CHAPTER 23: A CLOSING DOOR; AN OPEN WINDOW
About an hour later, it was all over but the shouting. Quintz/Scarlotti, Barnsall, Boggs, Nielson, Falco, Wilson and one other man—who had indeed been guarding another passage than the ones taken by Derek and Terri—were locked up in the brig. The confiscated drugs were also under lock and key, where they would remain until the ship docked again in Miami.
With permission and assistance from the captain, Derek had radioed Ted over an official channel the morning after the gang was rounded up, and Ted had promised to be in Miami himself when the ship docked. Derek would then take custody of the three suitcases and turn them over to Ted and his fellow agents from the DEA.
Terri had a difficult time relaxing immediately after the bust. The confrontation with the gang of drug dealers had been every bit as daunting as she had anticipated it's being. Almost everything she had done—nearly every action she had taken—had been instinctive.
As she thought about it, she realized that the adrenaline rush born of fear for both her own safety and Derek's was the thing that had kept her going. She had operated from basic instinct to preserve herself and her husband.
Now, as she waited in the cabin for Derek's return, her already-overwrought nerves were further strained. What if one or more of them had gotten free? What if he and the security team had to fight for their lives to get them back in restraints?
If Derek hadn't had to help the ship's security team with the formal incarceration of the gang—if, instead, he had been able to come back to the cabin with her immediately—she probably would have gone into shock on the spot, coming down from that adrenaline high and finally being able to relax. Derek, of course, would've understood . . . would've held her and soothed her until—within the circle of his arms—she felt safe and secure again.
As he approached the cabin, Derek dismissed young Shelby with a nod then exhaled and prayed: How should I do this, Lord? If I just walk right in, she might go into a panic.
Knock and speak, said the answering Voice inside his head.
"Right," Derek muttered. "Duh!" He knocked. "Terri, it's me," he said in a strong, clear voice. In a slightly softer tone he said, "I'm back."
Terri flung the door open and threw herself against her husband's ample chest. "Oh, Derek, I was so scared!"
"Let's go inside and sit down on the bed, zoetje," Derek said, trying his best to calm and reassure her. He picked her up, stepped into the cabin, kicked the door shut and sat down on the edge of the bed, holding her on his lap. After several minutes of quiet tears and calm reassurances, Terri was . . . almost back to her old self again . . . at least enough that she was able to enjoy what remained of their once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon cruise.
It was with mixed feelings of relief and sadness that Terri packed her bags on the morning of the seventeenth: relief because the ordeal was over (the drugs and their smugglers would be in the custody of the DEA before the day was out); and sadness because much of the trip had been pure bliss and she hated to see that aspect of it come to an end.
"All packed and ready to go, zoetje?" Derek asked, as he came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist and a smaller one in his hands that he was using to dry his hair.
"Physically, yes," Terri replied quietly, "—emotionally, no." She shook her head.
"I thought you'd be glad to get off this ship after all that's happened."
"Part of me is; but another part of me . . . ." She shook her head again and began to cry. "Derek, I don't want the honeymoon to end! After all the fun we've had on this cruise—swimming, dancing and playing games—I don't want to go back to that dingy little apartment of mine, and I don't want you to go back to work. I want us to be together twenty-four/seven—like we have been."
Derek stopped drying his hair, draped the towel around his neck and approached Terri, putting his hands on her tear-streaked cheeks. "As an economist, I'm sure you're aware that we live in a society that runs on money," he said, "and acquiring money requires going to work. So, unless you'd like to live in a commune or something . . ."
Terri smiled faintly and shook her head. "No, thanks." She sighed and turned around so that her back was to him, but his arms were still wrapped around her. "If we could extend the honeymoon for just another week or two . . . " she said, in a slightly whiny voice.
"Have you forgotten about Europe?" Derek asked.
"No, but that's still a month away," Terri pouted.
Derek put his hands on Terri's shoulders and turned her around to face him again. "I was hoping to save this for a surprise, but I hate to see you suffer; so I'll tell you now."
"Tell me what?"
"Dennis and Uncle Ted have moved all our belongings into an apartment in Denny's building. In fact, it's just three doors down from Den's, but on the other side of the hall. There's a swimming pool; a game room with a brick fireplace, a dartboard and billiard and ping pong tables. . . . There's even a large patio with a couple of built-in barbecues and some picnic tables. . . As for dancing . . . all of our favorite restaurants are still standing, as far as I know. So, cheer up! We can still have some fun together."
"Yeah, but you still have to go back to work."
"Not right away, I don't. . . Sure this was a honeymoon cruise. But it was an assignment first and a honeymoon second—a working vacation. Ted knows that, and he's giving us both a week's paid vacation, so that we can get settled into our new apartment and spend some time together, stress-free."
