Crystal's StorySite


Rebecca Anne Stewart's

~Hot Crossings~

by Becky Stewart & Rickki

With thanks to Misty, Christy, huggles for Jenna & BobA

~Part # 32 Negotiations: It's All For the Best~



Becky and Pip were sitting around the breakfast nook, after seeing the boys out the door. Becky was just finishing up her tea, and waiting impatiently as Pip tabulated the latest results from her blood tests. Ever since Becky's cell count had gone a bit 'corry-weeky' Dr. Geoff had authorized a portable blood analysis kit be loaned out to the Princess, with Pip to do the testing every morning. If Pip found any irregularities in Becky's blood what so ever she was instructed to first phone the clinic, and then depending on the severity, get her friend over there as quick as possible. It sounded like a lot of precautions to some, but this process allowed Becky the freedom of not having to go to a lab every morning to get her blood checked. She could do it in the comfort of her own home. So she patiently waited with her fingers crossed while Pip was determining the results and recording them in Becky's daily journal.

"Red cell count is still a bit off." She announced as she looked over the chart to determine Becky's natural rate. "And your Creatinin is still quite high…. Hmmm." Pip mused as she carefully figured out Becky's options. "You know Becky if that gets any higher, they are going to start playing around with your diuretics again?"

"I know, but how am I? Can we still go ahead with today's plans?"

"Yes you can."

"Alright! Yes! Yes!" The excited woman announced in her animated fashion. She almost got up and did a little wiggle just like football players do when they score a touch down. She resisted the urge, but felt the adulation still the same. When she had observed Bob and Martin watching the action on the large HDTV discretely mounted in the living room yesterday, she though how silly the big impressive bruisers looked all dressed in tight polymer fabrics' gyrating back and forth whenever they managed to score. Becky would content herself with a smile and a small shiver in glee.

"BUT! There are some conditions!" Pip shouted above the noise.

Still dancing in her chair Pip's roomie asked, "What are they?"

"First. You have to agree to leave when I tell you, that you have had enough."


"Hold it. I'm not done yet. Second, you have to do everything I tell you to do, when, I tell you to do it! And third, I am not wearing that stupid little costume you want me to wear. It's obscene."

"Aw come on Pip. It looks cute on you. I'm going to wear one too, and you said it looks cute on me, so why does it not look cute on you."

"That's the problem. It's too cute!"

"Pip, you remember Martins eyes when he saw you in your Santa's helper outfit the other day. He looked like he was ready to eat you up on the spot."

"Precisely!" Pip pointed out. "That is exactly why I won't wear that thing out in public. Every guy for a hundred miles will be fantasizing about me being under his tree for Christmas."

"Oh come on Pip. They are little kids. Most of them are girls. They will not be thinking about getting you under their tree for the holidays, besides, isn't that Martin's job?" Becky giggled.

Pip smiled at that thought. She would wear the scanty outfit, but under protest.

It was decided that they would meet up in Becky's bath to get ready and dressed. Pip fixed the little red felt toque to Becky's blonde tresses, and carefully pinned it into place.

Becky adjusted the white fur that trimmed the little hat and positioned the little fluffy ball so that it was shown off in it's best light before she pinned a small piece of mistletoe to the trim. She giggled in the mirror as she finished her make up and coated her lips with the brightest red lipstick she could find in her colour range. "Sit down and I'll do you." She offered to Pip as she rose from her seat.

"Okay, but no mistletoe."



"Stick in the mud!"


Good thing the phone rang just then. Who knows what might have happened if these two 'mature ladies' had continued?

"Hello." Becky said into the receiver, beating Pip to it by a nanosecond. She stuck her tongue at her smaller roomie when Pip made that face that said, 'hey that's my job'. "Yes… Oh hello Jenny. Yes I remember. We met you and your husband at The Oliver Peterman concert. I'm fine thank you. No, he's out and about this morning, something to do with the new company, but he will be back soon I can get him to call you if you like?" Becky made herself comfy on the edge of the bed. She sat and listened to Jenny McCauley go on about how they were having a party to celebrate the season and that they had thought that a carol cruise aboard Timmy Mattison's yacht would be a good idea. She wanted to know if her and Bob could attend.

"Well that does sound like a lot of fun. When is it?" Becky enquired as she sat ready with a pen and paper in hand to record the info. "I'm not sure if we can. There might be something on for that date. I am in the bedroom right now, but I will let Bob know and we can back to you. When do you need to know by? Right. I will let him know." Becky cradled the phone against her ear held there by her shoulder as she began to write down Jenny and Larry's phone number. "Oh okay. Yes I've got it. Okay. Well I shall talk to you later. Oh?" Pip watched a look of fear appear on her friends face, at that very moment. "Oh yes that would be really nice. Yes I am from Scotland as well. Well I'm not too sure. Sheena moves in different social circles than I do. Okay Jenny. Bye for now."

Becky slowly placed the phone back in its cradle and turned to Pip. "We have a problem."


"That was Jenny McCauley, we met at the Halloween dance at the Commodore remember?"

"Okay, go on."

"Well she wants to invite us on a cruise around the harbour on Timmy Mattison's boat. Like a supper cruise. Sing Christmas carols and munch on stuff, things like that. It's some sort of charity event. Anyway she wants Bob and us to come. She was telling me all the people she invited, and so on, and then she says she is trying to get a hold of Sheena Easton to invite her as well."

"Oh! This could get tricky." Pip replied. "You know Becky if any of the women that were at Mona's are there we are hooped. You know that don't you."

"Well maybe Bob won't want to go. Or they won't be there?"

