Chapter 8

Slamming the phone down, Howie spun on his heels and headed towards the bedroom.  “Sarah, you are NOT going into Orlando,” he bellowed.

“There’s no need to yell, Howard,” said Sarah, her voice dripping with sweetness as she met him in the door.  Running her hand across his chest, “There’s no sense in arguing about this.  I’m going with you to Orlando.”

“Fine!  I’m calling Becca back and telling her I’m not coming.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Howard.  You need to find Nick and talk some sense into him while I calm Becca.”

He knew Sarah was furious that he was trying to stop her simply because she was calling him ‘Howard’ but undaunted by her fury, he took a seat on the couch.  “Not going to happen tonight.”

Sarah looked at him, flames shooting from her eyes.  “Okay, fine.  Where are my keys?  I’m going alone and kicking some Carter ass!”

Two innocent bystanders, Kryss and Dusty, looked on with different reactions to the scene unfolding in front of them.  Dusty was amused.  He knew his sister but he also knew Howie could handle her with ease.  He’d convince Sarah to stay put and still take care of Nick and Becca tonight.  Kryss on the other hand was still getting to know the couple and she’d never seen Howie quite like this.  Normally he was very loving and tender with Sarah and she knew he always took care of his friends but now he seemed….indifferent.

Howie knew Sarah was searching for her keys without looking at her but he sat calmly.

“Aren’t you going to do something to stop her?” asked Kryss in amazement that Howie was so calm.

Howie simply winked at her as Sarah came around to stand in front of him, her hands on her non-existent hips.  “WHERE are MY KEYS, HOWARD?” demanded Sarah.

“Where YOU can’t find them,” answered Howie as he stood.  Putting his hands on her stomach, he gave her a kiss.  “I’m wasting time arguing with you, ‘Angel’.  I will take care of Nick and Becca and YOU will take care of yourself.  You don’t need to get into this with Nick.  All it will do is upset you and you need to be watching your blood pressure.  Sit down, talk to Kryss and Dusty, and I’ll be back later.  I promise to call you with updates and DO NOT wait up for me.”

Sarah had one last card to play.  “Sweet D,” she cooed as she played with his necklace.  “I love you SOOOO much, especially when you’re being so protective.”

“But,” grinned Howie knowing she had more to say.

“But you know I won’t relax worrying about Becca and THAT isn’t going to do my blood pressure any good either.  I promise to stay calm and prop my feet up when we get there.”

A valid point and a cute pout to drive the point home…she had him. 

Howie groaned, “When am I going to learn to say ‘no’ to you?”

“Never,” smirked Sarah as she gave him a triumphant kiss.

“Ill give it to you, Howie.  I thought you had her with hiding her keys,” laughed Dusty.

Brushing a stray piece of hair behind her ear, Howie winked at Sarah.  “She made a good point….and her cute little pout just sealed it.”

Sarah turned to place a kiss in the palm of his hand.  “I love you.  Kryss, can you stay here with Jesse?”


“I’m not sure how long we’ll be,” said Howie as they started towards the door.

“Don’t worry about anything.  If you’re not back in the morning, we’ll get her to school,” said Dusty.

Jesse came bouncing out of her room.  “Daddy, I’m ready for my bath.”

“Princess, I can’t help you.  Mommy and I are headed to Aunt Becca’s.  Kryss is here and she’ll help you.”

“Can I go with you?” begged Jesse.

“No, baby, not on a school night,” said Sarah as she slipped her coat on.  “Mind Kryss and your Uncle Dusty.”

Jesse stomped her foot.  “Why do YOU get to go and I can’t?  It’s NOT fair. You’re sick!”

Howie saw Sarah’s temper starting to flare and he jumped in.  “Jesse, stomping your foot will not be tolerated.  I’ll take care of your mother.  Now behave and we’ll see you tomorrow.”

They each gave Jesse a kiss and with Howie’s hand on Sarah’s lower back, the couple headed to the car.  Neither one knew what awaited them in Orlando, just that something was terribly wrong with Nick and Becca.

Chapter 9            Index