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Dare to Dream

Title: Dare to Dream 

Authors: Nubiangeek and Amanda 

Summary: Johnny meets the girl of his dreams but there is trouble along the way to happiness. 

Rating: PG at its worse 

Disclaimer: I do not own The Emergency! guys, I just write about them. Please don't sue me! 

Warning: This story contains mushy, gushy love stuff. IF you do not care for that sort of thing then this story is not for you :) If you do read, please give positive feedback! Thank

you! Enjoy :) 

Dare to Dream 

Rachel Compton was flying to Los Angeles. Alright, she was running away to Los Angeles. She fully admits it. From the time she was a small child she had been controlled. Everyone telling her exactly what she was to do or not to do. When she entered college, they told her what to study so that she could come into the family's import/export business. "Imports and exports - that's our business and it will be yours, too." She had rebelled and studied Anthropology and Studies of Ancient Civilizations. "Oh, so what do you plan to do with that?" they jeered. She was headed to Los Angeles to set up and run an antique store. She had gone on several trips around the world in the guise of learning the imports/exports business. What she was really doing was collecting various pieces for her future antique store. She had deliberately not told her family back in Boston where she was going for fear that they would come after her and drag her back. She had booked her flight on coach (Compton's don't fly coach) and here she was. Johnny's eyes fell on the woman sitting diagonally from him. She had long, curly, brown hair and a slim figure from what he could tell. Johnny noticed that the seat next to her was empty and he decided to pay her a little visit. "Hi, may I sit here?" Johnny flashed her his bright smile. "Sure, have a seat." Johnny was always surprised when a girl was agreeable. "My name is John Gage and you are. . . " Rachel chuckled as the young man tried out one of his pick up lines. "My name is Rachel - Compton." Johnny hadn't noticed the slight hesitation as she said her last name. She was afraid that Johnny would recognize it, but she was relieved when he didn't. "Uh, do you live in L.A.?" She smiled at his further efforts. "I'm moving there from Boston. I'm setting up an antique store there. How about you? What do you do?" "I'm a fireman/paramedic with Los Angeles county. We - my partner and I -" Johnny pointed to the sleeping Roy DeSoto next to Johnny's previously vacated seat. "We just returned from a Paramedic Convention in Boston." She envied him. He had probably wanted to be a fireman ever since he was a child. Imagine being able to do what you wanted. They engaged in other small talk as the flight to Los Angeles continued. Johnny found that Rachel was both intelligent and funny. She actually seemed interested in what he was saying. As they approached LAX, Johnny asked her if he could have her phone number. "Well, not if you're not going to call me." She said jokingly. She had already set up where she was going to live as well as establishing her phone service. "Oh, I plan on calling. So, if I asked you out, would you go?" Rachel smiled. How could she turn down this charming man. Her stepmother would hate him. That was reason enough to go out with him. "yes, I believe I would."

Dare To Dream Pt 2/? As Johnny and Roy were sharing a cab home, Johnny told Roy all about the girl he had met on the plane. "You mean you did all of that in the short time that I was asleep?" Johnny smiled and Roy rolled his eyes. "What?"


