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Chapter 9

A Starsky and Hutch Reunion
Teri Colosimo 

Chapter 10


Trini had decided she and Hutch were having a decent Thanksgiving meal even if it was just the two of them. She had shoved him out of the kitchen, so Hutch was in the guest rooms cleaning when the doorbell rang.

Trini was just about to ask Hutch if he'd get the door when she heard him call out, "Got it."

Smiling, she turned her attention back to the potatoes she was mashing.

Hutch came around the corner wearing only his jeans, and swatted her rump as he walked by. Grinning at her, he threw over his shoulder, "I'm old, but I heard it."

Trini just shook her head at him.

When the bell rang again, Hutch hollered out, "Hold your horses-- I'm coming." Quickly making his way to open the door, Hutch thought how special today was: A holiday felt special again, Trini cooking him a great Thanksgiving meal, and some valuable quiet time alone before Starsky's entire family came home.

Opening the door, he realized how wrong he'd been about the later.

There, calling out "Surprise" was one half of the Starsky family. Leslie and Starsky took turns kissing, and being kissed by a very surprised Hutch.

"We're home early!" Starsky announced unnecessarily.

"So I see." Hutch realized he was blocking their entrance, and moved back so they could pass. "Sorry, come in." Looking around, Hutch asked, "Where's the boys?"

Leslie laughed. "My Mother 'stole' them for another day. David and I have some freedom."

Starsky followed his wife inside and playfully covered Hutch's bare chest with his hands. "Please, there's women and children around, and you're lookin' like Tarzan, here."

He was kidding, of course, but now Hutch felt like a fool. He'd become far too relaxed, and they'd almost been 'caught' before he could talk to Starsky. "Sorry," he apologized again, and quickly turned to get dressed.

Leslie could see he'd been embarrassed, and called out, "Hutch, he was kidding." Turning to her husband, she added, "Besides, I think we should take you to dinner like that. The girls will all die."

"Hey, " Starsky protested, "you're not even supposed to notice he's male!"

Everyone laughed, and Hutch was grateful the tension had been broken a little. Pointing to Trini in answer to dinner, he told them, "Uh, she was already cooking."

Starsky couldn't have been happier. "Great! I'm starved! Got enough for us?"

Trini nodded. "I've always made enough for an Army since I met you and your stomach."

Starsky didn't even rebut her comment on his eating-- instead, he smiled happily. "Good enough! Now we just have to get clothes on Hutch, and he can help me set the table."

Hutch shook his head at his friend. "Starsky, I think you were a shark in a previous life--always in search of your next meal."

Starsky was so happy his old friend was back to the usual put-downs, he didn't even mind the laughter at his expense.

Trini was having a hard time looking delighted to see her family, and she felt bad about it. She just hadn't been ready to share 'her' Hutch, yet. 

Moving to hug and kiss her uncle, Trini smiled at him, but Starsky noticed something close to sadness there. He didn't see it long, because Hutch came back in to help--fully clothed this time--and Trini's 'sadness' disappeared. Starsky would've contemplated on that, but his beautiful wife was beckoning him to the kitchen to help her.

Trini sat her chair to Hutch's right, between him and Starsky. She loved the privilege of sitting between the two men she adored most in the world. Even the 'interruption' into the day by Leslie and David was fast becoming welcome. Having family was so very important. Trini was just having trouble with one thing: trying not to kiss, tease, touch, or otherwise love Ken Hutchinson was wearing her nerves a little thin. Otherwise, the meal seemed greatly enjoyed--especially by Starsky. 

He was on his third helping of turkey and all the trimmings when he'd gotten full enough to talk. "So, how'd things go while we were gone?"

A jumble of stumbling words came from Trini and Hutch simultaneously.


"We worked out a lot."

Both people stopped, and hoped they hadn't appeared over-eager, yet feared they had.

Starsky nodded. "So you two got along O.K., huh?"

"You could say that," was Hutch's bland reply.

Starsky chewed on another roll, and nodded thoughtfully. "That's great! So, you find an apartment?"

Again the stumbling started. 

"I hadn't really looked."

"He's been a great house-guest."

Starsky nodded again, and Leslie looked at her husband in question. What was he getting at?

"Well, there's no rush, babe. Just thought you'd be getting tired of Trini by now," Starsky joked.

Before the objects of Starsky's intense attention could answer, Leslie jumped in. "Leave them alone David, and stop quizzing them like the cop you are. Of course he hasn't had time to look for an apartment during the holiday season, and Trini's probably been lonely since moving out of our house. This has been a good set-up for both of them--for now." Leslie was trying her best to chew-out her husband, but she just loved him too much to get it across.

Starsky looked at the three people sitting with him. "Alright, I was just makin' conversation. I know when to shut up."

He got in unison, "No, you don't."

Shrugging apologetically, Starsky added, "Just nosey I guess."

Hutch vigorously nodded, causing Starsky to swiftly kick him under the table. Before Hutch could reciprocate, Starsky pushed back from the table to undo his belt. Patting his stomach appreciatively, he looked to Trini. "Damn good , Jewel."

"Yes, Trini. Thanks for a great meal," Leslie added.

"You're all very welcome." Trini smiled, then nonchalantly dropped her napkin by Hutch. He bent to pick it up for her, and Trini gently stroked his hair while he was hidden under the table. 

Hutch smiled, then wiped his face clean of the emotion before rising to return the napkin.

"Thanks, Ken."

"No. Thank you." Hutch was looking into Trini's hazel eyes so intensely with his blue ones, Trini had to look away. As a cover, he added, "Dinner was great." Hutch stood and started gathering up dishes.

"Here, let me help," Starsky offered while trying to extract his body from its chair.

Rising, Trini held up a hand. "No, you two sit. You're tired, and I'm gonna make coffee anyhow."

Leslie was grateful to relax. "In that case, David and I will just sit. Thanks guys."

