Dante's Peak 2
Part 14

Rachel looked at Harry as he hung up. "Well? What does he want, Harry?"
Harry looked around, seeing Jane Fox and all the other concerned faces. The interviewer came forward. "Dr. Dalton, I'm-"
"I know who you are. Rachel's part in the interview is finished. We have to go."
"Harry-" Rachel said, confused.
"Of course," the reporter agreed. "If there's anything I can do to help-"
"Keep what just happened quiet. If you don't, Graham and Lauren don't stand a chance." *They might not anyway*, Harry thought to himself, taking Rachel's hand to draw her toward the exit. Turning, he realized that Jane Fox and Hank Jameson had followed them outside.
"What's going on, Harry?" Hank asked.
"Brian's alive," he explained. "He's got the kids, and he says that if we want to get them back, we have to meet him at Dante's Peak," he said quickly, as if saying it that way would make it easier. It didn't. He saw Rachel turn even whiter.
"You can't take Rachel up there, Harry," Jane insisted.
"They're my children, Jane," Rachel said. "Besides, I don't think Brian will release the kids to just Harry."
"He's not going to release them at all," Hank pointed out. "Let me call the police- They can be at the house -"
"I've an idea that they've already left the house by now," Harry said. "And he was specific about no police involvement, Hank."
Jane looked at her friend. "You're sure you're up to this? It's not just your pregnancy that bothers me. I know that the idea of going back up there terrifies ME. I can only guess at how much it must frighten BOTH of you."
"We don't have any choice, Jane," Harry pointed out.
"At least you don't have to worry about an eruption this time," Hank said as Harry opened the passenger side door of the Suburban for Rachel to get in.
Harry glanced up, and Rachel saw something in his eyes, a fear brought on by Hank's words. But she wisely waited until he had gotten into the truck and started the engine before asking, "Is Hank right? About there not being an eruption?"
He tightened his grip on the steering wheel, reaching over to take her hand. "I hope so." He glanced at her. "Terry dropped by before I left the university. He doesn't think giving the students a tour of Dante's Peak is a good idea at the moment."
"Why not?" Rachel asked in a shaking voice.
"Because there's more activity up there than he's comfortable with."
"Are you saying that the mountain could erupt again?"
"The chances - are lower than they were the first time," he said, trying to reassure her. "It's almost unheard of for a dormant volcano to erupt twice in such a short space of time. Especially when the first one was as spectacular as that one was."
"But it HAS happened?" Rachel questioned, her eyes glinting in the headlights of the oncoming traffic.
"Yes," he said honestly. "I'll know more when I get to the camp that Terry and Nancy set up. The equipment is still in place for the most part, I think. Terry said the other day that he left it for the tour -"
"What's to stop Brian from using that camp?"
"Nothing," Harry admitted. "But I don't think he's planning to stay at the foot of the mountain," he said.
Rachel swallowed heavily. "Mirror Lake."
"That's where he wants us to meet him," Harry told her.
"I want to go home," Lauren whined.
"We ARE going home, Lauren, baby," Brian said as he drove Rachel's red Suburban past the USGS campsite and turned toward the new road that would take them up the mountain.
Lauren shook her head, starting to cry, and Graham put his arm around her. "It's okay, Lauren," he said. "Dad'll find us."
"I'M your Dad!" Brian burst out, hitting the dash with his fist, causing Lauren and Graham both to jump. "Not HIM! I'll never let him take you away from me. I know I shouldn't have left like I did- but I didn't understand then." He took a deep breath, trying to calm down. "I didn't understand how important you both were to me. This is really for the best, Graham," he said as the truck moved closer and closer to the spot where he had set up a small camp over the last month. He looked around at the desolate landscape, made eerie by the light of the full moon. "You know, there was a time when I knew every nook and cranny of this place by heart. Now - it's all different. Changed. Starting over again. Maybe all of this is a sign," he suggested. "A sign that the three of us can start over." His hand reached toward Lauren, who whimpered and shrank from him, moving closer to her brother. Brian's fingers clenched into another fist. "Never mind. Once we get rid of the others, we'll have time to get to know each other again."
"Get rid of the others?" Graham questioned, recalling the deadly looking knife that Brian had used to get them out to the Suburban. "You said you'd let us go when Mom and Dad-"
"For the last time, Harry Dalton is NOT your father. I AM!"
Graham held his ground. "He's been more of a father to us than YOU ever were," he accused. "At least he was there for us when it mattered. He risked his life to save Mom and Lauren and me."
