Destiny Fulfilled: Nikki & Kenny Book 9 The Finale by Juliann Vatalaro by Juliann Vatalaro - Read Online

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Destiny Fulfilled - Juliann Vatalaro

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Prologue:

We spent only ten minutes with the crew outside the prison before we headed back to the airport. We had to get back to the hospital in Singapore. They all understand how important Jake and Rose are to us. They’ve become part of our family, so us running out again will not bother them. They were all on edge worrying about them themselves.

The plane was in the air for about two hours when we got the call. Jake was breathing on his own. He is now expected to make a full recovery. It’s going to be a long recovery time, but he’s alive and going to stay that way. That’s all that matters.

Rose wanted to wait to have the surgery on her foot till we got back to the states. Since I saw how bad it was I talked to three doctors and had them explained what had to be done. They impressed upon me how important it was to do it right away. With their explanation and a few hours of research on the Internet, I convinced her to have it in Singapore.

A week later Jake and Rose were well enough to head home. A nurse was hired to accompany us because Jake may be out of the woods, but he still needs to be monitored. We hired the same private plane that brought us home and back. Jake was brought directly to a hospital in Washington D.C. He’ll be there for at least another week.

I was itching to get on that vacation that Kenny swore we would take, but as Jake was getting settled in his room, Nicholas was going into surgery. The doctor had a family emergency and had to put off the surgery until the end of February instead of the beginning. We promised we would be there to relieve Joe, Marie and her parents when Nicholas was having a rough time.

As we paced the waiting room, waiting for Nicholas to come out of surgery, mine and Kenny’s phones rang at the same time. Since Joe and Marie were in the same waiting room, it took us by surprise. When I looked at the screen, the call was coming from James.

Kenny answered. What’s up, James?

I have John Taylor on the line for you.

Thanks, put him through. Kenny walked over to me as he put the phone on speaker. John, you’re on speaker with Nikki.

He didn’t waste any time giving us the news. He got right to the point. Cory Littman was denied parole.

I let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding. Thank God.

Kenny grabbed me, hugging me tight. That’s great news. He kissed my head and handed me over to Joe and Marie for hugs. What took them so long to decide?

They were concerned that he recanted because Nikki threatened him in that room. They weren’t sure the hearing was legal. They decided it didn’t matter. Even with what he has accomplished in prison, he hasn’t even served a third of his sentence. He won’t be able to petition the court for another hearing for fifteen years.

Kenny’s smile was big. Mine was bigger. Now my parents and brother can truly rest in piece.

Thanks, John. We’ll have to have a party to celebrate.

John laughed. Sure, whenever you can fit it into your schedule. We’ll all be there.

We spent the next week walking Nicholas around the house, taking him for drives around the city and walks in the park.

All in all the last month has been more intense than any other months of my life. Finally, all was well in Nikki and Kenny world so we headed out on our vacation. Three weeks in Hawaii. All set up by James. He even put making love time into the itinerary. Kenny and I laughed for over an hour at that.

It was three p.m. and I was sitting on the balcony of our hotel room reading a book. That’s right, reading a book. A romance novel if you can believe it. No working or studying allowed on this vacation. Kenny wouldn’t even let me bring my laptop. Something that he didn’t feel inclined to leave home. He said I needed to let everything go, but took his laptop just in case he had to do some work. Don’t tell him, but when he sleeps, I log on to check my accounts. Yes, I need to relax and decompress, but there is no way I can walk away for three weeks and not know what’s going on.

Kenny stood by the door to the balcony with a piece of paper in one hand and a box in the other. He had a look on his face at first I couldn’t figure out. When he took his eyes from the paper to look at me, I smiled. The look was amusement. Something on that piece of paper is funny.

What’s so funny?

What makes you think something is funny?

The look on your face speaks volumes. I put the book down and got up. I want in on the joke.

I was blessed with one of his thousand watt smiles. It seems we’ve been promoted again. He put the letter on the table and ripped open the box.

I picked up the letter, reading it aloud. "In recognition of your outstanding service and continued loyalty to the United States of America, you have been promoted to the rank of Special Agent, Second Grade. This rank will hold for the following branches of service:

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Homeland Security

Central Intelligence Agency

I stopped reading and looked at Kenny. He held up a new badge in one hand, handing me the other. I burst out laughing when I saw the three agencies listed on the badge.

Finish reading the letter. Kenny chuckled.

I wiped the laughter tears from my eyes and read the last line. Please return your old ID badges within the next three days for destruction.

Sincerely,

Michael T. Preston

President of the United States of America

I put the letter on the table and looked at the badge again. How can we be promoted again? Didn’t we retire last year?

