a Continuation of "Her Name is Sara"
and "Southern Comfort"
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Alliance.
Sara had been home for about 3 hours when she heard a knock on her door. She still carried the jeans she was unpacking as she went to answer it. Ben stood there with a smile covering his entire face.
"Didn't I just see you some where?" Sara gave him her best confused look.
"I've missed you." Ben wrapped his arms around her waist and buried his face in her hair.
"We just got home! But, I've missed you, too." Sara returned his embrace. She didn't know how she could sleep in this apartment all alone after having Ben sleeping right across the hall for three weeks.
"Where's Ray, Is he with you?"
"He's at home unpacking. It's just the two of us. I hope that's acceptable."
"Yes, Constable. That will do just fine." This was the first time the two of them had really been alone together. Sara felt herself being lifted off her feet. Ben scooped her up into his arms and carried her to the sofa. He kissed her passionately.
She backed away from him smiling and gasping for breath. "How did I ever get through a day without you, Benton Fraser?" He leaned into her and buried his head in her hair once again. "You won't have to worry about that anymore." She giggled and hugged him hard. He loved to feel her hugs. She always hugged with her whole body. Each one made one feel as if the world had melted away. Sara started to laugh when she realized she still held the pair of blue jeans she had been unpacking.
"I was in the middle of something you know." Ben gave her his best big-eyed Mountie look.
"What were you doing? I will be happy to help you."
She gave him an evil grin and looked him in the eye as she spoke.
"I was unpacking a few things and filling the tub to take a bath, a long, hot, relaxing bath." Ben blushed slightly. Then he couldn't believe the words that came out of his mouth.
"I'll be happy to help you with that." Sara howled with laughter. Then a look of shock flew across her face.
"Oh Lord! I've probably got water all over the place. I still have the water running." The two of them ran to Sara's large bathroom. Ben had never seen a bathroom so large. He didn't recall noticing much the first time he was here. He knew Sara's apartment was nice but he had no idea. Green plants and candles surrounded the large whirlpool tub. Sara quickly turned the water off and smiled at Ben. They had caught the water just in time. She was sitting on the edge of the tub when Ben leaned in to kiss her. She moved an arm back to brace herself, but there was nothing there but a tub full of water. She slid quickly into the tub. Her reflexes made her grab Ben for support and she ended up dragging him on top of her. She screamed with surprise as she flailed her arms in the water. Ben was laughing so hard he couldn't keep his balance. The two of them were drenched from head to toe. Sara moved herself to the end of the tub and looked calmly at the wet Mountie before her.
"Is this your idea of helping?" Ben's face was as red as the serge he normally wore. His leather jacket he was wearing was soaked through. He took it off and tossed it on the floor.
"I - uh - well, I didn't mean - I'm sorry." He tugged at his earlobe and smiled sheepishly at her. His smile broadened when he noticed she was only wearing a white tank top and thin pajama bottoms. Her body was clearly visible through the thin wet fabric. His eyes wandered over her body as her chest heaved from the excitement of falling in the tub.
"You better get out of those wet clothes." Ben leaned forward and let Sara remove the flannel shirt he wore. She playfully wrung it out in over his head.
"I've never seen a tub this large, Sara."
"Really? Then this will really thrill you." She reached over and hit a switch on the wall. The jets began to pulsate the water. The bubble bath she had added earlier was quickly adding mounds of fluffy white bubbles to the water.
"Have you ever had a bubble bath?"
"No. One does not have that opportunity very often in the Territories."
"Well, I need to give you the full treatment then." She rose from the water and sloshed out of the tub. She began to light the candles she had placed around the edge of the tub.
"The point of a bubble bath is relaxation. These are those aromatherapy candles. The scent of them is supposed to change your mood." She dripped her way to the lights and turned them off. On her way back to the tub, she clicked on the CD player she kept near the vanity. She knelt down beside the tub.
"Are you starting to feel relaxed?"
"Only if you join me." She giggled at the sight of Ben still in his jeans and boots.
"Perhaps you could relax more if you removed your boots from my tub." Ben lifted a water soaked foot over the side of the tub. He stood in front of Sara as he removed his boots and jeans. She tugged softly at his soaked through boxers.
"Those, too." She could see the strain of the material as he slowly removed the wet underwear. He eased himself back into the tub, thankful for the cover of the bubbles.
"What about you. You need to relax as well." Ben pulled her to the edge of the tub. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her back into the water and into his lap.
He slowly removed her top and she sank into the water and leaned back against his chest.
"I still don't feel that you are as relaxed as I am."
"Oh, you don't, do you?" As she smiled to herself, he grabbed her by her waist and lifted her slightly while he removed her pajama bottoms. He slung them to the floor beside the tub. The lights of the candles flickered across the walls as the radio played a slow concerto. He gently smoothed her hair back from her face. She turned to face him. She gave him small gentle kisses on the lips as she reached behind him for a shampoo bottle.
She poured a small amount in her hand and began to slowly wash his hair.
"How's that? Relaxed yet."
He let out a small moan as she rubbed her fingers over his scalp.
"I think this is having the adverse effect, Sara. I'm beginning to feel quite - well, let's say - not relaxed."
She pushed his head under the water to rinse the soap out of his hair. He pulled her to him and kissed her deeply.
They both jumped at the sound of the phone ringing. The answering machine picked up after the second ring. Ben trailed kisses down her neck as he caressed her breasts.
"Hey, Sara. It's Ray. I just wanted to make sure you were getting settled in okay. If you need anything, just call. Oh yeah, Benny if you need me to pick you up at your apartment or Sara's just call me in the morning." Sara laughed out loud as Ben buried his head in her chest. He pulled Sara onto his lap. She could feel his excitement as she positioned herself on top of him.
"Wait, Ben. Wait."
"I'm sorry - I" He quickly dropped his head and began to apologize for rushing her into anything she didn't want to do.
"Ben, I meant that we need to wait and protect ourselves." She walked to the bedroom, Ben's eyes on her the entire way. She giggled at the extra large box of Lucky 13's Debi had given her as a going away gift the night before she left. She loved Debi's sense of humor. *Debi, you are a true friend.*
She grabbed a handful and returned to the bathroom. She handed one to Ben. He quickly rose to the edge of the tub and rolled the condom on. He pulled her to him and slowly sank the both of them back into the tub. He pressed her back against the end of the tub as he thrust himself into her. She inhaled sharply at the feel of him. He kissed her softly on the mouth as he began moving inside her. She rubbed his back as she wrapped her legs around his waist. The moan she released nearly sent Ben over the edge. He slowed in his rhythm. He could feel the tension building in her body. He felt her nails digging into his back as she leaned her head back and cried out his name. He could no longer control himself. He gave himself to her completely. With a sharp cry from her they both released with such force they collapsed into the water trembling. Ben lifted her once again to his lap. He removed the used condom and deposited it in a tissue and with such an ease of motion deposited it in the trashcan by the tub. He held her for what seemed like hours. Then he could feel her shaking. He hadn't realized that the bath water had cooled so much. She stood before him. Water and soap bubbles streamed along the curves of her body. He slowly rose to stand beside her and they exited the tub. She grabbed a towel from the shelf and began to slowly dry him. He rubbed his hands over her silky skin. He took another towel from the shelf and wrapped it around her shoulders.
"So, tell me, Sara, are you relaxed now?"
"What do you think?" She kissed him gently on the cheek. She then turned and pulled him into the bedroom. He had never seen someone so beautiful. She looked like an angel as she moved across the floor with the large white towel wrapped around her. He knew he would be happy with Sara.
Elaine spotted Fraser from the moment he came in. It's hard to miss the Red Serge or the handsome Mountie who wore it. But something was different about him. She first noticed the slight color he had to his cheeks. She passed it off as sun from their time at the farm. But there was something different about Fraser. He was practically glowing. * Boy, that vacation really did him some good.*
"Good morning, Elaine." He nodded slightly as he passed her desk on his way to see Ray.
Ray was sitting at his desk looking at a large pile of papers that had accumulated over the past three weeks. He noticed Fraser and quickly looked up and smiled.
"Hey, Benny. How's Sara." He grinned sarcastically at his friend.
"She's wonderful, Ray."
Fraser pulled at the collar of his coat. "What I mean to say is- -she is - ah - fine. She's fine, Ray."
"Right, Benny." Ray laughed and patted the blushing Mountie on the shoulder.
Changing the subject quickly, Fraser turned the conversation back to Ray.
"What are you working on?"
"It's a robbery case. Guy held up a liquor store this morning. We think we have the suspect located. You want to go with me to pick him up?"
"Of, course, Ray."
They made their way to the Riv. Dief jumped in the back seat and Fraser took his usual position. He was trying to concentrate on what Ray was saying about the case, but all he could think about was Sara. This would be her first day back at work. He wondered how she was. He also missed her.
"Fraser. Fraser. Fraser!"
"Where were you?"
"I haven't left the car, Ray."
"I mean, what were you thinking about? You haven't heard a word I've said."
"I'm sorry, Ray. My thoughts have been a little preoccupied since our return from South Carolina." Ray knew exactly what Fraser had been thinking about.
"Why don't we stop by and pick her up for lunch?"
"Thanks, Ray. I would really like that." Fraser turned to look out the window. A smile crept across his face when he thought about last night.
The suspect confessed everything. He was just a scared kid who needed some quick cash and made a bad choice to get it. Ray and Fraser handed him over to a representative from Juvenile Hall.
"You ready to go get Sara?"
"Yes, Ray." Ray noticed Fraser's face light up at the thought of seeing Sara.
"You really like her, don't you." It was hard for Fraser to share his feelings with any one. But he wasn't shy about how he felt about Sara.
"Yes, I do."
"Good. I'm glad. It's good to see you so happy."
They pulled up to the large office building where Sara worked. They rode the elevator up to the fourth floor and stepped out to be greeted by a smiling receptionist.
"May I help you?"
"We would like to see Sara Montgomery, Please."