"Ha! Think about it for a second Becky. Do you have any idea how big Timmy Mattison's boat is? It's a ship not just a large boat. The thing probably holds well over a hundred people. I have a good feeling that all of the ladies that were at Mona's are going to be there."

"Now what are we going to do?"

"No idea Beckers, but lets now worry about that right now. You have meds to take and if we are going to the hospital we better get a move on." Pip indicated as she pointed to her watch face.

Becky had loaded up on her meds. She then slipped into her very tight red satin Santa's helper costume. The snug garment reminded her of a skater's outfit by the length of the skirt. It was a good thing that she had decided to wear a nude coloured body stocking underneath just as Pip had done. She admired the sight in the mirror and adjusted the white fur trim around the sleeves and hem of the skirt. She had a very naughty thought and she would save it for when her and Bob were alone. All this outfit needed was a pair of rumba panties with a lot of lace on them in virgin white. She doubted that any normal male would be able to stop slobbering when they were faced with that sight.

"You ready yet?" Pip shouted from outside Becky's door.

"Just a minute." Becky was very carefully putting a topcoat of clear lipstick on over top of the previously applied coats. Marcie said that when she did that, it made her lips look like there were always wet. Drives them wild, she said.

Picking up the last box of gaily wrapped Christmas presents Pip secured the door and the delectable duo were off to play Santa's helper to all the children at the cancer clinic. Becky fidgeted as the sleek powerful Volvo powered its way thru the heavy Vancouver traffic. Good thing they didn't have a long way to go.

When they arrived Pip retrieved the wagon they had purchased for the occasion, quickly assembled it and began to help Becky carefully load all the presents in it. Pip secured *'Posh' and the pair trooped their way inside the clinic. First stop was Becky's locker so she could get their respective ID's. Both Joan and Kelly were there and noticed their arrival.

"Wow!" Joan exclaimed.

"Ya! Wow!" Kelly followed

"I didn't know playboy was here today? Are you two in the latest layout for playmate of the year?" Joan joked as Kelly laughed.

"You like?" Becky giggled as she gave the compulsory twirl."

"Becky you better not wear that outfit in public, or downtown after dark girl. You won't make in home with your virtue intact that's for sure." Kelly joked

"That's for sure." Joan added.


"What's the matter Pip?" Joan enquired.

"Oh Pip doesn't like these outfits. She thinks they are degrading to women. Says they stereotype us as blonde bimbos only good for one thing. Sex."

"Well they do!" Pip piped up. "We are walking, bouncing billboards." Pip then began to mince around with her palms turned up in front of her imitating a gum smacking airhead. Little did she know that Pickles and Dave had been walking towards them, catching the entire show. When Pip turned to parade back she saw the two hormone laden twenty something's smiling at her as if she was their favourite flavour of ice cream being handed to them.

Becky, Joan, and shortly later Kelly laughed loudly at the sight that Pip had created, and that she had been caught red handed by the very boys she hoped would never have seen her dressed this way. There was nothing she could to save face but continue the vamp. She saddled up along side Becky and said, "Come on sister. We have some other boy's to tease."

She then turned on her toes and began mincing away from the group, Becky following suit right behind her. As she passed Pickles and Dave she staged whispered to them in her best Mae West. "Wanna come over and let me pull your wagon for a while big boy?" Then she and Becky continued down the corridor, bumping and grinding their way as they went.

Joan and Kelly were feeling a bit feisty as well and they began to do the 'bimbo strut' as they went back to their workstation.

"You know man," Pickles said, placing his arm around his friends shoulder "This place gets weirder and weirder every week."

"Ya, but you love it, and you know it!" Tech Dave Hicks replied back to him, as they high fived each other.

Pip and Becky wheeled their little red wagon down the corridor to the children's ward. They were first greeted by Matron Wytte; who had already been notified of their arrival courtesy of the hospital grapevine.

"Well now, what do we have here? It looks like a couple of Santa's helpers have arrived to dispense a little good will to our residents." Turning her attention towards her charges she announced. "Look children. Here are some of Santa's helpers come to wish you an early Christmas."

This brought instant bedlam to the once semi complacent ward. The scurry of little feet and the sigh of wheelchairs in motion could be heard through out the ward only to be out done by the squeals of little faces excited about the big event.

Pip and Becky were instantly mobbed. With a hearty hello and a Merry Christmas they dispensed presents to every one of the kids. When the kids surrounding them had been satisfied, Santa's Helpers then concentrated of those less fortunate souls that were unable to move from their beds. Becky made sure that she spent time with them all, and refused to move on to the next child until she had made each and everyone smile.

Jan Wytte had noticed the love that Becky had for every little soul she managed to touch; she also saw the toll that this act was taking on her assistant. With every child Becky touched, the experienced nurse could see the strength draining from Becky's body. When the last child had received a loving caress from Becky, Jan rushed to her side and supported the now fatigued woman as they slid her into a wheelchair.

Pip quickly wheeled her friend into the day room and with Jan and Robyn's help had carefully laid Becky out on the day bed.

Pip shook her head in disbelief. "Damn the Valenti sisters and their weird powers! Can't they see that this is killing her?" She cursed under her breath.

Matron Wytte was also concerned for Becky's safety. She had noticed the energy being sucked out of her at every station she stopped at. As the elder Matron sat next to Becky carefully dabbing her face with a cold compress. Pip heard her murmur. "Oh you poor sweet woman. So much love to give and you are so weak. You need to rest. Rest, my sweet, let your body recover."

Becky awoke a few minutes later and immediately knew what had happened. "Again?" She asked. "It happened again didn't it?"

