What the hell was he doing here?
That was the question on my mind, and Cass's, and everyone else who knew any part of the story.
Not that many did, and we had a hell of a time convincing - well, I shouldn't say more, because then you won't read the post.
So I'll just say this: we were shocked to see Derek on the front lawn!
Chapter 20: But You Can’t Come In
“What’s a Derek?” asked Stone, still monitoring the approach.
“Did you say Derek?” asked Cass, hearing the name and poking her head above the table.
“Derek was – is – our fiancé,” answered Kendra, staring out the window. “We lost track of him when we fled Los Alamos,” she added.
“Then what is he doing here?” wondered Montana.
“All of you, snap out of it!” barked Stone. “Until we get this sorted, we treat this like professionals! Do you understand me?”
Kendra pulled herself together. “I understand. Cass,” she shouted back. “Stay there for now.”
“No buts. The Chief’s right.”
“Enough chatter,” ground out Stone. “Game faces.”
The door opened and Bruce walked in, followed by Derek and Michael.
“Stop. Who are you?” ordered Stone.
“I should be asking you!” snapped Derek back. “This is my home!”
“That doesn’t answer me,” said Stone. “And unless you want to end up in a world of hurt, you’re going to drop the attitude right now.”
“SARAH, call the police,” said Derek instead.
“Stop it, both of you!” said Kendra, breaking into the exchange.
“Kendra?” Derek asked, turned to her voice.
“It’s me,” said Kendra.
“Oh, this is bollocks,” said Stone. “Bruce, Michael, watch him. Them,” she added, as Kendra came across and wrapped him in a hug.
“How did you –”
“Derek!” exclaimed Cass, abandoning the shelter.
“What a balls-up,” muttered Stone. “Isn’t anyone wondering how it happens that this Derek shows up here, now? Doesn’t that strike anyone as odd?”
Kendra stepped out of the embrace, regaining some of her professional composure. “That’s a good question,” she admitted. “Derek? You want to tell us what brings you here now?”
“I got out of the hospital earlier today, so I got a cab and came home,” said Derek in a matter-of-fact voice. “What else was I going to do? This is my home, after all.”
“Which hospital were you in?” asked Stone. “Just because I’m a suspicious bitch.” She stroked the barrel of her pulse rifle for emphasis.
“San Raphael,” replied Derek immediately. “Here, you want my discharge orders?” He reached into a pocket but froze when the pulse rifle was suddenly leveled at him.
“Whoa, whoa, it’s just a phone,” he said, withdrawing his hand.
“Just tell me the name of your physician,” said Stone, the rifle not wavering at all.
“Zimmerman,” said Derek.
“Mac?” called Stone. “I need you to contact a Doctor Zimmerman at San Raphael hospital, make sure that Mr. –”
“James,” supplied Cass. “Derek James.”
“- Derek James was under his care.”
“Okay, you want me to call or just check the records, I can do that no problem, hospitals think they have good security but –”
“Agent. Less talk with me, more talk with them. Cass, you want to tell me who this is?”
“This? Like Kendra said, he’s our fiancé. He’s, that is, we were going to marry him, all of us, when it all went to hell.”
“Derek, why weren’t you with them when you ran?”
“You know this,” said Cass.
“You, shut it,” said Stone. “I want to hear it from him.”
“Who are you and what gives you the right to interrogate me?”
“Derek –” started Kendra, but Stone interrupted.
“Not that it’s any of your damn business, boyo, seeing as how I’m the one holding a pulse rifle that could put a hole in you big enough to pass a roast through, but for your information I am Master Chief Mikki Stone, SEAL. Now, do you want to talk, or does Ripley get to feed?” She gestured with the rifle.
“I was with them, right up to the tube station. They – they – I can’t believe it, but they killed a couple guys they said were following us, and that’s about all I remember. I woke up in the hospital a few days ago, they said I was suffering from shock. That’s it, that’s all I’ve got, so if you’re going to shoot me, go ahead.”
“Mac? Did you get hold of Zimmerman yet?”
“No, not yet, I’m still on hold, but I’ve checked their records, it wasn’t hard, I didn’t think it would be, and what he said checks out, everything’s in there, from being brought in by the LAPD to the evaluation to him being released today, but like I said I’m still on hold, I’ll let you know as soon as I talk to a human being.”
Stone relaxed millimetrically. “So far, so good, Mr. James.”
“Good, now maybe you can tell me just what the fuck you’re doing in my house?”
“Come on,” said Kendra. “Let’s go into the bar.”
“The bar? Why?” asked Derek, but he was already following her, Cass behind him.
“I’ve got to tell you the most important thing you’ve ever heard, I’ve got to tell you now, and you’re going to need a very stiff drink.”
“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. Come on, I need a drink.”