Lost and Found pt9

"So how's she been?" Nick asked Houston as the two men sat down on the step of the veranda and took long swigs of their cool beers.

Houston nodded before replying. "She seems to be handling things ok, she's had a few nightmares, and she's real tired, but a fighter ya know. Tough, and stubborn to! She thinks that I can't see how she's feelin' though, but I tell ya, I can see right through that act of hers!"

"She's your girl Houston, that's for sure!"

"Oh yeah!" Houston said softly, a big dopey smile spreading across his face as he looked at his friend, "Oh HELL yeah!"

Carol watched as CJ swallowed her pill and washed it down with big gulps of the drink Houston had left earlier, she hiccupped slightly as she looked at the box she had just put down on the bedside cabinet. "Wotcha doin'?" Carol asked as she watched CJ pick the box up and try to loosen another pill

CJ looked sideways at her and hesitated. "I thought maybe if I doubled the dose it would help!"

"Uh no sweetie, it doesn't work that way!" Carol said as she reached over and prised the box out of CJs tight grip.

"Guess it's a bit like shuttin' the stable door after the horse has bolted?" CJ asked as she put her hand on her hip and ran her other hand through her hair.

Her friend chuckled. "Sit down honey, let's try to do some math huh?" CJ nodded as she sat down on the edge of the bed again and took two deep breaths. "Ok?" Carol asked, watching as again CJ nodded. "Well then, can you remember the last time you had your period?"

CJ grimaced a fraction and looked at her friend with pleading eyes

"Will you relax!" Carol giggled, "I mean, come on..with all the shocks and curve balls your life has thrown at you recently I seriously doubt that you're in any condition to let nature take it's natural course if ya see what I mean!" She sighed dramatically and giggled. "Tell you a secret?"

"Please! Take my mind of things!"

"I envy you!"

CJ let out a quick laugh "What? Are you crazy?"

"No, seriously! I mean, your life is so full, so exciting! Never boring and never routine! You and Houston are the perfect couple to, both gorgeous and wonderful people, everyone loves you ya know! Top it all you have a seriously successful career, money in the bank..a bit of a celebrity profile to go with your social status, travel and adventure by the bucket load, no nine to five routine for Miss C J Parsons! Even the start of a perfect romance with Houston has the edge of adventure..ok so not planned but the thought of a mini Houston must be a bit exciting.. "

"Whoa there friend..slow it all down! And oh yeah!" CJ cut in, "let me bring you down to earth about my oh so glamorous life..sure people love me but that's because they inevitably want something from me, my seriously successful career means that I can work 18 hours a day 7 days a week to make sure everyone is happy, so yes I have money in the bank…but no time to spend it! As for adventure..getting kidnapped.. shot at, several times I may add, then getting blasted out of the sky, being left homeless and knowing that somewhere out there are strangers intent on killing you , well if that's your idea of excitement..welcome to it!"

"Hmm, put it that way you could have a point! BUT, " Carol leaned closer and nudged her shoulder, "I notice you didn't call me on you and Houston being the perfect couple!"

CJ couldn't help herself, and grinned from ear to ear. "It's perfect Carol, better than I could ever have dreamed it would be!"

"Ah ha..so you did dream about it then! You and Houston?" CJ blushed slightly as her friend giggled. "I knew it!"

"Shut up!" CJ chuckled. "It's just all happening so fast ya know! I mean it's all so perfect and feels so right, but I feel like I'm caught in a whirl wind right now. Like I should keep pinchin' myself, make sure this is all real!"

Carol rubbed her shoulder gently. "Aw honey, it's real alright, and about time! I mean I knew the very first time that I saw you and Houston together that you had met your match, and come to think of it your life was in danger then to! But I saw the way you looked at each other, finished each others sentences, knew what the other was thinking..and he was willing to fly to San Francisco at the drop of a hat to protect you..but then you were there for him in the middle of the night cos he had been shot at..oh yeah, clear as day even back then how you both felt and how much you belonged together! And you know I'm always right about these things!"

"Is that your trained medical opinion?"

