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 Post subject: To Breathe Again - Chapter 13
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:13 am
Posts: 4666
Location: On a good day, planet Earth in NE Alabama.
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I've been so busy trying to post the second part, "To Breathe Again: A Second Wind" on fanfiction.net, that I'd forgotten to post chapters for "To Breathe Again", here. :oops:
I know that some people may be finding the stories by way of the forum and not ff.net, so I'd like to have them at both places.

==========


(Chapter Thirteen)


When they arrived at Rick’s house, Dee Dee ordered him to relax on the sofa while she went into the kitchen to make something for him to eat.

“I’ll just have a slice of that left-over pizza.” Rick called from the living room.

“I can cook something. I really don’t mind.”

“No, I’m fine with the pizza.”

Dee Dee walked in with her hands on her hips. “Are you hinting that you wouldn’t like my cooking?”

“No.” Rick smiled. “I believe that you can cook, now. I enjoyed what you made for the picnic. I’m just really in the mood for the pizza.”

Dee Dee let a smile creep onto her lips. “Okay, just checking. Will you at least let me heat it up for you?”

“Sure.” Rick smiled. “Knock yourself out.”

While the pizza warmed, Dee Dee went into the bedroom to retrieve his pillows and a blanket for him. He wanted to tell her to stop fussing over him and to relax, but he remembered hurting her feelings when he stopped her from tracking down a doctor for him. He figured it’d make her happy to take care of him. Besides, he did enjoy a little attention every now and then, especially from her. He began to wonder if Alex accepted any extra attention if she offered it to him. “Maybe he doesn’t. Maybe that’s one of the things that bothers her and a part of why their marriage is on the rocks.”

Dee Dee brought in the pizza slices; two large ones for Rick, one medium for herself and a soda for each of them. She sat beside him on the sofa and they went over some of the events of the day as they ate. When they finished, Dee Dee reminded Rick to take his antibiotics.

“It’s time to get out of these shoes.” Rick announced.

Dee Dee groaned. “Oh, God. I’m glad I’ve finished eating. The smell would have surely killed my appetite.”


“Well, I’m offended.” Rick replied as he kicked off his shoes. “My feet do not stink.”

“Yeah, they do.” Dee Dee waved her hand through the air. “The stench is a deadly weapon.” She laughed.

“Is that what you think?” Rick said with a glint in his eye. “Let’s test out your claim.” He lifted his foot in the air in front of Dee Dee’s face. “How’s that? Deadly? I don’t think so, you’re still alive.”

“Eww, gaaah!” Dee Dee grabbed his ankle to guide his foot away from her face. “You’re disgusting!” She laughed. “Stop it, you idiot! My baby can even smell that!”

Rick laughed at the combination of frown and laughter on her face. “Take a whiff. Quite pleasant, actually. My feet are never stinky. Never.”

“Alright, alright! I apologize!” Dee Dee laughed. “Now, move that thing out of my face!”

Rick placed his foot back on the floor and listened to Dee Dee laugh. He loved her laugh. It was a light shining in his heart that could bring him out of any sluggish mood.

“Come on, and lean back.” Dee Dee ordered. “You need to get some rest.”

“I’m fine. My arm is starting to ache a little more, but I’m okay.” Rick answered.

“Well, take one of the pills you have for pain, and take your antibiotic, too.”

“I’ll take the antibiotic, but I think I’ll go for the over-the-counter stuff for the pain.”



“Okay. But if it gets too bad, take one of the pills. You don’t have to prove to anyone that you’re macho enough to suffer through the pain. You need your rest.”

“Yes, mother.” Rick chuckled.

Dee Dee heard the remark, but kept her smile hidden as if she didn’t hear him. “Maybe you should go on to bed. You might fall asleep out here and you won’t be comfortable enough, not with your arm the way it is.”

“I’ll head off in a little while. Why don’t you stay and keep me company?”

“Just for a few minutes.” Dee Dee answered.

They talked about plans for another picnic in the near future and that Dee Dee would like to visit Charlie and Sporty. She thought she’d even drive to Hollenbeck to see Brad and Kitty.

Rick wanted to approach the topic of whether or not she had made any other decisions about her marriage, but given the day she’d had, he chose to leave things as they were. He shifted his weight and without thinking, raised his injured arm to the back of the sofa, accidentally banging his arm. He quickly moved his arm and grabbed it with his other hand. “Whoa. That wasn’t good.” He groaned and winced in pain.

“Let me see.” Dee Dee gently placed her hand on his arm and examined the bandage. “It doesn’t seem to be bleeding, so hopefully you didn’t pop a stitch. I’ll wait a few minutes and check again.”

