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Chapter 2

"A Starsky and Hutch Reunion"
Teri Colosimo 

Chapter 3


The two men had finished eating and clearing the table when Trini re-emerged from her bedroom, ready for work in a standard-issue police uniform. Trini was now walking toward the front door with Starsky closely in tow.

"What's with the monkey suit?" he questioned her.

She smiled a little. "Detectives can still wear blues if they want to--besides I'll be meeting with some of the Immigration and Border Patrol assholes. They seem to respond better to a woman in uniform. Chauvinist pigs."

Starsky nodded and reached to open the door for her--his mouth twitching with a barely concealed smirk.

"And?" he prompted.

"And, I think I look pretty damn cute in this getup," she stated matter-of-factly.

Starsky laughed and swatted her on the rump as she passed by him.

Hutch shook his head and followed the two vanity-filled Starsky's out the door. Oh man, two Starsky egos. Well, at least Trini's right... she looks almost as good in clothes as she did in a towel.

Starsky on the other hand...he's not so cute.

Once in the parking garage, Starsky headed towards a silver SUV. "Thanks for pickin' her up today, Trini."

"Anytime. Besides, my car is getting new tires. I had to drive yours home today."

Starsky went around to the driver's side leaving Trini and Hutch on the passenger's side. Hutch looked at Trini a little uncertainly and motioned towards the front seat.

"No thanks," Trini told him. "You sit up front, I hate the way he drives."

"Me, too," Hutch mumbled.

"I heard that. Get in or I'm leavin' both of you where you stand." To emphasize his point, Starsky turned the vehicle on and revved the engine.

Trini and Hutch reached for her door at the same time, bumping their hands as they did. Hutch quickly pulled his hand back--realized that he must've seemed rude, and again reached (this time successfully) to open her door.

"I'll be damned--a gentleman," Trini marveled.

"We gentlemen do try. Your chariot awaits milady," Hutch responded, still holding the door for her.

Starsky made a rude gagging noise. "You two are gonna make me lose this lunch I just ate."

At that, both passengers rushed to get in--anything to silence a gripping Starsky.

"So, pal," Starsky asked, "whaddaya think? Lotsa changes, huh?"

Silent and contemplative--Hutch nodded toward the police station he had once called his. "Yeah, lots of changes," he replied absently, then got out of the car to follow Starsky and Trini inside.

Barely inside the door they heard a woman's voice exclaim: "Why as I live and breathe, could that be Ken Hutchinson?"

Starsky smiled sweetly at the woman, then turned to Hutch. "Isn't it sweet of Officer O'Riley to remember you, Hutch?"

"How could I forget ?" O'Riley cracked. "He told me if I gave him another parking ticket he'd have me in something besides Traffic. Glad I didn't wait for his threats to turn into promotions," she taunted.

"O'Riley, yeah, yeah I remember you!" Hutch was now pointing an accusatory finger at her. "You were tormenting me with your ridiculous tickets--harassing me, then saying I was harassing you."

"Oh, come on Hutchinson," she laughed, "You're just still pissed 'cuz I wouldn't put up with your crap, and I went out with the Captain instead of you. See you around, sweetie."

O'Riley turned to go and Hutch glared at her departing back.

Starsky threw his arm around Hutch's shoulders and teased, "You still think she's cute?"

Spinning his head angrily towards Starsky, and pointing a finger in the other man's face, Hutch sputtered, "I never thought that woman was cute...or nice...or, or, even civil! You're the one who went out with her, pal, not me."

Looking questioningly at her uncle, Trini dryly commented, "Thanks, Hutchinson. I might be able to use that little tidbit of information come Christmas."

Smiling wickedly at Starsky, Hutch pulled away from his friend's side and moved to Trini. Throwing his arm companionably around Trini's shoulder, he bent his head to hers. "I can have you set for life. I could tell you..."

Hutch was interrupted by the DA and the Commissioner calling out to Starsky. The two men had heard Starsky's voice outside the door, and were obviously waiting for him. "Captain Starsky, can we see you when you're through?"

