Chapter 055

Together Chapter 055

Copyright 2014 - 2015 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Present – Liz and Bernie – the next day


It was great having Bernie here last night and we both slept like we were dead. I was having a nightmare of a dream that I was going to have twins and they were going to be little hell raisers when a rude knock on our door scares the shit out of me. I yell, "Who the hell is it!"


I hear Jens laugh and yell back, "We're burning daylight! Time to get up for our morning PT."


Bernie gives me 'the look' and begins to say, "Liz I told…"


I rudely interrupt him, "…Yeah, you don't have to remind me."


Then I get an idea and hopefully reply, "Jens, did you forget I'm preggers and can't do PT?"


Jens bangs on the door again and shoots down my idea, "Don't worry, I got up early and researched exercises for fat, preggers women."


I counter, "Jens, I'm not fat!"


She continues the infernal banging on the door and laughs, "Not yet, but if you don't exercise you will be. Now move it before I break the door down - and don't forget to bring Bernie."


Bernie yells…


I'm sort of glad this happened because it reinforces the point I was making about the hotel. I do get an idea and yell, "Jennifer, I'm not fat or preggers so can't I sleep in?"


Jennifer bangs on the door some more and says, "Heck no! You are needed to help Liz on some of the exercises."


I look at Liz and ask, "Liz, do you have any idea what Jennifer is talking about?"


Liz shakes her head and replies, "I have no idea but my only guess is she found some sort of couple's pregnancy exercises. Come on, I'm interested to see what she found."


I yell, "Jennifer, cut out the banging on the door. We're out of bed, taking care of our morning needs and getting dressed"


She bangs two more times and taunts, "Just make sure one of those needs is not copulating."


We get out of bed and Liz runs to the bathroom. I change into the only set of workout clothes that I brought, Liz finally comes out of the bathroom and I head in to the bathroom take care of my morning needs. When I come out Liz has changed and looks great. I walk over, give her a hug and says, "Honey you look good enough to eat."


Liz grins and says, "Not now Bernie, Jens was serious about no hanky-panky."


Present – Jens – waking up the house


I can't fricken believe it! I'm gone for a week and the whole place has descended into chaos. Gretchen was supposed to wake everyone up for morning PT while I was gone but she didn't. So I pulled one of Ben's tricks on her to wake her up. I opened her door, stuck in one of those little air horns and let go a long blast.


Gretchen jumped so badly she almost fell out of bed and swore, "Some son of a bitch is going to die for that!"


I laugh and counter, "More like daughter of a beotch. Now get your lazy rear out of bed for PT."


I honk the horn twice more but then Gretchen throws a pillow at me and it almost knocks the horn out of my hands.


I wake up the rest of the cabin team in a similar manner and am happy to find the security team rooms empty. I hope that means they are up and waiting. I head outside and notice my assumption is correct - not only that, they started without me. I run up, join in and complain, "Hey, you didn't wait for me."


The leader laughs, "Well, if you didn't sleep until noon…"


I interrupt, "… Noon huh - that comment is going to cost you! Now we're going to take a little run after PT."


Everyone groans because they know I will kick their rears on the run. I laugh, "That's right boys, I'm back so it's time to get serious."


Gretchen shows up and I announce, "By the way Gretchen, you're included on today's run because you weren't waking everyone up like ordered."


Gretchen waffles, "Jennifer, I can't take time for a run because I have to continue working on the computers. It looks like there's a virus or trojan horse in the system."


I'm not going to let her escape so I counter, "Gretchen, now that I'm back I will help with the system. So now we will have plenty of time today for a nice healthful run."


I'm really just barely holding it together, so the teasing of my friends and extreme exercise are the perfect distraction for me.


Liz and Bernie finally show up and I announce, "I have some special pregnancy exercises for Liz and Bernie, so keep up the good work."


I pull them to the side, hand them a sheaf of papers and begin to work with them on the exercises…


Present – Liz and Bernie – pregnancy exercises


Jens comes over to us, hands us a huge stack of paper and says, "Okay guys these are the recommended pregnancy exercises that I found. The easy ones are on the first pages and they get progressively harder the further back you go. Liz make sure to breathe as indicated for each exercise and if you get dizzy at all, make sure you stop and let me know."


