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"A Starsky and Hutch Reunion"
CHILDREN AND BARS DON'T MIX
Hutch came staggering into the kitchen with one hand shielding his eyes from the morning sun--his hair still damp from the long shower he'd just taken. Trini stood there, waiting, holding out a glass of water and two aspirin.
Hutch readily accepted them, then mumbled, "You know, Trini, " swallows aspirin, "you'd look more like an angel of mercy if you didn't gloat like that."
Trini laughed, and turned away from him to finish the toast she was making.
Remarkably, Starsky was already out of bed--not bathed yet, but out of bed and sitting at the table was a pretty good start for him. Hutch went to join him--hoping he didn't look as bad as his friend did.
With quietly grumbled greetings to each other, both men painfully tried to wake up.
Handing a cup of strong, black coffee to each man, Trini kissed each sore head in turn. Starsky looked at Hutch through squinted eyes, and toasted him with his coffee. Hutch lifted his mug in salute, then blew on it, realizing it was hot.
"Good thing she loves us, huh, pal?" Starsky said and took a deep sip off his coffee, finding it far too warm, far too late.
He looked comical, but Hutch knew if he laughed, his head would explode for sure.
Trini was watching them closely, noting their pained looks. "You two gonna be able to work today?"
Both men sat up straight--there was a woman doubting them, and they were always up for a challenge.
"Hutch, she thinks us incapable of performing our job. I think a bet is in order."
Hutch grunted, "Maybe you're too tired to last all day, but I will."
Placing her hands on her hips, Trini tried to talk some sense into the men. "I was concerned about you two, that's all. No challenges on your manhood, no challenges of any kind." She headed towards her room, then slowly turned back around. "But, if you two drunkards insist on some form of challenge...."
Starsky smiled when she took the bait. "Hey, Hutch, I think we're gonna win something here."
Hutch turned interested eyes to Trini. "You challenging both of us, Trini?"
"Yeah. After work, if you two can last the full 8 hours, meet me in the gym."
"Any ground rules, Jewel?"
"Yeah, Uncle. This will be a test of endurance--not strength. Last woman standing, wins."
With that resolved, they all got ready for work.
Trini had kindly shut the blinds in her office for the men, and was now in the process of turning lights on. "So, Captain. You gonna tell him, or should I?"
Starsky fell into the closest chair and shook his head. "You go ahead. The shape I'm in, I'll screw somethin' up."
"Fine." She loudly dropped the file she'd been holding on the table in front of the two men. Trini smiled a little when they both winced. "Candita and I stumbled onto something. While you two were partying, we were talking about this case. Anyhow, we think we've figured out where some of the children are."
She grabbed a pad of paper, and drew a quick map. "Here's the main building, directly facing the highway. Back here, bordered by the desert, is a deserted plane hangar and a couple sleeping quarters. Candita's been pretending not to understand English, and some of the workers talk around her. They've been whispering about a little girl who's sick, and how to get rid of her. Of course they can't--or won't--get her help. Too many questions."
Hutch looked thoughtful. "You think the kids are back here?" He pointed to the hanger "What made you question this area?"
"Well, the windows were just recently all painted over with white paint, and there are guards outside now. And, I know I saw a child being led in there, but Candita and I were almost caught."
Starsky became instantly alert. "Do you think you've compromised your cover? You didn't tell me you were spotted." He looked angry and worried--she could be in danger now.
Trini blushed and looked away from the two men before answering. "No. Our covers are still fine. We, uh, distracted the guys who found us." Looking at the men, she knew they'd gotten the wrong idea. "No, we didn't do that! I took off my shirt, and Candita, well, she kissed me and that threw them a little. I suppose it looked...well, anyhow, our cover is fine." The two men were still looking at Trini a little too intently, and they were making her uneasy.
Starsky leaned over to Hutch and loudly whispered, "Why didn't we get to see anything like that?"
Both men laughed, then remembered it hurt.
