This Too Shall Pass

Chapter Two

"She won't back down." Matt took the coffee cup that his brother in law handed him.

"I know. We have another set of nanny's to interview tomorrow, so hopefully we can find one before she has to testify." Derek looked at the two men sitting at his kitchen table. They were as different as day and night but they had one thing in common. They loved his wife just as much as he did and they were willing to do anything to protect her. Cody looked into his cup and shook his head.

"No one is going to be good enough. Hell, it took Sarah three months just to find a babysitter to watch Ava when we went out to dinner." Derek sat down with the two men.

"She's finally sleeping a little here and there. In the girls room but at least she's sleeping." Matt looked at the younger man. He was one of the best criminal profilers in the US but he could see the two new additions had him questioning his skills at much of anything lately.

"You'll find someone." Taking a deep breath Matt put out on the table what they were all thinking. "Jess isn't going to rest till Kitrick is behind bars. We postponed her testimony three weeks with Shep's letter. She's not going to like it but I think it's the best way."

"Can they hold off that long?" Derek wasn't sure what all they had on the ex-secret service agent.

"The prosecution witness list is long and disguised. As is the defense list." Matt handed the paper to Derek.

"There is ex president and governors on this list, why the hell does Jess even have to testify if they have this much crap on the guy?" Matt knew his friends frustration. He felt it to. If the prosecution has so much evidence against Kitrick, why do they need Jess to put her life on hold to go to Colorado?

"I'm calling the State's Attorney in the morning and do all I can convince her that Jess doesn't need to testify."

"I want to testify." Three heads snapped up to see the topic of their conversation standing in the arch way, holding Sierra.

"Jess…" Cody stood and went to his sister. She handed him the little girl and went to the fridge. "We just want to figure out a way so you don't have to leave the girls." He sounded like he was twelve again, begging her not to tell his dad about taking Cooper into town to see Matt.

"I have family and friends who I trust unconditionally with my children. I have a husband who is capable of holding the fort down if I'm gone for a day or two." She looked at the three men as she put two bottles in the bottle warmer. "We can make this work." Leaving the room, she left her brothers and husband. Cody looked down at his niece and her big brown eyes lit up.

"Talk some sense in to her Sierra." He smiled when the little girl's brow furrowed. "You look like Grandpa Jesse when you do that." The timer for the bottle beeped and Cody expertly took both bottles out of the warmer and handed one to his sister who was coming back with Skylar.

"Don't tell her that. She loves her Grandpa Jesse." Jess sat next to her husband at the table.

"They didn't wake up screaming?" Derek looked at his wife.

"Nope. They woke up smiling and content. I changed them and they heard their uncle's voices and started begging to come downstairs." She handed Skylar to Matt. "Let me testify and get it over with." They looked at her. "Please, let me get this over with so I can get back to a somewhat normal life."

"Baby, our life is never going to be normal again." Derek answered. They all laughed. Jess knew she had to do this. Kitrick all but destroyed her back then. If it hadn't been for her family she might have just given up. Matt pushing her during the Ranger training had brought her back to them.

"Kitrick needs to pay for everyone he hurt. Even Letta deserves some kind of justice." The woman kidnapped her and nearly gotten the whole team killed but she was a human, a heartless one but one none the less. Jess looked at the three of the most important men her life. All she needed was her father, Cutler and JT to walk in, making their views known.

"Okay, we make sure at least two of us can go with you, when the time comes. If not me and Cody, JT or Cutler." Matt looked soulfully in his coffee cup.

"You really think that will scare Kitrick?" Jess stood and ruffled Cody's hair and went to the refrigerator and got out a bottle of juice. She turned and leaned against the counter. She looked twelve. He knew she was a woman with a husband and kids but she would always be his little sister. Cody stood. He handed his niece to her father and stood in front of her.

"No, but it would make me feel a whole lot better. I spent a whole lot of years getting used to having you around."

"Thanks, I think." She smiled. "I think I can handle testifying alone." Derek shook his head.

"You're not going to Colorado without one of us Cutler or JT." Jess looked at her husband.

