Chapter 21

Matt knew something must be up. When he told Andie that he and her mother were taking some time off to be at the cabin, she said she would 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 even sure it's Wade that's in trouble," she said to herself.

Matt reached over to answer his phone until it stopped ringing. A few seconds later his text alert signal rang. 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 your 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. CJ just wanted to enjoy lying there with him right now. Surely all the crisis of the world could wait, too. CJ had memories due.

"Matt – yesterday you had said that when we got together we both had to get over our own 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 that 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. They had convinced a reluctant Andie to stay put as it was still too soon for her to be out and about on that leg of hers.

Mark had made a list of demands and the car was one of them. Kathy Hoyt as well as about two dozen SWAT and police officers were also in close proximity.

Vince and Leo noticed in particular Wade's condition. He was alive, that was for certain, but he was bleeding at the shoulder and had bruises on his face. They felt helpless as they watched Mark taking him to the car.

"Where are the cuffs and shackles?" he demanded.

Kathy reluctantly tossed him the binds. He put them on Wade and threw him in the back of the car. He then grabbed a blindfold and tied it around Wade's head. With his gun cocked and ready to fire, he walked over to the driver's seat and said, "Anyone follows me … and he is dead. Am I clear?"

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

Mark took off as the police force watched.

"I remember the day Wade and Andie were born," Matt said as he lay there with his wife. "In the weeks before you had been trying to take it easy spending a lot of time resting and keeping off your feet. The doctor was concerned that with your small frame, the delivery would be difficult. So, he had us schedule a C-section. I cut back on my case load and stayed home from work a lot then. 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 one day ..."

"Matt … Matt?"

"What is it CJ?"

"I need you to come here."

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

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

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

Matt dropped his tools and heard the crib collapse as he went towards his wife's voice.

As he neared the kitchen he saw CJ bracing herself, and standing in a puddle of water.

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

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

Matt didn't say much to CJ in the car. The obvious "How ya feelin'?" questions might piss her off at the moment. He spent his energy watching the road and looking over at her from time to time. He could see she was uncomfortable, and he wanted to drive as fast and as safe as possible.

Once they arrived at the hospital, Matt helped CJ 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 her his hand. As she held on to him, a nurse came over to her with a wheelchair. CJ squeezed his hand so hard that now Matt was now grimacing in pain.

"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 a second.

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

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

The nurses and orderlies took CJ into a large room with a lot of machines and curtains. They helped her onto the bed and became very busy with 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, Matt made a mad dash for the hallway.

He called Roy and Hoyt for reinforcements. They had both been through this before and survived. He needed advice - fast!

He reached Roy at the office. 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 out the hospital as we speak."

Matt returned to CJ's room about 15 minutes later. He slowly approached her bed and very gently asked, "How ya doin', CJ?"

CJ looked over at Matt. Her demeanor had changed and she was feeling a little scared. "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 left her side a familiar pang entered his heart. That same feeling whenever CJ was hurt or in trouble. This time the pang felt deeper. 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.

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

"Good luck, Matt," Will said as he shook his hand.

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 and riding on local roads. He tried to memorize every turn. At some point he had to figure out how he could escape and lead the police to his location.

Andie was at the office faced again with trying to keep herself productive, or at least busy. She had found out family information on Spencer, so maybe now it was time to research the Duvals some more. She wondered what kind of woman would marry into such a family and give the Duvals an heir? There was also the anniversary party. With the fact her parents were spending time at one of their most favorite and romantic places, the celebration should indeed go on. Oh, yeah … and that bar exam. She really should be reviewing for that. 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 as he walked down the hallway.

"Any news yet?" he asked.

"Nope," Roy answered.

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

"Any news yet?" Murray asked.

"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 was beginning to notice that the route seemed familiar. He knew they were on the highway heading East for over two hours. Then he could tell they were on some hilly, rural road for about thirty minutes. He could also smell the scent of pine trees – lots of them. Were they headed to the cabin? Would Mark know how to get to he cabin? Did Andie ever take him there on a date or something? Did he have inside information from someone else?

Just then a deer ran across the road and Mark slammed on the brakes hard to avoid crashing with the animal. Wade was thrown off balance and fell onto the floor brushing up against the front seat. His blindfold became askew enough for him to peer out and see a little. Out of the corner of his eye he could see a cell phone that must have been hidden in the back seat by the police. As he adjusted himself back up to the seat he grabbed the phone with his cuffed hands and began fingering it.

Andie woke up her computer and started typing. She looked up at the 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? The same Elizabeth Sheridan who was historically disliked by her mother for no tangible, explained reason? 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?"