Chapter 9

Morning arrived and Stephanie was already up, showered, her room packed and downstairs having a cup of coffee as Helen made breakfast. Mentally she was ticking off all the things she needed to do today. The guys were coming over to take the remainder of the bags in their vehicle and they would be off. It was only 90 minutes away so she figured to get there before lunch.

That would give them time to see the office, and get a key and directions from Matthew. Right on cue, the doorbell rang and Tank and Ranger were jockeying for position on the step. Settling the issue, Stephanie handed them each a bag and reached for more. Arms loaded they made for the truck parked behind the Civic. What seemed to be many trips later, the hallway was empty and Rex was once again in the passenger seat, strapped in and ready to go. After hugs and assurances of a phone call to let them know she was settled they were off.

The drive was pleasant and in no time they pulled up to the storefront in Point Pleasant. Not the catchiest title, the sign read, 'Kennedy Horse Accessories and Riding Attire'.

Stephanie got out of her car, stretched and waited for Ranger and Tank to join her. Together they walked into the front office where Matthew was at a desk. He was looking at the computer screen and waved as he pressed send. Smiling, he stood up and shook everyone's hand.

Stephanie introduced Matthew to Ranger and to Tank. Giving them the ten cent tour of the storefront, he confirmed that few people came into the office anymore and the back room, which used to hold stock for display was now just a storeroom.

Ranger asked if that was the case, why not just close down the establishment, get rid of the office and continue working from a remote location. Matthew confirmed that it might be a plan in the future. That was the reason he had only offered Stephanie a six month contract to start.

Shelving more discussion for later, he gave her the key to the house and directions. Stephanie was very familiar with Point Pleasant and remembered the small house.

It was on the beach and although quite old, she remembered that it had looked in good condition. Pulling up to the house, they all left their respective vehicles and walked to the front door. Stephanie unlocked the door and walked in.

Matthew had come too and gave her the quick tour. Ranger and Tank checked it out also, then headed outside for more inspection. Telling Stephanie he needed to get back, but giving her the office phone number in case she had a problem, Matthew left. She would move in, and get settled.

Tomorrow she wanted to stop at the office and get the feel of the business before Matthew left her alone the next week.

He was taking his wife out of state for a few days of vacation. Going outside, Stephanie strolled behind the house and stopped. The property had quite possibly the best view of the beach and water she had ever seen . Someone had picked the lot very carefully and the house and lot had the proverbial 'million dollar view'.

Knowing Steph's love of anything to do with water, Ranger came up to her. They stood side by side not saying anything, just admiring the view.

Finally, dragging her eyes away she looked at Ranger and thanked him for helping her today. He smiled and gave her a hug. "My pleasure, Babe. " Just then, breaking the moment, Tank appeared. He relayed that with a few changes, he felt that the house would be safe to stay in. It included the usual lock replacement, and a few more outside lights for security. He suggested a low level security system. She felt safe in Point Pleasant and the crime level had always been very low. She promised to think about it.

Thanking the guys again, Stephanie suggested lunch at a little bistro on the main street. Ranger escorted her to their truck and they were off. Conversation was light and witty and lunch passed quickly. All too soon the truck deposited Stephanie back at her new place, and Ranger and Stephanie got out.

Tank stayed in the vehicle, saying he had to make some calls. Ranger escorted Stephanie up the front walk to the door. They stood looking at each other and finally Stephanie spoke. "Thanks for the help. Thank Tank too. I have no idea how I would have done that without you. "

Ranger took her hand in his and rubbed gently on the back of her hand with his thumb as he spoke. "My pleasure, Babe. I want you to be safe. More importantly, I want you to be happy. Please call me if you need anything, day or night."

He hesitated. "If you want, I'd like to see you again. Today was a lot of fun. Maybe we could go for dinner or a show?" Stephanie smiled. It felt like he was certainly trying to make some amends.

Thinking back she realized that they had never done the usual dating rituals, at least not in the right order. Maybe they could try a real relationship. See where it goes. Taking the initiative this time, Stephanie splayed her hands on Ranger's strong, muscular chest and kissed him. He put his arms around her and returned the kiss. There was a hint of tongue, but not intrusive. Not wanting to go farther, they both put their arms down and stepped back.

To the casual observer, it appeared that the next actions might quickly have gone to a whole new level.

Tank observed the scene on the front step. Maybe it might work out yet. He suspected that Ranger would be going off line more in the near future than ever before and although it made more work for him he was comfortable with that.

He had already contacted Les with some of what had transpired. That man lived for details but Tank was vague. Les might be Ranger's cousin but there was no need to know any more than necessary. Lula had also requested an update.

He had checked with Rangeman and everything was running smoothly. Suddenly, having a rare immature moment, Tank honked the horn startling the two on the step. Leaning out the window, he bellowed that it was time to go or he was going to leave alone. Ranger looked at Stephanie and groaned." I have not sent anyone to a Third World Country in some time Babe; maybe I should make some arrangements." Steph smiled. Tank was a good friend and had Ranger's back, so that wouldn't be a possibility any time soon.

With a last soft kiss Ranger walked to the truck, got in and Tank drove off.

Stephanie waved once more and turned to go inside. There was a mountain of work to do and it would take her mind off what she was about to start. She needed to put everything away, get groceries and check out the neighborhood.

She started to get excited. This was a new direction. After all, six months was not forever. The fact that Matthew was thinking of making the business a remote, internet business only, actually sounded interesting. Her laptop could be her office, and laptops were very portable.

Her thoughts turned to Ranger. Her eyes twinkled. Maybe they did have a future. She wanted to take it slowly and see where it would go. Mind you, an orgasm here and there would not be out of line. She smiled and walked into her house and her future.

This is the first story I have written for fan fiction. Hope you liked it. Myrna