I Love You, And
"You really should have tried this apple pie, Laura. It was t'rrific. Alice puts caramel in it," Starsky said as he scraped the last of the dessert from his dish.
"It did look good but I just couldn't eat another bite," Alice replied leaning back and rubbing her stomach. "If my apartment wasn't so small, I'd invite you all over there for dinner."
"Oh, don't worry. I love to cook," Alice replied with a smile.
"I can attest to that," Hutch said with a laugh. "Allison, I didn't realize you weren't in the house where you lived with your father."
"Oh yeah, that place was too much for just me. I sold it not long after he died. How about this weekend, I bring the fixings and make dinner here?"
"That sounds nice. Call me before you come and we can talk about it so you don't have to bring every little thing, like spices."
"Okay," Allison said as she stood up from the couch. "Well, I need to get going." Hutch and Alice looked over at her while Starsky simply let go of her hand as she stood.
"Already?" Alice asked. "It is barely 8."
"Yeah, thanks again for dinner."
"You're welcome, Honey. Y'all come back soon."
"I will. Goodnight." Allison turned to look down at Starsky who then got up.
"I'll walk you to your car, Laura."
After the door closed behind them, Alice looked up at Hutch from her spot on the floor near his feet. "Does that seem odd to you? She hasn't stayed here past 9 once in two weeks and she has not stayed at Starsky's place lately either."
"I had noticed that. I hope everything is okay. They seem fine otherwise but Starsky didn't seem surprised when she got up to leave."
"Do you think he'll talk to you about it?"
"Maybe. I don't want to push the issue but if an opportunity comes up to ask, I'll take it."
~ S&H ~
The next day, Hutch waved to Alice and Jamie as he climbed into the Firebird and headed to Metro. Starsky had left early to meet Allison for breakfast and promised Hutch he wouldn't be late. Hutch shook his head remembering the statement by his partner had been followed by a wink. Must be a morning version of a nooner, Hutch thought to himself with a smirk.
Forty-five minutes later, Hutch was happy to see Starsky come into the squad room but he wasn't sure how to read the expression on his friend's face.
"Well, good morning, Partner. You made it almost on time. Good job." Hutch smiled but Starsky simply plunked down at his desk without looking at him. Hutch watched him as he rested his jaw on his hand and flipped through the files on his desk then made a face and flicked them all away with a sigh.
"What's up, Pal? You okay?"
Starsky looked across the desk. He didn't reply but just gave half a shrug.
"Breakfast go okay?" Hutch pronounced the word 'breakfast' carefully as if it was a code word. He leaned forward to be able to see Starsky's downcast face better and offered a grin.
Seeing the smile, Starsky grinned back. "Yeah, 'breakfast' was great."
"So what's with the pout?"
"I don't pout, Hutch."
"You do pout, Starsk, and often."
Starsky leaned back in his chair and contemplated arguing the point. "Well, it's just something happened on the way here and I…aw, never mind."
"No, go on," Hutch encouraged.
Starsky picked at the edge of his desk for a moment and then looked up at Hutch. "It's just that…I…I caught myself…"
Not having any idea where this was going, Hutch leaned in, listening intently. "Caught yourself what?"
With a heavy sigh, Starsky blurted out, "I caught myself singing along to a Bobby Sherman song. Bobby Sherman, Hutch!"
Hutch's face grew serious and he leaned back rubbing his chin. "Ah, I see. And what song was it?"
"I think it was called 'She Let Her Hair Down.'" Starsky said making a face as if the words were bitter.
"Oh, the one about 'early in the morning,' right?"
"Yeah. You know it?" Starsky asked, his mouth agape in surprise.
"Of course I know it and I admit to having sung along with that one and a few others like it myself. Starsk, we are men in love. And," Hutch lowered his voice to a whisper, "men in love do stupid things."
Starsky leaned in. "We do?"
"Oh, yes, we do indeed." Hutch went back to rubbing his chin, one eyebrow raised then leaned back in. "What about 'You Are The Woman?' I betcha even know who sings that one."
"Firefall." Starsky's voice cracked in shame.
"Oh. Well, that makes me feel better. Thanks, Blondie."
"Anytime," Hutch said, once again smiling. He picked up the top file from his in-box and started to go through it. After a moment, he looked up to find Starsky staring off with a goofy grin on his face. "Uh, Starsk. We do have work to do, you know."
Starsky came out of his trance and looked over at Hutch. "Oh yeah, sorry. I was thinking about her voice."
"Who's voice?" Hutch asked, already knowing the answer.
"Who's voice? Laura's voice, of course. Ever notice that lovable speech impeddlement?"
"Yes, I have noticed it. Cute."
