Dante's Peak 2

Harry put his arm around Rachel and they went back to the other room, where Rachel picked up the pain pills. "You're taking one of these."
"No more arguements about it. You're in pain, and this will stop it." She took one out and opened the bottle of water on the table. "Here."
Harry put the tablet in his mouth, then downed some water. "Happy now?" he asked, sitting down to untie his shoes.
Rachel knelt to help him, smiling. "Not yet. But I will be."
He glanced toward the connecting door. "And what if Lauren comes in again?"
The smile widened. "That's what a sheet's for," she told him, running her hands up his legs and leaning forward to kiss him, working at unfastening his trousers. She stood, pulling him to his feet, then slid his shirt from his shoulders and his shorts to the floor with his pants. She moved to touch him, and unlike last night, he didn't stop her.
Harry moaned softly, then pulled her against him, leading her toward the bed and making sure the blanket was over them before pulling her nightgown over her head. "Oh, Rachel," he breathed as her hand continued it's caress. His right hand cupped her hip, pulling her closer, and Rachel smiled, her lips finding his male nipple buried in the dark hair of his chest. She began to move lower, and Harry knew what she was going to do. He tried to speak, to stop her, but the pain medication was making it difficult for him to do anything except lay there and let her touch him, taste him.
Rachel's lips closed over him, and Harry's hips bucked toward her. His hand moved across her back to her breasts, then down, to the dark blonde hair low on her belly. He felt her tension rising as his fingers found the tiny nub buried there, and moving farther, he could feel that she was ready for him. "Rachel," he whispered, pulling her toward him, moving her until she sat astride his body, his manhood hard and glistening from her saliva. She bent down to kiss him, then raised herself up, over him, slowly lowering herself.
Harry wanted to pull her down, to bury himself in her warm, tight body. But he took a few deep breaths, reaching up instead to caress her breasts, his thumb circling the sensitive nipples, as she got used to him. "It's been so long, Harry," she moaned, sheathing him fully at last, and beginning to move in a tight circle. "It feels good."
"You don't know how good, sweetheart," Harry told her, his thumb finding her again, as she began to move faster. Her hands moved to his chest, burying themselves in the mat of hair there, teasing his nipples. He watched her face in the dimly lit room, saw that she was on the edge.
Harry lifted his hips hard and Rachel cried out softly. Hearing her cries, Harry felt his own release and spilled his seed into her. Rachel collapsed onto his chest, spent, her breathing ragged. "Oh, Harry," she said, and he could hear the satisfied smile in her voice.
He rubbed her back. "I think we forgot something. Or, rather, I did."
She raised up to look at him. "What?"
He nodded toward his jacket on the chair beside the bed. "In my jacket pocket."
She remained on top of him, connected to him, as she reached over and withdrew several foil wrapped packets. "When did you buy these?"
"When we stopped for gas earlier. I thought they might come in handy." Rachel would have moved off of him, but Harry stopped her. "Did I do something wrong?"
"No. You're wonderful to have thought about it. I didn't. And I should have, I suppose."
"Would it be so terrible, having another child?" he asked, kissing her brow. "OUR child?"
"We haven't decided whether we're going to get married yet, Harry," she reminded him.
"No, YOU haven't decided. My mind's made up. I'm sorry I didn't use one of those, Rachel. I should have made certain you were protected-"
"It's not likely that one time- right? I mean-"
He smiled at her. "ONE time?" he asked, rolling them over to his right so that she was beneath him. "Who says I plan to stop at once?" he wanted to know.
"Unless- you were disappointed-"
"Not likely," she said, realizing that Harry was supporting himself with only one arm. "Your arm-" she said.
"Push ups," he told her. "Fifty a day. It's your call, Rachel," he said, moving slightly, feeling her response.
Looking up into those blue eyes, Rachel felt herself falling into a pool of cool, deep water. She smiled back and slid her hands to his hips, pulling him fully to her.
"Stop talking, Harry," she whispered in that throaty voice.
Harry smiled and did as she requested.
Rachel put her gown back on later, and looked at Harry. Mistake, she thought, as the sight of that dark hair and the memory of the feel of it against her skin tightened her nipples. "Did you bring any pajamas?" she asked.
