Disclaimer: Early Edition doesn't belong to me, but I loved the show so much. After it was cancelled I was lucky to find this web site which has kept the show alive in my heart. I always thought that Gary needed some normalcy and happiness in his life. On the show he never really got it. So here is how I pictured it.
The characters of EE belong to Tristar Pictures. The other characters in this story belong to me.) This is my very first full length fan fic. Please email me to let me know how you liked Second Chance.
Gary feels like he has lost out on his only chance at happiness and will be spending the rest of his life with just the paper and the cat. However, the paper has a different idea.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
At 35 years of age, Gary Hobson had been getting his paper, tomorrow's paper, for nearly six years now. As he lay in bed with the sound of the fans buzzing around him, he thought about how much his life had changed in those six years. Yeah he had great friends; great parents who adored him, an okay place to live, and a semi-successful business (thanks to Marissa and her hard work). His mind then wandered to the day his ex-wife, Marcia, had booted him from their home and how devastated he was when she filed for divorce. He survived though. How he thought his life would be so different now a wife, a home, some kids.
"It's 6:30 Chicago.and be prepared because today is going to be a scorcher. We are expecting the thermometer to reach the low nineties"..Gary reached over and turned off the radio.
Clad in his t-shirt and boxers, Gary climbed out of bed and headed for the door to greet a new day as the reluctant hero.
"Come on in cat.hungry?"
Gary reached down and in one hand picked up the paper and in the other cradled the cat. He scanned the front page, walked over and set the cat on the table and grabbed and opened a can of cat food.
"This will have to do for you this morning, if you don't like it go see Marissa."
Gary looked at the paper. Due to the heat it seemed everyone in the city of Chicago was a little bit irritated. God, could it get any hotter he thought to himself as he headed for the shower.
Marissa heard the familiar footsteps of her best friend as he headed down the steps to the bar office. She smiled to herself.
Before he even entered the room Gary heard Marissa's voice.
"How do you do that?"
"I'm blind not deaf.What's the paper got planned for you today?"
"Well if it weren't for this heat.people are so irritable and with the kids being out of school.it seems all I do all day is chase around kids."
Gary pulled the paper from his back pocket and sat down at the desk. "Let's see, I have to stop a kid on a scooter from getting hit by a car near Lincoln Park; I have two repairmen who are going to get burned when an air-conditioning unit explodes in an apartment building; there is a gang of kids that are going to get into a fight at a swimming pool over a laser pointer and one of them is going to fall and crack his head; and then to finish off my day I have to stop two grown kids from fighting on the EL platform because one is going to get pushed in front of a train."
"Sounds like you have a full day ahead of you.
"Yeah, what else is new. It's been a while since you have been in this early. What are you doing here?"
"Do you have time for a cup of coffee this morning? We really need to go over these distributor invoices and we haven't had a chance to talk."
Gary stood up and rubbed his hand across the back of his neck. "What did you want to talk about? Is there something wrong?"
Marissa sighed. "No there is nothing wrong.it's just.well we used to talk every morning.I used to be able to catch up with things that were going on with you, how you were doing, that sort of thing. Since Emmitt and I got married, we haven't really been able to do that."
"What did my mother call you?" Gary rolled his eyes.
"No. I haven't spoken to your mother. It's just the last couple of weeks
have been so quiet. I just thought you might like to talk."
Gary stood up from the desk and started to pace the floor. Marissa knew that something was bothering him and as she opened her mouth to speak, she heard Gary's voice.
"It's just. well I have been thinking a lot lately about my life. How the paper has changed it. Thinking about Marcia and what my life would have been like if I wouldn't have screwed up my marriage." He sighed.
"Gary, you didn't screw up your marriage. You and Marcia just weren't meant to be. You said so yourself, you both wanted different things."
"I know.I just feel like I've had my chance." He stumbled with his words as he sat back down at the desk. "My, my chance at happiness and I blew it. I thought my life would be so different by now.a home, a family. With this paper.Marissa, I can't even tell you the last time I had a date.let alone met someone worth dating. I don't want to grow old with just this paper and that cat."
Marissa reached across the desk and grabbed his hand. "Gary you will find someone to spend your life with. You have to have faith that your soul mate is out there and she is looking for you. Look at Emmitt and me. I knew the minute I met him that he was the one. If it weren't for you and the paper, we probably never would have met." She smiled as she thought back to that day Emmitt followed Gary into McGinty's for his cab fair. "And who knows, when you meet the woman that is going to change your life.maybe you will learn that what you had with Marcia wasn't all it was cracked up to be."
Gary raised his head and sighed. "I don't know, I just don't think this paper wants me to have that kind of life." As Gary finished his sentence the cat leaped onto the paper in front of him. "Meow."
"What? Get off the desk!"
As the cat turned to jump down the paper slid open. Gary looked down and saw an article that wasn't there before.
Marissa got concerned when Gary got so quiet. "Gary, what is it?"
"This wasn't here before." Gary rubbed his forehead.
"What.what wasn't there before." Marissa's concern grew.
"A jogger is going to be attacked in Oz Park." He swallowed hard. "The body of an unknown female was found Thursday in Oz Park. It is believed that the women was attacked and killed early Thursday morning while she was jogging in the north end of the park. The women was stabbed several times and apparently sexually assaulted. A police source has indicated that the perpetrator is possibly the serial rapist that has been plaguing this area of the city for months. This however, would be the first time that the rapist has murdered one of his victims. At the present time, police have no suspects. The identity of the victim is being withheld until notification of family."
"Marissa, how am I supposed to stop this? All this says is the north end of the park. I don't even know what time it's going to happen or what this women looks like?" Gary stood up and started to pace.
"Gary, calm down. I think you should call the police.call Detective Armstrong."
"And tell him what? How am I going to explain that I know about this before it happens?" Gary groaned.
"I think he knows you well enough now that he might just take your word for it."
"Marissa I don't have time, I have to get over to the park." Gary grabbed the paper and headed for the door.
"Gary, be careful." Marissa shouted after him. After she heard the door
slam, she picked up the phone and dialed information. "Yes, could I please
have the number for the 12th precinct."
Kaitlyn Kelly finished tying her running shoes. She had her shoulder length blond hair pulled back in a pigtail and her Cubs cap on her head. She could hear all of the commotion going on in the kitchen and smiled. Her youngest daughter, Casey, screamed, "I want pizza for breakfast Aunt Megan."
She heard her older daughter, Jessica, say, "You don't eat pizza for breakfast. It's not breakfast food. Besides Mommy already gave us breakfast."
"No she didn't!" Casey screamed. "Mommy!"
Kaitlyn walked into the kitchen. "Casey, you know you can't eat pizza for breakfast. We go through this every morning. What did you think you could pull one over on Aunt Megan? You already had cereal."
"Oh, yeah." Casey smiled.
Kaitlyn turned to her sister, "Meg, can you stay with the girls until Mom gets here. I'm going to take a run?"
"Yeah I can stay with them. Kaitlyn, I think it's too hot out there this morning. It's already 85 degrees." Megan stated.
"I like to run when it's like this. It is only going to get hotter later.
Besides, the girls and I are going to the baseball game tonight so I can't
do it later." She directed her attention towards her daughters. "Girls be
good at the zoo today for Grandma." As Kaitlyn started towards the door she
heard her sister say."How about pancakes, Casey? You like pancakes don't you?"
Out the door she headed for Oz Park.
Gary paid the cab fair and got out. He looked at his watch. It was 7:35. The park was deserted which was surprising for this time of the morning. Usually it is filled with joggers. The heat is probably keeping people indoors, Gary thought. He glanced back at the paper. The article hadn't changed.
"Come on, give me something to go on." He said.
As Gary looked up he suddenly felt something rub against his leg. He looked down and there he was the orange tabby that he knew so well.
"I hope you're here to help me out." Gary questioned.
The cat started to walk up into a wooded section of the park. Gary glanced down at the paper; story was still there. He looked at the cat again. The cat had stopped by what looked like an asphalt path between two huge bushes.
"Meow" The cat looked at Gary, when he didn't move the cat grew more insistent. "Meow!.Meow!.Meow!"
"You trying to help me out here buddy? Okay show me where I need to go." Gary walked towards the cat. Just as Gary reached the cat he heard footsteps. The sound was of someone running. They were coming down the hill towards the opening in the bushes. As Gary took a step forward the sound of the running stopped and was replaced with a startled scream. Gary ran through the opening of the bushes to the other side. When he got there he saw a man and a women struggling. The man was behind the women with his right arm around the women's waist and his left arm around the women's neck. Gary immediately spotted the knife in the man's left hand.
Gary yelled. "Hey buddy, let her go."
The man was startled to find Gary standing there and lunged the knife towards him, hitting Gary in the shoulder. As Gary grabbed his arm the women kicked the man between the legs, freeing herself, and ran behind Gary. After being kicked the man fell to his knees the knife still in his hand. Just as he struggled to his feet the sound of police sirens wailed in the background. The man quickly turned and started to run up the hill. Gary started to go after him until he was grabbed from behind around his waist.
"You can't go after him, you're hurt." As Gary turned around he looked into the most beautiful pair of blue eyes he had ever seen. It was as if time stood still. He couldn't speak.
"Ar.Ar.Are you, you okay?" He stammered.
Kaitlyn couldn't move. She was staring into the most handsome face she had ever seen. Those eyes, she thought, mud green. she forced herself to speak. "I'm fine, but you're not. You're bleeding. Come on let me take a look at that shoulder." She started to unbutton Gary's shirt and she pulled it off of his shoulder. "Yeah, you're definitely going to need some stitches." She grabbed Gary's hand and pulled him through the opening in the bushes. Just as they stepped out there was Detective Armstrong.
"Hobson! What is going on here?" Armstrong screamed. "You all right?"
"Armstrong the man you want just headed up the hill. I think he might be the rapist you're looking for. He tried to grab her." Gary pointed towards Kaitlyn.
"Rapist?" Kaitlyn whispered.
Armstrong asked, "What'd he look like?"
"He had on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt." Gary said. Before Gary could finish Kaitlyn jumped in. "A white man, 30ish, 6 ft. tall, blond hair and a.and a mustache." She said pointing her finger towards her lip. Gary pulled the paper from his pocket.
"Oh and he's got a knife." Gary yelled. Kaitlyn noticed that he was looking at a newspaper he had pulled from his back pocket.
"Thurman, send your men up that way.did you get that description." Armstrong turned to the cop behind him. "Yeah, we got it." He said.
"Excuse me." Kaitlyn grabbed Armstrong's arm. "He is going to need some help. He was cut."
"We've called for an ambulance." Armstrong looked at Gary.
"I don't need an ambulance. I'll be fine. I can take care of it when I get home." Gary said.
"That is not something you can take care of yourself.and." The ambulance pulled in before Kaitlyn could finish what she was saying.
"I think they are here for you, Hobson." Armstrong pointed to the ambulance. Before Gary could respond, Kaitlyn grabbed his hand and started walking towards the ambulance. They were halfway there when officer Thurman approached them.
"Miss, I think my men have caught the man who grabbed you. We have him up on West Webster Avenue. We would like you to go with Officer Swanson so that you can identify him. We'll put you in the car and drive you up to where he is. You don't even have to get out of the car. He won't see you."
"Okay, I can go with him." Kaitlyn turned to Gary. She was still holding his hand and didn't want to let go. Before they knew it a paramedic was taking Gary towards the ambulance and Kaitlyn was headed toward the police car. Gary couldn't believe that he was watching the women of his dreams walk away. He thought that as she pulled away. He didn't even get her name.
Gary sat in the ambulance, the paramedic told him that they were going to take him to the hospital to get some stitches. Gary reached for his paper and looked at his watch. It was only 7:50 he had until 10:30 before he had to help the kid with the scooter. As he put the paper back into his pocket. He saw detective Armstrong walking towards the ambulance.
"Hey Hobson! I'm not going to ask how you knew this was going to happen. When I got the call from your friend, Marissa, I figured you might need some help. One of these days though, you and I are going to sit down and have a little talk.soon!" Before Gary could respond Armstrong headed towards the police car and the ambulance doors closed.
Sitting in the police car Kaitlyn was able to identify the man who attacked her. As she stared out the window, she saw the ambulance drive past and head out of the park. A serial rapist.she breathed in deeply. If it hadn't been for that man. Hobson.that's all she got. She didn't even get his full name. This great looking guy saves her life and she didn't even get his full name. Let alone say thank you. She put her hand over her eyes. All she wanted to do was hold her girls. Then suddenly she heard a tap on the window. She looked over and saw detective Armstrong. She rolled down the window.
"Swanson here will take you down to the station so that we can get all your information and do the paperwork. The District Attorney will probably want to speak with you. Swanson will give you a ride home after your finished. If you need anything you can give me a call." He handed her his card and turned to walk away.
"Detective" Armstrong turned back around. "That man, the man that helped me.do you know him. I mean do you know his name?" Armstrong stared at her strangely. "What I mean to say is." Kaitlyn stuttered. "I didn't get a chance to thank him for what he did for me. Do you know where I can find him?"
"His name is Gary Hobson, he owns a bar over on Illinois called McGinty's." Armstrong smiled. "You'll be able to find him there."
