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Disclaimer : See chapter 1
Credits : The James Bond paraphrase is from the book Casino Royale. It is the recipe for the drink Bond invented and called The Vesper.
Note : You can thank Obsidian Jade for the wonderful conversation between Jacob and Rachel at the beginning of this chapter. My original plan had been to have the last chapter end two weeks further along in the Therapy Sessions’ time line. At her suggestion I ended chapter 4 where I did, allowing me to write this.
Note II: Depression will be three chapters, this one, one for Jacob, which only needs polishing, and then Rachel’s.
Previous Chapters : Ch 1 - Denial ; Ch 2 - Anger ; Ch 3 - Bargaining - Jacob ; Ch 4 - Bargaining - Rachel

Therapy Sessions



By Lattelady

Ch 5 - Depression - Interludes

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And then he gathered me in both his arms and, when he had me fast against his chest, where he climbed before, climbed upward now, nor did he tire of clasping me until he brought me to the summit of the arch that crosses from the forth to the fifth rampart…From there another valley lay before me. - From The Divine Comedy Of Dante Alighieri – Inferno – Canto XIX
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April 11, 2009 – Duluth, Minnesota 1:00 AM (CDT)
Jacob Hood woke with a start. His senses churned and he had trouble catching his breath. He pressed his right arm against his forehead and focused on the pounding in his ears as he willed his heart rate to return to normal. But nothing he did could take away the feeling of anxiety that was curled deep in his gut.

“Not again,” he muttered, staring into the dark, sure he’d had another nightmare, but unable to remember any of it. One thing he’d discovered in the last two years was that all hotel and motel rooms looked alike when the lights were out. It added to his feelings of disorientation and doubt.

Without even thinking, he flipped back the covers and headed to the door that separated his room from Rachel’s. He couldn’t shake the sense that she was at the center of whatever he’d dreamt. Like so often in the past when she’d managed to squeak out of harm’s way, he needed to simply look in on her and know she was all right.

He was halfway across the room before he remembered that Rachel was hundreds of miles away and the doors they usually kept open were locked securely on both sides. Neither he nor Carson Dilworth had any desire to spend more time together than necessary.

He contemplated cracking open the mini-bar in his room, but had no desire for the morning after hangover he was sure would be the results. Instead he sat on the side of his bed rubbing his eyes.

God, he wanted to talk to Rachel, just hear her voice and know his worries were unfounded. As he reached for his cell phone, the sensible side of him argued that he did know everything was all right. He’d been able to get through to Alex the day before, and according to her, Rachel was out of the hospital and settling comfortably into his sister’s house. Though it bothered him that he and the blonde agent had been playing phone and message tag since he’d left Washington.

Jacob didn’t know how long he sat with his cell gripped in his hand. It was too late to call, but one more round of tag couldn’t hurt. His thumbs flew over the tiny keyboard. As the letters became words and the words a message, he felt his muscles relax. It wasn’t the same as hearing her voice, but it was contact and it would have to do. “Tag, you’re it,” he whispered as he pressed the send button.
.......................................................

April 11, 2009 - Deale, Maryland – 1:02 AM (EDT)
Rachel shot up in bed, a hand held tightly over her mouth to keep in the screams that were bubbling up in her throat. She’d been having nightmares ever since surgery, but three nights ago, her last night in the hospital, they’d intensified. Tonight’s was filled with sound, color and blood gushing everywhere.

It took her a moment to realize the noises she was hearing were real. They were the bangs and gurgles of steam as it traveled through cold pipes and radiators before it settled into a gentle warming hiss. Sounds she used to find comforting, because they reminded her of Christmas vacations spent at her grandmother’s old Townhouse on Bleeker Street in New York City. But tonight, they had moved through her dreams like weapon’s fire.

She was still shaking as she quickly put on a long, green, wool robe Alex had loaned her. She bent to pull on her Uggs, thankful her leg brace was a thing of the past. It had come down too low on her ankle to allow for the warm boots. She picked up her crutches, put her cell in her pocket, more out of habit than necessity, and headed toward the hall. She had to get out of the house, get away from the nightmares that were haunting her.