"Don't use them," he told her, smiling at her reaction. "I suppose I'll have to invest in a pair or two," he said. "There should be a pair of running shorts in my case somewhere that will do in the meantime.-and you'd better return this to my jacket," he said, holding out the packet they had discussed earlier. She found the nylon shorts and then returned the item to its hiding place. Harry sat up, putting the shorts on. "Better now?"
"Not really. If it wasn't for worry that Lauren or Graham might come in-"
"I know. Come back to bed," he told her, holding out his hand. When she looked at him, he shook his head. "To sleep. I promise."
She curled up next to him, and her hand moved to cradle him, and she smiled at his soft gasp. "You're sure about that, Harry?"
"Quite sure. Behave yourself, woman." He kissed her gently, and closed his eyes, finally giving in to the pain pills.
Rachel took longer to come down from the physically induced high of being with this man. Maybe she was being foolish to ask for time. He was wonderful with the children, they both adored him, she already knew that he'd do whatever it took to protect them. He was tender, charming, drop dead handsome - and a wonderful lover. Tomorrow, she would have another talk with him about the future, she decided, closing her own eyes.
The small church was packed with people, mostly employees of the United States Geological Survey. But as Rachel sat with the kids, watching Harry talk to the four others who had been in the Dante's Peak crew, she frowned. Harry seemed disturbed by something Nancy was telling him. When he came back, the service began, and she didn't have a chance to ask him what the problem was. Afterwards, Harry led them up to where a middle aged woman stood, shaking hands with other people. "Hello, Marge," he said.
She shook her head, refusing to shake his hand, but hugging him instead. "Harry. It's good of you to come. I-"
"Of course I came, Marge. Paul was an old friend." He turned to Rachel. "Rachel, this is Marge Dreyfus. Paul's wife."
Rachel was surprised. "I hadn't realized he was married," she said. "I'm sorry-"
"That's all right. Actually, we were separated. After twenty years, I just couldn't handle his work anymore. Never knowing if he was going to come home-" She brought a handkerchief to her eyes. "Terry tells me that you've been offered Paul's job," she said to Harry.
"Offered, Marge. Haven't accepted."
"Don't," she told him. "Paul said you'd been offered a teaching position somewhere- ?"
"Well, I-"
"Take it, Harry. Take it and get as far away from all of this as you can. Before it kills you like it did Paul. You were lucky this time- but next time- or the next- it's no way for anyone to have to live."
"You're right, Marge." There were other people behind him, and as they moved on, Harry kept his arm around Rachel's shoulders.
"How long had they been separated?" Rachel asked.
"Only a month. Paul tended to obsess about his work. Spent every moment at the office. Marge said that was the reason they never had any children." He glanced back at Marge as she hugged Nancy.
Seeing Nancy reminded Rachel of the earlier conversation. "What was Nancy telling you before the service, Harry? You seemed upset by whatever it was."
"Your friend Mary Kelly and a few others are threatening to file a suit against the USGS for Paul's negligence in not suggesting that the town be put on alert."
"That's crazy. USGS didn't have anything to do with that. And Paul was only doing what he thought was right. You told me that none of the others saw the readings the way you did, no one else had the same certainty that the mountain was going to blow."
"That's true. But some people feel that since Paul worked for the USGS, it's their responsibility. They're talking about taking it to trial if it doesn't settle."
"What are they wanting?"
"To rebuild the town." Harry looked around, realized they were in front of the wall containing the names of all the USGS people who had been killed in the line of duty. He easily found Marianne's name, knew that Paul's would be inscribed here soon. And he'd come very close to being there too. TOO damn close. "Let's get
out of here," he told her. "Come on, kids."
They spent the afternoon packing up Harry's personal belongings in the furnished apartment, then putting the things in storage. "I'll send for them once we're settled someplace," he told Graham as they carried boxes to the truck.
Graham watched him put a box inside, then asked, "Harry- are you gonna marry my mom?"
Harry turned to look at him. "Do you want me to?"
"Sure. So does Lauren."
"Then convince your mother," Harry told him. "I asked, but she said she thinks we need time to make sure -"
"Make sure that you're not going to run out on us like my dad did," Graham finished.
"Something like that."
"You're nothing like my dad, Harry. I know you won't run away like he did." He looked thoughtful again. "If you do marry Mom, do you think- would you mind if I called you 'Dad'?"
Harry blinked back the sudden moisture in his eyes and reached out to ruffle the boy's hair.. "I'd be honored. Now, we just have to convince your mother to say yes."
