Mike & Abby walked back from the terrace hand in hand. Neither had spoken since they had kissed. People walked around and passed them. Once they found a quiet corner, the pair began to speck at once.
"So, we should talk," he said.
"I have something to ask you," she said.
Both smiled sheepishly. "Go ahead," they said at the same time. Abby & Mike looked at each other realizing what had just happened. "Jinx!" they laughed.
"You first," Mike tipped his head.
"You know the Independence Gala is going to be tomorrow night," Abby said.
"Yeah, sounds like you worked pretty hard on it," Mike replied.
"Would there be any harm in you possibly going with me? As my date," Abby asked.
"As your date?" Mike repeated.
"Yeah, I mean you're going to be there anyway," she explained, "You'd be able to sit at the table with me…"
"Are you sure you want it to be a date?" he locked eyes with her, "The gala is pretty high profile – there's going to be press; am I the date you want to take to something like that?"
"I like having you close," Abby admitted.
"It just seems like a big step," Mike replied.
She licked her lips, "This might seem fast, but there is something between us- I felt it since the first day at the stable."
"Me too," he caressed the back of her hand with his thumb.
"So will you go with me, 'with me'?" Abby asked.
"If I do what does that mean?" Mike questioned, "Are we together? I mean… This is not how I thought I'd have this conversation with you."
"What do you want? I'm not the only one that matters in this," Abby replied. She waited for his answer with big doe eyes.
Mike almost couldn't think straight with her looking at him like that. He straightened his shoulders, "I want you."
Abby lit up, "Then it's a date."
"You won't mind your name linked with a bodyguard?" Mike inquired.
"I don't care about your job title," she told him.
"The press with probably run with it," Mike pointed out, "I am an employee." Brennan & Lauren were coming down the hallway.
"I know that makes the decision a bit more complicated," Abby acknowledged.
"Not harder, as long as you're sure you want there to be an us," Mike said.
"I'm sure," she professed.
"Then I think we should talk with your dad and my boss," he insisted.
"I appreciate that, Mike," Brennan said.
"Governor," Mike spun around still holding Abby's hand. Abby's cell began to ring.
"Excuse me," she pulled the phone out, "It's Violeta."
"Go ahead and take it," Mike replied.
"Hey, Violeta… What? Slow down…" Abby said, "What happened to the decorations?"
"Go and put the fire out," Brennan smiled, "Mike said he wanted to talk- we'll talk."
"I'll go with her," Lauren offered. Both of the guys watched the ladies walk into a room to take the call.
"You like my daughter, huh?" Brennan smirked after both women were out of sight. He had seen this coming since introducing them.
"I think I am falling for her," Mike confessed.
"Completely understandable," Brennan sighed. His daughter was very lovable. He liked that Mike didn't beat around the bush or shy away from the subject.
"If you'd rather not have me on the pay roll I'll understand," Mike began.
Brennan held up his hand to stop Mike from going any further, "For the record- you don't need my permission to date Abby and I won't fire you or tell you to stay away from her."
"That's good because I wouldn't be able to stay away even if you told me to," Mike replied.
"If I had any say in who my daughter dates do you think the egotistical jackass would have hung around as long as he did?" Brennan sniffed, wrinkling up his nose.
"I never would have guessed that you didn't like Vance," Mike smirked.
"I'm a politician, I know how to play nice," Brennan replied.
"Good to know," Mike said.
"I don't believe we'll have any problems like that- Vance loves himself more than he could love anyone else," Brennan's upper lip curled back, "You don't act that entitled."
"I should hope not," Mike replied. He didn't hide his disdain for the cheater.
"I just want my daughter happy if that's with you I don't want to muck it up," Brennan nodded, "It's not my place to interfere anyway. Abby makes up her own mind and I value our relationship enough to let her."
"She's something else," Mike bobbed his head.
"Very true," Brennan agreed, "All I can ask is that you be careful with her."
"I am going to have to talk to, Briggs." He had enough money stashed away from other jobs to tied him over until he found another job if need be- more than enough. Mike would be staying here protecting Abby no matter what.
"If you'd like me to talk to talk with him I can," Brennan offered.
"That's alright," Mike declined with a smile. That was his responsibility.
"Everything all right?" Abby poked her head out of the room.
"The coast is clear," Mike replied.
"No blood drawn," Brennan chuckled. He couldn't resist.
"I would have to knock some sense into one of you if there was," Abby raised an eyebrow. She gave both men a once over. "Mr. Briggs wants to talk," Abby motioned them in.
