- 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
- 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
- "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
- "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
- "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?"
- "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
- "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
- 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.
- "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
- She nodded. "I think I just
- 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
- "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
- 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
- "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
- 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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