Just like a Tattoo by ForgottenPassions
Summary:

Nicole has even living a lie for 3 years, it's not like anyone would find her in this small town. To bad the family looking for her was her own. 


Categories: Romance Characters: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 8 Completed: No Word count: 11430 Read: 228822 Published: 02 Sep 2012 Updated: 02 Sep 2012

1. Chapter 1 by ForgottenPassions

2. Chapter 2 by ForgottenPassions

3. Chapter 3 by ForgottenPassions

4. Chapter 4 by ForgottenPassions

5. Chapter 5 by ForgottenPassions

6. Chapter 6 by ForgottenPassions

7. Chapter 7 by ForgottenPassions

8. Chapter 8 by ForgottenPassions

Chapter 1 by ForgottenPassions

He pointed the gun at her forhead "you stop lying NOW and tell him the truth about Quinns father or I am going to shoot him"he pointed the gun at Ryan" and then make "you watch as I leave with our son." Nicole closed her eyes sucking in one deep breath, she really never wanted it to go like this....

"No, its not a joke Heather get your husbands ass in gear and get out here!" Ryan clicked his phone closed. Out of the whole batch Heather was the only one who still held out help that after 3 years Nicole would show up someday. Eyeing the auburn haired woman he sighed, clicking his nails on the chipped wooden table. 

She smiled at him, not in the 'oh I regocnize you I'm excited to see you' type smile. More of the 'be patient sir I'm on my way.' The twinge in his gut was still there. her hair was longer now, darker shade of brown, she carried herself a little diffrently, but it was her. 

"How can I help you today sir?" She smiled cocking her hip out as she put pen to paper. 

"Nicole?" He asked with a hesitant smile.

She looked down at her name tag and smiled,"yes that's my name. What can I get you sir?" 

"don't call me sir, I work for a living. "He sighed leaning back in the chair. "Do you guys carry twisted tea?"

"Yes we do." She smiled, "Do you want some chicken fingers or French fries?"

"You have kids?" He asked weakly, the roil in his stomach starting to grow. 

"Yes. One." She raised an eyebrow, a look he had always found amusing on her features. "What made you ask that?"

"Chicken fingers." He winked "tell tale sign of a mom."

"Oh,". She sighed " can I get you an order? Ranch or Marinara?"

Got her. His smile broadened "ranch please." His phone went off in his pocket as she walked away, pulling it out he answered the desperate call from Kayla. "Yes I'm sure its her get your collective asses down here." 

********

"She's not acting like she knows us." Kayla commented sipping on her drink. 

"Its. Her." Ryna said through gritted teeth running his hand over his buzz cut again. 

"It sure as hell looks a lot like her." Sarah sighed, redoing her black curly ponytail.  "But I'm not sure to get my hopes up...."

"Are we all just going to sit here on our asses and wait for a lightning bolt of recognition or somthing? " Jonathan growled his nails drumming on the table, eyes narrowing through the wire rims of his glasses.

"Patinece is a virtue... " Heather said in a singsongy voice, swirling the diet coke in her hand. "But I have almost none left. I'm going to ask her." She stood up readjusting her scrub shirt but before she took a step forward a hand wrapped around her waist and dragged her into his lap.

"Your going to freak her out." Matthew whisphered in her ear, smoothing her hair slowly. "Wether its her or not we don't need to give her a heart attack. Other wise we may not find out why she ran. "

Nicoles eyes shifted over to the group again. It had grown from just Ryan in his army BDU's to Heather, Matthew, Sarah, Kayla, Jonathan and Joshua. She was sure Brandon and Christopher were not far behind. FUCK, she thought mentally. Of all the small towns they could have wandered into Ryan had a nack of finding the right one.

"I know we have 2 military uniforms in the house but get your head out of the clouds and get them there food would ya?" Kristyn chidded handing the plates through the salamander.

Nicole smiled at her business partner and shrugged "Can't blame me for a little fantasy can you?" 

"Just get them there food, after you give them there check go home your sitter called and Quinns refusing to go to bed until your home.." Kristyn waved her off with a wicked grin.

Nicole sighed, the older woman was the queen of timing. Carrying the plates over to the table she smiled warmly at the group. "Can I get you folks anything else?"

"You may find this a bit invasive," Heather started crossing her arms and eyeing her up and down. "But can I get your last name?"

Nicole chewed her tounge, "Delarosa. Why are you asking?"

"You reminded me of someone I used to know." Heather sighed, her eyes no less intesnse as they searched her face for somthing Nicole knew she would never find.

****
"You want me to do what?" Brandon asked. Starng blankly at Christopher who hadn't had a chance to get out of his greens yet in the passanger seat of the jeep.

"I want you to follow her. " Ryan growled. "She's wearing a black t-shirt and jeans and she just rushed out of here in what her manager said was a family emergency. I think Heather made her panic."

"Shut up." Heather glared at Ryan. She and Nicole where blood related, were as the rest of the group where adopted siblings from their time in Swallows Bay teen home from foster care.  There was no way she was just going to let her older sister get away, when she hadn't been seen for 3 years.

"I see her now." Brandon whisphered into the phone. "She's getting in a blue jeep cheeroke. Will call in a bit."

"Afirm." Ryan clicked his phone shut and bit back a grin. "They will let us know when she stops."

"You had to use military style tracking didn't you? Couldn't just ask her?" Sarah grumbled grabbing the check from the table and pacing to the counter.

Jonathan sighed and buried his head in his hands. "You are sure its her? She didn't even recognize us a little bit."

"She's pretending she didn't." Joshua grinned bitterly. "She slipped up though. "

"How exactly did she slip?" Kayla sighed, her heart was dropping again. This had to be another dead end, it had been so long even pictures could lie about similarities. There had to be more then one Nicole Delarosa in the world. 

" All of the waters except for Heathers came with lemon, instead she gave you a lime. " Ryan pointed out the empty glasses. "She brought Kaylas with no ice, and when she asked me what dressings I wanted she started with ranch. To many of those are Nic's tell signs."

Heather smile spread across her cheeks "its her. There's no such thing as coincidence."

******

Nicole slid out of the driver seat and skipped up the 3 steps to the front door. Sliding in the oak door she dialed the disarm code on the security system before heading to check on Quinn and Marissa. Marissa as normal was perched on the top of the stairs book open on her lap. 

"Wake up Marissa." She nudged the teenagers shoulder. 

"I'm awake Nicole." She smiled sitting up and closing the anatomy book.  Her grandmother was Nicoles partner, and alternated babysitting and working as a server for the catering events. Quinn was what she boasted as her best birth control and the major reason she was still a virgin which neither of the women minded one bit. 

"You ready for your anatomy test?" Nicole asked as she helped the girl to her feet.

"Yes ma'm." She grinned "Quinn even helped with my note cards."

"He go to bed ok? " Nicole skipped over the last 2 steps and opened the door to the small bed room.  Her son was curled up in the fetal position in his crib shirt bunched around his chest and thumb stuck in his mouth.  Sliding the door closed quietly she smiled and headed to the door with Marissa.