Kaitlyn smiled. "Gary Hobson, Gary Hobson - McGinty's." She thought to
Gary sat on the EL heading back to McGinty's. After receiving 15 stitches at Chicago Memorial Hospital he was able to stop the scooter accident and the apartment air conditioner mishap with relative ease. He rubbed his shoulder and thought back to the park that morning. He was happy that he was able to help that woman. He couldn't get her face out of his head. The fact that he didn't even get her name was just one more example of how the paper was ruling his life. If Gary would have met her under "normal" circumstances, he would have asked her out, to dinner maybe."Stop it Hobson!" .Gary shook his head trying to remove the thought. "Nothing about your life is normal!"
Armstrong went relatively easy on him, but he was sure he would pay for that later. They had developed sort of a "friendly" relationship. Armstrong didn't know how Gary always ended up at the right place at the right time, he just assumed that Gary had some sort of sense about things. He grew to accept it and most of the time was thankful that Gary could help out, through he would never let Gary know that.
The EL stopped and Gary got off. He started to walk the short distance to McGinty's. He figured that he had enough time to change his shirt, which had blood all over it, and grab a bite to eat before he had to head off to stop the fight at the swimming pool.
When he walked in the front door he looked around. The place was busy with the normal lunch crowd. He headed toward the office to see if he could find Marissa. He found her standing by the filing cabinet when he entered. "Gary, is that you?"
"Yeah it's me. I'm sorry I didn't call you earlier to let you know that everything went okay this morning in the park. I had to make a small trip to the emergency room."
"The emergency room?" Marissa got nervous. "Gary are you all right?"
"Yeah I just got a minor cut and had to get some stitches." Gary rubbed his shoulder.
"Did Armstrong get there in time to help?" Marissa asked.
"He got there in time. Thanks to you. I think they were able to catch the guy."
"And you were the only one who ended up getting hurt?"
"It's not that bad really. It was worth 15 stitches." Gary smiled as he thought back to that morning.
"What is that supposed to mean? I hope you got her number?" Marissa teased.
"I just meant, well she was nice, that's all. And no, unfortunately, because of all the commotion I didn't even get her name." Gary frowned. "Besides, this is just another example of how this paper doesn't want me to have life."
"You could always call Armstong, I'm sure he can get in touch with her." Marissa closed the filing cabinet and headed towards the desk.
"I don't have time for that Marissa, I have to get changed and head over to the swimming pool. I'll talk to you later." Gary headed upstairs to his loft.
Marissa thought to herself, maybe I could call Detective Armstrong. He
might give me the information Gary obviously regrets that he didn't get. Then
she quickly changed her mind. I better stay out of it she thought.
Megan was sitting outside on her front porch when Kaitlyn pulled up in the police car. She got out and thanked the officer for the ride home then headed up her walk.
"What are you getting police escorts home now? Where have you been." Megan yelled as she crossed the street. Megan stopped when she saw the look on Kaitlyn's face.
"You are not even going to believe what happed to me? Where are the girls?" Kaitlyn asked.
"Mom picked them up. You just missed them.and by the look on your face I think it's a good thing. What happened?"
Kaitlyn and Megan sat down on the steps of the porch and went through the entire story from beginning to end. She smiled when she spoke of Gary, her hero. When she finished her sister grabbed her and hugged her. "Thank god your okay."
"Yeah, it didn't really hit me until I sat in that police car and had to identify that man. If Gary Hobson hadn't been there well I honestly believe that I wouldn't be here." Kaitlyn shivered.
"Was he cute? You like him don't you?" Megan smiled.
"Well how can you not like someone who saves your life." Kaitlyn laughed. "He was handsome though. Something about him when I looked in his eyes. I don't know." Kaitlyn shrugged. "I didn't even get a chance to say thank you."
"Well I think you should definitely make a point to do that." Megan laughed. "Are you gonna be okay here by yourself. I told Ben I would take him to the movies this afternoon?" Megan got up. "I can cancel if you want?"
"Don't be silly. I'll be fine. Thanks for coming over this morning. I'm gonna go and take a shower and try and get some work done."
"Well you know where to find me." Megan started down the stairs and turned back around to hug her sister one more time. "I'm right across the street if you need me."
Kaitlyn watched her sister cross the street and walk into her home. She went into her own home and headed up the stairs to take a shower. She thought about what a great family she had. Megan's guidance had always been a constant in her life that she could count on. Her older sister had seen her through some tough times. Only two years apart in age, they had always been close. Kaitlyn smiled as she thought about her family. They were all very close. She thought about her oldest sister, Emily, who lived in New York City. She missed her. She would have to make a point to call her later tonight.
Her parents had just recently moved to Chicago from Kentucky. They conveniently bought a house only a block away. They seemed to be following Megan and Kaityln. Though her mother said it was "to be closer to my grandchildren." Her father was a retired police officer who had a part time job doing security at Wrigley field. Her parents had a loving relationship. It was the kind of relationship she tried to model her own marriage after. The kind of family life she wanted to give her girls. Unfortunately, that didn't happen the way she had planned.
Kaitlyn put on a pair of tan shorts and a white v-neck t-shirt. As she
sat on her bed and buckled her sandals she thought back to that morning
in the park. Yep, she was definitely going to take a trip to McGinty's and
pay Gary Hobson a visit.
Gary's peace keeping mission at the pool hadn't gone as planned. He got
there in time to stop the kid from getting hurt, but unfortunately he ended
up being pushed into the pool. Now there he was soaking wet walking the streets
of Chicago heading back to McGinty's.
Kaitlyn pulled up outside of McGinty's and got out of her Jeep Cherokee. As she entered the front door, she was quite struck at how nice the place was. She walked up to the bar and sat down. The bartender, a man, walked over and said "Hi. What can I get you?"
"I was actually looking for someone. Gary Hobson?"
"I don't think he is here right now. Let me check with Ms. Clark, I mean Mrs. Brown, I can't get used to calling her that, she just got married not to long ago you see, and her last name used to be Clark and now it's Brown." The man was waiving his hands in the air. "My name is Patrick."
"Oh right, you want Mr. H." Patrick said, as if he was trying to clear things up in his head. He went back into what looked like the kitchen. A few minutes later he came out with a woman. She walked over to Kaitlyn and said "You're looking for Gary."
"He's not here right now. I'm his business partner, Marissa, can I help you with something?"
She seems like a nice woman, Kaitlyn thought. "Well he, um, actually he helped me this morning, and, um I wanted to well I didn't get a chance to thank him.
"Are you the women from the park? Marissa asked.
"Yes, that's me, Kaitlyn Kelly." Kaitlyn raised her hand and smiled.
Marissa smiled. "I'm glad you're here. I know Gary was upset that he didn't get your name this morning."
"He was?" Kaitlyn asked surprised.
Just then the front door to McGinty's opened and in walked Gary, soaking wet. "Mr. H. what happened to you?"
"I got pushed into a swimming pool Patrick, what does it look like happened to me?" Gary said grumpily. Shooting Patrick a dirty look.
As Gary spoke he noticed the woman in front of him at the bar talking to Marissa. As she turned around Gary realized it was the woman he had saved at the park. He swallowed hard. She was right in front of him. Gary couldn't take his eyes off her. There he was soaking wet. What an idiot he must look like, he thought.
Kaitlyn couldn't help but smile. He was even cute when he was grumpy.
Man she had a nice smile. Gary thought. He stared at her as if he was trying to memorize her face. Her hair was longer than he thought. Blonde, as it hung straight to below her shoulders. She was smaller than he remembered. But that face was exactly as he had remembered. Those eyes, he thought, were the most beautiful he had ever seen.
"Gary. Gary" The sound of Marissa's voice brought him out of his trance. He looked at Marissa. "Gary, this is Kaitlyn Kelly. I believe you two have already met." Marissa smiled.
Kaitlyn extended her hand and Gary took it. He didn't want to let go.
"It's nice to, ah, I mean, to know your name?" Gary stuttered. Kaitlyn smiled.
"Detective Armstrong told me how I could find you. I wanted to thank you for helping me this morning."
"It was nothing really. I'm glad I could help." Gary blushed.
"How is your shoulder?" Kaitlyn asked.
"Oh, it's fine" Gary rubbed the back of his neck. "I just needed a few stitches."
"Oh god, I can't believe I am standing here keeping you. I mean your soaking wet and probably want to change. I just wanted to say thank you and see if you wanted to have dinner, um with me?" Why was she getting so flustered.
Gary smiled. "Do you have a few minutes so that I can go up and change and then we can talk." Gary asked.
"Sure" Kaitlyn smiled. She felt so ridiculous. She couldn't stop smiling.
"I can keep her company." Marissa said. "I'm sure we can find lots of things to talk about.
Gary shot Marissa a look and headed towards the office. "I'll be back in a few minutes."
"Okay." Kaitlyn said.
Gary smiled and as he headed into the office he heard Marissa ask Kaitlyn
if she wanted something to drink. Maybe this day wasn't a complete loss
after all, he thought. With a smile on his face he bounded up the stairs
to his loft to change his clothes
Kaitlyn and Marissa were talking when Gary came up to the table. He noticed that they seemed to be laughing with ease. He smiled. "I'm afraid to ask what is so funny?".
Kaitlyn turned and saw Gary standing behind her. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a light blue, short sleeved button down shirt. She returned his smile.
"Marissa was just telling me, how it is not unusual for you to be standing in this room soaking wet." Kaitlyn laughed.
Gary looked at Marissa. "What did you tell her?" He said.
"I was just telling her about the time Patrick was cleaning the windows and you got so angry at him you kicked the ladder and the bucket fell on your head." Marissa laughed.
"Sure get a cheap laugh at my expense." Gary smiled.
Marissa got up and said. "I'll leave you two alone. It was nice to meet you Kaitlyn. I hope we'll be seeing more of each other." She touched Gary's arm as she walked passed and smiled.
"It was nice meeting you too Marissa."
Gary sat down in the booth across from Kaitlyn. They both just stared at each other for what seemed like a lifetime. Kaitlyn finally broke the silence. "I hope you don't mind that I asked Detective Armstrong where I could find you." Kaitlyn said.
"No not at all. I was going to call him myself to find out if you were okay. You are okay, right?" The way he looked at her showed that he was concerned.
"Oh, I'm fine. No worse for the wear. Thanks to you." Kaitlyn blushed.
"So, um when would you like to have dinner."
"When?" Kaitlyn got speechless.
"I actually don't have anything planned for tonight? There is a little Italian restaurant down the street that serves great pasta." Gary smiled.
"Tonight? Um, well." Kaitlyn pushed a lock of hair behind her ear. "Well, um, do you like baseball?" She asked.
Gary chuckled, "Baseball? Who doesn't? It is America's pastime you know?" Gary leaned across the table towards Kaitlyn and whispered, "What I want to know is," He hesitated then continued. "are you a Cubs or a White Sox's fan?" He smiled.
Kaitlyn started to laugh. "Well actually I just love baseball. You see my brother-in-law is Greg Madison, the pitcher for the Mets." Kaitlyn could tell that she had Gary's attention, so she continued. "I would have to say that I am a Cubs fan, unless they are playing the Mets and my brother-in-law is pitching, well then I am a little torn. So, um, about dinner I was thinking more on the lines of a hotdog, beer and baseball. You see I have tickets for tonight's game and um would you like to go with me?"
"Are you kidding? I couldn't think of a better way to spend the night." Gary blushed.
"Well actually it wouldn't be just me that you would be going to the game with. It would sort of be me and my two daughters." Kaitlyn looked down at her hands. Gary could tell that she was nervous.
"Gary I was married. I'm not anymore, it's been over for a long time, but I have two daughters.
Gary looked at her and smiled. "You have two daughters, huh? How old are they?"
"Jessica just turned six last month, and Casey will be four in September." Kaitlyn grinned. "Although they can be a handful at times, they're the best thing that ever came out of my marriage. Kaitlyn shrugged. "They're my life."
"Well I think that is swell. I'd very much like to go to the game with you and your daughters."
Gary could tell by the look on Kaitlyn's face that she was shocked at his last comment.
"I'd like that too."
"Kaitlyn so you know I've also been married before. No kids though. I've been divorced for almost six years now." Gary rubbed his hand across the back of his neck. It was something Kaitlyn already noticed he did when he was nervous.
"Well I guess we have something in common then don't we." Kaitlyn smiled. "Okay, I have to take care of a few things before the game and pick up the girls at my mothers. So, can I meet you here at say 6:00?"
Gary suddenly remembered that he had to stop a man from being pushed off of the EL platform at 6:30. "6:00 would be okay, a, we can take the EL to the game. 'Cause you know it wouldn't be a real ballgame experience unless we took the EL to Wrigley." Gary smiled.
Gary had such a little boy in a candy store look on his face she couldn't resist his request. "Okay. I'll meet you here at 6:00 then.
Gary nodded. He watched Kaitlyn walk towards the door. Before she left she turned around one last time and waived. Gary smiled.
After she was gone he quickly pulled the paper out of his back pocket. Walking towards the bar he began to scan the articles to make sure nothing new had appeared. The cat jumped onto the bar in front of him. "Meow."
"What? There is nothing new here. I just have to stop that fight and I'm home free. Don't you go messing this date up for me, you hear me?" Gary groaned.
"What date?" Marissa asked.
"Oh, Kaitlyn and I, and her daughters are going to the Cubs game tonight. That is if the paper and that cat don't screw it up." Gary waived the paper in the air.