"Just a moment." The receptionist picked up the receiver and spoke softly to the person on the other end. She replaced the receiver and smiled back at the gentleman.
"Go right on back. Second door to the left."
Neither man could recall being in Sara's office before. They found the large oak door with her name in brass on the outside. It was a large office with a big mahogany desk and bookshelves on three sides. There were pictures of her father and brother on the shelves. She had her degrees hung in large cherry wood frames over the window and a small beanbag cow on the corner of her desk. She looked like a totally different person than the one they stayed with on the farm. Gone were the bare feet and blue jeans. Instead she wore an attractive navy pantsuit with high heels. Her hair was swept up and she had a smart looking pair of glasses on. But when she saw them, the Sara they knew came rushing toward them.
"Hey, strangers. Have you two come to rescue me from the mountain of work that has engulfed my office?" Ray smiled brightly as she gave him a quick hug. Then he looked on in amazement as the normally reserved Fraser leaned down and kissed her on the mouth.
She rushed past them and yelled to the woman sitting at the front.
"Helen, hold all my calls. I'm being take away from this cruel, cruel place."
The woman just laughed and turned to answer the phone.
"So, I hope you two fine looking gentlemen have every intention of taking me to lunch."
Fraser smiled and took her by the hand as the three of them walked out of the office. As Sara passed the receptionist she waved dramatically and sighed, "If I'm not back in two hours, drink a toast to the luckiest girl in the world."
Fraser rolled his eyes and Ray laughed out loud. * She's such a ham. *
They strolled down the street to a small café near the office. Ray couldn't help but notice how clingy his lunch guests were. He decided a little teasing was in order.
"You guys wanna cool it. I'm trying to eat over here." Fraser lowered his head and began to apologize for such a public display of affection when Sara cut him off by saying, "What's the matter, Ray. You miss Debi." Ray's face started to blush. A rare sight to Fraser. He couldn't help but laugh as Ray began to stutter a reply.
"Yeah, well - she was - she's in South Carolina."
"Well then, find another girl." Fraser marveled at how direct Sara could be at times. She was never harsh and no one ever had their feelings hurt by her.
Ray finished chewing a bite of his sandwich, "Oh sure. I'll just run right out today and find me a girl."
"Let me know how you make out." Sara's eyes danced as she poked fun at Ray. Fraser leaned over and kissed her ear, "Be nice." Sara smiled at him like a he had just shared a joke with her, "Oh awlright." He loved to hear her talk.
The three of them laughed and talked until it was time to walk Sara back to her office.
She exited the elevator to the benefit of Helen the receptionist. She swayed with loping steps past Helen's desk and spoke loudly to the air. "I have returned a brighter and nobler woman. Now I must go and save the world." Helen just shook her head and sighed. *How such a character could be one of the best DA's in the State is beyond me. *
Sara giggled to herself all the way to her office. Three weeks away seemed like such a short time. However, those three weeks had brought a lifetime of healing. She was full of life and she reveled in the feeling.
Ray had just dropped Fraser off at his apartment. He had begun to change out of his red serge with thoughts of going to Sara's. Dief rose and looked at the door just before the knock. Ben opened the door to two grocery bags with a pair of arms wrapped around them.
"Meals on Wheels." Fraser quickly took the bags from her and invited her in. She looked around and noticed how bare everything was. Then she smiled and couldn't picture him living any other way.
"What brings you here, Sara?" She looked up at him and smiled sweetly.
"Ah. What have you brought with you?"
"I hope you don't mind but I would like to cook you supper."
His mind shot back to the last woman who had cooked for him in his apartment. Sara could see that Ben had left her for an instant and then the smile returned to his face.
"Ben, would you prefer we went to my apartment? I can tell that something has just happened here."
Fraser's jaw began to twitch. He quickly jolted back to where he should be and shook the image of Victoria out of his mind. He couldn't believe he let Victoria into his thoughts so quickly. Sara was what he wanted now. She could tell his mind was working hard on something. She could see it in his eyes.
"What are you going to cook?" He shook his head to free his mind of the thoughts of Victoria.
"WE are going to make Fettuccini Alfredo, with chicken and broccoli. Salad and a nice bottle of Sprite to compliment the meal."
"Then we better get started." The two of them emptied the grocery bags and started making the meal.
Fraser's barren apartment supplied little to set the table with. But they made do and had a wonderful meal. Conversation was light. But she could tell that the feelings they have for each other seemed to be strained. Something about her being in his apartment made him uncomfortable. She could tell that the spirit of someone else still lingered there. She did the dishes while Fraser dried. The last dish was dried and put away. She felt as if she would suffocate.
"I'm going to go. It's late." Sara walked over to the trunk to retrieve her coat.
"It's still early. Can't you stay a little longer?" Sara was tired of feeling as if she were competing with someone else. Fraser couldn't understand why she wanted to leave so soon.
"I think it would just be better if I leave." Her temper was getting the best of her. She hated feeling like this. *Why won't he talk to me?*
Fraser gave her a confused look. "What's wrong? Have I done something to offend you?"
"Let's just say it's a little crowded in here for me." Fraser looked at her with sincere confusion.
"Sara, it's just the two of us." Her jaw began to clench. She could feel her heart beating faster. * Don't lose it. *
"No, Benton. It not just the two of us. It's you, me and the memory of whoever was here before. I don't know who she is or was and I don't care. But I feel like she's standing right in front of you. So until you decide to tell me about it, I'm going home. I'm sorry, this was a bad idea." Fraser stood in shock as she grabbed her coat and rushed out the door. He thought he had pushed Victoria out of his mind. Apparently he was wrong. He had to stop her.
"Sara, wait." She stopped on the top step and turned to face him. Her face was hard and the sight of the anger in her eyes shook him.
"No, you wait. I've shared a lot of shit with you Ben Fraser and I thought that we were starting to have something special and dear to both of us. But I can't compete with a ghost. I won't. Until I can be as important to you as you are to me, then we don't have anything. Ray told me about a woman that ripped your heart out. That's all he would say. I hadn't seen the repercussions of that until tonight." He moved to take her hand but she quickly jerked it away.
"No, Ben. I've been through a lot with men. So I don't get close to a man unless I really feel something special. Last night at my apartment, that was special. Tonight, I felt as if you weren't even here."
He could feel the tears forming in his eyes. He knew she was right but he couldn't speak. The words he needed to say weren't there. He crossed is arms over his chest and lowered his head. All he could manage was, "I'm sorry."
"Me, too. I'm selfish, Ben. When I love someone, I expect it returned." Before Ben could move she turned and ran down the stairs. He wanted to run after her but something wouldn't let him. He just stood in the hallway and wept.
Francesca jumped up from the sofa when she heard the doorbell ring. She recognized the woman immediately.
"Hi, Sara. c'mon in." Francesca could tell she had been crying. She still looked upset.
"Thank you. You're Francesca, right? We've met at the police station."
"Right. Are you okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine. Is Ray home? I'd like to speak with him, please."
"Sure, I'll get him." Francesca disappeared into a large room. Sara could hear the television and people talking. Ray appeared in the doorway with a concerned look on his face.
"Sara? What's wrong? Is Fraser with you?" Sara could feel the tears returning. She swallowed hard before she tried to speak.
"That's what I need to talk to you about."
Ray looked at her in total confusion. "What? Did you have a fight?"
"Not exactly. I surprised him at his place and I felt like I was stepping into someone else's territory. Ben just seemed to freeze over. I don't know what happened. I didn't react very well. I caused a big scene and then I left."
Ray could see her eyes beginning to tear. He moved to put an arm around her and led her in to the Vecchio kitchen.
"What did Benny say?" Ray started to fix them both some tea as he listened to Sara talk.
"Nothing." Ray placed a cup of tea in front of her on the table and sat across from her.
"Nothing? Nothing at all?"
"Just 'I'm sorry.' That's it. Tell me what happened, Ray. Who is the woman I can't compete against? What did she do to him that was so bad?" Sara began to cry harder.
Ray wanted to tell her everything, but he knew it wasn't a story for him to tell.
"Fraser will have to tell you, Sara. I can't." Ray look at her sympathetically as he held her hand. "Please, don't give up on him."
Francesca appeared in the doorway of the kitchen. She could see that the woman at the table was crying. It was killing her to know why. Why was she here and why was Benton at the door looking just as bad as she did?
"Ray, there's someone here to see you." Ray looked a Francesca and could tell that she was about to go in full Franny mode. "Franny, could you go back in the den, please. I'll be there in a minute." Francesca made a huffing noise and stomped back to the den. Ray left Sara to see who was waiting for him. In the foyer stood his best friend looking like he had just been shot.
"Fraser, what are you doing here?" Fraser rubbed the brim of his Stetson through his fingers. "I've lost her, Ray." Ray could see the tear stains on Fraser's cheeks.
"I'm not sure really. She came to my apartment to cook dinner for us. I really wanted her there, Ray. But - " Ray could see the pain and hurt growing on Fraser's face.
"But, Victoria." Ray said her name with total disgust.
Fraser felt the sting of tears rush to his eyes. He lowered his head and fought to regain control.
"Benny, You have to tell her. You're going to lose her if you don't."
"I don't think I can, Ray. It's too - It hurts - " Ray put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"I know, Benny. But you have to."
"I don't even know where she is, Ray. I tried her apartment, but she's not there."
Ray knew that this was going to be a long night.
"Benny, let's go into the kitchen and have some tea." Ray led Fraser to the kitchen. Fraser saw Sara with her head down on the table crying. She didn't realize that anyone had come into the room. Ray pushed Fraser into the chair he had been sitting in and turned to leave the kitchen. "Talk."
Sara raised her head and smiled at whom she thought would be Ray sitting in front of her once more. The smile quickly faded.
"Sara, what are you doing here?"
"I was just leaving." Ben stopped her with a hand over hers.
"Please, don't. I'm so sorry. You deserve an explanation."
