During the middle of an uneventful night, Colleen slowly opened her eyes, and she stretched her arm toward her husband's side, only to find nothing there. She sat up, looking around the darkened room. "Cay?" she whispered, hoping she had not kicked him out of bed, and he had slept on the floor, again. Ever since she had been pregnant with the twins, her dreams of martial arts matches caused real injuries to one Cayden Daniel Faireborn. A yawn escaped as she reached for her robe and slid out of the warm blankets. Putting on her bunny slippers, she headed out of her room and toward the nursery. She didn't need a cry to inwardly know that the twins needed her.
Walking into the nursery, she went straight to the twins crib. She switched on the small lamp on the small table next to the crib. "Hey pumpkins," she whispered and then her heart jumped to her throat, spotting only one twin in the crib. Devon was sleeping peacefully, but where was Caitlin? Her heart pounded, ready to cry out her husband's name at full blast, when from the corner of her eye, she spotted Cayden sleeping in the rocking chair with the missing child in his hands.
Her eyes turned soft watching the pair who were both sleeping peacefully. She walked over to the chair, placing a hand on her husband's shoulder. "Caveman," she spoke gently.
Cayden woke and looked at her. "Is something wrong?"
"No, I woke and couldn't find you. Is something wrong with Caitlin?" she asked, looking down at her sleeping daughter.
"She was just a little fussy," Cayden answered her as he too looked down at his sleeping daughter.
"I guess she missed her father," Colleen replied, running her fingers threw his dark brown hair.
He smiled up at her. "I feel like I haven't been with them hardly at all during this vacation."
"I know," she agreed with him. "You're hardly been with them when we are at the base too." She sat on the rocker's arm, leaning against him, and her hand touched Caitlin's pink blanket. "They do miss you, we all do."
"I'm trying," he said softly.
"I know." She kissed the side of his head. "And I know how much you love being a Joe doctor."
"That doesn't mean that I don't love you guys as well," he said as he gently patted the infant's back.
"That's not what I meant, Cayden," Colleen replied, standing up and walking over to the crib. "I know you love us. But your heart is big, there's plenty of room for many things. The girls and myself, and who knows, maybe more." She reached into the crib, stroking Devon's soft curls.
Cayden got up and walked over and placed Caitlin in the crib. Then kissed Colleen's cheek.
Colleen slightly grinned at him. "What? I only get a small peck on the cheek?"
In response he pulled her to him and kissed her lovingly on the lips.
She wrapped her arms around him, holding him tighter, deepening the kiss. She felt time hold still for a moment, feeling him and only his love. Their lips slowly parted and she gazed into his eyes. "Wow, you haven't kissed me like that for a long time."
"We haven't really had alone time in a long time," he pointed out.
"I know," she agreed. "Even if our mothers have the twins for a short time. We still wind up not alone if Jeff and Reena come or Sammy and Mike. Or Doc calls you in for an emergency." She let out an aggravated sigh, leaning her head against his chest.
"I'm sorry, Bunny. I'll turn off my pager more often," he told her as he held her close.
Colleen looked up at his tired features. "No Cay, keep the pager on. I know you need to be there. I understand, really." Her eyes turned to concern. "I just wish you weren't tired all the time."
"I'll start taking some vitamins."
"Vitamins won't help Cayden! You need rest!" Colleen pointed out, a little sharper than she attended. He looked withering. "Why do you think your father brought us here? It's showing and he knows it. But since we did arrive here, you haven't rested, have you?"
"I've tried, Colleen," he said in frustration.
"I know you did, but things happened here and you were needed," Colleen replied. "Don't get me wrong. I'm glad you were able to help. Especially with Reena's condition now." She wrapped one of her arms around his waist and looked down at their children. A sneeze escaped. "Drats," she muttered.
"Colleen..." Cayden said and felt her head.
"Please don't tell me I caught my father's and Reena's colds," Colleen pleaded. She couldn't get sick now. The kids needed her and he needed her. She hated getting sick.
"You're running a fever," Cayden told her.
