton's Ridge."

"How long has it been there?" Cody felt the hood.

"The engines cool. At least a half hour." Cody relayed.

"Half hour at least." She looked at Cody as he checked the ground.

"He's on foot. He must be carrying her on his left hand because he's sinking in more on that side." He turned to his sister. "He can't get far."

"Cody says he's on foot we're going to follow the tracks."

"Stay close to each other; I don't want him picking you off. You're sitting ducks if he see's you first."

"Ten four. Lady Hawke out." Jess watched her brother follow the trail. She started her bike and followed slowly behind him. He stopped about a mile up.

"He's close. We need to take it slow. He's getting tired." Jess came up behind him. "He's dragging the seat." Jess nodded. "Stay back a few yards. I don't want him putting the girl at risk but if he does, you need to do what you have to."

"And I'm faster." He turned and looked at her. He smiled like he hadn't done in a very long time.

"Yeah, Jess…you're faster." He followed the trail. The man was getting tired. He was getting sloppy and Cody knew that sloppy got people hurt. The ridge spit a half a mile ahead and they saw Hugh McKnight. He had slowed down quite a bit. "Take the lower ridge." Cody whispered. Jess slowly made her way down the ledge and landed silently on the lower ridge. Hand on his gun Cody made his way silently towards McKnight. Unholstering his gun he spoke. "High Mountain Rangers McKnight. Set down the baby and turn around slowly." The older man stopped. Cody knew that he wasn't in the state of mind to give up without a fight. He kidnapped his own child and a hundred yards back they had crossed the state line making it a federal offence. He turned. He had a wicked smile on his face. Cody knew this was going to end badly and when McKnight let go of the handle of the car seat his heart nearly broke. "You son of a bitch."

"You don't know the half of it." Cody took three steps forward and looked over the edge of the ridge. Jess lay sprawled out on the ledge, the child seat safely in her arms but teetering to near the edge. He stepped forward, closer to McKnight.

"Everything okay down there baby sister?" She turned and looked up at him taking the seat carrying little Ava McKnight away from the cliff.

"We're okay down here." McKnight looked at the woman holding his daughter. Cody watched him. He took three steps toward the man. Without warning McKnight let out a yell and tackled Cody, sending his gun flying. The two wrestled and fought, McKnight nearly choked Cody until he got his foot between them and pushed the man to the edge of the cliff. Getting up he went to pull the older man to his feet. McKnight pulled out a knife and lunged at Cody grazing his ribs.

"Cody!" Jess took the baby and headed up the ridge. She knew that her brother would want her to protect the baby and not help him but at least if she was off the ledge she could help if worse came to worse. The two men struggled, Cody getting the brunt of the beating. The knife slid though his jacket as he struggled to get the upper hand. Jess placed the baby within reach and took out her gun. The struggle kept putting Cody in the line of fire. Jess pressed her mic button. "Flash we're a mile south of the cabin we need back up now!"

"On out way. Five minutes from your destination."

"Hurry Jimmy." Jess struggled for a clear shot but she couldn't. The two kept fighting. "Cody give me a clear shot."

"Just take care of the kid Jess." He fought back harder. Then it was over. One punch to his solar plexus Hugh McKnight flew off the cliff to the ridge below. Cody wasn't moving and blood seeped out of the wounds on his right side. Jess took the baby, picked up Cody's gun and went to the ledge. Hugh McCormick lay on the ledge. He wasn't going anywhere. Jess went to her brother.

"Oh God, Cody." Bruises covered his face and chest as Jess tore off his jacket and picked up the mic of her radio. "White Eagle I need immediate evac at my location."

"On my way Jess." Taking her jacket off she pressed it against Cody's side.

"Come on Cody…wake up." Jess checked his pulse. "Hang in there big brother, helps coming."

"McKnight?" He croaked out.

"On the ridge out cold with a broken leg at least." Jess heard Cutler and Izzy's bikes coming up the ridge.

"Ava?"

"She's right here." Cody looked at the child and then closed his eyes and let the pain over take him.

4:45 pm

Jess leaned against the wall in the ER. Her parents sitting in the chairs across from her. The fist clenching her heart squeezed tighter. Cutler came out of the room they were holding McKnight.

"The Sheriff's coming to pick up McKnight and bring him to the prison infirmary." Jess looked at him.

"The sooner the better." He went to her and put his arm around her but she brushed him off and headed down the hall to the coffee machine.

"Don't take it personal son." Jesse looked at the younger man.

"I never do." He looked at the room where they were taking care of Cody. "She had him stabilized before Frank got here."

"She wouldn't let anything happen to him. We all know that. Did you get a hold of Matt?"

"Yeah, he was half way back, he should be here anytime."

"You handled everything right up there Jim. You brought that little girl down safely."

"I wish I could say the same for Cody."

"My son has seen worse days and I'm sure he has more a head of him. Jesse watched his daughter down the hall. "Just give Jess some space Jim."

"Jesse no offence but I've been giving Jess space for ten years and I still step on her toes." Jesse knew that he was right. He had been there for his daughter though all her ups and downs for the past ten years and he didn't show signs of going anywhere.

