a/n- Hi everyone. I'm sorry… It's been a while. Life got in the way. Finals came and went and now I'm in a two week summer class… Joy. As soon as that is over with updates SHOULD come quicker. Thank you so much for being so kind and patient. You guys are the best! Oh, and all mistakes and such are my own. Sorry in advance.

Disclaimer- I don't own anything Burn Notice related.


Sam was very comfortable to be around. His voice and laugh were both hearty and calming. After a few minutes of friendly chatter as he drove I felt as if I was in the presence of an old friend. Our Conversation gradually turned to Michael; I learned about his military time, his time as a spy and his current predicament- his burn notice, which I found oddly interesting.

"Burned or not Michael is a very skilled spy." Sam explained as he pulled onto the interstate. "He's very emphatic and protective of his family, friends and even clients." he said as he threw me a side glance. I said nothing, Sam went on. "He's great at thinking on his feet, be it in the middle of a case if something hasn't gone to plan, or in general. When Michael's not improvising with electronics or even ordinary objects he sometimes resorts to diversions, when he needs them… You know, explosions and such" Sam glanced at me and chuckled.

"Michael likes to destroy cars, especially mine. The first car or mine to go was my Cadillac. It's a great story, it really is." Sam laughed loudly "Here's the short version; The Caddy was a present from a… lady-friend. I loaned Michael the car after a case and he returned it to me all scraped up. If that wasn't bad enough, Fi and I went with Michael and the client for the current case that we had, and waited as the two of them broke into a tech building where the client was stripping some data from a computer to trade for his family."

He threw me another side glance "You following me here?" he asked. I nodded in response.

"So, Fi and I are waiting for Michael and the client when all of a sudden something goes wrong, Michael shoots out a window and the two of them come jumping out and hop into the Caddy… and now for the best part, As we're gunning it the 'bad guy'" Sam said exaggerating with air quotations "Opens fire on my car! Needless to say the lady-friend wasn't too happy when she saw the car. Boy, did that put me in the dog house. We finally broke up and she took the car back." He finished, sighing. "Next was my Buick. And after that was another lady-friend's convertible. Michael sent that one over the side of a building…" Sam sighed dejectedly

"What?" I laughed a little louder than I planned. "That's insane!" I exclaimed. Sam nodded in agreement. We soon fell back into comfortable silence as Sam drove on.

I opted to wait in the car while Sam went into the little open air mall. I knew nothing about cellphones. I did have a cell phone once before, my parents had given me one for my birthday many years ago. It was nothing spectacular. When I had left my parents' house and gone to live with Jacob, much to the dismay of my parents, payment was stopped on it… and it became a paperweight.

Suddenly the realization that I hadn't spoken to my parents in over six years slammed into me. They didn't even know about Joshua. I bit my lip, wondering if they would even speak to me again.

"Here ya go." Sam said, suddenly appearing outside the passenger side door, his voice jerking me from my thoughts. "A brand new phone, just what the doctor ordered. The woman at the cell phone kiosk said that it was one of the best on the market right now, a Droid or something." He said handing me a plastic bag with a large box in it.

I pulled the box out of the bag and slowly opened it, revealing a brick of a phone. It was sleek, yet heavy in my hand. I loved it. "Thank you" I whispered smiling up at Sam.

"Hey, don't thank me; I'm just the delivery boy. Thank Mike." He said pulling his sunglasses far enough down his nose to wink at me before replacing them to their original position. "Oh!" Sam said suddenly. "I also got us some lunch" he said passing a heavy white paper bag through the passenger side window. "I hope you like chili dogs!"

The drive to Miami Beach was uneventful. We drove in comfortable silence, Save for me giving Sam directions here and there.

My in-law's house was big, bigger than they, in my opinion, needed. Their house was set on a beautiful piece perfectly landscaped property that backed right up to the beach. Sam looked around, impressed as we slowly made our way up their manicured drive way. "You can close your mouth anytime now." I said sarcastically as I rolled my eyes.

Sam scoffed "What?" He said innocently as we reached the end of the drive way. Before Sam had even put the car in park my darling mother in law, Sue was at the front door, dressed in an expensive looking tennis outfit, her graying hair up in a tight bun.

