Gary's Unexpected News
Installment 2
by Lori Anderson

Disclaimer, etc., in Installment 1
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Gary's Unexpected News
Installment 2
by Lori Anderson

Chapter 15

Later that night, Toni and Gary were sitting in their bed inside their bedroom talking very
softly. "Honey, I know that what you heard today knocked you for a loop, but please don't
let it keep you awake. I can tell by the look in your eyes just how you feel, and I don't
want you to be upset," she told him.

Gary turned to his wife and smiled at her.  "You know what?  I'm so lucky to have you as
my wife.  I just feel like someone punched me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of
me for a minute.  First, they say they're selling the Gray Ghost and buying a new RV, and
then, I'm told that Dad will get cancer if he doesn't quit smoking his cigars that Mom hates
and I don't like them either, and then, they were thinking of  selling the house in HIckory
which I'm glad they're not, and it's a lot to take in right now."

"I know it is, and you must be feeling a little confused right now.  You're wondering what
to make out of all this, and I'm telling you that it's not for you to worry about.  Your
parents are doing something they've always to do for some time, and now, finally they can.
Lois told me that she noticed how quiet you were at dinner tonight, and hoped that what
they told you didn't upset you.  She's worried about you."

"That's my mom.  If she knows that something's wrong with me, she'll get to the bottom of
it.  I just wish they had told me about all this before now so it wasn't so much as a shock."

Toni reached over and patted his hand with her right one.  "Maybe they wanted to make
sure they said it in a way that wouldn't upest you when they told you.  I am glad you told
Bernie to go to the bar earlier today. "

"I didn't want him showing the kids how to use that thing of his.  You know what I mean."

Toni nodded.  "I knew he had that in mind, and almost told him where he could put it.  Is
he any good at that thing that he likes to pratice?"

Gary smiled again.  "He's getting there, but he won't be in the Olympics yet .  That thing is

"I bet it is.  It 's a wonder that your father doesn't hurt his back lifting it."

"The day he hurts himself with it, is the day he'll give it up.  Did you bride our children to
play nice together earlier?  Be honest now."

Toni sighed.  "I wondered if you had found out.  Yes, I did, and it worked. I get tired of
hearing them fight over a television show, or a toy when you're at the bar during the day,
and I decided it was time I did something."

"So, you bride them with something you know they'll like to keep them from fighting,

"Yes.  Gary, I'm not going to do it all the time, but just this once I saw no harm in it.  Do
you want to come home from work to hear them yelling and fighting over something that
they don't need to?   When I told them that Daddy didn't want to come home to hear his
children arguing over something, they decided that it was better to play together nice and
that's what they did.  Did I do something that you don't approve of?"

Gary put his arm around her shoulder.  "No.  You did the right thing when you told them
that I didn't need to come home to hear them fighting over something they didn't have to.
If you tell them that everytime that they look like they're going to argue oversomething,
then it's alright with me. Just don't bride them anymore. They'll expect it, and I don't want
them to.  Discpline our children however you see fit, just do it in a way they'll understand.
If I have to do it sometime, I'll do it in a way they'll understand that it's wrong."

"Agreed.  You feel better now since we've talked about what went on earlier? "

"Uh huh.  Let's turn out the lights and go to sleep.  I'm suddenly tired."

Chapter 16

Gary woke up the next morning to the smell of coffee coming from the kitchen, and
looked at the clock. The time was seven o clock, and Gary flung the covers off him and
got out of bed grabbing his bathrobe. He went downstairs and found his mother sitting on
the sofa sipping a cup of coffee in her bathrobe. "Morning Mom.  Where's Dad?," Gary
asked Lois smiling at her.

"He's taking care of the paper today for you honey.  He said that you looked like you
needed a day off from it yesterday, and so he went and got the paper this morning at 6:30.
He didn't let the cat in if that's what you were about to ask.  Toni's in the kitchen pouring
you a cup of coffee and fixing breakfast," Lois replied.

Gary thanked his mother and went inside the kitchen where his wife was standing at the
counter. "Good morning love of my life," he told her kissing her on the check.

"Good morning darling.  Here's your coffee.  Did your mother tell you that your father's
taking care of the paper today so that you can have a day off?,' Toni said handing him his
coffee mug and kissing him back.

Gary sat down in a chair and nodded.  "Yeah, she told me he was taking care of it today.
What gave him the impression that I needed a day off from the paper?  I never said
anything that I needed a day off."

"You know your father.  Said he wanted to make up from the other time that he didn't do
so good filling in for you.  I asked him what he meant by that, and he said that he'd tell me
later.  How do you want your eggs this morning?  I've got your toast ready for you."

Gary sipped his coffee and set his cup down.   "Scrambled please.    DId you sleep well
last night?"

Toni nodded as she sat his toast down in front of him on a plate.  "Yes I did.  I even
dreamt about you."

"Really?  I hope it was a good one."

"Honey, every dream I have of you is good, and I 'm not telling you what it was either.  It
won't come true if I do."

"That's an old superstition sweetheart.  Come on, tell me.  What was the dream about?"

Toni knew that unless she told him, he wouldn't quit nagging her about it.

"Alright.  We were on a beach with the children watching them play, and you had your
swim trucks on. The children were building a sandcastle, and wanted your help which you
gave smiling and laughing. I smiled in my sleep thinking how cute you looked knealing on
the sand helping to build a sandcastle in your cute swim trucks that I had brought for you,
and wishing that I had my camera to take your picture."

"We can make it come true someday when we take a vacation together.  Maybe I'll buy
you a bikini to wear on the beach when we go."

Toni laughed as she put his eggs on his plate.  "How do you know that I don't already
have one?"

"If you do have one, I'd like to see you wear it."

"Eat your breakfast.  The children will be here in a few minutes wanting their breakfast."

Sure enough, five minutes later, both twins came from their rooms heading towards the

"Good morning Mommy.  Daddy," Rose said walking over to her parents still in her

"Morning Rose.  Did Daddy's girl sleep alright last night?," Gary asked his daughter
helping her into her chair.

"Yes Daddy.   I liked the story that grandma read to me last night."

Toni smiled at her daughter as she sat the glass with her juice in it in front of her.

"You had a smile on your face when I checked on you later before I went to bed," she

"It was a good story Mommy.  Did grandma read you any stories when you were little

Gary almost blushed as he took a bite of his toast.  What a question, he thought to himself.

He washed it down with his coffee before he answered.  "Yes honey.  She read me lots of

"Part of the time your father fell asleep before I finished it," Lois said coming into the

"Mom!  I didn't think you knew."

"Mothers know when their children fall asleep during a story Gary."

"Can I have some toast this morning please mommy?," Jeff asked getting into his chair.

Toni thought for a minute as she put Rose's cereal bowl in front of her.

"Are you sure you can handle toast this morning Jeff?  I don't want you to get sick or
something if you can't finish it," she replied, and turned to Gary to see what he thought.

"He can eat it if you cut it into pieces for him sweetheart.  He can eat the whole thing
when he gets bigger and can handle it," Gary said, smiling at his son.

"Your father has the whole day to spend with you and Rose.  Your grandpa is doing some
errands for Daddy."

Toni knew that her children were too young to understand about the paper yet.

"I still have to take of the bar in town, but I'll be home early so we can spend some time

Toni and Lois each exchanged a knowing look and Gary knew something was up.

"Gary, Chuck and Marissa can handle the bar today for you.  I called them and asked them
to take control today since you needed to have a day off from it as well," Lois told her

Gary shook his head in wonder.  "Is there any reason why you are giving me today off
from everything, or  should I ask?," he asked looking at his mother and wife.

"We just thougt that you needed a day off to spend with your family.  That's the reason,"
Toni replied.

"Sounds like a good reason to me.  Maybe we can go to the park, or something ."

"We can talk about it after breakfast.  Just finish your breakfast before it gets cold."

Gary ate his breakfast thinking what a smart wife and mother he had.

Bernie, meanwhile, was having the time of his life with the paper doing saves.  So far, he
had prevented two men from coming to blows over a tree branch that was threatening to
fall on the first one's fence.  He had suggested that the man who owned the tree have the
branch cut so that it wouldn't drop on the fence. It was silly for two men who were
neighbors to be fighting over a tree branch he had told them.  Now, he was checking the
paper to see if anyone else needed to be saved, and saw nothing else that needed his
attention for the monment.  Berine decided he'd go to the bar and see if Chuck and
Marissa needed anything. "Good morning Chucko!  Marissa," he said going into the bar

"Good morning Bernie.  How's Gar liking his day off so far?," Chuck asked smiling back.

