Chapter 29: Good Night My Angel
“You are actually enjoying this!” said Lisa looking at him angrly, with her hands closed into fist close to her body. She was getting livid as Rick was trying to hide his smile and putting his hands protectively in front of him.
“I swear! I am not!” he replied but he couldn’t help a giggle escaping and of course Lisa almost choked in anger.
“DAMN YOU!! I can’t believe you are doing this!!!” she said and turned around walking away from him. Rick ran and stopped her in the middle of the empty hallway inside Macross base.
“Stop, really, I’m not enjoying this Lisa…” he said trying to control his internal laughter.
She looked at him, green eyes burning. Rick swallowed hard, remembering how many times he saw those eyes killing him through his VF monitor when he answered her in a bad way or refused to do what she said. How he missed these fights with her in 8 years.
“… I admit, it is a little funny BUT…” he added before she could interrupt him “… but you must admit that this went in a way we didn’t even dare to imagine. In all the scenarios we thought about you coming back to the RDF we saw at lease a court martial, but never… this.”
“I prefer to go through a court martial and defend myself rather than this! This is humiliating!!” she said freeing her arms from his hands and continuing walking. Rick sighed and hurried to catch her. There was no way she was going to stay still after her meeting with Maistroff.
“This is outrageous! I am actually happy that my father is dead and can’t see this… because this is a shame! A SHAME I TELL YOU!!” she said walking faster and Rick tried to keep up with her high speed.
“It’s not a shame, Lisa. Everybody in the RDF knows you are back and even if they don’t know why you left, they saw your return as some kind of …miracle! Look…” he said holding her right elbow hard enough to make her stop and look at him in the eye, even if she was angry as hell “… I know you don’t like this, but it is not as bad as we thought”
“And that don’t worry you?? I mean, if I am some kind of “miracle” as you said why did he leave me here? Why he just didn’t court martial my ass in front of everybody and make me leave the RDF for good?! This could easily be seen as treason and he could give me the death penalty, or after a military tribunal they could make me go to a federal prison for the rest of my life!!...” she said angrily beyond her own reasons, she even shook at the nerve wracking thoughts. Rick felt it.
“I know, we all knew that and that’s why you can’t ask me not to be just thrilled with this change of events Lisa!! You were going to be the next Admiral after Gloval retired. Everybody knew that, you were going to be the youngest Admiral of the RDF, but without you here Maistroff took the power away and the RDF has become this black hole of corruption at the highest levels! And of course all of us who are at lower levels feel that your return could actually mean something positive for the RDF!”
“But Rick, if I can do all those things you said, which I seriously doubt, why didn’t he send me way? Isn’t it suspicious?”
“Of course it is, but I guess he didn't want to back himself into a situation where you can actually get more sympathy from everybody.”
“But he didn’t know the real reasons! I come here with the intention of explaining what happened, but he just sat me there, and treated me like I was some kind of 20 year old and gave me this…punishment!”
“Look Lisa, of course all this implies a way to humiliate you, but it is just that! Could be a lot worst…”
“What about the month I have to spend here? I can’t leave Sarah alone for a month!”
“Hey! I am here too and as far as I know, I’m her father too. Look, don’t worry, I will take care of her”, but Lisa rolled her eyes.
“You hate each other Rick, you can’t stand each other for more than 5 minutes without me present. You will kill each other in a month without me there!” said Lisa looking at him, and this time, Rick rolled his eyes.
“It’s not that much… Look, I promise I will behave, Ok?”
“You’re supposed to behave all the time Rick, you are the DAD.”
“I know, I know… we will be fine, don’t worry about that, plus we have Claudia and Roy and she liked them, and she has to meet Dana, I’m sure they will get along.” Lisa looked at him and sighed in frustration, he opened his arms and she hugged him.
“I’m worried for everything, this is so… strange.”
“I know baby, but there’s nothing else we can do about it right now. I think we are actually doing it pretty good” said Rick kissing her hair.
“God, I know this is silly but I really missed you wearing this white uniform, old sourpuss” grinned Rick and Lisa chuckled.
“You do have a one mind track Mr. Hayes.”
“You made me that way Mrs. Hunter” and Lisa laughed softly. They stood in each other’s arms for a moment in silence.
“I am just amazed that the old uniforms still fit me and that you saved them all this time and that after eight years the RDF didn’t change the design of them!” said Lisa still in his arms.
“Well…” said Rick looking again at her “that’s just one of the million things Maistroff never even considered. He don’t have any respect for military regulations.”
“And since when do you?” said Lisa with a skeptical eyebrow.
“Now, now… look who is suddenly a comedian…” answered Rick and then looked at her with a mischief eyes “…plus I guess someone must behave too, especially in the presence of a Captain who out ranks you… Lieutenant Hayes” said Rick grinning but as soon as the words were out, he regretted them. Lisa’s eyes grew wide and then burned in anger. She stepped back and before she could scream she walked away again, cursing like a sailor and angry as a devil. Rick laughed a little and ran behind her trying to catch her up. He knew she was mad because Maistroff punished her by changing her rank from Captain to Lieutenant, and she had every right to be pissed off as hell, but deep inside, a certain part of him, his “bad angel” side was enjoying the particular fact that, for the first time in their lives, he was her superior.
“Would it help if I said I love you??!” said Rick running behind her, still smiling.
