Vengeance (Pt.2)


Chapter 12

Hanson's head shifted from side to side as Booker tore through the First Responder bag Dean had pushed into his arms as they had walked out of the Police Station.

"I need towel or something, he's get something draining from the stitches in his stomach." Doug lay uncomfortably on his stomach in the back of the small SUV. Hanson was next to him drifting in and out of coherency. He would whimper each time Penhall would touch his extremely inflamed side. Through the darkness of the early evening Penhall could see the swollen tissue on Hanson's battered stomach. As Booker passed Penhall back a thick stack of white gauze strips. He took the gauze and looked at them and then at Booker.

"Put pressure on his side, you're trying to draw the infection out." Booker stated.

"When did you become a doctor?" Penhall snapped.

"Doug, his stitches are oozing right?"


"I didn't see any blood, do you?" Booker retorted.

"No, it's kinda yellow… he's got a lot of swelling there too." Penhall relayed back to Booker.

"Then it stands to reason he's got infection going. He needs it drained and its going to hurt so be ready for him to fight you." Booker confirmed with Doug.

Doug took a deep breath as he slowly lay the gauze on his friend injured side initiating a groan.

"Now put pressure on it." Dennis commanded.

"Dennis, it's gonna…"

"I know, it's gonna hurt, but you have to do Doug." Dennis countered. He could tell by the pleading tone in Doug's voice he didn't want to initiate pain in his best friend. He also knew Tom was in need of help. He had chosen to be a Police Officer, to protect and serve. Not be a Medic, it was almost too much to handle.

Doug held his breath as he reached down and placed the palm of his hand on Tom Hanson's injury and pressed hard triggering an agonizing cry of pain. Hanson brought his hands to Penhall and began to try and push him off.

"Tommy… please…" Doug pleaded with his friend while continuing to hold the gauze in place.

Dennis Booker twisted around in the seat in an effort to help Doug with Tom as he absently tried to get the bigger man to let up. Tears squeezed through Hanson's tightly closed eyes as he continued to grit his teeth once again returning to consciousness. Through all the noise and activity in the vehicle Dean Miller expertly guided them down the raining highway in the direction of Waylon County General Hospital.

It felt like forever before the quartet made it to the Emergency Room at County. The hospital was closer to the Chase County lines it was obvious they were going to take the terribly injured officer there. Medical papers had been rushed to the hospital along with the doctor who had treated Hanson for the initial knife injury.

"Were almost there…" Dean stated calmly as he glanced in the rear view mirror.

The shimmering lights of the city danced along as they drove through town. Dean had turned his light bar on to warn traffic that he was in a hurry. The red and blue lights dance playfully off of each glass storefront the men passed by. Tom Hanson shook mercilessly as the fever within him kicked itself into overdrive. The perspiration glistened, beaded and rolled off of his pale skin as Dennis Booker stroked his sweat soaked hair, pushing it back out of his eyes. Doug Penhall dabbed his head lightly as the young officer's eyes fluttered open revealing deep feverish pools of dark shimmering reflection.

"Doug…" Hanson coughed out.

"Shhh…" Penhall cooed in an attempt to keep the younger man calmed.

"Lexi… gave… direction… paper… have to find her." His sentence fell jagged out of his dry cracked lips.

"Were gonna get them both… just relax." Doug answered softly.

"No… have to help her…" Hanson was getting frustrated. His brain was a jumbled fervent mess and his partners… his friends weren't helping. Hanson tried to lift his head only to be pushed back down onto the rigid surface of the makeshift bed.

"Tommy… what are you trying to say?" Dennis Booker insisted as he brushed a hair off of Tom's cheek.

"Have to find Lexi… here… Darren… hurt her…" he shoved the crumpled piece paper into Dennis's hand with his right hand. "She… saved me… I… made a promise." Hanson swallowed hard as the vehicle came to a jarring halt in front of the Emergency Room.

Dennis stuffed the paper quickly into his hip pocket as they all scrambled to help get the injured Tom Hanson out of the back of the SUV with as little pain as possible. The Emergency crew must have been watching because they were out the door and pulling the young officer onto a gurney and wheeling him into the isolated Emergency area where they were not allowed to enter.

Angie Miller exploded through the door and tried to no avail to follow the young officer into the separate area. Dean pulled her tightly to him as they watched the door close to the emergency trauma unit. Tears slid down from her already sleep deprived eyes as she looked helplessly on.

Dennis Booker pulled the piece of paper out of his pocket to see a note written in blue ink on the placid surface.

Dear Officer Hanson,

We are heading towards the Chase County lines on Highway 22. We will then be going in the direction of Shiloh just over the state lines. Please help me Tommy. I am so sorry I helped Darren… he is not the person I thought he was. If you can't help me… it's ok. You're worth all that I went through. I'll be ok as long as he's happy. I will do my best to keep him that way. I am sorry we are leaving you at the side of the road; it was the only way I could save you. I know you are wondering about the cell phone. I tried all the time to make it work where we were at, but no signal. Please tell my mom and dad I am so sorry for the pain I have caused them… I love them both.

Tommy… please hurry… I can't take much more.


"Dennis… you know what this means?" Doug looked at Dennis whose dark eyes flickered.

"We got'em."

Chapter 13

Lexi George sat fidgeting in the front passenger seat of her drab brown Pontiac. The rain was coming down harder and the sun had all but disappeared. It had been nearly six hours since she and Darren Thompson had left officer Tom Hanson wrapped in a quilt at the edge of Pikes Point Bluff. She waited anxiously as Darren navigated his way across Chase county enroot to the state lines; Shiloh wasn't too much further from here. She waited for the wail of sirens to take her from one prison to the next. She shuddered as she replayed the day in her mind… that dreadful, horrible day. How could you have been so stupid!

She wanted to cry as she thought about what she had given up, and what she had lost. She knew that the scholarship she had already applied for was probably void now. She was sure that the University of Southern California wouldn't want her now. And her mother and father… what would they think of the situation her perfect, beautiful man had gotten her into. Her mother would sit and brag on her daughter who was dating the quarterback of the football team.

"He's so handsome, darling… he's such a good boy… he's a keeper… oh Lexi…" Her mother's words were nauseating to her now. She had just gone on and on with the pressure of dating a football star. "It makes you look like such a success to have a boyfriend like that. You know we only want the best for our beautiful little girl… you're our only child Lexi… I dated the captain of the football team in high school, you should too." The pressure was unrelenting. Her mother had thrust all her goals and ambitions on Lexi as a child. She had to work three times harder than all of her friends whose mother would smile and congratulate them for getting a participation ribbon in the coloring contest. For Lexi it had always been about the best… and second place was never good enough for her mother. Why had she let her mother put all this pressure on her? What good had it done? What was she going to do now?

She was brought back to her hellish reality by the hand traveling slowly to her inner thigh. She held her breath and closed her eyes as if doing so would bring the knight in shining armor named Tom Hanson. There were no feelings… not like that. He was an old man… she was a defiled, spoiled, dirty princess whom nobody would ever want to touch again… no one but her tormentor Darren Thompson. She loved him because he had never given up on her. Even when she stuck a gun in his face he was trying to get her to reconsider her actions. If she had only known then… the hell that was her reality now would only be her worst nightmare never imagined.

She shifted uncomfortably under the heat of his hand on her thigh. She hadn't even realized she had shoved his hand away from her until he questioned her.

"What's your problem?" He seethed.

She trembled at the sound of his voice piercing her bring fragile being. "N-Nothing… I just… the road… you need to have both hands to-to drive." Tears glistened in her eyes as the dreary grey sky succumbed to the sun dipping in the horizon. The various shades of red and pink glimmered across the atmosphere.

It was then the red and blue lights began to refract and dance in the window behind the two. Lexi could not contain her relief as the voice came over the intercom. The deep sigh streamed across her lips as Darren obliged. He cursed as he brought the care to a halt on the border of the highway.

"Please pull over to the right side of the road."

A second car appeared from a side road just over the hill activating their rotating dual color lighted signal.

"Keep your fucking mouth shut… got it!" Darren snapped as he pointed his index finger at the young girl's chest.

The second car came to a halt in front of the chocolate colored car. Darren bit down on his jaw as he started to realize the two cars were going to block him in.

"Step out of the car and placed your hands on your head." The disembodied voice demanded.

Darren slammed his fist into the steering wheel. He continued to curse under his breath. He then looked at the girl next to him who was breathing deeply wringing her delicate fingers together.

"How the fuck did they find… you fucking whore… you…" Darren started to throw his door open and step out. "I can't believe… did you screw him too?" Darren demanded. He exploded out of the car and slammed his hands down on the roof of the vehicle just as Lexi shamefully emerged from the vehicle. Silently she turned to face the car as a voice shouted from a distance.

"Put your hands behind your head!" There were several sharp clicks as weapons were drawn and pointed in the direction of the two teens.

Lexi complied immediately as she shook uncontrollably. She watched as Darren faced her glaring with contempt at the woman who had sold him out. Another two cars pulled up to the scene their lights flashing a signal to all to watch as the two young teens were being apprehended. Lexi felt like an animal at a carnival as she watched the face of a little girl pass by in a grey station wagon. It was a new low that she had just hit.

"You have the right to remain silent…" The words she had heard so many times on television. She never thought she would have them read to her as a muscular woman pushed her furiously into the side of the car as they drew her wrists behind her back. The woman then clamped the cold steal handcuffs tightly on her small wrists.

"Do you have any needles, knives or anything on you that could potentially stick me?" The officer asked flatly.

"No ma'am" Lexi answered barely audibly.

She could feel hands sliding along the inside and outside of her legs as they checked for weapons or illegal items on her petite body. She cringed as the officer then felt around her chest and stomach area searching for possible contraband. Lexi looked up to see the steely blue angry stare of Darren Thompson as he was grabbed forcefully and led away to a police cruiser. It was then that Lexi was taken by the arm and led in the direction of a police car… was it worth it… no… but Tom Hanson was.

Lexi was taken to the County jail before the car holding Darren had even left the scene. She was taken through the booking procedures and then to a small room with a reflective glass window. She had seen rooms like this before. She was in an interrogation room. A chill went up her spine as she was seated and left with her arms behind her in metal handcuffs. Her wrists ached from the tightness and loss of feeling in her hands. A chill went up her spine as she heard the door unlatch and the sound of two sets of feet entering the room.

