Gary's Tomb Raider Adventure

by Lori Anderson

Summary: Gary meets Laura Croft and her friends when they come to Chicago at the request of the museum's curator.  Laura has to find a valuable item for
the museum, and needs Gary's help with her quest.  Since Toni is allergeric to cats, the paper will be delievered by a dog.

Standard Disclaimer Applies

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Gary's Tomb Raider Adventure
by Lori Anderson

Chapter 1

Laura Croft entered the museum curator's office and sat down in the chair
opposite his desk.  She wore a red turtleneck sweater, jeans, and her winter
coat since it was still winter in Chicago.  "I assume the item you want me to
find for you is very valuable, Mr. Davis.  Please give me all the details,"
she said getting down to business.

Mr. Davis nodded.  "Laura, your father was a very good friend of mine, and
when I heard he died, I was crushed.  However, the item I am hiring you to
find and bring here for me is very valuable indeed.  I'll show you what it is
so you'll know what you're looking for," he replied, and opened one of his
desk drawers.  He took out a picture of a rare ancient jade necklace.  "This
is what I want you to bring me.  It's part of a collection that's going to be
on display very soon here, and I need it to complete it.  It's around here
somewhere, and I know that you're very good in finding things like this."

Laura looked at the picture.  "I'm not familar with your city Mr. Davis.  In
order for me to locate this necklace, I'm going to need someone who knows
Chicago very good to help me with my search.  This person will be part of my

"I'm sure you'll find someone who'll help you Laura.  Good luck."

"I'll need it."

Laura shook his hand, turned, and left the office.  Her team as she called
them, were wating outside for her.

"Our mission is to locate and bring a rare ancient jade necklace to the
museum.  Mr. Davis needs it for his collection.  Since none of us are familiar
to this city, we're going to have to find someone who knows it to help us,"
she told them.

Byrce smiled.  "There should be someone around we can ask to help us Laura.
There's a bar just a few blocks away called McGinty's.  We can ask for help
there," he said.

"Good idea Byrce.  Let's go pay the owner a visit."

Unaware of what was going to happen, Gary Hobson was busy with some paperwork
in his office and drinking hot coffee.
"These bills sure pile up Marissa.  I don't think I'll ever get them done," he
said putting another bill in the outbox.

Marissa smiled at her friend and co-partner.  "It's part of running a business
Gary.  Did you have a nice Christmas?," she asked.

Gary nodded.  "Yes.  How was yours and Emmet's Christmas?".

"It  was nice.  My sister was surprized to learn that he's a trail lawyer, and
part-time cab driver."

"I bet she was. Emmet's a good lawyer."

The door to the bar opened just then, and Chuck's eyes widened when he saw
Laura and Bycre come in.

"Hello.  Welcome to Mc Gintys.  What can I get for you?," he asked them

"We'd like to speak to the owner please.  It's very important," Laura

"IMy friend Gary's the owner.  He's in his office right now doing paperwork."

"I'll speak to him alone then.  Byrce, wait here.  I'll be right back."

Laura walked over to the door of the office and went inside surprizing both
Gary and Marissa.

"Sorry for the intrusion, but I would like to speak to you alone Mr. Hobson,"
Laura said looking at Gary.

"Lady, I don't know who you are, but you just can't barge into my office like
that.  Anything you have to say, you can say in front of my friend and
co-partner, Marissa," Gary told Laura, his mud-puddle eyes showing his dislike
of being interrputed.

Croft turned to Marissa.  "My name is Laura Croft."

"I've heard of you.  Wasn't your father the famous exploxer who died while on
a recovery mission?," Marissa asked.

"Yes.  He was murdred by the same man who almost killed a friend of mine."

"How can we help you Laura?"

"I need to find someone who knows your city real well to help me with a
mission for the museum.  Do you know of anyone that can help my friends and I
get to know our way around here?"

"Gary knows Chicago pretty well.  He could probably help you find whatever it
is your'e looking for."

Gary frowned.  "Just a minute Marrisa.  Aren't you forgetting something? What
about the you know what."

"Gary, Chuck can handle it, or your parents.  Miss Croft needs your help so
that she can do her mission without getting lost in our city.  As for the bar,
Chuck and I can handle it."

Chapter 2

"I'd really like to help you Laura, but I have a family, and I'm not leaving
them for anything.  You're just going to have to ask someone else to help you
around Chicago.  Excuse me please.  I have some errands to do.  It was nice to
have met you," Gary said, pushing his chair back, and walking towards the door
to enter into the main room of the bar where his customers were.

Marrisa sighed.  "I"m sorry about that Laura.  He promised Toni, his wife,
that he wouldn't get involved in anymore dangerous sitautions after what
happened one time," she told Laura sipping her coffee.

"I'd like to hear about the time he was in dangerr Marrisa.  It might help me
get his cooperation better," Laura said sitting down.

"Are you sure that you want to know all the details?  Okay.  It all started
when Gary went to help a man from being run down by a semi-truck one day.  He
saved the man alright, but we didn't find out until later, the man was a
ex-con out on parole.  He had served 10 years for killing a man with a beer
bottle in a bar during a fight.  The man's name was John.  He was going to
kill the lawyer who had put him away.  Her name was Rachel Stone.  Anyway,
Chuck and Gary went to the lady's office to warn her about John, or to stop
him from killing her.  While Gary was inside the buidling, Chuck was outside
by his car talking me to on his cell phone.
Gary had stopped Henderez from harming the lawyer, but the man came outside
and hit Chuck so hard that he was in a comma.
Gary blamed himself for it happening.  We were at the hospital waiting for
word on Chuck from his doctor, and Gary was checking his paper for something
he needed to do.  When he saw that Herndaez was going to her house to kill
her, Gary told me to call the police which I did, while he took a taxi there
to prevent John from killing the lawyer.  It ended up with both of being held
hostage inside the house by the man.  I was afraid of losing both my friends
that day.  Father Dow was there at the hospital to help me get through all
this, and I really did pray for both of them to be safe.  Gary finally managed
to convince John to let him be the only hostage, and let Rachel Stone go free.
Things turned out well at the end.  Gary came back to the hosptial safe and
sound, and Chuck came out of his coma.  When Gary finally told Toni about it,
she made him promise never to get into anymore dangerous situations which he
has done, and that's why he told you that he couldn't help you."

"That took a lot of courage for him to do that.  All I'm asking him to do is
to show my team and I around your city so that we know where everything is and
where people around here live as well.  He won't be doing anything dangerous I

"I'm sure he'll be happy to help you if you tell him what you just told me.
He's outside in the bar."
Hazel entered the bar and came over to the table that Gary had reserved for
her when she came in for her hot drink.

"It's getting chilly outside.  Hello Gary.  Can I please have my usual?," she
asked sitting down and smiling at him.

"Sure thing Hazel.  Coming right up," Gary said and brought her over a hot cup
of tea that she always drank.

"Thank you.  Do you and Toni have any plans for New Years Eve?"

Gary smiled.  "Not especailly.  Why?"

Hazel took a sip of her tea.  "You and her should go out that night and have
some fun.  I'll babysit your twins for you."

"I'll mention that to Toni later and get back to you on it."