Brian's lips curled into a sneer. "Well, we're just gonna see if he can do it again," he said.
Harry picked up the telephone and dialed a number. "Who are you calling?" Rachel asked, watching the road ahead anxiously. It was a useless exercise, she knew. Brian had been a lot closer to Dante's Peak than they had been in Portland. "I shouldn't have left them alone," Rachel whispered.
Harry hung up when there was no answer, and put his arm around his wife, pulling her across the seat next to him. "It'll be all right," he assured her. "Shh."
"Who were you trying to call?"
"USGS. See if there's anyone there who can tell me exactly what's going on up there on that mountain." He picked up the phone again and dialed another number.
"Maybe Terry's home by now -"
Harry paused, uncertain if he recognized the voice. "Nancy?"
"Hello, Harry," the young woman said, uncertainty in her voice as well. "If you're calling to talk to Terry- he's- in the shower. He said he'd seen you earlier -"
"Yes. I'm sorry. I didn't expect you to answer Terry's phone." But he wasn't surprised that she was there, come to think of it. "Maybe you can answer my questions."
"Depends on what you're trying to find out," she told him wryly.
"About what's going on at Dante's Peak," Harry said.
"Didn't Terry tell you-?"
"He showed me the readout, and that the gas levels were mid range, but-"
"What's going on, Harry? If I didn't know better, I'd say you were planning to go back up there-"
"Not because I want to, Nancy," Harry told her. "I don't have much choice." He could see her frowning in his mind. "Brian's got the kids and he's taken them up there."
"Oh God, Harry. No."
"Look, is the trailer still at the site?"
"Uh- Yeah. Terry decided to leave it there for the tour - all it needs is the generator fired up to start the equipment."
"Is there anything you can tell me in case Brian got to it first?"
"Trying to get an edge, huh, Harry?"
"Just trying to make frog soup," he said, and saw Rachel turn to look at him as Nancy filled him in on what she and Terry had found up there, and gave him the
combination to get inside the trailer.
Once he hung up, Rachel asked, "Frog soup?"
"Something I told them when Terry had his accident," he said. "I'll explain later. Hang onto that phone. We might need it before this is over," he told her, putting his
arm around her again as they approached the temporary bridge that had been built over the river.
"There's no sign that anything was here before," Rachel said quietly as the headlights enhanced the moon- like landscape. She looked down into the river, her mind tracing the path that they had taken back across that night. She glanced at Harry, saw his knuckles were white on the steering wheel. "Where's the camp?"
"Near the mine," he answered, wishing the tightness in his chest would ease up. It was becoming more and more difficult for him to breathe. The last thing he needed was an anxiety attack. It wouldn't do the kids- or Rachel any good for him to go to pieces. His headlights followed the hastily made road, rumbling ominously on the packed volcanic ash that covered everything.
Rachel refused to think about how close they had come to dying here. She couldn't afford to think about that now. She had to get the kids away from Brian and stop him from doing this again. The headlights fell on two small trailers, and Harry braked the truck, but didn't move as it stopped. "Harry?" she asked.
"I'm not sure I can do this, Rachel," he said, hating himself for admitting it to her. "I-"
Rachel reached up to touch his hand on the steering wheel, then gently pried his fingers away from the plastic. "I'm scared too, Harry," she reminded him. "Scared? I'm petrified. But if we don't do this, there's no telling what Brian might do to Lauren and Graham. He has to be insane to bring them back up here after what happened." She pulled him into her arms, holding him close. "They're counting on us, Harry. On YOU to save them. You know that."
Harry forced himself to breathe, and he looked at her, a half smile playing on his lips. "I guess it's time I put my money were my mouth is, hmm? I told Lauren to face her fear- Now I guess I have to face mine." He looked up at the hulking shadow of Dante's Peak, then back at Rachel. "I love you."
"And I love you," she replied as he reached past her to take a couple of flashlights from the glove box. "Let's go see about that generator, shall we? If I can find out what that monster's up to, maybe Terry was wrong. Maybe the danger's not as bad as he thought."
But one look at the readouts on the machinery told Harry that, if anything, Terry had been overly optimistic. Rachel looked at his face, and what she saw there wasn't encouraging. "What is it, Harry?"
He pointed to the computer screen before him. "According to this, an eruption is imminent. Nothing really major- probably no lava flow- and any pyroclastic eruption would be relatively minor - but the seismic activity -" as if the mountain had heard him, there was a slight tremor that shook the trailer enough for Rachel to cling to Harry.
