UNHACKABLE HEART: Glenn -- Tessa Steps Up
hint: sometimes men and women don't see the same two choices

Glenn took the last step to reach her side. After he slid one arm around her, Tessa leaned against him. He lifted his shirt with his other hand and gently wiped holy water from her face. “Confrontation and conflict are the hell awaiting you after the trapdoor swings shut behind you. She doesn’t like conflict and confrontation.”

She sighed. His baritone sounded confident with that knowledge. Not something they had discussed in chat in the last three months, and they’d gone deep many times, but that had come straight from her diary a decade ago.

Shadow’s big dark hand shot out in a blink, pointing toward a black iron door, pointing toward where ashes collected from her upstairs fireplace.

Glenn blew out a shaky exhale. “Tessa, I—“

“I know.” She rubbed her hand down Glenn’s chest, but spoke the rest to Shadow. “I know it was Glenn who planted the sonar there to record every sound in this house. But that was long long and once upon a time ago.”

The walkie-talkie bleeped from Glenn’s hip. A different male voice sounded awed. “She’s reasoning with him and we’re recording the evidence. Woohoo!”

Shadow pointed at Cole before pointing up toward her old computer room.

Tessa growled and then glared at Cole. “What is he trying to tell me?”

Cole expelled a low expletive.

Glenn tightened his arm around her waist. “The web cams . . . back in the day, it was hard to find them that small.”

Cole spoke up. “They were mine and planted all over your house; I broadcasted to my site.”

She growled low in her throat again. “You privacy stealer you!”

Shadow moved like a speed hack next to Cole and shoved Cole back.

Cole widened his stance. “Call off your pet. Long time ago, Tessa. I’ve changed and so has my little brother. We’re sorry.”

“Yeah, Tess,” Glenn agreed.

She held up her hand to stop. There was once a father and his two sons. “You and Cole are brothers?” she asked of Glenn, mad enough to knock him on his butt if he didn’t answer immediately.

“He’s my best friend. I’m free to choose that person unlike a brother. But we do share the same mom.”

She shook her head and pushed his arm from around her waist, trying to disconnect from his proximity. “A bet between brothers!”

“Easy, Tessa,” Glenn crooned like she might be a wild and dangerous animal.

She no sooner stepped back from Glenn than Shadow stepped in beside her right side, her arm, her face, freezing now in proximity of the shadowman. She blew out a shaky exhale and a cloud of white breath. Shadow could be almost good company as long as nothing riled him up, but put him around negative energy and the shadowman could be dangerous. “I don’t want to argue with you, Shadow, but I don’t want you to follow me.”

Even as mad as she was at the brothers, she pointed from Cole to Glenn to Shadow. “Even as bad as what they did, you, Shadow, are worse. They did not ask my permission. You did not ask my permission, haunting my life like you had every right to know everything about me.”

Tessa cocked her hands on her hips and faced the six-foot shadowman. “Do you think,” she said in a low whisper, “I want to be around anyone that reminds me of my life with Sammy? Go away and stay away, Shadow. I do not ever want to see your shadow again. Move on wherever it is that shadowmen need to go to be happy.”

Glenn stepped closer to Shadow. “The cave is a portal. Go back to the shadowland before we seal the door to your dimension.”

“Goodbye, Shadow,” she insisted.

Shadow lifted one hand, like a wave, and dissolved into the other dark shadows in the basement at midnight.

“Great job, beautiful.” Glenn stepped toward her again.

The man was full of positive strokes in the here and now. She liked that about him. Even now, furious at him, his words stroked down her as much as his big hand had smoothed up and down her back earlier in the night. He would be much harder to part company with when the time came. Before she fell back completely under his spell, Tessa stepped away from him. “You don’t think I’m gonna sign off so you can publish what happened privately, right?”

Glenn pointed out the back wide-open basement door. “We’ll talk about it later. There is still a demon to be driven out. Go back to the van and hack the house, find it.” Glenn pointed at Cole. “I’m counting on you to get her back in the van.”