"Her daughters?" Marissa asked surprised.
"Yeah, two daughters Jessica, 6 and Casey soon to be 4." Gary smiled.
"I like her Gary." Marissa smiled. "Who knows maybe tonight is the first
of many nights to come."
"The way my life goes, don't hold your breath on that." Gary hoped that she was right. "I have a little time do you want me to help you with those invoices?"
"That would be great." The both headed off to the office.
When Kaitlyn pulled into her mother's driveway she saw the girls playing on the front porch. When they saw her they ran to greet her.
"Mommy!" Casey came barreling down the steps. "Look what I got at the zoo today." She held up a stuffed monkey.
"Oh he is beautiful, what did you name this one?" Kaitlyn asked.
"Oscar!" Casey smiled and hugged her mother. Jessica walked up behind Casey and gave her mother a hug. Kaitlyn held on just a little bit longer than usual.
"You okay Mom?" Jessica asked.
"I am perfect. Where is Grandma?"
"She is in the house folding laundry? You just missed Pappy, he left to go to the game. Mom, Grandma wants us to spend the night tonight she is going to take us swimming in the morning. Is it okay? Please? Please? Please?" Kaitlyn smiled, her oldest daughter was so dramatic.
"I guess that would be okay. Come on I'll race you in the house." Casey took off like a shot. This had become sort of a ritual between mother and daughters. Kaitlyn and Jessica always gave her a head start and then let her win.
When they entered the house Kaitlyn could hear her mother yell from the kitchen, in her southern drawl, "No running in the house girls. That means you too Kaitlyn."
"Well girls, looks like we're busted." Kaitlyn tickled Casey, who let out a scream. Kaitlyn and Casey headed into the kitchen.
"Hey sweetheart." Kaitlyn's mother greeted her with a kiss. Lily Kelly was a very young 54. She was what Kaitlyn would call a model mother. She was petite as were her daughters. Kaitlyn always thought it was a shame that neither she nor her sisters inherited their mother's curly auburn hair and eyes of the same color. They all ended up blond with blue eyes. Jessica however, took after her grandmother, Kaitlyn smiled at the thought. "The girls want to spend the night. Is that okay? I thought maybe we could go swimming tomorrow."
"Yeah, that's fine."
"Are you sure? Megan told me what happened this morning. Are you okay? I have told you a million times that you should not be running by yourself. This is exactly the kind of thing I thought would happen." She pointed a finger at her daughter. "You need to start carrying that maice I gave you.
"Mamma, I'm fine. A guy that was in the park helped me out and everything worked out fine." Kaitlyn sighed.
"What happened Mommy?" Casey asked. Kaitlyn gave her mother a look.
Lily walked up behind Casey and put her arms on her shoulders. "Mommy just tripped and fell in the park and a nice young man helped her, that's all sweet pea. You wanna help Grammy finish folding this laundry?"
She turned towards her daughter. "Well were you able to track down that nice young man? Lily asked with a smile on her face.
"Does Megan tell you everything I tell her?" Kaitlyn groaned.
"Cut the crap Kaitlyn, what's he like." Lily never was one to beat around the bush.
"He's nice. His name is Gary, he owns a bar over on Illinois. He's gonna go to the game with us tonight. I told him I would buy him a hotdog and a beer." Kaitlyn grabbed a towel out of the basket and started to fold it.
"Oh that is some way to impress a new guy, a hotdog, beer and a ballgame." Lily rolled her eyes. "You know you are probably going to run into your father tonight."
"Mamma you didn't tell him what happened this morning did you?" Kaitlyn asked alarmed.
"No I didn't. What he doesn't know won't hurt him, besides, you know how he is. He would probably run down to police station and have a million questions and drive those detectives crazy. You don't think you will have to testify against this guy do you?"
"I don't know. I guess it just depends if the other victims can identify him." Kaitlyn shrugged.
"Well for your sake, I hope you don't have to go through that." She hugged her daughter.
Kaitlyn looked at her watch. "Well we better get going I told Gary we would meet him at 6:00."
"Who is Gary?" Jessica asked as she walked into the kitchen.
"He's just somebody who helped me in the park today. He's going to go to the game with us." Kaitlyn smiled and grabbed Jessica's nose. "Are you sure you are okay with the girls spending the night?"
"Yes, we'll have a great time. Won't we girls." Lily questioned.
"Yeah" Both Jessica and Casey screamed at the same time.
"Okay, well I'll send them home with Dad after the game. Come on girls give Grandma a hug we gotta go so we can stop at the house and pack you an overnight bag."
"Kaitlyn don't forget to call me when you get home. I want to have a decent nights sleep and if I don't hear from you I won't." Lily shook her finger at her daughter.
"Mamma I'll be fine." Kaitlyn kissed her mother on the cheek. "And I will call you when I get home."
"Okay guys, give me a hug. I'll see you later." Lily kissed and hugged both her granddaughters. "Have fun at the game. All of you!" Lily smiled.
"Good-bye mother." Kaitlyn rolled her eyes and walked with her daughters
out the front door.
Gary was sitting at the bar when he noticed Kaitlyn and her daughters walk in. "Casey, when we get to the park you can have a hotdog." He heard her tell the youngest. She was the mirror image of her mother right down the dimple in her chin. Her curly blond hair was pulled into a pigtail and Gary noticed she had her mother's eyes. "And cotton candy?" He heard her ask. "Yes, you can have some cotton candy." Kaitlyn smiled when she saw Gary.
"Hey." Gary smiled.
"Gary, this is Jessica and Casey." As she spoke she put her arms on Casey's shoulders. "Girls this is Gary."
Casey looked up at Gary. "My real name is Cassandra Lee Kelly, but my nickname is Casey. Do you have a nickname?" She gave Gary the cutest smile.
"No, I can't say that I do, it's just Gary." Gary smiled.
"She does that every time she meets someone new." Jessica said.
"I do not!" Casey pouted.
"Do too!" Jessica raised her voice.
"Do not!" Casey screamed.
"Girls, Girls!" Both girls stopped and looked at their mother. "I don't think Gary nor I want to hear this. Can we stop, please?" Gary noticed that when Kaitlyn got frustrated she had the slightest bit of a southern accent. He started to laugh.
"What do find so amusing?" Kaitlyn looked at Gary.
"Oh, nothing, nothing." Gary shrugged. "That's a cute little accent ya got there." Gary teased.
"You're real funny. I hope you know I have worked very hard to get rid of that accent. I don't think that it is very nice to pick on people." Kaitlyn turned away.
Gary felt awful and stuttered. "I, I'm sorry. I was, I was, just kidding."
Kaitlyn turned around with a serious look on her face. Then she broke into a huge smile and started to laugh. "You're easy, I was just fooling around with you."
Gary let out sigh of relief and then smiled. He clapped his hands and started to rub them together. "Well girls, I think we have a baseball game to get to. What do ya say..huh, should we get going?
"I think that would be a great idea." Kaitlyn said. Gary, Kaitlyn and the girls headed for the door.
They all walked the short distance from McGinty's to the EL. When they were halfway there Kaitlyn noticed that Gary had taken Casey's tiny hand in his much larger one. Kaitlyn felt a twinge in her heart. Casey talked to him non-stop about going to the zoo that afternoon and all the animals she had seen. Gary spoke with her as if he had known her his whole life. He listened and during parts of the conversation he would tell her about things that had happened to him when he was her age and his mother had taken him to the zoo.
Whenever Casey wasn't monopolizing the conversation, Jessica would ask him baseball questions. Gary was surprised at how much she knew about the game. Jessica talked a lot about her Uncle Greg and how he had taught her everything she knew. Kaitlyn was content just watching and listening to them interact.
As they were waiting for the train, Kaitlyn noticed that Gary suddenly got distracted.
"Could you excuse me for a minute?" Gary asked, not really looking at her.
"Um, Yeah." Kaitlyn watched him walk over to two men who were having a heated conversation.
"Mom, what's Gary doing?" Jessica asked.
"I don't know honey."
Kaitlyn turned and saw the train starting to pull into the station. As she turned back around she saw Gary grab one of the men who had apparently been pushed. She could not believe what she just saw. Gary just stopped that guy from falling onto the tracks. He would have been hit with that train. The man was so grateful he hugged Gary. As Gary walked back towards her she noticed that he stopped and pulled a newspaper from his back pocket. He started to look through it and then put it back in his pocket. Kaitlyn remembered that he did the same thing this morning after the incident in the park.
When Gary got over to where she and the girls were standing he took Casey by the hand and turned to Kaitlyn and said, "We ready to go." He asked.
"Yeah." Kaitlyn said. They walked onto the train. Kaitlyn and Gary sat down in one seat and Jessica and Casey were sharing the seat directly in front of them. Gary was rubbing his shoulder. He looked over at Kaitlyn and he noticed she was staring at him with a strange look on her face. He smiled and asked "What's wrong?"
"What's wrong? You act like what you just did is a normal occurrence in your life. You just stopped that guy from getting hit by this train."
"Well, I just n-n-noticed" Gary started to stutter. "that things were getting h-heated up between those two guys and I figured that something like that might happen so, well anyone would have done what I just did."
"No I don't think just anyone would have done what you just did. You are one of a kind you know that Gary Hobson?" She leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. "I have never met anyone like you." She smiled. Both of the girls saw their mother kiss Gary on the cheek and began to giggle.
Gary's face turned red from ear to ear. He looked into Kaitlyn's eyes. "Well I guess I was just in the right place at the right time." He leaned in and whispered in her ear. "If I would have known it would impress you I would have done something sooner." Kaitlyn blushed.
"Girls, turn around." Kaitlyn told her daughters.
They spent the rest of the train ride talking about Kaitlyn's family. How her parents recently relocated to Chicago from Kentucky. So that is where the accent comes from, Gary thought. Kaitlyn asked about his parents. Gary told her that he was an only child from Hickory, Indiana. His parents still lived there and would visit occasionally.
Frequently, the girls would interject the conversation with a question for Gary. Kaitlyn noticed that he would stop what he was saying and answer their question. It was something that she found very sweet about him. He didn't seem to be nervous around the girls. Which was something that Kaitlyn had never found in a guy before.
They spent the next few hours talking, laughing and watching baseball. Gary was surprised at how much Kaitlyn new about the game. She knew a lot about the players, including, statistics, which amazed Gary.
Kaitlyn noticed how smitten Casey was with Gary, as well as he with her. She was sitting on his lap and he was explaining the game to her. Kaitlyn thought that she was doing a good job being a mother and a surrogate father. Until that moment, she hadn't realized how much her younger daughter was missing by not having a father around.
Kaitlyn noticed that Gary would occasionally take the paper out of his back pocket and look at it. She teased him about it once. "Are you afraid you missed something."
"Howzat?" He asked surprised.
"The paper. Are you afraid that you missed reading something earlier. I noticed that you look at it a lot." Kaitlyn teased.
"It's a bad habit." Gary joked.
During the 7th inning stretch someone tapped Kaitlyn on the shoulder. "How you doing baby?" Kaitlyn gave the man a kiss and hugged him. "Pappy!" The girls screamed and ran over to him. He enveloped them both in a big hug. When he was finished Kaitlyn said, "Daddy, this is Gary Hobson." Kaitlyn turned towards Gary, "Gary, this is my Dad, Collier Kelly."
Gary shook his hand. "It's nice to meet you sir." Gary said. Collier Kelly was a handsome man. Gary noticed right away that Kaitlyn looked like her father. Now Gary knew where she got those beautiful blue eyes.
"It's nice to meet you too, Gary." Collier sat down in the seat next to Kaitlyn. He pulled Casey onto his lap. "So, I hear you two rugrat's are spending the night tonight." He tickled Casey.
"Yeah, Mamma wants to take them swimming tomorrow morning." Kaitlyn said.
"Pappy, Gary is the man who helped Mommy when she fell in the park this morning?" Casey gleamed.
"What happened in the park this morning?" Collier asked concerned.
Kaitlyn looked at Gary and then back at her Dad. "Oh, it was nothing, you know me just my clumsy self." Kaitlyn joked.
Gary got the feeling that Kaitlyn wasn't telling her father the truth for a reason. So he played along. "Yeah, I think she tripped over her own shoe lace. Isn't that what happened?" Gary teased.
Collier watched his daughter and Gary stare at each other and smiled. Collier looked at his watch. "It looks like this game will be over early. I better get back. You gonna bring the girls downstairs after the game." He asked.
"Yep. I have their overnight bags in the security office."
Collier put Casey down and she headed right back to Gary's lap. He stood up and went into the isle. Jessica sat back down in her seat. "Gary, hope to see you again, it was nice meeting you. Kaitlyn you should bring him to dinner some night. I'm sure your mom would like to meet him." He teased.
"Thank you Mr. Kelly, it was nice meeting you too." Gary shook his hand.
"Call me Collier. I'll see y'all after the game." He walked away.
After the game, Gary and Kaitlyn headed back to McGinty's. It was nice to be alone with her, Gary thought. When they got there he talked her into coming in for a drink. Kaitlyn knew it was getting late, but she couldn't resist him.
Over a soda, she told Gary about how her parents met when they were kids, were high school sweethearts and got married when they were very young. Gary found out that her father was a retired police officer, who was keeping busy by working security at the games.