“WHAT??!” shouted Sarah in shock. Rick covered his ears.
“What I said was, Lisa can’t come back home for a month, it’s her…punishment”
“Punishment for what?? My mom has never done anything bad!” said the girl feeling absolutely helpless.
“Well…” said Rick sitting on the couch looking for the right words “… in the RDF you can’t just go away without telling your superior…” Rick tried to explain but Sarah stepped back.
“I want to see my mother!” she demanded, crossing her arms in front of her and Rick sighed.
“Look, she will call you everyday and I promise I’ll do my best to try to take you to the base so you can see her, but there’s nothing else we can do about it.”
Sarah stood in silence feeling absolutely abandoned. She felt confused and that showed in her eyes. Rick watched her reaction, trying to understand this girl who was so strange to him. She looked at the floor wondering and then he saw something he knew by himself. Pain.
“I see… I’ll be in my room, excuse me” she said softly and walked away. Rick stood up and could only watch her go. He ran a hand through his hair in frustration and listened to the silence. Since they all began living together, a little less than a month ago, Rick and Sarah wouldn’t be on the best of terms. They hardly stayed alone without Lisa, and the few times they stayed alone, they ended up fighting. In his opinion, Sarah was a little rebel. It was like she had a smartass answer for everything he said. She had some kind of sick joy in putting him down every time she could and not doing anything he said. And in all that month Lisa laughed and didn’t tell him why she found the situation so amusing. But now he didn’t find anything amusing. He didn’t know how to reach out to Sarah, it was like she was a complete stranger to him. A sad thought but a true one.
Rick went to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, he looked inside not really knowing what he was doing until his eyes focused on the bottle of marmalade. He took it outside and looked for some bread. He made himself a sandwich and took a glass of milk with him to the table. He was eating it, trying to think when he heard a soft sob. He sat there looking in Sarah’s bedroom and sighed. Maybe he didn’t like her much, but he couldn’t stand the idea of her suffering and crying, but he wondered what he could do. Unable to eat anymore, he stood up and made another sandwich, hoping his daughter had the same taste as him, for sweet snacks.
He stood outside her room and knocked.
“Can I come in?” he said and Sarah stopped sobbing, it was obvious she was looking for something to clean her face up, after a moment, she opened the door, her lovely blue eyes red.
“I… I thought you would like something to eat maybe?” he said a little uncomfortable not knowing how to react.
“Thank you…” she said taking the plate with the sandwich and the glass of milk and sit on her bed. Rick was surprised she didn’t come back with a nasty answer.
“Mmm… don’t worry so much, I will take you to see Lisa, I promise” he said walking in and sitting next to her on the bed. The girl just nodded and ate the sandwich.
“This is really good… Thanks” she said and Rick smiled at her, still feeling uncomfortable. They remained in silence for a long time, Rick looking at the empty white walls and not much in there as well.
“You don’t like me, do you?” Sarah said suddenly without looking at him. Rick was surprised by the question.
“I… I… do…of course I do” answered Rick as fast as he could, but Sarah grinned sadly.
“Yes, sure…I can see that” she said not believing him.
“Is not that I don’t like you, I just don’t know you” said Rick honestly, but that hurt Sarah even more, and she didn’t know why.
“I… I never told my mom, but I always wondered about my father…” she confessed softly. Rick looked at her while she looked at her feet and waited for her to continue “… my mom cried every night when she thought I was sleeping and I knew something bad happened. One day I asked my mom about my father, but she became very sad. I never asked her again… I just assumed my father was someone bad and I didn’t want to cause my mom any more pain…but now that I know you, and I don’t think you are a bad person and I am confuse as to why you weren’t with us… with me, all this time… and I think it was my fault”.
“What? You’re fault?” said Rick impressed.
“You just said it, you don’t like me, maybe you never liked me” she said feeling how the tears felt her eyes.
“NO! That’s not true Sarah! Not…I didn’t know you even existed and I do like you” Rick tried to explain, but she sobbed again. “I… I just wasn’t ready to be a dad I guess…” he said aloud more to himself than to her. Sarah looked at for the first time in the eye.
“Do you hate me?” she said tears running from her eyes freely and Rick’s heart broke into millions pieces and Rick reacted the only way he could, he grabbed her and held her in his arms strongly.
“Of course not Sarah, I don’t hate you…” he said and the girl cried aloud as she held onto him. Rick rocked her like a baby and spoke softly, realizing how much the girl suffered with all these changes in her life “Oh man, I am a lousy father” he murmured and kissed the little head “I swear on my life, on how much I love your mother Sarah, I don’t hate you, not at all..” he repeated over and over again until the child calmed down a little.
“You are very much like me…” he added now taking her chin in his fingers and making her look at him “and I don’t hate me. I love me!” he joked and the girl smiled a little “I care for you Sarah, I do… and maybe this month we can get to know each a little more, what do you think?”
“I guess… but we fight all the time.”
“Yeah well, but that’s funny, you see? I fight with your mother all the time” he replied and Sarah raised an eyebrow in the same way her mother did.
“Look, before you born, a long time before, when your mom and I weren’t even married, we fought all the time. I called her names, she insulted me several times. We never agreed on anything, but deep inside, we loved each other, we always did” he said to Sarah.
“Really? But now you don’t fight ever” she replied and Rick laughed aloud.