We begin the exercises and I can see that Jens has put a huge amount of work into this project, it makes me wonder if she slept at all last night. The exercises are great and she's right (hell isn't she almost always right?) and I really like the way they incorporate Bernie into helping me. Soon I'm sweating and feel closer to Bernie than I have in a very long time. Jens comes over, takes my pulse and orders, "Okay Liz that's it for the day for you. Go get cleaned up because after lunch we're heading to Denver and the doctor's office."


I look at Jens and reply, "Jens, I thought we would do all my prenatal care with one of the doctor's in Leadville and then…"


Bernie interrupts, "… Yeah Jens we had sort of figured this out already…"


Jens holds up her hand and reminds us, "… Liz have you forgotten that you couldn't get preggers until after I 'fixed' you. I feel that your first prenatal appointment should be with the best prenatal doctor in Denver for a complete and thorough checkup. If he gives his blessing then whatever you decide is great with me."


Jens is being a little too bossy for my liking, after all it is my pregnancy. I look at her closely and see the pain through the mask she's displaying so I decide to play along, "Thanks Jens, we appreciate your thoughtfulness."


Bernie squeezes my arm, I look at him and smile so thank God he doesn't say anything.


Jens says, "Well, I'm off to take the team and the boys out for a little run, it looks like they got a little fat while I was gone."


I point to my every expanding belly and reply, "Jens, you know I would love to come with you and kick your ass, but…"


Jens laughs, "Liz don't worry about it. The running will come after you deliver your baby."


She grabs her gear, rallies everyone and Jens takes off at a blistering pace. They immediately begin to complain - which Jen's answers with an evil laugh.


Bernie looks at me and asks…


I sure as hell don't like the way Jennifer is trying to run our pregnancy, I was going to say something to her about it, but the look Liz gave me stopped me. Now with Jennifer gone I ask, "Liz, what the hell are you doing, letting Jennifer make plans for our pregnancy?"


Liz explains, "Bernie, Jens is really hurting and she did it to distract herself from the situation she created with Ben. Please can we humor her some? Besides, it is a good idea."


I smile at Liz and say, "How about we head down to our shower."


Liz grins and replies, "Bernie, I never thought you would ask…"


Present – Liz and Bernie – the rest of the morning


We had a great shower and then a fantastic breakfast (thanks of course to Mabel). Bernie set up a hammock between a couple of the trees and we were outside lounging and waiting for Jens to come back from the run.


Bernie asks, "Liz, have you been thinking about baby names?"


I confess, "Sorry Bernie, this whole idea of having a baby is so new to me I haven't even begun to think about names."


Bernie starts to say something, then laughs and points, "It looks like it's a good thing you didn't go running with Jennifer."


I follow his arm and see Jens and Sharik run into the clearing. They run up to us and Jens says, "That really looks comfortable, I wish I had thought of that idea."


Bernie answers…


My main reason for setting up the hammock was to avoid being in the tunnels. I really do hate being in the tunnels so I guess I'm a little claustrophobic. Jennifer praises us on the good idea and I reply, "Thanks Jennifer, not to offend you, but I really hate living in the tunnels so this was my attempt at creating a comfortable place outside of the tunnels."


Jennifer shocks me when she says, "Yeah, I certainly understand not liking to live in the tunnels. I also hate it but there's no other choice until they release the cabin from being a crime scene. Once that happens, I will have it rebuilt - again."


Liz reminds her, "Jens, you do know that insurance won't cover the cost of repair this time because it was an act of arson."


Jens pauses and I can tell she fights back swearing when she says, "Yeah, those two reprobate teenagers are in big trouble if I ever find them. I will make sure both of them end up in prison."


Liz questions, "Jens do you have enough money to rebuild the cabin?"


Jens says, "Yeah, there's no problem with that, Ben and I are pretty well off."


Jens notices the security team come stumbling into the clearing so she excuses herself, "Sorry, I have to go and give them the ration of caca they deserve."


Jens leaves and I suggest, "Hey Liz, how about a nap before our trip to Denver?"


Liz smiles and says, "That sounds wonderful, but do you think we could nap here in the hammock."