Rick’s face continued to hold the expression of pain.

Dee Dee reached for the bottle of pain medication on the coffee table. “Are you sure you don’t want one of these?”

Rick looked at the bottle and then back to Dee Dee. He knew she’d never make an issue of his taking anything; never calling him a wimp, but he was never too keen on taking such meds unless absolutely necessary. When another pain hit him, he felt taking one would be necessary. “I guess I should take one.”

Dee Dee handed him the pill and his soda. “You’ll sleep better tonight, too.”

Rick took the medicine and settled against the pillows on the sofa. “Thanks.”

“No problem.” Dee Dee smiled. “I’ll wait a little while and then I’ll call mom to pick me up.” After half an hour passed, Dee Dee placed her call. She checked Rick’s arm again, and was satisfied to see it wasn’t bleeding. While waiting for Anna, the two talked and watched television for nearly an hour and Dee Dee noticed that Rick was beginning to talk slower and more softly as his eyelids grew heavier.

“You’re about to fall asleep. Go to bed so you can be comfortable. Mom will be here in a minute.”

“I’m fine.” Rick stifled a yawn. “I’ll stay here with you until she comes.”

As if on cue, the doorbell rang.

“That’s got to be her.” Dee Dee said as she stood to walk to the door. She opened it and asked Anna if she’d like to come in for a minute. She said she would…that she’d like to say ‘hello’ to Rick and to ask how he’s feeling. After about ten minutes, Dee Dee made sure that Rick was up and heading to his bedroom. After giving him enough time to change, she knocked on the door. When he opened it, she saw him standing there in a pair of dark blue cotton shorts and nothing else. Various thoughts; mostly lustful, entered her mind as her eyes moved from his head, to his muscular chest, his sturdy calves, down to his bare feet and back to his alluring blue eyes. While she fought hard against running her hands along his chest, she caught a glimpse of his bed and all sorts of ideas ran wild in her mind.

“I’m all set.” Rick announced groggily.

Dee Dee was immediately snapped out of her trance, but not enough to verbalize more than - “Oh, okay. Good.”

“I really appreciate you helping me out.” Rick smiled.

“Glad to do it.” Dee Dee replied after becoming more aware of the present conversation. “Call if you need anything.”

“I will.”

“I’ll talk to you tomorrow, then. Sleep well.”

“You too.” Rick turned to Anna. "The both of you.”

“Goodnight Rick.” Anna replied. She and Dee Dee gathered their purses and exited the house.

During the ride, Dee Dee explained the day to Anna who was quite surprised and also proud of how her daughter had handled the situation. Since it hadn’t gotten dark, yet, Dee Dee asked Anna to take her to pick up her car. When they arrived at the scene, she was reminded of what happened and how lucky she’d been to have found Jaeden unharmed. When they got home, they settled in on the patio and continued the discussion until both were ready to turn in for the night.
– –

Rick settled into bed and propped his aching arm on the pillow beside him. His eyes fluttered with sleep as the medicine began to enter his system by the minute. His mind was mixed with various emotions toward Dee Dee. He felt bad for being short with her when she only showed concern for him at the hospital, and he thought of how he enjoyed her company while they sat and ate pizza. He realized even more how much he truly missed having her around. Her bubbly personality and caring nature were expressed today toward him and little Jaeden. “If only Alex could appreciate her in the same way I do.”

The next morning, Rick called in for a couple of days off from work. He’d only be put to desk duty until he’s healed enough, and would take his off-time to spend with Dee Dee.

“Hello?”

“Hey. How are you feeling?” Dee Dee asked.

“I’m doing pretty well, thanks.” Rick reclined on the sofa with the phone to his ear. “How are you?”

“I’m fine. How did you sleep? Did your arm give you much trouble?”

“I slept pretty well. I don’t think I’ll need anything more than some Tylenol from here on out, provided I don’t bang my arm again.”

“Let’s hope that you won’t. How long are you going to be off work?”

“Just for today and tomorrow. I’ll be on desk-duty until I get the green light, but I don’t think that’ll be much of a wait.”

“Just make sure you don’t overdo it, and listen to your doctor.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Rick chuckled. “What are your plans for the day?”

“I’m going to buy a little gift for Jaeden and take it to him. He’s home and doing fine, by the way.”

“Glad to hear it.”

“After that, I’m not sure what I’ll be up to.”

“Well, if you like, we could go by and see Charlie and then later, go out to dinner.”

“That sounds nice, but are you sure you’re up to it?”

“I’m sure.” Rick said with a smile. “I’ll let you drive, if that’s okay?” He knew he could do it, but again, he put Dee Dee and her baby’s safe first.

