Disclaimer: The Equalizer and all its characters are property of Universal and are used here without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.

Part 6

Friday 20th July 1990
Pushing the door of his small apartment shut behind him, Mickey tossed his duffel bag in the direction of the bedroom, promising himself heíd get down to doing his laundry tomorrow.

He sniffed, God! he hated the musty smell that always greeted him when he got home from an assignment. In Manhattan, in July, it was probably wishful thinking but he shoved the window open anyway to try to get some air into the apartment.

Throwing his pile of mail on the coffee table he collected a beer from the refrigerator and drank half right away. Coming back into the living room he threw his lean, five foot ten frame down on the couch, shoving the piles of fishing magazines out of the way. He switched on the TV and flicked through the channels until he found a ball game. Swallowing a mouthful of the beer and putting his feet up on the low table he rested his head against the back of the couch and let his lids close; it felt like heíd been travelling for days.

When he opened his eyes they came to rest on the flashing light of his answering machine. Great! Junk phone calls too Ė heíd deal with them and the mail in the morning. He took a couple more sips of the beer and, switching off the TV and the light, he headed into the bedroom. He stripped off his clothes, letting them fall at his feet and was asleep the moment his head hit the pillow.

Saturday 21st July 1990
The ringing of the phone woke him.

"What?" He mumbled. His mouth felt like it was full of cement.

"Morning, Mickey. How was your trip?" He recognised the voice with its formal English accent at once.

Cursing morning people, he sat up slowly and ran his hand through his tangled, light brown hair, pushing the over long strands out of his eyes. "What do you want, McCall? Itís too early to be so goddamned cheerful."

He heard a laugh, "Iím calling to find out if you were still set on going up to the cabin tomorrow."

Shit! Heíd forgotten heíd made the arrangement with McCall to spend a week or so at his place upstate, "Why? Is there a problem?"

"Oh no, not at all. Itís just that Iíve got things to attend to here over the next couple of days."

"You got a case and need my help?" Mickey shook his head, so much for his vacation.

"Not at all. I have some meetings with my accountant and some investment business to take care ofÖ"

Mickey lay back against the pillow; he could sense something in McCallís voice. The excuse sounded a little flimsy to him. Anyway, he had almost forgotten about the planned trip, so postponing it for a couple of days wouldnít be a problem. "Thatís okay, just let me know when you want to leave and Iíll be ready."

"Thatís just it, Mickey, I was thinking of bringing someone with me to the cabin and she canít get away until Friday afternoon."

The last came out in a rush and Mickey had to stop himself from laughing aloud. "Thatís cool. You can go without me, I can find stuff to do here in the city."

"That wasnít what I had in mind at all."

McCall sounded strange. Maybe he was really serious about this women? Mickey could picture him pacing the apartment with the phone held firmly to his ear.

Robert continued, "I wondered if you were seeing anyone who you might like to take to the cabin with you? To even up the numbers, so to speak."

Stunned, Mickey didnít know what to say for a long time. He finally managed, "You want to double date?"

"Donít be ridiculous! Of course not! I just didnít want Grace to get bored with solely our company and thought that if there was another woman along it would even things out."

"I donít know, McCall, there isnít anyone at the moment. At least not anyone that might have anything in common with the kind of lady you know." He felt a little uncomfortable himself now. He could imagine McCallís reaction if he called someone like Trudy Collins and asked her on the trip. "You know the kind of women I usually see."

"Oh yes, I see your point butÖ I meanÖ" It finally came out in a rush, "This is important to me, Mickey, there must be something you can do?"

Now that's the first time he's ever done that!

Mickey made an effort to be upbeat. "Tell you what, Iíll give it some thought and call you later if Iíve managed to fix up something. Howís that?"

"I would appreciate it."

"Okay, later."

During his shower and while he made coffee, Mickey puzzled over McCallís request and his own feelings. What was so wrong with taking someone with him? What about Jeannie? She was sure to be able to move some of her shifts at the hospital and spend at least the weekend away, and he hadnít seen her for a couple of months.