Johnny called Rachel that night and they set a date for Friday night. they were going to have a beautiful candlelight dinner at Anthony's. Very rarely did Johnny take a girl to Anthony's. It was very expensive. Johnny had a feeling about this girl. Friday came quickly for Rachel. She began to get ready as she thought of Johnny. He was a nice enough guy and she would need a friend here in Los Angeles. Johnny arrived promptly at seven o'clock. He had flowers - a nice touch. "I'll just put these into some water." Johnny looked around her place. It was neat and a little bare. She was just starting to unpack her things. "You look really nice." She did, he thought. He hadn't been able to see much of her when she was sitting down on the plane. She was now wearing a peach, silk dress which went well with her coloring. "You don't look too shabby yourself." Johnny was wearing tan pants, a light blue shirt, and a chocolate brown suede jacket. He smelled wonderful, she noted. The evening was like something from a fairy tale. Everything was perfect. The food was delicious. Johnny was a little nervous at first, but Rachel made him feel comfortable. One of the things that they talked about was Johnny's job. "It's dangerous, isn't it?" Johnny saw the concern on her face and tried to make things light. "I'm good at what I do." She smiled "I bet you are." When he took her home that evening, he didn't know what to expect. He thought that he would just take things as they came. "I had a nice time tonight." Rachel said softly. Johnny took her face in his hands and kissed her softly. He had wanted to do that all evening. "That was nice, too." He kissed her again and ran his fingers through her hair. He wanted her to invite him in, but as it turned out, she didn't. As he drove home, he thought about what he might have done wrong. The next day, he was lamenting to Roy, as usual. "I don't know what went wrong. We were having a great time." Roy felt sorry for his young partner and his lack of knowledge where women were concerned. Oh well, he thought, I was young once. "Did you ever think that maybe she's not that type of girl. It doesn't mean that she doesn't like you." Johnny was a little reassured, but he didn't want to get his hopes up too high. Their first run of the day was trying to get a little boy out of a sewer. They had other runs that day that blurred together. Johnny found himself thinking about Rachel and that kiss. When Johnny and Roy finally returned to the station, Johnny went straight to the coffeepot. "Hey Gage, there's a message here for you from some girl." It was Chet the eternal pain in the neck. "What girl, Chet? What's her name?" Johnny was hoping and praying that it was Rachel. "Uh, Rebecca, no that's not it. Rochelle, Roberta - uh - ..." "Rachel?" Johnny finally said. "Yeah! That's it! She sounds hot. What's she like , Johnny?" Johnny ignored him and went straight to the phone. He checked hi watch. She would be in the shop now. "Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe. Rachel speaking." Johnny was surprised at how his spirits brightened at hearing her voice. "It's Johnny." Then suddenly he didn't know what to say. Rachel was worried that he might have misunderstood what had happened at the end of their date. "Johnny, I wanted to apologize. I think that I might have hurt your feelings." Johnny was astonished. "Uh, I just thought that... things were going so well..." He had worried, she thought. "I just didn't want to take things so fast. I've made mistakes going fast before. I want this time to be. . . different." She waited to hear his response. "I can go slow. I -I just want to be with you." he hadn't meant to say it. She would think it was too soon. "I like being with you, too." Then there was silence. thankfully, the alarm sounded. "I know. You have to go." "I'll call you." Johnny was a lot happier as he sprang to the squad. "What is it, Junior? Did you get everything straightened out with your girlfriend?" Johnny didn't correct him about the girlfriend part. "Uh, yeah, we straightened things out." He flashed Roy his crooked grin.

The next date, Rachel said that she wanted to cook a meal for Johnny. Johnny, who was no slouch when it came to eating, accepted heartily. The doorbell rang at exactly seven o'clock. When Rachel opened the door, Johnny was again reminded of how gorgeous she was. "Come on in. Make yourself comfortable. Johnny noticed that there was quite a bit more furniture in her apartment now. He looked at the pictures that dotted the room. He noticed, however, that there were no pictures of her family. They looked like pictures of her friends. "Wine?" Rachel had returned with a glass of wine for Johnny. As they sat down, there was an awkward silence. Then Rachel got up enough courage to speak. Johnny, I didn't know how you would react to what I told you. A lot of guys wouldn't want to see me again if I didn't sleep with them." Johnny suddenly felt guilty. Would he have stopped calling her because she refused to have sex with him? He thought about what Roy had said about her being a different kind of girl. He didn't know what he would have done. This woman was different somehow. "Dinner's ready." she announced. Johnny made his way into the dining area which was decked out with beautiful china, fresh flowers and candles. There was pasta with sauce that smelled heavenly, garlic bread and parmesan you had to grate yourself. Johnny couldn't remember anyone going to this much trouble for him except maybe his mother. The meal was delicious. Just as Johnny had predicted. Rachel made coffee and then joined Johnny in the living room. "Tell me more about being a firefighter. I used to want to be a firefighter and a police officer and an explorer..." For the next few minutes, Johnny talked about what made him want to be a firefighter. He ws also surprised that she knew a little about engines. they talked some more and then a slow, love song came on the stereo. And that, along with the candle light made a very romantic moment. Rachel realized that she was rambling, but she was starting to get nervous again. She had been noticing how Johnny was looking at her. Johnny wanted to kiss her. He could tell that she was nervous, and after everything that they had talked about, he wanted to be very careful. They were both aware that Rachel had stopped talking. Johnny took this opportunity to take her into his arms and kiss her. This kiss was even better than their first kisses. He could tell that he was losing control fast. Rachel wrapped her arms around him and pulled him close. She ran her fingers through his soft, black hair and Johnny thought that he was going to faint. "Wow!" He finally said. Rachel was embarrassed. She didn't expect to do all of that. then, she was afraid that Johnny wouldn't understand. Johnny saw her troubled look and quickly said, "It's okay. I know how to go slow." She smiled. Maybe this guy was going to work out after all. From that day on, Johnny and Rachel continued seeing each other. Asking how Rachel was became common place just like asking Roy about Joanne. Johnny even made a big deal out of getting rid of his little black book. "I'll give you fifty bucks for it." Chey begged. Johnny was so happy, that he couldn't express how he felt in words. 