"Cute? It's friggin' adorable."
Hutch smiled again and went back to the file in front of him, glad to know that things did indeed seem okay with the two lovebirds.
~ S&H ~
"This needs to be a quick lunch, remember. I have court at 2 o'clock and I need to go back and put on that jacket and tie and go through the files one more time." Hutch gestured toward the jacket hanging in the backseat behind him.
"I know, don't worry. Huggy is always good about pushing our orders to the front of the line when we need him to."
As Hutch slowed down in front of The Pits looking for an open parking spot, Starsky watched as a woman in a bright blue Mustang pulled up across the street.
"Hey, what about a Mustang?"
Knowing that Starsky's train of thought was derailing once again, Hutch had to smile. "That would be a great car for you, Starsk."
Starsky got out of the car when Hutch parked it and looked back at the blue Mustang. The driver was now out of the car and standing on the sidewalk with her arms folded looking up and down the street. Cupping his hands to his mouth, he called over, "Nice Mustang." The woman looked around and saw Starsky and smiled politely. "What year?"
"You are pestering the woman," Hutch said but when he pulled on Starsky's arm, he shook him off.
"1977," the woman answered simply and continued to look up and down the street.
"She's a beauty."
This time Hutch grabbed his partner's arm firmly and pulled him into Huggy's bar.
As they settled into their customary booth, Hutch waved over at Huggy who nodded his understanding that the two detectives were in a hurry.
"Starsky, don't you want a new car though?"
"Yeah, of course."
"Have you seen this year's Mustang?"
Starsky thought about it and then made a face, "Come to think of it, I have. I'll keep looking."
"Good idea, Buddy."
"Hello, gentlemen," Huggy said coming up to the table. "Shall we just say two hurry-up-we-gotta-get-going specials?"
"Yeah, thanks a lot, Hug. And I'll take a sweet tea. What do you want, Starsky? Root beer?"
"Make that a Dr. Pepper, Huggy," Starsky said grinning up at his favorite barkeep.
"Coming right up."
They finished their lunch with plenty of time to spare and after saying goodbye to Huggy, headed back out onto the street.
Starsky once again looked over to admire the blue Mustang that was still across from The Pits but he stopped short before opening Hutch's passenger side door. He watched the Mustang's driver pacing frantically back and forth near her car. Her hand hovered near her mouth and it appeared she was crying.
"Hey, Hutch. Wait a minute, would ya? Look at her."
Hutch looked up in annoyance but when he saw the concern on his friend's face, he quickly looked across the street. Starsky was already weaving his way through traffic to the other side of the road.
"Ma'am. Ma'am, are you okay?" Starsky asked as he reached the sidewalk. Realizing she was being spoken to, the woman wiped her tears from her face with the heel of her hand.
"I noticed that you seem upset," Starsky said as Hutch joined them. Starsky gestured to Hutch and then himself. "We are police – detectives, actually. Can we help? Are you having car trouble?"
Eyeing them warily, the woman shook her head. "No, it's not my car." She paused, not sure if she should trust the two men. Hutch pulled out his badge and showed it to her. "It's just that I am here to meet my ex-husband to pick up my daughter…our daughter. I…I don't like him coming to my apartment so I meet him someplace in a busy neighborhood like this. He's an hour late."
"Well, did you try calling him? Maybe he forgot and took your daughter to your apartment."
"Of course I called him! I'm not…" she stopped and covered her mouth, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, it's just that…I have a bad feeling."
"Well, I'm Dave Starsky. This is my partner, Ken Hutchinson."
"I'm Moreen Speelman. Thank you for coming over. I'm not sure what to do." She started to pace again.
"Okay, try to stay calm. My partner here is going to start by calling in some uniformed officers." As Hutch nodded and began to weave back through the busy street to his car, Starsky saw panic rising in the woman so he tried to calm her. "Better safe than sorry, right?"
"I guess so," she replied with a sniff.
"Now, do you know where they were going?"
Shaking her head, she replied, "No he never tells me but Suzanne – that's my daughter – tells me after she comes home. Once he took her to the track. Who takes a six year old to bet on horses?" Her voice rose in anger.
Starsky saw a black and white approaching so he put a comforting hand on the woman's shoulder. "Do you think you could tell these officers some of the places where he has taken Suzanne in the past?"
"Yes…yes, I could do that. But what if he's not there? What if he's taking her away?"
Starsky gave her his famous grin, "Come on now. Don't think like that. You are going to laugh at yourself when you find out everything is fine. Maybe he is the one with car trouble, right?" Starsky was nodding at her hoping she would nod along and calm down. Starsky introduced Moreen to the two officers and explained the situation. "You go ahead and give them that list and I'll be right back." Starsky crossed the street to Hutch who was leaning on his car looking at his watch.