Brightly, Starsky answered the men, "Sure thing, Commissioner. I was just getting Officer Bella to show Police Chief Hutchinson around."

Hutch looked at Trini. Bella? he wondered.

Starsky continued, "Could we...?"

He was interrupted by the DA's sudden realization, "Hutchinson, how the hell are you, old man?"

Hutch reached out to shake the hand offered--trying not to wince at the "old man" terminology.

"Tommy McNee--you've done well, huh?" Hutch greeted the former Public Defender.

"You know, promotion here and there," McNee laughed a little, then noticed the impatiently waiting Commissioner. Putting on his "game face," McNee turned all business. "Maybe we can get together--talk about old times?"

"Yeah, sure Tommy. You guys go on. I'm sure Officer Bella will take good care of me."

Starsky turned to go, but stopped to look Hutch in the eye. "I'll catch up later, O.K.?"

"I'll be fine, Captain." Hutch waved him on, but he could tell Starsky was feeling guilty "dumping" him on Trini. "Go," he grinned.

Starsky nodded and returned the smile before shutting the office door behind him.

Gently grabbing him by the elbow and leading him toward her office, Trini turned to Hutch. "Come on, Hutchinson. I've got something to show you."

He followed along silently until Trini had shut the door behind them. They were alone so Hutch ventured, "Bella?"

"That was Momma's mother's last name. Helps me around here--you know what I mean?"

"Ahhhh, you don't want to be known as 'teacher's pet'," Hutch laughed.

Trini smiled. "Something like that."

"Well, it feels weird not to call you 'Starsky'."

"Yeah, to me, too, but a necessary evil."

While they'd been talking, Trini had been moving about the office--turning on the computer--opening file cabinets and pulling out files. Trini shook her head as she set the files in front of Hutch.

"Damn, I know David wanted to be here to go over this. They just can't leave him alone. Anyhow, you have to settle for me."

Hutch wondered, If this is "settling," what's first prize?

Pulling a chair close to Hutch, Trini placed a hand on the files but didn't open them. Instead, she turned to face him. "Ken, I really want to thank you for agreeing to help us. This case is very important to David and me."

Hutch felt a little uneasy by her grateful and eager attitude. "I'm glad you want me to be part of this." Motioning to the files, he asked, "Where do we start?"

It seemed physically impossible, but Trini scooted even closer to Hutch and opened the first file.

Taking off his jacket, Hutch wondered, Is it getting warmer in here, or is it just me? Maybe I should open one of her windows.

Trini's voice drew his attention back. "Here's what we know so far. The families are paying to come to the U.S. from Mexico--nothing new there, but there's a catch. When they get to their transportation to 'the promised land,' the children are put into separate vehicles. The kids make it to American soil--the parents don't."

Hutch nodded. "What happens to the kids when they get here?"

Trini reached for another file and flipped it open. Hutch was momentarily stunned--even a "hardened" cop like him could still be shocked. There, on the table in front of him were dozens of pictures of nude or partially dressed children--most of them crying--all of them doing things children shouldn't have to do.

Rubbing his hand across his face did nothing to clear the images. Sitting back roughly in his chair, Hutch sighed heavily. "Christ--what's wrong with people?"

Trini didn't have any answers for him, only more bleak news. "Most of the parents are killed or left behind in Mexico. We're running into problem after problem. Even when we get lucky and close down one of these hellholes, we have no family to return the kids to. I got a job I go to part-time that we think is part of all this--they seem to have a lot of clients looking for young company."

Hutch was saddened. "I see why this case is yours."

Trini tried to laugh, but it didn't quite work. "The girl who had no Mommy and no Daddy tryin' to save the world."

Hutch was sympathetic. "I know how rough it is--I mean, I had parents, but they disapproved of everything in my life. They hated my career choices and my friends, and they never accepted me for me. I understand the loneliness--just on a different level."

Placing her hand on his, Trini nodded to the files, "At least we had it better than they do."

Hutch nodded in agreement.

Hutch was deeply engrossed in the information on Trini's computer when Starsky came in, pulling a chair by him.

"So, partner. Ya' sick yet?"

