A/N: Well, it's officially over. Thanks for all your reviews, and comments. Thank you for taking this journey with me, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
As always, thanks to M and Stayce. This story probably wouldn't be what it is without your help.
Epilogue: 6 months later
It had been six months since Steph and Ranger tied the knot, six months since I had left Rangeman to help a friend. Before I had cut my ties I made sure that Jules Hendricks, or as he'd liked everyone to call him, Hades, was dropped in the middle of a third world country with nothing but the clothes on his back and a knife. If he was half the Marine he claimed to be, with all his talk of special training and elite units, then he wouldn't have any problem surviving.
The favor I was called from Trenton for was officially finished, and I was sitting on a beach in a pair of cut off cargoes, my chest bare. The sound and smell of the ocean attacked my senses. Women in next to nothing were strutting their stuff, but I wasn't noticing them. It was time to head back to Rangeman. Time to face my demons, and the life I'd chosen to live.
The months had been long and not all together pretty. Most of them had been gruesome, but they were exactly what I needed in order to compartmentalize my life again. I picked up my phone and hit speed dial one.
Her voice was just as I remembered it. "Hey, Beautiful. Miss me?"
"Lester? Oh my God! How are you? Where are you?"
I smiled and found that the ache that had been in my heart when I had left, was missing. "I'm good. Sitting on a beach, watching the ladies stroll by, flaunting their attributes."
"Some things never change," she said.
She had no idea. "Well, what can I say? I love the ladies, and the ladies love me."
She laughed, "That they do." She was quiet for a few breaths and then said, "When are you coming home?"
"Soon," I said.
"You've missed a lot, Les."
"Really? Are you going to fill me in?"
"Well, for starters, you're going to be an uncle."
"That's great," I said, meaning it.
"Yeah, turns out that I got pregnant the night of the showdown with Val."
I couldn't help but laugh. That was an eventful night for everyone involved. "How's Ranger taking it?"
"I figured he would be. What else has been going on?"
"Morelli's standing trial and it doesn't look good for him. I'm guessing an easy twenty years."
"Less than he deserves," I said.
"Yeah, well, there's been enough death."
There was always more death, but I chose to ignore it. She didn't need to worry about my choices. They were mine and I'd made them fully aware of the consequences. I decided to change the subject. "How did Cassidy handle the fallout from the whole Handler mess?" I asked.
"He's working here now."
"It went that well, huh?"
"I guess, but he hasn't talked about it."
"Do you like working with him?"
"Yeah, he fits."
I didn't know if Ranger had told her about his message to the Agency, and I hadn't heard anything, so I decided to broach it. "Have you heard anything about Ranger's contract?" She was silent for several seconds, tension vibrated through the line. "Steph?"
"He told me what you guys did."
"So...any ramifications?" I asked.
"None. He got a call shortly after the wedding. His contract has been fulfilled. He's free."
I let out a silent breath and hoped that was truly the case. "That's great," I said.
"So will you be home in time for the baby?" she asked.
She'd switched topics so quickly I almost felt like I had whiplash. "I wouldn't miss it," I said.
"That's good, because I need you here. I miss my best friend."
My heart broke a little. I hadn't left to hurt her. "I miss you too. I'll be home soon. Tell that no good cousin of mine to expect me."
"I will. Be safe, Les. I love you... We love you."
"I love you too," I said, and disconnected.
Standing up I stretched, ignoring the looks from the women. I knew they would be more than willing to keep me company, but too much had changed since I'd left Trenton. There wasn't space in my life anymore for quick flings. My life was no longer my own, and even though I wasn't working for the Agency, the contract I'd signed was just as binding. Maybe more.
Without a backward glance I headed away from the beach, leaving the ocean waves behind. By this time tomorrow I would be back in the States, playing a game that could possibly end badly for me. Good thing Mors Mortis wasn't afraid of Death
A/N II: Many of you have expressed interest in Lester's story and showed hope that he would receive his own HEA. Here's the deal. Now that UA is officially finished I will be converting it to an original fiction (which will take some time, but I'm hoping to have it finished by January). Lester's character in that book –Currently titled as Truth of Night- will have his own HEA in the sequel that I will begin working on most likely in January 2011. In all honesty, I've fallen in love with the character of Mors Mortis, and feel that he deserves a story all his own, with special appearances by his cousin and his best friend.
There will be more information available on this title as well as many others at my website:
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