Some time later Seamus watched as a cigarette slipped from between Bon's fingers onto the sofa. She was slouched against the back of the sofa, eyes closed, mouth open, her breathing slow and deep.
Stupid cow, he thought as he retrieved the cigarette and stubbed it out in the ashtray, she's passed out cold. The whiskey bottle was almost three-quarters gone. Seamus yawned and rubbed his eyes with his left hand, his right holding loosely to his weapon. Tired of sitting, he walked over to the window and looked out. There had been a thaw earlier in the week but today had been very cold and the ground, though snowless, was frozen. Seamus sighed. He always got the shit detail. He turned and looked at Bon. There was drool coming out of the side of her mouth. Yes, this was definitely the shit detail. And now he had to pee. There was a tiny loo right off the living room, but Fang had said not to take his eyes off her. But she was out cold. It would only take a moment, and he really had to pee. Taking the gun with him, Seamus went into the loo, leaving the door ajar, and did his business. He kept his ears pricked for any sound but heard nothing. The loo was so small and Seamus so large that it was easier to just back out after doing his business. As he was doing so he caught a glimpse of something in his peripheral vision. Before he could react, Bon smashed him in the side of the head with the whiskey bottle, staggering with the effort, and they both hit the ground together, sprayed by the remaining contents of the bottle as it broke.
Bon tied Seamus' hands and feet with some twine that she found. Then, taking his gun, she stepped outside. The first thing she did was stick her fingers down her throat in order to throw up as much of the whiskey as possible. In college she had amazed people at how well she held her liquor, but it had been a while and it hadn't been easy to pretend to pass out without actually falling asleep. Now her head was reeling and she was seeing double. She took a few steps back from the RV and looked at it. Seeing the vents on top gave her an idea. Fortunately she discovered a ladder going up the back. Leaning the rifle against the side of the RV, she started climbing the ladder.
Seamus, his head still throbbing, had been driving up and down the road for a couple hours, desperately hoping to be the one to recapture the McIntosh woman. Fang had been ready to kill him when they had returned and found him tied up. If he weren't Sean's own brother, Seamus was sure he would be dead. The others had gone into the woods in search of her while he was to patrol the roads in case she emerged. It was now in the hour before dawn, where there begins to be some natural light, making it easier to make out things beyond the headlamps' glow. It was just then that he saw a figure emerge from the woods, staggering, falling, then climbing up out of the ditch. Seamus slowed the car and watched as Bon crumpled to her knees again, then slowly onto her back, and remained still.
Seamus pulled over in front of Bon's prone body. He approached her cautiously, wishing he had his gun. She didn't move and as he drew closer he saw that she was very pale and barely breathing. He started searching her clothes for the detonator. There was no sign of his rifle.
"Now, Archie, did you pack your shaving kit?" Mrs. Hanson had a list in her hand and was checking things off. They were on their way to a christening and it was to be an overnight stay, a rarity in their lives these days. Mrs. Hanson was determined that everything be just so.
"Yes, Edith," said Mr. Hanson. Mrs. Hanson checked off "shaving kit" and looked thoughtful. "Are you quite certain that you turned off the gas, Archie? It would be awful to return to a burnt out shell of a home."
"Quite certain, Edith," said Mr. Hanson. Mrs. Hanson pondered this and said, "You know, we really should have stopped the mail. When one goes on holiday one is supposed to stop the mail."
"It's only one night, Edith. I did tell the newsboy not to deliver," Mr. Hanson volunteered. Mrs. Hanson nodded, then suddenly shrieked, "Archie! An accident! That man has run over somebody and now he is rifling the body! I shall summon Emergency Services." Mrs. Hanson fished her newly acquired cell phone-purchased for just such occasions as this-out of her large handbag and punched in the emergency number.
Just as Seamus had concluded that Bon no longer had the detonator on her, a battered old automobile pulled up and an elderly man got out. Seamus could see an equally elderly woman in the passenger seat, talking on a cell phone.
"Young man, what is going on here?" demanded Mr. Hanson. He was holding his cane in what Seamus thought to be a rather menacing way.