"Harry," she cried out, trying not to think about Lauren's reaction to this.
He reached around to pull her closer until the tremor stopped. "It's starting," he said, his attention focused back onto the screen. The generator stopped running, plunging the trailer into darkness, and Harry stood, taking Rachel's hand. "I'll go get it started again-"
She held his arm as he would have moved away. "Wait. Listen." Harry went still. "Do you hear that?" A beeping sound was eminating from a table across the room. "What's that?"
Harry cautiously moved to the table and turned on his flashlight to examine it. He had to bend to look beneath the table, and when he saw the cause of the beeping, Harry grabbed Rachel's hand and pulled her to the door. "Let's get out of here."
"Harry?" she asked, stumbling as he half drug her across the packed ash toward the truck and started the engine. "What's wrong?" she wanted to know, then jumped as the trailer became a fireball. As Harry turned the truck toward the mountain, Rachel began to shake, her eyes locked on the remants of the trailer that they had been inside. A second, smaller explosion announced that the fuel in the generator had caught.
Harry pulled her close, rubbing her shoulder as he felt her shivering. *The bastard tried to kill us*, he thought to himself. And if he was that desparate to keep the kids from him, that meant that he might harm them if he thought he might lose them. Harry prayed that the mountain would give him this one last chance to save his children.
At the campsite beside mirror lake, which Lauren had been unable to take her eyes from until the tremor had sent her crying into Graham's protective arms, Brian smiled as he heard the explosions. "What was that?" Graham asked, looking down the mountain at the small fire that had begun after the sound.
"Just a little surprise I had waiting for someone," Brian explained, picking up some binoculars from nearby. He lifted them to his eyes, still smiling- but the smile faded as he saw the headlights of a truck moving away from the fire- up the mountain. His dark eyes hardened into obsidian as he lowered the glasses. "Damn."
"Graham?" Lauren asked in a tiny voice, "I want Daddy." Graham looked at her, grateful that whatever Brian had tried to do had apparently failed.
"He'll be here soon, Lauren," Graham assured her, keeping his voice as low as possible. "But we have to be ready to get away if we can -"
Another tremor almost knocked them off their feet, and Lauren's whimpering grew worse. Her eyes kept moving from the lake to the mountain. Suddenly those eyes widened, and she pointed upward. "Graham-"
Graham glanced at Brian, whose attention was fixed back on the approach of Harry and Rachel, then in the direction in which his sister was pointing. Even in the darkness, he could see the cloud descending from the top of the mountain. Volcanic ash, drifting from the top of the crater, the precursor of more to come.
The mountain was beginning to erupt again.
Graham stared at the cloud of ash that was slowly drifting toward them, then turned to Brian. "We've GOT to get out of here," he said. When Brian didn't respond, the boy grabbed his arm. "Did you hear me? We can't stay here. It's not safe."
"Of course it's safe," Brian insisted. "A few little tremors don't mean anything."
"What about the ash?" Lauren asked, causing Brian to look upward.
"Dear God," Brian breathed, then grabbed Graham's arm. "Get inside the tent," he ordered. "Take Lauren with you. And stay there."
"But- the mountain - it's erupting again."
"Volcanoes don't erupt again this quick," Brian insisted. "Now GO!" He shoved the children toward the tent. This might just work to his advantage, Brian thought to himself. Dalton and Rachel were both as frightened of that damned mountain as the kids were. Well, HE wasn't afraid of it. He had hated it as a boy- and he still hated it just as much now. He went to the tent and pulled the zipper almost closed, looking at the kids inside. "Stay here like I told you. You'll be safe from the ash inside."
"But what if the lava starts again?" Graham asked, leaving Lauren huddled in a corner. "Or another cloud-"
"I'll be back before that can happen," Brian told him. "Stay here. You and Lauren would never make it out of here alone."
"Where are you going?"
"Never you mind where I'm going. Just do as I tell you. Stay here." He finished closing the zipper, then secured it closed with a safety pin in the tab and fabric. "I won't be long." Brian moved to climb into the red Suburban, hotwiring the engine once again to start it. Without turning on his headlights, he moved away from the camp, using the moon's bright light as his only means of seeing.
Rachel looked at Harry as he braked his truck. "What are you doing? Why are you stopping?"
"I don't like this. We could be walking right into some kind of trap, Rachel. He probably saw our headlights after the trailer exploded, so he knows we're coming."