As Trini and Hutch went about cleaning up, Starsky studied them with intense eyes. Leslie was watching her husband with amusement as she pulled her chair closer to his. Leaning over to kiss her distracted husband's ear, she whispered, "They're good for each other, huh?"

Starsky had the good tact to act surprised, but Leslie's glare told him she knew he was faking.

"Don't act like you didn't notice," she whispered hotly. "You were practically interrogating them!"

Pointing at himself in mock innocence, Starsky smiled before they turned their attention back to the 'couple' doing dishes.

Leslie sighed contentedly as she rested her head on her husband's shoulder. Closing her eyes, she smiled to herself. Let him watch--she'd seen what she needed to. Starsky on the other hand, was still watching through eyes that were trying to be casual.

Watching Trini and Hutch working together, it seemed like they'd been doing it for years. Hutch whispered something that made them laugh, but Trini sobered quickly--casting a glance at her uncle. It probably wouldn't have been noticed by anyone else, but Starsky was really looking when Hutch placed his hand gently on Trini's--giving it a little squeeze before she moved off to make the coffee she'd promised. Having finally seen enough, Starsky laid his head on top of Leslie's and closed his eyes, before he whispered, "They're good for each other, huh?"

Leslie shook her head a little--the man was impossible, but she loved him more than life itself. Right now, he was really lucky she loved him that much.


A gloating Starsky raised his arms above his head, and danced about the room. "Pay up, Blintz! I won!"

Shaking his head in disbelief, Hutch threw the promised twenty at his friend.

Picking the money up, Starsky kissed it loudly, then shoved it into his pocket. Rubbing his hands together greedily, he pointed to the Monopoly board. "Anyone care to challenge?"

Leslie rose, and stretched. "Actually, my dear husband. We really should head..."

Trini jumped in. "You guys can just stay here tonight."

Hutch was doing his best not to shoot Trini for her offer, then he reconsidered--she was doing her part to make it seem like it didn't matter if she was alone with Hutch.

Clever, little one. Still, I'd like to get you alone, again. Ahh, young love. Ain't it a bitch. Hutch smiled at his own musings, and decided to join in on Trini's 'plan'. "Yeah, Starsk--we can bunk together in the boys' room. It'll be like old times."

Starsky wrinkled his nose. "I thought I was done with you when Leslie came along."

Hutch grabbed him and kissed him soundly on the cheek. "You loved me first, pal."

Pushing his friend away, Starsky agreed. "Alright, Blintz! Just get off me. We'll stay if Leslie doesn't mind sharing..."

Everyone looked to Leslie, and she shrugged. "Fine by me, but I'm going down to the car to get my bag. I wanna brush my teeth and wear my own pajamas." Leslie was already moving to the door, pulling Starsky with her. "I'll go with you, dear. I have to roll his up." Stopping at the door, Leslie turned to look at her husband. "Dear?"

Starsky shrugged, and pulled the door shut behind them. Once in the elevator, Starsky turned to Leslie and asked, "You think they're just kissin' goodnight in there, or do we gotta sit in the car awhile?"

"David, you're disgraceful!" Leslie laughed as the elevator opened into the parking garage.

"What?" he was following behind his wife, a look of complete innocence on his face. "Well, do we?"

His wife continued walking ahead of him, not answering.

Starsky shivered a little, and thought to himself--This garage is freakin' cold. They'd better just be kissin'.


Trini and Hutch stood where they were for a moment after the door closed. It was as if they were waiting for David and Leslie to jump back inside and "catch" them. Hutch could already hear Starsky yelling "Ah-ha," and pointing an angry finger at them. Realizing nobody was coming back, Hutch slowly held his hand out to Trini. 

She fairly flew into his arms, and kissed him deeply. Her body was on fire, but she knew tonight was not the night. Pulling herself away from Hutch's kiss, she laid her head on his chest. 

Kissing her head and smiling sadly, he whispered, "I'll miss you."

Trini touched her hand gently to his chest. "I'll be right here."

Hutch nodded, and pulled her away from him, pointing her towards her room. Stopping in front of her door, he kissed her hand. "Good thinking. Keeping our cover."

Trini nodded and grumbled, "Yeah, but I'm not letting it happen again. You better talk to David soon or I'll die."

Chuckling, he kissed her chastely on the forehead, and opened her door. Turning her and pointing her to the bed, he swatted her behind. "You'll live if I will." Shutting the door behind her, he sighed. I need a beer. Better make it two. One for bravery and one for Starsky. And, I better talk to him tonight--he's full of good food, he's in a good mood, and he's too tired to punch hard. I hope.

Hutch went to 'his room' to make it look like he had to clean up for Leslie. Quickly, he fluffed the pillows and ruffled the sheets to make the bed look more 'used'. Hearing Starsky and Leslie come back in, he hurried into the other guest room. Sitting on the edge of a bed usually reserved for one of the twins, he opened both beers and waited.

Hutch looked up at Starsky when he came in with his bag.

"Trini asleep?"

Hutch shrugged. "I suppose so."

Starsky nodded and started to undress. Nodding at the two beers, he inquired, "One of those mine?"

Hutch fairly jumped up to give the beer to Starsky. "Yeah."

Taking a long drink off the beer, Starsky looked sideways at his friend and smiled. Hutch seemed awfully damn nervous. Starsky finished dressing, then looked to Hutch and laughed. 

Hutch looked up and realized they were wearing almost identical outfits to bed: a plain t-shirt and pajama bottoms, sans socks.

"Mine's better," Starsky joked as he laid down.

Hutch snorted. "Whatever, Gordo." Hutch knew they were like two kids sometimes, but it sure felt good. Glancing at Starsky looking asleep, one arm thrown across his eyes, Hutch was hesitant to bother his friend. He decided taking another drink of beer was easier than starting this conversation.