Hazel sipped her tea again, and noticed Laura Croft coming out of Gary's

"It seems that young lady is determined to speak with you about something very

Gary groaned when he saw Laura coming towards him.  "I have an idea what she
wants to tell me.  Have a nice day Hazel."

Gary motioned for Laura to go back inside his office and shut the door.  "I
already told you I can't help you."

"All I'm asking you to do is show my team and I around Chicago.  Where places
are, and people live.  Nothing dangerous," Laura explained looking at his
mud-puddle eyes with her own as she leaned over Marrisa's desk.

"You're asking me to show you and your friends around town so you'll know
where places are and people live.  Okay.  No problem.  Sounds good to me.
Just let me know when you want to start."

"Tomorrow morning.  Eight oclock.  I'm staying at the Marion Hotel.  I'll meet
you in the lobby.  You know where it is?"

Gary nodded.  "Yeah.  I know where it is.  Eight o clock.  I'll be there."

"Good.  I'll see you then.  Have a nice evening Gary."

Laura turned and left the office.  She told Byrce that Gary had agreed to show
them around town tomorrow morning at eight.

They both left the bar and went out to the van that Laura had rented when she
had arrived in town.

Chapter 3

Gary had the feeling as he drove home from the bar that night that he was
getting into something he shouldn't be.  He had no idea why he felt that way.
What harm was there in showing Laura Croft and her friends around town?
They'd be doing the dangerous stuff, not him.  Sighing, Gary turned into his
driveway with the van, and parked it in it's usual spot by the garage door.
Ottis, the family dog, was barking, and Gary smiled as he went over to pet his
faithful pet and newspaper deliver.
"Hi boy.  How're you doing?  I'm glad to see you too.  Better get inside your
dog house where it's warm," he told the dog.
Ottis waged his tail and went towards his doghouse that Gary and Chuck had
built for him.
Gary opened the door of his house and went inside.  "Honey, kids!  I'm home,"
he called so that his family would hear.
Rose and Jeff came running towards him from the kitchen.

"Welcome home Daddy!," Rose said as Gary bent down to pick her up.

"How's my girl today?  Were you good for Mommy?"

"Yes Daddy.  I helped Mommy make some cookies today."

"You did?  I bet that was fun.  Did your brother help with the cookies?"

"Nah.  I just watched them do it Daddy," Jeff replied smiling at his father.

Gary gently put Rose down.  "Go wash up for dinner.  I want to talk to Mommy
alone before we eat."

The twins went towards the bathroom to wash up for dinner, and Gary went
towards the kitchen to talk to Toni.

"Hi sweetheart.  I had a very strange day today," he said giving Toni a kiss
on her cheek.

"You can tell me about it later.  I have something to tell you," Toni said
smiling at her husband.

"I hope it's not bad news."

"No.  My parents are throwing a New Year's Eve party, and have invinted us to

Gary groaned.  "You know how I hate wearing ties to formal occasions.  I hope
you told them we weren't coming."

"Gary!  I told them that we would be there at six, and ask if it was alright
if you didn't have to wear a tie.  They said that was fine."

"Okay.  Just as long as I don't have to wear a tie, I'll go.  Hazel can
babysit the kids for us that night."

"You saw her today?"

Gary nooded.  "Yes.  She came into Mc Ginty's for her usual cup of hot tea.
She said that we should go out on New Year's Eve and have some fun.  She'd be
happy to babysit the kids for us.  I'll tell her tomorrow that she can babysit
when we go to your parents for the party that night."

Laura Croft sat in room 210 of the Merriot hotel thinking about what Marrisa
had told her earlier, and her mission for the museum.

"There's something about Gary Hobson that bothers me.  I can't put my finger
on it right now, but I know there's something he's hiding from me that he
doesn't want me to know about," she told her friend, Byrce, who was in the
room with her.

Byrce sipped his coffee.  "He seemed nice enough to me Laura.  He did say that
he would show us around town tomorrow after you explained what you wanted him
to do.  Are you saying that you suspect him of having a secret of some kind?,"
he said.

"I don't know.  I just sense there's something about him that makes him
interesting in a way.  Whatever it is, I'm going to find out before we leave
here after the mission's done.  Which reminds me, did you bring along all of
your equipment?"

Byrce nodded.  "Yeah.  It 's all in my room.  You know I never go anywhere
without it Laura."

"Good. I have a feeling that we're going to need it on this quest.  Finding
that jade necklace won't be easy."

"I've got my laptop all set up and ready to go when you want some information.
I can access the blueprints of some of the buildings around here and print
them out if  you need them."

"Let's wait on that Byrce.  I'll let you know when I need it."  Laura checked
her watch.  "It's getting late.  Let's go eat dinner, and then, get to bed.
We have a busy day tomorrow."

Chapter 4

Gary sat in his living room watching the football games on television with his
family.  It was New Years Day, and his bar was closed for the day so that his
employees could spend the day with their families as he was spending with it
with his.  He didn't forget that tomorow morning at eight, he was supposed to
meet Lara Croft and her friends in the Marriot hotel lobby to show them around
Chicago like he promised.  He hadn't told Toni about it yet, and he wasn't
sure how she would take the news.
"This is good cider honey," Gary said smiling at her as he sipped the hot
cider in his mug.

Toni nodded.  She knew something was on his mind, but wanted him to feel
comfortable enough to tell her.
"I'm glad you like it sweetheart.  The kids sure like it as well.  They keep
asking for more," she replied smiling back.

"I'm glad they like it too.  It's good for them to drink something other than
milk at times."

"Kids, there's some more cookies in the kitchen.  Go ahead and help
yourselves.  I want to Daddy for a minute."

Rose and Jeff went to the kitchen to get their cookies leaving Toni and Gary
alone to talk.

"Alright Gary, what's on your mind?  Don't tell me nothing, becasue I know you
too well."

Gary sighed.  He knew she was right.  "I had a strange visitor come into the
bar the other day.  Her name is Lara Croft and she wants me to show her and
her friends around town.  She has something to do for the museum, and wants me
to show her just where people live and and where things are.  Nothing

Toni sipped her cider, her eyes narrowing.  "How many times have I heard that
said, and just the opposite happens.  I want to meet this Lara Croft.  I've
got some questions I need to ask her before I agree to let you do this."

"There's your detective side showing again.  I'm supposed to meet her at eight
tomorrow morning in the lobby of the Marriot hotel."

"I'll go with you.  Hazel can watch the kids until I get back.  Speaking of
the kids, here they come."

Rose and Jeff came into the living room their hands filled with their cookies
as they sat beside their mom on the couch.

"Not too much you two.  I don't want you to spoil your supper later," Toni
reminded them.

"Alright mommy," Rose said taking a bite of her cookie and sipping her cider
to wash it down.

Lara Croft sat in her motel room with her friend Byrce sipping hot coffee as
they watched a little television .

"How did you sleep last night Byrce?," she asked.

"I slept pretty well considering the noise outside last night," Byrce

"Hard to believe that it's 2002.  Let's go over our plan for tomorrow.
Tomorrow at eight, we meet Gary Hobson in the lobby as planned, and begin our
tour of the city.  Especailly some of the ancient buildings around here."

