Sarah could hardly keep still during the debriefing. She was grateful that Brody did most of the talking, making it sound like they had been working together. Brody had given their bosses all the information he'd gathered in the months he had been undercover. That had led to the raids the night before.
Unbelievably, Rogan had chosen to turn on his boss and had tried to broker a deal with the authorities. He would still be charged for the murder of the teller, but part of the deal was he would get a lesser sentence. Sarah knew why he'd done it. Rogan was the type of criminal who still liked to think he had power. That he could manipulate the system to however he wanted it. She hated that he was going to get off so easily, but they'd ended up with just as big a fish in Alexander so there was at least an equal trade-off.
Sarah spent the rest of the day anticipating the evening. She had a date with Eric. He still wanted to be with her! They'd had an amazing night, and it just looked as if things were going to get better from here.
She looked up at the knock on the office door and smiled up at Brody.
"Just wanted to congratulate you, Maxwell," he said. "Nice work. Your boyfriend certainly came through."
"Thanks for not saying anything about him in there," she said, not even denying the 'boyfriend' part.
"I was going to ask you out for dinner, but looks like you're already taken."
Sarah blushed. "Yes, I am," she said. And why oh why did that give her a nice little tingly feeling at the thought that Eric was now her boyfriend?
Eric looked at himself in the mirror, straightening his clothes, making sure he looked presentable. He looked around when his dad knocked on his bedroom door.
"Haven't seen you the last couple of days. Everything okay?"
"Yeah. Sarah and I were busy with the case. You know how it is."
"So your mother and I saw. Your first successful mission. Feels good, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, it does Dad." He let his father straighten the lapels of his blazer. "Dad?"
"How did it feel for you, when you solved your first case with the suit?"
"It felt great son," Ralph smiled.
Eric glanced at his watch. "Well, I gotta go. I don't want to be late for my date."
"With Sarah?" Eric nodded. "Going somewhere special?"
"Well, have fun. We won't wait up."
Eric ran down the stairs and out the door. Ralph descended at a more leisurely pace, sitting down next to his wife on the couch.
"Pay up," he said.
"Guess where our son was last night?"
"Sarah? Damn, I was hoping he'd hold out a little longer," Pam said facetiously. "Remind me. What was the bet again?"
"Oh no, Mrs Hinkley, you're not going to wriggle out of this one. Dinner, at my favourite restaurant."
Pam grimaced. Ralph's idea of a favourite restaurant was the Steakhouse. She'd been hoping to at least have got dinner at a swanky restaurant out of it. Then again, she knew her son, and he was never able to resist a pretty girl. Especially one who appeared to drive him crazy like Sarah did.
Dinner had been nice. No, more than nice. They'd chosen a small Italian restaurant, a little out of the way, but more intimate. Sarah had loved the way Eric had held her hand.
She couldn't deny her feelings any longer. She was seriously falling for this man. Yes, he still teased her, drove her crazy, but rather than aggravating her, it just made her laugh.
She watched him now as they drove back along the highway. The desert plains stretched out before them.
"I had a good time," she said.
Eric glanced at her and grinned. "Me too."
The car coughed and he looked down, frowning. "What was that?"
Sarah frowned. "I don't know."
Suddenly, the electrics went out, the engine stalled and the car coasted to a halt. "Uh oh," Eric said.
Sure enough, bright lights appeared in the sky. Eric reached for Sarah's hand and they looked out the windscreen as the ship hovered above them. The radio burst into life, the dial moving back and forth.
"You ...have ... done ... well. We ... are ... very ... impressed."
Just as before, a shaft of light beamed down from the ship. This time they were prepared for the appearance of Bill Maxwell.
"Hiya kids," he said, grinning.
"Hi Dad," Sarah greeted him, with much more enthusiasm than last time. Bill beamed.
"You kids did a great job. But ya know, don't get cocky now. You won the battle, but there's still a war out there."
"We know, Uncle Bill. We're ready."
"Great to hear, kiddo." Bill looked at them and smiled slyly. Sarah blushed, seeing the expression on her father's face. He knew. Somehow, he knew. But she suddenly didn't seem to mind.
"Dad?" she said.
"Thanks. For everything."
Bill showed a toothy grin. He saluted and walked away, returning to the ship. Sarah and Eric watched as he disappeared and the ship took off again. They were silent for a few moments.
"Damn, you know what?" Eric said finally.
"I forgot to ask them about the instruction book."
Sarah chuckled. She leaned over and kissed him. "Never mind. We'll figure it out. Together."