I love the idea and reply, "Sure, why the hell not! We get comfy and soon drop off to sleep to the sound of Jennifer berating everyone."


Present – Jens – a ration of caca


I jog over to the finally returning security team, grin at them and taunt, "I thought you were supposed to protect me, how can you do that when you can't even keep up with me."


The leader gasps and complains, "It's this damn altitude - it does a number on us."


I laugh and continue, "Don't you dare pull that bogus excuse on me. I've been close to sea level for the past week and I'm fine. By the fricken way, where's the cabin team?"


One of the security team stragglers comments, "I think they died a few miles back."


I giggle and confront them, "What! You're telling me they died and you left them on the trail? Come on, we need to run back and find them."


The security team groans, gets up off the ground and we run back along the trail to find the missing cabin team. 


Present – Samantha and Stacy – working on things


Stacy calls Bill, he shows up for lunch, the chef brings out our food, we begin to eat and I ask, "Bill, would it be possible to start working on the renovation of my building?"


Bill smiles and teases me, "Don't you mean your castle?"


I blush and answer, "Well, I didn't really want to call it that. I was thinking I would like to start with the lower level, especially my and Stacy's rooms."


Bill replies, "I assume those two rooms will be in the turrets?"


I nod in affirmation and Bill continues, "What is your budget?"


Stacy answers for me, "Bill, I will discuss that with you later. But since we’re talking I was wondering if you know someone with talents similar to yours that could work for Samantha?"


Bill thinks for a moment or two and says, "Yeah, I think I know of a great guy that would love the steady work."


Stacy continues, "Bill, please contact him and see if he can be here tonight by the time we get back."


Bill smiles and says, "I think you will like him. I know his family will be happy if he can settle down in one steady job."


Stacy cautions, "Bill, please don't make any promises to him."


Bill answers, "Of course not Ms. Summers, I would never do that." He turns toward me and continues, "Ms. Stevens do you have some idea of what you would like to do with your castle?"


I blush, open my carry bag, pull out some drawings I have done, slide them across the table to Bill and reply, "These are a few sketches that I did, do you think this is possible?"


Bill looks at the sketches while Stacy leans over and says…


I look at the sketches that Sam did and I'm more than impressed - I'm shocked! Sam might have dyslexia but she sure can draw. I grin at her and remark, "Sam these sketches are impressive. If I didn't know better I would say that a professional architect created them."


Bill reinforces my thoughts, "I have to agree with Ms. Summers, from the looks of these you exactly capture the size and relationship of the room, the scale looks perfect. How were you able to do that?"


Sam shrugs her shoulders and answers, "I don't know, it's just something I've always been able to do."


I can tell from the 'sketches' (which are more like architectural plans) that Sam will burn through her money before half of the work is complete. I look at Bill and order, "Bill we really need to act on these plans. Let's see if we can get started today."


Bill nods with the acknowledgment that he understands what I am really saying and says, "I will get started on it immediately, right after I call Vic and see if he can be here tonight. That reminds me Ms. Summers, would it be possible for us to pick up his travel expenses?"


I smile and agree, "Yes Bill that will be fine."


Bill stands up and says, "First I'm going to get a crew in to clean up the castle, while I contact the lawyer to get started on the permits for the renovation."


Bill leaves and Sam says, "Well I guess I won't be doing a video chat with Bill on the trip."


I smile at Sam and say, "Don't worry, you can sketch some more of your ideas on the trip."


Sam beams at me and praises, "Stacy, thank you so much for this."


I dismiss her praise with a wave of my hand as Bill walks up and says, "Ms. Summers the jet is ready."


Lunch is finished, we get one of the team to drive us to the airport right up to the hanger for my jet. We board the plane, the flight attendant brings us a flute of champagne and I marvel at what happens next…


Present – Thom, Jack, Inga, Masha and the children – back in Leadville


We make it back to Leadville with no mishaps, catch a ride to the cabin, and I'm shocked! Damn those two little bitches, they made a hell of a mess out of the cabin and I lost all my clothes. If I ever see them again, I will blister their asses.


I grab a pair of BDUs out of Jennifer's supply room, take a shower and begin to relax in my room when there's a knock on the door. I yell, "Who the fuck is bothering me?"


