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Introduction:

Before the story begins just in case you missed it, this is fiction. The story is not based on reality or nonfictional event. The events portrayed here do not reflect on anyone, not the US military or any security forces contracted by them, not the San Antonio police department and their detectives.
My name is Marcus, my friends call me Mark. I spent four years in the Army. I was a military police specialist or MP. I spent two years of my four years in Afghanistan, two years in the states. I barely got my associates degree finished before leaving the Army. When I got out of the service in 2005 I swore I'd never go back overseas. I took a job with the security company in San Antonio Texas. The hours I worked were not too bad; I worked as a gate guard for one of the bases, just checking IDs of the people coming in to base. The pay was actually better than I could make in any other security position like a guard at a mall.

Course I was young and spent my money as fast as I earned it. I stay away from credit as much is possible, paid off up my credit card on each billing cycle. My parents got themselves in so much debt I learned that lesson having to do without while my father paid down his credit cards.

Early in the spring of 2006 I met Nicole, Nikki we all called her. Nikki was a beauty standing 5 foot six with dark hair, dark, dark Brown eyes that seem to be bottomless. I could stare into her beautiful eyes forever. I think that's what made me fall in love with her, her eyes captured me, and she took a hold of my very soul. When I met Nikki I was surprised to find out she was only seventeen she acted older than that. At the time I was twenty-three and worried of what her father would think of me. I mean she's barely of age and just getting out of high school. Seventeen is legal age in Texas. But this 5 foot six beauty with 34C cup 24 inch waist, and 34 inch hips had captured my heart. To me nothing else mattered.

I didn’t meet her father until the week before I asked Nikki to marry me. On my first meeting I asked his permission to marry his daughter. He didn't like me much, but his daughter it made him relent after a couple days. It wasn't much of a surprise to Nikki; she knew she already had me. Nikki had a fairly large family one older brother Carlos, two younger sisters Maria and Angela and a younger brother Federico.

Her father Carlos was a first-generation American having come from Mexico and he spent four years in service to earn his citizenship. His wife had come from a small village in Mexico as well.

I'm Irish-American and my ancestors settled in South Texas sometime after the Civil War. Nikki usually laughed at my Spanish until I corrected her it's Tejano (pronounced Tehono in English). It's a slightly different dialect than normal Spanish. It has a lot more slang used here in southern Texas. The only Spanish Nikki knew was from high school. Her father wouldn't allow her family to speak Spanish at home. He wanted to Americanize his family as quickly as possible.

I learned to respect him immediately; he truly wanted to be an American. I could never fault anyone for wanting to make their life better for themselves and their children. After all my ancestors immigrated with the same idea, just because they did it more than 100 years earlier it doesn't change the fact that he and my forefathers had a lot in common.

Nikki and I were married six months after my proposal that was December 21 of 2006. Needless to say the money I was making as a bachelor couldn't cover the expenses we had as a married couple. Nikki had one part-time job after another hating them all. As our money problems got harder they begin to affect our family. I knew if I didn't do something soon, I was going to end up losing Nikki. I took a part-time job, but that didn't help us any. Nikki found a job that she liked, but between her work and my two jobs I didn't get to see her every day. About three or four nights a week we can sleep together, my work or her work we keep us apart. So this keeps a strain on our marriage. Still the money problems only got deeper.

A friend of mine at the security firm told me about a new contract the company had gotten. It was overseas but a paid more than 150,000 dollars per year, with the first 75,000 tax-free. Although I swore I'd never go overseas again I quickly saw this as a way to get ahead a little. That was more than I would make in four years, in one year’s time. I hate the thought of leaving Nikki, but our money problems were going to have us divorced soon anyway. It's only year, how bad could it be anyway?

I set Nikki down and discussed it with her. She swore she love me and it didn't matter she just was frustrated and she hated being apart like we were currently. I told her if I went overseas and took this job I had two two-week vacations during the time, with airfare paid all way back to Texas. So I could see her on the fourth month and eight month of the year. We could talk back and forth over Internet connection during the meantime. With her keeping the job she liked the time will go by faster.

When I get home we would have over hundred thousand dollars to buy a nice house in a quiet neighborhood. I could still keep the same job I had today a slightly higher wage. Without the expense of housing we can make it on just are two jobs. So reluctantly we both agreed that I should take the job transfer. The next day I went into the office I filed the necessary paperwork for the transfer. It was a week later I was informed of my acceptance to the training program for it.

This is a six month school I had to attend before going overseas, it did come with a good raise in pay so that part-time job I had was it missed. Although I was away from Nikki for the entire six months, I got one week of vacation after my school. The school was an intense combat and security force school instructed by ex-blackouts personnel. It was a tough the six months my life. Even though I had a Dan/black belt in jujitsu I learned a lot of mixed martial arts and anyone of my instructors could put me on my ass for the first three months without much trouble. I did finish top in hand-to-hand training in my class. I was never so glad to be finish school in my life as the day I finished that six months training.

Nikki was very glad to see me, we missed each other more than we realized. The first three days we spent together hardly leaving our bed. The fourth day Nikki had to work and couldn't get out of it. But we still spend as much time with each other as we could. The week went by way too fast and Nikki drove me to the airport to say goodbye on the seventh day.