"Bloody Blazes!" Colleen cursed. "Why don't I feel sick though?" She shook her head, then her eyes widened. "The girls! I can't get the girls sick. Devon doesn't do well when she's sick and Caitlin cries all the time." She took several steps backward away from the crib with fear embroidered in her face. "I can't be with the girls."
"Bunny, just go back to bed. I'll take care of the girls," Cayden told her gently.
Colleen wrapped her arms around herself and nodded. "I can wake up my mom, if you want?" she suggested.
The door to the nursery burst opened and a white faced Sky Dancer rushed in, breathing hard, her eyes larger than they had ever seen them. She clutched on the knob, holding on, barely keeping her balance.
Cayden rushed over to her and grabbed her before she could fall. "Reena, what's the matter?"
"G-g-host!" Sky Dancer stuttered, her face turning paler.
Colleen's eyes widened. "The ghost!" She looked at her husband then back to her sister-in-law.
"She's in my room, moaning and crying out my name," Sky Dancer explained. "Jeffrey is still sleeping, he wouldn't wake."
"My brother rarely wakes when he's in dreamland." Colleen shook her head, another sneeze escaped.
"I'm going to get to the bottom of this," Cayden decreed. He left the nursery heading for Sky Dancer's room.
Sky Dancer and Colleen looked at each other before following the Joe medic. They entered the room, but only heard snoring coming from the bed.
"I heard the moaning coming from there," Sky Dancer said, pointing to the wall where a picture of a woman with dark hair had been hung. She walked over to the bed, and gently shook her husband to wake him. "Jeff... wake up."
"Emaoughingoot," Kastor said in his sleep.
Cayden shook his head. "Well I don't hear anything now. You can go back to sleep."
"No, someone was moaning! She said my name," Sky Dancer insisted.
Just then a piercing scream came from the hallway, making all three of them jump from its impact.
"Rowan!" Colleen shouted at the top of her lungs, making Jeffrey roll over from the bed and fall down on the floor.
Kastor was quickly up and running out into the hallway to see what was the matter with his little sister with Cayden right behind him.
Sky Dancer and Colleen raced after them, hurrying into the hallway.
Doors opened and Scarlett pulling Duke came out just when another scream came from the alcove.
Duke rushed over to the ladder leading up to the alcove. "Pumpkin!"
"Daddy!" Rowan screamed from the bed, holding her puppy tightly in her arms.
Scarlett followed her husband, her heart beating loudly in her chest. "Rowan! What's wrong?"
Rowan jumped from the bed, seeing her father walk up the ladder and rushed to his arms. "Don't let it hurt me!"
"Don't let what hurt you?" Duke asked as he held on to his terrified little girl.
"The ghost!" Rowan sobbed tightly in his arms.
Sky Dancer's eyes widened with fear and a shiver went down her spine. Rowan had heard the ghost too!
"What's going on?" Flint asked, climbing up the ladder to the loft. "I heard screaming."
"Rowan said she heard a ghost," Duke said still trying to console the little girl.
"What!" Flint exclaimed skeptical. "Honey, there are no ghosts here, trust me."
"Hear that, Rowan, no ghosts," Scarlett soothed her little girl, stroking her hair.
"No! There's too a ghost! I heard it! Reenie heard too!" Rowan insisted, continuing to cling on Duke.
"Reena, is that true?" Duke hollered down the stairs.
Kastor pulled his wife close as Cayden went up the stairs to make sure the little girl was all right.
"Yes!" Sky Dancer called up, looking at her father-in-law. "I've heard her three times and I've seen her twice!"
Colleen glanced from her father to her best friend. "But why haven't any of us seen or heard the ghost?"
"I-I don't know, maybe she only wanted to talk to me or Rowan?" Sky Dancer suggested.
"But there's no ghost here!" Flint stated, then glanced around the loft. "Where's Eryn?"
Cayden pulled back the cover's on Eryn's bed. "She's not here." He looked around the room. "Eryn!"
"Eryn!" Flint shouted, rushing to the ladder. "Eryn!"
"We have to find her!" Scarlett said, taking Rowan's hand in hers. "Rowan, did you see Eryn going to the bathroom?"