"Yeah CJ! Yeah..exactly! Trust me, I'm a doctor!" Her friend laughed then grew serious. "I mean hun, you forget, I knew you back in your wild child hey day! Different guy every month, string them along like little lovelorn puppy dogs..even got the toughest guys to crack..the ones the rest of us couldn't get a date out of were putty in your hands.."

"Aw c'mon! That was college, and what's that got to do with me and Houston?"

"EVERYTHING!" her friend gasped incredulously, laughing as CJ looked at her with genuine confusion. "Aw CJ, you could have any guy you wanted, for what ever reason you wanted, yet with Houston you chose to be friends!"

CJ nodded "We worked better that way!"

"Yeah right! You stopped the wild crazy dating once you met Houston, from what I heard any way..you even calmed down and got sensible! When you did date even the guys were sensible choices not wild cards or bad boys, and as I rarely see you in the gossip columns, I know when you do date it's either discreet or not serious!"

"Stalk me much?"

Carol shot her a look and carried on. "What I'm trying to say is you knew from day one that Houston was different, that he was never gonna be just another date or another conquest..you knew that he was a danger to that wall you put up around yourself, but you couldn't just walk away from such a damn fine thing..so you compromised..and you became friends! Houston is just as bad..you're both so alike..that's why you had to end up together..eventually! Only none of us knew it would take you this damn long!"

CJ gave a low whistle. "You missed your speciality, you shudda been a shrink, not a surgeon!"

"So tell me I'm wrong?" Carol challenged her.

CJ just laughed slightly and shook her head

Houston glanced over his shoulder again and chewed on his lip a fraction. "Sure bin a long time!" he muttered, "think CJ is ok?"

Nick smiled as he took another swig of beer. "Be girl talk Houston my man, get used to it. Especially if you're gonna be planning your wedding soon, I learnt that one real quick!"


"Oh yeah, Babe she says to me, just gotta pop to Shirley, or Joannes or someones..just to check on bridesmaids colours, or flowers..or the cake..I mean, I don't mind or nuthin but when she says she'll be an hour or so, I'm learning she means three or four hours, at least!"

Houston chuckled. "I don't think CJ will be like that, she will wanna organise it all herself, she won't want anyone elses opinion..probably not even mine!"

"Delusional Houston! Every bride wants her friends to share..and in case you hadn't noticed Carol is usually a cool..logical, level headed professional woman..who is turning into a complete Bridezilla right now! Got two words for you my man..Wedding Planner! Save yourself!"

Houston looked sideways at him and clinked bottles just as CJ and Carol walked out to join them

"Aw look at our boys CJ, they're playing nice together!" Carol laughed as she stood behind Nick and rested her arms on his shoulders to bend down and kiss his cheek.

"Yup!" said CJ as she sat next to Houston and reached for his beer bottle, "they're bonding!"

"That's ma beer CJ!" Houston said with a grin as he watched her chug the last mouthful

"Was your beer Houston!" she said, before belching slightly. She waved the empty bottle and looked pleadingly at him. With a sigh he stood up, stealing a quick kiss before he headed back inside. CJ turned around to watch him walk away, admiring his butt in the tight fitting shorts, a hint of mischief playing in her eyes

"Yo Houston!" Nick called out, "BRIDEZILLA!" He chuckled softly before yelping as Carol playfully pinched him, then tickled him, squealing herself as he reached around to drag her into his lap.

"Aw please guys!" CJ giggled, "get a room!"

Hoyt whistled softly as Roy finished telling him about the information Tyler had given them. Chris, who had joined them earlier, just sat and shook her head a fraction. "How can they still have so much power when they're behind bars?" she asked softly

Roy glanced at her and patted her hand quickly. "Not sure honey, but it's time we took it away from them!"

"So," Hoyt said decisively, "we move Duvall and Renfield apart..take out the key players, break up the group.. divide and conquer, simple!"

Roy looked at him and pursed his lips, his eyes narrowing

Hoyt sat forward. "Something else niggling you Roy, cos you know I trust your instinct!"

"That's just it Hoyt..it's an instinct, gut instinct, nothing else!"