(The words form this song sung by Jaci Velasquez might help) 

Look What Love Has Done 

Where once the moon was just a rock spinning in the sky 

Where once the stars were only tiny points of light 

Now the moon looks like it' heaven's shining pearl 

Now those stars they look like windows into another world 


Look what love has done to me 

Look what love has done 

There's poetry in all I see 

Look what love has done 

And my heart is dancing through each day 

My soul is running free 

Look what love has done 

Where once each breath was just a sigh of emptiness 

Where once I hardly felt the beating in my chest 

Now each breath feels like a precious kiss of life 

Now inside me beat the wings of a thousand butterflies 


And I can't tell was that a violin or did you say something 

Was that lightening striking where I stand or did you just reach out and take my 


Other things were changing, too. Rachel met the hospital staff when Johnny was hurt in a fire. It was a three -alarm fire and Johnny and Roy were called out, too. When Johnny and Roy arrived, the structure was already engulfed. Johnny and Roy donned turn-out coats and their breathing apparatus. There were workers still trapped inside that they needed to rescue. As they entered the smoke and heat-filled realm, the old familiar anticipation came upon them. The workers were last seen on the third floor. Making their way up the stairwell, they could feel the heat increasing. When they reached the door on the third floor, Roy reached out and touched the door and the knob to make sure that the fire was not right on the other side. It was okay, so they proceeded through the door. There were lots of offices on this floor, so Roy and Johnny decided to split up to begin the search. As Johnny continued down the hallway, he heard a creaking noise and then the entire ceiling came crashing in on him. the last thing that Johnny heard was Roy calling his name. "Yes, Mrs. Davenport, I can guarantee delivery as soon as the dresser comes in." In the months that had passed, Rachel's antique business had thrived. She even had clients that were movie stars. She had been dreading what happened next. The phone rang. "Rachel, it's Roy. You'd better get down here to Rampart. Johnny's been hurt." Roy couldn't remember ever making this call for Johnny before. Rachel hung up and closed the store with poor Mrs. Davenport still talking. When Rachel reached the admin desk, she said, "I'm looking for John Gage. He's a fireman; he was brought in a few minutes ago." Nurse Dixie McCall happened to be walking by and heard this exchange. Dixie had heard for weeks about Johnny's new girlfriend, but she had never met her. "Hi, I'm Dixie. Are you Rachel?" Rachel smiled when she heard Dixie's name. "Yes, please, can you tell me where he is?" Dixie brought the young woman over to Exam two. "It looks like they're still working on him. Do you want to get some coffee? It could be a while." Rachel nodded. As they sat down at an empty table in the cafeteria, Rachel began to talk which is exactly what Dixie wanted. "I always knew that this day would come. I've gone over in my head a million times what I would do; how I would handle it. But now, that it's actually here. . . I . . ." Dixie could tell that this was a woman that didn't usually cry. Now she was shaking uncontrollably and tears were falling from her eyes. Dixie could never picture what kind of girl Johnny would eventually end up with, but this girl was not what she pictured. Dixie liked this girl. "He'll come through. He's had a lot worse happen to him." Rachel tried to feel encouraged. Just then, they spotted Roy and waved him over. "I thought this was where you'd be." He came over and sat down. "Well, he's out of danger. He's asking for you." Rachel brightened and almost knocked over the table as she shot up. "Can I see him?" Dixie smiled. "Sure, let's go." As she walked into the room, Rachel feared what she might see. There was Johnny attempting a smile for her sake. "Hey. . ." She reached down and kissed him and hugged him. Then words stopped. Johnny stared at this wonderful woman before him. How could he ever live without her. It was then that he decided to buy the ring as soon as he got out of the hospital.