Seamus very much did not want to return to Fang empty handed. He wished again for his gun; he was not good at thinking on his feet. The old man seemed to be waiting for him to answer. Seamus cleared his throat and said, "This young woman here, she's in need of hospital. I was just going to take her in my car."
"You'll do no such thing," said Mr. Hanson, "Her injuries may be such that to move her would be dangerous for her."
Mrs. Hanson called through her rolled down window, "The ambulance and police are on their way."
Seamus considered his options. The old man looked decidedly feisty. He wouldn't let Seamus put the McIntosh woman in his car without trying to stop him, and they weren't far from town. The police would be here any minute. Seamus got back in his car, with the Hansons both shouting at him that he was not to leave the scene of the accident. As he made a U-turn and roared down the road, Seamus could hear sirens in the distance behind him.
Somebody was slapping her face. Not hard, but persistently. Then Bon heard, faintly, a voice saying, "Come on now, wake up. Wake up. Time to wake up." She found this to be increasingly irritating as she felt as though she would like to just sleep forever. Bon opened her eyes and caught the offending hand by the wrist.
"Cut it out, would you!" She meant to say it with a sufficient amount of sharpness to her tone but succeeded in little more than a mumble. The person who had been annoying her nodded in satisfaction. He had a dark beard and a rather stern countenance. He said, "That's more like it."
I'm glad you're pleased, thought Bon, and closed her eyes again. The man wouldn't have it. "Oh, no you don't, you need to stay awake, ma'am," and this time he was shaking her by the shoulder. Bon opened her eyes again.
Suddenly the events of the past few days, especially of last night, flooded back into her mind. Bon wanted to spring bolt upright but instead her attempt to sit up was easily thwarted by the man placing his hands on her shoulders and gently pushing her back down on the bed. This much activity was enough to set her head throbbing. Then he adjusted it so that she was in a reclining position, better for talking.
"Now then. Can you tell me your name, ma'am?"
"All right, Miss McIntosh. Do you know where you are?"
Bon looked around for the first time. She was on a bed in a small room with what looked like medical equipment. The man was wearing a white coat and there were two or three other people sort of milling around wearing hospital uniforms. "I'm in a hospital," said Bon.
The doctor shrugged. "Well, yes, that is correct. Can you tell me where?"
"Okay, that is also accurate, but somewhat more general than I intended. Do you know what the date is?"
"February something. I don't know how long I've been unconscious. Why are you asking me all these questions?"
"I'm just determining whether you are oriented to time and place. Do you know what happened to you?"
"I'm guessing I fainted because my blood sugar was too low."
"To put it mildly. You were in convulsions when the ambulance arrived. Your medical identification bracelet saved your life. We've administered glucose and things are definitely looking up. How do you feel?"
Bon considered this question. "Like cooked spaghetti," she said, then thinking it over she added, "With a hangover."
"I see. How much have you had to drink, Miss McIntosh?"
"Were you aware of the impact excessive alcohol consumption could have on your diabetes?"
Bon shrugged. "It seemed like a good idea at the time."
The doctor made a note. "You are also suffering from exposure. Judging by your appearance you've been wandering through the woods all night, not to mention wading through water, without a coat and just one shoe. Would you like to tell me why?"
Bon closed her eyes and sighed. "It's a long story," she said. Bon opened her eyes again. "I would really love a cup of coffee and a cigarette right about now."
"First you had better have some real nourishment. Then we'll see about your vices." He wrote something on her chart. "Oh, yes, is there someone we can call?"
Bon hesitated, then said, "No, nobody."
Bon was finishing a rather tasteless breakfast when a man appeared at the door of the examining room with a wheelchair. He was kind of short, with a receding hairline and a pleasant face. He was wearing a white coat.
"I heard you were in the market for a cup of coffee and a cigarette. Hop aboard and I'll take you to the cafeteria," said the doctor, indicating the wheelchair.
Bon got down slowly off the hospital bed and sat down in the wheel chair. Her right foot had not gotten frostbitten, fortunately, but was bruised and tender. The man whisked the chair around and took her down a hall at a brisk pace.
"I'm Dr. Berg, by the way."