She saw the jeep wrangler that had followed her on and off from the bar and grill turn down the driveway,"ill walk you to your car honey."

"Thanks."Marissa smiled and they quickly loaded her and her bags into the car. She was backing out. As the jeep pulled up leaving her enough room to leave. Nicole waved as the teenager left glaring hard at the wrangler.  Brandon waved half heartedly and Christopher was examining her in detail in the cars head lights. "3..2..1.." And 3 more cars turned in the drive way.

Chapter 2 by ForgottenPassions

"Who in the hell are you?" She shouted reaching behind her back she unhooked the smith and wesson 40 calibur hand gun and held it pointed towards the windsheild. 

"Its just us Nicole." Brandon scooted out of the car making sure his hands stayed in the air. Christopher on the other hand got out of the car still in his uniform and crossed his arms pushing back his coat just enough for her to see the military issue on his side. 

"I don't know you now get the hell off my property or I'm calling the cops!" She spat. They couldn't have left her alone, why was it no one would leave her the hell alone!

Ryan Matthew and Heather climbed out of the near by Ford, followed by Sarah, Jonathan Kayla, and joshua got out of the Subaru. "Can we talk to you Ms. Delarosa?" Sarah asked crossing her arms over her chest eyeing the gun in her hands.

"Will it get you all to stop following me?" She demanded. 

"We just want to talk." Kayla said calmly takeing a few steps towards her. 

"Answer my question." Nicole demanded again clicking the safety off the gun. 

"Nic, put the gun down please." Heather asked, taking another step closer then Kayla. 

"Put the gun down now or I will take it from you." Christopher growled his shoulders bunching up under his coat. 

"Seriously listen to the jar head." Matthew  tried to soothe the situation. "He just got back from another tour in Iraq Nic. Put the gun down. " 

"I am not going to leave myself or my son vulnerable. If you want me to put mine down I need all of you in uniform to leave your guns in the cars. Then and only then may you come onto the porch and we can talk." She glared hard at the group. "You have 5 seconds to decide."

Ryan looked at Matthew, Joshua and Christopher and un locked the latch over his gun sliding it out of the holster removing the mag and dropping both into the driver seat.  The motion was repeated through out the group until all the guns except Nicoles where out of reach. 

She nodded and clicked the safety on hers before holstering it and walking to the porch. Pulling out the extra chairs she sat down on the swing and crossed her legs. "You wanted to talk?" 

I always wanted a swing on the porch. She had laughed, Ryan remebered how sweet the sound had been as she doodled the scene on a piece of notebook paper. A porch swing with lillacs and roses climbing up a trellis. 

Ryan took the seat closest to the swing. Matthew sat on the rail. Sarah stayed standing leaning against Jonathan who had taken a spot against the wall. 

Christopher sat behind Ryan eyes alert on every detail even as Kayla took the next chair and did the same peeking at the window to see picture frames inside, all of them filled with either flowers or a little boy. Heather moved towards the swing "is it ok if I sit here?" She asked akwardly. 

"Sure." Nicole shrugged scootching over to make room. 

"So what exactly did you want to talk about?". Nicole asked fidgiting with her hoodie. 

"Where were you born?" Heather jumped in.

"I don't know." Nicole sighed.

"How do you not know where you were born?" Christopher asked.

"Well mr. Smart ass when you are in a serious car accident just about 2 1/2 years ago and sustain... What did they call it? Serious brain damage? And then end up pregnant and have no idea who the father is because you can't remember who you are much less who you've slept with, you know the main thing on my mind is where I was born. Not how in the hell I'm going to handel everything, much less take care of a kid." The whole rush of emotion was unexpected, much more of what she had initially exhibited in the hospital. 

"2 1/2 years ago?" Heather squeaked.  No one ever called, or even brought it up when they started the missing persons paper work, but if she setteled here made a life for herself that was probably why they dismissed the investigation. Assumed she was ok and would contact them when she wanted to. She was going to kick the swallows bay police cheifs ass. 

"Yes." Nicole sighed part of her gut turned inside out on its self. She really wished they hadn't found her, that she didn't have to straight lie to their faces about her memories. 

Rolling over in bed next to Ryan, kissing him before he got on his flight for training and then being deployed. Dropping Heather off at her last year of nursing school,  helping Sarah  and Jonathan pack for their internships in New York. The car accident had changed everything, put her life on a whole diffrent course.

"Do you remember anything from your past?"Joshua was asking.

"No nothing..." She answered rubbing her temples with her finger tips. Christophers eye caught on the silver filigree ring she was wearing. Kayla, Sarah and Heather all had the exact same ring. He had bought it for them at his AIT in Georgia. It was her, even in all the amnesia cases he heard of familier things brought back some recognition. 

"That's a nice ring." He smiled making sure he drew the others attention to it. They were on the right trail, or woman per say. 

"Thank you." Nicole smiled. Brushing back her brown locks. "Wonderful timing." Her eyes caught on the blue and red flashing lights from the road. 2 rustic cop cars pulled up behind the parking lot of cars in her driveway. 

"Are you alright darlin?" An older voice broke in on the intercom. 

"I'm fine sheriff." She waved at the car. "They were just leaving."

Ryan stood up and started towards the car. "Who called?" He asked as the slightly portly older man climbed out of the squad car. 

"Her sitter. She was panicked when she saw her being cornered." He scanned the BDUs. "Sheriff Lawson." He held out his hand.

"Ryan Mcpherson." He nodded taking the mans hand. "Army, " he pointed out the others "Marines, Air force National Guard and Navy. Nurse editor, journalist and counsoler. We recognized Nicole and needed to talk to her." 

"You knew her from before? " The older mans eyes lit up. 

"We thought we did." Ryan scanned over the mans features,"do you have the information on the accident on file?"

"Yes we do back at the station. Would you like to stop by tomorrow?" He raised a brow. "Maybe you can help me find out what she has been so scared of."

Chapter 3 by ForgottenPassions

Matthew slid the door closed on he and Heathers bedroom.  "Wanna shot?"

He scanned the main room, Ryan was settled into the couch bottel between himself and Christopher.

"What's your posion?" Ryan asked popping open the mini fridge.

" Just what ever your drinking." Matthew sighed, setteling back into the chair.

"Set me up one as well." Joshua commented from the other room.

"So what is your guyses opinion so far?" Joshua asked after taking his shot, he was way to amped up on andrenaline to not speak.  Readjusting he PT uniform, the only thing he had in his truck when they called and told him to book it down to this podunk town in louisianna. There was more then just luck in play here. Ryan may have followed a suggestion from his CO's wife about the local hot spot and the the hottie who worked there... Yea and the rest of them where ducks in a pond.

"You recognized the ring she was wearing?" Christopher asked.

"silver fluer de lise filigree." Matthre laughed. "Heather wore hers on the left hand until she got married. Nics was on that finger to."

"I do NOT belive in coincidence." Joshua snipped pouring another.

"She's either lying to cover somthing up," Ryan swirled his drink in the shot glass "or truly dosent remember."

"Can it all be subconcious memories? Assuming of course she really has no memory?" Matthew looked up, Brandon had slid out of his and Kaylas bedroom.

