"From This Day Forward"


Logline: A sequel to “With This Ring” in which Jaime and Steve overcome obstacles on their journey to the altar

Set-up: Everything is concurrent with the series

  Jaime sat at her desk unable to concentrate on completing next week’s lesson plans. Glancing at her pupils she saw 12 lowered heads, all silently engrossed in completing their essays. Her eyes returned to her desk and came to rest on her left hand. The sparkling diamond ring brought a quick smile to her face as she recalled Steve’s romantic proposal one month ago. Her eyes traveled farther to her wristwatch. School would be dismissed in 20 minutes. She was able to get tomorrow off while her students enjoyed their usual Friday field trip that did not require her attendance. She had a bag packed for her 4-day Labor Day weekend trip to Washington. A bribe of a homemade apple pie made to the base commander secured her a backseat for his flight to Andrews AFB. Little did she know he was more than willing to take her, with or without the promise of baked goods.

She planned to surprise Steve on his return from a 2-week assignment. She sighed quietly, the knot in her stomach had settled there as soon as she saw the wheels of his T-38 Talon leave the runway, en-route to Washington and another of Oscar’s missions. She reached down and retrieved a small pocket calendar from her purse. Flipping it open she grinned knowing Steve would not understand her daily task, to her is was not without merit; the exercise gave her satisfaction and hope. Picking up her red pen she crossed off another day. She did not need to re-count, the number was clicked off in her head, five years, six months and 2 days. When that day arrived his OSI contract would be fulfilled and Steve could retire from a life of danger, lies and intrigue.

As Jaime and Colonel Tom Bainbridge were suiting up the Colonel could not help but smile as Jaime went about expertly donning the required flight suit over her street clothes then a G-suit. She asked what he found so amusing while she tucked her long hair into the back collar of the jumpsuit. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman put on a G-suit before. You really know your stuff.”

“Well I’ve had a lot of experience being a passenger in jets.”

He nodded knowing it was Colonel Austin who probably taught her so well. He certainly envied Austin for sure.

“Ready to go?” She asked.

“Sure. Let’s go.”

The flight was exhilarating, clear blue sky, wispy clouds and the sun at their backs. Jaime took a long relaxing breath truly understanding her fiancé’s deep love of flying. As he once told her before dragging her on her first jet flight it was not something that could be described it must be experienced. And how right he was.

Oscar was pacing back and forth next to his car in front of the hanger. Rudy stood with his hands in his pants pockets leaning against the car door hiding his anxiety well. Both had their dark suit jackets open and their ties slack.

“Oscar, pacing will not get Steve here any faster.” Reminded the doctor.

“Uh huh.” He answered not hearing the comment and continued his aimless trek.

The high pitched whine of the twin General Electric turbojet engines drew their attention to the ramp as a T-38 rolled to a stop, revving its engines before shutting them down.

The ground crew was quick to shove chocks under the wheels as the canopies rose to a stop. Both passengers removed their helmets and descended onto the tarmac.

“Well thanks Tom. I really appreciate it.”

“No problem, you can fly with me anytime.”

She gave him a friendly smile as he handed over her bag.

The pilot stayed to give refueling orders to the ground crew while Jaime headed to the hanger. She immediately noticed Oscar and Rudy standing by a black car. Her heart skipped a beat but she forced herself to be calm.

Oscar didn’t notice the passengers exit the aircraft. His mind was on other matters. It wasn’t until Rudy spoke up that Oscar realized Jaime was headed towards them. Her approach was swift giving them little time to formulate a believable reason for their presence.

“Jaime! What are you doing here?” Oscar asked surprised as she gave him a quick hug before sharing one with Rudy.

“I hitched a ride with the base commander. I wanted to surprise Steve and spend the 4-day weekend in Washington. I must say seeing you both here has me a little concerned. What’s going on?” She didn’t miss the swift sidelong glance the two men shared before Oscar gave an answer.

“Nothing’s going on. We were just waiting for Steve’s return.”

“Uh huh. When did protocol change?”

“What do you mean?”

“Oscar I haven’t been out of the OSI for that long. Usually your operatives meet you in your office after an assignment not the other way around. Unless…?” She looked at Rudy without finishing her thought. “Rudy?”

Rudy just looked at her not knowing what to say. “Oscar?”

“Jaime, Steve is okay. We just thought we would meet him here.” Oscar knew his dodge was futile since as soon as the helicopter landed she would know he was not telling the whole truth. The truth being there was an explosion in a warehouse that killed 10 people. Steve was the only survivor, blown out a second story window escaping with what Oscar was told were minor injuries. He and Rudy just wanted to be available when he arrived.