"I haven't heard yet, but I know he's going to enjoy it.  I think he needs it from what he
found out yesterday."

"It must have been a little hard for him to understand at first when you told him Bernie,"
Marissa said.

"Yeah, I think it was too.  I know he felt a little confused about it somehow.  He was so
quiet at dinner last night, and Lois knew it must have been what we told him.  My boy's
been through a lot, and now, he has to handle the news that we told him about yesterday.
That's when I suggested that we give him today off so he can spend it with doing
something with his family and not think about what he heard."

"You're a good father Bernie.  I'm sure Gary will thank you for it later."

"Yeah.  Hobson's a good guy, and having two good parents like you and Lois who look
out for him, must make him very proud and happy.  Did he ever tell you about the time
that he helped me?  If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have retired from the police force with
my reputation intact.  That was one bad time I tell you."

"He never told you about the time he was held hostage by the ex-convict, did he?  That
was a really bad time around here for everyone," Chuck said taking a drink of his coffee.

Berine looked surprised at this.  This was something else that Gary hadn't told him and
Lois about.

Chapter 17

"Nice going Fishman.  How do you know what went on that time anyway?  If anyone
should tell Bernie about that awful day, it should be Hobson himself," Crumb said giving
Chuck a dirty look.

"Gary was held hostage by an ex-convict?  When did this happen?," Berine asked taking a
seat at the bar.

"A few years ago Berine.  Gary really should be the one to tell you what happened,"
replied Marissa.

"I want to hear what happened.  I want all the details."

"Uh, I really think you should have Gar tell you everything Berine.  I was out of it for
most of it," Chuck said.

"May I use the phone please Crumb?"

"Sure Berine.  Here you are."  Crumb handed Berine the phone that was behind the bar.

Berine thanked him and dailed Gary's house hoping that Gary answered the phone.

"Hobson residence," Gary's voice said over the phone when he picked it up.

"Gar, come to the bar.  There's something that I think you have to tell me, and I don't
want you to tell me with Lois and the kids present," Berine told his son his tone serious.

Gary knew something was up by the way his father had said that.

"I'll be right there Dad," he said and hung up the phone.  He wondered what was going on.

"I have to go the bar for a while.  Dad wants to talk to me about something very
important.  I'll be back for lunch," he told Toni kissing her on the cheek.

"Okay.  I hope nothing's wrong," Toni said kissing him back.

"I'm sure it's nothing wrong, but he sounded serious, and for him, that means that
something's up."

Gary grabbed his jacket, told him mother and children where he was going , promised to
be back for lunch, and went out the door.  He got in the van and drove towards town to
his bar.

The minute he stepped inside the place, he could tell something was up by the look in his
father's eyes.

"I just found out that you were once held hostage by an ex-con.  I'd like to hear all about it
from you," Berine said, and Gary gulped.  So this is what his father wanted to talk him

"Who told you about that Dad?," Gary asked.

"It was Chuck who told him Gary," Mariisa replied.

Gary threw his friend a dirty look, and Chuck flinched sorry that he had metioned it.

"Let's go in my office Dad, and I'll tell you everything that happened that day."

Spolier Information:  The Quality of Mercy coming.

Once inside his office, Gary sat down at his desk and rubbed his hand on his hair again.

He took a deep breath and started: " What you heard is true.  I was held hostage by an
ex-con who is now dead and gone.  The paper that morning warned me that a man was
going to hit by a semitruck at a certain intersection of town, and as usual, I went
downtown to the place to prevent it from happening.  It turned out that the man I saved
was an ex-con who had done ten years in prison for killing a man, and he was after the D.
A. who had sent him away.  I went to the courthouse to prevent him from killing her
there, and  I was sucessful. The man left the building and saw Chuck parked around the
side of the building with his red car.  He knocked Chuck out, and took his car.  When I
came out, I saw the man driving away, and then found Chuck lying unconcious on the
ground.  I got someone to call 911, and took him to the hospital. The next morning, while
Marissa and I were waiting to see how Chuck was doing, and drinking coffee, I looked at
the paper. John, that was the man's name, had gone to her house to kill her there, and I
told Marissa to call the police while I went over to the place in a cab to stop him.  He
made me pull down the shades so that the snipers couldn't see inside the house, and kept
his gun on the D. A. and I the entire time.  If you're wondering if I was scared, yes I was,
but I didn't let him know it. I had to keep him calm so he wouldn't go off the deep end and
shoot the both of us.  That wasn't easy.  Crumb had to be the negiator for the police trying
to get the D. A. and myself out alive.  John's demand was for a huge amount of money,
and a van.  He wasn't picky about the van.  Just wanted a brand new one from the lot.
Well, he didn't get it.  He had both of us sitting on the floor by the fireplace covering us
with his gun, and held it on me while I talked to Crumb.  I finally managed to convice John
to let Rachel Stone, she's the D. A., go, and I drove one of her vans with him covering me
with his gun. I kept telling him that he still had a choice in the whole thing, and that if he
gave himself up, things would go easy because I knew Crumb.  He had me drive to the
railroad yard where he was going to get on a train. There were two kids on a section of
tracks,and one kid happened to be the dstrict attorney's son. He had got his foot stuck
somehow, and couldn't get it out.  To make matters worse, a train was coming, and would
hit and kill him if he didn't get his foot free in time.  I was still being covered by John's
gun, but I knew I had to help the kids.  I turned and ran toward them knowing I might be
shot in the back.  I wasn't, but all I could think about was trying to help the kids.  You're
not going to believe this, but he actually helped free the kid. He used a tool that you pry a
crate open with to force the track open enough for me to yank the kid 's foot out, and get
them both to safety.  I thought he'd take off running, but John stood there and let the train
hit him. I covered the kid's eyes so they wouldn't see him lying there.  I drove the kids
back to their parents, and went to the hospital with Crumb to see how Chuck was doing.
I was relieved to see that he was doing better and that he was complaining of having a
headache.  He was even joking about the bulls when I walked into his room. He wanted a
nurse, a blonde one, and a brunet.  I don't know if he got either one of them. I went back
to the railroad yard with flowers and sat watching a train go by remembering John and
everything that happened.  I dropped the flowers on the spot where he had been killed and
left.  That's the whole story Dad.  Everything that happened that strange day to me."

Bernie wiped some tears that had fallen out of his eyes during Gary's telling of the whole
thing. "I'm proud of you for saving that D. A. Gar, but please don't ever let yourself get in
that position again.  I won't tell your mother about this, because it'll just upset her, and I
don't want that.  She thinks you take enough chances with that paper at times anyway.
Have you told Toni about this?"

Gary shook his head.  "I think she knows about it somehow.  She was a detective and a

"You may have to tell her sometime about it just like you told me.  Don't do it when your
kids are around."

"Don't worry Dad.  I'll make sure they're not around when I tell Toni all about that day,
and I promise not to tell Mom about it either.  I didn't want you and Mom to ever find out
about it."

"I appricate your wanting to spare us any grief like that Gar, but we are your parents, and
we have the right to worry about you in a case like this. You should get a medal for how
you handled that situation."

"I don't want one Dad.  Would you like a beer?  I promised Toni I'd be back for lunch."

"Yeah, I'd like one, and I think you need one too after telling me about that awful day."

Chapter 18

"Son, you're going to have tell Toni about this sooner or later.  It'd be better if you told
her today sometime when you're both alone.  I know I said that your mother shouldn't be
told, but this can't be kept from her either forever.  I'll leave it up to you when you want to
tell her, and I'll be there to help her understand.  I know what'll she'll do when she hears,
and I think you do too," Bernie told Gary as the two men sipped their beers.

"I know Dad.  I know you're right.  I think I should have Toni come here and tell her
while you and Mom watch the kids at the house.  This won't be easy for me to tell her,"
Gary said wishing he didn't have to.

"Gar, Toni loves you, and she'll be upset at first, but she'll be glad that you told her.  I'll go
to your house and tell Toni that you want to talk to her here.  I'll tell Lois something
should she ask me what we talked about."

"Thanks Dad.  I never wanted any of you to know about that, but I'm glad I finally told
you.  Did you and Mom hear anything about on the news or read about it in the
newspapers that time?"

Bernie shook his head.  "Nope.  We were away on a vacation during that time."