I slept on the flights as much as I could, the one across the Atlantic was the longest I slept most of it. I had a three hour layover in London and I gave Nikki a quick call got the answering machine so I just left a quick Nikki I love you. The next flight took me straight into the Middle East and two hour convoy ride got me to my new job site. The boss gave me a day off to unpack and draw my equipment and firearms from the company stores and armory. We got much better body armor and firearms that I had when I was in the military. I take a little time after cleaning my weapons to go to the firing range and centered them.

I had mailed off to myself some equipment that wasn't standard but my instructors had suggested I get. I found our mail office and retrieve my package. I had two buoy knives, military hatchet, and a laser pointer for my 9 mm pistol all waiting for me.

I settled into my job and it turned out to be as boring as any other job I've ever had. We didn't try to interact with the locals, and they kind of ignored us too. Nikki and I e-mail back and forth, it was two weeks before I got a call in the due to the time difference it was hard to catch her at home. Her schedule had changed and I ask her why over e-mail. She tells me she lost that job but just found a new one. Although the new one had different hours it paid a lot better. She was pretty vague what it was in her e-mail. The next time I got a call through and was able to speak to her should always change the subject if I asked about the job.

My four months was coming up and I had a two-week vacation coming. My boss called me into his office, he informed me that due to insurgent activity elsewhere in country that my vacation had to be canceled. The company would reimburse me $10,000 for the inconvenience. He also informed me that my shift would be extended to twelve hours instead of the eight it had been.

Two days before I was due to arrive I finally managed to get a call through to Nikki. I wasn't going to tell her by an e-mail or leave a message this is too important. I told her the company had canceled my vacation time for the time being but did give me $10,000 for the inconvenience. Nikki was a little mad but the money helped. She finally said, "We can use the $10,000 for furniture.” I agreed that she could use it on any furniture she wanted. I'd rather have spent this week with her.

Twelve hour shifts really suck, it seems like it takes all the rest of the day just to have two meals and a little rest, before you’re right back at the job. A month later everything calms back down and we went back to eight hour shifts.

During this time we still have a lot of high-profile insurgents, some with large bounties on their heads. The company I work for didn't stop us from looking for these people, but they certainly didn't encourage it. On convoy duty one day I noticed the man just stepping out of a small building near the edge of our town. I knew his face immediately he was one of the insurgents that had nearly $1.25 million bounty on him. I talked to three of my friends at the company added a fifth member before setting out after him. The warrant wanted him alive, if possible. So we brought along a few tasers that someone had mailed to themselves. We hit the compound during evening prayer, we knew we had the best chance of getting in and out without causing a major disturbance.

Turns out we not only got him but to others with quarter million on them as well. After turning them in, we collected $350,000 per member of our little group. I didn't tell Nikki about the $350,000 I knew she would be angry that I risked my life. Our boss was irritated that we hadn’t included him, but when we brought back some of the Intel showing that we were going to be there next target he quickly got over it. We spent the next month and a half on twelve hour shifts.

When it came time for my next vacation again I was informed and reimbursed, but no vacation. Nikki didn't seem to mind this time.

The week that I was post be on vacation I spotted another insurgent of those smaller bounty on this one, I went to the boss this time and he got the four others that we used the last instance. This was much easier with support; but this time didn't go so well. There were six insurgents in a different compound and they were constructing IEDs we managed to get five of them went the sixth unknown to us, set off the IEDs instead of being captured. The explosion wounded two of our crew, in nearly killed one of the insurgents that we had captured and destroyed most of the Intel. We still made almost a half million off that raid. And the two guys we got injured were not all that bad off a few stitches and one piece of scrap metal removed. They were back to work in a week.

The rest of my time went by quietly, although it seemed harder to get a call in to Nikki. Her excuse was a job was getting to be a pain and she would quit it shortly. She wanted to spend as much time with me as she could once I returned back home.

I told her, I had a big surprise for her when I got back home. That was two weeks before I was due to leave two days later we spotted another group with bounties. All five of us plus the boss work this group we did a bit of Intel just two days’ worth that saved us a lot of trouble. We hit them fast and hard when they weren’t ready for it, none of them got hurt and just importantly none of us got hurt. We even got a bonus for the Intel we collected. The six of us collected $500,000 total off that last raid. So my year in the sand got me just over 1.5 million, most of it tax-free because the bounties were tax-free.

I shook my boss’ hand that day I left. He said if ever I needed to come back he would greatly appreciate my help in the bounty hunting. The others that left the same day I did all headed for home. When I landed in New York I try to call Nikki from the airport with my arrival time, but all I got was the answering machine. From our last conversation I thought she would be free not having a job at the moment. I called her mother hoping she was there. Nikki’s Mother answered and when she recognized my voice she started to cry and couldn't talk to me. Nikki’s sister Maria came on the line and she said. “I don't know how to tell you this but Nikki is dead.” My world crumpled in that instant. I was in shock as I boarded the plane headed home to San Antonio.

Nikki’s family met me at the airport, I had been crying the entire trip from New York to Atlanta to San Antonio, so my eyes are red and puffy which really looks strange because I’m about 6 foot two with 48 inch shoulders at 36 inch waist and about two hundred and ten pounds of solid muscle. Nikki's father and mother hugged me and help me to their car. They drove me to a hotel room. I didn't want to go back to the apartment I just couldn't stay there without Nikki. They tell me try to get some sleep and they come by tomorrow.