“Of course it’s okay.” She said cheerfully.

“What time will you be ready?”

Dee Dee looked at the wall clock while her errands came to mind. “Give me about two hours.”

“I’ll be ready when you get here.” Rick answered.

“See you then.”
- -- --

“Come in.”

“Hey, Charlie. Look who I found loitering outside the building.” Rick announced while stepping aside the doorway.

“McCall!” Charles Devane stood from his desk to greet Dee Dee with a hug. “Excuse me, I mean…Turnan.”

“Charlie!” She laughed as she hugged her former superior. “I’m surprised you didn’t call me Hunter-and-McCall. That seemed to always be the way.”

The two parted with laughter and Charlie took a closer look at Dee Dee. “You look great. To see you, our little Dee Dee married and expecting a baby….” Charlie’s smile took over his sentence.

Dee Dee felt like blushing. “Well, it’s all true.” She smiled and put her hand on her stomach. “I’m all grown up and growing out.” She giggled as Charlie laughed heartily.

“Come on. Have a seat. You too, Rick.”

“Well, thanks for noticing me, Charlie.” Rick smirked. “Here I am with an injured arm and you focus all of your attention on the pregnant lady. That’s really nice.”

“Oh, don’t be jealous.” Dee Dee sat down and reached up for Rick’s hand. “You can sit beside me and I promise to include you in the conversation, you poor baby.” She and Charlie stifled their laughter, but the “hurt” expression on Rick’s face pulled the laughter from them.

“I’m dealing with a couple of comedians.” Rick huffed playfully. “You two should go on tour.”

Charlie cleared his throat of laughter and turned his attention to Dee Dee. “Speaking of touring, how long will you be here?”

“I really haven’t decided.” Dee Dee glanced at Rick. “I’m just playing it by ear, I guess. You know, see what happens as the days go by.”

Rick knew that he was part of how those days went by, but didn’t dare say so.

“Is Alex coming over?” Charlie asked.

“He’s in Germany right now on business.”

“Oh, so maybe he’ll come here when he’s done over there. We should all go out to dinner one night.”

Rick looked over at Dee Dee and could see she was uncomfortable, but was unsure of how she wanted to answer and if he could help by answering for her. “Maybe, Charlie.” That’s all he could come up with.

“Charlie, I’ll be honest with you.” Dee Dee turned to Rick who nodded in support. “I don’t know if Alex is coming over at all, and I don’t know when I’m going back to London. He and I are separated right now. Our marriage isn’t in the best of shape, so I came here to take some time to myself.”

Charlie’s expression changed to sympathy. “I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sure that with the baby coming, you’d much rather have a happy marriage, but if can’t work things out, do what’s best…what’ll make you and the baby happy.”

“Thanks.” Dee Dee sighed at hearing the support. “I do want to do what’s best, and I appreciate you standing by me.”

“Anytime, Dee Dee.” Charlie smiled. “So, how are things coming along with the baby? Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?”

“No, I think I want to be surprised.”


“Do you have one of those weird little picture images?”

Rick laughed aloud. “Sonogram, Charlie. It’s called a sonogram image.”

“Well, excuse me, Mr. Technologically Correct.” Charlie replied with a smirk.

Dee Dee laughed at the both of them as she pulled the slip of paper from her purse. “Here, Charlie.”

“Aww, look at that.” Charlie sighed. “I have no idea of what the hell I’m looking at, but…aww, look at that.” He laughed.

Rick and Dee Dee joined him in laughter, and then Dee Dee stood up and leaned over Charlie’s shoulder to point out what was what on the image. “Since I don’t want to know the sex, I only let the doctor give me copies of when the baby’s being shy.” While she took in all the praise he gave her on her little one, Rick used Charlie’s phone for a quick call. Once they all finished their conversation, Charlie made a quick copy of the sonogram image and they agreed to meet up again in the near future.

When they made it to the car, Rick instructed Dee Dee as to where they’d go next and she soon found herself at a local park.

“Park next to that red Corvette.” Rick said to her.

Dee Dee noticed that the person behind the wheel was quite interested in reading the newspaper, but she didn’t pay any closer attention.

“Why are we here?” She asked Rick.

“To meet with someone very, very important from your past.”

Rick raised his brow when Dee Dee looked at him questionably. “I didn’t say that.”

“I know.” Dee Dee turned toward the Corvette curiously.

“Don’t tell me you don’t recognize my voice.” The voice behind the newspaper came again. “It hasn’t been that long since….”