Trini smiled. "Serves you right. Assholes."
Starsky had left Trini and Hutch to meet with his officers and oversee their assignments. It seemed the parents had given pretty good descriptions to the sketch artists, and Starsky wanted to be in on every part of this case from APB's to the end. That left Trini and Hutch alone together--again--to study the case.
Trini had decided she was hungry, and left Hutch alone while she got lunch. He looked up from the files and gingerly rubbed his neck when Trini returned with their food.
"You sore?" Trini asked.
"A little. Maybe I am too old for this shit." Hutch sighed heavily and dropped the file back on the table, then leaned forward and rested his head on his hands.
Trini moved behind him and began to gently massage his shoulders and neck. "Ken, we believe in you 100%, or we wouldn't have asked for your help. You're not worried about this are you?"
Hutch shrugged his shoulders. "I was awfully quick to say 'yes'. Maybe I should've thought first. I haven't exactly been an 'active' officer for awhile, you know."
It seemed to be just what she'd wanted to hear. "Good. I'm glad you're nervous. I wouldn't think you were a good cop if you didn't look at the risks, too."
He laughed a little at that, and sat up straighter to stretch his back. He didn't really want Trini's massage to end, it was feeling way too good. "I just don't want to let you two down, Trini, that's all."
Trini had stopped massaging, but hadn't moved her hands off his shoulders. Slowly she bent down and whispered in his ear, "Then don't." Standing back up she continued her attentions to his aching muscles.
"That was pretty clear cut, Trini. Your idea of a pep talk?" Hutch knew he sounded a little bitter, but he couldn't help it. She was putting a lot of faith in "backup" she'd never even seen in action. Plus, her gentle touch was starting to do quite a number on him. Hutch was glad he was sitting down. If he stood up now he'd probably get ticketed for indecent exposure.
"I don't have to give a great cop like you a pep talk, Ken. You just forgot how good you are for a little while." Trini placed a quick kiss on his cheek and sat down by him. Taking his face in her hands, she smiled sweetly at him. "Ken, we trust you. You're the only person I trust as much as David, and I only want you two backing me up. Why can't you trust yourself?"
She reached up and brushed a stray strand of hair off his forehead. "I saw you in action the other day. I don't have any doubts about you. Why do you doubt the greatness you have inside?"
Hutch swallowed, and tried to answer, but he choked on the words.
Trini jumped up and locked her door, then sat back down by Hutch. Slowly she pulled him into her arms, and rested his head on her shoulder. "Everyone else believes in you, Ken. Believe in yourself. You're not gonna let anybody down, I promise you."
Christ, this girl had faith in him--if he let them down...well, he just couldn't, that's all. Hutch's hands went around Trini and he hugged her tightly as the unwanted tears started.
Trini and Hutch were just finishing up lunch when Starsky knocked on her office door. "Bella? You in there?"
Trini and Hutch burst into laughter, having completely forgotten the door was locked.
Hutch rose and patted Trini's shoulder as he walked by. "We should hide somewhere else. 'It' keeps finding us." Hutch unlocked the door, but didn't bother to open it for his friend.
Starsky pushed it open and glared at the other two officers. "I heard that."
"Don't pout, Gordo. Trini bought lunch, and food always makes you a happy boy."
Grabbing the sandwich Hutch was holding up to him, he grunted, "You two are getting awfully cozy."
"Well, Captain. He is going to be my backup, and you always told me to know my backup, " Trini teased.
Hutch smiled at his friend, and Trini handed a root beer to her uncle. "Thanks, Jewel." He ate in silence for a minute. "So when do we do this?"
"Hutchinson and I feel that we should move quick. What if they decided to move the kids again?"
You and Hutch, huh? This is a change, but not neccesarily a bad one. "I agree with you two. Friday night, then? Gives us three days."
Hutch looked at Trini and shrugged. "Sure, I'm ready."
Trini smiled at her uncle. "Don't forget the twenty's."