Taking a long drink, he choked when Starsky asked, "So. You gonna make a decent woman outta my niece, or you just fixin' what was wrong with the Hutchinson rod?"

Hutch was still coughing, so a laughing Starsky moved to sit by him on the opposite bed. Gleefully, Starsky smacked Hutch's back--hard. "Breathe, partner."

Hutch was finally able to gasp out, "Quit it, jackass--you're gonna kill me for sure."

Thankfully for Hutch, Starsky had stopped pounding on him. The once abusive hand now lay on Hutch's back companionably. Noticing his friend was in no real hurry to 'confess,' Starsky waited patiently--he'd wait all night if he needed to.

Sighing dramatically, Hutch took another drink off his beer, and whispered, "You disappointed in me again?"

Hugging Hutch's shoulders, Starsky told him, "I was never disappointed in you, pal. You're always your own worst enemy." Starsky looked at Hutch. "The only thing that would 'disappoint' me is if this ain't real between you two."

Snapping his head to look into Starsky's darker blue eyes, Hutch was intense. "I love her, Starsk."

Starsky stared so long into Hutch's eyes, Hutch got nervous and looked away. He jumped a little when Starsky started to move-- was he pissed or not?

Slapping Hutch happily on the back, Starsky rose to go to his own bed. "Good enough for me, pal."

Laying back down and throwing his arm back over his eyes, Starsky feigned sleep--but Hutch knew better.

"Uh-uh. Too easy, babe. What's the catch?"

Starsky's arm muffled his reply. "Nothin'."

Hutch was unconvinced, and eyed his friend suspiciously. "It doesn't bother you or disturb your sense of what's morally right?"

A silent Starsky shook his head.

Hutch pressed on. "The age thing doesn't bother you?"

Sighing, Starsky sat up. He wasn't going to get any sleep with a talkative Hutch around--he knew that from experience. Looking Hutch straight in the eye, he asked him, "Does it bug you, pal?"

Hutch just shook his head no.

"Then why should it bother me?" Hutch was still looking so damn guilty and sad Starsky couldn't take it anymore, and he decided to help him out a little. "Listen, Hutch. You deserve to be happy--both of you."

Hutch looked back at his beer again. What could he say to that?

"Just be good to her, Hutch. That's all I ask."

Seeing Hutch's shoulders shudder, Starsky again joined him on his bed. Gently pulling Hutch's head to his shoulder, Starsky hugged his friend tightly: for strength--for comfort--for all the years of friendship.

Hutch returned the hug. "Thanks, Starsk."

"Anything for my partner...and my niece." Letting go of Hutch, he added with great exaggeration,"...whom I love like a daughter, and raised as one of my own."

Hutch pushed Starsky off the bed. "Asshole," he grinned down at his friend.

Starsky stood and pretended to dust off his good-looking rear end. "You know, I think I changed my mind," Starsky started cryptically.

Hutch shot him daggers, causing Starsky to laugh out loud.

"I meant about sleeping with you. Leslie's a whole lot cuter than you, and for some reason, my niece is probably missing you."

Hutch was already half out the door before he turned back to Starsky. For just a moment there, he'd considered thanking his friend again--then the wiseass ruined it.

"...But, I guess there's no accounting for taste," Starsky finished.

Hutch flipped Starsky the finger, just as they heard Leslie start laughing. Hutch blushed and shook his head to think she'd heard everything. Pointing a threatening finger at Starsky, he told him, "You take care of yours--I'll take care of mine."

The combined Starskys' laughter followed him down the hallway, but it didn't matter. He had something very important to discuss with Starsky's pretty little niece.


Trini stretched and reached for the man in bed beside her. "Morning, Officer."

Wrapping her in his arms, he pulled her to him. "Morning, Officer."

He felt Trini stiffen up a little, so he pulled back to look at her. "I say something wrong, honey?"

Smiling despite herself, Trini kissed his beautiful chest. "I guess I just thought you were more observant, that's all."

Hutch's handsome face wrinkled up a little. "What the hell's that supposed to mean?"

"Don't make that face at me. You're too good-looking for that." Trini scowled back up at him, "See? Ugly."

Swatting her rump, he smiled. "O.K. I'm getting older, so help me out here."

Trini shrugged. "I'm not going back to Metro."

"What? You get transferred?"

Trini shrugged again. "Not exactly."

Hutch was getting a wee bit exasperated. "Trini, I'm a patient man..."

"Not really."

"Damn, girl! You want me to throw you over my knee and beat your ass?"

Wiggling her naked body against his, she giggled. "That's one we haven't tried." 

Hutch let loose of Trini and rolled away. 

Sighing, Trini hugged her body against her pouting lover. "Come on, Ken. We've only got fifty or sixty more good years together--let's not spend them fighting." Hutch wasn't won over just yet, so Trini tried again. "Come on! Ask me again, and I'll be good this time. I promise."

Hutch gave her a doubting look.

"I promise, Ken."

Hutch still looked skeptical, but he was willing to try. "How did I start out ruffling your feathers, then it went to me?"

"I was tormenting you. The cop in you likes the direct question and answer scenario. I was being evasive--like you could read my mind or somethin'."

"And I can be an ass. I'm sorry, baby." Hutch hugged her to him. "Where are you going, if Metro's out of the equation?"

"I've got vacation time, and sick leave to use up--that's what I'm doing now."

Hutch nodded. "Go on."

"I'm not going back." Trini waited for him to get pissed, but he didn't. Cautiously, she looked up at him...and he was smiling.

"So we're both out of work cops?"

Trini smiled. "Yeah, I guess so."

"Well, I'm glad. I didn't want to turn into a worried cop's spouse anyhow. And, I hate it when your pretty flesh gets nicked up."

"Hutch, I do have another job lined up. Well, I'm just waiting for the other partner to give me the O.K."

"Baby, he'd be a fool not to hire you."

Punching him lightly in the chest, Trini laughed. "You don't even know what the job is!"