He asked her about her job. Kaitlyn told him that she was a book editor. She had received a degree in literature from New York University. After college she got a job with a publishing firm and worked her way up to editor. When she had Jessica she started to work from home more and said that she liked it because she was always home when the girls needed her. When she decided to move to Chicago, the publishing firm didn't want to loose her so they agreed to do everything via telephone and mail. He noticed how animated she got when she spoke about something she obviously loved.
Gary opened up to her and told her about how his ex-wife threw him out on their anniversary and then filed for divorce. When Kaitlyn asked why, he told her that Marcia felt they wanted different things out of life and she wasn't satisfied. He told her how he worked as a stockbroker. It was something Marcia wanted him to do and he just wasn't happy doing it so now he owned the bar.
Before they knew it, it was almost 1:00 in the morning. "Oh boy, look at the time. I better get going." Kaitlyn said as she stood up.
"I'll walk you to your car." Gary said.
They walked outside. Without even realizing it Kaitlyn took Gary's hand. He walked her to the drivers' side door. "I had a." They both spoke at the same time and laughed.
"You go first." Gary blushed.
"I had a nice time tonight." Kaitlyn smiled.
"I had a nice time too. Though it would have been better if the Cubs would have won." Gary joked. "We'll have to do it again sometime?"
"When?" Kaitlyn asked. Then she blushed when she realized how forward she was being. "I mean.I still owe you that dinner. How about tomorrow night? No kids this time, just you and me."
"Can I call you tomorrow?" Gary smiled.
"Yeah, that would be good. Um.let me give you my number." She opened the car door and looked around for a piece of paper. She wrote down her number and placed it in Gary's hand. "I should be home most of the day."
"Okay." I'll call you tomorrow." Gary smiled. She leaned in and gently brushed her lips against his. He pulled away and looked into her eyes. It was a simple kiss, but his heart was racing like he had never experienced before. He noticed that Kaitlyn became a little flustered. She lowered her head, but looked up with her eyes.
"I'll see you tomorrow. Take care of that shoulder." Kaitlyn turned and
got into her car. Gary watched as she drove away. For the first time in a
long time, he was looking forward to what tomorrow brought.
When Kaitlyn awoke it was to the sound of the phone ringing and not her alarm clock. She groggily rolled over and picked up the receiver.
"Mamma, I'm fine. There is no need to worry. Safe and sound." Kaitlyn rolled onto her back.
"Kaitlyn, I told you to call me when you got in. I was worried."
"Mamma, it was late. I didn't want to wake you. I'm fine really. Are the girls up yet?" Kaitlyn's alarm clock went off and she leaned over and shut it off.
"No the girls are not up yet, it's only 6:30." Lily observed. "You know the girls couldn't stop talking about what a wonderful time they had last night. I think Casey has a serious crush. Are you gonna see him again?"
"Actually, I don't know. He said that he would call me later. We might go to dinner." Kaitlyn sat up in bed and let her feet touch the floor. "I really gotta get going. I have a conference call at 7:30."
"I'll bring the girls home this afternoon sometime. You sure you don't wanna go with us?
"No, I wish I could. I have to get some work done." Kaitlyn sighed.
"Oh, Megan stopped by last night. She said that she is taking Ben to Dave & Buster's tonight and she wanted to know if the girls could come. Make sure you give her a call later."
"I will. Have fun swimming." Kaitlyn smiled.
"I love you sweetie."
"I love you too." Kaitlyn pulled herself out of bed and headed for the
Marissa was pouring herself a cup of coffee when she heard a whistling Gary come into the kitchen.
"Good Morning, Mrs. Brown!"
"Well you are sure in a good mood this morning. I guess that means your date went well?" Marissa smiled.
"It went very well, thank you very much. If fact, it went so well I believe I will be seeing Kaitlyn again this evening." Gary said as he grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down at the table. He opened the paper.
"Well tell me about it?" Marissa said.
Gary could tell that the suspense was all but killing Marissa. He smiled. "Well we had a very nice time. Her kids are great Marissa, your gonna love them. Not only is Kaitlyn beautiful, but she's smart and she loves baseball. She's a book editor, ya know."
"She mentioned something about that yesterday." Marissa took a sip of her coffee and waited for Gary to continue. She enjoyed seeing him so happy. It was a definite change of pace for him.
"We came back here after the game. You had already left. We just talked about a lot of things. She is so easy to talk to. I even told her about my marriage to Marcia. Believe it or not I think the paper is actually going to help me out here today. I only have a few things to take care of and I should be done in plenty of time for dinner. "
"Where are you gonna take her? Marissa asked.
"I don't know. I was thinking maybe Charlie Trotter's. You think I can get a reservation."
"You would have to wear a jacket." Marissa joked.
"I'm not a cave man, Marissa, I can wear a jacket." Gary groaned.
"I'm just kidding. Emmitt knows the owner over there. Do you want me to see if he can help out?"
Gary's face lit up. "That would be great." Gary got up and grabbed the paper. "Tell Emmitt I said thank you ahead of time. I should be back early today. I gotta go stop a woman from getting hit by a bus over on Michigan Avenue. I'll see you later." Gary headed out the door.
"Bye. Be careful." Marissa screamed after him.
Gary's day went extremely easy. He walked back to McGinty's with a smile on his face. He had called Marissa earlier in the day and she told him that Emmitt was successful in getting him a reservation for dinner. He hoped that would be okay with Kaitlyn. She insisted that she owed him a dinner. But, he wasn't going to let her pay for their first official date alone. What kind of a guy would that make him, he thought.
Gary walked into McGinty's and went directly to the office. He looked at his watch. It was a little after 3:00. Gary pulled the piece of paper with Kaitlyn's number out of his front pocket and picked up the phone.
"Hello." Casey answered.
"This wouldn't be Cassandra Lee Kelly would it?" Gary asked.
"Gary! Mommy, Gary is on the phone." Casey screamed to her mother who was upstairs.
"Gary, guess what? Aunt Megan is taking us to Dave..and.and.and. Mommy what's the name of the place Aunt Megan is taking us to?" Gary could hear Kaitlyn in the background answer her daughter. Casey got back on the phone. "She is taking us to Dave & Buster's. Have you ever been there?"
"No Casey, I can't say that I have. But I'm sure you'll have a fun time." Gary laughed.
Gary heard Kaitlyn say. "Okay Casey tell Gary goodbye. You have to go and get changed."
"I gotta go Gary. See you later." Casey said.
Casey handed the phone to Kaitlyn. Gary could hear Kaitlyn say, "I put your clothes on your bed and don't forget to brush your teeth."
Kaitlyn put the phone up to her ear. "Hi Gary. Sorry about that."
"It's okay, I like talking with Casey. She sounds really excited about tonight."
"Yeah, she is. But then again it doesn't take much to get a 3 = year old excited. Kaitlyn laughed. "Are we still on for dinner tonight?"
"Yeah, I hope you don't mind.I a.I got us a reservation for 7:00 at Charlie Trotter's. Is a.is that okay?" Gary stuttered.
Kaitlyn smiled. She thought it was sweet that he stuttered when he was nervous. "Charlie Trotter's is great. Do you want me to come to McGinty's?"
"No, I can...can pick you up. 6:30 okay?" Gary asked.
"6:30 is good. I guess I better give you my address. I actually don't live that far from the restaurant. It's 1220 Willet Street."
"1220 Willet Street. Okay." Gary smiled. "I'll see you then."
"Okay, see ya." Kaitlyn hung up the phone.
Gary headed upstairs to his loft. He figured he would just lay down for a while and rest his eyes. He thought about Kaitlyn and smiled. This would be two nights in a row that the paper would give him the opportunity to spend some time with her. He wondered how long that would last. When he entered the loft he kicked off his shoes and proceeded toward the bed. He lay down, grabbed his pillow and settled in for a little nap when the phone rang.
He sighed and got up out of bed to answer it.
"Hello." He said.
"Gary, honey how are you?" He heard the cheery voice of his mother. "I'm so glad I caught you at home. I haven't talked to you in what seems like forever. Are you eating okay?"
"I'm doing fine Mom." Gary smiled. He received these calls from his mother every few weeks. She liked to check in on him and make sure he was okay.
"I called earlier this afternoon and spoke with Patrick. He told me you were out."
"Yeah, I had to take care of the paper."
"I had a nice conversation with Patrick. He told me something interesting." Lois waited for her son to respond to her statement before she continued.
"Oh yeah what would that be?" Gary asked.
"He told me you had a date tonight." Lois smiled.
Gary swallowed hard and didn't say anything. He rubbed his hand over his eyes.
"Gary honey you know I think that is wonderful. Who is she? How did you meet her? How long have you known her? Is it serious?" The questions just flew out of her mouth.
"Mom her name is Kaitlyn. I helped her the other day and well.she's nice." Gary smiled.
"Oh, Gary I am so happy for you. I can hardly wait to meet her. Maybe your father and I can come down next weekend and."
Gary cut her off. "You know what.I gotta go I have some things I have to take care with the paper. Can we talk about this later?"
"Okay honey I won't keep you. I'll call you tomorrow to see how things went. Bye honey." Before Gary could respond Lois hung up. Gary looked at the phone in his hand and mumbled. "Patrick."
As Gary hung up the phone there was a knock at the door. "Just a minute." He opened the door to a smiling Marissa.
"Marissa." Gary said grumpily.
"What's wrong with you?" Marissa asked.
"Oh, nothing. I just got off the phone with my mother. It seems she called earlier today and Patrick filled her in on my date with Kaitlyn." Marissa winced. Gary continued. "How do you think it is that he found out about my date Marissa?" Gary asked. Though he knew the answer.
"Well he came into the office when I was talking with Emmitt. He started to ask a lot of questions and you know how he is when he wants to know something. He wouldn't leave me alone. So I told him that I was making reservations for you." Marissa smiled meekly.
"Well thank you Marissa. Telling my mother I have a date is like telling her I'm getting married. Because you know in her mind that is what she heard. You know how overexcited she gets at the thought of me dating someone. She is going to call me tomorrow and I'll have to go through the whole story. She is already talking about coming here to meet Kaitlyn. It's just all too soon." Gary let out a breath.
"I don't think you give your mother enough credit. Just explain to her that it was only a first date and that you need your space." Marissa suggested. "Gary she is your mother. All she wants to do is be a part of your life." Marissa smiled. "I think your best bet is to just be honest with her."
"That's easy for you to say." Gary groaned.
"Listen, the reason I came up here was to tell you to have a nice time tonight. Try and enjoy yourself and don't worry about your mother. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
"Thanks Marissa. I will." Marissa left and Gary went back over to the
bed and tried to resume his nap.
Kaitlyn was in her room. She had her hair set in rollers and she was in her robe going through her closet trying to find something to wear. She was pulling things out and quickly discarding them onto the bed. Megan walked in.
"What are you doing? It looks like a hurricane went through here." She bent over and started to pick up some clothes that hadn't quite made it to the bed.
"What time is it?" Kaitlyn quickly asked.
"It's ten after six, why?" Megan said after looking at her watch.
"Oh god, Gary is going to be here in 20 minutes and I have no idea what I am going to wear. I'm never going to be ready in time." Kaitlyn looked at her sister exasperated.
"Calm down. Where are you going?" Megan started to laugh.
"Charlie Trotter's. It's not funny. I have absolutely nothing to wear." Kaitlyn screamed.
"Okay. Okay. You go into the bathroom and finish putting yourself together. I'll sort through this mess. We'll find you something." Megan began to go through the clothes on the bed. "Go!" She pushed Kaitlyn towards the bathroom.
Kaitlyn finished fixing her hair and makeup. She walked into the bedroom and Megan was standing with a light blue halter-top and matching skirt in her hands. "How's this?" She asked shaking her head yes.
"It's fine, but I don't have any shoes to match it." Kaitlyn pouted.
"Ooh, you know I just bought a pair of snake skin sandals that would go perfect with this. I'll send Mike over to get them." Megan turned and started to walk out of the bedroom and Kaitlyn grabbed her and hugged her.
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" She screamed.
"Okay, Okay. Gary is gonna be here any minute and you can't go on a date with no shoes." Megan laughed.
Kaitlyn started to get dressed as she heard her sister yell, "Mike, I need
you to go home and get.
Gary had just paid the cab fair when he saw a man walking across the street towards Kaitlyn's sidewalk.
"You must be Gary." The man asked.
"Yeah, Gary Hobson." Gary shook his hand.
"Hi, I'm Mike. Kaitlyn's brother-in-law. Shoe emergency." Mike said as he waived the shoebox in the air. "You might as well come on in and have a seat. She's not ready yet." They started to walk up the sidewalk. "I've been married to Megan for 10 years and between you and me the Kelly women are never ready on time, but it's worth the wait." Mike joked.
They walked in the front door and Megan came bounding down the steps. She looked a lot like Kaitlyn, her hair was blond, but short. Same blue eyes.
"Honey, did you get the shoes?" Then she noticed Gary. "Oh, Hi, you must be Gary. I'm Megan, Kaitlyn's sister. She'll be ready in a minute. Honey, did you ask Gary if he wanted something to drink?" She turned toward her husband.
"We just walked in the door." Mike argued.
"Oh, no really I'm fine." Gary said.
"Okay I better take these upstairs. We'll be back in a minute." Megan headed up the stairs.
When Casey heard Gary's voice she came barreling out of the kitchen.
