"That's the last one," Mike checked off the list. Abby looked proudly at the stacks of presents all neatly wrapped. They still needed a couple bows, but that would be done once they took them to the hospital. She couldn't wait to see the kid's faces when they opened their gifts. "It only took us three hours," he muttered.
"Thank you for your help," Abby kissed his cheek, "I had fun."
"Sure thing," Mike pushed his chair back and stood. She slipped out and took her place beside him.
He turned off the Christmas music. "You feel like a ride today?" Mike asked. Some time with Silver would do Abby good.
"Yeah," Abby answered. She had a thoughtful boyfriend. "Maybe another swim afterwards?" Abby suggested. Suits were gorgeous on Mike, but she wouldn't mind seeing him in his trunks again.
"I think that can be arranged," Mike nodded. He offered her his arm. She looped hers in his and they left the room.
In the hallway they were stopped by Mike's phone ringing. He got it out of his pocket, "Warren."
He was greeted by the same distorted voice, "Not braving the outside world today, I see."
Mike stepped away from Abby. She could tell by his face who it was. "That last move of yours was really stupid," Mike said.
"You are very lucky to be there- your driver was not as fortunate."
"Come on, Bello- cut the bull," Mike demanded, "I know it's you."
"You are so sure of yourself aren't you, Michael."
"When did you become a coward?" Mike spat. Mike was getting all worked up. Abby knew she should be frightened, but the most inappropriate thoughts raced through her mind again as he argued with a man on the phone. Mike's passion was certainly hot and it got her to fantasizing. Abby made up her mind right then that she was going to do something about it somehow that day. If she learned anything from this horrible turn of events it was that her time was finite in the grand scheme of things.
"Am I a coward now?"
"You hide behind this computer voice, and go after an innocent woman," Mike scoffed, "That pretty much says it all."
"And you are so courageous?"
"I'm not hiding anymore," Mike contended, "This is who I am."
"That's a nice sentiment-."
"Come on Bello, be a man," Mike cut the voice off.
Mike almost heard a switch flip. "Have it your way," Bello's voice rang in clear, "Miss me, Michael?"
"Not particularly," Mike smirked. He got him.
"I am coming for her and you," Bello warned.
"Take your best shot," Mike replied, "I'll be ready."
Mike tried to calm himself before turning back to Abby. "Sorry, you heard that," he apologized.
"It's not your fault," she shrugged.
"You don't deserve this," Mike asserted.
"I guess our ride is off," Abby frowned.
"No, no, no- I have one more call to make then we'll go," he promised. Mike called Lauren immediately. "I got another call," Mike reported.
"What did they say?" Lauren inquired.
"It's his voice- it's Bello," he replied. Abby watched Mike finish up his phone call.
"Sorry for the wait- where were we?" Mike offered her his arm a second time. Abby linked their arms and they continued down the hallway.
"I should probably change," she noted.
"All right," he agreed.
"Do you think we should call Johnny?" Abby asked.
"As long as we stay on the estate I don't think we need to," Mike answered.
"He'll need to rest if he's going with Charlie on her night shift later," she said.
"He probably will," Mike said.
A plan began to form in Abby's mind. They just might have the wing of the mansion to themselves tonight.
"What's that grin for?" Mike asked.
"Nothing," Abby replied. Two could play at the surprise game.
Dale walked Charlie into the courthouse. His eyes kept darting around. "Relax," she said.
"Easy for you to say," he muttered, "I don't like leaving my gun in the car."
"Neither of us needs you getting arrested," Charlie replied.
Dale sighed. It would be hard to protect Charlie if he was in handcuffs. Each of the employees of the Briggs Security were licensed to carry weapons in all fifty states, but still that didn't allow them to bring their weapons into courthouses. They made it through the security check points without any trouble. They stepped over to the sides to put their shoes back on. Dale finished first. He lifted his head and saw a man in a suit advancing toward them. He stiffened to react. Charlie slipped on her pump. She felt Dale tense and looked up. Charlie patted Dale's arm, "He's my attorney." She put on her other pump.