"Doesn't matter. You're perfectly capable of doing anything you want to. I've seen that first hand."

Blushing, Trini rolled out of bed and started for the shower. "Fetch me a towel, and join me, Mr. Flattery."

Hutch nodded, and started to get out of bed to do Trini's bidding. The shower started as Hutch reached for his robe. A knock on Trini's door made him look up. Starsky. What do you want?

The door cracked open just enough for Starsky to yell through it. "Hey. You two decent?"

"No. Go away, asshole."

The door flew open at that, and Starsky came in grinning at Hutch.

Hutch shook his head. "I said go away."

Starsky flopped himself on the bed. "I heard. If the shower's on and you answer out here..."

"Wow. You used those detecting skill all by yourself ?" Hutch loved to torment this man.

"Yeah. Proud of me?"

"Not really. And get off my bed."

Starsky looked at him cockily. "Well, well. A little possessive?" Hutch made a move to shove Starsky off the bed, but Starsky dodged him. "You're gettin' slow, Hutchinson."

Hutch shrugged. "I used all my energy up on your niece."

Starsky wrinkled his nose, making Hutch laugh. "That's way more than I needed to know, Hutch."

"Starsky, why are you bothering me?"

Starsky smiled. "Get cleaned up. We're gonna have company today."

Hutch groaned.

"Come on, Hutch. Don't be such a baby--it's only Hug and Company coming over." Starsky rose to leave.

"Probably just wants to gloat," Hutch grumbled.

Starsky was already outside Trini's door, and he looked back in. "You say something, pal?"

"I said 'get out you old goat'."

"Oh. Sorry. Get in the shower."

Shaking his head, Hutch rose to join Trini . Stopping thoughtfully in front of Trini's closet, he opened the doors and looked inside. Noticeably absent were her police uniforms. Hutch shut the doors again, then walked to Trini's bedroom door. Opening it, he looked out to the front door. His gun was the only one still hanging there. Ignoring the questioning look the Starskys were giving him, he shut the door again.

Grabbing two clean towels from the linen closet, he joined Trini in the shower.

"You go buy new towels?" Trini teased.

"No. I got a clue."

Trini smiled and started soaping his shoulders. "I don't get it."

Hutch sighed. "You know, it's not all my fault. I'm not exactly paying attention to your wardrobe when we're in there."

Trini scrubbed him some more. He did get a clue! Smart boy-- finally!

"And, I hadn't noticed your gun was gone. Sorry. Sex with you is so distracting."

Trini was done scrubbing his back , and she turned him to her. "Up for a quick distraction?"

"Jesus. I'm 'up'. You seem to have that effect on me."

"I know. But it's fair."

Hutch grinned. "What's fair?"

"You do the same thing for me. Now lock the door so my nosey uncle can't get in."


David and Leslie had decided to go to the deli across the street and buy breakfast while Trini made coffee, and prepared the front room for visitors. Hutch helped her move the two tables together, then they went out to the patio to drink their coffee. 

Sighing contentedly, Trini reached for Hutch's hand from the lounger next to his. "Hey. You think we'll ever get tired of each other, and fall into that old married couple rut?"

Hutch contemplated Trini's question. "Well, to start off with, you aren't old. Second, we haven't even gotten married yet. Third, I can't ever imagine us getting bored with each other."

Trini got out of her lounger and laid beside Hutch on his--obviously pleased with his comments.

"Trini, I think you and I are two halves of one whole--kinda like Starsky and me. I know I say some corny stuff sometimes, but it's almost like it's kismet or something."

Rubbing her hand inside Hutch's shirt, Trini nodded her head. "I think you're right-- it is fate or something." Sliding a leg over his, she turned and kissed him.

"See?" Hutch marveled. "I've been kissing women since before you were born, and none of them moved me like you just did."

There was definite happiness on Trini's face as she went to kiss him again. "My, my. You do say the sweetest things, Hutchinson."

And that's how the Starskys found them. Safely wrapped in each others arms, sharing a kiss to rival anything Leslie'd ever seen in a movie. Starsky could only stare--he was amazed and a little shocked all at the same time. He'd seen Hutch with women before, but this was different somehow. Sure, Hutch had been in love before, but Starsky'd never seen this contentment and happiness on his friend's face. One look at his niece assured Starsky the feeling was more than mutual.

Leslie was the first to speak, but only in a whisper. "I think we should let them know we're here."

Starsky grabbed Leslie's hand and they quietly made their way back to the front door. Leslie smiled, and almost laughed when she realized what her husband was going to do. Grinning back at his wife, Starsky opened the door and shut it again--loudly, this time. "Food's here!"

Trini and Hutch heard them this time, and hastily moved inside.


Huggy had called to say they'd be a little longer still-- Candita's family had arrived unannounced, and they couldn't just leave the people at their house. Knowing they had awhile to wait, Hutch and Leslie had decided to hit the grocery store for "Starsky fuel." Starsky had feigned being tired to stay with his overly wound-up niece.

Starsky lounged in his chair while Trini was nervously bouncing around the apartment--the waiting was killing her, but her uncle just continued to grin irritatingly at her. "David, how long is Huggy going to take?" Starsky grinned at her again and this time Trini couldn't contain it anymore. "If you don't get that shit eatin' grin off your face pretty soon, I'm gonna kill you."

Starsky put the paper down that he'd been trying to read. "Trini, you gotta calm down. Hutch isn't even back from the store yet. We got more time than money...well, maybe." Again that cocky grin.

"David, I love you, but shut-up."

Starsky knew Trini was just nervous--there was a lot riding on what Hutch had to say today. Starsky wasn't worried, though. Hutch was a bright sort of fellow-- he'd make the right decision. Starsky knew it for fact, but Trini didn't seem so sure.

Rising to wrap his arm around Trini, Starsky turned her to him and held on tight. She was shaking.

"I'm sorry, David. I'm just so scared."

