Borrowing some characters from JE. Mistakes are all mine.

I stormed out of my mother's house and hopped into my latest POS car. I sighed as I started the car.

As I made my way over to Haywood Street, I started to review the wonderful Sunday morning I was having. If Ranger hadn't called to ask me to help with a job tonight, I would be on my way to Tasty Pastry and then home to sulk in my bad mood.

"I can't do this anymore. I don't want my future wife and mother of my children constantly blowing up cars and getting shot at."

"I told you I would quit working for Vinny and take the job at Rangeman."

"No way Cupcake. I'm not having you work every day with Ranger. I see the way he looks at you."

"And how's that"

"The same way I look at you." I roll my eyes at him.

"Well you have to know that I'm not a housewife, Joe. I'm not going to marry you and stay home and cook and clean and take care of kids. That's just not me."

"You need to choose. Me or the job….and Ranger." I sit down in a huff.

"Do you think that maybe that this just isn't working?" I asked him. He came over and sat down across from me.

"I know you won't change, so maybe." He takes my hand. "I love you Cupcake, but I really don't want a wife and the mother of my children dealing with what you deal with all the time. And working at Rangeman doesn't satiate my need for you to have a different job. I don't trust him or what they do over there."

"I don't want you to go around telling people we broke up and I chose Ranger. This isn't about him. This is about me and you and you not liking my job." He stood up and pulled me to him.

"So I guess this is over." I looked at him.

"I do love you and I hope that you can find a woman that will give you what you want."

"Thank you Cupcake. I love you too." He lightly kissed me on the lips. I grabbed my messenger bag and left.

Since it was Sunday morning, I figured I'd head over to my mom's house for some donuts that my mother and grandmother would pick up from Tasty Pastry after mass.

Boy was that the wrong decision to make. My mother and grandmother were waiting in the door for me.

"How could you break up with Joseph?" she yelled at me as i was walking up the stairs.

"How do you know already?"

"Joseph's mom called. Her and Bella stopped by the house a minute ago to drop off a casserole and Joseph told them." I rolled my eyes. I'd have a bone to pick with Morelli about that.

"We don't want the same things. This is what's best." My mother followed me into the house.

"He was the best chance of you getting married and having kids."

"Did you ever think I don't want to get married again. And I don't know how i feel about kids." I loved kids, but kids that weren't mine.

"What woman doesn't' want to get married and have kids?" my mom shouted. "Why can't you be more like your sister. Ever since you took that job with Vinny."

"Mom, I'm happy, I love my job, I love my life." Well sort of. I wish I didn't have to live paycheck to paycheck, I thought. Maybe i can get more work from Ranger now that Joe was out of the picture and won't give me hell about it.

"Stephanie, your life is a mess." I finished my coffee cake and stood up.

"I don't need to hear this ma. You need to get on board with this. I don't want to get married again. And kids are most likely never going to be in my future. So don't think about setting me up with anyone. And accept this. If you can't, then i'll be avoiding family dinners for a while until you can." My mother's eyes grew wide. She turned around and went to the kitchen cabinet where she hid her hooch.

"Good for you, Stephanie," Grandma told me. My mother just glared at my grandmother and took another sip of the drink she poured herself.

Before she could say anything else, I left.

As soon as I got in my car, my phone buzzed. Ranger was calling me.


"Yo yourself."

"What can i do for you?"

"I have a job that needs a female point of view. Are you interested?"

"Where and when?"

"Come by Rangeman now if you can and we can discuss"

"On my way"

"Babe" and he disconnected.

I pulled into the underground parking garage and sat there for a minute.

For some reason I wasn't looking forward to heading up stairs. At some point I would have to tell Ranger that me and Morelli were done.

I mean he probably already knows, that man knows everything but then I'll probably get his 'my life doesn't lend itself to relationships' line. I wasn't in the mood to hear it.

My phone buzzed. "Any reason why you're just sitting in the garage?" Ranger asked as soon as the line connected.

"Just gathering my thoughts"

"Anything i can help with"

"Not right now. I'm coming up."

He disconnected.

When the doors opened up to the 5th floor, Ranger was waiting for me.

"We're meeting Tank in the conference room." I followed him behind him.

Tank nodded at me when we entered.

"We have a new client that is a woman so when we show her the plan we have, we want to be able to incorporate things that a woman would want."

Tank took over "She doesn't want her staff to know about the security going in just yet, so we have to do the walk through tonight after everyone leaves. She gave us the keys to get in."

"Ok, sounds easy enough. How come we couldn't do this over the phone?" Ranger raised an eyebrow at me. "I'm having a bad day, that's all."

"I wanted to have you look at the blueprints first. I have another meeting in 5, but meet us here at 7pm tonight" Tank handed me the blueprints and left.

Ranger sat down on the table in front of me. He put his finger under my chin and lifted my face. "Anything i need to know?" I met his eyes.

"Nope." I was not having this conversation right now. He knew I was hiding something.

"Ok." he leaned down and kissed me. "See you tonight"

I sighed and leaned back in the chair.

An hour later, I left Rangeman and headed home. On the way, I stopped at Tasty Pastry. If we were just doing a walk through, I could eat my donuts and not worry about having to exert myself later.

I dropped in a piece of a donut to rex, went to my bedroom, laid down and pulled the pillow over my head. Somehow my brain turned off and I fell asleep

I rolled over and looked at my watch to see I had 20 minutes to get my ass down out the door.

I jumped out of bed and went in search of my Rangeman clothes. I ran into the bathroom, and was thankful my hair was in a ponytail before I fell asleep or it would have been a giant mess.