I slowly got out of the car, followed closely by Sam and made my way up the porch steps, bracing myself for my mother in law to talk down to me, as usual. "Sarah…" Sue said dryly, her eyes rolling as she said my name. "We weren't expecting you today. I thought we established that you would call before coming over."

I rolled my eyes "I know. I'm sorry, Sue. It's just that…" Before I could finish she cut me off

"You know Joshua is still at school." She said coldly.

"What? Why?" I questioned

"It's Wednesday, Remember? Joshua's after school program?" Sue answered condescendingly. "Honestly…" She whispered to herself.

I could feel my blood begin to boil and I did my best to hold my tongue.

"Who is this?" Sue questioned sharply, looking Sam up and down.

"This is my friend…" I began before Sam cut me off.

"Chuck Finley" Sam answered smoothly, with a smile. "It's a pleasure to meet you." He continued, charmingly. Sue did not return the smile.

"The Chauffer should be back with Joshua within the hour." She said as she checked her watch. "I am late for my tennis lesson, I am sure my instructor is patiently waiting down the Tennis courts for me. I would invite you to wait inside, but I do not like strangers in my house." She said turning on her heel to leave "You are more than welcome to wait on the porch." She called over her shoulder.

Sam threw me a side glance and chuckled weakly. "I hate her." I groaned as soon as Sue was out of earshot.

"Somehow I think the feeling is mutual." Sam muttered as he made his way back to Fiona's car. I rolled my eyes and wrinkled my nose in response.

Soon enough a shiny, expensive looking black car slowly rolled up the driveway and before the car could come to a complete halt one of its backdoors opened and my son burst out of the backseat "Mommy!" he screamed dropping his backpack on the ground and hurling himself toward me.

I was then promptly tackled by my six year old. "Hi, Mommy!" he said happily sitting on the ground next to me. He leaned in close and whispered "I missed you."

"I missed you too." I whispered as I sat up and pulled him into a long hug.

I looked up long enough to see a strange man, who had to be the Chauffer, glaring at us on the ground disapprovingly. "Move along." I heard Sam say to the man.

When we finally pulled away from each other I was able to look my son up and down. His usually messy brown hair was perfectly cut and styled and his clothes were free of wrinkles. It seemed that he had grown a considerable amount in the short amount time that I was away from him. I laughed and whispered "What has your Grandmother done to you?" before pulling him close once more.

"I didn't know that you were going to be here today!" Josh exclaimed beaming up at me. "Are here with Daddy?" he questioned excitedly.

"No." I answered. My son's face fell. It broke my heart to see him look so sad.

"Are you and Daddy still fighting? Is that why your face is hurt?" he questioned as he gently touched my bruised face.

"Yes, sweetheart…" I answered unsure of what else to say.

"Oh." Was all he said as he picked himself up off the ground.

In a desperate attempt to change the subject I quickly got up off the ground as well and reached into Fiona's car to get my new cell phone. "Josh, look what I got today!" I said excitedly holding out the phone. Josh turned around and smiled when he spotted the device in my hand. "Let me take a picture of you?" I asked. He nodded eagerly.

"I can take one of the both of you, if you'd like." Sam spoke up as he came around from the driver's side of Fiona's car.

"Who is that, Mommy?" Josh asked clearly startled, his green eyes wide.

"It's okay. That's Sam, he's a friend." I calmly explained. Sam came over to where Josh and I were standing and held his hand out to Josh.

Unsure of what to do Josh protectively got in front of me and asked sternly "You aren't going to hurt my Mommy, right?"

Sam chuckled "No, never. Your Mommy and I are friends."

Josh thought for a moment "Okay." He said quietly, as he grabbed my hand.

"You know Josh," Sam continued "It's really great to meet you, Kiddo." He said with a grin. Josh returned the grin and finally shook Sam's hand.

"Okay, so how's about that picture of you two?" Sam asked reaching for my phone.

"Just a second," I said looking at my son's perfectly styled hair "Josh needs to fix his hair."