"So is the ash," Rachel told him, looking through the windshield, an eerie sense of deja vu enveloping her. As if the mountain heard her, there was another tremor, stronger this time, and it lasted longer.
"Hang on!" he said, putting his arms around her. "It'll stop in a moment." Some rocks fell from a ledge nearby, then everything was quiet again.
"Harry!" Rachel cried out, pointing ahead of them. "He's up there!"
Harry nodded, putting the truck into gear again. "He's headed up the mountain," he told her. "Toward the summit."
"Lauren must be terrified," Rachel fretted. "I don't know how she's ever going to recover from this."
"She's strong," Harry reminded her. "Like her mother. She'll be fine."
Graham heard the truck coming closer, and thought perhaps Brian had returned. But when he looked out of the netted window, he could see it was a second truck -
Harry's truck. "Dad!" he called out, clawing at the screen with no effect.
"Where?" Lauren asked, joining him, her face streaked with dirty tears. "Daddy!" she cried out, but the truck kept going, never having seen the tent, thanks to the fine coat of ash that was falling like dirty snow. "Mommy! Come back!" she called, sinking to her knees, sobbing as the truck's engine faded into the distance.
"Too bad we don't have that knife," Graham said, then paused, and dug into his pockets, pulling out the small pen knife that Harry had given him. He opened it and easily cut a slash through the nylon fabric. "Come on, Lauren," he said, holding out his hand.
She huddled in the corner again, shaking her head. "I'm afraid," she said.
"We have to warn Mom and Dad," he told her. "Would you rather stay here and let them be killed?"
Lauren looked even more frighthened. "The mountain-"
"We'll head toward the top, like they are," he explained. "We're sure to find them and let them know we're okay. Come on, Lauren. We have to do it." Lauren placed her hand in his, letting her lead them away from the camp. "This way," he said. Lauren coughed, and he used his pocket knife to cut off a length of his shirt. "Put that over your face and breath through it. She nodded, and did as he asked. "You ready now?" She nodded again, but her eyes were full of the remembered terror of the last time they were here- compounded by the present.
They skirted the lake - keeping away from its edge, then headed past the hardened bed of lava and moved upward.
Harry and Rachel came upon the red Suburban suddenly, and Harry was forced to jerk the steering wheel hard to avoid a collision. The action sent his truck into an embankment of hardened lava and ash. Turning to Rachel, asked, "Are you all right?"
She nodded. "I think so."
"Stay in the truck while I check this out," he told her, taking the flashlight she'd been carrying when they left the trailer with him. He moved cautiously toward the vehicle, then turned on the light and shone it around inside. "It's empty!" he called out to her. The ash was getting heavier now, and there had been another tremor. He turned the light to the roadway, discovering why the truck had been abandoned. "The road ends here," he told her, returning to his truck. "He's apparently on foot."
"Which means he could be anywhere," Rachel realized, her eyes scanning the gray lit landscape. "Why would he bring the kids up here, Harry?"
"I don't know. But I want you to take the truck and go back down the mountain - "
"No. I'm going with you."
He touched her face. "Rachel, in your condition-"
"I'm only pregnant, Harry. I can still walk- and climb a little if I have to. I HAVE to find the kids."
Picking up the cell phone, he turned it on, and tried to dial a number, but the call wouldn't go through. "Too much interference," he said, tossing the useless item back into the truck. "All right. We'll go up the mountain." He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to her. "No reason for us both to breath in this stuff."
Rachel took the flashlight and dug through the glove box, coming up with another square of white. "Neither one of us needs to breath it again. The last time was bad enough. It's a wonder we didn't all get pnuemonia."
"Let's go," he told her. "If you get tired, let me know and we'll stop to rest."
The next tremor shook the mountain as they were halfway up, loosening a pile of lava, sending it careening toward them. Harry covered Rachel with is body, trying to protect her. Once the shaking stopped again, Rachel turned to look up at him. "Harry? You can get off of me now."
He moved cautiously, grunting as he did so. "Damn."
"What is it?" Rachel asked as he sat on the rough stones, examining his ankle.
"One of those rocks hit my ankle."
"Is it broken?" she asked.
"I don't think so," he answered. "But it hurts like hell." He stood up and tried to take a step. "Damn!" Rachel pulled his arm across her shoulders.
"Can you make it the rest of the way?"
Harry peered ahead of them, seeing faint traces of light beginning to appear. "I think so. I mean, what choice do we have? Let's go."
Lauren and Graham ran toward Harry's truck, and were disappointed when they found it empty. "They've gone up the mountain, Lauren. They think we're with Brian. That he's taken us up there with him." He was trying to think about what to do when Lauren placed her hand on the horn of the truck and pressed.
