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Fanfiction: Angel Wolf - Part I

Fandom: Airwolf
Summary: Ten years after the death of Dominic Santini, Michael's daughter goes missing and Hawke is called back into action. 
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Hawke/Caitlin.  Michael/Marella.  Saint John/Jo.  Mike/Sarah.  Sequel to The Lost Season and Finding Family series.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.


Angel Wolf

Part 1

The pilot was trying desperately to evade capture as he weaved side to side over the valley floor but the aircraft chasing him kept with him through every twist and turn. He was a good pilot; confident, assured, experienced. He’d gotten in the cockpit to make his escape in the complete belief that he would be able to outrun his opponents. His hand tightened on the stick as he made another attempt to lose the helicopter tailing him.

Left, bank a little, left again, right; more speed around the next turning.

His eyes crept to the package on the seat next to him; a briefcase full of secrets; one he’d stolen. How had they found him so fast? It was supposed to have been a covert operation. He dragged his attention back to the flight; another adjustment to keep the wolf from his door a little longer.

He dropped and pulled back letting them overshoot him. His fingers hit the trigger on the missile. He didn’t watch it career away from him; he turned immediately and dived again, heading for a maze of rocky hills that he could hide in for a while. He didn’t see whether the missile hit its target or whether it was easily disposed of by a sunburst. He swung his small chopper into the space between two high rocks and waited; hovering. His heart pounded in the tense silence of the cockpit.


There was nothing. He closed his eyes briefly in relief and smiled. He was good. He rolled his shoulders, trying to lose the tight knots that had built up in the chase and opened his eyes. He froze; the breath caught in a strangled cry of disbelief in his throat.

The sleek black shape of the helicopter chasing him was right in front; the pilots were shadowy figures behind the almost opaque windshield. As a pilot he couldn’t help but appreciate the beauty of the machine in front of him; the sharp, angular nose; sleek black body with a white underbelly. The way the sun played on the black armour; the way it glinted off the large rotors. Her chain guns were out; the ADF pods deployed – evidence that she was in combat mode.


He knew her codename; it was all over the documents in the briefcase. Airwolf was the world’s only mach capable class of helicopter with only three in existence; one in production and two operational. The original had apparently been decommissioned years before and nobody knew what had become of the ship. There were rumours that the machines were living creatures; artificially intelligent. The sceptic in him decried that and credited her abilities instead to her pilots. As a pilot himself he could admire the design and he hungered to fly her; as a man he recognised a predator.

Flight or fight? He’d tried running…he wet his lips and hit the trigger. He felt the missile deploy in the tremor of his own aircraft.

Bullets spat out from the helicopter as the chain guns responded; the missile blew up in front of him. He didn’t see the counter-missile from his opponent flying throw the fire and smoke; didn’t see it until it was too late.

He gave a cry and threw up his hands.

It was over.


Stringfellow Hawke narrowed his blue eyes at the falling wreckage of the burning helicopter and slowly turned Airwolf around to face away from the sight. Damn it, he thought tiredly. He was getting too old for chases all over Devil’s Anvil with idiots who thought they could steal Airwolf’s secrets. He resettled in his seat and nodded at the woman sitting next to him in the counter-measure specialist chair.

‘Contact the base.’ He ordered gruffly. ‘Report and get a clean-up crew out here.’

Captain Anna Garrison nodded and immediately started to press the buttons to connect Airwolf with Red Star, the base of operations.

‘Are we heading home?’

Hawke glanced over his shoulder at the young man at the engineer’s console at the back of the aircraft. His lips twitched. His brother, Seb, was looking back at him with a hopeful expression. ‘We have to stay until the cleaners get here.’ He reminded him. Hawke turned back to the open blue sky and his thumb hovered over the turbo button as though tempted to leave despite his words.

‘Right.’ Seb said disappointed.

Anna glanced over at Hawke before turning back to Seb with a wry grin. ‘What’s the matter, Seb? You got a hot date?’

‘As a matter of fact, I have.’ Seb retorted.

‘Gillian, right?’ Anna commented with laughter in her voice. ‘The one who likes purple?’

Seb glared at her and she stuck out her tongue.

‘Kids.’ Hawke warned them with a sigh.

‘Sorry, boss.’ Anna immediately turned back to the controls, competently taking inventory of their remaining armament.

Hawke silently gave thanks for the brunette’s military training that had programmed her to respond to orders. He glanced back at Seb and was pleased to see that his younger brother was busily working at his own terminal.

The incoming communications channel began to beep insistently.

Anna looked at Hawke who nodded with a sigh. She pressed the requisite buttons and the noise ceased as the video flared into life. The monitor filled with a familiar image. A man sitting in a white leather chair; three-piece white suit, silk white tie knotted perfectly, wire-frame glasses and a black eye patch over one eye.

‘ Archangel.’ Anna gazed respectively at the image of Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III.