"So there's where he ran off too," Mike said. Abby led Mike by the hand into the room and Brennan followed. They found Paul looking at the desktop Lauren had set him up with. It wasn't lost on him that Mike & Abby were holding hands.
"What do you got?" Brennan asked.
"This," Paul clicked up several screenshots from the security camera's at the festival. This time of another get that had been following them.
"Another creeper?" Mike frowned.
"Got a clear picture of his face?" Lauren asked.
Paul pulled up one particular shot, "That's the best I've found." The top of the man's face was obscured by a hat.
"It's late why don't I hand this footage over to some techs maybe they'll find something useable," Lauren suggested.
"Sounds like a plan," Paul pushed out his chair. He stretch and stood up. "I guess it's time to head back to the estate," Paul checked his watch.
"Um, I need to talk with you…" Mike said as they group headed out of the room while Lauren made some calls.
"Yeah," Paul looked between Mike & Abby. He noted the still joined hands.
"I asked him on a date to the gala," Abby offered.
"Ah- you two getting together?" Paul pursed his lips.
"It's looking like it," Mike answered.
He watched Paul's reaction, "Why am I not surprised?" Paul looked over to Brennan who tittered.
"I don't want to cause Mike any problems," Abby replied.
"I'm in no place to judge- how do you think I met Liza?" Paul smiled as he mentioned his wife. They all walked out of the room and into the hallway.
They all drove back home. It was already bedtime by the time they arrived. They said their good nights and headed to their rooms. Mike escorted Abby up the stairs while Brennan headed to his own wing. They walked together to the door to Abby's room.
Mike shifted on the balls of his feet, "I guess this is goodnight."
"It has been a good night," Abby smiled. She placed her hand on his arm. "Sweet dreams," Abby kissed Mike's cheek.
Mike slipped into his room and flipped on a light. He slid into the chair in front of the desk and opened the laptop. Mike hoped he wasn't too late to talk to his mother. He pulled up Skype and within moments his mother began to call.
"Hi, Mom," Mike answered.
"Darling- let me look at you," Rachel drank him in. Mike adjusted the lid with the camera.
"Better?" he asked. She nodded. Rachel was a honey blonde just like her son, very beautiful too. She had married and had Mike young. Mike's dimpled chin and facial structure were inherited from his father, but the eyes Mike definitely got from her. No question about that. The marriage had been a long, painful mistake. The only good thing she had gotten from it was Mike. Rachel could never regret her baby boy.
"How are you doing?" she asked.
"Good, I'm good," Mike answered genuinely.
Rachel noticed a spot of crimson on Mike's cheek. "What's that on your cheek? Are you hurt?" she asked.
"It's nothing," he wiped away the lipstick that Abby had left on his check. He felt his face warming and knew a rose color hue colored his skin.
Rachel liked his flustered reaction. She could guess now what the smudge had been. "How were the fireworks?" Rachel asked.
"Beautiful," he answered, "Did you watch any online?"
"I was thinking about it, but didn't wake up in time," she replied. An amused expression graced Rachel's face. "So you watched with someone special?" she inquired.
"The client," Mike tried to shut the line of questioning down.
"A girl?" Rachel hoped. Someone close to his age. She crossed her fingers out of frame.
Mike shook his head, "She's woman, definitely a woman."
"I see," Rachel teased.
"You'd like her," he let slip.
"You think so?" she eased into her chair.
"Yeah, she's brilliant and so sweet," Mike explained.
"Is she pretty?" Rachel asked.
"Gorgeous," he beamed.
"I guess that makes your job easier," she replied.
"She and her family are good people," he nodded.
"Anyone else would be a step up from the last one you introduced me too," Rachel quipped.
"We're not there yet and I know you were never fond of her," Mike couldn't say his ex's name. He didn't want to talk about his ex. She and Abby were not in the same category.
Rachel pressed her lips together tightly. She didn't have very nice things to about her son's former fiancée. "She's not my favorite person," Rachel admitted. He dodged a bullet there. Just the thought of Kung Fu Barbie as Rachel called the woman- not when Mike was listening of course- made Mike's mother cringe.
"I hate to cut this short, but it's a pretty big day tomorrow so I better get some sleep," Mike began to wind things down.
"Ok, darling, stay safe," she pled.
"I'll do my best," he nodded.
"I love you," Rachel waved.
"Love you too," Mike signed off.