“That’s what you think! We wouldn’t be us without discussing about everything. Just wait and see, I have a natural talent to make your mom lose her temper and just between you and me, I like to do that, she looks funny. We just had a fight before I came here… it’s normal for us, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love each other. You thought that because we, you and me, fight all the time I hate you?” he asked and Sarah just nodded affirmative.
“No, no… not at all… as I said, we are very alike, you are as stubborn as I am” he said and touched her nose. “You are a very special girl, because you have a lot of your mother and a lot of me… the good of your mother and the worst of me!” he joked and Sarah smiled again. “I don’t hate you, and I hope you never think something like that ever again, all right? Promise me” he said looking at her seriously this time.
“I promise” she said softly.
“Good, now tell me why there isn’t anything in this room, this look like a hospital room” he said still holding her but they both looked around to the empty walls.
“Because I don’t have anything, duh…” she said but then she looked at him and Rick raised an eyebrow at her “…oops, sorry.”
“Better, I see you don’t have anything, so what things do you like?” he asked looking at her. Sarah tried to think fast but she was a little clueless about an answer.
“I… I like airplanes” she said looking at the sky outside. “My mom said that she was going to take me to buy some stuff but this has been a very strange time, I guess she didn’t have the time.”
Rick looked at her for a while and came up with an idea, he smiled widely.
“Well, I can do that, I mean, we… what do you think?” he said standing up and sitting her on the bed.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, fix this room, we can paint it, look for some cool posters, buy a new bed, because this one is very uncomfortable.”
“Really?” said Sarah feeling suddenly more easy going with the idea.
“Sure! We can go now, I’ll transfer the home phone to my cell phone so if she calls we won’t missed it”
“Ok!” She said jumping from the bed and going to the closet to get a jacket. Rick peeked inside and realized there was a couple of old jeans and some boyish shirts.
“I guess we haven’t had the time to buy you some clothes either” he murmured.
“Yeah…” said Sarah taking out the jacket and looking at it with disgust “all I have is some old clothes of that disgusting smartass Sean” she said putting the jacket on. Rick frowned.
“Well, that’s not exactly my department you know, girl’s clothes…” he said truthfully.
“I don’t care about clothes, as long it’s big and I don’t feel cold, it’s good with me” and then she grabbed a pair of gloves. The weather changed dramatically and it was getting colder outside. Rick looked at her and realized the clothes were indeed, too big for her. It wasn’t about fashion but, she didn’t look good at all.
“Don’t worry, Dana comes back tomorrow from her camp, she can help you pick out clothes” commented Rick and this time Sarah frowned.
“Why does everybody keep talking about this Dana, she may not even like me!” and then she walked to the living room, Rick following behind her. He grabbed his own coat, transferred the home phone to his cell phone and they walked outside the house to pick up the car.
“ I know she will like you” he said starting the engine.
“But what if I don’t like her?” she murmured between her teeth. Rick looked at her from the corner of his eyes. It was a possibility, but he didn’t think so.
“We will have to wait and see, but all I know is Dana is… special” he said grinning while driving.
Sarah looked at him and felt a pit of jealousy inside her, but as soon as she felt it, she put it behind her, not even bothering about it.
Rick and Sarah picked up paint, brushes, special work clothes, also a new wooden bed, bed clothes and a lot of new stuff for decoration. While they were picking out stuff, Rick looked at Sarah and memorized every single detail of the girl. She wasn’t disgusting when she was enjoying something. She even made him laugh a couple of times with her smart comebacks to him. Her taste wasn’t exactly developed but he thought that was normal for an 8 year old girl. She liked some very girly stuff but then put them back, like she was ashamed of them. Rick grabbed them and put them in the supermarket car anyway, like a couple of teddy bears, a white metal lamp with some little flowers on it, a couple of small pictures with a wooden frame and the bed sheets with stars. Rick looked at her and listened to her talk randomly about her old friends and how this or that other person would like a certain item she found on the shelves. Sarah was physically very like Lisa, even with all the big clothes over her, but it was like she was trying to hide herself in them. She also had Lisa’s spirit and she was picky with the stuff, but indeed he found a lot of himself in her too, some gestures, the way she looked at other people, and they way she smiled at him. Rick was amazed at her, how was possible that this little person was actually so complex for her age. He also realized she was very shy in some respects, while in others she seemed bold and direct. She really didn’t like people ordering her around, and he rolled his eyes wondering if this was some kind of mystical payback to him.
But she was sweet, and innocent, and Rick wondered with a little worry if the past month and all the changes were going to leave a permanent mark in her life. He basically wondered if he traumatized his own daughter and the thought scared him to the core.
At the end of the shopping, after picking up everything, from paint to photo frames and from the bed to new colored pillows, Rick found out a lot more about this girl than just her favorite colors. When they were picking posters, some real nice ones of space, Veritechs and old planes, Rick found one of a flying circus. He told her some stories of when he was a kid and this time it was Sarah who listened with attention to him. Rick didn’t realized he was telling the story of Pops and Roy and himself with such emotion, until at the end he saw in Sarah’s eyes the wonder of the scenes he was telling her about. He felt a little embarrassed at first but he recognized real attention and felt good about it.
It was expensive, but he didn’t mind really. After 8 years alone and just saving all his money for no particular reason, Rick enjoyed paying for it all and just enjoying Sarah’s smile when she found out he bought everything she liked, but left behind. They returned home with enough time to get Lisa’s phone call. After that, they put on the painting clothes and began working in the room for hours, talking and laughing.