"Starsk, I have court."
"I know, I know. Why don't you go back to the station, change and go over the case. I'll hitch a ride with Stan and Bernie and meet you either at the station before you leave or at the courthouse."
"Starsk," Hutch said somberly gesturing back across the street, "That seems pretty serious. You don't have to go to court with me; it's only me testifying so you don't need to be there."
"Hey, we've always been there for each other. I wouldn't miss this. You know I have to…"
"Yeah, yeah, you have to whiz before you go into the courtroom. That's your superstition, not mine. And I thought you'd have given up on that after you got kidnapped in the john."
"But Marcus did take a fall, it just took a while." Starsky said, poking Hutch in the chest. Hutch shrugged showing that he admitted Starsky was right. "I'll be there, all right?" Starsky stepped back into the street to cross when a taxi slammed on its brakes just missing him. "Hey, I'm walking here!" Starsky looked back at Hutch. "Ya believe this yoyo?"
"Be careful, I'll see you later." Hutch got behind the wheel of his car while keeping an eye on his overzealous partner. Once he saw Starsky was safely on the far sidewalk, he pulled out into traffic and headed back to Metro.
~ S&H ~
Hutch pulled off his tie as he headed down the stone steps leading out of the courthouse. Starsky bounced along beside him. "I told you I'd make it."
"Barely and I thought the judge would call contempt of court when you barreled in there."
"Yeah, well, what can I say; I had to make a pit stop before I went in. And once again, the bad guy looses. Good job in there, by the way."
Hutch got into his car, tossing his tie and jacket into the back seat. Once Starsky was beside him, he headed back to the station. "Do you think they found that little girl?"
"I don't know but it wasn't looking good. That poor woman. When they dropped me off here, she was going home to get some pictures of the daughter and the scum bag ex."
Hutch stopped at a light and whistled low. "Would you look at the freeway." He pointed up at the overpass. "Not moving an inch. I'm glad we don't need to go anywhere for a while." He drove on and Starsky pointed out a police cruiser blocking the entrance to the freeway. The officer was waving people away.
When they arrived back at Metro, Starsky grabbed the phone and started dialing. "I'm just going to call Laura real quick." Hutch sat down after pulling a file from the nearby cabinet. Starsky hung up the phone. "She must not be home from class yet. I'll call again in a little while."
Thirty minutes later, Starsky hung up the phone again after not getting through to Allison just as Wilson and White came through the double doors. White threw his jacket down onto the top of his desk while Wilson angrily grabbed a coffee mug and poured himself a cup.
"Man, I can't believe it took us an hour to go one exit on the freeway. I think I have heat stroke, Tom. Get your air conditioning fixed, would ya?" Wilson said pulling at the top button of his shirt.
"Sorry, I'll get it fixed. I promise."
Starsky was listening to the two partners. "Rough day, guys?"
"Well, it wasn't until we needed to run over to the Wilmington district. We heard there is a huge pile-up on the 410; something like 10 cars are involved and at least one 18-wheeler."
Hutch looked up from the paperwork in front of him. "No kidding, huh?" He glanced over at Starsky and saw him staring down at the phone with a look of fear on his face. "Starsk?"
Starsky looked up, his expression unchanged. "She's not home. She takes the 410 home from UCBC."
"Hey, don't worry, Buddy. She's just stuck in all the traffic. Now you know why you can't reach her," Hutch replied, his voice soft.
Starsky's brow furrowed. "I guess you're right. I hope you're right."
"I know I am. Hey, look," Hutch pointed into the hall beyond the glass double doors of the squad room. "Isn't that the woman, Moreen…"
"Speelman, yes it is." Starsky jumped up and went into the hall to catch the woman.
Hutch watched Starsky push his fears aside and bring the woman into the squad room. He went back to completing his report on the case they just closed but kept an ear open to what was going on across the desk. Starsky took the pictures the woman had brought and gave them to a clerk to make copies while he continued to ask the woman questions hoping to figure out where her little girl was.
Starsky took Moreen into Captain Dobey's office for a few minutes. Hutch leaned back and tapped his pencil on the desk staring over at Starsky's phone willing it to ring. He wouldn't voice his fears aloud to his friend but the timing and location of the accident on the freeway made him nervous as well.
Starsky walked Moreen Speelman to the door of the squad room, all the while assuring her that they were doing everything they could and that they would find Suzanne. He then came back to his desk and scrubbed his face with his hands.
"Oh man, if I could get my hands on that father…"
"I know what you mean. Let's just hope the woman is exaggerating and he really isn't as big a slime as she makes him out to be. He's her father, after all. She should be safe."