As the thump of rotors broke his thoughts Jaime turned, shielding her eyes from the sun with a flattened hand trying to get a look inside the open copter. The giant dull black machine settled to the earth and once the engine was shut down the rotor speed decreased but no one was making a quick exit from the craft. After a couple of minutes Steve gingerly lowered his feet to the ground, a corpsman by his side to assist if needed. Steve thanked and dismissed the crew then walked toward his friend, his boss and his fiancé. His mind was a little muddled from exhaustion and the throbbing headache that was echoing his heartbeat. ‘What is Jaime doing here?’ he thought, suddenly feeling like he was caught out past curfew.

The three-member welcoming party took in the disparaging sight of him. He was covered in dirt from head to toe. His hair was matted to his forehead with sweat and blood, bruises and hastily bandaged cuts covered his face, his tan shirt torn and bloody, his left arm enveloped in a homemade sling. He looked at Jaime with weary eyes feeling like an apology was owed for his inability to avoid injury as promised. She stepped in front of him, taking a silent moment to eye the bruises on his handsome face. She couldn’t hide the pain and guilt in her blue eyes, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m okay.” He replied in a low tired voice and offered her a weak lopsided grin.

She cautiously hugged him, not knowing where the injuries were. His right arm instantly encircled her and pulled her tightly to his battered body, feeling thankful he could after his recent experience. God he missed her. When she pulled back he gave her a deep kiss, remembering in the midst of the explosion he thought he might not get the chance again. The poignant scene was not lost on a guilt-ridden Oscar who felt indirectly responsible for Steve’s injuries. It seemed since Steve and Jaime were back together, so close to a normal life, he felt more anxious than usual every time he sent Steve on a mission, afraid he would not return.

Silence filled the car for the entire drive to the medical center. Oscar headed to his office after dropping off his passengers. While Jaime waited for Rudy and Steve she paged through an outdated woman’s magazine in the lounge. She was glad Oscar had left. The more she looked at him the angrier she got.


Rudy, after assisting Steve with removing his shirt, was not surprised to find numerous colorful bruises of various sizes covering the front and back of his torso from flying concrete, rebar and glass. Steve asked if he could wash up at the sink before they started and the doctor nodded his okay. His gaze followed Steve’s slow trip across the room.

Steve entered the small bathroom cradling his left forearm in his right until it could be rested on the sink. He quickly washed his face and hair with soapy water then thoroughly rinsed them. Rudy entered through the half opened door with two large towels asking if he could help. Steve declined his offer and thanked him for the towels. Rudy exited to collect the suture kit and plaster casting supplies he figured he would need as Steve finished cleaning off the grime and dirt from his head to his waist. Staring in the mirror, seeing his battered face for the first time, his gut wrenched with a sudden premonition, his luck would run out before his contract did.

Rudy silently opened the door and saw Steve’s anxious reflection in the mirror. “Is everything alright Steve?”

“Uh…yeah,” He replied softly as he supported his injured arm, turned and ambled to the examination table.

A portable x-ray machine was setup. After a quick set of pictures was taken Steve settled his weary body on the table allowing Rudy to begin his exam. The doctor went about cleaning the lacerations, two requiring sutures to close them, and immobilizing his left wrist in plaster. Thankfully it was the only fracture. Rudy was concerned over his friend’s quiet demeanor, answering Rudy’s questions with one-word answers. The doctor had no doubt that after almost three days without sleep, not to mention the pain he’d been trying to suppress, Steve was spent. He gave up trying to solicit any information from his patient that did not directly pertain to his injuries.

By the time he finished his tedious work the doctor noticed his patient had fallen asleep. He left Steve dozing and went to see Jaime. She jumped at his entrance, “Well how is he?”

“Nothing serious. He has a slight concussion. I stitched up the deeper lacerations and casted his wrist fracture.”

“Thank God.” She said relieved.

“I was wondering if you could go to his apartment and get him a change of clothes. His are pretty tattered.”

“Sure. I’ll be back in a little bit.”

“No hurry he needs to rest a little before you take him home.” He said as she turned to exit the building.

Jaime returned within the hour. She quietly entered the room to find her fiancé asleep, his hair still damp, purple blotches scattered about his chest and mid section, his casted left forearm elevated on a pillow. She stood next to Rudy as she laid a gentle hand on Steve’s shoulder not wanting to startle him, her voice soft and familiar, “Hey sleepy head.”