Taking his coffee over to the phone he picked up the receiver to dial her number and put it down again.

What was wrong with him?

Knowing he was playing for time, he picked up the pile of mail, sorting through it quickly and discarding most of it as junk. The picture postcard of the Vatican from his brother Nick, he put to one side to read later.

Seeing the red light still flashing on the answering machine and knowing that it was another delaying tactic, he reached over and pressed the play button. The first two calls must have from some company trying to sell him something because the callers had just hung up. The third message made him smile, he would recognise Samís voice anywhere.

"Hi, itís me. Itís Thursday, the nineteenth and Iím home for the next couple of weeks. I wondered if you were around and wanted to get together again."

Everything about the trip slotted into place. He checked the clock, it was eight in New York so that would make it 1pm in London. It was Saturday, so she might be home.

Without any more hesitation he picked up the phone and dialled her number from memory. She answered almost immediately. Music was playing in the background and he guessed she must be in her living room.

"Hi, Sam, itís me. I just picked up your message and Iíve got vacation time starting tomorrow." He visualised her sitting on the old overstuffed couch with her legs curled up beside her.

"Thatís great. Do you have any plans?"

"Well, McCall has a cabin upstate a ways and I was thinking of taking off tomorrow and spending some time fishing or maybe doing some rock climbing."

"Alone?"

The question took him by surprise but he knew it shouldnít have. They had agreed a no strings arrangement, but it suddenly struck Mickey that in the last couple of months he hadnít wanted to get too close to anyone else.

"Yep, all alone, now. Robert was supposed to be there but heís got stuff to do and heís driving up next weekend with a friend. It would be great if you could come too." He hoped that his invitation didnít make her feel like he had only asked because McCall was busy. He felt an unusual tension in his gut as he ran his fingers over rim of his coffee mug; he was surprised how much he wanted her to say yes.

She laughed and the low seductive sound started his body reacting. "Is that the Kostmayer version of a gracious invitation?"

"I guess. Anyway, you know being gracious isn't one of my virtues." Hell! Now he didnít even have to see her, just talking to her was giving him a hard on.

"You have virtues? You must keep them well hidden."

"Thanks a lot! But remember, I know a couple of things about me that you really like."

"MmmÖ I can think of one in particular."

His jeans were painfully tight now, he couldn't recall the last time a woman affected him so easily. "You wanna tell me what that is?"

"How about I show you when I get there?" Her voice was deep and sensual and did nothing for his self control. "I think I can pull some strings and get a flight out tomorrow."

He found himself grinning like an idiot, "Let me know the time and Iíll meet you at the airport, we can go straight from there. You know what would happen if we came back here firstÖ" He let the sentence tail off, if talking to her after a gap of five weeks made him this excited, getting her into the apartment would guarantee they didn't get out of bed for days.

He heard her giggle before she answered, "Sounds good to me."

He put down the phone. Heíd last seen her right here when she had stopped over on her way home from the Falklands. Sheíd had to get a ferry to Chile and then change planes twice before she got to JFK but theyíd spent three wonderful days together. There hadnít been anyone else in his life or his bed since then.

Suddenly, he was looking forward to this trip a whole lot more.

He checked his watch before he knocked at the door to McCallís apartment. Six PM Ė the old man should be home. Mickey knew he could have called but he was killing time until Sam was due to arrive, so he had decided to come over in person. The thought that he might have had a wasted trip crossed his mind before he heard footsteps.

"Who is it?" McCall sounded distracted which worried Mickey for a moment or two. When people like Robert McCall were nervous it was time for normal people to shut up shop for the duration.

"Itís me, McCall. You okay?"

The door opened and the older man stood back to let him into the apartment. "I'm fine. Come on through to the kitchen."