"Are you going to give me one?" Her eyes seemed to pierce right through him.
Fraser shifted in his chair.
"I'm sorry I've made you so angry."
"I'm not angry, Ben. I'm hurt. There's a difference. A month ago I never imagined meeting a man like you. I thought everything was going well. We finally could act like a normal couple. Then I felt like I was being pushed away by the memory of someone else. Until you make me understand, Ben. I guess I'll remain hurt - and alone."
The last words she spoke struck Fraser at his very heart. He knew she meant it. She would just walk away from him if forced to do so.
"Let's take a walk." Fraser stood and took her hand in his. "Did you mean it when you said you loved me?"
"As you know, Constable, I never say things I don't mean." This he knew as the truth. He squeezed her hand tighter. She was disappointed when he didn't say he loved her in return.
They walked past the den and Ben spoke his good-byes and thank you's to Ray. Francesca noticed immediately that Benton was holding Sara's hand. Once the front door clicked shut, Francesca began to give Ray the third degree.
"What's going on?"
Ray calmly changed the channel on the TV. "With what?" He wasn't going to tell Franny more than he had to.
"Why is Benton holding hands with that woman? Why was she crying? Where are they going?"
Ray could see the jealousy on Franny's face. She had been swooning over Fraser since the day she met him. He decided that getting her angry wouldn't be a good idea. So in the calmest and nicest voice he could manage, he broke the news to his lovesick sister.
"Fraser and Sara are together. Together, together. They have been seeing each other for about three weeks now."
"When you went to that farm place?" She spit the words at him.
"Yes, Franny. Benny and Sara have shared a lot together and have become very close. I'm really happy for them."
"Good for you. I don't like her. She's all wrong for Benton." She crossed her arms and gave a nasty look to the front door through which they had recently passed.
"For God's sakes, Franny. You don't even know her." Ray could tell that nothing he said would change her mind about Sara. "You better get to like her. She's going to be around here a lot if things work out between her and Fraser."
The thought of another woman with her Benton made Francesca livid. She wasn't going to go down without a fight.
Ben and Sara walked hand in hand down the moonlit street. It was cool out but not too uncomfortable. They walked several blocks in silence until Sara had had enough.
"Ben, tell me why this woman still has a hold on you."
Ben swallowed hard and squeezed her hand. They were near the park, so he led her to the playground.
Ben sat in one of the swings while Sara took a perch on the sidebars.
"There was a bank robbery. I tracked the driver of the getaway car to Fortitude Pass."
Sara could see that he was no longer with her. He was a lifetime away.
"It snowed for a day, a night and then a day." As Ben spoke, she could see the depths of feeling Ben had for this woman and the experience they shared. She wanted to ask questions, but she decided to just listen. The city seemed to silence itself.
"She came to Chicago after her release. We spent three days in my apartment."
The thought of Ben with another woman made Sara's stomach hurt. But she had to know what horrible things had happened to the man before her. The glow from the streetlights danced shadows across their faces.
"She shot Diefenbaker." She could tell that Ben was crying while he spoke. She was so caught up in his words she wasn't sure when she began to cry. The breeze had picked up and a dog could be heard barking in the distance.
"The key was hidden somewhere in the Vecchio home." She then realized that this was not merely a love gone bad relationship. This woman was out to destroy Ben and everyone close to him. The empty swings twisted and fought against the breeze.
"The train was leaving. I saw Ray. I was going with her." Sara began to absorb the hold this woman had on him. A soft mist began to fall.
"I reached for her hand. Then I felt the pain. Ray shot me."
"My God." It was barely whispered but in the silence that enveloped them it seemed as if it had been screamed.
Ben sat stiffly in the swing. The rain had started to come harder, camouflaging his tears. Sara climbed down from her perch on the swing frame and stood in front of him. His face was emotionless and pale. They were as still as the statues that lined the park for what seemed an eternity. The rain still fell. Two wounded souls, trying to repair the damage by somehow loving one another. One beaten physically, the other emotionally. Ben lifted his hand to take Sara's. At the moment of his touch, she melted into him. She clung to him and they cried.
"I'm sorry, Ben. I'm so sorry."
"I'm the one who's sorry, Sara. I promise you, I'll try to never let that come between us again. I love you, Sara." She had finally heard the words she so desperately need from him.
"I love you." Sara lifted her head and kissed him lightly on the lips. Ben reached up and stroked her cheek.
Ray pulled up to Racine street and saw Fraser and Dief waiting for him in their usual spot.
"Morning, Ray." Ray could tell by his tone that is was a good morning.
"Morning, Benny. How'd things go last night? Did you and Sara get everything worked out?"
Fraser turned and smiled out the passenger window. "Yes, Ray. We did."
Ray smiled back, "Good, I'm glad."
Sara saw him standing from two blocks away. She had heard about the sentry duty that he was made to stand. She had arrived early for their lunch date on purpose. She walked up beside the rigid statue of a man guarding Canada against foe and peril.
"Hey, good-looking. Come here often?" Nothing. * He didn't even blink. How does he do that? *
"Well, I'm a little early so I'm going to go wait inside. See you in about 10, sweetie."
*Oh, Dear. * Fraser could only stand as Sara entered the Consulate.
Turnbull greeted her with a large smile and an extended hand. His enthusiasm nearly knocked her down.
"Welcome to Canada. Constable Renfield Turnbull, ma'am. How can I be of assistance."
She returned his enthusiasm in kind.
"Good afternoon, Constable Turnbull. I'm Sara Montgomery. It is a pleasure to meet you."
She thought the Mountie would actually jump in place at the sound of her name. She tried not to giggle as he spoke.
"Oh, Miss Montgomery. It is a great pleasure to make your acquaintance." He paused a moment and then his animated features took on a look of great concern. "I'm terribly sorry to hear about the unfortunate incident you had to endure." She thought he would actually start to cry at the mention of her kidnapping.
"Time will heal all wounds, Constable." She placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"I have a lunch date with Ben and I'm early. May I wait for him in here?" The smile returned to his face once more as he began to gesture wildly as he spoke.
"Of course, ma'am. Any friend of Constable Fraser's is always welcome here. Allow me to give you a tour of the consulate." He extended his arm and Sara took it graciously.
Meg could hear voices outside her office, but she was much too busy to worry with whomever Turnbull had decided to trap into a tour this time. Then she heard a name that had been mentioned more than a few times in the consulate over the last month. She quickly rose from her desk and walked to her office door. She managed to come face to face with Turnbull and Sara.
"Ah, Good afternoon, Sir. May I introduce Miss Sara Montgomery. She's meeting Constable Fraser for lunch and while she waits I am giving her a tour of our magnificent Consulate."
*Ah, the Ice Queen. Ray told me about you. * Before Meg could speak, Sara extended her hand and firmly shook the Inspectors'. She felt as if she stood ten feet tall.
"It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm sorry I haven't contacted you sooner. I wanted to thank you for allowing Ben to accompany me on my trip home. It was a much-needed vacation for all involved. I appreciate your understanding and kindness, Inspector." Sara was in full professional mode, a tone she only used in the courtroom or with clients. In this case, she knew it was needed. Ray had told her about Meg Thatcher, the Dragon Lady and how she treated Ben. * Let's just show each other where we stand, shall we. *
Meg was taken aback for a moment. She had wanted to meet the woman that had managed to have her best officer and a Chicago Detective follow her a thousand miles to God knows where. She didn't realize she was so young, or attractive.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Montgomery. I'm sure Turnbull will give you the VIP tour."
"Please, call me Sara."
"Sara." Meg strained a smile across her face. Turnbull was giddy to say the least.
"Shall we continue? Constable Fraser should be completing his duties shortly."
"It was a pleasure, Inspector. I look forward to seeing more of you in the future."
Before Meg could turn and enter her office again, Turnbull gave her a little boy grin to show his excitement at being with Miss Montgomery. She returned his grin with a sarcastic one of her own. She smartly turned on her heels and slammed the door to her office behind her.
* I don't see what the big deal is. I see no reason why he should fawn all over her like that. It must be that annoying accent of hers. I'll have to speak with Constable Fraser about his lady friends hanging around the consulate. *
Constable Turnbull finished the tour by showing Sara the architecture of the building. He summed up his thought at the moment the clock chimed and Fraser was off duty.
"Thank you, Turnbull. I'm sure you were as riveting as always."
Turnbull blushed and shyly replied, "Oh, Thank you Constable Fraser. Have an enjoyable lunch."
Fraser took Sara by the hand and they began to walk to a small diner down the street.
"I met your boss." Sara sounded smug.
"Ah, Inspector Thatcher." Fraser sounded as toneless as he could.
"The Dragon Lady." Sara made it sound as if she had said the title of some kung-fu action film.
Fraser furrowed his brow and chastised her for her comment.
"Sara, that is really not nice. You shouldn't speak about the Inspector like that. You just met her." Sara giggled and leaned up to kiss him on the check. "Yeah, but Ray told me all about her."
"Well, Ray doesn't - he never really liked - well, he." Fraser tugged at his ear.
"Ben, they have a mutual dislike for one another."
"Yes, well, that would be correct."
Over the next few days Sara and Ben spent most of their time together. Their relationship seemed to be stronger with each passing day. Ray noticed a change in Fraser. He seemed content and relaxed. Ray had never seen his friend this way. Ray was worried at first at how Sara would effect the relationship he and Fraser shared. He knew that once Sara was in the picture that Fraser would spend less time with him. However, very little changed between them. Sara and Fraser were quick to invite Ray anywhere with them. The times he did accept, the three of them had a wonderful time. Fraser couldn't think of a better situation. His best friend and the woman he loved enjoyed each other's company as much as he enjoyed theirs. Friday evening would be the moment of truth for Sara. Mrs. Vecchio had insisted that the family meet the woman her Benton was so taken with. The Vecchio's were the only family Ben had and it was time to meet them all.