Graham didn't mention the subject again, and Harry felt somewhat relieved. He wasn't certain that Rachel would appreciate his trying to enlist her son in his war to win her hand. Harry noticed that Graham and Lauren's heads were together in the back seat as they started driving back toward the hotel, but thought nothing of it until Graham asked, "So, Mom, when are you going to marry Harry?"
Harry saw Rachel turn and look at him, and glanced in the mirror to catch Graham's smiling eyes, knowing she would never believe that he'd had nothing to do with the question. Rachel turned back around. "I don't know. It depends."
"On what?" Graham asked.
"On how long it will take for us to get a marriage license," she said, smiling, her eyes shining as she turned to look at Harry.
Harry couldn't stand it. He pulled the car to the curb and turned to face her. "Did you mean that?"
She nodded. "I think I just said 'yes'."
He pulled her across the seat and into his arms for a kiss as the kids smiled. It was only when a passerby whistled that he drew back. "You won't regret it, Rachel. I promise you that. Now, about a license-"
They had the blood tests that afternoon after Harry's doctor appointment, and then got the license. It took some doing for them to find a minister willing to perform the ceremony- something Harry insisted on. "Marriage seems so much more- permanent that way," he told Rachel.
The next morning, the minister met them in the hotel chapel, and, with the desk clerk and hotel manager as witnesses, and under the approving eyes of Graham and Lauren, Rachel became Mrs. Harry Dalton. Harry even managed to surprise Rachel with a set of wedding rings. "When did you get these?" she asked when they returned to the hotel room.
"While you were helping Lauren get dressed this morning," Graham told her. "I told you Harry was down stairs waiting for the minister while he went to buy them."
"Oh, now you've got my own children keeping secrets from me," Rachel accused, but her laughter belied any real anger.
"Can you help your sister finish her packing, Graham?" Harry said. "We have to be at the airport in two hours."
Graham laughed. "Sure, Dad."
"Don't look now, Rachel, but your mouth is open," Harry told her as the door closed behind the boy and he took her into his arms. "He and I discussed it last night. He asked if I would mind. I hope you don't."
"Not at all," she assured him. "Two hours, huh?"
He nodded. "And we've got to finish packing as well."
"Tonight?" she asked.
"Tonight," he promised, kissing her more thoroughly than he had downstairs in front of the children.
As they entered the airport, Graham noticed a sign near the door. "Mom, Ruffie. They're not going to let him fly with us."
Lauren grabbed the dog, hugging her tightly. "What are we going to do?" she asked, terrified of losing her last connection to her grandmother.
Rachel looked at Harry. "How are you going to resolve this one?" her expression said.
Harry began to think. He had Lauren carry the dog in her arms, and as soon as they checked in for their flight, he asked to speak to whoever was in charge. The young counter attendant took him back to an office and knocked on the door. "Mr. Davis, this gentleman has a problem- it seems his daughter refuses to travel without her dog-"
"I'm sorry, Mr-"
Harry shook his hand. "Dalton. Dr. Harry Dalton." He saw the momentary search for where the man had heard the name, then the recognition.
"Dr. Dalton. The one who- Dante's Peak?"
"Yes. The girl and dog in question are the same ones who were also rescued, and Lauren's having a rather difficult time as a result. The dog belonged to her grandmother- and her grandmother died on the mountain. Her mother and I decided that a trip to Florida would help both Lauren and her brother. But Lauren refuses to go anywhere without the dog."
"I understand, Dr. Dalton." He searched his memory. "Is it a very big dog?"
"No. Quite small," Harry assured him, as the young woman agreed with a nod. "And well behaved. "
"Well, it's not exactly company policy, but- if you're willing to vouch for the animal's conduct-"
"I am, Mr. Davis."
"Then she can take the dog with her. Pass the word, Miss Harris."
"Yes sir."
"Thank you, Mr. Davis. You've made a little girl very happy."
"From what I hear, she deserves it."
Harry returned to the waiting area as they were calling for the flight to begin boarding. Three sets of eyes turned toward him. "Ruffie's going with us. Why don't you take her, Graham?"
"Thank you, Daddy," Lauren said, her eyes filled with gratitude as she took his hand.
Harry cleared his throat to get rid of the lump in it. "Let's get on the airplane."
To be Continued...

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