He went inside and a delicious aroma immediately assailed Mickeyís senses. "Wow, something smells good. You expecting company?" He half hoped that Robert would invite him to stay for dinner but when he saw the table complete with candles and silverware he knew that it was a special date. Heíd make himself scarce as soon as he let Robert know what he'd arranged.

Robert headed straight back into the kitchen and lifted the lid of a cooking pot so that he could stir the contents. "Yes."

Mickey propped himself on a stool by the counter top and stood watching, "The lady you mentioned earlier?"

"Yes. Her name is Grace Sweeney."

"Howíd you meet?"

"I first met her and her husband, Bob, when I joined the Company. They were part of a medical team." McCall went to the refrigerator, "Iíve got some of that beer you like Ė do you want one?"

McCall was being pretty expansive for him and that alone gave Mickey the clue that this lady must be very special. "Sure, if thereís time. I get the feeling I should be out of the way before your company arrives."

Robert passed him the beer. "Grace isnít due for another hour yet." He picked up a glass of red wine and walked over to the couch, gesturing for Mickey to follow.

Mickey sat down and opened the beer, "Does she still work for the Company? I donít remember meeting anyone in medical called Grace."

"Good Lord, no." McCall sipped his wine, "They left the Company a long time ago. They went off to some out of the way place in South America and opened a hospital for those unable to afford proper medical attention."

Mickey drank some of his beer, "I take it sheís not married anymore?"

McCall nodded, "Bob died four years ago. Grace and I only met again a few months ago, here in the city. It turns out she is working for the World Health Organisation now."

"HmmÖ She sounds pretty special." Mickey looked at him again; it had been a long time since he had seen McCall so involved with a woman

"Yes, she is."

"I came over to say that Iíve found someone to go with me but if you and Grace want to be alone, Sam and I could disappear for a couple of days."

"Sam?" McCall looked lost for a moment and Mickey could see him trying to match the name with a face in his mind. Mickey saw the moment when light dawned, "You mean Sam Brown? The agent who worked with us in England, when we rescued Control?"

Mickey nodded, "Yep. Coincidentally, sheíd left a message on my machine asking if I had any free time so I called her up. She rang me back a couple of hours ago to say sheís got a flight arriving tomorrow morning. Weíll drive up tomorrow afternoon and stay for as long as we can.."

"I didnít know you and Sam had been seeing each other."

"I donít think you could call it seeing each other. Itís more that weíve kept in touch." The question struck a nerve for some reason and he knew he sounded annoyed. "Hell, it isnít like itís anything serious. We just enjoy each otherís company." Now he sounded defensive.

"So youíve not seen her since we were in England?"

Mickey drank some beer before deciding to answer. McCallís questions seemed like an interrogation, "Weíve met a couple of times. Once we ran into each other at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris. That was a big coincidence."

"So Control doesnít know?"

"Why should he?" He put the beer bottle down with a thump, "Jesus! Iíve seen her twice in the past four months for a grand total of five days, that doesnít sound like anything he needs to know about. Heck itís safer too. At least I know who Sam is, I donít have to wonder if sheís been sicced on me by the KGB or some other intelligence agency."

"How do you know that the British havenít told her to keep in contact with you to see what she can find out?"

"Come off it, McCall. You're out of the Company, you're not supposed to be so suspicious any more."

"You didn't answer my question."

"We have an arrangement we donít talk shop when we are together Ė ever." Mickey hoped the firmness of his answer would stop McCall asking more questions because he wasnít sure he had the answer to most of them himself.

Mickey took another mouthful of his beer and sat in silence though his mind was racing. What was bugging McCall? He wanted him to find a date for the trip so he had! Was it this woman making him so edgy?

"I'm sorry, Mickey. I don't mean to pry."

"Don't worry about it. I trust, Sam." He drained the beer, put the bottle down on the table and stood up. Trying to lighten the mood a little he said, "I need to get something to eat. I smelled your cooking when I came in and I was kinda hoping you'd invite me to stay."