"I'd have gone with Dr. Frankenstein if he offered me coffee and a cigarette," said Bon. "You're American, aren't you?"
"Yes. I'm from Albany. I came over here on a Rhodes scholarship, fell in love and married an English girl. Now I've lived here 15 years and have two sons who make fun of my accent. How about you?"
"Oh, I'm just visiting."
"Ah. Business or pleasure?"
"It certainly hasn't been a pleasure," said Bon as they entered the deserted cafeteria. Dr. Berg took Bon to the smoking section and helped her get settled in a chair, then went to fetch a carafe and two cups of coffee
"One cup of coffee," said Dr. Berg as he poured. "Or what passes for it in this place."
Bon took a sip and grimaced, then took another. Dr. Berg handed her the cigarettes she'd been carrying in her pocket and lit her up. Bon inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly.
"So, Miss McIntosh. Here's the deal. When someone comes in that presents as you did, with an apparent disregard for her own well-being, it is customary for a psychiatric evaluation to be done. I lured you here with the promise of caffeine and nicotine solely for the purpose of asking you all kinds of questions to determine your mental state. How does that sound?" Dr. Berg sipped his coffee and maintained eye contact with Bon.
"This is because I had too much to drink and went for a late night stroll?"
"In the context that you are diabetic and were out in sub-freezing temperatures improperly attired. And that you had no money or personal identification. And that you refused to give any kind of explanation." Bon looked at Dr. Berg doubtfully, and he looked sheepish. "Look, I realize that Dr. Sugarman is probably overreacting to call in a shrink but he has and we're both stuck with it. So what do you say?"
"Can we do it here?" asked Bon, indicating the table with the coffee and cigarettes at hand.
Dr. Berg smiled. "That's the idea. So, tell me what's going on."
"Tell you what, doctor. Do the evaluation first. Then I'll tell you my story."
For the next twenty minutes Dr. Berg asked Bon a series of questions that were designed to determine how rational a person is and to give the doctor some idea of her state of mind. When that was over with, Bon lit another cigarette, freshened her coffee and told Dr. Berg almost everything, starting from the night before Valentine's Day. Dr. Berg took notes and made no comment till she was finished.
He looked at her skeptically and leaned forward, looking her in the eyes. "Do you really expect me to believe this?" asked Dr. Berg.
"Well, no." said Bon.
"Okay then, now how about the truth?"
"I said I didn't expect you to believe it. I didn't say it wasn't the truth."
"You seem awfully calm for someone who has been through what you've been through. Not to mention someone who thinks London is about to be blown to bits and you have no way of stopping it."
Bon met the doctor's gaze and said nothing for a moment. Finally she spoke. "Do you know what the 'peace that passes understanding' is?"
"No, it doesn't ring a bell. Tell me about it."
"The Bible says something like this, 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests known to God, and the peace that passes understanding will guard your heart and mind until the day of Christ Jesus.' I find those to be excellent words to live by."
"I see." Dr. Berg made another note. He leaned back in his chair and put his hands behind his head. "I'm not sure what to do next, Miss McIntosh. Your evaluation indicates that you are of sound mind. It would seem to follow that I should believe your story."
Dr. Berg paused, his attention caught by something behind Bon. She turned and looked. It was the emergency room doctor, Sugarman, accompanied by Mr. Grey, approaching the table. Spotting the two of them, Mr. Grey strode purposefully forward and the next thing Bon knew he was putting handcuffs on her wrists.
"Emily Bean, you are under arrest," announced Mr. Grey. Dr. Berg looked somewhat nonplussed and Dr. Sugarman, who had followed close on Mr. Grey's heels, explained.
"Dr. Berg, this is Superintendent Stone of Scotland Yard. Apparently this woman here is some kind of confidence artist that is wanted for questioning in conjunction with a murder in London."
Dr. Berg looked at Bon incredulously. Bon shrugged sheepishly. "Well, that explains a lot," said the psychiatrist. He closed his notebook and stood up. "Whatever this woman's name is, she is well enough to be discharged to your custody, Superintendent. By the way, how was it you knew she was here?"