Looking to Hutch, Starsky asked, "You been with her all day, Hutch. What's she talking about?"
"When we go to 'The Gladiator' Friday night--we'll need money to flash and give the strippers. You know that--we went to that one in...."
Starsky cut him off. "My sweet little niece, Hutch. Think of her virginal ears."
Hutch choked a little on his Coke when Starsky said "virginal," and wiggled his eyebrows at Trini.
She smacked his leg, and started picking up trash off the table. "You don't know, shithead, so behave."
Starsky watched his best friend and his niece, and their playful banter. He was glad to see Hutch was getting back to "normal," but something had happened here today. It wasn't just the fact that the door had been locked that made him suspicious, either. Looking at the two people opposite him, he wished he'd been there to help--it was obvious from the two sets of red-rimmed eyes that tears had been shed. It was also obvious that Hutch had come through it O.K.
That's one I owe you, Jewel. Thanks for takin' care of my friend--he means the world to me.
Starsky puzzled over something a moment, then mused out loud, "I don't get it...'Gladiator?' What's that supposed to mean?"
Trini pointed at Hutch. "You tell him. Only a man would come up with a name like that."
Hutch leaned across the table, and motioned for Starsky to come closer. "Glad he..."
"Ewww," Starsky grimaced.
Hutch agreed. "My thoughts exactly."
Leslie and the twins had come to watch the "competition" between the three officers, but had grown bored and hit the swimming pool.
Starsky came in a little while later, joining his family. "I conceded."
Leslie pulled her handsome husband to her and kissed him deeply. "You don't have pent up sexual tension on your side: I put out."
Starsky returned his wife's kiss, then abruptly pulled back to look at her. "Sexual tension?"
Leslie shrugged and looked a little embarrassed. "Well, I kinda got the hint from his letters that his sex life has been...well, anyhow. And when the hell was the last time Trini even went on a date?" Leslie looked a little irritated with her husband's lack of perception, "Women need it, too, David."
Pulling her to him, Starsky teased his wife, "That's something you don't have to worry about, my pretty." He wiggled his eyebrows and kissed her neck--noisy, wet kisses that made Leslie laugh.
"Get in the pool and play with your children before I make you take me home, and make good your promises."
"Wow, somebody should feel sorry for me: my wife...the dominatrix."
That earned Starsky the privilege of Leslie pushing him into the pool.
It wasn't that much later that Trini and Hutch joined them in the pool. Trini had been declared the champion of the weight contest, but Hutch had beat her (again) at squash. The pool "competition" would decide it all.
The Starsky family watched the two do laps until the boys again got bored, and went to Trini's apartment to play computer games. Twenty minutes later, Leslie went up to check on the boys and start dinner.
Still, they continued their laps.
Trini was keeping up very well, considering Hutch was almost a foot taller than her and his height gave the advantage of a longer stroke.
Starsky watched them awhile more: blond head in one lane, brunette in the other, until he too, grew bored. One of them's gonna have a heart attack. Shaking his head, he left to join his family upstairs.
When Trini and Hutch finally arrived upstairs dinner was done, but neither one seemed to care. They both just collapsed silently onto Trini's couch.
The anticipation was killing Starsky. "Well?" he demanded.
Hutch hooked a thumb in Trini's direction.
Starsky went to sit on the coffee table in front of Hutch. "Aw, Hutch, you let a girl beat you?" he whined.
Hooking Starsky's feet with his, Hutch knocked him off the table. "At least I stayed, Starsk. Besides she won by default."
Trini would've hit Hutch, but she was too tired. "Default? What the hell are you talking about? You're the one who got a cramp, not me."
"Way to go, Blintz, a cramp."
Leslie jumped in now. "He lasted longer than you, dear. Besides, I believe you two owe Trini a prize."
Starsky seemed crushed. His wife had stuck up for Hutch and Trini, but he knew she was right, too. "You're right Les. Alright Trini, what do me and the Blintz owe you?"