Starsky stroked the curly hair that so closely resembled his. "Hey, I ever let you down before, Jewel?"

"No. You're one of my knights in shining armor."

"It's rusty, Trini. And stop worryin' 'bout Hutch. He's gonna be fine."

As if on cue, Leslie and Hutch came in the front door carrying groceries.

Hutch could tell Trini was upset, and he wasn't quite sure what to do. Did he go to her and 'take' her from Starsky? Did he let the loving uncle handle whatever had happened? Trini made his mind up for him when she kissed her uncle's cheek, and silently walked off to her room.

Starsky noticed Hutch was torn, and took the groceries from him. Jerking a thumb over his shoulder, he pushed his friend. "She needs you. I got these."

Hutch followed Trini into the bedroom, shutting the door behind him, and sat beside her on the bed.

Trini looked like she was going to be ill--she was pale and holding her stomach tightly.

Tentatively, Hutch reached out and put his arm around her shoulders. Trini leaned into him, and finally let go of her stomach. Slowly, Hutch eased them down onto the bed, and pulled Trini into him. He could tell she didn't want to talk, so he just held her, softly rubbing her shoulder. Hutch felt her hot tears start falling on his chest, and it tore at his heart. He held Trini's head against his chest and made little soothing noises, like a mother to a child.

When Trini was done she quietly told him, "You're so good for me. I hope you never go away."

"Is that what this moment of sadness was? I'm not goin' anywhere, Trini. What brought this on?"

Sniffling, Trini sat up and reached for a tissue. "We'll see what you say in a little while. You may not want what David is gonna offer, and I...." 

The tears had started again, confusing Hutch all the more. "Trini, Starsky already talked to me about quitting the force. Did you think I would go back to that lack of a life I had in Colorado? I'm game if Starsky is. We've been unemployed ex-cops before--we can do it again." Rubbing her back, he smiled down at her. Her insecurity about "owning" him was charming and a little insane all at once. Hutch knew a lot of her insecurities about love was caused by her childhood--maybe she was still worried she'd be "pushed aside" when things weren't "convenient." "Did nothing I've said to you soak in, Trini? I'm yours and you're mine--forever, if you let it be. I love you, and you're all that matters to me."

Looking sheepish, Trini apologized. "I guess I just get a little crazy at the thought of you not wanting me around."

"Baby girl, how could I not?"

A soft knock on the door drew their attention. "Huggy's here."

Trini stood and walked to her door like a man going down death row. "Let's get this over with," she sighed.

Hutch followed her shaking his head.

Candita and Lunk were seated on opposite sides of the table, with Huggy to his son's right. The Starskys sat by Candita, leaving the two seats by Huggy open. Trini flopped into hers, and looked down at the table, while Hutch looked around. Everyone else was smiling idiotically, and Starsky had poured champagne.

Huggy lifted his glass to Starsky. "Showtime!"

Starsky grabbed a champagne glass and stood up.

"My dear friends and family," he started with great gusto, "we are here today...oh wait, that's not the one. Yet."

Trini smiled a little at that, and Hutch reached to hold her hand under the table. Something was still eating at her, but at least she was holding his hand.

Starsky winked at Hutch and continued his "speech." "I have a couple announcements to make, and some of you know the whole story, but I'm gonna tell it for everyone's benefit. I have decided to leave the force--following a recent purchase I just made."

Hutch looked almost frightened. "Jesus, Starsk. Please tell me you didn't buy a house to 'fix-up' again."

"No, no, no, my good friend. This is so much better."

Hutch shook his head--Starsky loved this dramatic shit.

Starsky looked to Huggy. "Mr. Bear...if you would be so kind." Starsky looked at Huggy, then to Hutch.

"I can and will, my brother." Holding his hand out to Candita, Huggy smiled at Hutch. "We gots a little surprise for you, Goldie."

Smiling, Candita reached into her purse and pulled out a beautifully wrapped gift then placed it in front of Hutch.

Trini let go of Hutch's hand, and looked at him. "Go on. It's from David."

Hutch ran his hands over the expensive red paper, then untied the bow. Inside the beautiful paper was a book--a book that made Hutch catch his breath.

There, on the cover of the book, was a picture of Hutch and Starsky at their police graduation. They were absolutely beaming into the camera, leaning into each other, an arm wrapped over the others shoulder.

Hutch thought he might actually water up as her ran his hands over the raised gold print of the title. It read "Me and Thee." Below it in slightly smaller letters-- "True life lessons of friendship and partnership." Opening the book, Hutch looked at the Chapter listings, and it felt like he was looking back on his whole life. Chapter One: I've found my best friend. Chapter Two: It ain't always easy to do the right thing. Hutch skimmed down and saw other chapters that brought back even more memories. Simply titled chapters like: "Terri" and "Gillian". He noticed it ended with Chapter Thirty-two: Our new life.

Hutch looked up and rubbed at his eyes.

Starsky pointed out, "You missed the dedication."

Turning back a page, Hutch's eyes welled up: "To my best friend in the world, Ken Hutchinson. Without your friendship (and all the times you pulled my ass out of the fire!) none of this could be possible. Thank you. I love ya', babe! Starsk."

Slowly Hutch closed the book and laid it on the table. Then he noticed that the book had been written by David Starsky and T. Allen Brown.

Hutch looked at Lunk who grumbled, "I hate Teddy."

Rubbing his head, Hutch sat momentarily stunned. "Starsk, I uh, I don't know what to say. You wrote a book? About us? Starsky, for once I can't think of a single thing to say."

Starsky puffed his chest out and smiled at his friend. "Good! I got enough to say for both of us. How's this sound: Leslie got us the book deal, Lunk helped write it, Trini designed the cover and found the pictures, and I sold it--with Leslie's help--for a good deal of money. We are far from poor, Hutch. The book is doing well, and some studio is askin' 'bout buyin' the rights for a movie."