"I'm glad you and Mom didn't have to worry about me then."

Bernie nodded and finished his beer.  "I'll be going now.  Good luck with Toni."

"Thanks Dad.  Same goes for you and Mom."

Bernie left the office and walked towards the door waving good bye to the others.

"See you later.  I've got to go to Gar's house and tell Toni he has something to tell her," he

"He told you then what happened that day, Bernie?," Chuck asked.

"Yeah he told me.  Now, he has to tell his wife and then, his mother when he feels the time
is right."

"I wish I hadn't said anything.  He didn't want you and Lois to know about it because he
was worried about how you would take it if you found out."

"Chucko, you didn't do anything wrong.  You're a good friend to Gar, and Lois and I are
grateful.  You may have done crazy things in the past, but you and Gar remained friends .
See you later everyone."

Bernie went outside and started walking back to Gary's house, his mind still going over
what he had just heard in his son's office earlier.  He was glad that Gary hadn't been hurt,
or killed, but he never wanted to hear that he was put in that position again.  Lois would
probably come a running, or call the police herself, he thought.

When he got to the house and went inside, Bernie saw his grandchildren watching
television with his wife on the sofa, and smiled.  "I'm back Lois. Gary wants Toni to come
to the bar.  He has something very important to tell her, and I told him we'd watch the
children for him while she's there with him," he told his wife.

Toni came out of the kitchen with a cup of coffee for Bernie knowing that he'd want one.

"Here's a cup of coffee for you Bernie.  What did my husband have to talk to you about?,"
she asked.

"I'll let him tell you Toni.  He's at the bar.  Said for me to tell you to go there and go in his
office.  Lois and I will watch the children while you go see what he has to tell you, and
thanks for the coffee," Bernie replied.

Toni frowned. "Okay, I'm on my way now.  I'll be back later."

She grabbed her sweater, purse, and walked towards the door.

Lois looked at her husband.  "Bernie, something's going on, and I want to know what
Gary had to tell you that you had to go to Mc Ginty's for instead of talking over the
phone," she said.

"Lois, he'll tell you himself when he gets the chance.  It should come from him and not me.

"I don't like people keeping things from me Bernie."

Bernie sipped his coffee before he replied.  "Lois, no one is keeping anything from you.
What he told me, he;ll tell you when he gets the chance like I said.  Please drop it for now.

"He'd better tell me later when he gets home is all I can say."

"He will, he will.  Let's not have the grandkids upset, okay."

Toni arrived at the bar, went inside, said hello to Marissa, Crumb and Chuck before going
to the office.

"Alright, I'm here.  What is it you have to tell me that you couldn't tell me at home?," she
asked Gary.

Gary came over and took her in his arms for a minute.  "I will, but I want you to promise
me that you won't get too upset once you hear what I'm about to tell you," he replied
looking into her eyes.

"When you look me in the eyes like that, I know that something's up.  Okay, spill it."

"Please sit down honey.  Can I get you something before I start?"

Toni shook her head as she sat down in a chair across from her husband.

"Tell me what you have to say Gary."

Gary sighed and rubbed his hand over his hair when he was nervous.

"Alright, here goes:  I was held hostage by an ex-con once before we met and got married.
The paper that day told me that a man was going to be hit by a semi at a certain
intersection, and I ran to the spot to prevent it.  I did, but the man I saved was an ex-con
who had just gotten out on parole.  He was going to kill the D A who had put him away
for ten years on a murder charge. I went to the courthouse to save the D. A. whose name
is was Rachel Stone, from being killed in her office.  I saved her from being killed, but the
ex-con, whose name was John, went outside and knocked Chuck out cold.  When I came
out, I found Chuck lying on the ground, bleeding from his wound, got some help, and
took him to the hospital.  It was touch and go there for a while. Anyway, the next
morning, the paper warned me that the man was going to her house to kill her, and I told
Marissa to call the police while I got a cab to take me there.  Things went from bad to
worse.  I got there and fought with him to keep him from shooting the woman in front of
her daughter who was there.  He punched me in the stomach, and I went down in pain.
He took his gun out, grabbed Rachel Stone around her neck, and held it to her head. Said
that if we did anything stupid, he'd kill her.  I was scared, but I didn't let him know it. I did
what he told me, pulled the shades down so that any snipers that the police had outside
couldn't see in, and made me sit down on the couch beside the woman.  Crumb had to be
the negiator to get us both out safely.  John's demand was a lot of money and a van fresh
off the lot.  He was going to use us to make sure that the police didn't shoot him when we
left the house. Rachel Stone almost shot him, but I stopped her. I finally managed to get
John to let her go, and use me as his hostage during the escape.  We drove away in one of
her vans and headed towards the railroad yard where I guess he was going to hop a train.
We got there, he ordered me to get out and give him the keys.  I did, and then, we walked
towards one section of tracks where he made me wait while he hopped the nearest train to
get away.  All this time, he was covering me with his gun, and I kept hoping that someone
would come.  There would two boys farther down the tracks, and one of them had gotten
his foot really stuck inside the rail.  I had the gun on me, but I decided I'd go help the kids.
I suspected to be shot from behind, but I wasn't.  I tried to free the boy who had his foot
stuck, but nothing worked.  You won't believe this, but John came with a crowbar and
managed to get the rail loose enough for me to pull the boy out.  I did, and got both of
them to safety.  I thought John would take off running, but he just stood there and let the
train hit and kill him.  I took the kids back home, and went to the hospital to see how
Chuck was doing.  To my relief, he was doing much better, and I went in his room to see
him. He wanted an asprin, and two nurses.  A blonde and a brunte.  I don't if he got them
both, or just one of them. I took some flowers to the railroad yard, sat down by the spot
where John had been killed, and thought about him and all that happened.  When the train
had passed, I stood up, and dropped the flowers on the spot where he had been killed.
The boy whose life I had helped saved was Rachel Stone's son."

Tony was quiet for a minute.  She was too shocked to say anything after hearing what he
had just told her.

 Chapter 19

"Honey?  Are you alright?," Gary asked seeing the look on Toni's face.

"Am I alright?!  No, I'm not alright!  You could've been killed by that ex-con!  Just
thinking about you being in that situation makes me shudder. Oh Gary!  I hate the paper
for putting you in that sitaution," Toni replied, putting her face in her hands as she felt the
tears coming in her eyes.

Gary went over and held her in his arms to comfort her.  "I didn't want to tell you because
I was afraid you'd react this way.  I just got done telling my dad about it, and he thought I
should tell you.  I'm sorry if this upset you.  It happened a long time ago, and I promise
you it won't happen again."

Toni grabbed a kleenex from Marissa's desk and wiped her eyes with it.

"How do I know you won't do anything like that again?  You promise you won't, but that
stupid paper might have other ideas that might put you in something worse.  I wish you'd
get rid of it once and for all."

Gary cupped her face in his hands.  "Honey, you can trust me on this.  I won't break my
promise.  You and our children are my whole life now, and you're too important for me to
risk my life on something like that again."

Toni sighed.  "I knew what I was getting into when you told me about the paper, and I
accepted it.  Just hold me right now Gary.  This is just too much for me to take right

Gary gladly held his wife as she clung to him trying to calm herself down.

"You're shaking.   I'm sorry you had to know, but at least now you know.  I never meant
to upset you."

"I was a marshall once.  I should be used to something like this, but it just shocked me.
Have you told your mother about this yet?  She should know about it as well."

"Dad said as much too.  He doesn't want her to know, but said that I can't keep it from her

Toni tossed the kleenex into the trashcan, and took hold of her husband's hands with hers.

"When you tell her, I'll be right besides you.  I married you for better or worse.  We've
seen a little of each, but I would like to see more of the better and less of the worse for a

"So would I, sweetheart.  So would I.  Can I get you something to drink?"

"A beer would be nice right now.  I know I need one after hearing this."

"One beer coming right up my lady."

Toni laughed, and that was what Gary wanted to hear.  He knew she was feeling better.

He went out to the bar and got a beer from underneath the bar,

"How did she take it Gar?," Chuck asked before Gary went back inside his office.

"It upset her at first, but she's better now.  Talk to you later Chuck.  She needs me," Gary

He went back inside the office and handed his wife the beer bottle.

