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Summary: On their way back from visiting Trish and her new baby, the team stumble across some female trouble in a small town, which has serious consequences for one member of the team.
Warnings: Usual A Team violence, coarse language, one scene shows rape intentions on a female character, and a character death (not a member of the team).
Authors Notes: This story starts off a little slow, so please be patient. It was written in participation of NaNoWriMo 2006 and therefore is my first novel. Amy is a dominant character in this fic, I can’t help it, I like writing about her. Inspiration for some of this plot came from “It’s A Desert Out There”.
Words: Approximately 57,000
Thank you to everyone on the NaNoWriMo board for their encouragement and support whilst writing this novel, and to the all on the ATSB-2 for their comments, in aid to making this a better story. And a special thanks to Junkfoodmonkey for her excellent editing advice and helping me with the editing of this story in the final stages.
Disclaimer: I don’t own the A Team and I’ve not made a penny from this, I just do it for the jazz!
“We’re here!” BA said in his usual deep tone to the back of the van.
Face, Murdock and Amy had been asleep and were now slowly waking up to BA’s growl. Face and Murdock were in their usual seats and Amy was stretched out at the back of the van, with a blanket laid over her.
Hannibal was awake, but his eyes felt heavy. He had wanted to sleep but felt compelled to stay awake with BA, as he drove the last part of the long distance they had travelled through the night.
The van door slid open and everyone slowly got out of the van, stretching their legs and arms as they got out. It had been a long journey, but they’d made it and with not too much trouble either. They had managed to shake off the military, pretty much as soon as they’d left Los Angeles. They were back in Barlow Creek, a small town east of Texas, where their friend Trish was rebuilding her life after the death of her husband.
“Face, anyone tell you, you snore!” Murdock teased stretching his legs and yawning.
“I do not!”
“Yeah, you do, Face.” Amy pitched in, winking at Murdock.
Trish opened her front door and beamed with delight at the sight of the five of them. It had been just over three months since she’d last seen them, for her husband’s, Ray Brenner’s funeral. She was so pleased to hear that the team had decided to pay her another visit when she had announced the birth of little Ray Junior over the telephone to Amy at her office in the LA Courier-Express.
The team hadn’t really been that enthusiastic about visiting Trish to see a baby, but Amy had persuaded them. She had gone on the lines that Trish might need a hand on the farm, in these early weeks and maybe it would be good to get away, out of LA, for a few days. Lynch had been breathing down the necks quite closely recently. So the team had reluctantly agreed. Amy was able to convince her boss, Grant Eldridge, for some time out of the office too, convincing him that she could get a story from it.
“Its great to see you again.” Trish ran down her porch steps and put her arms around Hannibal. “When Amy said that you guys were going to visit, I was delighted. Come on in, you guys must be so worn out.”
“Yeah, it has been a long journey, Trish.” Hannibal confirmed. “But you look great. How are you keeping?”
Trish’s figure had returned from her pregnancy and although she looked radiant from motherhood, she was looking a little tired.
“Oh fine, fine. As well as sleepless nights can be.” She grinned.
They all walked up the steps into Trish’s house and into the living room.
“I’ll go get some coffee. You all look like you need it.” Trish was about to walk into the kitchen.
“Where’s the baby, little Ray?” Amy asked, as there wasn’t a sound of a crying baby around the house as she’d half expected.
“Oh, he’s sleeping. Don’t worry, he’ll need feeding soon and then you’ll see him.” Trish confirmed.
“Do you need a hand?” Amy asked worried that hosting the five of them might be too much for Trish as well as looking after a newborn baby.
“No, no, I’m fine. You sit down. You guys look worn out from your long journey,” Trish replied insistently and then walked into the kitchen to make the coffee.
After they had all drank their coffee and the caffeine was starting to wake them up, Trish decided to show them to their rooms. They unloaded their bags from the van. Hannibal and BA paired up in one of the rooms, Murdock and Face in another, and Amy agreed that she would be happy to share with Trish, even if it meant sleepless nights with Ray Junior too.
Hannibal and BA decided to take a nap, as they had been awake all night. Face, Amy and Murdock took a walk round the farm with Trish, so she could show them the improvements that had been made so far.
“This is Carl, he’s my new help on the farm.” Trish introduced Face, Murdock and Amy to her new employee on the farm. “He’s been with me a couple of months now, and is a god send!” She patted him on his back.
Carl shook each of their hands. “Hi ya, how you doing?” He was a tall young man, blonde hair and in his early twenties with biceps that probably could have given BA a run for his money. Amy raised an eyebrow as she observed the young fit man.
“Since the Watkins have gone. Folks around here have been able to return to normal and I’ve been able to afford to get some help to run this farm.” Trish confirmed.
“Well, that’s how I was able to swing getting some time off to come down here, Trish” Amy walked next to her, as they headed back to the house. Face and Murdock stayed with Carl to talk to him and to find out what help he needed.
“I want to write a story, on a recovering small town and the rebuilding of its community after the departure of the Watkins brothers.”
Trish chuckled. “Well, it’s definitely back to normal. Will it make an interesting story?”
“I’m sure I can come up with something. I did say it would be a small article but Eldridge bought it anyway,” Amy smiled at Trish. “I’ll go into town tomorrow and interview a few people that we knew were affected by the Watkins.”
Just thinking about the Watkins, Deke in particular, made Amy shudder. She hoped Trish hadn’t noticed.
This first night at Trish’s, the team decided to get an early night. Although they had got some sleep in the van, it wasn’t quite the same rest as sleeping comfortably in a bed.