We've found her ma'am. She's in Los Angeles. She 's got an antique business." the older woman, the epitome of the evil stepmother, had a plan. A diabolical plan. "I think that our smuggling operation just took a new direction, gentlemen." ***************************************************************************************************** 

"I'm engaged!" Johnny announced when he returned to work. They all congratulated him and slapped him on the back. They all knew that it was coming. Johnny had stayed longer with this girl than any other. He talked about her all the time - how pretty she was and how intelligent she was. They all knew that Johnny was smitten. He remembered how 'it' had all happened. He had planned everything, but everything seemed to go wrong. He had planned a romantic picnic at the beach, but it had stormed. Rachel was sitting there with her hair dripping; she was soaked, but she had a big smile on her face. "This didn't turn out exactly like I planned it." Rachel gave him a look of pure adoration. "That's okay. . .I love you." He looked at her questionly as if he didn't believe it. "Don't look at me that way, John Gage. You know I love you." He hoped that it was true as he worked up the nerve to ask her. "Um, Rachel, you know that we've been dating for six months now and..." He was stuck. He didn't know what to say. Rachel had no idea what he was getting ready to ask. "What I'm trying to say is . . . I love you, too. That's why I want you to be my wife." He suddenly feared that she would say no. In fact, her first reaction was to say no. There were things that she hadn't bee quite truthful about. But, she did love him. "Yes!" Johnny's heart almost leapt from his body. She had said yes. What do I do now? Oh, he took out the ring and placed it on her finger. "There. Now it's official." She grabbed him and hugged him. "I love you, John Gage!"