He had never been able to shake the codename and he simply acknowledged Anna with a brief nod before his gaze moved his old friend. His good eye warmed. ‘Hawke.’

‘Michael.’ Hawke replied, wondering how it was that Michael didn’t seem to age at all. The only sign seemed to be a few more lines around the eyes and a little more weight. Hawke was pleased that he kept his own body in physical shape; he had to for his job but keeping in shape didn’t stop the tell-tale streaks of grey from creeping in at his temples.

‘I hear Denubry is toast.’ Michael sat back, almost lounging in his chair as his finger stroked over the silvery moustache that adorned his upper lip.

‘Yeah.’ Hawke replied with characteristic succinctness.

Michael’s lips twitched at the lack of information. ‘I take it he didn’t get any opportunity to pass on the information he acquired.’

‘No.’ Hawke answered.

‘No.’ Michael repeated. ‘Just no?’ He asked with unhidden amusement at Hawke’s disgruntlement.

Hawke stared back at him without replying. He was only in Airwolf as a favour to Michael. His days of doing missions were supposed to be over; he’d decommissioned himself at the same time as the original ship. He could feel the slip in his flying skills even if others claimed not to notice the slight decay on his reaction times. Hell, Denubry would never have got a missile off at him like he had in the chase back in the days when Hawke had flown Airwolf with his late mentor, Dominic Santini.

Michael had offered him a new role in the Airwolf programme; oversight of the Airwolf test programme. Hawke also inputted into mission strategy when asked and helped out with the flight instruction; Hawke’s wife, Caitlin, was the chief training instructor for the new crews. The eclectic mix of responsibility suited him. He still got to fly but performing missions was rare. Neither he nor Caitlin had wanted to keep risking their lives after the birth of their second child. But occasionally, very occasionally, Michael would ask him for a favour like he had that morning.

‘Marella says the clean up crew should be with you shortly.’ Michael confirmed, referring to his own wife who helped him with day to day operational support for the entire programme. ‘And, Hawke?’

Hawke looked back at him.

‘Thank you.’

Hawke nodded. He waited a beat and relented, unbending at the sincere appreciation in Michael’s voice. ‘You coming over for dinner?’

‘Wouldn’t miss it.’ Michael smiled at him. ‘I’ll see you later.’

The monitor went blank; Anna closed the channel.

‘I’m picking up a helicopter coming in from the East.’ Seb noted. ‘It’s sending identification. Confirmed. It’s the cleaners.’

Hawke breathed out slowly. Marella was always as good as her word. ‘Great.’ He was already turning the ship around. ‘Let’s go home.’

‘Turbos.’ Seb said happily.

Hawke’s thumb hit the button and Airwolf shot forward through the clear blue sky.

Part 2

The last notes of cello music drifted over the clearing and up into the sky. Hawke lowered his bow and looked up at the eagles gliding on the breeze. He got to his feet, relaxed after his playing. The dog by his side lifted his head expectantly and Hawke reached down to ruffle the mutt’s fur. Bit was a strange mix of breeds that Hawke had given up trying to identify. Hawke hadn’t been minded to get another one when his old dog, Tet, had passed away and the dog had originally been rescued from an animal shelter as a present for his son’s eighth birthday. But as soon as Bit had laid eyes on Hawke he’d latched on and Nicky had generously told his father that the dog was his. Hawke had appreciated his son’s gesture not least because it was evident that he and Bit suited each other. The mutt was a worthy successor to Tet, Hawke mused as he made his way back into the welcoming cabin he and his family called home.

He rested the bow and cello by the front door and made his way to the wooden bench. His eyes ran over the woman sat there keeping an eye on their children playing catch in the clearing. His eyes ran over the way her short copper hair shimmered in the last of the sun and gave her creamy skin with its riot of freckles, a golden glow. He leaned down and kissed her before he sat, sliding an arm around her shoulders. She had always been slim but her body had softened with the curves motherhood had bestowed on her and he registered them as she nestled into his side. He couldn’t remember why he’d resisted falling in love with her; something to do with fearing he would lose her, he thought absently.

He had fallen immensely in like with the straight-as-an-arrow Texas Highway Patrol cop who has saved his life; who had come after him and somehow wangled her way into his life before he had even realised she was there. She’d been shot before he had realised how deep his feelings ran; before they had made the progression from friends to lovers and ultimately to marriage. They’d been married ten years and Hawke thanked God for Caitlin every day and for their two children.

His attention moved to the two small figures. They were both a strange mix of him and Caitlin. Nine year old Nicky had inherited Hawke’s looks; the shape of his face, the cheekbones and lips – even his eyes were the same colour blue, but Caitlin could be seen in the glints of red in the mink brown hair; in the freckles that covered his nose. In contrast six year old, Amelia had inherited her mother’s pixie looks with the red hair and the temper that went with it. She had Hawke’s eyes though; his chin. Both his kids were smart; both were fighters.

