The Client

Chapter 24

It had been another nightmare filled night for Abby. Mike was by her side for it all. She didn't fully settle into any restful sleep until Mike lay down beside her and held her. He fully intended to slip out and into a chair after Abby had fallen asleep. When the time came, she had looked so peaceful in his arms that Mike couldn't let her go. Soon her slowed breathing and heart beat lulled him into his own slumber. With the sun his eyes opened and his first sight was Abby's sleeping form cuddled into him. Mike couldn't regret not moving. It felt good to hold her.

The alarm clock rang. They had obviously forgotten to turn it off last night. Abby frowned- not again. Mornings sucked. She groaned and reached over to turn off the alarm. Abby settled back into Mike. She still hadn't quite gotten her bearings just yet. Abby was half awake when her hand pressed against a very toned chest under a soft jersey t-shirt. Her eyes shot open. Abby's mouth dropped slightly. She angled her head up to find Mike gazing adoringly at her. Abby startled a bit, "Oh my."

"Good morning," Mike crooned, his voice just a little husky. Abby was more beautiful now than any woman had a right to be, when first waking up.

"Morning," she blushed a little.

"A guy could get used to this view," Mike smirked.

"You're not that hard on the eyes either," Abby murmured.

Mike stroked her check with the back of his fingers. He brought his hand to cup her neck. His eyes drifted down to Abby's mouth.

"I have morning breath," she warned.

"And I have stubble," Mike pressed his lips to hers. Abby relaxed and just let herself enjoy the kiss. They lingered there for a few moments.

Mike's phone beeped. Abby sat up to let him get it. Mike swung his legs over the side of the bed. He grabbed his cell. "The package I ordered last night got here," Mike said, "I'll get dressed and go get it."

"Ok," Abby sighed. She really didn't want to be alone right now.

Mike stood. He turned to Abby. "I'll be back," Mike kissed her forehead. She watched him exit. Abby pulled her knees to her chest and looked around her room. It felt empty somehow once he left. It was too quiet and that let her mind wander. Here she could start a new day, but Bates wouldn't. That thought made Abby want to crawl back under the covers, but she knew that would not fix anything. She blew out a breath and dragged herself out of bed. Might as well use the alone time to get cleaned up.

Abby pulled her hair back in a ponytail before brushing her teeth and washing her face. Next she went on to pick out clothes for the day. There was a knock at her door as she was bringing them out of the closet, "It's me, Abs."

"Come in," Abby came into the room and beckoned.

Mike entered carrying a medium sized box. "I got you something," he presented it to her.

"You didn't have to get me anything," Abby replied.

"Open it for me," Mike urged with a tip of his head.

She took the box and set it on the bed. Abby pulled apart the flaps of the box. Mike had doubled checked on its contents before bringing it up. She looked into the box. "Mike?" Abby raised a questioning eyebrow. She lifted a vest out of the box. There was a bit of weight to it. "What's this?"

"Kevlar," Mike replied.

"You got me a bullet proof vest," she blinked rapidly- her first gift from Mike. Well, he certainly was original.

"It shouldn't mess up your clothes too much," Mike offered. It was relatively slinky for a bullet proof vest so it shouldn't be too noticeable under the clothes. "This can stop a fifty round from 100 yards," he added. It was ordered from the same company that the security company got their vests and other supplies from- it ranked very high in the safety tests. Mike hoped Abby wouldn't fight him on this.

"Do you wear one?" Abby asked.

"Not all the time, but from now on when we go out yes," he answered.

"Because you think it's this Bello guy?" Abby asked.

"Yeah, this all is more than coincidences," Mike frowned, "Jakes always wears a vest on jobs and Johnny will too for this one."

"He scares you, this Bello guy," she set the vest back in the box.

"I don't want to frighten you anymore, but I know what he's capable of," he nodded.

"And he's the type of guy that would go after my dad because of what happened to this brother?" she asked.

"I have to say yes," Mike answered.

"It's not like he was the one that convicted the guy," Abby stated.

"It would be just like Bello to go for the top people," Mike replied, "In Bello's mind, your father denying clemency is like letting his brother be killed."