When Rachel opened the back door off the mudroom behind the kitchen, she was hit by cold foggy air. Without giving it a thought she reached for one of the many coats hanging on five hooks to her left. She came away with a large oversized black hoodie. Once she was sitting on the porch swing with her right leg stretched out along the slatted wooden seat, and her crutches lying on the ground, she slipped into the borrowed garment. It was old, made of sweatshirt material and felt good as she pulled it close around her to keep the damp, cold wind out.

She let the darkness and mist surround her. The foghorn in the distance mixed with slight creaking of chains from the swing, as she used her left foot to slowly send it rocking back and forth, was soothing. Maybe if she relaxed enough, she could convince herself that her terrible dreams were nothing more than that. They were wild productions born from her imagination and in each and every one of them, she had to stand by and watch Jacob Hood die because she wasn’t fast enough, or strong enough, or good enough to do her job.

“Oh God,” she gasped and buried her face in her hands. “From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver me,” she muttered. It was a rhyme from her childhood and seemed fitting; since that was the last time she’d felt so unsure of herself or her abilities. Even then she’d wanted to prove she could do it, to be an FBI Agent, the best of the best. It had taken strength and work, but she’d done it. Now she wasn’t sure what or who she was any longer. What had she really proved and who in hell cared?

Rachel jumped when her phone in her pocket pinged, signaling she had a text message.

Finished in Duluth a few hours ago. Been called to a small town about 80 miles north of New Orleans. Leaving in the AM. At least it will be warmer there, I hope.
Wish we were heading home,
J


Rachel’s eyes darted over the message and then she quickly punched in a reply.

U should be in bed.
Wish you were coming home 2. Alex and Owen miss U when Ure gone.
R


She hit send and whispered, “I miss you too.” Though she’d never tell him that. It would only upset him. Even if it wouldn’t, she’d never put it in writing in an easily extractable message sent on her FBI phone. Before she could put her cell down, it rang. Making her hand tingle.

“What are you doing up?” Jacob asked the moment Rachel answered.

“Well, hello to you too.” She rested her head on her arm that was thrown alone the back of the swing, hearing his voice was like having him sitting beside her. “And besides I asked you first.” It was like so many of their late night conversations when a case was finally solved and they sat with the lights dimmed, still too wired to sleep, but too exhausted to move. Her imagination was playing tricks on her because she thought she caught traces of his aftershave every time she inhaled.

“No, you didn’t, you told me I should be in bed and that is exactly where I am.” He readjusted his pillow until he was more comfortable. “Now, I ask again what are you doing awake at this hour?”

“Talking to you.” She grinned picturing him sprawled across his bed in t-shirt and pajama bottoms or laying among messy covers, remote control in hand with some inane cartoon show on mute, sending odd reflections dancing along the walls.

“Funny,” he growled. She was beginning to worry him. He knew that she had a demanding schedule and should be sleeping.

“Okay, okay, she mumbled, giving in so he wouldn’t keep on pushing. “You know how it is, strange sounds in a strange house.” She closed her eyes and ran her fingers slowly through her bangs.

“This from the woman who can sleep anywhere?” His brows shot up in doubt. Something was wrong he could hear it in her voice.

“Yeah, so what. I’ve been doing too much sleeping.” She felt tears welling up and buried her face in the crook of her elbow.

“Rachel?” he pushed. Her tone had been edgy and strange the whole conversation. It added to his concern. She was too damn tough for her own good.

“Please don’t ask,” she whispered.

“I wouldn’t have to ask, if you’d tell me.” His words poured like warm honey over her frayed nerves.

Silence stretched between them while she swallowed tears that threatened to fall. “It’s nothing really.” She spoke slowly until her lips stopped trembling and she had control of her vocal cords. “I’m just a bit frustrated that’s all.” Sitting in the dark, surrounded by fog, talking to Jacob was surreal; it was as if he were very close, but at the same time, very far away. She’d have to be careful or she’d say more than she intended.