"It may have been underlying memories triggered by seeing a familiar face." He grabbed Ryans shot glass and downed a round. "But even then it begs the question if she dosent remember why did she come looking for her past?"

"We are going to find out when I meet with the sheriff tomorrow." Ryan scrubbed her buzz cut again, then re arranged the white t-shirt he had been wearing under his uniform.  " How did you not realize she was missing?" Every member of that foster home had asked it, and again he asked it to the air. Ryan, Matthew and Christopher had been deployed, out of contact until after she was gone. Heather and Kayla where in school, Brandon an internship Joshua in europe getting ready to start his second tour.  Jonathan and Sarah were on their honeymoon. It wasent an exscuse for anyone not to know what the hell happened to her.

"We are going to find out." Ryan grolwed before kicking his legs up on the couch. "For now its time to sleep."

*******

    Nicole  sighed, the door frame was starting to bite into her arm where she had been leaning for almost an hour. Quinn was sound asleep, his auburn hair curling on the pillow and ragged teddy bear squished under his arm. The phone call was getting closer, she knew it in her gut. He knew they had found her, but he wouldnt know what  they spoke about. But this was not going to be fun, never was. She had to get them out of here or he was.....

    The phone rang loud in the other room, she flicked off the light for the hallway smiling as the night light lit up. The phone rang again, she was going to let it go to voice mail she knew who it was. Turning on the shower she dumped off her clothes and stepped under the spray, as the hot water hit her lower back she winced. The phantom pain spasamed from her scar,  running the loofa over her skin she  rolled her neck trying to ease the cramp out of her muscles. 

    Wrapping the towel around her she dried off, stopping to examine the almost ruined tattoo across the back of her hips. the curling american flag and tribal design spanned to the edge of each side, small symbols and initials  now smudged or scarred from that accident. She smiled a little as she let the memories flow in.

    “Now this is probably going to sting, and we can stop at any time if you want to take a breather,” the older man smiled sliding black plastic gloves over his henna inspired hands, 

“Lets get started. ” She smiled wrapping her arms tight around the chair. 

“So each one has a special meaning?” He asked, the needle jutting in and out of her skin, tiny pin pricks firing her nerves. 

“The First one, staff of Aesculapius is for my birth sister Heather.”  she chewed her lip as he continued the base tribal design across the spine, “The anchor is for my brother in law, hes a naval submariner.” he nodded stopping to blot the blood that had started seeping.

“What happens if they get divorced?” he asked continuing his way across her back, careful to pay attention to her reactions if she needed to stop. 


“We were all raised in the same foster home, no matter what i still want a memorium of him.” she smiled. “Then there is the star with a camo bow,” she hissed  

“is it going numb yet?” he asked  blotitng some more blood. 

“Yes, it actually feels good,” she smiled as the adrenaline kicked in. “The star is for Kayla, shes National guard and works with the intelligance division.”

“Quite a complex and patriotic group youve got there.” he smiled and patted her shoulder, “your doing great, keep telling me about them.”

“Next we have the serpant dragon in desert camo, thats for my boy friend who just got deployed, the dragons was his recruiting platoon. He is a communications expert in the army.” she smiled, “then there is a blue cross thats for Kaylas hubby and my friend Brandon, hes a counsoler, Think he thought if he could get us all through highschool alive that course would be a breeze.” She laughed. “Then we have the crossed quill and ink pens, those are for Jonathan and Sarah, they just got married. He is a journalist and shes a editor, always has been a match made in heaven,”

“Then the under belly of a fighter plane and  dog print?” He asked, barely finishing the outlines. 

“Joshua is a fighter pilot, and Christopher is a Marine. He was always like a guard dog for us.” she  traced the design with her finger on the paper “its not degrading or anything hes just always been so protective and bull headed.”

“You must love them all very much.” the artisit grinned “d they know about this yet?”

“Its my surprise for them.” She grinned “when the militants get back from deployment, and the rest come back from their honeymoon or school.”

    She jolted back to reality, after 6 and a half hours of work she had driven home, only to be t-boned by an old ford truck smudging some of the ink under her skin while glass left faint gashes in some of the designs. the only unmarred one was a pair of baby booties she had gotten 10 months later when her son was 2 months old, that ink going into her skin had brought back everything, and unfourtunatly been the beginning of what made her life now hell.  

    She ignored the flash on the answering machine, she needed sleep. Getting them to leave her alone was going to be the final circle of hell in the inferno of her life. Sliding under the covers she flicked off the lights and buried her head under the pillow with the baby monitor. 

Chapter 4 by ForgottenPassions

“Do you have an appointment?” The secratary asked checking her computer. 

“No i dont.” Ryan grumbled, “The sheriff told me to come in and talk to him regarding Ms. Delarosa’s car accident.”

“Oh ok. One second.” she beamed and picked up her phone. “Sheriff? we have 2 military men requesting to speak to you about Nicoles car accident,” 
 
Ryan looked at Christopher and rolled his eyes. This was going to take awhile. Not 2 seconds later the blonde waved them in the door behind her.  “Or not.”

The sheriff was sitting at his mahogany desk, files stacked and anged oddly all over it. “Glad your early morning boys.” he nodded taking off his glasses and sliding open a file. 

“Is that it.” Christopher already knew the answer but pulled it towards him anyways.

“Who was involved?” Ryan asked scanning the file over Christophers shoulder.

“Nicole was coming back from a tatoo parlor, the designs on the second page, had to take pictures off all the damages to her from it.” he  flipped open his notes. “The driver of the other car was.... Michale Molenger said the brakes seized up on the old as hell ford. ”

“Michale Molenger?” Christophers voice became solid ice.

“Something was off with that guy.” the Sheriff continued not seeing the look they exchanged across the table. “He kept apologizing the whole time and when she woke up with no memory he was her guard, especialy when she was told she was pregenant.”


“When exactly was her child born?” Ryans voice was agraveling hiss, they had made love just before he left.

“He was born 7 months after the accident, slightly premature, her doctors where very sure about him being premature because of the turbulance from the accident.” the sheriff checked the dates. “Quinn  Ryan Delarosa was born September 15th, original due date November 20th.” 

“Did they ever do a paternity test?” Ryan spat. 

“There was no need at the time, Nicole and Michale tho didnt last long after he was born. About 2 months later they had a huge fight and she threw him out on his ass.” The Sheriff grinned “Took her to long in my opinion.”

“So hold on he hit her and then clamied they were a couple and the baby was his?” Christopher  stared ubelivingly at the papers. 

“We had no evidence to the contrary, he  had her information memorized, knew what her plans for the day were.” He ran his hand through salt and pepper hair. “Said she was estranged from her family and would contact them when she had regained her memory. Didnt want to burden them with it.” 

“And you belived him?” Ryans voice reverberated off the walls of the small office.

“No i didnt but when all my letters were returned “no sender avliable” i had no other ways of contacting you.” he sheriff raised an eyebrow.