"Just don't give up on her." Cutler nodded and went to find something to do other then wait.

5:15

Matt walked up to Cutler standing near the ER entrance. The look on his face told him it had been a long day.

"How's Cody?"

"He's pretty banged up. The knife wounds weren't deep but one or two needed stitches. A few broken ribs, his larynx is bruised."

"Jess?"

"Shutting down." Cutler looked at his friend. "I have to go back to the office. The Sheriff took McKnight to jail. Ava and her mother are in pediatrics. The doctor wants to give her the once over so they will be here tonight." Cutler started walking toward his truck.

"Are you okay?" Cutler turned.

"I will be." He got in his truck and drove away. Matt went into the hospital and found his family.

May 8, 2004

Cody looked at his sister curled up on the chair. She had saved his ass again and he didn't seem to know why. Every time he though the pain would end she pulled the rug out from under him. He closed his eyes. Now there was more pain to deal with. She stirred and opened her eyes.

"Cody?" He turned and opened his.

"Get out." His voice was raspy and horse. She stood.

"What?"

"Get the hell out of here." She reached for his hand but he slapped it away. "Don't touch me. Just leave." Jess looked at her brother. The pain and anger in his blue eyes made her take a step back.

"Cody?"

"Just get the hell out of my life Jess." Jess swallowed hard. She took a step back and shook her head in confusion. With tears in her eyes she turned and headed out the door nearly knocking the blond woman at the door over. Jess apologized and kept on walking. The woman handed the child she was holding to Izzy and proceeded into the room.

"Cody Hawkes what the hell do you think your doing?" Cody looked at the woman standing at the end of his bed.

"Who the hell are you?"

"Sarah McKnight." Cody swallowed hard.

"How's Ava?"

"Perfect, thanks to you and your sister. Do you know she hasn't left the hospital since you got here? Cutler had to drag her down to get something to eat last night and then she took it back up here to be with you. She didn't want you to wake up alone." The blond went to stand next to him. "She doesn't deserve to be treated that way."

"I know."

"Then you owe her an apology."

"You sound like my mother."

"Your mother has been a saint. She let me and Ava stay at the house." She touched Cody's arm and he pulled back. "Hugh hurt us all Cody. Don't let him mess with the person you are."

"How do you know what kind of person I am?"

"I know you didn't think twice about going up that mountain to find him and Ava."

"It's my job." She crossed her arms over her chest.

"You go above and beyond just like your sister. Don't be modest Ranger Hawkes. You saved my little girl and I thank you for that." She sat on the chair next to him. "You're a good man; no matter what you feel right now your sister and the rest of those people waiting outside need you." The door opened and Izzy brought in Ava.

"She heard your voice." Izzy set her down and her little chubby legs carried her to her mother. Sarah picked her up.

"Thanks Izzy." Izzy nodded and shut the door. "Say hello Ava." Ave looked at Cody and smiled. She lifted her little hand in a small wave.

"She's beautiful Sarah." Cody whispered.

"And she's home because of you. Family is so very important Cody. Don't throw it away because you feel like the world won't cut you a break." She let Ava reach for him and she grabbed on to his big hand with her little one. "Don't let Hugh take them from you like he took her from me." She stood up and lifted the child into her arms. "Say goodbye Ava."

"Bye, bye." She smiled and hid her giggles in her mothers shoulder.

"We'll talk soon Cody." Sarah walked out of the room and Cody was alone again with his thoughts.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*May 25, 2004*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Jess curled up in the big bed she shared with Cutler. He hadn't been home yet today and she was hoping he wouldn't come looking for her because she felt like crap and looked even worse. The knock on the door echoed in her head. She didn't want to see anyone now. Getting up she put her robe on and went to the door. Matt was standing on the landing.

"I have some campers stranded by a mud slide on the south ridge near Copperhead." He looked at her. She was a mess but he needed her skills to make this team work. "Take a shower and get dressed."

"I'm not sober enough to take a job." Matt looked at her. She hadn't drank much since coming back from DC. She didn't like being out of control.

"I know Cutler doesn't have anything more then a six pack in the fridge and you haven't left the house in three days so don't try and talk your way out of this. I need you Jess."

"How's Cody?"

"Sinking down a hole I can't pull him out of. Cutler's a mess too. If I loose you too I might as well just shut the whole place down." Jess looked at her older brother. There were stress lines she had never noticed before. "Please don't fight me on this Jess. I don't have it in me."

"I'll be out in fifteen minutes." She headed to the shower.

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Cody sat at the diner across from Sarah McKnight and her daughter. The place was slow and quiet for early afternoon. He stared at his ice tea and glanced at the two across from him now and then.

"Are you feeling better?"

"A little. How are the two of you?"

"We're good. Your mom is taking good care of us."

"When are you going back to Sacramento?"

"I'm not. Your mom has rented me the apartment over the diner. I got a job at the medical center. I fell in love with the place the first time I saw it."

"So you're just going to pack up your things and move here?"

