In Part 2, Don and Sabrina have just gotten over that little awkward patch of romance -- and are now about to tumble even further ... into their undercover roles. The story begun here concludes below.Undercover Love, Part 2
As Sabrina was dressing for her tennis game two days later, she caught a glimpse of Don still sleeping in the bed. She blushed slightly recalling how they'd spent most of the previous day making love. Tightening her ponytail, she walked over to the bed and sat down next to him.
"Wish me luck," she said.
"Good luck. I'll meet you in the lobby bar."
She leaned down to give him a quick kiss, but he had other ideas. Reaching out, he took her in his arms and kissed her until they were both breathless.
"I really have to go."
"I have to get ready for my lunch with Michaels."
"Okay," she replied.
A half hour later, Sabrina jogged onto the tennis court. "I'm sorry I'm late."
Darcy picked up her racquet. "Don't worry about it. Should we volley for serve?"
"Since I was late, why don't you serve?"
After the game, which Darcy won, the two women went to have lunch. As they ate, Darcy asked Sabrina how much she was enjoying her new house.
"I love it! Our view is to die for. I can't wait until we get to know more people so we can start entertaining."
"Jasper and I can introduce you around." Darcy offered. "Being in the hotel business, we know just about everyone you need to know."
"That would be wonderful." She drank some lemonade. "Don told me that he went golfing with Jasper the other day. He just loves the game."
"Jasper's the same way. Personally, I don't get what the attraction is."
"Me either, but if it makes Don happy then I'm all for it."
Darcy chuckled. "You know, Sabrina, I was thinking about what you told me the other day."
"Oh." Sabrina feigned discomfort. "I'm so sorry about dumping on you like that especially so soon after we met. I guess I was just feeling a little homesick."
"Nonsense. I think we just hit off, that's all."
"I think so. I'm just embarrassed."
"Nothing to be embarrassed about, sugar. I was really quite touched." Her voice was smooth as silk with just the right amount of sympathy.
Sabrina could feel the hairs on the back of her neck begin to stand up.
"It got me thinking and please tell me if I'm getting too personal, but have you ever considered private adoption?"
Sabrina gave a long, wistful sigh. "We tried going that route about six months ago. Everything seemed perfect. We interviewed with the birth mother and started making plans, picking out names, bought baby clothes and started planning a nursery. Then at the last minute, she backed out. No warning, no nothing." She bit her lower lip as if to steady herself.
"How awful. You must have been just devastated."
"We both took it very hard. We haven't discussed trying that way again."
"I completely understand. However, I do know of someone who has had a great deal of success placing babies with adoptive parents."
"Yes. Now, I don't know him personally and I don't want to get your hopes up, but if you let me, I could check for you."
Sabrina closed her eyes and took a long, deep breath before answering. "I'd be very grateful."
An hour later, Sabrina left the club and entered the lobby bar. Don stood up to meet her at the entrance, swinging her into his arms.
"You look wonderful!" he exclaimed as he dipped her back for an exaggerated kiss.
"What are you doing?" she laughed.
"Giving my beautiful wife a kiss." He kissed her again, lightly. "I have news."
"Why don't we take a walk and I'll tell you how Michaels has been putting out feelers to get info on the Hanovers of Chicago?"
"All right." She linked her fingers with his. "And I'll tell you how, out of the goodness of her heart, Darcy Walker is willing to put us in contact with a lawyer who handles private adoptions."
"We work well together."
"That we do, Don."
From the Penthouse Suite on the top floor, Michaels watched the Hanovers through the window.
"They're a charming couple," he commented to Darcy who was standing next to him.
"They certainly seem very much in love. The way they look at each other, it almost makes me wonder if they really are married."
"I've gotten a fax of their marriage certificate along with some other papers. Everything seems in order." He paused as he watched Don and Sabrina walk off hand-in-hand. "If they were a plant…"
"Plant? Jasper, why would you even consider that?"
"After what happened in New York, how can you ask me that?"
"Look, it's a shame what happened, but we got our money. Stop worrying."
"If only we knew what happened to Parkland."
"Baby, you need to forget about him." She started to undo his tie. "Think about the money we're going to make off these two."
Michaels grabbed her and started unbuttoning her shirt. "We can feel them out some more over dinner on Friday."
After dinner Friday night, Sabrina went to take a long, hot bath while Don went to call his son in the family room. During her bath, Sabrina reflected back on how well the dinner had gone. They had Michaels and Walker eating out of the palms of their hands. By now, those two had to be firmly convinced that they were a happily married, wealthy couple who wanted a baby so desperately that they would pay top dollar for one.
As she continued to soak in the tub, she let her mind drift from Michaels, Walker, and the case. Closing her eyes and leaning back, she began to recall the first time she met Don.
She practically ran up the courthouse steps that May morning. Glancing at her watch, Sabrina realized she was almost fifteen minutes late. The department meeting had run long and then she'd gotten a call from one of her confidential informants. Hopefully the prosecutor had gotten the message she'd left for him.
After going through security, she headed towards the stairs. Because of her heels, Sabrina avoided the temptation to take the stairs two at a time. She reached the landing of the second floor and was headed down the corridor when the heel of her shoe slid out from under her. Bracing herself for a fall, she closed her eyes and was surprised when she didn't land on her ass. Instead, Sabrina felt a pair of arms encircle her waist.
"Easy there," the male voice said as he helped her back onto her feet.
She turned around and looked into a pair of deep brown eyes.
"Thank you," she said softly.
"Are you all right?' he asked. "Nothing twisted or bruised?"
"Just my ego."
"You should really slow down with those shoes on."
"I'm late for court," she replied.
"Slow down anyway. Wouldn't want anyone to get hurt."
"I'll remember that. Thanks again," she paused.
"Don…Don Cragen," he replied holding out his hand.
"Sabrina McFarland," she answered as they shook hands.
Neither of them commented about the faint electric charge that passed between them as their hands touched.
"I better get going or McCoy will have my head," she commented.
"Jack McCoy?" he asked.
"Yes. I'm testifying in Part Twenty-One. Do you know him?"
"I've worked with him a couple times. He's tough, but fair," Don replied.
"That's what I've heard. I'll see you around, Captain Cragen."
He looked at her slightly surprised.
"Your shield." She pointed to the badge clipped to his belt.
Cragen nodded and then smiled. "You have a nice one too, Agent McFarland."
Sabrina was about to reply when a court officer stepped out into the hall.
"Agent Sabrina McFarland," he called.
She turned and raised a hand. "Right here."
"You're needed on the stand."
Turning back to Don, she smiled. "I guess I should go."
"Take care and slow down," he remarked. Then he turned and walked down the hall.
When she finished, she picked up the new bottle of lavender-scented body lotion she'd bought at the spa and squeezed some into her hands. As she applied the lotion, Sabrina took a moment to reflect on the all the changes that had happened in the past week between her and Don. They'd started out as friends and colleagues working a case. And now, they were lovers. But, who knew how long that would last? Could they keep a relationship going once the mission was complete and the house and all the entrapments were gone? Sighing, she slipped on her purple bathrobe and headed downstairs.