“What about?” his voice was soft and low and filled with concern.

“My progress has slowed to a crawl.” Because he didn’t push her, but was willing to simply listen, she relaxed her guard. “At first…at first, I was getting stronger everyday. The last time I saw you it took all I had to walk that damn hospital corridor. The next day I was steadier, faster, not breaking any land speed records, but my hands didn’t shake and my good leg wasn’t about to give out. I thought by now I’d at least be able to get rid of the stupid crutches.”

“Do you know where you were at this time last week?” He closed his eyes as he remembered the panic he’d felt when he’d realized Rachel was missing and they’d found blood at the scene.

“Ah…it’s…ah…Saturday…so…” The last week had melted together until she wasn’t sure what had happened on which day. “So I guess I was in the hospital.”

“It’s only Saturday by about an hour in DC and less than that here. A week ago at this exact moment, you were handcuffed to a bed in a seedy motel, slowly bleeding to death.” He didn’t know what the hell was causing his nightmares or even what they were about, but he was damn sure that the picture of Rachel, which Sofia had emailed him, was a likely suspect and would remain so for a long time. “You’ve got to give your body time to recover.”

“That’s what Mary Pressman, one of my physical therapists says. But I made such good progress those first few days,” she sniffed more in disgust than sorrow.

“Rachel, those days in the hospital were about surviving blood loss, a raging fever and five hours of surgery.” He wasn’t sure if anyone had bothered to explain the details to her or if she simply hadn’t listened to what they were saying. “It takes time to come back from all of that, especially when you’re attempting to restore full function to a leg that has a damaged vastus lateralis.”

“Whoa, someone gave you the full run down,” she groaned. Rachel knew what was under her dressing. She was going to have a scar and not simply on the skin. There was a depression where a section of dead muscle had been cleaned away. She’d been told if the damage had been greater, she would have required a muscle flap and skin graft to close the site. As it was, for an inch or so in any direction around her wound, it was numb to the touch but produced a deep aching throb at all times. No one could tell her with any certainty if that would ever improve.

“Not me, exactly, but Mr. Young had a long talk with one of your surgeons before he visited you that first morning.” He wasn’t about to tell her how much he’d seen before and after her surgery. It was better if she didn’t know how fragile she’d been. It didn’t fit with her self-image and she would hate knowing he’d witnessed it.

“Ahhh,” she chuckled softly to cover the growing lump in her throat. “My ever illusive husband was at work again.” Her relationship with Hood was professional but if the stories the hospital staff told were true, he’d harangued and harassed with phone calls and visits at odd hours.

“Did you ever set the record straight about that?” He asked as he turned on his side and held his phone tightly to his ear. “I meant to, but was called out of town too quickly.”

“No, with HIPAA regulations as tight as they are, I didn’t want to take a chance on getting anyone in trouble. Besides,” she sighed. “I…ah…appreciated the concern.” Something about the way Rachel said it, kept Hood from asking more questions. He knew her father was living somewhere in Florida. It had bothered him that the man hadn’t made an appearance at his daughter’s bedside. Wasn’t the retired agent just as worried about her as Jacob was?

“Do I hear the fog horn in the background?” Hood smiled; suddenly picturing her sitting on the back porch swing in the same place he’d sat hundreds of times in his life. “You’re going to freeze on that old swing.”

“It relaxes me.” She shivered and pulled sweatshirt material further up around her neck. “I borrowed Alex’s old black hoodie. The one she keeps on a coat peg by the mudroom door. It’s chilly tonight, but I’m not the one in Minnesota having to deal with wind chill factors produced by Lake Superior.”

“Hence the reason I’m looking forward to southern Louisiana.” He wondered if she’d been keeping tabs on them via one of the weather sites online. “Say, does that borrowed hoodie of yours happen to have Stanford Department of Science written in small red letters below the left breast pocket?”

“Ahhh…yeah.” She peered at the writing in the dark, noticing it for the first time. Things fell into place as she pressed her nose into the collar and inhaled. She wasn’t imagining she’d smelled Jacob’s aftershave she was smelling it. “Yours, right?” she hoped her question didn’t sound as husky to his ears as it did to hers. “I didn’t know, I just grabbed it on my way out the door.”