Both Pip and Aunt Jan shook their heads. "Afraid so."

Becky tried to get up from the bed, but Nurse Wytte was not going to permit her to do that just yet. "No! You stay right where you are for now. There is nothing that you need to do that is more important than you getting some rest right now, so just lay back and close your eyes and rest. That's an order!"

A very tired patient obeyed the elder caregiver and lay back on the stark white pillow that was positioned under her head. Aunt Jan pulled the blankets up a little higher on Becky's shoulders and ran her finger along her charges cheek. "Rest child. Close your eyes and rest."

As if in a hypnotic trance Becky obeyed her and slid into a quiet peaceful sleep.

"Becky is quite different." Jan said to Pip once they were out of earshot of their patient. "At first I thought that she just really cared, but now I'm sure there is much more than that. Those children out there, I can't explain it Pip but they are in severe pain, but yet one touch and a smile for our friend here, and they forget all about their pain and are once again vibrant children ready to take on the world. I wish I knew how to explain it better, but I can't."

Pip knew exactly what Auntie Jan was talking about. She also knew who was causing her friend to be this way. Pip was being torn in two pieces here. She had grown to love her friend, and wanted to see the best for her, but she knew her friend was gifted with some sort of power she could not understand. One thing she knew for certain was, that the answer lay with the Valenti sisters, and she vowed to confront them at her first opportunity.

"I think that Becky really cares for the children, and she sees that she can help them by bringing a smile into their lives, maybe that's why the kids react so to her. They can see the joy in Becky's heart." Pip offered as an explanation.

Somehow Becky and Pip managed to escape the confines of the hospital before Dr. Geoff found out about the events in the children's ward. Both Becky and Pip knew that if he had learned about Becky's little fainting episode, she would be flat on her back on Scotty's table right now undergoing every known test there was, and then she would be banned from returning to work here indefinitely. Sadly Becky realized this as she was removing her Santa helper outfit and hung it carefully away in the closet. She threw on a set of work out togs, pulled her hair back in a scrunchie, and joined Pip in the kitchen sipping her tea.

"What are you reading?" Becky asked as she saw Pip slyly hide the letter she had been engrossed in before Becky's arrival.


"Oh, okay." Becky knew that if Pip wanted her to know, that she would tell her. And, it would be in her own time, she wouldn't pry.

"It's a letter from home." Pip finally volunteered.


"It's from my mom and my sisters. They want to know if I'm coming home for Christmas."

"Are you?"

"Are I what?"

"Going home for Christmas." Becky replied.

"Probably not. I have a job to do." A resigned Pip answered.

"So, that doesn't stop you from going home for Christmas. I'm sure your mom and your sisters would love to have you there for the holiday. Why don't you tell Bob that you are going home and go?"

"I can't Becky. I have to stay here. My responsibilities are here with you and with Bob."

"Pip, I'm sure we can accommodate you and let you go spend the holiday with your family. Family is always more important than work anytime."

"No. You need me to look after things here. You will be having your next session in a few days. You will need me here for that. No it's just not possible!" Pip shouted as she got up from the table and started towards the door.

Becky could hear the hurt in her voice and saw the small tear roll down Pip's cheek. She lunged forward to grab Pip's arm as she was sweeping by and held on for dear life hoping that she could stop her friend from leaving. She was successful. Pip was momentarily stopped in her tracks and looked around with tear stained eyes at her friend.

Becky released her grip and opened both arms for Pip to slide between. It was time for her roomie to receive some of Becky's special healing. Pip collapsed into Becky's outstretched arms and Becky with all the strength she could draw on, held her friend tight, refusing to waver.

Without warning the floodgates had opened. Pip began telling Becky all about 'The Warden and the Hand Maidens.' The affectionate name she gave her mother and sisters. By the time both girls had cried all their tears they had forged an even closer bond that would now seem unbreakable.


The foursome were sitting around the dining room table polishing off the remnants of the evening meal and discussing their days with each other when Becky dropped the bomb. "Bob, Pip want's to go home to see her mother and sisters for Christmas."

"Becky!" Pip shouted from across the table.

"She says she hasn't seen them since the spring." Becky continued.

Pip had given up, this news was coming up for discussion, and there was nothing that she could do about it. "Oh great!" She thought. "Just what I need."

Bob casually wiped his chin with his napkin as if deep in thought. "You're right. She hasn't." Pushing back from the table he continued. "Well that settles it." Bob then promptly left the room and went over by the bookshelves and swung his leather satchel up onto the desk top and began setting up his laptop.

As the girls were cleaning up the debris from dinner with a somewhat reluctant Martin helping, Bob had inserted the correct CD and had opened up his directory. He searched Pip's family records until he found what he was looking for and dialled the phone number on his cellular.

The girls had come into the parlour in time to catch Bob's phone conversation. "No, no, she's just fine. There is nothing wrong I promise. She was meaning to phone you and tell you how much she was looking forward to being able to make it home for Christmas this year. I just thought I'd jump the gun and say hello to you before she tied up the phone. That's all."

"Robert Arnold! I could kill you!" Pip screamed from across the room, as she rushed towards Bob to do him a bodily injury. Good thing that Martin had accompanied the girls from the kitchen. A quick word from Becky and Pip was suspended in mid air all her legs and arms flailing, as Martin's massive arms held her tight.

"Yes we are too. I am very impressed with her as well. She has become an integral part of my organization."

Bob paused briefly to take in the sight before him. He smiled when he saw Becky standing next to the human vice controlling Pip as Becky gave him the thumbs up sign.