Don was sprawled out on the sofa, reading the paper. The television was tuned to a news channel and he looked so comfortable that if she hadn't known better, she could have sworn it was custom-made for him.
"Don?" she asked n her best sultry voice.
"Mmm?" he answered in a distracted tone.
She smiled to herself as she moved closer to the sofa. "Don, can I show you something?"
"What?" He turned his head.
Putting the bottle of lotion down on the coffee table, she unbelted her robe and let it drop to the floor so that she stood there naked, still slightly damp and warm from the bath. The scent of lavender hovered in the air.
"What am I going to do with you?" he groaned.
"I hope you're going to make love to me," she said slowly.
"That," he said, dropping the paper to the floor, "is the best idea I've heard all day."
She took a step back and just looked at him. "Wait, I've changed my mind."
She watched his Adam's apple bob as he swallowed. "You have?"
"Yes." She paused for a moment, taunting him. "I've decided that I'm going to make love to you."
A slow grin lit his face. "Well, just to prove I'm a sensitive, modern guy, I'm going to let you."
She kissed the grin right off his face, ran her fingertips across the stubble of his chin, to the soft smooth skin at the base of his neck and then down his chest. She unbuttoned his shirt slowly and spread it out in front of her. Pressing her lips to the pulsing hollow in his neck, she flicked her tongue against the warm flesh.
His shiver had her smiling against his skin. She moved down, kissing and licking. He tossed restlessly as she took a small hard nipple into her mouth then she continued her leisurely exploration down his chest to his belly.
He started to get up off the sofa, but she pushed him back. "Don't get up. You look so comfortable there."
She unfastened his dress pants and he raised his hips so she could slip them off. She rose to inspect him. He was naked; his erection looked as if he was ready to burst at any moment. Feeling the power she had over him, she smiled as she stood up again.
"I'm going to punish you."
"For what?" he asked, not looking at all scared.
Sabrina narrowed her eyes. "For making me late for my tennis game the other afternoon." She placed her bathrobe on the coffee table and sat on top of it. This put her right across from him so that he had a great view of what was to come. Then, she picked up the lotion.
"Will it be bad?" He sounded more excited than nervous.
"Not as bad as the punishment for wrinkling my new dress before we went out this evening so that I had to change into a different one." She squeezed a large dollop of lotion into her hand and stared at this erection long enough for him to think it was the intended target. Then with a sneaky smile, she put her hands on her breasts, rubbing the lotion in while he watched.
"Don't forget I called you Brinna at dinner night," he reminded her in a husky voice.
"Oh, I haven't forgotten about that," she said, her own voice growing hoarse. "For that I'm devising a special torture."
"Will I survive?"
She smiled at him. "I doubt it." She squirted more lotion into her hands and rubbed it into her belly and torso using long, smooth strokes, lower and lower. "But, you'll die happy."
He reached out for her, but she evaded him. His hand fell back to his side. "You're killing me already."
She continued to put lotion on her body, teasing him while he watched, his hands fisting with frustration, his hips rocking as the desire built.
Her plan had been to cream his body as thoroughly as hers, but it was hopeless. She didn't think either of them could survive that much delaying torment. Instead, when her body was so thoroughly moisturized it glistened, she straddled him. The entire time she kept her eyes on his while she slowly lowered herself onto him.
She cried out as he filled her body, hot and hard, within her. His hands made up for being deprived of her earlier by rubbing and gliding over her cream-slick breasts, her back, hips, everywhere he could reach. She moved on him setting a pace that kept them both on the edge until she had no more control.
She screamed as she bucked and rocked. Finally, shuddering and spent, she held him through his own climax.
"Do you know what I was thinking about earlier?" Sabrina asked as she curled up in bed next to him later that night.
"The first time we met."
"At the courthouse?"
"Mm-hmm. You saved my ass that day."
"Quite literally," he added. "I knew that day you'd be trouble."
"Hey, it's not every day I have a beautiful woman end up in my arms," Don replied as he drew her closer. "And then you fell in my arms a second time."
"At the benefit," she reminded him.
As he drifted off to sleep, Don recalled the second time he held Sabrina in his arms.
The benefit for the Policemen's Benevolence Fund was in full swing by the time Don had arrived at The Four Seasons. As he greeted his friends and colleagues, he accepted congratulations on his new job at SVU. He was in middle of a conversation with another captain when he spotted Lennie Briscoe across the room. Excusing himself, Don headed in Briscoe's direction. He waved "hello" and as Briscoe returned the gesture, his companion turned around and Don felt his heart stop.
Her eyes were bluer then he remembered and the light in the room softened her smile. He stood still for a moment, just staring at her and remembering her looking up into his eyes and his hands around her waist.
Lennie put a hand on the small of her back and guided her in the direction of his former boss. As they neared Cragen, she was bumped by another guest, lost her footing and began to fall forward.
It took him exactly three strides to get to her before she fell down. He grabbed her waist and the hem of the top of her dress rose up slightly. His warm hands made contact with her skin and began to burn their impression onto her.
"Are you okay?" Don asked, still holding onto her.
"Fine," she replied, looking up at him with gratitude.
"Bri, are you all right?" Lennie asked as he joined the couple.
"I'm fine, really."
"Thanks for catching my date, Don," Lennie remarked as the two men shook hands.
"Date?" Don almost choked on the word.
"Not exactly date," Sabrina interrupted. "Lennie is really a friend of my family's."
"Sabrina's dad was a year behind me at the Academy," explained Briscoe.
Lennie smiled. "Where are my manners? Sabrina, this is Don Cragen. Don, Sabrina McFarland."
As Don shook her hand, he felt that electric charge again. Only this time it was stronger than before.
"So, Captain, how long have you been saving damsels in distress?" Sabrina teased.
Don blushed. "Including this time?"
"Twice in three years."
"You two know each other?" inquired Lennie.
"Captain Cragen saved me from falling once before."
As Sabrina told the story of their first meeting, Don tried to listen, but he found himself staring at her red lips wondering how they could possibly look so soft. He began to feel a tightening in his stomach and his thoughts were becoming more muddled. Finally, he sobered himself up enough to hear the end of the tale.
Lennie laughed, "Only you could trip and fall into the arms of an NYPD captain, twice."
"Thanks for the save, Captain," Sabrina said.
"If I'm going to keep rescuing you, the least you can do is call me Don," Cragen replied.
"And it's Sabrina," she answered.
Both Sabrina and Don fell silent and it was then that Lennie began to notice the looks that were passing between his friends. There was something going on and neither one of them was aware of it. Briscoe decided he should take the bull by the horns.
"Don, would you mind taking Sabrina out on the balcony for some fresh air?" he asked. "I'll go and get us something to drink."
"Certainly. We wouldn't want her falling off the side," Cragen teased.
"Very funny," she remarked. "I am perfectly capable of walking."
"Whatever you say." Briscoe patted her shoulder and then went to the bar.
