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Part Three, Chapter Nine

“You were very lucky, Dave,” commented the nurse as she changed the dressings on his wrists. He looked at his hands and agreed with her. Aside from the cuts, which would heal with time, they were back to normal. He had nearly full mobility and no nerve damage… Well, besides what had already been present. They’d had some trouble figuring out what was new injury and what was old, and most of his morning had been spent in a series of examining rooms, trying to listen in on consultations between his current doctors and the ones who had treated him last year.

He thought he heard a sound from Hutch however - a small sarcastic noise, at the nurse’s use of the word “lucky”. Starsky’s brows drew together, worriedly. Hutch had been useful in helping Starsky navigate his way to the bathroom, along with his IV stand, and he had assisted with a few other small chores, since he knew the routine almost as well as any of the regular staff. He was impeccably courteous to everyone around him. But the anger and tension in him was still quite obvious, even to the point where the nurses had discreetly begun to avoid him. Between tests and x-rays and people coming in and out of the room, there hadn’t been any time to talk.

Enough, thought Starsky, as the nurse finished her work and left with a smile. The room was finally empty, except for the two of them. He was tired, and he’d been looking forward to a nap, but there was something he needed to clear up first. Hutch was looking out the window, leaning stiff-armed on the sill.

There was a complicated idea in Starsky’s head about things that should have been said and done, but what came out instead was, “Are you mad at me?” He winced at his own words. That didn’t make as much sense as I thought it would. I wonder what kind of drugs they’ve got me on this time?

Hutch jumped as if stung. Appalled, he spun on his heel to face his friend. “Mad at you? God, no!”

“Then what?”

He gestured helplessly. “It’s just… just this job… this city… this whole damn world! Why can’t we ever get a break, huh? It seems like we barely get our feet under us when we’re dumped right back in a pile of…”

Starsky cut him off, abruptly. “Stop! Stop right there!” His breath caught in his throat and he had to squeeze his eyes shut for a moment until the sudden pain in his side eased. Hutch tried to say something but Starsky put up a hand, silently asking him to wait. His ribs had been wrapped, which helped a bit, but it still hurt to speak too forcefully, or even to breathe, for that matter. When he had collected himself, he said, carefully, “Don’t do this, buddy. We both know what happens when you start goin’ down that road.”

Starsky watched as anger flashed across Hutch’s face and he opened his mouth, and then snapped it shut, clearly unwilling to say whatever was on his mind. With a helpless gesture, Hutch turned back to the window.

I can’t do this again, thought Starsky, frustrated. He knew what he was seeing. He’d seen it most of the year before Gunther's goons had shot him. Hutch would get angry, only instead of doing something sensible like throwing furniture or punching a hole in the wall, he’d get sarcastic and bitter and start shoving everyone away.

He tried to push past the discomfort in his chest, needing Hutch to hear the urgency in his words. “Listen, what d’ya want from me here? What do you expect me to do?” Warningly, he said, “Don’t push me buddy, or I’ll… I’ll fake amnesia!”

That definitely got Hutch’s attention. “You’ll do what?”

Starsky tilted his head to the side, his eyes fixed on his friend. “I figure I still owe you one from the time you pulled that little stunt, don’t I?”

The time Hutch had pretended to have amnesia had been one of the first times Starsky had seen this side of him. At first he’d been angry, but later he realized that the man had been fishing for reasons to stay on the force. He needed to hear all those stories, reminding him of who he was – of who they were. Of course, why on earth he couldn’t just come right out and say, I’m having a crisis here and I don’t know what the point of anything is anymore, can you tell me? Starsky didn’t know. But he supposed that was just the way Hutch was.

He must have said the right thing this time though, because Hutch suddenly started laughing in a surprised kind of way. Starsky smiled, relieved and entirely pleased with himself. “Now, did they tell you?” he asked, hopefully. “How soon can I get out of here?”

Hutch grimaced sympathetically. “They want to take some more pictures of your insides. They said they need to keep you at least one more night for observation.”

Starsky made a disappointed noise. “I hate this place.”

He heard Hutch’s reply of ‘I know’, but he wasn’t finished speaking. “Where does Reg go during the school year? Is he still hanging around, or did he take off? If he’s left the city, he’ll be back by next summer, maybe sooner. He said his mother disappeared. I wonder if they ever filed a missing persons’ report on her. I wanna track her down. I’m going to get this guy, Hutch. I just got to get out of here, first.” The constriction in his chest, and the need to breathe, finally forced him to stop. He regarded Hutch anxiously, wondering if he’d got the point yet of what he was trying to say.

