The Client

Chapter 28

Johnny's phone dinged. He picked it up. He smiled when he read that the text was from Lucia. It contained a picture of a bouquet of Tiger Lilies. Thank you for the flowers. They are gorgeous. Call you tonight.

"You're welcome. Happy Birthday. Johnny texted back. He leaned back in his spot on the couch.

Mike was sitting next to him as they waited for the girls to be ready, "I take it Lucia got the flowers."

"Yeah," Johnny nodded. He would have liked to have given them to her in person, but with work, delivery was the next best option.

Charlie came down with Abby. When Abby walked in the room, Mike practically started to pant. Abby wore a blue skater dress that fit her to a T. The scoop neckline of the dress showed just the right amount of cleavage. He stood up and went to greet her. Charlie took the vacated spot next to Johnny.

"Have I told you how hot you are?" Mike inquired.

"Not in the last ten minutes," Abby chuckled. He had showered her with compliments during their run.

"You are a vision in blue," he crooned.

"Oh, I am?" she batted her eyelashes at him. He was rocking a red buttoned down shirt. There was something to be said for a man in a power color.

"Are you wearing the vest?" he inquired.

Abby nodded, "Let's hope the double sided tape holds." She was bound and determined to wear this dress even if she had to work around the vest a little bit. From the reaction she got from Mike she had made the right decision. Too bad they had to go set up for the party. "The presents are on their way," Abby said.

"Have you run Vance with Jakes?" Johnny asked. Mike nodded.

"Why would you need to 'run Vance' with Dale?" Abby asked.

"Just in case he shows up today, he does work at the same hospital," Mike pointed out.

"Vance specializes in neurosurgery, he'd have no reason to come to pediatrics," Abby said.

"You," Mike replied.

She shook her head. Abby understood his concerns. "I am sure he's got more important things to be doing today than crashing a party," she replied. Somehow Abby doubted she was a thought in her ex's head anymore. He was no longer of interest to her.

"Some guys have thick skulls," Charlie said.

"I wouldn't put it past him to show up today," Mike added.

"If he does, you and the guys will keep him away from me," she wrapped her arms around Mike's waist. Abby kissed his cheek then wiped the lipstick residue off with her thumb.

Mike's phone beeped. He checked it, "Everyone ready? Jakes is here."

They all piled into the new town car and were on their way to the hospital. From now until they dealt with Bello one of the guys would be driving. Today was Johnny's turn. The drive passed uneventfully.

"I'd like to stop by the chapel to light a candle while we're here," Abby requested. That it was for Bates and his family was understood.

Mike nodded, "We can do that."

"How is the stuff with Child Services going?" Abby asked Charlie while they traveled up in the elevator.

"I have an appointment sent up for an interview tomorrow," Charlie said, "And I still need to get a house- I pulled up some listings last night."

"Hannah gets spooked by guys pretty easily," Johnny warned.

Dale and Mike looked at each other.

"Will she be ok to come to the party?" Abby asked.

"I think so," Charlie replied, "She's gotten better with Johnny and I think with the kids there, it will help distract her." They stepped out of the elevator on the right floor.

"We'll stay on the door," the guys opted not to upset the little girl.

The ladies nodded. Charlie and Abby went inside Hannah's room.

"Hi, Sweetie," Charlie announced their presence.

The little girl looked away from the TV to the new arrivals."Dr. Charlie," Hannah cheered.

Charlie approached the bed first, "How are you doing today?"

" 'Kay," Hannah replied, "My arm itches."

"Under your cast?" Charlie asked. Hannah nodded. "Just a moment," Charlie went to a cupboard and pulled out a bottle of baby powder. "Hold out your arm," Charlie showed Hannah what she needed to do. While Hannah copied the position Charlie sprinkled in the powder all the way around under the cast. "Better?" Charlie asked. Hannah nodded.

Charlie motioned Abby over. Abby came and stood beside the foot of the bed. "Sweetie, I want you to meet my best friend Abby," Charlie introduced, "Abby, this is Hannah."

"Hi, Hannah," Abby waved, "It's nice to meet you."