"Sounds like a psychopath," Abby muttered.

"He'll be after you because of me too, now," Mike locked eyes with her, "I got him to make me his bodyguard- he trusted me."

"He thought you were his friend," she nodded.

"I had to do some pretty despicable things in the name of justice," Mike's eyes went dark momentarily.

"I will wear it tomorrow," Abby promised.

"Thank you," Mike tipped his head.

Charlie came out of her room right next to Abby's as the couple came out of Abby's room.

"Morning, Charlie," Mike ducked into his room to grab something.

Charlie gave Abby a saucy grin, "You've been busted."

"Get your head out of the gutter," Abby shook her head, "He stayed because I was having nightmares if you must know."


"You look nice," Abby changed the subject.

"I'm off to court," Charlie straightened the collar of her pressed navy blue, button down over her gray suit jacket.

"Is Johnny going with you?" Abby asked.

"No, Dale is meeting me at the gate," Charlie answered.

Mike came back. He took Abby's hand. "Ready?" The three walked down the stairs straight into the foyer. Charlie went on toward the front door while Mike & Abby headed in the direction of the dining room.

"Charlie?" Abby said.

"Yeah?" Charlie turned back.

Abby squeezed Charlie's arm, "Good luck."

"Thanks," Charlie smiled then left.

Mike & Abby continued on into the dining room. Johnny was sitting at the table with Brennan. Both were drinking coffee. "They delivered the presents for the Christmas in July thing," Brennan informed them, "They are ready to go for later." Abby would not be going out today. That had been decided last night. She wasn't feeling up to it anyway.

"Well, I better be heading in," Brennan got up.

"You aren't going to stay for breakfast?" Abby questioned.

He went over to her. Brennan kissed the crown of his daughter's head, "Yeah, I'll see you for dinner."

"Later, Dad," she replied.

The cook came out and asked what they wanted. "A bagel please," Abby asked. The cook knew how she'd want it.

"Sounds good to me," Johnny seconded.

"Me too," Mike made it third.

"And what kind would you like?" the cook asked each guy.

"I'd be good with whatever," Mike answered.

"Onion if you have it," Johnny said.

The cook disappeared into the kitchen. He brought out a carton of juice. Then returned to check on what was cooking. Mike filled a glass for Abby and then one for himself. It wasn't long before he brought out a tray with some salmon and other things to put on the bagels. Next he set plates with each bagel in front of the trio at the table. Johnny and Mike started eating.

Abby spun half of her bagel around on the plate. It was her favorite- just a salt bagel with plain cream cheese. She stared at it.

"You ok?" Johnny asked.

"Yeah, Bates' usual choice when I asked him to choose lunch was bagel sandwiches," Abby offered a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes. That was the reason she had asked for the bagel in the first place.

"How long did you known Bates?" Mike asked.

"He had been working for us through the agency for the last three years," Abby answered. She was going to miss his company when driving around. It was hard to see her sad like this. Abby was barely holding it together. She knew she had to be strong.

"I will be right back," Mike got up and excused himself. He had a plan to help cheer Abby up.

Mike found the housekeeper in the living room, "Mrs. Lopez."

"Call me Georgia," the slightly older woman replied.

Mike smiled at her, "The Sinclair's don't happen to have any Christmas decorations handy do they?"

"Yes, why?" Georgia asked.

"I have a surprise I'd like to arrange for Abby, but I'll need some help," he explained. Georgia listened as Mike described what he wanted to do. She smiled in approval, "I'll see what I can do."

Mike came back to kitchen to find Johnny balancing a spoon on his nose. "What's going on?" Mike sat back down.

Johnny took the spoon, "Truth or dare."

"I see," Mike replied.

"Just where did you go?" Abby questioned.

"You'll see after breakfast," Mike smirked, "Whose turn is it?"

"Yours," she answered.

"Ok," Mike leaned back.

"Truth or truth," Abby posed.

"I don't get a choice huh?" he chuckled. She shook her head. "All right truth," Mike conceded.

"What was the most serious you have ever gotten in a relationship?" Abby asked.

He locked eyes with her, "I was engaged for all of two months."