"Do you think that jade necklace is hidden someplace in one of those buildings
around here?"

"It's a possiblity.  My father taught me to always look for the hidden places
where something could be hidden."

"He was a good man."

"Yes, he was, and he's been avenged .  I want you to set up a command center
in your hotel room.  "

"I don't think the hotel manager would like me to do that Lara."

"Byrce, just use what you brought with you.  This mission is too important not
to use your weapons."

"Okay Lara.  Whatever you say."

Chuck and Jade were enjoying their holiday as well.  "We're going to a great
year, sweetheart.  We're going to be parents, and teach our child what he
needs to know to get along in the world.  When he's old enough that is," Chuck

"Maybe our baby will be a girl.  I've been thinking along that way lately,"
Jade told him sipping her cider.

"I don't care if it's a boy or a girl.  Just as long as it's healthy."

"I agree.  I'm glad that Gary closed the bar today.  I need you here."

"If he hadn't, I'd still have took the day off just to be with you.  You've
made me a very happy man Jade honey."

"You've made me a very happy woman Chuck."

 Chapter 5

The next morning, Toni went with Gary to the Marriot to meet Lara Croft with
him leaving the children with Hazel.
"I'll be back as soon as I can Hazel.  I want to ask this Lara Croft a few
questions.  The kids can watch their favorite show they always watch after
breakfast," she had told the babysitter as she was getting her coat on.

"Yes Mrs. Hobson.  The chidlren and I will have a good time together," Hazel
had said smiling at her.

"Please call me Toni.  Bye kids.  Mommy will be back soon.  Be good and mind

"This is it Toni.  Lara and her friends will be waiting for us in the lobby,"
Gary said as they walked towards the door.

"Good.  Something about this doesn't feel right to me," Toni told her husband
as they went inside.

Lara and Byrce was waiting in the lobby for Gary, and Lara was surprised to
see someone with him.

"Good morning Gary.  Who is this with you?," Lara asked looking at Toni.

"Lara, this is my wife Toni.  Toni, this is Lara Croft and her friend, Byrce,"
Gary replied introducing Toni to Lara.

"It's nice to meet you Lara.  You too Byrce.  I hope you don't mind that I
came with Gary this morning.  I have some questions I"d like to ask you about
what you want him to do," Toni said.

Lara smiled.  "Of course.  I am on mission for the museum to find a rare
ancient jade necklace that they need for part of their collection.  What I
asked your husband to do is show me around town.  I need to know where any old
buildings are, and things like that.  Nothing dangerous I promise you."

"I see.  Gary's not that good with old buildings.  He almost ended up being
buried inside one a long time ago."

"Really?  Perhaps he can tell me about it sometime."

"I'd rather talk not about it Lara.  It was a bad time for me, and I'd rather
leave it in the past," Gary replied.

"Lara, I'm going to ask the owner if I can use one of the conference rooms to
set up my equipment," Byrce said..

Lara nodded.  "Good idea.  I'm sure he'll let you once you explain why you
need it for."

Byrce left to go ask the hotel owner permission to use the one of the
conference rooms.

Toni turned to Lara.  "Does the curator really think what you're looking for
is in one the old buildings around here?"

"He didn't exactly say, but he really wants the necklace to add to the exhibit
that he's planning to open soon."

Toni remember another time Gary had gotten involved with the museum.  "The
museum has had it's share of excitement with some of it's exhibits.  There was
one involving a mummy and a diamond cat 's eye that carried a curse with it.
We almost lost two of our friends to it.  Gary had gotten involved somehow,
and thank goodness, everything turned alright."

Byrce returned.  "The hotel owner said that I can use one of the conference
rooms to set up my equipment," he said.

"Good.  You can get started right away then, and get things set up."

Bryce went to get his equipment, and Lara turned back to Gary and Toni.

"Is there anything else you want to ask me Toni?"

"No.  Just please keep Gary out of danger like you said and good luck with
your mission."

"You have my word on that.  It was nice to meet you."

Toni turned to her husband.  "I'll see you later honey.  I'll walk back from
here," she said.

"No.  Take the car.  You'll have to take Hazel home when you get back.  I'll
drive the van home," Gary told her.

Toni kissed him good-bye and walked towards the exit with Gary following her.

Nigel Throne sat inside his elegant mansion sipping a cherry in his leather
chair in his living room.  "I hear that the museum director has hired Lara
Croft to find that jade necklace for him.  I assume you and her are friends,
Alex," he said to Alex West.

Alex nodded.  "We've been seeing each other.  I'm sure you didn't have me come
here just to discuss her and I," he replied.

"Indeed I did not.  You're here to find that necklace for her which you shall
be paid very well for."

"There's one problem sir, I don't know this city too well."

Nigel nodded as he took another sip of his sherry.  "Understandable Mr. West.
You can get someone to help you know Chicago.
Someone local who knows where things are at.  Someone who can read a map or

"I can, but the question is who."

"All you have to do is ask.  I want that necklace.  Since I'm paying you, you
can start now.  When you have the necklace, bring it to me, and you shall get
your reward."

"Yes sir.  What if Lara finds it before I do?"

"That is your problem Mr. West."

Alex sighed.  He didn't like working against Lara again, but he had no

Gary watched with awe as Byrce set up all his computers in the conference room
on a long table.  "Do you really need all of these Bryce?  You must be a
computer freak or something," he said.

Bryce smiled.  "It's what I do best Gary.  I'm the man behind the scences.  I
help Lara with her missions with these computers.  What's it like owning your
own bar?," he replied.

"Busy and profitable.  Marrisa is part-owner with me.  She's the lady you meet
the other day at my bar."

"I saw she's blind.  It's good that it doesn't cause her any problems."

"Is everything ready to run Bryce?", Lara asked changing the subject.

Bryce nodded.  "Everything's ready Lara."

"Good.  Let's have you look up a map of the town, especially the buildings."

Chapter 6

"I've got the map of the section you asked for Lara," Byrce said as the map
appeared on his screen.

Lara Croft nodded.  "Print it out Byrce.  I'll start looking there for the
necklace," she told him.

Bryce nodded, and turned on the printer to print out the map that Lara would

Gary checked his watch.  "I've got to go Lara.  Good luck with your mission,"
he said turning to leave.

"Where are you going Gary?  I might need you to show me the area."

"Lara, as much as I'd love to help you right now, I still have a business to
run.  The map should help you get to where you want to go.  Take care, and
have a nice day."  Gary went out of the room glad that everything had gone
well with his wife and Lara.

He took a look at the paper just to see if there anything or anything that
needed his help as he headed for the door.

"Man Gets Killed Crossing the Street.  There was a story about Alex West being
hit and killed by a truck as he was coming from the public library, his arms
filled with books and papers, and didn't see the truck that appeared out of
nowhere coming towards him.

According to the paper, the hit and run was going to take place around ten
oclock.  Gary knew that he had two hours to get to the library, find Alex, and
prevent him from being hit and killed by the truck.

Alex West was having problems with one of the librarians inside the public
library.  He was trying to get her to let him look at some old maps and
blueprints of some of the buildings that he needed in his search for the

\"Come on miss.  All I'm asking is that you let me look at the old maps and
blueprints of some of the buildings here.  I promise not to take them out of
here.  I'll make copies of them, and you will have the orginals.  Please," he
said smiling.