Hawke rubbed his chest as a wave of emotion caught hold of his heart; a strange mixture of surprise, pride and love that they were his and yet very much their own people. Nicky might have looked like Hawke but he was outgoing and friendly where Hawke was taciturn and a loner. Amelia was more like him; introverted and musical, and even at eight she was fiercely loyal to her small group of close friends. A sound teased his hearing and, as though they had synchronised the action, Hawke and his two children turned their heads to the sky at the same moment.

‘Michael?’ Caitlin asked dryly.

‘Yeah.’ Hawke shifted to kiss her again.

She smiled knowingly at him as he pulled back and held out her hand palm upwards waiting. Hawke rolled his eyes and reached for his wallet. He laid the crisp ten dollar bill in her hand and sighed. She’d bet him that he’d take the mission and he had been fool enough to agree.

Caitlin smiled and kissed him. ‘I’ll go check on dinner.’

He stood up when she did and headed down to the clearing. He plucked the arcing baseball out of mid-air. Nicky grinned as Hawke tossed the ball to him; he tossed it to his sister who threw it back to Hawke. He played with his children for a few moments until the sound of the chopper filled the air and he gestured for them to head indoors while he waited to greet their guests.

Marella landed the white helicopter on the fishing pier. Hawke wandered over and opened the door. He helped her out as Michael climbed out the other side. He wasn’t surprised that both had eschewed the white uniform of their work for casual clothes; jeans, sweaters. Both still managed to look effortlessly elegant; Marella with her dark hair tightly coiled in an elegant chignon and Michael with his ever-present rosewood cane adding an air of eccentricity. They all greeted each other with the easy familiarity of old friends before they headed for the cosy warmth of the cabin.

It was after the meal and the children’s bed time that the four old friends settled down to talk, taking their usual places in front of the fire; Michael took one chair with Marella perched on the arm. Caitlin sat on the sofa; Hawke took a moment to stoke the fire to a cheerful blaze before he sat beside her; their fingers tangling together without thought.

‘When’s Mike back again?’ Caitlin asked lazily, taking an appreciative sip of her coffee. Mike Rivers was the Airwolf commander. He’d been on medical leave recovering from injuries sustained in his last mission for over a month. The pilot had been shot and it had been a close call. Miraculously, the bullet hadn’t hit anything substantial and the major risk had been the blood loss. Mike had headed to his mother’s house in Florida to recuperate.

‘Monday,’ Marella answered, ‘and Doc’s team should be back from the Gulf next week.’

‘Thank God.’ Hawke muttered, reaching for Caitlin’s coffee to take a sip. ‘I can get back to flying the new ship.’

‘It was only four missions.’ Michael pointed out with a hint of exasperation.

Hawke looked back at him with a raised eyebrow.

‘The trip to Washington hardly counts.’ Michael protested.

‘And today.’ Hawke reminded him.

Michael sighed as Marella and Caitlin exchanged an amused smile.

‘How’d Denubry get his hands on the Airwolf files anyway? I thought he didn’t have access.’ Hawke asked idly, accepting the loss of the coffee as Caitlin took it back.

Michael reached for his own cup and took a large sip, leaving it to his wife to reply.

‘He was a proficient computer expert.’ Marella said. ‘We only picked up that he was hacking into the system because Airwolf noticed someone was copying her files and we only identified Denubry because of the security programme Seb wrote that allowed us to backtrack him.’

‘I still don’t understand why we left him in place.’ Caitlin said.

‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’ Marella said with a smile.

Hawke and Caitlin glanced at each other.

‘Spies.’ She mouthed at her husband.

Marella laughed. ‘Besides we got what we wanted.’

‘We did?’ Hawke asked as he took back the coffee and finished it.

‘We know he was only after the Airwolf information.’ Michael pointed out. He shifted a little in his chair. ‘As soon as he got the full technical specifications he was done.’

‘He didn’t go anywhere near the mission files or the personnel files.’ Marella confirmed. ‘All he wanted was the Airwolf spec.’

‘Do we know who he was working for?’ Caitlin asked.

‘We’re pulling his life apart now.’ Marella confirmed. ‘We’ll find out.’

Hawke got up and went back over to the fire. He stoked it again oblivious to the knowing looks exchanged by the others.

‘OK,’ Michael said impatiently, ‘what?’

‘What?’ Hawke asked bemused, looking back at him.

‘You.’ Michael pointed at him. ‘You have that look.’

There was a flicker of annoyance in Hawke’s eyes and he glanced at Caitlin only to find her nodding in agreement with Michael.

‘You do have that look.’ She agreed cheerfully. ‘You know, the one that says ‘I have a bad feeling about this.’’

‘Do you have a bad feeling?’ Michael asked genuinely concerned at the idea.

Hawke sighed and rubbed his chin thoughtfully before he nodded. ‘Something’s off.’

