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[personal profile] parallax23
The Shortest Distance

Summary: When Kris and Junior’s fairy tale ending hits a snag, they return home to Raintree to find themselves again.

Chapter 5

“It’s been two days,” Ken Davis said.  He stood in what was supposed to be his home office, but it had been taken over by his son. “Get out of here and go talk to your wife.”

Junior looked up from the balance sheets in front of him and at his father.  Ken was dressed for his two o’clock tee time, so Junior couldn’t understand the rush to get rid of him.  “Isn’t this what you always wanted? For me to get away from Kris and to focus on the family finances?”

Ken snatched the papers away from his son. “You listen to me – those numbers mean nothing if you don’t have a family to finance.”

Junior gave his father a disingenuous look.  “I wasn’t the one who made that decision.”

“What decision?  You ran off in the middle of the night after one fight,” Ken snapped.  “Now stop acting like a child and fix your marriage.  You’ll have a kid and you can’t hide from that.  Also, I’m not handing over half of the estate to that girl.”

Junior sighed.  “There’s the Dad I know and love.”

“I’d have your sister come here and set you straight, but she’s been avoiding my calls lately,” his father told him.

“Did you insult her taste in shoes or men this time?”

“Don’t get cute with me,” Ken warned.

The maid knocked on the door and entered the room, interrupting their discussion.  “Mr. Davis, you have someone waiting for you outside.”

“Which of us are you referring to, Claudia?” asked Ken.

“The younger Mr. Davis.  Your wife is acting oddly.  She asked that I get you,” said the older woman.  She seemed more exasperated than concerned.

Junior rolled his eyes.  “That’s the understatement of the year.”

He rose from the desk and left the office.  His father said nothing, and simply watched and shook his head at Junior as he left.  Why didn’t Kris just use her key?  Why have Claudia announce her?  His wife was puzzling him more and more these days.

“Hey,” Kris greeted him sheepishly as she stood in the front entrance, almost like a stranger.

Her hands were in her pockets, and for a moment Junior felt like they had gone back in time to when they were first dating.  He almost wanted to smile sheepishly like he would have back then.  But Junior remembered the circumstances that caused them to stand on opposite sides of the doorway, and he stiffened himself.

“Hey? That’s what you have to say to me?”

Kris nodded.  “There’s more.”

“No kidding.”

“Can we get out of here?” Kris asked, placing her hand on his arm.

“Fine,” he said, and he followed her out to the driveway.

She pressed the alarm to his new Prius and got into the front seat.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Just trust me, okay?” she asked.  “I know it’s asking a lot, but please just get in the car.”

Junior couldn’t say no to her.  Also, as his father had pointed out, this was no time to act like a petulant child.  He reluctantly got into the passenger seat.

“If you plan to kill me, just know there’s two witnesses and a surveillance video of me getting in the car,” Junior told her sardonically.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Kris as they drove away from the house.

“That you’ve been acting like weird these last few weeks,” he said in a cold tone.  “I have no idea what’s going on in your head.”

Kris flinched. “I kind of deserved that.”

“I’m sorry,” Junior relented.

The rest of the drive was silent until Kris made a turn off the highway and onto a backroad.  She stopped the car and got out.  “We’re here.”

When Junior got out of the car, he realized that she had brought him to the overpass.  It had been his sanctuary until he brought her here.  This was their place to escape to when the world was too much.  He followed her up the hill and sat beside her, looking at the winding highway between Davis Farms and Fremont.

Kris looked at him sincerely, and drew in a breath.  “I want a do-over.”

“Okay, I’m listening,” Junior said after a brief pause.

Kris nodded and decided to begin.  Suddenly, the story of the call from Jace came flooding out.  She told him about the new sister, the wedding and the argument that followed.  When it came to her family, her automatic response had been to avoid them.  It was part of a past that she sometimes wished to forget altogether because she was so ashamed of it.  They had hurt her so many times and so many ways, she wasn’t sure if she had it in her to forgive them.  It would also mean facing that she had also had some faults.

Junior sat there, unspeaking and unreadable as she relayed how she was angry at Jace, how Jace was angry at her, but he was still her brother and she hated fighting with him.  It had become a secret eating away at her.  She lost her focus during training, and it was part of what led to her accident with Montana.  He found it painful to listen to that part of the story.  The memory of hearing that Kris had been taken to the hospital was still too raw.  Still, she continued.

“…All I could think was how everything I worked for had just vanished.  I felt eighteen again – I was just learning how to ride and screwing up…  I was angry at my family… and I was still trying to figure us out…” Kris admitted, and she started tearing up.  “I felt so lost.”