"Yeah. I was leaving the city anyway. I was going to move to San Fernando to be closer to my parents but they're retiring soon and they will want to travel."

"Why now?" She looked at him with those fierce green eyes.

"Hugh took everything from me Cody. He almost had the one thing that meant the world to me. I feel safe here. Knowing that you and your family have my back if Hugh or his family comes after Ava."

"We have drama beyond drama around here."

"Well I guess that's one more reason to stay. Everyone loves a little drama." She smiled. Cody smiled the fist real smile he had shown anyone in a long time.

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Jess attached the basket caked with mud to the hook and singled Frank to pull up the injured man. The rest of the family was safe in the back of the ambulance on the hill. She was thigh deep in mud and it was getting hard to move. Jess keyed her radio.

"Matt…I'm in trouble…the mud is getting harder and I can't move."

"I'll have Frank set the old man down and come pull you out."

"NO he needs to be brought in."

"Jess it'll be nearly an hour and that much longer if I go back for the other chopper."

"Call Cody."

"Jess he's in no shape to fly."

"The sheriff is three hours out and I have less then half that before the rest of this crap buries me alive. Maybe now's a good time to see what he's made of."

"Cutler's on his way to get him. Hold tight Jess. I'm coming down. Maybe I can dig you out."

"Matt, no. Just stay up there and tell Flynn to throw me down some oxygen."

"Jess." Matt was at the top of the slide. She looked up

"I'm okay for now. Just get Cody."

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

The breaks squealed as Cutler came to a stop in front of the diner. He had remembered Jackie saying something to Sarah about having lunch there. He got out and found Cody sitting in the back alone.

"Matt needs you." Cody looked up.

"I'm off till further notice."

"There was a mud slide and Jess went down the hill to extract the last vic and the mud started to harden." Cutler leaned on the table and looked at the younger man. "She's trapped and you're the only one who can get to her in time. Matt was on the mountain and it would take an hour to get back."

"I can't fly Cutler. I haven't since I got back from Afghanistan."

"Come on Cody this is Jess. You have to go get her."

"I don't have to do anything." The anger in Cutler's eyes was unlike anything that Cody had ever seen.

"Then you explain to your parents and brother that because you couldn't drag your sorry ass out of whatever hole you decided to bury yourself in your sister died on that mountain." The gasp from behind him made Cutler stand straight and he looked behind him to find Sarah and Ava. "You decide." He hit the table and went out the door.

"Cody?" Sarah looked at the man who had risked everything to save her daughter.

"Here." He handed Sarah his truck keys. "I'll call you later." He looked at Ava and she smiled at him with so much unconditional love Cody wasn't sure he could make it out the door. He bent down and hugged the little girl. "Take care of your mom princess." Cody kissed the top of Sarah head and headed out to meet Cutler.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

Cutler got into the other side of the helicopter as Cody started the engine.

"You don't have to come with me Jimmy." Cody looked at his friend.

"Why wouldn't I?"

"Because the last time I flew I crashed." Cutler put his sunglasses on and stared ahead.

"Let's not let that happen then, okay?" Cody lifted off the pad.

"I'm sorry for the way I acted back there." Cutler looked at him.

"It's over. Just don't let whatever it is take you over man. I know it hurts right now but it will get better Cody. You have so many people standing beside you to help you though this. Don't push them away."

"I know. I just have to get a handle on this. No matter who I talk to I can't get this feeling of being alone I had back there."

"Talk to Jess. She knows more about being alone then anyone I know." He pointed to the next ridge. "And right now alone is the last place she wants to be." Cody approached the next ridge and Cutler threw the ladder down. Jess was buried up to her chest.

"Someone call for a taxi?" Cutler said into his radio.

"I take back what I said about you Flash. Your timing is impeccable."

"Ace did all the fancy work. I just get all the glory."

"Thanks for coming for me big brother."

"Cutler reminded me how mad mom and dad would get if I left you to fossilize." Jess laughed.

"Yeah but it would make a heck of a family story." Cody smiled.

"Grab that rope and let's get you out of there."

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Jess sat in the warm confines of Cutlers arms. The fire in the old brick fireplace was the only light in the room. They had both told Matt they would pull the night shift so he could take some much needed time off. Jess felt better then she had in days knowing that Cody was close to becoming himself again.

"You okay baby?" Cutler stroked her hair.

"I think I'm going to be fine. I think Sarah is doing a world of good for Cody."

"I think saving your ass today did a lot of good for Cody." He looked at the fire. "I think it did both of you a lot of good." Jess smiled.

"They said mud is good for the skin."

"He's going to be okay Jess. It may not be today or tomorrow but Cody will get though this." She snuggled closer to him.

"I hope your right. I'm not taking the job in Seattle." Cutler smiled.

"I knew you wouldn't." Jess looked up at him. "You couldn't live with out me." She smiled.

"That's it. I knew you'd see right though me." She kissed him and closed her eyes. Things were going to be just fine.

*-*-*-*-*-

Sorry it took so long summer has been busy...promise not to wait too much longer for ending