"We had issued a description of Miss Bean, believing her to be in this general vicinity," explained Mr. Grey, "The officers who responded to the emergency call realized that the unidentified woman that was brought here fit the description." To Bon he said, "Your tattoo is what really gives you away, you know. Funny how clever you are otherwise, that you would have Tigger tattooed so prominently on your wrist."
"I lost a bet," mumbled Bon, trying to look like a felon just caught by the coppers. She looked at Dr. Berg. "Can I get my clothes back?" She asked, indicating the robe and gown she wore, "I don't really want to go out in this getup."
"We cut your clothes off you," said Dr. Sugarman, "As per procedure in emergencies. We'll get you something a little more suitable to wear."
Bon, clad in surgical greens, followed Mr. Grey out to his car in silence. As soon as they were in the car he took the handcuffs off, started the car and pulled out of the parking lot.
"So, how did you find me, really?" asked Bon as they drove through the town.
"Mr. Blue knew a great deal about me, apparently. More than he ought to," said Mr. Grey, keeping his eyes on the road. "He had gained access to my quarters and apparently planted a listening device. But he didn't know that I had a locator device on my vehicle-that was something I did some time ago, for my own reasons. Anyway, when I received the call that Fang had you and discovered my car was gone I put two and two together. I caught up with Mr. Blue and persuaded him to tell me where he had taken you." Mr. Grey pulled onto a main road with signs indicating that they were headed for London. "When I got to the farmhouse the caravan was gone. Knowing you, I thought perhaps that you had managed to escape. So I called the nearby police and hospitals."
Bon was impressed. "So you're still on your own? I mean, you haven't told anybody about… about me? You and me? I mean, is Fang right? Are you…Colonel McIntosh?"
Mr. Grey took his eyes off the road and looked at Bon with that unreadable expression. "Yes," was all he said.
Bonnie, though full of questions, also remained silent. Finally she spoke. "So now what?"
"Bonnie Jo, I know we need to talk about that, but right now all that matters is getting to Fang before he can go through with his plans. Did you learn anything that would be of help?"
Bon shook her head. "Not really. They didn't go into any details in front of me. The RV, I mean, caravan, looked like probably hundreds of others-I don't know how popular they are over here. I don't think you could trace it on the ground."
"On the ground?" Mr. Grey glanced at Bon, then back to the road.
"Well, I tied my Packer jacket to the vents on top, with my shoe laces. I think it could be seen from a helicopter or something. I don't think they can do anything too soon, though. I took the detonator for the bomb and threw it in a creek. I don't know how long it takes to build one, but I was hoping it would buy some time.
"You threw it in a crick?"
"C-r-e-e-k. A stream, a brook, a rivulet. That's how I lost my shoe, too, wading the creek."
"Jolly good. And what exactly did you tie to the top of the caravan? Some sort of jacket, did you say?"
"My coat-the yellow and green jacket with the big letter G on the back. As in Green Bay, home of the greatest team in the history of American football, the Packers."
Mr. Grey smiled. "Oh, yes, of course," he said. "I should think there won't be many caravans in London flying that sort of banner."
The BCTU council sat in stunned silence. Mr. Grey had just announced his resignation after explaining how his real identity had became known and about how he had hid Bon in his quarters and her subsequent abduction.
"I have acted in a most unprofessional manner," he concluded, "I have let my personal feelings interfere with my job as director of this agency. I would, however, as my last action in this capacity, see to it that Fang and his cell are neutralized before they can accomplish their goal of detonating a nuclear device in London."
Mr. Brown cleared his throat. "Are there any objections to Mr. Grey's proposed resignation and final act as director of the BCTU?" The council indicated no objections. "Very well, Mr. Grey, we accept your resignation, contingent on completion of the task at hand."
"Thank you, Mr. Brown," said Mr. Grey. "Now then, I should like to introduce Miss Bonnie Jo McIntosh to you and have her tell you her story in order that we have a clear picture of what advantage we may have over Fang at this time."