Cole swung one arm toward the doorway. “Finish it. Record other evidence for him to publish.”

Although she didn’t want either of them to suggest anything to her, she liked Cole’s logic. “Deal,” she said and stepped outside the house to the van.

Although one screen displayed three men and the demonologist at the cave entrance, and lights flashed from the back of the cave like a laser show awaited them inside, she heard the real-time streaming of male voices blessing the portal. The demonologist chanted in Latin, the incense dangling from a swinging chain filling the cave entrance with smoke.

Cole stepped up in the van and sat beside her. “Before you ask, I am not going away. Figured while you’re in the mood for confrontation, we have to talk, Tessa.”

She snorted. “I can’t find anything nice to talk to you about, Cole.”

He leaned forward so his forearms rested on his legs. “At DefCon you were interested in trying out for the cyber counterterrorism team.”

She stopped fuzzing the house, stopped watching paranormal events, and turned toward him. “How would you know that? I have never so much as seen you before. You look like trouble. I would have remembered that.”

He grinned, dimples winking at her on either side of his smile. “Trouble is what trouble does, Tessa. You could find trouble blindfolded in a blizzard on the polar cap.” He tapped one hand over his chest. “I know that. I’ve watched over you for years. I’d like to recruit you; you’re ready now for my team. You might have been having some trouble with the idea of working for Big Brother, but try this one . . . the cyber counterhacks will be working for DHS.”

Tessa rubbed both hands over her temples. “No way I’d work for Homeland Security and help back the Patriot Act! Must be sweet for you though, getting paid now to be a privacy stealer.”

He grunted. “I said I was sorry, lady. Do you think this country would be in better shape if people as passionate as you about privacy didn’t control the backend? How much right to privacy, to any freedom, would be left if people like you or me quit? Bring your cyberguns, Tessa, and I’ll get you immunity and invisibility. You fight in the cyberwar now, why not get paid for it so you’ll stay in the fight? I don’t write the laws of the land, but DHS could turn this country into a police state without the right people in there.”

Tessa let his words roll around on her mind, seeing if her mental encryption would accept his logic or shoot him for it.

“No one is as lethal with knowledge to hack a heart as you. You know people don’t want to have surgery to replace a working implantable medical device when they can’t even wrap their head around why what saves their life can take it too. Get a new implant, long range capabilities to assassinate with no trace and no trail get more and more golden to exploit. This new CT team will be all about people protecting people, about patching and defending people with medical implants.”

“Ugh!” She rubbed her forehead. “You’re making my head hurt.”

His tanned skin paled one shade lighter. He pointed behind her. “Not me, that!”

She swiveled toward the screen but all she saw was a bright flash. When the ringing and temporary blindness from the blast of white light dissipated, she saw Glenn and the demonologist by the furnace of her basement. Then the radio bleeped as men shouted from team to team, excited, cranked, congratulating each other for their success in driving out the demon and slamming closed the portal.

“I missed it?” she asked in disbelief before glaring at Cole.

Cole shivered. “I wouldn’t play that back if I were you. I don’t want to see it again. I’ll have to pray for sweet dreams for a while. I’ll have to pray for the hair on the back of my neck to settle down.” He tapped the screen over Glenn’s image. “I don’t know how he does it!”

“He’s pretty amazing,” she agreed.

“And you plan to show him that by leaving my little brother exposed to the Russian mob? I know it was Yori Korskovf, the other headhunter after you, who attacked the senator.”

“I backed out real careful, took the time to cover my tracks before leaving Haven. I don’t want the leader of the revolution, the head of the cyber-underworld, to go after Glenn. Yori crossed me when he attacked the senator. You best believe I took the time to protect Glenn; he was right there while it was happening!”

Glenn jumped into the back of the van, adrenaline throttle obviously cranked wide open, grabbed Tessa and pulled her right outside the door, right in front of him. He cupped her face. “They’re gone, Tessa Kendall.” He tipped her face to his mouth and kissed her until Tessa thought her clothes might melt off.