There was a set of feet stop by the door. Lexi wanted to turn around to see who was in there but could not muster the courage to do so. She had been seated with her back to the door so she didn't have a clue what was going on behind her. The second set of feet continued walking and stopped behind her. He slammed a glass coffee cup on the table just in front of the young woman who yelped in fear. She turned her head to stare into the face of a young raven haired man whose eyes danced with independence.

"Your Dennis… Tom's brother…" She tried to relax but the stern look of the young officers face wouldn't allow it.

"No… I'm Officer Dennis Booker, Officer Tom Hanson's partner." She started to sink in her chair as his words cut through her nerves severing the already frayed ends. "I'm here to figure out what roll you had in his disappearance."

Lexi closed her eyes and felt herself tearing up. She was starting to fear that they had found her note, but hadn't gotten to Tom on time. She took a deep breath as she forced her voice to come.

"Is he OK?" She asked in a near whisper.

"Yeah, no thanks to you." Dennis retorted.

"Good…" she sighed quietly. "I-I want to cooperate. I'll testify against Darren." Her voice was a quiver as she tried to sound brave. She was terrified of Darren Thompson and what she saw him do to Tom Hanson. "Just tell me what you need and I'll help all that I can." Lexi was shaking so badly. She stared at the floor and then looked up at Dennis Booker. Her soft blue eyes met his hard dark angered ones. He stared hard at her; he could see tears welling up as he didn't make a move to break the uncomfortable silence that sat stagnate in the room. He noted the bruise on her cheek, the cut with deep bruising on her forehead. With his eyes he traced the path of the cut from her hairline to her eyebrow. He noted the greenish hue with traces of purple also outlining a cut on the corner of her full lips. He then wondered what had happened to her. He remembered her being so put together, tanned and gorgeous. The kind of girl high school boys and grown men had fantasies about.

"I think you may want to wait on your lawyer… your facing some serious charges." Dennis advised

"No… I want to give my statement. I was wrong to do what I did to help him and I…" Lexi paused taking a long deep breath. She looked down at the floor and placed a shaking hand on the table in front of her. She looked up again as a tear escaped from the corner of her eye. "I can't let him do any of this again."

Dennis could remember something in the letter Hanson had handed him…"You're worth all that I went through... Please help me; I can't take much more…" Had Darren been working this girl over too? Booker nodded to the officer at the door who walked over to the young girl and released her wrists. Lexi let out a deep breath as she rubbed the reddened flesh of her dainty wrists.

"Stay with her… I'll be back." He advised the officer in the room.

Dean Miller met Dennis just outside the interrogation room.

"Is everything alright?" Dean asked as he took a long drink from his glass mug.

"I'm not sure." Dennis stated. "Did anyone make a not of how torn up this girl looked when they brought her in?"

"Uh, I think there was some information jotted down about how banged up she was. But I'm not sure anyone talked to her about it." Dean stated.

"Dean… you need to get a counselor in here… I think Darren may have raped her." Booker recommended pulling the box of Marlboro cigarettes from his jacket pocket. She also wants to give her statement. She doesn't want a lawyer present."

"Her parents are on the way." Dean stated taking a deep breath in.

"How's Tommy?" Booker asked looking up at the officer in charge. His eyes had a new found compassion warming in them.

"Sleeping… they had to cut some infection out, and he has a kidney infection, quite a few bruises and a cracked rib, but he's strong… he'll be ok." Dean answered

Dennis breathed out a deep breath as he looked at Dean Miller who took another long drink of his coffee. The look of exhaustion reflected in his bloodshot eyes.

"Is Angie with him right now?" Dennis wanted so badly to be there with Angie and Doug waiting to see Tommy wake up.

"Yeah, she said she would call if he woke up. There's also an armed guard on his door… we both know he'll love that." Dean winked at the younger officer. "You know Dennis… someone did some work on him out there. Doctor says that if whoever hadn't put a wet hot rag over his infected stitches he would be a whole lot worse off. Turns out Tommy has a slight burn where his stitches are."

"You think that she…"

"Dennis… I don't think Darren had a whole lot to do with helping him… Do you?"

Dennis ran a hand through his inky locks. He felt dumb after asking that question. Of course she did you idiot… who else was out there… duh! Dean's answer confirmed Dennis's suspicions and only acted as fuel to ignite the flames of anger and frustration in him.

"He's in the isolation cell… camera's can be turned off at the desk before you walk in. Just don't forget to turn them back on. I trust that when you go get Doug the two of you will not do anything too noticeable although he deserves it… and more." Dean responded as he took one last drink of his coffee before heading into the interrogation room with Lexi to take her statement.

Chapter 14

Doug had just walked into the front door of the Waylon County Police Office when Dennis Booker grabbed the officer by the arm and pulled him in the direction of the holding cells.

"We have work to do!" He growled as he pulled the bigger man along behind him.

"What… what the hell are you…" Doug continued on behind the irate officer.

Booker led the two of them to the area of the holding cells where they stopped. He shoved the other officer into the observation room where Penhall could see the battered Alexia George giving Dean Miller, another officer and two others a written and recorded statement. Penhall stared in disbelief at her; her face was discolored in places where various contusions and abrasions in different levels of healing muddled her once flawless appearance.

"What happened to her?" Penhall gasped. He could remember her just slamming body and eye-popping good looks. It was heart breaking to see her reduced to this… the terrified and abused shell of the high spirited young woman she once was. "Did he…"

"Yeah… I would almost bet on it. He raped her and beat her. She's the only reason Hanson's alive today." Booker's words were like gasoline thrown onto flames. Penhall breathed a deep breath before he turned to look back at his partner. He could hear her as she began to relive the beating she had sustained when she tried to help Hanson after she first noticed the swelling in his side. Her words sent a chill up and down his spine. He watched guilt ridden as she continued to tell about how he violently assaulted and then raped her when he felt that she was spending too much time taking care of Tommy.

"He was trying to protect me… I mean Officer Hanson was trying to protect me. He told Darren to leave me alone." She sniffled as she continued to relive the terrifying day. "He had me pinned to the wall. He had his hand around my throat. I kept telling him to stop… he just kept touching me… shoving me against the wall." She looked down at the ground. She shuddered wrapping her arms around her petite frame. When she looked up tears were streaming down her face.

"We can take a break." Dean responded in his best understanding father voice. Penhall could see the anger rising in the police captain as he shifted in his chair. He could see how much Dean wanted to reach out and just pull the young girl into his arms and just hold her while she continued to sob.

"No… I have to… I have to tell you. Officer Hanson told him to leave me alone. He sounded so sick. I sort of blacked out then for a few seconds and then I saw him shove Officer Hanson into the wall. I… he looked bad like he would drop at any second. I-I did the only thing I could."

"What was that?" Dean asked. Dennis could see by his expression that the elder officer already knew the answer but protocol said he had to ask.

She took in a deep breath as another bout of tears threatened to spill over the already bloodshot rims of her once crystal blue eyes. She closed her eyes as she answered. "I told him… he didn't want to do this… to let me… try and help him find something… to calm his nerves." She opened her eyes only to reveal the clear tears as they rolled down her cheeks. "I didn't want to… I tried to tell him that… I didn't want to… he started to hit… me. He threw me into the wall of the bed room and ripped my shirt. He pulled me off of the floor by my hair and… he… he… Captain Miller… I'm sorry…" The young girl was resolved to tears.

She continued to sob uncontrollably as Dean Miller lifted his hand to his head running his fingers through the salt and pepper locks. He took a deep breath as he stood up and walked towards the young girl. He crouched down in front of Lexi he lifted her chin to look at the vulnerable, broken girl's battered face. A thousand memories of Lexi as a young child came crashing through him. He remembered her as a little girl riding her bike up and down the streets in front of the station house, pony tails blowing in the breeze. He could see her with braces and a glowing smile on her face at the local grocery store helping her mother carry bags to the car. He remembered last year she was named Miss Waylon County at the County Fair. She had literally sparkled as the tiara was placed on her head. Dean and Angie had judged the pageant for years. He had remembered how the other girls had just flocked to her because of her amazing personality.

"I'm… so sorry…" tears continued to run down her face as she fell forward into Dean Millers arms. He held her tightly feeling the warm current of tears seeping through the material on his tan colored uniform shirt. She continued to cling tightly to his neck as he patted her back and looked over at the counselor and the county defender.

"We're taking a break. Get her something to drink and a blanket. We may need to arrange a place for her to stay, she's nearly spent. Get someone from the crisis center over here, we have a rape case on our hands and I don't want this kid getting away with anything else." Dean quietly ordered.

Penhall watched as the people in the room scattered in several different directions. He noted the female officer who remained in the room with Dean Miller and Lexi George as Dean picked the young girl up and carried her over to the couch that had been unused in the farthest corner of the interrogation room. The female officer brought a bottle of water and a thick grey wool blanket.

"Her parents are in the lobby." Officer Morgan added as she acknowledged her orders.

"Let her rest… when Dr. Casey and Glenn get back, wake her up… she is got a rather uncomfortable night ahead of her." Dean stated softly as Lexi seemed to have calmed down enough that he could leave her side.

"Great… thanks… take care of her." Dean sighed as he gathered his nerves and prepared to walk out the door. Dean hesitated in the doorway as he watched the young female guard take his place at the side of the blighted teen. He took another deep breath as the teen took the officers hand as she curled up under the blanket shuddering occasionally as she would battle another torrent of tears. He had no desire to deal with two of the most overbearing people in the world, but he had to go and discuss the possibility of jail time for their daughter and how they would not be able to see her for a while tonight as the crisis team were going to have to take the girl to their facility to check to see if there was any evidence left on her to prove Darren Thompson had raped the girl.

"Have they brought him in for questioning yet?" Penhall's voice was low and cold.

"No… he's still in holding." Dennis responded.

"Come on…" Doug snarled.

The door to Darren's holding cell creaked open and in stepped Doug Penhall and Dennis Booker. Darren had been lying on his back on the cot in his cell.

"Well, well if it isn't supper cop's brothers. You must be Doug and Dennis… PIG." He sneered.