‘What?’ Michael pressed.

‘I don’t know,’ Hawke admitted, rocking back on his heels, ‘but something about this doesn’t feel right. The guy was with us for almost four weeks and suddenly in the last week he accesses the data and tries to make a run for it?’ He shook his head. ‘It doesn’t make any sense.’

‘Well,’ Michael said soberly, ‘we all know not to ignore your gut.’ He looked at Marella.

‘I’ll get them to intensify the background search.’ Marella confirmed, slipping off the chair arm to head to the bar at the back of the cabin for the satellite phone.

Caitlin shifted as Hawke sat back down beside her. ‘So, you and Marella must be looking forward to having Angelina home?’

Michael nodded happily, his face brightening at the mention of his twenty-year old daughter. ‘Day after tomorrow.’ He confirmed.

‘We’re not picking her up?’ Hawke asked with a frown.

‘She insisted a commercial flight was fine.’ Michael pulled a face.

Hawke sympathised with the look of disgruntlement. Angelina had finally chaffed against the security Michael had wrapped her in since his discovery of his daughter in Russia ten years before. She had announced the previous year that she was spending a year at Oxford in England and travelling in Europe. She had also made it clear that Michael and Marella were not to visit. Hawke knew that the couple had missed their daughter. Marella might not have been Angelina’s biological mother but the two of them had become bonded closely with Angelina calling Marella ‘Mom’ – until the year before and the independence kick.

‘It’ll be good to have her back home.’ Michael commented with a sigh.

‘It sounded like she really enjoyed England in her letters and postcards.’ Caitlin said softly.

‘She did.’ Michael agreed reluctantly. ‘She completed the work required for her doctoral thesis.’

‘How many doctorates is that now?’ Hawke asked. Angelina was a genius and he’d lost track of her academic achievements.

‘Three.’ Marella answered as she walked back over and slid back into her place. ‘She should complete the fourth by the end of next year.’

‘Wow.’ Caitlin shook her head. ‘Any ideas on what she’s going to do next?’

‘Your guess is as good as mine.’ Michael said.

Hawke’s lips twitched. ‘She had to grow up sometime, Michael.’

The spy smiled and lifted a hand to wave at Hawke. ‘I’ll remind you of that when Amelia leaves home.’

‘Nah.’ Hawke shook his head. ‘I’m locking her in the cabin until she’s fifty.’

Caitlin laughed as she slapped him playfully in the stomach. ‘Funny.’

‘Who said I was joking?’ Hawke muttered, playing along by rubbing his abdomen where she had hit him.

Caitlin stuck her tongue out at him.

‘You do both know we’re still here, right?’ Marella asked amused.

‘If it helps Hawke, I don’t think you’re going to have to worry for a few years yet. I think it’s a teenage thing.’ Michael noted. He reached for his coffee again.

‘I think Sarah would agree with you.’ Hawke admitted, referring to his sister as he resettled with his arm around Caitlin. Sarah’s fifteen year old son had turned into something of a teen tearaway.

‘How is Chris?’ Marella asked.

‘All he wants to do is fly.’ Caitlin said, sighing. Her lips twisted in a wry smile. ‘He really is a Hawke.’

‘Saint John’s told him that he can work at the air field as soon as he finishes school.’ Hawke said. ‘It seems to have settled him a bit.’

‘How is Saint John?’ Marella asked. Hawke’s search for his older brother had been the centre of his whole existence at one time and although the brothers’ had eventually reunited, it had taken time for them to attain the closeness they had previously shared.

‘OK.’ Hawke said, his tone giving away his lack of desire to discuss it any further.

Michael pressed a finger to his moustache briefly. ‘Has he heard from Jo recently?’

‘Not since she walked out on him.’ Hawke said sharply.

‘It was a difficult time, Hawke.’ Caitlin said gently. ‘Bella had just died…’

‘Saint John lost his daughter too.’ Hawke broke in abruptly. ‘He didn’t walk out.’ He stared into the fire. The death of his niece the year before had hurt them all but it had strained his brother’s tumultuous marriage to the limit. Bella had been a bright, loving little girl. Her death had been senseless; a brief moment of inattention from Jo at the beach and the little girl had drowned in the sea. Jo had been distraught. She had spent a month barricaded in the house with grief only for Saint John to return home one day and find her gone. She had left a note saying she was going to Italy for a while; Saint John had gone after her only to return a few days later. He hadn’t talked about it and Hawke hadn’t asked.

Caitlin slipped her hand over Hawke’s and he turned his palm upwards to interweave their fingers.

‘You think she’ll come back?’ Marella asked softly. ‘For the anniversary?’

Hawke’s fingers tightened on Caitlin’s. The tenth anniversary of Dom’s death, the man who had raised him in his parent’s absence and Jo’s uncle was fast approaching. It wasn’t a day Hawke was particularly looking forward to. He shook his head as though to dislodge the thought.