When he finally pulled back, breathing as hard as her, Glenn beamed a bright smile to go along with steamy silver eyes. He had the look of a very determined man not about to miss the mark hyped up on so much adrenaline. “You know what that means don’t you?”

Tessa tried to answer him, but her mental encryption had locked up. Fatal error, it took some time to reboot. When she continued to stare at him, panting, wondering if maybe she might be drooling, he laughed like he might be appreciating her brain offline. “Can’t think. What does it mean?”

“Now I can devote my time to hunting you. You shut me out for the last three days. You have two days left before tryouts in DC. Shutdown that firewall, lady, I’m coming in now to live in the moment with you.”

She cast one look over her shoulder to find Cole not finding other entertainment and watching them. She tipped on her toes and lifted her mouth near Glenn’s ear. “I don’t know how to shut it off.”

His hands slid over her back, lower, pulling her closer to him. “I do.” He kissed her hard and fast before twirling his truck keys. “Let’s go.”

Glenn opened the door and Tessa hopped in and slid over, sitting in the middle. He hopped in next to her.

Cole opened the other side. “I’m not cramming my legs into the backseat again.” He sat beside her. “How the hell you hunt ghosts for fun, I’ll never know.”

Glenn took off while Tessa scooted closer to him to avoid being squashed by his big brother. He turned up the tunes. Life is good.

When he reached town, he drove past the hotel and looked down at Tessa. She seemed to be okay with it; she probably thought he was taking them to Haven. He frowned at Cole. Too bad so sad if he wanted to go to the hotel.

On the far north side of town, Glenn pulled in front of his house. She didn’t have her computer. She didn’t have her cell phone. She didn’t have her gun. He’d made sure of that before he shanghaied her out of the hotel earlier.

“Wow,” she said after sliding out behind him and staring at the waterfall falling into a pool beneath. “Where are we?”

“My house, Tess. Come on.” He slid his arm around her waist, but she walked off to look over his yard.

He turned toward Cole. “Come in or don’t. Keys are in the truck if you want to go to the hotel. She’s not going back. She’s finally out of the hotel room; he didn’t get a shot of her on the security camera. She’s not got a thing on her for Yori Korskovf to track her down.”

Cole nodded and slid over behind the wheel. “He’s no doubt in DC waiting. Are you going to tell her or am I?”

“I got this, brother.” Glenn replied before escorting Tessa into his house and shutting the door.

“Tell me what?” she asked while he turned on his security system.

Glenn leaned in toward her, placing his arms on either side of her against the front door. Time to take her brain offline. She leaned forward toward his descending mouth. He kissed her like a level way beyond the level appropriate for her state of totally dressed, until she had her arms around his neck, fingers in his hair, body pressing against him and he held all her weight. He lifted her to him and walked down the hall.

He lowered her back onto his bed. He hit a button on a remote and glass doors slid back and open until there was no obstruction from the bed to the night sky. She blinked a couple times.

“Wow.” Dark green eyes swung back to his face as he leaned over her. Staring into his eyes, she whispered, “Wow.” Her breaths still heaved in and out; her arms pulling him closer, pulling him back to capture her mouth again. She stroked her hands down his back, her fingers under his shirt softer not clawing him like at the door. Her mouth, her tongue, changing tones too, like maybe she sought to tell him she was interested in something other than shooting straight for sexual satisfaction.

He lifted off her and pulled off his shirt, trying to hang onto some shred of control, trying but not sure he could, wound so tight with adrenaline still double-pumping in his veins from chasing out her ghosts. He stared down at her red-gold curls spread out, her lips wet and panting. Green eyes blinked half-hidden under passion-heavy lids.

“Come back down here,” she purred, but she rolled to her knees too and reached for his belt buckle. Her other hand pulled off her necklace. “I’m on the pill.”

He rolled her back under him, holding her arms on either side of her head. “I’m not doing it right if you can still think.”

“Oh but you are,” she assured him and wrapped her legs around his waist. She nudged him.