Doug's eyes narrowed as he charged the young man pinning him too the wall. Doug was over the top with anger as Booker caught him before he could land the blow to Darren's face he had been holding in since he had watched the young man shove a knife into Hanson's midsection. It had been horrifying holding Tom in his arms as he had lay bleeding to death in his arms. He had struggled as the medics had swooped in and taken his friend away from him. Now he was just plain pissed off.

"You lay a hand on me… my father will have your badges." Darren spat at the young officers.

Booker had his hand on Doug's shoulders as the bigger officer released the teen.

"Your father…" Doug stopped. He looked back at Dennis Booker who had released Penhall from his grasp. "Your father can't help you at all my friend."

Darren narrowed his ice blue eyes at the officer as he let him go.

"That's what I thought." Darren snorted.
"Perhaps you didn't hear my 'pig' friend here…" Doug turned to Dennis who had the flame of anger dancing in his dark eyes. "Your father hasn't been by to see you yet has he?" Booker inquired.

"What does it matter to you what my father does and doesn't do?" The now orphaned teen asked.

"You know Darren; I've had to do this more than once. In fact, I had it done to me once. Tommy, he had this kind of news delivered to him at a dance. It isn't easy for most people to hear, but I imagine you'll probably not give a damn… so here goes. Your father… Jim… he hung himself after you kidnapped Officer Tom Hanson. He left a note… not that you really care. Maybe someday when you have finished thinking you are so much better than everyone else you will realize what you lost and try to fix yourself up from there." Doug stated the same cold tenacity in his words that Darren had put in his mocking of Booker, Hanson and himself. "Between what you did to Tom Hanson, Kirk Davis and Lexi…"

Darren shook his head and looked back at the officers with an icy stare. "You are just as full of it as the old man always was. Darren… your ma's sick… Darren… you need to help out a little more at home… Darren… you know what fuck him, fuck you and fuck that stupid asshole that walked in here like he owned the place. Your stupid pig friend, what's his name… Tommy. I don't give a damn." He seethed. "And as for Lex I didn't do anything to that back stabbing bitch she didn't want."

This time Dennis was prepared to scramble the teen's circuits. He lunged past Doug grabbing a handful of Darren's white t-shirt while slamming the boy to the wall. He drew back his fist ready to connect with the younger mans face.

Frantically Doug grabbed Dennis by the arm snaking his arm around the slightly smaller man's waist pulling him back towards his own body. He held onto the man his arms wrapped tightly around Dennis's whole body squeezing with all the energy he had. Although Doug was bigger Dennis was a powerhouse and he could put up one amazing fight.

"NO! Dennis… he's not worth it." Doug pulled Dennis off of the teen that stood defiantly against the wall his wicked ice blue eyes watching the officers leave with contempt.

Once out in the hall Dennis forcefully slammed his fist into the concrete and cinderblock wall. The jarring impact was absorbed in the unscathed wall and sent the angry officer walking down the hallway shaking his right hand. Doug watched as Dennis pounded on the exit door to the holding area with his uninjured left hand. Dean stepped out from behind the desk holding a video tape in his hand.

"What's that?" Doug asked.

"The start of Darren's confession." Dean stated. "Did he break his hand?"

Doug let out a sigh. "Probably, he might just be too steamed to know it yet. Did you see what went down in there?"

Dean scratched his head and looked the younger officer in the eyes. "Yeah and I'm proud of the two of you."

"Why… I mean…" Doug was confused at the compliment.

"I told Dennis where to turn the tape off at and gave the two of you the chance to have a private conversation with Darren before I turn him over for prosecution. You talked to him, but I wouldn't have been able to contain myself in there."

"Thanks, but I think you would have." Doug replied shrugging his shoulder.

"No… after watching him nearly kill Tommy, with all that happened with Jim and then what he did to Lexi… I watched that girl grow up and now she's looking at jail time also. The sad part is she's a victim in this too. I probably would have killed that maggot." He stated spitefully. "Come on, Angie just called and Tommy just woke up… besides I think Dennis is going to need an x-ray."

Dean placed and inviting arm over Doug's muscular shoulder and walked like a proud father with his son.

Chapter 15

Tom Hanson woke slowly from a deep dreamless sleep. He could feel the slightest caress of a hand gently stroking his sweat sticky head. He felt disoriented as he lifted his hand towards the person who was attending him

"L-Lex… I… Darren"

"Shhh… you're safe. Just relax…"

The words from the familiar voice were soft and gentle. He felt warm and he was lying on a feathery soft mattress. He could hear the endless BEEP… BEEP… BEEP of the monitor as it measured his sinus rhythm. He tried to lift his head but it just felt so heavy to him. He then felt moderate pressure from a set of hands as they gently pushed him back down onto the spongy surface of the mattress.

"Tommy… try not to move. You're bleeding a little still from your surgery."

Tom swallowed had as he turned his head in the direction of the voice. He slowly opened his eyes seeing the gentle, beautiful face of Angie Miller looking back at him.


"Yeah baby… just get some rest. You've been through a lot." She smiled back at Tom Hanson. She was so happy to see Hanson waking up. The doctor had cut out some scar tissue and done some minor work to the infected area. Hanson was on several antibiotics and heavy pain medication. The combination of medication had helped to make the young officer drowsy.

Hanson squeezed Angie's hand as he swallowed what felt like razor blades gouging at the back of his parched throat.

"Water… I'm thirsty." He wanted to open keep his eyes open but they were so heavy that he closed them almost as quickly as the words escaped from his mouth.

"Ok." Angie squeezed his hand again and then let him go walking over to a try which had been sitting at the end of the hospital bed. She took the glass and poured the clear cool liquid into the plastic cup. She then took the white plastic straw and bent the flexible neck. She then walked back over to where Hanson lay with his eyes closed breathing lightly.

The feeling of guilt was overwhelming to her as she watched the young officer sleep again. He had asked for the drink, but had fallen asleep so rapidly. She stood quietly at the edge of the bed and debated to herself if she should or shouldn't… she should after all the doctor had said he was severely dehydrated and had a kidney infection.

She walked slowly around the bed and gently laid her hand on the young man's forehead. Tom took a deep breath and slowly opened his deep brown eyes. He struggled to sit up as Angie gently pushed him back down.

"No hun… the bed moves." She pushed the button on the side of the bed while it lifted slowly. Once happy with where it sat she helped Hanson with the cup holding it while the sedated officer unsteadily took the straw between his chapped lips and sipped slowly on the refreshing liquid.

The stream of liquid slid down his throat offering him cool thirst-quenching comfort. After several seconds Hanson released the straw from his lips and laid his head back on the pillow.

"So tired." Hanson stated sleepily.

"I know… just get some rest. You've got some recovery time ahead of you." Angie smiled at Tom who closed his eyes again. There was no time left before he had drifted off into sweet slumber breathing lightly. She lowered the bed again into a more flat position so Tom could sleep comfortably. He stirred slightly as she lowered the bed but didn't entirely wake up again. It wasn't long until he was sleeping deeply once again.

She had told Dean that she would call him when Tom had wakened again, but she knew that he would be in and out of coherency for a while. She stood up and carried the cup over to the small table and then walked quietly to the door. She stopped and picked the phone up from the cradle. With nimble fingers she dialed the number to the Waylon County Police Station.

"Waylon County Police Department, Officer Lang speaking…" the female voice carried elegantly across the phone.

"Carrie, this is Angie is Dean available?" Angie spoke quietly into the phone. She watched the young officer's chest rise and fall as he was lying in the bed.

"Sure Angie… he said to get him the second you called. Give me just a minute."

"Thanks." Angie replied.

Angie waited a few minutes when she heard Dean's deep voice come over the phone. He sounded troubled to her but she couldn't be sure.

"Hey my angel…" Dean stated.

"Hello… is everything alright?" She asked. She knew that it wasn't. He had told her earlier that they had apprehended Darren and Alexia.

"No… I can't talk about it right now. Is Tommy awake?" He asked.

"Off and on, he's terribly groggy. Are you and the boys able to come down and see him soon?" She asked.

"Yeah… I'm going to go and get them and we'll be along shortly." He stated. "I love you so much… you know that right." Dean asked. His voice cracked as he asked his lady love the deeply distressed question.

"I know you do… it's gonna be okay Dean… I promise." Her voice projecting the smile he needed.

"I know… it's just such a waste. Lexi… she… I love you Ang… I'll see you soon." Dean stated his voice cracking again with the weight of his emotions.

"I love you and I'll see you soon." Angie stated holding her emotions in check.

"Goodbye." Dean lay the phone down on the cradle.

He turned his chair to face the back wall where he laid his head in his hands. He let out a deep sigh as he felt a tear slip down his cheek. The all out stress of the weeks that had lead to the events thus far were starting to overwhelm him. He needed to regain his composure and find Doug and Dennis. He was sure he knew where they would be.

Chapter 16

Doug and Dennis walked quietly past the armed officer stationed outside of Tom Hanson's hospital room door and into the dimly lit room. Angie stood up quickly from her seat next to the lightly breathing officer and walked quickly over to greet them.

"How is he?" Doug whispered after being greeted with a tight hug.

"Sleeping… he's been awake off and on, but the medication they have him on just keeps knocking him back out." Angie whispered back.

Doug mustered a smile and moved past Angela Miller who had stepped up to hold onto Dennis Booker in a tight motherly embrace. Dennis stood and let the woman cling tightly to his neck as he could feel the tension of the day slowly release from the strong woman. He could smell the familiar sweetness of her lilac perfume as it filled his senses. The smell taking him back to the first day he had met the amazing woman.

"I'm glad you two are here. He needs you both." She sniffled slightly as she stood holding onto the young officer.

"Are you okay?" Dennis asked softly. He could feel the quiver of her body indicating tears. It was apparent to him how much this amazing woman had been the backbone of their whole "family." She had cooked their meals, cleaned their clothes… all the things a mother does for her family. She had been amazing. It was when Tom Hanson had disappeared that it had sent her over the edge. The two had developed an amazing bond and to just be able to do nothing had taken it's tole on the astounding female.

"Yeah…" She sniffled again. She let out a deep sigh as she pulled away from the tall dark haired officer. She smiled as she grasped his face between the digits of both of her hands. She then released his face as she felt another tear escape her eyes.

