In the Line of Duty

Very long-Epilogue

As for the trick Michael had played on Kim and Darren on their wedding day, he couldn't be happier about their reaction. When they saw Trooper and the sign, he simply loved the looks on their faces. He was never going to tell them that not only was Darren's uncle involved, but also how easy it was to involve him. He certainly could see where Darren got his sense of humor. Then of course, he also had to have a little assistance from Kim's dad, well, in order to get Trooper out of the house so he could get mixed-up in it as well.

One by one, as the months passed by, Michael came up with what he thought was some pretty good ideas. As for Jim Holmgren, he felt he'd wait for the birth of their baby. He figured that when their little bundle of joy arrived, along with the changing of diapers and the crying in the middle of the night or during the day when he was trying to sleep after coming off midnights would prove to be sufficient. He was right. There were times when Jim would come in looking like for the most part like he hadn't slept a wink, so all he did, as he would meet up with him is rub it in a little. But, in self-defense, Jim would just simply say in a tired tone of voice, "You just wait, your time is coming!" He figured after a comeback like that, he'd definitely have to come up with something better. What he wasn't aware of was how soon that time would be.

As for the others, he slowly got back at them. He really enjoyed getting back at Dave Hill. He really made him squirm, especially with Maria around. But as for Dave, knowing Michael as well as he did, he fully expected him to come at him with full force and he did.

Unknown to Michael, of course, Dave had taken Kim's advice and prepared Maria for the inevitable. He explained to her that Michael probably would include her in some prank somewhere along the way. He just wanted her to be aware of what he was capable of doing. But his explanation only made her want to meet this prankster type person even more. When she did, she found out, in a humorous sort of way that he most certainly proved to be exactly what she was told.

So in time Michael managed to pay back all those involved. Well, all except Lieutenant Roger Jamison and Sergeant Mitch Nesberg. He figured he'd tread lightly on those two. He guessed that he'd wait until some future date--like at their retirement party, or something. That way, he wouldn't suffer the consequences for any stunts he may pull on them. As it was, he felt that through it all, everyone would learn to never mess with the 'king of practical jokes'.

As for Dave Hill he thoroughly enjoyed the two-week visit with Maria. But the time went by all too fast. He sure hated to see her go, especially since she never really gave him a solid answer about making the permanent move from Pontiac. But he kept trying. On the drive up to the airport, he decided to be a little more direct. "Maria, I'm sure you're aware of the real reason why I'd like you to move up here," he paused a moment for her answer.

"Yes, David...I do."

"I feel that I've followed Mark's wishes as far as looking out for you the best that I could, especially since I've transfer up here. But, Maria...I'd really like to be able to do more and be more than that." He smiled and added, "I'm sure you also understand what I'm trying to get at here."

"Yes, I do. But it's such a big step, David. I have to be sure it's the right thing for me to do." It wasn't as though her love for him hadn't grown in the past two weeks, actually it had. But she was more than a little spooked at the very idea of again becoming romantically involved with a police officer. She couldn't help but think about losing Mark the way she did, at that time it was just about more than she could handle. She didn't know if she could deal with it if something similar happened to Dave. She was still a little hesitant, even after her and Kim had their little discussion. Kim had told her that if a person really loved someone, they'd learn to deal with those fears—together.

Something Kim had said though kind of helped her a little too. Well, both Darren and Kim were police officers. How worrisome could that prove to be???

"Maria, believe me, if I didn't think it was the right, no, the best thing for you to do, I wouldn't continue this discussion."

"Please, give me more time to think it over, okay?"

"All right," he told her with a sigh, "I guess I have to give you that." Although he was more than a little disappointed, he did completely understand her feelings on the matter. So he decided he wouldn't press it any further and the subject was dropped.

After they arrived at the airport and had her luggage checked in and her boarding pass taken care of, they talked about other matters. When it was time for her to board, he kissed her good-bye, silently hoping she'd return.

After a few days Dave felt he just couldn't stand it any longer, so he gave her a call, "Hi, Maria! How're you doing?"

"Fine, David." She knew the real reason for his call.

He got right to the point, "Ah, Maria, by any chance have you come up with an answer yet?" He hoped if she had, it would be yes, if it wasn't--he wouldn't give up, he couldn't give up.

"David, I've thought about nothing else since I got home." Yes, she had come up with an answer. An answer she knew would make 'her' David a very happy man, "What you may not know is that Kim is quite the matchmaker."

"Oh?" Well, he was aware of how hard she worked at getting Darren's attention. 'Did she work on Maria for him?' he wondered.