Mr. Grey went to the door that opened on his office and motioned for Bon to come in. She had showered and changed into some of the clothes Mr. Grey had purchased for her what seemed like ages ago. They hadn't been able to locate a pair of shoes as yet so she was still wearing the hospital slippers. The council looked at her expectantly. Bon sat down next to Mr. Grey and related the tale of her kidnapping and escape.
When she finished, there was a murmur of admiration around the table. Mrs. Yellow was the first to speak. "I must say, Miss McIntosh, your presence of mind under such trying circumstances is quite admirable." She shot a sidelong glance at Mr. Grey. "I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree," she added under her breath.
"And very helpful," chimed in Mr. Violet. "We can almost certainly find the caravan, if it is in the London area. But we must act at once!" He shot a questioning glance at Mr. Grey, who nodded. Mr. Violet got up and left the room.
"If we want to get Fang himself, we can't act too hastily," said Mr. Green.
"Still, we must prevent the bomb, that's the main thing," said Mr. Brown.
"Absolutely," said Mr. Grey.
Two hours later the word came: the RV had been located at a mobile home park on the outskirts of the city. The helicopter observer reported that there was a small white car parked alongside it. A surveillance team was hastily dispatched while more elaborate plans could be made.
Within an hour another RV pulled into the park and set up in a nearby slot. On the outside it looked like a camper but on the inside it was bristling with high tech equipment and crowded with Mr. Grey, Bon, and several BCTU agents. They were dressed casually but all wore flak vests underneath their clothes. After a long and exasperating conversation Mr. Grey had consented to let Bon come along with the admonition that she stay out of the way. So she did, alternately watching the activity inside the BCTU mobile unit and peeking out at the one which held the terrorists.
It could be quickly determined using heat sensors and a radiation detector that there were four people inside the RV and that the nuclear device was not, nor was it in the car. This was something of a concern. Presumably Fang and company were putting together a new detonator and while it looked like they had them cornered, the cell that had placed the bomb could well be prepared to follow through should Fang be captured. They had to find out where the device was.
Audio surveillance of what was going on with the terrorists was not easily established but once again BCTU technology came through with a directional mike that was able to pick up snatches of conversation inside the RV.
"Set it to detonate after an hour." ("That's Fang," said Bon. Everyone looked at her and Mr. Grey frowned and put a finger to his lips). "We'll be out of the park and to the helicopter in 15 and well away before it goes off."
There was a murmur from somebody (probably Sean, thought Bon), then she recognized Seamus' voice, "You're sure we'll be out in time?" he asked anxiously.
"You'll not be in it at all, you buffoon," came Fang's angry retort. "You'll be driving this behemoth to the rendezvous, remember?"
Another murmur, then a lot of interference.
"What park, I wonder," said Agent A, who was in charge. "He doesn't mean this park, they don't have the device here."
"What about Hyde Park?" ventured Bon, a little hesitant to speak. "Isn't it right next to Buckingham Palace?" Everyone looked at her again.
"We've got to start somewhere," said Mr. Grey. He got on the phone to organize a sweep of Hyde Park, with instructions to start on the east side, closest to the palace.
Unfortunately there was no time to even start the search before it became clear from the snippets of conversation coming from the RV that Fang was ready to move. The detonator was done.
"It's not as good as the first one" Sean was saying, "But it ought to do the trick."
"That's all we need it to do," said Fang. There were some sounds of stirring, then, "Sean and Michael will come with me in the car. Seamus, you have your orders. You know where you're going?" Seamus' reply was muffled.
Meanwhile the BCTU mobile unit was buzzing with activity. The surveillance teams that had already been in place were alerted to the fact that the car was on the move and probably going to Hyde Park. Several of the agents left the RV to join the cars that were waiting to alternate tailing the car so they wouldn't be detected. It was decided that the BCTU mobile unit wouldn't move out until the car was well away. Everyone would be in touch by radio.
Within minutes Fang, Sean and Michael were exiting the RV and got into the car. Sean was caring a small case. Seamus waved them off, then headed for the park office, probably to get help disconnecting the RV from water and electricity. He never made it there. As soon as the little white car was out of sight two of the agents from the BCTU mobile unit caught up to him, each pointing a gun in his face. With a terrified look on his face, Seamus surrendered. He wasn't armed. They handcuffed him and took him back to the mobile unit and were soon underway.