Johnny almost spit out his milk in surprise. He swallowed quickly, "How did that happen?"

"It's was back in California and it ended badly," Mike when back to his bagel, signaling that was all he would say about that. At least to Johnny anyway. Abby watched Mike sad that she had brought the bad memories up for him, but glad he opened up about it instead of shutting down completely.

"I thought you were meeting me at the gate," Charlie walked down the walkway into the estate's drive.

"I'm not making you walk all that way," Dale rounded the hood and opened the door for her. Charlie followed. She was about to get in the car when her phone rang.

Charlie dug it out of her purse, "Hello?"

"Dr. Demarco," Tara greeted, "I was calling to let you know the hearing is off- so you don't have to come to court."

"What happened?" Charlie asked.

"Hannah's father decided to sign away his rights- I think he is trying to cut a deal," Tara said.

"Thanks for letting me know," Charlie replied.

"Have a good day," Tara ended the call.

Just as soon as Charlie was about to put her phone back in her purse it rang again. "Juan?" Charlie greeted.

"Did you hear?" her attorney asked.

"Ms. O'Neil just called," she nodded.

He couldn't see the gesture, but went on, "I hope you are still planning on coming."

"Is our meeting with the judge still on?" Charlie asked.

"Just moved up to when the other hearing would be," he answered.

"Ok, wow," she said, "I am getting in the car- I thought these things usual go at a snail's pace."

"Not when you have me, Dr. Demarco. And it's the same judge as was going to rule on Hannah's father's rights by the way," Juan replied.

"Ok, see you there," Charlie slid into the passenger side. Dale closed the door, then got into the driver's side and they took off.

"Close your eyes," Mike whispered. She did. "No peeking," he opened the door. Then Mike turned ,keeping the door from closing with his foot. He took her by the hands. Walking in backwards, Mike led her to the center of the room then stopped. "Ready?" he asked, "You can look now."

The room was decked out in garlands and other Christmas decorations. There was a small artificial tree in the corner. Her hands covered a wide smile which was revealed when she brought them down. "Oh, Mike." This is what he had sneaked out in order to have setup.

He pulled the tree topper out of his pocket. Mike offered it to Abby, "What to put the star on the tree?"

"Sure," Abby took the ornament. She walked over to the tree and placed the star on top.

"Wait for it," he grinned. Mike hit play on his phone and a familiar Christmas song began.

The presents to wrap sat on a table with the wrapping paper and other supplies they needed. He pulled out the chair for her and she sat. He took the chair by her side.

"Where do we start?" Mike asked.

Abby took up a clipboard with a list of kids and their gifts, "Kid by kid."

She set a stack of name tags in front of him. "Why don't you write out the tags?" she requested.

"You probably have better hand writing than me," Mike took up the pen. He looked at the list. There were about ten kids.

"I think a guy's handwriting would be better for this she smirked. While he wrote out the tags, she opened the first roll of paper and got to work wrapping the first kids presents.

Mike grabbed the next toy on the list and began helping. He cut the paper for one gift and got the first two sides taped down. When he got to the side he had to fold he couldn't quite decide which way to do it. Mike tried one way, but it didn't quite cover anything.

"Give that here," Abby saw his issue.

"You're bossy," Mike passed it to her with a smirk. He went on to another present.

"All this wrapping reminds me- I need to get Lucia a birthday present," she folded one side of the paper that was left.

"What are you thinking?" Mike asked.

"Maybe a bracelet or something," Abby shrugged, "There is a jewelry store that we girls like to shop at sometimes."

"Sounds doable- what's it called?" he inquired.

"Leonardo's- it's on 6th street," she answered.

"I'll check it out later," Mike promised.

"Charlie might want to go too- she's on night shift so she might be able to swing it," Abby said.

"That could work," he nodded, "We could take both Johnny and Jakes with us then."

Mike struggled getting a piece of tape off and cut. He finally got the piece cut, but by that time it was mostly crumbled together. Abby snickered. Mike pursed his lips then stuck the piece to Abby's cheek using the one little tab of it that wasn't crumbled. Abby laughed. That made Mike smile. She deserved to be happy. He was going to do his best to make sure she was.

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