Booker was uncomfortable watching the woman wipe tears from her face. The feeling he had was the same one he felt every time he watched his mother tear up. He could feel a knot form in the bottom of his gut as he reached up and brushed a stray curl from her face.

"When's Dean…" she asked softly.

"He said to give him about an hour. He had something come up with the case he needed to deal with first and then he'll be along." Dennis responded.

Booker wrapped his arms around her shoulders as she turned her back to him. There holding her back to his muscular chest the two watched Doug take Tom Hanson's hand in his own. With his free hand Doug Penhall reached across the silently sleeping officer's battered face sweeping a stray lock from his brow. They could hear Doug take a sighing breath as if it would help to relieve the pain that seemed to consume the sleeping officer.

Tom's breathing changed as he stirred. His eyes fluttered opened as he concentrated on the face of his partner standing over him. He thought hard as if he didn't recognize the bigger man.

"Doug?" His voice cracked.

"Yeah buddy, it's me…" Penhall cooed as he seated himself in the chair next to the injured officer.

"Where's Dennis?" Hanson asked weakly.

"Here." Dennis responded stepping towards the hospital bed. He had his arm wrapped around Angie Miller and the two moved together towards the officer.

The bed ridden officer looked so frail as he struggled to keep his eyes open. His skin was pallid next to the dark bruising on his cheeks. He took a deep breath as if trying to calm himself as he struggled to sit up. Angie quickly hit the button to lift his bed higher.

"Thanks, Angie." Hanson murmured.

"Can I get you anything?" The bigger officer asked.

"Stay… please… I don't want… to be alone." The officer started to close his eyes as he drifted off again.

Angie had retrieved Tom's water glass and quickly reminded the officer he needed to take a drink. Without protest Hanson took the white straw between his cracked lips sucked down some of the cool, clear liquid. Hanson then laid his head back against the pillow and started to drift off into sweet slumber again. Booker stifled a yawn as he took a seat next to Officer Hanson and it wasn't long before Hanson's room was filled with the quiet snoring of three weary sleep deprived officers. Angie smiled to herself as she herself was starting to feel rundown from the week's events. She crawled into the third chair that had been brought into the room and sat next to the hospital bed. She lay her head against the back of the chair and felt herself drifting off into a dreamless sleep.

"Good morning beautiful." Dean's voice brought Angie out of the deep sleep. She rubbed her eyes groggily smiling at the tall man facing her.

"Dean." She whispered grabbing him around his neck. The two pulled away and then Dean lifted Angie's chin and kissed her softly on the lips.

"What time is it?" She asked almost embarrassed at being caught napping in the room full of boys.
"Six in the morning. I'm sorry it took so long to get here. I had some things that needed done and I didn't want the boys to have to do them." He smiled at his wife who continued to rub her burning eyes. It was evident to him that she needed more than a nap in an uncomfortable chair. "Let's go get some food… we need to talk."

"Is everything ok?" She asked trying to stand up from the confines of the chair. She started to stumble to be caught by her husband.

"Are you ok?" He asked in a jovial tone.

"Yeah… stupid chair." She retorted.

Dean grinned taking the opportunity to wrap his arms around his wife's narrow waist and hold her warm body tight against his. He stood tall next to her frame. Although his wife was a tall woman at nearly five foot eleven, his lanky six foot four frame made her look short. It was then he ran his hand through her thick auburn hair and kissed her warm full lips again. This time he took his time to enjoy the gift of the few seconds they had together. He had been so consumed with this case that he had forgotten to allow himself the pleasure of her company and her body in his arms.

"Dean… we need to get out of here before we wake these boys up." She smiled as she pulled herself from his kiss.

"There's a bathroom over there." He responded with a playful wink.

"Dean!" She whispered with a quiet shout. She playfully slapped the man as he continued to stifle his laughter. She pushed the man out the door before she lost it and laughed allowed or let him take her into the bathroom. Before they left they instructed the officer waiting outside the door to tell the younger men where they were going so they would not be concerned if they woke up and noticed them gone.

Chapter 17

It was late in the evening when Tom's pain medication had started to ware off. Dean had taken this as a chance to go and gather information on Tom's side of what had happened during his time with Lexi and Darren. He had sent Doug and Dennis home with Angie to prepare for the preliminary hearing. Both teens were being held in lock up. Although they weren't worried about Lexi, they wanted to be sure that Darren had no chance of getting to her and convincing her not to testify against him.

He had felt terrible telling the already victimized girl that she would have to be detained for her part in the kidnapping of Tom Hanson. He remembered how the girl looked down at the floor and shook her head as if she already knew what was in store for her. Fortunately Dean was able to secure her at the Waylon Count Police station. He had an officer clean up an old holding cell and move a cot into it for her. It had been used for sometime as a "drunk tank". The good thing was that she was completely isolated from the rest of the men in the facility. Dean didn't want to subject the young girl to the Juvenile correctional facility until he knew for sure that was what the judge was going to do with her. He had left Officer Morgan in charge of making sure that Lexi was taken care of. The young officer had agreed. She herself was fresh out of the academy and wasn't ready for patrol yet. She had been jibed and ribbed for her smaller stature and youthful appearance. Dean was just thrilled that the girl had eagerly taken control of the situation with Lexi. The young officer seemed to be genuinely concerned for her welfare.

Dean approached Tom's room just as a young nurse walked out of the door. He looked at the officer on duty outside of the room and nodded his head at the young officer.

"How is everything going sir?" The young man asked.

"Good, are you keeping things under control here Keith?" Dean asked the officer.

"Yes sir." He responded with a smile.

"Have they said anything about Hanson tonight?" Dean inquired.

"Seems to be more coherent, I think that's how the doctor put it. Sir, I was wondering something." The young officer began.

"What was that son?" Dean inquired.

"Do you think I could… well I would like to do what these men do. I want to work with kids… undercover stuff. I know that this isn't the big city or anything but… I think with crime being what it is and more kids getting involved in stuff like drugs and violence… I think it'd be a good thing. We could work with Chase County and other counties."

"Keith… you and I are on the same page. We'll talk about this in a week ok… don't let me forget. You and a few others are on my mind for this project. Now, I don't want to chat and leave, but I have a court case to prepare for and I need to get a statement from Tommy in here." Dean stated politely trying to excuse himself.

The older officer didn't want to give too much information away as to what he was working on; he was just finding it hard to conceal his future plans from eager officers. He knew he would have no trouble filling to positions with officers who could do the job. He wanted to do a cartwheel when the young man expressed interest in the job. He was eager to recruit kids who hadn't lived in the area their whole lives and Keith and Morgan were at the top of his list.

Dean walked through the door into Tom Hanson's room. The officer was seated at the side of his hospital bed grasping his sutured side with his right hand. He was breathing heavily as he was attempting to put his feet on the floor.

"Tom… what the hell are you doing?" Dean asked his voice flooded with concern.

"Court tomorrow. I need to get ready for tomorrow." Tom panted. He sucked in a hissing breath through his teeth as he moved causing pain to shoot through his stomach and his side. He closed his eyes and his face seemed to contort as the pain washed over him.

"No you don't. You're not going anywhere." The older officer stated. He wasn't doing a very good job of sounding authoritative as his voice gave way to sounding more like a concerned father.

Dean moved over to the side of the bed where the officer was struggling to stand. Hanson looked up with tired bloodshot eyes that seemed to plead for help. He could see the begging desire to go but there was no way he would be released to come to court, or anywhere.

"I… have too. Lexi… she needs me… I… OW!" Hanson nearly doubled over as he stood on the floor for the first time in days.

"Tommy… get back in bed. Here…"

The older officer was on the floor instantly with the younger officer. He lifted Hanson's arms around his shoulders and helped him to stand. He then helped to place the officer into the bed. Dean then lifted the covers over the pained officer's legs and adjusted the pillows behind his head. Tom had broken out into an instant cold sweat just from moving the few feet that he had.

"Tom… this is just a pre trial. They are just setting bail and a date." Dean stated trying to reason with the stubborn officer.

"Dean please…"
Tom's voice cracked as he pleaded with the older officer. He looked up at the older officer frustration and hurting radiating all over his strained features. It was almost more than Dean could handle as Hanson took a breath closing his eyes to the world as his jaw quivered. Dean Miller could see his teeth clinched together as he struggled to stave off the pain that continued to wash over his weakened frame.

After a time Tom regained his lost composure and breathed a deep sigh. He looked up at Dean with overwhelming sadness in his eyes.

"Where's Lexi?" He asked quietly.

"She's at the station. Where holding her there until the Judge determines bail and a trial date." He answered.

"What do you mean you're holding her?" Hanson asked his voice rising as he spoke.

"I mean just that Tom, we arrested her and Darren and we are holding them both. He is being held in a single cell in the isolation area and she is on the opposite side of the building. She is upstairs and I left her in the care of Officer Morgan. She's safe and is going to be well taken care of." Dean tried to convince Tom that she was okay but he wasn't going to hear it.

"You arrested her? Do you have any idea what she went through for me? He raped her and beat her because of me. He brutalized her because she tried to help me…" Hanson was upset and out of his mind with worry. He took both hands and ran them through his wild hair. He looked up at his superior officer with a look of disgust and despair dancing in his deep brown eyes.

"Tom… I know what you're going through…"

"No you don't. I really don't think you have a clue." Hanson snapped.

"You need to wait one minute young man. Now I know that you went through a lot out there. Well we went through a lot here. I also do know what she went through because I have already taken a full statement from her. I was also outside the door to the exam room while they probed the poor child looking for anything to hold her butthead of a boyfriend responsible for her rape. I held that girl in my arms as she cried for nearly an hour after she was examined. What I don't think you realize is how hard it was for me to have to watch them process her like a common criminal. I watched her grow up and now I am preparing to watch her be arraigned for committing the kidnapping of an injured police officer at gun point none the less. Do I think she should be in jail… no… do I think she should have to be on trial for this… no… do you think that the judge gives a damn what I think… no!" Dean slammed his notebook down on the table in front of Hanson as he took a deep breath and tried to calm his frazzled nerves.

He knew that Tom was right and he also knew that he had done the right thing. He could have sent the girl home to her mom and dads for the night. He also knew that her parents were so concerned with public image that they would probably have loaded her up in the car and run in the middle of the night. But they would have chided the girl for hours before they had made the decision.