Toni took a big sip of it, and sighed again.  "I think we both need a vacation sometime

"That sounds great honey, but when are we going to take it?  We've got the kids to think

"We take them with us.  A nice family vacation.  Just the four of us without you having to
worry about the paper, and running the bar for a while.  We could plan it and then tell the
children once we've decided where to go."

Gary smiled at his wife.  "Sounds good to me.  You going to be okay now?"

Toni nodded and stood up.  "Yeah, I'm fine now.  I'm going home and start thinking about
where we can go on our vacation.  I'm serious about this Gary.  We really need a

"I know.  I've been thinking about it too.  Do you think I should tell Mom when I get
home later?"

"About the vacation?  Not yet.  What you just told me, yes.  I'll see you when you get
home.  I'll have lunch ready when you get there.  I love you Gary Hobson," she replied and
kissed him on the lips.

"I love you too Mrs. Hobson," and he kissed her back.

 Chapter 20

Toni returned to the house, her mind still going over what her husband just told her in his
office. She had been a marshal, a detective, and should have been used to what she had
just heard since it happened during her career, but to have her husband put in that situation
was a shock to her. Toni sighed and opened the door of hers and Gary's house determined
to show Lois that nothing was wrong. "I'm back.  He just wanted to tell me what he
wanted for lunch is all," she told Lois and Bernie.

Bernie knew that Gary had told Toni what he had told him earlier, and that she was lying
to let Gary be the one to tell Lois about it when he came home for lunch.  "That's my son
alright.  Just like me," he said.

"I'm going in the kitchen to start to fix lunch.  He's going to be hungry when he walks in
the door."

Toni walked towards her kitchen avoiding the look that Lois was giving her after hearing
her lie.

Lois turned to her husband.  "She's lying, and I want to know what Gary really told her,"
she said.

"I told you that Gary will tell you when he gets home Lois.  I promised that I wouldn't tell
you, and I know that Toni promised Gary the same thing too. You'll find out, but it's Gar's
decision when he wants to tell you.  Please drop it for right now before you have our
grandkids wondering what's going on," Bernie told her.

"Alright.  I'll wait until Gary gets home.  I don't want to upset our grandkids."

Toni took out the lettuce from the refrigator to start making the salad that they would
have with their hamburgers for lunch.  She knew her kids would like that menu for lunch.

Lois came in the kitchen to see if she could help with fixing the lunch. "I'll help you with
the salad Toni."

"Thank you Lois.  I didn't mean to lie to you a few minutes ago," Toni said.

"I know , and I understand.  Gary can tell me what he told you and Bernie when he gets

The two women busied theirselves fixing the salad in the kitchen as Bernie watched the

Toni went to get the hamburgers out of the refrigator to put on the grill to cook.

"Did you know that when Gary's nervous about something he runs his hand on the back of
his head?"

Lois, who was chopping up the carrots, nodded.  "Yes, and I've been trying to get him to
break it since he was a boy.  I don't know what got him started doing it, but he needs to
stop before it gets handed down to the children.  You don't need for them to pick up that
bad habit of his."

"I'll make sure he doesn't do it in front of them.  Lois, when Gary does tell you later,
please don't get too upset."

"It depends on what he tells me if I get too upset or not Toni.  Were you upset when he
told you?"

Toni nodded.  "Yes, I was upset at first, but I got over it."

Meanwhile, Gary was telling his friends how Toni had reacted after telling her about being
held hostage.

"I didn't want to upset her like that, but she had to know.  I dread telling my mother about
it later.  I can just imagine her reaction after I tell her," he said sipping the rest of his beer
that he had gotten earlier.

"What did you expect your wife to feel Hobson?  Having it happen to someone else during
her career is one thing, but to have it happen to her husband is another.  You're lucky that
she didn't want to handcuff you to your bed or something when you get home," Crumb
told Gary smiling.

"I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was thinking about it Crumb. She almost did it
another time."

Chuck smiled at the mental picture of his friend handcuffed to his bed in his house.

"I just got the picture of that in my mind just then Gar," he said.

Gary narrowed his eyes at his friend.  "I could strangle you for blurting that out to my Dad
earlier Chuck. I didn't want them to know about that, but thanks to you, I had to tell them,
and now, I have to tell my mom."

"I already said I was sorry Gar.  Honest.  I never told you this, but when Marissa told me
what happened to you as I was lying in the hospital bed, I almost passed out again.  That
guy was bad news, and I was the unlucky one to have gotten in his way when he came out
of the courthouse that day."

"So when are you going to tell your mother Gary," Marissa asked Gary.

Gary sighed.  "I'll tell her when the kids are in bed tonight.  That'll be the best time."

"Good luck.  I'll be praying for you."

"Thanks Marissa.  Well, I'd better get home and see what's going on.  See you later."

Gary went out the door, got inside his van, and drove back to his house for lunch as

The minute he stepped in the door, he could feel the tension in the air and didn't like it.

"Toni, I'm home for lunch as promised," he called hanging up his jacket on the wall hook.

Lois came out of the kitchen wearing an apron and looked at her son in the way that Gary
knew that she meant business.  "I believe you have something to tell me Gary," she said.

Gary gulped.  Whenever she said his name and not son, he knew that she was serious
about something.

"Yes Mom, and I promise I'll tell you, but I don't want to tell you right now.  Not with the
children around.  I'll tell you later tonight, okay. They don't need to know about this."

"I agree, but after they're in bed, you tell me.  Understand?"

Gary nodded.  "Yeah, I understand."

Rose ran towards her father from her bedroom where she had been playing with her toys.

"Daddy!  Mommy said you'd be home for lunch," she said reaching her arms out to him.

Gary smiled, bent down, and picked up his daughter.

"That's right sweetheart.  Have you been good for grandma and grandpa today?," he said.

"Yes.  I've been playing in my room, and Jeff's been playing with grandpa."

Toni came out of the kitchen carrying the salad bowl in her hands,and set it on the table.

"Come and help me with the the other things husband," she told him looking at him.

Gary set Rose down on the floor, and followed his wife into the kitchen.

"Hmmm.  Hamburgers.  How did you know I wanted to have that for lunch?," he asked.

Toni smiled.  "You mentioned it the other day, and I thought I'd fix them today.  Go take
them to the table please, and have our children wash their hands for lunch," she replied.

Gary nodded, and carried the plate of hamburgers over to the table where he sat them

"Rose, go tell your brother to wash up for lunch, and you do the same please."

"Okay Daddy."

Five minutes later, both children came to the table with their hands clean from washing in
the bathroom.

"Let's see your hands.  I don't want to see that trick that some kids pull on their parents,"
Toni said.

Rose and Jeff showed their mother their hands, and Toni smiled seeing that they were

"Good.  Keep doing that.  Some kids don't wash their hands real good, and they think they
can pull the wool over their parents eyes.  Now, I'll put some salad in your bowl."

 Chapter 21

Gary enjoyed the rest of the day with his children, playing with them outside, and reading
them their favorite books they brought to him to read. He loved to hear them ask him to
read to them.  However, he knew that as soon as they were in bed for the night, he would
have to tell his mother about the time he was held hostage by John Hernadez, and he
wasn't looking forward for it. "Is grandma mad at you for some reason Daddy?," Rose
asked her father. Gary smiled and shook his head.  "No, she's not mad at me honey.
There's something I have to tell her later, but she's not mad at me.  What made you think
she was mad at me?," he replied.

"She just looks at you strange. I was going to ask her if she was mad at you, but decided
not to."

"If she was mad at me Rose, she'd tell me.  Do you have something you want to show

Rose nodded and went over to the little table she and Jeff used for their coloring books.

She picked up the picture of the car she had colored and brought it over to him.

"I did this just for you Daddy.  It's  in your favorite color, too."

Gary looked at the picture of the black car and smiled again at his daughter.

"That's a good picture honey.  Thank you.  Go and put it on the refrigator with the others

Rose happily went into the kitchen to put her picture on the refrigator with the magnet.

"I can color better than she can," Jeff said showing Gary the baseball picture he had

"Very nice son.  You and Rose are both good colorers, and that's the way I want it.
There's not going to be a contest between the two trying to outdo the other.  Understand
what I'm saying Jeff," Gary told his son.

"Yes Daddy.  Do you really like my picture?"

"Yes I do.  Why don't you put yours on the refrigator as well?"

"That was a very good way to handle that situation sweetheart," Toni told her husband.

"The last thing we need is for them to try to be better than the other one in coloring or
something else."

Lois was proud of how Gary had handled the coloring situation, but she had the feeling
that whatever he was going to tell her later when the kids were in bed would somehow
upset her.