Amy closed her eyes, Trish slept beside her and baby Ray was in a crib to the side of the bed nearest Trish. But she couldn’t stop thinking about the last time she was here. She opened her eyes unable to switch off and lay staring at the ceiling. Her eyes adjusted to the light, so that she could make out the shapes of furniture in the room.
Deke Watkins and his pathetic excuse of a brother, Harold, trying to attack her and Trish in this very house. That was the image that was keeping her awake. If the guys hadn’t showed up when they did and Deke had been successful in getting in, she didn’t dare think of what he may have done. The man was a creep. She felt herself shudder again, for the second time that day. This was ridiculous, why did she feel like this? She hadn’t expected the incident to haunt her returning to Trish’s. It wasn’t that bigger deal, was it?
She lay there, thinking about the times that she had held a gun. Not that often really. She’d held a gun on the two guys in that airport as Hannibal had brought that Jumbo in. Luckily they hadn’t noticed her hands trembling. And then more recently, camped out in a cave in Africa, she had held an automatic rifle whilst on watch, to look as if she knew how to use it. But she actually hadn’t ever fired a gun; except for Trish’s rifle a few months back. She shuddered at the thought of Deke again. That was the day she’d realised she needed to be more confident with a gun.
Over the last three months she’d been considering approaching the guys for some help. Maybe she did need to learn how to look after herself, so that she was less of a worry for the guys. Knowing how to handle a gun and possibly some self-defence might give her more confidence and keep her fit. It might even be a help to them. But she doubted whether Hannibal would approve and therefore this had kept her from asking. But maybe now as they were back at Barlow Creek, they might feel more sympathetic to her request, remembering how close she’d come to danger.
Eventually, with her mind made up she closed her eyes and her tiredness took over allowing her to fall asleep.
In the morning, Amy pottered downstairs in the kitchen as the baby had given her an early morning wake up call. The babies crying had been an excuse. She was already awake thinking about how to approach the guys for help. It had made her restless and more nervous than she realised.
So, as she was awake, she thought she would just set to work making the breakfast. The guys were usually up early, except for Face; he’d normally need a push in the right direction from Hannibal. Although this was the first morning, and maybe they all would be catching up on the lack of sleep they had had over the long journey, so Hannibal might let Face lie in, she thought.
Whilst she set the table and got the coffee on she remembered her thoughts from last night before she had drifted off to sleep. She’d try and ask today.
Eventually, Hannibal, BA and Murdock arrived pretty much one after another and sat themselves at the table.
“I’m just going to get showered and changed. I’ll also see if Trish wants anything.” Amy said as she left the three of them sat at the table.
She went back upstairs. Trish was sat up in bed with little Ray, feeding him, so Amy thought she would get into the shower as Face was bound to be still in his bed. Amy grabbed her wash bag and the clothes she needed and headed for the bathroom.
“Have you got everything you need?” Trish called out. “Did you find everything in the kitchen?”
“Yes, yes. I’ll bring you up some breakfast in a minute.” Amy called back to Trish not truly concentrating on the noise that could be heard from the bathroom, of a shower running. As her hands were full, she used her elbow to open the door, still chatting to Trish, and turned to walk into the bathroom.
“Shit!” Amy said quite loudly and blushed. “Sorry, Face!”
In shock and embarrassment she dropped what she was holding onto the floor and then frantically tried to pick it all up.
Trish had instantly come to Amy’s aid thinking something was wrong, and was now also staring at Face, cradling little baby Ray in her arms.
Luckily for Face, he had just grabbed his towel and quickly placed it in front of him, covering what needed to be covered from Amy. He held the towel around his waist, but held it behind his back. He hadn’t had time to wrap it round, as he would normally do. His body was still dripping wet where he had just literally finished showering. With his free hand, as the other held the towel in place, he pushed his wet hair off of his face and he stood there frozen. He wasn’t exactly confident to how much Amy had seen of him as she had entered the bathroom, as he had been just reaching for his towel as the door had opened.
He nervously smiled at the two women standing in front of him.
“Oh gosh, I really need to get that lock fixed on this bathroom door.” Trish tried to say without giggling at Face’s expression.
“Consider it the first thing I do!” Face replied sarcastically, still holding his towel at his waist. “Now if you ladies don’t mind?” He now sounded more impatient. Trish and Amy were still frozen by the bathroom door.
“Oh, yes. Sorry.” Amy blushed again and closed the bathroom door to leave Face to get dressed.
Face could hear both women giggling at each other outside of the bathroom. He shook his head with disapproval although he too was now starting to see the funny side.
Moments later, Amy heard him call out.
“Its free now, ladies. In future, maybe remember to knock.”
Twenty minutes later, Amy went down to the dining room, showered and dressed, to where all four guys were sitting having their breakfast. She caught Face’s eye and mouthed the word ‘sorry’ hoping the other three would not notice it. She was still feeling embarrassed about the whole thing and could feel herself going red again with embarrassment. Face just smiled at her, which she was relieved to see. He had forgiven her.
As Hannibal sat at the table, drinking his coffee, he had a pen in one hand and was writing a list of jobs to do around the farm.
“Anything else that we think needs fixing?” Hannibal pondered, thinking he’d written pretty much everything down that Carl had said about.
“How about the bathroom lock.” Face spoke up. “What do you say, Amy?”
Amy blushed. She couldn’t believe he’d mentioned it and looked at him in disbelief. “Yes, yes, Trish could do with the bathroom lock being fixed.”
Once breakfast was over the guys went outside to start looking at the farms priorities more closely. As Amy and Trish tidied away the breakfast plates Hannibal wandered back into the house.