"Gary!" She screamed and ran over to hug him. Gary picked her up.
"Hey Casey! You ready for your big night out?" Gary asked.
"Yeah, you wanna come with us?" She turned toward Mike. "Uncle Mike can Gary come with us?"
Gary laughed. "Not tonight Casey. Maybe next time." Gary looked up and saw Kaitlyn coming down the stairs. She had on the blue halter-top and matching skirt. Her hair was down in a mass of large curls.
Mike let out a low whistle and Gary smiled. "I told you it would be worth the wait?" He nudged Gary in the ribs with his elbow.
"Mommy you look so pretty. Doesn't she look pretty Gary?" Casey said.
"Yes she does." Gary smiled and put Casey down.
"Thank you. You don't look bad yourself." Kaitlyn smiled at him and Gary blushed. He had chosen to wear his navy blue suit, a button down gray shirt and no tie.
"Well Casey you ready to go." Megan said. "Mike where are Ben and Jess?"
"They are across the street playing video games. I'll go get them. Gary, it was nice to meet you. You two have a nice time tonight." Mike left.
"Okay Casey now you promise me you are gonna be a good girl for Aunt Megan." Kaitlyn stooped down to her daughter's level. "I told your sister this earlier, no fighting, okay?" Kaitlyn kissed Casey on the forehead.
"Go ahead you two you're gonna be late for your reservation. I can lock up." Megan handed Kaitlyn her purse. "You got your keys."
"Yeah." She turned to Gary. "Ready?"
"Yeah, lets go." He held the door for her. "I thought that it was such a nice night out that we could walk to the restaurant. Is that okay with you?" Gary asked
"Yeah that's fine, it's only a couple of blocks." She reached for Gary's
hand and he took hers. They headed off toward the restaurant.
Dinner was wonderful. They told each other more about themselves. Gary told her how he and his friend Chuck ended up owning the bar. How Chuck wanted to make it an established restaurant. Only to, in the end, take off for California, with Marissa taking over his part of the ownership in McGinty's.
He told Kaitlyn a lot about his relationship with Marissa. How they met working at Strauss & Associates and the friendship that they had formed. The entire time they were together Gary never thought about the paper.
When it came time to pay the bill Kaitlyn insisted that she pay. "After what you did for me the least I can do is buy you dinner. Next time you can pay." She told him. Gary reluctantly gave in.
They made the short walk back to Kaitlyn's house. She asked him if he wanted to come in and he said yes. Gary was too nervous to notice before, but the home had a real "homey" feel to it. There were various pictures of Kaitlyn with the girls, family and Jessica and Casey by themselves framed throughout the house. He also noticed that even their drawings had been framed as well.
They walked into the kitchen and Kaitlyn asked. "Do you want a beer?"
"Sure. This place is great." Gary said looking around. Kaitlyn headed towards the refrigerator.
"You should have seen it before I bought it." Kaitlyn pulled two beers from the refrigerator and opened the drawer for a bottle opener. "We completely gutted it. Everything is new. I bought the place because it was across the street from my sister. It took over a year to renovate. Looking back now, it was a lot of work I don't know if I would take on a challenge like that again." She handed him his beer. "You wanna go and sit on the porch?"
"Yeah." Gary took off his jacket and laid it across the back of the kitchen chair. He followed Kaitlyn outside. The house had a nice front porch. Kaitlyn sat down on the swing and Gary joined her. They both looked at each other and smiled.
"It's peaceful tonight. Most of the time I don't know what to do with myself when the girls aren't here." Gary put his arm on the back of the swing and she laid her head back against it. He slipped his hand onto her shoulder.
"I can honestly say I don't get many peaceful times like this." Gary started to rub his thumb against the top of her arm. Gary thought to himself that holding her felt more right than anything he had every experienced.
Kaitlyn felt more protected being held in Gary's arms than she had ever felt with any other man. She decided that feeling meant something important and she wanted to open up to him and tell him about her past.
"Gary, how come you have never asked me about my ex-husband?" Kaitlyn asked. She figured this was a good way to open up the conversation.
Gary rubbed his free hand on his leg. "Well I figured if you wanted to tell me about him you would. When you were ready." He shrugged.
"He was a police officer. I think that was my initial attraction to him. I thought he would be just like my Dad. He was young when I met him. New to the force. Trying to make a name for himself. He was a good man then." She swallowed hard and continued. "We were married for two years when I found out I was pregnant with Jess. I remember when I told him he was so happy." She smiled at the thought.
"Then after she was born, he changed. He kind of withdrew into himself. He started to get abusive, mostly verbal. I put it off as being part of the job. I tried to get him some help, you know psychological help, and it worked for a while. I didn't want to give up on my marriage. I was raised to believe that when you marry someone it's till death do you part. I had it my head that if I was pregnant he wouldn't hurt me." She looked down at the beer in her hand and started to play with the label.
"When I got pregnant with Casey it stopped for a while. Then he shot and killed a young kid in the line of duty. He struggled with it for a few months. Started to drink a lot after that. Then one night he came home and he took it out on me. I ended up unconscious at the bottom of the stairs. Luckily my neighbor who had been watching Jess found me. I had to have an emergency c-section to save Casey. He never apologized for what he did. I could understand if he didn't care about me, but I never understood his lack of feelings towards the safety of his own daughter. He never even wanted to see her." She said her voice barely above a whisper. She wiped a tear from her cheek.
"I never pressed charges against him. We separated and I left town, came here. A year went by and I got a letter from his attorney saying that he wanted a divorce and that he wanted to relinquish his parental rights. So I let him. I petitioned the court to get my maiden name back and to have the girls' names legally changed. I haven't heard from him since then and hopefully I never will." She took a drink and then looked up at Gary.
Gary put his hand on the side of her head, pulled her close to him. "I'm sorry." He said as he kissed her on the temple.
She smiled and looked up at him. "I don't know why, but I wanted you to know."
"I'm glad you trusted me enough to tell me. I just wish I would have known you then.I don't know maybe.." He stopped. Their eyes met. He put his hand on her neck and ran his thumb across her cheek. He leaned in and gently kissed her. She knew with that one kiss that he would never hurt her. The gentle kiss grew into a long, passionate one. Kaitlyn reached up and put her hand on the back of his neck and ran her fingers through his hair. When they parted, they rested their foreheads against each other and both smiled.
"I've wanted to do that all night." Gary blushed.
"I'm glad you finally did." Kaitlyn teased as she poked him in the chest.
She leaned back onto his shoulder, his arm going protectively back around
her. She wrapped her arm around his waist. They sat for a long time just
enjoying the quiet. Both feeling content in what they had finally found in
Before Gary knew it, it was the beginning of September. He and Kaitlyn had been seeing each other for three months now. The paper had gone easy on him during this time. Kaitlyn had actually been with him for a few saves, she being unaware of what he was doing. He had only had a few instances where he had to lie to her about being late or why he couldn't meet her at a certain time. Those times bothered him because he didn't want to lie to her about anything, but he wasn't quite ready to tell her about the paper. Not yet anyway.
Kaitlyn was lucky, she never had to testify against her attacker. The rape victims were able to identify him and he received the maximum sentence.
Gary had developed a great relationship with Kaitlyn's family. He enjoyed Sunday dinners at the Kelly home. Jessica and Casey became very attached to him. Both girls liked him a lot. Gary shared a special bond with Casey. It grew stronger when he learned that they shared the same birthday, September 17th.
He spent his time with them going to ball games and the park. One Sunday afternoon they even went to the museum. On a few occasions they had dinner with Marissa and Emmitt.
They spent a majority of their time at Kaitlyn's. After dinner they would play in the yard until it got dark. The part of the day Gary looked forward to the most was the evening when he and Kaitlyn would put the girls to bed, reading them a story. Gary and Kaitlyn would then snuggle up on the couch and watch television and talk. As the weeks went on it got harder and harder to say goodnight. But they did, neither he nor Kaitlyn were ready to take that next step.
One night, Gary insisted that she go out with her mother and sister to dinner and a movie. Kaitlyn came home to a quiet house. Finding a pizza box on the kitchen table. She went upstairs and found Gary and the girls asleep on her bed with the "Wizard of Oz" playing on the television. She stood in the doorway and looked at them sleeping so peacefully. Casey had her head on Gary's shoulder and he had his arm wrapped around her. Jessica was lying at the foot of the bed her head resting on Gary's legs.
She walked in and gently woke Jessica. She picked up Casey and took the
girls to their room. When she came back in Gary had rolled onto his side.
She didn't have the heart to wake him. She covered him with a throw and got
When she climbed into bed she felt his arms instinctively go around her as if that was right where they were always meant to be. She smiled and closed her eyes as the sound of his breathing lulled her to sleep. Gary awoke in the middle of the night, only to have Kaitlyn tell him to go back to sleep. Which he very easily did.
The next morning Kaitlyn came downstairs to find Gary and Casey sitting at the kitchen table. Gary's cat was in Casey's lap. Gary was reading the paper and he and Casey were eating the left over pizza. Kaitlyn was greeted by Casey saying, "Morning Mommy. See Gary and I both like to eat pizza for breakfast. Mommy look cat came to visit."
Gary looked up from his paper with a smile on his face. "What's wrong with pizza for breakfast. It's nutritional. It's got pineapple on it." He gave Kaitlyn a little boy look as he pleaded his case then turned to Casey and winked.
"Where did he come from?" Kaitlyn asked pointing towards the cat.
"He has a tendency to track me down where ever I am. I think it's a food thing." Gary said.
"You hungry kitty." Kaitlyn asked the cat while scratching his head. "You want some tuna?"
"Yeah, spoil him why don't you." Gary groaned. The cat started to purr and jumped on the table. Gary picked him up and held him so they were face to face. "How many times do I gotta tell you, you're not allowed on the furniture." He said sending the cat to the floor.
After setting the can of tuna on the floor, Kaitlyn gave Gary a kiss. "Boy aren't we grumpy in the mornings." She teased.
"I was having a wonderful morning until he showed up." Gary said pointing towards the cat. Much to Gary's surprise, Kaitlyn never asked about the paper. She just went about her day as she normally would have.
Gary, Kaitlyn and the girls had taken a few trips to Hickory. Both his mother and father were glad to see him so happy. Seeing how Gary interacted with Kaitlyn and her children made Lois' heart swell. She had started not only checking up on Gary with a weekly phone call, but giving Kaitlyn one as well. The girls had gotten into the habit of calling them Grandpa Bernie and Grandma Lois. Something that Gary noticed made his parents very happy.
It was Thursday and Gary was heading back to McGinty's after taking care of the paper's work. Gary's parents were expected today. They had booked a room at the Drake Hotel. This was the first time during a visit to Chicago that they were not going to be staying with him. His mother said it was because there was not enough room in his loft. Gary knew she was using that as an excuse. It was just her way of giving him the space he asked for. They were looking forward to meeting Kaitlyn's family. Gary had told them so much about everyone.
Gary walked into McGinty's and saw his father talking with the new bar manager Jeff. His father was trying to explain to Jeff the finer points in gnocchi making. His mother and Marissa were seated at a table looking on in amusement.
"Gary, honey, there you are." Lois said as she got up from her seat and walked towards him with a smile on her face. She grabbed him kissing his cheek and giving him a big hug. "I was wondering when you were going to get here."
"Mom you're squishing me." Gary stated. Bernie walked over to the two of them and said, "Lo, give the kid some air." Lois let go.
"How ya doing son?" Bernie gave his son a quick hug. "How have things been going with your little special delivery." He winked at Gary. "You need any help with anything you let me know."
"No, no Dad everything is under control." Gary winced.
"I was just telling Jeff here that we need to get gnocchi on the menu." Bernie smiled.
"Dad this is a bar, gnocchi is not bar food." Gary shook his head.
"Come on Gar, it will be a great addition to the menu." Bernie pleaded.
"Bernie, enough with the gnocchi." Lois instructed. She turned her attentions towards Gary. "You know we are really looking forward to meeting Kaitlyn's family." Lois smiled.
"Well actually, she wants to make dinner for everybody tonight at her place. I just need to change my shirt and then we can head over there now, if you want?" Gary asked.
"Well get goin', you mother is chomping at the bit to see the girls." Bernie teased.
"Listen, can I talk to you guys for a minute in the office." Gary whispered.
"Sounds serious." Bernie said.
They went to the office, Gary closed the door and started to pace. "I just want you to know that I, well I haven't told Kaitlyn yet about the paper. So you have to be careful what you say when you are around her. Dad, you especially." Gary pointed his finger at his father.
"Me." Bernie gave an innocent look to his son. "I happen to keep a secret very well. Look how long I kept your secret from your mother." Lois gave him a look.
"Gary, I don't agree with the fact that you haven't told her yet. You obviously care about her quite a bit. You need to be honest with her." Lois was always the logical one.
"Mom, it's just.well.too many people already know about this thing." He waived the paper in the air. "I don't wanna tell her until I'm sure."
"Sure of what? Geez' Gar you've been dating her for what three months?" Bernie observed.
"Dad!" Gary rubbed his hand on his forehead. "Just don't say anything, okay." Gary headed for the loft. "I'm gonna go get changed."
After he left the room Bernie said, "Geez talk about gun shy?" Lois rolled
her eyes. "What?" Bernie asked innocently.