“Feel free to use it anytime.”

“Ah…okay…thanks.” Her mouth was suddenly dry as she listened to him breathe on the other end of the phone. She knew she should end the conversation, but didn’t want to. “It’s…ah…really foggy tonight.” She rolled her eyes wondering if her social skills had been a causality of the shooting or if she was simply losing her mind.

“If it weren’t for the fog that house wouldn’t have been built.” He said the first thing that came into his head to keep on talking. His thought process was derailed. He’d kept that hoodie at his sister’s for years and had worn it less than a week ago. Unable to sleep he’d showered, shaved, dressed, made coffee and headed down to the dock to watch the sun come up the morning after Rachel’s surgery.

“Is this another one of your stories?” She laughed softly, thrilled that she was able to form words that made sense.

“Ah....” He shoved aside the memory of steaming coffee, a cold sunrise and fears for Rachel Young. “Ah...yes, and it’s just as true as the last one I told you.” He made himself sound slightly indignant as he picked up the scattered threads of what he’d been about to say and pieced them back into a coherent tale. “But I think you’ll enjoy it more, because it doesn’t include your boss. Ty McGruder or his wife doesn’t make a single appearance.

“In that case lets hear it.” She pulled her left leg up onto the swing and leaned her chin on her knee.

“Ah...my great-grandfather, I don’t know how many greats back, was a privateer during the War of 1812. He would use the fog as cover as he ran the blockade along the coast. His sloop was filled with goods and booty from British ships and convoys he’d raided all over the Atlantic. He grew up sailing the Chesapeake and knew it like the back of his hand.” Hood chuckled and added, “I was named after him.”

“You were named after a pirate?” Rachel squinted imagining the staid scientist in high leather boots, flowing sash around his waist and a ruffled shirt opened almost to his navel as he boarded a burning enemy ship with cutlass in one hand and flintlock pistol in the other.

“Privateer, Rachel, where’s your sense of patriotism. Now stop interrupting.” He could almost hear her eyes roll on the other end of the phone. “Anyway, Captain Jake followed one particularly rich convoy from Bermuda that was carrying goods for London shops. It took him months and earned him a fortune. In a final skirmish, with England on the horizon, his ship, The Storm Runner, was damaged and he was wounded badly. He anchored in one of the many coves that lined the coast of Cornwall and stayed there for months. While his men repaired the ship, the younger daughter of one of the local gentry nursed him back to health. When he sailed west again, his British Lady came with him. They came back to Deale and he built her that house.”

“All because of the fog?”

“Yes. While Jake had been fixing his ship, recovering his health and wooing his fair-haired bride, Bonaparte had surrendered and the British were able to give their full attention to those upstart Yankees who dared fight another war with them. This time because they didn’t want their sailors impressed into service for the Crown.”

“Ohhh,” she breathed softly and could almost see it. Jacob standing at a ship’s wheel in the dark of night, with a single lantern lighting the compass, as they navigated treacherous seas. A woman in a flowing skirt that blew in the wind was pressed to his side, but every time Rachel tried to put a face to the woman, it blurred and wouldn’t take shape. She’d finally discovered what Maggie Hood looked like, when she’d seen a small picture beside the piano in the library of Alex’s large rambling house. But she couldn’t visualize her as the wife of a pirate.

“By the time they headed home, almost the entire English fleet was in the Atlantic. It was a long and difficult trip. Captain Jake sighted the Delaware coast, the day DC was invaded and burned. The blockade they had to run that time had far more ships and better-trained men than any he’d been up against before. According to the ship’s log, he waited just below the horizon until night fell and then snuck into the Chesapeake on a wisp of wind, passing a Man of War by less than twenty yards as the fog swirled around his Baltimore schooner.”

“That’s--” Rachel couldn’t prevent a huge yawn that snuck up on her. “Sorry – that’s why your sister calls you Jake?” She yawned again. “She thinks of her brother as a pirate.” She chuckled softly and suppressed another yawn.