“4 of us where deployed, 2 on a honeymoon and then moved and the other 3 were at college.” Christopher explained, “Ryan look at this tattoo.” he held up the image of  Nicoles lower back. The string of tribal art and the american flag surrounded by diffrent symbols and initials with small gashes and smudges in the skin.

“Was this the surprise you think Heather had mentiond Nicole talking about?” he pointed out the symbols. “One for each of us.”

“Did she ever explain it to you?” Ryan shoved the picture to the sheriff. 

“No she didnt, i did have a deputys wife tell me she added to it about 2 months after Quinn was born said it must have meant somthing to her when she got it may as well add to it. I think things like that must have triggered some kind of memory, because it was that night she booted Michale out.”

“Thats no conicidence.”  Christopher sighed flipping to the picture of her hand which had several damaged fingers and bruises,“did she always wear this ring?” he pointed out the gift. 

“Yes, panicked when the doctor took it off to put the cast on.” he shook his head. “I was there she started crying and screaming i strung it on a chain for her to wear until her hand was better. Michale tried to get her to throw it away said it was a bad history but she wouldnt let him.”


“Do you know where he is?” Ryan took a copy of the picture from the folder. 

“He has been in the wind since just after that week. Got thrown out and implicated in a major drug bust. Will come into town every once and awhile stay long enough to  stir up a little drama Nicole would be in tears by the time he left, cant hide much in this small of a town.”

“Except for the world class secret keeper.” Ryan sighed. “Can we keep this?”

“Yea sure we closed it awhile back.” The sheriff waved. “If you can find out what the hell was up with that creep let me know i’d love to arrest him.”

Ryan and Christopher shook his hand before leaving, climbing into the car Christopher flipped open the file. “We are gonna have to show the others this. She never explained what exactly she was getting done.”

“You want to do that before or after we tell them Michale Molenger is out of prision and was the reason she didnt contact us for 2 and a half years?” Ryan spat gunning the ignition.

“Heather, Kayla and Sarah are going to kill him.” Christopher cracked his knuckles. 

“Not just them.”

Chapter 5 by ForgottenPassions

Nicole brushed her hair out of her sun glasses growling bitterly as  she eyed the sheriff sititng on her front porch. Parking in her normal spot she rubbed her temples before climbing out of the car and unloading Quinn and the groceries.

“Want some help Cole?” Sheriff Lawson  asked.

“Since your here may as well make use of you,” she shrugged handing him the bags of groceries. 
“This is not a social visit is it?” she asked as she let him in the house heading for the kitchen. 

“Cant a small town Sheriff come check in on a friend?” He smiled ruffling Quinns hair after setting the bags down.

“Coffee?” She asked with a smile.

“Sure.” He smiled back examining how she was acting. “Something bothering you?” He asked as she dropped the measuring spoon for the coffee grounds for the 3rd time.

“You came here to talk about those people who where here last night didnt you.” She met his eyes,  fear flashing through the green depths. 

“Yes I did.” At least he was being honest, she though bitterly. 

“Did you know them?”

“No.” She said quickly.

To harsh, to practiced, Lawson considered the options. He could push her, force a crack and find out why she never contacted people who apparently cared enough to check out the most random leads into small back waters towns in the south to find her, or let her keep lying and never find out what she was keeping. 

“I can protect you.” The comment came out of the blue, he had though it many times over as he had seen her through out the past 2 years. Tear stained cheeks and even faded bruises around her wrists after the jack ass had ripped through her life again. She had become a daughter to him, at least in the loosest sense of the word.

She smiled placing her hand over his and squeezing gently.“ You dont even know what you would need to protect me from.” She slid the coffee cup across the chipped wooden table and released his hand. “Quinn lets get you down for your nap.” She looked back at the man now sitting listlessly in her kitchen.  “Sheriff we can talk once i come back down ok?”

“Sounds good.” He smiled waving at Quinn who was leaning against his mother shoulder. Pulling out his cell phone he dialed the number Ryan had left that morning. 

“Hello?” 

“Ryan Mcpherson? Its Sheriff Lawson.”

“Sheriff, what can I help you with?” the mans voice  softened a little on the other end of the line.

“I would like to meet with you, all of you again.” He stated, hoping they had not left town already. 

“What time would work best?” Ryan asked crisply, papers shuffling in the back ground, he was guessing to find a place to jot down  information. 

“7 pm, at the ‘Golden Rose’.” 

“Roger that. See you then.” Ryan confirmed clipping the phone shut. Glancing around the hotel room he yanked  the manilla folder out from under a pile of pictures and news paper clippings. It was 4:30 pm, Chris had said he was going to drop something off at Nic’s and would be back, Sarah and Jonathan where sending in their work from the hotels office center, Brandon and Kayla had driven to the tattoo parlor to see if the artist had the original design, Matthew had taken Heather to the beach to relax because she was almost out of her skin. Joshua was responsible for the mess on the table old file folders of info he had gathered when he had been home trying to track her down.          

    Something about this whole situation was wrong, he though bitterly. There was no way she didnt remember them, what could be keeping her here? Sitting down on the couch he closed his eyes nothing wrong with a nap its not like flipping through tv channels would be any more productive.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Yes i did this work.” The older man smiled examining the photo copy from the police file. “About 2 or so years ago, great gal, no problems with the 6 hour procedure.” He smiled pulling out 2 pieces of paper, one turned out to be an 8x10 of the finished tattoo, the designs much clearer and Kayla could make out the initals under each design.

    “You said she came in and got this on sept.18th? Just showed up with the design?” Brandon asked his hand instinctivly wrapping around Kaylas waist thumb running small circles  on her spine. 

    “ She called about a week before, said she had seen some of my work and wanted to know if i would be willing to do it and cost.” He showed them the other peice of paper, “This was her original sketch, rather peiciy but i worked it into something she adored,” he handed Brandon the white paper, the very basics of each design and a small description of what she wanted in the corner. “You guys her family?”

    “Yes.” Kayal wimphered. “Did the police ever come ask you anything about it?”

“They sent down a deputy right after the accident,” he shook his head, “But all he asked for was a confirmation on her name and the date and time. Said her boyfriend had corroberated the rest.” He  folded his arms over the leather vest, “seemed odd tho.”


    “What?” Brandon asked still examining that tattoo, she really had wanted to remember them forever, what irony.

    “The guy said the boyfriends name, it wasn’t included in her ink.” He leaned forward in his chair. “Michale somthing, unless she had a seperate design for him,” he shrugged ceasing his ramble. “Just seemed odd. So did you guys come to take her home? I heard she was living just a little bit from here.”

    “Yes we are.” Kayla stood up straight and held out a hand to the man. “Thank you so much, are you alright if we keep these?”

    “Sure meant to give it to her after she came back and added those little baby booties but  as soon as the gun was away from her skin she bolted.” He shrugged “Seemed pretty important.”

Christopher turned off the enginition, staring at the 2 story cottage. She had been here for over 2 years, he thought bitterly, she had a baby all by herself and none of them had even known. He rubbed his temples, closing his eyes he remebered the last night before they all flew out. 

    “Come on one more!” Nicole laughed clapping  her legs up across Ryans lap. 