"Uh huh..remember what we said, no secrets..spill it Roy"

Roy let out a sigh. "Somethin' Tyler said about Duvall..he apparently doesn't expect to see the end of his days in a prison cell, fully expects to be back out there heading his private army in person"

Hoyt snorted. "Not gonna happen Roy! No judge in his right mind is ever going to let the man loose"

"Uh huh..yet they let Elizabeth Davies go" Chris added as the two men looked at her

Hoyt looked back at Roy. "How much do you trust Tyler? Do you think the story about Davies and the prison doctor is true? Duvall to?"

"Trust Tyler? No, never again..but his information checked out from what I have been able to see so far on Baby, and I DO believe he cares enough about CJ to be trying to help"


"All to easy Hoyt" Roy said with a soft smile, "Tyler gifts us with information that could have taken us months to dig up..yet it just lands in his lap.."

"Right place right time?" Hoyt asked quickly

"Or spoon feeding us ready for a set up!" Roy chuckled softly

"Then Tyler must be in on it, right?" Chris asked

Roy thought for a second. "I wish I knew for sure!" he told her truthfully, "If I could tell that it would put some other things to rest in my head, make it a whole lot clearer!"

"So, you think that Duvall is going to try and escape somehow and he is using this plot to kill CJ as some sort of smoke screen? " Hoyt stood up and paced a bit. "Which he could only do IF we knew he was the one behind the plot to kill her, and we only know that because Tyler handed us the information on a plate! See why you're instincts are rattled Roy..am smelling a rat here to!"

"And it's called Robert Tyler!" Chris muttered bitterly

"Hmm, I still dunno Chris..yes I think Duvall is using him to get to us, and yes I think they are expecting us to react by moving Duvall..as Hoyt said it would be a simple solution, but if they had succeeded in killing CJ then we wouldn't do that would we? And they didn't pull any punches make no mistake..they aimed to kill her…"

"So you think Duvall has another trick up his sleeve?" Hoyt asked as he sat back down next to Chris

"I think so, yes, and I don't think it will be something that Robert Tyler accidently overhears!" Roy carried on. "Oh, and the doctor who did the medical reports for Duvall and Davies? Well, he sadly died of a heart attack two weeks before CJs plane crash..he was on a retirement holiday in Tahiti, luxury accommodation! Can anyone say coincidence?"

Hoyt closed his eyes and sat back. "So whatever is coming, it's gonna happen soon, which means we don't have a whole lot of time to stop it.."

"And it's all going on whilst we try to protect CJ! So they are deliberately distracting us!" Chris added

Roy closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Well friends, I think we need to charge our coffee cups..we have a long night ahead of us! Chris, can you go through everything on Baby again, look especially at Duvall and his son, see if there have been any new financial movements linked to them..see if we can find a trail..Tyler thinks there is another link on the outside..could be a major player that we need to find sooner rather than later!"

"I'll pull all the files we have on them and get them sent over, Chris and I can cross reference, maybe dig in to the records of our late doctor to!" Hoyt was already reaching for the phone to put in the request

"I'm going to go back over the passenger list from CJs crash..still think there is a link we are missing there.. I'll use the computer in CJs office.."

"Wish CJ was here to help us do all this!" Chris laughed

"Maybe I can step in instead, what can I be doing dad?" came a new voice from over by the door

Roy spun around in his seat, his eyes sparkling with joy as he got up to hug the new arrival. "Will!" What are you doing back? Thought your world tour had you in Australia for the foreseeable future!"

Will stepped back and smiled warmly. "I should be mad at you dad. Not calling me, not telling me what was happening with CJ and Houston, you must have known I would want to help out..so I flew back as soon as I heard the news." The smile fell away as he lowered his voice and asked softly "How is Houston? Is he at the hospital with CJ? How badly is she hurt?"

He noticed as his dad glanced at Hoyt and Chris. "Uhm..sit down son..and I'll fill you in!"

"Then we'll put you to work!" Hoyt chuckled as he dialled his office and watched as Chris went over to the bar to fill the coffee pot.

Nick stretched and CJ giggled as Caroline nearly fell off his knee and on to the floor. "Honey, I'm hungry!" he said as she wriggled back into her comfy perch.

"We got food!" Houston said as he passed CJ another bottle of beer from the cooler he had carried out earlier. "Got some steak and salad, more than enough to share if you want!"

Caroline chewed her lip a fraction before reaching over and grabbing the bottle from CJ, and taking two big gulps.

