A morose Gordon lay back carefully on a chaise by the pool. With his arm in a cast, he couldn't swim, and with his neck in a cervical collar, he couldn't dive. Or do much of anything else. He couldn't even help out on the play fort his brothers were putting together for the Barnes children. Though Scott did tell him that keeping the kids swimming in the pool was a big help to them. He kept half an eye on the children as they splashed in the pool, playing "keep away" with a beach ball. Poor Joey, the shortest of the three, seemed to be in the middle most of the time, rarely catching the ball as it tossed back and forth between his older and taller siblings. Despite his melancholy, Gordon had to smile a bit. He remembered the days when it was Scott, Virgil, or John doing the same sort of thing to him.

He had half a mind to wrap his cast up in a plastic bag and go wading in the shallow end of the pool to give Joey a hand, when Tin-Tin came down the steps to the patio area. She gave him one of her dazzling smiles, tucked her hair up under a swim cap (not the elaborate pink one Bekkah had so faithfully rendered in paint on her hard hat), and jumped into the pool. She swam over to the youngsters and joined their game, lifting Joey up so he could catch the ball and be the one to throw it back and forth.

"Thanks, Auntie Tin-Tin!" Joey exclaimed as he successfully managed to keep the ball out of his sister's hands.

"You're welcome, Joey!" she responded enthusiastically.

Gordon kept watching, noticing for the first time how much Chell and Joey looked like their mother. Terry must take after his father, he thought. His thoughts wandered from the children to their mother. What is she doing right now? Is Brains behaving himself? I wish I felt better about this whole London caper.

Bekkah headed up the steps to the little flat. She found that she had enjoyed her work at the Tracy Industries satellite office over the past four days. The engineers she taught were catching on very quickly, a tribute to the quality of employee that Jeff Tracy hired. She put her key in the door and entered the flat, only to find it dark and empty of life. She hung her suitcoat to dry in the bathtub; the day that had started with a promise of sun had quickly clouded over and rain was pouring down. Fortunately, Lovitt was prepared. He had a sizeable umbrella for just such an occasion, and Bekkah's clothes had suffered from just a few drops that escaped the covering bumbershoot.

"Where are you, Hiram?" she muttered to herself, frustrated that he was not where he should have been. During their updates over the past week, Jeff had made it a point to warn them to stay together or stay inside. He wanted them to stick together as much as possible. She went into the kitchen to put the kettle on. A cup of hot cocoa would feel good on this raw day, she reasoned. That's when she saw the note on the kitchen table.

"Gone for more groceries. Will bring back a surprise. Hiram. 3:30 p.m., Monday."

3:30? It's almost 6 now, she noticed. She began to be concerned. What if they decided just to nab him? They would let him go, wouldn't they? But then they would try and kill him, too. Her concern grew as the possible scenarios played themselves out in her mind. Could they have planted a bomb here, like they did with the Martins? Oh, Hiram! Where are you?

Her frantic musings were interrupted by the sound of a key fitting in the lock of the flat's front door. She grabbed the nearest pan from the dish drainer and pulled herself into the shadows of the kitchen, waiting to see who was entering the flat. There was no real sound from the living room, just a vague rustling that moved from the living room toward the kitchen. The kettle began to sing and the rustling stopped entirely. Bekkah didn't dare turn the kettle off; she would give away her presence if she did that. A shadow fell through the kitchen doorway, growing in size as the unknown person came slowly, silently closer to the kitchen. Bekkah hardly dared to breathe for fear of giving herself away. The shadow grew and grew and Bekkah lifted the pan over her head with both hands, ready to swing it down on the intruder.

"Bekkah? Don't you think you should turn the kettle off?" Hiram's voice startled her, making her heart jump into her throat. She lowered the pan and moved to turn off the heat beneath the kettle.

"Don't do that to me!" she complained to him as he carried two bags of groceries in and set them down on a counter top.

"And don't you do that to me!" he riposted, pointing to the pan she still had in her hands.

"I thought they might have already abducted you and were coming in to plant a bomb or something!" she groused. "You know what Jeff said. Stick together or stay inside."

While she was talking, Brains was bringing in more groceries. Bekkah put down the pan and together they put the food away. Bekkah took note of what he had purchased.

"Vanilla ice cream, root beer, microwave popcorn? Are we having a party?" she asked.

"Yes. We're having our own movie night. I hope you like what I've chosen." He pulled out three films in their cases and handed them over to her.

"Hmm. Casablanca, The Mark of Zorro, and A Night at the Opera. Tried and true favorites, Hiram. Thank you." She took the recordings out to the living room and placed them by the television set. "You do remember that I have work tomorrow. I can't stay up all night watching movies. And there's still supper to make."

"I took the liberty of ordering Chinese take-out. The restaurant will deliver it soon," Brains explained.

"Well, this almost feels like a date, Hiram." Bekkah had not missed the significance of the movies Brains had chosen. A drama, a swashbuckler, and a comedy, all with romantic subplots. He's getting more and more overt about what he'd like to see happen here, she realized.