The next day a police detective comes by to question me in the morning, I tell him all that I know. That I spoke to Nikki sixteen days ago and she was going to quit her job before I return. Nikki been killed four days ago by someone stocking her. She was killed in the apartment parking lot and they had no clue on the assailant. I was clear due to my passport not being stamped until yesterday, and I this show a paper trail of where I was over the time and I was in the Middle East when the crime occurred.

The detective gave me a warning not to involve myself in the investigation. “The police will handle this.” That was all he said. Then he left.

The corner later that day released Nikki's body so we could bury her. Besides her family and friends that I knew group of shady people that I had no idea of who they were attended Nikki's funeral. I was sure I got a copy of the attendance list. I started by asking family after a week what Nikki had been up to while I was gone. It took a long time before they opened up and told me Nikki had been working at a club, they believed as a waitress.

I went to the club and the bartender recognized me from the funeral. She poured me a drink on the house. It took a little while but I found that Nikki had been a dancer there. I still carried a picture of Nikki in my wallet, although this information didn't make me happy I still believed Nikki had been a good wife. And until someone can prove otherwise I wouldn't believe some of the stories would be true to her. Like most the dancers were actually prostitutes. I let my beard grow just a change my looks a little bit.

The apartment complex manager called and I have to tell if I wanted to clear out our apartment, or come up with the rent I went and paid two months’ rent so I wouldn't have to hurry moving everything in a rush. I stayed in a long time hotel, one that charged just under $200 a week. But I have to go into the apartment and begin retrieving Nikki’s items. I enlisted the help of her family. Her mother couldn't bring herself to go into her apartment. Nikki's two younger sisters came to help me. We bag all of Nikki's clothing. Some of the outfits were obviously for her dancing. Nikki sisters place those in a separate bag and took them to the trash.

The police had obviously gone through her apartment. Didn’t look like they have done a very thorough job at it because in the bottom of Nikki's closet I found box hidden full cash nearly $25,000 in tens and twenties. On our computer I found a letter to me, obviously it was a Dear John letter that she never finished. She apologized, for breaking her marriage vowels saying that she no longer was worthy of me. Reading it several times it sounded like what Nikki would write. Knowing Nikki was considering ending our marriage hurt but not more than her death.

We found a set of keys to a Mustang, obviously a spare set to a new car. I used the car alarm to locate the car. In the parking lot was a red Mustang about ten months old, by the license sticker. I checked the glove compartment and found about $50 in one dollar bills and about $800 in tens and 20s. I also found the insurance and the title for the car. Going to her file cabinet I found the pink slip showing Nikki as the owner. The bad thing about the car was the perfume didn't smell at all like Nikki to me.

I talk to the police about the car and I transferred it to Maria, I really didn't want the car. Maria sixteen at the time and I use some the money from the apartment to pay the fees and insurance. The detectives also told me the cases gone cold. Which is police talk for they don't know who it was and stop bothering us.

After my beard had grown in I colored my hair from Sandy blonde to dark Brown; got brown contacts before I ever went back to the club Nikki worked at. I talked to a couple of the other girls acting like I come in just to see Nikki, and I've been out of town for a long time. I threw a lot of money around enough to get attention from all the girls. When a few of them told me that Nikki had been killed I acted all sad for only a second or two before talking them into a table dance. Between my beard and new hair color and eye color the bartender didn't even recognize me, although I didn't speak to her directly. It took a few days before I found out more about Nikki.

One of the girls there was a friend of Nikki’s that I knew. When I explained that I was looking for Nikki she actually teared up for a second or two. I asked her what happened and she told me one of Nikki's regulars has started stocking her. Her last night there he had insisted that she spend as much time with him as she could, even after he ran out of money he wanted her to spend time with him. She pointed across the bar at a guy sitting by himself. He comes in here every night but every girl’s creeped out by him. So only the new girls that don't know better will dance for him.

She looks at me hard before saying. “Mark, I already told this to the police. I think they checked him out. So don't get yourself into trouble messing with him. When Nikki was here all she did was dance, but she felt it was a betrayal to your marriage. The things we girls have to do to get money here a lot of people would consider cheating. But Nikki loved you, and she hated working here.”

I hand her $500 and tell her maybe you should take the rest of the night off. She shakes her head yes before she has back to the DJs booth to take her name off the rotation.

I set there watch the guy quietly from across the bar one thing about strip clubs they are dark, easy to observe someone if you put yourself in the right spot. I asked a few of the older girls about that guy saying I seen him somewhere hassling some girl in a parking lot. That seemed to get a few of them talking and I talked about him hassling Nikki about quitting. They told me he claimed to love her.

I tipped them well and let them dance but I wasn't interested in them. I watched the guy drink until he could barely stand. As he began to leave I made sure I would be close to him on the way out. Actually wanted a few steps ahead of him and I acted as drunk as he was if not a little more.

When I stopped and leaned against the wall waiting for him the past just at the right moment I acted like I’m falling I knocked him over onto the ground. I lifted his wallet quickly acting like brushing dirt off of him. I apologize loudly slurring my words. When he accepted my apology and staggered away I turned and waited until he rounded the corner before going to his wallet. The first thing I noticed was the police badge. The bastard was a detective on the very police force assigned to locate my wife's killer.

I quickly got his name address and every other thing I could find out about him that his wallet was show. I heard him loudly exclaim. “Where the fuck is my wallet?”

I decided to be a Good Samaritan and help the officer out, staggering I follow him around the corner. He was standing by his car looking confused I waved his wallet at him gain his attention. “Is this yours I just found it on the ground?” Looking through it he handed me 10 bucks, before thanking me.