"Tommy… I'm sorry. I just…" Dean ran his hand over his chin and along his jaw as he glanced out the window and then back at the officer who looked shamefully at the floor.

"Tom, I know that you have been faced with a decision like this before. When you think that someone should be spared punishment, that isn't our job. Our job is to enforce the law, not interpret it. I have no plans on ever becoming a judge, I'm sure they have a harder time sleeping at night than I do. Tommy I don't want this for her anymore than you do, but she has to answer for what she did. Now it's up to you to be there for her when this is all over."

"But Dean, someone has to stand up for her." Hanson replied doing his best to get comfortable in the highly uncomfortable bed.

"And you will Tommy. The judge is going to want to hear what you have to say… so just wait your turn. I promise that you will get it."

The elder officer sat down on a chair at the end of the bed. He watched the young officer as he pondered what Dean had just said to him. He knew that Dean was right. He knew that Lexi had screwed up in a big way. He also knew that he had an ache in the pit of his stomach about the whole thing. He couldn't shake the feeling there was more to this whole ordeal than just her taking punishment twice for what she had done.

"I'm sorry Dean. I… guess I forgot…" Tommy sighed as he continued to stare a hole in the floor beneath his bed.

"Tommy…" Dean leaned forward and grabbed the officer chin and lifted it till the young undercover officer was looking him in the eyes. "It's okay. I'm gonna do what I can for Lexi and I promise that you will get a chance to be heard."

"Are they going to try her as an adult?" Hanson asked. He was terrified that she would spend the next fifteen years in prison for her part in the case.

"No… I have already talked to George Larrick. He's pushing for her to be tried as a youth. Darren, he's not gonna be so lucky. He's facing murder charges, kidnapping, assault of a police officer, attempted murder, rape. He's facing things I'm sure he hasn't even thought of yet. Dad's not here to cover for him anymore so he's on his own. It's a shame too… he was such a good little boy to have grown into the iceman that he became." Dean sated as he watched Tom's face.

"I'm worried." Hanson stated.

"I know you are… she'll be fine." Dean replied.

"I hope so." Tom answered as he looked up at Dean again. "Do you mind staying a while? I'm getting tired and sleep… I keep dreaming… bad dreams just…"

"I'd be glad to stick around son." Dean responded. He watched as Tom Hanson lay his head back on the pillows and close his eyes. The older officer stood up and walked over to the side of the bed. He took a deep breath as the young officer was soon snoring softly. "Sleep tight my boy…" Dean squeezed his hand and sat down in the chair next to the officer and closed his own weary eyes.

Chapter 18

The hardest part was watching her. She was escorted into the courtroom wearing a simple black dress. Her athletic build was hardly disguised by the fabric that hugged her curves and danced lightly across her shapely legs. It didn't seem to matter though she still looked like a caged animal… lost, small, and scared. Lexi walked into the courtroom her hair pulled back on the sides revealing her frightened cobalt eyes. She had very little makeup on but she didn't need it… she was beautiful without it. Tom's heart nearly skipped a beat when she was stopped dead in front of him. The rattle of the chains around her delicate wrists made Hanson's stomach knot. Her almond shaped eyes caught his as she was ordered to present her wrists by the rather intimidating female guards posted on either side of her.

She had been remanded to custody of the Metro Juvenile Center for Girls after the judge ordered no bail due to the nature of the crime that had been committed. He swallowed hard as she sent him a shy almost tortured smile. It was when she bit her lip as he looked back that brought a half smile to his pained face. Hanson's heart ached as she was told to sit and not move.

It wasn't too much longer that Darren was brought into the courtroom. The bitter look of hate raged as he was ushered into the courtroom by two large armed men. He was wearing a grey sport coat, white button up shirt and a black tie to match his trousers. He looked almost model esc as he was escorted into the courtroom. He walked through the room glancing from side to side and then stopping nearly next to Lexi. He was then ordered to present his wrists at which time he glanced to his side and grinned coldly as he noted Tom Hanson seated in the second row directly behind Lexi George. The rather large armed guard released his restraints and then ordered him to sit.

Hanson could feel his blood begin to boil as he watched Lexi shy away as he leaned in towards her ear.

"Doug… are they going to stop him?" Hanson whispered to his partner.

"Tommy I think that he is allowed to talk to her. He has all week."

Tom watched as Lexi lifted her head and looked towards one of her guards. The taller woman walked over to Lexi and took the girl by the arm and walked her over to the far side of the defendants table. The guard then leaned over and told Lexi something to which the frightened young woman nodded her head barley lifting her eyes. He watched as she mouthed the words thank you to the woman. She then sat at the table her eyes boring a whole through the middle of the table. She looked so nervous it hurt to watch her.

"Tommy… he's harassed her all week." Dennis replied.

"How?" Hanson asked as his eyes never left the female at the table in front of him.

He felt terrible knowing that he was the reason she was going through all of this. He had been absent from the trial because his doctor wouldn't release him from the hospital. Dean had promised to speak on his behalf at the trial and also promised an audience with the judge and the jury. The trial was kept closed due to the age of Lexi and Darren. There was also the attempt to prevent a media circus and to try and conceal the identity of the undercover officers involved with the case. The wait to see that Lexi was ok had the young Officer Hanson nearly sick with worry. He watched as she lifted her right hand to tuck a loose strand of hair behind her right ear. She smiled a tight lipped smile as her lawyer walked in and clapped her gently on the shoulder. Darren raised his eyes and looked over in the direction of what was now his ex-girlfriend. He had her and he destroyed her.

"She had been accused of inviting the assault on you and herself. At one point Darren had his lawyer asking her if she had anything to do with the idea of grabbing you and using you to get across the state lines." Dennis alleged.

"But she didn't… I mean she did grab me… but that was it. Once she realized what he was doing it was like she tried everything she could to stop it. She took more than one beating for me. When do I get to tell my side of this?" Hanson fumed. He was so sick of hearing what everyone else thought that he wanted to jump out of his skin.

There was a click and then a door was opened as the Jury filed in one at a time and took their seats in the box. There was a second click as a bailiff for the court closed the door as the last member took their seat.

"All rise! The Honorable Judge William H. Byron is proceeding over this case, number 116-475 the people verses Darren Thompson and Alexia George." The deep demanding voice echoed through the room as everyone in the room jumped to their feet. A man about forty-five years old walked into the room and took his seat at the front of the court room. He picked up his gavel and smacked it against the surface of the desk causing Hanson to nearly jump out of his skin. He had been to numerous court hearings a simple hammering of the gavel was nothing… his nerves were on edge as he prepared to tell the judge, jury and the rest of the world what had happened.

"Be seated." The stony faced judge declared.

On cue all the bodies in the room were seated.

"Is Officer Thomas Hanson present?" He asked in a stern voice.

"Yes sir." Tom responded.

"We will be meeting in my chambers. The rest of the court is in recess for one hour." He affirmed.

The judge tapped his gavel as he rose to his feet.
"All rise!" The booming voice announced again.

As If on cue the courtroom again rose to its feet. Tom looked from side to side. He was confused as Dean took the officer by the arm and pulled him towards the bench.

"The jury has already come to a decision." He told Tom.

"I thought…"

"Tommy, all you are doing is helping the judge to determine what punishment will be handed down."

Tom felt the sudden flush of fever as panic spread through his body. He looked over at Lexi George who tried to flash a smile as she stood trembling next to her lawyer. Dennis Booker reached across the medium and patted the girl softly on the shoulder. She instinctively reached up and took the hand. He could see the fear in her eyes. His eyes were then caught by Darren Thompson who narrowed his glare at the officer sending a cold chill up his spine.

"But Lexi shouldn't… I mean…"

"Tom she asked to be held responsible for her part in this. The judge wants to hear what you have to say before he passes on a sentence for the two of them."

Tom stared at Dean Miller in disbelief as he looked back at Alexia George. His heart sank again as he thought of her innocence being stolen from her by Darren Thompson. He crumbled inside as he thought of how the juvenile prison changed and destroyed good people. He wanted so badly to protect her from the evils of the world. To shield her from the damage that was immanent in a place like that. He wanted to be sick as he thought of the time he did in juvenile lock up. "The Hammer…" it was a nightmare he didn't even want to imagine her delicate spirit being confined to.

"Officer Hanson." The commanding voice of the court's Bailiff cut into Hanson's thoughts.

"Yes sir." Hanson responded.

"You're to accompany me to Judge Byron's chambers." He stated. His presence was almost intimidating. He was dark skinned with a shaved bald head. His piercing eyes seemed almost a warning to any potential problematic people. He turned his attention one more time to the young woman whose future was in his hands. She smiled again as Doug and Angie stood on either side of her. Doug put an arm around her shoulder as she took a deep breath. It appeared that Darren and Lexi were going to be able to stand around and wait for the Judge and Tom to finish.

"Sure…" Tom felt Dean pat him on the shoulder as he turned and walked with the big man to the judge's chambers.

Tom was escorted directly into the judge's chambers when Judge Byron sat reading through a folder.

"Officer Hanson…" The judge stood up and walked over to the officer.

"Yes sir." Tom acknowledged.

"How are you feeling young man? I see that you have had quite the ordeal."

"Yes sir." Tom agreed with the older man.

"Officer Hanson… I know that Dean told you that the jury has already reached a decision in this case. They haven't revealed it yet as I still wanted to talk to you before I placed sentence on these two. I really want to know how you feel about them."

"I'm not sure what you mean Judge Byron." Hanson responded. He leaned forward in his chair wringing his hands as the two tried to feel each other out.

"Tom… may I call you Tom?" The judge asked.

"Sure." Hanson replied.

"Tom… there is a boy out there who should… how do I say this politely? Go straight to death row. That's just my opinion. There is also a young girl out there who I think took a whole lot of abuse but helped him in the initial planning and execution of this whole caper."

Tom sat quietly for a moment before he responded. What did Dean mean by she wanted to be held responsible. Didn't she know how much she had meant to him? How he knew he wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her. Didn't she know anything?

It was then Tom Hanson opened up about the few days he spent as a prisoner to Darren Thompson and how Alexia George stood up for his well being.