McCall opened his mouth and anticipating the tirade, Mickey interrupted him, "It's okay, McCall, I'm only kidding."

He walked to the door to let himself out, "Have a good evening and I'll see you at the end of the week?"

"I telephoned and spoke to Dorothy Grant earlier, she is going to get some groceries for you."

"Thanks."

"You have your key and remember the code for the alarm?"

Mickey laughed as the door shut behind him, "Yes, mother!"

Sunday 22nd July 1990
Mickey threw the half-finished paper cup of coffee away. Shit! He hated waiting. Partially it was his fault; in his eagerness to see Sam again he had left home too early. Luckily, her flight had arrived a few minutes early and he knew it would take at least another fifteen minutes for her to clear immigration and customs. He walked around some more and found himself studying the other people in the terminal building. Without thinking, he was checking, looking for trouble.

Dammit Kostmayer! Youíre on vacation, so relax.

Then he figured that sort of thinking had kept him alive this long, maybe he shouldn't be too hard on himself.

After what seemed like an hour, but was only really twenty minutes, he saw passengers starting to come through the arrivals gate.

He almost missed her. Sam could change her appearance like a chameleon and this time she looked just like another tourist in sunglasses, a light summer skirt and t-shirt. It was only the air of confidence about her that made her stand out in the crowd. She lifted her hand to wave when she saw him and he felt the familiar attraction sizzle through him.

When he reached her side, she dropped her bags and pulled off her sunglasses. Standing on her tip toes, she threw her arms around his neck. He pulled her closer, lifting her off her feet, wanting to feel her body against his. He kissed her; remembering how good she felt in his arms. She was wearing her usual perfume and he inhaled its scent as he nuzzled her neck and buried his face in her dark, shoulder length hair.

Finally, he released her. "Hey, Shug."

"Hello, Mickey."

Her voice was low and sultry as always, and he knew it was going to be nearly impossible to keep his hands off her for the four hour drive. "Come on, letís get moving."

Mickey saw the signs for Silver Bay and slowed for the turn off. Checking the clock on the dashboard, he gently nudged her awake. Sheíd fallen asleep almost as soon as they got onto the highway. "Weíve made good time for the trip. Less than four hours."

Sam put her arms out in front of her and stretched, "Sorry, Iíve been really awful company on this trip so far. It was an early start and I didnít manage to sleep much on the flight over, it was full of families going on holiday and there were excited kids all over the place."

Keeping his eyes mostly on the road, Mickey leered at her, exaggerating his expression so she didnít feel bad, "Itís okay, you can make it up to me somehow."

She leaned forward and put her hand on his thigh Ė which did awful things to his libido. Putting on an affected sex-kitten type of voice, she said, "Sure thing, lover, just tell me how."

The effect was spoiled when she couldnít keep a straight face. He started laughing too.

In her normal voice, she asked, "Whatís this place like?"

"The cabin or the town?"

"The cabin."

"It was built about eighty years ago but don't worry, Robert has had some modifications done since he bought it a couple of years back. We shouldn't have to rough it too much."

She studied him for a moment, "I get the feeling thereís something you arenít telling me, Kostmayer."

He tried to put on a hurt expression, "You donít believe me?"

She laughed at him, "Like you said to me back in Paris, weíre spies and tell lies for a living."

"I remember." He had been a pain then, not wanting to go dress shopping with her. But he did in the end and Sam had repaid the favour in her own, very special way.

A mile or so further on, he turned off the highway onto the driveway of the cabin. The road was still rough and the vehicle bumped a little as it moved along. Mickey had been to the cabin several times over the three years since McCall bought it and he knew just how great a place it was. He was looking forward to Samís reaction when she saw it for the first time.

They turned a corner and it was spread out in from of them. The pine logs that formed the original walls of the cabin weathered dark by the elements. The right hand side which comprised the more recent additions still showed up lighter. The sun was shining off the lake, the glass in the windows sparkled and everything looked idyllic. Stopping out front, he switched off the engine and opened the door. It was as quiet here as he remembered.

