Emma smiled as she watched Chris playing with Christopher. The three year old still liked to play peek a boo, the perfect game for the jet they were flying in. She took off her shoes and curled her legs underneath the skirt she wore, one of the few skirts she owned. Chris had insisted. No panties either. It felt so good to be back under his care and protection. Bruno sat himself down next to her, his big blockhead in her lap. She petted him absently.
It had been a whirlwind of a week. She had given notice to her landlord, her work and her pastor. The landlord only cared if she planned to pay one month’s rent for breaking their contract. Chris said he would. The veterinarian she worked for was sad to see her go. She was a natural with the fearful animals but she also knew Kelly – as she was known to them – was much smarter than she let on and needed to move on to something more suited to her intelligence. Her pastor worried about the sudden change but after meeting Chris and realizing she wouldn’t be alone anymore, she understood, prayed over them and said a tearful good bye.
Emma finally got to talk to the Carringtons for the first time in four years. In between the weeping, they managed to convey how much they had missed her and worried about her. She explained to them what happened and they understood why she did what she did, but were so happy that she was back with Chris and in their family. They were elated with the news of a grandchild. Wanting to come for a visit, Chris managed to hold them off.
He and Emma needed some time to reintroduce her and Christopher back into Chris’ life both privately and publicly. Hiring a new publicist and PR firm that handled these kinds of delicate situations, he felt good about being able to reintegrate his new family into his life. Once they were more secure by his side, their parents were more than welcome to visit.
Now they were in Chris’ jet headed back to California. Emma’s stomach roiled with anxiety. Letting go of her fear was harder than she had expected. She trusted Chris to take care of them but she had spent so many years terrified of what could happen to her son that it was difficult to stop being afraid.
She would try to make it work, their life together, owing that much to Chris. But in the end if things didn’t work out, she had decided that she would leave Christopher with his father and disappear again so that their son could have a somewhat normal life. It was she that they were after, not Christopher.
“I see you thinking pretty hard over there,” Chris interrupted her thoughts darkly. “What is it baby girl?”
Emma looked over at the two men in her life. Christopher was just resting against his dad, his head tucked under Chris’ chin. He was fiddling with the buttons on Chris’ shirt. She had never seen him look so relaxed. Smiling tenderly at them, she knew about the contentment that her son was feeling. Whenever Chris held her like that she knew nothing in the world could hurt her and that he loved her unconditionally. To rest in that security was peace.
“I was wondering if you had a fenced in backyard for Bruno,” she lied easily. Her four years on the run had taught her how to fib well. To everyone in their lives she had been Kelly Rivera, single mom from Virginia. “They” had insisted and helped her to establish this new identity. It was to keep the press from finding her but the more she thought about it, the new name and background may have been to keep her hidden from Chris.
He had told her that he had looked for her for two years, but got nowhere in his search. Giving up had been one of the hardest things he had ever had to do, but he had to accept that she didn’t want to be found. He had to respect her decision no matter how much duress it had been made under.
He cocked his head at her trying to determine if she was telling the truth or not. She smiled at how cute he looked, like a puppy. Finally he broke into a smile and nodded his head.
“I do have a huge fenced in backyard,” he told her. “You could probably have two or three Bruno’s if you wanted.”
“Really?” she squeaked, excited about rescuing a couple more pits.
“Yes princess,” he chuckled.
“I always wanted more than one dog but we could only afford the one.”
“You can have a whole kennel of dogs if you want. Anything for my princess.”
“Bruno did you hear that?” she said grabbing the dog’s big head and lifting it up for her to look in his eyes. “You’re going to have friends.” The dog’s tail wagged slowly and when she let go of him, he returned to laying his head on her lap.
“I see he’s excited,” Chris drawled sarcastically.
Emma laughed. “Bruno doesn’t get excited about anything. He’s pretty laid back.”
“Except when he thinks his mom is uneasy,” Chris pointed out.
“Yes except when he thinks his family is being threatened.”
“Good dog,” Chris complimented. Bruno’s eyes sliced over to him and his tail began to wag slowly again but he didn’t move from his comfortable position.
“Your new place looks very posh,” Emma told him. She had seen pictures of his new home in some magazine as she waited in the check out line.
“I guess,” Chris said shrugging his shoulders. “I had to get out of the Malibu place. Too many memories. It made me miss you too much.”
“I’m sorry Chris,” she said softly. “I never wanted you to be hurt. That’s why I left because they threatened you.”
“I know baby girl. That’s all in the past. We’re starting over. From now on nobody runs away. We stick together and fight. Ok?”
“Yes sir,” she agreed. She so badly wanted to never leave his side ever again but was resigned to the fact that she probably would have to.
“Daddy?” Christopher piped up.
“Then let’s get something to fill that stomach of yours.”
“On the plane?”
“Yep. There is a small kitchen on this plane.”
“Cool,” Christopher said eyes widening.
“Why don’t you and I go make some sandwiches,” Emma suggested, standing up and holding her hand out to him. She smiled at his reluctance to leave Chris’ warmth. “It’s ok. Daddy isn’t going anywhere. He can’t very well walk off the plane.”
Christopher giggled. “I guess not,” he agreed and finally let Chris put him down on the floor.
They both disappeared into the galley.