Rachel and Harry both stopped only feet away from the rim of the crater, turning to try and see back the way they had come, but the ash was still too heavy for them to see more than a few yards away. "Someone's at the truck," Rachel told him. "Could he have been waiting for us to leave so he could do something to the truck? Maybe he's going to take it back down the mountain and leave us stranded here," she worried.
"Sorry to disappoint you, Rachel," Brian said. "But that's not my plan. I have to admit that I wish I'd thought of it, though. Has possibilities." He was standing on the lip of the crater, watching them.
"Where are Graham and Lauren, Brian?" she asked him.
"They're safe - if they listened to their father, that is."
"You'll never be their father, Brian," Harry pointed out. "Even if you do what you're planning, you'll always be the man who killed their mother and me."
"They'll forget that in time."
"Brian, let us go," Rachel pleaded. "You need help -"
"Sorry, Rachel. Can't do that." A lethal looking knife appeared in his hand. "Up here. Both of you." He waited until they were balanced on the edge. "Look down.
You see that down there, Rachel?" he asked, pointing to the vent that was putting out ash with each tremor, "That's going to be the last thing you see. You know, I've always wondered if maybe the Hawaiians didn't have the right idea about volcanoes. Give them a human sacrifice and they go back to sleep. What's that goddess they have? Peel or something?"
"Pele," Harry supplied. "And human sacrifice doesn't work, Brian."
"Well, maybe TWO sacrifices will," he said, moving behind them. "Shall we find out?"
"NO!" Graham yelled, rushing Brian as he and Lauren came within sight of their parents standing on the brink of oblivion. Harry used the distraction to turn and grab for the wrist of the hand in which Brian was holding the knife. Graham wound up standing beside his mother and sister, watching as the two men fought.
Suddenly Brian grabbed Lauren, holding her before him, his back to the crater, the knife held out to fend Harry off. "Rush me, and I might fall, and take Lauren with me."
"Daddy!" she cried out, her dark eyes on Harry.
"Stay still, honey," Harry crooned softly. "Let her go, Brian."
"I will - once you and Rachel do what I say."
Harry took Rachel's hand and took a step close to the edge. Graham grabbed his arm. "No, Dad! You can't-"
A tremor shook the mountain once more, and Brian found his feet slipping, felt himself falling. He pushed Lauren away from him, toward Harry, who had leapt toward them, and fell- only to feel someone's hand holding onto his wrist. Looking up, Brian saw Harry Dalton's blue eyes above him. "Hang on, Brian," he said. "I'll try to-"
Brian shook his head. "No reason. I guess," he said, as he lost his grip, "that we're going to find out if the legend's true after all, aren't we?"
"Brian-" Harry said, holding his other hand down. "Give me your other hand."
"You know, I should have known I'd die if I came back here. Always told Rachel that Dante's Peak would be the death of me. I should have listened -" he said, as his fingers slipped from Harry's grasp and he fell onto the rocks.
Rachel turned Lauren's head into her shoulder as Harry looked down. "Harry?"
"He's probably dead," he told her, joining them and pulling the family into his embrace as another tremor shook the area and the ash thickened again. "We'd better go," he said, picking a softly crying Lauren up into his arms. She clung tightly to him, her arms around his neck.
"Your ankle," Rachel said.
"I'll be fine. Let's get back to the truck."
As he fastened his seat belt, Graham asked, "What about your truck?"
Harry looked at the vehicle. "We'll try to come back and get it later. Right now, I just want to put as much distance as we can between us and this mountain."
Lauren sat between Harry and Rachel, curled against her mother as Harry backed the truck to turn it around and then started down the road. Even though the sun had risen, the day was still gray, the sky filled with ash. "What happened, Graham?" Rachel asked.
He told her about Ruffie taking off, and about how Brian had been waiting for them to open the door to let her out. "I'm sorry, Mom. I guess you were right about my not being able to -"
"It wasn't your fault, Graham," she said softly, rocking Lauren gently. "We all thought he was dead-"
"He wanted to kill you and Daddy," Lauren said. "He fastened us in a tent and left -"
"A tent?"
Graham nodded. "Where Grandma's house used to be. He had a camp set up there."
"Well, it's over now," Rachel said. She only hoped she was right as another quake rocked the truck, causing Lauren to start crying again.