The rest of the evening went well, and finally, it was time for the kids to go to bed.

Toni helped them put on their pajamas, and made sure they brushed their teeth.

"Okay.  Go say goodnight to your father and grandparents," she said smiling.

Rose came over to her father first.  "Good night Daddy," she said kissing him on the

"Goodnight Rose. Sleep well," Gary said kissing her on her check.

Rose said the same to Lois and Bernine, and kissed them both goodnight.

Jeff told everyone good night, and went to his bedroom to get into his bed.

Toni tucked her children into their beds, kissed them goodnight, and then went to join the

Lois turned to Gary.  "Alright, it's time.  Tell me what you told Bernie and Toni earlier
today," she said.

"Let's go in the kitchen Mom.  I don't want to disturb the kids," Gary replied.

All four adults went into the kitchen and sat down at the kitchen table.

"I'll get us some coffee," Toni said going over to the coffeepot.

Gary rubbed his hand over the back of his hair feeling a little nervous.

"What I told Dad and Toni earlier was that at one time I was held hostage by an
ex-convict who now has been dead and gone.  You might have heard about it, or read
about it in the paper somehow, but I don't think you know all the details of how it
happened. I wish I didn't have to tell you, but I have no choice," he said.

"Just tell me Gary.  Whatever it is, I can handle it."

"Okay, here goes:  The paper that morning told me that a man was going to be hit and
killed by a semi at a certain intersection.  I went there to prevent it from happening as
usual, and it turned out that the guy I saved was an ex-con by the name of John Hernadez.
He was out on parole.  He had served ten years in prison for murder, and was after the
district attorney who had put him away.  He was going to the court house to kill her there,
and I made Chuck take me there to stop him.  I stopped him alright, but what I didn't
know is that John had gone out the back door, snuck up behind Chuck, knocked him out
cold, and stole his car.  I came out of the building, found Chuck lying on the ground
bleeding, got help, and took him to hospital.  I kept blaming myself for what happened to
him.  If I had taken a taxi, he wouldn't have been hurt.  The next morning, Marissa and I
were drinking coffee waiting for news on how his condition was, and I checked the paper.
It said that John was going to the DA's house to kill her there.  Her name was Rachel
Stone.  Anyway, I told Marissa to call the police while I went over there in a cab to stop
him from killing Mrs. Stone.  I did, but that's when things went from bad to worse.  John
put his gun to Mrs. Stone's head and told the policemen to leave the house.  Then, he told
both of us if we did anything stupid, he'd kill her.  I was scared, but I didn't let him know
it. He made me pull the shades down so that if any snippers were outside, they couldn't see
inside the house for a clear shot.  Then, he made me sit down on the couch besides Mrs.
Stone which I did.  Crumb was the negiator for the police trying his best to get John to let
us go.  The demand was simple: John wanted a huge amount of money, and a new van
fresh off the local lot for a getaway.  He didn't get either.  It took everything I had to keep
him calm enough so that he wouldn't end up shooting the both of us.  I finally convinced
him to let Mrs. Stone go, and I'd be his hostage driving the getaway van.  He kept his gun
on me the whole time as I was driving. He had me drive to the railroad yard, get out of the
van, and hand him the keys.  I was told to stand in a certain part of the tracks while he
jumped the nearest train out of there.  I heard someone yelling for help, looked around,
and saw two kids by another part of the tracks, and one kid had his foot completely stuck
in one part. I ran towards them knowing I might be shot in the back, but I couldn't let
them get hurt.  I  tried to free the kid, but his foot was really stuck.  To make matters
worse, a train was coming, and it looked hopeless.  You won't believe this, but John came
with a crowbar and managed to loosen the track enough for me to yank the kids to safety.
I thought he take off running again, but he just stood there and let the train hit and kill
him.  I covered the kids' eyes so they wouldn't see him lying there like that, and took them
home.  Then, Crumb and I went to the hospital to see how Chuck was doing, and was I
glad to hear that he was doing better.  I went in to see him, and the first thing he asked me
was how the Bulls did.  He said he had a headache, and I told him I'd get him some asprin.
He then said he needed a nurse, and I asked blonde or brunte.  He wanted one of each,
and I don't know if he got both, or one.  Later, I took some flowers to the spot where
John had been killed, and sat thinking about him and what had happened.  I dropped the
flowers on the spot, and left the railroad yard.  There you are Mom.  That's the whole
story of what happened that day long ago."

Toni put a cup of coffee down in front of her husband, and Gary thanked her as he took a

Lois didn't say anything for a minute as she tried to go over in her mind what she had just

Her hands were trembling as she picked up her coffee cup, and she had to put it down
before she dropped it and broke it.  She sighed and looked at her son with relief and worry
both in her eyes.

"To think of you being in that terrible situation makes me shudder.  It's almost a mother's
worse nightmare. You saved that woman from being killed, and I'm proud of you for that.
Honey, you had no way of knowing what that man had in mind.  You were only doing
what you normally do when you get the paper, but I don't want to hear of you being in a
situation like that again.  I don't think I could stand it if it happened again.  Blaming
yourself for what that man did to Chuck is something that you didn't need to.  He wouldn't
have been hurt that  bad if you had taken a cab true, but again, you didn't know what
would happen. Maybe John felt he had to die for what he had done to someone else.  He
died helping you save that boy, and in a way, he thought it might make up a little for what
he had done.  We did read something about it in the paper, but didn't know all the details
until now.  I'm glad you told us.  Something like this you should never keep a secret," she
finally told him, and took a sip of her coffee that Toni had placed in front of her.

"I thought you'd be upset when I told you Mom."

"I am, but not too much.  I've been through worse than this with you."

Toni sat down beside her husband, and put her hand inside his on the table for support.

"When he told me in his office earlier today, I was very upset.  I cried, and told him I
hated the paper for putting him in that situation.  I should've been used to it being a
marshall and detective, but having it happen to someone you love is another matter," she
told Lois.

"I could tell you some of the scrapes I had to get him out of that you won't believe."

"Mom!  You promised never to tell anyone about some of those," Gary said.

 Chapter 22

"Is there anything else we should know that you haven't told us Gary?," Lois asked her
son. Gary knew that was coming, and he took another sip of his coffee before he replied.

"There have been a couple of times that I've been in a dangerous situtation like that mom.
I can tell you about one of them, but I can't tell you about the other one because of a
promise I made," he said.

"I see.  Tell me about the other time you were placed in a dangerous situtation by the

Gary sighed.  "I had saved a little girl from being hit by a car, and it turned out that the car
had been stolen from it's owner by two guys who were taking it to a chop shop.  That's a
place where stolen cars are cut in parts by the thieves.  Anyway, Miguel Diaz, who's a
friend of mine at the Sun Times, has a brother whose name is Joey.    I saw him and
another guy inside the stolen car, and I gave detecitve Armstrong an descrpition when he
came to the bar later.  Three days later, I had to go down to the station to ID Joey as the
guy I saw from the car.  I should've pointed him out right there, but I figured I owed
Miguel something for what he had done for me one time, and I didn't tell Armstrong it was
Joey.  Because of that, he and the other kid went out and stole another car, and shot the
owner.  I called 911 and went to the hospital to see how the guy was.  The man who got
shot almost died, and I felt bad abot what happened.  I told Armstrong it was Joey and the
other kid who had stolen the car, but it wasn't Joey who didn't shot the man.  They later
stole Miguel's car after knocking him out in his apartment.  They went to a gas station to
fill the tank up, and heard their description over Miguel's CB inside his car.  I got to the
store, and the clerk ran towards the police who were coming.  The other guy pointed his
gun at me and made me go inside the store, and Joey came inside as well.  I was sitting
down on the floor, and the guy with the gun kept it on me the entire time.  Again, I was a
hostage and this time, I was threaten with death if the police didn't do as the guy holding
the gun on me told them to.  Anyway, I tried to get Joey to get out of it while he still had
a chance, and his friend was telling him not to listen to me.  I had to tell Armstrong that I
was the hostage, I was alirght, and that we could work this out without anyone getting hit.
Was I scared?  Yes, very much so.  I was afarid I was going to get shot anytime during the
whole ordeal.  When I heard Miguel telling Joey it was time to stop before it got too late,
I knew I had a chance of making him understand what would happen if he didn't get out.
Joey listened, and decided to stay where he was.  The other guy called him a loser,
grabbed me and made me stand up.  He turned me around, and put the gun to my head.
We went out the door like that, and all the time, he was telling the police that he'd shoot
me if they didn't back up and let us get to the car.  Joey grabbed a large wrench and was
going to hit the other guy to make him let me go.  The officer thought he had a gun and
shot Joey in the arm.  I used it to wrestle the guy who was holding the gun to my head to
the ground, and the police moved in.  Armstrong helped me up, asked me if I was alright,
and what I was doing there.  I told him I was trying to help him out.  I saw Joey and
MIguel at the hospital later, and Joey apologized for causing me so much trouble.  I told
him it wasn't his fault, and that I had chosen to put myself in that situation.  I told him to
make sure it was worth it through before I left.  This wouldn't have happened if I had just
pointed him out in the lineup that day.  I did a lot of thinking that night in the bar."