"Hmmm? Oh, hey, Starsk." Hutch sat up straight, rubbing his eyes and stretching. "The atrocities man can do."

Turning to Starsky, Hutch's stomach cramped up a little at the sight of his best friend. Starsky was lounging in the chair beside him--feet on one corner of the desk with his "let's solve this" look Hutch remembered so well.

It was so much like "the good ole' days" that Hutch wondered, again, why he'd left. It sure as hell didn't make any sense at this very moment. Everything Hutch needed--everything he relied on--was here. Maybe that's why he'd gone away.

Like a baby bird spreading its wings, Hutch?

Somehow his "flight of fancy" had crashed and burned tragically.

Trini opened her office door and addressed her uncle, putting an end to Hutch's musings. "Hey Captain, I see you decided to grace us with your presence."

Trini had returned with the two cups of coffee she'd needed when she'd left, but now that Starsky was there...she set Hutch's cup in front of him, then offered hers to Starsky. "Want mine?"

"Nah, we're fine," he answered as he took the cup out of Hutch's hand for a drink. Returning the cup to Hutch's waiting hand, Starsky questioned, "So?"

"So what, Starsk?"

"You feel up to a little undercover work?"

Hutch was a little surprised at himself-- he was definitely ready for this. "Yeah. Yeah, I am."

Rising to leave, Starsky smacked his friend on the back. "Good. That's settled, but now I got a Mayor to see." Grabbing the coffee and drinking quickly, he apologized to Hutch. "Sorry, Hutch."

"You should be, you drank it all."

"No, about this bein' your first day back and I've hardly seen ya'."

"Oh, that .Well, I'm sure Trini can..."

"Trini can use Ken as an intimidation factor," she interrupted.

A confused frown crossed over Hutch's handsome face--he was missing something, but obviously Starsky wasn't. Smiling enthusiastically, and smacking Hutch on the back again, Starsky exclaimed, "See, she's got the Starsky brains--good idea, Trini."

Hutch countered, "So far she's seemed too smart to be a Starsky, but she must be since I have no idea what you're saying."

Starsky was half-way out the door when he said, "You know, pal, for someone with all your schoolin', you should be smarter." He turned to Trini. "Make sure he's on time for dinner." With that, he was gone.

"You know I hate him, don't you?" Hutch growled.

"Yeah, Ken. It shows." Trini started picking up files, then noticed Hutch was staring at her--eyebrows raised in question.

"Well?" he questioned.

"Well, what? You're gonna be bored if I leave you here, or take you back to the apartment, and I could use some help. Remember I've gotta go see the border guards, and talk to the parents who've actually stayed alive to look for their children. I figured you could talk to the families, and I get a Viking warrior those assholes won't mess with. Do you mind?"

Hutch laughingly rose to leave. "Let's go before you con me into anything else."

As Hutch climbed into the squad car next to Trini, he marveled at how good she smelled. Not the overpowering smell that came from Maggie and her stuck-up friends--not the smell of the most expensive French perfumes that Vanessa had worn--not the musky scent of cologne that Angie smelled of (she "borrowed" his)--just a fresh and unspoiled smell. Like ladies' soap and conditioners, and maybe a drop or two of perfume.

Trini was somehow different from other women--she seemed comfortable in her own skin and Hutch liked her confidence.

Trini's voice interrupted his thoughts. "I need to make a stop at the grocers and drop it off at David's. You need anything?"

"Yeah, there a mall on the way?"

"Sure. What're you lookin' for?"

Hutch looked sheepishly out his window. "I forgot gifts."

He's still so unsure of himself, but it's kinda sweet, Trini thought.

"Alright, Hutchinson. It won't do me any good to say that nobody's expecting gifts, so I'll drop you off and go to the store."


"You're welcome, Ken."

Hutch sat silently for a few minutes, then had to ask the question that'd been bothering him all day. "Trini, why don't you ever call me 'Hutch'?"

Stopping the car in front of the shopping center, Trini turned to look Hutch straight in the eye. "You never asked me to. I figured it was for close friends and female conquests only."