Steve slowly opened his eyes and took a few minutes to orient himself before responding, “Hey.”

“Are you ready to go home?”


Jaime helped him to a sitting position while Rudy went to answer his ringing phone. As he filled Oscar in on the details he watched Jaime assist Steve in dressing. He couldn’t help but feel something was amiss with Steve. After hanging up he grabbed some pain medication out of the cabinet and filled a paper cup with water.

“Here Steve take these.”

“Rudy I said I was okay. I’m just very tired.”

“Well if you want to sleep you’ll take these. Your wrist will be throbbing against that cast all night.”

“But…” His excuse was interrupted by Jaime’s stern tone, “Just take the pills...please.”

“You heard her.” Rudy exclaimed as he handed over the cup.

“Yeah, she’s already sounding like a nagging wife.” He teased in a weak voice and gave her a quick wink but she was not amused.

“Come on let’s get you home and into a nice hot bath before Oscar decides to throw you into another assignment.” She said sounding annoyed as she threw Steve’s torn pants in the trash. Rudy looked at Steve who just shrugged indicating his job was a sore subject between them.


The following morning Jaime was up early and making breakfast. After enjoying a ten-hour sleep Steve freshly showered but unshaven, wearing faded blue jeans and a tee shirt wandered out into the kitchen and took a seat at the small round table. As she stood next to him at the stove filling his plate she felt a strong arm slide around her, which pulled her onto his lap. They kissed, savoring the physical closeness. After setting the plate of food on the table she rested her head in the hollow of his neck, her arms around his neck.

“I hope you’re hungry.” She commented.

“Starving.” He replied but didn’t make a move to eat the bacon and eggs. “Jaime I’m sorry the mission didn’t go as planned. I swear I was careful just like I promised.”

“It’s okay.” She didn’t look him in the eye, she just couldn’t. “You’re back safe and that’s all that matters right?”

He knew she was having difficulty looking at him in his battered condition. He had been lucky this was the first assignment since she found out about his contract that he did not return unscathed. He saw the guilt cloud her blue eyes every time he caught her staring at him last night.

She slid off his lap. “So what do you have planned for this morning while I’m stuck in Oscar’s stuffy office?” He questioned before digging his fork into his meal.

“I thought I’d do some shopping then have lunch with Callahan.”

“Ah yes, the infamous Peggy Callahan.” He commented in a neutral tone wiping his mouth with a napkin.

“Steve please let it go. She only told me about your contract because she is a loyal friend.”

“Loyal to you maybe but certainly not to me.”

“Don’t you dare be angry with her.”

“I’m not. I’m just annoyed that’s all. It’s just…” He let out a deep breath before continuing; “If she didn’t commit a breech of confidentiality you and I wouldn’t be walking on eggshells every time I return from a mission with anything more than a scratch. Admit it, you feel guilty!”

“Yes I do. Wouldn’t you? You should be grateful to Callahan. If she didn’t tell me I would have married Chris and we wouldn’t be here now.” She let out a heavy sigh, folding and refolding a dishtowel. “Have you even spoken to her since?”

“No. She’s either at lunch, on vacation or in the OSI basement storing files. I think she’s avoiding me.”

“Who could blame her? I’d be avoiding you too.”

“Why should she be avoiding me?”

“Because in her effort to help me she feels she sacrificed her friendship with you.”

“That’s ridiculous. I may be annoyed with her actions but I still consider us friends.”

“I think you need to tell her that. Why don’t you show up early for your appointment and talk to her.”

Steve just nodded his agreement that it was a good idea as he finished off his breakfast. He and Callahan had been friends for a long time and he didn’t want there to be any friction between them. Jaime was right she did get Jaime to break off her engagement with Chris. Jaime saw the wheels rolling in Steve’s mind.

“What are you going to say to her?”

“I don’t know but I’ll think of something.”

“Hey, maybe you could send her flowers?”

“Flowers?” Steve replied thinking it was an odd suggestion.

“Yeah she would love that, especially from you.”

”What do you mean ‘especially from me’?” He looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

“You mean to tell me you don’t know?”

“Know what?” His expression was one of complete confusion.

“Steve Austin I swear you are blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other.” Jaime was busying herself washing the dishes.

Steve shook his head not understanding his fiancé’s frustration, “Obviously I missed something.” His blue eyes focused on Jaime waiting for an explanation.