“You have got to be kidding me.” Joshua rolled his eyes  dropping the  last of the suite cases by the door.  5 military issue duffels bags 4 large rolling bags in different shades of blue and 9 back packs cluttered the small front hallway of the old victorian house. “Still with the trivia?”

“You guys have to remember you are all going to be gone for the next 6 month,” Nicole winked.“Who else will i have to play trivia with during that time?”

“You will have work to keep you distracted!” Sarah chidded, “Plus you can always come visit us when you get a good grouping of days off. ”

“I will definatly have to do that.” Nicole smiled kicking Heathers ponytail. “And Mrs. Finishing my nursing major in a diffrent state will just have to keep my sane via telephone.”

“I’ll have it pinned to my side anyways.” Heather smiled brushing the long brown hair back into its pony-tail holder. Leaning against her husband she grinned wide. “I dont know how often I’ll get to talk to my husband.”

“5 boot camps at once.” Brandon wrapped his arms around Kaylas waist, “This is going to be hell.”

“No shit sherlock!” Kayla laughed her short brown and pink hair framing her smile as she jabbed his chest with her finger. “You know your going to miss the pink hair.”

“Of course.” He smiked pushing up his glasses onto his nose, leaning down he gave her a long kiss ignoring the teasing comments from the peanut gallery. 

“I cant believe how quickly this is all happening.” Christopher  sighed kicking his feet up on the rickety chairs arm rest. “This is going to be the first time we have all really been apart.”

“Since we were what 13?” Sarah asked looking at the framed needle work on the wall. “Yea 13.”

“Rather funny.” Joshua laughed, “At least now those of you civis who have your phones will have a very valid exscuse to be obsessive compulsive about keeping them on you.”

“Pardon me!” Heather snapped throwing a pillow at Joshua “we are not obsessive about keeping them on us before this fact!”

“Right....” Brandon smirked  sneaking Kaylas phone from her pocket. “Where is your phone Kayla?”

 Kayla scrambled to search the pockets of her sweats , then she glared grabbing it out of his hand. “Pompus ass.” 

“You love me,” he smirked pulling her back down into his chest.

Christopher shook clear the fog of the memory. The next morning had been so packed with getting everyone into the cars, making sure once they reached the airport they had their tickets paperwork, uniforms, school books, adress books and photo books. 

    Ryan and Kaylas plane had left first, then Joshua and Matthews, Sarah and Jonathan grabbed a connecting flight with  Heather, Christophers plane was last. Then Brandon and Nicole went back to the house, brandon packed his bags into his audi and started towards school. Christopher stared at the stack of letters on the seat next to him. All the letters he had written from basic through his deployments to his missing sister. Ryans was the second most in the mass, then Kayla, Matthews, and Jonathans. Most just little enevelopes that had been written near the beginning finding there way back to the little post office that kept them near their old home, only Ryans and his own continued in hopes she would return and read them all. He had been picked them up about a week and a half ago when the post office had called to close the post office box. 


    Stepping out of the vehical he started towards the door, debating wether or not to just leave them or try and talk to her. He went to knock on the screen door, 

“Hello.” a small voice commented form the lower part of the door. 

“Hey there.” Christopher knelt down so he was at eye level through the screen with Quinn. Damn he looked alot like her. “Is it ok if i come in buddy?”

Quinn met his eyes and shook his head. 

“Good boy” Christopher smirked, somthing else was familier about this kid, he was not Michales, that he could see. “I am going to leave these,” he held up the stack of envelopes “right here, tell your mommy there here ok?”

Quinn smiled “Yes Uncle Cwistapher.” he nodded and ran down the hallway “MOMMY!!” he yelled gleefully.

Chapter 6 by ForgottenPassions

"This is going to be one big mess!" Nicole slammed her hands against the steering wheel tempted to pound her forehead against it.

"Uncle cwistopher?" Quinn was on a roll, and she was damn sure that was why she had heard Christophers laugh as he had left.  She would have laughed if she hadn't had to panic. Her innocent little boy was doing absolutly nothing to help her sanity.

"We are going to return these and get them the hell out of dodge.". She checked her rearview mirror no sign of the silver mercedes as of yet, but he was definatly getting closer. She pulled into the parking lot of the country inn noting the cluster of cars right outside of the room Kayla had indicated on her note. Parking she went around to the back eyeing the door to the room as it opened Sarah standing there arms crossed across her chest as she watched.

Unbuckling Quinn from his car seat she grabbed the stack on enevlopes and headed up the stairs. Skipping onto the last one she put Quinn down letting him walk the last few steps himself. Sarah knelt down meeting his eye level.

"Hi Quinn," the little boy eyed her with a similar look Nicole used chin tilted to the side examining her. "Would you like to come in? "

He nodded and then looked back over his shoulder. "Coming mommy?"

"Yes I'm comming baby." She readjusted her shirt. "We arnt staying long though bubba."

"Why not?" Jonathan asked opening the door wider. "Other plans?"

"I wanted to return these," she held up the envelopes "and also explain a little misunderstanding from earlier about what Quinn said when Christopher came by. "

"The whole uncle christopher thing?" Heather laughed from the small kitchenette. "Was pretty cute tho, you talked the same way when you were littlen thankfully you grew out of it."

"Want to sit down?" Matthew asked readjusting his t-shirt.

"Ok I am sorry, there seems to be a misunderstanding here." Nicole sighed brushing her hair back. Damn it why wouldn't they just take this and go? Because they have been searching for you they have no idea WHY you stayed. She chidded herself. And she was not going to explain it to them. "I just came to return and clarify no long uncomfortable talks, trying to make me remeber shit. "

"Its up to you." Heather sighed putting the pot on the counter to cool. Damn it all she had made chicken dumplings.

"Hey at least let little man have a  snack while we talk." Ryan said softly coming out of one of the side bedrooms closing his phone.

It may well be the only time he gets to try your sisters dumplings, she reminded herself and nodded. "Want to try something really yummy?" Ryan grinned picking up Quinn and plopping him down in a chair while heather loaded up a plate.

"Should we talk in here?" Kayla asked, fidgiting in her sweats.

"Sure." Nicole sat down so she had a line of sight on Quinn. "What did you folks want to talk about?"

"Did you read any of them? " Christopher asked eyeing the stack, a few of the flaps where open.

"I did." She started, "but nothing clicked I'm sorry." She was lying. She had bawled when she had read them.

Day 65
Nic where are you? Is everything ok? No one has heard from you in weeks.... One from Ryan had said.

You have been declared missing 1 year 5 months and 21 days, I'm still writing in hopes you'll be home and these will guilt trip you into never disapearing again... Joshuas letter from Iraq, he had been the most teasing, a pathetic cover for his panic and worry.

She had managed to wipe away the signs of tears from her eyes thank goodness for makeup and cold spoons. "I am really truly sorry for the friend, sister or lover you lost but I need to ask you to leave and stop trying to make me into her. Its been 3 years, why are you even still looking for her?"

Brandons eyebrow quirked."We want to find out if she is dead or alive, we care about her very much." He exmanied her reactions guaging what he said. "Wouldn't you look everywhere if your son dissapeared?"