The librarian sighed.  "Alright Mr. West.  As long as you don't take the
orginals, I'll let you look at the maps and blueprints.
Follow me please, and be quiet," she replied as she lead the way to where the
maps and blueprints were kept.  "All the maps are kept in this room, and
please keep it that way.  The copy machine takes a dime.  Please return the
maps the way you got them."

"I promise, and thank you."

As soon as he was alone, Alex began looking at some of the old maps on the
table in the room.  He found a couple that he would make some copies of, and
wrote down the number in his notebook.  He also did the same to the blueprints
he found.
He took them to the copy machine, put them gently on the machine, took out a
dime from his pocket, and dropped it in the slot.
He decided to make three copies of the maps, and two of the blueprints.  When
he was done, Alex returned the maps and blueprints to the room where he had
found them, put them back in their slots, and left the reading room.
It was close to ten when he finally left the library with his hands filled
with the papers and a book that he had checked out.
He had no idea that he was about to be killed by a truck, and that someone was
going to arrive in time to save him.

Gary checked his watch as he ran towards the public library.  Five to ten.  He
had that much time to get to Alex, and get him to safety.  He hoped that he
wouldn't get hit himself, and he checked the traffic just to play it safe.
At ten, Gary spotted Alex coming towards the crosswalk with his hands full of
papers and a book, and quickly ran towards him.
"Watch out!," he yelled, as he grabbed Alex's arm, and pulled him to safety as
the truck went through the crosswalk.

Alex was a little shaken at having been nearly killed.  He was sure that he
had checked  the traffic before he entered the crosswalk.  Where did the truck
come from, he asked himself trying to calm down.  He turned to Gary.
"Thank you for saving my life mister.  How did you know that truck would come
barreling towards me?," he asked.

"You're welcome.  I just had a feeling that you were in danger, and I was
right.  Are you alright now?," Gary replied.

Alex nodded.  "Yeah, thanks to you.  My name's Alex.  Alex West."

Gary smiled.  "Nice to meet you Alex.  My name's Gary Hobson."

"Thanks again for saving my life Gary.  I thought I had carefully checked both
sides before I entered the crosswalk."

"It's not your fault Alex.  Some of these drivers think they can outsmart the
lights which they can't.  I'm glad to see you're okay now.  Have a nice day,
and take care."

"Same to you Gary."

Gary crossed the street again, and headed towards Mc Gintys after another
successful save.

Back at the hotel, Lara and Bryce were looking through one of the phone books,
and found the directions to where she wanted to go.  "Great!  I'll just write
this down, but I'll still need Gary's help in finding the place," she said.

"Lara, he already told you he has a business to run.  Besides, you can follow
the directions and the map to get to where you're going.  You did promise his
wife that he wouldn't be involved in anything dangerous," Bryce reminded her.

"Yeah, I know.  There's still something about him that interests me.  I sense
there's a hidden secret about him."

"What makes you think he has a hidden secret?"

"I don't know.  It's just a feeling I have right now."

"Don't let it interfer with the mission Lara."

"Don't worry Byrce.  I know what my job is"

Chapter 7

Gary returned to Mc Ginty's after saving Alex from being hit by the truck.  He
had a funny feeling that there was something about the guy that made him feel
uneasy for some reason.  Shrugging it off as his imgination, Gary entered his
place of business.

"Good morning Marissa.  Chuck," he said smiling at his friends and

"Mroning Gar.  A little late aren't you?," Chuck asked sipping his coffee as
he sat at their table.

"Yeah, but I had to save some guy from being killed by a truck outside the
library earlier.  Name was Alex West."

"Alex West huh?  How did it go?"

Gary went behind the bar to pour himself a cup of coffee, and took a sip
before he replied.  "It went good.  You should have seen what he was carrying
in his hands Chuck.  The guy had a big thick book, and a bunch of papers."

"Wonder what he wanted all of that for."

"I didn't ask him.  I also had to meet Lara Croft at eight in the Marriot
hotel this morning with Toni."

Marissa smiled.  "I can guess what Toni wanted to ask Lara," she said.

Gary nodded.  "She had a lot of questions to ask, and ask she did.  She
remined Lara of her promise to keep me out of anything dangerous, and then,
she left to get back to the kids.  Hazel was watching them while we were at
the meeting."

"I don't blame Toni for saying that.  You've had so many dangerous close calls
at times, you don't need anymore."

"How's Jade doing pal?," Gary asked changing the subject.

Chuck smiled.  "Okay, expect for a touch of morning sickness once in a while,"
he replied.

Marissa laughed.  "That's part of being pregnant for a woman Chuck."

Alex West called his employer to tell him what had happened.  "Honest sir.
This Gary Hobson showed up in the nick of time, and pulled me to safety.  I'd
be dead if he hadn't.  He's a nice man," he said over the phone from his hotel

Nigel Hawthrone smiled as he listened to Alex from his own phone in his palor.
"I am glad to hear that he saved your life Mr.  West.  I seem to remember
something I heard about this Gary Hobson.  Oh yes.  He owns the bar McGintys,
" he said.

"That's interesting.  I'll have to stop by there sometime, and thank him again
for saving my life."

"I assume you have the materials you went to get for your assignment."

"Yes sir.  I've got a planning book, and some copies of blueprints and maps.
The lady almost wouldn't let me see them unless I promised not to take the
orginals with me."

"That is her job Mr. West.  I shall leave you to your research.  Good bye for

Alex hung up his phone, and turned to the papers on the table.  He had a busy
day ahead of him going through them.


Lara Croft had found the older section of town on her map that had a lot of
empty buildings that were possiblities.

"I'm at the old warehouse building Bryce.  Can you get a blueprint of it on
your computer?," she said on her wireless phone.

"Sure.  I'm typing the request now.  Should come up in a minute," Bryce
replied from the command center.
A minute later, the blueprint of the warehouse appeared on his screen.  "Got
it.  According to this Lara, there should be a door that you can enter the
building through without having to find a window."

"I see it Bryce.  I'm going to open it, and enter the building."

"I have you on the monitor Lara.  Be careful, and good luck."

"I will Byrce."  Lara entered the buidling, and looked around.  "It smells
musty and there's a lot of dust on everthing."

"There should be a office someplace there.  Try looking there first, and then
any crates or boxes if any's there."

"Check.  I'll let you know what I find."

Chapter 8

Lara found the office, entered, and went over to the old file cabinet to see
what she could find.  She pulled open the first drawer, found nothing, and
shut it.  She tried the second one, and to her surprise, it was open.  "Byrce,
I've found something inside the second file cabinet.  A old folder with some
paper inside," she said into her phone.

Byrce smiled.  "Great Lara!  That should be interesting," he replied watching
her on the screen.

Lara took the folder over to the old desk, put it down, and opened it.  "We're
on the right track Byrce.  These paper tell about the necklace that was stolen
from it's case and delivered to someone here.  Person who took it was named
Stone,  Jasper Stone."

"Jasper Stone?  I'll see what I can find about him Lara.  Nice going Lara."