*************************************************************************************************** Rachel, ever the organizer, had everything planned. Johnny really didn't want to be a part of the planning committee. "Just tell me when and where and I'll be there." He had said. Rachel rounded up her new found friends, Dixie and Joanne, and they headed for the bridal shop. Throughout the entire planning of the wedding, Rachel had been a tower of strength. Calm as a cucumber. Until, they stepped into the bridal shop. "I can't stop shaking." With Joanne on one side and Dixie on the other, they braved the bridal shop. She knew exactly what she wanted and went straight to it. "Now ladies, I need you to pick out your bride maids - and matron dresses. Choose your colors, please." Rachel had chosen to do a pastel rainbow wedding. She would wear the traditional white dress with peach accents. Joanne chose a sky blue and Dixie chose lavender. Two other friends of Rachel's had chosen seafoam green and lemon yellow. Chris and Jen would be the flower girl and ring bearer. Jen would wear a pink dress and Chris would match with pink tie and cummerbund. "Pink is a girl's color." Chris complained. "Uncle Johnny doesn't have it any better. He has to wear peach. Yuck!" They all had a good laugh at this. After the girls went shopping, they stopped by the station on the way home. "Captain Stanley, can I talk to you?" Rachel asked quietly while the others were occupied. "Yes, Rachel. What is it?" "Well, I don't know if you knew this or not, but I don't have any family here and I was wondering if you would give me away?" Captain Stanley had only known this young lady for a short time and he could tell that she was really good for Johnny. It was about time that he settled down. "I'd be honored, but won't your family be there?" She avoided his eyes. "I don't really have any family left." Captain Stanley thought that something looked wrong with this situation, but it wasn't his place to interfere. "Here you are, honey. I was wondering where you took off to." Rachel moved over to Johnny and put her arm around him. "I just asked Captain Stanley to give me away." She was a little nervous because she hadn't discussed this with Johnny. "Oh, that's great, honey." Rachel had always avoided talking about her family, he thought. All he knew was that she was from Boston. Just then, the alarm went off and Johnny and Cap had to leave. Johnny gave Rachel a quick kiss on the cheek and rushed to the squad. With all of the planning for the wedding, and the antique shop, Rachel was being swamped. That's when she decided to hire an assistant to help run the shop. His name was Patrick Owens and he had been recommended by one of her wealthier customers. And, lucky for Rachel, he could start right away. "I'll especially need someone while I'm on my honeymoon." Honeymoon. She still couldn't believe it. She was getting married. Cool. "You can count on me. How long will you be gone on your honeymoon?" "One week. We're going to Bear Lake." Bear Lake would be perfect. Johnny liked the outdoors and there would be plenty to occupy his time. Rachel, on the other hand, was not so fond of the outdoors. They had gone camping a couple of times and she had been a trooper. She went even though it wasn't her favorite thing to do. However, Bear Lake had a resort. Rachel saw herself spending a lot of time there. Johnny's parents were flying in for the wedding and would be staying with him. This brought up a very touchy subject. "Honey, I know we haven't talked about this much, but are your parents going to be here for the wedding?" She had dreaded the question. Now she looked into his beautiful, dark eyes. She saw the love there and the concern. She wanted to cry because she loved him so much. "Johnny, my parents - my stepmother - won't be coming to the wedding because she doesn't know about us. My stepmother is not a very nice person." He touched his face lovingly. "What, do you think that she would have a problem with my being Indian??" He said this only half-jokingly. She hadn't actually thought about this, but decided that she probably wouldn't like him - not because he was Indian, but because she doesn't like me. "It's not that, it's just that my stepmother is not very nice. I think that she wouldn't like you because I chose you." He now saw the sadness in her eyes. She probably wished that her birth parents could be there. It's alright, my love, we'll get through this." He kissed her with all the love that he promised for a lifetime. Johnny's parents met Rachel for the first time at the rehearsal dinner. Come on, Roddy. You need to eat. You're so skinny. Is your Rachel a good cook?" Mrs. Gage said all of this in one breath. "Yes mom, Rachel is a very good cook." Rachel had been checking on dinner and came back to join them. "Mom, Dad, this is Rachel." To say that Rachel was nervous meeting Johnny's parents for the first time would be an understatement. "Hello." Johnny was the spitting image of his father. William Gage was the strong silent type. You could tell that he was really proud of his son, although he probably didn't show it very often. Johnny was more like his mother. She was