Chapter 79

It had been a month, and Bobby seemed to finally be coming back to himself. He and Alex had a routine together: two nights at her place, two nights at his place, and three nights alone. It was working for them.

Lewis occupied his time at least once a week, and Alex smiled to see the joy on Bobby's face when he told her about the classic cars they worked on.

Logan had started a private investigation business, and the DA's office was keeping him busy. He seemed happier, too, than she'd ever seen him. He even found a girlfriend.

Ross and Bobby still had their moments: they both felt they had a duty to say whatever unpleasant thoughts popped into their heads about the other. But, all in all, things were better than before. The two men seemed to spar more for the fun of it, now, than because they were truly at odds.

Things with Rodgers were the same as they'd ever been. She did her job efficiently, and punctuated her remarks with dry sarcasm. She rolled her eyes when Bobby probed and sniffed the bodies, but she put up with it with good humor.

Robert Goren did his job. He solved cases, extracted confessions, and went home at night satisfied that he was doing something worthwhile. He loved Alex, and although he still felt a hole in his life now and then, she did a pretty good job of filling it.

He was approached to write a book about Declan Gage, but Goren declined. They found somebody else to do it, and he declined to let himself be interviewed for the book, as well. He'd given enough of his life to that man.

Declan tried to write an autobiography, but his manuscript was disorganized and almost incoherent. He divided his time in prison between writing and engaging in animated discussions with the criminals who surrounded him. He was as happy as he'd ever been.

Bobby leaned back against the wooden rail of the deck, watching Alex's nieces and nephews run around in the yard. He held a brown bottle between two fingers of his left hand.

"Food's almost ready," Alex told him. She took the beer from his hand and took a swig of it, then gave it back. "You think you can round them up?"

"I doubt it," he said with a grin.

"Tough. It's your job, today." She turned to go back inside.

Bobby took a drink of his beer, then turned to the children. He raised his voice. "Time to wash up!"

They ignored him, and kept playing. He tried again, with no better results. Finally, he raised his fingers to his lips and whistled. The kids all stopped and stared at him.

"Time to wash up and eat," he said loudly. They raced each other past him and into the house.

Alex returned to his side. "Nice job, there!"

"You didn't think I could do it?"

"With this brood, not many people could," she teased.

Their eyes glimmered as they stared at each other. Alex reached up to touch his face, and he stooped over to kiss her. They went into the house, hand in hand.


A/N Thank you all for reading and (hopefully) enjoying this story. Thank you especially to Metisse, Cherylwb, and Sell for reviewing nearly every chapter- that really keeps me going! And thank you especially for the LOCI writers and actors who actually did most of the work for this piece. I did not originally intend for this to be as long as it ended up, but I have to say I had a lot of fun working on it. Reviews are always, always appreciated!