On the first day of the thirteenth week, Sam sat next to Mike at Carlito's and said, "I think I have some good news and some very good news for you." He hands Mike two pieces of a newspaper.
The first one is an in-depth report of a recent FBI anti-human trafficking raid, and how fifteen underage girls were rescued from their pimp. Tyrell James "Jaydd" Robinson was facing over one hundred charges relating to sex crimes, trafficking crimes, kidnapping, and since the youngest girl was twelve, aiding and abetting pedophilia. The report talked about how local law enforcement, the FBI, and unnamed "community activists" had collaborated to make this happen.
Sam smiles. "That got me off Harris' bad list. He's gotten enough bonus points from the higher ups on this that they're going to revist my Russian Spy problem."
"That's good, Sam." He folded the paper carefully, sure Fi will be happy to see it.
"Now, here's the better news, a buddy of mine sent me this."
Mike glances at it for a second, not understanding why Sam might think he'd want to see this. "An obituary from Seattle."
"The guy at the top right was one of my boot camp instructors. Check out the bottom left."
Michael stares at the picture for a long time, feeling his blood run cold. "Management."
"Yeah. Turns out he was a 'retired cop' in Seattle."
Michael just sits there, paper limply held between numb fingers.
"I took the liberty of looking into it. He was found by his wife, apparently had a heart attack. There was an actual body in the morgue, and he's been cremated. Unless this Crane guy is Managment's twin brother, he's really dead."
"Says here he was survived by two sons, a daughter-in-law, two grandsons, and his wife."
"Boggles the mind, doesn't it."
"Yeah." Mike shakes his head and gives the paper back to Sam. Management was the last loose end. The only piece he never managed to hunt down. And he was just hiding in plain sight in Seattle, with a family.
Seven years of his life, finally done, all the pieces tied up, as nice and tidy as they could possibly get.
He's vaguely tempted to send a copy of this to Simon, just to know that someone else understands how utterly bizarre this feels. But if he does that, then someone will want to know why he's sending things to Simon, and that will reopen a can of worms he wants to keep not just sealed, but buried in concrete beneath the ocean floor.
Sam smiles at him, "It's really over, Mike."
Mike smiles back. "Yeah, I think it is. So besides good news, what else is going on?"
"Glad you asked, a buddy of mine..."
On Tuesday Fi said, "Let's go to the beach."
"Yes. I'm feeling pretty good today, and I want to get out of the house."
"Yes, Michael, I'm sure. I want air and sunshine and to move around, and maybe get ice cream or something while we're out."
|Pretend there's a bit more tummy and a bit less rib.|
"You want to eat?" She'd started feeling better last week, but this was the first time he'd heard her say anything along the lines of actually wanting anything. And after almost six weeks of Fi not wanting anything, let alone food, Mike will happily go get her anything, including front row seats to a live gun battle, if it'll get her out of the house and pique her interest in something.
"I think so."
"Out we will go." Two minutes later he's in swim trunks, a short sleeve button down, and flip flops.
"Are you thinking food first, or right to the beach?" he asks as he packs a bag with towels and suntan lotion.
"Food, I'm feeling hungry."
"Good, it's been..." Michael's words trail off as Fi comes out of the bedroom in her bikini. It's not that Michael's been unaware of the fact that Fi's body has been changing. He has been aware, and appreciative of this fact, but he hasn't really seen it. Since morning sickness started, Fi's mostly been laying about in his pajama pants and loose t-shirts. So, while he's felt her body pressed against his as they've slept or the rare occasions they've made love, he hasn't really seen it in a while. He stares for a very long minute, eyes devouring the new gentle curves revealed by the swimsuit.
The primal part of his brain, one he was barely aware was back there, took in the sight of his woman with his child and started jumping up and down and shouting MINE. The result was a wash of raw sexual desire of the sort he hadn't felt since he was fourteen and laid eyes on Kelly Jamison sitting two rows ahead of him in algebra class, stretching in such a way that the sleeve of her shirt gaped open and he could see she wasn't wearing a bra.
The house could be on fire, surrounded by mercs, with every single one of his enemies risen from the dead and zombie-shuffling toward the door, and Fi would still be the only thing on his mind.
He swallows hard and says, "You need suntan lotion. And I should put it on you. Right now."
She grins at the way he's watching her. And then reaches up and strokes her neck, shoulder, and chest, fingers just skirting the fabric of the bikini top. "I can put my own sunblock on."
"No. Not this time." He grabs for the bottle without looking away from her and manages to knock it over.
She walks to him, stopping a few inches away. "Michael?"
"Yes?" He's staring at her breasts and tummy.
She reaches up and nudges his face so he's looking in her eyes. "Like what you see?"
"God, Fi, yes."
"Want to touch?"
"So skip the sunblock and touch me."
His fingers traced from her eyebrow to her hip, skimming over shoulder, breast, and belly on the way down. His lips follow, tracing her new curves.
An hour later, he does, happily, put sunblock on her, before she got back into her suit, and then they got ice cream and a swim.