Sarah couldn’t believed the stories about Lisa and Rick when they were younger, when they met and how the SDF1 transported itself from the Earth to Pluto, carrying with it Macross Island. She laughed aloud when Rick told her how Lisa and him really met, how he insulted her and how she was livid on the monitor screen. He smartly left Minmei out of the stories, not sure if Sarah would like that part, because like himself, she was very territorial and possessive about what she felt was “hers”.
At 6 o’clock the room was all done and looked very welcoming. A puffy red bed, with at least 10 different colored pillows, soft cream walls with the posters they bought, with the flying circus one in the middle of the room, as a request of Sarah. Photo frames, some books and a couple of teddy bears on a wooden shelf, new white curtains on the window and the room was done. Rick smiled widely at his job, feeling a strange sense of pride in himself. Sarah was happy but absolutely tired. Rick looked at her and laughed because the girl had more paint all over herself than the walls they painted.
He sent her, careful not to order her, to the bathroom and made some dinner for the two of them. Rick moved the TV to the kitchen, just to have some noise around them while they ate, because they talked a lot and wasn’t sure if she wanted to talk anymore. After half an hour, Sarah came into the kitchen, her hair all messed up and wearing an old pair of pajamas belonging to Sean.
“What’s wrong with your hair?” he asked, putting some mushed potatoes next to a big steak on her plate.
“My mom helps me with it, because it’s too messy” she replied, beginning eating her dinner. Rick sat next to her at the table and looked at it.
“I thought you have Lisa’s hair”
“Nope, my hair is messy, very straight; it never goes the way I want it to go. My mom has patience to comb it every night and that helps it, but I can’t. I hate it, my Mom’s hair is soft, and mine is absolutely…”
“Unruly” both said at the same time and looked at each other. They laughed and kept eating listening the murmured of the TV around.
“If you want, I can comb it” suggested Rick not very sure what he just offered to do. Sarah looked at him suspiciously.
“I guess…” she replied and when she finished eating, she went to the bathroom to clean her teeth. When she went back to her room, Rick was adding a photograph to one of Sarah’s empty photo frames.
“Here is the brush… what’s that picture?” she said coming close to him and picking it up. In the picture Lisa and Rick were dancing closely on their wedding day, in their own little world. The emotions were palpable in the picture and Sarah couldn’t help a huge smile in her face.
“Wedding reception. I love that picture and I thought you might like it” Rick answered.
“Thank you” she said and sat on the bed in front of Rick, holding the picture and studying it carefully. Rick notice that he was supposed to take the brush and comb her hair, somehow… he softly took it and tried to comb it, but her hair was indeed as difficult as his.
They stood there for some time until he noticed Sarah’s head bouncing a little to the front and realized the girl just fell asleep in a sitting position. He slowly stood up and took her in his arms, absolutely solid. Rick opened the bed and put her in, covering her carefully and taking the picture from her hands. He looked at the picture for a moment and then the girl sleeping like a rock and he smiled not exactly knowing why.
“Who would have ever thought that this mad situation would end up with you here now” murmured Rick and softly came close to Sarah’s forehead and kissed her good night.
“So, Lieutenant Hayes…” said Roy smiling as he came into the operation tower of Macross Base, while Lisa suddenly broke the point of her pencil and gave him a murderous look “… how are you this morning!” he said cheerfully.
“How do you think?” she said standing slowly like a cat ready to attack a bird. “I’m here, alone at 7 ‘o’clock in the morning, reading every single flying report for the past decade, my daughter and husband at home probably not even talking to each other, I couldn’t even sleep last night because of how angry I was because I lost my rank and you wonder HOW I AM??”
“Easy there Hayes, I’m not Maistroff, don’t take it out on me, I just came to check on you” he said putting his hand in a surrender position.
Lisa looked at him and crossed her arms over her chest, giving a big breath. “I hate this; I don’t think I’ll be able to go a month without seeing my daughter”.
“You will…” said the soft voice of Claudia as she came into the room and almost unnoticed, Roy hid a little behind her, she looked at him and grinned “Chicken” to him.
“I just talked with Rick over the phone. They haven’t killed each other at all, they are actually “bonding” if I may say that” said Claudia to Lisa and she opened her eyes in wonder.
“Really??” she said hopefully.
“Of course honey! It was just matter of time, just let the river flow…” said Claudia dramatically and Lisa smiled at her.
“I’m glad, I just hope those two get along soon.”
“They will, they just need to get to know each other and with you out of the picture, they just HAVE to do it, it’s not like they have anything else to do. You know Rick, he doesn't react until he has to, and Sarah is the same…” she said and came closed to the coffee machine.
“So how are things going?” said Roy coming closer to a more relaxed Lisa.
“Fine, I guess… there is so much I need to read. A decade of reports, I am rusty here, plus, have you ever seen a 34 year old Lieutenant anyway? I’ll be the gossip of everyone, this is going to be hell for me” commented Lisa sitting in her chair.
“Well, that’s one of the reasons we came here so early Lisa, we need to talk” said Claudia seriously taking a seat next to her friend, Lisa tensed.