The door opens, it's Inga and she announces, "Thom it's time for the contest."


I complain, "Hell, I'm just got back and I'm tired."


Inga giggles and suggests, "Well if you would rather lose by forfeit…"


I stop her in her tracks, "…Hell no I'm not going to forfeit! Give me a minute to collect my thoughts."


Present – Thom, Jack, Inga, Masha and Jens – after the shooting competition


The old fart Jack crows, "Damn that Knob Creek is going to taste good – nothing tastes better than 'free' bourbon."


Hell, I thought I was a hell of a shot but both Masha and Inga beat me – Inga surprised the hell out of me because she had almost a perfect score. Even though we walked Ben's Hogan Alley twice, there were still surprises that caught me off guard. And Inga, well she looked like she was dancing ballet the whole time. I've never seen anyone fire and hit a target while performing an aerial1 but she did it twice.


1 Aerial – a cartwheel without hands


 I complain, "Hell, I was still jet lagged from the trip…"


Jack interrupts, "…Well we can wait until tomorrow and try it again for double or nothing."


Damn the old fart put me between a rock and a hard place. If I agree and get my ass kicked again, I will never hear the end of it. But if I don't accept the challenge he will give me shit about it forever.


I reluctantly agree, "No problem, I know I will do better tomorrow."


Jack leaves and I decide I need to head back to the Hogan's Alley and figure things out. I have a surprise when I get there and see the range closed sign which means it's in use.


I wait in the control room and recognize Jennifer as she moves through part of the alley. She gets to the spot where Inga did one of her aerials and damn if she doesn't do the exact same move. Jennifer completes the alley comes back to the control room sees me and says, "I saw Inga go through this earlier today and I sure as heck couldn't let her beat my record on Ben's Hogan's alley. I loved the aerial that she did on that section so I had to try it myself. So what's my score?"


I look at the score and answer, "Damn you beat Inga by one point. So who has the best score?"


Jennifer answers, "Ben does of course. He scores a perfect every time he does the alley."


I offer consolation, "Well he did design it so he has…"


Jennifer interrupts, "… No Thom that's not it. He let me redesign the course and finished with a perfect score his first time without even taking a walk through."


I hope to pick up some pointers for tomorrow so I ask, "So what's his secret?"


Jennifer smiles and says, "Thom, every Hogan's alley has a rhythm to it and once you find that rhythm and follow it, the course becomes easier. Since Ben is a heck of a musician, he figures out the rhythm immediately. Heck he even sings Jodies2 when he does the alley."


2 Jodies - In the armed services, a military cadence or cadence call is a traditional call-and-response work song sung by military personnel while running or marching. In the United States, these cadences are sometimes called jody calls or jodies, after Jody, a recurring character who figures in some traditional cadences.


This has given me some hope so I ask, "You don't suppose you could teach me the rhythm of this alley?"


Jennifer smiles at me and says, "So you don't want to get your ass kicked in tomorrow's rematch? Sure I will teach it to you. Let's do a slow walk through first and then gradually speed it up."


We walk into the alley and Jennifer slowly sings as we start out, "Heavy on the left foot."


I don't know what to do, Jennifer giggles and says, "Thom here are your lines, try to remember them."


We reset the alley, walk back into it and again Jennifer sings, "Heavy on the left foot."


I answer, "Motivated Left foot."


We both sing, "Oh Yeah!"


Jennifer sings, "Ain't no use in lookin down."


My response, "There ain't no discharge on the ground."


We speed up as Jennifer sings, "There ain't no use in lookin back."


The response I sing, "A Jody's got your Cadillac."


We're moving faster now as Jennifer sings, "There ain't no use in feelin blue."


I'm really getting the hang of this when I reply, "A Jodies got your lady too."


We both sing, "Oh Yeah."


Then we start again from the top, are really moving and we're both doing great until I miss the rhythm in my line and the next thing I know we're figuratively dead.


We stop, Jennifer falls to her knees and begins to cry. I promise, "Don't worry Jennifer I won't mess up next time."


Jennifer wipes away the tears and answers, "Thom, I don't care that you messed up, I just wish it was Ben here instead of you…"


I try to comfort her by saying, "Don't worry, we will find him…"