"No, Mom," Rowan answered, leaving her mother's hand and going to her father, taking his with her own trembling one. "She was asleep when I last saw her."
"Maybe she went downstairs?" Colleen suggested, watching her parents, Flint, Cayden and Rowan climb down the ladder.
Flint nodded. "Conrad, you and Shana with Rowan check the kitchen. Cayden, Colly, check the living room and family room. Jeff, you and Reena check the bedrooms. And I'll get Allie." He looked around at all the nodding heads.
They all dispersed, heading to their assignments when Sky Dancer's sharp scream from her bedroom sent everyone flying toward the room at top speed.
"Reena?" Kastor asked worriedly.
Scarlett went to walk toward her daughter-in-law and say something when Sky Dancer put her finger to her mouth to silence them. "Listen," she mouthed.
They all looked at each other, now thinking the pilot had lost her mind, but they waited, listening for any sound in the room.
"Ooohhhhhhh..." came the moan within the room.
"What the hell?" Flint asked, glancing around.
Duke walked over toward the wall and listened.
"OOOOhhhh!" came from behind the wall, the cry echoing louder.
"Con?" Scarlett whispered, began slowly walking toward her husband but felt a tug from a frightened eight-year-old. She stopped, placed an assuring hand around her youngest daughter's shoulder and held her closer.
Duke looked at Flint and pointed to that spot on the wall.
Flint frowned and then quickly left the room, leaving the others flabbergasted.
"Where is he going?" Colleen asked, leaning against her husband and another sneeze escaped.
Scarlett glanced to her daughter. "You too?"
Colleen nodded. "Got Dad's and Dance's germs."
"Sorry, about that," Sky Dancer murmured, sitting on the bed.
Colleen smiled at her friend. "No pro-"
"AHA!" Flint's loud voice came from behind the wall, making them all jump. "Well, I know now what you are doing here!"
Scarlett raised her eyebrows.
"Is he talking to the ghost?" Sky Dancer asked puzzled, feeling the room spin from thinking about it.
"I think he caught our little culprit," Duke said.
Cayden gently rubbed his wife's arm as he held her as Kastor walked over to his wife.
Flint's voice came from behind the wall. "Come on, you need to show yourself to the people you scared. You are so grounded by the way."
Rowan looked to her father. "He can punish a ghost?" she asked with awe, her blue green eyes wide and illusive.
"When it's not really a ghost," Duke replied.
Rowan looked at him puzzled. "Say what?" she asked, making the rest of them chuckle at her little face.
Sounds came heard from behind the wall. "Move it," came the command. In moments Flint re-entered the bedroom. He looked behind his shoulder. "Show yourself, Ghost. You have two apologizes to say." He crossed his arms, shaking his head in disappointment.
Sky Dancer looked from Flint to the doorway, to her husband to Flint.
Rowan huddled as close as she could to her father, holding him very tightly.
Colleen let out a series of sneezes. "Bless me."
Eryn walked in with her head bowed but said nothing.
"Now this makes a little more sense," Cayden whispered.
"Eryn is the ghost?" Sky Dancer said dumbfounded.
Flint nodded. "Apparently so."
Rowan looked to her best friend, her eyes turning hurtful. "Why did you scare us?" she asked in a tiny voice, her hand still in her father's.
"I can't sweep," Eryn admitted softly.
"So because you can't sleep, you decided to scare people?" Flint asked, kneeling down to his daughter's eye level. "Why didn't you just come to me? Or your Mom?"
"I twy. You neber wake up and Mommy no there," Eryn explained.
Flint looked at his daughter confused. "What do you mean, Mommy is not there. When I wake, she's always there." He placed a supportive arm on Eryn's shoulder.
"I go in your woom and she not in bed. I fink she no sweep eider," Eryn told him.
Scarlett frowned looking at the little girl, then glanced to her husband who also looked perplexed at the current events.
"Honey, she probably went to the potty when you come," Flint explained, wrapping his arms around his daughter and holding her close.
"That-that.. ACHOO!" Colleen sneezed loudly enough to wake the dead.
"That's it, you need to go to bed," Cayden told his wife.