"Hey!" CJ protested, "That was mine! Getcha own!"

"Not like you'd ever steal a bottle of beer is it hun!" Houston said with a soft chuckle as he reached over to grab another bottle from the cooler to pass over to her.

"I don't think CJ needs another one!" Caroline said quickly, Nick noticed the look that shot between the two women but said nothing as Caroline added "I mean, why waste your beer Houston!" She laughed as she stood up quickly. "Besides, I spotted the rather nice bottle of red you have breathing in the kitchen, and I also spotted the rather romantic table set for two..so thanks for the offer for dinner, but I think we'll leave you to it!" She reached her hand out to Nick and hauled him to his feet. "Come on hunk we'll head on home and I'll feed you, let's leave the lovebirds to get back to what ever it was we interrupted!"

Nick wrapped his arms around her waist and nipped at her neck, making a small mock growl he stage whispered. "Who said I was hungry for food!"

Caroline brought her hand to her chest and declared, "What a charmer!" She smiled though as she quickly kissed his cheek and stage whispered back "Consider that your starters!"

CJ stood up and hugged her as she wished her good night, she leaned up and pecked Nicks cheek, thanking him for being there. As she stepped back Caroline quietly whispered, "But not too much of the nice wine aye!"

Houston stepped forward to kiss Carolines cheek and mouthed thank you before he patted Nicks back and said "Me an' CJ goin' ridding tomorrow if you wanna join us..thought we'd go after lunch, just come on over if you want to!"

"Me and Calamity Jane out riding with you two!" Nick gave a low laugh, "that should be fun! It's a date see you tomorrow, but not too early! "

It was Houstons turn to chuckle. "No, not too early! G'nite you two, sleep tight!"

CJ and Houston wrapped their arms around each others waist as they watched their friends cross back over to their own cabin, suddenly Caroline stopped and ran back. "I forgot, we have some things for you in the car, things Roy thought you might need..we'll bring them over tomorrow if that's ok, don't think you need them tonight though..somehow!" And with a last cheeky wink she ran back to catch up with Nick, her laughter echoing across as he playfully patted her backside and ushered her in to the now open door.

CJ laughed softly, "It's like being back at home, you know, having friends over at your place and chilling, feels good!"

Houston nodded then gently bent over to kiss her on the cheek and whispered "Except now we have friends over at OUR place, and I get to do this after our guests have gone home!" and with that he tilted her head towards him and kissed her full on the lips, his tongue quickly passing over her lips as he smiled and pulled away to look at her.

CJ smiled back and nodded then gasped softly as Houston turned her fully into his arms and kissed her again. His hands dropping to her hips to pull her tighter to him. "Can you remember where we were up to before our visitors arrived?" he asked between butterfly light kisses.

CJ pulled herself back a fraction and made a show of pretending to think. "Well, I'm not sure Houston, but I think we were…"she pushed her hands in to his hair and took possession of his lips, pushing her tongue forward and revelling in his shocked gasp as she took the initiative and bumped her hips closer to him, letting her fingers slowly work down to the nape of his neck she softly stroked him, moaning softly as Houston let his own hands trail under her top and up towards her bra catch. "Yeah," she smiled against his mouth, "that's were we left it..right there!"

Houston growled softly as he dropped his hands down then wrapped his arms around her backside and picked her up, tilting his head back a fraction so CJ could still kiss him even though she was now above him. She laughed as he walked backwards, guiding them carefully through the patio doors, only to stumble slightly over the small table and come crashing down on to the nearby sofa, with CJ still tightly in his grip. "You did that on purpose!" she purred as she dropped her mouth to kiss his neck before moving to his earlobe and lightly nipping it

"Nope," he gasped, "not on purpose, but couldn't have planned it better!" He moved his hands back up under her top, loving the feel of her warm soft skin, he let them softly drift round until they rested on her belly, he was just about to start to push her top up when he felt, then heard her stomach rumble. He pulled back from CJs kiss and looked at her quizzically. She gave him a slight smile and shrugged a fraction as her stomach growled again. He laughed as she blushed. "Got two steaks with our names on," he told her as he gently pushed her off his lap and onto the sofa, "and be a shame to waste that wine, was a good year!"