“Everybody in the RDF and not exactly just in Macross city knows you are back, and the gossiping began about why you left and the options go from Rick cheating on you, you cheating of Rick, Rick trying to kill you, you trying to kill him and you can imagine the rest” explained Roy sitting next to Claudia and stealing her mug of coffee.
“Oh God, what can I do? I always thought I would end up in a court martial, and eventually everybody would know the truth, but now that Maistroff actually gave me the chance to keep it a secret from everybody, including Sarah, I don’t know what I will say to stop all these people” commented Lisa concerned.
“We know” said Claudia smiling comfortably “well, at lease the Trio came up with a very smart plan.”
“The trio?” asked Lisa not understanding.
“Yes, V, Kim and Sammy… you must understand that after all this time their natural capacity to…gossip, has been mastered into a real mass destruction weapon” said Roy grinning and Claudia took the mug away from him.
“Anyway, they aren’t the center of gossiping anymore, because they are in the higher ranks and they found out that they can manipulate more people in silence than just gossiping around. So basically they are the queens of any possible comment, underground, they could work perfectly as intelligence officers now that I think about it. There are a few of gossiping girls, specially the ones you will have to work with as of today, and that’s why our lovely Trio invented, according to them, what is the perfect scenario to move the masses in your favor” explained Claudia a little embarrassed.
“All right… I am listening” said Lisa suspicious.
“You are not going to like this, but you have to do, and I agree too” said Roy seriously.
Lisa listened carefully the explanations, some times her face turning every possible color and other in the edge of laughing. Roy and Claudia convinced her that it was the right thing to do, as much as Lisa disliked it.
At lunch time, the operation of the trio began. Claudia sat in the cafeteria of the base alone at a table with a perfect view of the situation. Lisa came into view, carrying her lunch, not sure if she could do this. Claudia waved her to go and do it and Lisa took a big breath and walked next to a table where the 2 flying operators and one communication officer, who all worked with Lisa now, were talking in a quiet voice.
“Ehh… Hello” said Lisa shyly to them and the girls, who were not older than 23 looked at her.
“Hello Lt. Hayes, what can we do for you” asked Cindy, the brunette one.
“I…I was wondering if I can talk with you girls, if you don’t mind” said Lisa.
“Of course, sit here!” answered Gabrielle the short haired one.
“Thank you” said Lisa and sat there, the 3 of them looking at her analyzing her. Lisa felt completely out of place.
“I… well, I know you are all probably wondering about my story, I know everybody looked at me like I am some kind of ghost” said Lisa looking around where people were all concentrating on her.
“A little, a little…” said Rebecca the redheaded one.
“That’s why I wanted to talked with you girls, because we worked together and I wanted us to get along. I don’t mind if the other people invented their own versions, but I thought it was the… right thing to do to tell you what really happened” explained Lisa, unable to even eat something. Of course the 3 girl’s eyes grew wider at the possibility to know what happened to the legend of the RDF from a first-hand source. Lisa felt awful, but continued.
“I… well, 8 years ago I was in charge of a base in the north of England and one day I was on a one-day mission… secret mission… back into the continent when something strange happened and my…planer and crashed into the ocean…” said Lisa embarrassed and looking how attentive the girls were with the tale “… I survived barely, but I lost my memory!” commented Lisa remembering Claudia’s advice to act emotionally with it. The 3 girls held their breath in shock.
“You lost your memory?” said Rebecca.
“Yes! And I didn’t have any credentials with me, I was on a secret mission but everything went wrong. A… a nice old woman, yes…a woman, saved me and helped me recover, but I couldn’t remember who I was and why I was there. Then I noticed I was pregnant and I didn’t even know who the father was, because I couldn’t remember my dear Rick…” at this time Lisa was holding her fake tears “I gave birth to my daughter in a small town, and I raised her, but I never knew anything about what happened until 2 months ago, when I hit my head again and I recovered my memory!” said Lisa not knowing how it was possible that someone was going to believe this crazy story, but for her own astonishment, the girls bought it, completely, because their eyes were watering with it.
“I can’t believe it, this is so sad!” said Gabrielle holding her tears and touching her chest.
“Yes, of course the minute I recovered my memory I took my daughter and we travelled to Macross city looking for Rick, and thank God he was here!” exaggerated Lisa now enjoying a little the fact that she was messing around with them.
“But how do you know your daughter is actually Rick’s?” asked Cindy curiously. Lisa frowned for a second and then the voice of Claudia came back in her head – don’t let the questions affect you, answer them all.
“I had the same doubt…” lied Lisa and said aloud what their sick minds were thinking “… because I was unconscious for a long time, anything could have happened to me, if you know what I mean…” said Lisa looking straight into their eyes and the girls nodded affirmative “… that’s why as soon as we saw each other, we took a blood test, look, here they are…” said Lisa taking out a piece of paper with a genuine blood test from the Base medical center. The blood test was actually genuine, but only for legal issues. In the month they stayed there Sarah changed her last named from Hayes to Hunter and to make it official, the internal military regulations demanded a blood test from the kid or she would be considered adopted. So they took it and after that, Sarah was officially considered legally the child of Rick Hunter and had all the benefits of any other sons or daughters of officers from the base. They did this before Lisa fixed her own military situation, so that way Sarah was legally protected in any case.
The girls studied the paper back and forth and when they were convinced it was the real thing, they absolutely bought the story. This was the proof they needed to believe this sad soap opera and absolutely thrilling story of how Lisa Hayes came back after almost a decade of being missing. In their minds, the story made all the sense in the world. Gabrielle, Cindy and Rebecca looked at Lisa with absolute adoration.