He pulled me close. You know how slow the government is with paperwork. Our resignation papers were probably lost in the mail.

We laughed and held each other, slowly moving to the low music in the background for a few minutes. Kenny’s phone ringing brought us out of our private world. Yes, we’re on vacation, but with everything we have going on one of us needs to stay in touch with the real world. He kissed my forehead and went to answer the phone.

When he came back onto the balcony, I was sitting in the lounge chair reading my book. He stood by the door with the phone in his hand.

I just got off the phone with Tom. The papers for the shoe factory are set. He looked up. We’re a go. Tom and Laura… What?

What, what?

You’re looking at me like I’m a chocolate brownie with ice cream on top.

Slowly I closed the book and got up. He wasn’t naked, but close. Covered by only a pair of shorts with the top button open. His strong chest was begging to be touched. Slowly I walked over to him. His hair messed just enough to make me want to straighten it with my fingers. That little curl he gets by his ears when he needs a haircut just begging me to ring it around my finger.

I thought you said no business on this vacation. I ran my hands over his chest, up over his shoulders and down his back.

He cleared his throat. Um, not working. Just informing.

I kissed his chest and ran my tongue around his nipple. Very slowly, I pulled the zipper down on his shorts.

He dropped the phone and put his hands on my shoulders, pushing me back. It’s not making love time. If you keep doing that we’re going to shoot the whole itinerary to hell.

Mm hum. I slid my hand into his shorts and slowly moved my hand up and down his erection. I can stop if you really want to talk business.

He untied my bikini top, letting it fall to the ground. No. No business. Only love. This vacation is all about love. What better way to show it than by making love all day.

I pushed his shorts down his legs. Slowly I kissed and took little bites out of his chest and stomach. I wrapped my hands around his neck, pulling him down to me.

Making love all night, I replied before I gave him a kiss that lasted all night.

Chapter 1

It’s been two days since we’ve been back from our three-week vacation and I just finished going through all the paperwork that Kenny refused to let me look at while we were away.

Turns out since he wasn’t on the same restriction he did most of it himself. When, I have no idea. Since we were both missing our time alone together, we spent every minute of our time away together. It was nice. It was what be both needed, but I was glad for the little alone time I was getting now.

Presenting at the Oscars was the highlight of our trip. It was weird having so many celebrities come up to us and thank us for all we have done for our country. We don’t do what we do for the praise, we do it because it’s what feels right. Though it was nice to know people appreciate it.

The first on my list of things to do was to check out the slew of video’s from Marie and Joe staring Nicholas. It is amazing at how much he has changed already. I was always able to get a smile or two out of him, but now he is laughing. He has surprise in his eyes when someone talks to him. I’m so glad I ignored my concerns for Kenny when he lost his memory and made the call to the doctor. Now Nicholas is truly a happy and healthy little boy.

After I got through the paperwork and checked on how the start of the new city construction in Florida was going, I put us back in-service with Homeland Security and the FBI. And since our new badges declare us as agents with the CIA, we let them know we are available also. They have to go through Joe and Marie if they need us, which they weren’t happy about, but since we will not work that type of job without their approval they agreed to it.

Kenny and I hold a rank of Special Agent second grade in all three agencies. Which is great. We deserve it. We busted our ass to get it. But we also know that we in no way have the experience needed to take on the kind of missions we do without a strong support team. That’s Joe, Marie, Jake, and Rose.

Though Rose will always have a limp, she is expected to be released into action within the month. From my conversation with her an hour ago, I get the feeling she is going to return to the office. While she is great in the field and deserves to be out there, I’m pretty sure her heart isn’t in it anymore. Jake still has a long way to go before he is cleared for fieldwork, but he has been spending a few hours a day at the office. Getting back up to speed after a collapsed lung takes a little longer then I thought it would. After my conversation with him, I’m thinking he may be office bound also. That scares me a little. We’ve learned a lot from him. I’m not looking forward to working without him.

Since we haven’t gotten a call from any of those agencies and Kenny was out teaching at the sports park, I pulled a cold case file off the FBI server. It’s something I usually do when I have time on my hands. It keeps my mind occupied so it doesn’t explode with everything going on in there. I study up on the case and then Kenny and I start from the beginning and work it through. We’ve cleared four out of the six we’ve worked so far. We’ll go back to the other two, but for now, I needed a fresh case to work on.

This case involved three seventeen-year-old women that disappeared back in 2005. They disappeared at the same time. They were all best friends. They lived in the same neighborhood, went to the same school, and grew up together. Their parents were all friends. They all came from a solid, upper middle class family and they all did well in school.