Toni patted her husband's hand.  "Miguel did Gary a big favor.  He saved Gary from going
to jail for Scandalon's murder by finding information that pointed to the true killer.  Gary
showed up at my apartment on the run, and his eyes told me that he'd never kill anyone
like he was accused of doing. I knew in my heart that he didn't do it, and the information
that Miguel found proved it.  Gary was cleared of the murder charge, and Paul Armstrong
had a little trouble accepting that Gary was innocent at first, but he came around," she told
Lois and Bernie refering to (Fatal Edition Parts 1 & 2).

"Gar, when you realized that what you did in the police station that day caused what
happened to happen, you took a big step that you never took before.  You also helped set
that young man straight.  You learned a lot that day, and it has changed you in ways you
never know," Bernie said.

"Sometimes I think the paper puts me in dangerous situations just to test me."

Lois smiled at her son.  "That might be true, but you've managed to come out of them
without any harm. The paper's a big responsibilty for you, and you handle it well.  I know
there are times you wish you didn't recieve it, but it comes to you for a reason, and no one
else," she told him.

"You sound like Marissa.  She told me the same thing one day long ago."

"She was right.  She's a good friend to you Gary."

Gary nodded.  "She, Crumb, and Chuck are always there for me when I need them."

Bernie smiled.  "Crumb is the only one in the bar who doesn't know about the paper," he

"That's because he doesn't want to know about it Dad.  I tried to tell him once, but he told
me he didn't want to know.  I think it's better that he doesn't know about the paper."

Toni decided to change the subject.  "Gary and I are thinking of going on a vacation with
the kids sometime. When we do, would you and Lois be willing to take the paper from
Gary during that time?," she said.

"Sure.  You and the kids need to get away for a while and just have some fun.  Your
friends can take care of the bar while you're gone, and your mother and I will take care of
the paper."

"Good!  We'll let you know when we go, and where we go."

Lois yawned and checked her watch.  "I'm suddenly tired right now.  I'm going to go to

"I'll go with you hon.  Good night you two," Bernie said finishing his coffee and putting
the cup in the sink.

He and Lois left the kitchen and headed towards the stairs that lead to their bedroom.

Toni turned to Gary as soon as they were alone.  "You didn't tell them about time Marley
held you prisoner when he was about to kill the president that day," she said.

"We were told to forget it happened and not say anything about it by the secret service
after they found out. I promised I wouldn't say anything, but it sure changed things for me
after that," Gary replied finishing his coffee.  " (Spolier Information: The Wall Parts 1 &

"I found that in the file and couldn't believe what that awful man had planned for you.
First, he had killed the editor of the paper, tried to blame you for it, killed a agent,
handcuffed you to a pole, and made you watch him almost kill the president.  Crumb told
me later that Marley had intended to kill you after he had killed the president, and made it
look like you killed both the agent and the president."

"Let's not talk about it honey.  It's in the past, and I want it left there, okay."

"Agreed.  Let's wash the cups out and go to bed."

Chapter 23

Lois couldn't sleep that night.  She kept thinking about what Gary had told her and Bernie
earlier that night. She sat on her side of the bed that she and Bernie shared and sighed.
How could he sleep after everything that they had been told, she didn't know, but at least
he was sleeping, and she was having problems. Deciding not to wake him,  Lois quietly
got out of the bed and walked over to the window. She looked out at the city of Chicago
and noticed how peaceful and quiet it was at night. "I wish I felt that way right now," she
quietly told herself trying to handle her emotions right now.

"Lois, honey, please come to bed," Bernie said looking at her as he had just now noticed
she wasn't lying besides him in their bed as he had reached over to touch her and felt just
the sheet on her side.

"I can't sleep Bernie.  I keep thinking about what Gary told us earlier, and it's a lot to deal
with right now. Go back to sleep, and I'll be back in bed beside you in a while," she told
him turning to look at him.

Bernie sighed, threw off the covers, and walked over towards his wife at the window.

"He told me that he didn't want us to know about those things.  He knew we'd be worried
and upset if he told us, and that's what you are right now.  I understand a little of what you
must be feeling, but if you don't get some sleep, and he sees the lines underneath your eyes
tomorrow morning, he'll know that what he said kept you awake.  Do you want him to
feel gulity that what he told us kept you awake almost allnight?"

Lois shook her head.  "No.  I don't want him to feel gulity.  Everytime I close my eyes, I
keep seeing him in those awful situations, and I just want to reach out in my dreams and
help him."

Bernie put his arms around his wife.  "Those are normal feelings for a woman whose son
gets tomorrow's paper today.  He's safe now, and promised us that he wouldn't be put in
that kind of situation again.  I believe him, and I know you do too.  Now, come on.  Let's
go back to bed.  We both need our sleep.  We've got a long trip ahead of us tomorrow
back to Hickory."

Lois smiled, and followed her husband back to their bed promising him she'd get some

In their bedroom, Toni and Gary were facing each other lying on their sides in their bed.

"I just hope that what I told my parents doesn't keep my mother awake allnight," he said.

"She had the right to know honey.  Lois'll be alright.  She had Bernie to help her sort this
out, and he'll make sure she gets some sleep.  I'm proud of the way you told her about
those situations you were in.  After you told me about them, I had thought about
handcuffing you to the bed so you wouldn't get that paper anymore," Toni told him,
smiling at him with love in her eyes.

"I remember another time you thearten to do it.  Do you remember that honey?"

"How could I forget?  We had to pretend we were man and wife in order to nab a jewel
theif who is now married to your friend Chuck, and expecting a baby."  (Spoiler
Information: The Iceman Taketh).

"You looked very beautiful in that gown you had on that night."

"I still have it you know.  It's in the closet inside a protective plastic bag."

"You do?  I thought it was part of your police equipment that night, and had to return it."

"Nope.  I liked it so much I decided to keep it.  Maybe I'll wear it sometime when we go
out someplace formal."

"Are you hinting that you'd like to go out for a night on the town again?"

"Maybe.  We could do it again."

"We could, but for right now, let's go to sleep.  It's been a long day."

Toni turned on her side so she could snuggle up to him as he tunred off the light beside
their bed.

"Good night Mrs. Hobson," Gary said smiling at his wife.

"Good night Mr. Hobson," Toni replied.

 Chapter 24

Toni didn't fall asleep right away.  She just laid there looking at her husband sleeping
besides her in bed. He's been through a lot, and telling his parents everything that he was
put through because of the paper was really hard for him.  I think a vacation would do all
us some good, and the sooner the better, she thought. The first change I get, I'm going to
a travel agent and book us the perfect family vacation away from here, and everything that
has affected our lives since we've been married and had the kids, she told herself. Sighing,
Toni turned over again, and feel asleep lying close besides her husband. She didn't want to
admit it, but she had been tired herself from the long day and evening they had. The
evening had been very tiring for Gary as well which was why he was so sleepy. Telling his
parents everything that he had through with the paper had been very hard at first, but he
was glad that it was out in the open, and he was glad they knew how the paper could put
someone at risk. He turned over and put his right arm on her and his left arm on her
pillow. Toni smiled in her sleep knowing that he had touched her as he normally do when
they were sleeping. She liked it a lot when he did that, but she didn't tell him she did yet.
She'd tell him tomorrow when they were alone how much she liked what he did at night.
They slept that way the whole night, neither one turning the other way . They were two
very tired people who had a busy day, and a very interesting evening as well.

"I think they should all take a vacation the first chance they get," Lois told her husband as
they laid in their bed in the guest bedroom refering to Gary, Toni, and the children.