Chapter 19

Hanson cringed as the judge re-entered the courtroom again. Once he was seated and the jury was seated he then asked the jury if they had reached their decision. He had known that they had, in fact he had known what it was but he was waiting until he heard from Tom Hanson before he decided on what the penalty for their crime should be.

Tom watched uncomfortably as the verdict was handed to the bailiff on a slip of white paper. The strong arm of the courtroom than carried the slip of paper over to the judge who read it with an unrevealing expression and then folded it back up and had it returned to the jury. Once it was returned to the jury foreman he then turned and looked at Lexi and Darren.

"Would the defendants please rise." His voice was unwavering as he watched the two young people rise to their feet.

Hanson felt himself tense as he watched Darren and Lexi stand. He could see her hands tremble as she stood next to her lawyer. He watched in awe as Darren stared straight ahead in smug cool confidence.

Hanson could remember the day the verdict was read in his case. There was no confidence only fear. It had gripped his entire body as the judge and the jury foreman had taken their time to read the dreaded verdict. When the words "GUILTY" had hit his ears he thought for sure that his stomach had fallen to his feet. He could recall the gasp of air as it had slipped through his lips when they told him he would be serving time in general population at the jail. He was sure a couple of times that someone was going to cut his life short. It really was some of the most terrifying time in his short life.

"Would the jury please read the verdict?" The judge asked in a commanding manor.

A tall man in a grey pinstripe suit stood he put his brown square framed glasses onto his aged face. His grey/blue eyes resigned to show the days of weariness that had taken their toll on him and the others around him. He took a deep breath and then read the paper he held in his withered hands.

"We the Jury find the defendants Darren Thompson and Alexia George guilty."

The room was silent as Lexi let out a tear filled gasp. Hanson felt the same gasp escape his lips as he watched her lawyer place a steadying hand around her waist. There was a hand on his shoulder. Tom turned to see Dean Miller and Adam Fuller directly behind him. Tom gripped the handles of his seat as he listened to Lexi's parents grumble in hushed tones from three seats down to his right.

"How are we going to face everyone tomorrow?" Her mother whispered loudly.

"We won't." Her father grunted as he continued to glare forward.

"I knew that boy was trouble." She sneered.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I thank you for your time and service… you are dismissed."

Judge Byron allowed the twelve members of the jury to file out of the room and return to their everyday lives following the announcement of guilt in the direction of the defendants. Once the jury box was empty he looked back at the two young adults who were standing in front of him. He glanced at the male who had a look of sheer evil blazing from his ice blue stare. He then looked at the pitiful state that Lexi was in as she dried her eyes with a tissue while she tried to put on a brave face. It was obvious to him that the two were as different as night and day in how they handled what they had done wrong. He lifted a file and thumbed through it and then adjusted his glasses on his face and looked directly at Darren Thompson.

"Mr. Thompson I am ashamed of what you have done and with the life you were so generously handed. This is only the beginning of a long line of crimes that you have to answer for." The judge began in a stern authoritative tone. "You are the son of a police officer…"

"You know what; my father wasn't much of a father to me anyways…" Darren interrupted.

The room fell into silence as the judge slammed his gavel into the surface of his desk.

"Young man I am not going to ask you to remain silent again." The judge condemned.

Darren let out the pouting sigh of a child who was about to throw a temper tantrum. The judge raised an eyebrow at the outburst and then proceeded to lay out his sentence.

"You are going to serve twenty-five years for this caper. There are additional trial dates to come as you are still going on trial for other reasons which I do not need to reiterate at this time." Darren watched ahead coldly at the judge who then looked at Lexi. "Miss George, I need not tell you how disappointed we are in the fact that you had a hand in this at all. In fact the town had very high hopes for you. You were looking at a three year…"

"What the… three years… fuck that shit! She had just as much a hand in this as I did…" Darren charged the bench in an explosion of anger. Lexi's lawyer shoved Lexi towards the wall where Tom Hanson caught her in a protective hug. Dean Miller, Dennis Booker and Doug Penhall with the help of Adam Fuller and several other guards jumped into action in an effort to subdue the angry man. Hanson ducked between Lexi and her lawyer as Booker and Penhall both leapt at Darren. It didn't take anytime before he was overpowered by the many guards and police officers who had been placed in the courtroom. Once he was secured he was dragged kicking and screaming out of the room.

Hanson watched as Darren was taken to the floor and then taken out of the room. He held the trembling young woman in his arms and then lightened his grip on her.

"You ok?" He asked her. He could smell the faint floral smell of shampoo in her silky tresses. Beneath his hands and along his body he could feel her trembling.

"Y-Yeah… I'm… okay. Thanks Tommy." She whispered to the officer letting out a deep shaky breath.

The drama in the room settled to nothing as the judge hit his gavel on the rigid surface of his desktop.

"Come to order!" He shouted.

"Come on." Hanson stated as he escorted the woman over to her lawyer who patted her on the shoulder.

"You okay?" He asked gently.

"Fine… I-I'm okay… just a little shaken." She smiled at the two men as Tom Hanson took one final look at her as Booker and Penhall tapped him on the shoulder and the three men walked back to their seats directly behind the defendant.

"Now… Miss George… are you alright?"

"Yes sir." She responded shyly.

"Good. I came in here today ready to hand down a sentence of three years at the Metro Juvenile Center for girls. Upon your twentieth birthday you then would have been sent over to the Women's State Correctional Facility..."

The audible gasp could be heard all through the room. Hanson clutched at his knees digging his nails into his skin. He felt sick as he heard the words three year and Women's Correctional Facility in the same sentence. She was a misguided girl… barley a woman. She needed him… she needed to be protected from the evil in the world not thrusted into it. From where he sat he could see her clutching the arm of her lawyer who wrapped his arm around her small waist as she fought to keep her feet underneath her.

"Fortunately for you Officer Tom Hanson seems to think that you were the victim of influence and bad judgment. You are very fortunate that man is willing to save you two of those years. You were still seventeen years old and able to determine the difference between wrong and right. In fact you didn't ask for special treatment, nor did you make any deals to try and get out of this. For that you will be serving one year in the Metro Juvenile Correctional Facility for Girls. Use this time to better yourself. You will be nearly nineteen when you are released and this will be a chance to become the person you should be. Following that time you will be required to complete three months of probation. You can still recover from your mistakes…Good luck young lady. That's all… court is adjourned." That said Judge Byron wrapped the gavel on the surface again and the bailiff announced that all should rise as the judge left to room.

Hanson pushed past the people as they milled around the room. He tried to get over to where the guards were chaining Lexi up to remove her from the room.

"Lexi…" his voice was muffled by the sounds of the room.

She then lifted her tear stained face to see him.

"Please… let me say something to her… please" Hanson shoved past another person.

Lexi stopped in front of Tom who stepped up to the railing reaching his hand out to her. She took it and smiled. Here eyes were red with tears.

"Thanks Tommy… knowing you was worth all of this…" She tried to smile through the tears as he reached out and took her hand in his only to have her pulled away.

Chapter 20

Hanson felt like a he was removed from his body as he left the courtroom that day and continued into his life. He knew that justice was served but he felt like he had let Lexi down. With all that she had gone through the last thing he wanted for her was one year. A lot could happen in that one year. She was seventeen and would turn eighteen in just over a week. She would graduate high school. She was going to miss that... all of that. His heart ached as he though about her. Why had a simple seventeen year old stuck out so much to him? She was just like any other seventeen year old high school girl… only she wasn't. There was so much more to her, he wanted to protect her from the evil all around her. He wanted to tell her it would be ok. He wanted to do for her what she had done for him those terrible days of torture he had endured.

Days went into weeks as the second trial for Darren Thompson came and went. Hanson, Penhall and Booker had been called in to answer questions from the prosecution and defense. They had examined Tom over and over about what had happened to instigate the attempted murder of Tom Hanson. The only solace Hanson found in all of this was the brief sight of Lexi George as they brought her in to be questioned by the prosecution and the defense. She had been brought in wearing chains and an orange jumpsuit. Hanson's heart dropped through the floor when she walked in. She looked so tired. She had looked out in the crowd as she took her seat on the witness chair, catching Tom's chocolate brown eyes with her sapphire blue eyes. She lit up and smiled at the young cop. He had not been able to see her due to the restrictions placed on visitors for the first few months. He wanted to badly to do something… anything for her when she turned eighteen. All he was able to do was send a measly card hoping that it would make it to her.

The hardest part was her being so close and not be able to even say "hi". He could nearly reach out and touch her but she was so far away from him that all he could do watch as she was marched in like an irresponsible delinquent. A wrongdoer who was nothing but a menace to society; but she was nothing like that. She had endured so much, more than Hanson was sure that he could have taken on for a person who was little more than a stranger to him just hours before. She had made the mistake and paid for the mistake many times over why was she still in the custody of the state? If only they really knew… what she had done to save him. He had told the judge everything in hopes of saving Lexi from the pain of prison time. He knew that he had saved her from a three year stretch but even a year seemed like too much.

In the end the judge gave Darren twenty-five years for each of his victims, and another fifteen years for kidnapping and nearly killing Hanson. In total he was going to serve ninety years. It didn't seem like long enough for all that he had put Tom, Lexi and numerous others including murdering Kirk Davis but the judge did seal the deal with a no chance of parole. He would live out his life in maximum security.

"It is so hard to watch you boys leave." Angie felt the tears starting to flow again.

She had fought long and hard to try not to cry again. She and Dean had fixed a big meal for the three officers. The two had wanted to send them off with as much of a thank you as they could muster up. The five had sat and eaten until they were all sure they would explode. They then made their way over to the lawn chairs that Dean had set out by the make shift camp fire. Angie had sat down next to Dean and had cuddled into his side watching the glow of the embers as an occasional pop of the wood had kept the group glued to the warmth of the fire.

"Tell you what Angie… you can come to my place anytime. I don't know what I'm gonna do when I have to go back to cooking for myself." Booker stated as he rubbed his swollen stomach.

"Same thing I'm gonna do pizza and Rocket Dog's." Penhall stated as he finished the last of a bottle of beer.

"Ugh…" Booker commented.

"You need another one?" Dean asked standing and walking to the large cooler sitting by the tree.

"Yeah… I'm off duty and I think Booker here needs one too." Doug laughed.