When everything goes to pieces around you, all you can do is focus on the present. You’ve got to tackle the problems right in front of you, and never stop moving forward.

Starsky knew that. He just wished Hutch could believe it.

“I don’t know how you do it,” said Hutch, shaking his head. “How do you go through hell and come out the other side, still fighting?”

Starsky sighed, carefully, remembering to take little breaths. “Hutch?”


“I’m tired. Stop thinking so much, will ya? It’s not good for either of us.”

He closed his eyes. After a moment, he heard Hutch walk around the foot of this bed to settle back down into the chair on the far side. Starsky smiled to himself, thinking that things were going to be all right after all. He was just beginning to wonder how Becky was coping, when sleep claimed him for real.


Starsky was unenthusiastically inspecting the contents of his hospital lunch tray when Becky appeared at the door of his room, clutching an enormous brown paper bag to her chest.

She peered around the bag, and gave him a nervous smile. “Hi! Are you up for a visitor?”

“Absolutely!” he said with somewhat more force than was necessary, as he shoved the tray away from himself.

Becky moved into the room and carefully set down the brown bag on the table beside the bed. Starsky caught the scent of… was it chicken soup? Roast beef? Hopefully, he asked, “What’s this?”

“This is food,” she said, a slightly teasing tone in her voice. As she unpacked the bag, she commented, “You know, my mother really likes you. She says no one can recover from anything on hospital food, so she’s packed you enough for lunch and dinner, and I’m supposed to bring you even more tomorrow, or however long you’re here.”

Starsky shifted carefully around in bed until he was in a position to truly appreciate the bounty of cold cuts, antipastos, deli-style sandwiches, fresh fruit and little Tupperware containers of soup that were appearing on the table. There appeared to be enough not only to provide for his own meals, but also to feed half his floor as well.

“Oh-ho!” he said, grinning. “I think I really like your mother, too.”

“Yeah, she’s not too bad,” said Becky. “I could do without the rest of them, though.”

The sour note in her voice caught his attention. He paused, his hand checked in the action of reaching for a sandwich. “Hmm?”

She shrugged, not meeting his gaze. “Oh, my brother’s a jerk, and my sisters…” Becky stopped, clearly having second thoughts about what she’d intended to say. “Judith’s in super-mom mode, and Naomi is just horrible, as usual. It’s not important.” She unearthed some paper plates, and began to unwrap the roast beef sandwich Starsky had shown interest in.

He gave her a speculative look. “Your mom convinced you to stay with her, didn’t she?”

“Yep,” she confirmed, ruefully. Handing him the sandwich, she threw herself down in the chair. “I’m a grown woman! How is it they always bring out the six year old in me?”

He suppressed a smile. She was sitting with one ankle tucked under her knee and her elbows propped up on the armrests, looking very much like the discontented child she claimed she wasn’t. “They love you?” he suggested. He took a bite of the sandwich, and made a contented noise. Becky’s mother clearly understood just what sort of food meant comfort.

“Yeah, I know,” she said. As if reciting a well-memorized lesson, she added, “They all just want what’s best for me.”

Usually Starsky could tell exactly what Becky was thinking. This time, he wasn’t so sure. There was a reserve about her that he hadn’t seen before. He supposed it was only natural, given what she had been through. She probably still needed time to process everything that had happened.

He was halfway through his sandwich, when Becky turned to look at him, and said, tentatively, “About the other night…”

A nurse stuck her head in the room and said with a smile, “Excuse me, miss, is that your dog in the blue car outside?”

Starsky silently cursed all of life’s inconvenient interruptions, as Becky started and turned with wide eyes to say, “Umm, probably.”

“He’s honking your horn,” said the nurse, sounding amused. Starsky was suddenly aware of the fact that over the last few minutes, he’d been hearing the distant blare of a car horn being sounded with monotonous regularity somewhere outside the building. He’d been so focused on Becky that he hadn’t paid attention to it before this.


 “What?” Starsky and Becky asked nearly simultaneously.

“I borrowed my mother’s car,” she explained. “Monster’s still nervous about being left alone, so I let him come along with me for the ride. He usually just goes to sleep in the back seat!”