This was all too much for Hutch to absorb. "What do you mean 'we'? I didn't help do anything to get any money."

"You were there for it all, pal. Without you, there was no 'us'."

Trini still continued to stare blankly at the table.

For the life of Hutch, he couldn't figure out why this revealing of everything wasn't making her more at ease. Starsky knew though, and he looked at his friend, nodding a little in Trini's direction. From years of silent communication, Hutch knew Starsky was about to let him in on Trini's sadness.

Slowly reaching across the table, Starsky put a check in Hutch's hand. "This is your share. I took it off of mine."

Hutch looked at the check, and cleared his throat. "Starsky, this is, uh, a lot of money. I can't accept this."

Refusing to take the check back, Starsky shoved his hands in his pockets. "We all agreed, Hutch. This is your cut of the money--more if it gets made into that movie."

Rubbing the back of his neck, Hutch looked around the table. Everyone else must've agreed to give him the money--they were all still smiling at him.

Well, almost everyone.

Trini was still sulking and staring intently at the table as Starsky sat back down.

Winking at his friend conspiratorially, he asked, "So, Hutch. You still gonna stick around, or you gonna travel like you said in all those 'cheery' letters of yours?"

Ah-ha! Thanks, Starsky! You're the best! Hutch looked at Trini and noticed she was holding her breath waiting for his answer. Silly, girl. Money can't buy you love! I'm not going anywhere!

The whole table stared at Hutch wondering what the hell he was thinking.

Hutch took his eyes off Trini just long enough to wink at Starsky. "Gee, Starsk. I could go down to Mexico, and fish for quite awhile on this. This is the greatest thing that's ever happened to me. I really can't thank you..." Hutch quit his words of torment, and turned to look at Trini. 

It took Trini a minute to realize everyone was now staring at her. Looking up at Hutch's grinning eyes, she punched him in the stomach, and stood up. "You, jackass! Makin' me sit here and think you had to think about it!" Just for good measure, she kicked him in the shin and started for the patio. She was out the door before she hollered back in, "I don't even think he deserves to hear the rest!"

Hutch winced a little as she slammed the slider shut. Bending over to rub his shin, he muttered, "Women."

Huggy smacked him on the back. "I would try flowers, my man. I don't think the Hutchinson charm can haul your lily-white ass out of the fire this time."

"Shut up, Huggy. I don't need your help." The whole table was doing their best not to laugh as Hutch questioned them. "What rest?"

Starsky nodded to the girl outside who was taking up all Hutch's attention. "Uh-uh. Trini did that all on her own. I'm not about to steal her thunder."

Hutch looked back at the check. "I really can't thank everyone enough. You all stuck by me, even when I didn't deserve it...and..." Hutch was still too distracted by Trini outside to finish his thought.

A smiling Huggy rose to leave. "Yeah, yeah, Hutchinson. We love you too, but we're gonna leave before that girl comes back in and kills you. I don't wanna be no witness or nothin'. I can't be doin' what I wanna do from jail."

Hutch absently waved at the man, but continued to focus his attention on Trini. "Yeah, thanks guys."

Shaking his head, Huggy and his family left as Leslie rose and announced, "I'm going to pack my stuff up. You coming, David?"

Starsky nodded at his wife. "I'll be right there."

Leslie left and Starsky wasted no time tormenting Hutch. "First fight?" he grinned.

Hutch spun his head to Starsky, and growled, "Screw you."

Starsky laughed at his friend. "Gee, you were after me all along? I thought you were happy havin' sex with just one Starsky."

Hutch glared at his best friend a moment more, but then he had to laugh. "You're an asshole, Gordo."

Pointing to his niece, Starsky laughed. "According to her--you're the asshole."

Hutch nodded his head sadly.  "I pushed my luck, huh?"

"A little, yeah."

"I gotta go grovel."

"A lot, yeah."

Hutch went to the couch and grabbed a blanket off the back. Looking to Starsky, he shrugged. "If she cools off, she might want this."

Rising to join his wife, Starsky grinned. "Good luck, pal. You're gonna need it."


Trini didn't even look up when Hutch came outside. She didn't look at him when he pulled a chair beside her, or when he wrapped the blanket around her, or when he held her hand. She didn't even look up when she told him, "I love you, Ken Hutchinson, but I'm not too sure I like you anymore."

Pulling her into his arms, he apologized. "I was just teasin' you, and it wasn't nice--I see that now. I'm sorry."

Angrily, Trini wiped a tear away. "You hurt my feelings--and after I'd been so nervous..."

Hutch started rocking her back and forth. "Shhh, baby. I'm so sorry, really I am. But you were being stupid, too."

Trini pushed herself out of his embrace. "Screw you!"

Trying to hold Trini again was like catching hold of a wildcat. "Damnit, Trini! Knock this shit off, and come here!"

Trini stopped her struggle, but laid back in her own chair. 

Hutch sighed, and got down on his knees beside her chair. Laying his head in her lap, he whispered, "Is it because we're not married, Trini? Is that why you think I'd leave? Because, I can tell you from experience--personal experience--marriage doesn't necessarily keep me around."

Trini couldn't resist Hutch's gorgeous hair, and she reached out to stroke it. "No. No, I don't need a ring. I don't think. I really don't know why I'm so scared, Ken. Maybe I love you too much, and this was all a bad plan..."

His head flew up at that. "Please don't ever start thinking that, Trini. I know relationships can be a pain in the ass, but I don't want this to ever end. I've told you I love you, and I'm not ever gonna leave you. What more do you need to hear?"

Trini started to cry a little. "You just always had plans to travel, and I'm looking at a new job soon. I don't want you to leave me here while you travel, Ken. Some smart girl will take you away from me."

"Trini, if you can't go--I can't go. It's as simple as that. I'm not looking to spend the rest of my life alone. I plan on spending it with you."

Trini nodded and reached for Hutch, still crying.