"Hutch, you know as well as I do that rarely is true."
Hutch sighed, "I know."
Starsky checked his watch and glanced at his phone. "Okay, I'm gonna try not to panic here. She'll call me."
"Hey, Starsk, can I ask you something?"
"Sure, what is it?"
"You two are obviously doing great but Alice and I have noticed that Allison isn't spending the night anymore. Everything okay…well, you know…in that department?"
Starsky ran his hand through his hair then leaned back in his chair. "Remember a couple of weeks ago, we got called around 1 AM to back up Zheng and Williams?"
"Well that just freaked Laura out. I guess it has been hard on her knowing I'm out on the streets during the day but getting a call and leaving her alone…well, that was just too much."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. Alice really hates the midnight calls too."
"Anyway, she kind of retreated. She leaves early so she doesn't know when I get those calls."
"You did tell her it is rare, right?"
"I sure did. Talked 'til I was blue in the face. But after a while, I just figured she had to work it out herself so I gave her the space. I sure miss her at night, though." Starsky went back to staring at the phone when it rang and both men jumped.
"Bet that's her right now," Hutch said, smiling.
Starsky picked up the phone, "Starsky here. Yeah, that's me." Starsky paused as he listened to the other person. "What? Where is she?" Hutch closed the file in front of him and leaned toward his partner. Starsky rose to his feet, his chair scraping loudly on the floor. "Okay, okay. I'm on my way."
"Starsky, what is it?"
"Laura. She was in that accident, Hutch."
Hutch grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair, "Let's go, I'm driving." Looking over at Tom and Don who had heard the phone call he said, "Can one of you let Dobey know?"
"Yeah, yeah, of course," White said giving Starsky a sympathetic pat on the back.
Starsky burst through the emergency room doors and looked around frantically. The place was a mob scene with patients lying on stretchers in the halls and visitors asking for information on their loved ones. Hutch hooked Starsky's elbow with his hand. "Starsk, sit down and I'll try to get some information."
"I can't sit down, Hutch. Where is she?" Starsky started walking around glancing at the people on the stretchers. When he didn't see Allison there, he put both hands into his hair. "Where is she?"
Hutch maneuvered his best friend over near a wall. "Just stand here for a minute. I'm going to find out." Starsky paced while Hutch patiently waited his turn then spoke to the nurse behind the counter. He came back and again took Starsky by the arm. "I gave them your name. She doesn't have any information yet but someone will be out to speak to you as soon as they can." Starsky started to panic and began to look again at the patients lining the halls. Hutch grabbed onto his other arm so that he would face him. "Look at me, Starsk. Look at me. We don't know anything yet so let's not jump to conclusions, okay?"
"I'm scared, Hutch."
"I know you are, Buddy. Let's sit down. Do you want a cup of coffee?"
"No I don't want coffee. I want Laura!"
The people in the waiting room looked up sharply at Starsky's outburst so Hutch steered his friend to an empty corner near a fire exit. "You've got to calm down, Starsky. You aren't doing her any good like this. She's going to need you so pull yourself together." Hutch spoke firmly but gently to his terrified friend and continued to hold both his arms below the shoulder, forcing Starsky to look him in the eye.
Starsky shook his head and fought back tears. "I can't lose her, Hutch. I can't lose her. Not again, please."
"Shh. Nothing is going to happen. She'll be okay," Hutch continued to speak in a soft voice.
"You don't know that."
"Well you don't know she won't be, Buddy."
Hutch could see Starsky's frantic energy slipping away and pulled him into a hug. "Don't give up on her." He felt Starsky nod his head into his shoulder. "Come on, let's sit down before you fall down." He led Starsky to a nearby waiting room chair. Noticing a payphone beside the chair he whispered to Starsky, "I'm going to call Alice. You okay here for a minute?" Starsky slumped into the chair and nodded despondently.
Hutch made the call to Alice, telling her that they didn't know anything yet and that he would call her as soon as they knew anything but it would probably be quite a while. He sat down next to Starsky who was now motionless, his arms and legs splayed every which way like a marionette dropped by a child. "Alice sends her love." Hutch watched Starsky but the man never reacted to the comment except to straighten his limbs and sit up. He leaned forward, his face in his hands. "You sure you don't want something? How about some water?"
"I would like some coffee, thanks Hutch."
Hutch patted Starsky on the knee. "No problem. Be right back."
Having finished the coffee, Hutch now paced in front of his chair. Starsky mostly sat but would occasionally jump up and prowl the area looking through doors as they swung open. Hutch eventually took their guns, holsters and jackets and locked them in his trunk so they could be more comfortable. Starsky had just dropped back into his chair when a woman approached them.