"Tommy… you ready for another?" Booker asked.

"No… not right now." Hanson responded.

Tom Hanson stood up and walked away from the fire as Penhall and Booker had gotten into a contest with Dean to see who could tell the biggest fish story about their years of service. Normally Hanson would have laughed and had to tell his but right now his mind was on someone else.

Angie smiled at Dean as the two stood up and walked in different directions. She approached the officer who was headed back to the front of the house and the tire swing he had sat in so many times contemplating his life. He had fallen in love with the quiet peace of Waylon County. He loved Angie and Dean his new found family. They had become so important to him. He just could not imagine going home to the normal noise and turmoil of big city life. He wanted to stay in the quiet peace that was surrounding him. He had leaned over onto the lonely swing. He sighed deeply to himself as he watched the moon shadowing the split wood rails of the fence next door to the perfect country home of Dean and Angie Miller.

Tom could here the footsteps behind him before he could loose himself in thoughts of the past. He knew that Angie had followed him around the house. She knew him so well. She also knew what he was thinking as he turned to meet her eyes.

Angie reached up and placed her soft gentle hand on his cool face. The tips of her fingers gently brushed the light purple almost yellow hued bruise on his cheek.

"Tommy you have to let this go. You can't continue to blame yourself for something that is beyond your control. You did your best and you really did help her." Angie's words were right. He had helped Lexi but it still hurt to think of himself on the outside of the walls breathing in the cool air, drinking a beer and laughing with friend while she sat in a cell watching the walls and sleeping with her eyes open, hoping nobody would hurt her while she slept.

"It hurts… I…" Hanson lifted his face to the moon closing his eyes as he took a deep healing breath.

"I want to see her but I'm not sure that she will want me to." Hanson finished. His thoughts were so deeply rooted on the beautiful teen who had risked her life and taken mind numbing abuse for him. Why had she done that for him? She was so special… she was someone special to him.

"Tommy I'm sure you could go see her. All you need to do is contact the Warden; she'll get it set up." Angie smiled knowing full well what else was on Hanson's heart. She could see the feelings that had grown on him. She knew the girl was special when she met her the first time and now she could see the officer fighting feelings that he shouldn't have for her.

"She turned eighteen last week didn't she?" Angie asked.

"Yeah." Tom responded.

"Go see her. She needs your support. He mother and father have moved out of town. In fact I think that they put all of her belongings into storage and left a key for Lex when she gets out. She needs you Tommy." Angie smiled at the officer.

Tom closed his eyes as Angie's hand ran through his hair and then back to his cheek. He could feel the tear slipping through his closed eye and then gliding down his cheek. He didn't want the tear to fall he had fought so hard to stop it. It was the feeling in his stomach and the hand on his face that had forced the tear to fall. He took a ragged breath as he opened his eyes and another tear streaked down his face.

"I'm not supposed to feel like this Angie. She's so young and I'm… I'm a police officer who is not supposed to feel like this. She's… I'm…" Hanson threw his hands up in the air and then walked over to the tree where he slid down the gnarled trunk and closed his eyes burying his face in his hands.

Angie took her cue to walk over to the young officer and remind him of a few things.

"Tommy…" She took his hands away from his face and lifted his chin to look in his eyes. "Look at me baby."

The officer lifted his chin and opened his bloodshot orbs to look at her. She was so beautiful to him. Her warm smiled just melted him every time he felt lost. When life was out of control he could turn to her.

"You're a human being Tom and she is a beautiful woman. She saved your life and you saved hers. It's ok for you to have these feelings."

"I'm a police officer… I can't… I just can't. She younger and… this isn't right." Hanson gritted his teeth as he tried to deny his feelings.

"Tom… you can't fight it if that is what you feel. Go and see her. See how she feels before you push these feelings aside. You may be the one thing that see's her through this without falling apart."

Angie's words made sense, but he knew that she didn't need him dropping his feelings on her. Tom shook his head at the Angie who kissed the officer on the forehead. She ran her hand across his face again as she leaned against his shoulder. Her hair smelled of fruit or coconuts. Her scent was complimented by the clean night air. Tom laid his own head on hers as she took his bigger hand in his.

"Tommy… I'd be lying if I said that I was going to be ok without you boys here."

Hanson looked over at Angie who was looking up at the stars in the nighttime sky. Her lips pursed as she got lost in her own thoughts. The comment was off the path the two had been heading down. He had forgotten just how hard tomorrow was going to be. They were going to be saying good bye and heading back to the big city. Back to noise and concrete. The wind and grind of Jump Street Chapel, he really did miss seeing Judy and Ioki and Captain Fuller. He really missed the tasteless jokes that would blurt out of Blowfish's lips. It had been so long since they had all had a beer together at the bowling alley.

"I'm not sure how we will make it without you." Hanson whispered.

"I love you Tommy." Angie stammered through tears that seemed to be flowing freely. Hanson wrapped her arms around her shoulders. This time it was his turn to comfort her. He started to remember all the time they had spent together. The laughs they had shared, the meals they had eaten together and the bonding that had happened as each had had a brush with trauma. Tears continued to creep up on Tom Hanson as he felt the sting of warm liquid flow down his cheek again. He wrapped his arms around her trembling body pulling her close to his chest.

"I love you too… Aunt Angie." He whispered kissing her softly on the forehead.

Chapter 21

Tom sat in his apartment avoiding what he had wanted and waited for so long to do. He had decided to finally go and see her. Lexi had been in juvenile holding for four months and was now officially a legal consenting adult. This couldn't be this easy. This was a recipe for disaster. He would tell himself. She was too perfect for him but he was the reason she was in jail now. She had done her part in taking him hostage. She had helped her boyfriend only to be violently abused. She had done her part to try and help him. She had let him hurt her so badly.

He had put on a tie and a suit jacket with his blue jeans and white dress shirt. His hair brushed lightly back with his bangs falling across the top of his forehead. He sat in the chair in front of the television watching the window as the cartoons played across the television screen. He rested his chin on the tips of his finger as he bit his bottom lip and thought about her and how perfect she was to him; her lips, her eyes, her smile. He remembered the way she smelled as he held her in his arms her hair falling around her face as she slept. He had held her as she cried herself to sleep after realizing Darren had used her as an excuse to eliminate people in his way. She had broken down in his arms. It had been a struggle to hold it together and not kiss her perfect lips as she lay sleeping in his arms. She had danced in his head ever since that moment. It had been so hard to go into the judges chambers knowing that when he came out she was going to go to jail. He had known that she would have to serve time, but why a year? Why?

He struggled with the idea of her and he so much that he had gone to his mother for help. She was the only one he knew outside of Angela Miller who would understand. At least he hoped that she would understand. Who wants their son to come home and tell you that they fell in love with the girl they put in jail?


Margarete Hanson watched as her son son pushed the peas from one side of his plate to the other as he continued to battle his inner feelings. She had watched him bottle up the pain of Waylon County and the girl who had stole his heart. It hurt to watch him punish himself as he tried to deny his feeling for her.

"Mom... I just don't know what to do. I mean I am the reason she is in jail now. She... I mean what would dad have done?"

Margarete Hanson stood up and walked over to there her son sat pushing the green orbs around his plate like a fiver year old who didn't want to finish his vegetables but wanted his desert. She sat down in the chair next to his and put her thumb and forefinger under his chin and lifted it so he would look her in the eyes. She then brushed her free hand through his hair and then rested against his cheek. She pursed her lips as she realized the pain that continued to torment her son. He was holding all of the world on his shoulders.

"Honey... I don't think your father ever had to go through this, but I think he would have followed his heart." She smiled as he looked down at his plate and then sniffled as he brought his eyes up to meet hers.

"I-I think I love her mom." He nearly whispered.

"I know." She responded quietly.

"But I can't mom. I... she... it's wrong." His eyes pleaded with her understanding glance.

"Tommy, love is never wrong when it's right."


Tom took a deep breath as he started to stand up walking over to the sink opening the cabinet and pulling a glass out. His stomach flipped as he turned the tap on and took a long drink from the clear glass. He set the glass back onto the counter and then leaned heavily looking into the sink at the dishes from the previous night. He watched as the water dripped onto the ketchup stains and ran down the smooth surface to the edge and then dripped onto the white porcelain of the sink. He licked his lips and took a deep breath as he reached over and picked up his keys.

She had asked him to come and see him for two months now and today he was going to. He just hoped that she would allow him to since he had not responded to her second letter. He had sent her a birthday card and then another letter after he received a thank you note for it. He had not had the strength to go and see her. He had not wanted to explain to the rest why he was talking to her. His mother and Angela Miller were the only two who seemed to understand how much she meant to him. He thought he might be able to tell Judy but to even begin to explain it to Doug or Dennis just seemed like a bad Idea. Harry might understand, he seemed to understand everything. He always seemed keyed into what was going on in the world around him. Fuller... hell he would probably find himself in front of a review board if he even suggested to him that he was talking to Lexi George.


Tom took a deep breath as he slid the cold metal of the key into the ignition. The V-8 motor roared as it sparked to life. He gunned the gas as he sat in the parking lot outside of his apartment building. Her face seemed to be jumping into his thoughts again. He could not shake her as he looked down at the steering wheel in front of him.

What the hell Hanson... you've been with girls before. What the hell is so special about her? She suffered for you... well you suffered for her. She bugged the hell out of you when you met her. All you ever wanted to do was get the hell away from her and here you are going to see her in jail. Admit it Hanson... you're hoping that she will come out and tell you that she isn't interested and... Tom... she had eight months to go. Stop this for now, just go see her and help her to deal with the jail thing and that'll be it. No more Lexi, Lexi, Lexi.

"What the hell am I doing? I'm a fucking cop... why can't I get you out of my head?" Hanson scolded himself.

He threw the car in gear and drove off in the direction of the Metro Juvenal Correctional Facility for Girls.


"Tom." Her voice was so spectacular as she said his name.

Tom Hanson turned to find himself face to face with an angel. She walked over to him tears streaming down her face. Her blue eyes glistened as she reached out to shake his hand, her skin was soft against his. He loved how his name sounded as it slipped over her tongue and through her full lips. She was so beautiful. Her hair was shorter and the highlights that stood out so much against her still lightly sun kissed skin were gone. She still looked amazing. She took his breath away as she smiled shyly. She looked down at her feet and then bit her lip as Tom looked back at her. He took a deep breath and smiled back.