Caitlin squeezed his hand. ‘We don’t know.’

‘My folks think she will.’ Hawke shrugged. ‘I’m not so sure.’

‘How are your parents?’ Michael asked.

‘Good.’ Hawke said, grateful for the change in conversation. ‘Yours?’

‘On another cruise.’ Michael informed him. He waved his hand at the pilot. ‘My mother loves them.’

‘I thought your father hated them.’ Caitlin commented.

‘He does.’ Michael said dryly.

Caitlin suddenly looked over towards the back of the cabin and Hawke wasn’t surprised when a moment later Amelia appeared in the doorway, rubbing her sleepy eyes.

‘You OK, sweetie?’ Caitlin asked as she got to her feet and headed over to her daughter.

‘I woke up.’ Amelia complained loudly.

Caitlin took her daughter’s hand. ‘Well, why don’t we put you back to bed?’

‘Can’t I stay here with you?’ Amelia asked as hope drifted into her wide blue eyes.

‘Not tonight, sweetie.’ Caitlin hugged her and continued the walk back to Amelia’s room at the back of the cabin.

‘We should probably head home.’ Marella said, nudging Michael.

Hawke walked Michael and Marella out to the chopper. He was stood on the cabin porch watching the helicopter taking flight when Caitlin joined him. She slid her arms around his waist and nestled into his back. He shifted turning in the circle of her arms to hug her.

‘They left?’ She asked with amusement.

‘They said to say goodbye to you.’ Hawke replied as they moved to go inside. ‘Amelia back in bed?’ He asked as he locked the door.

‘Yeah,’ Caitlin nodded, ‘she was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.’ She stopped their momentum and kissed him. ‘I’m kinda ready for bed myself.’ She waggled her eyebrows.

Hawke kissed her deeply before he pulled back. ‘Go up. I’ll be there in a minute.’

She nodded. He watched her walk up the stairs to the upper deck and the master bedroom before he switched off the lights – all but one in case the kids woke up and needed them. He took a moment to bank the fire and set the guard on the smothered flames. He rose and his eyes caught on a photo on the mantelpiece.

He picked it up. It was an outtake from his and Caitlin’s wedding; Dom smiling with usual gap-toothed grin and with his arms open wide to receive the laughing couple in a group hug. He missed him, Hawke thought sadly; he couldn’t believe it was almost ten years. Hawke ran his finger over the older man’s face. Dom had been so happy that day; he had been thrilled that Hawke had married Caitlin. Hawke put the photo back into place and headed up the stairs. His wife was waiting for him.

Part 3

‘Henry!’ Angelina Coldsmith-Briggs laughed brightly as a strong arm hauled her back into the bed. ‘We have to get up or we’ll miss…’

The young man holding her kissed her.

‘…the flight.’ Angelina ended breathlessly. She felt her resolve weakening as she registered the teasing hope in his brown eyes.

‘Or we could stay here.’ Henry said kissing her again. ‘Make love.’ There was another kiss.

‘I want to,’ Angelina began, her eyelids fluttered shut as Henry’s mouth found her neck and gently sucked, ‘but we can’t.’ She weakly pushed him away and dived out of the hotel bed naked. They’d elected to spend the night at an airport hotel to save having to travel before the flight.

She picked up her robe and hurried into it as Henry lounged back on the pillows with a resigned sigh. Angelina smiled with satisfaction as the sunlight caught on the ring she was wearing even as a flicker of disbelief ran across her face that Henry had proposed but then she’d had the same flicker of disbelief that he had asked her out when she’d ran into him in the library at Oxford on their second week there. It had been a whirlwind year and she had spent practically every moment with him.

A flutter of anxiety stirred in her belly. She hadn’t exactly told her parents about Henry; in fact, she hadn’t exactly told anyone but her closest girlfriend Chrissy and she was sworn to secrecy.

‘I guess a joint shower is out of the question?’ Henry asked as he climbed out of the bed.

Angelina sent him a chiding look from the doorway of the bathroom. She smiled. ‘Definitely.’ She gestured at the phone. ‘Why don’t you order us some room service?’

Henry nodded.

She left him to it and closed the bathroom door. A few moments later she was stood under the pounding hot spray of water. Her mind drifted back to her previous thoughts. She could predict how her parents would react. Her Dad was going to be mad – not that he’d show it, and her Mom, Marella, would be hurt – not that she would show that. Both of them would be polite to Henry and she hoped when they saw how much he loved her and how much she loved him that they would accept her decision.

She reached for the shampoo, lathering her long blonde hair and moving her head to rinse the bubbles out. Of course, it wasn’t just Henry and her decision to marry him that was going to be a shock for her parents. It was what she had decided to do beyond that. She figured that her parents had always thought she would eventually enter the spy business with them and in truth so had Angelina for a long time.