Hutch laughed at that. "Sorry. I just figured...I don't know exactly what I thought, but I wish you'd call me Hutch once in awhile."

Climbing out, she answered, "Sure, Ken."

Hutch just laughed.

"Alright, what are you after and I'll tell you what stores to hit."

Hutch stood there, looking up and down the main hallway. "Does Leslie still collect music boxes?"

Damn, a man who remembers! Trini marveled. "Yeah, that store there--they'll wrap it, too. What else?"

"James and Marcus haven't seen me in four years, and I want them to feel comfortable around me. Well, as comfortable as someone their age can feel around an old man."

Trini pulled out her notebook and wrote something down. "You're not old." She shoved the note at him. "Here's the name of 3 of the latest games they want. They'll think you're a God." She turned and started to go. "I'll be back--forty minutes--tops."

Hutch watched her leave, then started on his quest.


Hutch was waiting for the twins' presents to be wrapped when Trini came up beside him.

"Hey, miss me?"

He had, but he couldn't exactly tell her that. "I never found anything for Starsk," he complained.

"You know what," she told him, "I think having his best friend home is enough."

Looking down, embarrassed, Hutch paid for the games and they left.


Trini had shut off the squad car, but was making no effort to get out. Instead, she sat gripping the wheel and staring at the Immigration office.

"You O.K.?" Hutch asked.

Exhaling a breath she was unaware she'd been holding, Trini stated, "This case just sucks so goddamned bad." Turning to Hutch she apologized, "Sorry, not my most lady-like moment."

He understood all too well the cases that tore at your heart. "No problem. There are times when eloquent words just don't fit."

Trini laughed. "You say 'eloquent'? David hates that word."

Hutch smiled. "That's why I use it." Turning serious, he put a hand on her arm and asked again, "You O.K.?"

She nodded and let go of the wheel. "Yeah, thanks. Let's go see if we can help these people." Trini had barely stepped out of the car when she was approached by a plain-clothes officer.

"Hey pretty lady--whatcha' doin' here?" The man tried to encircle Trini in a groping hug, but she expertly avoided it.

"Same thing as you," she blandly replied.

The man was staring so hostilely at Hutch that Trini almost laughed. Moving to stand by Hutch, she held out a hand in introduction. "Police Chief Ken Hutchinson--Detective Jimmy Munroe."

Hutch offered his hand, but Munroe chose to snub it. "Oh, so you're the other half of the hero team," Munroe sneered, "Kinda figured you'd be on a white horse." Munroe turned to Trini. "Call me when you're ready for the big time, baby."

Hutch looked at Trini and noted she was wearing something close to a snarl. "Not in this lifetime, jackass," she hissed. Grabbing hold of Hutch's elbow, Trini led them away from a laughing Munroe. "Sorry. He's always an ass."

"It's O.K.--you're not responsible for his actions and attitudes." Hutch hoped the man was a better cop than the terrible human being he seemed to be.

"No, I'm not responsible, but I could've kicked him in the balls," Trini growled.

Hutch smiled--she truly seemed to be offended that Munroe had been rude to him!

Trini was stomping up the stairs to the Border Patrol office when Hutch asked, "Bad history?"

Trini abruptly stopped and turned to face Hutch--standing a step above him made them almost eye level. "Bad, period. No history. I don't date boys."

"He's an ass, Trini, but he's hardly a boy. He has to be forty."

"Ken, people can't be pigeon-holed by age. The man is a child, and I will only date men." She finished climbing the stairs and turned to Hutch again. "Besides, David set us up."

Hutch threw his head back in genuine laughter. "Yeah, I got one divorce from a blind date of Starsky's."

Throwing up her hands, Trini stated, "See? You understand."

She went to open the door, but Hutch was quicker. As he held the door for her, Trini pressed her hand softly to his face. "You're always such a gentleman, Ken. Thanks."

Hutch's face burned where Trini's hand had touched it. Good thing you can't read my mind, Trini. I think it'd shock you. With that, he followed her inside. He had a job--a purpose--and he was needed again. Damn, this was feeling better by the minute.