“Privateer, remember he was fighting for his country….”

“Sounds definitely black-ops to me.” She stretched fighting to keep from yawning. “Not exactly a precedent for your FBI career, but close,” there was laughter in her voice as her eyes closed and she imagined Hood standing in a bar, speaking with a perfect English accent, ‘A dry martini in a deep champagne glass - with three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, and half a measure of Kina Lillet – shaken not stirred.’

“I’ll almost buy that analogy. Though it has nothing to do with why Alex calls me Jake. That goes back to when we were kids, and is a story for another night. You need to go to bed.”

“You’re right.” She realized how exhausted she must be if she was picturing Jacob Hood as Jack Sparrow and James Bond.

“Rachel, you still with me?”

“Umhmm,” she whispered, unable to speak or think. His words made her shiver but that didn’t make any sense. All she wanted was to stay just as she was. Jacob didn’t even need to talk as long as she could hear him breathing on the other end of the phone.

“Rachel.”

“I know,” she sighed. “I’m up…sort of…but it take both hands, so I’ve gotta…Good night, thanks for the story.” She didn’t wait to see if he responded, simply ended the call and dropped her cell in her pocket before making her way shakily to her feet.
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Ten minutes later Rachel was in bed, floating between awake and asleep, to the tune of a gently hissing steam radiator, when her cell rang.

“I just wanted to be sure you made it inside all right,” Hood was hesitant and unsure and felt foolish, but nothing could have stopped him from making that second call.

“I’m fine…in bed. Stop worrying about me…not your job,” she sighed.

“I know, but…” He shrugged, she was right. He was worrying about her, but damnit all, someone had to…He refused to finish that thought. It led to all those dark and twisty paths he’d been avoiding for months. It was easier to savor the intimate moment. They were hundreds of miles apart and he had the unexpected pleasure of listening to her on the edge of sleep. “Sleep well, Rachel,” he whispered.

“Night, Jake,” she barely breathed his name. His soft chuckle that tingled in her ear told her he’d heard it, as her thumb automatically depressed the ‘end’ button and the phone slipped from her fingers.
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It wasn’t until the next morning when Rachel woke up and found her cell phone half-buried under her pillow and an old black Stanford hoodie laying across the foot of her bed that she realized how inappropriate her actions had been. It wasn’t simply that they worked together, but he was a widower, unable to get over the loss of his wife and she’d...well...she’d practically flirted with him the night before.

She blamed it on the fact she was preoccupied with trying to get well and promised herself that nothing like that would happen again. To be very sure that it didn’t, she stopped taking his calls, letting them all go to voicemail and ignored his late night texts.

Over the next few days, their game of phone and message tag quickly degenerated into one of hide and seek.
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April 24, 2009 – Half Moon Bay, California – 8:20 AM (PDT)
It had been a long few weeks. Made even longer by Jacob’s inability to make contact with Rachel. He knew from the one time he’d been able to catch Alex awake and out of her studio that the blonde agent was getting better. But it wasn’t enough. It simply wasn’t enough.

“Damnit,” he swore, tempted to throw his cell against the wall. Rachel’s phone was going straight to voicemail, again and Alex wasn’t picking up either. He was on the verge of using Alex’s emergency number, which was reserved for all things Owen, and answered immediately, when common sense reasserted itself. His sister was always hard to reach when she was in the middle of a project. Though he wasn’t an artist, Jacob understood what it was like to be consumed by the effort of changing a thought or idea into something tangible.

Rachel was a different matter. It left him unbalanced to be unable to contact her. She’d always been easily accessible. Reminding himself that for the moment, he wasn’t her job any longer and if she wanted to ignore his calls, she had every right to do so, wasn’t much help. It replaced worry with irritation.

His life was in an upheaval and going down hill fast. Rachel’s prediction of his relationship with Dilworth had been spot on. The man knew his job and was excellent at what he did, but his overly protective, smugly superior, prissy attitude was slowly driving Jacob crazy. The doctor had been thankful for Felix’s presence. The young agent had been a buffer between the scientist and his handier and a much needed source of levity when things were at their worst.

