Episode Twelve

The next morning the Caine family was up bright and early. The Hummer had been mostly packed the night before, Horatio held one bag out for everyone's pajamas. The Duquesne family was busy with their morning chores, and Patty insisted in one last egg harvest so they could have fresh eggs one last time before returning home. It was a tearful goodbye, as expected. Calleigh had told Horatio that she and her mother would turn on the waterworks before breakfast was over. This caused the children to cry and cling to their grandmother.

"Kids, you'll see them in the summer. Remember you're both coming out to stay."


"I promise, Patty."

"'Cause Grandma needs my help with the eggs. Who'll get them if I'm not here?"

"One of your cousins will get them, honey, don't you worry. They just stayed home this morning because they knew it'd be crazy over here with y'all leaving." She opened the refrigerator. "Now, I'm sure your mama wants these to take home with her."

"Fried green tomatoes? You know I do!"

"And here's a couple of bottles of crab boil, in case you can't get it in Miami."

"Mama, you're amazing. Ok, kids, ready? Go give your grandparents hugs and kisses so we can get on the road."

Once the kids had vacated their arms, Horatio stepped forward and enveloped Mariele in a big hug. "Thank you so much for everything, especially for raising this wonderful daughter."

Duke stepped up for a hug. "She is pretty wonderful, isn't she? After four boys we thought we were done, and then our special blessing arrived."

"She is that. Sweetheart, I'll take the kids to the car so you can say goodbye."

"Thanks, I'll see you in a minute."

Horatio had just strapped the kids into their seats when Calleigh appeared on the porch perched on her crutches. "Don't move, I'll help you down." He jogged to the porch and scooped her up in his arms, grabbing the crutches. "Your chariot awaits, dear lady." He set her down to open the door and helped her inside. By this time her parents were on the porch to see them off. Everyone waved as they drove off, tears in their eyes, but excited to be going home to their new house.

Hours later they pulled into the driveway of their new home. Even though Calleigh had helped with the driving, Horatio was exhausted. Calleigh and the children were sleeping, so he eased out of the Hummer to see how the house looked. Calleigh's eyes fluttered open once she realized the vehicle had stopped. She joined her husband in the extremely cluttered living room.

"I already checked the bedrooms, nothing's put together. It's too late to start putting things away tonight, how about we go to a hotel? We can pick up some take out and settle in for the night."

"I'd say I have a pretty smart husband."

He locked the door and helped her back to the Hummer. "You're getting pretty good on those things." He took the crutches from her, put them in the back seat, and then helped her into her seat.

The next morning Horatio awoke early and ordered room service. By the time it arrived, Calleigh and the children were awake.

"Where are we, Daddy?" Patty got up and walked over to the window overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. "Ooh, it's so beautiful! Come look!"

Horatio had opened the curtains and the sliding glass door, letting the cool ocean breeze in. "Breakfast should be here any time, what do you say we have it outside on the patio?"

"That sounds wonderful. Can you get my robe and strap me into my boot?"

Austin grabbed his mother's boot and robe. "Here you go, Mom." He helped her put on her robe while his father strapped her into the boot.

"Thanks, Sweetie. I love you."

"I love you too, Mom."

Horatio carried Calleigh to the patio just as breakfast was delivered. After the porter left the kids dug into their food, but stopped after a couple of bites.

"This tastes funny."

Horatio took a bite and smiled. "These are just restaurant pancakes, kids."

"But they don't taste like yours or Grandma's."

"No, they don't, but they are fine. Could you please eat them this one time? We need to check out and get home so we can start putting the house together."

Austin took another bite. "Go ahead, Patty, they aren't THAT bad, and Mom and Dad are eating them."

She wrinkled her nose and took a bite, chewing slowly. "I still don't like them, but I'll eat them anyway. Can we get tacos for lunch?"

"Tell you what, you eat a good breakfast, be a big help at the house, and we'll take a break at lunch and go to the taco truck, how does that sound?"

"We've never eaten at the taco truck before. Is it good?"

"Best tacos around. Even better than the ones in Little Havana."

"Yay!" The kids proceeded to shove the tasteless pancakes into their mouths and wash them down with chocolate milk. "Thanks for getting chocolate milk Daddy."

"You're very welcome, Sweetheart."

"That's what you call Mommie."

"I call her that because I love her, and I love you just as much, so you can be my sweetheart, too."

She climbed off her chair and onto her father's lap. "I'm glad you're my daddy." She wrapped her arms around his neck, and he rubbed her back.

"I'm glad, too. All right, all we all finished? Ready to go put our new house together?"

"We have to work extra hard, because Mommie has to rest, right?"

"I'll be able to help some. I can go through the boxes in the living room and tell everyone where to put them. We definitely need to put the beds together first, though. Then make sure the dressers are in the correct bedrooms and put the clothes away."