“No hurry,” he whispered. But she had tipped from the edge of surrender back to pursuit and he had to get them off the bed before his plan backfired. He groaned. “Told ya, I’m not that guy.”

She growled with frustration and bucked into him again. “Can’t think.”

“Love, Tessa. Not screwing.”

“Don’t tease me, Glenn. I want you however you want it.”

He exhaled out a shaky breath before scooping her from the mattress into his arms. He carried her out the open doors, kissing her again until he stood next to the heated pool.

She glanced from the rushing waterfall, to the pool, to him. He’d told her before he had her diary. “Are you that guy?”

“I am.” He stepped down the stones, regardless of his jeans or her still fully dressed, leading them into the warm water. He sat her on a ledge where jet sprays pulsated against his hands on her back.

“Look and listen,” he suggested of their surroundings. She tilted her head, staring at the blue-black blanket of the Milky Way, crickets chirping, water spilling in a cascade to her right. “Do you feel miniscule in the Grand Design yet? Do you feel alone in the universe?”


“You’re not, Tessa. You are nowhere close to invisible to me.”

She tilted her head toward him, probing his steady regard as if she might be able to read the fine print on his soul. “What am I going to do about you, Glenn?” sounded dismayed like maybe she realized he was past the firewall around her heart. “I’m leaving. It’ll hurt to love you and leave.”

“Stay in the moment with me for right now. Love me, Tessa, for right now.”

She pulled her wet t-shirt away from her skin, fanning the dripping material. “You make me crazy.”

“That was close. Try again, darlin’.”

She blew out two quick breaths like maybe she’d run, but she cupped her hands around his face. “I love you.”

“About damn time.” He cranked the heat back up between them to where it was at the front door. Running hot, they stepped down into a page from her diary.

Late afternoon sunshine flooded his bedroom when he opened his eyes many hours later and discovered Tessa staring at the view. “G’mornin’,” he said with a smile, even if it was nearly evening.

She smiled at him and tilted her head toward the outdoors. “You’re quite the artist, marking the land to continue in grandeur until well past the time when you’ll walk the Earth.”

Glenn sat up. “Thanks, Tess.” She looked way too serious, deep contemplation. He had no doubt she’d enjoyed herself, no doubt she’d showed him she loved him the night before.

Her lips lifted on one side. “If I can’t look forward,” she glanced from the view to his eyes again. “Then my whole life will pass while I’m looking back. At you.”

“High noon tomorrow, your showdown with the law. Tryouts in DC.” He brushed his hand from her hair, down her bare back. “Will you spit in your superior’s face, Tess, if you work for DHS?”

“You know me dangerously well,” she laughed. “I don’t know. I should hope I’m a better player than that now.” She shook her head. “I should leave soon, so I can leave for the city.”

“You don’t have to leave yet.”

She sighed. “I’m supposed to meet David tonight at his apartment by ten.”

“Is this the guy whose sheets might get cold?”

She grinned. “He’s not interested in that way in females. He likes guys; I like guys; we get along great. He works for the senator too. He’s trying out too.”

“Come back down here,” Glenn purred. “Don’t hurry off to the city where Yori Korskovf has a price on your head to be snuffed if you show for those tryouts.”

She stiffened. “How do you know that?”

“Cole has connections.”

“So do David and I.”

“Still want to go hack a heart, Tessa?”

She stood up, sunshine on her body. “An insulin pump. When Yori shows for me, it’ll be the last thing he does.” Like she had not admitted to planning a man’s demise, Tessa crooked her finger toward him. “Wanna take a shower with me?”

“Yeah,” he said, but he sat on the bed staring at her. “Wouldn’t it be a lot wiser to wait until you have immunity and invisibility before you go up against,” he said, unable to keep the volume on his voice low, “the flipping head of the Russian mafia, of the cyberwar?”

She frowned. “I didn’t want that to touch you, Glenn, or Haven.”

“I know you made sure you protected me. Who is going to protect you, Tessa?”