CJ took a steadying breath and gave him a slow sexy smile as she watched him stand up and head back to the kitchen, checking out those tight shorts again and licking her lips a fraction. Houston saw her in the corner of his eye, and gave a wiggle as he walked, delighted to hear CJs laughter. "Pour yourself a glass of the wine," he called back, "and one for me to. Won't take me long to get dinner on the table, so why dontcha just sit back!"

"I think I'd rather watch you cook!"

He jumped a fraction, he hadn't heard her walk in to the kitchen behind him, but he smiled broadly as she handed him a glass of the wine she had already poured. "Was good to see Caroline and Nick aye?"

CJ nodded as she fingered the stem of her glass. "It was good to see them yeah, and thanks Houston"

"For what?"

"For being so thoughtful, for getting Caroline out here. For taking care of me.."

"For loving you?"

She grinned as nodded. "Yeah, for loving me, almost as much as I love you"

"Wha'? Almost! CJ! Almost?"

He looked so cute stood there with his eyes wide and eyebrows raised that as much as she wanted to carry on teasing him she couldn't, so instead she just reached out and stroked his cheek, her eyes scrunched at the edge as she whispered, "Yeah, almost..I don't believe anyone could love someone as much as I love you, and believe me..as that's the first time I have ever said I love you to any man, I know I really do love you, and..and..it scares me a little ya know!"

Houston reached out and tilted her head up so she would look in his eyes. "I know it's scary CJ, I've never felt like this about anyone before. I have said I love you before, can't deny it..but now I know I didn't really mean it, cos now I know what real love feels like, and it's not just about sayin' I love you, it's about showing you, it's about taking care of you, about needing you in my life so much I can't function without you, about having my whole future entwined with yours and knowing I am only complete when I'm with you! That's what's scary CJ, giving not just your heart to someone and trusting them to care for it, but giving everything to them..all of who you are, what you are, sharing hopes, dreams, secrets..life! CJ..I intend spending the rest of my life proving to you how much I love you, and that's a thought that should have me running scared, but I couldn't be happier at the thought of what lies ahead for us, so I don't love you ALMOST as much as you love me..I love you, full stop..ok?"

CJ raised her eyebrows and took a sip of wine before whispering "Ok!"

"Good!" he grinned, "now..how do you want your steak cooked?"

They held hands across the table as Houston spooned a mouthful of ice cream into CJs mouth. "No seriously, "she gasped, "I can't eat another thing! Houston!" she giggled as he waved another spoonful towards her. She looked at the table and back at the kitchen. "I'll do the washing up, seein' as how you cooked!"

She stood and went to collect the dishes, but Houston caught her hand back in his and raised it to his lips to kiss her lightly. "We'll do them together in the morning," he told her as he stood and pulled her in to his arms, "but for now why don't we retire to the lounge and watch a DVD whilst dinner settles hmm?"

She snuggled closer and nodded, then said "Actually, Houston..it's such a lovely night, why don't we sit out for a while, just listen to the sea?"

Houston grinned as he stepped away from her for a second or two to pour two glasses of Brandy before pulling her back to him and walking arm in arm outside. He lit the candles on the outside table and switched on the small outside lights, switching them straight off again as CJ looked at him and shook her head. "Just the candles is enough Houston" she whispered. She waited for him to sit down on the lounger before climbing into his lap and snuggling close, taking a small sip of her Brandy before resting her head on his shoulder and sighing contentedly. Lazily he stroked up and down her back, gently kissing the top of her head and resting his own glass on her knee. They sat in silence for a while, listening to the waves lap the shore, watching as the sky sparkled with stars. CJ gasped as two shooting stars streaked across the sky. Sighing deeply as Houston softly stroked her hair as he brought her head back down on to his shoulder.

"What you said before," he whispered , "About never telling a man you loved them. That true?"

She nodded

"Not even Carl, or Tyler? He asked

"I nearly told Carl" CJ told him softly," and I nearly meant it! If that makes sense. He was so like you, Houston, that it was easy for me to care about him, and I guess love him in one way. If he had asked me to marry him that night I would have said yes, no hesitation..but with Robert I did hesitate, something didn't feel right..and I had no idea about his other life, it was just something between us wasn't right..,I guess he was just too opposite to you for me to really be in love with him..seeing a pattern here big guy?" she asked with an embarrassed chuckle

"Seeing the same pattern I had in my life. The girls I dated..they were just poor imitations of you CJ.."