“Trish, okay if we borrow your pickup?” Hannibal asked. “It’ll just fit the supplies in the back easier than BA’s van.”
“Yes, sure.” Trish took the keys off the hook she had in the kitchen and handed them to Hannibal. “And Hannibal, I have accounts set up in town, so you should be able to put what you need on there.”
“Okay,” Hannibal said as he walked back out of the house.
Amy watched Face and Hannibal leave the farm in Trish’s pickup and thought she’d take this opportunity.
“You okay, if I just go help BA and Murdock?”
“Sure, it’s a nice day.”
Amy walked out of the house and could see Murdock over with Carl and BA just going into one of the barns.
“BA, wait up!”
BA waited at the barn door, as Amy joined him and then they both walked over to the tractor that was parked inside the barn looking rather sorry for itself.
“BA, I was wondering,” Amy asked nervously as wasn’t sure how to put this or how BA may react. She could see he was studying the tractor. “Would you teach me how to fight?”
BA looked at her, taking his eyes off of the tractor. “Hey, lady. You don’t need to know how to fight. You got us four looking out for you.” BA made a fist with one of his hands and punched it into the palm of the other.
“BA, I’ve been thinking about this for some time now, and coming back to this farm, has just reminded me even more so why.”
BA remembered how scared Amy had looked as they had arrived back at the house that day, when Deke and Harold had tried to get in.
Amy turned on her charm. “Please BA. I just want to know how to defend myself better… and how to punch. It would mean you guys wouldn’t need to worry about me so much.”
BA pondered on this. In some ways it made sense if she knew how to protect herself correctly. “I dunno.” BA was still unsure, he wasn’t sure if Hannibal would approve.
“BA, consider it more, self-defence then, rather than teaching me to fight.”
“OK, Amy. But Hannibal finds out about this, I’m dead meat.”
“My lips are sealed.” She grinned; BA was going to help her. “I’ll go get changed!”
“Huh? I got a tractor to fix!” BA growled.
“We can do a bit, as Hannibal is in town and then I’ll help you with the tractor.” Amy smiled and before BA could object she left the barn and ran up to the house to change into more suitable clothing.
Fifteen minutes later, Amy returned to the barn changed into some sweatpants and a t-shirt. BA had already started working on the tractor but wiped his hands on a piece of rag. He had been thinking of things Amy could practise whilst she had been gone, even if he was somewhat reluctant.
“Look, I will talk to Hannibal at some stage. If you are really unsure about this.” She could still see doubt in BA’s expression.
“Yeah, yeah I know. I’ve been thinking it might be good for you to know something” BA smiled.
His expression went back to his stern self. “Right, first of all, when you make a fist, make sure you don’t tuck in your thumb under your fingers.” BA made a fist to demonstrate what he meant. “Sounds obvious but so many suckers do it and break their thumbs.”
Amy winced at the thought and clenched her fist as BA showed her, to make sure she got it right.
“Right, I’ll teach you some basic punches and blocks. Okay?”
“Okay.” Amy nodded. “Thanks, BA.”
“Yeah,” BA gave his sweet soft smile to her. “I’m just worried how we gonna tell Hannibal.”
BA showed her a punch, straight forward no swing or hooking of the arm involved.
“First thing first, aim for me.”
“But I’m worried I’ll hit you.”
“If you aim just before my nose, Little Mama, when it comes to a fight, that’s where you’ll aim too.” BA pointed at his face. “Aim past my face, you won’t hurt me!”
“Okay.” Amy did as she was told. BA was impressed by her attention to his instructions. She took every word he said seriously and everything she did, even if it wasn’t right first time, proved she was listening to her instructor.
After just over an hour, BA decided that was enough training for one day.
“We’ll do some more tomorrow, I gotta work on this tractor.” BA said firmly. “But you did good.”
Amy nodded pleased by BA’s encouragement. Wiping the sweat from her brow with the back of her hand. She felt like she’d done a basic work out at the gym.
“Okay, so what do you want me to do?”
“Pass me that wrench!”
Part 3 – Troubleshooting
Amy heard the pick-up truck pull up outside the barn and decided she needed a break from cleaning the tractor. It was going to be a long process, but she promised to help BA clean it up, hoping that he would continue with giving her self-defence instructions. She stopped her cleaning and walked out into the sunshine and fresh air.
Face and Hannibal were starting to unload the pick-up with the supplies, with Murdock and Carl coming to give a hand.
“Are you guys hungry?” Amy certainly was, she’d worked up an appetite helping BA.
“Yeah, I could eat a cow!” Murdock replied smiling at her.
“Isn’t it horse, Murdock?” She smiled back.
“Neigh, don’t like horse.”
“Shut up fool.” BA had emerged from the barn also, wiping his greasy hands on a rag to help with the unloading of the pickup truck.
“I’ll go get washed up and fetch us some lunch.” She walked off back to the house chuckling at BA and Murdock’s banter.
“Hey, I’ll head back into town and get those few things we forgot.” Face volunteered.
The guys were just finishing off their lunch. Hannibal grinned. He knew his Lieutenant was trying to get out of some hard grafting.
“Actually, I’ve got to go into town,” Amy said. “To talk to some of the locals for my story, I’ll come with you.” Perfect opportunity she thought.
Once the table had been cleared Amy followed Face out of the house with intention. She waited until they were both in the pickup truck and heading down the drive into town. It was best to speak to Face on his own, she thought, as she’d probably get a better response from him that way.
“Face, I need to ask you something.”
“I’m all ears, honey-bun.” He turned and smiled at her.