She lifted her lips in a lop-sided grin. She did not have any answer to that other than, “Me myself and I.”

Not at all comforted hearing that, Glenn blew out a deep exhale and fell back on the bed. “Okay, God,” he said aloud. “I was wrong when I went with my own plan, thinking maybe I could make her crazy enough for me that she wouldn’t run off east to the city. I don’t want to hold her back though like Sam did. Now I’m in trouble, please help me with this woman.”

“Oh, Glenn.” Was it the way the sun hit her green eyes or did she blink away tears? “I hate tragedies,” she muttered and then headed into the shower.

He sighed again before he swung up to his feet. “Me too,” he muttered.

He called his brother to warn him she was ready to leave, yet not ready to pass her into his very capable hands. Cole would get her to tryouts safely. She could roast his brother, not Glenn, for keeping her from David. He hung up with his brother’s voicemail; weird, Cole unplugged? Glenn pulled on his jeans while hoping he could see her off at the hotel without his heart breaking as she walked out of his life again.

Tessa had managed to shower, coming out with a towel wrapped around her body. She wasn’t ready to go quite yet, her bold green eyes warned him she was about to come on strong.

Glenn glanced at the clock; Cole would be bringing his truck back. He didn’t want his brother interrupting them again. He frowned; Cole wasn’t answering his text, IM, cell or the hotel phone. His brother unplugged? Something was wrong.

He groaned as her hands roamed over his body. “I can’t think when you do that, Tessa.” The warning something was wrong with his brother pounded louder this time across his mind.

Tessa stopped moving for a minute. “I’m gonna go to hell,” she whispered before dashing toward a table beside the bed and scooping her USB necklace into her hand. “I need a wireless laptop and an antenna.”

He tossed up his hands in the air. “What the—“

“Now,” she demanded, purple USB in hand. “Hurry, Glenn. Yori is outside with Cole.”

When Glenn saw two men walking across his side yard, he pushed Tessa toward the bathroom. “Lock the door,” he said as he yanked open a drawer and picked up his gun. All good country boys have guns.

Tessa growled and tried to keep open the door which he was closing. “I got it. Just get me a laptop.”

By then Yori walked into the open bedroom, two armed gunmen came up behind him. Cole stepped in too, bloody and battered. He looked like someone had pounded the holy crap out of him. Glenn growled; he’d left the connecting door to her hotel room open when he’d hijacked her for a ghost hunt. Her cell phone? Cole had been right when Glenn had thought him a bit paranoid.

“Nyet, nyet, nyet,” a bearded man said in Russian and pointed a third gun at Cole. Wasn’t that Tessa’s gun? “Tessa Kendall, give me your code.”

Glenn growled, “Dammit to hell, woman.” She stepped next to him, still wrapped in a towel, holding up the USB necklace. He held the gun pointed straight at the bearded Russian’s head.

She pointed at Cole and shrugged. “Go ahead, make my day. Shoot Stone.”

Yori switched targets, pointing the pistol at Glenn. “Ah the owner of Haven. We would have been here sooner, but finding my cyberenemy face-to-face and unsuspecting was even more tempting than your code at that minute.”

Tessa wavered, swinging the USB necklace. “Is it one of these?” She shrugged again.

“Give the necklace to me. Do you think I would believe you don’t have your code under your lovely nose?” Korskovf patted a small notebook computer at his side. “It’s not in your hotel room. It’s not on any of those laptops. Not in the hotel room safe.” He lifted his hand for the necklace.

Tessa looked from Glenn, to one of the two gunmen, back to Glenn. While Korskovf grabbed the necklace and plugged in the green USB, she looked from Cole to the other gunman to Cole again.

Glenn felt like his blood clotted with ice, more scared than any ghost hunt or the worst of demons. Don’t be stupid, he tried to send her a vibe. One gun to three? Someone wasn’t gonna make it out from this.

“Nyet,” the Russian mobster growled before yanking out the green to replace with a silver memory stick.

“Woops,” she taunted the Russian as whatever had been on that USB killed his notebook computer.