Nicole sucked in her breath looking at every face in the group, she had to keep lying, her eyes fell on the little boy who was enjoying his aunts dumplings. She could break down tell them everything, but then she would risk their safety, Quinns safety just to be selfish. Out of everything when she said she needed them to leave, that was going to be it. They had to leave to survive.

Looking at Ryan she raised an eyebrow as he was watching Quinn eat.  It really was obvious who Quinns father was, to bad he was never going to get to enjoy raising him. Maybe....

"This may seem like a random question," she looked directly at Ryan, "where you and your Nicole," she blushed a little "intimate? "

"Classy way of putting it but yes we were, " he smirked a little eyeing her up and down, she recognized the come hither look in his eyes. She felt her body tempurature spike, damn it. "How convinced are you that I am this missing woman?"

"On a scale from 1 to 5?" Joshua asked with a laugh."5."

 "Would you take a paternity test?" She eyed Ryan.
 

~~~~~~~~~

    Michale slammed down the phone, ignoring the thunk as it fell onto the floor. The dial tone buzzed as it fell off its hook.  She was not listening to a damn thing, they were still there! He rubbed his head brushing back the newly dyed black mop of hair, he’d gone through more dye in the past 2 years then the girls had done in their entire high school careers. 

Closing his eyes he leaned back against the sterile hospital like bedding of the hotel.   Nothing had gone right since he had let her get that addition to her tattoo,

    He had just gotten home from a deal, a pretty big on for his position and he’d felt the need to celebrate with his woman and child. 

    He heard the door slam as she got home, but instead of coming into the kitchen she had stormed up the stairs, he wondered if that artist had screwed up the design. Starting up after her he saw the bedroom door open and a suite case lying open on the bed. Pushing the door open the rest of the way he spoke up as she came out of the closet arms full of clothes. “Where are you going darlin?”

    “I’m going to find Ryan.” She spat dropping the pile in the suitecase. “I’m taking Quinn to meet his father.”

“I’m his father,” he shook his head, she had remembered, or at least started to.”Who is Ryan hunny?”

“Shut the hell up Michale.” She hissed meeting his eyes, the old look was back, after they had sent him to juvinille, the utter dissapointment and loss. 

     “Do not disrespect me!” He reached over grabbing her arm and hauling her into his chest. “Not in our home.”

“Well soon it will just be your home you arrogant prick!” She spat shoving him away from her, “I remebered everything.”

“And what exactly is it you think you remember?” he was a low lying son of a bitch, and if manipulation kept her with him, where he knew she belonged he would do it. 

“I know you followed me,” she laughed bitterly, “You dont think the cops didnt let me know you had been released? That i didnt recognize you? Even after you changed your hair, and your appreance, that stupid truck, did you think hitting me would bring me back to you or where you really just trying to KILL me?” 

    He really had no idea what he had been doing when he’d hit her, he thought he had lost her and had hit the gas to try ad catch up on the back country roads. It had been an accident, or so he had convinced himself as he watched her in the hospital, it had been a blessing in disguies when she had lost her memory.

    His chance to prove himself as the man he could be for her. It was fading fast in his peripheral. “I would never do anything to hurt you.” He said desperatly grabbing for the suite case she was packing. 

“Bull shit.” She yelled, “You dont think i know what you have been doing these past months? What you have been doing around MY son? You have never put our safety first! I am going home!”

     She slammed the suite case closed and headed to Quinns room grabbing suit cases and toys to shove into bags. “You bitch!” he yelled following her down the hall slamming the door behind him. 

    “Exscuse me?” She turned around and glared, “I’m a bitch? YOU lied to me these 10 months, and brought drugs into my home! I am not a bitch I’m just blond for not having done something about you earlier! I’m going back to the people who are my family you jack ass!”

    “No you are not!” He yelled, slamming the babies room door behind him trapping them in the small room. “You are not going ANYWHERE!” he grabbed her arms shoving her into the wall, “You are both staying right here, with me!”

“Get off me!” she shouted clawing at his hands. “Your hurting me Michale!”

“You are staying here!” He shook her, her head conked against the  wall. “With me!”

“Get the hell off of me!” She hissed,  reaching for his wrists digging her nails into his skin. 

“Not until you say you will stay with me!” He pushed her into the wall again knocking a picture frame off the wall. 

“Never you pompus ass!” She spat meeting his eyes, the cold anger in her eyes flipped the switch in his head. He pulled back his hand smashing it across her face, the sting burned his hand. 

“You are staying here!” He snapped letting her fall to the floor. “Do not even think about calling the cops much less Ryan or Heather, or I will make you watch as i kill Quinn,” He watched maiciously as the blood drained from her face. 

“You wouldnt, you wanted to raise him....” she trailed off tears welling up in her eyes, her hands tightened around the baby blanket she had dropped. 


“I will, if you go back to them.” He growled. “And if they find you and you tell them anything, you will get to enjoy watching them die as well. Do i make myself clear?”         

    The  pride he took in watching her fall apart that night had been nothing short of glorious, he had acquiested to her request to leave, it had been a better move for his business anyways but it was still nice to know she was home waiting for him to return every week.


    He curled up under the white sheets, he would see her soon, hold Quinn, he was probably going to be able to call him daddy this trip. If they were still there he would take care of it. He smiled, sliding into dreams of his home.

Chapter 7 by ForgottenPassions


Nicole was startled awake the next morning, she looked at the baby monitor, nothing was coming from it. Sliding out of the sheets she walked to the window pulling the curtian to the side. There where 2 vans in her back yard, a small 12 person van as well as a huge U-HAUL. Coming out of the door to the barn where 2 men, she growled in the back of her throat as she recognized one of them, who was holding her son. 

    Her heart skipped a breath as she slid on her sweater and shoes running down the stairs and throwing open the back door. She stomrmed up to Michael, *What in the HELL are you doing?* she hissed.

*Honey,* Michale smiled bitterly wrapping his arm around her waist and kissing her forehead. *I would like you to meet my new business associate, Devlin.* his hand strayed south smoothing the silk night gown before giving her what she is sure his new associate though was a playful pat, but she knew it was just a painful reminder of there actual relationship. 


    *Mam,* the man smiled his southern drawl prominent  around the chew in his mouth. *Its real nice to meet you, your boy here just dosent stop talkin about you and your son.* he smiled brushing the brim of his stetson. 