Starsky was instantly on his feet. "Yes. That's me. How's Laura?"
"Oh, I'm sorry…" she began, looking down at the file in her hand as Hutch came forward.
"Laura is his nickname for Allison. Allison May."
"Oh, thank you. Can you come with me? Dr. Zannelli would like to speak to you."
Starsky's hand instinctively reached back to Hutch as he followed the nurse deeper into the ER. He latched onto Hutch's sleeve and pulled him along with him.
The woman led them to a small office. "You can wait here; he'll be over in a few minutes."
Starsky stood in front of the office, afraid to go in as it was claustrophobically small. He still had a grip on Hutch's arm.
"Starsk, you are taking off skin," he winced but Starsky didn't hear him. Hutch put his hand over Starsky's and held on to try to give him strength. Eventually the doctor appeared and Starsky followed him into the small office. "I'll be right outside," Hutch said and quietly shut the door.
"Mr. Starsky, I understand that you are listed as Allison's next of kin, is that right?"
"Yes, she doesn't have any family. Doc, how is she?"
"She's stable now." He paused as Starsky let out a breath and reached to steady himself on the desk despite being seated.
"She was actually very lucky but she is going to have some healing to do. She appears to have a small laceration to her liver but we are confident it will heal on its own without surgical intervention. She also has two cracked ribs and a broken fibula…the smaller bone in her lower right leg. Two fingers on her right hand are broken. She has a slight concussion and is pretty banged up." The doctor paused to let Starsky, who was staring down at the desk, absorb it all. "I think she will have no problem continuing with the pregnancy despite all this."
Starsky's head snapped up. "Pregnancy?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. I assumed you knew."
"Yes, about three months."
"Oh my God. A baby." Conflicting emotions washed over Starsky's face. Relief, fear, joy, awe.
"Congratulations," Dr. Zannelli said with a hopeful smile. He stood up and placed his hand on Starsky's shoulder. "Don't worry. We are taking good care of her."
Starsky stood up. "I need to see her."
"Of course. You can wait here and I'll send the nurse in to get you in a few minutes."
"Thank you. Thank you so much, Dr. Zannelli." Starsky shook the man's hand as his face relaxed and the beginning of a smile spread over his features.
"No problem," the doctor said and left the room.
Starsky slowly sat back down in the chair.
"Starsk?" Hutch's voice was quiet but still made Starsky jump. "How is she?"
"Hutch she's…she is banged up pretty bad but she's going to be okay."
"Hey, that's great, Buddy. Thank God."
Starsky leaned back in the chair and smiled slightly. "Yeah, thank you, God."
The same nurse that had escorted him to the office came back and asked Starsky to follow her. Hutch went back into the waiting room. The nurse came to a curtained off cubicle and gestured toward it. She's right here; you can sit with her if you like. Starsky whispered a thank you and slowly stepped closer to the bed until he could see Allison.
Her eyes were closed. He scanned the length of her body taking in everything. Her right lower leg was splinted as was her right hand. She had a cervical collar on; her face was scratched and bruised. There was a large white bandage on her forehead and blood could be seen seeping through slightly. An I.V. ran from her left arm. Starsky stood frozen to the spot afraid to touch her.
Sensing a presence, Allison slowly opened her eyes. She blinked a few times to clear her vision and then smiled. "David." She reached out to him with her left hand.
Starsky stepped forward. "Careful, Laura, there is an I.V. there." He took her hand and laid it back on the bed but wrapped his fingers in hers. He stared into her eyes and blinked back tears.
"I'm okay," said softly, squeezing his hand.
Starsky came closer and leaned down, kissing her on the cheek. He rested his forehead on her shoulder and cried quietly.
"Shh, I'm going to be fine. I'm just going to be laid up for a while."
Starsky stood up and wiped the tears from his cheeks. Pulling a chair closer he sat down and took her hand in both of his. He traced a finger along each one of her knuckles. "I could have lost you."
"But you didn't. I'm right here and I'm okay." Allison winced as she tried to turn toward him.
"Don't move. Just lie still." Starsky looked up from her hand to face and then slowly down to her abdomen. He released Allison's hand and put his left hand over her stomach, barely touching her. He then looked back into her eyes.
Allison looked down at his hand and then back to his face. "You know."
Starsky slowly broke out into a grin. "Yeah, I know." He leaned over again and kissed Allison on the lips. By the time he pulled away, he was beaming. "A baby. I'm gonna be a Dad?"
Allison was now smiling too and a tear slipped from her eye and landed on her pillow. "You're gonna be a Dad."
Starsky searched the waiting room and found Hutch standing with a cup of coffee in his hand staring through the window into the night. He came up from behind him. Hutch heard him approach and turned to face his friend.