Stroking her head, he asked, "Did you really think you would be holding me back? I'm holding me back, Trini. This is where I wanna be." He could feel her crying and he hated it. Hutch tried for humor. "Hey, you get cleaned up and we'll go Christmas shopping. I got a paycheck today."

Despite herself, Trini laughed. Sitting back, she smiled at Hutch while he wiped her tears away. "I lied to you, Ken."

He was still busy wiping her face. "Hmm?"

Leaning over to kiss him, she whispered, "I like you. A lot."


The Starskys had picked up the boys from the airport, and now they'd all joined Hutch and Trini at the mall.

Trini kissed the boys, and poked at their ribs. "Your grandmother don't feed you so good. Come on, I'll buy."

The twins happily followed Trini to the food court as the other adults watched them go. Starsky smiled lovingly at his departing niece. "She's so good with them. It's a shame she lost two."

Hutch's brow wrinkled up. "Two what?"

"Babies, dummy. Remember, she almost married that Anthony creep--four years of his attitude. Anyhow, they lost two babies. Trini said the miscarriages were God's way of telling her he wouldn't make a good dad. Sad, huh? At least she ditched the asshole."

Hutch contemplated Starsky's comments while he waited for Trini' return.

When the twins and Trini came back they were loaded down with food--plenty of food.

Trini handed Hutch a soda and a pretzel--got rewarded with a kiss for her efforts--then gave the rest of the sack to Starsky. Tearing into it like a kid, Starsky beamed when he pulled out a hot dog and two tacos. Holding up his 'prizes' he gloated, "She loves me more than you! Look at all the food I got!"

Hutch poked Starsky in the chest. "No, she's trying to plug your arteries so we can be rid of you."

Starsky didn't care, and started eating with great gusto. The boys were now looking around anxiously. They were done eating, and the mall was packed with girls--teenage paradise.

James pleaded, "Dad, can we have some of our own money? Please? We want to shop by ourselves."

Starsky hesitated for a second, so Hutch prompted him. "Come on Starsk. They're young boys. Give them some money and let 'em go."

Starsky pointed a finger at each boy. "No junk, O.K.? And, you gotta help your mother clean the house when we get home."

Hutch could just imagine the boys yawning at their "lecture," but they surprised him by containing themselves.

"David, they're dying. Let them go, honey." Leslie was looking at Starsky so sweetly, he probably would've agreed to anything.

Pulling his wallet out, he handed each of the boys some bills. Pointing a finger again, he told them, "And I want to see some change."

The boys rolled their eyes, and echoed each other. "Yes, Dad."

As the boys turned to go, Hutch pulled them aside and looked in their hands. Looking over their heads at Starsky, he wrinkled his nose and shook his head. Reaching for his own wallet, Hutch pulled out several more bills for each boy. "Merry Christmas, boys."

The boys were in awe when Hutch put the money in their hands. James immediately started turning the money--he liked all his bills to face the same way. 

Marcus simply shoved the wad into his pocket, and smiled up at Hutch. "Gee, thanks, Uncle Hutch."

"Yes, sir. Thanks Uncle Hutch."

"You're welcome boys. Go have fun, but meet us here by eight, O.K.?"

Nodding and smiling as they ran away, Trini thought she'd never seen two happier kids. 

Leslie walked over to Hutch, and gently smacked his arm. "You'll spoil them. Worse than we have," she laughed.

Hutch just shrugged. "I don't have any of my own to spoil. It's O.K. isn't it?"

Starsky answered his question. "Sure, it's alright you make my kids love you more than me, Blintz. Thanks a lot!"

"You're just jealous. Come on, Gordo. I'll buy you something, too." Hutch hooked Trini's hand in his and started into the model store while Starsky and Leslie followed close behind.

Starsky smiled at his wife. "I'm getting a new train from Hutch for Christmas."

Leslie hit her husband lightly. "No shit, honey? I never woulda guessed."


Hutch and Trini were done with their shopping, and were now loading their packages in the back of the Torino when Trini turned to him. "Hey, Ken. Can we make one more fast stop?"

"Sure, babe. Where we goin'?"

Trini headed for the passenger side. "You drive. I'll give directions."

Hutch shrugged and got in the driver's seat. Driving the Torino all the time was something Hutch still had to get used to. He was always waiting for Starsky to yell at him for doing something wrong. But that was yesterday, when this car belonged to David Starsky--now it belonged to Katrina Starsky. And him, he supposed, as he followed Trini's directions.

After awhile, Trini pointed. "Turn right, then stop in front of that two-story building there."

Hutch nodded and did as he was told. Trini turned to Hutch and smiled at him. "I don't know how to start this, so I'm just gonna tell you: I invested money in your name."

Hutch shut the car off and looked at her in amazement. "You did what, and why?"

Holding his hand to her heart, she smiled. "I repaid the money you gave me. I remember a man who didn't think twice about giving money to the niece of his best friend. This is my way of thanking you."

Hutch shook his head in disbelief. "Trini, I never, ever expected either one of you to pay me back. What I did, I did out of love for your uncle. Simple as that. Whatever you did, get your money back."

Trini shook her head. "I can't Hutch. I invested a lot of it with an ex-cop I know."

Hutch was in shock. "Trini! How well do you know this person? He could be taking the money, and..."

"Hutch. Calm down. I know this guy as well as I know you. See, Grandma Bella must've known Momma would just shoot up any money she gave her, so I got it when I turned twenty-five. I invested--made a little money, and invested again. I put half of everything I made into funds for you. I figured that'd pay you back. Plus interest."

Hutch just continued to shake his head. "No. I won't take any more money from you people. Starsky just handed me money I don't deserve, and didn't earn. I won't take any from the woman I love." Hutch had a feeling Trini wasn't really listening to him, though-- she was now turned backwards-- rummaging for something in the backseat. Smiling at her curvy bottom waving in the air, he asked, "Can I help?"