"Yes. Well I'm not sure. You will have to ask her that yourself, but if she likes she can take as much time as she wants. She hasn't used any of her vacation time from the summer yet, so she has a bit of it stored up. Oh okay. Yes we will. Okay now if you hold on for a second she is right here waiting to talk to you."

Bob then rose from his seat and pushed the small phone against Pip's ear. "It's your mother. She wants to say hello."

Pip was really tempted to increase the volume of her growling, but when Bob put the phone to her ear she simply melted. The fight had all but gone from her. "Hi Mama." She softly said.

Bob signalled Martin to let her go, and Pip's hand came up to hold the phone to her ear. "Yes mama. I'm fine. I miss you."

Bob motioned for Martin and Becky to give Pip some room. He then took Becky's arm in his and they retired to the bedroom, to discuss something he said, as he tried in vain to lick his eyebrows.


"So when are you leaving? Becky asked during breakfast the next morning.

"Not sure. There are a lot of things to take care of before that."

"Oh. Anything I can help with?" Becky volunteered.

"No. Not really. I need to find a replacement for a nurse for you, and Bob has to find someone to take over for me while I'm gone. Unless you are going to stay in the apartment the entire time I'm away."

"Well I can take care of myself." Becky pouted with her arms crossed in front of her. " I don't need anybody to look after me."

Pip looked up from the remnants of her multigrain muffin. "Ya right."

"Well I can."

"Uh huh. And just who is going to make sure that you don't gag when you are being sick as a dog? Just whom, do you think is going to help you to the potty when you are too sick to even stand?

"I will. I just need to be a bit more organized, before it happens. That's all."

"You don't understand!" Pip loudly proclaimed as she took her dishes and slammed them down on the marble counter top so hard they almost broke. She stood at the sink, her white knuckles fiercely gripping the edge. " I told Bob this wasn't going to work!" She cried.

Becky reached out to her friend. This was the second time in twenty-four hours she had comforted Pip. As she hugged and assured her friend Becky thought about how she would feel in this situation. "Pip, it's going to be okay. I promise. We, you and me, I mean, we can find someone at the clinic to help out while you're gone. I'll bet if we phoned Prue right now she could recommend somebody off the top of her head that would help. As far as protection is concerned, I'm sure Martin is big enough to look after both Bob and myself. So there is nothing to worry about, we got it covered." Becky reached across her friend and by putting her hand under Pip's chin she was able to softly direct her head up to look her straight in her tear stained eyes. "All you have to do is get on that plane and go see your Momma and your sisters. Okay?"

"Uh huh." Pip sniffled.

"You want to see your family don't you?"

"Yes. I miss them a lot sometimes."

"So. What's the problem then? You go see your family. Have a good time, and we'll see you after Christmas."

"You're right Becky. I'm so sorry. You must think I am being silly, crying like this."

"No Squeak. I don't. I don't think it's silly at all. In fact I'm very flattered that you would care so much, that you would be worried about me while you were gone. To me that means a lot."

"Oh Becky…"

The dearest duo stood cheek-to-cheek in the kitchen and cried on each other's shoulders for quite a while before everything had been released. The session ended with a giggle and a promise from Pip that she would go, visit her family, and not worry about what was happening here, until she got back.

When Bob came barging in that afternoon, he slapped a set of tickets down on the counter for Pip for a private direct flight from Vancouver to Oklahoma City. He had expected a fight from Pip and was prepared to force her to go on vacation if need be. He started into his lecture, but was quickly derailed when Pip agreed with his opening statement. "What?" He questioned, confused by Pip's response.

"I said I'd go."

"Well… Um, ahh… Good! It's about time you saw the wisdom in this."

Pip leaned over, stood on her tiptoes, and kissed Bob on the cheek. "Thank you." She said before she wandered off to her room to pack.

"What the hell just happened?" A bewildered Bob enquired.

Becky was about to chastise the big man about the use of such colourful language, but then she thought, "If I were in his shoes, I would probably be wondering what just happened myself." So, she let the indiscretion slip. "I'll tell you later." She whispered, pulling her lover down on top of her on the comfy loveseat, so he could properly say hello.

Two days later, there were tears in three sets of eyes as Pip disappeared past the secured section of the boarding area to get on the chartered flight home.

"Nice plane." Becky remarked as they stood there staring at the "G class" executive commuter jet as it taxied out on to the runway. Seconds later Becky waved good-bye to her friend, as she watched the disappearing aircraft lift off into the sky. She placed her hand on top on Martins shoulder as the stone giant stared out the window, trying very hard not to show any emotions. "She'll be back soon. It's only for a few days." She reassured him.

The big man turned towards her, took off his always-present sunglasses, and smiled. "Thank you. You are very kind."

Becky returned the smile, winked, and replied back, "You are most welcome."

"Come on I could use a bite of lunch." Bob stated, to get everyone back on track and end the awkward moment. "Where would you like to go for lunch?" He asked. "Martin. You pick, because you're driving."

"Yes sir." The giant replied as they filed out of the terminal to retrieve the limo parked in the loading zone. Martin palmed the security cop a fifty as promised, and they were off.

The drive up Oak Street back into Vancouver was very quiet. Hardly a word was spoken as the limo whisked across the Cambie St. Bridge into the downtown core. They skirted past Chinatown and the large car barely squeezed down an alley into the back of a large parking lot. When the vehicle had come to a stop Martin's voice was heard in the intercom. "Bob, if you and Rebecca stay here for just a moment while I sort out the parking, I'm sure it will be worth the wait." They then watched the large man get out adjust his suit and shades and walk purposely up to the parking attendant. He had a few words with the nervous man and then returned to the car. "Everything is all set, we won't be more then a minute." He then powered the expansive 'Merc' thru a garage door and shut down the powerful car. Martin quickly rushed around to the passenger side and opened the door for Becky and then Bob to appear.