"Until Elizabeth..she is nothing like me!"

"Exactly!" Houston whispered before bending to kiss her, his hand now under her top as he continued to rub her back

"We've been idiots haven't we? Wasting all this time when we shudda been together!"

"Yup, but we got the rest of our lives to make up for it!"

She gave a low throaty chuckle as she smiled up at him. "Sounds perfect cowboy!"

"When you gonna call me Matt?"

CJ tilted her head a fraction, her eyes twinkling as she said. "Never..it doesn't suit you!"

He laughed and bent to kiss her again. "Your dinner settled yet hun?" he asked, grinning as she nodded, "then I think it's bed time don't you?"

Again CJ nodded, slowly slipping off his lap and reaching her hand back for him. He watched as she bent to blow out the candles, stooped to pick up her glass that she had put down earlier, then he let her lead him back to their bedroom, pausing only long enough for him to close the patio doors and grab the Brandy bottle on the way. She kissed him deeply as he closed the bedroom door and pulled her into his arms. With a slight frown she muttered, "hold that thought hun, gotta go uhm, freshen up, too much beer!"

He laughed as he watched her practically skip to the bathroom, then wandered over to the bed and put the two glasses down. As he was just finishing pouring the second glass he noticed the top drawer was open a fraction, curiosity go the better of him and he peeked in, he spotted the familiar pain killers and antibiotics frowning a fraction that Caroline had thought them still necessary, but then he spotted another unfamiliar box at the edge of the draw. He picked it up and studied it, his eyes widening as he suddenly recognised the name. He took a deep breath and glanced over his shoulder before pushing them back in the draw and closing it. He ran his hand through his hair, before breaking in to a big dopey smile, one he quickly tried to hide as CJ walked back in the room. He went to hand her the Brandy, but hesitated as he gave a small grin, smothering it quickly as CJ looked at him with one eyebrow raised, he covered his hesitation by putting the glass down reaching quickly for her hand and pulling her to him. "Who needs a night cap when I got you to rock me to sleep…eventually!"

"Eventually?" she asked with a slight tilt of her head

"Oh yeah," he muttered lazily as he bent to nuzzle at her neck, "eventually!" Slowly he sank down on to the bed, pulling her down with him, deftly managing to slide her out of her top as pushed her down on to the soft mattress. "That's better," he whispered against her ear as he slowly worked his hand across to undo her shorts, loving the way she wriggled under his touch and the way he could feel her pulse quicken. He gasped as she reached under his shirt and tugged it up and free, clamping her mouth on his sensitive nipple as soon as he had shrugged it fully away. He pushed his hands into her hair and pulled her head back to give him access to kiss her deeply, his hand un-catching her bra as he mouth distracted her, she smirked against his lips as both his hands cupped her were the flimsy lace material had just fallen from. He pulled back a fraction and completely removed her bra, letting his head drop to place his mouth were his hands had been . She groaned loudly and let her head fall back to the bed, arching her back a fraction as Houston followed her down, his mouth still paying lavish attention to her breasts. This time she pushed her hand into his hair and pulled his face up to look at her. "Two way street Matlock!" she told him as with her free hand she deftly opened his shorts and reached down .

"Now you call me by my name!" he gasped, before wriggling completely free of his shorts and pants, pulling CJs free at the same time as he could tell he was losing control.

"You're right" she gasped as they lay there a short time later, both gasping for breath, "no need for a night cap!"

He gave a low throaty chuckle and pulled her tight to him, his hand still tangled in her silky hair as they drifted off to sleep

They rose earlier than planned the following morning, so took their time in the shower, laughing as they both slipped on the wet surface stepping out of the cubicle, crashing to the floor together, they made use of the cool tiles, then went back into the shower again, separately this time as they knew that they could stay in there all day if they kept sharing. As CJ walked into the kitchen towelling her hair dry she stopped and glanced around the spotlessly clear and clean surfaces. "Cleaning fairy been in whilst I was in the shower?"

