The Client

Chapter 26

The new lovers lay in each other's arms. Skin to skin, total contentment enveloped them.

Abby sighed, "That was just about perfect."

"No regrets?" Mike kissed Abby's forehead.

"Uh, uh," she replied, "In fact I don't know why we waited so long."

"Could be we haven't gone on our second date yet," he pursed his lips.

Abby snickered, "We're going to have to do something about that aren't we?"

"We'll see about scheduling the cooking class soon," his fingertips lightly traced heart shapes into her bare shoulder, "I should have asked you this before we…"

"Yeah?" she smiled at the not so distant memory.

"Are you on birth control?" Mike asked.

"I'm on the pill so as long as we're smart like tonight we're good there," she said. He didn't know why, but his heart sank just a little.

"It's not that I don't want kids ever," Mike inhaled.

"No, I understand, we're just starting out and things are completely insane," Abby rested her hand on his chest, "But someday maybe."

"Someday," Mike agreed. He pulled away from her.

"What's wrong?" Abby's brow furrowed.

Mike got up and began to collect his clothes, "Nothing is wrong."

"Why are you getting dressed? Clothes are bad," Abby pouted.

"We need to talk," he zipped up his jeans.

"I thought that's what we were doing?" she rejoined.

Mike pulled his shirt back over his head. "I'd rather not talk about this in your bed," he insisted, "Or room for that matter." Abby sighed. He offered her his hand. She took it and pulled herself up onto her feet. Abby opened a drawer in her dresser. She chose out a soft t-shirt and sleep pants. It didn't take long for her to throw them on. Mike smiled and took her hand. They walked in sync with each other.

They ended up outside at the pool. Mike sat in one of the lounge chairs. Abby sat with him. She leaned back into her boyfriend. Mike wrapped his arms around her. Abby waited for him to start. "I have never talked with anyone about this since I left the FBI," he began.

"I understand- I won't be repeating any of it," she promised.

"When I was in California, I fell hard for one of my housemates," Mike confessed.

"You said you were engaged, was that to her?" Abby questioned.

"Yeah, it was. Hooking up with a coworker wasn't one of my brightest ideas," he shook his head.

She could tell he was a bit embarrassed. Abby licked her lips, "We all have our moments."

"She didn't mind that I lied for a living, she loved it. She did the same thing- hell, she was better at it," he faked a smile.

"What do you mean by that?" Abby inquired.

"Eddie, Bello, and I were ambushed," Mike explained. The sudden shift in the direction of the conversation was a little jarring at first, but Abby went with it. It was his story to tell. "I ended up taking a bullet to the gut," he resumed. Abby felt a jolt of a sympathy pain hit her side. "We weren't that far from the safe house after we ditched the shooters and split up- I went back to the safe house looking for help. Instead I found my girlfriend in bed with my CO," Mike stared out at the moon lit water. He saw the memory reflected back at him in vivid detail.

Abby turned back to him, "What did you do?"

"I ran out and down the beach until I collapsed," Mike answered, "I nearly bled to death on the sand." She clutched him tight. "A lifeguard spotted me and called 911," he added.

"Thank God," she said.

"They were both there when I woke up at the hospital," Mike said.

"Not what you wanted to wake up too," Abby shook her hair out of her face. The breezes were picking up.

"No," he chuckled, "But I would have had to see them eventually- I still was assigned to the same house."

"Plus you were still engaged- had to deal with that too," she said.

"Actually we weren't at that point," Mike admitted.

"So you didn't break up with her over that?" Abby questioned.

"Should've- I was going to," he answered.

"What changed your mind?" she coaxed.

"She was pregnant," Mike hung his head. Not wanting to jump to conclusions Abby waited for him to continue. "I didn't know how long she'd been sleeping with my CO so I asked for a paternity test," he added.

"And?" she tilted her head.

"When we got the results back she said the baby was mine," Mike replied.

"You were going to step up," Abby said.

He locked eyes with her, "I asked the woman to marry me- two months later, my CO produced the results and announced that he was actually the father."

She grimaced, "Damn."

"My ex knew I wanted kids, my CO didn't so she lied," Mike replied, "I had been so happy I didn't question it- I didn't even look at the results myself." He laughed. "How stupid am I?" Mike threw his head back into the back of the chair.

"You are not stupid," Abby asserted.

"I believed her after she betrayed me," Mike pointed out.

"You want a family and she dangled that in front of you," she insisted. It wasn't very Christian of Abby to judge, especially not a stranger, but from what she had just learned of Mike's ex, she couldn't really like the woman at the moment.

"Things got pretty toxic in the house after my CO's announcement," he went on.

"I can imagine," Abby empathized.