"But what about my apartment?" Terri asked. "I already paid the rent for this month before I left 'cause I thought we'd be living there until the job in Salt Lake came through."
Derek smiled. "I have another surprise for you: Laurel's living there."
"That's right. She wanted to be near Dennis, so she took a clerical job with some foreign diplomat. Den was holding the apartment in his building for her; but, like you, Laurel was worried about her reputation. So she moved into your place and she intends to pay you back for the rent as soon as we return to D.C. Dennis says Mr. Horowitz—excuse me, Eugene—is keeping a close eye on her, especially since she's your cousin. . ..
"Anyway, once Denny knew what Laurel wanted, he moved your stuff into the apartment in his building before Laurel arrived in D.C. After that, Uncle Ted helped him move my stuff out of his apartment and into that other one. As a result of all this, Mrs. Davenport, you and I will have an entire week to ourselves: we can do whatever we want to do, whenever we want to do it."
Terri nodded, smiling softly. "That's good, because I have a surprise for you, too."
"Yep. A week or two before you'll be eligible to go to the temple, I'll be giving birth to a tiny little Davenport."
Somewhat dazed, Derek's eyes slowly dropped to his wife's abdomen. "You—you're pregnant?" he asked hoarsely; he then returned his gaze to her face, "—already?"
"Mm-hm," Terri averred. "From what Dr. Spence and I were able to figure out, it happened before we set foot on this ship."
Derek was gazing at his wife with love and tenderness . . . and concern. "You knew before we went down to the hold that night, didn't you?"
Terri shook her head. "No, Derek, I didn't. I suspected I might be pregnant when I was . . . late; but I didn't know for sure till I went to see Dr. Spence the day after the arrests were made. You were tied up questioning the prisoners at the time."
Derek shook his head and looked at her with a furrowed brow. "It doesn't matter whether you knew for sure or not. If you even suspected you might be pregnant, you should've stayed behind and let me handle things on my own. If you had had a miscarriage . . . ."
"But I didn't. As a descendant of Mormon pioneers, I'm made of tougher stuff than that. Not only did my ancestors survive the trek west to the Great Basin, but Brigham Young sent them on yet another trek, all the way up north into Idaho. . . Anyway, if I hadn't gone with you, you could've been killed by one of those smugglers. They all hate you, Derek. I came on this cruise, not just as window dressing, but to watch your back; so that's precisely what I did. And Dr. Spence says I'm fine. He also says that I can pretty much do whatever I want to, as long as I don't overexert myself or do any heavy lifting."
"The doctor may say you're fine. But how do you feel?"
"I'm okay, geliefde, except for a little nausea . . . and that usually goes away if I eat something. So, let's just take the weekend off, spend it at your apartment in Miami—and maybe go to church there—then head back to D.C. on Sunday night or Monday morning and start getting settled into our new apartment then. . ..
"After we finish unpacking," she continued, "—and all the furniture and stuff has been put where we want it—we can relax and enjoy ourselves 'til it's time for you to go back to work. Of course, you'll have to move the furniture around all by yourself . . . unless you can get Dennis to help."
Derek wrapped his arms around his wife, held her tight and kissed the top of her head. "Whatever I have to do, I'll do. I'm just glad that both you and the baby are all right." He then pulled back a little and gazed down at her with a determined look in his eyes. "But from here on out, you're taking it easy. Whatever exercise your doctor says is okay for you to do, I'll allow; but, as Dr. Spence said, you're not going to do anything really strenuous."
"Yes, dear," Terri said placatingly, wearing just slightly more than a Mona Lisa smile.
"So . . . do you want a boy or a girl?" Derek asked, changing the subject.
Terri smiled. "I hope it's a boy, and I hope he looks just like you."
Derek smiled back, caressed her cheeks with his thumbs and said, "Whatever it is—boy or girl—since you're the mother, I'm sure it'll be the most beautiful child on the face of the earth."
"Of course it will, with you as its father," Terri returned.
Derek sighed. "I love you, Ter, and I wanna do everything I possibly can to make life easier for you. . . Are you sure a two-day weekend will be enough time for you to rest and recuperate from all the excitement you've had aboard this ship? . . . I mean, it's probably not gonna take us an entire week to get settled into our new apartment . . ."
Terri shrugged. "If the weekend alone isn't enough—if I feel like we should stay in Miami a little longer—I'll let you know."
"You'd better, 'cause I don't want you to lose that baby."
"This baby means as much to me as it does to you, Derek," Terri told him as she placed a hand tenderly on her abdomen. "I'll be careful and pace myself, I promise."
At that moment, the ship's horn signaled that they were pulling into port. Derek was looking up, listening to the sound. "We've arrived. Shall we go topside and wave at Dennis and Uncle Ted?"
"How long until we have to disembark?"