“Sporty!” Dee Dee’s eyes widened with surprise and she quickly unfastened her seat-belt and got out of the car. “Sporty James, get out of that car, right now!” She laughed while she made her way around to the Corvette’s driver’s side.

“My favorite ex-Sergeant.” Sporty exited the car and put his arms around Dee Dee. “Come here, girl! How’ve you been?” He stepped back to take a look at her. “Hmm.” He eyed her belly. “You’ve been busy doing grown-up things, haven’t you?”

Dee Dee laughed. “Shut up!”She slapped his arm. “Look at you. Still dressing to the Nines, but not quite as flashy.”

“I’ve toned it down, but still doing it in high-style.” Sporty adjusted the collar on his silk shirt. “I’m always gonna do whatever I do in style.”

“I’ll say. Nice ride.” Dee Dee looked at the Corvette and smiled. “One day, I’m getting one of these.”

“Well, just don’t let Hunter get ahold of it. The man is murder on cars, but we already know that, don’t we?”

“Yes, we do.” Dee Dee laughed and looked at Rick who was leaning against her Mustang. “Don’t dent it!”


“Funny!” Rick sneered. “Everybody’s ganging up on me today. Why is that?” He walked over to his friends. “Why am I being treated so shabbily?”

“Come off it, Hunter, man. You’re getting testy in your old age. We young people will move ahead to a table to continue our conversation. If you think you can keep your whining to yourself, you’re more than welcome to join us.” Sporty extended his hand to Dee Dee. “Shall we?”

“We shall.” She smiled and allowed him to lead the way with Hunter trailing behind.

Rick smiled at how much fun Dee Dee was having today. Even if his friends hadn’t been joking about his feelings, he wouldn’t have cared. As long as she’s happy, he’d be happy.

“Rick, is this who you called from Charlie’s office?” Dee Dee asked with a smile.

“Yep. I wanted to surprise you.” Rick grinned. “I see that my plan worked well.”

“It did.” Dee Dee beamed. “Thank you.”

“Glad to do it.”

“Ahem.” Sporty cleared his throat. “Hunter, be quiet and let me get my own conversation going with the pretty lady, okay? Tell me what’s going on, Dee Dee. Umm. I guess I can call you by your first name, or would you prefer that I be more formal?”

“Call me Dee Dee. It’s nice to hear you call me that.” She smiled. “Things are going a little off kilter at times, but I’m making it.” She filled Sporty in on her marital situation and he offered his sympathy and wished her the best. “And as you can see, I still can’t leave Hunter alone for a minute or else he gets hurt.” She looked across the picnic table at Rick. “What are we going to do with him?”


“I wish I knew, Dee Dee. It’s like he wears a sign that instructs people to injure him. Weird, man. Weird.”

Rick did his best to look upset, but when Sporty and Dee Dee laughed, his plan folded and he laughed, too.

“Seriously, Hunter. How’s your arm?” Sporty asked.

“Not too bad, thanks. The doctor will take a look at the stitches tomorrow. I’ll be on desk-duty for a few days, but other than that, I’m good.”

“Glad to hear it’s not worse.” Sporty said sincerely.

The trio talked and joked and reminisced for over an hour and then Rick and Dee Dee decided it was time to leave so they could get to their dinner date.

During the drive back to Rick’s house, the two talked about how nice it was to for Dee Dee to see Charlie and Sporty, and they also talked about plans for dinner.

“Do you want to go on to dinner now, or wait a little while?” Dee Dee asked.

“It’s up to you.”

“Well, I’d like to go home and change.”

“I think I would, too.”

“Okay.” Dee Dee replied. “That’ll give us a little more time to decide where we’d like to eat.”

“Right.” Rick smiled. “I’m so glad you enjoyed yourself today.”

“Thanks. I’m glad you took me to see them.” Dee Dee smiled broadly. “It reminded me of old times. The good times.”

“Maybe after my doctor’s appointment tomorrow, we could try to catch up with Kitty and Brad.”

“Oh, that’d be great.” Dee Dee smiled again.

They pulled up in front of Rick’s house and decided that they’d be ready to go at 6pm.

Dee Dee was soon parking her Mustang in her mother’s driveway. She exited her car with a light heart, thinking of how she’d spent her day so far and how she looked forward to dinner with Rick. Just as she was about to be her key into the lock, Anna opened the door.

“Hi. I didn’t know you were home.” She greeted her mother.

“Yes, I’m here.” Anna’s tone was flat.

“What’s wrong?” Dee Dee stepped past her mother and on into the living room.

“You have company in the den.”

Before Anna could answer, the visitor stepped into the room and caught Dee Dee’s attention.

“Hi, Dee Dee.”

“Alex.”

=======

(Continued....)


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