Ray met Sara and Fraser at the door. Dief quickly ran past them to find Tony and Maria's children to play with. Ben looked relaxed in jeans and a flannel shirt. Sara had on faded jeans and one of Fraser's RCMP sweatshirts. Ray almost expected to see her barefoot. He could tell Sara was nervous.
"Don't worry about a thing. If Benny can handle your family, you can handle his."
She smiled weakly at him. She could feel her palms starting to sweat. She normally didn't get nervous. She just tried to be herself. But everyone held Ben in such high regard her self confidence was not at its highest. Mrs. Vecchio hurried from the kitchen.
"Benton." She kissed him on the cheek and gave him a big motherly hug.
"Hello, Ma. I would like to introduce you to Sara Montgomery. This is Mrs. Vecchio."
"It's a pleasure to meet you Mrs. Vecchio." Before she could blink, Mrs. Vecchio engulfed her in a hug. Instinctively, Sara hugged her whole-heartedly in return.
"Welcome. My Raymondo and Benton have told me so much about you. Come, let's sit. Dinner is almost ready."
Following her southern manners, Sara smiled and said, "Is there anything I can help you with?"
Mrs. Vecchio's smile lit up the entire room. Ray and Ben noticed Francesca's pained expression as she came in from the kitchen. Ray glared at her and Fraser looked at her with concern. He quickly focused his attention back to Sara. Mrs. Vecchio had Sara by the hand and was introducing her to the rest of the Vecchio clan. Maria and Tony smiled politely and Francesca gave a wave of the hand as she went back into the kitchen to retrieve the salad bowls. Maria's children scurried past with Dief hot on their heels.
Everyone was seated and the meal was about to begin. Everyone joined hands and Mrs. Vecchio gave the traditional blessing. Sara had been seated between Ben and Ray. Francesca, Maria and Tony sat opposite them. Mrs. Vecchio smiled at the look Sara and Benton were giving one another. Francesca looked as if she had swallowed something distasteful.
"So, Sara. What do you do?" Mrs. Vecchio gave her full attention to her guest.
"I'm with the District Attorney's office. I'm a lawyer."
"You look too young to be a big shot lawyer."
Ben's face lit up as he bragged about Sara, "Her father told me she graduated in the top 3% of her class." Sara's face grew hot. The last thing she wanted was for anyone to think she was a 'big shot'.
"I just didn't have anything better to do than study, that's all."
"Oh, I'm sure a pretty young girl like you had plenty of dates."
"Not really. I chose not to date much after high school" * God, I hope someone changes the subject soon. * Fraser and Ray shared a knowing look.
"What made you want to go out with Benton?" Everyone turned to face Francesca. Mrs. Vecchio gave her a stern look. Ray glared at her. She stared directly at Sara.
Sara sized up the situation quickly. * Okay, so that's what the dirty looks have been about. Jealousy. Great. * She smiled sweetly and turned to look up at Ben.
"Sometimes a girl just gets swept off her feet."
Francesca looked as if she could spit nails. She had loved Benton since the day Ray brought him home. But he never gave her a second glance. Now this woman gets kidnapped and he falls in love with her.
Thankfully, Ray changed the subject to their trip to South Carolina. The three of them spoke about the farm and going out dancing. Sara smiled when Ray left out some of the details of that evening. Some things were just between them. Everyone carried the conversation into the den after dinner. Ray flopped down in his usual spot in the recliner. Sara sat in the corner of the sofa and Ben took a seat beside her. Francesca nearly broke her neck making her way to sit on the other side of Fraser. Sara knew how to fix her. She leaned close to Fraser. He automatically put his arm around her and placed a hand on her knee. Sara leaned over and gave him a peck on the cheek. Mrs. Vecchio smiled at the affection between them. Francesca was all but pouting. Ray smiled to himself at the sight of it.
"Mrs. Vecchio, supper was fabulous." Mrs. Vecchio smiled. Francesca made a face.
* 'Supper.' She sounds like something off Little House on the Prairie. *
Mrs. Vecchio smiled sweetly at the woman her Benton was so taken with. "I hear you are quite a cook yourself."
Ray smiled brightly. "She sure is, Ma. She cooks the best grits I've ever tasted."
"I've cooked the only grits you've ever tasted, Ray." Sara laughed and Ben hugged her to him.
"You had grits, Ray?" Maria couldn't imagine her picky brother even looking at grits much less tasting them.
"Yeah, Sara cooked breakfast on the farm. They were really pretty good, right Benny?"
"Yes, Ray. Especially the morning we had cheese in them."
The two men smiled at the memory of breakfast on the Paradise farm. Francesca scowled at the two of them.
Sensing the tension growing in the room, Fraser decided it was time to leave.
"Thank you so much for dinner, Ma. We have to be going. Sara has a case she's working on." Fraser stood and took Sara's hand. "Yes, Mrs. Vecchio. Thank you for your hospitality." Mrs. Vecchio smiled sweetly at her and then looked at Ray.
"Raymondo, drive them home. It is too late for them to walk."
"That's not necessary, Mrs. Vecchio. I drove us here in Sara's car."
Francesca gave them a nasty look.
Ben and Sara said their good byes and made there way to the Sara's car.
After seating Sara, Ben took his place behind the wheel of her Jeep Cherokee. Ben liked the fact that Sara wanted him to drive whenever they went anywhere together.
Ben noticed Sara's face was more relieved than before.
"Did you have a good time?"
Sara smiled and gave Ben a surprised look. "Yeah, that was great." Her voiced dripped with sarcasm. Ben gave a hurt look.
"I'm sorry you didn't enjoy yourself." Noting his mood, Sara quickly explained herself.
"The food was great. Rays family is wonderful. But Francesca hates my guts."
Shocked Fraser began to disagree, "You must be mistaken. Francesca has no reason to hate you, Sara. What would make you think that?"
"Oh, I don't know. The way she looked at me. The way she looked at you. The way she talked to me. The way she talked to you." Fraser could tell by her sing song tone that she was getting upset with him.
"Why didn't you tell me Francesca had a thing for you?"
"What? I don't know what you're taking about. Francesca is merely a friend. She's the little sister of my best friend. I don't know what 'thing' you are talking about."
"Don't give my the big-naïve-Mountie routine. I've got your number, Benton Fraser."
"What number are you referring. I don't have a phone." Fraser grinned. He loved teasing her.
"Watch it." She didn't like the fact that Ben was avoiding the issue of Francesca Vecchio.
"She's in love with you. I'm in her way. She hates my guts. Everyone saw it."
"I'm sure you are mistaken. I was not aware of - "
"Fine." Sara reached for her cell phone and dialed the Vecchio house.
"Sara, who are you calling?"
"Don't you worry about me. You just drive." Fraser gave her a confused look and then returned to the task of driving.
Ray answered the phone on the first ring.
"Hey, It's Sara. Tell Constable Fraser why your sister hates me." Sara handed Ben the phone. "Sara, I'm operating a motor vehicle. I have to pull over first before I can engage in a telephone conversation." Sara rolled her eyes and sighed, "Then pull over."
Once safely off the road, Fraser took the phone from Sara.
"Ray?" Fraser could hear Ray laughing into the phone.
"Please explain to Sara that she is mistaken in her notion that Francesca has any ill feelings toward her."
"She hates her guts, Benny."
"Why? This is totally unreasonable."
"You're just to dense to notice things sometimes. Get Sara to explain it to you." He was still laughing when he hung up the phone.
"I don't understand what the problem is. Perhaps if we spoke to Francesca, any ill feelings she may have can be resolved."
"Oh, Ben. Give me a break. I'm the other woman standing in the way of the man she loves. She will just have to get over it. Because, well, frankly, you're mine."
Fraser smiled at the possessive tone in Sara's voice. He felt a surge of heat move through him.
He pulled her Jeep into the parking garage of her apartment building. He opened her door and helped her from the seat. They were riding up the elevator when she began kiss his neck. The doors opened and she held her arms around his waist as he walked her to her door. He unlocked her door and was met by a passionate kiss. He felt himself being pulled through the door and onto the sofa. Sara landed on top of him and smiled down into his clear blue eyes.
"Ben, would you please stay the night?"
"But, I have to be at work early in the morning. I hadn't planned - " He could see something in her eyes that he had never seen. He couldn't tell what it was at first.
"I understand. I just didn't want to be alone tonight." It was insecurity. He had never seen her this way. He brought his hand up to her cheek.
"Sara, what's wrong." His tone was loving, but firm in the fact that he wanted an answer.
She tucked her head and barely whispered, "I just need to know that you love me."
"Of course I love you, Sara. What's this all about?" Sara looked at him with her deep green eyes. * He really doesn't have any idea about Francesca. Is he really that blind or that dense? *
"It's about Francesca and God knows how many other women out there in Chicago that swoon all over you everyday." Her voice was getting louder. She pushed back from him and sat up on the sofa. He leaned up and sat closely beside her, stroking her hand.
"I have to know that I'm the one you want. I don't want to feel like I have to compete for you, Ben. I'm don't think I'm up for that. I need to know that I'm the only one, no matter how many women throw themselves at you."
Ben gently kissed the palm of her hand. He brushed a stray hair from her face.
"You will always be the only one. I love you more than I thought I could."
Sara lowered her head and let out a small sigh.
"Stop worrying, Sara. It's not very becoming." She knew he was teasing and she appreciated what he was trying to do.
"Thank you. I love you, too." She leaned over and kissed him, tasting the sweetness of him. He ran his hand through the back of her hair and licked her lower lip as his tongue search for entry to her mouth.
Sara strolled over to Ray's desk and smiled down at him. It took him a few seconds to realize someone was staring at him. When he looked up he saw the deep green eyes of a really good friend.
"Hey, what are you doing here?"
"Welsh called me. We are building a case against a guy Huey and Louis brought in about an hour ago. I just thought I'd stop by and say hello." Ray smiled and offered her a seat.
"Fraser should be here in a little while. You want to wait for him? We were gonna go get a bite to eat."