buzzing around Rachel like a bee to a flower. Finally after a little bit, Rachel took Johnny aside and whispered, "It's getting late, honey, I'm going to go turn in. We've got a big day tomorrow. the next time you see me I'll be Mrs. John Gage." She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. Out of desperation it seemed, Johnny pulled her back and kissed her deeply. Emily Gage smiled as she witnessed this. "Reminds me of us, William." William gave a non-commital grunt which Emily knew was his way of saying, "Yes, I remember, my love." The day of the wedding dawned beautiful and bright. Rachel was extremely nervous. she was running around dealing with last minute errands and arrangements. "I wish you would let me do that." said Dixie. "But it helps me to keep my mind off of things." was Rachel's reply. Johnny was not faring much better. He was snapping at people and Chet, especially was getting on his nerves. they were going to be wearing their dress uniforms, and Chet was complaining that his hat was too big. Roy, who was always very calm, came to help calm the situation. "Are you ready, Gage? Its time for me to go and pick up your girl." Cap said as he popped his head in the room. Johnny was barely coherent. "You think you're going to be okay to repeat the wedding vows?" Johnny looked like he was going to be sick. He finally said, "I'm okay." Cap left to take his position. "Well, this is it, Junior. You scared?" Johnny jumped because he had forgotten that Roy was there. "I just want to get this over with." Roy chuckled. "You think being married is going to be less scary than the wedding?" They had been through a lot together and it was true that Roy had never really thought that this day would come. But, in the last few months since Johnny had been seeing Rachel, he had seemed more settled. I guess it was time, Roy thought. In more ways than one. They heard the beginning strains of Pachelbel's Canon in D Major which Rachel had chosen for the processional music. Standing up with Johnny was, of course, Roy with Chet , Marco and Mike as groomsmen. On Rachel's side, were Joanne and Dixie and two other friends of Rachel's. As Johnny and Roy stood at the front of the church and waited for the familiar strains of The Wedding March, Johnny thought about how he never thought he would ever be in this situation. Then the music started, and all eyes automatically turned to the back of the church. She was beautiful. She had chosen a beautiful dress with lovely lace at the top and beadwork on the back. She had a veil with peach roses and a matching bouquet. Johnny swallowed hard again as he looked at his mom crying. Also crying were Dixie and Joanne. Was that a tear in Roy's eye. ***************************************************************************************************** No one noticed as the heavily shrouded figure wased into the sanctuary and sat at the back. No, they aren't paying attention to me; all eyes are on Rachel. the old woman was seething. She had always been jealous of that slip of a girl and here she was on the girl's happiest day of her life. She had made a lot of friends while she had been here which was something else to be jealous of. She declined to go to the reception. "I'll deal with her later." she thought. ***************************************************************************************************** At the reception, Rachel had arranged a sort of practical joke with Dixie's and Joanne's help. Right before Roy's best man toast, they had gathered several ladies to come and drop keys in front of Johnny at the table. Johnny had apologized over and over for his rougish past. This was Rachel' s way of forgiving him and it provided a good laugh. Roy's toast was perfect. He looked like a proud papa as he spoke from the heart about Johnny. He wished them all the happiness in the world. Next came the first dance. Johnny seemed a little nervous about this, but Rachel had whispered, "Just keep your eyes on me, my love, and we'll be fine." Can't Live A Day I could live life alone And never fill the longings of my heart The healing touch of someone's arms And I could live without dreams And never know the thrill of what could be With every star so far and out of reach I could live without many things and I could carry on, but I couldn't face my life tomorrow Without your hope in my heart I know I can't live a day without you Lord, there's no night and there's no morning Without your loving arms to hold me You're the heartbeat of all I do I can't live a day without you (Connie Harrington, Joe Beck and Ty Lacy Sung by Avalon) Johnny thought about how he couldn't live without Rachel. It sounded like an old cliche', but it was true. He pulled her close as the song played. "I love you, Mrs. Gage." "I love you Mr. Gage." They exchanged endearments as everyone looked on. Life was good. On their wedding night, both Johnny and Rachel were very nervous. They had decided to wait to have sex. Actually, it was more Rachel's decision than Johnny's. Johnny went along because he didn't want to lose this awesome woman. As soon as they arrived in their cabin-like room, Johnny had barely put down the suitcases before Rachel