"You look amazing." He stumbled through his words as the two sat down at a table across from each other.

"I don't feel amazing, and I am not sure I will wear orange ever again." She stated raising an eyebrow.

"They treating you okay?" Hanson asked looking into her eyes. Those glorious eyes had him captivated again. She looked so great.

"Yeah... um... its a little cold at night, but I'm okay. I am going to get to graduate early." She smiled at the officer.

"I've heard. The warden says that you are doing an amazing job. He said that you started a music program for the others."

"Yeah... I really missed it. Miss H, she came by and we've organized everything to get instruments and old music to play. She really has been awesome to me." Lexi smiled her eyes were aglow with enthusiasm.

"That's great... When did you cut your hair? It looks nice." Hanson smiled back at her. His heart sank inside as he thought about how dumb he must sound to her. She was so beautiful and he couldn't think of anything better to say then her short hair looked nice.

"I cut it a couple of months ago. The beauty school comes in once a month and does our hair if we are good. I was able to get mine done. I only cut it so that I wouldn't have to deal with it in here. I want to let it grow back out when I am out of here." She smiled as she ran her fingers through the sleek layered locks.

"How are your mom and dad taking everything?" Hanson asked he had remembered from her letters that her mom and dad hadn't come in to see her since she was first brought in.

"I think they've moved." She looked down at her feet. "I tried to call the other day and the operator said the number had been changed and was not available. I know I let them down." She sniffled as she reached up to wipe away the tear on her cheek. "Mom said she was done with me Tom... she said that dad couldn't handle the stress and they weren't going to be able to come in anymore... so I called to talk to them." Her mood was so stressed and guarded now.

Hanson wanted to reach out and hold her and kiss her. He wanted to brush the tears away from her face like he had that day a lifetime ago. He wanted to give her the innocence she had lost back. He longed to feel her in his arms. He wanted to hold her tightly and protect her from the world.

"Times up." The words were like a lightning bolt. It ripped through him as he closed his eyes. He didn't want to leave without telling her how he felt. He wasn't sure he could wait eight months to tell her how he felt.

The two stood up as the officer walked in and took her by the arm.

"Wait please." She asked. "Officer Hanson..."

"Yeah." Tom answered.

The young girl pulled away from the guard and walked over to the officer wrapping her arms around his waist. Hanson took a deep breath and swallowed hard. He could feel her trembling against his body. He wrapped his arms around her small body placing his chin on her head. His stomach leaped as he felt her warmth all over his being. He closed his eyes and fought to keep the tears back that were prying to get out. She smelled to good... her hair... it smelled like flowers.

"Thank you for every thing." She whispered.

The guard looked at the girl and then at the officer as the young woman pulled away from him slowly.

"I'm sorry Alexia... time's up."

Lexi shook her head and let the officer take her by the arm and place the metal cuffs on her wrists and wrap them around her back. She looked down as the officer looked slowly back at her a knot forming in the back of his throat. The pain struck him hard as they lead her away from him.

"Please don't forget me." She stated as she walked out the door and down the hall. She stopped in front of the glass window looking back. She was then moved along by the officer.

"I won't." Hanson replied in a whisper. His heart sank as he watched his Lexi lead down the hall and back into the lions den.

Vengeance Epilogue

Eight Months Later

Hanson sat nervously in the front seat of his electric blue Ford Mustang waiting for something... anything to happen. He had been told that Lexi would be released at noon. It was now one in the afternoon and still no sign of her. He was going to surprise her and pick her up. He was finally going to spill it all to her. He couldn't bottle it up anymore. The timing was perfect... Dennis was getting married, he was walking his fiancé down the aisle and he needed a date. He had taken Judy to pick out a dress for her to where to the wedding and he was going to tell the world how he felt about Alexia George. Judy nearly jumped out of her skin as he told her that he was thinking of taking Lexi to Booker's wedding.


"Is that legal?" She asked.

"Jude, she's almost nineteen. I think that I am safe." Hanson responded.

"Wow... I never thought that you of all people would fall for the bad girl. You're so straight laced and everything. Wow... I pictured Dennis telling me something like this, not you."

"Well, she's not a bad girl she was misled and she has almost paid her debt to society." Hanson stated defending the girl.

"Good point. She's really beautiful and quite perfect for you." Judy winked back at Tom Hanson who then blushed as he went back to his desk smiling as he thought of how close he was to seeing her again.


He was starting to fear that he had missed her. Tom wanted to give her a ride to her apartment. It was right down the street from his. So in fact close that it made him nearly giddy with nerves and happy thoughts.

Hanson had gone to the supervisor of the building and explained the situation to him. He and the supervisor had been friends for years so giving a job to someone based on Tom Hanson's recommendation was nothing new. He had helped out a couple of kids whom Tom felt deserved a second chance as they were being released from lock up. He had agreed to let her live there for a lowered cost if she would do janitorial tasks around the building. He was also going to pay her for her time. Tom had been excited to write to her and tell her what was going on. She had responded happily jumping at the chance to go into a job and a place of her own.

He was fidgeting again as the doors to the facility opened and Lexi walked down the steps. Her stride was long and slow. She wore a pair of dark denim jeans, a blue tank top and long red sweater. She carried a bag and a purse as she walked towards the bus stop and set her bag down on the bench. She dug a key out of her pocket as Tom Hanson opened his car door and stepped his foot out on the ground. He had on his denim jeans and black vest over top of his white t-shirt he had thrown on his brown leather jacket as he thought maybe he would get a little chilled in the early fall breeze. He held a small single white and yellow daisy in his hand as he walked towards the unsuspecting female.

She was more pail in color than he remembered. Her tan had faded away but her hair had grown out. Her dark auburn locks brushed her shoulders and blew in strands in the cool breeze. She was still fumbling with the key as he reached out and lay his hand gently on her shoulder. She gasped as she turned to see who was there touching her.

"Tom... hi... Oh my GOD... You look so... I... what are you doing here?" She stammered. Her eyes lit up as she smiled at the man in front of her.

"Um... I-I thought... maybe... well what I mean is... if... you don't have one maybe I could take you there. That is if you want to." Hanson's words sounded like they had come from the mouth of a thirteen year old asking out his first crush. He was sure he couldn't have sounded any dumber to her.

Her brilliant smile spread across her lips as her eyes lit up. Her laugh was small and precious to him. She had grabbed his heart so easily. Why couldn't he just say what he wanted to? All he had to do was tell her... that's it... but she could say no.

"Take me where?" She asked furrowing her brow.

"Home... I would like to take you home. To your home! I mean... not mine... right now." He felt like such a nerd. Did he really sound like "Rainman?"

She smiled as he looked down at the ground and then back at her. He raised an eyebrow as he smiled his brightest "I'm cool but nervous" smile for her. His eyes caught hers and she bit her bottom lip.

GOD I love that... he thought to himself as his stomach did a flip while he watched her.

"I would like that." She answered in a near whisper. She too looked down at her feet shyly.

"Here... this is for you." Tom's eyes widened as he pushed the daisy towards her. He remembered the day she had said that daises were her favorite. She had told him that in their English class on the first day of school. He remembered how she said no guy she had ever dated had ever gotten that right. They always brought her roses and as much as she loved them daisies were always her favorite.

"You remembered." She looked at the flower and took the small blossom in her hand. Carefully she ran her dainty fingers softly over the velvety petals in the palm of her hand. "I haven't seen one in so long. It's beautiful." She murmured.

"There's something else." Tom Hanson stated.


"Something.. I really needed to talk to you... I mean... your eighteen right?" Hanson inquired.

"And three quarters. I'll be nineteen in three months. You know that." She laughed.

"Good... I mean... crap..." Hanson fumbled with his words again as he shifted his weight nervously.

"What do you want Tom?" Lexi asked confused. She watched the officer behaving unnaturally in front of her. She was worried that he was about to tell her that he no longer could help her and that she was on her own starting now. She licked her lips as she watched the officer take a deep breath and run his fingers through his hair.

"This..." he grabbed the unsuspecting girl and pulled her to his body. Lexi let out a gasp as he kissed her long and hard. He pushed his lips onto hers his stomach flipping as he closed his eyes to the pleasure that engulfed him. The moment felt like an explosion of perfection as he pulled her tighter towards him her body lying fully against his own. Her slight movement of wrapping her arms around her neck indicating the desire to continue as the slightest noise escaping from her lips drove Hanson mad with desire.

After a time the two separated. Lexi lifted her fingers tips to her lips brushing them gently while staring at the man in front of her. Hanson stood breathing heavily mouth agape with fear that he had done something wrong. He licked his lips as she smiled.

"Say something... please..." Hanson begged.

"You waited long enough." She laughed.

"I've wanted to do that for over a year now." Hanson added.

"I've been wishing you would for longer." She raised her eyebrows at the officer who chuckled as he looked around.

"Uh I thought that maybe you might want to go get some dinner or something?" Hanson suggested.

"Tom I've thought about something for about six months or so. Maybe if you're okay we can get some Rocket Dogs and go bowling or something? They're my favorite and I've really been craving one for a long time." She asked this time holding her breath as she waited for the typical "Ugh... Rocket Dogs and bowling... I thought you were girl." That she would get from most of the guys she had dated.

Tom laughed again as he looked down at her and asked, "Is it too early to ask you to marry me?"

"Maybe... but I won't hold that against you." She winked.

"Listen Dennis is getting married and I am giving the bride away... so would you be my date?" Hanson asked.

Your brother Dennis... I mean the other officer?" She asked confused.

"Yes... Dennis Booker. They know all about you and they are ready to get to know you. I promise your going to..."


"Yeah Lexi?"

"Could you stop talking long enough to kiss me again if I say yes?" Lexi raised her eyebrows again as she questioned the officer again.

Hanson laughed and looked around the street his brown eyes concentrating on nothing in particular. He licked his lips as he wrapped his left hand around her tiny waist and lifted her chin with his right hand. He then pulled her svelte body against his and holding her as tightly as he could her parted his lips and lost himself in the pleasure of such an intimate and amazing moment. This time he made sure that she would not forget the first time she asked for a kiss from the officer.


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