"No, I've got to work through lunch today. I've got a stack of papers on my desk the size of Texas." Out of the corner of her eye she noticed a familiar face speaking with Elaine.
"Ray, is that Francesca?" She tried to sound as friendly as she could when she said her name.
"Yeah, Elaine is going into the police academy. Franny's the new Civilian Aid." Ray knew what Sara was thinking. He could see it on her face. Both of them turned at the flash of red that entered the room. Fraser's face quickly brightened when he saw Sara seated near Ray's desk. His view was suddenly blocked by Francesca Vecchio.
"Hey, Fraser. I got those files that you and Ray asked for. If there's anything else, you let me know. I'll be glad to take care of anything you need. " She smiled the best smile she could manage while leaning as close to Fraser as she could. Her midriff top and tight leather skirt left little unsaid as to what her intentions were. Fraser stammered his thank you kindly and hastily made a retreat towards Ray's desk. * Oh Dear* He could see by the look on Sara's face that she was not happy about Francesca working so closely with him. She hoped he hadn't noticed her staring at them. She could feel the anger spreading across her face. She inhaled quickly and forced a relaxed expression. * That's just great. If her skirt were any shorter it would be a belt. I wonder if he likes that sort of thing. Well, I'm not going to dress trashy for any man. Not even Benton Fraser. I wonder if he thinks she's pretty. God, she just throws herself at him. * Her thoughts were interrupted by a kiss on the cheek.
"What are you doing here?" His face was still red from the exchange with Francesca.
"I'm here on a case. I just stopped over to say hello to Ray."
Ray smiled at the two of them. * Whew, this is going to be fun. *
"Ray and I were going to have a bite to eat. Won't you join us?" She looked over at Ray and then at Francesca.
"I'd love to, thank you."
"What about all that paperwork?" Ray smiled at her sarcastically. She returned his smile with a steely-eyed look.
"I always have time for Ben and you, Ray."
Fraser took Sara by the hand. As they were leaving the bullpen, Sara leaned over and kissed Ben lovingly on the lips. He returned her kiss in kind.
"Thank you kindly. What was that for?"
"For no reason. I just love you, that's all." Just as they were passing Elaine's desk. Fraser replied, "I love you, Sara." Sara turned to look over her shoulder to see Francesca breaking a pencil in half. * Give up now, honey. I'm not letting him go. * Sara smiled sweetly as if she were totally oblivious to anything that transpired.
Ray just laughed and strolled out to the Riv. * Yep, this is going to be fun. *
Because of the hour she missed at lunch with Ray and Ben, Sara didn't get home from work until after 8:30. She wearily opened her apartment door and began stripping her clothes off as she made her way through the house. Pulling her skirt off she pushed the play button on her answering machine.
"Hey, Sara. Call me at the consulate when you get in. I love you." She threw her blouse across the bed.
"Sara, Craig here. I need a continuance on my desk by Friday for the Randolph case. I'm at the office until 9:30 if you have any questions. I tried to catch you before you left, so call me."
"Don't you ever go home to your wife?" The machine replied with a beep. Throwing her shoes in the closet she reached for the phone.
"Canadian Consulate, Constable Turnbull Speaking. How may I be of assistance?"
"Constable Turnbull, this is Sara. May I please speak to Ben."
"Yes, ma'am, right away."
"Constable Benton Fraser. How may I be of assistance."
"Hello, love." The sound of his voice made her heart skip.
"What would I have to do to convince you to come over here this evening?"
"I'm on my way."
"Ben, bring a change of clothes." He could hear the fatigue in her voice. She had been working nonstop since the day they returned from South Carolina. He knew it was her way of moving past what had happened to her. Ben walked quickly to his apartment and changed into jeans and a shirt. He grabbed his brown uniform from the closet and placed his Stetson neatly on his head. Tomorrow was one of the rare days he did not have sentry duty. He and Dief were at Sara's door by 9:00.
"How did you get here so fast." She melted into his arms and heaved a tired sigh.
"I always hurry when I'm meeting you. You really need to slow down, Sara. You are working too hard."
Dief gave her a small whine and curled up in his usual spot on the overstuffed armchair in the corner. Fraser rubbed the back of her hair and kissed the top of the head. She smelled so sweet. Her hair was still wet from the quick shower. She had on only one of his RCMP T-shirts he had left there. He could see the dark circles forming under her eyes and the stress in her face. He led her by the hand to the couch and pulled her into his lap.
"I've got to work hard. If I don't there are a hundred other people ready to jump at the chance to prove they can do the job better. Besides, today was just a bad day."
"What happened?" Fraser gently rubbed her back as she stretched out on the couch beside him.
"As if you didn't know." He looked at her thoroughly confused.
"Have I done something to upset you?" Sara turned to face him on the couch.
"Why didn't you tell me about the change in personnel at the precinct?" Her searched her eyes for a moment and could tell that she was genuinely concerned.
"I didn't purposely not tell you. The subject just never came up."
"It just bothers me. She throws herself at you. She couldn't be anymore obvious if she showed up at your door naked." Fraser's face grew hot. He could feel the blush creeping up his face. He decided it wouldn't do anyone any good to confess that Francesca had done just that.
"I assure you that I have no romantic interest in Francesca. I love you. Only you."
She hugged him with what seemed like every muscle in her body.
"You better. I'm falling pretty hard for you, Benton Fraser. The last thing I need is to play games. I don't mean to be jealous. It's not in my nature. But, when I see her trying so hard to get you to notice her - It just makes me so - " She could feel the anger from this afternoon bubbling to the surface again. In some strange way, he was aroused. To have a woman confess her love for him and hatred for anyone that stood in the way of that love was something he had never experienced before. She looked into his clear blue eyes and was immediately comforted. All she saw looking back at her were eyes filled with love.
"I know I'm being stupid." She felt ashamed of allowing herself to get so angry all over again. He responded with a kiss.
He held her in his embrace for several minutes. When her looked into her eyes was more he could tell that she was relaxed.
"Let's go to bed. You look really tired."
She slowly got off the couch and made her way to the bedroom. She didn't realize how exhausted she was until she lay down.
They snuggled close to one another under the fresh crisp sheets. Sara was softly breathing in her sleep. Ben rubbed his fingers through his hair and thought of how lucky he was.
Ray picked Fraser up at Sara's apartment building.
"Morning, Benny. How come Sara couldn't take you to work?"
"She offered, but she had an early day today, so I didn't want to trouble her."
At first, it was a little awkward to pick Fraser up at Sara's. But Ray really noticed a change in him since they started dating. He was more relaxed and even a little more open, for Fraser, anyway. Ray, was happy for Fraser. He and Sara really had a good thing.
"So, how's Sara doing? She's been pushing herself pretty hard since she went back to work."
"She's tired. But, she tells me that she's always worked this hard. She assured me that yesterday, was just a bad day."
"Yeah, I bet it was." Ray laughed sarcastically.
"What?" Fraser's face was as expressionless as he could manage.
"Oh, c'mon Fraser. I saw the look on her face when she saw Franny. You didn't tell her, did you?"
Fraser rubbed his thumb over his eyebrow and then tugged at his collar.
"I don't understand what the difficulty is, Ray. Francesca is merely a friend and a coworker."
"How many of Sara's coworkers throw themselves at her? How many of her coworkers make a point to be everywhere she is when she's in the office. How many of - "
"I get the point, Ray. I just don't know what I can do about any of this. I've assured Sara that there is absolutely nothing to worry about."
"Well, I'm going to talk to Franny. She's instigating a lot of crap."
"Please, Ray. I don't want you to make matters worse."
"How can you say that? I'm her brother. She'll listen to me."
Fraser walked with his usual gait into the consulate. As usual, Turnbull enthusiastically greeted him.
"Good morning, Constable Fraser."
"Good Morning, Turnbull." Fraser was about to turn and walk to his office when Inspector Thatcher appeared before him.
"Good Morning, Constable, I need to see you in my office."
"Good Morning, Sir. Yes, right away." She snapped a turn and marched to her office with Fraser on her heels. Thatcher took her place behind her desk and gave Fraser and long piercing look. Fraser stood at attention and waited for the usual diatribe.
"Constable, the Canadian government will be hosting a banquet for the Ambassador during his visit to Chicago. It will begin at 6:00 p.m. sharp, this Saturday. The car will be made available to you, pick me up at my residence at 5:00 p.m. Dismissed."
Fraser maintained an emotionless façade as he stood in front of Thatcher's desk. * Oh Dear. Sara's not going to like this. *
"Is there a problem, Constable?"
"No, Sir. Well, - I - "
"Spit it out, Fraser. What is it?"
"Well, Sir. I - if I may be so bold, don't you think that Constable Turnbull would be a better choice as an escort for the banquet."
Thatcher looked at him as if he had lobsters crawling out of his ears.
"I do not. I will expect you at 5:00, Constable. Dismissed."
Fraser opened his mouth to speak but Thatcher lowered her head and began filling out some paperwork. He turned and left her office.
"You've got to do what?!"
"I will be escorting Inspector Thatcher to a Consulate Function. I assure you it is a common duty that I have had to perform on several occasions."
"Right. I bet so."
"Why can't she find her own date for these things? Can she really force you to go? What if you wanted to bring your own date?" Sara's stomach was beginning to hurt.
"I am merely there in an official capacity."
"Do you have to sit with her at dinner and dance with her?"
"That is normally customary." He could tell she was getting upset. He hadn't heard her accent get this thick since they returned from the farm.
"Great. Well, have a good time." She tried to maintain a shred of dignity. She was determined not to let him see her get upset. She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. He felt horrible about leaving her alone on a Saturday night. For the past five Saturday's they had spooned together on the couch and watched old movies and ordered take out. It wasn't extravagant, but to Fraser it was the world. Being with Sara was so special to him. He had to let her know that.
"I love you." He nuzzled her neck and kissed her shoulder. She giggled in spite of herself.