grabbed him. She began kissing him hungrily. Johnny, who wasn't going to complain, started kissing her back and started moving toward the king-sized bed. Rachel started unbuttoning his shirt and pulling it from his pants. There was a moment when there eyes locked and Johnny seemed to say, "Are you alright?" They were so attuned to each other that they could communicate without words. Rachel flashed a brilliant smile in answer to his query. After his shirt was off, Rachel quickly finished undressing him. Now it was her turn to be undressed. Johnny took his time reveling in her beauty and kissing each part that was gently uncovered. ***************************************************************************************************** The honeymoon at Bear Lake was really fun. Never having the opportunity to go camping as a child, Rachel didn't know what to expect. She liked it well enough. She especially liked sharing it with Johnny. Johnny taught her how to fish. Her first attempt ended with them struggling to bring in a huge bass and falling into the lake. They had gone back tot he cabin and made mad, passionate love to each other and fell asleep in each others arms. Life was good. ***************************************************************************************************** Patrick signed for the shipment and then went to call the pre-arranged buyers. He needed to get this shipment in and out before Rachel returned for her honeymoon. Mrs. Compton was paying him big bucks to get this done. And, even if Rachel were to discover the shipment, Patrick had arranged things so that they would look legit. She'd never know what hit her. Patrick laughed as he thought about their little operation. They were ripping off wealthy homes in Europe and selling the items through Rachel's antique store. If they were caught, Rachel's name would appear on all of the paperwork. Sometimes he thought that crazy Mrs. Compton wanted them to get caught. ************************************************************************************************** Johnny hadn't asked where the money for the ranch had come from. When Rachel presented it to him as a wedding present, his first reaction was to turn it down. When he saw the love in her eyes and how much she wanted him to have it, he gave in. It was beautiful and even had a couple of horses. She knew how much Johnny missed this kind of life. They were working on moving in. She had also bought the beautiful ranch for selfish reasons. She had always wanted a farm house and now she had it. She was planning on using some antiques from the store to decorate it. "Hey Johnny, we just got this wardrobe in. It would look great in here. What do you think?" Johnny appreciated her asking him, but anything was fine with him. "That sounds fine." They were planning on having a cookout this Saturday when the house was complete. things were coming along. Just then, the doorbell rang. Johnny, who was in the huge kitchen fixing a Dagwood sandwich, went to answer the door. "Hi, you must be John." "Uh, yes. Who are you?" "I'm Doris Compton. I'm Rachel's stepmother." To say that this was absolutely the last person on earth that Johnny expected to see would have been an understatement. "Uh - hello. Come in, please." He led the woman into the living room and then turned to call Rachel. Rachel had heard the doorbell and was expecting another moving van. Imagine her surprise when she saw her stepmother sitting in her living room. "Hello Doris." She was cold, but she couldn't help it. "I'll leave you two to talk." Rachel could tell that he was upset. She couldn't blame him, she hadn't exactly been honest. "What are you doing here?" She was having just the kind of effect she wanted. She was sure that Rachel hadn't told her husband anything about her and he didn't seem to be too happy. "Darling, your new hubby didn't look too happy. Did you lie to him?" She hadn't lied, but she wasn't completely forthcoming. "I just came to bring in some lemonade." Johnny said. And to see if I'm okay, thought Rachel. I truly do not deserve this man. Doris moved in for the kill. "Imagine my surprise when my very own stepdaughter didn't invite me to her wedding. I had to hear about your marriage from a friend." Oh, that made her look really good, she thought. She looked at Johnny. He was taking it all in. "Get out. You get out and leave me alone." Johnny had never seen Rachel act this way before. Rachel could tell what Doris was doing and she wouldn't have it not in her own home. "Honey, don't you think we should. . ." They had never fought, but they were coming dangerously close. "No, Johnny. Don't you see what she's doing?" Rachel was hysterical. Doris was the calm one. "She never has accepted me. All of these years. I took the poor thing in after her father died and she's always resented me. Ah well, I've stayed too long." Doris calmly rose and went toward the door. She turned and saw that Johnny and Rachel were yelling at one another. She smiled and left. "Why didn't you invite her to the wedding? What has she done to you?" Rachel couldn't believe her ears. "How can you take her side?" "I'm not taking sides. I'm just trying to understand."