“How awful my poor Lisa. We never thought something like this actually happened to you!!” said Gabrielle
“Yes!” said Lisa controlling her own laughter and making it look like she was emotionally affected.
“Ohh, that bad-bad Maistroff… how can he punish you, changing your rank because of this! This was clearly not your fault!” complained Rebecca concerned.
“Well, we all know the comments, don’t we?” said Cindy truthfully “You Lisa, are almost an urban myth inside the RDF and clearly Maistroff saw your return as a threat to his power, but you don’t have to worry a bit, you can count on us” said the girls proud of themselves.
“Ohh, this means so much to me, thank you girls!” lied Lisa now thinking she was going to go straight to hell because of this but then, before she went away from the table she remembered one of the last of Claudia’s advice, coming from the Trio and dramatically turned around.
“And please girls, keep this information just to yourselves. I told you because I thought you, as my closest colleagues now working with me, deserved to know the truth from my own mouth” said Lisa acting now like a professional actress and they nodded affirmative, eyes filled with tears. Of course that was the necessary line to make the story go around the RDF at the speed of light.
Lisa took her tray with her untouched lunch and said good bye to the 3 amazed girls who were visibly going to explode holding the news. Walking away, Lisa winked at Claudia and she winked back at her, very sure that the magic hands of the Trio saved her one more time.
“Where is she? Where is she!!” said the voice of a girl coming running into the Hunter’s house.
“Please Dana, come in” said Rick sarcastically closing the door when the girl was already there. Dana smiled at him, looking radiant as always.
“So Rick… where’s she? I can’t wait to meet her!” said the 12 year old girl holding her hands together.
“She is in her bedroom Dana, but please, PLEASE, take it easy, she is a little shy with strangers” begged Rick worried, but the girl just grinned.
“C’mon on Rick, you are talking to me, remember?” said the girl with obvious overconfidence, Rick just sighed.
“Go ahead, knock on her door” he said and went to the kitchen, praying the girls will get along and not become the fiasco that was the meeting of Sean and Sarah.
Dana fixed her new and very fashionable new season outfit before knocking on the door, but before Sarah could open it, she stormed through the doorway.
“Hello!” she said and Sarah froze in her place “I am Dana Sterling, it is so nice to meet you finally! I was very excited to meet you since my dad told me you arrived! Did you know that your mother saved my life? By the way, where is she?? Ohh, but I never knew exactly how she saved me, but I don’t care, I am grateful anyway. I do remember your mother, she was very pretty and you are very pretty too!! This is a nice room! You did it yourself? Did Rick help you? My mother told me that you hit Sean Fokker on the nose! He deserves it so much! I love him as a brother but he is a brat and deserves it, I already like you! So! You flew a Veritech all by yourself? I am amazed! Not my mother or my father let me go near one yet and you’re just 8 and already flown one! It is amazing! I am 12 already, but I don’t care about hanging out with you, you will need my protection at school and I certainly need a best friend who is not an empty head!… you know, Sean and I are very popular and the kids don’t like new kids, but we will make sure they don’t bother you, plus you can always hit them in the nose! HAHAHAHA!” said Dana in 5 seconds and Sarah was almost dizzy and unable to reply.
“Err… thank you…” was all Sarah could say.
“You are welcome” said Dana and then looked at the girl with silent eyes, reading her. Dana was a blast; she was energetic and active as a toy with a new battery. She never got tired. An amazing pilot, in flyer simulators because that’s all her parents let her do, at such a young age, her life moved around Veritech fighters, fashion, friends and family. She was the first half zentraedi-human to be born and everybody respected her, because she respected herself a great deal. Cute and smart, Dana was also dangerous when she was upset, but with her good humor and easy going attitude, as her father, she had never been close to losing her temper. Of course, as any other half breed child, sometimes she felt strange things that she could not put her finger on what it was. But she managed to use it, reading people, like open books, and that’s what she was doing with Sarah Hunter.
Sarah looked at her in the eyes and kept her gaze on her. Dana’s eyes were strong, but she didn’t feel uncomfortable at all, she just stood there until a smile crossed Dana’s face.
“Exactly what I thought. You are the friend I was looking for” said Dana and Sarah couldn’t understand what she meant.
“Oh well, never mind. Those clothes you are wearing are awful!! They are too big for you!” commented the girl, opening the closet.
“I like them, they are comfy” said Sarah.
“Maybe, but they don’t make you look any good at all. The school is a very difficult place, imagine, all the kids of all the officers goes there. You have to look your best or you are toast” said Dana and began making faces and throwing away the clothes inside the closet. “Yikes! We need to get you new clothes and fast. Plus your hair is not nice either! Bangs are so out of date!” she said coming closer to Sarah and moving her hair to both sides.
“There you go, that’s so much better. This way I can see your face” said Dana but as soon as she took her hands away, Sarah’s hair went back to it’s place.
“Damn it! You have Rick’s hair, poor you” commented the girl and Sarah turned red, but before she could reply, Dana talked again.
“No worries, I will tell my mom we are going shopping now. You begin school tomorrow, right?” said Dana already moving away from the bedroom and Sarah fallowed her.