Jaime turned to face him and shot him a devious grin enjoying the fact that he was uninformed, “Callahan has a crush on you.”

“She does not!”

A chuckle accentuated her response, “Oh yes she does and has for a long time.” She punctuated her statement with a wink.

“Jaime you are making this up.” He said as he stood and walked passed her suddenly feeling embarrassed at the possibility.

She followed him into the living room and leaned against the wall, “I AM NOT!” She watched him slouch tiredly in a chair and they made eye contact. “Now do you feel better?”

“Why would that make me feel better?”

”She told me a secret about you now I’m telling you a secret about her.”

“I see. Does the OSI know of your inability to keep a secret?” Steve chuckled as his head rested on the chair back. “I will never understand how a woman’s mind works.”

“So flowers?”

He looked up at her hopeful face, “I’ll think about it. Meanwhile I need to shave and get dressed. Oscar expects me in his office by 10:00.


Callahan was busy typing, her back to the door, when the sound of the glass door opening caught her attention. She turned and her heart leapt into her throat at the sight of Steve Austin entering. He flashed a friendly smile but she was already panicked, cornered behind her desk no escape possible.

“Ah….Steve...ah hi….you’re early.” She stammered in a nervous voice. She wanted to anywhere but where she was, never intending to be here when he arrived.

“Hi Callahan. How are you?”

“Ah…fine. What happened to your face?” She stared at the prominent bruises.

“Just another day at the office. Is he in?”

“Yes…yes he is. You’re his only morning appointment so go right in.” She just wanted time to compose herself and maybe disappear before his meeting with Oscar ended.

“Callahan will you be here in an hour? I’d like to talk to you; it should only take a few minutes.”

“Ah sure Steve I’ll be right here.” She knew she couldn’t avoid her friend forever, deciding the situation needed to be addressed and why not get it over with today. Besides she was running out of things to file in the basement.

“Great I’ll see you in a little bit.” He winked and entered Oscar’s office, closing the mahogany door behind him.

Callahan just sat back in her chair nervously anticipating the upcoming conversation.

Oscar opened the door an hour later as Steve took his leave, both laughing at something unknown to Callahan. As they shook hands Oscar reiterated his relief that Steve had returned relatively unharmed then retreated back into his office closing the door behind him.

Steve stood in front of Callahan’s desk taking a second to find the most appropriate words to convey his thoughts. He wanted to be sure she knew they were still friends but wanted her to understand her actions caused some concern for him, regardless of stopping Jaime’s marriage to Chris Williams. To Steve Austin the end didn’t always justify the means. Peggy just sat there staring at his rugged face awaiting her punishment.

“Callahan, I understand why you did what you did regarding Jaime. I’m grateful that the information prevented Jaime from marrying the wrong man however I can’t help but be disappointed that the details of my confidential contract were shared with her.” He made eye contact with her but she quickly lowered her gaze to her desk feeling guilty.

“I’m sorry Steve. It’s just she…she was so adamant about marrying Chris because he was out of the OSI. I didn’t think it was fair.” She looked directly into his eyes with a surge of unexpected confidence and continued, “I know I over-stepped my position but I have to tell you I would do it again without a second thought.” Her last statement made his eyebrow rise not believing what he heard. “I guess you haven’t told Mr. Goldman yet.” She could feel her heart pound against her chest knowing her dismissal from this wonderful job would be the consequence for her actions.

“No I haven’t told him. I’m sure you know he would fire you on the spot if his knew.” She just nodded and stared at her desk. “Peggy, have you ever done anything like this before? I mean even the slightest breech of security?” He needed to be sure it wasn’t a habit with her.

“NO! Absolutely not! I would never…I mean other than to help Jaime.” Steve believed her and since she was the best secretary Oscar ever had he hated to have her lose her job besides he enjoyed her friendship.

“Then I think it would be best for all involved if this secret stayed between you, Jaime and me. Okay?” Her head came up quickly unsure if she was hearing him correctly.

She smiled, “Okay Steve and thanks.” She took a deep breath allowing her body to relax, so relieved he wasn’t mad at her. She stood and asked “So are we good?”

“Yea, we’re good.” He leaned down and gave her a peck on the cheek causing her to blush. With a wink he added, “Besides Jaime evened the score for you.” He smiled thinking of Callahan’s secret Jaime had shared with him. He felt his cheeks turning red at the thought.

“What do you mean?”

“Nothing. I’ll see you later okay?”

“Okay, have a good weekend.”