By the time they were in the city it was rush hour and the traffic was heavy. Bon's hunch seemed to be right-the little white car was heading toward Hyde Park. Then came the bad news. The surveillance teams lost track of their prey.
"Damn it!" cried Mr. Grey. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then got back on the radio. "All surveillance teams head straight for the east edge of the park, there are three parking lots along the border there. You know the make and model of the car, find it!"
Next he was on the phone to the police, who were assisting with the search of the park. Giving the make and model he instructed them also to be on the lookout for the car in the parking lots and to be in immediate contact should they locate it.
All the parking lots had been covered by the time the BCTU mobile unit arrived. There was no sign of the car. They parked in the lot by Hyde Park Corner and Mr. Grey sent out all the men from the surveillance cars and the mobile unit to search on foot, maintaining contact with one another by walkie talkie. He told Bon to stay in the mobile unit. When she protested, Mr. Grey gave her one of the assault rifles and showed her how to take the safety off.
"Here, make yourself useful. Guard him," he said, indicating the morose Seamus, huddled in the corner with his hands cuffed behind him. Bon rolled her eyes but took the gun.
Half an hour later Bon rationalized that getting out of the mobile unit to have a cigarette didn't count as actually leaving it as such. Seamus had apparently fallen asleep. The irony of the situation wasn't lost on Bon, but the difference was that she hadn't been handcuffed, when the roles had been reversed. She climbed down and out of the door. The sun was beginning to set but she could still see around her. There weren't many cars in the lot. Bon lit a cigarette and took a drag, staying close to the door of the mobile unit. There was almost no one around so when she saw people approaching from a distance it caught her eye. As they came closer she realized that it was Sean and Mike. Her stomach plunged at the sight of them and she quickly climbed back into the mobile unit, tossing her cigarette on the concrete.
Going over to one of the shuttered windows she watched them approaching a low outbuilding that looked like a public bathroom. Picking up the walkie talkie she yelled into it, "Hey! They're here! At Hyde Park Corner! I think they're going into the bathroom!"
"They're going in where?" came the voice of the chief agent.
"Oh, ah, the loo, the WC, toilets, get it?"
"All units assemble at Hyde Park Corner immediately!" said Mr. Grey. There was a chorus of affirmatives.
Bon continued to watch from the window and reported, "They've gone into the building."
Within minutes swarms of agents were running toward the bathroom, though eerily silent. Not so silent was their entrance into the building and the rattle of gunfire that followed. Still watching from the window, the sun now almost down, Bon saw another figure walking stealthily away from the action, into the trees south of the bathroom. It was Fang. Everyone else seemed to be battling it out at the bathroom; she saw Mr. Grey crouched at the door with some of the others. Apparently Sean and Michael were putting up a fight. Bon picked up her assault weapon, grabbed the walkie talkie, then slipped out and ran toward the retreating figure.
There was another parking lot off the park grounds just a little way up a side street and that was where Fang was headed. Bon followed him as silently as she could. When he reached the car Bon was still behind him and he apparently hadn't seen her.
Pointing the rifle at Fang, Bon said with as much authority as she could, "Put your hands on your head and turn around." As she spoke she released the safety on the gun.
Fang, frozen in the process of unlocking the car, did as he was told. When he saw who it was that had the drop on him he smiled his foxy smile and shook his head. "You have been a great deal of trouble to me, Miss Bonnie Jo McIntosh. I should have killed you thirty years ago." He remained still, with his hands on his head.
Bonnie realized that she had bit off more than she could chew. The gun was too big for her and she wanted to get on the walkie talkie to tell the others where she was. Keeping her eyes on Fang and cradling the rifle in the crook of her left arm, Bon fumbled in her jacket pocket for the walkie talkie. Fang remained perfectly still.
"Hello!" said Bon into the walkie talkie. Just then the gun slipped and she dropped the walkie talkie to get a grip with both hands. Fang saw his chance. He took his hands off his head and pulled a revolver out of his own jacket and fired three shots into Bon's chest. She staggered backward, then fell to the ground.