“Ok, so we don’t have much time. Rick!!” she shoutted and Rick came to the living room from the kitchen. “I’m taking Sarah shopping, and don’t worry, my mom will go with us. We need some cash…” she said extending her hand to Rick and he immediately looked for his wallet “and make it good, you haven’t bought anything for her in 8 years and I am going to make sure she gets the best!” said the blond girl grinning.
“Take this, I bet you know how to use a credit card, don’t you?” replied Rick smirking.
“Oh please, you are talking to me Rick!” said Dana and rolled her eyes, she took Sarah’s hand and moved outside the house, making the girl almost run with her and unable to even speak or say goodbye.
The door closed and Rick walked to the window to see how Dana was dragging Sarah across the street to her house, Miriya already waiting at the porch. Rick smiled widely when Sarah looked at her house not sure what the hell was happening, but looking rather, calm. He relaxed and closed the curtains, going back to pick up the phone and call Lisa.
“It was exactly as I thought it would be. I’m glad” he said as he picked up the phone and dialed Lisa’s cell phone.
There were just a few things harder than the first day at school, but Dana was like a hawk next to Sarah all that first day, except in classes. Sarah was amazed, because this school was very different to her old one. This was a school just for the children of the officers, so it was like an unofficial RDF academy, from junior to high school, all together. Strict to the bone, and a little too elegant for Sarah’s taste, the first day passed normally, with the exception of a few weird looks from some of the oldest kids, who knew from their parents who Sarah was.
“You are doing ok, Sarah, don’t worry” said Dana securely next to her walking through the hall. Sarah looked at Dana trying to figure out this girl that almost hadn't left her side since the day before. She liked her, she actually made her laugh, but it was all so fast that Sarah couldn’t adapt to it just yet.
The shopping day went well. Sarah really thought she was going end up looking like a doll but Dana respected her taste and just… fixed it a little. Clothes of her size, less dark and more bright. Not as baggy as the old ones, but not a second skin either. Long enough to cover her but not as much to seem like she was wearing a bag. She felt rather good in these new clothes, especially because they were hers and Sarah actually liked the face of Rick in the morning when he saw her, it simply made her feel good.
Using a couple of clips that put her bangs to both sides until her hair was long enough to put them behind her ears, Sarah was actually showing her pretty face to the world but made her feel a little insecure. But nobody laughed at her or bothered her, until Dana had to go to her class and leave the girl in the hands of Sean Fokker.
“Hello Stick!” said the boy walking like he owned the place. Even thought Sean was just 8, there were even older girls, from Dana’s classroom who had a crush on the arrogant boy. Sean inherited Roy Fokker’s charm with women, plus the brains of his mother. A strange mix in a boy. Brains and looks, obviously making him impossible. Sarah looked at him trying to control her anger when another boy, a chubby one and one of Sean’s sidekicks began bother her. “Stick, Stick, you are a stick!” but before Sarah lost it for good, Sean stopped him.
“That, Richard, is a nickname just for my own personal entertainment or in words you actually can understand: I’m the only one who will call her that, are we clear?”
“Yes sir!” answered the chubby boy saluting him. Sarah just raised an eyebrow and Sean grinned at her.
“Don’t worry Stick, Dana already told me I have to take care you of here” said Sean taking a seat next to her and putting his feet over the table carefree.
“I don’t need your help” murmured Sarah, looking for her books.
“Of course you do. Everybody wants a piece of Fokker” he said relaxing and stretching like a cat.
“Shut up Sean or I will hit you again” said Sarah looking at him seriously.
“You can’t here, because anything you do here, it will go directly to your parents and if I remember correctly, your mother told you to behave, Am I right?” he said in a soft voice just for Sarah to hear
“God help you Sean, don’t bother me, and I mean it!” she said in the same tone, counting to a hundred.
“Or you what? You will crush my house with Rick’s Veritech? Ohh, I forgot, you already did that!” he said mocking her.
Sarah stood up ready to hit him when the teacher came and everybody stood up in a formal way. After the morning greetings, Sarah had to introduce herself to the class and everything was forgotten. Sean in his seat answered every single question the teacher ansked, and with a charming smile, even the teacher melted with this “cute boy”, while Sarah looked at him and wanted to puke.
The days passed fast and so did the weeks. Rick with the help of Max and Vanessa found a way to go into the base with Sarah so she could see Lisa. Both, mother and daughter enjoyed the few stolen minutes from Maistroff’s punishment, but it was good for them. Lisa was amazed at Sarah’s transformation, not just her clothes but also something in her attitude. She was slowly but firmly becoming more easy going, and between the help of Dana and the constant bothering of Sean, she was starting to become her old self, but in a better way. Lisa and Sarah missed each other terribly, but the time that Rick could spend with her, alone, helped their relationship tremendously. They talked a lot, and played a lot too. Rick found out Sarah had a thing for video games so every day after school he took her to play with him. At first she was lousy, but with time she got better and Rick actually enjoyed some of her combat movements. After that, they went home, and Sean come to help her with her homework, a routine created by Claudia who made Sean go to help or he wasn’t going to get any desert for the rest of the year. Dana soon joined the daily meeting and the three of them worked together. Sean of course could even do Dana’s homework and found it ridiculously easy and behind all the fighting, Sarah actually recovered the lost time and caught up with the rest of her class in no time.