"We can talk about this in the morning Lois.  I'm too tired right now to do anything but
sleep.  I know you're tired too.  Close your eyes and get some sleep like you promised you
would earlier," Bernie said.

Lois yawned.  "You're right.  I did promise I'd get some sleep.  We can discuss this later.
Good night Bernie."

"Night Lois.  Have pleasant dreams."

Lois sighed and shut her eyes falling asleep almost immediately.

She never realized how really tired she was until that monment.

Bernie smiled and closed his eyes to get some sleep glad that his wife was now falling

Chapter 25

The next morning, the alarm went off at 6:30, and Gary reached over to shut it off. He
decided to let his wife sleep a little longer, and got out of bed very quietly as not to wake
her. Yawning, Gary put on his bathrobe and went downstairs to get the paper off the
doorstop. He opened the door a crack just enough to gently remove it from the cat, and
closed the door so it wouldn't sneak inside.  Toni was still alergic to it, and Gary didn't
want her to be sneezing. "One of these days, there's going to be a dog doing this instead of
that cat," he told himself.

"Good morning son.  I see you have the paper already," Bernie said coming from his and
Lois's bedroom.

"Morning Dad.  How did you and Mom sleep last night?," Gary asked as both men went
into the kitchen.

"I slept fine Gar.  Your mother's still asleep.  I didn't want to wake her up when I got up."

"She said she was tired last night after our long talk.  Want some coffee Dad?"

Bernie nodded.  "Sure.  I've got a long drive ahead of me today."

Bernie didn't tell Gary that his mother couldn't get to sleep for a while last night.

He felt that Gary didn't need to know about that because he'd feel gulity.

"Here you go Dad.  Just the way you like it," Gary said handing his dad a cup of steaming
hot coffee.

"Thanks Gar.  How did you and Toni sleep last night?"

"Okay.  She's still asleep upstairs.  I wonder who the paper'll have me save today."

"Only way to find out is sit down and take a look at it."

Gary sat down with his coffee cup, took a sip, put the cup down on the table, and opened
the paper.

"Not much on the front page. It's in the metro section most of the time."

"Nothing dangerous please.  Your mother doesn't need that kind of worry, and neither
does Toni."

"I know Dad.  Speaking of my wife, here she comes now."

Toni came into the kitchen wearing her bathrobe and went over to the coffee pot to pour
herself a cup of java.

"Good morning Bernie.  Morning handsome," she said to both men, kissing Gary on the

"I thought you were asleep honey," Gary told her as she poured the coffee, and came over
to sit besides him.

"I was.  I decided to get up and get breakfast for my family.  Anything interesting in the
paper today?"

"Just a couple of things is all.  Nothing dangerous, or risky.  At ten, I've got to break up a
fight between two men over a car radio, and the other is a woman who almost gets bitten
by a dog.  That one takes place at 11."

"Be careful you don't get bit by the dog."

"I won't get bitten sweetheart.  I've handled dog problems before."

Toni smiled and turned to Bernie.  "Is Lois still asleep?," she asked sipping her coffee.

Bernie nodded.  "Yeah.  She's still asleep."

"Good.  Gary was worried that she might have problems after what he told her last night."

Bernie sipped his coffee and looked at his son knowing that he'd been smart to tell Gary
that Lois did have problems being able to sleep at first after they had heard last night.

"Did someone mention my name?," Lois asked coming into the kitchen.

They all turned to see her, and Toni went to get her a cup of coffee.

"I thought you wanted to sleep in a little honey," Bernie said smiling at his wife.

"I slept as long as I wanted to, and decided it was time to get up," Lois replied.

"Here's your coffee Lois," Toni said handing her mother-in-law a cup of coffee.

"Thank you Toni.  I see Gary's already seeing who he has to save today."

"Morning Mom.  Yeah, I've got to break a fight at ten, and at 11, I have to save a lady
from being bitten by a dog.  Nothing too hairy or dangerous," Gary replied.

"That's good.  I don't want you in anymore dangerous situations."

At seven, Rose and Jeff came into the kitchen still in their pajamas for their breakfast.

"Morning Mommy.  Morning Daddy," Rose said going over to her chair.

"Good morning Rose.  How's my girl this morning?," Gary asked smiling at his daughter.

"I'm hungry.  Good morning grandma.  grandpa."

"Good morning Rose," Lois said.

Toni put her daughter's orange juice in front of her and poured Jeff his glass of juice.

"What would you like for breakfast this morning children?," she asked.

"I want cereral please," Rose replied, and Jeff said the same.

"Coming right up."

Toni poured their cereal in their bowls and set it down in front of her children.

"Let's see:  would eggs and toast be alright with everyone this morning?," she asked.

"Sounds fine to me honey," Gary replied.

"Sounds good to us too," Bernie replied smiling.

"Good.  Eggs and toast it is then.  I know how you like them too."

"I wish we could have eggs sometime," Jeff said washing down some of his cereal with

"When you can chew it without any problems, then you and Rose can have eggs Jeff."

"Your grandfather and I will be going back home after breakfast," Lois told the twins.

"You are?  Can't you stay another day grandma?," Rose begged.

Lois shook her head.  "I wish we could, but your grandfather has something very
important to attend to back home today.  We'll be back another time to see you."

"Yeah, and you'll see the new RV we'll have," Bernie said.

Gary sipped his coffee and looked at his wife, who smiled a knowing smile back at him.

They'd tell the kids about the vacation plans later after they get the details all worked out.

Chapter 26

After breakfast, Gary helped load his parent's luggage into the Grey Ghost, as Toni and
the kids watched. "You're alset.  Everything's loaded inside the trailer," he told his parents.

Lois hugged her son.  "Thanks honey.  We really enjoyed our stay," she said.

"I'm glad you did Mom.  We both got news we didn't expect on this visit."

"You're right .  Are you sure there isn't anything else you have to tell us before we leave?"

Gary shook his head.  "No.  I've told you everything that I thought you needed to know.
Have a safe trip back to Hickory, and take care."

"I'll call you when we get home so you'll know we made it safe."

Gary opened the passenger door for his mother, and Lois stepped inside the cab.

Gary shut the door, and turned to face his father who was standing there.

"You take care of yourself Gar.  No more scrapes like the ones you told us about, okay,"
Bernie said.

"Don't worry Dad.  I'll keep my promise," Gary replied and hugged his father.

Bernie smiled, said goodbye to Toni and the twins, and went over to the driver's side.

Gary joined his family as they watched his parents wave good bye and drive away.

Toni turned to her husband.  "You didn't tell them about the time you were nearly blown
up on that tugboat by the mob.  You should've told them about that Gary," she said.

"You saw how my mother reacted when I told her about the other dangers I've been in.  I
didn't want her to be upset anymore on the trip home.  She would've found someway to
stay one more day if I had.  It's better that they don't know about that situation," Gary
replied.  (Spolier Information: Second Sight.)

"I guess you're right honey.  Your mother doesn't need to know about that dangerous
situation you were in. Do you believe in guardian angels or something like that?"

"I guess so.  Why do you ask?"

Toni smiled.  "Because that woman you were chasing at time that you couldn't catch
happened to be your guardian angel sweetheart.  Don't laugh.  It was because of her that
Marissa was able to call the police and Coast Guard to come to your rescue that day.  She
told me about it one day."

"You're saying that the mysterious woman I saw that day and tried to catch was my
guardian angel? Oh boy.  That's a little weird to deal with right now."

"Think about it.  Why did she always show up when things weren't so good for you, or
when you needed help in something  you couldn't understand?  That's what they do: show
up to help those who need help."

Gary rubbed his hand over the back of his neck.  "I never thought of it like that.  I wonder
if Snow was my guardian angel that one time I was trapped in that building."  (Spolier
Information: Fate).

"He might have been.  I read Paul's report about it one day when I was going through
some old files.  You risked  your life to save those children, and nearly died because of it.
Honey, Jerminah's death wasn't your fault.  You did all you could to save him.  He just
couldn't hang on anymore because he was too afraid. That must have been terrible to see
him drop like he did, but blaming yourself for it wasn't necessary. Believe me, I've been in
worse situations that what you went through that day.  Sometimes you get a person to
safety from a dangerous situation, get them some help, and they don't make it.  You feel
guilty because you felt like you should've done more, but you know inside that you did all
you could, and what happened wasn't your fault .  You felt guilty because you thought
failed Jeriamah that day, but you didn't.  You didn't let go of him, it was the other way
around.  Snow appeared to you inside that building to tell you that the people you saved
were more important than one that you tried to save and couldn't.  What did he tell you to

"He told me to count the living and not the dead.  I did, and that's when I was rescued by
the fire department."