Her answer made Starsky groan, and that pleased Hutch--a lot.
Hutch questioned her. "O.K. if we pay up tomorrow, Trini? I'm beat."
Trini beamed at Hutch. "Absolutely Hutchinson, but bright and early. I have to go to work at 1:00."
Trini awoke very excited--the guys had to pay up on their wagers, and she was really looking forward to this. After showering quickly, Trini came out of her room wearing a robe. Smugly grinning at the people waiting in her apartment, she asked, "Where do we begin?"
An almost pretty man took Trini's hand and guided her to his massage table to start. The leg waxing and pedicure were next--followed by a facial, and manicure. The bet fully paid, the massage therapist turned to go but Trini stopped him, and whispered in his ear. The man smiled and nodded.
Starsky and Hutch had been watching TV, doing their best not to even notice what was going on inside the apartment. They were still ignoring Trini when she went to answer the door, and in came two very pretty women--one pushing another massage table.
Leaning over the back of the couch to look at the two men, Trini indicated the women. "I figured you guys--well Hutch, at least--are sore, too."
Starsky beamed at his niece. "Damn, you're a good winner, Trini."
Hutch had to agree.
Trini had to go to work, and leaving the two men alone in her apartment was hard for her. She knew David had been wanting to tell Hutch some things privately, but she wished she could be there to support them both. She knew this was going to be rough, and she hoped Ken took it well.
Starsky was thinking the same thing. Shit I hope Hutch takes this O.K.--I hurt too bad to defend myself.
Starsky grabbed two beers out of the fridge, and went out on the patio to join Hutch. He handed one to his friend, then opened his and looked out at the city view.
Hutch knew something was bothering Starsky, and he decided to start one of their famous talks. He could tell it was gonna be a serious one, too. "Hey, pal. You got somethin' you wanna say to me?" He sure as hell hoped Starsky had been asleep in the backseat that night, or he'd have some serious explaining to do.
"Hutch, you know you're my best friend and I love you like a brother."
"Yeah, Starsk. I feel the same way."
Maybe not in a minute, Babe, Starsky worried.
Sighing heavily, Starsky pressed on. "You were always the one I called on when I needed help, so when I needed help with you...well, Leslie's out of town so much and...."
"For Christ's sake, Starsky, just spit it out."
"O.K. Hutch, here it is: Trini helped me write my letters. She knows everything."
Turning away, Hutch grabbed his beer and walked to the railing. "What, 'misery loves company' or 'good news travels fast'?"
Starsky moved to stand by his friend. "Aw hell, Hutch, it wasn't like that and you know it. I wanted you to stop hurtin', pal, and you know I can't do that kind of shit on my own." Starsky so desperately wanted Hutch to say everything was O.K.--that he wasn't mad--that he still loved his best friend.
Hutch sighed heavily. "I guess I kinda knew, Starsk. She's been awfully good to me. I guess I got my own little cheerleading team with you two." Hutch pulled his friend into a fond embrace. "Thanks for loving me enough to save me. You never give up, do you?"
"Not when it's somethin' worthwhile." Starsky gripped his friend more tightly. "Just don't go nowhere again."
"I'm not Starsk, I promise."
Starsky gently pulled out of the embrace. "Uh Hutch, I got one more thing to tell ya'."
"I feel real bad about this, but it's not like we knew when you'd get here...."
"Come on, Starsk. I'm a big boy. I can handle it, so just tell me."
"Well, I feel bad."
"You already said that."
"I know, but...well, the boys will be out of school for Thanksgiving vacation in a couple days. Leslie has that publishing contract she's been workin' on in Florida. This is all leading up to...well, our family vacation, Hutch. The boys aren't gonna want to go with us that much longer, and I already got the tickets...."
"Starsky, that's great! You guys have a good time. I'm sure Trini and I can keep each other company while you're gone."
Clasping a hand on Hutch's shoulder, he fairly beamed. "You're the best, Hutch. We'll only be gone two weeks, then I can make you sorry you moved back."