"I love you, too." She wanted to sulk, but the sound of him, the smell of him made all her worries seem trivial.
Saturday morning, Fraser woke with his arms around Sara's waist. He lightly traced the contours of her hips as he looked at the sleeping figure beside him. Sara had been a little on edge for the past few days. In top of her always-overwhelming caseloads, she had to deal with Fraser escorting Inspector Thatcher to the Consulate banquet. She put up a good front. But Fraser could tell it still bothered her. Ray had tried to make him understand. What if the situations were reversed? Would the feelings be the same? He tried to make her understand that he was only attending in an official capacity. She said she understood completely and that she wasn't concerned. Her eyes told the truth. He had to find a way to put her at ease. He needed to make her understand how much he loved her.
He lightly fingered the hem of her underwear. He slowly slid his hand under the soft silk and rubbed her abdomen. He inched his lower and found what he searched for. She moaned softly. He leaned into her neck and began a trail of kisses down her shoulder. She turned toward him and smiled. Before she could speak her good mornings, he devoured her in a passionate kiss. She had never felt him this way before. He had such a hunger in his eyes and an urgency in his movements. He moved above her and rested his weight on his arms. All the while he voraciously kissed her lips. He tugged at her underwear and she obliged him with their removal. He positioned himself between her legs and entered her. She arched her back to greet him. He moaned with pleasure as he began a steady rhythm. He never let his lips leave her mouth. He slowly slid his hand up her side. He reached her breast and rubbed his thumb over her hardened nipple. He quickened in his movements and kissed her deeper. She could feel the rush of pleasure building. She clung to him, trying to pull herself closer to him. He could feel the sweat forming on her body. She arched her back. Through his kisses, she screamed in ecstasy. The sound of her pleasure sent him into total release. He cried out her name as he came. They both clung to one another. Neither wanting to release the others hold. Ben pulled away from her and rolled onto his back. He pulled Sara to him. Her hair clung to his sweat-covered chest.
"I love you, Sara. Please, don't ever forget that."
Sara leaned her head up and looked into Ben's clear blue eyes.
"I won't forget. But you may have to remind me from time to time." She gave him a coy smile. He laughed and hugged her close to him.
"I love you, Benton Fraser." They spent the next two hours holding one another.
Sara insisted on helping Fraser get dressed. She liked the way he looked in his dress uniform. She was straightening his lanyard as he picked some invisible lint from his coat.
"You look very handsome."
"Thank you kindly." She still hated the fact that he had to go to this banquet with Thatcher. Fraser could tell she was still putting up a brave and noble front.
"I know you'll have a good time tonight. Let me know what they served for dinner." She poured herself into the task of making him presentable. She straightened a hair and pulled at the back of his coat.
"Sara, it's almost 4:30. I really should be going." He could see the pang of jealousy flash through her eyes before she plastered the loving smile on her face.
"Be careful. I love you." He leaned down and kissed her with all the love in his body.
"I love you, too." She waved from her apartment door as he entered the elevator.
"Have a good time." The elevator doors closed and she slowly shut the door.
"Shit." She leaned her head against the door and sighed.
"This really sucks." She turned and made her way to her bedroom. She took off her sweater and jeans and placed them in the hamper. Pulling the bright green flannel pajama bottoms on she sighed, "What a way to spend a Saturday night." She slipped off her bra and pulled on a thin white tank top.
It was barely 5:00 when she picked up the phone and dialed South Carolina's area code.
"Hey, Debi. It's me." Sara sank into the couch. She rested the base of the phone on her stomach.
"Ben's on his way to pick up Inspector Thatcher." She made a nasty face in the air as she said her name.
"You know he's only doing this because he has to." Debi was trying to sound convincing. She knew where this conversation was heading.
"Yeah, I know. It just pisses me off that he has to be her little boy-on-call. Why can't the Dragon Lady find her own date? I'd feel pretty bad if I had to make someone that worked for me take me out. How hard up do you have to be, huh?" Sara knew she sounded like a jealous high school girl, but Debi was the only true friend that would indulge her and understand.
"Well, she knows Fraser is only thinking of you. That ought to piss her off. Maybe she won't make him do it anymore."
"Yeah, I wish." She rose from the couch and pulled the phone into the kitchen. She held the refrigerator door open and waited for something to jump out at her.
"Well, all I know is the man I love more than anything on this earth is out with another woman and I'm home on a Saturday night alone, in my pj's. The highlight of my evening, besides talking to you, will be the fact that I have rented the entire Lethal Weapon Series and I have an entire gallon of Moose Tracks ice cream. I guess I can seek comfort in the fact that I can see Mel Gibson's naked ass and not have to worry about Ben blushing like crazy." She rummaged through her kitchen drawer until she found the largest spoon she had in the house. She opened the freezer and removed the yellow and white box. She peeled back the lid and jammed the spoon into the carton.
"I bet he's at her house by now. He even had to go pick her sorry ass up."
"Sara! You are ruthless." Debi couldn't help but laugh when Sara swore. Debi knew she only cursed when she was extremely angry or felt threatened.
"Sorry, I guess you bring out the redneck in me." Sara spooned a generous helping of ice cream in her mouth.
"You know - shwe pwably wore somepin weally skimpy too. I coud tell frwom d' miwute I mwet her 'at she had eyes fwor Ben."
"Will you please not talk with your mouth full."
"Sowwy." Sara swallowed the mouthful of ice cream and began her tirade again.
"I wonder what they're doing now?"
"Why didn't you ask to go?"
"What?! Are you crazy? I was not invited to attend. I sure ain't gonna invite myself." She devoured another spoonful of ice cream.
"How come you have never been invited to one of those things. You work for the DA's office for pete's sake. You've told me before how you get invited to all the political dinners. Why can't you get invited to these?"
"I bet Craig gets invited. I'll have to ask him. But, even if I do get an invitation, Thatcher will still make Ben go with her."
"Yeah, but at least you'll be there to keep and eye on things."
"That would really turn her crank, wouldn't it!" The two women giggled at the idea of aggravating Inspector Thatcher.
"If Ben heard you talking like this he would freak out." Sara laughed at the reaction Ben would have to how she talked with Debi.
"Well, we'll just stick to our rules then." The two women laughed and then recited in unison, "What they don't know can't hurt us."
"Oh! It gets even worse! Guess who is now the new civilian aid at the 27th." Before Debi could answer, Sara enunciated ever syllable and said, "Francesca Vecchio."
"Yes, I had to go by the station on a case and there she was. She had on a skirt - well, let me put it this way, any shorter and it would have been a belt. She was all but lying on top of Ben. I don't know if I can handle all of this. Does every woman in Chicago feel the need to throw themselves at the man I love."
"Works for you."
"Learned from the master."
They talked and giggled for over an hour and a half. Sara had eaten half the carton of ice cream before abandoning it on the counter to melt.
"I'll try to call next week, Love Debi."
"Don't worry about Ben. He loves you, you know that. Bye, Love Sara." When she hung up the phone she sighed a contented sigh. She snuggled herself down into the cushions of the couch and started the tape in the VCR.
"Well, Mel. It looks like it's just you and me." Mel Gibson was blowing the bad guys away when the door intercom rang. She rose quickly and bolted to the door.
"Miss Sara. This is Ernie. There's a delivery for you."
"A delivery this late? Send it on up. Thanks, Ernie." Sara couldn't imagine who would be delivering anything on a Saturday night. As was her custom, she opened her door slightly so Ernie would just come on in. Ernie had worked there for years. He liked Sara. She wasn't arrogant like some that lived in the building. He always looked out for her. She always took the time to say hello and even baked him cookies to take home to his grandchildren.
The door opened and Sara turned away from Mel to greet Ernie. Before she could speak she realized it wasn't Ernie at her door.
"Ray?" Ray stood in the doorway holding the largest bouquet she had ever seen. He looked at her and started to laugh.
"What are you doing?" She could feel the embarrassment creep across her face. Ernie was like a grandfather to Sara. She didn't mind if he saw her wallowing in self-pity with an ice cream stain on her shirt, but Ray was different.
"What are you doing, Ray?" She stood up and tried to push the hair back from her face.
"I have a delivery for one Sara Montgomery from a Constable Benton Fraser." Ray presented her with the extravagant arrangement. Sara inhaled the fragrance of the fresh cut flowers.
"They're beautiful. But, how - I mean, why are - " Before she finish her thoughts, Ray interrupted.
"Read the card." Sara opened the envelope and read the card written by Ben.
I am thinking of you, now and always. The flowers in this bouquet pale in comparison to the beauty that is you. I love you, Ben.-
She smiled as she traced her fingers across the writing on the card. Then she noticed the grin on Ray's face.
"You read this, didn't you?"
"I was with him when he wrote it, you beauty, you."
"Not one word. Do you understand? He will not know how you found me here. Got it?"
Ray lifted his hands in understanding, "Yeah, sure. I won't tell him about this little scene. What is that Rocky Road?" He pointed to the stain on her chest.
"No, smart-ass. It's Moose Tracks." He shook his head and giggled.
"Have you eaten? I mean a real meal, that is?"
"No, not really."
"Well, get changed and I'll take you to dinner. Benny won't mind. Besides, he's suffering through a night with Thatcher."
"Yeah, I bet he's suffering. Here, stop the tape. You can watch what you want while I shower and change."
"Well, make it a quick shower. No country music. We don't have all night. I'm starved."
"I'll only be a minute."
Ray settled into the chair and started flipping the channels.
"Minute, my ass."
Ray and Sara walked arm in arm into Angelo's. Sara was grateful for the company but it was evident that she missed Ben. They were seated at a table near the back of the restaurant. They sat in comfortable silence as they looked over the menu. Sara decided to order something light considering the amount of ice cream she had demolished. After the waiter made his way back to the kitchen, Ray finally broke the silence.
"You got it bad, huh?"
"Yeah, pretty bad." She liked the fact that she could talk straight with Ray. They had shared so much over the past few months they would forever be bonded as friends.