Hutch heard a muffled, "Son of a bitch," come from the backseat.

"Trini, my love, what are you doing?"

Exasperated, Trini sat back down in her seat. "I can't find my freakin' flashlight. It must be under the bags."

Hutch reached in front of her, and opened the glove compartment. Handing her the flashlight, Hutch told her, "Why didn't you just ask?"

Trini smiled sheepishly, then jumped out of the car. She was on Hutch's side before he even got out.

Hutch couldn't believe how excited Trini was--she was bouncing up and down, and giggling. "You remember I told you I had a new job lined up?"

Hutch nodded, and motioned to the building. "This it?"

Trini smiled. "You remember how I said you didn't deserve to know the rest? I lied." Trini turned on her flashlight, and hugged Hutch to her with her free arm. She then shined the light up on the sign so Hutch could make out what it said.

Slowly, Hutch took the flashlight from Trini and held it himself, going over the words again. "Hutchinson and Starsky--private investigations?" Hutch laughed until Trini thought he was going to wake up the whole neighborhood. Wiping the tears his laughter had caused, he pulled Trini to him. "Am I that predictable?"

Hugging him tightly, she whispered, "Not always. Wanna go inside?"

Looking like a kid with an early Christmas present, he grabbed her hand and ran to the door. 

Trini pushed a set of keys at him when they reached the entrance. "Here, you idiot. This is for you. David has one just like it. I bought them that day we walked after lunch."

Taking the key chain from Trini, Hutch inspected it as she opened the door and turned on lights. It was a 'Ying and Yang' key chain--half white teardrop, and half black teardrop combined to make a circle--two different halves that make a completed whole.

"I figured the key chains symbolized you and David perfectly. You know, the dark one and the light one, making one. It just made sense."

Hutch took her face in his hands, and kissed her tenderly. "Thank you. Thank you for loving me, and for all of this." He looked around the office space. "So, you wanna show me my office?"

Trini led him down the hallway to four offices. "This one is Huggy's--our 'man on the street'. This one is mine, next to yours."

Hutch smiled. "How convenient."

"And here is yours. The one on the end is David's."

Hutch couldn't believe what he was seeing--somebody had already put a nameplate on the door for him. Rubbing his hands over the letters, he turned to Trini. "Huggy?"

"Yeah, he and Lunk'll keep the 'Cavern', too, but Lunk's gonna help with observation and the accounting here, too." Hugging Hutch tightly, Trini asked, "Isn't it all wonderful?"

Nodding, Hutch opened his office and stepped in, pulling Trini with him. Not surprisingly, it was already decorated for him. There was the standard desk and chair, and a couch on one wall--but, what surprised Hutch were the more 'personal' items that'd been added. Pictures of Hutch and Starsky from their years together--on the force and in their private life--covered the wall opposite his desk. A painting of a peaceful cabin setting, wooden fish, and antique fishing poles decorated another. Just for good measure, there were plenty of plants, too. "You outdid yourself, sweetheart. This place looks great."

Trini blushed. "I guess I...well, I'm just glad you like it. You'll be spending a lot of time in here--after you get your certification, I mean."

Hutch nodded. "And I suppose you and Starsky are already P.I.'s, huh? You two have had this planned for awhile, haven't you?"

"We just had one more case to solve, and we were done. David and I just hoped you were gonna join up, too."

Looking at Trini through lusty eyes, Hutch commented, "You had your eye on me all along, didn't you?"

Trini blushed and looked down at the floor. "More like my heart set on you, really."

"You did all this before we we're even together, Trini. You are amazing!" Laughing, they fell into an easy embrace and Hutch continued, "The faith and love you incredible, babe. Thank you."

Trini was leading him to the couch, and Hutch sat down first, pulling Trini onto his lap then gently pressing her head to his shoulder. While he held her, Hutch continued asking questions. "What's upstairs?"

"I conned David and Huggy into a couple more computers, a conference room, Leslie's office, an accounting office for Lunk, a room for the boys to watch TV and play video games, and a shower."

Disbelief and amusement played across Hutch's face. "A what... a shower? What the hell, Trini?"

"I just figure catchin' bad guys is dirty work, and we'll need to use it, that's all."

Hutch nibbled on Trini's neck. "I do believe I like a woman's touch in my life. The shower's not such a bad thing."

"Gee, thanks."

"But, my beautiful little Starsky, this couch is a better idea."

Trini looked up. "You really like it? I hoped you'd like the style."

"I don't care about the style, really." Hutch whipped his legs around, and spread his full length out. "I like that I can actually fit on it."

Trini was now half sitting on Hutch, and half on the couch. Turning around, she spread herself on top of him. "I measured it."

Hutch had to laugh. "You didn't."

"I did. I was awfully hopeful we'd have reason to be all stretched out on here--at least once a week. You know--the Senior partner making the Junior partner sleep her way to the top. That sort of thing."

"At least once a week, huh?"

Trini nodded, stood up, and slowly began undressing. Hutch reached for her when she was done, pulling her back to him.

"I'll do my best to keep this once a week thing. For you, I'd even degrade myself for Viagra. Or a couple Popsicle sticks, and some tape."

"Wow. I guess this must be true love, huh?"

Hutch reached to unbutton his own shirt. "Looks like it to me."

Trini nodded thoughtfully, and reached down to help him with his pants. Scooting down the long length of his body, she pulled his shoes and socks off--then tossed his pants aside. Crawling back up, she rubbed her body along Hutch. "Looks like I won't need to eat those Popsicles for a couple years yet."

Hutch smiled and helped Trini get into a more compromising position. "As long as I keep you happy, Trini. That's all I care about."

Leaning forward, Trini moved to kiss him. "Oh you make me happy, Ken."

Grabbing her buttocks, Hutch closed his eyes and sighed. "Ditto, baby. Ditto."

Chapter 11