The nurse laughed. “Well, it looks like he’s figured out that standing on the steering wheel gets him a lot more attention. I’m afraid we’re going to have to ask you to take him home.”

“Oh, wow!” Becky checked her watch and said, “And, oh, darn. By the time I get him home and back… They should have longer visiting hours. I’m really sorry! I’ll be back tomorrow, okay?”

“Sure!” said Starsky, resigning himself to the unavoidable with good grace. “Don’t forget to tell your mother how much I love her.”

She flashed him a brilliant smile. “Will do!”


Hutch’s mood was improving. Starsky was doing very well, according to his doctor, and he might even be released by the next evening, assuming someone could stay with him for a few days. Hutch assured them that wouldn’t be a problem.

The one thing he couldn’t shake was the nagging feeling that this could all have been prevented. Reg had approached Becky once at the animal clinic. He should have been able to predict that Reg would try to use her to get to him, once the more direct attempts had failed.

If Starsky hadn’t been there, that night…

As he turned into the hallway, he saw Becky leaving Starsky’s room. He started towards her with a smile, but she didn’t notice him. She had paused outside the closed door, lost in thought, a slight frown crossing her face.

He was nearly within arm’s reach before she glanced up and recognized him with an automatic smile.

“How are you doing?” asked Hutch.

She blinked. “Okay, I guess. I was just thinking…”

He caught the hesitation in her voice and asked, “About what?”

“A lot of things,” she said with a shrug. She smiled again, more genuinely this time. “Apparently my dog’s making a scene down in the parking lot. I’ll see you later!”

Hutch gazed after her as she headed for the elevators, worried. Becky and Starsky hadn’t been a couple for very long, and he knew well how an event like this could destroy a relationship. She’d not only had a bad scare, but she’d also had a clear look at the kind of violence a cop’s life could entail.

Well, if she did end up deciding to end things with Starsky, she wouldn’t be the first. He’d dealt with this in the past, and he’d deal with it again, one way or another. It was just a shame, coming on top of everything else he’d been through.

“Was that Becky?”

Hutch turned, surprised to see Dawn coming down the hall towards him, his gym bag over her shoulder. “Yes…”

“She’s cute!” Dawn had awarded Becky only the briefest of glances. Her focus was on Hutch. Positioning herself in front of him, she looked him up and down, from head to toe, her lips pursed. He awaited her final conclusion, and wondered if she intended to pick a fight.

Finally, she said, “You look terrible.”

The corners of his mouth pulled down into a frown. “I’m fine.”

“You’re a walking disaster,” said Dawn decisively. “I’ll bet Dave looks better than you do, right now.”

Hutch ducked his head, rubbing the knot of tension in the back of his neck. He really didn’t want to fight. Not now, not here. “Starsky looks pretty good actually.” He paused, and then added, “He told me I think too much.”

“He’s right.” Dawn handed him the gym bag. “Go shave and put on some clean clothes. Have you eaten anything yet?”

Hutch tried to remember. There’d been coffee, certainly. Lots of coffee, and maybe a muffin? He wasn’t sure about that last. “No…”

“I didn’t think so,” said Dawn, briskly. “I’m going to say hi to Dave. When you’re done cleaning yourself up, you can take me out to lunch. It’ll be by way of an apology for being such an ass last night.”

“What?” He wasn’t sure he’d heard her right. What could he possibly have to apologize for?

“You owe me,” she said smugly.

“I do not!”

“It’s going to be a very nice lunch, too.” She was smirking as she swept by him into Starsky’s room. He thought he heard her say something under her breath about ‘so he thinks I can’t handle my own husband’, but he decided he must have been mistaken. With an annoyed shrug, he headed for the bathroom.

Come to think of it, he was a little hungry…


Hutch spent most of the next morning tied up in paperwork at the precinct. Reginald Malcolm had apparently vanished off of the face of the earth, or at least off of the streets of the city. No one knew anything about where he might have gone. His disappearance was so complete that Hutch suspected the man might have had an alternate identity already in place. Unfortunately, that meant he could return at any time, a thought Hutch found distinctly unsettling.

And if Hutch was occasionally spotted in the parking lot checking under his car for bombs, no one in the precinct blamed him.

It was almost lunchtime by the time he made it back to the hospital. He pushed open the door to Starsky’s room, and then stopped in place, his eyebrows shooting up to his hairline.