"Shall we?" Don asked as he offered her an arm.
Linking arms, they made their way through the crowd to the balcony. Once outside, the warm, sultry air seemed to envelope them. Her hand on his arm made him feel warmer.
"It's a beautiful view," she remarked as she looked out at the lights.
"It is," he replied as he let go of her arm.
"I was sorry to hear about your wife," she said as she turned to look at him.
"How did you know?"
"Lennie told me."
"Oh." He fell silent as he sat down at a table.
"How are you doing?" she asked, sitting down next to him.
"Some days are better than others."
"How can you?"
"My fiancé was shot in the line of duty last year."
He felt his breath catch. "I'm sorry." Placing a hand on her, he squeezed to offer his support.
"How do you handle it?" he asked.
"One day at a time. It also helps when you have good friends, like Lennie, to talk to," she advised.
Just then, Sabrina's cell phone rang. She excused herself and walked away to take the call.
"Where's Bri?" Lennie asked as he set three glasses of punch on the table.
"Phone call," Don replied. He motioned over to where she was standing.
"Lennie, I'm really sorry, but I have to go," Bri said as she put the phone back in her purse.
"Yeah. There's a potential break in a case I'm working on and I have to fly out to Seattle tonight," she explained.
"Let's get you a cab," Don offered.
The three of them walked to the front desk and waited for a cab to arrive.
Sabrina hugged Lennie and promised to call when she got back in town. Then she turned to Don.
"Thanks for the advice," he said as he held onto her hands.
"Anytime. Take care."
"You too." He was surprised when she hugged him gently. For a moment, Don found himself wanting to hang on for a moment longer and enjoy the comfort he felt in her arms. Reluctantly, he let go and reached over to open the cab door for her.
"She's a good kid," Lennie remarked as the cab drove away.
"Kid?" Don questioned.
"That's how I think of her anyway. But she has grown into a beautiful woman."
"That she has," Don whispered to himself.
For the rest of the night, Don tried to focus on visiting with friends, talking sports, and discussing cases. But as hard as he tried, he couldn't forget the way Sabrina had felt in his arms or the compassion in her eyes as she spoke about her loss and consoled him about Marge's death. Yes, she was beautiful, but she was hurting from a loss like his.
"And I'm not ready to even think about dating," he thought to himself. Even so that didn't stop him from dreaming of her that night and for many nights over the years.
Don and Sabrina became part of a friendly foursome with Michaels and Walker. They went out to dinner together, lunched at the club, played doubles in tennis, and even went horseback riding.
Two weeks of the high life was making Sabrina edgy. Several times she tried to ask Darcy about the lawyer and was told nicely to be patient.
Darcy and Jasper introduced the Hanovers to dozens of people. Some were interesting and attractive while others were slick or set Don's criminal alarm off. It was during their horseback ride that Darcy suggested that Sabrina host a party. After all, Sabrina was supposed to be a delightful hostess who always managed to throw an elegant party.
"Bri, I'm home. Sorry I'm late but I have a surprise for you," Don called out cheerfully as he walked into the Master Bedroom. He hung his dry cleaning up in the closet so that his hands would be free to kiss her. He couldn't help but think how nice it was to have someone to come home to.
"I have a surprise for you, too," she called out from the bathroom.
"I have a present for you."
"I bought a new dress."
They spoke at the same time. He emerged from the closet just as she stepped into the bedroom.
He could only stand and stare. All coherent thought evaporated as he took in the sight of Sabrina wearing a silky black dress that outlined her curves, gave a generous hint of her breasts, and ended in a flirty, flared skirt. He was suddenly eager to strip it off her.
This was not a time for words, but action. In two strides, he was in front of her, pulling her to him so he could kiss her.
He felt the air leave her body as he brought her close, his blood so hot he feared he'd scorch her. But after the first huff of surprise, she responded in kind, answering his plundering tongue with her own as they stole each other's breath. He feasted on her, nipping and biting, sucking at her lips and tongue while the urge to take her beat inside him. Grabbing her butt, he pulled her hard against his pulsing erection.
She moaned deep in her throat and he felt her heat through her clothes. He angled his hips to nudge at the warmest spot of all. "The party," she gasped, sounding like a drowning woman.
No other words could have stopped him.
He took a shaky step away from her, knowing if he didn't get his hands off her, their guests would be standing outside, wondering what had happened to their hosts.
"Thank you. You said something about a present?"
Don cleared his throat as he went back to the closet. When he returned, he was holding a rectangular black box.
"What is this?" Sabrina asked as se took it from him.
"My friend in New York spoke with an associate here and arranged this." He watched as she opened the box and his face lit up with her reaction.
"It's exquisite," she whispered as she looked at the diamond and sapphire drop earrings inside. There was a matching necklace of webbed silver studded with diamonds and sapphires. "This is too much."
"It's perfect." Don took the box and very carefully removed the necklace from it. She lifted her hair up as he fastened the clasp.
"Absolutely perfect." He kissed the back of her neck. "Now, I'm going to go and take a long, cold shower in order to get ready for this party.
"All right." She pouted slightly and he couldn't help but kiss her on the nose.
"Just out of curiosity, what are you wearing under that dress?"
A slow, sly smile spread across her face. "Pink nail polish."
With a groan he turned and headed towards the bathroom and a cold shower.
Later that evening, Sabrina took a moment to look around the house. The party flowed through the house and out onto the deck. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. There was jazz music, which Don had chosen, playing in the background. The night was balmy enough that they could leave the doors open, allowing the guests to roam in and out. The food was excellent and she accepted the compliments graciously.
Every so often Don would look over and smile at her or stop beside her for a touch of the hand or a private word. As he would walk away, she could feel a slight sadness pass until he would smile from across the room.
"I swear that man can't keep his eyes off you," Darcy remarked as she sidled up to Sabrina. "If he had a twin, I'd consider giving marriage another try."
"Don's one of a kind," Sabrina said sweetly.
"And he's all yours."
"Well, besides being married to a sweetheart, you also throw a wonderful party."
"Thank you, but you deserve some credit. I mean you recommended the caterer and you invited your friends. I think this party is as much yours as mine."
"Well, thank you. There is someone I'd like to introduce you to."
Sabrina linked arms with Darcy and they headed towards the sitting room. Along the way, Sabrina accepted more compliments on the house, the food, and the wine.
"Ah, Emma, there you are," Darcy said as they entered the room. "I want you to meet your hostess and my friend, Sabrina Hanover. Sabrina, Emma Monroe."
"How do you do?" Sabrina took the slim, pale hand gently. The woman was well into her sixties and had a fragile air that was accented by her snow-white hair and half glasses.
"I'm delighted to meet you." Her voice was barely more than a whisper. "Darcy has told me how charming you are. This is my son, Benjamin."
He was nearly as pale as his mother and wire-thin. His handshake was brisk and his eyes were as black as a stormy night. "Lovely party."
"Thank you. May I get you something to drink?"
"I'll let Benjamin take care of that. Why don't you sit down and join me?"