"You saved the other people in that building that day, and you should be proud of that.
You saved five lives by getting them out of the building before the explosion.  Did you tell
your parents about it?"

Gary nodded.  "When I went to visit them for a while, I finally broke down and told them
what happened. They felt sorry that it happened that way, and told me the same thing you
told me, that his death wasn't my fault. Why didn't the paper say that there six people in
the building instead of five?"

"Who knows why it didn't.  Don't think about it.  It 's in the past, and it should be left
there.  Let's go inside."

Chapter 27

"I'm going to see a travel agent today and get some ideas for our vacation," Toni told her

"That's a good idea honey.   You can bring them to the bar, and we can all have lunch
together.  Someplace nice that the kids will like and we can all enjoy without it being too
expensive," Gary said smiling.

"I'll find someplace where we can go.  You'd better see what time you have. You've got
your first save coming up soon.  I'm going to take the kids with me today while I go

Gary nodded.  "They'll enjoy that.  Just don't let them beg you for anything they don't

"Don't worry sweetheart.  I know what they can have, and no amount of begging is going
to get them what they really don't need.  Good luck with your saves, and I'll see you later
for lunch."

Gary checked his watch, saw the time was almost nine, kissed his wife good bye, and went
on his way.

He decided to go to his bar first to see how things were going before he did his first save
that morning.

"Morning Marissa.  Chuck.  Crumb," Gary said smiling as he entered Mc Gintys.

"Good morning Gar.  How did it go last night?," Chuck asked his friend sipping his coffee.

"It went as I expected.  Mom wasn't too upset when she found out, but I had to promise
not to get into anymore dangerous situations.  She said she didn't think she could handle it
if I did."

"Good luck keeping it Gar.  You know how the paper can put you in those kinds of

"Yeah, but I intend to keep my promise Chuck.  I've got two saves later this morning to
do by the way. Toni and the kids are coming here for lunch.  We're planning on taking a

"You need one Hobson.  After what you've been through at times, you deserve to have
some time to relax. We can watch the bar for you while you and your family go on a
vacation," Crumb told Gary.

"Thanks Crumb.  How did you know I was going to ask you that?"

"Hobson, as long as I"ve known you, it wouldn't surprise me for you to ask me to help
watch the bar while you're gone on your vacation.  I just beat you to the punch is all."

"Have you looked at any travel brochures yet Gary?," Marissa asked.

"No.  Toni's doing that part.  She's going to see a travel agent this morning and bring some
here for us to take a look at.  She's taking the twins shopping with her too."

"That'll be fun for them. "

"Yeah.  I warned her not to let the kids beg for things they don't need, and she told me not
to worry."

"Kids are kids Gary.  They'll try to get the first thing they see in a toy store whether or not
they really need it."

"Hear that Chuck?  That's something for you to look forward to."

Chuck nodded.  "At least it won't be right away.  Amber had another craving last night.
She wanted two scoops of ice cream with pickles on top, and covered with chocolate
syrup.  It almost me made sick just watching her eating it.  I can see the ice cream with the
syrup on it, but the pickles were too much."

Gary laughed.  " It's part of being a expectant fatther my friend."

"I know, but why did they have to include pickles with ice cream for?"

"Fishman, don't ask silly questions.  You'll never be able to figure it out, and you'll better
off not knowing."

"I guess you're right Crumb.  I'll be glad when the cravings are over with."

Gary poured himself a cup of coffee.  "That won't be for a long time pal. Believe me, I
know what I'm talking about.  I went through the same thing with Toni when she was
carrying the twins."

"You men.  Just be glad that you don't have go through the pain of having a child,"
Marissa told them.

Gary sipped his coffee and dropped the subject.  He wasn't going to go there.

Chuck wisely decided not to say anything more about it either.

"Amber said to tell you and Toni hello.  She still wants to see you and the twins

"I'll dicuss it with Toni and let you know when the time is right for us to come and visit
you. She wants to see how Amber's doing too since she found out that your wife's
pregrant.  Toni thinks she can give Amber some pointers on how to handle it since she's
gone through it herself."

 Chapter 28

Toni Hobson went to the travel agent around ten o clock with her children to plan their
vacation. "My name is Toni Hobson, and I would like to look at some travel brochures
please.  My husband and I are planning a family vacation, and I promised I'd show him
some brochures we could look at lunch," she told the person sitting behind the desk , who
smiled at her and the twins.

"I believe I can find just the right brochures for you Mrs. Hobson.  We have a nice family
package that you might be interested in for some of the destinations," the woman behind
the desk replied .

"I'm not interested in any family packages.  They rip you off in certain things, and you
don't really enjoy your vacation.  Just give me some brochures that my husband and I can
look at and decide on where we want to go.  That's all I want for right now."

"You're the first honest person I've heard that said the truth about the family packages.
Have you ever tried any of those before, or do you know someone who had a family

"Not really, but I know just how nice those "family packages" are.  They don't tell you that
your vacation is all planned out for you when you go to the travel agency in some places.
I don't want my family to go through that if I can help it.  When we decide on where we
want to go, we'll both come here and tell you."

"Sounds fair to me Mrs. Hobson.  Personally speaking, I hate those family packages
myself, but I don't tell anyone.  I could lose my job if someone heard me."  The agent
handed Toni four brochures that offered good family vacation spots.  "Here you are.  I'm
sure those will help you decide."

"Thank you.  I'll show these to my husband, and then let you know when we'll come in to
tell you what we've decided.'  Toni put them in her purse, and walked out of the travel
agency with her children.

Meanwhile, Gary was just starting his first save that morning after leaving Mc Ginty's

He saw two men standing in a driveway shouting at each other, and threating to start a

"Hey!  What's the problem here guys?," he asked coming over to the men.

"The first man pointed to the second man.  "This jerk threatened to take my radio out and
install a CD player instead.  Said I'd be popular if I had a CD player in my car instead of
radio.  I told him I liked my radio in my car along with the tape player, and had no
intention of putting a CD player installed.  Then, he tells me I need to get with the times
because car radios will be gone someday," he replied.

"I see.  You have a right to have what you want to have in your car, and he doesn't have
the right to tell you that you need something that you don't want."  Gary turned to the
other man.  "That is his car mister, and if he doesn't want a CD player installed, you don't
have the right to tell him otherwise.  You don't take something out of another person's car
just because you think the person needs to keep up with the times.  Maybe someday, he'll
put a CD player in his car, but for now, he's happy with the radio and tape player.  You
know how silly you'd have looked fighting over this?  Put what you want in your own car,
and let him have what he wants in his. Okay?  Now, shake hands and put this behind you,"
he told the second man.

"I'm sorry.  It's your car, and I should haven't said what I said," the second man said
extending his hand out for the first man to shake smiling.

"Don't sweat it.  I know you meant well.  No harm done," the first man replied shaking

Gary smiled at both of them relieved that he had prevented a fight, and turned to leave.

He headed towards the street where the lady mentioned in the paper was going to be bit
by the neighbor's dog as she was leaving her house to take a walk like she normally did.

Gary arrived at the spot just in time to see the dog racing towards the woman from the
other yard.

"Look out lady!  There's a dog on the loose!," he yelled as he threw a rock at the dog to
shoo him away.

The lady heard Gary, saw the dog coming towards her, and whipped out her dog spray
can from her pocket.

She aimed it at the on coming dog, sprayed, and the dog yepled as it hit him in the face.

"Get out of here you dangerous mutt!  Be glad I don't call the police on your owners," she
yelled at it.

The dog retreated with it's tail between his legs back to his own yard.

"Thank you for the warning young man.  Honestly, I could just call the animal control
people, and report that beast to them.  My name's Stella. What's your name?," Stella said
smiling at Gary.

"Hobson.  Gary Hobson.  Does that dog do that all time Stella?," Gary replied smiling

"No.  Why he did it  today, I don't know, but if he tries it again, I'm calling the owners and
tell them that they either keep him in their yard, or I'll report them to the police.  Thank
you again Gary Hobson."

"You're welcome Stella.  Have a nice day."

"You too Gary.  It was nice meeting you."

Gary said good bye and went back to Mc Ginty's to be ready for his family when they
arrived for lunch..


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