Starsky was sitting cross-legged in the middle of his bed, surrounded by a bright tangle of multicolored yarn, holding… were those knitting needles?

His back had straightened at Hutch’s entrance and the look he gave him was very dignified. A little too dignified. Hutch knew an embarrassed partner when he saw one.

“It’s my physical therapist’s idea,” said Starsky, defensively. “She says that since she can’t work on my gross motor skills for a while, until my ribs heal, then I got to work on my fine motor skills instead. She wants me to learn to knit.”

“I see…” said Hutch, slowly, a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth.

Starsky shot him a warning glance. “You know, knitting used to be something men did. Back in the eighteenth century, the sailors on the old whaling ships knitted all their own socks.” His therapist had spent most of the morning trying to convince him that this was a manly occupation, besides being great therapy for his hands. The last thing he needed was to have Hutch making fun of him.

“Ah,” said Hutch, nodding. “So is that what you’re trying to make there? A sock?”

“No…” Starsky deflated, and mumbled, “It’s a pot holder. I think.”

Hutch couldn’t help himself any longer. He laughed heartily. Starsky rolled his eyes in apparent disgust, but secretly decided he didn’t mind so much after all. Not if it got Hutch smiling again.

He persevered with mastering the basic knit stitch for a while longer, before his body informed him that he’d better take a break. Putting the project aside for the moment, he eased himself carefully back down on the bed and closed his eyes.

Hutch was flipping through a magazine, assuming his friend had gone to sleep, when Starsky said, “I haven’t had much luck with girls, have I?”

“I don’t know about that,” said Hutch. “You’ve never had any trouble getting… a date.” He’d almost said ‘getting laid’ but it occurred to him that as far as he knew Becky was the first girl Starsky had gone out with since Gunther. A knot of worry settled in his stomach.

“That’s not what I mean,” said Starsky. “They don’t stick around.”

Hutch shifted uncomfortably. He didn’t know what to say.

Starsky didn’t seem to be waiting for an answer from him in any case. He continued, “It’s the job. Broken dates, and weird hours, and, well, stuff like this.” He waved a hand, vaguely indicating the room and himself and the hospital in general. “It gets to them. How many guys in our department d’ya figure are either single or divorced?”

“Dobey and Edith are solid,” said Hutch, desperately.

“There’s a few exceptions,” conceded Starsky. “I think it might have worked out with Terry… except they shot her. Because of me. Because of my job.” His tone was brutally factual.

The abject misery in Hutch’s expression caught Starsky’s attention. He felt a sudden twinge of regret for bringing up the topic, and tried to smile reassuringly.

“I’m not sorry I loved her,” he said. “We packed a lot of living into those few weeks.” He paused, searching for the words that would make Hutch feel better. “What’s that thing they say, that loving someone is still worth it, even if it ain’t forever?”

“Better to have loved and l - lost,” Hutch swallowed a lump in his throat. “Than never to have loved at all?”

“Yeah,” said Starsky with as much conviction as he could muster. Pushing himself back up, he reached for the knitting needles again. “Now, what do you figure? If I actually finish this thing, would Dawn use it?”

After a moment, Hutch said, “I think she’d probably burn it.”

Starsky considered the misshapen tangle of knots hanging off his left hand needle. “Yeah, I wouldn’t blame her.” He gave Hutch a sideways glance. “But if I actually succeed in making booties, you’re gonna make your kid wear ‘em!”

“I promise!” The smile was back.


Starsky was asleep when Becky arrived that afternoon. She quietly placed the parcel containing more of her mother’s food on the table by the window, and settled down in the chair to wait for him to wake up. She briefly wondered which visitor had left the tangle of yarn and needles by his bed.


She’d arrived early this time, swinging by her house to drop off Monster first.  Mrs. Green had been there, and she promised to keep an eye on him.  Becky couldn’t describe how grateful she was to the older woman.  Her calm support had been invaluable in helping Becky cope during those first hours after Dave’s kidnapping, when she hadn’t known if she would ever see him alive again.

After a few minutes, Becky unclipped the necklace from her neck and turned the silver charm over in her hand, considering it. A sun and moon, side by side, their faces combined to make one. It occurred to her that she and Anna had been something like that. Anna had been always shining brightly, warmly, drawing everyone to her, while Becky was content simply to reflect her light.

With Anna gone, everything should have been dark and cold and lonely, but instead she’d been drawn right into the orbit of another.