"How is she?"
"She's okay," Starsky said with a smile.
"Aw, Starsk, that's fantastic."
"They're casting her leg and fingers now so I wanted to come out and tell you to go home to Alice and Jamie. I'm going to stay here with her tonight."
"You're sure? I can come back and get you later. Or how about I bring you some supper? You haven't eaten since The Pits earlier."
"Naw, but thanks. I'll scrounge something up. I couldn't leave her. That plastic chair beside her bed is all I'll need."
Hutch tossed his now empty coffee cup into the trash and hugged Starsky. "Okay, Buddy. But you call if you need anything – anytime of night. I will be back in the morning for visiting hours, okay?"
"Thanks, Pal. I mean it. Thanks for being here for me."
Hutch smiled and nodded, "No problem. Goodnight, Starsky."
Starsky watched Hutch go then looked around. He spotted a sign leading to the cafeteria and headed that way. After he ate, he went up to Allison's room and waited for her. The door opened and they wheeled her in on a gurney. Attendants moved her to the bed and a nurse adjusted her to make her as comfortable as she could, checked her I.V. then left saying she would be back soon.
Starsky came to Allison's side and slid his fingers through her hair. She looked up at him, the lines around her eyes showing him how much pain she was in.
"Let me get the nurse to give you something for the pain," he said, turning to leave.
"No, David, stay. I'm okay. They have given me some pain medication; I just can't have much because of the baby. I'm just uncomfortable from them setting my leg. Let me just rest here for a while."
Starsky looked down at her leg and then to her abdomen. "There's gotta be something else they can give you…"
"All I need is you, David." Allison again reached for his hand. He took it and sat down on the chair next to the bed. "I'm so sorry."
"Sorry? The accident wasn't your fault."
Allison shook her head. "No, I'm sorry for pushing you away, for not staying with you at night. I ran away, basically. Even though we still saw each other almost every day, I had run away."
"Shh, don't worry about that now, Laura."
"I was so afraid that I was going to lose you. That you were going to leave one day and never come back." Starsky nodded and looked down at their laced fingers. "But look what happened to me. I'm just heading home and suddenly everything comes crashing down around me."
Starsky looked up her, his face twisting at the description. "Don't, Laura. Forget it. It's over."
"No, don't you see – I was stupid to think that you were the only one that could get hurt because of your job. Things happen like this every day and I missed so much time with you because I was too stupid to see that."
"Don't say that, Honey."
"I'm sorry, David. I never want to miss another minute with you." Allison's words caught in her throat and tears started to flow down her cheeks. "Forgive me?"
Starsky's tears mixed with his laughter. "Forgive you? There was never anything to forgive you for. I love you." Starsky stood up and gentle wrapped his arms around Allison. He kissed her cheek over and over again.
"I love you too, David." When Starsky pulled away and smiled through his tears, she said, "Marry me?"
"What?" Starsky asked, his smile fading a bit.
"Marry me. Come on. Back on the beach when I found you in the rain, you said, 'Do you want to do this thing?' Well, let's do this thing."
Starsky's smile returned and he took Allison's face in his hands. "Okay, let's do this thing."
~ S&H ~
Starsky eased Allison from the Torino and helped her settle in the wheelchair. Hutch and Alice stood up at the front door of Starsky's house while Jamie played on the swing set in the yard.
"I can't believe I have to use a wheelchair," Allison grumbled.
"Well, you certainly can't use crutches with half your hand in a cast now, can you? Hey, pretty soon you'll be in a walking cast with a cane so you will be more mobile. Don't worry."
Allison continued to scowl. "Well, I don't have to like it."
Starsky maneuvered into the front door. "No, I guess you don't. Now let's get you to bed."
Allison held up her hands. "Oh no – no way. I've been in a bed for two weeks; I refuse to get into another one right now. Couch." She pointed over to where she wanted to sit.
"Geez, you are some grumpy patient," Starsky joked as he set the throw pillows up and then helped Allison ease into the seat. "Comfy?"
Allison considered the question. "Can I have a pillow under my leg?"
Starsky grinned over at Hutch and Alice who had followed them in. "Can she have a pillow under her leg – of course she can have a pillow under her leg." He ran into the bedroom and returned with a bed pillow. He carefully lifted her casted leg and slipped the pillow under it. "Better?"
"Better," Allison replied, starting to smile. "Ah, it is so good to be home."
Hutch gave Alice a sideways hug at the mention of this place being home to Allison. Starsky's smile showed he was thinking the same thing.
"I've been picking up your mail. There is something in there from your insurance company." Starsky picked up the stack from the kitchen counter and brought it over to Allison.