"Hi," Hannah batted her eyes.

"Charlie tells me you are a very special girl," Abby smiled brightly. She exulted warmth and caring. Hannah already liked Dr. Charlie's friend. "We are having a kind of Christmas party in a little bit with some other kids at the hospital- do you think you would like to come?" Abby offered.

Hannah looked to Charlie with big brown eyes, "Can I?"

"Sure, I'd think that would be good for you," Charlie nodded.

"Are you going too?" Hannah asked.

"Yes, I am- I'll be with you," Charlie answered.

"We have to go get ready for the party, but Johnny and I will be back to get you later," Charlie promised.

"Later," Hannah said.


The tree held all the trimmings. Tinsel was scattered about on it. Ornaments placed in just the right places. An angel set on top. Presents were placed under it. Abby had carols going.

"Just put them on!" Mike ordered. His two friends protested against the wearing of Santa hats for the party. Abby and Charlie were already wearing blue ones. Mike had the one red hat for Abby.

"You are so whipped," Johnny laughed.

"It's hard to make me look dumb, but that hat will do it," Dale joined in.

Mike made sure Abby was distracted before picking up the hats from the table in front of them, "Abby has worked hard for today- if you two block heads keep messing around, I will hurt you." His ocean eyes backed up his promise of bodily harm. He was going to do all within his power to make sure this party went off without a hitch.

"We were just playing with you," Johnny took his hat and put it on and so did Dale.

Soon the guests started to show up. Mike stood beside her as she greeted each person that came in. Charlie and Johnny retrieved Hannah and brought her in.

Once all the guests were in attendance, each kid got to pick one of their gifts to start off the party. Mike stood behind Abby while she gleefully watched them open their presents. He pulled her to the side of the room. Mike pulled out the box that held the ring he had bought the day before.

"Mike," Abby raised her eyebrow.

"I figured you deserved a present too," He replied.

"Very sneaky," she recognized the box from where they had shopped yesterday, "You don't have to keep buying me things." In fact when you thought about it, the last gift was pretty telling of how he felt.

"I know," he rubbed the back of his neck. Abby wasn't the type of girl that needed money constantly spent on her. "Open it," he urged, "It's too early for an engagement ring or anything like that- but I wanted to get you something nice."

Abby opened the box. Her eyes sparkled as she got a look at the ring. The light caught in the stones just right. "Wow," she interjected.

"Do you like it?" Mike asked.

Abby nodded, "It's gorgeous." She took the ring out of the box and read the inscription: July 4th. Abby sighed catching the meaning of it. "Fireworks," she breathed.

"I wanted you to always remember our first kiss," Mike explained.

"I don't think that's something I could forget," Abby brushed some hair from her face. Abby looked up from the ring and beamed at her boyfriend. She gave the ring to him and held out her fingers daintily. He slipped the ring on over her knuckles. "Thank you very much," Abby pushed up on her toes and kissed him. They let the kiss linger. Mike pulled her closer.

They stayed there lost in each other for a few minutes. Mike felt someone watching them. He lifted his head to find Vance standing in the doorway scowling at them. Mike glared at him momentarily. Abby caught a glimpse of her ex, but then angled Mike's face back to hers. His expression immediately softened. They kissed once more before Abby pulled Mike back into the party electing to ignore Vance. He wanted their attention and she was not going to give it to him. Abby was going to focus on the man that deserved it.

Johnny got up and backed Vance out into the hallway. The door closed behind them. Vance brushed Johnny away, "Let go of me."

"I'm not even touching you, Man," Johnny crossed his arms over his chest, "What are you doing here, Dr. Lars?"

"I'm here to speak with Abby," Vance replied.

"Miss Sinclair is busy," Johnny stated.

"Busy with your buddy," Vance mumbled under his breath. He could see Abby & Mike picking snacks off the buffet table through the window in the top of the door.

Johnny scrunched up his nose, "She had you removed from the approved visitors list- you would think, at least I would, that she wants you to stay away."

"This is really none of your business," Vance asserted.

Johnny didn't back down, "Don't you have rounds to get to or something?"