"It's all right, baby. It's all right." She looked at Harry over the of Lauren's head. The ash was thicker now - so thick that Harry could barely see the road in front of
They approached the USGS site, passing it without stopping, heading for the bridge over the river. Fear struck Rachel as they neared it, stark terror that the quakes
had wrested their only means of escape from them again. But at the edge of the river, Harry stopped the truck and looked out. The bridge was there.
Harry opened the door. "Where are you going?" she asked.
"To make sure it's safe to cross. It's only a temporary bridge. I've seen them weakened by mild quakes. I'll be right back."
"NO!" Lauren cried out, throwing her arms around him, refusing to let go. "You said that -last time and -you almost- died!" she sobbed.
Rachel met his gaze. "I think that if we're going to do this, it will have to be together," she told him.
"Allright, Lauren. We'll try to make it across. Sit here beside me, okay? And fasten your seatbelt." She let him go slowly to sit down, trying to find her restraints.
Harry found them, fastened and tightened them. "Ready?"
"Ready," she said.
Harry knew he would have to clear the bridge quickly if it had been weakened. So he backed the truck up, then put it into forward gear and stepped on the gas. They hit the bridge, and for a few moments, all seemed well, then there was an ominous cracking sound behind them. Harry looked into the mirror and saw the bridge begin to drop away, section by section, into the river below. "Hang on, kids!" he said, pressing down fully on the gas, causing the truck to jolt forward, clearing the failing bridge just as the last section fell away. Once they were a safe distance away, Harry stopped the truck.
"We made it," Graham said. "Again."
"So we did, Graham," Harry agreed as Lauren released her seat belt and gave him another hug. "Come here," he told Rachel and Graham, pulling them close as well.
"Are we ready to go home?" he asked.
"Yes," Lauren said. "I want to go home."
Settling her onto the seat again, Harry smiled. "Home it is, then."
Rachel came out onto the porch, carrying the baby, watching as Graham, Lauren, and Harry sat on the wooden pier, fishing. She smiled, shaking her head as she crossed the yard to join them. "Hey there," she said. "Catching anything?"
Harry looked up at her as Graham answered. "Not yet."
"I suppose you've all forgotten that we're supposed to be at a wedding in a few hours?"
"Aw, Mom, do we have to go?" Graham asked.
"You know we do, Graham. You and Lauren go hit the showers. Now."
Graham pulled in his line. "I've still got bait," he pointed out. "Can't I wait until-"
"Your mother's right, Graham. The fish will still be here tomorrow."
"Com'on, Lauren," Graham said, rising to his feet.
Lauren had stopped fishing when her mother had joined them to take little Charlie into her arms. "You want me to take Charlie back to the house, Mom?" she
"Sounds good. Just put him in his playpen, okay? Your Dad and I will be right there."
Lauren smiled and moved to follow Graham to the house as Rachel and Harry watched her. "Jane was right about the counseling," Harry commented, putting things back into the tackle box and standing to place an arm around her waist. After the incident with Brian, Jane had insisted that the family go into some kind of counseling to deal with the events that had occurred.
"Dr. Barnes said that he thought he could end the sessions soon," Rachel agreed. "Are you still going back up there Monday?" she asked.
"It's perfectly safe now," he assured her. "It's almost as if Brian's death did what he'd planned for ours to do: put the volcano back to sleep. The readings have been
positively boring, according to Terry and Nancy." He stopped, pulling her into his arms. "Lauren's not the only one who's benefitted from Dr. Barnes' sessions," he reminded her. "I'll be fine. And if not, I'll call. Hearing your voice is the best medicine that I know of."
Rachel smiled up at him. "You know, that's what Jane said the other day. And speaking of Jane, if we're late for that wedding, she'll have us both drawn and quartered. Especially since you're giving the bride away."
"Guess they won't start without us, then," Harry said, dropping a kiss onto her lips.
Rachel smiled. "Jane told me something else, too," she said.
"What's that?"
"How would you feel about another baby?"
Harry looked down at her, then grabbed her arms. "Are you?"
She nodded. "I know it's probably too soon after Charlie -"
Harry pulled her close and whirled her around. "I couldn't be happier," he told her. Grinning at the house, he said, "It's a good thing we added two bedrooms instead of one, isn't it?"
Rachel laughed, returning his kiss. "I love you, Harry Dalton."
"And I love you," he whispered, enclosing her fully in his arms- and his love. "Let's go see Jane married to Hank, shall we? And then- we're going to celebrate."
"Sounds good, Harry," she agreed, her arm around him as they headed home.
The End

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