Trini knew immediately she'd been right to bring Hutch. Those Border Patrol creeps were more than a little intimidated by Hutch's size and his take charge attitude. When Hutch went in and started talking Spanish to the parents, it was a sight to see. The mothers came and clung to him, crying on his strong shoulders. Warily at first, the fathers approached Hutch, then sat down to discuss their missing children--communicating easily in their native tongue. Trini watched for awhile until she felt close to tears herself, then she left to question the Border Patrol again.

Every so often, Trini found her eyes wandering to the blond head mixed among all the dark ones. Hutch was impressive to watch--kind and sympathetic when he needed to be--headstrong and determined when a situation called for it.

Suddenly Trini saw Hutch's face turn an unnatural shade of purple. Jumping up and walking across the room, he pushed open the supervisor's door without knocking. Trini immediately heard yelling and was glad that anger hadn't been directed at her. A brief moment later, the supervisor's door flew open, hitting the wall outside.

"Get a sketch artist here now!" Hutch bellowed.

Three officers rushed to do Hutch's bidding at the same time.

Trini stood and went to him. "What happened?"

"These officers," he spit the word out, "chose to ignore the fact that these people have names and descriptions of the people who drove, and the people they paid."

Man, is he ever pissed! Trini thought. I hope he never looks at me like that!

Hutch was coming down a little, but Trini could tell these men weren't about to push him. "It would seem it's more important to just kick these poor people's asses out of the country." He shook his head angrily. "These people have been trying to give descriptions for two days, but these jackasses just accused them of trying to stay longer. You see that woman over there?" Hutch was pointing to a woman about Trini's age. "She was told she couldn't be missing a seventee-year old daughter because she looked too young. These guys are morons."

Trini slowly looked around the room--not one man would dare look up at Hutch. Damn, this gu'ys got balls as well as brains! She placed her hand on his shoulder to draw his attention, and when he looked at her she smiled.

He took a deep breath and returned the smile. "Sorry. The Hutchinson fury isn't a pretty sight."

"Maybe not," she agreed, "but it's damned effective."

They both laughed at that.

She patted his hand. "You done good, Ken. Thanks for coming."

Hutch was glad he had, even two hours later when he'd called Starsky to say they'd be late.

Starsky laughed, "She's already pushin' you around, Hutch--you'd better be careful!" Starsky was still laughing as he hung up.

Hutch looked at Trini--You don't know how hard I'm trying to be careful, pal.

As if she knew what he was thinking, Trini looked up and winked at him.

Whoa old man, she's Starsky's niece--let that be your mantra!


As soon as Hutch and Trini knocked on the Starsky's front door, it flew open.

Leslie threw her arms around Hutch and kissed him. When she pulled back, there were tears in her eyes. "Get your ass in here, Ken Hutchinson."

He obliged her command and pulled her gift from the sack he carried.

"What's this?" She laughed. "You return home and give us presents?"

Hutch noticed James and Marcus still watching him with hesitant eyes. He knew they were too big to hug and extended his hand instead. "Gentlemen, good to see you again."

James was the first to reply. "Trini made a roast today."

"Oh?" Hutch could tell there was something wrong with that, but he wasn't sure what.

Marcus answered that for him. "Yeah, she put all kinds of weird vegetables in it. She says you like vegetables."

Marcus wrinkled his nose. "Do you?"

Hutch laughed a little. "Yeah, sorry. But, I do eat a little roast, too." He had to smile--maybe now the boys wouldn't think he was so weird. Hutch pulled the two newly purchased games out of the sack, and whispered conspiratorially to the boys, "Don't let your mom know. They weren't meant for her delicate eyes."

The boys smiled wickedly, and James said, "Cool. Must have lots of gore!"

Hutch put his finger up to his lips and smiled. "Shhh." Then he winked at the boys.

They couldn't remember the man their dad called their Uncle Hutch, but they already liked him.

Their fun was interrupted by Trini calling to them from the kitchen, "Dinner boys."

Hutch took three long steps across the room and was beside Trini. "When'd you make this?" he whispered in her ear.

His warm breath on her ear was extremely sensuous, and Trini was a little surprised her body responded to something so seemingly minute. She turned to face him. "When you were spending money. Why? Are you mad?"