"I'm taking there with me.  I'm leaving this place.  See you later."

"Okay Lara."
Toni and Jade entered the bar together and walked towards the office to see
their husbands.

"This is a surprise.  Seeing the two of you as friends," Gary said smiling at
his wife and Chuck's wife.

"Why shouldn't we be friends handsome?  Hazel's watching the kids while Jade
and I go shopping for her pateriny clothes, and baby clothes.  There's
something that we have to discuss later that concerns the kids," Toni told

Gary frowned.  "I don't like the sound of that."

"Relax honey.  It's nothing bad.  I'll tell you later."

Chuck looked at Jade.  "I can come home early if you want Jade honey," he

"I'll be fine with Toni until you come home sweetheart.  You could get me some
more ice cream that I like," Jade replied.

"Sure.  Anything else you want me to get?"

Jade shook her head.  "Nope.  Just the ice cream."

"Okay.  Take it easy today."

"I will.  See you later."

She kissed him goodbye, and Toni did the same to Gary.  The two husbands
walked their wives to the front door.

"I never thought I'd ever see Jade and Toni as friends," Gary told Chuck after
the women had left.

"To tell you the truth Gar, neither did I.  Where's Marissa?"

"She took an early lunch with Emmet.  She said she'd be back.

"I didn't know trail lawyers took early lunches at times."

Gary smiled.  "Today he is pal.  He's got a busy afternoon in law school today
she told me."

"So, tell me about this Lara Croft who came into the bar a few days ago,"
Emmet Brown said smiling at his wife.

Marissa sipped her coffee.  "There's nothing much to tell Emmet.  She's here
on a mission for the museum, and needed Gary's help in finding her way around
town.  She sounds like a nice person," she  told her husband.

"Did she say what she was looking for?"

"No.  She just said that she was working for the museum, and asked if someone
could help her around town.  Why are you so interested in Lara for?  She's not
a criminal."

"Just curious is all.  I'm glad that Gary let you take this early lunch with
me.  Are we ready to order now?"

"You order for both of us honey."

"Alright.  Let's see what's on the menu that's good."

Lara returned to the hotel with the old folder with the papers inside, and
showed it to Byrce in the command center.

"Someone stole the necklace from where it was at, and brought it to this
Jasper Stone at the warehouse.  If this man is still alive, I'd like to ask
him a few questions about the necklace," she told him.

"Let's find out if he's still alive, and if so, where he lives," Byrce said as
he typed the request on the keyboard.

They both watched the screen, and in a minute, the information appeared on the

"Bingo!  He's alive, and his age is 69.  His address is 1310 Lakeshore Drive.

Lara nodded.  "I think I'll pay him a visit later this afternoon.  Let's go
get some lunch."

Chapter 9

Gary wondered what it was Toni wanted to talk him about concerning their
children.  As far he knew, there wasn't any problems.

"This has got me a little curious, not to mention concerned, right now," he
told Marissa inside their office.

"I'm sure it's nothing bad Gary.  She would've told you if it was," Marissa
said smiling at her friend sipping her coffee.

"You could be right.  I was sure surprised to she her and Jade being friends
when they came in earlier."

"Maybe Toni had forgiven Jade about her past, and has decided to start anew by
being her friend.  It's happened before."

Gary rubbed the back of his neck when he was a little nervous which he was.
There was something about Alex West that bothered hin somehow.  He had just
saved the man from being hit by the truck, but why was he feeling like that
Alex could be trouble for him somehow?  Sighing, Gary decided he wouldn't
think about it, and took a sip of his own coffee.

Chuck entered the office just then shaking his head and smiling.  "Women!
Jade just called me from the restrurant she and Toni are having lunch at, and
told me what she ordered for lunch," he said.

Gary smiled at his friend.  "From the look on your face pal, I bet she tried
to order something real expensive from the menu."

"Worse than that Gar.  She was going to order pickles and ice cream for
dessert when Toni said it wasn't a good idea."

Gary laughed.  "I can just see that poor waitress face if that had went

"So can I which is why I'm glad that Toni told her just to order the ice cream
and forget about the pickles."

"I agree with Toni on that one.  Pickles and ice cream are alright to have at
home, but not in a public resturant," Marissa said.

"Jade," Toni said, "if you want pickles and ice cream, wait until you're at
home.  You don't want to embrass yourself by asking for it in a public place
like this.  I never did when I was pregrant with the twins."

Jade nodded.  "I know.  I don't why I wanted to order it for.  I'm just glad I
ordered just plain chocolate ice cream for dessert.  So, how do you think
Gary's going to take it when you tell him you're goiing to put your children
in pre-kindergarden this fall?," she asked taking a sip of her water as they
sat at a table inside the resturant.

"I don't know how he'll take it Jade.  I hope he takes it good, and agrees to
it.  It's time they started school."

"Good luck when you tell him."

"I'll need it.  What do you think Chuck's reaction will be when he sees the
clothes you've brought?"

Jade smiled.  "He'll like them.  I'm so glad that we're friends.  When I
married Chuck that day, I was working for that one government who was trying
to prevent a civil war in their country.  Since I've married Chuck, I've
become a new woman, and looking forward to being a mother.  Can you give me
some pointers?"

Toni laughed.  "Sure.  I can even give some books to read on the subject too.
Let's talk about it someplace other than here."

"I agree.  Let's wait until we're someplace other than here to talk about

Toni sipped her ice tea, and thought about how she was going to tell Gary
about putting the children in pre-kidnergarden.

Inside the command center that Byrce had sat up inside the hotel's conference
room, Byrce handed a print out sheet on Gary Hobson.  "I thought you might
want to look at this, so I did a search on him," he said.

Lara took the sheet and read it.  "Nothing too unusual about him that I can
see.  Anyone who throws a nice guy like him out on their wedding anniversay
like his ex did, is crazy in my book.  What did you think of his wife Byrce?,"
she asked.

Bryce smiled.  "I like Toni.  Anyway, let's get back to the mission.  When are
you going to visit this Jasper Stone?"

"In an hour.  Did you send him that e-mail like I asked telling him to expect

"No.  I called him and told him when we having lunch.  He's looking forward to
seeing you."

"Good.  Let's hope that we can get some information from him about the

Chapter 10

Lara Croft arrived at Jasper Stone's apartment at two oclock which was the tme
she had set for the meeting.

She carried nothing with her, except her cellphone, and her purse.  She wanted
to make him feel comfortable around her.

She knocked on the door, and a voice said, "Come in Miss Croft," from inside.
Lara entered the apartment, shutting the door behind her, and found Jasper
sitting in his living room relaxing in a chair.

"You know why I'm here," she said as she sat down on the sofa to look at him
more closely.

Jasper took a sip of his beer and nodded.  "The jade necklace.  What a caper
that was!  I can still remember it like it was yesterday.  May I ask why you
are so interested in it Miss Croft?," he replied.

"Mr. Davis, of the museum, wants it for his collection that he's planning to
put on display soon.  He hired me to find it for him."

"His collection?!  My dear, that man has no claim to any of that so- called
collection that's in the museum."

Lara was surprised to hear the old man talk about Mr. Davis like that.  "Why
did you say that Mr. Stone?"