"I applied for all open transfers- I begged the bureau to send me somewhere, anywhere else, but the requests were denied," Mike said.

"They can't do that," she frowned. The lawyer in her was figuring out all the law suits that he could possibly file.

"It was a punishment assignment and they powers that be weren't going to let me out of it," he shrugged, "My CO wasn't about to leave his castle neither was my ex."

"That's why you left the FBI," Abby surmised.

"It was my only option, so I resigned," he confirmed. She nodded. Abby wouldn't have wanted to stick around either. "I couldn't stay in that house and watch them be a family," he continued.

"You had gotten attached to the baby, didn't you?" she deduced.

Mike nodded sadly, "I went to every appointment. If the sonograms weren't enough, hearing the baby's heartbeat did me in." Abby was beginning to develop a strong aversion for Mike's ex and she hadn't even heard the woman's name yet. She had let Mike get attached to that baby under false pretences. "I wanted that little girl," he admitted.

"Completely understandable," Abby said.

"I quit my dream over a girl- I'm a quitter," Mike pronounced.

"You're human," she stroked his cheek.

Mike cleared his throat, "That's enough about them tonight."

"I completely agree," Abby kissed him, "Thank you for sharing that with me."

Another breeze caught a loose strand of Abby's hair and blew it into her face. Mike tucked it behind Abby's ear, "Thank you for listening."

"Anytime," she laid back in his arms. For a few moments they just enjoyed holding each other. "Isn't the water beautiful out here?" Abby murmured.

"Yeah, the moonlight is nice on it," he agreed.

"It's calling to us," she pushed up off the chair and looked back at him, her brown eyes lit with mischief. Abby grabbed his hand and tried to tug him toward the pool.

"I don't have my swimsuit on," Mike protested.

"Neither do I," she winked.

"Abby, no," he shook his head.

"Mike, yes," Abby grinned. She grabbed the hem of her shirt and began to pull it up.

"There are new security cameras out here," Mike pushed up with his hands on his knees.

She dropped the hem and it fell back to where it had been. "Fine," Abby huffed.

He came up behind her. "I am sure we can think of something else to do," Mike put his hands on her hips and brought her body back to his.

"You can take me back to bed," Abby purred.

"As you wish," he whispered. She giggled as Mike lifted her up and into his arms. Abby wrapped her arms around Mike's neck and allowed him to carry her inside. There were still several hours before daylight and she was going to use them very wisely.

The sun was coming up as Charlie and Johnny pulled into the driveway of the mansion. Johnny got out and opened her door while Charlie unbuckled. Charlie walked into the mansion rubbing her eyes. Johnny was only a step behind her. Boy did she hate night shift. At least she had the guardianship news to keep her going. Charlie yawned.

"Are you sure you don't want to wait until you get some sleep before we check out the DNA reports?" Johnny offered. They had gotten the alert that the info was up for them earlier during the night.

"I won't be able to sleep if I don't check out mine- you promised we'd do it together," she said as they headed up the stairs, "I am holding you to it."

"How the hell did I let you talk me into this?" he muttered.

They made it to Charlie's door. She went in and retrieved her tablet. They circled back to Johnny's room. He pushed open the door and let Charlie go inside first. He followed, "Sorry for the mess."

"What mess?" Charlie said. His clothes were sticking out of his bag a little and the bed was unmade, but it could have been worse. Charlie had been to some bachelor pads before.

He pulled out his laptop smiling. Charlie was tired, but there was no way she could sit. Charlie turned on her tablet. "Ready?" she asked.

"No," Johnny frowned.

"Wuss," Charlie shoved her friend. Johnny laughed. He sat on the end of the bed.

She leaned back on the dresser. She tried to pace herself as she read through the pages, but she picked up speed the more she got in. Finally Charlie came to the button that you would click to go to the familial matches' page. She tapped the box above it to approve viewing any matches. The number 1 popped up on the side of the button. There was a familial match for her in the system. Charlie held her breath and tapped the button. Her eyes grew wide as she read the name. "Johnny!" she called.

"I'm right here, Charlie," Johnny lifted his eyes to her. There was maybe three feet between them.

"Check the family box," Charlie urged.

"Why?" he raised an eyebrow.

"Just do it," she insisted. Charlie read on about the connection that was found for her.

Johnny reluctantly complied. After checking the box the button changed for him as well. A second number 1. He opened the corresponding with a click of his mouse. He scanned it and gulped.

"Are you seeing what I am seeing?" she inquired.

"Yeah, I think so," Johnny replied. Charlie sat down beside him. They compared their screens.

"We have the same mitochondrial DNA," she said.

"How is that possible?" he wondered out loud.

"You're him," Charlie breathed.

"Him?" Johnny questioned.

Her eyes started to mist, "You're my brother."

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