No bodies were found. No evidence of foul play was found. No proof that they ran away or had a suicide pact was found. Basically they just dropped off the face of the earth. It was going to be a tough case to figure out. I was looking forward to the challenge.

I was pacing back and forth in front of the monitor with a hard copy of the case in my hand when Kenny came in.

He threw his jacket on the chair by the door and the mail on the counter. Hey, babe. Whatcha’ doing? When I didn’t answer and continued to pace he stepped up behind me and grabbed me around the waist. Hey, slow down.

I put my hand over his and tilted my head back to look at him. Hey, how was class?

He kissed my head and spun me around to face him. You’ll be happy to know that PJ is finally ready to take the test for his black belt.

I leaned back. Really?

Yes, really. It’s Friday night. He asked me not to tell you, but I thought you’d kill me if you missed it.

I smiled. I would. I’ll make sure he doesn’t see me.

Why doesn’t he want you there? He walked over to the counter and picked up the mail.

I think it has something to do with being reminded of the detention center. While he handled himself well while he was in there, he didn’t belong there. Because of the fight we had against half the cellblock that brought us closer together, going for his black belt reminds him of that time. Me being there to see it will just make it harder to deal with.

He turned to lean on the counter, as he looked closer at one of the envelopes. Then why’s he doing it. He’s a brown belt. It’s enough to keep him in shape and if he ever needed to protect himself or Kathy.

I shook my head. Do you really not know why?

He looked up from the mail. He’s not thinking of taking me on again, is he?

I laughed. No, but I think he needs to know he would have a fighting chance if he did.

Kenny chuckled as he held up two envelopes. One legal size, manila, one letter size, white. Moving on. Why is Columbia Law School sending us an application for enrollment?

I grabbed the envelope out of his hand and tore it open. I didn’t think they would get here so fast. I started reading the cover letter of the application.

Kenny snapped his fingers in front of my face. Nikki?

Slowly I looked up at him. I thought it would be fun to get our law degree.

He stood up straight. Excuse me?

It’s just that everyone we work with has a law degree or masters in criminal justice. All we have is a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. I thought we should advance our education so we can be on even ground with them.

He tapped the other envelope he was holding against his hand. And when do you think we’ll find the time to go to class and study?

It doesn’t have to happen quickly. We could take most of the classes online. We’ll fill in the other stuff when we can fit it in. It will be good. You’ll see. You can take the bar exam in New York. I’ll take it in Maryland. This way we cover the two places we will most likely need it.

He took the applications from me and put them on the counter. What brought this on?

I walked away and stared at the monitor. It was an easy answer. No earth-shattering reason. Because of that, I’m not sure he’ll do it. I don’t want to do it without him. Some of the best times we had in college were when we were studying together.

Nikki, talk to me.

It’s actually a simple reason. Remember when I was in prison trying to find out what happened to Joanie, one of the women asked for my help with her appeal?

Dora, right?

Yeah. Well I couldn’t use the computer because Mantro pulled my privileges. I had to look though a ton of books to find what she needed because I didn’t know where to look. If I had a law degree I would have known where to look and gotten her the answer in ten minutes.

He smiled and shook his head. Really? That’s why you want to spend the next three years in law school. So you can find an answer to a question that you may not ever be asked, quicker?

I shrugged. Well, yeah.

He pulled me to him and kissed my forehead. Are you sure it’s not to keep your mind busy so your head doesn’t explode?

I laughed. That’s just a plus.

He rubbed his hands up and down my arms. You know it will probably take us five, maybe six years to get it done.

You’ll do it with me?

No.

But…

Let me finish. We don’t have the time. To be honest the thought of being a lawyer never crossed my mind. I always wanted to be a cop. Which I accomplished. Now I’m a second grade agent for three different agencies and I’m not even twenty-five yet. It’s more then I ever imagined. I’m good with the way things are. We may not have the same degrees as everyone else, but I believe we’ve proven in more then one way we are equal to them all.

I sighed. I guess you're right. I put the applications back in the envelope.

You know you can do it without me if it’s something you really want.

No, that’s okay. I thought it would be something we could do together. I don’t want to do it without you. I went back to staring at the monitor.

A few minutes later he came over wrapped his arms around me. I’ll tell you what. We’ll go for our masters in criminal justice. How’s that?

No, it’s okay. We do have too much going on. I’ll figure something else out to keep my head from exploding.

Will getting a masters in criminal justice instead of a law degree work for you?

I put my head on his chest and thought about that idea for a moment before answering. Yeah, I guess. It might even be better than a law degree.