Between little or no communication with the women in Deale and way too much communication with Dilly, Jacob was exhausted. He wasn’t sleeping well, down to two hours instead of his usual four. When he did sleep, he woke panicked, sure he’d had a nightmare, but unable to remember what, if anything, he’d dreamt. It was like that night in Duluth, only magnified because there was no conversation in the dark with Rachel to help him get his bearings back.

He leaned against the door, wondering what was happening and what the hell he could do about it. Even when Maggie was still alive, he’d been self-sufficient. Now he wasn’t sleeping or eating well. Work that should have fascinated him became routine and dull after a matter of hours.

They’d completed three cases since leaving Washington and were now in Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco. They had wrapped up late the night before. Felix was heading back to DC. Hood had some personal business he’d been putting off for too long. Unfortunately, Carson Dilworth was accompanying him to Palo Alto.

Jacob tried his sister and Rachel again, but neither woman was picking-up. “Damn voicemail anyway!” He glared, sick to death of getting recorded messages. He wanted to explain what he was doing… “Damn! I’m forty-two years old, well published, considered a leader in my field; I’ve even been a Nobel candidate. I don’t have to ask anyone for permission to…to…damn!” he muttered as he paced. Hood couldn’t understand his driving need to explain that the only reason he was going to Stanford was to resign. It was nothing personal…nothing like the last two times he’d been there.

In frustration, he gave up and angrily punched a different number into his cell, one he thought he’d never use again.

“Dr. Yang’s residence,” a pleasant female voice answered.

“Anna, it’s Jacob Hood,” he replied.

“Hi, what can I do for you?” The call caught her by surprise. She refused to hold out hope that things had changed between them since the last time she saw him.

“I’d like to see you.” He wasn’t sure it was the smartest idea, but he didn’t know what else to do.

“Uhmmm…” She closed her eyes, blocking out feelings she knew weren’t returned in kind.

“Don’t worry Anna,” he chuckled. “You can relax. I’m not…well...” He took a deep breath. It was his last chance to back out. Then he took a look at himself in the mirror and knew he couldn’t go on like he was. For once he had to admit he needed help in this department. “You told me that if I ever needed someone to talk to, you’d be willing to listen. I need that right now. Will you help me?”

“Of course.” She was determined to do the right thing this time. “Shall we schedule some phone time? It isn’t optimal, but I know how busy you are.”

“Actually I’ll be there for the weekend. I have a meeting with The Chairman of the Science Department at four this afternoon, but other than that I’m free.” He couldn’t believe he was doing this. Anna Yang had been his wife’s best friend, but she was also a psychiatrist.

“Are you coming back to work?” She tried to keep her voice as neutral as possible, in case his return to academic life was what he needed to discuss.

“No, I’m giving Tom my resignation,” he sighed, saying it out loud for the first time.

“Ohh.... oh, well then...” She took a moment to collect her thoughts. She couldn’t imagine Stanford University without him. “How about my office at nine tomorrow morning.” If they hadn’t attempted a date, six months earlier, and she hadn’t discovered that she found the new Jacob Hood far more attractive than she did the old version, she would have simply invited him to her home, but that was no longer an option. Anna wanted to keep things structured, professional and safe for her own peace of mind.

“Good, I’ll see you then.”
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April 24, 2009 – Deale, Maryland – 9:50 PM (CDT)
Felix Lee was a man on a mission when he pressed the front doorbell to Alex Hood’s home. He didn’t know what the hell was going on, but instinct told him he was heading in the right direction.

“I’m sorry for bothering you so late, Ms Hood.” He nodded with determination when Alex answered the door. “But I gotta see Agent Young about something. It’s important.”

“Jake?” her voice broke and she couldn’t get the question to form. Her attention was riveted on the man at the door.

“Not hurt, not even close…but…well…I’d really appreciate speaking to her.”