After one month, Lisa came back home one night to find Sarah, Sean and Dana sitting in the living room, books everywhere while Rick was making dinner in the kitchen. The moment Sarah saw her mother she jumped and crossed the space between them and hugged her mother to the point where Lisa almost lost her balance. Sarah cried in happiness in her arms and Lisa could not hold her emotions either.
“Dad!! Mom is here!!” shouted Sarah at the top of her lungs, and Sean and Dana looked at each other and smiled softly. For the first time Sarah called Rick “dad” without thinking and they knew that was a good sign.
Rick came running from the kitchen for both, the name Sarah called him and the news that Lisa was finally there. In that month Rick could see Lisa more often than Sarah, but he missed her terribly too. When mother and daughter ended their hug, it was time for Rick to hold Lisa in his arms and kiss her deeply. They had to stop when 3 annoying children made disgusting noises.
“Eww, you two are just like my parents, save it for the bedroom” said Dana looking around and Rick and Lisa turned every shade of red.
“Yes Rick, don’t be rude, there are kids in the room” joked Sean standing up and taking his books.
Lisa quickly recognized Dana and couldn’t stop herself when she hugged her with tenderness. Dana let Lisa hold her and “read her” the same way she did with Sarah.
“You went through a lot, but you are home now” said the wise girl touching Lisa’s cheek the same way Lisa touched her when she was a baby. “You will be all right” finished the girl and gave Lisa a kiss in her cheek.
“Ohh, c’mon, let the Hunters have their time together Dana, we are out of here. See you tomorrow Stick” said Sean grinning from ear to ear, obviously happy for them.
“See you” replied Sarah not even caring for the nickname and both kids walked away, but before Sean was out, Rick messed up his hair “Watch the hair, Hunter!” said the boy apparently angry then he fixed it on his way to his house, next door.
“A lot of things happened” commented Lisa holding a sleeping Sarah in her arms. Rick was next to her, telling her all their adventures while she was out.
“Yes, but I certainly had the most important one today, when she called me dad” said Rick emotionally looking at Sarah and moving her hair away from her face. Lisa looked at him and simply felt joy.
“You like her now?” asked Lisa already knowing the answer.
“Oh no, I don’t like her. I am absolutely crazy about her” said Rick watching his daughter.
“Good, because I think it is mutual” murmured Lisa, suddenly feeling a little sleepy.
“Of course! We are the Hunters, everybody loves us!” said Rick standing up and taking Sarah to her bedroom. Lisa waited in the doorframe, watching how tenderly Rick covered her and kissed her goodnight.
“You are becoming soft in your old age, Hunter” said Lisa putting her arms behind his neck and kissing him softly on the lips after he closed the door of Sarah’s bedroom.
“Don’t tempt me, Hayes” commented Rick next to her lips and they kissed long and deep the way they were wanting the whole month.
“Gosh I missed you woman” said Rick trying to control himself.
“I missed you too” confessed Lisa resting her head in his shoulder.
They stood there for a while, just feeling the warmth of each other and how much they missed being like this.
“Do you think we can sleep together tonight?” said Rick into her hair and Lisa tensed a little.
“Rick…it’s been a while since we…”
“I mean “sleep” Lisa. You do have a one-track mind, don’t you?” he joked and Lisa turned red.
“I guess, I don’t think Sarah will bother if she came into our bedroom and see us tomorrow, right?” asked Lisa still a little nervous.
“Nah, she won’t” he said surely and Lisa smiled a little.
“Can I carry you to your bedroom Mrs. Hunter?” he said suddenly lifting her in his arms.
“You may Mr. Hayes” said Lisa kicking her white high hills in her way. Rick closed the door and they soon were sleeping soundly in each other arms, feeling just fine.
A lone figure stood outside the house, hiding in the shadows. The face of the man was analyzing every step she took since left the Base he could not enter. But he knew. He knew she was back, even when his brother left him alone in pursuit of a normal life with someone who, in his opinion, was not worth it. But nothing of that mattered anymore, he spent every day tracking her and it was very convenient that she was back in town, within his reach. Green eyes sparked evilly in the night and a perfect white smile, cold as the ice was visible. This was their house. Now he knew where to attack her, when the moment arrived.
Jake left the neighborhood and gave the small house a last look considering his future actions, feeling a rush of energy go through him. The hunt began again.
At the same time, a young Dana Sterling opened her eyes suddenly holding a silent scream. Her forehead sweated profusely and her heart was pumping fast, all her senses alert, like her instincts were trying to warn her of a danger she could not see.
To be continued….
YEY!! I finish another chapter! I know, I know…it’s been a LOOOOONG time since I update, I don’t have any excuse, I was just not…inspired.
But thanks to GPPR and her amazing birthday present for me (you can see both draws in the website of Bittersweet Destiny: fanfics.cl/bd) I got the inspiration I needed so much!
I want to thank each and every one of you my dear readers, from those who just read and don’t reply and to those who actually take the time to write me a line, my deepest thanks for everything.
This chapter is dedicated with all my love to Dwparsnip (thanks for beta me and fix my 400 mistakes…) and his future baby already on her or his way, Jo, GPPR, William Wallace III and the whole gang of DYRL forum.
I went easy in this chapter with you guys, more relax and a couple of nice warm laughs… but don’t get use to this. Considered it, the calm before the storm (muahahahaha).
What I promise is this: I will “try” to update more often. *hugs*