Hutch laughed and shook his head. "Not even you can make me sorry I came back."
Rising in unison, the men moved inside to wash up Trini's dishes. Starsky kept up a light banter, but Hutch was lost in his own thoughts.
The holidays are coming? Damn, that snuck up on me. And what's with this two weeks thing? That's like leaving a kid with matches--and I think I'm already playing too close to the fire.
Trini opened the door to her apartment cautiously. She wasn't sure if Hutch would even still be there, or if the two men were still deep in discussion. Trini was relieved when the delicious smell in her apartment let her know somebody was there, and cooking. A quick look towards the kitchen let her know it was Hutch.
Hutch turned to greet Trini when he heard the door lock. Holding up a pan, he told her, "I hope you're hungry. I'm paying off my first 'debt'."
She moved to the kitchen to help him, but Hutch ran her off. "Go sit down. I'll bring it to you--you're the one who worked today."
Gratefully, Trini followed Hutch's orders. Damn, keep this up boy, and you won't be able to fight me off with a stick.
"Starsky told me you like seafood," Hutch called out. "I made salad and scampi."
"Sounds great, Ken. Thank you."
Balancing plates and glasses, Hutch proceeded to set the table. "No, thank you, Katrina Starsky."
Trini was baffled by his comment. "O.K., Hutchinson--I'll bite. For what?"
Hutch was already making his way back to the table with the salad, and a glass of wine for Trini. He handed her the wine, then sat on the edge of the table directly in front of her.
"Your uncle told me some things about you I didn't know until today. It would seem you know a lot more about me than I thought."
"Hutchinson, let me explain..."
Aloof and cool, Hutch moved back to the kitchen. "I don't need your apologies, Trini."
Dropping her head, Trini knew he was right. That was pretty personal stuff, and maybe...
"I don't need your apologies, but I think you need one from me." Hutch's voice had softened, and his eyes were gentle now--he'd been teasing her!
"What are you goin' on about, Ken? Geez, you had me scared for a minute."
"I'm sorry. I just wanted to tell you how wrong I was to write those letters. They made Starsky crazy--therefore, he made you crazy."
Trini jumped in. "You know, nobody held a gun to my head. I wanted to see a happy ending for you myself."
"Ahhh, like the princess who saves the toad/Prince."
"Shut up, idiot. I was being serious."
"Sorry, I just don't want to bring you down again." Hutch looked away.
Sadly, Trini asked him, "Why are you like that--so afraid to let someone inside that fortress you keep you heart in? When are you going to surrender to someone, Ken? The whole world can be on your side, or against you. The choice is yours."
Frustrated, Trini started to get up, but Hutch moved to block her way. "Hey, this isn't going the way I'd wanted it to. I wanted to apologize--thank you--and tell you how crazy you must be. How could you know all the dirt you know on me, and still...."
Trini reached up to stroke his face in a now familiar manner. "I just looked inside your soul, Ken. Lots of good stuff still lives there."
Sitting back down, Trini pointed at Hutch's chair. "Sit. I'm starved and this meal looks wonderful."
Hutch bent to kiss her cheek before sitting down, making Trini's heart leap. My, my. The man kinda likes me! Maybe there's hope, after all.
Spending the remainder of the night in front of the fire talking with Hutch was a lot of fun for Trini. She and Hutch were alone, and she liked hearing what he had to say. Well-educated and well-mannered, he was great company.
Hutch was just thankful she wasn't even hinting at what had happened at the bar! He didn't regret kissing her, but...there was still some little voice telling him "not yet, pal." That voice was getting harder and harder to listen to, especially when she was so easy to like.
Hutch was lounged across the couch--Trini had opted for a pillow and the floor, while they shared the last of the wine from dinner. Sitting up to refill her glass, Trini looked thoughtfully at Hutch.
"What's troubling you, Bella?" Hutch teased.