The stream of foreign words no doubt cursing her, Korskovf plugged his phone into his insulin pump. He plugged another USB, purple this time, into his phone.

“I’m gonna go to hell,” she repeated for the second time in ten minutes.

Korskovf dropped to his knees, grabbing his stomach, grabbing at his chest. “Kill them.”

Glenn fired at the same time as one of the Russians. The man folded back, bullet in his forehead. The gunman’s bullet ripped across Glenn’s shoulder, bullet hitting the glass wall behind him. The aquarium shattered, spraying glass shards, flooding water and tropical fish into the bedroom. Cole had grabbed Korskovf’s gun without taking it from his hand and fired back into the other gunman. Tessa’s handgun, Glenn groaned as tangled thoughts rushed through his mind.

Korskovf fell face forward on the floor, blood gushing from his mouth.

Tessa stepped closer to Cole. “Are you okay?”

“Not so much.” He clutched his side, his hand over his ribs.

She turned toward Glenn, glanced at the blood oozing down his arm from his shoulder, and Tessa Kendall burst out crying. “Where are the keys to your truck?”

Cole groaned. “Hotel with the truck. Korskovf has an RV, a regular command center, about an acre behind here. They took down the security system. There are three more armed men; they’ll be coming.” He grabbed Glenn’s phone.

Glenn grabbed Tessa, pushing her in front of him down the hallway and toward a door connected to his garage. He jerked a t-shirt from the top of the dryer as he passed. “Put this on,” he stood in front of her, blocking his brother’s view as Cole barked on the cell phone. She no sooner yanked the shirt on than Glenn pressed the key to his dirt bike in her hand. “Go!” he commanded her.

Cole yanked a shotgun off the side of the garage, pumping it as he fed in bullets. He jerked it once more with one hand, cocked and loaded. “Go!” he yelled at her as the garage door opened.

“God,” she pleaded. “I don’t know what to do!”

Glenn swung one arm over her, swung her over the bike, turned the key and kicked it started. “Damn you, Tessa, ride you fool!”

She kicked it in gear with her bare foot and opened the throttle, shooting out of the garage and into the woods.

From the backend of his house, where his bedroom was opened to the outdoors, automatic weapons barked, bullets ricocheted, sounding worse than any first person shooter in real-time. Gunfire tore through every room of his house, coming closer. He glanced at his brother, blew out two quick exhales and opened fire as the connecting door opened.

The shotgun blast picked up the first man a few feet away and slammed him back into the two men behind him. The next gunman in line depressed his finger on the automatic weapon as it swung up toward the ceiling, firing away. Glenn fired his gun twice. Headshot, rang out across his mind as his stomach churned. The last gunman fired a stream of white, flickering from the snout, bullets spitting rapid-fire, sending him and Cole both diving for cover.

Another gun barked from the house. The last gunman fell forward. Tessa stood behind him holding a smoking gun. She’d spun around and come in the backdoor, reclaiming her gun from a dead Korskovf. Glenn wasn’t sure if he would laugh or cry when he saw her standing there, holding her gun, chest rising and falling as she heaved out breaths, wearing his t-shirt miles too big and hanging off one shoulder. If he didn’t love her before, this woman would be tattooed on the back of his eyelids for eternity. He’d tell her he loved her, right after he wrung her neck!

Sirens wailed in the background and headed north of town, his way.

Glenn pointed at her. “Get your USBs and get out of here!”

Tessa dropped her lock elbows, gun swinging down to her side.

“Go. Get your necklace and go, Tessa!”

Green eyes narrowed for a second, but then she spun around.

In less than thirty seconds, the dirt bike revved as the sound of a running motor gained distance.

Three squad cars, lights flashing, screeched to a halt in front of his house. An ambulance siren wailed in the driveway. As uniformed men and women flooded into the house from an open garage door, Glenn shook his head. This would be one hell of a mess after forensic science ran tests. Why had he gone off and decided his plan was better than God’s urging him patience in his quest for Tessa’s love?