Houston grinned. "Had to do somethin' to keep myself distracted whilst you were in there..otherwise I'd' have come back in to join you!"

She tutted. "No self control Houston"

"That's Matlock to you m'am..and no, no control what so ever were you're concerned" he winked and started to walk towards her.

She put her hands up and laughed. "Down boy, go get dressed, Caroline and Nick will be over soon and besides..gotta save my energy for riding of a different kind!" He pouted a fraction but nodded, pulling her quickly in to his arms for a quick kiss as he walked passed her to get to the bathroom. "Better make that a cold shower!" she called after him as he walked away, smiling brightly as she heard him chuckle.

An hour later they were sat on the beach just in front of their cabin, drinking coffee and tucking into a piece of the home made cake Houston had bought the day before. They smiled and waved as they saw their friends walking hand in hand towards them.

"Fresh air making you hungry or somethin' big guy?" Nick asked as the two of them sat on the sand next to CJ

"I'm betting it's the or somethin'!" Caroline said with a smirk, pouting playfully as CJ nudged her.

"You said you had some stuff Roy sent?" Houston asked as CJ shook her head again as Caroline nudged her back and winked

"Oh yeah, we'll bring it over now if you make us a cup of coffee..or a beer will do, some of that cake would go down well to!" Nick grinned as he stood up and started to walk back over to where his car was parked.

The other three sauntered behind him, it was too hot to race around and although curious to see what Roy had sent neither Houston or CJ were going to rush. CJ headed straight back in and poured out four coffees, slicing up the rest of the cake and putting it on a plate before carrying it back outside to the table. She watched as Nick and Caroline walked back over carrying several boxes. With a small bow Nick deposited them on to the table next to the cake and coffee, which CJ swiftly moved to safety. "And voila!" he said with a flourish "one state of the art laptop for CJ to hook up to Baby, who ever that is, a state of the art printer and scanner..I believe it does fax to but who knows..we also have another mobile phone..and of course your laptop comes complete with remote access to wifi..enjoy!"

CJ laughed as she looked at it all. "It's wonderful, thank you..I will be able to help out now rather than playing sitting target. Really both of you..thank you!"

Houston took the parcels in door as the others finished off their snack, he rang the farm and confirmed four people would be riding and agreed a time to collect the horses. With time to kill the four friends went swimming, before all meeting back up in front of Houston and CJs cabin after they had showered and changed. They casually made their way to the farm, making it there with ten minutes to spare, but the horses were ready, as was the packed picnic lunch, so the farmer walked them round to the stable, handing them two maps as they went. "Mind you," he told them, "yee cannae get lost on Bute!" He laughed as Houston eyed the English saddle, before saying "Ahve a western saddle if yee'd prefer…got three actually, if that's easier? Only take me a few minutes to get them re-saddled!"

Houston and Nick both thanked him and nodded, but CJ and Caroline felt confident enough to use the English saddles so set off for a quick ride on their own whilst the boys got sorted. All four of them had pulled a face when the farmer insisted they wear the riding helmets, reminding them it was the law in the UK, so the two girls both tied their long hair back before taking off. As Nick and Houston watched them canter off Nick remarked quietly, "Hard to tell them apart at this distance!"

Houston nodded. Both girls were wearing white tops and light canvas trousers, with their hair tied back and hats on they did look very alike, but even at a distance he knew which one was CJ, and from the dopey look an Nicks face, he could tell that he knew which one was Caroline. Finally the boys horses had been re-saddled and the two of them had galloped off to join the girls. The four of them cantered along the beech, stopping at a secluded bay to eat their lunch, before setting off at a more leisurely pace to explore more of the inland scenery and historic sights, with Houston making mental notes of the places he would like to explore with CJ the following day. As they made their way back on to the beach to have one last canter back to the farm the girls pulled away a fraction, Houston didn't mind, he loved watching CJ ride, and it was even better from behind. He glanced over at Nick, and saw the look of admiration on his face as he watched his own fiancé riding ahead. He was watching Nick when he heard the loud noise, he jumped a fraction as he vaguely thought sounds like a gun shot, his mind quickly coming back into focus as he heard Nick cry out "NO!"