Sam climbed out and stood looking at the cabin and then the lake. She turned to him with her hands on her hips, "You're a lying sod. You had me believing that we were going to stay somewhere with little more than four walls and no plumbing Ė this is a palace."

"Well, I wanted to surprise you."

"Okay, Iím surprised." Sam turned around, stretching once more, "Itís quiet here."

"Yeah. It reminds me of your place a little." He found himself mesmerised by the way she moved and how her breasts pushed against her white t-shirt as she lifted her arms. The invitation in her eyes was unmistakable and he was glad they were alone.

Earlier, during the trip, when sheíd taken off her shoes and put her feet up on the dashboard so that her skirt had slipped upwards exposing more of her lightly tanned legs, heíd been tempted to pull off the road and do something there and then. But he'd controlled the impulse Ė screwing in cars was really for kids Ė waiting would make it even better. The remembered image destroyed any self-control he had left and he pulled her into his arms, feeling her body fit perfectly against his as he kissed her. Her arms slid around his neck and in no time he had the cabin door unlocked and was carrying her inside.

A couple of hours later, a strong breeze that made the curtains billow into the room woke Mickey. Heíd opened the sliding doors to let some air into the room earlier but now that it was nearly evening, the wind was picking up. Slipping out of bed, he padded over and slid the door shut.

Sam stirred sleepily, "Anything wrong?"

"Nothing at all, Iím just closing the door."

He saw her eyes drift shut and he watched her. Asleep she was beautiful, but there was a sparkle and animation to her when she was awake that he found even more attractive.

Not bothering with clothes he went into the kitchen and got a can of soda from the refrigerator. He opened it and took a couple of sips before going back to the bedroom.

Sam turned over in the rumpled bed linen when he put the can down on the nightstand and the sheet slipped down around her waist. He could see the rise and fall of her full breasts as she breathed. He smiled; they'd made it to the bed the first time Ė barely. Later, when their initial hunger was appeased, heíd done the things he knew she liked, wanting to please her. He couldnít remember feeling like that about anyone for a long time.

"What are you staring at?" Samís voice shook him out of his thoughts. She was lying propped up with her head on her hand looking at him.

"You."

She snorted with laughter, "Why me? I would have thought you could have found something more interesting."

He slid back into the bed, pulling her over to lie beside him, "I think youíre interesting." He let his hand slide over the smooth muscles in her back, feeling the hidden strength there. Sam took her job seriously and was as fit as he was.

She rolled over and lay on top of him, resting her arms on his chest. She put her chin on her crossed forearms and stared at him. The look in her eyes was unguarded and Mickey saw something in their depths that pleased and scared him at the same time.

She took a breath and let it out again before she spoke. "Are you hungry, Mickey love?"

He laughed; the words Ďare you hungryí had become a coded message between them. It was another way of saying ĎI want youí. But this time he wondered if she had used it as a way to change the subject. He was certain she hadnít said what was really in her mind. "Always, Shug. But then you know Iím always like that around you." It was true, he would never get bored with making love with her. He moved his hands over her back and butt, feeling how soft her skin felt against the rougher skin of his fingers.

Tangling his hands in her hair, he used the silky strands to pull her closer, lifting his head to capture her mouth with his. Her lips were soft and her tongue darted into his mouth, teasing him.

Desire buzzed through him again and their tongues clashed as he explored her mouth. She pulled away and began to bite gently on his earlobe before using her tongue to caress the tendons at the side of his neck. She returned to his mouth, kissing him again. He hardened at once and felt a warm stickiness against his stomach. He passed her a condom, waiting breathlessly while she unrolled it, her hands moving over his engorged cock and balls. When she crouched over him, sinking down to take him into her silky warmth, he thrust gently knowing that, after all that had gone before, neither of them would be able to last for long. At last, she began to move with him, joining him in a wild ride until the sensations overwhelmed him and he couldnít tell where he ended and she began.