Josh looked at me in surprise. "Really?" he asked. "Grandma says it looks better this way."

I wrinkled my nose in reply. "Grandma doesn't know what she's talking about." I whispered. Without another moment of hesitation Josh ran his hands back and forth through his hair causing it to stick up every which way. "There's my boy!" I laughed, pulling him into a hug. "Okay, we're ready, Sam" I said kneeling down next to Josh and smiling.

"Are you going to watch me during my Tennis lesson, Mommy?" Josh asked excitedly as Sam returned my phone.

"Oh, you play Tennis now, do you?" I laughed as I ran my hand through my son's hair.

"Yes." He said with a little smile "That's what I do after school on Wednesdays now. Grandma says it good for me… and I'm good at it." He added in a whisper.

"Okay, maybe for a little while." I answered as I caressed my son's cheek.

"For a little while?" He questioned pulling away from me. "I'm not going home with you, am I?" he whispered realization washing across his face.

"No, Josh… Not today." I answered kneeling down in front of him. I helplessly watched as my Son's face scrunched into a pout. I braced myself for the guilt trip that was certainly on its way.

"I don't like it here, Mommy. I want to come home!" he cried, balling his fists.

"I know, I know." I said nodding my head in agreement. "I want you home too, but this is just temporary. Okay? I need to take care of a few things and then you will be able to come home." I said trying to sound as reassuring as I could. Josh looked at me sadly, but nodded that he understood.

"When does your tennis lesson start?" I asked, changing the subject at all costs.

"As soon as Grandma's lesson ends." Josh answered picking up his backpack and slinging it over his shoulder. "I'll be right back, Mommy. Please stay right there. I want you to see my Tennis clothes." He said with a little smile.

"Do you want my help?" I asked. Josh shook his head before turning and running up the porch stairs and into the house.

"He seems like a great kid." Sam commented as I stood in front of him while he lazily leaned against Fiona's car.

"He really is." I agreed. "Though, he's had to grow up too quickly." I added in a whisper.

"Don't beat yourself up over it. It is what it is." Sam said patting me on the arm. I nodded, fighting back tears.

"Hey, don't cry. Mike and Fi and I… we're going to work to get that scumbag Husband of yours put away for a long time. Before you know it, you two will be living normal lives, together, again." Sam said, kindly putting his hands on either side of my shoulders.

"Thank you, Sam." I whispered giving him a watery smile.

"Don't mention it." He said as he pulled his sunglasses far enough down his nose to wink at me, once more.

I laughed and lightly smacked his arm. "Quit winking at me! I might start to like it. Then what?" I joked. Sam crossed his arms and laughed loudly in response.

The rest of my time at my in laws went quickly. Joshua looked cute as ever in his tennis outfit. I watched proudly as he went through his lesson with little to no trouble. He looked as if he was having the time of his life.

"I don't want you to go, Mommy." Josh whispered as he clung to me as we said out goodbyes.

"I have to, sweetheart." I whispered burying my face in his hair. "Like I said earlier, this is only temporary. We will be back together again very soon." I kissed the top of his head and put him down on the porch. "I love you Josh." I said bending down to kiss him on the cheek.

"I love you too, Mommy." He whispered back.

As if on cue a young maid stepped forward, gave me a reassuring smile and led Josh into the house.

"I'll see you soon, okay?" I called before she shut the door.

"You gonna be okay?" Sam asked as I plopped down in the passenger seat of Fiona's car.

"Yea." I answered, quickly wiping tears off my cheeks.

"You know, you can still change your mind before we leave here. You don't have to go back to Husband. We can just go back to Madeline's she'd be more than thrilled to have you stay with her for a while." Sam said gently.

I shook my head. "It's only for a week." I replied. "Please, just take me home."

After giving Sam directions we drove in silence for a good portion of the way, and that was fine with me. I finally spoke up when we entered my neighborhood. "There's a gas station up the street here." I said pointing down the street. "If you would just drop me off there I can walk home. It isn't far."

Sam looked at me and hesitated before speaking. "I'm not too sure if I like that or not…" he said his voice trailing off.