"We didn't spend much time alone over the weekend, and you've been working hard all week. I thought it would be nice to spend a quiet evening for a change," Brains remarked. He was quite right about the weekend. Penelope insisted that they spend the weekend at her estate, where they were given an "engagement party". They rode her horses, met her friends, and plotted strategy until the wee hours of the morning. Brains enjoyed sleeping in a bed for a change.

"A quiet evening would be a game or two of Scrabble," Bekkah rejoined. Brains's answer was delayed by the arrival of the Chinese food. He brought the boxes of food into the living room and put them on the coffee table. Bekkah brought bowls for the food and spoons to dish it out, while Brains fetched bottles of root beer for each of them.

"What would you like to watch first?" he asked.

"Surprise me."

He stood between her and the entertainment center, sliding the disk in without letting on which one it was. Then he joined her on the couch with the remote control. She dug around in the restaurant's bag, pulled out two sets of chopsticks, handed one to him, and dished up the lo mein.

They sat watching Tyrone Powers jump into bushes, ride his black horse through the night, cut the letter "Z" into walls, and kill Basil Rathbone after a hard-fought sword fight. Bekkah watched the movie, while Brains watched Bekkah. He hadn't seen her so relaxed since the conference. This was a good idea, he thought. Sometime during the movie, he had taken her hand and interlaced his fingers with hers. She either didn't notice or did not object to the small familiarity.

"That was wonderful! Thank you, Hiram." Bekkah turned to him with a smile on her face and, more importantly to him, in her eyes. He smiled back, his blue eyes looking intently into her brown ones. Almost immediately her lids lowered and her gaze turned down and away. But she did not remove her hand from his. He decided to ask the question that had been bothering him for nearly a month.

"Bekkah, why did you return my kiss at the conference? Because, frankly, it confused me. You seemed to reciprocate my feelings at the time...."

Bekkah closed her eyes and sighed. "Hiram, I've been asking myself the same question. I don't know why I kissed you back. I could say that I was under the influence of the hormone overload drug, like Ivan did, but I don't think that is true. I...just...don't know."

He smiled wryly. "I guess I'll just have to accept that as your answer. I was glad to get that drug neutralized without any side effects. Who knows? I might have tried something like what Ivan did if it had stayed in my system much longer."

She looked at him wearily. "Don't be too sure you had no lasting effects from that drug. It really messed up my monthly cycle. Just hope that my body will sort that out quickly. Just as I hope my mind and emotions can get over Ivan's attack."

Brains started. He had not even thought of long term results from his heightened testosterone levels. Perhaps his erotic dreams were a side effect of the drug. Lately, they had begun to diminish in both number and vividness.

He spoke again, not without a bit of rancor, "You and Gordon get along well enough. You can't seem to keep your hands off each other; all that kissing and, uh, petting."

She looked down at her lap, and whispered, "I can't even do that anymore."

"What do you mean?" he asked quietly.

"I mean I can't get into... petting... anymore." A memory resurfaced, and she recounted it. "We were flying to pick up my kids on the way to my parents' house. I wanted to have some, uh, cuddle time with Gordon. I was sitting on his lap and we began kissing and petting and suddenly, I felt my skin crawl at his touch and I just had to get away from him. I jumped up and ran behind my chair. He had this confused, hurt look on his face. I couldn't explain my actions to him. I couldn't explain them to myself."

"Even now, I can kiss him, and hold his hand, but nothing more. He's been really patient with me. He's seen the police records and he understands this better than I do, I think. I've got to have time to get over it, if I ever do at all." Tears began to fill her eyes. "I haven't told him about the nightmares yet. Mrs. Tracy has been helping me a lot there. I probably should call her and tell her about the other night." She looked up at him. "Thanks for being there. You were a real comfort to me."

Oh, Bekkah! I want to be much more than just a comfort! he cried inwardly. Outwardly, he patted her hand and wiped away a tear from her cheek. "We should be hearing from the Island soon. It's almost time for Mr. Tracy's daily check in," he said, deftly changing the subject. As if on cue, the videophone chimed. Brains answered the call.

"Brains, I can't talk long. The boys are out on a rescue." Jeff said hurriedly. "Any news from our quarry?"

"None, M-Mr. T-Tracy." Brains' stutter clashed in Bekkah's ear. "W-We hope that they will, uh, m-make a move s-soon."

"Penny is standing by. When things start happening, signal her." He turned to speak to someone behind him "Now if you'd put Bekkah on the line, there are some people who would like to speak to her."

Bekkah stepped up to the videophone, just as Joey did the same. Brains went back to the couch to give her some privacy. He couldn't hear what she said to her children, but he could hear the upbeat tone and the laughter in her voice while she spoke to them. Then the tone changed, and he knew she was talking to Gordon. There was a huskiness there and a lower tone, pleasant and sexy to hear. Then, finally, her tone changed again. Grandma Tracy, he thought. Bekkah sounded less sure of herself, her voice wavered and her speech was punctuated with many sighs. He closed his eyes against that sad and weary sound.

When he opened them again, he found himself under a blanket, his shoes on the floor next to him, his glasses on the coffee table. The Chinese food had been dealt with and the living room was neat again. He put his glasses on and checked the clock on the entertainment center.Ten a.m.! I must have really needed the sleep, he thought as he got up to start his day. Bekkah was nowhere to be found. She had already gone to work.