"Oh, my car. It was a total loss, huh?"
"How am I going to get to school?"
Alice came around and sat across from Allison. "Now don't you be worrying yourself over that, Allison. You'll need to take the rest of the semester off. You have plenty of time to worry about things like that later." Allison groaned and crossed her arms over her chest. "Oh oh, that's a pout if I ever saw one. I have a 4-year old, I know a pout when I see one," Alice teased. She smiled when Allison smirked.
Starsky sat on the back of the couch and looked down at Allison. "Hey, I have an idea. I've been looking to buy a new car. Why don't I keep the Torino and you can use it. That way it stays in the family."
Alice glanced up at Hutch at the mention of the word 'family' and they shared a smile.
"That's a pretty good idea, David," Allison said.
"But on one condition…" Starsky said looking over at Hutch. "That we get it painted. I don't want anyone mistaking you for a police detective." He hated to say it and cause Allison to worry but she could be at risk driving the car that he was so well known for. He was surprised by Allison's reply.
"Can I pick the color?" Everyone laughed.
"You sure can. And I'll have Merle the Earl get it looking t'rrific." Hutch groaned from behind him. "What?"
"Who the heck is Merle the Earl?" Allison asked.
"Don't ask," Hutch replied. "I can't believe that shyster is still in business."
"Have you decided what you are going to get, Starsky?" Alice asked.
Starsky stood up and walked around to the front of the couch and sat down on the arm of Alice's chair. "No, I'm having a terrible time because I already picked out the coolest car – for him!" Starsky pointed accusingly over at Hutch who smirked while Alice and Allison giggled.
Alice patted his leg. "You'll come up with something." Jamie came in the open front door and ran to Starsky who scooped her up.
"Hey, Uncle Stars." Jamie climbed down from his arms and walked tentatively over to Allison. "You have a boo boo, Allison?"
"I do, Jamie but I will be okay."
"I'll take care of you. Do you want some cocoa?"
"Actually, that sounds wonderful."
"Come on, James, let's make Laura, er, Allison some cocoa." Starsky led Jamie into the kitchen and took the tea kettle from the stove. He sat Jamie on the counter who then turned on the water. "All I have is instant, sorry," he said over his shoulder.
"That's fine, Sweet Stuff."
Alice laughed. "Sweet Stuff? That's a good one."
"Oh sorry, not sure where that came from."
"It comes from love," Alice said. "When you love someone, all these pet names just pop up. Right, Sugar Lips?" Hutch puckered and made kissing noises over at his wife and Alice laughed.
When Jamie and Starsky presented Allison with her cup of cocoa, Alice reached for her daughter's hand. "Come on, Jamie. Let's go make lunch. You get some rest, Allison and I'll bring you two something to eat in about an hour."
Hutch followed his family out the door but before closing it behind him, he turned back to Starsky and winked. Starsky grinned back.
Allison sighed in contentment as she sipped her cocoa.
"Need anything?" Starsky asked.
"Just you…and maybe some music. I missed listening to music."
"I could put on the George Winston album you got me."
Allison shook her head. "No. Will you sing to me?"
Starsky chuckled. "Me?" Allison nodded. As he picked up his guitar from its stand he grinned and said, "Well, okay but I thought you wanted to hear good music." He sat across from Allison and began to strum softly.
It's by far the hardest thing I've ever done
To be so in love with you and so alone
Follow me where I go what I do and who I know
Make it part of you to be a part of me
Follow me up and down all the way and all around
Take my hand and say you'll follow me
It's long been on my mind
You know it's been a long, long time
I've tried to find the way that I can make you understand
The way I feel about you and just how much I need you
To be there where I can talk to you
When there's no one else around
Follow me where I go what I do and who I know
Make it part of you to be a part of me
Follow me up and down all the way and all around
Take my hand and say you'll follow me
You see I'd like to share my life with you
And show you things I've seen
Places that I'm going to, places where I've been
To have you there beside me and never be alone
And all the time that you're with me
We will be at home
Follow me where I go what I do and who I know
Make it part of you to be a part of me
Follow me up and down all the way
Take my hand and I will follow you
Allison put her cup down, blinked back a tear and reached her arms toward Starsky. He placed the guitar back on its stand and came over to sit on the edge of the couch. Allison wrapped her arms around his neck, kissed him and then looked into his eyes. "I'd follow you anywhere."
Starsky kissed her lips then rested his forehead against hers. "We need to tell them."
That night Allison insisted on going over to Alice and Hutch's house for dinner. "I'm going stir crazy, let's go." She took Starsky's hand and stood up then turned to sit down in the wheel chair. Starsky pushed her into the driveway and over to the back porch where Hutch was waiting. She reached for the railing at the two stairs up to the porch.