“Kris,” Junior said and put his arm around her, kissing the top of her head.

“After I left the hospital, I got a call from the doctor’s office,” Kris said.  “My blood tests had come back, and they had found something unusual…”

“Your hormone levels?” he asked.

“Flame won’t be our only baby anymore,” Kris said and smiled.  He pulled her closer to him.  “I can hardly believe it.”

Junior looked down at her, and started grinning.  The moment felt so perfect to receive good news like this.  He kissed her.

Kris felt a huge weight lifted off her shoulders.  They were good again.  “I should’ve just been honest with you, and myself, from the beginning.  But once it all started, I didn’t know how to undo it.  I thought if I went back to Raintree, everything would get better like when we were younger.”

Junior held her close.  “It wasn’t just you.  We both lost sight of things.  I was so caught up with work, and I didn’t see what was happening with you.  Some days, I think we got married but we didn’t realize what that meant.”

Kris nodded and hugged him closer.

“We thought that we had a system that let us pursue what we wanted in spite of being married.  But it’s not working anymore.  Now it’s time to finally settle down.  Not that we have any choice in the matter,” Junior told her and smiled into her hair.

“The do-over isn’t done yet.”  Kris stood up, and helped Junior to his feet.

“What else could there be?”

“You’ll have to get in the car to find out,” said Kris as she got into the car.

Junior shook his head and got in the passenger seat.  “Remember – there is a video of me getting into this car.”

Kris playfully smacked him in the shoulder and started the engine.  “That was for trading in the Porsche for the Prius by the way.”

“What’s going to happen when we have to trade this in for a minivan?”

Kris laughed as she drove.  “We are not getting a minivan.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” said Junior.  “You refused to even get in this car three months ago, now look at you.”

“I’m driving it because we don’t have another car,” Kris told him.

“Wait a minute,” said Junior.  “I remember the first time I got you in here and convinced you to test out the back seat…”

Kris cringed. “Don’t remind me.”

“But you’re three months along, so maybe–”

“No.  That’s not even a possibility.”

Junior grinned.  “Nope, sorry, it’s official.  This car is forever part of the family.”

“No, it’s not.  If the Porsche didn’t get to stay, this doesn’t either.”

Junior was about to playfully argue with her again when he noticed that they had driven through the front gate of the McKinnon ranch.  “Whoa there, we’re not supposed to be here.  Don’t you remember that Arthur McKinnon would throw a fit if you even drove past the place?”

“You mean when you drove past the place,” Kris corrected him as she continued driving up to the house.

“You know I made all those jokes I made about you killing me, but I just want to reconfirm that those were in fact jokes,” said Junior.  “Seriously, what are we doing here?  Old Artie has been trying to get a clean shot at me since I learned to drive.”

“Why? Were you bringing his daughter home past curfew?” Kris teased.

“I don’t remember.  Something about a sheep I nearly hit or something.  Old Artie never had any kids,” Junior said.  “Lots of sheep though.”

Finally, Kris stopped in front of the house and turned off the car.   “That explains a few things.”

“Kris, what are we doing here?”

“You’ll have to follow me to find out,” Kris said and she got out of the car.

Junior sighed and followed her.  She stopped short at the front door of the ranch.

“Where are you going?”

“Just like us, Mr. McKinnon has reached a turning point in his life.  He’s set to retire in Florida in a few months,” Kris told him.  “He didn’t want to see his ranch turned into a bunch of housing complexes and a strip mall, so he’s had a hard time finding a seller.  But I managed to get Jean to put in a good word for us, in spite of the fact that your father is Ken Davis.”

Junior chuckled.  Then he realized what she was saying… “You bought the McKinnon Ranch?!”

“I know, I should’ve talked to you before I went out and did it,” Kris began.  “But it’s everything we said that we wanted, and figured that we’ve put off getting our own place for too long.”

“Kris, as long as it’s the two of us, it’ll always be home,” Junior told her, putting his arm around her.

“Plus, we’re at a great intersection.  We have the park to our north, Davis and Raintree both border the property,” she informed him.  “Who could say no to that?”

“You don’t say,” Junior laughed.  “It’s perfect.”

“Cutting across the McKinnon property is actually the shortest distance between Raintree and Davis,” Kris said.  “We’ll never have to go far to find our way home.”

Junior nodded.  “You know, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line?  So next time, just be straight with me.  It’s the quickest way back to happily ever after.”