Scarlett's frown deepened. "Colleen, go to bed, I'll make you some tea." She then glanced to Sky Dancer. "Make that two teas."
Rowan leaned against her father. "Can I have some tea too?" she requested.
"All right, three teas." Scarlett stated, looking about her.
"I'll come downstairs for tea," Colleen said, letting out another high-pitched sneeze.
Kastor started to usher his wife toward the stairs.
"Daddy, can I have some tea?" Eryn asked, still looking down.
Cayden hugged his wife.
Duke smiled at his little girl.
"Sure," Flint said, following Duke and Rowan out of the room, holding Eryn by the hand. "It may help with your sleeping." He bent down and picked her up.
"ACHOO!" Colleen sneezed, holding her husband's arm. "I hate getting sick," she mumbled.
Scarlett shook her head, following the couple of the room. They all headed down the stairs and into the kitchen. She flicked on the lights and all of their jaws must had dropped at the same moment as surprised gasps escaped from all around the room. The kitchen once again had become a disaster though this time the culprit was standing in the middle, wearing a white robe and creating a six foot tall peanut butter and jelly sandwich mountain!
"ALLIE!" came the chorus from all of them, still stunned to see Lady Jaye in her robe, playing with the food. What in the world?
Flint lowered Eryn to the ground. "Shana, take Eryn," he requested as he walked over to his wife. "Allie? What are you doing?" Nothing, no reply came to his question while Jaye continued to build the massive sandwich tower.
"I hope that is not breakfast," Sky Dancer murmured, resting her hand to her stomach, already getting a sick feeling inside.
"She's sleeping!" Rowan pointed out to Jaye, who had her eyes still closed.
Flint frowned in concern. "Allie?" he tried again, knowing waking a sleepwalker had to be done delicately.
"Eryn and Cay Cay like peanut butter," Jaye said in her sleep.
"Uh, yes they do," Flint replied to his wife, unsure what to do. He looked to his son. "Cayden? Got any ideas how to wake her?"
"Ummm...Cayden said watching his mother in shock. "Kiss her, but you better catch her first." Jaye had walked toward the door and was about to open it to go outside.
"Allie!" Flint exclaimed, rushing over to her side and took her hand with his, guiding her to the table. He gently sat her in a chair and patted her cheek. "Allie, wake up."
Quicker than anyone could see she stood up and flipped her husband over her and sent him down on his back on the floor then she took off yelling "YO JOE!"
Scarlett's eyes widened. "Reena, take Colleen and the girls upstairs, lock yourselves in the nursery!" she ordered.
Sky Dancer nodded. "Let's go." She grabbed Rowan's hand while Scarlett handed Eryn to Colleen. They rushed out of the kitchen, heading up the stairs.
Flint groaned from the floor before jumping to his feet. He started after his wife who was heading for the living room. "Cayden, Jeff, Con, we have to stop her!" he called out to the men, ducking from an incoming book missile.
"Jeff, go get your camcorder," Cayden said.
"I've already got it," Kastor grabbed it from the kitchen counter.
"Shana, go make sure the girls and the twins are all right," Duke told his wife.
"Die, Snake Scum!" Jaye yelled throwing a pillow at them.
Scarlett ducked from an incoming vase, missing her side by an inch and rushed up the stairs for the nursery.
Flint slowly started walking closer to his wife. "Allie! Wake up! It's Dash!"
"Shut up, Synthoid!" She threw a candleholder at him.
"She lost it!" Flint stated, getting hit in the head with the candleholder. "Cayden, we got to wake her!" He slowly walked over to the chairs and grabbed one of the throws.
Duke went and stood by the door so she couldn't go outside in the blistering cold as Kastor filmed it all.
Cayden walked over toward the other side of his mother so he and Flint could trap her.
"Ready?" Flint called to his son, raising the blanket, ready to cover his wife.
"Ready!" Cayden called out then quickly turned his mother to face him.
Jaye was about to strike out.
Flint went to cover his wife with the blanket when she pivoted and punched him in the jaw, sending him to the floor with a thud. A moan escaped, feeling the second blow come. "Ow!"