"Try to look sinister." Martin whispered into Bob's ear.

"Oh, alright." Bob shrugged and then snapped his fingers for Martin to lock the vehicle.

The parking attendant was not missing one movement. "Welcome to Goteborgplatzen sir." He stammered.

Bob only nodded and continued walking, Becky tucked safely under his arm like some gangsters moll.

"Okay. What was that all about?" Bob asked once they were safely out of earshot of the terrified attendant.

"Just a little joke I want to play on an old friend. He is constantly kidding me that you must be some sort of crime boss because you are always seen in the limo, and never without a bodyguard. So I just let him think what he wants. A couple of weeks ago when we were at city Hall getting those permits, I ran into him. We said hi, you know the usual stuff, and he asked me how life was working for 'The Don'. I told him to be careful, maybe someday my boss will come and pay you a visit and then we will see how much you kid him to his face."

Martin smiled and Bob shook his head. Becky was giggling. She was almost an old pro at playing other people by now, what with the Shenna episodes.

Martin then finished the explanation. "So the joker said, 'ya right'. So here we are."

"I see so Mob Boss Bob is paying a visit to Goberplastic for lunch today." Bob replied, intentionally mispronouncing the name.

"Yup!" Martin chortled.

"Okay. I'm game. You game Becky?" Bob asked her.

"Sure think Pookie." Becky replied in her best bimbo imitation.

The entourage strode purposely into the restaurant and were promptly greeted as the entered the door.

"Welcome to Goteborgplatzen. Table for three?" The hostess asked.

Martin,who was still standing behind his charges with his dark sunglasses on, spoke up in a loud enough voice to be heard by half the restaurant. "Tell Erik that Mr. Arnold wishes to see him, and he doesn't like to be kept waiting.

"Yes sir. Right away sir." The hostess scurried away.

Becky and Bob tried to occupy the time while they waited. The first thing that Bob noticed was the large medallion on the wall facing them as they entered. Curiosity overtook him and he walked over to read the bit of information located on the plaque below it. Becky watched her lover as he stared intently at the large metal display.

"What's that?" She asked as her hands snaked around her love's waist.

Bob reached around and redirected Becky's hands so that they were now imprisoned inside his as he held her tight. "It says it's a 'Ellakors', which in English means Elf's Cross. It's supposed to protect you from evil. It's a old Swedish superstition I guess."

"Ohh." Becky nodded. "Well this is a Swedish Restaurant. Goteborgplatzen." Becky surmised as she stumbled over pronouncing the name of the eatery.

From the front door our heroes could just barely hear the conversation the hostess was having with Martin's friend.

"Erik. Come quick! There is some gangster guy out here looking for you, and he has the biggest bodyguard I have ever seen, and he wants to see you."

"What. Oh shit!"

"Erik!" The woman fumed. "You haven't been gambling again have you? You promised me that you would stop. I told you I would leave you if you started gambling again."

"Julie, I swear to you, on all that is sacred this St. Lucia Day, I have not been gambling.

"Katya! If I find out you've been lying to me, you are gonna be one sorry little Swede."

Erik knew his wife was upset. Their little bedroom games were very private, and for her to mention his fem name out loud like that, showed that she was very serious.

"Honey. I promise. I have not been gambling."

"So what does Mr. Mafia want then?"

"Julie I have no idea."

"Well don't you think you should get out there and find out?"

Erik never answered; he just rushed out of his office and quickly made his way to the front desk. "Good afternoon Mr. Arnold. What a pleasure it is to see you here. Welcome to The Goteborgplatzen." The restaurateur nervously announced.

"Good afternoon Erik. Martin was telling me what a nice little restaurant you have here, suggested that I should stop in, and look around for my self. You know, I have always been interested in being partners with someone in an establishment like this; perhaps you may be interested. How is business?"

"Um good. I mean okay. We do all right. There is enough for my wife and I and a few staff." Erik pleated. "Would you like some lunch Mr. Arnold, perhaps some meatballs?" The sweaty and shaky Swede asked.

"Hmmm, now that you mention it we haven't had lunch yet." Turning his attention towards Becky, Bob continued. "How about it Sugar, would you like to have some lunch here for a change?"

"But Booby, sweetie, you promised to take me shopping. You didn't say anything about doing any business this afternoon." The blonde on Mr. Arnolds arm pouted.

Martin was having a very hard time keeping a straight face, during this. "This will teach Erik a lesson he won't soon forget." He thought.


"Please Sir if you will follow me. I will have you seated immediately."

Erik escorted Bob and party off to one side into a private little nook containing three or four tables. He opened his arms to offer Bob his choice of any one he wanted.

Bob merely nodded in Martins direction and the big man said. "We will take this section," meaning the entire alcove.

"Of course sir." Erik agreed. "Please be seated and I will have our best waiter serve you immediately.

"Good." Bob replied. "And you can help him while we talk."

"Yes sir." He gulped as he backed out of the space usually reserved for private parties. "Oh shit! Shit! Shit!" Erik silently exclaimed. "I am in for it now. If this man makes me an offer on my restaurant, and I refuse it, what will happen to me then? Oh my sweet lord. I will probably end up dumped in the Burrard Inlet." Erik crossed himself and prayed to the patron saint on this special day, that he live to see the end of it.