"Why?"

"Because those men would kill and die for you Jess. If I can't be there with you, I want one of them to be." Jess looked at the three men in front of her. She knew Derek was right. Her brothers and two best friends would do anything including die for her if the need arose. Swallowing hard she nodded and turned, leaving them before she showed a weakness they all knew she had.

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James Cutler was a proud man. He had lived through some serious crap in his life. His father had been a monster and his mother had sat idly by and let her children be terrorized. He saw things when he was in the Army that he had never shared with anyone…even Jess. James Cutler lived his life for himself for a lot of years. Now he wanted more. He was a little old to start playing house with Randa. He had to make an honest woman out of her soon. Six weeks of her life before coming here was a blank, lost somewhere in the recesses of her mind. Till she got those weeks back he knew she wouldn't say yes.

"Jimmy?" He looked up from his desk to see Jess. She looked really good for someone who gave birth to twins three weeks ago.

"Hey. I thought I wouldn't be seeing you around here for another few weeks yet." He came around the desk and hugged his best friend.

"Grandma and Grandpa have the girls and Derek is on a run with Matt so I thought I would come see what I'm missing." She looked into her friends blue eyes. "Something wrong with that?"

"No. It's just strange because I was just thinking about you and there you were."

"Good thoughts I hope."

"Always." He smiled.

"I know better." Jess sat down and Cutler went back to his chair behind the desk. "How's Randa?"

"Good. She's with Hart and Kelly up at the Ranger Station restocking." Jess looked around the main office of the station. Three weeks away and she missed this time most of all. When everyone was out on calls and she was alone.

"What's going on with you Jimmy? You haven't called or come by."

"You just had a near death experience while giving birth to twins Jess. I thought maybe you might need a little time with your family."

"You are my family Jimmy. Just as much as Matt and Cody." She leaned back and looked at him. "Talk to me."

"I'm going to ask Randa to marry me." Jess smiled. "Don't look so smug." He looked down and smiled himself. "I just want to make sure she's ready."

"Those six weeks are still not coming to her?"

"No and I know she wants to find out what happened to her during that time before she settles down." Cutler looked at the women he thought would be the one he'd spend the rest of his life with or pining over. They had over fifteen years of on and off together. "I don't want to mess things up with her like I did with you Jess."

"You didn't mess things up Jimmy. We both weren't ready. We were meant to be friends, nothing more."

"I didn't believe that till you found Derek." Cutler looked down at his boots. "I didn't want to believe it then but now…I know that the two of you were meant to be."

"I got pregnant Jimmy, he had to marry me." He looked up at her. She really believed that. He could see it in her eyes. The last year of her life had been a damn rollercoaster of emotion and he knew she wasn't always sure of her choices but he hadn't believed she had thought the only reason Derek Morgan had married her was because of the girls.

"He loved you from the moment he set foot on this mountain Jess. Babies or no babies, he was going to marry you." He stood up and went to the window. "I didn't want to believe it at first either but you my friend fell in love with him then too."

"I never knew love could hit you that hard and fast. I mean you…you were my everything for a very long time."

"The years we were together meant the world to me. You taught me how to love Jess. My parents…well you know they…"

"I know. If it wasn't for the Hawkes…I would have been in the same boat." Jess stood and went to stand next to him. "I think we turned out pretty damn well, considering." She touched his arm. Cutler turned and looked at her. "I don't regret one minute of our time together. We had some pretty amazing times over the last twenty years and I want to have twenty more. I want our kids to grow up together and know you'll still be there to pull my ass back when I'm on the edge of stupidity."

"I wouldn't have it any other way." He took her in his arms and hugged her. "All I ever wanted is for you to be happy Jess."

"That's all I wanted for you too." Jess pushed herself out of the embrace and touched her friends cheek.

"Don't ever think you don't deserve anything but the best." She kissed his cheek and left him standing there without a doubt in his mind that she was right. Randa was the best thing that happened to him in a very long time and he wasn't going to risk losing her like he lost Jess.