“She’s in the kitchen. I need to finish up some…work.” She nodded toward the sketchpad and pencil she hadn’t bothered to put down when the doorbell rang. Now that she knew her brother was safe, her thoughts were consumed with sloping shapes filled with flickering sapphire. “I’ll be in my office, you go on without me.” Alex pointed toward the back of the house as she called out, “Rachel, you’ve got company.” The idea that was coming to life on the dark-haired woman’s pad had pulled her away from a relaxing conversation in the kitchen. She knew if she was able to get most of it roughed-out on paper, along with careful notes, she’d be able to sleep without lighting her furnaces and spending the night changing ideas into flowing glass.

The weather was unseasonably hot and muggy for April. Rachel was sitting at the breakfast bar reading the evening paper and drinking a glass of iced tea. She turned, as adrenaline surged, making her smile and her eyes sparkle. She could only think of one person who would arrive unexpectedly and, according to her voicemail, he was extending his stay in California.

“Felix,” she tipped her head to see who else was there, but he was alone. “Ah…Felix…it’s great to see you.” The muscles in her face froze as the big man gave her hug.

“How are you doing, Agent Young?” He looked her over and was glad to see that she had some color back. It was obvious she’d been spending time in the sun. There was a sprinkling of freckles across her nose and over her shoulders. But her eyes that had been so blue a moment earlier were cool, flat and appeared bruised from lack of sleep.

“Better, really much better.” She picked up a cane that was hooked over the breakfast bar and grinned. “I traded in the crutches for this thing. But I don’t think that’s what you came all the way out here for, not at this hour.” Rachel wanted to ask about Jacob, but didn’t know how.

“No, ma’am it’s not.” He took the stool next to hers while she poured him a glass of iced tea from the pitcher in front of her. “Thanks,” he nodded and took a swallow. “I would have called, but the way you’ve been screening your calls lately, I was afraid you wouldn’t have answered.”

“Oh.” She held very still, not wanting to give anything away. “What did he say?”

“Not a thing.” Felix covered her hand gently with one of his. He wanted her to know that he was worried about both of them, not just Hood. “The Doc isn’t the kind of man to talk about thinks like that. But I’ve seen him make calls and texts and wait for answers that don’t come.”

“He was working. You were all working and I was here…it didn’t seem right.”

“I suspect he knows that, but it’s been rough on him. Agent Dilworth isn’t you.” Lee had said all he was comfortable saying and probably a whole lot more than he should have. “Now, I gotta get home. It’s late and my head is in so many different time zones I may sleep for a week.

“Thanks for the iced tea, and tell Alex I said hello. We talked at the door, but I could tell her mind was on other things.” He laughed, well acquainted with a member of the Hood family who was concentrating on other matters.

“I know exactly what you mean.” Pride kept Rachel sitting on her stool instead of accompanying Felix to the door. She’d rather be thought rude, than have another agent see her use a cane. Her physical therapy had been particularly strenuous that afternoon and she doubted her right leg would hold her weight unaided.

Later, she stood in her bedroom, just down the hall from the kitchen, with her left hand on the back of a chair for balance and bent her right leg at the knee until she could grasp the ankle. With her back very straight, she tipped her pelvis forward until she could feel the muscles in her thigh stretch. She repeated it over and over again, each time breathing deeply into the movement.

Tonight Rachel didn’t relax as she did her exercises. Her eyes kept straying to her nightstand where her cell was charging and the two gold chains that had belonged to her mother lay neatly beside it. They had been sitting there when she arrived, along with her purse, badge and ID.

Before she could change her mind, she reached for her cell and punched in a message.
Hi, are you up?
R.


She slid into bed while she waited, unsure if she wanted him to answer or not. When her cell pinged her stomach jumped.

Yes, Call me if you want to talk.
J.


She froze for a moment. Did she want to talk to him? What could she say? “Damn,” she muttered as she put the call through. None of that mattered. She needed to hear his…

“Well, hello, Agent Young,” his voice was warm, rough sandpaper in her ear.

“Dr. Hood, it’s good to hear from you.”

“You would have heard from me sooner, if you had bothered to return my calls.” He wasn’t accusing her, but he wasn’t about to play games either.