She started to explain how her newfound friend helped her make the right decision. "Whenever we were alone at her house after she got out of the hospital, she'd give me every reason she could possibly think of as to why I should make this move. You know I found I couldn't really disagree with her on anything she said. She gave me a lot to think about. David, my answer is yes!" Actually she couldn't wait to be up there closer to him.

"Fantastic! I was really hoping that would be your answer. Believe it or not, our matchmaker has already told me that you're more than welcome to stay with her until we can find you a place of your own." Dave silently thought to himself, 'I'm gonna have to thank Kim for her little matchmaking.'

So, Maria did make the move to town. She stayed with Kim for a short while and during that time their friendship grew even more.

As months passed, she was so delighted when both her and Dave were asked to be in the wedding. It meant a lot to her to think that Kim thought that much of her already in such a short time to include her in the wedding party.

She was totally confident now that this was one of her better decisions, that of being where Dave could keep a much closer eye on her that is. Now, she was thinking that maybe, hopefully in the near future she could become Mrs. Dave Hill. Little did she know that that was already at work in his mind as well.

Jim and Sheila were so happy now that their family was a threesome. Sheila noticed a sparkle in her husband's eyes every time he held little Tiffany. She sure was his 'little trooper', er, pride and joy.

Not more than a couple days had gone by after the baby was born, when Darren told both him and Rick Logan of his plans to propose to Kim. None of the other troopers were surprised at her answer. When the date for their wedding was set, Jim had happily accepted the honor of being Darren's best man. Sheila likewise accepted Kim's offer to be her matron of honor.

A few weeks after the wedding all the troopers received a surprise. Sergeant Mitch Nesberg received a promotion to Lieutenant and was transferred to another Precinct only 75 miles away to fill an opening there. To fill the vacant sergeant's position left by the now Lieutenant Nesberg, as Jim had taken the sergeant's exam ealier he received notice and, naturally, accepted the position.

So, now, Sergeant Jim Holmgren found himself for the most part, off the roads and behind a desk. He found it was something he'd have to get used to. He knew Sheila was grateful to have him off the roads and safely behind a desk.

At the reception and the food was now being served, and the friends were all just about done eating, Kim's mom, along with Erika Nelson came up to them. Sharon spoke up, "Kim, Darren, we'd like you to come and cut the cake."

"Okay, Mom, we'll be right there."

"C'mon, Travis, Sheila, Jim, let's have something to eat and a piece of cake," with that the bride and groom proceeded on to where their three-tiered cake was.

Together they cut the first small slice. Kim saw to it that she was going to do the honors of giving that first piece to her husband. As she brought the cake up to his face, all of a sudden she hesitated, but only for a moment. Then as she again moved her hand closer, she raised an eyebrow, which warned him of what could possibly be coming. He was well aware of what sometimes happens at times such as this. So, he decided to give her fair warning, "You wouldn't dare?!"

"Oh, wouldn't I?!" she looked at him rather mischievously.

"Not if you know what's good for you. I can see it now on the afternoons or nights we end up in the same unit, it could be an awfully long hard winter with you behind the wheel," he smiled, as he gave her his further warning and saw her expression change.

Her hand stopped, "You would see to it that I'd have to do all the driving, wouldn't you?"

His smile broadened, "Yup! I'd be very happy handling the radio."

All the guests, but especially her parents wondered what was about to happen. They all knew both the bride and groom had a sense of humor, but they were curious as to how far she'd push it. They thought that maybe by her hesitation, she'd wisely not go through with it.

Then Michael joined in trying to speed things up a little, "Ah, c'mon Kim, call his bluff!" Good ol' Michael, he just couldn't even leave something like this alone. As usual, he was up to his tricks and both the bride and groom knew it.

But she had already wisely decided against it when she saw the determined look on her husband's handsome face. So, she nicely gave him the slice of cake. "Thank you, Kim, that was a very wise decision," he was forced to smile down at his pretty wife. He felt he got away with it rather easily, so he added, "I didn't think my little threat would work so easily."

She couldn't help but chuckle, "Yeah, well, your 'little threat' took all the fun out of it," with that she gave him a kiss.

"Chicken!" Michael jokingly exclaimed.

"Yeah, chicken of driving on those icy roads and near zero visibility type blizzards we get around here. I'd rather be the one handling the radio, thank you very much." Everyone got a chuckle out of that comment knowing full well she could handle it. When she saw the reaction she got she decided to go one step further, "I'd rather see Darren being the one with the white knuckles for a change." She was successful as that last remark just made the laughter continue.