"Allie, look what happened to Brutus!" Scarlett cried out from the staircase holding the infamous bear in her hand who was wearing toilet paper around his body. Her dark blue eyes widened, watching her best friend glance from Flint to the redhead and then start to shake her head. It was working! Jaye was waking!
Suddenly, Jaye started to collapse to the floor.
Cayden caught her. "That's it Mom, wake up."
"Allie?" Flint crawled over and placed her head on his lap gently. He patted her cheek. "Come on, Allie, wake up."
Duke went over to his wife. "Good thinking."
Slowly, as if in slow motion, Jaye's eyes began to flutter open.
Flint smiled down at his wife's features. "Hey there, crazy Scottish woman."
"What am I doing down here and why is your chin all red?" Jaye asked sleepily.
"You've been sleepwalking," Flint said to her softly, stroking her short hair.
"No, I wasn't," she argued.
"Darling, yes you were," Flint replied, looking from his wife to his son.
Scarlett nodded in agreement. "Allie, you were sleepwalking, we all saw it. It was you who made the disasters in the kitchen."
"Then how come I don't remember it?" Jaye asked.
"Honey, not many people recall what they do when they sleepwalk," Flint explained to his wife. "I bet it's all the stress you've been having lately. I know you wanted to start back into covert operations." He took a deep breath and let it out. "I wanted to tell you this next week, but I'll do it now. Lady Jaye as of next week, you'll be back working for G. I. Joe, Covert Ops." He grinned while adding, "Office work only."
Jaye smiled at this.
"And I can't wait to get this tape back to base," Kastor said with a smirk.
"Kastor, I give you permission to do that, but will also tell you the long lengthily punishment that will go with that tape," Flint smiled at his godson. "Starting with cleaning Beach Head's office."
Everyone laughed at the young sergeant's expense.
"Is everything all right?" Colleen asked from top of the stairs, Sky Dancer by her side. Both women looked extremely worried.
"Yeah honey, Aunt Allie is awake now," Duke told them with a smile.
Both Colleen and Sky Dancer came downstairs.
"Eryn and Rowan fell asleep," Colleen said to her mother, then sneezed.
"And the twins are both fine," Sky Dancer added, then yawned.
"All right everyone back to bed," Scarlett ordered, looking around.
Jaye stood up and looked around surprised to see the mess.
Kastor grumbled something about wasting the tape.
Cayden went over to his wife.
Duke wrapped his arm around his wife's waist.
Sky Dancer giggled at her husband's features. "Well, looks like that tape won't make it to Breaker's Video Emporium!" she stated. Her hand traveled to her head, feeling another spell rushing through her body and sent her bumping into her father-in-law. "Sorry, sir," she apologized.
Duke steadied her with his free hand. "Dad. Call me Dad."
Scarlett smiled at her husband, squeezing his hand.
Sky Dancer slowly nodded, a smile brightening her face. "Sorry, Dad."
Flint blew his nose. "Oh, ain't that sweet!" he teased.
"Achoo!" Colleen sneezed, holding on to the banister.
Scarlett shook her head. "Forget going to bed, everyone to the kitchen for tea! And to clean up!" They all groaned, heading for the kitchen. She turned around, noticing the two little girls looking from in between the banister staircase and motioned them to follow the group.
Rowan and Eryn ran down the stairs, hugged the redhead and raced into the kitchen before the adults.
"Well, we finally nabbed both ghosts," Flint said to the others while he started to take out the tea bags.
Eyebrows were raised and they all stared at the warrant officer dumbfounded.
"Eryn?" Jaye inquired.
"Yes, Eryn was part of the ghost, the other part was Allie." Flint pointed to his wife's white robe.
Sky Dancer's eyes widened, realizing that it was Jaye who walked across the window and in the hallway and not a specter. Her mouth opened and a gasp escaped.
"See, I told you guys there were no ghosts here," Cayden stated.
"Allie was probably sleepwalking," Flint continued to explain.
They all nodded in agreement when a bump came from above their heads. They all glanced up at the ceiling then at the warrant officer who cleared his throat. "I'm not explaining that one."