Gary walked onto Kaitlyn's porch with his parents. He looked at them and whispered. "Remember what we talked about. Don't mention the paper." Lois and Bernie looked at each other and then back at Gary and shook their heads in agreement.
Gary opened the front door. He could see Kaitlyn standing in the kitchen at the sink her back facing him. Casey was on her step stool standing beside her Mother. Kaitlyn was showing her something.
He closed the door behind his parents Bernie said, "Hey, I heard somebody is cooking dinner hear tonight."
Casey turned around and jumped down off of her stool and ran to greet him. "Grandpa Bernie!" When she reached him he picked her up and gave her a hug.
"How's my girl doing." He said.
"I'm fine except Jessica and Amy won't let me play with them. They said I'm too little." Casey pouted.
"Oh they did, did they. Well I'll just have to have a talk with her later." Bernie said as he tickled her.
Kaitlyn came out of the kitchen wiping her hands on a dishtowel. She had on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Her hair was pulled up in a clip. She smiled when she saw Bernie holding Casey. She kissed Gary and said. "Looks like you've been replaced." She gave Lois a hug.
"Gary, we were cleaning the broccoli. I told Mommy to make it cause its one of our favorites." Casey smiled.
"Kaitlyn, can I help with anything?" Lois asked.
"Oh, no please come on in and make yourselves at home." She started for the kitchen and said, "Gary do you wanna grill the steaks?"
"Gary grill the steaks?" Bernie asked. "I think you picked the wrong man for that job." Bernie teased.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Gary said defensively. He looked at Kaitlyn. "This coming from a man who one time burnt all of the hair off of his face. I mean all of the hair, eyebrows, eyelashes." Lois cut him off.
"Oh, Gary that was a long time ago. Your father learned his lesson about using too much lighter fluid." Lois teased. Casey took her hand and led her into the kitchen.
"Well we don't have to worry about that happening anyway, the grill is gas with an automatic start." Kaitlyn laughed.
"Oh sure, she's got the fancy stuff." Bernie said.
"How about you and your father grill the steaks together." Kaitlyn said diplomatically.
"Yeah, I guess that would be alright. Hey where's Jess." Gary asked.
"She's outside playing with Amy." Kaitlyn said.
Gary had already headed for the refrigerator and pulled out two beers. He handed one to his father.
"Lois can I get you anything to drink?" Kaitlyn asked.
"No, honey, I'm fine." Lois smiled. She started to help Kaitlyn with the salad.
"So Gary tells us we might get to meet this famous brother-in-law of yours." Bernie took a drink of his beer.
"Yeah, the Mets are finishing the regular season here in a few weeks. It will be on the weekend you and Lois should come in then, we can all go to the game." Kaitlyn smiled.
Bernie turned towards Gary. "Gar, I hear this guys got an unbelievable fast ball. We are gonna have to make sure we don't take a peek at that sports page so we can enjoy the game."
Kaitlyn was engrossed in fixing the salad. Gary shot his father a look. Bernie looked at him and mouthed "sorry."
"Will your sister be coming to town?" Lois asked quickly.
"Yeah, she usually comes in a few days before Greg." Kaitlyn said. "Gary, you and your father wanna go and light the grill. I'll make sure the fire extinguisher is handy." Kaitlyn joked.
"Very funny." Gary turned to his Dad. "Dad, you see what I gotta put up with."
"I know, I know. Gar, it doesn't get any easier you know." Bernie headed out the door Casey followed behind him, "Hey, messy Jessie. What are you up to?" He screamed.
They had a nice dinner. The girls filled Lois and Bernie in on all the things that they had done since the last time they had talked to them. Jessica talked excitedly about school. She had started 1st grade last week. Casey tried to impress Gary's parents with the fact that she too was in school, even if it was just for a few hours a few days a week.
Gary's parents and Kaitlyn's parents got along very well. Much to Kaitlyn and Gary's dismay, they spent the night laughing and trading stories about their children. It was such a nice night everyone ended up on the front porch. Kaitlyn asked Gary if he would help her with coffee and dessert. He willingly followed her into the house.
When they reached the kitchen. Kaitlyn found out that getting dessert was the last thing on Gary's mind when she ended up in his arms and they started to kiss. She pulled away. "You're supposed to be helping me with dessert." She smiled.
"You taste better than any old pie." He teased and continued to kiss her.
They were quickly interrupted by Jessica's voice. "Ooh they're kissing again." Jessica squirmed. Casey smiled and Kaitlyn buried her head in Gary's chest and began to laugh.
"You know." Gary said very seriously as he pointed to Jessica. "I want you to remember what you just said when you get older and I catch you kissing a boy.
Jessica made a disgusted face and said, "Not me, I'm never kissing a boy."
"Those words could come back to haunt you." Gary teased. "I'm gonna remember that." He made an exasperated face and looked down at Kaitlyn.
"Promise." Kaitlyn smiled giving him a quick kiss.
"I'd kiss a boy." Casey beamed.
"Well, you little miss, I definitely don't want kissing any boys." Gary picked up Casey and she kissed him on the cheek.
"See you're a boy and I kissed you." Casey said.
"Well that's different. You can kiss me as much as you want." Gary smiled as she began to pepper his cheek with kisses. "All right, all right." He said as he put her down.
"Mommy, Grandma said that since I don't have any school tomorrow, we could spend the night? Can we please?" Jessica pleased.
"We'll see." Kaitlyn said and started to make coffee.
After everyone had left, Kaitlyn began to clean up. After some more pleading from the girls, Kaitlyn agreed to let them stay at her mothers. Gary had taken his parents to their hotel and then was going to make a quick stop at Kaitlyn's mothers' house. The girls had talked him into reading them their bedtime story.
It was late, Kaitlyn was at the kitchen sink cleaning some dishes when she heard the front door close. She looked up and saw Gary's reflection in the window. A few seconds later she felt those familiar arms wrap around her waist and he planted a tender kiss on her neck. She smiled.
"Girls are all read to and tucked in. I wouldn't want to be your mother tonight. Casey already asked for water twice before I left." He smiled.
"I didn't expect you back tonight?" Kaitlyn said.
"What and leave my best girl here to clean up this mess?" Gary asked.
Gary whispered in her ear, "Besides I thought you and I could have a little alone time." He wiggled his eyebrows and began to kiss her neck. She turned her head and their lips met. They began a long passionate kiss. Both were breathless when it ended.
"We can't keep doing this you know." He gave her a quick kiss. She hugged him placing her head on his shoulder.
"I know." She whispered. "I'm sorry."
He lifted her chin with his hand, forcing her to look at him. "Sorry for what? You don't have anything to be sorry about." Gary smiled.
Kaitlyn shrugged and shook her head. "It's just.." She hesitated. "I know this whole relationship thing is hard because of the girls. I just feel bad sometimes for you." She let go of him and turned back to the sink.
He put his arm across her stomach and turned her back around. Placing one hand on her waist and the other hand on her neck. He looked into her eyes.
"You have brought more to my life than anything or anyone ever has. You and the girls mean more to me than anything. I love those girls as if they were my own. I love you." Gary was surprised at how freely those words came from his lips.
Kaitlyn's eyes overflowed with tears and they started to trickle down her face. Gary reached up and wiped them off of her cheek. "Well don't cry." He smiled.
"I love you, too." She whispered.
They looked into each other's eyes leaning in their lips met. It was unlike any kiss they had ever shared. Their hearts were completely open to the love they had found in each other.
As they continued to kiss Gary picked her up and carried her upstairs to the bedroom. Moonlight was streaming through the window, giving the room the exact amount of light. He gently laid her on the bed.
"You're trembling." Kaitlyn smiled. "I know this isn't the first time you've done this.
Gary swallowed hard. "It's the first time with you."
She looked at him with so much love he thought his heart would burst. They started to kiss unable to hold back all of the passion that had been building between them for the last few months. As Gary kissed her neck, Kaitlyn pulled at the buttons on Gary's shirt, until it fell to the floor.
Gary suddenly pulled back. "Wait, stop." He said out of breath. He sat up.
"What?" Kaitlyn asked, pushing a strand of hair out of her face. "I thought you wanted this as much as I did?" She sat.
Gary smiled. Still trying to catch his breath. "I do." He put his hand on her neck. "I want to make love to you more than anything. I love you more than I ever thought I could love someone and I don't want to do this unless you're ready, because I can wait."
"I don't want to wait. I think we've waited long enough." She caressed his face. "Gary I love you. She smiled at him
"God I love you." He smiled, cupping her face in his hands.
They kissed. This time, there was nothing stopping Gary from showing Kaitlyn
exactly how much he loved her. They spent the rest of the night in a serene
sleep, Gary holding Kaitlyn in his arms. Neither of them aware of the terrifying
events that would change everything between them.
When Kaitlyn woke she was on her back. Gary was lying on his stomach with his arm draped across her. She looked at the clock. It was early, 6:15. She lay in bed watching Gary sleep. He looked so peaceful.
"Wake up sleepy head." She sat up and kissed him on the cheek.
"I don't want to wake up. I'm having a great dream." Gary hugged his pillow tighter.
"About what?" Kaitlyn asked and began to plant kisses along his jaw line.
"I met this great girl." Gary smiled.
"Yeah? Go on." Kaitlyn continued to kiss him.
"She's beautiful. Brunette." Gary teased.
"Hey!" Kaitlyn stopped kissing him and pushed on his shoulder. "You better watch it buster."
"Watch it. I'll watch it." He said as he pulled her down onto the bed. He began to kiss her. She pulled away and started to get out of bed.
"Where do you think your going?" He said and started to kiss her shoulder.
"I was going to make you breakfast." She smiled.
"I don't think I'm really that hungry yet. At least not for food." Gary whispered in her ear. "What do you say you come over here and I'll show you a better way to start the day."
Kaitlyn couldn't resist. She got back in bed next to Gary. "Mmm, so show me." She teased.
As Gary leaned in to kiss her they heard a loud thump. Gary winced. "What was that?" Kaitlyn asked startled. Gary closed his eyes tightly, for the first time in six years worth of mornings he had forgotten all about the paper.
"That.that's the cat. I better go let him in or he will just keep throwing himself up against the door." Gary groaned as he got out of bed and looked for his boxers and t-shirt.
Kaitlyn sat up. "Don't you think it is kind of strange that cat can find you where ever you are?"
Gary had found his boxers and was still looking for his t-shirt. Tell her, that little voice in his head told him. Finding his t-shirt he began to put in on and stuttered, "I d-d-don't know.I, I never really thought that much about it. Maybe it's a food thing." He joked. You're such a coward Hobson, he thought to himself.
Kaitlyn gave him a puzzled look. He came back over to the bed and kissed
"Don't move. I'll be right back." He smiled and headed downstairs.
Kaitlyn got out of bed and slipped on her robe. Smiling she picked up the clothes that were haphazardly thrown on the floor from the night before. She headed downstairs to find Gary standing in the foyer looking at a newspaper so engrossed he didn't even see her. The cat ran over to her and started to rub against her leg.
Gary had only gotten through looking at the first few pages when he heard, "Hey kitty." She said to the cat. "Well at least somebody is paying me some attention." She pouted. "Where did that come from?" She said pointing towards the paper.
"Oh, a." He folded up the paper. "It was on the porch. Must be a free issue." Gary tried to change the subject. "Hey, I told you not to move. I was coming back." Gary said pleading his case.
"Well your too late. I have someone else to turn my attentions to." She reached down and picked up the cat and headed for the kitchen. "Want some tuna?"
"You're spoiling him you know." Gary grumbled as he followed her into the kitchen.
"Don't listen to him, he's just a sore looser." Kaitlyn said to the cat.
Kaitlyn gave the cat some tuna and started to make some coffee. Gary laid the paper down on the table, sat, and watched her. He was so lucky, he thought to himself. He had finally found what he had always been looking for, a true love. Someone who loved him as much as he did her. He knew he needed to tell her about the paper. He knew she loved him, but he was still afraid. Afraid that her feelings would change after she found out. Erica's did. She couldn't handle the paper. Not that his relationship with Erica was anything compared to what he had with Kaitlyn.
"Hello. Anybody in there?" Kaitlyn's voice brought him out of his thoughts. "Why are you staring at me?" Kaitlyn asked as she walked towards him.
"What a guy can't stare at the woman he loves?" Gary asked smiling. When she reached him, he grabbed her and pulled her down onto his lap.
"I love you too." Kaitlyn smiled. "When?" Kaitlyn asked.
"When what?" Gary replied as he laughed.
"When did you know?" Kaitlyn could tell by the look on his face that he still didn't know what she was asking him. "When did you know that you were in love with me?"
"Well, I could honestly say that the first time I looked into your eyes I thought you were the most beautiful woman I had ever seen." Gary smiled. "That's when I knew."
Gary noticed that she looked like she was going to cry as she leaned in and kissed him. He suddenly pulled away and said, "All right turn about is fair play."
"What?" She pretended to not know what he was talking about.
"What? You know exactly well what I am talking about. I told you, now you have to tell me." He demanded.
"Well, I could say that the first time I looked into your eyes I thought you were the most handsome man I had ever seen." Gary smiled. "But, I have met a lot of handsome men." Kaitlyn teased.
"Hey!" Gary said as he started to tickle her. "You seem to always forget that I know how ticklish you are." He laughed.