"No, I'm in awe. You managed to remember I don't eat that much meat. That makes you considerate, talented, and pretty."

Trini's breath caught as Hutch walked past her to sit down. She looked around, but nobody had noticed their "talk." Starsky had been too busy grumbling he hadn't gotten a present, and Leslie and the boys were gushing over their gifts--nobody had noticed except her. Feeling a little silly, Trini shook her head.

What did I 'notice' anyhow? A compliment was all it was. Damn, I'd better start dating again.


Hutch awoke the next morning before Trini did. Silently making his way to the kitchen for his morning coffee felt a little odd. He was quietly looking in cabinets when the coffee pot started on its own--startling him. I'll never get used to the things being "alive." As he stood there watching the coffee brew, the phone rang, startling him again.

Hutch heard Trini's shower turn on, so he decided to answer it. "Hello?"

"Morning, Blintz! Where's my pretty little niece?"

"Um, I hear her shower, so I suppose she's in there."

"O.K., babe. Will you tell her I'll get her car, and drop it off there this afternoon?"

"Yeah, sure, I'll tell her. Does this mean you'll be in meetings again, or do I actually get to look at your ugly mug?"

"Miss me?"

"Shut up, Gordo. I was just hoping you'd take me to a game, and foot the bill or somethin'."

Starsky laughed. "I'll buy ya lunch--1:00--Trini knows where. See ya'."

"See ya' Starsk."

Hutch was just hanging up the phone when Trini's bedroom door opened. She was wearing a pair of grey sweats, a t-shirt, and her tennis shoes. She had pinned her curly hair up in a ponytail, and it was trying hard to escape the clip it was in. Obviously, she was heading to exercise somewhere.

Hutch motioned toward the phone. "Sorry--the phone was ringing and you couldn't hear."

"Stop apologizing, Ken. You're living here, too. I think it's sweet you answered the phone for me. "

Sweet? I haven't been called that in a hundred years.

"Who was it?"


She smiled. "On the phone silly, who was it?"

"Oh, Starsk. Says he's gonna bring your car by here this afternoon."

"Did he say we were still on for lunch?"

"Yeah, he said 1:00--you'd know where."

"Good enough. So, you wanna go downstairs to the gym with me--go sightseeing--what?"

"You've got a gym in the building?"

"We've got a gym. As my houseguest you can use it for free." Trini wrinkled her nose at him. "I don't run though. Not unless it's in the line of duty, sorry."

Hutch laughed. "I don't run so much anymore myself."

"Good. You wanna come with me then?"

"I'd love to."

The morning went very smooth--both Trini and Hutch loved the free weights and took turns spotting each other. After the weights, Trini challenged Hutch, "You worn out or do you wanna let me beat you at squash?"

"You're on, sister. Wanna place a little bet on this game?"

"Sure, whatcha got to lose?"

He straightened up to his full height so he could look down on her. "I get to cook."

She laughed. "It would seem I win either way. You're on."

Later, Hutch had won, but Trini declared herself the victor. "Anytime I can get a handsome man to cook for me, I consider that winning."

Handsome, huh? Just wait--you ain't seen nothin' yet, girl.

Back in the apartment Trini headed for the fridge and took out two bottled waters. She handed one to Hutch then opened her multi-vitamins and handed him one of those, too.


She smiled brightly at him. "Welcome."

It'd been too long since Hutch had cared that much about his health--being back home was already doing wonders for him. I haven't even taken any medication since I've been here. Maybe this will turn out O.K. It took a moment for Hutch to realize Trini had been talking--and he hadn't been listening. "Uh, sorry. I was lost in thought. What'd you say?"

Still smiling at him, she repeated herself. "O.K., one more time, buster. Eggs, pancakes, omelet...." she'd trailed off as she'd turned to examine the deeper contents of her refrigerator.

Trini turned to call out more options, but Hutch had moved closer to examine the selection himself. When she turned, he was right there--and just for a moment, they simply looked intently at each other.