"Oh, about twenty minutes."
"Then let's stay here and make the most of what little time we have left," Terri said as she backed slowly toward the bed. "Unless twenty minutes isn't enough for you . . ."
"If it isn't," Derek said as he dropped his towels to the floor, "I'll let you know."
Terri smiled beguilingly. "Help me with my zipper?"
Half an hour later, Derek and Terri walked down the gangplank with two stewards carrying their luggage. Two of the ship's security personnel were right behind them, carrying three suitcases full of cocaine. The smugglers had already been turned over to the DEA, and Ted Burns was waiting for his nephew to report to him directly.
Clad in white cotton slacks and a brightly flowered shirt, Derek approached his uncle with outstretched arms and said, "Greetings, Honored Relative!" Despite appearances, the outstretched arms were not for hugging. "May I present you with the spoils of the battle, sir." With a flourish, he indicated the suitcases being carried by the ship's security team, who brought them forward and proceeded to set them on the ground at Ted's feet. While this was going on, Terri instructed the stewards to set their luggage down beside her.
"Gentlemen," continued Derek, addressing the security team and the stewards simultaneously, "as you leave, know that you take with you the sincere gratitude of my wife, myself and the United States government." He saluted. "Thank you all very much."
Two DEA agents came forward and picked up the suitcases containing the drugs, carrying them to a waiting government vehicle, which then drove away.
Ted Burns, with his shirt sleeves rolled up as usual, had his hands on his hips and was shaking his head, chuckling softly. "Derek, Derek, Derek," he said. "You are definitely one of a kind." Looking at Terri and indicating Derek with a thumb over his shoulder, he asked, "How do you put up with this guy?"
Terri smiled and said, "I love him. Besides, he's a whole lot different as a husband than he is as a nephew."
"I can well believe that. Now, c'mere and gimme a hug." As Derek approached, Ted waved him away. "Not you, you reprobate." Then he gathered Terri into his arms and gave her a fatherly hug. Pulling back a little, he asked, "How ya doin', kid? Was the whole affair a little rough for ya?"
"I'm fine, Uncle Ted. But, yeah, it was a little rough. A lot more happened than I expected."
"A lot more happened than any of us expected; but ya did good—both of you."
As Ted released Terri, her husband queried, "Where's Dennis? I thought he'd be here, too." He sounded disappointed.
Ted shrugged. "What can I say? The man's in love. He and Laurel have a date tonight. I expect there'll be more wedding bells in a month or two. . . How about I buy you two lunch?"
Derek shrugged. "Sure, why not? But could I call Mom first? There's something important that I need to tell her."
"You got that 'cat that swallowed the canary' look, Derek," said Ted cannily; "and you, Terri, are fairly glowing! I'm sure you two had a great honeymoon, but there's gotta be more to it than that if you have something to tell Deborah. . . ." A shrewd look crossed Ted's face; then his face lit up like that of a man who just won a million dollars. Looking directly at Terri he said, "Don't tell me! You're pregnant!"
Terri nodded excitedly. "Uh-huh!"
"Well! Congratulations! When's the big day?"
"Sometime in April."
"That'll be a red-letter month for you two, then. Wait 'til Deborah hears about this!" Grabbing his nephew and niece-by-marriage by their respective elbows, he said, "I know a great little seafood place not far from here and they have booths, so you can have a little privacy while you call your mom."
"Ted," spoke up Derek, "our luggage . . .?"
Ted stopped in his tracks. "Oh; oh, yeah." Turning around, he called out to a pair of young DEA agents-in-training who were there to observe, and barked, "Put Agent Davenport's luggage in the back of my car and drive it to his apartment." He tossed his car keys to the senior of the two. "Stay with it until we get there." Looking at his watch he said, "Give us a couple of hours. If you get bored . . . play rock, paper, scissors or tic-tac-toe." Then, wrapping his arms around the newlyweds, he said, "C'mon, you two. Let's go put on the feedbag. . ..
"Oh, by the way, Derek, one of your missionaries—Elder Wickham, I think it was—went home. Seems he was from Salt Lake. He sent you a wedding present." Ted reached into his shirt pocket, withdrew something small and handed it to Derek.
"Utah Jazz season tickets!" Derek exclaimed. "Awesome!"
"I hope you like basketball, Terri . . ." said Ted.
Terri laughed. "I love basketball—especially the Jazz. Those tickets must've cost Elder Wickham a small fortune. That's quite a sacrifice for someone who just spent two years serving the Lord and now has to go to college."
Ted shook his head. "His old man runs a car dealership and is friends with the owner of the Jazz. As I always say, 'It's not what you know, it's who you know that counts,' and brother, do you know some people! . . .
"Say, did I ever tell you about the time Dave and I actually met The President . . .?"