Becky folded the charm into her hand, and propped her elbow on the arm of the chair. Dave looked somewhat better than he had yesterday, mostly because he was no longer attached to the IV. He was back in his own clothes, wearing a loose t-shirt with a stretched neck, and soft faded sweatpants. Somehow, however, the fact that he was out of the hospital gown served only to make him look more vulnerable. His bottom lip was swollen, and it looked sore where it had split. He had a purple bruise on the left side of his face, from his forehead down to his cheekbone. A butterfly bandage held a gash closed on his temple. His left hand was resting on his chest, and she could see that the wound on that wrist had seeped slightly, staining the edge of the bandage.

He was sleeping restlessly, and there were small lines of pain around his mouth and eyes. A nurse came into the room and smiled in acknowledgement of Becky’s presence. “He’ll be better company in a moment,” she said.

Even asleep, Starsky was very aware of the assorted pains in his body. His right shoulder in particular ached viciously, which the doctor had told him was referred pain from his bruised liver. He didn’t pretend to understand how that worked. He simply knew that when his meds wore off, it hurt. Just like his ribs hurt. There was no way to get comfortable.

He roused from sleep with a groan at the nurse’s encouraging, “Wake up, Dave.” She helped him sit up. Gratefully, he accepted the handful of pills she passed him, along with a paper cup of water.

It was not until she had taken the cup back and left, that he became aware of the quiet presence in the chair beside his bed. He looked over to see Becky sitting there, her chin propped on the heel of her hand, regarding him seriously.

“How are you doing?” Starsky asked.

“I’m looking at you,” she said, misunderstanding his question.

“No, I meant…” He decided it didn’t matter, and gave her a half-smile instead. “How do I look?”

“You look…” She paused for a moment. “You look terrific!”

Starsky heard the clear relief and joy in her voice. She meant that however badly off he might appear; the fact that he was alive trumped it all.

Then he saw the serious expression return to her face. He waited, sensing that she had something important she wanted to tell him. He wondered bitterly if she was going to give him the ‘I’m breaking up with you because I care about you too much to see you hurt’ line. Or maybe it would be the ‘I’m scared of your job, and the crazies you attract,’ routine. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d heard it. You were okay with the scars, but did you also realize that loving me could get you killed?

Squeezing the necklace tightly in her hand, Becky took a deep breath, and said, “I’ve decided I don’t want to save myself for marriage after all.” Having finally said it, however euphemistically, she blushed fiercely.

That was not at all what he’d been expecting to hear. It threw him. Tucking his chin down into his chest, he looked at her from under raised brows. “Because… you find men in hospital beds irresistibly attractive?”

“No!” said Becky, indignantly. “Because, well… because when I was under that bed and those guys were hurting you, all I could think was that if you died, I was always going to regret the fact that we didn’t, um, you know!” She was talking too fast, and her heart was pounding. My biggest problem before all this started was whether or not to have sex with my boyfriend. Maybe it doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. Maybe nothing’s changed after all…

He was trying to say something, but she wasn’t ready to listen to him yet. I don’t think I could stand it if he laughed at me. She said, “I was thinking that we go on believing that the people we love are going to be around forever, but it’s not true. We could turn around one day and discover that they’re gone, just like that! So, we should try to make the most out of whatever time we’ve got.” Out of breath, she stopped and regarded him anxiously. She felt horribly embarrassed. This was entirely the wrong time to be bringing up this topic. The poor man had just been hospitalized, for goodness sake!

She just really needed to get it out in the open. To confirm once and for all, at least in her own mind, that her sisters had it wrong. She wasn’t going to break up with him, no matter what they said. No matter how logical their arguments might be.

“Ah.” Starsky was silent for a few minutes. He thought of the conversation he’d had with Hutch that morning. Finally, he said, “I think you should wait for marriage.”

Hurt and humiliation chased each other across Becky’s face. She jumped to her feet and turned away.

“Hey, wait a minute!” protested Starsky. She wasn’t taking this at all the way he’d intended.

“What?” The question was almost a wail.

“Don’t you understand?” he asked urgently. “I’m tryin’ to propose here!”

“Well, that's not how you do it!” She was half-laughing, but there was also anger in her voice.

Starsky gestured ruefully at himself. “Yeah, well, I don’t think I’ll be goin’ down on one knee any time soon.” He wondered why he was doing this. It wasn’t as if she would be getting much in the way of a husband. Perhaps he’d finally lost his mind.