"Okay! Okay! I'll tell!" She screamed. He stopped tickling her and she settled into his lap.
"That first night when we were walking to the train with the girls. I saw you holding Casey's hand and talking with them. I knew then that you were pretty special. But, later that night when you walked me to my car and kissed me." Kaitlyn smiled. "That's when I knew I was in love with you." Gary smiled. They started to kiss.
"You know it will be a while until my Mom brings the girls home." She said as she continued to kiss his lips.
"What do you say we go back upstairs and pick up where we left off." He whispered in her ear.
"I'd say, I like the way you think Mr. Hobson."
Kaitlyn got up, took Gary's hand and led him back upstairs. Gary was completely
unaware that his future happiness was going to be compromised by an unread
story inside his newspaper.
Later that morning after their tryst and a shower, Kaitlyn was in her room getting dressed and Gary was in the bathroom shaving with the disposable razor she had given him. He walked into the bedroom wearing only a towel.
"It's a good thing I left these clothes here." Gary said looking at his shirt. Which Kaitlyn had conveniently lain out on the bed.
"No, I'd say it's a good thing I washed them." Kaitlyn teased coming up behind him and giving him a peck on the cheek. As she turned away Gary grabbed her waist and turned her around.
"Thank you for last night." Gary stopped, rethinking his words. "Thank you for last night and for this morning." He gave her a seductive smile. As they started to kiss the ringing of the telephone interrupted them.
"That's probably the girls." Kaitlyn sighed. She reached down to answer the phone. Gary began to get dressed.
"Hello." Kaitlyn said as she looked at him and smiled.
"Kaitlyn." She heard her father's voice.
"Morning Da." She was surprised when he cut her off.
"Kaitlyn. You need to come over here right away." Collier said, his voice cracking as he spoke.
"Dad what's wrong." She said.
"It's Casey. Kaitlyn, she's gone." Collier said.
"Gone where. Dad you're not making any sense." Kaitlyn said.
"We can't find her. Just get over here." As he said those words to her she could hear her mother crying in the background. "Oh, my God. I'll be right there." Kaitlyn slammed down the phone.
"What is it? What's wrong?" Gary asked.
"They can't find Casey. They can't find Casey." She looked at him and started to cry. "I have to get over to my Dad's." She started for the door and headed downstairs.
"Wait for me. I just have to put my shoes on." He screamed after her.
Gary quickly put on his shoes and followed her downstairs. When he hit the steps he saw that the front door was left open. Kaitlyn had already taken off to her mothers. As he started out the door he remembered about he paper. He turned and ran into the kitchen, picking the paper up off of the table, he begin to frantically flip through it.
There it was on page four. The title read, Four Year Old Missing, Abduction Suspected. There was a picture of Casey. He quickly read the article. "Four year old, Cassandra Kelly, was abducted from her grandparents front yard early Friday morning. Apparently, she was left alone when her older sister went into the house. Neighborhood witnesses say they saw her getting into a car with a male suspect. Police have yet to release a description of the suspect or the car."
Gary closed his eyes and swallowed hard. How could he let this happen. He was so caught up in his own happiness that he didn't even look at the paper this morning.
"Oh, God! Casey." He said out loud and headed for the door.
When Gary got there it looked like police had invaded the Kelly's. As he started up the walk to the front door a uniformed officer stopped him.
"Can I help you?" He asked.
"I know them." Gary stated.
"Your name?" The officer asked.
"Gary Hobson. I'm Ms. Kelly's boyfriend." Gary answered in frustration.
The officer let him pass. He headed into the house. Police were going in and out from room to room. Gary found Kaitlyn sitting on the couch in her mother's arms. Lily was rocking her daughter and saying, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry." They both were sobbing. When Kaitlyn saw him she rushed into his arms.
"She's gone!" She sobbed. "Gary, she's gone." Gary tried, to no avail, to contain his emotions, a single tear running down his cheek. "We're gonna find her. I promise you we're gonna find her."
The next hours seemed to go by in a tailspin. The police were busy collecting everyone's statements. They had several eyewitnesses and they were working their way through the information.
Gary and Kaitlyn were standing in the kitchen. He was holding her as tightly as he could, unable to let her go. When they heard, "The mother is in here." Gary looked up and saw the familiar face of Toni Brigatti.
"Hobson, what are you doing here?" She said in surprise.
"A.Kaitlyn this is Detective Brigatti." Gary stammered. Keeping his arm protectively around Kaitlyn's shoulders.
"You're the mother." Brigatti asked.
"Yes." Kaitlyn said wiping her face with a kleenex.
"I'm sorry." Brigatti said sincerely. "We're going to do everything we can to find your daughter." Kaitlyn shook her head in agreement, tears streaming down her face.
"Right now I need to ask you a few questions." Brigatti motioned toward the table. "Can we sit." She asked.
Kaitlyn nodded. She and Gary sat on one side of the table, Brigatti on the other. Kaitlyn was playing with the kleenex in her hand. Gary had his arm on the back of her chair.
"Do you know of anyone who would want to take your daughter without your permission?" Brigatti asked.
"No." Kaitlyn fought to hold back the tears.
"What about the girls father?" Brigatti questioned.
"I haven't seen him in almost four years. He lives in another state. He's never seen Casey. He didn't want to be a part of her life." Kaitlyn voice barely above a whisper.
"Boyfriend?" Brigatti asked looking at Gary.
"No. Gary was with me all night and this morning." Kaitlyn said turning towards Gary as she talked. Gary looked at Brigatti and swallowed hard.
"Oh, so you're the boyfriend." Brigatti looked at Gary. He nodded.
"Do you have a current picture of her." Brigatti turned her attentions back to Kaitlyn.
"I do..a.not with me." Kaitlyn stuttered as she was trying to think. "My mother might though." Kaitlyn said shaking her head.
"I have one." Gary said reaching for his wallet. He opened it and pulled out a picture of he and Casey. It was a picture that Kaitlyn had taken of them a few weeks ago when they were at the park. She had scanned it into her computer and then printed him out a small version so that he could keep it with him. "This was taken not to long ago." He handed it to Brigatti.
"Okay. This will do." Brigatti sighed. "Okay, I'm gonna tell you what we know so far. Your daughter apparently got into a car with a man. He was about 6', muscular with brown hair. He a had a tattoo on his forearm."
Kaitlyn's face dropped as Brigatti described the suspect. "Oh my god." She whispered. "It's David." She started to shake.
"David?" Brigatti asked.
"My ex-husband. David Detillo." She turned toward Gary and buried her
face in his chest. "He took her. He took her." She kept saying over and over.
After all of the police had left. Kaitlyn and Gary remained in the kitchen. Gary pulled the paper from his back pocket. The article hadn't changed. Kaitlyn got up and began to pace. She was going through a series of emotions. She was upset before, distraught, now she was angry.
"He wanted nothing to do with her for four years. Why would he do this? Why now?" She said looking at Gary. Gary stood up and stopped her.
"Listen to me." He said in as calm of a voice as he knew. "We're gonna find him. When we find him, we'll find her. I promise you."
"What if he hurts her. Gary, what if he.." She started to sob. Gary grabbed her and pulled her body as close to him as he could. He started to run his hand over her hair. This was his fault, he thought. If he had only looked at the paper.he could have stopped this. He knew then that he had to tell her. Tell her about the secret that he had been keeping, praying that she would understand.
"I just wanna go home." She looked at Gary. "Please, take me home." She cried onto his shoulder.
Gary and Kaitlyn walked the short distance to her house in silence. Megan had come to their mother's house hours earlier and taken Jessica home with her. Kaitlyn didn't want to let her leave. She didn't want to let her out of her sight, but she reluctantly agreed after Megan explained that it might be better for Jessica. Ben could keep her distracted, give her some sort of normalcy.
When they got to Kaitlyn's Gary told her that he was going to give his parents a call and give them an update. Kaitlyn told him she was going to go upstairs and lie down. Gary knew that she was emotionally exhausted. He kissed her forehead and she headed upstairs. Gary went into the kitchen to call his mother.
"Hello." He heard his mother's voice.
"Hi, Mom. It's me." Gary said.
"Oh, Gary. Is there any news." Lois asked.
"It was her ex-husband, Mom. He took her." Gary said meekly.
"What?" Lois asked in disbelief. "Do they know where he is?"
"No." Gary said.
"Gary what about the paper. Has it given you any information?" Lois asked.
"No. The paper hasn't given me anything to go on. The article is the same as it was this morning." He sighed. "I don't know what I'm gonna do Mom. I have to find her. This is all my fault." Lois could hear the remorse in her son's voice.
"Gary, honey, you can't blame yourself for this." Lois pleaded tears in her eyes.
"I can't! Like hell I can't! I've spent the last six years stopping things like this from happening everyday. Helping complete strangers. The one time, the one time I need to help someone that I love." He hesitated. "I failed. This was the biggest test of all and I failed." Lois was speechless. "I gotta go Mom. Kaitlyn went upstairs and I wanna check on her."
"Gary, please call us if you hear anything. You're father and I are here if you need us." Lois said.
"Thanks. Bye." Gary said as he hung up the phone.
He started up the stairs to check on Kaitlyn when he heard her sobbing. It was coming from the girls' room. He walked to the door and he found her curled up on Casey's bed holding the stuffed monkey that she had gotten at the zoo. He walked in and sat down beside her. He caressed her cheek. She sat up and held him as tightly as she could.
"Thank you." She sobbed. "Thank you for being here. I trust you more than anyone." She cried.
The words from her mouth went through his heart like a dagger. He knew now was the time for him to tell her the truth.
"Kaitlyn look at me." He said as he pulled her away from him. "I have to tell you something..something important." He got up and started to pace.
"What?" She asked.
"I haven't been completely truthful with you these last few months. I know this is probably the wrong time to bring this up, but." He hesitated. "After what has happened today, I just hope you can forgive me when I tell you." He stopped.
"Gary, you can tell me anything." Kaitlyn whispered scared at what he was going to say next.
"Six years ago, ah, after my marriage broke up, a strange thing started to happen to me. I started to get this newspaper every morning. The cat he would bring it. Though it's not your average newspaper. You, see, I get tomorrow's newspaper, today." He hesitated. "It lets me know when things are going to happen and I go out and I stop them. I help people, that's what I do you see."
Kaitlyn looked at him not quite believing what she was hearing. Then she
started to think back to all of the times they had been somewhere and he would
help someone. Always looking at that newspaper. She knew him well enough to
tell by the look on his face that he was telling her the truth.
Gary sat back down on the bed. He rubbed the back of his neck and pulled the paper from his pocket. He opened it to the page with the article and handed it to Kaitlyn. "Only this morning, this morning was the ultimate test and I failed." Kaitlyn saw a tear trickle down his cheek. He wiped it away.
"If I only would have looked through the paper. Casey would be home. She'd
be here with us." Gary said his head in his hands.
Kaitlyn couldn't believe what she was seeing. She was looking at her daughter's picture in the paper. She shook her head. No! She thought this couldn't be happening. She got up and headed for the window. She had to clear her mind. She had to comprehend what he had just said. There was complete silence.
"Are you telling me that you could have stopped this. You could have stopped this and you didn't." At that moment she felt so betrayed. She might have been able to forgive him for hiding the paper from her, but in her grief, at that moment, she couldn't forgive him for the loss of her daughter.
He looked at her with pleading eyes. "I love you." He whispered.
"You didn't love me enough to trust me." She said softly sobbing. "Now my daughters' gone. Please just go."
Those were the words that Gary was afraid he would hear. He rose from the bed and headed for the door. He turned one last time to look at her. When their eyes met. She turned away. Heartbroken he did as she asked and left.
Thoughts raced through his mind as he walked the streets of Chicago. This
morning he was so happy he had everything he had always wanted, a beautiful
woman who loved him, a family. Yet, due to his inability to trust her love,
he had lost. Lost everything.
To Gary the next few weeks had gone by in a blur. He isolated himself in his loft refusing to deal with the paper. Leaving the duties to his parents.
His parents called Chuck and filled him in on what happened. He was on the first flight back to Chicago, though his presence didn't change the deep depression that Gary had fallen into.
This morning was no different than any other in the past few weeks. He just sat. Looking out the window, thinking about everything he had lost. Today was his birthday, his and Casey's. He heard the cat meow and then the thump of the paper. He closed his eyes tightly trying to shut those sounds out of his head. The cat continued to meow. Gary grew irritated and headed for the door. When he opened it there sat the cat acting as if nothing had changed.
"Go away." Gary reached down and picked up the paper, crushing it in his hands. The cat walked in. "Find somebody else to take care of this 'cause I'm not doing it any more. You hear me. It's ruined my life."
He turned, slamming the door and then walking into his living room he threw it in the small garbage can next to his chair. He then resumed his spot at the window. A few moments later the cat jumped onto the chair and then onto the garbage can knocking it over spilling it's contents onto the floor.
Gary turned and in disgust walked over to reprimand the cat. "What are you doing? Get out of here and don't come back." He said. As he picked the cat up to throw him out, he saw the picture of Casey staring back at him. He swallowed hard and dropped the cat to the floor. He reached down and picked up the paper. "Casey." He whispered.
Swallowing hard he began to read. "Body of Missing Four Year Old Found. The bodies of missing four year old Cassandra Kelly and her father David Detillo were found yesterday in a room at the Crane Motel outside of Chicago. The cause of death is an apparent murder/suicide."