"I must look like a fool." Sara lowered her eyes in embarrassment.
"Why because you love him and it bugs you that women are constantly throwing themselves at him?"
"That makes me feel much better, Ray. Thank you." She shot him a sarcastic smile.
"Hey, I told you that from the beginning. You knew what you were doing."
"I know, but I didn't think that it was going to be so blatant. Come on Ray, it's disgusting." Ray chuckled.
"I don't know why you are getting so upset. He loves you. You, Sara. Do you know how nervous he was about going tonight? He didn't want you to be worried. He knew what was going on in that head of yours." Sara felt like an idiot. She thought she had covered her feelings enough so Ben wouldn't notice.
"I just can't help it. I love him so much, Ray. It scares me. I have never fallen for some one as hard as I have for Ben. I guess I'm just insecure. I know it's not his fault. It's just something I'm going to have to overcome. I know Ben loves me. Sometimes it's just hard to understand why." She smiled at Ray and laughed.
"Well, I think you two are great together. Don't let go of each other, okay."
"Thanks, Ray." They both sat and enjoyed the meal. They chatted about work, and Debi and how things were going back home on the farm. The evening was nice and Sara's fear over Fraser and Thatcher were all but forgotten.
Fraser took another bite of his dessert. He wasn't very hungry but he knew that the chef had gone to a lot of trouble in preparing the meal. Inspector Thatcher was telling an amusing anecdote to the Ambassador. Fraser wondered what Sara was doing. Did she like the flowers? Had she accepted Ray's offer for dinner? His thoughts were interrupted by the low soft strains from the orchestra. He caught a glimpse of the Inspector and realized they were one of the few couples not dancing. He swiftly rose to his feet and offered her his hand. They made their way to the dance floor. Fraser guided Thatcher across the floor. Thatcher pressed herself against him. She looked with disappointment at his reaction. He didn't even seemed to notice. He could have been dancing with Lt. Welsh at the expression on his face. He was robotic in his movements. Thatcher could see in his eyes that something had changed in him. He was not his usual self around her. He no longer stuttered or twitched. He seemed content and full of light. The tension that was so thick between them was all but gone. But tonight he seemed distracted. His mind was elsewhere. She knew in her heart that it was Sara. Fraser was in love. He only thought of her. Meg's face grew hot with embarrassment as she recalled the day in her office when she ordered him to escort her. *He must be miserable. Why do I always do things like this? * The waltz ended and Fraser escorted her back to her seat. She could see that he was making the best effort he could to enjoy the evening. However, the distant look in his eyes told the truth.
Meg leaned over and whispered in to his ear, "Why don't you call her?"
"I beg your pardon."
"Go call Miss Montgomery, Constable. Tell her you'll be finished with your duties by 11:00. I'll have Turnbull drive me home." The sparkle in Fraser's eye said volumes. Instead of his normal protesting and stuttering, he excused himself and made his way to his office. Meg tried to look as pleasant as she could, but the dull pain that spread across her chest was growing. She stole a look at Fraser as he exited the room. Envy was eating away at her cordial smile. Thatcher felt the familiar weight of loneliness.
Ray and Sara stepped off the elevator when Ray's cell phone rang.
"Vecchio. Yeah, hold on." He smiled a sly grin and handed the phone to Sara.
Sara smiled through the entire conversation. Ray couldn't help but smile back as he looked at her. Her whole being seemed to glow when she spoke.
"I'll wait up for you. I love you too, Ben. Bye." She handed the phone back to Ray and unlocked her apartment door.
"He should be here in about two hours. You want to sit with me until he gets here?" Ray leaned over and kissed Sara lightly on the cheek. "Nah, you two have fun. Goodnight."
Sara reached out and grabbed him by the arm as he turned toward the elevator.
"Ray. Thank you." She wrapped her arms tightly around his neck and hugged him.
"Yeah, yeah. You're gonna wrinkle the suit. See ya tomorrow."
Ray walked into the den. Francesca, Maria and Mrs. Vecchio were watching a movie. The kids could be heard romping around upstairs. He heard the water running which meant Tony was working on his gums.
"Where have you been?" Francesca turned her attention toward Ray.
"Sara and I had dinner."
She looked hard at him. "Why are you and Sara going to dinner?"
"Fraser had another one of those consulate thing-a-ma-bobs and asked if I would take Sara to dinner..." A grin spread across his face as he told her the rest. " - after I delivered the flowers."
He tried not the laugh at the look of disgust that flew over Francesca's face.
"Why would you be sending her flowers?"
"I didn't send her flowers. Fraser sent her flowers. He thought it would make her happy. He told me he couldn't stand being away from her."
"Oh God! I don't know what Benton sees in her. She's all wrong for him."
Ray's tone turned harsh. "Oh, and you are all right for him. Is that it?"
"Maybe, I am. I just know that she isn't." Francesca folded her arms tightly and stared back at the television screen.
"Listen, Franny, Benny loves Sara. I've never seen him act this way towards any other woman before. That includes Victoria." Francesca glared at him.
"If you keep acting the way you did at dinner the other night you are going to do two things. One, Sara will never come here again." An evil smile spread across her face, "Good."
"And two, neither will Benny." The smile faded as quickly as it had appeared.
"You're going to have to accept it, Franny. And quit hanging all over him at work, too. You just make yourself look bad." Before Francesca could reply Ray left and went into the kitchen.
Francesca stared for a moment at the empty doorway he just stood in. When she turned towards the TV again, she was met with a stern look from her mother.
"Francesca, we need to talk. Maria, please go in the kitchen with Raymondo."
Without a word, Maria fled the room. She didn't want to be anywhere near this talk.
"Why do you dislike Benton's Sara?"
"I just don't like her, Ma."
"That's not good enough. She has done nothing to you."
"She's with my Benton."
"Benton is not yours." Mrs. Vecchio kept her tone even and loving.
"But he could be." Francesca could feel the tears welling up in her eyes.
"But he is not. He has found love. Benton is part of this family now. If he chooses to stay with Sara, then she will become part of the family, too. You have to learn to accept it. If you can not you will only be hurting yourself. You know how sensitive Benton is. He will not bring Sara into a fight." Francesca felt the tears roll down her cheeks. She knew her mother was right. Benton would avoid coming here if it meant putting everyone in an awkward situation. She looked to her mother and whispered, "But I'm in love with him."
"No, Francesca. You love the idea of him. He is in love with Sara. If you take the time to look, you will see that." She stood and walked over to her youngest child. Mrs. Vecchio kissed her gently on the forehead. "Go to bed, Francesca. Tomorrow you will start a new day."
Sara woke Fraser up early.
"Come on, sleepyhead. Get up. It's Sunday. I want to go to church." Sara sat up on her knees on the bed and poked Fraser in the chest. He grabbed her finger and smiled at her.
"I'm up. Where do you go to church, Sara?"
With all that had happened to them in the last month, Sara hadn't been to church in a while. When they were on the farm they went to church each Sunday with the family. Fraser liked their church. The small Presbyterian congregation was warm and inviting. Ray enjoyed the service as well. Sara had offered to go to the local Catholic Church on Sunday, but he liked the minister he met at her church. He reminded him of Father Behan back home.
Sara showered and changed into a dress Fraser hadn't seen her wear before. It looked different than the dresses she wore to the office. It was softer and more feminine. He stood for a moment and watched her brush her hair.
"What?" She smiled at his reflection in her mirror.
"You're beautiful." She smiled sweetly and turned to face him. She walked to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. He rested his chin on the top of her head.
"Mmm, I love you." She closed her eyes and melted into his arms.
"I love you, Sara. I love you more than life." She felt a rush of excitement rush through her. She knew he meant every word. She pulled away from him and grabbed him by the shoulders. "Constable, you are going to make us late. Go get a shower and get dressed."
She playfully slapped him on the butt and laughed.
They walked up the large stone steps to the church. An elderly gentleman greeted Fraser and hugged Sara. They walked down the long center aisle and took a place on a pew near the front. Sara could feel the eyes of her fellow parishioners on her and the Mountie. She smiled to herself at the thought of the women gossiping over Fraser. Everyone knew who he was, she was sure of it. The story had been all over the news. Before they had left for South Carolina, Sara had called the church secretary, Martha, to let them know she would be out of town for a while. Martha kept her on the phone for nearly an hour getting every last detail of her ordeal. Sara only told her what Sara felt she should know. She knew it would be halfway through the congregation within an hour. The service started and everyone stood to sing. Sara loved this part the most. From the first service they had attended in South Carolina, she heard Fraser's voice. She loved to hear him sing. She noticed that a few people turned their heads in their direction as Fraser sang the hymn. The sermon was thought provoking and powerful in its message. As the service ended and everyone was leaving, Fraser took Sara by the hand and walked her down the aisle. Several women in the church stopped them to welcome Sara back and to be introduced to the handsome man that held her hand so lovingly. Reverend Simoneau walked up to Sara and hugged her tightly.
"Sara, It's so good to have you back."
"Thanks, Mark. It's good to get back into church."
"This must be the Mountie." The smile grew even larger as he shook Fraser's hand.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Reverend."
"Please, call me Mark. I'm so glad you could join us this morning. Are you Presbyterian?"
"Ah, no. I was never actually raised in any type of religion." The preacher looked at Fraser with all he kindness he had.
"Have you attended church before?"
"Yes, actually. I have attended Father Behan's church with the Vecchio's."
"How is Father Behan? I need to catch up with the old man. He owes me a game of chess."
"He's well." Fraser could feel Sara smiling at him.
"Well, Constable Fraser. I am so glad you have come with Sara today. You are welcome here anytime. We look forward to seeing you again." He shook Fraser's hand and patted Sara on the shoulder before moving to greet another group of parishioners.
"He's a nice man, huh?" Sara looked up at Fraser and smiled.