"You little fool," said Fang. He started walking toward her, gun at the ready, to finish her off.
Instead, Bon suddenly sat up and let loose with the assault rifle, spraying Fang and his car with bullets. Fang also fell backward to the ground, only he didn't sit up again.
Bon kept her eyes on the body as she slowly got to her feet. Her chest stung where the bullets had penetrated the flak vest and her legs were so shaky that she staggered as she approached Fang and kicked away his gun. Looking down at the bulletin ravaged body her stomach heaved and she turned away and threw up. Her legs started to crumple underneath her and she stumbled backward, trying to maintain her balance. Unsuccessful, she sat down hard on the ground. It didn't really hurt that much but it made Bon start to cry.
She was still sitting there crying almost ten minutes later when Mr. Grey and a couple of the other agents found her. Mr. Grey knelt beside her and she looked at him and tried to smile.
"Hi, Dad," said Bon, but a fresh spate of tears choked off any more words. For the first time in thirty years Colonel McIntosh put his arms around his daughter and held her tight.
"You realize you can't tell anybody about this," said Bon. It was the next day and she had called Cap and told him everything.
"Who'd believe it?" said Cap. There was a long silence, then he said, "Bon, I have something to ask you."
"I don't want to ask you on the phone. It's important. You know what I mean?"
"Hmmmm. The kind of question you ask on bended knee, perhaps?"
"Is your answer yes?"
"I thought you weren't going to ask me on the phone."
"Well, I mean, I missed you so much these last few days. I can't imagine spending another day without you."
"That was downright eloquent, Cap! What girl could say no?"
"So, does this mean…"
"Unofficially. I still expect the bended knee treatment when I get home."
Cap laughed. Bon continued, "But it will have to wait a few more days. There's something else I have to do here."
"Okay, my love. But now you can call me anytime, right? No more cloak and dagger?"
"No more. Bye for now, dearest."
"Good bye, my sweet."
Fiona got up from her chair and went to the picture window, peering through the drapes. Garth shook his head and turned a page of the paper he was reading.
"You might as well just stand there and be done with it," he said. "You've been getting up every two minutes. Besides, she said she'd be here at ten. It's only quarter till."
"She said 'around ten' and that can mean anything," retorted Fiona, her pale green eyes flashing. She was short and stout, her white hair a cap of tight curls and the lines on her face were interspersed with freckles.
Garth shook his head again. "Fee, you were the most impatient girl I knew seventy years ago and you haven't grown a lick of patience since."
"Now see here, Garth," began Fiona hotly, but then she was distracted by a noise outside. "She's here! She's here! What'd I tell you" Fiona darted for the door and was down the front steps at a pace that belied her age. Garth, even older, had slowed down but he was steadily making his way out and could no longer hide the smile that he'd felt ever since they got Bonnie Jo's phone call.
Bon got out of the passenger seat of the car to greet her grandparents. They still lived in Aberdeen. Fiona, of course reached her first and engulfed her in a hug although she was even shorter than Bon. As their eyes met Bon marveled to see her own glass green gaze twinkling back at her.
"You're here! I can't believe it!" chirped Fiona. Meanwhile a tall man was getting out of the driver's seat of the car. He was lean and his gray hair was cut military style and he had a neat mustache. His face was craggy but his bright brown eyes brought youth to it. Fiona's eyes went to him curiously, then widened in surprise.
"Jimmy? Is that you?" she gasped.
"Hello, Mother," said Colonel McIntosh. Fiona turned and called to Garth, who was halfway down the walk. "Look who's here, Garth! Look it's-"
"My legs may not work, Fee, but my eyes do. Hello Jimmy. I knew you'd come back someday."
"Jimmy," now locked in Fiona's embrace turned toward Garth and held out his hand. Fiona let go to wipe tears from her eyes. Garth looked up at his son, ignoring the hand.
"We're both old men now, son," said Garth, "'Tis no embarrassment to hug."
And so they embraced and then the two women put their arms around the men and they all just stood there for a while, all of them happier than they'd been since the last time they'd been together.