Angelina reached for the soap. Henry was a talented doctor and he had secured a position in one of the top London hospitals. It was a great opportunity and Angelina was happy to move to England. She had looked into taking a teaching position at a university close to Henry’s work. It was a good job; she had done some tutoring during her stay at Oxford and she had enjoyed it. Academia suited her. She wasn’t certain her parents would feel the same.

She turned off the shower and stepped out, wrapping her shivering body in a fluffy towel. She picked another one off the shelf to wrap around her head and brushed her teeth absently realising that Henry must have switched the TV on in the bedroom as the sound of Saturday morning cartoons drifted through the wood. She was also a little worried if she was honest about Henry’s reaction, Angelina admitted silently to herself as she reached for her moisturiser and began smoothing it into her pale skin.

Henry knew her parents worked for the Department of Defence but she hadn’t quite explained exactly what they did. Airwolf certainly hadn’t been mentioned. Angelina smiled. Airwolf was more than a helicopter; she was an artificial intelligence in her own right. She had outgrown her original programming; she learned and she was capable of making her own choices. She was also able to traverse the growing computer networked world with ease. Angelina had talked with Airwolf via the university computer terminals. She knew Jo had left Saint John and felt the remembered wave of sadness at Bella’s death. She had babysat for the Hawkes and had loved Bella. She pushed the sadness away and focused on other news; that Airwolf’s second ship was still in the Gulf on deep surveillance; that Mike had recently been shot and was on sick leave. Airwolf had informed her that Uncle String had taken on a couple of missions…Angelina’s lips quirked upwards as she shook out her hair and towel dried it. She could almost picture the look on his face.

She loved her Uncle String. One of her earliest memories was of him holding her after her aunt’s death. He had rescued her, saved her life, and she had never forgotten that. He and her Aunt Cait were her parents’ closest friends and they had become her friend too; more, they were family. She loved them and their children. She hoped they approved of Henry as much as she hoped her parents would. She puttered for a little while longer until a dull knock and the sound of voices alerted her to the possibility that the room service had arrived; she shrugged into a robe. She opened the bathroom door just in time to see a robed Henry tipping the waiter and closing the door behind him.

‘What did you get?’ Angelina said as she walked over to the trolley and lifted the lid on one of the plates. The smell of bacon wafted up and her stomach rumbled hungrily.

Henry kissed her cheek. ‘Full English. Juice. Coffee for you; tea for me. Toast.’ He grinned. ‘My treat.’

Angelina smiled.

Henry drank down a glass of juice in one swallow, wiped his mouth and snagged a piece of dry toast. He took a large bite. ‘Keep mine warm. I’ll just grab a quick shower.’

She nodded and took her own plate with the napkin wrapped cutlery over to the small table in the room. She went back for the coffee pot and a cup; for the basket of toast. She pulled a face at the marmalade jar and wondered why anyone would want to spread orange jelly on toast. The sound of the shower running had her smiling and she grabbed the newspaper from the bed before she sat down at the table. She poured a coffee and took a large gulp of the hot, bitter liquid, feeling the last of the sleep fog leave her. Angelina began eating methodically as she read the newspaper and grimaced at the headlines of the latest royal scandal. She skipped ahead to the business news. The text suddenly blurred. She frowned deeply and put the newspaper down to rub at her eyes.

Something was very wrong, she realised, as a strange lethargy entered her limbs. She pushed away from the table in a panic and her arm caught her plate sending it to the ground with a crash. ‘Henry!’ She tried to walk but her legs were rubbery. She staggered; one step, two steps. Her sight went black and she felt her body falling. The hard impact of the floor drove the breath from her body.

‘Henry.’ Angelina murmured as she lost consciousness.

Part 4

Mike Rivers stared at the beach-house and wondered if he was making an insane mistake or maybe he’d already made the insane mistake a month before…

‘It was good of you to come and pick me up.’ Mike eased himself out of the car with a wince.

Sarah Hawke smiled brightly at him as she closed the drivers’ door to her sedan and hurried around to take the small bag from him. ‘It’s no bother.’

‘Sorry you got dumped with me.’ Mike said as she wrapped her arm around his waist. He leaned on her as they made their way up the path to his apartment building.

‘Well, String had to take a mission…’

‘Oh, he’s going to make me pay for that.’ Mike muttered as they navigated the front reception and got into the elevator.

Sarah’s smiled appeared briefly again as the doors closed on them. ‘And Saint John’s got to work so you got stuck with me.’

‘Well, you are prettier.’ Mike quipped.

‘Flatterer!’ She laughed.

Mike grinned at her. He knew she was more than over the crush she’d once had on him but there was no denying the two of them still had an attraction. Not that they could do anything with it; she was his best friend’s little sister. Off limits. Way off limits. Mike liked his face the way it was. But occasionally he couldn’t help indulging in a little fantasising and, of late, he had started noticing her more and more. She was so beautiful; smart; a great pilot. She was funny and charming. She’d grown in the last few years and lost the remaining girlishness; they were equals now. He admired her; she handled her single motherhood with grace and determination. For a second, he couldn’t remember why he hadn’t asked her out for dinner.