"Lars!" He called to his most efficient waiter. "Find someone to take over your tables. I need to you look after the party in the alcove right now!"

Lars looked at his boss and cousin, who was white as a sheet. He didn't question why, he knew there had to be a very good reason why Erik wanted him to do this. He would ask why later after his cousin had settled down. "Certainly." He responded.

Erik had rushed off to the kitchen to instruct the staff to make sure that the party in the alcove got what ever they wanted as quick as possible, and do not ask questions, just do it. "You jobs depend on it!" He shouted.

Themselves seated Becky and Bob at one table; the next table over sat Martin who was biting his tongue very hard to keep from losing it.

"You okay over there big guy?" Bob quietly asked.

"Not sure." Martin snorted.

"Well you better put your poker face back on here comes a small army of Swedish waiters to take our order."

Martin quickly stood taking a defensive posture with his right hand stuck inside his jacket as if he was about to draw a weapon and hose down the entire staff.

"No! No! Please". Erik pleaded. "Please Mr. Arnold, this is my staff they wish to welcome you to our establishment and only wish to make your dining here today an experience to remember."

Martin relaxed his posture on a nod from his boss. He still kept an eye on everyone of the now very motivated staff as they scurried around to make sure even the smallest detail was taken care off. The fastidious Swedes were doing everything in their power to ensure that they lived up to their efficient reputation.

At Erik's suggestion Bob had tried the specialty of the house, roasted reindeer in lingonberry sauce, with potatoes au gratin. Becky nibbled from Bob's plate as well, and Bob ate most of his lover's 'dagens lunch', meatballs with spicy cabbage. The portions were far too large for her small frame to accommodate. Martin had tied into the biggest piece of meat Becky had ever seen. He asked Lars, by name; to bring him a generous sized piece of broiled 'Alg.' Becky felt full just watching the mountainous man devour the very large portion of elk.

They had tormented the small owner mercilessly for well over an hour before Bob had told him to have a seat. Becky got up and excused herself to go to the powder room smiling at the nervous Swede as she passed by him.

Erik thought, "This is it. This is where I find out that everything I worked for will suddenly disappear. He is going to tell me that he is my new partner, and there is nothing I can do about it." Erik loosened his collar again as he began speaking. "Mr. Arnold sir, please before you start. This is all I have in my life. My wife and I, we only have this as our main source of income. Please sir. I beg of you don't take that away from me. I am too old to start all over again."

"Well Erik," Bob began. "Martin was right, this is a pretty good restaurant. The reindeer, as you suggested was excellent. I had never tried it before, and it was very good. My compliments to the chef."

"Thank you sir. That would be my wife Julie sir. She runs the entire kitchen, while I look after the clientele." The small man shivered, as he dreaded the next words out of Bob's mouth.

"Martin also tells me that you have a very faithful customer base here. That's good, loyalty is a truly valued thing don't you think?"

"Oh crap! Here it comes!" Erik thought as he closed his eyes in reply. "Yes sir Mr. Arnold it is."

Bob noticed a middle aged woman taking a lot of interest in what was happening at their table and mentioned it to the frightened man. "Oh is that your wife over there Erik? She keeps looking over this way. She looks a little nervous. Is everything all right?" Bob cruelly smiled.

Immediately the frightened owner swivelled in the direction of his wife and with a quick nod tried to tell her to get away.

"Why don't you introduce her to me Erik. She looks like a nice woman, and she seems so concerned about something. Maybe she needs to talk to you about it?" Bob teased.

"Ahh… No.. She is just fine. Perhaps she does need to tell me something though, um, if I could just talk to her for a second and find out?" He asked rising from the very uncomfortable spot.

When Erik quickly scurried off with his wife in tow to find a more secure place to talk, Bob leaned over to Martin and quietly said. "Okay. You've had your fun. This guy is scared I'm gonna dump his body in the ocean and steal his wife. Why don't we just end it before he keels over with a massive coronary?"

"Ya you're right. Its not as much fun as I thought it would be when we first came in. Okay I'll tell him." Martin replied excusing himself from his lone table.

Martin purposely walked in the direction of Julie and her frightened husband to explain it was all a practical joke. Unfortunately she saw him coming, and thinking the worst, did what she had to, to protect her husband. In horror she screamed, "Run! Katya! Run!" In order to help her now jackrabbit husband escape his own execution Julie had put herself directly in the path of the giant man and was pummelling him with her fists. "Leave him alone! She screeched. "He's done nothing wrong! He doesn't deserve to die!"

A flabbergasted Martin could only exclaim "Huh?" as the blows from the small woman rained on his chest. He quickly corralled the spirited blonde in his arms and held the squirming woman tight against him, so she couldn't do anymore damage to her self.

"Hey Lady! Cool it will ya! I am gonna kill anyone, especially Erik." He announce as he held Julie tight against him. "And quit kicking me will ya! That's beginning to hurt!"

"Let me, you monster!" Julie demanded.

"Only if you promise to quit hitting and kicking me and listen for a second."

"Let me go!" She demanded again

"No way! Not until you promise to stop and listen to what I got to say first."

The small woman finally went limp in Martins python like embrace, the fight all but gone from her. Martin lowered her into a chair, and began explaining what was going on. After several tries, she finally began to understand what was happening.

"This was all a joke?" She enquired. "A practical joke?"

The big man shook his head, "Ya. I'm sorry. It wasn't supposed to turn out like this."

Julie cleared her throat and slowly stood up. As fast as greased lightning she slapped Martin's face as hard as she could. Before he could react, she did it again. "That's for scaring the crap out of me, and the other one's for making me cry!"

