Chapter 21

Matt was worried. Upon telling Andie he and her mother were taking some time off at the cabin, she said she'd only contact him in an emergency.

Back at the office Andie had second thoughts and clicked off her phone. "No, I shouldn't bother them yet. I'm not positive it's Wade that's in trouble," she said to herself.

Matt reached over too late to answer his phone. A few seconds later his text alert beeped. He picked up the phone and read the screen. "Sorry. Called u by mistake. Everything's fine. Hope u and Mom are having a great time. Love, A."

"Oh, I guess everything's okay," a puzzled Matt said as he set down the phone.

"One of these days you're gonna have to show me how to work one of those things."

"No problem. You were always better at computers than me, CJ. If I can use it, I'm sure you can learn it … again."

Cell phone and computers could wait. She just wanted to enjoy lying with him right now. Surely all the crises of the world could wait. CJ had memories due.

"Matt, yesterday you said when we got together we had to get over our fears. I know what mine was, what was yours?"

Matt thought a moment. It had been years since he felt that way.

"Hmm… change … commitment. I think I always knew if you and I ever slept together – and there were plenty of times I wanted to - it wouldn't be just for one night. It would be forever. I think deep down inside I always knew you were the real deal, CJ."

CJ lifted her head off his chest and touched his face with her hand. Matt took her hand and kissed it. "I'm just so glad to have you back, CJ."

Leo and Vince arrived at the hospital parking lot just in time to see Mark escorting Wade to a car. Kathy Hoyt and about two dozen SWAT police officers helplessly watch Mark taking Wade to the car.

"Where are the cuffs?" Mark demanded.

Kathy reluctantly tossed 'em over and he immediately put 'em on Wade before pushing him roughly into the back of the car. Then he grabbed a blindfold and tied it around Wade's head. With his gun cocked and ready to fire, he walked to the driver's seat and said, "Anyone follows me, he's dead. Am I clear?"

Kathy answered, "We read you loud and clear, Duval."

"I remember the day Wade and Andie were born," Matt said. "In the weeks before you had been taking it easy by keeping off your feet. I cut back on my caseload and stayed home from work. We had just finished building the house and were busy getting the nursery ready. I was in the middle of putting one of the cribs together when ..."

"Matt … Matt?" she called from the kitchen.

"What is it CJ?"

"Can you come here?"

"Can it wait? I just figured out how to attach part A with bolt B and I'll be done in a second."

"Uh, Houston. Let me give you a little advice. When your 9-month pregnant wife asks you to come here, you come right quick!"

Uh oh, he thought. She was calling him "Houston." Somehow he had been demoted.

Matt dropped his tools and heard the crib collapse as he went downstairs towards his wife's voice, finding her bracing herself, standing in a puddle of water.

"I think my due date is today and not Friday."

Like she needed to even say that. Matt immediately reached for the telephone. After speaking with the doctor, he ran back upstairs for CJ's packed suitcase and then back downstairs to help her. For a second she saw him look towards the chopper, but she quickly shook her head "no" and let him help her to the car.

Matt didn't say much to CJ during the ride. He knew the obvious "How ya feelin'?" questions might piss her off at the moment. He spent his energy watching the road, wanting to drive as fast and safe as possible while glancing over at her from time to time. He could tell she was uncomfortable.

As soon as they arrived at the hospital, he helped her out of the car and towards the door. As she approached the doorway, she stopped and braced herself. "Another contraction?" he asked.

"How'd ya guess, Einstein?"

Matt overlooked her sarcasm and offered his hand. CJ squeezed it hard forcing him to grimace in pain. A nurse brought her a wheelchair.

"Matt … don't forget my suitcase … and in my purse is a list of people I want you to call … and I noticed the bakery across the street. Could you get me a key lime pie? I have a hankering for something sweet."

Matt rolled his eyes.

"Don't you roll your eyes at me, Mister. You're the one who knocked me up and now you're gonna have to deal with the consequences! Do you have any idea how much pain I am in?"

Matt dropped his head in surrender. "Sorry dear. Anything you want, dear," he said as he shook and massaged his sore hand.

The nurses and orderlies whisked CJ away into a large room with machines whirring away. They helped her onto the bed and became very busy taking vitals and attaching cords. Matt took a couple of steps backwards to get out of their way.

"Ah, I'll be right back, CJ. Just gonna grab some coffee and make some of those phone calls." As soon as her curtain closed, he made a mad dash for the phone, calling Roy and Hoyt for reinforcement. They had both been through this before and survived. He needed advice - fast!

After Roy got off the phone he had had himself a good chuckle.

"Hey, Chris" he called out." Alert the troops. CJ and Matt are at the hospital as we speak."

Matt returned to CJ's room about ten minutes later, approaching her bed cautiously. "How ya doin', CJ?"

Her demeanor had changed. "This is it, huh Cowboy? I'm about to be a Momma. You're about to be a Dadda."

"You're going to be great Mother, CJ. The best!"

The doctor walked in the room as Matt wiped away a tear that had fallen on her cheek.

"Well, Mrs. Houston. We have to get you prepped for surgery, pronto. Seems these babies want to come out right away."

CJ smiled at Matt as he let go of her hand. As he headed to the waiting room a familiar pang entered his heart. That same feeling whenever CJ was hurt or in trouble. This time the pang felt deeper. Probably because he had much more at stake.

"Hey, there Cousin," Will said as Matt felt a hand on his back.

"Hey Will, Uncle Roy. There, ah, prepping CJ for surgery now. It won't be long…"

"She gonna be just fine," said Roy.

A nurse appeared. "Mr. Houston? Your wife said you want to be in the delivery room. We have get you prepped as well."

"Good luck, Matt," Will and Roy said as he left.

While riding in the car Wade tried his best to figure out where he was heading. He could tell the difference between riding on highways versus local roads. He tried to memorize every turn so he could lead the police to his location.

Andie was at the office faced again with trying to keep herself productive. She had found out some information on Spencer, so maybe now it was time to research the Duvals some more, wondering what kind of woman would marry into such a family. There was also the anniversary party to plan. With her parents spending time together at one of their favorite get-a-ways, she knew their marriage was intact and the celebration should indeed go on. Oh, and there was also that bar exam. But, how could she concentrate on that with all this action going on?

Hoyt arrived at the hospital and noticed Will and Roy in the waiting room.

"Any news?"

"Nope," Roy answered.

As soon as he said this Chris and Murray joined them.

"Any news?"

"Nope," they all said in unison.

"How are we doing with the pool?" Hoyt asked.

"Well, there are 14 people from the office who guessed today's date." Chris answered. "Of those there are 8 who say two girls, 5 who say two boys and, 1 who said one of each."

Wade thought the route seemed familiar. First they were on the highway heading East for over two hours, then they were on a hilly rural road for about thirty minutes. He also smelled the scent of pine trees – lots of them. Were they headed to the cabin? What were the odds that Mark was taking him there?

Just then a deer ran across the road and Mark slammed on the brakes hard to avoid colliding with the animal. Wade was thrown off balance and fell onto the floor and against the front seat. His blindfold became askew enough for him to see a cell phone that must have been hidden in the back seat by the police. As he brought himself back up to the seat he grabbed the phone with his cuffed hands and began dialing.

Andie looked up at Baby's screen and couldn't believe her eyes. Not only was John Spencer the son of Marquis Duval II and Elena Moskovitz, but Mark's mother was Elizabeth Sheridan? THE Elizabeth Sheridan who had once been engaged to her father? Before she could surf to the next page her cell phone rang. When she looked at the screen she didn't recognize the number. She cautiously picked it up and answered, "Hello?"