Her brothers – his friends.

Right. Off limits.

The elevator came to a halt with a ping and Sarah helped him down the corridor. She reached into his pocket and plucked out his keys to open up the apartment. They stumbled inside and she helped him to the sofa.

‘Ow.’ Mike said as he sat down.

‘You want me to cook you something before I head home?’ Sarah asked, dropping the bag on the floor.

‘Why don’t you stay?’ Mike offered impulsively. ‘We could get some pizza?’

‘Sure,’ Sarah agreed, ‘why not? It’s not like I have a better offer.’

‘Gee, thanks.’ Mike said, chuckling, ‘I feel special.’

‘You know what I mean.’ Sarah said as she reached for the phone. She dialled the pizza parlour and placed the order. She threw the phone down and flung herself onto the sofa beside him.

‘So, no big date with whathisname - Wilbur?’ Mike asked interested.

Warren,’ Sarah corrected, ‘and no.’ She bit her lip and pushed her mink brown bangs out of her blue eyes. ‘We kinda broke up.’

‘Why?’ asked Mike. ‘I thought it was going great.’

‘So did I.’ Sarah admitted. ‘But he invited me to dinner last week and told me he didn’t think we had a future.’

‘Jerk.’ Mike said, putting an arm around her and giving her a comforting squeeze. ‘You want me to hit him?’

‘Caitlin already offered.’ Sarah told him with a laugh, ‘but thank you.’ She sighed. ‘So no big date and Chris is over at his friends, so…’

‘How is he?’ Mike asked.

‘Better.’ Sarah shook her head. ‘He’s promised Saint John he’ll stay in school but…’ she sighed again. It was deep and heartfelt. ‘His grades are awful, Mike, and he’s such a smart kid.’ She pressed her lips together. ‘It’s all my fault.’

‘Hey.’ Mike patted her arm. ‘It’s not your fault.’

‘I’m his mother.’ Sarah said forcefully. ‘It’s always my fault.’

‘You are a great mother.’ Mike said.

She looked at him and she blushed as she saw the sincerity in his eyes. ‘Maybe it’s some kind of cosmic payback for when I was a teenager and all the trouble I caused; running away, getting pregnant…’

‘Or maybe Chris is just being a typical teenager.’ Mike suggested.

‘Maybe.’ Sarah allowed with a smile.

‘I was awful.’ Mike confessed with a cheeky smile that made light of his comment.

‘I’m sure you were.’

‘I’m sure my Mom thought I was never going to graduate high school.’ Mike admitted.

‘You heading to Florida tomorrow?’ Sarah asked.

‘Yeah.’ Mike nodded. ‘Mom wouldn’t take no for an answer.’

‘You got shot, Mike.’ Sarah pointed out dryly. ‘That tends to worry a mother.’ The buzzer went. She patted his knee. ‘That’ll be dinner.’

Mike wasn’t sure what had happened exactly; they’d eaten the pizza, watched some old movie on the TV…there had been some wine…they’d been laughing at something in the movie and he had teased her so she had tickled him in retaliation and he’d pretended she’d hurt his injury and she had stopped all apologetic to make sure he was alright and he had suddenly realised they were lying on top of each other on his sofa; her face mere inches from his…and then they were kissing.

And then they were doing more than kissing.

Mike rubbed a hand over his face. He hadn’t meant for it to go that far. He hadn’t meant for it to happen at all.

But it had. It had been the most fantastic night of his life and the worst morning. He reached into the inner pocket of his jacket and drew out the note she had left him.


Last night was a wonderful mistake but we both know it can’t happen again. Take care in Florida and when you get back, we can pretend this never happened.

Love, Sarah x

In the confusion of that morning, he hadn’t known what to do; go after her or abide by her wishes and leave her alone. He had thought the latter was the way to go. According to his mother who he had finally confided in the day before on why he had been so morose during his recovery, it had been the wrong decision.

‘You should have gone after her.’ His mother said with a sigh, pushing the plate of cookies across the table.

‘Really?’ Mike frowned and picked up a cookie. He took a large bite. ‘I thought I was doing what she wanted.’

‘Don’t talk with your mouth full, Michael.’ His mother admonished. ‘What she wanted was for you to have turned up on her doorstep, tell her it wasn’t a mistake, and declare that you loved her.’ She waited a beat. ‘You do love her?’

Mike chewed quickly and swallowed. The cookie went down the wrong way. He coughed and reached for his milk. He took a hasty sip as his mother patted his back and handed him a napkin.

‘So I see that you do.’ She said.