Sabrina sat down next to Emma on the small sofa while Darcy sat in a chair.
"I'll be right back, mother." Benjamin excused himself and headed towards the buffet table.
"He takes such good care of me," Emma said as she smiled at Sabrina. "Darcy tells me you're new to Vegas."
"Yes. My husband and I moved here from Chicago. It's quite a change."
"Indeed. Benjamin and I have a nice vacation condo here."
They chatted while Benjamin brought back a plate with a few canapés and a glass of wine. Darcy had already slipped away when Sabrina glanced over and saw Don approaching.
"This is my husband." Sabrina slipped a hand into his. "Don, this is Emma and Benjamin Monroe."
"Darcy said you were handsome." Emma offered a hand. "I'm afraid I've been monopolizing your charming wife."
"I'm often guilty of that myself. In fact, I have to steal her for a moment. It's just a small problem in the kitchen. Please enjoy yourselves." He nudged Sabrina along and then, finding no private spot, ducked her into a closet.
"Don, what the…"
"Shh! It's her," he said quietly.
"Who's her and why are we standing in the closet?"
"The old woman. She's the one."
"The one?" Sabrina's mouth fell open. "Excuse me, you expect me to believe that that fragile old woman is the head of a baby napping ring?"
"Yes." He kissed her. "Trust me, Bri; it's a feeling in my gut. She's it."
Sabrina met Emma Monroe twice more over the next week, once for tea and again at a party. She was having trouble believing that the whispery-voiced matron was head of a criminal organization. But, she had faith in Don so she watched and played her part.
Agent Johnson discovered that neither Emma nor Benjamin Monroe owned a condo in Vegas. In fact, there was no record that either of them existed anywhere.
However, when the contact came, it wasn't either of the Monroes but a tanned young man with a tennis racket. Sabrina had just finished a match with Darcy and was waiting for Don to complete a round of golf with Michaels. While drinking a glass of lemonade, a young man wearing tennis whites approached her.
"I'm Albert Blake. A mutual acquaintance pointed you out and I was wondering if I might have a word with you?"
Sabrina hesitated. "All right."
He sat down across from her, laying the tennis racket across his tanned-knees. "I realize this is a bit unorthodox, Mrs. Hanover, but, as I said, we have mutual acquaintances. I've been told you and your husband might be interested in my services."
"Really?" She arched a brow coolly, but her heart was speeding up. "You don't look very much like a gardener, Mr. Blake, though my husband and I are quite in need of one."
"I'm afraid I can't help you there." He laughed heartily. "I'm a lawyer, Mrs. Hanover."
"Oh?" She tried for hopeful confusion and apparently pulled it off. Blake leaned in a little closer and spoke gently.
"This isn't the usual way I solicit clients, but when you were pointed out to me, I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to become acquainted. I've been told that you and your husband are interested in seeking a private adoption."
She moistened her lips and rattled the ice in her glass. "I…we've hoped," she said slowly. "We've tried. We're on so many lists."
Blake reached over to touch her hand and Sabrina could see him trying to read her face.
"Six months ago, we were working with a lawyer and everything fell through at the last minute." She pressed her lips together. "I don't think I could handle that kind of disappointment again."
"It's heartbreaking, I'm sure. I don't want to get your hopes up before we discuss this in more detail, but I can tell you that I've represented several young women, in the past, who needed to find good and loving homes for their children. It's my job to help them."
"Mr. Blake, if you could help us…I can't begin to tell you how grateful we'd be."
He touched her hand again. "I'd like to speak with you and your husband further."
"We could come to your office anytime."
"Actually, I'd like to meet with you at your home. This way I can assure my client about your house and your marriage."
"Of course, I understand," she said, almost beaming with excitement. "Whenever, it's convenient for you."
"I'm afraid I'm booked for the next two weeks."
"Oh." She sighed. "I suppose we've waited this long...."
He waited a moment, and then smiled kindly. "I could spare an hour this evening, unless you...."
"Oh, no." She grabbed his hand in both of hers. "That would be wonderful. I'm so very grateful. Thank you, Mr. Blake."
"I just hope I'll be able to help. Is seven o'clock convenient for you?"
"That's fine." She blinked out tears of gratitude.
After giving him directions to their house, Blake left. She stayed in character, just in case there was someone watching. She dabbed at her eyes with a tissue and pressed a hand to her lips. Don found her sniffling into her watery lemonade.
"Bri?" The sight of her red-rimmed eyes and trembling lips brought instant concern. "Darling, what is wrong?"
"Oh, Don." She scrambled to her feet, spotting Michaels over his shoulder. "I'm making a scene." Laughing, she wiped at the tears. "I'm sorry, Jasper."
"Not at all." He offered her his silk handkerchief. "Has someone upset you, Sabrina?"
"No, no." She gave a small sob. "It's good news. I'm just overreacting. Would you excuse us, Jasper and please give my regrets to Darcy?"
"Of course." He walked off to give them some privacy.
"What the hell is going on?" Don demanded in a soothing murmur as he stroked her hand.
"This sleazy lawyer just plopped down and offered to help us with a private adoption. Look delighted."
"I am." He kissed her as much for his own enjoyment as well as for their audience. "What's the deal?"
"Out of the goodness of his heart, and in consideration of a desperate woman, he's agreed to come by tonight and discuss our needs in more detail."
"Isn't that wonderful?"
"Oh, yes. I could just tell the minute he looked at me, he thought 'Patsy.' I could practically hear him calculating his take. Let's go home." She slipped an arm around him. "The air around here is choking me."
"Well?" Darcy asked Jasper as they watching Don and Sabrina walk away.
"Like shooting fish in a barrel." He signaled to a passing waiter. "They're so happy that they'll ask the minimum amount of questions and pay the maximum."
"Ah, love." Darcy sneered. "It's the best scam in town. Have you picked out the merchandise?"
Michaels ordered drinks and then sat back to light a cigar. "He wants a boy so I think we'll make that a reality. We've got a nurse in North Carolina all ready to select a healthy baby boy for us."
"Good. Since I'm quite fond of Sabrina, I think I may just throw her a baby shower."
"Wonderful idea." He handed Darcy a glass of champagne and then took one himself.
"To the happy mommy and daddy to be." Darcy toasted.
"To an easy twenty-five grand."
"Better." She touched her glass to his. "Much better."
Sabrina and Don went over their plan for the meeting and they were both fully ready when Blake arrived promptly at seven. Sabrina's hand trembled slightly as she accepted Blake's. I'm so glad you could come."
"It's my pleasure."
She led him into the sprawling family room chattering brightly. "We've only been in the house about a month. There are still some changes I would like to make. We think the room upstairs across from the Master Bedroom will make a perfect nursery. Don?" Don walked into the room, pouring a drink. "Mr. Blake is here."
Don appeared to be reserved and nervous as he offered Blake a drink. After a few social niceties, they sat. Don and Sabrina close together on the sofa, hands linked in mutual support and Blake on the club chair.
Blake opened his briefcase. "If I could just ask you a few questions in order to get to know you better?"