I got a plate office car as he got in I pretended to be calling my wife for a ride. Turning down his offer to drive me home, I couldn't do much more than make sure he got a DWI but that may put him at this club. Maybe those stupid detectives will put two and two together and finally come up with something other than 22. I called in to the tip line that I saw someone leaving this club who could barely stand up. He got in a car with the detective’s license plate numbers and is driving away.

I had to smile when a standard marked patrol car pulled him over right at the corner. He flashed his badge but it didn't do much good this time because I called back into the tip line thanking them for their fast action on pulling over a DWI. As I hung up, I am recording the action using the video capture feature of my cell phone. If the cop let them go I was sure to put this on YouTube. Looked for a second like he was going to, but his radio got his attention one more time.

After that he pulled them out and started going through the normal DWI test performed for traffic stop when the detective refused the police sergeant put him in the back of the car. By this time three more patrol cars had shown up. I continue to record the action.

The next day I checked the arrest reports and his name is on it. Apparently got very hostile at the precinct, refusing to give a blood sample, until a court order come through and he was physically restrained as they draw it, his blood was .12 at the time. Well above Texas legal limit of .08 the DWI stuck. The fact that he was arrested right outside of the club where Nikki had worked, seem to go unnoticed.

I requested a copy of Nikki's autopsy through a lawyer, it took a week but I got it. This really hurt, I found out Nikki was pregnant and there's no way it could've been mine. I have the lawyer see if samples of the fetal tissue still existed so a DNA comparison could be performed. There was a DNA performed on the fetus and that was part of a different autopsy report. I don't know about those detectives but I sure had my primary suspect. At this point I wish I hadn't started this, ignorance is bliss, but I'm still mad about Nikki's killer getting off just because they're not going to look into a police officer that closely.

At this point my six weeks of vacation is up and I have to go in to work at my gate guard job for the security company or arrange a leave of absence.

I go back to work for a week, when a red Mustang driving to the gate since a chill down my spine. It's not Nikki's of course, Maria's not driving it. It just looks like Nikki's car. That's when the idea hit me, Maria looks so close to Nikki if she wasn't just sixteen now you wouldn't be able to tell the two of them apart specially in the dark. If Maria dressed like Nikki I wonder what that would do to that bastard’s nerves.

That afternoon I talked to Maria I told her I thought I knew who may have killed Nikki. She had a hundred questions I try to answer most of them but there's a lot of I had no clue. I say “I don't know at this time, but I'm going to damn well find out.”

I asked if she'd mind unnerving the guy I thought might've done it. She agreed with me as long as I stayed close. I felt I can defend her. Damn sure no way I was going to let her be strangled like Nikki had been.

Part of my job I had a carry permit. So I purchased a new 1911 pistol 45ACP instead of using my 9 mm pistol that may not be fatal with a single shot, but a 45 with a Hydro Shock rounds anywhere in the chest probably would be. That night Maria comes over and I explain exactly what I intended, I go and get one of Nikki's more sexy outfits and have Maria dress in it. Seeing Maria standing there wearing that dress I almost break down and cry. The two of them look so much alike it's scary.

Sure enough that asshole still hanging around the same club, I have the bartender send over a triple with a very strong alcohol. I want him just a little impaired when he sees Maria, I'll make sure it's always at a distance.

After he finishes the drink I have one of the girls go over and asking if he seen Nikki lately when he tells her, “That bitch is dead.”

I've already told her to tell him. “No she's not, she was in witness protection but she got out of it because her husband came back from overseas. She came and picked her last paycheck up and went home. If you hurry you might actually catch her.”

That's when I have Maria walk slowly by the front door, where he sets he should be able to get a glance of her. Nikki's friend gives me a quick call letting me know it's working. He's headed for the door and quick.

Maria is already in the car, I have her down in the backseat so I can drive I'll stay ahead of him. As soon as he is on the sidewalk I pull out. I turn like I'm going back to Nikki's apartment complex. By the time of the first stop sign I can tell he's following, I maintain a decent distant between us. If he speeds up I speed up and make sure he doesn't catch up with me. I arrive at our old address a good minute ahead of him. I have Maria go in to the apartment lock the door and called police on her cell phone.

He screeches to a halt just in time to see Maria disappear into the apartment. When he steps out of his car he has his pistol drawn as he heads towards the door I intercept him. I shout. “PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPON.” As he turns he makes a mistake a lifting the gun instead of dropping it. I fired twice before he can aim. I hit him two times in the chest before he drops. Maria steps into the door looking out. That bastard still isn't quite dead yet but I kick his gun away from him.

He said. “What do I got to do to get rid of you. I couldn't buy you off after I raped you. I couldn't strangle you to death now I'm not able to…” The bastard dies right then. If it wasn't for the fact that Maria caught that on video and gave a copy to the local news, I probably would ended up in jail a lot longer. But my wife's cold case got marked solved/closed after that.


The past ends, and I'm forced begin again.
Chapter 2

The next day I go to Nikki's grave site, I have a dozen her favorite flowers placing them on the grave I say to her. “Nikki I'm sorry I wasn't here to protect you. I know that bastard raped you. I know now none of this was your fault. I got to kill that bastard last night I hope you will rest in peace now.” With tears streaming down my face I leave. I'll always love Nikki, not Nikki the dancer, but Nikki my wife.