I grabbed my messenger bag and ran out the front door. As I pulled into the underground parking lot, the elevator opened. Tank and Ranger walked out and waited for me in front of it.


"I fell asleep." I saw one side of his mouth sort of grin.

About 20 minutes later, we pulled in front of a gray brick office building.

"Why did we have to do this at night, if it's an office building? Who works on Sundays. Well besides us."

Lawyers" Ranger stated as we all got out of the SUV.

"High priced ones" Tank filled in.

Tank had the blueprint of the building. We let ourselves in and walked around the building. I pointed out security issues that as a woman I'd be concerned with.

About an hour later, we finished. Tank locked up as me and Ranger walked back to the truck.

When we got the truck, he stopped me from hopping in.

"What's up with you?"

"Nothing. " I stated.


"Nothing I want to talk about right now." I opened the door and hopped in.

Back at Rangeman, we all hopped out of the SUV.

"Ranger, you got ten minutes to talk? I have to ask you something?"

"Yeah, let's head upstairs." When we got to 5, Tank got out and went to the control center while me and Ranger headed to his office.

When we got there, We both sat down.

"What's up?"

"I wanted to know if that offer at a job at Rangeman was still open? I was hoping I could maybe work part time for you because I don't want to leave Vinny in a lurch but also since I'd be working for you, get some training to be able to do my job better." Ranger looked at me with a raised eyebrow.

"What about Morelli? I know he doesn't' want you working here." I sat there for a minute trying to find the right words. "Babe, I know you think I can read minds, but I really can't. Spill it."

I rub my hands over my face. "Fine. There is no reason to worry about Morelli because we are permanently done."

"Ah, that explains the bad day. What happened?"

"He wants me to quit my job and not see you and be a housewife"

"Babe" I rolled my eyes at him knowing what he was thinking.

"Relax Ranger, we didn't break up because of you. I know your life doesn't lend itself to relationships. And just because I broke up with Morelli, doesn't mean I fed the enemy information to take advantage of. Me and Morelli broke up because we realized I would never change and he wants a wife and kids. Then I had a fight with my mother about it . I told her to get used to it or she won't be seeing me much."

"I'm proud of you Babe. Finally standing up for yourself. As for feeding the enemy..."

"Listen Ranger, I don't want to hear it right now. I've had a really bad day. I'm sorry i'm being a bitch, but I'd really like to just know if that job is still available for me here. I'm tired of living paycheck to paycheck." Ranger just sat there quietly. I've never yelled at him like that.

"I told you the offer was always there."

"Great. Thank you. When do I start?"

"Come by tomorrow around 10. We can meet with Tank and get your schedule for training. You can do computer work until you qualify to team up with the guys." I stood up.

" I'll see you tomorrow." and I ran out of the office.

As I drove home, I wondered why Ranger put up with me. Yes, there is chemistry and all, but I have to be a nuisance to him and Rangeman. And then I just yelled at him and he still gave me a job.

I pulled into the parking lot of my building. Before getting out of the car, I shot Ranger a text message. "Sorry for taking my frustration out on you. Really appreciate the job. I'll see you tomorrow." I waited a bit and when there was no answer, I sighed and got out of my car.

He obviously is pissed off at me. I took the stairs up to my apartment. I said hello to Rex, dropped a piece of carrot in his tank and went to my bedroom. I needed a shower. I stripped and hopped in. When all of the hot water was gone and I looked like a prune, I got out. I ran a brush through my hair and pulled a towel around my body. I opened the door and walked smack into Ranger.

"What are you…" He put up his hand. He looked angry.

"I think you said enough at the office, I believe it's my turn to talk."

"Can I get dressed?" he ran his eyes down my body and his pupils dilated.

"I'll wait in the living room." When the door closed behind him, I threw on a pair of shorts, and t-shirt. This seemed like fitting clothes to disappear in. Nobody talks to a Ranger the way I did at the office.

I walked into the living room and he was sitting in the chair across from the soft. I sat down on the couch. There was no way I was going to say anything with the way he looked.

"So you and Morelli are officially over for good?" I still was too afraid to speak. He glared at me. "Babe. words will help here."

"Yes, for good. I can't give him what he wants. And he wants me to change and I can't."

"And you told your mom" I rolled my eyes.


"And you were keeping this from me all day because" I shrugged. "There has to be a reason Stephanie." Oh this was bad, he was using my full name.

"Because when me and Morelli break up, you distance yourself. And since me and Morelli are permanently over, and you have become the only man in my life I didn't want you to permanently distance yourself. I know your life doesn't lend itself to relationships but I can't lose the two men that I loved in the same day." Ranger got up and sat down next to me on the couch.

"I sent you back to Morelli over and over because that is what I thought you wanted."

"What are you saying Ranger?"

"I love you. And I know you love me. And I know you loved me more than Morelli. You never called him to save you or to pick you up. You always called me. But Morelli's bed is the one you always went back to. I was waiting for you to realize that wasn't going to work out. I kept my distance and said those things so when you decided to end things with Morelli permanently, it had nothing to do with me but all to do with you."

"So your life does lend itself to relationships?" I saw the corners of his mouth start to rise in a smile.

"For the right person it does. And you're that person." I couldn't stop the smile that came to my face.

"Are you sure, cause I bring a lot of crazy with me." This time Ranger fully smiled.

"Yeah Babe, I'm sure, I want you and all your crazy." He put his hand behind my head and pulled me into a kiss. "Now let's get you out of these clothes.'' Before I could say anything he threw me over his shoulder and carried me to my bedroom.

"I love you Ranger." I said as he put me down on the bed.

"Babe." And that was all I needed to hear.