"Dr. Demarco," Juan greeted
Charlie smoothed down her suit, "This is Dale Jakes- Jakes, my attorney Juan Badillo." The two men nodded to each.
"There is a waiting area over here," Juan directed. The three walked down a hallway to the area Juan had indicated. "Ready for this?" he asked Charlie.
"As I am going to be," she answered, "What do you think my chances are?"
"I can't promise anything, but we got a pretty progressive judge- not to mention you have me," Juan said, "The petition I drew up was pretty persuasive if I say so myself." They sat in the chairs and waited to be called.
A young clerk approached the two waiting, "Judge Martinez will see you now."
"I'll wait here," Dale offered. He had a view of the door to the judge's chambers from where he sat. "Call me if you need anything."
Juan and Charlie followed her back into the judge's chambers. A stern looking older woman looked at the two new comers over her oval shaped glasses. "Consular," she greeted Juan.
"Judge Martinez, this is my client, Doctor Catherine Demarco, MD," Juan introduced Charlie.
Judge Martinez acknowledged Charlie with a tip of her head. She motioned for the two to sit down. They complied.
"We are here hearing a petition for guardianship of the minor child Hannah Perkins," Judge Martinez said, "That correct?"
"Absolutely correct, your Honor," Juan answered. The clerk nodded as well.
"I have read your petition papers," the judge began, "Is there anything you wish to add?"
"If I may, your Honor," Juan opened up his brief case, "This is a character reference letter from Dr. Demarco's boss." He pulled out a printed letter. "And also a letter of recommendation from Governor Sinclair himself," Juan handed over the appropriate papers to the judge.
The judge took the letter Juan offered and read it. She looked up from the paper, "You have friends in high places, Dr. Demarco." Charlie was silent and let the judge continue to read the letters.
"My client is also willing to pay for any and all of Hannah expenses," Juan added.
"Noted," the judge replied. Judge Martinez finished the letters and turned her attention to Charlie. "Is this a guardianship that you hope will lead to an adoption?" the judge asked.
"Yes, your Honor," Charlie answered.
"You are not blood related to the child," Judge Martinez questioned.
"No, but there are no relatives stepping up for her," Charlie pointed out.
"What is the duration of your relationship with the minor?" the judge inquired.
"A month," Charlie answered truthfully.
"Any foster family that could be found for the child would have even less," Juan asserted. He knew this would be an issue.
"Why do you want this child, Dr. Demarco?" Judge Martinez questioned.
"Hannah is a special little girl, she latched onto my heartstrings the night the EMT's brought her in and she hasn't let go," Charlie answered.
"You are her doctor," the Judge noted.
"Yes," Charlie nodded, "She was in pretty bad shape." Charlie leaned forward. "I was adopted when I was just younger than Hannah- I know how much being adopted can benefit a child- Hannah has so much potential. I want to give her the same opportunities and love afforded to me by my adoptive parents," she continued.
The judge was silent for a few minutes as she contemplated Charlie's answers and the contents of the letters. Normally it would have taken a day or two to reach a decision, but she went with her gut. "This is highly irregular, but I am granting this guardianship petition with the following conditions: Dr. Demarco is to be fully vetted by child services before she can take custody- interviewed, background checked, a home visit, and whatever else the social worker deems necessary, with no less than six home visits in the interim period once the minor Hannah is released from the hospital," Judge Martinez pronounced, "Are you willing to abide by these terms?"
Juan looked to his client. Charlie nodded. "Of course," he answered.
"This is to be revisited upon such time as one of the conditions has failed to be met or in six months," the Judge finished.
"Thank you, Your Honor," Juan smiled.
"Thank you," Charlie echoed.
"We are adjourned," the judge ended the meeting.
Charlie kept her composure until exiting the judge's chambers. She was practically vibrating when Dale approached them. "How did it go?" he asked. If Charlie answered him she would have squealed so inside she hugged the surprised bodyguard. "That good, huh?" Dale blinked.
Charlie turned to Juan, "Thank you so much, Mr. Badillo."