The next day I put in to go back overseas. I send my old boss an e-mail and he arranges that I again get assigned to him. Because I have been there I don't need to re-accomplish the special training I'll be gone in eighteen days. My old boss arranges that I receive that time as vacation.

I spent the next day shopping for special items to mail myself. This time I take an e-reader loaded with his many books as it will hold. I purchased a few other things that I can either trade with or use in the Middle East. I'm mail everything off in several different boxes.

The day after that I need to think Maria for her help. The two of us set down outside of her house on the small porch. Maria actually thinks me first. “For some reason I know if we had not done that he would never been caught. We found out his wife lied for him, gave him an alibi the night he killed Nikki. Because I recorded what he said they're not going to give her his retirement.”

I remark. “I wonder if in six months she'll be dancing at some club the make enough money to feed herself.”

Maria tells me. “Mark, Nikki didn't start dancing until she had to replace the old car. She told me she really hated it. I didn't talk to her for a long time after she told me she was going to start stripping. I actually told her that that would be cheating on you. I told her I hated her for it. I'm really sorry those were the last words I said to my sister. I wish I'd known, I wish I hadn't done that...” Maria begins to cry and I take her in my arms. She cries for a long time and I gently stroke her hair, her back and just let her cry.

With a sadness that I hope Maria will never feel, when Maria finally stops I say to her. “I'm sure what Nikki done she thought she had to. She didn't want to burden me with the fact she needed a new car. She was afraid if I was to worry about her I wouldn't do what I needed to stay safe. I forgive her for dancing. But she didn't cause that bastard to do what he did. He raped her, and then when she wouldn't give up the baby he strangled her. Once I got back she was going to leave me because of the baby. She wouldn't burden me with a child that wasn't mine even under those circumstances.”

Maria says to me. “If I were you I don't know if I could forgive her.”

Still holding onto Maria I tell her. “I love Nikki, and always will. I never knew Nikki the dancer so I will forgive the Nikki that was my wife. I can't hate her for doing something to protect me. I'll be leaving in about sixteen more days. I'm going back overseas.”

With a confused expression Maria asks me. “I thought you hated it, being overseas away from home.”

Maria's family is the closest thing I have the family, my mother and father expired shortly after my eighteenth birthday. They didn't have life insurance, I scraped up just enough money to bury the two of them, and finally settle the debts. It took everything they had in the world to do this. I was an only child so that left me all alone.

Now with Nikki dead, I really didn't have anyone close to me. I'm still holding onto Maria it's almost like I'm holding Nikki. But I know the difference whereas Nikki was more of adventurous. Maria is definitely the good girl. I finally tell Maria. “Without Nikki here, I don't have a reason to stay. I'll be able to make enough money while overseas that I should probably have a chance to change my life.”

Maria finally asks me a question. “Marcus, would you mind if I wrote you? I know I'm not Nikki, but I still love you. She had you so easily. Sometimes I don't think she really understood how good of a man you are.”

I will little taken aback by Maria’s statement, can she really me that she's in love with me, or is it more like a brother, or brother-in-law thing. I get her e-mail and promise I'll send her one once I'm settled. Letting her go I give her a kiss on the cheek. Not wanting to find out that it's a different kind of love then the brother-in-law type. I just don't want to deal with my feelings at the moment.

I leave and try not to think about it, going back to my temporary residence for the night.

The next day I decide to do something about all the money I earned. I go to a specialty investment company that deals with former military. I invest 1 .4 million I have in high interest stocks and bonds, arranging for the money to roll over. I leave myself enough to pay for the room and purchased Maria and her family a nice gift. I get a 50 inch LED HDTV set for the family. I buy Maria a nice laptop one capable of video conferencing, I tell her that's so I can talk to her over the Internet. I try to spend a little time with my former in-laws before I leave. They always accepted me after Nikki and I were married. I even paid Maria's auto insurance for a full year. Telling her she owes me and I will not have to call a taxi when I return. Maria laughs and ensures that she will be my taxi whenever I get into town.

A week after I arrived I e-mail Maria for the first time. It's three days before she replies. Her parents don't have an Internet connection, and she had to go to a local coffee shop to use their Wi-Fi. We e-mail back and forth for a long time.

My boss has gotten the original team back together, the five of us plus him. He plans the ops, looks up leads for us, and generally manages the five of us. We don't have normal duty anymore, were solely on bounty hunting. The security company decided they wanted to get in good with the military. So we do the things the military can't, won't or don't have a mission for. Namely go after all the bounties of the insurgents, former military or just general criminals. As a result we bounce around from place to place. The money that I made over an entire year last time, I'm now making every week or two. I'm still e-mailing and when I can a video chat with Maria. I get one in on Christmas, and next one in February on her birthday. I ask Maria what she would want for her seventeenth birthday. She asked me if I could come home that May to take her to senior prom. I get the dates but make no promises this new job I'm working at may not let me.

Going to my boss I asked him for the dates in May to have vacation. The rest of the crew wants to go off as well, so we all take three weeks during May. If I catch all the flights right I should get home the morning of Maria's prom. I order a tux made by a local tailor who is quite good. The tuxedo although expensive would cost me a lot more stateside, to have it tailored there.

Of course the flights don’t happen like their posted. I arrive late in the afternoon on the same day of her prom. Maria said she was going to go by herself and if she was extremely lucky a nice gentleman would show up to dance with her. Arriving a little too late, to pick up Maria, after picking up my rental car I drive to a friend’s house who stored some items for me while I was gone. I showered and dressed in my tux and left for Maria's prom.