"By all means," Don replied.
They filled in their established backgrounds while Blake took notes. However, it was their body language that told the tale. Quick, hopeful glances were exchanged along with soft touches. Blake continued the interview, totally unaware that every word he spoke and move he made was being recorded by two federal agents in an upstairs bedroom.
Finally, Blake sent them an encouraging look. "I have to say, in both my personal and professional opinion, you would make excellent parents."
"Thank you, so much," Sabrina replied softly.
"Now, the selection of a home for a child is a very delicate matter." Blake continued on with a patented speech about stability, responsibility, and the special requirements of raising an adopted child. Sabrina could feel her stomach turn with each phrase.
"I can see you've thought this through and are very serious about it. However, we do need to discuss the matter of expenses, particularly those of the birth mother. There are also court costs and fees."
"We understand," Don said, wishing he could wring Blake's neck.
"I require a twenty-five thousand dollar retainer and another one hundred and twenty-five thousand at the end of all legalities. This includes all of the mother's expenses."
Don started to speak, since he was the businessman, but Sabrina gripped his hands tighter and gave him a pleading look.
"The money won't be a problem," he said as he touched her cheek.
"Well, then." Blake smiled. "I have a client. She is young and unmarried and she wants to finish her education. So, she has come to the difficult decision to place her baby up for adoption. I'll be able to provide medical information on both parents; however, she has asked that no other information be divulged. With your permission, I will tell her about you and give her my recommendation."
"Oh." Sabrina pressed her fingers to her lips. "Oh, yes."
"Honestly, you're exactly the type of parents she was hoping for."
"Mr. Blake, how soon…I mean, when…" she placed her head on Don's shoulder.
"I believe what my wife wants to know is when we can expect to have an answer."
"Some time in the next forty-eight hours. My client is very close to her due date and I think this news will ease her mind greatly."
By the time they walked Blake to the door, Sabrina had shed a few more tears. Once the door was closed, she turned to face Don with fury in her eyes.
"That son of a bitch!" She exclaimed.
"Easy there, tiger," Don said as he placed an arm around her. He guided her towards the living room and tried to get her to sit down.
"You know what they're going to do, don't you?! Grab some infant right out of the nursery!"
"Logical as always," he murmured, watching her carefully as she paced the room.
"I can't stand it!" She pressed a hand to her churning stomach. "I can't bear the idea of some poor woman lying in a hospital bed being told her baby's been stolen."
"It won't take long." He stood in her path and put his arms around her. "We have to play this through."
"Yeah." She was already thinking of a plan as she allowed his warmth to envelope her. "We'd better make sure the guys upstairs got all that." She took a deep breath. "Then I'm going to cook dinner and we're going to call our good friends so that tomorrow night we can celebrate with them."
After the agents left and after eating dinner, Sabrina and Don sketched out a game plan for the next evening. It was potentially dangerous and Don was especially nervous since Sabrina would be the one in the line of fire.
"So after tomorrow, this may all be over," she remarked as they sat on the sofa.
"It very well may be," he answered as he kissed the top of her head.
They grew quiet, lost in their own thoughts as the music washed over them.
"I love you, Don." The words were out before she could stop them. Once again, she cursed her own impulsiveness. This wasn't how she'd planned to tell him.
His entire body went rigid. "Huh?"
"I'm sorry, it just slipped out. I love you."
"If you love me, then why do you sound so miserable?" There was a glimmer of a smile in his eyes.
"I am miserable. You're the last person I want to love. You're not at all my type. You can be pushy and bossy at times. You have a dangerous job." She'd started out strong, but her voice was shaking by the end.
"I'm a cop, Bri. But I'm not the only one here with a dangerous job." He brushed her hair back off her forehead.
"You don't think I know that? This is crazy. It's this house and talk of babies and romantic dinners with dancing and the danger of tomorrow."
"Sabrina," he said softly and gently, in a tone she'd never heard him use before. Her heart held its beat. Her lungs held their breath. It was coming. He was going to admit that he loved her too. "You don't love me."
Her breath expelled as though her lungs were spitting, at least that's how it felt. Her heart began beating again – hard and fast. "I'm sorry?"
"It's like you said. The crazy situation we're in here."
This time she didn't even try to stop the tears from pooling. He didn't love her. Worse, he didn't believe she loved him. "You may not love me back, I understand that. But do me the favor of letting me know my own feelings. I wish I hadn't fallen in love with you. It's very inconvenient, but I'm stuck with it and if you don't feel the same way, that's fine."
She tried to stand up, but he held her back, turning her face to his. "I feel a lot of things when I'm with you." Then he pulled her into a kiss.
And not just any kiss. A kiss of such intimacy and sweetness she felt as though it was a different person kissing her. She knew she should pull away and go to bed alone. But tomorrow they were both going into danger and that made tonight precious. It was time for her to stop playing games.
Pulling away, she stood up and reached her hand down to grasp his and pull. He got to his feet and followed her. Her nerves were going at it double time as she followed her instincts and her heart…right into the bedroom.
The bed was already turned down and she'd placed candles and matches about. She began lighting them, focusing her attention on each flame as it sprang to life. She heard him behind her, but didn't turn. Couldn't turn. For the moment she felt utterly vulnerable.
When all the candles were lit and candlelight danced upon the walls and bed, she turned.
He was leaning against the wall, watching her, his eyes unreadable in the wavering candlelight. She put both hands on the hem of his shirt that she was wearing and pulled it slowly over her head.
Don didn't think he'd ever seen a sight quite as beautiful as Sabrina naked in candlelight. He found the sight of her limbs, naked and luscious in the silver-white candle glow both erotic and exciting.
She said she'd loved him, but he knew that wasn't so. She'd become carried away, that's all. They were playing at being a married couple, hopeless in love. The situation had forced them to turn to each other, but there wasn't any possibility that she was thinking this through. Once this was over and they were back in Manhattan living their everyday lives, she'd realize that it was merely infatuation.
He could ignore her declaration, but her long-limbed naked body moving towards him, he could not. This affair was the product of stress. There were men who could have resisted becoming intimate with Sabrina.
He was not one of them.
He needed her in his bed with a fierceness that surprised even him. And because his hunger was so fierce, he vowed to treat her gently.
He reached out to touch her hair and she nipped his lower lip, making him gasp.
Slowly, slowly he reminded himself as with restrained gentleness he let his fingers skim the underside of her breast.
She grabbed the neck of his shirt and grunting, she ripped it open, sending buttons flying. She clawed at his pants in her haste to get him naked and it took all his self-control not to give in to the raging hunger he felt radiating from her body.
He wanted to make this special for her, after her surprising announcement. Even a woman temporarily in love deserved to be treated like a bride on her wedding night, so he reined in his own need while she stripped him bare, nipping him wherever she felt like. His belly, hip, thigh, even his legs. The lady wasn't being all that delicate. She chomped on him as though she were starving!