"Now remember this isn't over yet," Juan cautioned, "You still have to jump through a lot of hoops to actually get custody."
"I know," Charlie replied, "But it's a start."
"Do me a favor- get that house ASAP," Juan directed. He would have to file a change of address for her with the court hopefully before the first home visit.
Instead of getting ready for bed that night Abby fixed her hair and freshened up her makeup. So her intentions were clear she slipped into a set of lingerie. "Can you come back to my room?" she texted Mike. Abby tucked the phone into her nightstand pretty sure Mike would come straight over instead of texting back.
Abby opened the door at his knock. Mike had meant to say something in greeting, but once he laid eyes on Abby words flew from his mind. Abby was a sight to behold wearing that little silk and lace number in white and powder blue. His eyes darkened. She stood silent for a moment and let him drink her in.
Mike came inside. They shut the door behind him. Mike fought intensely to keep his body in check, "Is this what I think it is?"
Abby asked in her sauciest tone, "What do you think it is?" She cupped the back of his neck. Her fingers twirled the tips of his honey blonde hair.
He swallowed. "Are you trying to seduce me, Miss Sinclair?" Mike restated, "It's working."
Abby smiled. "Life is too short to waste time," she guided him into a kiss. His hands instinctively went to her waist. Mike pulled her flush to him then began to back them to her bed. Once there he picked her up and laid her in the middle of the mattress as they continued to kiss. They broke contact just long enough for them to pull his t-shirt off. They threw it into the room not caring where it landed. He kissed her chin. His lips traveled down the skin over her windpipe. His tongue teased her collarbone. His hands cease their roaming. They came to the bow tied in the middle of her bustier. It was that tie that kept the garment together. Mike tugged the ends undoing the bow. He unlaced the cord, freeing Abby. She lifted her shoulders and shook the top off. The discarded barrier left her open to the assault of Mike's hands and lips as he worshipped every inch of her. Down he went. Hot breath and lips teased the muscles of her abdomen.
His hands came down to her panties. He hooked his thumbs in the hem. Abby lifted up and enable Mike to start them down. He cupped her bottom as he pulled the lace garment off. Abby tugged him up, but he didn't comply. Mike looked up from where he was, "Slow down- I have so much more to explore, Babe." He grinned then went back to work. Soon Mike made his way to his destination between her legs. Eyes wide Abby whimpered when his tongue found her sweet spot. She thrashed as his lips, tongue- his mouth worked magic. She laced her fingers in his hair. Abby felt like she was floating. She was making the most delectable noises. Mike ate them and her up. Abby began to chant his name breathlessly. He took her higher and higher. She called out one final time, shattering completely.
Abby rested limply back onto the bed. Mike came up beside her. He propped himself up on his elbow and just smiled at his woman. His drew his fingertips up and down her abdomen. She looked over at him with hooded eyes. "Are you real, Mike?" Abby panted.
He leaned down and kissed her, "Feel real?" In response Abby grabbed Mike, pulling him flush to her. She kissed him hungrily. His pants which had become increasing tight were now unbearable. Before he could do something about it Abby's hands went down and undid the fly of his jeans. Abby reached in and pumped him. Mike moaned. He quickly stood. Mike needed out of his jeans now. She pushed herself up and watched him slightly confused. Mike got his wallet and took out a condom. Abby smiled. He kicked off the rest of his clothes then tossed his wallet into the pile. She took the condom and helped him put it on. Abby kissed his jaw line then down his chest.
Knowing her intentions, Mike took both her wrists in one hand and pinned them above her head in the bed. "I'm not done with you yet," He growled. Mike kissed her feverishly. Their hearts began to race. Abby wrapped her legs around Mike's waist arching to him with the same motion. Slowly he joined their bodies allowing Abby's body to adjust to his size. Once fully they both moaned at their union. He kissed her again- this time tenderly, reverently. Soon he gently began to piston in and out of her. Their pace began to pick up. Faster and faster he drove. Abby's eyes rolled back. Her head dropped back moaning out his name again. Mike called out to her as he came undone. They jumped off the edge. They came crashing down into bliss and each other.