I’ll let the honey-bun go, she thought, as she started to feel nervous about the question she was about to ask. She smiled back.
“Can you teach me how to shoot?”
“What?” Face instantly jumped into a defensive mode. “No. Absolutely not!” He wasn’t sure what she was going to ask, but this question hadn’t even entered his mind.
“Oh, Face, come on. Please, Face.” Amy begged trying to put on some of her female charm. “After what happened the last time we were in Barlow Creek with the Watkins brothers, Hannibal even said himself, I needed to know how to use a gun.” Amy tried to justify her point. “Please, Face.”
“No, Amy. Hannibal will kill me.”
“That’s what BA said, but he still helped me.”
“Oh, it doesn’t matter. I just thought you being the best shot and all, but I’ll ask Murdock instead.” Amy crossed her legs away from Face and looked out of the side window as if to watch the passing scenery. “All I need to know is how to fire a gun confidently, whether I’m actually a good shot or not, I suppose doesn’t matter. I’m sure he’ll help me.”
“No. Amy. If anyone’s gonna teach you how to fire a damn gun, its me okay?” Face didn’t like the idea of someone else teaching her how to shoot and gave in. Had he just fell for her trick?
She turned back, crossing her legs towards him and smiled, she’d succeeded. “Great, when can we start?”
“Oh boy, we’ll see Amy. We’ll see.” Face concentrated on the road ahead of him.
“How you getting on with that Tractor, BA?” Hannibal asked as they wandered across the farm.
“Okay, gonna take a bit of time though. Its seen better days.”
“What’s Amy doing with you in there?”
“What?” BA was taken aback by the question.
“Its not a trick question, I noticed she came out of the barn before you. What’s she doing?”
“Oh, she’s cleaning it up. It’s a bit of a state. Looks like chickens been roosting there.”
“Okay, as long as she’s not getting in your way. I know how you like to work.” Hannibal patted BA on the back as they continued to walk.
“Nah, nah, she’s better company than that crazy fool.” BA looked over to the direction of Murdock who was helping Carl and looking like he was talking ten to the dozen.
Whilst Face went to fetch the forgotten supplies, Amy entered the café that they had first gone in before attending Ray’s funeral. This café was where they had first run into Deke and his brother CW.
Face joined Amy in the café once he was finished and found her talking to Leanne. He smiled, remembering the pretty blonde.
“Don’t sit down, I’m done here.” Amy said as Face was about to perch himself on a barstool next to her.
“Don’t I have time for a coffee?” He was still looking at Leanne, smiling at her, who smiled sweetly back at him. Hopefully she was remembering him.
“No, Hannibal will kill me if I keep you any longer from helping out on that farm.” Amy stood up and linked her arm through Face’s to make him walk with her. “Thank you, Leanne, for your help.” Amy waved at the young woman and walked towards the door, taking Face with her.
“But…” Face tried to persist, waving back at Leanne.
“No buts. I can come back in tomorrow for some more interviews.” Amy replied ushering Face to the pickup truck that was parked outside the café. “Besides, you can always start teaching me to shoot.”
Face’s expression changed to a nervous look and reluctantly got into truck.
“I wanted to have a chat with Leanne.” He put the key in the ignition and started up the truck. “We never did get that date.”
“Oh no, that’s why I got you out of there quick sharp. She’s dating Carl.”
“Oh.” Face looked surprised and disappointed. “She is?”
“Yes, she is!”
That afternoon back at the farm, Face waited for the perfect opportunity to speak to Trish on her own. He had managed to make an excuse to go into the house and found her pottering in the kitchen.
“Oh hi, Face, what can I do for you?” She smiled at him.
“Trish, did Ray have somewhere to, er, lets say, practise?”
Trish looked at him with a puzzled expression.
“Oh, yes, he had a barn set up in the far field. I insisted it was a far away from the main part of the farm, as I use to hate hearing the firing.” Trish said. “Why?”
“Well between you and me, Amy’s asked me to teach her to shoot.”
“Oh yeah, I think it’s a great idea. She’s been talking to me about it.”
“Yes. And I know she’s concerned about what Hannibal may say. But you guys can’t have her hanging around you and expect her to not want to know how to fire a gun. Ray taught me the basics.”
“Yes. Shame I wasn’t so confident back then, with the Wat…”
“Hey, you were heavily pregnant. You and Amy put up a good fight.” Face interrupted her and smiled at her trying to reassure her. “But you’re right, Amy should learn how to fire a gun.”
Looking at Trish, he was reminded of how Amy had trembled in his arms when they had returned to the house in the nick of time. The whole incident had probably affected the two women more than the guys had realised. He didn’t dare imagine what could have happened if Deke had got in the house.
“So if I get the opportunity, can I take Amy over to that barn?”
“Of course you can. I haven’t set foot in there since Ray died; so not sure what state it’s in. It was Ray’s barn.” Trish forced a smile at Face. “And you shouldn’t get heard either, but if you do, I’ll make out it’s my neighbour shooting the local game around here.” Her expression relaxed and she winked at him.
“Okay, with the hook, make your elbow follow your fist.” BA slowly demonstrated another punch in front of her. “If you miss with the fist, you’re likely to hit with the elbow.” He patted the underside of his arm and elbow.
The next morning, Amy and BA were in the barn fixing up the tractor, so the others thought. But they were actually spending the first hour together training.
“Gosh, I hope I never meet anyone as big as you.” She wiped the beads of sweat from her forehead. Practising the different moves using BA as her sparing partner was building up quite a sweat.
“Hey, lady, you’ll find the harder your sparring partner, the harder you learn to hit!”