"It's fine. It really is. I don't want Jacob seeing me getting out of a strange man's car. It's just a precaution. You understand, right?" Sam looked at me solemnly but nodded in response.

"Thank you for everything, really I mean it." I said as I stood outside the driver's side of Fiona's car.

"Not a problem." Sam said with a smile. "Oh!" he said suddenly. "Before I forget…" he handed me a folded piece of paper. "Mike's number is on there... it's the top one, Fi's is second and mine's the last one. If you need anything, anything at all, call one of us." He urged.

"I will." I assured him putting the paper in the plastic bag with my cell phone. "It was nice meeting you today, Sam." I said with a smile.

"Ditto" Sam replied with a grin. "Sarah, please be careful." He added, seriously.

"I will Sam..." I assured.

The walk from the gas station to my house was a short peaceful one. Though, when I reached the house my insides ran cold when I saw that Jacob's car was in the driveway. I slowly and quietly let myself into the house. Jacob was waiting for me.

"Where the hell have you been?" he growled, advancing on me as soon as I walked through the door.

"Out." I answered quietly looking down at the living room floor.

"Out where?" he demanded, Snatching the plastic bag from my grasp.

"Stop it!" I shouted making a grab for the bag. He held it out just out of reach.

"I'll ask you again. Where were you?" he asked once more reaching into the bag.

'Oh, god! Oh, god! Please don't grab the paper Sam just gave me! Please!' my mind screamed.

"I went to a friend's house after our fight last night. I needed a place to stay." I answered truthfully as Jacob pulled the cell phone out of the bag. I took a deep steadying breath… to mu relief the paper was still in the bag, unnoticed.

"Nice phone. I didn't know you made that kind of money at the diner." He said suspiciously, turning the phone over in his hand.

"I saved up enough for it." I lied.

"I see." He said dropping the phone and bag onto the floor. The phone landed with a sickening crack. "Oops." He said, mockingly.

I slowly kneeled down to pick the phone and bag up off the floor, but before I could reach out to grab either of the items I was roughly picked up by the back of my shirt. I found myself inches away from Jacob's face. Hazel locked onto ice cold blue. "What did you tell your friend about your bruises?" he asked calmly through gritted teeth.

"I said I fell." I lied as I closed my eyes, bracing myself for some sort of physical impact from Jacob. Surprisingly enough, he let go of me, seemingly satisfied with my answer. I quickly grabbed my cell phone and the plastic bag and retreated to the guest bedroom that was now serving as my room.

After locking the door and changing my clothes I inspected my phone. To my relief nothing was broken.

Tiredly, I found a spare outlet and plugged the phone in to it's charger. I stared at Michael's number on the paper Sam had given to me. After some thought I first entered Sam's number, then Fiona's into my contact list. Lastly, I entered Michael's number, and from the contact list I went into a new text message.

Thank you for everything, Michael.

Sarah.

I hit send, crawled into bed and closed my eyes. Moments later my phone vibrated making me jump. Hesitantly I looked at the screen.

You don't have to thank me.

Michael

Much to my surprise I fell asleep easier than I thought I would.


The next morning I woke up late...

I brushed my teeth and got dressed in a hurry. I glanced at my phone I had three minutes to catch the public bus and fifteen to get to class. Grabbing my bag and my books I locked the front door hurriedly and took off running down the street. I reached the gas station just in time to watch the bus zoom right passed me.

"Great… just great." I groaned kicking the ground.

"Need a ride?" Asked a voice from behind me suddenly. I spun around in surprise to see Michael Westen sitting in a sleek black antique looking car.

"How…?" I began to ask but then stopped as Michael smiled at me.

"Are you getting in or not?" he asked as he leaned over and unlocked the passenger side door for me. Silently and a bit clumsily, I got into the car.

"Thank you, Michael." I whispered, smiling faintly.

"As I said last night, you don't have to thank me." he replied.

a/n- And there you have it! I really don't know what I think of this chapter. A lot of work went into it, but… I'm not sold on it. I don't know. Maybe I spent too much time on it? Who knows… Anyway, thank you so much for reading! Please, read and review! I love you guys!