Team Freedom: Operation Skyline (Chapter 13)

This will be my last post in this series until after the holidays. Gotta build some anticipation! Merry Christmas!


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  They got up and walked back to the car. Jake was about to open the door for Steph when she turned around and hugged him. Jake put her arms around her and held her for a few seconds.

“Jake this was so incredible, thank you.”  She stood on her toes and kissed him lightly but affectionately.

Jake opened the door for her and she climbed in. He went around to the drivers side and got in. He drove slowly through the woods and back into town. He stopped at a gas station and filled his car.

By the time he got to Stephanie s house it was nearly nine. They got out and walked up a few stairs to the front door. She opened the door and they walked inside. Just inside the door was a flight of stairs going to the basement and a flight of stairs going up to the main level of the house. She led him upstairs to the living room. Her parents were sitting together on a couch watching the news on. They both stood up when he walked in. Her dad was not very tall, about 5’8 with greying, brown hair and a bald spot on his head. He had an athletic build to him. Her mom was about 5’4 four with brown hair.

“Mom, Dad, I want you to meet Jake Smith.”

Her dad stuck out his hand,  “I’m Don McClary.”

Jake shook his hand,  “Nice to meet you.”

Her mom walked over to him and she stuck her hand out,  “I’m Kami, the mom.”

Jake smiled and shook her hand,  “It’s a pleasure to meet both of you.”

Kami looked around the room,  “Have a seat Jake, would you like anything to drink?”

Steph interrupted,  I’ll make us all some hot chocolate. You and Dad can get to know Jake.”

She walked into the dining room which was connected to the living room. She turned a corner and walked into the kitchen. Jake could hear her warming water and getting out cups.

“So Jake,  Don said,  I m sure you get this a lot, but what you have been doing for this city is really great.”

“Well, we are doing our best, there is still a lot more we could do.”

“Yeah, but no matter how much you guys can do, there will always be someone else out there to cause trouble.”

Jake smiled,  “That, unfortunately,  is my job security.”

Kami asked the next question,  “So do you go to church anywhere?”

“Actually I do, I go to the same church you do. I believe that Don helps lead worship in the morning service.”

 

}{\plain       So you must go to the Washington Cathedral then? \par

“Well, if that is where you go, then I guess that is where I’m going.”

They all laughed.

“You a Christian Jake?”  Don asked.

He took on a more serious tone,  “Yes, I have been for most of my life.”

Just then Steph walked in,  “I have a question Jake, you didn’t know that these were my parents even though I’m with them at church?”

He looked a little sheepish,  “Well, no, I just never made the connection.”

She set the steaming drinks down in front of each of them and took a seat beside Jake. She curled her feet up under her and rested her head on his shoulder. Jake spent the next two hours getting to know her parents. He found out that her dad had grown up on a farm in the southeastern part of the state. Steph had spent the first few years of her life on the farm. She didn t remember any of it though. Don told him stories about some of the crazy things he had done as a kid.

“I remember one time when we had cattle. We had this big, mean bull. My two brothers and I would tease the bull and get him to chase us around. Now see if you can picture this. A one thousand pound bull chasing a ninety pound kid around a huge bush.”

Jake laughed, he thought he had been crazy as a kid. Don made his antics seem mild.

Don got a smile on his face as he said,  “I can remember the worst spanking I ever got. When I was pretty young I wanted to try smoking a cigarette. I don’t remember how I got one, but I lit up and started puffing away. About that time my Dad found me. To make a long story short, I don’t smoke.”

The four of them sat in the living room and swapped stories from their lives. Jake began to realize that this was a really great family. After awhile Jake glanced at a clock hanging on the wall. It was nearly eleven. He stood up,

“I hate to leave, I’ve been having such a great time, but I need to get home.”

Don and Kami stood up they both shook his hand and he began to walk down the stairs to the door.

“Mom, Dad,  Steph said,  I’m going to walk Jake out to his car.”

Jake saw her parents exchange a knowing glance as she walked towards him. They opened the door and went out into the cool night air.

“Jake, I had an incredible time, thank you.”

She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him. He did the same. They held each other for a few seconds, then Jake leaned down and whispered in her ear,

“I think I have a major crush on you,”  he said and chuckled at the childish sound of those words.

She looked up into his eyes and grinned,  “Me too, except vise versa.”

He kissed her forehead gently and turned and walked to his car. He pulled out of the driveway and waved to her as she watched him driving off.

Jake drove home quietly. He was thinking about what he had said to her just before he left. He knew he had more than a simple crush on Steph. He was beginning to wonder if what he wasn’t experiencing was the beginning of falling in love. He never thought the day would come when he felt this way. He felt like he could be so open with her, and even with her family. Somehow she was what was missing in his life. He would give it some more time and see how his and Stpeh’s feelings progressed. If things kept going the way they were, he might soon have to talk to Don about an important issue.

He pulled into the driveway that night feeling like he was on cloud nine. He walked into the house and found his three friends watching the late news on TV. He couldn’t help himself, he came in the house whistling.

“Whoa!  Chase said,  something good must have happened tonight.”

“Yeah Jake, Jose said,  You only whistle when you are really really happy.”

“Anything you wanna tell us?”  John asked.

Jake smiled mischievously,  “I had a great time, and I met her parents.”  he took on a more serious tone as he sat down in the living room,  “I’m going to tell you guys something, you all are my closest friends and you need to know. You need to know because I don’t want this for some reason to hinder my performance on the job. I could not live with myself if I caused one of you to get injured.”

“You can tell us Jake.” Jose said.

“I think I’m falling in love with Steph.”

The guys didn’t tease him, all of them knew how he felt. Chase especially was beginning to feel the same way about Tiffany. Jose was getting to know Angel better with each date, and John was finally coming out of his shell with JoAnn.

“Who knows,”  Chase said,  “We might not be cooking our own meals all that much longer.”

Jake took on a look of mock surprise,  “Are you suggesting that my cooking isn’t good enough for you.”

No, I’m just saying Tiffany can flat out cook when she wants to.”

Jose spoke up,  You haven’t tasted enchiladas until you have tried Angel’s recipe.”

“Well I guess you guys can just live off fast food then.”  Jake said as he settled into a chair,  “I’m joking of course. A guy can only take so much Mickey D’s before he dies from clogged arteries and a grease overdose. Anything exciting on the news?”

“Not really,”  John said,  “the Mariners won again last night. They just have been having a really good season so far. We’ll see how they do after the All Star break though. After the good teams are separated from the great teams.”

“If they keep playing like they have been, they should take the World Series.”  Jose added.

That night as they were getting ready for bed, the phone rang. Jake picked it up,

“Hello.”

“No problem sir, none of us were in bed yet.”

“What kind of situation?”

“Can you give me any details?”

“No kidding?”

“That doesn’t sound good at all?”

“So are you wanting us to help you out with this one?”

“When do want us at the station?”

“Alright, I ll see you in about twenty minutes.”

“Bye.”

Jake hung up the phone and hurried down the hall telling all of them the news. They all got ready quickly and left in a hurry.

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