"Because Miss Croft, the man may be the curator of the museum, but he knows
nothing about what he has there.  To him, they're just something he can put on
display as a way to entice people to see the museum.  He doesn't care how
priceless and vaulable they are, or any semential meaning it has for the
person who gave it to him."

"Maybe it's not his business to know those things sir."

Stone took another sip of his beer.  "Bah!  If I ran the museum, I'd make sure
that I knew how much what I put on display cost, and the vaule of it.  I would
not use the items as merely a way to get people to come into the museum.  Most
of the museum curators I know of have told me that they know everything there
is to know about what's in their museum."

"I'd really appricate anything you can tell me about the necklace Mr. Stone."

"All I can tell you is that it's here somewhere,but I do not know the exact
location.  Last time I saw it, I was paying for it."

"Was it still in good condition at the time?"

"Yes, but I don't know if it is now.  I wish you good luck in finding it.
That is all I can tell you."

Lara stood up.  "Thank you for seeing me, and for your help.  I'll see myself

Alex West sat in his hotel room writting down notes on his pad, marking with a
red pen places on his maps to search for the necklace.  He had ordered room
service for lunch, and was sipping the rest of his coffee when there came on
knock on the door.

"Just a minute.  I'll be right there," he said, and went over to remove the
chain from the door.  'Who is it?"

"It's Lara Alex.  Open the door," Lara replied having just returned from
seeing Jasper Stone, and finding out that Alex was at the same hotel she and
Byrce were staying at.

Alex smiled and opened his door.  "Come in Lara.  You look pretty in that
outfit. Next time we go out, please don't fight with Byce's robot in something
you'll wear for me.  I don't like playing second fiddle to a robot.  Please
sit down."

Lara went over to one of the chairs, and sat down.  "I was surprised to find
out you were listed in the guest book Alex."

"As was I to find out that you're here Lara.  Please understand that I don't
like working against you again, but I had no choice.  Mr. Hawthrone does't
take no for an answer very good.  Would you like some coffee?"

"No thank you.  I figured someone hired you to find the necklace as Mr. Davis
hired me."

Alex sighed as he sat across from her.  "I promise you that I won't ever work
against you again Lara.  Maybe when this is over, we can go out and enjoy
ourselves without you having to fight any robots."

"Keep that promise, and it's a date."

"Done!   I met a very nice man today.  In fact, he saved my life."

"Really?  What happened Alex?"

"I was coming out of the library with my hands full and not paying attention
to the traffic.  Suddenly, here come this guy running towards me, yelling at
me to watch out, and he pulls me out of the way just in time.  I thanked him
of course."

"Who was this person who pulled you out of harm's way?"

"Gary Hobson."

Hearing Gary's name, Lara frowned.  She'd have to find out about this change
of events.  "Be careful Alex.  I don't want to lose you if you know what I
mean," she said as she stood up, and walked towards the door.

"I will Lara."

Gary was finishing up some paperwork in his office when his phone rang.  "Mc
Ginty's.  Yes, this is Gary Hobson.  You're who?," he asked not sure he was
hearing the person on the other end of the line correctly.

"I said, I am Miss Smith of the pre-school for children Mr. Hobson.  I would
like to come and discuss your children attending the school this fall sometime
with you if that's alright?," the principal replied from her office phone.

Gary frowned.  "I don't know what you're talking about lady."

"Your wife didn't tell you then?  I'm sorry.  I'll let her explain it to you,
and then, I'll meet with you both later on.  Sorry to have bothered you.  Have
a nice day."

Gary hung up the phone.  So, this is what she's got up her sleeve, he thought.
No wonder she wants to talk to me when I get home.  She's going to have a lot
of explaining to do about this.  Reaching for the phone again, Gary called his
"Hazel, it's me.  When Toni gets home, tell her I'm coming home early, and
that I have something important to discuss with her."

"Yes Mr. Hobson.  I'll give her the message when she gets home.  Anything
else?," Hazel said.

"No.  That's it.  How are the kids?"

Hazel smiled.  "Just fine.  They're watching their favorite show right now.
We just got through with lunch."

"Tell them that I'll see them when I get home.  Thanks Hazel.  Good bye."

Hazel waited until she heard Gary hang up, and then she did.  She knew that
Toni hadn't told Gary about sending their twins to school this coming fall
yet, and she had a feeling that both of them were in for a long night.

Chapter 11

Toni had came home after dropping Jade off at her house after their shopping
in town for clothes for Jade and her baby.

"Your husband called when you were out Toni.  Said he wants to talk to you
when he gets home.  Said that it was important,"

Hazel had told her before she left in the cab to go back to her own

Oh boy, Toni thought.  He must know something's up.  I'd better fix his
favorite dinner to get him in a good mood.

She took out some steaks out of the freezer, put them in the sink to thaw out,
and decided to fix mashed potatoes with it.

The kids were playing in the living room and watching television.
"She's got some explaning to do when I get home," Gary told Marissa in their
office as they were finishing paperwork.

"You don't want your children to go to school I take it," Marissa said sipping
her coffee after she had listened to Gary.

"Of course I want them to go to school.  I'd never deny them a chance to get a
education.  No.  What I don't like is having the principal of the school
calling me at work, and telling me what Toni should've told me earlier."

"Give her the chance when you go home, and please, don't go in mad."

Gary sipped the rest of his own coffee and thought about what she had just
said.  He knew she was right.

"Okay.  I'll give her the chance to explain without getting mad.  Truth is, we
have been thinking about for a while now."

Marissa smiled.  "Good.  Emment asked me about Lara Croft at lunch today,"

"Oh?  What did you tell him?"

"I told him that she sounded like a nice person and what she's here for."

"Did I hear my name mentioned?," a voice asked coming from the doorway.

Lara Croft stood there, her hands on her hips, smiling at Gary.

"Uh, hello Lara," Gary said smiling back.

"I heard you saved a friend of mine today Gary."

"What friend was that Lara?," Marissa asked now curuious.

"His name is Alex West."

"Yeah.  I saved him from being hit by a speeding truck earlier today.  I
didn't know you know him."

"We're old friends.  I'm going to need your help tomorrow again.  Same time,
same place."

"I'll be there."

That evening, Gary went home to talk about sending their kids to school in the
fall with Toni as he planned.

Keeping his promise to Marissa, he wa going to be calm and let Toni tell him
all about it as he pulled his jeep into the driveway.

Ottis was barking in the yard, and Gary went over to pet him.

"Hi pal.  I'm glad to see you too.  I've got to go inside now.  I'll see you
later," he said and walked to the front door.

"Honey, I'm home!," Gary called as he stepped inside his house shutting the
door behind him.

"Daddy!," Rose cired running towards her father, her arms open wide.

Gary smiled, and reached down to pick up his daughter.  "Hi sweetheart.  How's
Daddy's girl?," he said.

"Fine.  Mommy's in the kitchen fixing dinner."

"I'm going to talk to Mommy after dinner about something, but right now, let's
sit down."

Gary carried his daughter over to his favorite chair, and gently sat down so
he wouldn't drop her.

"Here's your paper Daddy," Jeff said handing Gary the afternoon paper.