I parked in my rental car the parking lot is packed, as a long walk to the front door of dance hall the high school rented for the prom. Making my way through the cars I hear a scream. Some people would normally run from it, some people would just ignore it, but I'm not made that way. Judging the direction I had straight toward where I think it came from. I hear more screams and some laughter from a couple rolls over. I see three or four shadowy figures standing around the car. The shouting of from within is a girl trying to defend herself against a rapist. That voice sounds very familiar as I get closer.

Three of them see me coming and turn to intercept me. The first one throws a punch and I catches wrist breaking his arm and kicking his knee leaving him crippled on the ground. The second assailant I toss nearly twenty feet into a windshield of a truck. Adrenaline you got a love it, unless you are the guy ending up in a windshield.

As I run to the car the third assailant I just knockout without even slowing down. He was trying to do a roundhouse kick which I merely sidestepped. Now I see the rapist in the car raise his arm to strike the girl but before he can I grabbed him pulling him from the vehicle, he is more surprised than anything as he comes out pants around his ankles. He was poised with his cock pushed against her labia, but he hadn’t managed to push it in yet. As he goes to strike me I dodge and give him knee to his balls as fast and hard as I can. He crumples over and I give him two fast hits to put him on the ground. I pull my cell phone out and dial 911 before checking on the girl. I can hear sobs from inside the car. Without bending over I tell her. "I think I got them all. Are you okay?”

Doing her best to straighten her torn dress she slowly sets up. When she begins to speak I know for sure it's Maria. Maria says. “Thank you. You just saved me from being raped.”

When the third assailant groans as he comes back to consciousness only in the very distance can I hear a police car approaching, when he stands he makes mistake of pulling back to make a punch at me. I don't hold anything back I hit him so hard I know I break several of his ribs and his jaw. He falls back on the ground not willing to move. Maria slides out of the open car door. The guy that was on top of her she kicks twice, before she even looks up to see who her rescuer is.

A smile crosses her face the instant she sees my face. She cries. “I was praying you would show up to rescue me.” Even though her dress is torn down to the waist she throws herself around me, both arms hold my neck as she kisses me. A small crowd has gathered as the police car approaches. I remove my jacket quickly and wrap Maria in it. I couldn't help but notice how beautiful her body has become, her breasts her perky and nipples was rather hard due to the cool air.

Once I remove my jacket, the holsters holding my two 1911 style pistols can be seen. Maria asked. “Why didn't you just shoot the bastards?”

I chuckle before I tell her. “Do you have any idea what they will do to those rapists in jail?"

Maria starts laughing before she says. “They deserve it, they all were going to use me.”

Only thing I say. “Well the police should be able the handle this one.”

I stay at Maria side all through the process. I have to show my carry license. I point to the fact that Maria is now wearing my jacket. Under the circumstances the officers don't have a major problem. One of the officer’s offers a blanket to Maria replacing my jacket. I dress in my jacket to again conceal my firearms. Well after midnight the police finally released Maria into my care.

She didn’t want her parents to know about the event, until I convinced her that it would be best coming from her than finding out through the news. I'm setting on the sofa as Maria tells her father and mother about what occurred. The four charged with assault, and sexual battery. Not for rape due to the fact I prevented him from actually penetrating.

Turns out the four were football players, two of which are now unable to continue with their plans for college or pro ball, the other two, schools that they had scholarships with, quickly withdrawal them.

Maria insists that I accompany her on at least a date. She says. “I've missed my prom because of those bastards. It's not your fault but could you make it up to me.”

Informing her I say. “It's the airlines fault Maria, if they had been on time I would've been here by one and escorted you all the way to the prom." The airlines will say it was due circumstances beyond their control.

Maria tells me. “You were just in time to save me and that's all that matters.”

Maria and I do spend a lot of time together during those three weeks. I come to realize I miss being married. Even at Maria side I still am missing Nikki and that will never change. I do realize I miss the comfort and security of having someone you know loves you.

I keep having strange dreams every night. Nicky speaks to me and my dreams. She tells me that I have to fall in love again. She'll never be able to return to me. She will always love me and she so sorry everything happened the way it did. She tells me to love her sister, because Maria loves me.

I transfer a lot of my money I had made already into my high interest accounts, as it is now I make more money in interest per day than I used to make in two weeks’ pay. Seeing my balance I realize there is something I need to tell Maria. If I had told Nikki about making that $350,000 I could easily send her enough to pay for that car, and a house. She wouldn't have been a stripper and maybe that were saved her life.

I'll only be here four more nights before I had to fly out. I set down with Maria I cannot even look her in her face before I start. “Maria about the time Nikki had to buy the new car. I and a group of my fellow mercenaries captured an insurgent with a bounty on his head. My share the bounty was $350,000. If I had told Nikki she could've stopped or not even started stripping. She would've been mad at me for risking my life for money. But she probably would still be alive today.”

Maria doesn't take a second before she says. “You don't know. No one could know that. That asshole might've been there and seen her the first day she began to dance. You were not gone a week before she started that job as a stripper. I didn't want to tell you this before. You didn't need the pain of knowing you were barely out the door before she was already taken her clothes off in front of men.”