*Well that is very good to know,* She forced a warm smile. *I saw you brought Quinn out here, he needs his breakfast, what exactly where you showing him darling?* she forced the last word out trying to filter out the bitter sarcasm. 


*We were just showing him the arena,* Devlin smiled. 

*Arena?* she asked, fear spiking. Michale was never into anything good and she didnt even want to imagine what was being planned in her barn. *Well hunny i do need to feed Quinn.* she pulled away from him scanning for where the little 2 year old had gotten. 

*I think he went into the barn.* Devlin pointed toward the old building. 

*Son of a bitch,* She spat running full speed to the door sliding it open she fell backwards, Devlin being directly behind her was the only thing stopping her from landing straight on her ass. *What in the BLAZES OF HELL is going on here!* she yelled. 

    The barn was lined with kennel, 20 from her quickest count. each one had a dog chained to the door, and all of them had started barking and or growling in response to her panic. Quinn was standing infront of a huge german shepard at the half way point of the barn. Behind him was a series of benchs and a roll of green astro turff. She ran past the hounds coming to halt when the shepard growled and scooted infront of Quinn. she knelt down on her knees meeting the animals eyes. *Its ok,* she slowly reached forward  reading the tag on his choke chain *Gerber, this is my son, no damage intended.* she kept her voice soft, soothing as she patted his head. *Quinn i need you to step around Gerber here you can pet him if you like but come to mommy now.*

*He good puppy mommy.* Quinn smiled coiling his fingers in Gerbers pure black fur. 

    *Yes he is.* She forced a smile, wrapping her arms around her sons waist. *Now lets go get breakfast.* she glared at MIchale as she carried him out. There were 3 more german shepards, 4 Pitbulls, 3 bull terriers, 2 Rotwilers, a Doberman pincher, 2 Akitas and 4 Alaskan Malamutes, all chanined up. There were also 3 corgies, 4 chiuas and a slew of rabbits and cats pacing in crates behind them. She continued past the 2 men and made her way  the house. This was not going to be good and she hope and prayed that Ryan got to the sheriff sooner rather then later. 



    Ryan tapped his foot on the linoleum, Kayla was sitting next to him spinning a pen between her fingers. *You know last time you said he was all milk and cookies...* she sighed.

*Yes well, whats your point?* Ryan rolled his eyes readjusting his button down t-shirt. The uniforms running around town had been a tad conspicuous. 

*I think small towns are a clusterfuck,* Kayla sighed, *and this whole thing is really starting to get on my nerves,*

*Lets just process the court order* Ryan growled, he had always wondered if he and Nicole would have kids, and as soon as he saw Quinn it wasnt that hard to guess.

*Do you think someone here will rat?* Kayla watched the secrateries and deputies running in and out of the offices.

*If he is as entrenched as i think he will have resources.* Ryan sighed, the man had always been charasmatic.

 

Kaylas phone went off, she glared at the screen and answered it. “No we have not gotten the paper work started Sarah.”

There was a small series of squeaks. “I know she said it was probable if they had been being intimate but this is a delicate situation! We waltz into a small town claim to know one of the prominent people who does in fact have amnesia and are now demanding her son go through a paternity test in what might be seen as a way of forcing ourselves on her.“

Ryan laughed as he checked his phone which had  a new text message on it. “Nervous?”  from Brandon. He had always admired that dork, always being their therapist for the years in the home, helping them realize their potential, kept sanity amoungst the virtual oblivion of   insanity.   He had somehow also managed to talk Ryan out of doing something supremly stupid. 

    He typed back “not my first rodeo!” It wasent like none of them where innocent he thought bitterly. The town they came from had its share of little misseys looking for someone to step in and he had done this test before, only this time he wanted the result to be posative. 

“I remember” Brandon typed back and he was sure this hashed up memories for more then just him.  

“Are you texting my boy?” Kayla asked rolling her eyes.

“What of it? I have a seperate relationship then just through you.” he smirked elbowing her shoulder. 

“I know, you boys of swallows bay.” She smirked bringing up the mens old nickname. 

“Always pissed you girls off.” Ryan laughed. His phone buzzed again and he looked down downloading the jpg file. “This is what Joshua cleared up from the accident photos.”

Kayla scanned the picture closely noting all of the initials and symbols. “No doubts.” She shook her head. “Are we holding out some monicrum of hope something will bring her back?”

“Yes.” Ryan nodded “You really have to ask?” A starwberry blonde woman started towards him, her hair bouncing as she made her way through the crowd. 

“Mr. Ryan Dawson?” She popped her pink bubble gum and smiled. “You wanted to see the sheriff?” She tilted her hip to the side, flashing her thigh.

“Yes.” He rolled his eyes, “and your name is?”

“Margurite.” she grinned  blowing another bubble in her gum. “Is it something i can help you with?”

“You know we just need to talk to the sheriff,” Kayla grinned. The womans smile dropped a little.

“This way.” She started down the hall adding an additional swing to her step.

“You arnt seriously checking her out?” Kayla snipped at Ryan. 

“Nope.” Ryan grinned, “Buts its never a bad thing to play nice.”

“I’ll bet you money shes just looking for a good lay.” Kayla groused.

“Well unlike you i havent gotten any action in just about 3 years.” Ryan commented enjoying the faint blush on her little sisters cheeks. 

“Margurite said you wanted speak to me about filing for a test on Ms. Delarosa’s son?” The sheriff sat down behind his desk gesturing for them to sit. 

“Yes.” Ryan smiled, “I want to prove that i am his father.”

Chapter 8 by ForgottenPassions

Nicole was pacing around the kitchen, Quinn was eating his breakfast in his high chair cereal  spilled all over the tray. She readjusted her sweat shirt over her night gown, continuing to pace as she repeatedly checked out the window. 

“Antsy because i am home or anxious because they are in town?” Michale asked, leaning against the kitchen door. His eyes panned up and down her body enjoying her in just a night gown and a sweat shirt.

“I am antsy because it damn well looks like you are considering starting a dog fighting arena in my back yard!” She yelled. 

“Stop yelling baby.” He smiled reaching out to smooth her hair.

“Do NOT CALL ME THAT!” she bellowed storming out of the kitchen. “You dont have the right to call me that.”

“You remember our arrangement?” He snarled pinning her up against the wall grabbing her wrists he pinned them over her head using his hips to keep her from squirming. 

“It said nothing about shoving me and my son into the middle of the  illegal actions.” she spat in his face. 

“You are mine,” he continued to growl running his free hand up her thigh  under her night gown, pulled his hand back and smacking her thigh hard enough to sting. “The point here is i can do what ever i want and you can do nothing to stop me.” his hand went all the way up forcing her legs open tightening his grip  around her wrists.