Then that’s what we’ll do.

I don’t want to force you into doing something you don’t want to do. It’s my problem. I’ll deal with it.

No, keeping your head from exploding is my job. Get the paperwork.

Are you sure?

Oh yeah, I wouldn’t miss another round of our study sessions for the world. The strip quizzes were the highlight of my college years.

I laughed before kissing him. You know you’re too good to me.

Yeah, I know. He kissed me before grabbing the other envelope off the counter. Now explain this one.

What’s that one?

He turned the envelope around to face me, held it up and pointed to the address in the upper corner.

New York City Fire Department. I brought my hands to my mouth. He didn’t. I grabbed the envelope out of his hand.

Who didn’t what?

I ripped open the envelope and pulled out the letter. I ignored the patch that fell on the floor.

Nikki? Kenny asked as he picked up the patch.

I smiled as I looked up at him. I did it right. I wasn’t sure, but Sean didn’t stop me. I figured he agreed it was our only option, but I still wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do.

He looked at the patch and smiled as he looked at me. I’m going to need a little more info if I’m going to understand why you are now a paramedic for the New York City Fire Department.

He wasn’t supposed to do this.

Do what?

Okay, here’s the thing. You know how I sometimes seemed like I was distracted when we were on vacation?

Yeah. He chuckled. I had fun bringing you out of it.

I smiled. I did too. Anyway, I was distracted because I wasn’t sure what I did for Jake was the right thing to do. It had been over ten years since I read that book on first aid. Maybe I wasn’t remembering right. Sean wasn’t stopping me. Since he is a medic I kept going, but after we got him to the hospital it was bothering me that maybe I didn’t do the right thing.

When I hesitated, he took my hand and led me to the couch. Go on.

The other day after we finished the paperwork and you left for the sports park, it hit me again. I started to look it up on the Internet, but thought it would be better to get the answers from someone who may have been in the same situation.

So you went to ask PJ.

It wasn’t a question, but I answered. Yes, but believe it or not, he was just about to start a recertification class. He said I should sit in on it. I wasn’t going to, but then I figured it would be another couple of hours before you were home, so I might as well. At the end of a two-hour class, there was a test. I laughed to myself. I aced it.

Of course you did. He kissed my hand.

PJ told me to come back the next day and take the practical exam. Again, I wasn’t going to, but I was awake and you were still sleeping, so I went and took the test. When I was done, they said I would get a letter in the mail if I passed. I told them I didn’t want my results official. I just wanted to know if I did it right. The instructor told me I did everything right with Jake, nodded, and walked away. PJ stuck a piece of paper in front of me and told me to sign. I said just knowing I did it right was enough. I didn’t want it official. He said he understood, but I still had to sign that I took the class.

Why didn’t you want it official?

I shrugged. I guess I didn’t want to take anything away from PJ. He worked hard for everything he has. He took his stepfathers life by accident, but he’s out there every day trying to make up for it. I’m proud of him. I didn’t want him to think his accomplishments weren’t warranted.

He knows better then anyone how smart you are. He knows that you can read a book and remember it years later. He also knows not everyone can do what he does and that it is a challenge and a gift to be able to do it.

Maybe, but I didn’t want him having second thoughts. He said the paper I signed was just to prove I was in the class, so the department could get credit for it. I guess it was the paperwork for the certification. He must have filled it out after I aced the written test and sent it in after the practical.

He kissed my forehead. I’m glad you got your answer and I’m proud of you. Now that you’re a paramedic I won’t worry so much when you take care of my wounds. He laughed.

I hit him lightly on the chest. It doesn’t bother you?

No, of course not.

I looked at my hands. I thought maybe it would.

He took my hands in his. Nikki, PJ is not the only one who knows how smart you are. I am well aware of what you can do. I have no problem with you being good at everything you touch. It’s what makes you, you, and I love you.

Thank you. I love you. He pulled me close and kissed me.

We were making out on the couch when the alarms when off in the apartment. Someone was trying to break in. Kenny went for the gun under his desk. I went for the gun under mine.

Since our old apartment was broken into by terrorist trying to kill our family, we have guns hidden all over this apartment. Mrs. Hilmer, our housekeeper, knows where they are. The people in our crew know where they are. They all understand why, so no one mentions how they think we are being paranoid about it maybe happening again.

As we grabbed for the guns, pounding started on the door next to the elevator. Since the elevators shut down in an emergency, such as fire, we had a stairwell built that will take us down a flight into the building stairwell. Since by law the door on the next level down needs to be unlocked, we installed a state of the art alarm system on the door. Once it is open, alarms go off in our apartment and the police are notified.