Her speed and lack of finesse only made him more determined to hold back before they both combusted. It crossed his mind to take her right there, up against the wall with the moonlight fluttering over her body making her look like a provocative Greek statue. He wanted her in bed, damn it, and in bed he would have her. Since she was acting half out of her mind with lust, he had to manhandle her a little, which she didn't seem to mind at all.
They finally managed to stagger to the bed where, to his eternal delight, she tipped herself backward and fell onto the sheets. She didn't bother to burrow under the covers. Instead she lay sprawled and quivering, the scent of her arousal mixing with the fresh-laundry smell of clean linen.
"This bed has never looked so good," he murmured while staring down at her.
"It's going to feel good if you ever get in it," she panted.
Good. His plan was to get her sounding like a marathon runner sprinting for the finish line. He had a quick image of her usual enthusiastic response to climax and revised his simile. His plan was to get her sounding like a banshee marathoner crossing the finish line, panting and screaming at the same time. And from the way her hips were twitching restlessly, the panting and screaming weren't all that far off. And he couldn't wait.
Leaning over her, resting his weight on his knees, he pushed her already parted legs farther apart and pressed his lips to the silky smooth length of each inner thigh. He loved her with his mouth, taking her up, so she hovered at the peak. Then he reached up to pull her wrist out her mouth. He loved her lusty cries of release and he wanted to hear them echoing around the bedroom.
She didn't disappoint him, yelling lustily as he pushed her over the edge with his tongue. She hadn't even stopped crying out and she was grabbing at him, urgently, her whole body pantomiming that she wanted him inside her. He couldn't wait to comply, almost diving on top of her in his haste. He buried himself deep and hard inside her and this time they dove over the edge together.
The next evening, Don and Sabrina were sitting in the Main Lounge of Rolling Rocks celebrating with Michaels and Darcy.
"To good friends." Sabrina held her champagne glass up in a toast.
"Oh, no, sugar. To the parents-to-be." Darcy clinked her glass with Sabrina's.
"We'll never be able to thank you." Sabrina looked from Michaels to Darcy. "Both of you."
"Nonsense." Michaels patted her hand. "Darcy merely made an inquiry to a friend. We're both delighted everything has worked out so well."
"We still have to sign the papers." Don pointed out. "And get the mother's approval."
"We're not going to worry about that tonight." Michaels waved away the details. "Tonight, we celebrate your good fortune."
Sabrina's eyes began to tear up and she suddenly became overcome with emotion. "I'm sorry," she mumbled as she made her way to the Ladies Room. Darcy, true to form, followed a few minutes later.
"I'm sorry," Sabrina sobbed as she dabbed at her eyes.
"There is nothing for you to be sorry about, sweetie." Darcy sat beside her and slipped an arm around her shoulders.
"They say expectant mothers can cry at the drop of a hat."
With a shaky laugh, Sabrina dried her eyes. "I guess. Would you mind getting me a glass of water while I try to repair some of this damage?"
"Sit right there and I'll be back."
Sabrina figured she had about twenty seconds…thirty tops, so she moved fast. She flipped open Darcy's silver beaded evening bag, pushed past tubes of lipsticks and a bottle of perfume before she found the penthouse key card. She was slipping it into her pants pocket when Darcy came in carrying a glass.
"Thanks," Sabrina said with a smile.
The next step was to get away from the group for at least twenty minutes. She had suggested a celebratory dinner, with a little gambling as an appetizer. Being a gracious host, Michaels had insisted on making the dinner arrangements himself. Don caught Sabrina's eyes and managed to steer Darcy towards the craps table so Sabrina could slip away.
She took the express elevator, keeping to the back of the glass walls. The top floor was silent as she stepped out. Sabrina checked her watch and then fit the key card into the penthouse door.
All she had to find was something linking Michaels and Darcy to either Blake or the Monroes. She figured that Michaels was a man who kept records of everything.
Once inside, Sabrina headed straight for a huge ebony desk. Five minutes were wasted as she searched the desk and found nothing. Undaunted, she moved on checking tables for false bottoms. There was a wall safe behind a section of books, but there wasn't enough time to turn the lock.
The second bedroom of the suite serviced as an office for Darcy. On top of the French provincial desk was a leather-bound account book. At first glance, it seemed like nothing more than a daily record of deliveries for the hotel shops. Sabrina almost put it down when she noted the dates.
Merchandise acquired. January 20th. Tampa. Picked up. January 22nd. Little Rock. Delivered January 23rd. Louisville. Accepted COD. January 25th. Detroit. $10,000.
Taking a deep breath, Sabrina flipped some pages.
Merchandise acquired. May 5th. Manhattan. Picked up May 6th. Cleveland. Delivered May 8th. El Paso. Accepted COD May 10th. Austin. $12,000.
That was the case Don's squad had worked on. The case that had started all this. She didn't try to hold back the string of curses that came forth as she thumbed through the book. It was all there. The babies were listed as packages to be shipped and paid for upon delivery. A low hiss escaped from between her teeth as she came to the last page with writing.
E.M. ordered new blue package from Raleigh, North Carolina. Pick up between August 22nd and 25th. Standard route with acceptance and final payment expected by August 31st. Commission is expected to be $25,000.
"You bitch," Sabrina muttered as she closed the book and tucked it into her purse. She struggled against the urge to break something and scanned the room instead. When she was certain everything was back in its place, she started for the door.
"She's probably off having another crying jag," Darcy said as she walked through the main door of the penthouse and into the parlor. "I'm sure he'll find her soon."
Sabrina took a quick look around and opted for the closet.
"I can't say I'm looking forward to spending the evening with her," Michaels said. "She'll probably want to talk about diapers and baby formula."
"We can take it, lover. Especially for twice our usual fee." Her voice faded as she walked toward the opposite bedroom. "I think it was a good idea to arrange for dinner up here."
Sabrina kept her breath slow and even as she reached into her purse. She opened her cell phone and pushed a button thus activating the recording feature. Next she checked her ankle holster feeling reassured that her weapon was close. Slowly, she opened the closet door.
"The merchandise will be passed on to our contact in New Orleans," Michaels was saying.
"I'd like to pick him up in Albuquerque," Darcy chimed in. "I could always use an extra couple of thousand for the run." Her head snapped up as Sabrina deliberately bumped a chair. "What the hell?"
Michaels was in the room like a shot, twisting the struggling Sabrina's arms behind her.
"Let me go, Jasper, you're hurting me!"
"People who break into other people's homes often get hurt."
"I – I was just lying down for a while." She made her eyes dart crazily to make the lie more ridiculous. "I didn't think you'd mind."
"What have we got here?" Darcy asked.
"A plant. I should have known."
"Cop?" Darcy considered.
"Cop?" Eyes wide with alarm, Sabrina twisted. "I don't know what you're talking about. I was just resting."
"How did you get in?" Jasper demanded and Sabrina let the key card she was holding slip out of her hands.
"Mine." Swearing in disgust, Darcy bent to pick it up. 'She must have palmed it."
"I don't know what…" Jasper cut off Sabrina's protest with a backhand that left her head ringing. She decided it was time to drop one act for another.