~~~~~~~~

The filing of the paper work took all day, and Jonathan and Sarah had been taking shifts at the resteraunt waiting for her to come in. Kristyn had finally explained that she had called in sick and  she needed to be left alone. Heather had shown up then and spilled her guts about what they were doing here. 

Kristyn stared at her gaping some. “You girls want to come in back?” She asked standing up and dusting her hands on her apron.

“Sure.” Heather and Sarah nodded following in suit to the back office. 

“I always wondered what happened.” She smiled brushing a grey strand behind her ear. “She showed up here looking for a job, just after Quinn was born.”

“And?” Heather  wished none of this was happening, wished that her sister hadnt dissapeared, had a child and she hadnt even been there for her.

“She was trying to piece herself together, the first few weeks i found her in tears in the walk-in. Also everytime after Michale showed up for a visit.” She continued, “Her son is such a cutie, I hope you guys are her family, just because as much as she dose for our company, she needs this.”

“Thank you.” Heather sighed, some form of her sanity slipping back.

“I have a question for you.” Sarah  un-corssed and crossed her legs. 

“Anything.” the older woman smiled.
“Did she ever say anything about her life before? Ever indicate she wanted to go back if she could ever find it?” Sarah asked.

“She never said she wanted to go back directly,” she started. “There was one night, we had a few drinks after a particularly stressful party. ”

“What did she say so inderectly?” Heather brushed her hair behind her ear fidgiting with her scrubs. 

“If she could ever escape, she would run as fast as she could. I asked what she meant the next morning,” she shrugged, “fed me some bull about the amnesia feeling like a tower she was trapped in some fairytale but no prince charming to show up and rescue her.”

“Rapunzel.” Heather smiled.

“Prince charming in general.” Sarah sighed reaching for Heathers hand and squeezing it. “Thank you for your time.”

“Let me know how it goes please.” Kristyn smiled, “I’d love to get to know the people who helped turn her into the woman we love.”

 

Christopher and joshua where borde out of their minds. Heather and Sarah had called and told the womans who worked with her's referance to prince charming.  This was becoming rather pointless. Joshua thought bitterly. He wasent used to beating around the bush, never had been never would be.

He checked and rechecked his side arm, making sure there was one in chamber before holstering it again.  "Are we heading out to her place yet? "

"I swear you guys are even more impatient then a bunch of preschoolers." Michale rolled his eyes sliding into the back seat.

"Says the squid, all you guys are is a bunch of preschoolers with expensive toys." Christopher smirked starting the engine.

"Where as jarheads are only around on the boats so we have someone to dance with. " Michale snapped from the back.

"How much more emergency leave did you guys wrangle?" Joshua asked checking his phone for emails from his CO.

"2 weeks." Michale commented from the back seat.

"Same. But I have to check in every 3 days." Christopher re-adjusted his sunglasses turning onto the country road passing a silver mercedes as he took the bumps in a cloud of dust.

"Ryan probably as well. Though I have no idea how many days before he called us he was on leave." Michale gripped onto the 'oh shit' handels in the back of the suv 6 foot 5 frame conking on the roof of the vehical.

"Who knows." Joshua shrugged as they pulled up infront of the house. Ryans car was already parked and Kayla, Heather, Sarah and Jonathan where leaning against the hood.

"Where's Ryan baby girl?"Michale climbed out of the vehical wrapping his arms around his wife.

"Inside with Nicole." She shrugged curling herself into his chest.

"What's wrong?" He asked softly smoothing his hand down her back.

"I want my sister back." She sighed tears rolling down her cheeks.

"I know love." He continued soothing her knowing the sobs wernt far behind. "Boys can I borrow the car?"

"Sure. " Chrisopher and Joshua climbed out heading for the other car as Heather and Michale climbed in the back seat.

"If they have a quickie in my back seat I'm gonna hose um." Christopher laughed throwing his arm around Sarah.

"Not like we didn't have to hose you down those years ago." Sarah pulled the loose strands of black hair out from under his arm.

"What me?" He winked a pale green eye teasingly.

"Yes you." She rolled her eyes and slapped his chest.

"You know I'm pretty sure we found her this time." Michale smiled pulling his wife into his chest in the back of the suv.

"I would agree hunny, but why dosent she remember?" Heathers tears were coming in full force. "She is my big sister she should remember me!"

"I know, I don't know why she dosent. You of all people know how traumatic head injuries and amnesia work." He smiled kissing her hair.

"I don't care! We are the exception to every other rule she should be to this one to damn it!"She bawled curling her hands in his shirt.

"Life dosent work that way." Michale wanted to laugh, there where some days she was so unresonable it was the only thing he could do. He held his tounge as she finally subsided into dry heaves.

"I'm so sick of crying over this." She sniffled. "If she isn't her I am giving up. "

Michale raised an eyebrow and looked down meeting her bloodshot eyes. "You sure?"

"Yes." She nodded. "What in the hell is going on in there?"

~~~~

 

Ryan started at her waiting for her to say something. Yell at him even for not knocking because she was so obviously indisposed. The robe was torn in several places and her cheeks were red, wether it be from her hands scrubbing them or tears he didn't know and the instincts he hadn't fought in their relationship growled preadtorily. 

"I am going to guess you saw the sheriff?" She didn't look at him, her voice was calmn, well not calmn. More trained then anything. 

"Yes." He put the court order on the table. 

"So when is it due to be processed?" She asked rubbing her palm up her arm pushing back the material and he saw the purpleing red grasp marks on her arms. 

"Has he been  doing that the whole time?" He tried to keep his tone past the red blocking his vision. 

"No." She sighed reaching behind her and grasping the paper work pulling it across her lap. "We can go down there in 20 minutes just let me get dressed." She looked over at him and sighe. Her eyes were blood shot, he thought bitterly. 

"If you would like you can introduce Quinn to his aunts and Uncles." She started past him, to tired to force the facade again.

His hand snaked out and grabbed her arm, gently he had no idea how many more marks where covered by terry cloth.

"Feel like sharing Nicole?" He asked meeting her eyes.

She dropped her gaze panning from his sand colored combat boots to acu collar. "What exactly do you want from me? If you say the truth I may well punch you. Government property assualt charges or not. "

"Well then swing away cause that's exactly what I want." He had no idea wether to laugh or scream she had been lying, she knew exactly who they were.

"Yes I can see those little knobs clicking together in there." She reached up and tapped his skull. "Why did you have to find me?"

"Did you really ever think I'd stop looking for you?" He asked a small smile gracing his lips, a sight she had missed ever since she remembered who he was. It broke her heart. "You can't keep lying, not to me, or your sister especialy when your somehow tied to..." He stopped when her face froze. 

"Why didn't you call? Get ahold of one of us? Your packing why not take him out?" He asked bitterly. 

"Mommy?" The little boy asked from the bottom of the stairs. 

"I have a reason, I always do." She spat. "And I hate myself every damn day I've deprived my son of his real father." She jabbed him in the chest. "But I didn't know till after he was born."

"Get dressed come outside and you can tell us all at once." He smirked. "Sound good babygirl?"

She nodded looking up at him, tears brimming on the edge of her lashes. He wrapped a hand around her waist pulling her against his chest. 

She didn't fight, this wasent Michael. This was Ryan and just inhaling his cologne again made her melt against his chest wrapping her arms around his shoulders she pulled him closer for a kiss. He met her full force keeping her body against his as he found the wall pinning her back against it as he hitched her leg up over his hip robe sliding down as his hands greedliy spanned the soft skin. 

"Mommy!" The hollar was more persitiant. She pulled back just enough to break their lips contact. She ran her hand down his cheek. 

"Later." She smilled warmly, before untangeling herself from him. 

" Hey quinn." She smiled as the little guy walked in back pack slung over his small shoulders. "You remember ryan right? He's gonna take you to meet some people while mommy changes ok?"

The little boy looked up and grinned. "Yes mommy!"

"Now be good ok?" She looked at them both. 

"when am I ever not?" Ryan gave her a mock look of innocence. Nicole gestured toward the 2 year old. "And you wonder why I said it." Ryan looked and had to stifel a laugh, there was a mirror copy of the look on his sons face, one he was sure he'd mimicked since birth.

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