Three days later, Glenn stared at his wrecked home bandaged in yellow police tape, and told himself for the umpteenth time, “She’ll be back.” The package of trouble who put his brother and him in the hospital for a day, haunted him every second since she rode off. She’d come back for a piece of the action, whether she came back for his love or not. Nobody walked away from sex that hot.

Cole had called from the hospital when he missed candidate selection at the tryouts for the cyber CT; Tessa had not shown to test.

Cole had pulled a little DHS magic. She could come back and not be busted. The government was all too happy to have Korskovf dead. But Tessa had not returned to the hotel, had not picked up her car, she’d pulled a ghost and vanished. His brother had also tried to find her, but she’d gone silent.

“I hate it when you do that,” Glenn growled as he paced his yard. He found no trace of his bike or the woman who rode off practically naked on it.

If she’d just come back, Glenn would ghost with her.

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.

Was Cole using a helicopter again for a taxi in the rural lands? In no mood for either a lecture or more bad news in locating her, Glenn closed his eyes and prayed for patience. But the helicopter blew a whirl of wind his way as it landed in his backyard. It wasn’t the same helicopter. Was that a senator stepping out and walking toward him?

A young bearded man stopped with the senator in front of Glenn. The young man smiled, and muttered, “I can see it.”

The senator held out one hand. “Glenn Reston?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Did you tell Tessa Kendall to get out of your life?”

Glenn snorted, but then shook his head. “Where is she?”

The senator laughed. “Told her no man would be that stupid.”

The young man with a scruffy beard, black t-shirt and black jeans, held out his hand. “I’m David. Please come with us.”

Glenn hopped in with them, into one of the back chairs, and watched the rural land disappear beneath him. They flew until closing in on a city, looking like a campus university where the helicopter dropped off Glenn and David. “Where are we?” Glenn asked.

“This is where scientists are studying the secrets of invisibility.”

Glenn snorted again, before following the young man who swiped a badge at a door and opened it for him. There sat Tessa, at a table with coffee in one hand and laptop in front of her. She had on a black powersuit, wearing sunglasses in the bright windowed room. White earbud cords hung from her ears and he could hear the playlist from where he stood gawking at her. “She thinks she’s invisible right now.”

David laughed. “I know. She doesn’t know we went after you, but she’s frustrated and making us all miserable!”

Like she might feel his presence, Tessa lifted her face from the screen. Mirrored sunglasses reflected his image back at him. Her tongue slicked over her lips and she jumped to her feet. “Glenn!” She yanked out her earbuds. “I thought you told me to get out of your life.”

A few short hours ago, Glenn wanted her in his arms. Seeing her safe and sound, he wanted to yell at her. “You make me crazy, Tessa.”

She tossed her sunglasses onto her laptop. “I love you too!” She launched at him, wrapping her arms around his neck.

Glenn felt even a bit better when she slid her hand over the bandage showing from his t-shirt near his upper arm. “Sorry, handsome. If you’ll let me back in Haven, I can work for these guys remotely. They’re gonna make me invisible some day.”

Glenn laughed. “You scared me to death, Tessa. You aren’t gonna go to hell for kill or be killed, but you weren’t ready to meet your Maker.”

“Funny how fast I got reacquainted with flying bullets in the room.” She winked at him, dimples carving on either side of her smile. “I must love you, Glenn. I’m pretty sure God told me to have patience these last days, but you know I don’t have any.”

Glenn laughed again. Working on her patience, it was good for her.

Tessa continued like she needed to give him a reason to come back. “I’ll help you hunt ghosts, Glenn Reston. I’ll document it and lock it up like corporate code until you want to publish it.”

“Deal,” Glenn kissed her to seal it. The sun beat down, a golden ray lighting the path as they stepped arm in arm out the building.

Happily Ever After!

This is how it it first went down with Glenn and Tessa. It took some distburbed and buckcherry, but there you have it. Another headed for not a happy ending, twisted until it's fairly warm and fuzzy.