After the fun of cutting the cake came the opening of the gifts. They received many nice treasures, but when it came to Darren's aunt and uncle's gift they were both in for a surprise. She handed Darren the card, "I'll wrestle with the package." She hardly got it open, when he got her attention; she noticed the very surprised look on his face, "What is it?"

"Read the card," he softly whispered as he handed it to her.

As she read it, her eyes widened. It read, 'To two very special people. Here's hoping you have a very long, happy, healthy life together. May you watch out for each other and be careful out there. We love you both very much. Enclosed you will find a check for two plane tickets to Sacramento. We'd love to have you come visit us for no less than two weeks if possible. Just let us know when. We're looking forward to your stay with us. Joe and Erika.'

She looked at Darren and then down at the check. All the guests were curiously waiting for them to say something about what they had received.

Darren gratefully said, "Thanks, Joe, Erika, we'd love to come to Sacramento."

"Yeah!" his bride was very excited about the idea as well.

"But, the when and for how long part, well, that depends on that guy over there." He pointed to Jamison and then made the remark, "Hey, Lieutenant, you could do without both Kim and I for...oh, say, at least two weeks, right?!!"

"Oh, I guess I could let you two off...for good behavior," was his quick comeback, with a chuckle. He knew full well, he'd receive a lot of static if he didn't. Course, that would only mean some serious checking over the shift schedules.

"We'll write as many tickets as you want, we'll make every arrest stick and anything else you request in order to get those two weeks," she jokingly told her boss.

"Yeah and we'll even catch every prisoner that escapes too, before they leave the area." Darren knew full well that that could be more of a promise than they could really keep but he thought he'd have to give it a try anyway.

Then Michael piped up, "Yeah and they'll even work doubles to do it...without any argument."

"Doubles...yeah. Without any arguments?...I wouldn't go that far," Darren chuckled. After the joking around and the laughter died down they finished opening the gifts. Then the evening drew to a close and the guests began drifting out to their homes.

The bride and groom prepared to leave. He had a little surprise in store for his new bride as to where they were going for their honeymoon. After they had set the date for their wedding, he asked her to think about where she'd like to go. Course, he already knew where they were going. He just wanted her to think about it and let him finish making the real arrangements. Knowing her as well as he thought he did, where he planned their honeymoon to be, she would be pleasantly surprised.

Any suggestions she came up with he would simply say that it was a great idea. But he wouldn't really give her an absolute answer. He was really surprised that she hadn't pressed the issue to find out what the plans were, because she usually wouldn't let him be so evasive with her on anything.

Although they had their luggage packed, he knew once she found out where they were really going, she'd have to make a few major adjustments. 'Typical woman!'

As they drove home, he wasn't surprised when it didn't take her very long at all to ask the obvious question, "Okay, I've been on pins and needles all day. Where are we going?!" She had to ask because she had given him a number of suggestions with no real acceptance of any of them. He tried to delay just a few seconds till they got into the driveway. "Darren?!" He made it.

As he exited the car, he began giving her clues, "Oh, some place sunny and warm."

"Good grief, its 90 degrees here!"

As he walked around the car to assist her out, he continued, "White sandy beaches..." he paused, "clear blue ocean waters." As they slowly walked toward the house, he was fully expecting her to hit him any moment, then he added, "Palm trees."

She was getting more and more eager to find out, she was trying very hard not to cuff him a good one, "C'mon, Darren! Tell me! Give, will yah!" She was so excited over the topic at hand that even with all the clues he gave her, the obvious answer simply escaped her usually quick reacting mind. Well, she had thought of places like the Caribbean or even the Bahamas, which of course was wrong.

He was really enjoying this, he smiled, "Okay, okay, already!" As they had gotten closer to the house the motion light came on, so he stopped momentarily, and then turned to face her. All he was going to do is give her one more 'obvious' clue, she had to get it this time, "Honey, it's the place where they meet you as you come off the plane...and then put those little flowery things around your neck." He got a really good look at the surprised expression on her face.

His pretty wife finally figured it out this time, "Hawaii?!!" He shook his head yes. "Darren!" she planted a kiss on his cheek. "You're crazy!! You're absolutely crazy you know that! But that's what I love about you!"

Hawaii was the last place she thought she'd ever get to see so that was one of the reasons even the obvious clues he gave her just didn't sink in. This would prove to be something they'd both remember for a good long time.

He was so happy at her reaction that he just wanted to remember it forever. But he felt a real need to try to calm her down just a little, "Shhh! You'll wake up the neighbors!" When they finally reached the door, he opened it. Then he proceeded to pick her up and 'carry her over the threshold'. The door was then closed behind them.

The End

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