Trini swallowed hard and Hutch moved--breaking the connection. Somehow, he felt a little guilty about doing it. "Trini, you don't have to cater to me. It's very sweet, but very unnecessary."

Trini moved to one side, and did her best "Vanna White" in front of the fridge.

Hutch laughed, then grabbed yogurt and fruit off the bottom shelf.

"Me, too," Trini said.

He grabbed out enough for two, set it on the table, then went to refill his coffee cup.

Hutch noticed Trini was getting silverware and dishes, and her hands were full.

"Where's your cup?" he questioned.

"Counter, thanks."

He returned to the table with two cups of coffee, and sat down opposite Trini.

She started laughing as she cut the cantaloupe and put a slice on Hutch's plate.

"What'd I do that was so funny?"

"No, not 'funny'. It's just that I'm used to David--three squares and two snacks a day. You'll be cheap to feed compared to him."

Hutch laughed. "He still eats that way? Incredible. He should weigh a ton, but somehow he stays the same."

"Yeah, he is the one thing that stays constant, huh?" Trini marveled.

Hutch silently thanked the powers that be for that one.


Lunch with Trini and Starsky had been extremely pleasant. Hutch never thought it'd be possible to feel at ease with anyone the same way he did with Starsk, but Trini was way too easy to have around. Hutch had enjoyed "comparing" the two, always looking for the similarities and the differences. Both Starsky's were quick to laugh, and both had that incredible smile. Both had curly hair, but where Starsky's was brown--Trini's was definitely more auburn. Trini watched what she ate--determined never to gain back the lost weight . Starsky ate everything in sight. Starsky was more tanned than Trini, too. Hutch guessed Trini burned easily, by the amount of freckles she had on her. (He'd gotten a great view of her pretty shoulders and upper back in that towel.) Trini's mom had been Italian and she "inherited" a beauty mark on her left cheek from that side of the family. Her "gypsy mark" she'd joked.

For all that Starsky and Trini were different--Hutch thought anybody at Metro who was dumb enough not to see the connection should be fired. Obviously, their reasoning and observation skills were lacking if they couldn't see the way these two loved each other--even when she was mad at her uncle.

Trini had snapped at Starsky for making them take a cab to the restaurant--he still hadn't delivered her car as promised, but she was only slightly mad.

"Trini, I swear I'll have it there tonight," he promised.

She muttered under her breath. "I'm gonna buy a car you won't touch one of these days."

Hutch couldn't wait to see what was so special about Trini's car that Starsky wouldn't let it go.

Trini and Hutch left Starsky at 2:40.

"You wanna walk for awhile--work off our lunch?" Hutch asked her.

Looping her arm through his, she smiled up at him. "Why Officer, you read my mind."

They walked in easy silence for awhile like that--Trini's arm through his--looking at shops and enjoying the view.

Suddenly Trini stopped. "Will you wait out here for a minute?"

He wasn't in any hurry. "Sure."

Her face lit up and she hurried into the store, coming back out a couple minutes later, a small sack in hand.

She smiled and looped her arm back through his. "Don't ask. It's a surprise."

What on Earth she could've purchased was beyond Hutch. It didn't matter to him, though. It seemed to make Trini happy, and strangely, that was good enough for him.

The rest of the day went by smoothly.

Starsky had been in meetings all day, so Trini and Hutch had spent her day off together. They had watered plants, played card games and talked the day away. Hutch couldn't remember a day this relaxed in forever.

At 10:20 Trini stretched and yawned. "I guess we'd better get some sleep. We've gotta go to work in a few hours."

Hutch hadn't noticed the time and apologized. "Sorry I kept you up so late."

"Don't be silly, I enjoyed our time together today. I wouldn't have missed it for the world." She rose and headed to her room, but stopped at her door. Trini turned back around. "Ken?"

"Yeah, Trini?"


"Goodnight, Trini."

When the bedroom door shut behind her, Hutch felt a little odd. So close, and yet so far away, he mused. You're an old fool, Hutchinson. Get some sleep. He stared at her door a moment more then wandered off to his own room.

Hutch knew it was going to be a long time before he could fall asleep.

Chapter 4