Gary gently put Rose down, and took the paper from his son.  "Thanks Jeff.
Were you a good boy today for Hazel?"

Jeff nodded.  "Yes Daddy.  We had lots of fun with Hazel today.  We even
played a game with her."

"You and Rose like Hazel a lot."

"She's the best."

"I'm sure she'll be happy to hear that."

Chapter 12

Later, after dinner, while the children were watching Discovery on television
in the living room, Gary decided he'd have a talk with Toni in the kitchen.

"I had a interesting call today while I was at work earlier.  It was the
principal of the school that our children are going to this fall.  Imagine my
surprise to hear this lady tell me that my children are going to be in her
school, and I knew nothing about it.  Would you mind explaining what this is
about sweetheart?," he told her looking at her with his mud-puddle eyes.

Toni put the last dish away in the cupboard before she answered.  "Alright I
will.  Gary, it's time that we start thinking about enrolling Rose and Jeff in
preschool this fall.  They're old enough, and it'll be good for them.   I was
going to tell you when we were alone about my going over to the school the
other day and talking to the principal.  I had no idea that she'd call you at
work.  I'm sorry that she called you at Mc Ginty's.  She wants to meet with
both of us when it's conveinet for us," she replied.

"Okay.  We can meet her day after tomorrow.  You're not thinking about going
back to work, are you?"

Toni shook her head.  "No.  I promised I wouldn't, and I always keep my
promise handsome."

Gary breathed a sigh of relief.  "Good.  I just thought I'd ask.  Have you
mentioned this to our children?"

"Not yet.  I'm waiting until the time is right to do it.  I'd like you to be
with me when I tell them."

"Just let me know when you're going to tell them, and I'll make a point of
being here to help you explain it to them."

"Okay.  I'm glad that you're not mad with me about this."

"I think it's great that you want our kids to go to school.  They can make
some new friends there.  Oh, by the way, Lara came to the bar this afternoon.
Said she needed my help with something tomorrow morning."

"Gary, don't let her talk you into anything dangerous."

Gary put his arms around his wife.  "Don't worry honey.  I promise I won't let
her talk me into anything dangerous."

Lara and Byrce were eating dinner in the hotel resturant discussing what they
would do tomorrow with Gary's help.

"We've got a problem Byrce.  Alex West is in the hotel, and he's after the
same thing we are," she told Byrce.

Byrce frowned.  "I thought he promised not to work against you anymore Lara,"
he said.

Lara sipped her water and nodded.  "He did, but he said he had no choice this
time.  I want you to do a check on a Nigel Hawthrone.  That's who hired Alex,
and I want to know why he's so interested in the necklace for."

"No problem Lara.  How did it go with Jasper Stone today?"

"Let's just say that he doesn't like Mr. Davis very much for some reason.  He
thinks that the curator doesn't care about anything, except the money that his
exhibits brings in with the people who come to see them."

"Sounds interesting."

Lara smiled.  "You should've seen the face he made when he was talking about
the curator.  He did tell me that the necklace is here somewhere, but he
doesn't know where.  Last time he saw it, he was paying for it from someone
who got it for him."

It was Byrce's turn to smile.  "More like he had someone steal it for him from
where it was being kept at the time."

"That's what I thought too when he said that.  The sooner we find the
necklace, and return it to museum, the better."

Chapter 13

Lara Croft stood staring out her hotel window thinking about Gary and Alex
West showing up in Chicago.

She knew that Alex would try to get to the necklace ahead of her as usual, but
this time, she'd be the one who'd beat him to it.

She liked Alex and he felt the same about her, though at times, she sensed he
wanted to be more than friends.

Gary, however, was another matter.  She was curious on how he knew Alex was in
danger earlier today.  She knew Gary was married with two children, owned and
ran a bar, but there was something else about him that bothered her.

Sighing, Lara turned and walked away from the window.  She had a big day ahead
of her tomorrow,and needed her rest.

She'd figure what was bothering her about Gary out later after her mission was
Gary sat in his easy chair reading a magazine.  His talk with Toni about
sending the twins to pre-kindergarden in the fall had gone well, but why
didn't she tell him she was thinking about it earlier.  That what was really
bothering him.  He'd make sure in the future that she'd tell him what's on her
mind whenever he asked.  He looked over his magazine at his kids watching

"What'd I tell you about sitting so close?  Come and sit on the couch," he
told them seeing how close they were to the television.

"Sorry Daddy.  I forgot," Jeff said as he and Rose got on the couch and sat

"Just remember next time, pal.  You don't want to hurt your eyes by sitting
too close to the televison."

Toni came into the living room from the kitchen with a tray in her hands.
"Okay, both of you can have two cookies and a glass of milk since you finished
your dinner.  Then, in an hour, I want you to get ready for bed," she said.

"Okay Mommy," Rose said reaching for a cookie on the tray.

Toni smiled and sat down on the couch beside her daughter.  "Don't get any
crumbs on the floor kids."

Gary smiled.  "That's part of the fun of eating cookies my love.  I used to
get crumbs on the floor, and my mother almost made me clean them up when I was
their age."

"I'll have to ask Lois about that sometime sweetheart."

"She probably won't remember it."

"I think she will.  Your mother strikes me as a person who doesn't forget
things like that."

Gary sighed.  Knowing his mother, she'd probably be happy to tell Toni what he
was like as a child.  "We need to talk later."

"Sure.  We can talk after the kids go to bed."

Byrce sat in his hotel room at his table busy typing on his laptop computer
drinking a can of diet soda.  He was finding out what he could about Nigel
Hawthrone for Lara, and then, he wold go to bed.  He was tired, he had to
admit, yawning a little.  It was going on nine oclock by his watch, and he
knew Lara wanted him to be refreshed and ready to go tomorrow morning.

"Hmmm.  Very interesting.  Lara'll be very interested in reading this about
the millionare who hired Alex.," he said smiling.

He sent the information to the printer that he had bought along on the trip,
and watched as it printed out the sheets.

When the pritner was done printing out the sheets of information, Bryce put
the papers on the table, and shut down the printer.

Yawning again, he saved the file, exited the program, and shut off his
computer.  He had done enough work for the night.

Chapter 14

That night, Toni and Gary sat together on the sofa drinking coffee after the
children were in bed asleep.

"What is it that you wanted to talk about honey?," Toni asked sipping her

Gary smiled.  "Next time you come up with something like this, please tell me,
okay.  I'm not mad, but I'd rather have you tell me than have a teacher call
me at work and tell me.  We promised not to keep any secrets from each other,"
he replied.

Toni nodded.  "Agreed.  There is something I want to ask you now, and I want a
honest answer."

"Sure.  Go ahead."

Toni sighed.  "Gary, you'd never have an affair behind my back with another
woman, would you?"

Gary was shocked that she would ask that question.  "Of course not!  I honor
the vows I made when we got married.  What brought this up anyway?"

"It's just something every women thinks about and worries that it might happen
during her marriage.  I just wanted to make sure it doesn't happen in ours.
I've seen too many unhappy woman in the police station fliling for divorce
because of it."

"You don't have to worry about it happening during ours sweetheart.  I'm
totally yours until death do us part."

Toni was relieved.  "Good.  I'm glad we got that out of way."