He wiped his mouth and looked at his mother with horrified chagrin. ‘I screwed this up, didn’t I?’

‘It’s not irretrievable.’ His mother assured him.

‘It’s not.’

‘Go home, Mike.’ She smiled at him. ‘Take her flowers, sweep her off her feet and don’t let her get away.’

Mike had packed straight away. He’d flown back to LA the night before and deciding Sarah probably wouldn’t appreciate him turning up at two in the morning, he’d gone to his apartment and planned his strategy. He checked his watch. Seven am. He’d waited long enough. He got out of the car, reached back for the flowers he’d picked up and rang the bell.

Sarah opened the door and froze. Her blue eyes widened at the flowers before darting to his questioningly.

‘I know I’m late.’ Mike began nervously, trying to ignore that she was wearing nothing more than a sleep shirt. ‘But it wasn’t a mistake. It…you are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I…’ he took a deep breath and thrust the flowers at her, ‘here.’

She didn’t reply; didn’t move.


‘Mike…’ She began hesitantly, her fingers clutching the doorframe tightly.

‘Look, don’t speak.’ Mike interrupted her, panicking. ‘I know I screwed this up. I should have been here the minute after I found the note,’ he gesticulated wildly with the bouquet, ‘but I…I thought it was what you wanted but my Mom said I’d been an idiot, although she didn’t actually say idiot and…well, here I am.’

Sarah started laughing.

Mike looked at her bemused. ‘Well, that wasn’t quite the reaction I was hoping for.’

She gestured at the flowers. ‘Are those for me?’

He handed them to her; hope suddenly blooming. ‘Does this mean I’m forgiven?’

‘Maybe.’ Sarah breathed in the heady scent and waved at him. ‘You’d better come in.’

‘Chris?’ Mike asked suddenly remembering the young man.

‘He stayed over with a friend last night.’ Sarah informed him as she walked into her beach-house home. Mike followed her inside. She headed for the kitchen and reached for a jug for the flowers. Within seconds, the bouquet was artfully arranged and on the windowsill.

‘So,’ Mike cleared his throat.

‘How are you?’ Sarah asked quickly.

‘Good.’ Mike answered. ‘The wound is healed. The doc’s happy. I’ve been confirmed fit enough to fly.’

‘That’s good.’ Sarah said. She poured him a coffee and handed him the mug.


‘I’ve been…OK.’ Sarah said. ‘Just…’ she looked down at the counter, ‘I…I thought when you didn’t call or…’

Mike put the mug down without tasting the coffee and reached across the counter to take hold of her hand. ‘When I found your note, it was the worst moment of my life.’ His thumb ran over her knuckles. ‘But I thought my leaving was what you wanted.’ She let him tangle their fingers together and he savoured the contact.

‘So your Mom was the one who figured it out?’ Sarah asked amused.

‘Pretty much.’ Mike replied. His eyes twinkled at her.

She raised an elegant eyebrow. ‘You told her everything?’

‘Yep.’ He confirmed.

‘Wow.’ Sarah took a shaky breath. ‘Wow.’ She repeated softly. ‘She must be something.’

‘She is.’ Mike agreed. ‘So are you.’

Sarah bit her lip. ‘So. You’re here.’

‘I’m here.’ Mike said softly.

‘So what now?’ Sarah asked shyly. ‘I mean, we only…there was only that one night and now you’re here.’

‘Well, I’m thinking we might date.’ Mike suggested. ‘Take things slowly. There’s Chris to think about and I…I don’t want to screw this up.’

Sarah nodded. ‘What about my brothers?’

Mike grimaced. ‘Yeah. Maybe we should keep this a secret for a while.’

Sarah looked at him steadily.

‘OK, so they’ll know anyway with that freaky vibe thing all of you Hawkes have.’ Mike agreed with a sigh. ‘They’re going to hit me.’

‘They won’t hit you.’

He looked her incredulously.

‘OK, so they might hit you a little bit.’ She started to smile. ‘So, we’re really doing this?’

He pulled Sarah around the counter and hugged her. ‘We’re really doing this, Sarah.’ He said sincerely. ‘I want to be with you.’

‘I want to be with you too.’ Sarah said smiling.

Mike couldn’t wait; he kissed her. He tasted coffee, toothpaste, and the unique taste that was Sarah.

Sarah sighed and inched back. ‘We’re together?’ She asked incredulously.

‘We’re together.’ Mike said with the same incredulous tone.

They looked at each other in disbelief before they both broke out in wide smiles. He kissed her again.

Mike hugged her closer. ‘We haven’t really got much further on deciding how to tell your brothers. Any suggestions?’

‘I don’t know,’ Sarah said, her hands sliding under his jacket, ‘but do you really want to talk about my brothers right now?’

‘Well, now you mention it…’ Mike said happily as she tugged him towards the bedroom.

He followed her with a wide smile. He definitely owed his mother.

Continued in Part II.





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