"Okay. Look, you don't have to play rough," she began to shudder. "I'm just doing a job."
Jasper shoved her into the parlor and onto the sofa. "Which is?"
"I'm an actress from Chicago. Hanover hired me to help him out. He's a PI." All she had to do was stall long enough for Don and the FBI to arrive. "I only did what he told me to do. I really don't care what you're into."
Michaels moved to the desk and took a pistol out from one of the top drawers. "What are you doing in here?"
She swallowed. "He told me to get the key and see if I could find any papers in that desk." She gestured toward the ebony desk.
"What the hell do we do now?!" Darcy asked furiously.
"What we have to."
"Look, you say the word and I'm out of here. The hotel, the state, even the country." Sabrina tried for a tawdry kind of charm. "I mean it was great while it lasted, the clothes, the house, everything, but I don't want any trouble. I didn't see or hear anything."
"You heard plenty," countered Michaels.
"So, I gotta bad memory."
"Shut up!" Darcy snapped and smacked Sabrina across the face. "You lying bitch!"
Darcy raised her hand again and this time Michaels stopped her. "We'll have to contact Emma so she can call off the nurse. We can't take a kid without a buyer."
"Twenty-five thousand dollars down the tubes," Darcy sent Sabrina a look of disdain. "I actually liked you, Sabrina." She walked over to lean into the other woman's face, squeezing a hand around her throat. "As it stands now, I'm going to get a lot of satisfaction out of letting Jasper take care of you."
"Shut up." She shoved Sabrina back. "You better arrange for someone to do it tonight. Better pick up Hanover, too. I think a lover's quarrel – a nice little murder-suicide."
"I'll take care of it," Michaels replied as he ran a hand through his hair. His thoughts were interrupted by the phone ringing. "Michaels." He growled into the phone.
"Jasper, its Don."
"Have you found her yet?"
"Not yet and I'm beginning to get a little worried. Have you seen her yet?"
"No. I'll call Darcy and see if she's found her."
"You're welcome." Michaels hung up the phone and turned to Sabrina. "Your 'husband' is very concerned with finding you."
Before Sabrina could say anything, there was a pounding on the door. "FBI, open up!"
"FBI?! What the hell?" Darcy shouted.
"Relax," Michaels said as he grabbed Sabrina's arm and pulled her up from the sofa. He put one arm around her throat and with the other he held his gun against her head. "You're going to open the door and we're going to walk right out of here."
The door flew off the hinges as several FBI agents and Don stormed into the suite, guns were drawn and Darcy's scream cut through the air. One agent grabbed hold of Darcy and pulled her out into the hallway.
"What do you want, Michaels?" Agent Johnson demanded.
"I'm walking out of here," Michaels replied.
"Not going to happen."
"Then you'll have to get through her to get to me."
As they all stood there looking at each other, Don caught Sabrina's eyes. He moved his eyes slightly and she caught the meaning. Slowly she raised up her foot and drove the heel of her shoe into Michaels' foot. As he screamed in pain, she reached down and grabbed her gun out of the ankle holster but before she could turn, she heard the click of a gun. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught sight of Michaels' gun coming towards her. A shot rang out and Michaels collapsed onto the floor.
"Nice shot, Cragen," an agent remarked as he walked towards Michaels.
Sabrina stood up and walked over to Don who was handing his gun over to Johnson. He took her in his arms and hugged her tightly.
"I was so worried," he whispered.
"Thank you," she replied.
"We'll take Michaels to the hospital and pick up the rest of the crew. Good work, Agent McFarland." Johnson said as he extended a hand towards Sabrina.
"Thank you, sir."
"We'll start the debriefings in two hours. I expect you both to be there."
With that Johnson and his agents began to leave the room along with Michaels who was swearing as he was placed onto a gurney.
Elliott Stabler closed the door of Cragen's office with more force than he intended.
"What did you do to get dad mad this time?" Fin asked, looking up from his paperwork.
"He wants the results of the Hamilton autopsy today. I tried to explain that Warner is backed up and that she promised preliminary results later today, but a full report is going to take a couple of days," Stabler explained. "He wasn't pleased. Said he was going to call Warner and give her an earful."
"I don't know what is going on with the Captain lately. It seems like ever since he got back from Vegas, he's a different person," Olivia Benson remarked.
Munch tried to hide his smile, but his partner picked up on it.
"What do you know, Munch?" demanded Fin.
"Bull, that goofy grin of yours tells me something different. Now 'fess up."
"Come on, John. What can we do to get our old Captain back?" Olivia inquired.
"Unless you can contact the FBI and encourage Agent McFarland to walk into his office, I'm afraid we're going to have to deal with this for a while longer," Munch replied.
"Agent McFarland? Is there something going on between those two?"
"According to Lennie Briscoe, there very well might be."
"So we're enduring all this because the Captain is in love?" Fin was the one who posed this question.
"Looks like it," answered Munch.
The silence in the room was broken by the sound of a phone being slammed down and a book being thrown against the window in the captain's office.
Munch pushed himself away from his desk. "That's it." He stood up and started towards the office.
"Good luck, man." Stabler said as he patted him on the back.
Don Cragen sat in his office looking at the stack of weekly reports on his desk. As he went to pick one up he happened to catch a glimpse of a photo that was lying on his desk. Picking it up, he stared at the faces of two strangers. It had been taken after a night of dancing at Rolling Rocks. His arms were around Sabrina's waist and her hands were resting against his chest. She was staring at him with her expressive blue eyes and he was staring right back at her. To a casual observer the couple looked as if they were in love. But Don knew that they were playing a part and the look that passed between the couple was merely for show. Slowly, his finger reached out to trace the outline of Sabrina's red lips. He was so engrossed in the picture that he didn't hear his office door open.
"Captain?" Munch asked for a second time as he sat down across from Cragen's desk.
Cragen looked up slightly surprised by Munch's appearance. "What can I do for you, detective?"
"You can tell me when you're going to stop dancing around and call the woman," Munch replied as he took the photo out of Cragen's hand and placed it down on the desk.
"Let me get this straight. You're giving me relationship advice?"
"Bizarre, isn't it?"
Cragen allowed a smile to briefly cross his face. "It's not that simple, John."
"Sure it is. You pick up the phone and say, 'Sabrina, I was an idiot when I said I didn't love you. I'm really hopelessly in love with you and want to see you again so I can tell you in person.'"
"Have you taken up writing romance novels, John?" a female voice asked.
Both men looked up and were surprised to find Sabrina standing in Cragen's office. She stood with her hand on the doorknob and was smiling at both of them. Munch stood up and walked towards her.
"Hello, Sabrina. We were just talking about you."
"So I gathered."
"Well, would you look at that. Fin is back. I'll talk to you later, captain."
"Bye, John," Sabrina said sweetly as she opened the door for him.
As Munch left the room, he placed a hand on her shoulder and gave it a small squeeze. "Be kind."