"No, no need for that," Hutch said grinning down at her. "Ready, Starsk?"
"Ready." The two men grabbed hold of the wheel chair from either side and lifted it up. They took the two steps to the porch, turned and stepped into the house.
"Oh, I hate to be a bother," Allison said as they placed the wheel chair down.
"Oh admit it, you loved that."
Allison's eyes twinkled. "It was kinda cool."
"Y'all go into the living room and I'll let you know when dinner is ready," Alice said as she pulled her oven mitts off."
"I'd like to stay in here, if I may," Allison said.
"Well, sure, Hun. I'd like the company. In fact, how'd you like to help?" Alice took a tray and placed it on Allison's lap. She then handed her two cucumbers and a knife.
Allison grinned and went to work on the vegetables. Starsky hung back watching her. Hutch took him by the arm and motioned with his head to leave the two women alone.
When they reached the living room Hutch whispered, "She's okay. It's good for her."
"Yeah, I know. I just don't want her to overdo it."
"Her liver is healed. She just has some bones to mend now." Hutch leaned back into the couch cushions.
"Dobey is expecting to see you tomorrow. And I need your help with the Speelman case. I've found nothing but dead ends."
Starsky looked back into the kitchen. "Yeah, I know. I just hate to leave her."
"She'll spend the day here with Alice and Jamie. Starsk, you are being a worrywart." Starsky picked at a spot on his jeans. "Is there something you aren't telling me?" Starsky looked up quickly then back down at his hands. He didn't reply.
At dinner, Alice discussed having Allison spend the day with her in the house. "Make sure you bring your medications over with you."
Allison took a drink from her water glass then wiped her mouth. "I don't have any."
"You don't? Nothing at all? No pain medication?" Alice asked, surprised.
Starsky looked up sharply. "She's just on Tylenol now, right Laura?"
Allison let out a breath and put her fork down. "David."
For a moment Starsky and Allison exchanged looks and Alice watched them. "I feel like I'm watching Starsky and Hutch do that non-spoken communication thing now. What's going on, you two?"
Hutch's brow puckered and he leaned forward. "Is everything okay?"
Starsky sighed, dropped his napkin onto the table and looked back and forth from Hutch to Alice. He smiled. "Everything is okay. Everything is t'rrific as a matter of fact." He looked over at Allison who smiled sweetly and blushed. "The fact is…we are getting married."
"What?" Alice exclaimed.
"Married?!" Hutch asked, his jaw dropping. "Did you just ask her today or did you propose in the hospital, Starsk?"
Starsky laughed, "The truth of the matter is, Laura asked me."
Both Alice and Hutch's head swiveled to look at Allison who was blushing even more.
"When?" Alice stammered.
"The day of the accident, actually." Allison reached across the table. Starsky did the same and took hold of her hand. "I realized right then and there that I didn't want to miss a minute of my life with this man."
"I can't believe you two never said anything until now." Hutch leaned over and punched Starsky in the arm.
Alice popped out of her seat, "This calls for champagne!"
Starsky and Allison both called out "No!"
Allison covered her mouth and stifled a giggle while Starsky grinned like the Cheshire Cat.
"Okay, here's the story. We are getting married in just over a month." Starsky turned to Hutch. "Best man?"
Allison turned to face Alice. "I'd love for you to be my matron of honor, Alice."
Hutch gave Starsky's arm another punch. "Of course I'll be your best man, Buddy."
"And I would love to be your matron of honor, Honey. But why so sudden?"
"That will be when I get my cast off and I should still be able to fit into a wedding gown then." Allison bit her lip and glanced back and forth. Starsky leaned back and crossed his arms and grinned waiting for it to sink in.
"What a minute…" Alice began then in unison with Hutch she said, "You're pregnant?"
"Oh my…oh my gosh. Oh Starsky. Oh Allison. This is…this is…" Alice was completely overwhelmed. Hutch just smiled at her.
"Well put, Love."
Starsky started to laugh. "Couldn't have put it better myself."
Alice was out of her chair again and gave Allison a huge hug. She then ran over to the other side of the table. Starsky stood up and with his 1000-watt grin in place, they hugged and rocked and rocked and hugged.
Hutch gave Allison a kiss on the cheek. He looked over at Alice and Starsky who both had tears in their eyes. Starsky handed Alice his napkin to wipe her eyes and they were both laughing. Jamie, meanwhile, continued to eat her dinner all the while watching her parents and uncle. "Welcome to our crazy family, Allison."
"Thank you, Ken."
A/N: The song Starsky sang to Allison is "Follow Me" by John Denver. It played one day in the midst of writing this and I thought it fit perfectly.