BA then moved on to show her some blocking moves and they swapped roles. This time Amy was going to have to block BA’s punches. This worried her slightly, but he promised he’d try not to actually hit her. She wasn’t sure if she felt reassured by this or not.
“We’ll do it slowly.” BA gestured with a slow motion fist aiming towards her; she blocked it out of the way with the back of her hands as he had shown her. Gradually the pace increased.
“Good, good.” BA encouraged her. “You can block with your forearm. The other side, yeah, not the fleshy bit, block with that and you’ll know about it.”
They’d been sparring for about forty-five minutes when they heard the barn door creak open. They both jumped into positions, BA started working on the engine and Amy started to clean another part of the tractor. Face poked his head round the barn door.
“There you are, Amy.”
“Oh hi ya, Face.” Both BA and Amy relaxed. “What do you want?”
“I wondered if you wanted to do that thing we discussed yesterday?”
“Right now, teach me to shoot?”
“Yes, yes.” Face winced. He had hoped to keep it secret from the rest of the team for the time being.
BA giggled at Face. “She’s got you helping her too, huh?”
Face raised his finger at BA as if to say, don’t say a word.
“Trish said that Ray had a barn at the end field out of the way of the rest of the farm, so I thought we could take a look.”
“BA, do you mind?” Amy asked.
“Nah, go on with Face. We’ll continue tomorrow.” BA winked at Amy. Face was puzzled by their conversation. What was BA helping Amy with?
As Face walked he nervously checked again that he had his revolver on him by patting his jacket and feeling that it was in his shoulder holster. He had already filled his pockets with enough ammunition. As Trish had described the barn was a good distance away from the main part of the farm, so they had a bit of a trek through one of the fields.
“You were right.” Face said as he walked with Amy. “Hannibal had thought about teaching you to use a gun. It might come in handy.” He tried to talk himself into this, still unsure he’d made the right decision.
“Talking of Hannibal, how have you managed to get out of the work, Face?” Amy nudged him playfully.
“He’s taken Trish into town to get some groceries.”
“That was handy.” Amy smiled but could still see Face was rather tense.
“I think it may have been Trish’s idea.” Face forced a smile. “I think she suggested they stop by the cemetery too, so that Hannibal could pay his respects to Ray.”
“So we might have some time this morning then?”
“Well, lets see. Lets check out the barn first.”
As they walked towards the barn, Face thought it would be a good idea to run through the safety instructions of using a gun.
“And don’t point it at anything you are not prepared to shoot.” He continued his instructions seriously.
Amy nodded and walked along side him, the reporter in her making mental notes. She couldn’t help notice how fast he was walking and there seemed to be tension between them.
It had taken about fifteen minutes to walk to the barn. Unlike the others on the farm, that were mainly wooden, this one had stone walls and a slate roof. It was probably one of the original barns on the farm.
The large barn doors were wooden. They were held locked together with a large piece of timber slotted across them. Face lifted the timber out and opened up one of the doors.
Natural light came in through a couple of small windows that were on either side in the stone walls but not enough for shooting practise.
Face noticed that there was a large power switch on his left as he entered. He pulled it down and slowly the tube lighting above them flickered on. The barn had the basics for shooting practise, with a couple of circular targets at the end of it. Face smiled. Good old Ray, he thought.
“Well, shall we start?” Face looked at Amy as he took off his leather jacket, placing it on a bench behind him.
“Right now?” Amy became nervous. She was actually going to get some shooting practise.
“As we’re here.” He smiled tensely. He’d found two pairs of ear defenders hanging up over the bench. He dusted them off and handed a pair to Amy.
“Put these on.”
“Will we be able to hear each other?”
“We’ll put them actually on when we come to shooting.” Face placed his pair round his neck and Amy copied him. He then reached into his shoulder holster with his right hand and took out his revolver. He checked that it was fully loaded.
Amy couldn’t resist teasing him.
“Hey, you know what this means?”
“What?” Face looked at her puzzled by the question.
“For the first time, I get to hold your weapon!” Amy winked at him, trying to release the tension between them but Face looked at her nervously. “Your gun, Face.” She rolled her eyes and corrected her statement, as Face didn’t seem amused. He didn’t provide his usual witty response. He can’t be embarrassed?
“Why what did you think I was talking about?” Her smile dropped.
“Amy, can we concentrate on this please?”
“Sorry.” She returned her focus to why they were there.
Face handed her the revolver. It still had the safety on.
“Now remember what I told you. Don’t aim it at anything you’re not prepared to shoot.”
The gun was heavier than Amy remembered, as she held it in her right hand and kept the gun pointed at the floor.
“Right, well, there’s your target,” Face said as he pointed to the end of the barn. “Let’s see how good you are.”
She stood side on and aimed the gun at the target that was at the end of the barn but shook her arm out. She couldn’t work out if her arm should be tense or relaxed as it felt neither.
Face looked at her and could see she wasn’t comfortable. He shook his head. He wasn’t sure if he was going to make a good teacher. Hannibal probably out of all of them had the better patience.
“Hang on, Amy, let’s try holding it with both hands first.” Face came round to her side and gently placed her left hand also on the gun she was holding out in front of her. “And stand straight on.” He stepped back and carefully placed his hands on her hips to turn her so that she was standing square to the target.
“Okay, lets get position correct first and then worry about actually firing the gun.” Face started to get the idea of what he needed to show her. He moved closer behind her and put his hands back on her hips. “Right, drop the gun a minute.”
Amy did as she was told.