Cragen stood up and moved towards the door as Munch left. Reaching over, he closed the door and escorted Sabrina to the chair Munch had vacated. He sat down next to her.
"What brings you over to my side of town?" he asked, trying to keep the conversation light.
"I had a few papers to drop off at One PP and I thought I'd stop by to say hello."
"Any word on Michaels and Walker?"
"They both turned evidence over to the FBI about the Monroes and Blake. You were right."
"Monroe. She was the mastermind behind the whole thing. There was quite an operation going. She'll probably do some serious time along with her son and several others."
An awkward silence filled the office as they sat just staring at each other. Sabrina took a deep breath and was about to speak when he spoke first.
"Sabrina, I'm sorry."
"Sorry for what?"
"Being a jerk. It was wrong of me to say the things I did."
"You were trying to protect yourself…and me."
"But in doing that, I hurt you. I'm sorry."
She reached over and took his hands in hers. "You're not the only one who needs to apologize."
"What are you apologizing for?" he asked.
"I should have come to see you sooner. We need to clear the air."
"Bri, what Munch was saying when you walked in...." he paused trying to find his voice. "This assignment…being with you…Bri, something happened during all of this and I...."
"Don, I'm pregnant," she whispered.
"I'm eight weeks pregnant."
"But, I thought you were on the pill."
"What can I say? Nothing's a hundred percent effective."
He ran a hand down his face trying to comprehend what Sabrina had just told him.
"I'm not asking for anything, Don. I just thought you should know." Sabrina stood up and started to walk towards the door. As she put her hand on the doorknob, Cragen stood and reached out for her arm.
"I love you, Sabrina."
She turned to face him. "You're just saying that."
"No, I'm not. I love you, Bri. I knew it that last night in Vegas. Even as I was telling you that I didn't, I knew that you were in my heart and that nothing could change that. I've spent the past six weeks trying to fight it, but I realize now, I can't…I don't want to."
He reached up and wiped away the tears that fell down her cheeks.
"Shh." He placed a finger on her lips and then raised her chin up. "I love you, Sabrina McFarland." His kiss started off gentle and tentative until he felt her start to kiss him back. He deepened the kiss; gently teasing her lips with his tongue. He felt her shiver slightly and heard the tiny moan that escaped her lips. He pulled her roughly to him, one hand around her waist and one hand buried in her luxurious hair which allowed him to deepen the kiss further.
Sabrina's head was spinning and her knees weakened. The only reason she remained upright was she was clinging to the man before her. Her brain couldn't comprehend what was happening and her heart was doing cartwheels in her chest.
They broke apart and simply stared at each other, chests heaving with the effort to regain their breath.
"Okay already. Apology accepted," she laughed slightly as she rested her head on his chest.
Cragen smiled and kissed the top of her head. "I want to do right by you, Bri. You and the baby." His hand slipped from her waist and went to rest on her stomach. "Our baby."
"Don, I…this is all happening so fast."
"Not fast enough." He slipped out of her arms and walked over to his desk. Opening a drawer, he took out a small box and then walked back to her. "Sabrina, I love you. I've been falling in love with you since we worked the original kidnapping case together. You're smart, beautiful, sexy, confident, and a great dancer. Will you marry me?"
He opened the small box, revealing the engagement ring she'd worn in Vegas.
"I thought you gave it back?"
"I couldn't. This ring belongs on only one finger…yours."
She felt her breath catch as she tried to take everything in. "You're not proposing just because I'm pregnant, are you?"
"I'm proposing because I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Bri, we make a great team and I know we can take that and build a future together."
Sabrina looked from the ring up to Don's face. He was being entirely sincere and she could see the love he had for her in his eyes. She could feel her heart melting the longer she looked at him. They'd already "played" at being married and she knew they had chemistry, but was it enough for a lifetime commitment? She took a deep breath and in that moment, she realized what her answer was.
"Yes," she said as the tears began falling down her cheeks again.
Don pulled her to him and hugged her tightly. Before he slipped the ring on her finger, he kissed each fingertip. Once it was securely on her finger, he sealed his promise with a tender kiss.
"I love you, Bri."
"I love you, Don."
They embraced for a long time. Don stroked her back and nuzzled his nose into her neck, deeply inhaling her perfume. Lightly, he nibbled her neck and earlobe. Sabrina became lost in his touch and his scent. He was driving her crazy and they were standing in his office. His entire squad was outside probably taking bets on what was going on.
"Sweetheart," she whispered. "We can't do this here."
"Because any minute one of your detectives is going to come walking in here and find something more than they bargained for."
"I'll lock the door."
Sabrina finally managed to slip out of his arms. "That'll be enough of that for now. We can continue this discussion later tonight…at my place."
Don sighed, knowing that she was right. "I think that's probably a good idea." He kissed her on the lips sweetly. "But first, we should probably tell the squad the good news."
"Why, have you been making them miserable?"
He silently nodded his head.
"Then lead the way, captain."
Taking her hand in his, Don opened the door and escorted Sabrina out into the squad room. The talking and laughter ceased the moment the couple came into view. Munch raised his eyebrows and Cragen sent him a wink.
"So, Agent McFarland, what brings you here?" Munch asked.
"I just wanted to give my personal thanks to all of you for loaning me your captain."
"It was our pleasure," Stabler replied.
"Any news on the perps?" asked Fin.
"We've gotten enough information to put the whole bunch away for a long time," she answered.
"That's great," Benson declared.
A silence fell over the group while the detectives tried to read their captain's face and he tried to contain the excitement that threatened to spill over.
"Well, I should be getting back to the office. Thank you again, Captain Cragen."
"You're very welcome."
"Oh, would you two cut the crap and tell us what the hell is going on?" Munch demanded.
"John, what makes you think something is going on?" she asked innocently.
"Please you're practically glowing," he said motioning towards Sabrina. "And you've stopped throwing things." He motioned to Cragen as he said the last statement.
"And then there's the matter of the ring on your left hand," Benson added.
"Oh, this. Captain Cragen gave it to me during our operation."
"And I've insisted that she keep it permanently," Cragen added.
It took a moment for this revelation to sink in.
"Does this mean we're getting our regular captain back?" Fin inquired.
Cragen smiled and nodded slightly.
"Congratulations!" Benson declared as she moved from behind her desk and hugged Cragen then Sabrina.
The other detectives soon joined in congratulating the couple and admiring the engagement ring.
"So, when is the wedding?" Benson asked.
"The sooner the better," answered Cragen.
"Why the rush? I mean it's not like you're pregnant," Munch joked.
A look passed between the couple and Munch was the first to pick up on it. "You're pregnant?!"
Sabrina nodded. "I'm due in February."
"Well I'll be damned!" Stabler remarked as he hugged Sabrina.
Another round of hugs and congratulations swept through the room. Finally, Cragen cleared his throat.
"All right, enough. You people have work to do and I'm going to take my fiancée out to dinner."
As the couple turned to head out the door, Munch called after them. "Don't do anything we wouldn't do."
The laughter and cheering was still going on as Sabrina and Cragen stepped onto the elevator.