He woke again, a little later, when someone knocked on the front door. He looked at the clock and saw it was almost eight PM.

"Whatís that?" Samís voice was muffled where her face was pressed against his shoulder.

"Someoneís at the door, Iíll get it."

Sam sat up as he eased away from her, "Problem?"

Mickey shook his head, "Lucas said he would call in, itís probably him."

"Lucas?"

"Lucas Grant, a friend of McCallís, heís the local sheriff. He and his wife look after the cabin." Mickey pointed to the can of soda on the nightstand, "It would have been Dorothy, his wife, who stocked the refrigerator for us."

He reached up and punched the button of the intercom system, "That you, Lucas?"

"Sure is."

"I wonít be a second." He slid out of bed and took a pair of shorts and a t-shirt out of his bag.

Sam rolled out of bed and stood there, naked, watching him dress. He let his eyes move over her body as he stepped into the shorts and was glad when she smiled. At first she had been self-conscious around him because of the scars she carried.

"I need a shower and Iím hungry. Can we eat soon?"

"Sure thing." He looked at their clothes scattered around the floor and shrugged; they could tidy up later. They'd made it to the bed earlier, but it had been a close run thing.

His t-shirt, Samís skirt and their shoes were in the hallway and he gathered them up and threw them into the closet before opening the front door. He smiled at the older man standing outside.

"Hey, Lucas!"

"Evening, Mickey. How was your trip up?"

Lucas held out his hand and Mickey shook it warmly. "Great thanks, less than four hours from Kennedy."

"Kennedy? You just got home?"

"Nah! I had to meet a friend from London there. Sheís here with me."

Mickey saw Lucas lift a bushy eyebrow and then take in his dishevelled state; he might have been retired from the Company but Lucas Grant had always been as sharp as a tack. 

Lucas smiled, "A Brit huh? I spent a good few years in London; I worked the desk there for the Company back in the mid seventies. Dorothy loves the place. Tell me, Mickey, how much does she know about what you do? I wouldnít want to say the wrong thing."

Mickey shook his head, "Itís okay, she knows. Sheís in the same line of business herself. She works with an old friend of McCallís, Johnny Stevens. Do you know him?"

Lucas took off his hat and scratched his head, through his thick white hair, "The nameís familiar. Itíll come back to me soon enough."

"I need some coffee. You got time for some?"

"Sure thing. You know us lawmen Ė we canít ever get enough coffee."

With Lucas following, Mickey headed into the kitchen and started to put on a pot. "Weíre going to get some dinner in a little while. Anywhere you can recommend?"

"Thereís a new place opened a few months back, they serve pizza and pasta, if thatís what youíre looking for."

"Sounds good, Sam likes pasta."

Lucas sat back into his chair. "Did you bring your fishing gear with you this time?"

"Yep, though Sam isnít too keen on fishing. Howíre they biting at the moment?"

"Good. Weíve had a lot of new people here fishing this summer. Most of them said theyíd be back too."

Mickey poured three mugs of coffee and leaving his black, pushed one over to Lucas, pointing at the milk and sugar he had put on the counter. "Thatís good for the town I guess."

Lucas added sugar, stirred and took a sip from his mug, "It is, but the more people we get here the busier Iíll be. I moved up here to get away from the big city life."

"Hell, Lucas, donít give me that Ė youíd go crazy if you had nothing to do."

"Maybe, but Dorothy gets the chance to retire next year and she wants to do more travelling."

Mickey remembered Lucasís wife well. Small, with hair that was once dark but was now streaked with grey. Dorothy was the complete opposite of her husband; where he came across as laid back and calm, she still buzzed around. She was the perfect person to look after the cabin for Robert. "Is she still teaching?"

"Yep but now sheís the school principal and teaching summer school at the moment."

