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CHAPTER THIRTY EIGHT


 


Lincoln fell back against the pillow and tucked his arm up under his head. Closing his eyes for just a moment, he felt the weight of the mattress shift as Stuart lay next to him and his hand brushed across his stomach.


“What’s the time?” He mumbled softly.


Lincoln tilted his head to the right and only just saw the alarm clock on the nightstand. “Just after 2am.”


Stuart sighed heavily, he was exhausted and just wanted to sleep, only another 5 hours, he would have been awake for almost 24, just the thought made him even more exhausted.


“I’m sleeping now, so don’t disturb me.” Stuart told him.


“Is that right?” Lincoln answered. “By the way, you are already disturbed.” A smile played at the corners of his mouth. “I couldn’t resist.”


“Yeah, I remember.” Stuart replied. “That’s why I kinda need to sleep.”


“Ha.” Lincoln retorted. “You weren’t the one who did all the work.”


Stuart propped himself up on one elbow and glared at his husband. “Really, that’s not how I remember it.”


“Well you’re delusional, it explains everything.”


With his free hand, Stuart traced a line down Lincoln’s stomach, hooking his fingers under the elastic of his boxer shorts.


“I thought that you wanted to sleep?” Lincoln asked, raising an eyebrow at him.


Stuart shrugged his shoulders. “Well that had been the plan, so if I drop dead from exhaustion, it will be your fault.” He shifted down the bed, trying to find a comfortable spot to lie in. “Are you serious?”


“You’re the one doing it to me, what the fuck did you think was going to happen?”


“Well who would have guessed that five hours still wouldn’t wear you out.” Stuart told him.


Are you serious?” Lincoln scoffed.


Stuart sat up and straddled him, placing one leg on either side of him, he leant forward, his hands resting on the mattress under Lincoln’s head. “Yeah well, shouldn’t have mentioned anything right.”


“Right.” Lincoln said, nodding slightly. “So how about you shut up now.”


Stuart shook his head and leant down, capturing Lincoln’s mouth in a deep kiss.


 


 


“OK, well seeing as we’re here, there is something that I wanted to talk to you two about.”


“Why doesn’t that sound like a happy thing?” Paul answered.


“Because it’s not.” Sara replied. “Two days before the wedding, James showed up.”


“Son of bitch.” Gretchen cried out, slapping her hand down onto the table.


“My thoughts exactly, but the thing is, he was injured, a gunshot wound to the abdomen.”


“Are you serious?”


Sara nodded her answer. “So, LJ and I took him to the hospital, he’s going to be ok, but the whole situation was just plain weird.”


“What isn’t when it involves him.”


“Yeah, but that’s not all. He said that he was here to protect her, as in Lorelei.”


Paul studied her for a moment, wondering what she meant by that. “He’s protecting Lorelei?”


“He wouldn’t say why, he was being incredibly evasive and wouldn’t answer a damn thing. But I should be worried right? We all should be?”


Paul shook his head. “No, you shouldn’t. I’m going to sort it out.”


“What’cha doing?”


The three of them glanced towards the kitchen door and saw LJ standing there, his arms folded across his chest.


“You wanna make a noise next time.” Gretchen glared at him.


LJ just shrugged his shoulders and made his way into the room, taking a seat next to Paul.


“We were just talking about the James situation.” Sara explained.


“Which is being taken care of, so you don’t need to worry about it.” Paul added.


“I wasn’t worrying about it.” LJ answered. “Other things to think about.”


“Good.”


“OK wait, why don’t we need to worry about it?” Gretchen asked Paul.


Paul turned to look at her. “Does it matter?”


“You know that it does.” Sara added. “We don’t need to have any more attention drawn to us.”


Paul raised an eyebrow at her. “What the hell do you think I’m going to do to him?”


“Yeah that might be the scary part.” Gretchen replied.


“Don’t worry about it, I’ll go and see him tomorrow and just talk to him.”


“As long as that is all it is.”


 


~~~


 


Paul stood at the nurse’s desk, watching as she fumbled around with the patient files.


“I’m sorry Sir, but I’m telling you that we don’t have a patient here by that name.”


“Look again.”


She sighed heavily and glanced back down at the files. Paul was starting to lose his patience.


“Try Gary Miller.”


She looked back at him and frowned slightly. “I’m sorry, but who are you, I can’t really give you this information.”


Anger flashing in his eyes, he reached into his pocket and produced his badge. “Does that help? Special Agent Paul Kellerman, now can you just damn well give the information.”


“Sorry Sir.” She picked up a file and quickly read through it. “We have a Gary Miller in room 211.”


Paul didn’t say anything, he pushed away from the desk and headed down the hall.


Several minutes later, he stood outside of the room, glancing in through the small glass window, he saw James lying there.


He couldn’t work out what was going on, he didn’t even know where to begin as to why the man was there.


Pushing open the door he stepped into the room and causally walked over to the bed. James stirred lightly but didn’t wake.


Paul folded his arms across his chest and cleared his throat. “I’m not going to stand here all day James, I know you can hear me.”


A few minutes passed before James opened his eyes, glancing over at Paul he drew in a deep breath.


“What are you doing here?”


“I want to know the exact same thing, what the hell are you doing here James, because they really don’t need any shit from you.” She shot back.


“I’m not here to cause any shit.” He answered. “I’m doing my job alright.”


Paul wasn’t buying any of it, he’d known James for awhile now and knew what he was capable of.


“Why don’t you tell me the real reason.”


“It is the real reason.” He tried to sit up, but the bullet wound in his stomach wasn’t allowing for much movement. “My job was to come here and make sure that nothing happens to her.”


“What the hell is that supposed to mean, make sure nothing happens to who?”


“Lorelei.”


Paul’s eyes widened at what he just said. “What has… what about her?”


“I can only tell you so much here Paul, I hope you can respect that, but there has been a threat against Lorelei’s life.”


Paul laughed, it was either that, or he would end up strangling the guy. “I’m going to need more than that.”


“The person who hired me received several letters wanting money or else they would come after Lorelei.” He explained. “I can’t tell who it is, we don’t know, and I can’t tell you who hired me either.”


“I’m not buying it. How the hell did you get shot?”


“Wrong place, wrong time. I was doing what I needed to do, asking questions, apparently from the wrong people, they didn’t take too kindly to me being there and they did something about it. I didn’t want her to bring me here.”


“Then why the hell did you do it, you didn’t need to involve her.” He retorted. “None of them deserve this.”


“I know that they don’t, and I didn’t have any other choice, it’s not like I could go to the police.”


“They why the hell didn’t you… I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but why didn’t you come to me, you really shouldn’t have involved Sara.”


“Hindsight.”


Paul took a step closer and leant forward, pressing his hand against the wound in James’ stomach and he cried out in pain.


“You come near them again, this is going to be the least of your problems, do you hear me.”