A/N: Soooooo... over a year ago I posted the Epilogue of 'Keep your head above the water' and I included a preview of my next story, assuming with 20+ chapters that I had written at that time, the story would be as good as done. A little later I hit a brick wall with my muse and the story didn't move chapter wise for an entire year and was never posted. Until recently, when my muse found me again and I have added about 10 chapters or so to this story that now finally gets published despite the fact that I'm still not done with it yet :) But I am optimistic I will be. It is... a bit of a different story and there won't be anything romantic happening for ages. I'd like to keep it a mystery whats happening, but ... well, it is hard when looking at the characters I'm giving and the pairing eventally. You will have to be patient though... I hope you'll enjoy nevertheless.
Like most people in the world my life wasn't easy. I guess everyone at some stage in their life said that. But in my case… looking back at things it was true. I had a mother who tried making me into the perfect housewife, a boyfriend who shared that idea and a whole neighborhood full of people being stuck in a mindset that equaled the ones from the fifties with an opinion about everything and an interest in nothing that wasn't gossip-related. I had a sister who was at some stage the living and breathing dream my mother always wanted, just to fall from grace when her now ex-husband was caught with the babysitter that had barely been legal at that stage.
In regards of men you'd be surprised to hear I actually had two in my life, with one being more involved romantically speaking than the other. Morelli was a Trenton homicide detective and my occasional boyfriend and once sorta fiancé. Things were complicated and we had a history of being on and off and on again just to be off once more. At this stage we were currently on but it wasn't all roses and sunshine. But then again, with Morelli it never was. He was part Italian and liked talking with wild hand gestures and yelling just as much as he liked home-cooked lasagna. We had our disagreements and differences but who didn't? Love like in the movies doesn't exist. At least I don't know of anyone around who could vouch for anything else.
Ranger – or Carlos Manoso – was the other man and more or less the opposite of Morelli. He never used wild hand gestures and hardly ever yelled. For the odd occurrence that he yelled it was usually at one of his men and never at me. He was semi-ex military and CEO of a rather successful company that specialized in security, protection and other branches that involved the law. He was calm and collected, hardly ever smiled but someone I could rely on and often did. He owned a building stacked with men that were as built and as bad-ass as he was, a zen-like apartment on top of that building and a Porsche as his company car that could easily give a woman an orgasm.
Ranger and Morelli weren't despite their similar positions in my life anything close to friends. At best they were acquaintances that came together due to their involvement with law enforcement and their connection to me. Ranger sort of tolerated Morelli, while Morelli tolerated Ranger for my sake but secretly probably hated him. He hated especially the fact that Ranger and me were so close.
As a bounty hunter, things never got boring. So after a few years on the job I had gotten used to it. And so did the people in my life and and/or associated to my job. Some more than others though.
Ranger took a rather calm approach to my chaos, havoc and mayhem. He was always up for advice or help should the need arise for either and never got annoyed, frustrated or pissed at me. Joe was… different when it came to this. As a cop he usually was first to know what I had gotten up to and his reactions couldn't be described as calm in any way. Often enough he mentioned I should just get a new job and quit bounty hunting. He and my parents had the same opinion about said job and other possibilities that I was way more suited for.
When I grew up I had a lot of ideas what I wanted to be. As a little girl I wanted to be Wonder Woman and when I was eight years old I tried flying by jumping off the garage door. That didn't only end in a trip to the hospital for me, but also being grounded for a longer period of time. After my Wonder Woman face I decided to calm down my ideas and only wanted to become successful at pretty much anything. Fueled by the Burg and my mother's believes that meant foremost being a housewife and mother and raising a family. Being a bounty hunter was neither of these things and I wasn't particularly successful at it either. Don't get me wrong, I always got my man but a very long and winding road lead to that success and often enough there were certain casualties along the way – mainly in form of cars that got destroyed or misplaced.
There was always something new and slightly chaotic happening in my life and this week would most likely not change in that regards. Ranger had been gone to save the world again weeks ago and I hadn't gotten any updates really, but it also wasn't as if I seek out information and updates. I assumed the less I knew, the better for me to not over worrying. Morelli was particulary irritating this week up to a point where I wondered why the hell I was actually putting up with it. But…. the negative highlight of my week would be Friday. High school reunion.
Was there actually anyone in the world who honestly loved attending one of these? I certainly did not. As a matter of fact I tried to not showing up and claiming the invite got lost in the mail. After all, the main purpose for these reunions was not the meeting of old friends and class mates, but rather to show off how far you made it in life. And I didn't get really far. As a matter of fact, I didn't even make it out of Trenton. Things would probably only be worse if I'd still lived with my parents.
What I didn't know at that point was that my life was about to change around for a lot and that a high school reunion was the least of "bad" this week could offer.