"So am I.  I know you wouldn't have an affair with another guy behind my back

"You don't have to worry about that.  LIke you said before, I'm totally yours
until death do us part."

Alex West yawned and streched.  He was sleepy, and decided it was time for him
to call it a night.  He had a busy day ahead of him tomorrow.  There were a
couple of places that he wanted to check out that sounded promising.

He prepared for bed, and shut off the light close by his bed.  This would be
the last time he'd work against Lara.

Alex was having feelings for her that he couldn't deny any longer.  How he
acted on them was another matter, but he wouldn't worry about it until the
time was just right.  All he wanted to do now was sleep which is what he did.
Lara Croft dreamed about her father as she slept in her hotel bed.  Again, she
was in his study with him helping him with his maps, and the other things he
had on his desk for her to see.  In the dream, she was ten again and happy.
"That sounds exciiting Daddy!  All those places your work takes to," the dream
Lara said to Lord Croft.

Lord Croft smiled at his daughter.  "It is, but it's hard work Lara.  Someday,
when you're older, all of this will be yours.  I may not be around when it
happens.  I want you to understand that," he had told her in the dream.

"Please don't talk like that Daddy.  You scare me when you say that."

"Lara, I just want you to be prepared in case something happens to me out
there in the field.  If it does, Hillary will take care of you.  Always
remeber that I love you no matter what."

Tears had come to her eyes then, and she hugged her father. "I love you too

Lara had grown up to be a lady, but in the dream, she again relived the day
she recieved the news that her father had been found murdered in the field and
his body returned for burial.  She had screamed, cried, and almost fainted
when Hillary had told her.

"I promise to carry on your work father, and find out the one who's
responsible for this and make them pay," she had told her father's tombstone
inside the tent that he had asked to be buried in on their estate.
Back at their house, Toni was brushing her hair sitting at her dresser as Gary
was getting ready for bed in their bedroom.

She looked at her reflection in the mirror and thought how lucky and happy she
was.  She had a handsome husband, and two wonderful children.  She'd do
something very special for him on Valentine's Day that was coming very soon.

She  turned, and saw him in the red boxer shorts he sometimes wore to bed.
"You look cute and sexy in those," Toni said.

Gary blushed.  "You look beautiful in that nightgown of yours too," he replied
smiling at her.

Toni got up from her chair and went over to her side of the bed.  "Jade picked
it out when we were shopping."

"She did?  Why would she do that?"

"If I told you what she said, your face would get redder than it is now."

"Never mind.  I can guess what she said."

"Get in bed, and turn off the light please."

Gary climbed in besides her, shut off the light, and shut his eyes

Chapter 15

Gary showed up at the hotel at eight the next morning like he promised Lara
that he would.  His first save wasn't until the afternoon which was fine for
him.  He'd be glad when this whole thing was over, and he could get back to
just helping people without being involved in some treasure hunt or something
like that.  He found Lara reading some printout sheets that Byrce had given
her when he entered the room.  "Good morning Lara.  Byrce," Gary said smiling
at them both.

"Good morning Gary.  I'm just looking over some information that Byrce gave me
about Nigel Hawthrone," Lara replied.

"The millionare?"

"Yes.  Seems he's interested in the necklace too, and has hired Alex West to
get it for him.  This time, I'm the one who'll get the necklace and return it
to the museum.  I've very close now to finding it which is why I need your

Gary rubbed the back of his neck like he always did when he was nervous about
something.  "I'll do whatever I can Lara.
What is it you need my help with?  I hope it's not anything dangerous."

Lara put the sheet she was reading down, and shook her head.  "I want you to
come with me to the old warehouse district."

Gary gulped.  "You're not serious, are you."

"I'm afraid she is Gary.  She needs your help in locating a certain building
she's going in down there," Byrce said.

Oh boy, Gary thought to himself.  "I'm not going into any buildings to look
around with you.  I'll help you find the building, but you're on our own after
that.  I don't trust those old buildings anymore since I nearly died in one a
long time ago."
(Spolier Fate epsoide)

Byrce smiled.  "We know all about that Gary.  You went in there to save those
kids.  It wasn't your fault that the building wasn't safe that day.  We also
know about the man you tried to save, but couldn't.  That wasn't your f ault

Gary frowned. "Have you been checking on me or something?  How do you all

"That's not important right now Gary.  We need to get going.  If I know
Alex,he's probably on the trail of the necklace somewhere right now.  We'll
use the rental car outside.  Byrce'll monitor us wiith his computer."

Alex was already in one section of town already searching for the necklace.
After breakfast, he had got in his car, and drove to sector C that he had
called the area where he was going to look.  Something told him that it might
be inside one of the buildings there.  All he had to was find it, and bring it
to Nigel Hawthrone to get his money.  Sounded simple, but it wasn't.

"Okay.  According to the map, the first building should be around the corner
somewhere," he said checking his map again.

He wished he had someone to help him, but he didn't ask, so he was on his own.
He knew Lara would be somewhere searching for the necklace too.  The same old
thing again.  Both of them after the same thing, but for different people like
the last time.

He'd find the necklace first before she did, and have it in Nigel's hands.
Gary and Lara arrived in the old warehouse district and Gary pointed to the
building where Lara wanted to search in.

"It's the thrid one down the street Lara. It doesn't look too safe for me.  Be
careful, and good luck," he told her.

"I will.  Stay here until I get back," Lara said getting out of the driver's

Gary watched her walk down the street towards the building, and saw her
carefully enter the inside.

He was glad it was her going in there, and not him.  He keep a lookout for
anyone and anything that might be suspcious.

Inside the old store building, Lara switched on her headphone.  "I'm in Byrce.
I know the necklace's in here somewhere," she said.

"Find it, and get out before something happens Lara," Byrce's voice told her
over the wire from where he was.

"Check.  Begining search now."  She searched the old broken drawers, found
nothing, and went back to the what was the back of the store.  She shone her
flashlight around the room hoping that somehow the necklace was there hidden.
Finding nothing on the shelves, Lara was about ready to leave, when she
noticed a hole in the wall by one of the last row of shelves.
She reached inside, and pulled out a dusty old case.  Dusting off the dust,
Lara opened it, and smiled.  "Bingo Byrce!"

"I take it you found the necklace Lara."

"Rodger that.  It was hidden inside a hole in the wall inside this old case
I'm holding.  It's in good shape."

"Good work Lara.  You beat Alex to the prize this time.  I'll pack everything
up, and meet you at the museum."

"Don't forget to pay our bill before you leave."

'"Check.  Over and out."

Lara closed the lid and left  the old store.  She got back inside her car
smiling at Gary.  "Found it inside there," she said.

"Great.  Where was it?," Gary asked, as Lara drove away from the area.

"Inside a hole in the wall in the back.  I'll drop you off at your bar, and go
to the museum.  Thank you for your help."

"You're welcome Lara."

Lara gave the case containing the necklace to Mr. Davis, accepted her fee,
said goodbye, and went outside to join Byrce.

They drove out of Chicago in their van, heading back home having accomplished
their mission for the museum.

Alex was heading home too.  He knew Lara had beaten him to the necklace, but
he didn't care.  All he wanted was to go home.

The End

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