“I…was…ah…busy and so were you. With the time difference, it was hard…and…ah…”

“…You wanted to be here and had to stay behind,” he finished the sentence for her.

“Yeah,” Rachel gulped. He knew her too damn well. “But wow, three cases in a little over two weeks, that’s got to be some kind of a record.” She fought to keep it light.

“Not really, one of them should have been handled online or by phone, but Dilly insisted we go. Have you ever been to Bismarck, North Dakota in April?”

“Can’t say that I have.” She laughed.

“If you do, plan on anything from snow and sleet to sunny weather.” It felt so good to hear her laugh. “What are you doing still up?” As much as he wanted to talk to her, it was nine o’clock in California and that made it midnight on the east coast.

“I guess I lived on Hood Mean Time for too long.” It was how they’d existed on cases. Jacob’s internal clock dictated their lives. She was the one who had to keep them on schedule when local time zones conflicted. There had been a time or two when Rachel had simply ordered him to his room because she was desperate for sleep, but the longer they worked together the easier it became. She was never sure if it was because she grew used to his circadian rhythm or if he was simply aware of her needs and respected them. She had an idea that it was a bit of both.

“You never really converted,” he teased.

“Speaking of which, I should probably get some sleep.” It wasn’t what she wanted to say. She wanted to ask him to tell her a story, but she didn’t. To show how adult she was and that she didn’t care in the least what he did with his life when he wasn’t on FBI business, she added, “You have a nice weekend.”

“Ah…thanks, you too.” He wasn’t sure where that came from. If he followed through on his plans, he didn’t think there was going to be anything pleasant about it.

Rachel fell asleep that night trying to convince herself of what a perfect couple Hood and his dog sitter made. Two perfect college professors who had kissed goodnight in the doorway while Rachel had watched from her place as chauffeur of the car.

“It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter,” she whispered over and over again until she finally fell asleep and dreamt of Pirate Jake running the blockade with a small slim blonde woman at his side. While he manned the wheel, she stood with her shoulder pressed against his arm, a flintlock pistol in each hand.


To Ch 6 - Depression - Jacob

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Quotes

The moving finger writes: and having writ Moves on. nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancal half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it...The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

If I quiet the voices in my head, I would face the day with nothing to write. - Unknown

I must go down to the seas again the lonely sea and sky...J Masefield

Cinderella walked on broken glass,
Sleeping beauty let a whole lifetime pass.
Belle fell in love with a hideous beast,
Jasmine married a common thief.
Ariel walked on land for love and life,
Snow white barely escaped a knife.
It was all about blood, sweat, and tears.
Because love means facing your biggest fears


The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of...French Proverb

I have drempt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after. They've gone through me like wine through water and altered the colour of my mind ...E. Bronte

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage...Lao Tzu

It takes chaos to give birth to a dancing star ..F. Nietzsche

How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true? But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face...Yeats

Let us go, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky...T. S. Eliot

In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter, that is the day when I first met you, appears the words, "here begins a new life".
La Vita Nuova

Midnight courage of the heart...Jen Kirkwood

The three o-clock in the morning courage which Bonaparte thought was the rarest...Thoreau

Did you say it? I love you; I don't ever want to live without you; you changed my life. Did you say it?
Make a plan, set a goal, work toward it, but every now and then, look around, drink it in, 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow. - Meredith Grey

Shakespeare is easy, life is hard...Wheels

Don't try to be a great man, just be a man. Let history make up its own mind...Z.Cochron

I had a job to do and I was unafraid...Jack to John Creighton

For I dipt into the future, as far as the human eye could see. Saw the vision of the world, and the wonders that can be...RWW Hipwell

Without diviation from the norm, progress is impossible...F. Zappa

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, In a beautiful pea-green boat: They took some honey and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, and sang to a small guitar...E Lear

Sweet and low, sweet and low, Wind of the western sea, Low, low, breathe and blow, Wind of the western sea! Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon and blow, Blow him again to me;... Tennison

Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn... Keats

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