“Now, bring your legs apart slightly, shoulder width. That’s it.” Face nodded not that Amy could see as he was standing behind her. “Now bring the gun up with both hands, to aim for the target…slowly.” As she did so Face adjusted her hands to hold the gun correctly.
“Sorry.” Amy blushed slightly with embarrassment. She hadn’t had this with BA. “Look, hopefully, Face, I won’t need to use one. But I just thought you guys wouldn’t need to worry about me so much.” Amy tried to justify her motive. “You never know, I might actually be of help one day, if I know how to use one confidently.”
“We don’t worry about you.” Face winked. But he knew they did.
Amy faced forward, both arms holding the gun with Face closely behind her.
“Now try to relax a little.”
“Sorry.” But it felt even harder with Face standing so close to her.
“And stop saying sorry.”
She nearly said it again. Why did she feel more nervous about this, than sparring with BA? Amy closed her eyes momentarily and took a deep breath. I can do this, she thought to herself as she breathed out slowly.
Placing his right hand on hers he adjusted the angle of the gun. He moved in closer to her body now so that their bodies were touching. Face wanted to be able to see where the gun was pointing and this was the only way he could do it. Amy focused on the target and what Face was telling her and tried not to think about the fact she could feel his breath on her neck.
Amy nearly opened her mouth to say a sarcastic comment about how Face was teaching her, considering how close they were. But then chose to bite her lip. If this was how Face wanted to teach her then so be it. At least he was teaching her.
With his thumb, Face pulled back the hammer of the revolver. It made that distinct clicking sound. Face remained next to Amy, still holding her close to him with his left arm.
“Just relax a little.” Face said as he could feel her whole body was quite tense. Once he felt her body relax next to his he continued his instruction. “Good, right, now we’re ready.” He placed the ear defenders over Amy’s ears and then did his own.
“Now squeeze the trigger slowly.” Face said loudly so that she could hear him, still keeping his hand on hers.
Amy did as she was told and the gun fired. The noise was louder than she was expecting, even with the defenders on, which momentarily made her jump.
The bullet hit the target. It was just off the centre. The kick back from the gun surprised Amy. She hadn’t been expecting it. She had leant into Face’s body behind her as it had happened but he had stood firm.
“Well, that was with my help,” Face winked at her. He’d stood back slightly to admire the aim, but still had his left hand on her hip. “Right your turn on your own.”
Amy tried desperately to remember everything Face had told her, as she took her position and aimed the gun. Eventually she fired a shot. It hit the top furthest circle of the target. Amy was secretly pleased she’d still hit the target and not the back wall of the barn.
“Not bad, not bad, just a little lower.” Face moved in once again and adjusted Amy’s gun hold and position. Again he came in close behind her so that he could check the aim. He could smell her perfume he was that close. He opened his mouth and spoke before engaging his brain.
“Chanel No 5?”
“Face!” Amy was not amused and hoped that she wasn’t blushing. Damn he’s right.
“Hey you started it, talking about my weapon!” Face winked.
”Are you kidding me?”
“Sorry.” He refocused himself back on the matter and stepped away from her so that she could fire the gun on her own.
She practised with Face’s revolver and her aim gradually improved with each shot. Eventually she hit the second circle and as close as she was going to get to centre. She turned and smiled at Face pleased with her own improvement. She might not be able to hit a target but at least she was gaining the confidence to use a gun. Didn’t even Face say once, ‘it’s all about appearance?’
“Right, I think that’s enough for one day.” Face said as he took the revolver off of her. He could see she was starting to look tired. As if by habit, he reloaded the gun so that he knew it was fully loaded and placed it in his shoulder holster.
They both removed their ear defenders and placed them on their hooks above the bench where they had found them and exited the barn.
As they walked back along the tractor made path in the field, they talked. More relaxed with one another than earlier when they had walked towards the barn.
“So, what’s BA helping you with?” He was intrigued. Amy had never really confirmed what BA had been helping her with.
“Me to know, you to find out, Face.” Amy teased, playfully pushing him.
“Come on, you can tell me. I’m helping you learn to shoot, aren’t I?” Face smiled at her, his best smile.
“Okay, okay, promise you won’t laugh.”
“Well, I can’t promise to something when I don’t know what you’re going to tell me.” Face smiled laying on a touch of his charm.
Amy playfully pushed him on his shoulder as they continued to walk. “Okay, I asked BA to teach me how to fight.”
“What?” He stopped walking he was that shocked.
“Okay, well more self-defence than anything.” Amy corrected her comments in line with the expression on his face. She grabbed his arm and pulled him to keep walking. “I just want to be able to defend myself if needs be. You guys have enough to worry about. I don’t like the idea of me slowing you guys down.”
“Amy,” Face’s tone sounded concerned.
Hannibal pulled the pickup truck outside Trish’s house and helped unload the groceries. As he came back out of the house to fetch some more bags he saw in the distance Amy and Face walking through one of the fields towards the farm.
What are those two up to?
They seemed playful with one another as they walked. Not totally abnormal, he thought. He’d have expected it more with Murdock and Amy though.
Lieutenant you better not be… Hannibal shook his head. No, he wouldn’t. Would he?
The team had been at Trish’s farm for five days now. The weather was still being good to them so the guys had plenty to do outside to keep them busy.
It was late morning and as Amy rocked little Ray Junior in her arms she thought of her training so far with Face and BA. She’d been able to sneak in an hour with both of them here and there over the last few days. But she knew that to improve this training would need to continue, she was by no means confident in her newly trained skills.
Hannibal had nearly caught her and BA sparring the other morning, and she’d noticed Hannibal watching her from time to time with curiosity in his expression. Especially whenever she was with Face. She would have to talk to him soon; it was no good putting it off. It wasn’t fair on Face or BA either. She’d promised them both that she would talk to Hannibal.