Nikki, Kenny, open up. It’s Elijah, open up. More pounding on the door. He’s going to kill her. Open up.

Kenny stood on one side of the door. I stood on the other. Elijah is a nine-year-old boy that lives two floors down. He’s a good kid, but we hesitated a moment when we heard his name. Someone could be forcing him into doing this.

He’s going to kill her! Please open up! Elijah yelled and pounded some more.

Kenny stepped off to the side, but faced the door. Open it.

I nodded and hit the switch. Elijah burst through the door. You have to stop him. He’s going to kill her.

As I grabbed Elijah and pulled him away from the door, Kenny stepped around us and checked the stairwell. When it was clear, I turned Elijah to face me.

Elijah, calm down and tell us what’s going on.

He sucked in some air to catch his breath. My dad. He’s going crazy. He hit my mom. He hurt her. Please you have to stop him. He hurt my mom.

Kenny and I headed for the steps. Stay here, I yelled back.

Chapter 2

Of course, he didn’t listen and followed down the steps. We stopped next to the door to his apartment and listened. It seems his father is going at it with his wife. Kenny and I looked at each other. It was hard to believe. Lawrence Freestone is a good man. He’s tall, about six-four, good-looking black man with a great body. He keeps himself in shape by running five miles a day. He’s only thirty five and he’s second in command at the stock exchange. He dresses well and is polite. Whenever I’ve seen him with his family I always got the impression he loved them very much. Hearing him yell at his wife now was out of character. Something is definitely wrong.

When the neighbor came out to check what was going on, I pushed Elijah toward her. Take Elijah inside. Call the police. They should be on their way, but you can fill them in on what’s going on.

We held our guns down to our side. You’re lead, I said to Kenny as he pushed the door open and peaked inside.

Plan T or V, he asked as we slowly walked into the apartment.

Plan T is to go in like nothing was happening. Act like we just stopped by to see them. Plan V is to go in quiet. Take a look around and see what’s going on. Then go from there.

Plan V, I whispered.

Slowly and quietly, we walked in. There was a small hall, maybe only six feet, before we came to the first room off to the right. A quick peek in told us it was the formal dining room and empty. Moving down we came to the first room on the left. This apartment has an older floor plan. Where ours is all open, this one has walls separating the room.

Kenny quickly looked around the wall. He nodded to tell me this was the room they were in. Not that we couldn’t tell from the yelling. Lawrence was really going at it. From what I could tell, he thinks Cheryl, his wife, is cheating on him. Something I would have to see physical proof to believe. Cheryl loves her husband almost as much as l love Kenny. She is also a great mother. There is no way she would throw her marriage away for another man.

Kenny took another quick peek before he moved to the other side of the door. Using sign language, he told me to try to get between them. He was going to keep Lawrence distracted so I could get Cheryl out of there.

I nodded in agreement and we stepped into the room with our guns down and slightly behind our backs.

Lawrence, what’s going on, Kenny asked.

When he didn’t hear Kenny, we moved closer and Kenny yelled, Lawrence, stop.

He jumped and looked around the room. When he saw us he pushed Cheryl onto the couch and stood in front of her.

Kenny, Nikki, what are you doing here?

We heard there was some commotion down here. We thought we would check it out. What’s going on?

He looked around the room again. It was like he didn’t know where he was or what was going on. When his focus hit me I knew the second our eyes met that this was a drug problem. As I took another step closer, I prayed I was wrong.

I can’t talk right now. I’m a little busy. You’re going to have to leave.

We can’t do that. Not until we know that Cheryl is safe. Why don’t you put the knife down and tell me what’s going on.

I can’t do that. He turned to Cheryl. I’ve given you everything and you pay me back by cheating on me!

I didn’t, I swear I didn’t cheat on you. When he raised his hand to hit her again she raised her hands to protect herself. Please don’t hit me again, she cried.

Lawrence, if you hit her again I’m going to have to take you down. Don’t make me do that. Step away from Cheryl and drop the knife.

When he looked at Kenny, he saw that his gun was raised and it was pointed at his chest. I moved around the coffee table so I was only three steps away from him and Cheryl. If I had to I could grab her arm and pull her away.

Lawrence laughed and waved the knife at Kenny. You think you can take me down before I can slit her throat?

Kenny smiled and shook his head. You’re not going to slit her throat and you know it. You love your son too much to take his mother away from him.

You leave Elijah out of this. He deserves better then a whore for a mother. Now get the hell out of my house.

"Okay, let's slow down a little. Maybe we can get it all straighten out if we just