The bodyguard just stared at her a deep pink hand print just beginning to form on his cheek.

Bob now ambled over, and chuckled at the entire scene. He was about to tell Martin serves you right, when Julie decided to extract the same revenge on him for his part in the charade. Martin fortunately anticipated the move and before she could make contact with his boss, he had lassoed Julie and plunked her back down in her chair.

He looked at her and explained to her in the best Swedish he could muster up. "NO! You can hit me again if it makes you feel better, but you don't hit Mr. Arnold."

Becky who had been silent thru the entire affair now stepped in. "Bob! Sit! Martin, Join him!" She ordered, as she lightly gave a still fuming Julie a calming touch on her shoulder. The younger woman smiled at the way that Becky had controlled the men. They immediately sat down as if they were well-trained attack dogs. It reminded her of her chocolate lab 'Hagar'. "Men are like big dogs." She thought. "Once you have properly trained them they are very loyal and obedient."

Martin sat rubbing his cheek and Bob was silently chuckling to himself. Becky had convinced Julie to let her escort her to the ladies to repair the damage and left the pair of naughty schoolboys to stew on their situation

When Julie and Becky reappeared some twenty minutes later, they both sat down at the table. "Hey look Julie, I'm sorry." Bob began.

"Don't bother about it. Erik got what he deserves. He's always trying to pull the wool over somebody's eyes, maybe now he will think twice before he tries to be the joker himself."

Coffees and fresh baked 'lussekatter bread' were produced and soon the three of them were becoming friends. Becky told Bob what Julie had revealed to her about the business. "Bob, is there something you can do to help?" She asked as she patted the large mans hand as it sat next to hers.

"Well I might be able to, but I need to know what's needed first, before I can help. What do you need Julie?"

Still a bit hesitant, to unburden her problems to strangers she paused slightly trying to arrange her thoughts in a coherent fashion. A smile and a nod from Becky was all it took and pretty soon Julie had laid everything out in the open. The place needed a new roof and the insurance company wouldn't cover them any longer until they had made the repair. They had planned to do that next summer but a broken water main last month under the kitchen, had depleted their savings, and it would have to be next year before they could afford it. In the mean time they had no insurance. The bank was not happy about that because that meant that their investment was not secure and they were now putting pressure on Erik to find another backer for assurance so that they would get their money.

Bob sat and quietly listened to Julie as she continued her story. She had blamed their entire misfortune on the trolls that had invaded their life, like a curse upon their good fortune. "Every time we think we are over the worst, that this year we will make some money to put away for our retirement, something else happens. I swear the fires of 'Walpurgis Eve' are less and less effective every year they seem to have little effect on the witches anymore."

When it was all finished Bob smiled at her and told her not to worry. "These are small little set backs, you will get through them." He assured.

"Can you help them Bob?" Becky enquired.

"Sure I can help them. Is it the money you require? I'm sure we can help there. If you need someone to run interference at the banks I'm sure I can offer some help there as well."

"I am not asking for charity Mr Arnold. We have always paid our own way in life. I cannot, will not…" The proud woman did not get to finish her speech; she was interrupted once again by Bob.

"First off." He said ticking off his fingers. "My name is Bob, not Mr. Arnold. I only let lawyers and bankers call me Mr Arnold. Secondly, nobody said anything about charity. I can help you if you like and as much as you like, if you so desire. I am not looking for any business arrangement, so you can remove that thought from your head. From what you have told me I think all that is needed is a couple phone calls to the correct people and the bank will give you a bit of breathing room. Okay?"


"Now shall we continue? I think we might be able to make a little headway on your situation this afternoon if we can contact the correct people. First however, I think we should continue this conversation in a more private place. Don't you?"

Suddenly Julie was very aware of where they were. The entire scene had happened right in the middle of the once busy restaurant. The always-popular lunch crowd had now cleared out to return to their busy day. "Oh my lord! Who knows how many customers we lost today. The scandal and the noise, we probably drove them all away." Quickly she stood up embarrassed as to where they had been openly discussing the restaurants problems. "Of course. I'm so sorry. Please follow me." She directed as she lead them back thru the restaurant and into the kitchen, where there was a small office staff room next to the servery doors. As they went thru the door Julie brought her fingers to her lips, kissed them and then quickly transferred the kiss to the face of a small bronze statuette of a fairy, that stood with wings and arms open to help ward off any trolls that had decided to take up residence in the eatery.

"We can talk here." She announced once the door was secured behind them. Martin of course was left to guard outside the closed door and he had assumed his Secret Service stance that he and Pip had practiced so well. Hands crossed in front of him as he stared stone-faced straight ahead taking in every movement that the nervous staff made as they dotted about him cleaning up from the mid day madness. Lars kept plying the large man with food that had been set out for the smorgasbord. A gigantic tray of bread, butter, cheese, pickled herring, cold cuts with all the trimmings had been set up on a fold up table directly in front of him, just in case the big man should get hungry. Lars, being very superstitious still, was thinking ahead, trying to preserve the staff. He had visions of some of the smaller waitresses become a snack for the giant man should he get hungry. Legend has it, that in the old country, the giants of the mountains would come down into the villages at night and carry off cattle and people for food during the long cold winters. Lars was taking no chances with this giant, just in case the stories his 'Mormor' had told him when he was a small child were true.

Bob needed to compile a bit of basic information if he was going to go to bat for these two at the banks. He began by asking Julie how long her and her husband had owned the business. Followed by how much capital debt they carried and what were their fixed assets? Was the Bank the only major creditor? Did they have a liquid operating line of credit? All-important things you need to know to convince a lending institution you are a viable risk. After finding all this out, which Julie quickly volunteered by opening her books to the savvy business man, he looked over at Becky and gave her the classic Bob Arnold smile.