Jolted back to reality, Ray Junior stared back at Amy fidgeting in her arms, refusing to sleep.
Trish had said that he had his father’s eye colouring and that they’d started to change within a couple of weeks of him being born, from the usual baby blue to Ray’s brown eyes. He was now just over four weeks old and starting to smile at any face put before him. He particularly took a shine to Murdock whenever he peered at the little fellow. But he wasn’t smiling now.
Face walked into the room in which Amy stood, wiping his wet hands with a clean towel.
“Oh great, will you take Ray for me?”
“Huh?” Face reluctantly took the baby, with no choice, as Amy passed the baby to him. He held little Ray Junior out at arms length as if he would catch something from the baby. Amy chuckled at the sight. BA and Murdock had been naturals with the baby, cooing over him and making him smile. Hannibal and Face had tried to steer as far away as they could from the little fellow, finding excuses to keep them from holding or touching the baby. In fact this was the first time Face had held little baby Ray, thought Amy.
Face started to wish he hadn’t come in to wash his hands and escape the heat and hard labour outside. He’d volunteered to get the coffee.
“I’ve told Trish to get some rest, she’s been up all night with him. He’s fed and changed, he just needs rocking to sleep.” Amy tried to reassure the worried expression Face showed. “I just want to get some chores done in the kitchen for her, start getting lunch on and that sort of thing. You will be fine.” She smiled and left Face in the living room, literally holding the baby.
“Amy!” Face was not comfortable with his new responsibility.
Amy called from the kitchen, “Just shout if you have any problems. But I am sure you will be fine.”
Face looked at the little boy that he held out in front of him and decided this couldn’t be comfortable for the baby and so cradled him in his arms. Ray Junior was going to refuse to sleep however, as he started to cry.
“Hey, hey, little fellow.” Face tried to say calmly to the little boy but still showing an expression of panic on his face.
The cradle felt awkward in Face’s tense arms and maybe Ray Junior could feel that tension too Face thought. So Face sat on the sofa, still trying to rock the crying baby, hoping this would help him and the baby relax.
“I can do this,” Face said trying to give himself reassurance. But still the baby continued to cry.
“Come on, little man, give me a break.” Face said after five minutes. His cradle felt less awkward, it was starting to feel more natural but he still had not quite relaxed. It was hard to relax when you had a crying baby in your arms, thought Face.
Face smiled at the baby, his best smile. Maybe that would work, but it didn’t Ray still cried in Face’s arms.
“That’s my best smile, little fellow, if that don’t work, I don’t know what will!” Face felt like he was running out of ideas. He made a note to himself that his smile only worked on women, well most women and not to try to use it on small babies again.
Face stood up and walked over to a mirror that hung on the wall. He tried to sit Ray up in his arms, still supporting his delicate head, so that the baby could see himself in the mirror.
“See, you’re quite a handsome fellow,” Face talked softly. “Definitely got your daddy’s eyes and nose.”
The baby smiled at himself in the mirror and then had a little burp and a little bit of spittle came up. Face screwed up his face, but dealt with the situation quickly. He grabbed a cloth on the coffee table, that he’d seen Trish use earlier on the baby for wiping his face.
“Ahh… wind. If that’s what you call it.” Face smiled and placed the cloth over his shoulder. “I’m really no expert, can you tell?” He moved little Ray Junior, up against his chest so the baby’s head rested on his shoulder and rubbed the baby’s back. Ray instantly seemed to calm to this new comfortable upright position.
“You know, if Hannibal sees me now, I am going to get so much ribbing.” Face talked away softly to the baby. “If it was Murdock or BA, he’d just let it go, but me, oh no!”
Face wandered around with the baby over his shoulder. He had stopped crying, so he didn’t dare move him. He decided to just talk softly to the baby, about anything. It wasn’t what you said; it was how you said it, wasn’t it? “You, know your father and I go back a long way…”
Amy had walked back into the living room, as she had heard the baby stop crying. Secretly she wanted to check on Face and how he was doing.
Face hadn’t noticed Amy was stood there trying not to laugh as she watched Face pace around the room, talking softly away, with the baby resting up against his shoulder. Face was totally unaware that he was now talking to himself, as little Ray Junior was fast asleep.
Face turned around and caught Amy chuckling at him. She couldn’t hold in her laughter anymore.
“How long have you been standing there?” Face asked embarrassed that he hadn’t noticed Amy until now.
“Shhh, he’s asleep!” Amy whispered and walked over to Face. “Don’t worry, not that long, and I won’t tell the guys.” She teased and then gently took the baby from Face, naturally cradling the little fellow in her arms. He was fast asleep and looked so peaceful. Even Face was drawn to how adorable the baby looked with his eyes closed. “I’ll go put him in his crib.”
Amy had moved the crib downstairs, into the dining room, so that it would give Trish some peace. She placed the baby into his crib and placed the little blue blanket over him.
Just as Amy closed the door to the dining room, Murdock came bounding in rather loudly.
“Where’s the little fella, I want a cuddle!”
“Murdock!” Face whispered sternly, “We’ve just got him to sleep. You wake him up and you’ll pay!”
“Darn, I got something to show him.” Murdock sounded slightly disappointed. He had a puppet on his hand, it was a little hedgehog, and he wriggled it in front of Face. “Meet Hedgy!”
“Hedgy! That’s original!” Face replied sarcastically.