"You don't understand anything." This last statement Rachel regretted. Johnny had always felt weird about the fact that she had studied anthropology. He had felt dumb. This little stab had not gone unnoticed. "I'm going out to the barn." He was so mad and he didn't know why. Part of it was the fact that she had lied to him. It was partially his fault. He could have pressed her harder to tell him about her family. He wondered why Rachel hated her stepmother so much. He could have asked more questions before they got married. So, why didn't he? Because, he didn't want anything to spoil his image of her. After she had practically pushed Doris out the door, Rachel burst into tears. It was just like her stepmother to come and try to ruin her marriage. Johnny came in a few minutes later and found her crying. He hated to see her cry. "I'm sorry honey." Rachel turned upon hearing his voice. She immediately ran into his arms. Johnny and Rachel talked everything out and they both felt better. "She was horrible. It was like something out of Cinderella. In fact, I pretended that I was Cinderella. My mother died when I was born - complications due to childbirth. My father remarried soon after that. My father died when I was ten. I loved my father. I was his little princess. My stepmother was always jealous of our relationship. She used to try to get between us. This afternoon in the living room was like a scene from my childhood. When it looked like you were taking her side, it reminded me of those times. I had lost my father long before he actually died." She was crying now. Tears that had been pent up for so long. She had never really had anyone to tell all of this to until now. She didn't think that Johnny would understand. She had been so wrong. "After my father died, well, she didn't have to hide what she was doing anymore. She tried to control everything that I did. I couldn't make any decisions on my own. When I went to college, it really ticked her off that I didn't go into the shipping business like she wanted. I studied Anthropology, at first, just to annoy her. Then I realized that I loved it." Johnny grinned. "Kind of like you did with me." Rachel looked horrified. It was true, but she didn't want him to know. "It's true that when I first met you, while I liked you very much, I dated you to tick off my stepmother. But then I fell madly in love with you." The way she looked at him always made his heart skip a beat. He picked her up and carried her upstairs to the new brass bed in their bedroom. "No better time to try this out than now." She was giggling. "Johnny, I'm expecting more movers." He was already unbuckling his belt. "Then they'll get quite a surprise when they get here." In the meantime, Doris was continuing to try to ruin Rachel. One day, Johnny came into the store to help out on his day off. He was keeping a close eye on Patrick Owens. "Something isn't right about that kid, but I don't know what it is." Johnny knew nothing about the antique business, so he couldn't tell if anything was wrong. He looked at the books, but everything seemed to be in order. "Hi, what are you doing?" Rachel kissed him on the cheek and looked at the ledger. "Something's not right about that Patrick, kid. I was just checking the books, but I couldn't make head or tails out of it." Rachel looked at the ledger and noticed something wrong. "Hey, I didn't make these acquisitions." Johnny looked at the ledger as Rachel explained. "These acquisitions occurred while we were on the honeymoon. They were sold the same week. I guess he thought that I wouldn't notice." Johnny was furious. "Don't worry. I'll talk to him" She knew that what Johnny had planned probably had little to do with talking. "We'll talk to him." ***************************************************************************************************** "You heard me. I want him out of the picture. I don't care, just do it." ***************************************************************************************************** The cookout had been a success. There was lots of good food. Johnny barbequed ribs, burgers and hot dogs while Rachel fixed the side dishes. they had a pool, so the kids were entertained. Rachel was a very good hostess. "Well Junior. How's married life?" except for the brief mother-in-law scene Johnny had been all smiles. He was very happy. "Couldn't be better, Pally!" ***************************************************************************************************** They were headed to a fire on Indiana Avenue. By the sound of the alarms, it didn't seem to be a big one. The squad was called out in case there were injuries. It seemed to be a routine call. They had one victim that seemed to be suffering from smoke inhalation. Johnny and Roy grabbed the equipment and ran out toward the victim. They barely heard the shot as it rang out. Johnny went down. There was confusion everywhere. No one seemed to know what happened - least of all Johnny. Roy saw Johnny go down in front of him. "Johnny, Johnny!" He had been shot in the chest extremely close to the heart. Roy worked fast to control the bleeding. They got him to Rampart as soon as possible. "Rachel, it's Johnny. He's been shot." It wasn't enough that she had to worry about him dying in a fire, now he had been shot! Rachel was a nervous wreck. Dixie was ready for her when she came in. "Okay, Rachel come on over here and sit down." She said when she saw Rachel come tearing into the ER. "Where is he Dixie?" She was hysterical. "He's in surgery. Come on let's go and get some coffee." Roy had also called Joanne to come help out. Rachel was going to need her friends now to get through this. "I forgot to tell him that I loved him this morning." She was worried about this too. "Rachel, he knows you love him. You don't have to worry about that." She was starting to calm down as Joe Early came out of the operating room. "We're taking him to recovery. We got the bullet out." "Can I see him?" "We'll let you know as soon as he's in Recovery." Just then they saw Vince coming around the corner. He had been talking to Roy who was with him. "Johnny was shot by someone who was on the roof of one of the surrounding buildings." Rachel couldn't believe it. "That doesn't make any sense. Why would anybody want to shoot a fireman." No one had any answers. "Mrs. Gage, your husband is in Recovery now if you would follow me." The nurse took Rachel in to see Johnny. He was still asleep, so she just sat with him. After a while, she started talking to him. "You'd better hurry and get better, John Gage. That house is too big for me by myself. Daisy will miss you. Horses have feelings too, you know." She was crying. She couldn't lose him. "Don't cry." Johnny said groggily. She flew to him and hugged him. "Ow!" "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm just so glad you're okay." ***************************************************************************************************** "You didn't kill him, you fool!" He's alive. Okay, we need to turn her in. You said that her name was on all of the paperwork? Turn her in and then, disappear." ***************************************************************************************************** Johnny came home from the hospital a week later. Rachel made him comfortable and fussed over him. They were returned to wedded bliss. Until, there was a knock on the door. "Rachel Gage? We need for you to come to the station for questioning." They had received an anonymous tip that she had stolen goods in her store. They had obtained a search warrant and searched her store. Sure enough, all of the paperwork acquiring the merchandise was in Rachel's name. The old woman knew that there was probably not enough evidence to convict her, but it would make life miserable for Rachel. To make her life a living Hell. The officers had taken Rachel down to the police station. Johnny had come with her, and Vince was there trying to help. With the excitement of the cookout and then Johnny getting shot, they had forgotten about talking to Patrick about the acquisitions. Now it was too late. Patrick disappeared soon after that and because the acquisitions had started the week that they were in Bear Lake, the police had assumed that Patrick did it. "This will probably ruin the business." "I don't care. I'm just glad to be home with you." She kissed Johnny happily. "Besides, our kid can't have a mom that's a jailbird." She waited for Johnny's reaction. "You're..." She nodded and they kissed again. When they went to the store on Saturday, business was very slow. "Well, I bet my celebrity clients don't want to be connected to this. Imagine the scandal. I might even have to sell." Just then, a massive amount of people came pouring into the shop. Johnny and Rachel were shocked. Then they saw the source of the crowd of people. "Where did you find all of these people?" Dixie McCall just smiled. "Oh, I made a few calls. I told some people about your situation. They came to help. Johnny and Rachel recognized friends from the fire department, the hospital, even the celebrity clients were there. Johnny and Rachel smiled and hugged each other. They truly did have lots of friends.

Epilogue The police found Patrick Owens and he gave evidence implicating Doris Compton. Rachel's store became more successful than before. Rachel and Johnny had a 9 pound 5 ounce baby boy that they named Roderick Kenneth after Johnny and Rachel's dad.