Laying back down on her stomach, her chin resting on the pillow, she answered him, "We all know why the marriage to Angie went wrong, but what was up with the other two? I mean, arranged marriages or what?"
It was strange, but it didn't even bother him to talk about this stuff with her. "Nah, " he laughed. "I screwed those up all by myself. My poor choices."
Sitting up again, Trini told him, "Jesus, Hutchinson. Maybe that's the problem...next time, let the girl pick you."
He knew he shouldn't even keep this conversation going, but he couldn't stop himself. "Alright, missy," he teased back. "Tit for tat. Why's a girl like you still single? You, too, could have experienced the joy of divorce by now."
Shrugging a little, Trini answered, "I guess my standards are too high. I mean, I know there's no such thing as 'fairy tale romances,' but I want a sweet romance. You know: a man who's really a man, and can help me raise a couple of well-adjusted kids. A guy who doesn't drink all day or do drugs. A guy who loves me for the person I am inside, and doesn't hit." Trini knew she was getting way too serious. Laughing, she added, "I'd like a guy who likes pets."
Hutch had to laugh a little at that. Starsky wasn't all that fond of dogs, and Trini had spent a lot of time at private schools--no pets for this little girl.
"I always wanted a little dog. A dachshund--they're so cute. Maybe a cat for the dog to chase--fish for the cat to chase..."
"That sounds nice, Trini."
"Yeah. It does, huh?" She laid down again, quietly sipping her wine while Hutch watched her.
Damn, she's cute. Laying there all sprawled out on the floor--she looks so young. He smiled at her., All 5'4" of her--top to curvy bottom.
Hutch loved the way the good Lord had put Trini together: the curly hair that looked so familiar, her toned arms and legs, and that little mole on her cheek. God, that was like a cherry on the top of a delicious sundae. He also loved the curves this girl had: more like Jennifer Lopez than that shapeless Kate Moss. He never had liked scrawny women.
Trini finished her wine, and went to put the glass in the dishwasher. Hutch followed suit, also grabbing the now empty wine bottle.
"I had a really great time tonight. Thanks for a lovely dinner, Ken."
Trini stiffled a yawn, and Hutch put on his best little-boy pout for her. "You had such a good time, you can barely stay awake. Some 'date,' huh?"
"Oh knock it off, Hutchinson. That look may fool other people, but you're wasting it on me. I really did enjoy tonight."
Hutch smiled and puffed his chest out a little. "Must've been the good company."
Trini shook her head and started for her bedroom. "You are too much. I'll see ya' in the morning."
Hutch hurried over to Trini, and put his hand on the wall by her head, blocking her way into the bedroom. Trini looked up him so hopeful it tugged at Hutch's heart, almost making him weaken. But he wasn't going to rush into anything--if he did at all--with this girl.
"You need something, Ken?"
Oh little girl, don't ask me loaded questions like that! He cleared his throat, and reached out to push her hair behind her ear. "I uh...well, I've kinda gotten used to you kissing me at least once a day, and...."
Gently pulling his head down to hers, Trini whispered, "Oh, sorry. We do have a quota to keep."
Hutch decided he really liked kissing this girl--especially sober. He pulled away, regrettably, and looked down at Trini. "I suppose," he whispered back, "this is the end of the date, and I should go home."
"If you want to," she whispered.
"Trini, I think I have to."
Sighing, Trini opened her door and went inside, gently closing it behind her.
Hutch rested his head on her door and closed his eyes--he needed to be able to breathe before he could walk.
Sensing Hutch's presence, Trini called out softly, "Good night, Hutch."
Sure, now she calls me Hutch. When there's a door safely wedged between us. Smart girl. So close and yet so far, Hutchinson.
Running his hand down her door, he smiled at himself before answering her. "Night, Trini." Hutch looked down at his hand still gently running up and down her closed door.
Like a dog scratchin' to get in--take your dumb ass to bed. Hutch decided to heed his own advice and turned to go.