“Well it was good to see you, Trish, ” Hannibal said. “I’m sorry we can’t stay longer, but if we stay in one place too long, Lynch is bound to catch up with us”
The day had come that the team had to leave Trish, her farm and her beautiful baby boy. They had only stayed in Barlow Creek seven days, but Hannibal didn’t want to risk staying any longer. He was sure the military would be on to them soon.
“I understand.” Trish responded hugging Hannibal. She kissed his cheek. “Thank you for coming, and thank you for helping out on the farm.”
She couldn’t believe the transformation they had made, by helping out Carl. Her white fence was replaced and even a couple of the barns had been repaired to new.
“It’s been a pleasure. You know us, Trish, we don’t like to be sitting around doing nothing.” Hannibal replied hugging her back.
Trish let Hannibal go and went round to each of the members of the team to kiss and hug them to say goodbye. She kissed Face first.
“I hear you were a little star with my son.” She winked.
Face cleared his throat and smiled at her nervously, hugging her back. “You look after yourself Trish and that boy. He’s going to grow up looking just like his dad. And thanks for letting me borrow Ray’s barn.” He winked.
“Ray wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.” She smiled back.
“Hey, and keep us updated, through Amy.”
“Of course.” Trish then turned to BA and hugged him. “Thanks, BA, for getting that tractor going. I thought it was going to have to go to the breakers. It looks almost brand new.”
“There ain’t nothing I can’t fix, Trish.” BA winked at her and gave her his special smile, which he rarely showed. “Look after yourself and Ray Junior.”
She nodded at BA, released her hug and then came to Murdock.
“Trish, I’d like little Ray Junior to have this.” Murdock said as he handed over the little hedgehog puppet he’d been entertaining little baby Ray with since the day he had bought it. “Hedgy.”
“Murdock, oh little Ray will be delighted.” Trish said smiling at him.
Trish then turned to Amy, who was holding little Ray, fast asleep, in her arms. She handed the baby, nicely bundled in a blue blanket, back to Trish.
“I hope you got a good enough story, to convince your boss it was worth coming out all this way.” Trish asked her. She’d been grateful for the female company over the week. For a woman she didn’t really know that well, the pair of them had got on so well, Trish was going to miss her new friend.
“Yes, I have thanks. I managed to get into town a couple of times to catch up with some of the locals. It’s only a small piece, but I have Eldridge wrapped round my little finger sometimes. He’ll be more than happy with it.” Amy kissed her on the cheek. “You look after yourself and that handsome little fellow of yours.”
“Yes, and you look after those guys.” Trish looked at the rest of the team that were now getting into the van, preparing for the long journey ahead of them.
“Yeah, I suppose someone’s got to.” She winked at Trish and then got into the van. Amy positioned herself between Murdock and Face. She would go to the back of the van, once they were on the road.
BA started the engine to the van. Amy, Murdock and Face waved at Trish as Face then closed the sliding door. Hannibal put his hand up to signal goodbye and then the van pulled away.
As they drove away, leaving Trish waving back at them, with little Ray in her arms, sirens could be heard in the distance.
“Move it BA!” Hannibal ordered.
The five MP military green sedan’s haired along the road following the black GMC van of the A Team’s.
It was a dirt track road and it wouldn’t be long before they would get onto the main road out of Barlow Creek.
The passengers of the black van held on to dear life as they were thrown about by the bumps and dips that the van hit, bouncing along the road.
“Face…” Hannibal was just about to ask for a rifle but Face already had one to hand to him.
Face smiled. Hannibal grinned back at him and then wound down the window. He hung himself out of it with the rifle, so that he could fire it at the pursuing vehicles if needs be.
BA was an excellent driver and with it he was very observant. Up ahead he saw a farmer starting to cross a large herd of cattle from one field to the next. He gave a little smile to himself and put his foot down further on the throttle, this throwing the passengers further around the van. Hannibal almost dropped his rifle, as he still hung out of the window.
“BA!” Amy called out as once again she lost her balance.
Glancing back to the direction the van was travelling, Hannibal caught sight of the cattle and pulled himself in from the window.
As BA’s approached the cattle crossing the road, he slowed slightly and squeezed the van through the gap that they hadn’t yet filled. The cattle’s noses almost could have touched the van. The cattle stopped momentarily, raising their heads and snorting through their large nostrils, as the watched the black van drive in front of them. And then they continued walking into the next field, unfazed, as their farmer was ushering them.
The five MP cars didn’t get to that gap in time. The road was completely blocked and all of them had to slam on the brakes. Stopping feet away from the large herd of cattle passing from one field to another, unaware of their powerful blockade they had created. The farmer was a little dumbfounded by the sight, but he couldn’t stop cattle once they had started moving.
Colonel Lynch got out of his vehicle and angrily shouted at the farmer. “Can’t you get them to move a bit faster?” As he watched the cattle slowly plod from one field to the other, five or six a breast, stopping to chew the grass on the verges as they walked.
“Sorry, sir.” The farmer responded.
Hannibal looked out of his window to see an angry Colonel Lynch the other side of the cattle.
“Nice, BA. Nice.”
BA let out a little chuckle of his.
“Phew.” Amy said. “That was close!”
“You know BA, it’s not going to be that long before Lynch gets through that cattle, and they’ll be back on our tail before we know it. Let’s take a detour!”
“Right, Hannibal.” BA nodded.
“Lets call it the scenic route to LA!” Hannibal chuckled to himself.
As BA turned off the first exit he could, Amy got herself comfortable at the back of the van. As she laid herself down and flicked through her journal, she wondered if she’d get another opportunity with Face and BA to continue her training. She knew that she needed plenty more practise before she would feel confident with what she had learnt.
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