Becky paused with her hand on the foot of his bed, looking conflicted. “You want to marry me?”

“What? You don’t like the idea?” When Starsky had said he was trying to propose, he’d had the idea in the back of his head that it would be a relief if she rejected the idea. He was surprised therefore, at how much it hurt when she didn’t immediately agree. He had the uncomfortable feeling that he’d just exposed much more of himself than he’d originally intended.

“No, I love the idea!” The sincerity in her words lifted a great weight off of his mind, and he grinned.

“But, "she continued worriedly," But you're all medicated, right now You’re doped up on happy drugs. I don’t want you committing to anything you’re going to regret later.”

Starsky shuffled over to one side of the bed, trying not to show how much it hurt to move. He patted the mattress beside him. “C’mere.”

She hesitated.

“C’mon,” he said, insistently. “There’s lots of room.”

She did, carefully, trying not to jostle him. He would have liked to put his arm around her, but his body was still a little too stiff for that at the moment, so he settled for his hand on her thigh. She leaned her head against his shoulder, after first checking with him that at least that part of his body wasn’t bruised.

“Look, kid,” he said. “You’re right. We don’t know how long any of the people we love are going to be around. There was a very special lady who taught me that…” Starsky stopped for a moment, swallowing the lump in his throat. He felt Becky’s head shift as she looked up at him curiously.

Collecting himself, he continued, “So, we might as well make the most of it while we can.” He smiled at her, and waggled his eyebrows, trying for humor. “Which means you ought to seize the moment, take advantage of the fact that I’m under the influence of painkillers, and say yes.”

She didn’t take the bait. Levelly, she replied, “Okay, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll say yes, but first you’ve got to tell me about your lady.”

Starsky’s face fell. His voice was raw as he said, “You don’t know what you’re asking.”

“I think maybe I do,” she said, turning a silver necklace over in her hand.

So, he told her about Terry, her smile, her laugh, and the way she’d loved her students and how she’d loved him, and the very short time he’d had in which to return any of that love. He told her how he’d thought for a while that he wouldn’t be able to go on without her, and how much Hutch had done to bring him through that dark time. Becky listened with open sympathy and interest, and it turned out to be much easier to talk about than he’d ever thought it would be.


Hutch paused in the door of the hospital room, smiling at the sight of the two of them laughing together over some tale Starsky was telling. Maybe he’d been mistaken earlier, about Becky’s intentions. He sincerely hoped so.

Becky saw Hutch first. She slid off the bed as he approached.

Starsky looked up and smiled at him, indicating Becky with a wave his hand. “I’m marrying that girl,” he said, satisfaction clearly evident in his voice.

Hutch’s eyebrows shot up in surprise.

“I told him it’s just the drugs talking,” said Becky, embarrassed. “He probably won’t even remember by tomorrow.”

Looking back and forth between the two of them, taking in both the smug expression on Starsky’s face and Becky’s red cheeks, Hutch realized that his friend wasn’t joking after all. When he glanced back at Starsky, he caught a hint of challenge in his expression, underneath the bravado.

Hutch beckoned Becky over next to him. “Well,” he said with his eyes on Starsky, “you might want to think carefully before marrying this guy. He’s kind of difficult to get along with sometimes.” He leaned in close to her ear and said in a loud stage whisper, “He’s really moody.”

“Hey!” Starsky said, indignantly.

“He hogs the covers,” continued Hutch, seriously. “He won’t stay on his half of the bed. And he snores, too.”

Becky giggled.

“I don’t snore!” protested Starsky.

“And then there’s the fact that he’s got a really shaky grasp on reality…”

“You’re the one who snores!”

“See what I mean?” said Hutch, still speaking to Becky as if Starsky wasn’t in the room at all. “It’s sad, actually.”

Starsky searched for something to throw at him, settled on the pillow, and then realized to his dismay that he couldn’t turn around far enough to grab it.

Becky said indignantly, “Stop that!” She craned her head back to look up at Hutch, her hands on her hips. “I think he’s perfect!”

There was absolute silence in the room. Then both men turned to look at each other in mock astonishment.

Starsky said, “Boy, is she deluded!”

“No kidding!” exclaimed Hutch.

Her cheeks on fire, Becky buried her face in her hands with a squeak of dismay. One of these days she would have to learn to not to say the first thing that entered her mind.


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