Maria was right about that although I had my suspicions because she would never tell me the new job she had taken. But what Maria said made sense. You can't live your life on ifs and maybe's. I pull Maria for the first time to me not in pain but because I want to feel her next to me. Looking in to her face I know Maria wants me too. Then we both move forward our lips meet, kissing Nikki was great. Kissing Maria nearly stops my heart, this is the most powerful feeling I had ever known.

When we finally break our kiss, Maria has tears in her eyes but a broad smile on her face. I look into her eyes and I am immediately drawn into them, even more powerful than what Nikki did to me. Before I realize it I say. “Maria I love you.”

Maria holds on to me as she says. “It's about damn time you realize that. I love you too.”

Laughing Carlos comes out he says to me. “Marcus you were so good for Nikki, you made her much better of a person as long as you were around her. I know you loved her and still do. But now I know you also love my Maria. She will be as good to you as you were to Nikki. I think Nikki would like this, I know she loved both of you and would want to see you happy.”

Maria giggling says simply. “Thanks Daddy."

Carlos orders fatherly. “Now spend the rest of you guys time together and don't worry about anything else. We'll have a wedding as soon as you get back Marcus.”

Maria giggles and pulls me out to my car practically pushing me towards my door then she runs around and gets in. I drive her off to my hotel room. It's not a bad hotel not a five-star but better than I used to spend time in. Seeing where I'm going to Maria asks. “You stay here Mark?" I simply shake my head yes. I park then lead a very cheery Maria up to my hotel room.

Once inside the door, Maria runs off to the restroom. It's a few minutes before she comes out, she is fully nude with a devilish grin on her face. Seen her gorgeous body I practically rip the clothing from mine. Once we both stand nude Maria pulls me onto the king-sized bed.

My mouth again finds hers and a long hot passionate kiss that gives my hands time to caress every inch of my lover's body. When I break my kiss finally I start running down her beautiful neck with small kisses just kissing every inch or so. As I begin to kiss on the sensitive skin of her breast. Maria moans with each kiss when I finally touch her areola her hands stroke down the back of my head as soon as my mouth closes around her nipple which is hard as a rock her hands pulled hard, holding me against her chest and Maria moans saying. “I'm glad you saved this, you’re the only person I want to give myself to.”

For some reason I need to tell Maria all about what I do. I know, I feel I've never done anything wrong in what I do. Actually it saves lives, both ours and insurgents we've gotten pretty good at keeping them alive. But I still need to tell Maria everything before we go any further.

“Maria sorry I need to tell you everything about my job before we go any further.”

Maria looking in my face sees the seriousness of my expression and says. “As long as you understand I love you, and that's not going to change.”

I nod my head before I continue. “Maria I am a bounty hunter, mostly insurgents and criminals in the Middle East. I'm not going to tell you I haven't ever killed anyone because I have, but I've always killed as a last resort and only when I have to.”

Maria asks. “Do you have a clear conscience?”

With a small smile I tell her. “I know the people that I killed have killed others in the past. They were planning to kill again. If I can avoid killing them I do. Yes my conscience is clear.”

Maria pulls me into a passionate kiss before she says. “That's all I needed to know.”

I kiss her again and again work down her neck onto her breasts and begin to play with her nipples. Maria moans. “If you stop this time I'm going to hit you.”

The only thing that keeps me from laughing is the fact that I know she's deadly serious. So I continue to gently play with my lover, tease her breast into full arousal. Licking and sucking on her nipples Maria moans her approval. Her hands gently hold me to her breasts as I tease them. Allow my free hand to slowly caress down her body. There's not a single hair on her gorgeous body other than her pretty head. Her skin is incredibly smooth, soft and warm to my touch. I softly nuzzle her breast then moved my mouth to the other to tease it. Maria shivers in excitement as I begin to tease that breast. Allow my hand to gently cup her pubic mound and slide between her legs feeling her labia. She already shows signs of her arousal. Her inner lips protrude and are wet her clitoris stands just outside of its protective hood. Maria shakes as my finger gently runs across it. I kiss across her flat stomach as I slide down the bed. Using my fingers to gently part her inner lips and slide down to her vagina. I kiss the top of her pubic mound and Maria spreads her legs wide to give me full access to her beautiful body. My tongue gently crosses onto her clitoris as Maria jerks her hips forward. I close my mouth over her clit and gently nurse it, playing with it with my tongue as it seems even get longer. Maria moans. “Oh my, don't you dare stop. Keep that up! Oh yes, oh yes oh, oh, oh, YES! YES!”

As I played with Maria's clitoris she screams her pleasure then shakes, holding my head with both her hands and her legs tightly. She forces her clit into my mouth as I suck and play with it until her orgasm subsides, and then she releases my head.

Maria still breathing hard as her body relaxes and stops twitching. With the handful of my hair she gently pulls my face away from her. She pulls me up to where I'm on her chest, facing the she is invited me for a kiss and which I gladly give.

I brake so she can catch her breath, but I don't wait till she's fully recovered before position my cock to push into her body. As soon as she feels my cock begin to stretch her vagina Maria moans. “Oh yes my lover make me your woman.” I need no further invitation I gently push and my cock slowly sinks until it hits the hymen. Before she can tense up I push hard taking her Cherry. I sink about 3 inches deeper before the movement stops. Maria only grunts for a second then looks at my face. She says. “That wasn't so bad. But it still hurts.”