"I am on break," Vance huffed, "I just want to talk with Abby."

"Well, break's over," Johnny rolled his shoulders.

"Not until Abby and I talk," Vance insisted.

"Not going to happen," Johnny began backing Vance towards the elevators at the end of the hall.

"This is overkill- totally unnecessary," Vance sputtered.

"My job is to protect Miss Sinclair from all threats. Considering the way you manhandled her after she dumped you, I think it is very necessary," Johnny replied.

"I just want to talk," Vance's back hit into an elevator door.

"Go back to work, Dr. Lars," Johnny pushed the call button.

There was a ding and the elevator door opened. "Thanks for stopping by," Johnny smiled. He shoved Vance into the empty elevator. Johnny snaked around the corner and pushed a button for a random floor. He stood in front of the elevator so Vance couldn't get off. "FYI, if Miss Sinclair wanted to talk to you she would on her own- don't try to contact her again," Johnny warned. The doors closed.

He made sure the elevator had gone up a few floors before going back inside to the party.

Johnny went back to where he had been sitting with Charlie and Hannah. "Johnny made scary man go away," Hannah said.

"Did he scare you?" Johnny asked. Hannah nodded.

Mike & Abby brought over a present. "This is for you," Abby handed Hannah a colorfully wrapped box with a big bow on top.

"Tank you," Hannah took it in her lap. Charlie helped the little girl lift the lid.

Hanna squealed as she pulled back the tissue paper. "Look, Dr. Charlie! It's O and Katerina! And Prince Wednesday and Elaina! And, and Daniel!" the little girl pulled each plush toy out and showed them to Charlie.

"Those look fun," Charlie smiled. It was good to see Hannah so excited. She had not expected Abby to buy the whole set of Daniel Tiger plushies when her friend had mentioned wanting to get something for Hannah. "Thank you," Charlie mouthed to her friend. Abby nodded.

"I love them," Hannah hugged her toys with her good arm.

"I'm glad," Abby said.


After the party wound down Johnny and Charlie took Hannah back to her room. They got her settled back into her bed. Charlie sat by her leg while Johnny placed her new toys around the little girl.

"Did you have a good time?" Charlie asked, "I have a question I wanted to ask you."

" 'Kay," Hannah replied.

"I was hoping that maybe you'd like to come and live with me?" Charlie asked.

Hannah's brown eyes got wide, "Me, live with you?" Her voice showing her awe. Her mother was the last person who wanted her.

Charlie mussed with Hannah's curls, "Yeah, what do you think?" Hannah smiled, bashfully unsure of what to say. She'd like to live with Dr. Charlie.

"Cool."

"I asked a judge and she said it was ok if I can get a few things done first," Charlie tried to explain the best she could, "I have to get Miss O'Neil to say it's ok too, but I am working on it."


Mike stepped aside into a pew. Abby walked up to the station of candles towards the front of the chapel. She took up a lighting stick. Abby got it started with the designated candle. She chose one of the candles in front of her and brought the fire to it. The flame jumped from the stick to the candle's wick. Abby lifted the stick up to her lips and blew it out. She bowed her head in silent prayer.

Abby was deathly still for a long while. Mike began to worry. He was about to get up when she turned around. His heart broke at the pain in her eyes. Mike stood and slid out into the aisle. He opened his arms to her. She sniffled and slowly went into his embrace. Her hands grasped his back desperately. Sobbing, she buried her face into his chest. He rubbed up and down her back. "You can still change your mind and go to the funeral," Mike offered.

"It should be about Bates, not me," Abby replied, "He deserves that." The media were already all over the story about the attack along with the ongoing threats. If she went to Bates' funeral it would cause an even bigger circus.

"We'll do whatever you want," Mike said.

She pulled back and began to wipe her eyes, "The agent is coming in tomorrow, right?"

"Yeah," he nodded, "We're going to get Bello." One way or another Bello was going down.

"Soon," Abby agreed.

Mike wrapped an arm around her. Abby reciprocated in like manner. They walked out of the chapel together and began to rejoin the rest of their group.


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