"Yes. He seems very nice." A tall blond man made his way through the congregation and bear hugged Sara. Fraser could tell that she didn't return his hug with as much vigor as she was receiving. The look on her face seemed almost pained.
"Sara! Welcome back. I've missed you so. How are you?" He seemed to be totally oblivious to the brightly dressed Mountie holding Sara's hand.
"I'm fine, Jerry. Thank you." Your voice sounded strained. Fraser could see the awkwardness in her eyes.
"Jerry, I'd like you to meet Constable Benton Fraser." She gestured to Fraser and he stuck out his hand. Jerry quickly shook it and muttered a hello. He then turned his full attention back to Sara.
"I was so worried about you. But I can tell that the time away did you some good. You look stunning." He moved to stand closer to Sara. Sara squeezed Fraser's hand.
"Are you coming to the social we are having on Wednesday? I could give you a ride. What time should I pick you up?" Fraser stood in disbelief. He couldn't believe the nerve of the man. He was asking Sara out right in front of him.
"I won't be attending, Jerry. I have a court date on Thursday. I'll be working on that most of the week." She gave Fraser a quick look. "Oh, Ben, we're going to be late."
Ben looked at her for a moment then smiled. "Yes, we do need to go."
"Well, Sara if you change your mind, call me." He leaned over and kissed her cheek.
Sara did her best to pull back from him but he was too quick for her. Fraser put his hand on the small of her back and escorted her out to the car. Sara looked absolutely disgusted.
"Who was that?" Sara suddenly felt a smile creep over her lips.
"That's Jerry Mayo."
Fraser rubbed his ear. "He seems - .ah - he was - ah - friendly." He opened her door and helped into the car. As Fraser walked to the driver side she giggled to herself. * Let's see how you like it. *
"Is he a friend of yours?" Fraser tried to keep his tone as neutral as he could.
"A friend. No not exactly." Fraser rubbed a thumb over his eyebrow.
"What exactly would you say he was?" Sara did her best to control her facial expressions.
"He just goes to my church." Fraser was beginning to get frustrated.
"It seemed to be more than that. Does he always greet you with such enthusiasm?"
"There's nothing wrong with enthusiasm." Sara started to check her make up in the visor mirror.
"Sara, is there something I should know about Jerry Mayo? He wasn't at all polite to me."
"What's the matter, Ben. Jealous?" He swallowed hard. He realized he was.
"I - ah - he kissed you." Sara grinned. * Shoes on the other foot now, huh? *
"He just likes me, that's all."
"He seems to like you more than you are letting on." She could see Fraser's jaw clench.
"What's wrong with that? Can't another man like me?" He gripped the steering wheel.
"Of course. It's just that - I mean - I don't think - " She couldn't control herself any longer. She burst into a fit of giggles.
"What's so funny?"
"I am not." Fraser gave her an indignant look.
"Don't lie to me Constable. I can tell. You are jealous. Green-eyed monster jealous."
"Well, I just think that his behavior was inappropriate. I was holding your hand for goodness sakes. He acted as if I wasn't even there."
"How's it feel?"
"I beg your pardon." Sara's giggles had stopped and she looked at him in all seriousness.
"How does it feel to have someone falling all over the one you love." Fraser realized what Sara was saying to him. He reached for her hand and pulled it to his lips.
"It feels horrible. I'm so sorry." She looked at him with love in her eyes.
"Now you know what I feel like when Francesca and Thatcher and every other hot-blooded female in Chicago throws themselves at you. It's not too fun, huh, Ben?
"No, It's not." He leaned over and kissed her. He smiled to himself when he caught Jerry looking at them from across the parking lot. He leaned in more and kissed her even deeper.
"Benton! We're in the church parking lot." Sara looked at him in shock and then realized what was happening.
"You're worse than I am." A blush crept over his face as he started the engine and turned out into the street.
The week seemed to pass by quickly. Sara had a pretty big caseload and was working 15-hour days. Ray and Fraser were wrapping up an arson case they had been working on. It seemed like once Sara and Fraser returned to work, it was hard to find time to see one another. They would always try to meet for lunch or dinner. Sara would spend a few nights a week at Fraser's and Fraser spent the rest of the nights at her apartment. It was 6:15 and Sara was still going through some of the paperwork that had managed to reproduce on her desk overnight. Most of the office staff had left for the weekend, but she could hear Craig and Helen down the hall. She was studying so hard on the file that she didn't notice the figure standing in her doorway.
She looked up startled. A smile quickly spread over her face. Fraser walked toward her desk. He made a striking figure in his Red Serge uniform. She removed the glasses from her face and rose to greet him. She melted into an embrace.
"What are you doing here?"
"I would like to take you to dinner." Fraser rubbed her neck as he held her.
"Mmmm, that sounds great. I feel like I haven't seen you all week."
"Sara, we spend ever night together." He gently massaged her tired shoulders.
"I know, but we haven't had a lot of time just to talk and be together. You know?"
"I know. Let's try to make more time for each other, okay." She snuggled into his chest.
"That sound like a good idea." They stood there holding each other for a few minutes when they heard a light knock on the door. The barely moved to face the door. Craig Parker smiled at the sight of them.
"Sara, what are you still doing here? I thought I told you to leave an hour ago."
Sara smiled sheepishly and looked up at Ben when she gave her reply.
"I know. But I needed to get this paperwork done or it would bother me all weekend."
Ben smiled back at her and rubbed her cheek. "You work too hard."
Craig gave her the best stern look he could manage. "Constable, please remove Miss Montgomery from the building. She is not to return until 9:00 am on Monday morning."
Fraser broke into laughter and hugged Sara. "Yes Sir. Miss Montgomery, after you." He motioned and placed his hand on the small of her back as he escorted her to the elevator.
Sara had taken a cab to work that morning. Her car was at the garage for maintenance. She and Ben strolled along the streets as the sun was beginning to set.
"This is nice." Sara rubbed her thumb along the curve of Ben's hand. He looked down at her and smiled. He could see the dark circles under her eyes from working too hard. He could also tell she wasn't feeling well. The past few mornings she had gotten up with a sore throat and a stuffed up nose.
"How are you feeling? Is your throat still sore?" She knew it wouldn't do any good to try and lie to him, so she looked down at the sidewalk as she walked and replied, "Yeah, it still hurts when I swallow. I'm still congested, too. But, it's just a little cold."
"Do you have any medication to take? I could make you something if I had the proper ingredients. But, I have been unable to locate a suitable place to find some of the various ingredients needed for a decent remedy." She laughed softly and leaned into his arm.
"That's okay, Ben. We can just stop and pick up some cough syrup on the way home."
They strolled down Winthrop Avenue and made their way to the convenience store on the corner. Ben was giving his full attention to a stray hair in Sara's face that he failed to notice the look on the clerk's face when they walked in. Fraser held the door open for Sara to enter. He stepped in behind her. The man holding the gun was startled at the sound of the bell tied to the door. He swiftly turned and pointed the gun toward Ben and Sara. Seeing his opportunity the clerk reached over the counter and hit the gunman. Ben heard the shot. He grabbed Sara by the arm and pushed her to the floor. He lunged toward the gunman and tackled him to the ground. The clerk had already pushed the silent alarm and could hear the sirens coming. Fraser secured the gunman in his handcuffs and moved to see if Sara was all right.
He stood frozen for a moment. Time had stopped. Sara was laying face down on the floor. He could only hear the beating of his own heart and the quickness of his breath. He scrambled across the floor to her. The police car pulled up to the curb. He grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her over. The first officer opened the glass doors to the store. He could see the blood on floor from where she had been. "7-Mary-3 to Dispatch. We have one victim, I repeat, one victim. Dispatch Detective Vecchio to the scene immediately." By now, every cop in the city knew the Mountie and knew who was his unofficial partner. Fraser pulled open her coat and saw the wound on her left side. He could feel the tightness in his chest. He pulled off his serge. She made a small gasp.
"Sara!" Ben pressed his coat into her side to stop the bleeding. "Sara! Please, don't leave me!" Sara eyes fluttered and then fixed on Ben's. She was having trouble breathing. "Sara! I'm here, Sara!"
"Ben - are - .you - okay?"
"Sara, everything's going to be fine. Hang on, Sara. Just hang on." He could feel the tears burning in his eyes. The throbbing in his ears was getting louder with each passing second. She could feel the darkness closing in around her.
"Sara, don't leave me. You're going to be okay." The Ambulance screamed to a stop on the sidewalk in front of the store, followed closely by Ray. The EMT's entered the store and started to work on Sara. Fraser refused to release his hold on her. Ray had to physically remove him from her side.
"Let them do their work, Benny. They have to be able to help her." Fraser pushed against Ray to get back to Sara. Ray and the other officers on the scene held Fraser back while the EMT's started an IV and loaded Sara on a gurney. Once they had her outside and ready to load in the ambulance Fraser burst from their grasp and grabbed Sara's hand.
"I'm going with you." Not having time to argue the EMT nodded and hopped inside the back of the ambulance. Fraser held Sara's hand and talked to her while the EMT's worked to stabilize her. She slipped quietly into unconsciousness. Ray could feel the tears streaming down his face as he followed the ambulance. He called Welsh on his cell phone.
The EMT's rushed into Chicago General's emergency room. Fraser ran along side the gurney and held Sara's hand the whole way.
"I'm here Sara. I'll always be here. I love you, Sara. Please, don't leave me." He was stopped by a tall older looking man in a white coat.
"You'll have to stay out here. We have to get her ready for surgery." Before Fraser could argue he was pushed back and the doors closed in front of him.
"Benny." Ray put a hand on Fraser's shoulder. Fraser turned to face his friend. He opened his mouth to speak but he collapsed in uncontrollable sobs. Ray wrapped his arms around Fraser and held him while he cried. Ray had never seen Fraser like this. Even after Victoria, Fraser had always kept his emotions in check in front of him. Fraser stood in the corridor of the emergency room, clinging to the arms of his best friend and openly wept.
feedback is appreciated. :)