Stroking her hair and watching her beautiful face I say. “Give it a little time love, in a moment or two the pain will go away and we can continue.” I begin to kiss her passionately as her arms wrap around me our tongues meet, they play back and forth for time. I fill leg gently wrap around me and then her other leg also crosses over my ass. Now she gently pulls me deeper. I move very slowly stretching her for the very first time. I have a long hard cock that so far she's only taking less than half of. I want to give her body time to come accustom to me. With each second she gets wetter as I slowly move back and forth now moving deeper with each stroke. She hasn’t fully taken me into her body when I touch her cervix. Maria shivers hard and moans at the contact. I hold still for a few seconds allowing her body to stretch then I pull back and slowly pushed back to her cervix. Each time I touch her cervix Maria moans not in pain but in pleasure. “Oh you're so big, I feel so full, now faster, fuck me faster.”

I speed my rhythm moving a little further with each stroke now. It doesn't take long before Maria is shaking, she moans with each contact to her cervix and I pushed just a little harder against it. I feel it stretch both opening and moving deeper into her body. Finally Maria is shaking hard as she thrusts up with every stroke I give her now her pussy spasms and tries to milk my cock as Maria screams. “I POPPY, FUCK ME. I'M CUMMING.”

It's been so long, I could no longer hold out I push hard and her cervix slides around the head of my cock as I push into her womb, Maria gives a scream as she shakes and spasms. Her eyes fly open wide as she feels my cock starting to pee cum directly into her womb. Maria screams. “I POPPY GIVE IT TO ME.”

I shivers shake as I thrust short hard thrusts into her giving her all of my seed. I in great shape, but I'm so out of breath I feel I'm going to faint from the exertion. Maria holds on to me tightly as her pussy clamps down hard on my cock. So hard it's almost painful but it still milks the last of my seed into her.

Maria falls limply to the bed now her legs sliding off me. I pulled myself from her as a torrent of cum, her juices and a good deal of blood flow onto the sheets of the bed.

I should have worn a condom, I love her but I don't want her to be pregnant just yet. I want children with this woman more than I want anything. I want to be there with her whenever she needs me. I would hate to be overseas and Maria carrying my child without me to help her.

I moved beside her and watch her face. Her breathing tells me she's asleep. There's a smile that constantly covers her face. Even now as I can tell she dreams she still smiles. I watched continually for a long time as I hold my love. She dreams in my arms. Finally she takes a deep breath in her eyes open. Smile that plays upon her lips spreads showing her beautiful teeth. "I was dreaming about you, you were playing with our children. We had own place a nice big house, cattle and horses on our ranch."

Smiling I ask. “Do you remember where our ranch is?”

Holding me close she says. “I'll take you there tomorrow, but tonight I sleep in your arms.” She kisses me before she again closes her eyes and whispers to me. “Sleep my love, sleep in my arms as I sleep in yours.”

It doesn't take her a few seconds the drop off back to sleep, I feel so at peace, so loved and so comfortable I fall asleep.

In the morning I feel lips touching mine. My eyes open to see Maria kissing me. We still hold each other tightly. She giggles when she sees my eyes open. “There you are my love. It's time for us to get up.”

We do and find our ranch, as I write a check to the realtor. Maria can't believe I now have that kind of money. But I draw from my investment accounts; going to the local bank I place nearly 200,000 in it for Maria to ready the ranch for my return. I hire a lawyer draw up a power of attorney to allow her to act in my behalf concerning the ranch. It only takes a half an hour to accomplish that. Maria insists on a prenuptial agreement once I explained to her how much money I now control.

We stop at a jeweler for ring for my love. I had to pay extra to have it done quickly but I'm short on time. We have a nice dinner and go back to my hotel to enjoy the time together. The night flies by much too fast and again is morning. Today I take Maria home for a few hours. She shows her family her ring, and then we tell them of the ranch that I now own.

I asked Carlos if he can help Maria at the ranch and he agrees. I tell him they have $200,000 to accomplish everything at the ranch. He looks in near disbelief. That's when I explained to him what my new job is overseas. How we capture insurgents and criminals for the bounty. I have six months more and should make another 20 million during that time.

Carlos laughs. “You think they would take an old infantrymen like me?”

That's when I confessed to help tough the job really is, “I don't want you to worry, but this job is really dangerous and I'm making every penny I get.” As soon as I get over there I'll have a will make out giving Maria everything. But I'm only damn sure I make it back.”

The next six months goes by quickly for me. Each day we capture a new insurgent, the first six months was just a warm up for this. When it's all over and done with, I contract is now up and we collect our final bounty checks. We have been very busy during that last six months. Each member the crew is thirty-five million dollars richer just over the last six months. But it seems like each and every time we had raid the Intel leads us straight to another group. As long as we get moving quickly they didn't have time to adjust and we were able to capture several, sometimes two groups in a day. We spent the last 30 days training our replacements they went with us that every raid we did. About ten people split the bounties for those raids. We did lots of double raids during that time. Last ten days all we do was back them up which was fine with the rest of us we've had enough danger for a lifetime.

Flying home felt so good, we had a day layover in London. I actually get to spend some time shopping for Maria. I want to get her a special present. I found a beautiful necklace and had it ship it to my ranch. It will arrive a day after I do.

My homecoming is something pretty special Maria welcomes me back into her arms never to leave, we marry in a small church wedding only a week after I return. Within three months Maria was pregnant and I never have to leave her side, unless it was just to pick up our children. We live and work together, made love and more babies, we are happy. That's all that matters. How bad could it be anyway?
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