"Well, donít forget to thank her for the groceries. Weíll come by in the next couple of days to say hi."

Mickey added milk to Samís cup and was just about to take it to her when she appeared in the doorway, her hair combed neatly but still damp from the shower. She was dressed in a light coloured pair of linen pants and a sleeveless white top. Mickey felt his stomach roll, it was so weird the way seeing her affected him. He walked over and took her hand, pulling her further into the kitchen. "Sam, this is Lucas Grant, heís an old friend."

"Hello, Lucas. Itís nice to meet you, you live in a lovely part of the world." Her words were friendly but Mickey could see the way she checked Lucas over with her eyes. She hadnít survived this long in their line of work without being careful.

The older man took Samís outstretched hand and in a gesture full of old world charm, kissed her hand. "Iím mighty pleased to meet you too, Sam. Iím sure you and Mickey will have a great vacation."

"Iím sure we will." As though she had made a decision she relaxed and smiled at Lucas.

Lucas returned her smile as he drained the last of his coffee, "Iíd better be off, I'm due home for dinner. Iíll see you again, Sam." He turned to Mickey, "Now donít forget to try that new place I told you about. The foodís real good."

"See ya, Lucas." Mickey heard the front door close and turned to Sam. When she looked at him, he explained, "Lucas told me about a new restaurant in town."

Sam sighed, "Sounds good to me, Iím starving."

He laughed, "It must be all the exercise. Donít worry, Iíll get a fast shower, then we can go and eat."

Feeling pleasantly full, the restaurant Lucas had mentioned had been great, Mickey unlocked the door of the cabin and let Sam inside. It was past eleven and she yawned. Heíd noticed her yawning several times on the way back from town.

He came up behind her and put his arms around her waist, the top of her head reached up to his nose. "You still tired?"

Sam relaxed back against him, resting her head against his shoulder, "Um... I seem to be working on some serious sleep debt here. The last few weeks have been hectic."

After brushing his lips against her neck, he released her and pushed her towards the bedroom, "Go to bed. I'll lock up and be there soon."

It only took a couple of minutes to check that everything was secure but by the time he got into the bedroom Sam was already in bed. She hadnít told him where she had been working most recently or why she was so tired and he hadnít expected her to. They had always found enough things to talk about when they were together without mentioning work, though a lot of their communicating was done without the need for words. Heading into the bathroom to brush his teeth, take a leak and wash up, he tried to decide what they should do tomorrow.

By the time he had finished, she had turned out the light on her side of the bed. He slipped in beside her and she moved closer to face him, resting her head on his shoulder and draping one leg over his thighs and her arm around his waist.

He stroked her arm absently, enjoying the way she had curled herself round him. He didnít think he could ever get tired of spending time with her.

"Lucas seems like a nice guy. Did you ever work with him?" Her voice was soft and sleepy.

"No, he was working behind a desk when I joined the Company and retired soon after. I think McCall worked with him a few times."

"How long have he and his wife have been married?"

"Don't know for sure, maybe thirty years. Whyíd you ask?"

"No reason, just thinking. I've never thought about settling down and having kids, it's always seemed out of the question. I just never considered anyone in this business could make a go of a relationship. Johnny Stevens is divorced and so are most of the others I work with."

"I know what you mean, Robert was married once and that ended ugly."

She sighed quietly, "It's probably for the best, imagine not knowing if or when your loved one was going to walk back in the door."

"Yeah, I guess you're right," he said.

"I guess," she said.

"Maybe not," Mickey murmured, relieved when she didnít seem to have heard him. He hadnít intended to make the comment out loud; in fact he had been surprised when the thought had crossed his mind. He had never imagined that he might want to be tied down to someone. He turned out his light and she snuggled closer. The touch of her skin against his was wonderful and her presence gave him a feeling of completion.

She yawned again, "Night, Mickey."

"Night, Sam."


Chapter 7