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  • Jack had been watching her ever since he woke up. His fever broke sometime during the night and she was asleep in the chair beside his bed. Her left hand rested lightly on his chest with her fingers curled slightly. Her head tilted foreward and her gentle snoring caused her cheeks and lips to puff when she exhaled.

    This was the first time he had actually seen her. He knew she had taken care of him since he fell over the transom to their scow. But that night, before he finally passed out, he had only heard her voice and felt the touch of those fingers in the dark. She had been his unseen Angel of Mercy. He had been aware of her calming presence beside him all the while he feverishly fought the infection of his wound.

    Looking at her now, he saw a woman he wanted to know better. Someone who stood by him when he was alone and in need of protection. Her hand on his chest projected a claim of ownership...and made him feel warm and safe. He closed his eyes and fell into a much needed restful sleep.

    So attached to her young man was Carrie that she felt the deepening of his breathing and it woke her up. She could see that the fever was gone and that he was sleeping naturally. She leaned over and kissed him lightly on the forehead. She was surprised that he smelled of wet dog. She leaned back and pulled her own blouse to her nose. She smelled as bad. Yeah, this wasn't a hospital, but a veterinary clinic. It's a wonder they didn't both have fleas. They could both do with a hot bath and a change of clothes. Carrie eased up from her chair. Her back was stiff from sleeping wrong. Seeing that he was still asleep she quietly left the room.

    She found her Dad and the others sitting around the Doc's table watching the morning news. Tom had placed a call into the police department in Newark, and was waiting on a call back from them. But the leading story on the news was of a gang war on the New Jersey docks, complete with drug cartel connections. The kidnapping of a policeman from a local hospital and the disappearance of a U.S. Marshal was thought to be connected. Just then the phone rang and Tom answered it. The Marshal Service was sending two of their own plus an interested police detective to interview their injured man. Apparantly the photos of the columbian necktie murders were of great interest to their case.

    Carrie looked at her father and the two men she had known for most of her life.

    "I'm staying with him." she quietly stated, "He belongs to me."

    Her dad looked at her and realized she was just like her mother. Once she made up her mind..that was it. He sighed a heavy sigh and said, "I hope the boys worth it."

    "He is Dad. He is."

    -30-

    In the past some of you readers have expressed concern that you hope I know the end when I come to it. Whew!

    Ciao, Papa
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