It was approximately 45 minutes later when a floral delivery was deposited on Callahan’s desk. Jaime had passed the delivery boy in the corridor as she arrived to take Callahan to lunch. She could barely make out the petite secretary behind the breathtaking array of rare purple Cardinal Roses. Jaime smiled knowing exactly who the sender would be although when she suggested flowers she meant a small floral arrangement. These beauties were spectacular.

She wished Steve could have been there to see stunned expression Callahan’s face as she read the card but Jaime knew her fiancé well enough to know he would feel too embarrassed to be present.

“Callahan these are incredible!”

“Can you believe it and I thought I had ruined our friendship.” She took in there delicate fragrance as she handed the small rectangular card over to Jaime who read it out loud with a smile. ‘A true and loyal friend as you is as rare as these roses. Forever in Your Debt, Steve.’

Both women chuckled as they headed out to lunch. Callahan felt as if she was walking on air the rest of the day.


It was the end of October, Rudy and Oscar were in Oscar’s office planning to get Steve away for a surprise ‘Bachelor Weekend’ before his wedding in three months. They both cleared their schedules but weren’t sure how to get Steve to go along. They both felt he could use a short vacation. Even with his left wrist immobilized for the past two months he was still sent on consecutive assignments in-between which he spent every spare moment he could with Jaime. Oscar decided to go with the simplest plan on the table, tell Steve it’s an assignment.

Steve knocked and entered Oscar’s office to two obviously guilty faces, unsure the reason behind them.

“You wanted to see me?”

“Yes I have an assignment for you this weekend.”

“Oh come on Oscar I just got back, at least give me the weekend.” Steve was teetering on refusing.

“But you haven’t heard about the mission yet. You might enjoy it.”

“I can count on one hand the assignments you’ve sent me on that I enjoyed.”

Oscar chuckled, “And as I recall those usually involved a pretty woman.”

“Uh huh. Well now that there’s a pretty woman in California and I’d rather be there thanks.”

“At least hear me out.”

Steve rolled his eyes as he sank heavily into the leather straight chair and looked at Rudy then Oscar. “Okay give me the high points.”

“Today Rudy and I decided to spend the weekend at my hunting cabin. Since the Secretary doesn’t like us going alone, for obvious security reasons, we thought we would invite you along.”

“As your bodyguard huh?”

“Yes, as our own little secret service.”

Steve toyed with the idea for a few seconds as his friends glanced at one another anxiously. “Are you aware of any recent threats toward you or Rudy?”

“No why?”

“Just figuring out how much fishing I can get in around my work duties.” He shot his boss a wink. “Sounds like fun and it will give me a chance to strengthen my wrist now that Rudy has removed my cast.” He gestured as if casting his line into the water. “When do we leave?”


They arrived late Friday afternoon. Oscar’s cabin was simple yet cozy. It was designed as one large room with each corner having a specific purpose such as a kitchenette, living area, and sleeping area for four. After purchasing it he added electrical service and a bathroom in the last corner, which included a walk-in shower. Not a bad place for a weekend getaway.

They spent the first day on the lake catching their dinner. The fish were plentiful and no one would go hungry tonight. After finishing their meal and cleaning up they decided to pass the time playing poker. Before the first hand was completed the expensive cigars were lit. By the second deal the drinks were as stiff as their mud-hardened boots. The three men enjoyed blowing off the steam their stressful jobs built up and were quickly intoxicated. Rudy lagged a little behind but not by much. As he tried to concentrate on making his slurred speech clear Oscar confessed their plan.

“Steve I have to tell you we brought you up here under false pretenses.”

“I know.” He stated simply in a clear voice not giving any hint that he was as inebriated as his friends.

Not catching Steve’s comment he continued, “You see Rudy and I just wanted you to enjoy a bachelor weekend before you took the plunge.”

Steve grinned at him. “Oscar I said I know.” They stared at him wondering where they had slipped up. Seeing their expressions Steve continued, “After the guilty looks on both your faces, especially yours Rudy, when I entered your office I suspected something wasn’t on the level. I contacted the Secretary’s office and checked your story out.”

“You called the Secretary?” Oscar was shocked.

“Well, his office. Mary Ann his secretary gave me the information I needed.”

“What information?”

“As I recall you said you and Rudy decided that day to go away this weekend. I just asked Mary Ann if you and the Secretary had any contact that day. She told me the Secretary had not spoken to you since last week, before he went on vacation.” He gave Oscar a smug look.