Becky gave an involuntary giggle, as she knew what was about to happen. Her lover was about to do what he did best. He was about to 'smooze.' Leaning over, Becky hugged the uncertain Julie and quietly told her, "Watch this."

Bob picked up the phone and dialled the local bank where the Oleander family had held their account for years and asked to speak to the person responsible for looking after their loan. He politely introduced himself, quickly explained that he was acting on behalf of the Oleander's, and wanted to see if we could come to some agreement about arranging a bit of breathing room for the troubled restaurateurs. Bob smiled when the loans officer sensing blood decided to up the anti just a little. The tone of his voice had become slightly firmer and he was now becoming more insistent that the note be secured immediately or the bank may have no choice but to call in the loan. Bob winked when those words were uttered from the Bankers mouth.

"Very well. You may do that, that's entirely your decision. Oh by the way." Bob smiled. "When do you think the paper work will be completed on the default? We would just like to know for business purposes." There was a long pause, while Bob listened intently. The loans officer did not expect the calm cool collected manner in which Bob was dealing with him. He had invited a battle. He had been used to dealing with the hot-headed Erik, whose pride was stronger than his patience. Knowing that everyone would react angrily to what he had just told them, he was at a loss at the composure of Bob's questions. While the banker was fumbling about trying to sound firm and officious, Bob asked him an 'off the track' question, for which he already knew the answer. "Is Muriel Winslow still the Western Canadian Vice President of Operations? Or has she accepted the posting in Toronto yet?"

"Pardon me?" The confused employee asked

"Muriel Winslow. You do know her?" Bob asked.

"Huh?… Yes. Yes. Of course I know Ms. Winslow."

"Good. I wonder if you would be so kind as to ask her to give me a call this after noon when she has a moment. That way we can put this business to bed once and for all, with out a lot of hassle. She has my number. Tell her I'm in town so its local."

The dumbfounded banker did not know what to say next. Other than. "Sir! Ms. Winslow is a very busy woman. She does not have the time to deal with every loan that crosses our banks counter. That's why I have been assigned to look after this case."

Bob smiled and allowed the slightest of chuckles. "Yes I know that son. And you are trying to do the your very best to help. I can see that now. But I'm sure if you give Ms. Winslow my message, I'm sure she will return my call. Okay?" The words were syrupy sweet as if chastising a small child who did not know any better. "The poor man probably didn't even know he had just been insulted." Bob thought. "Now I better let you get back to work, after all you have some paper work to do, and don't forget my phone call. Bye for now Mr. Green."

Bob carefully replaced the receiver and smiled at his two accomplices.

Julie was completely bewildered. She had never seen anyone talk to their loans officer like that before. "Usually Erik is screaming at him by the end of the conversation. I don't know if you have accomplished much."

"Ahh my dear." W.C. Fields quipped. "Patience, let the pigeons land before you grab your next meal." He answered as he withdrew his small cell phone and set it on the desk. He continued with W.C. because it seemed to be working judging by the escaping giggles from his love. "Yes… We have laid the seeds." His fingers fluttering back and forth in mock imitation. "Now we just have to wait for the little buggers to roost."

Becky was giggling enjoying the show. She knew that Bob was having a good time with this, and that he looked forward to this little bit of fun as a challenge.

As if on cue the miniature phone chirped. "Ah yes… That would be the pigeons now." W.C. Fields wiggled his fingers again as he slowly reached for the phone, pressed talk and announced in his normal voice. "Bob Arnold here." A smile grew from ear to ear when he heard the voice on the other line. "Muriel, so nice to hear from you. What a pleasant surprise." He gave Julie a wink as she was suddenly beginning to understand that Bob had just a wee bit of clout with their bank. Becky just nodded her head in Julie's direction as if to say, 'see, I told you so.' By the time Bob had finished talking to Muriel Winslow, the financial problems had been resolved. Bob had offered to personally guaranteed the loan, which Muriel had told him was totally unnecessary. He had also arranged for their line of credit to be increased another twenty five thousand dollars and had arranged transfer of ten thousand dollars to their operating account to pay for the renovations to begin on the new roof. He thanked Muriel and turned off his phone.

It was unsure who kissed him first Becky or Julie. It was too close to call. Bob did know that there were two women who appreciated what he could do with a few words and a cell phone.

Almost forty-five minutes later after he had explained to Julie what had been arranged, the trio walked out of the small office to be greeted by Martin

They all looked at the towering giant with the clearly defined red handprint still aglow on his face and immediately broke up laughing.

Julie returned shortly with some ice wrapped in a towel and applied it to Martin's abused cheek. "Sorry." She exclaimed, genuinely.

Soon it was time to leave the restaurant. As they made their way to the front, Bob told Martin it was his turn to pay for lunch. No one could remember ever seeing a bill. Julie pleaded that lunch was on her for all the work that Bob had done for them.

"Hmmm." Bob remarked padding his pockets. Realizing that there was no way that they were going to leave without paying Bob quickly came up with a plan. Excusing himself saying that he forgot something in their office, he returned and casually slipped a brand new crisp thousand-dollar bill into the bank ledger where he had last been looking at the restaurants bottom line. Convinced that today had been a good day, he smiled, closed the ledger and went back to join the others.



~Next: Part#33 "Is it Thursday already?"~


*Becky christened the Volvo S80-T6 Volvo, Posh because of the luxurious ness of the car. It had every possible option available on it that Pip could order.




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