That was all he needed to read. He went across the room, grabbed the phone book and quickly looked up the motel. He then picked up the phone and dialed.
"Detective Armstrong, please."
"He isn't in at the moment, may I take a message."
"Do you have some way to get in touch with him?" Gary asked.
"I could try. Give me your name and number please."
"Please tell him to call Gary Hobson at McGinty's, as soon as possible. Tell him it's about Cassandra Kelly." Gary hung up the phone just as his parents and Chuck walked in. His parents saw life in his face for the first time in weeks.
"Mom, Dad I know where Casey is." He said. "He has her at the Crane Motel. I gotta get over there. He's gonna kill her." Gary said as he headed for the door.
"We're going with you Gary." Bernie said pulling Chuck by the sleeve.
"I don't think that is a good idea, Dad." Gary said.
"Come on Gar, if what you told me about this guy is true, you're gonna need all the help you can get." Chuck said.
"Yeah Gar. This guy ain't playing with a full deck." Bernie said.
"Okay. Mom you stay here and when Detective Armstrong calls you tell him to get over to the Crane Motel." Lois nodded her head in agreement.
"Gary did you call Kaitlyn?" Lois asked.
"No. Gary hesitated. "She.she can't help with this. This is something I have to handle without her." Gary said. They headed for the door.
"Be careful!" She yelled after them.
Gary, Bernie and Chuck took the van and headed for the motel. "What's the plan." Bernie asked.
"I don't know." Gary looked at his father the fear evident on his face.
"Can I look at the paper." Chuck asked from the back seat. Gary looked at him in the rearview mirror. Chuck knew the look well. It was a look, which meant no way.
"Come on Gar, there might be something you missed." Chuck pleaded. Gary handed him the paper, trying to keep his eyes on the road.
"This guys is definitely certifiable. Bernie your right we're gonna have to have some kind of plan. He is capable of anything." Gary glanced over at his father and then looked back at the road.
"Hopefully Armstrong can help us out." Gary sighed.
Lois paced the loft frantically. She ran to answer the phone when it rang. "Hello."
"Yeah this Paul Armstrong, Chicago P.D. I'm returning a call to Hobson."
"Detective, yes I'm Gary's mother. He knows where Cassandra Kelly is. She is at the Crane Motel. He wants you to meet him there." Lois said.
"How does he know where she is?" Armstrong asked.
"He just knows. Please, please get over there and help him." Lois pleaded.
They arrived at the motel. It was not in the most desirable section of
Chicago. There was no sign of Armstrong or his men. They had formulated a
plan during the car ride. Chuck and Bernie waited outside while Gary went
into the office to acquire about a room.
Gary walked into the office. The place seemed very seedy and not very clean. Gary cringed at the thought of Casey being forced to live in a place like this. He walked up to the desk and rang the bell.
An elderly man came out of what looked like a back office. "Can I help you?" He said.
"Yes, I would like to rent a room." Gary said.
"$40.00 a night. If you need something weekly we can work something out." He said.
"It will just be for the night." Gary said as he pulled out his wallet. "Listen, ah, I'm supposed to meet a friend here."
"Aren't they all." He said.
"No, no." Gary said knowing what he was insinuating. "He's a friend of mine. He has a little girl with him. Is it possible to get a room near his?"
"Well, at the moment you could have your pick of rooms. He's the only one staying here." He said. "He's in room 14. I'll give you room 12."
After Gary got the keys to the room he headed back out to the van. "They're in room 14." Gary said to Chuck and Bernie.
"Okay. That's my cue." Chuck said.
"Chuck are you sure you wanna do this?" Gary asked. "I can try and take care of this myself."
"Gar, we already talked about this. It will work. Don't worry. We're gonna
get her back." Chuck slapped him on the shoulder and got out of the car grabbing
the pizza box. Gary and Bernie followed quickly behind him.
David Detillo sat in his room, smoking a cigarette. He looked at the tiny girl lying on the bed watching television. She was not who he intended to take that day. He wanted to get his daughter, Jessica. But, when she went into the house, this precocious little girl noticed him and wouldn't leave him alone. He knew right away who she was. She was definitely her mother's daughter.
She was driving him crazy with all of the questions that she asked. "Where was her mother? When was she going home?" He was starting to get nervous. He couldn't go out anywhere. His face was all over the televisions. He fingered the gun that sat on the table. There was a knock at the door.
Casey sat up on the bed. He placed the gun in the waistband of his jeans. "Stay there. Don't move." He said to her as he made his way to the door. He looked through the peephole and saw a guy standing at the door.
"What do you want?" He screamed through the door.
"Pizza." Chuck answered.
"I didn't order any pizza." David said keeping the door closed.
"Come on buddy. From what I can tell you're the only guy in this place." Chuck said. "My delivery instructions are room 14, Crane Motel and that's you."
"I told you I didn't order any pizza." David raised his voice.
"Listen buddy, cut me a break huh? I'm already on thin ice with my boss. How about I give you a discount. Just give me five bucks and I'll give you the pizza." Chuck said. "What'll ya say."
He thought for a minute. He hadn't eaten in two days. Pizza sure sounded good. He could just open the door a crack and give the guy the cash and get the pizza. He could stand behind the door. The guy really wouldn't be able to see him if he did that. He opened the door a crack.
As the door opened, Chuck glanced over at Gary and Bernie who were standing on the other side of him up against the wall. A hand came out with a five dollar bill in it. As Chuck reached up to grab the money, he and Gary pushed back on the door hard, causing David to fly back against the inside wall. Gary and Chuck kept pressure on the door pinning David against the wall. Bernie came to the doorway and motioned for Casey to come with him. "Grandpa Bernie!" She screamed and ran into his arms. He picked her up and walked out of the room.
David was struggling behind the door. He was able to push it back enough
so that he could free himself. Chuck and Gary both fell back against the
wall. David grabbed the gun from his jeans. Gary saw him reach for the gun.
Gary lunged towards him and a struggle ensued. The gun went off and hit Chuck.
Gary and David continued to struggle. Gary had David's hand pinned between
them. The gun went off a second time.
Armstrong and his men were just getting out of their cars when Bernie made it to the van.
"Where are they?" He asked Bernie.
"Over there, room 14." Bernie answered.
As Armstrong and his men headed to the room they heard the gun shots.
When Gary heard the second shot he knew that it wasn't him that had been hit. He looked into David's eyes, as he slowly slumped to the floor. Gary could see the blood coming from his chest.
As Gary turned to check on Chuck, Armstrong came to the door. "Hobson you all right?" He asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine, but they're not." He turned his attentions to his friend. "Chuck, Chuck!"
"Ah, Gar, I got shot in the hip." Chuck screamed.
"It's all right. Chuck, you're gonna be all right." Gary said as he squatted down beside him.
Armstrong walked over to David. He checked his pulse.
"He's dead." Armstrong said.
Gary looked behind him at David Detillo. He killed someone. Granted it was an accident, self-defense, but he had still taken someone's life. He thought about Casey. She would have died if he hadn't found her. Gary would have gladly given his life for her.
The paramedics that entered the room brought him out of his thoughts. They went directly to Chuck. Gary and Armstrong stepped outside. Gary took a breath of the fresh air.
"Is Casey all right?" He asked Armstrong.
"Why don't you go see for yourself." Armstrong motioned with his head in the direction of the van.
Gary looked over and smiled when he saw his father holding Casey in his arms. As he walked towards the van, Bernie put Casey down and she ran into Gary's arms. Tears welled in his eyes as he picked her up and held her tightly.
"Hey, sweet girl." He whispered to her. "How you doing?"
"I missed you." Casey said kissing him on the cheek.
"Happy Birthday, baby." He whispered.
When Kaitlyn got out of the police car, the first sight she saw was Gary holding Casey. Tears streaming down her face. She couldn't believe it. Her baby was right in front of her own eyes.
Gary saw her out of the corner of his eye. He put Casey down and said to her, "Look there's Mommy." When Casey turned and saw Kaitlyn she ran into her arms. Gary smiled. He turned to find Chuck on a gurney and the paramedics wheeling him to the ambulance. He walked over to check on his friend.
"How you doing buddy?" Gary asked his friend.
"Gar, I got shot in the ass, how do you think I'm doing?" Chuck smiled. "Is Casey all right." Gary turned and saw Kaitlyn kissing her daughter's face.
"Yeah. She's all right." Gary said as he put his hand on Chucks' shoulder. "Thanks buddy."
"Yeah, well you owe me big time for this Gar." The paramedics started to put him into the ambulance. "I mean big time." He screamed to Gary.
As Gary turned to walk away he heard Chuck say to the blonde paramedic. "Hey, I'm a movie producer and you know I'm always looking to cast new talent. You ever done any acting." Gary smiled. Chuck is always Chuck he thought, never changes.
Gary saw Kaitlyn talking with Armstrong. He headed over to the van to
check on his father.
"Detective, I don't know how to thank you." Kaitlyn said to Armstrong.
"Don't thank me. Hobson and his crew are the ones who got your daughter back." He said motioning in Gary's direction.
Kaitlyn watched Gary walk away from the ambulance towards his van. "Maybe you should thank him." Armstrong said. She shook her head in agreement and started to walk towards Gary and Bernie.
Gary saw Kaitlyn heading in his direction and his heart ached. When she got to where he was standing they just stared at each other.
"I'll leave you two alone." Bernie said and walked away.
"Thank you." She said, her voice barely above a whisper. Gary nodded and looked down at his feet. Kaitlyn opened her mouth to speak and was interrupted by the paramedic.
"Miss we would like to take your daughter to the hospital to have her checked over. Just as a precaution." He said.
"Okay." Kaitlyn turned to Gary. Their eyes met. She could feel her heart breaking. She loved this man in front of her so much.
"You better go. Casey's waiting." He said and he turned and walked away. As he turned back he saw her walking off to the ambulance.
"You okay." His father put his hand on his shoulder as he asked.
"Yeah." Gary said shaking his head. "Let's go home."
Nearly four weeks had passed. Fall had set on the City of Chicago bringing with it crisp air and changing leaves. The beauty of the city was unrecognizable to Gary. The only beauty he saw was at night in his dreams. He dreamt such pleasant dreams. He dreamt of Kaitlyn, the feel of her touches, the taste of her kiss, only to be hit by reality when he awoke in the morning, alone.
He reluctantly went on with his life doing what the paper required of him. His parents returned to Hickory. Chuck also went home after a brief stay in the hospital.
He hadn't seen Kaitlyn since that day in the motel parking lot. Once a week though Kaitlyn's mother brought the girls to the bar to see him. Casey was doing well she was back to her old self. Going from seeing them everyday to once a week was a major adjustment for him. He missed them terribly.
Marissa gave him her usual advice. "Have faith that everything will work out." She said. Gary ran out of faith the day Casey was kidnapped.
He walked up the steps to his loft after a hard day of dealing with the paper. As he reached the top step he looked up and there she was, more beautiful than he remembered.
"Hi." Kaitlyn said slightly smiling.
"Hi." Gary said. She had the same effect on him that she always did. He couldn't take his eyes off her.
"Can we talk." She asked.
"Ah, yeah." Gary headed for the door and opened it.
Kaitlyn walked in. The place looked exactly the same as it had the last time she was there. Gary took off his jacket and hung it on the hook.
"I'd offer you something to drink, but I'm afraid all I have is milk." Gary said. "We can go downstairs and."
"No that's okay, I'm fine." She smiled. She walked over and sat down on the couch. She noticed the picture sitting on the end table. It was of Gary and the girls. Kaitlyn smiled as she remembered taking that picture. They were at the ballgame. It was the same picture that sat upon the girls' dresser at home.
"How are the girls?" Gary asked nervously.
"They're good. They miss you." She paused looking down at her hands. "I miss you." She looked at him with tears forming in her eyes.
Gary said the first thing that came to his mind. The only words he could think of. "I miss you, too." He whispered.
Kaitlyn got up and walked towards him stopping just in front of him. "I'm sorry. Gary I love you." She said, as the tears began to fall.
"I'm the one that should be saying sorry." He reached up and wiped the tears from her cheeks.
That simple touch was like a lightening bolt to their souls. Gary took her in his arms and kissed her, making all of their dreams of the past six weeks a reality.
When the kiss ended Kaitlyn looked up at him and said, "I am ashamed at the way I treated you when you told me about the paper. I was just so emotionally distraught over Casey, I..." Gary placed his finger on her lips to silence her.
He pulled back and gave her cunning look. "Does this mean we're back together?"
Kaitlyn put her lips as close to his as she possibly could without touching them. Looking into his eyes she said, "Do you want us to be back together?"
"Only if it's on one condition." Gary said with a sneaky smile.
"Well that is going to depend on what the condition is." Kaitlyn teased. She never expected what would happen next.
Gary got down on one knee in front of her. Taking her hand he looked up at her and said, "Kaitlyn I love you more than I ever thought I could love someone. With every passing day I love you more." As he looked at her she could see all the love that he felt for her shining through his eyes. "Kaitlyn Kelly I want you to spend the rest of our lives as my wife. Will you marry me?"
She got down on her knees in front of him. "Yes." She said as the tears started to stream down her face. "Yes, I'll marry you." She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.
For Gary Hobson it was finally here, his second chance.
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