“Why would Mary Ann give out such sensitive information? Oh let me guess you two dated at one time?”

“Yep, and you know I don’t burn any bridges.” He took a long sip of his drink. They all shared a laugh.

More cards were dealt and the man-talk began to center around the groom-to-be and his many romantic trysts. Steve patiently kept his mouth shut focusing on the game at hand while Oscar kept up the teasing and Steve just shook his head.

“Steve don’t you know this is what you do at a bachelor party. The condemned man is supposed to give up his secrets about women.”


“Yes, really. Now speak up Rudy and I might want to take notes.” Rudy and Oscar shared the same silly grin.

Steve let out a chuckle of embarrassment before finishing his beverage; rising and staggering to the bathroom in hopes the interruption would cause two-thirds of this boys club to loose interest in the present topic of discussion.

Rudy leaned in with a whisper, “Maybe you should let up a little.”

“Oh no, I’m not letting up until I get some answers to some long awaited questions,” Oscar stated loudly for Steve to here.

Steve returned and dropped clumsily into his seat, finding a fresh drink in front of him. He picked up his glass, looked over its rim and noticed his friends staring at him. “You aren’t actually expecting me to kiss and tell are you?”

“Absolutely, or else I’ll have to taunt you all night and tomorrow.” Oscar gave him a devilish smile.

Steve gave a heavy sigh preparing for his interrogation, “What do you want to know?”

Rudy and Oscar glanced at each other finding it surprising that Steve would cave so quickly. “Tell us how do you get all these woman anyhow? We might want to try your technique.”

Steve grinned as he stacked his poker chips, “First you need to get out of your office and lab. You two are the biggest workaholics I have ever met.” His friends pretended to be insulted by his remark until they all started laughing. “So whose deal is it?” Steve wanted to redirect attention back to the card game.

“Oh no, we’re not finished yet. There are some questions I have always wanted to ask you. I promise what you say up here in these woods stays here. You can be assured the doctor and I will keep your secrets.”

Steve rolled his eyes wondering what was so damn important that Oscar needed to know. He took another long swig of his drink. “Okay shoot but I’ll only answer four questions so make them count.”

Oscar furled his brow trying to get his inebriated mind to dig out his most pressing questions, “I’ve always wondered if you ever slept with a woman on assignment?”

“Yes. My deal?”

Oscar and Rudy just stared at him waiting for elaboration of his answer. Neither would make a move as the cards were tossed in front of them. Seeing them just sit there and stare at him Steve spoke up, “Oscar you really don’t expect me to say who do you? Besides I answered the question. You have three left.” He shot his boss a crooked grin enjoying the control he had over the information that was so desperately sought.

The next question was the obvious and asked in unison, “Who?”

Steve concentrated on the cards as he fanned them out with his fingers. “The Contessa. I’m in.” He threw two dollars on the table. He looked past his cards at the surprised looks on his friends when no one said anything, “What?”

“What Contessa?” Rudy asked intrigued by the information.

“When Oscar sent me to find William Cameron. I sort of found out the “Contessa De La Something” was involved and she helped me solve the case.”

“Helped you huh?”

Steve was feeling the heat, “Are you playing this hand or not?”

“Okay!” Oscar threw in his bet and thought hard on his final two questions, “I’ve always wondered if you ever had ‘relations’ with a woman on the moon?” He shared a wicked grin with Rudy.

“Yes, I’ll take two cards.” Steve did not miss a beat adjusting his cards in his hand not noticing two mouths hanging open at his answer.

“Let me guess, Bess Fowler.” Oscar was sure of his guess.

“Is that one of your questions?”

“Yes.” Oscar answered.

“No.” Steve answered quickly.

Rudy chimed in, “Who then? Wait was it Dr. Leah Russell?”

“No. Are we playing cards here or what? I think you both have run out of questions.”

“Oh come on Steve!” Oscar swallowed the last of his drink and immediately proceeded to refill his glass. Steve laughed and shot a wink at Rudy, he was enjoying Oscar’s frustration. His friends continued to gawk at him. He eyed his drink carefully before downing it. “Kelly Wood. I see your bet and raise you another two.”

Oscar just stared at his long-time friend with his mouth open. He took a deep breath to ask another question when Steve looked at him and interrupted.

“Uh uh, you are out of questions.” Steve remained silent regarding any more questions about his love life. His bachelor friends teased him frequently throughout the night that his freedom would soon end at the alter.”

“That’s fine with me. Besides that gives you boys a better chance, there will be more fish in the sea.”