"You need to call and make an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon for the department, Calleigh. Have him schedule an MRI for that ankle so we know what we are dealing with."

"I also need to call the clinic and make us an appointment."

He smiled warmly at her. "Yes, you do. All right, family, let's get going." He handed Calleigh her crutches and helped her to the door. "Austin, can you carry the bag?"

"Yes, Sir." He picked up the bag and slung it over his shoulder, as he had seen his father do, and then took Patty by the hand. "We're ready."

Isn't wasn't long before they were back in the driveway of their new home. Austin grabbed the bag again, and Horatio helped Calleigh with her crutches. As soon as Horatio opened the door, the kids ran inside.

"Wow, this place is a mess! Is this why we spent the night in a hotel?"

"Yes, Son, it is. It was too late to put your rooms together last night. Just put the bag on the floor and let's head to your rooms and get the beds put together."

"What about me?" Calleigh was in the middle of the living room, surveying the mountain of boxes.

"Your place, my love, is on the sofa with that leg propped up.

"Oh, great...more uselessness."

"Not at all, your job is to decorate this room with your beauty."

"Charmer." He kissed her softly before following the kids into the hall. They were both in Patty's room, emptying a box of clothing into her dresser.

"Great job, you two. I think someone wants Tacos for lunch."

Patty smiled brightly. "ME!"

"Do you need help with the bed, Dad?"

"Do you think you're strong enough?"

"I can try."

Horatio put the frame together and set it on the floor, and then the two men put the box springs and mattress in place. "Way to go. Do you think you're up to another one? I could use some help with your sister's bed."

"Sure. I'm strong. Uncle John said I was."

"Well, he'd know. You like your new family, then?"

"Uh, huh. It's nice to have a real family, with good parents who really, really love us. We've never had grandparents or aunts and uncles or cousins. That's why we want to go back this summer."

Horatio chuckled. "And I thought you just wanted to do some hard work."

"It was fun. We've never done work, either. Are we going to have chores here?"

"I'll discuss it with your mother, I'm sure keeping your rooms clean will be one of your responsibilities, and with her ankle broken, you and your sister will have to help out a bit with housework."

"What about school?"

"There is an excellent private school that we thought we'd enroll you in. My son, Kyle, went there, and he really enjoyed it."

"You have another son?"

"I do, he's a lot older than you."

"Where does he live?"

"When he's home he has his own place, but right now he's in Afghanistan in the army."

"He's a soldier? Isn't he scared?"

"I'm sure sometimes he is, but I think he's also very brave to be over there."

"Does he know about us?"

"Not yet, but I'll tell him the next time we talk on the computer. You can tell him hello."

"Cool!" He ran into his sister's room. "Patty, we have a big brother that's a soldier!"

"Where is he? Can he come play with us?"

"No, he's in 'ghanistan. Dad said he's very brave. We can talk to him next time he is on the computer."

"OK. Can you help me hang up my dresses? I can't reach." She had them laid out neatly on her bed.

"Are you going to wear any of these?"

"Mommie said they were for special. Like going out to nice dinners with them."

He reached up and hung each dress neatly. "Oh, OK. Do you need any more help? I want to get my things hung up before lunch."

"No, I just want to put some of my dolls on my bed."

"Wait the bed is made. Otherwise you'll just have to move them again."

Horatio stood in the hall laughing to himself, listening to the interaction between his children, and then moved to the living room to check on his wife. She had fallen asleep, but it was almost lunch time, and they had promised the children. "Calleigh? Calleigh, Sweetheart." He stroked her cheek gently. "It's almost lunch time."

She blinked her eyes and tried to focus. "Oh, I didn't mean to fall asleep. I just closed my eyes for a minute."

"Not the first time you've done that." He smiled at a distant memory of the two of them working a case. He had to bring her coffee to help her stay awake. "Do you want me to make some coffee?"

"No thanks, Sugar." She was thinking of the same thing. How are the kids doing in their rooms?"

"I have to make the beds, but they've really gotten a lot done, do you feel like coming to look?"

She nodded and swung her legs over the side of the sofa, and then reached for her crutches. Horatio stood beside her as she made her way slowly down the hall. "My goodness, you two have been really been working hard!"

"I was going to put my dolls out, but Austin said to wait until the bed was made."

"That's a good idea, Sweetie. Daddy, why don't you help me make her bed so she can get her babies out of that box?"

The two of them, with Austin's assistance, got the bed made, and Patty placed her dolls up on the pillows. "Their happy now, they didn't like that box."

"While I'm still up and feeling good, let's get Austin's bed made, too." They moved across the hall and made his bed, while he began to arrange his cars on his dresser, and place his books in the bookcase. "You did a great job, Son. I'm proud of both of you."

"Is it taco time?"

"It sure is, Patty. Everybody to the Hummer." Horatio checked the GPS coordinates of the taco truck, and the hungry, happy family headed in that direction.