"How'd you sleep," Lester asked Briana when she came into the kitchen.
"Heavenly," she said. "I slept with Connor," she said without embarrassment.
Lester winked at Jasmine. "Sound's like you Darling," he said.
Jasmine just smiled.
"Good morning," Connor said, coming into the kitchen. "What?" he said. "Why is everyone looking at me?"
"How'd you sleep," Jasmine asked him.
"Oh! Very well," he said.
"What!?" Briana said.
"Oh!" Connor said. "Since everyone knows, it was wonderful. I'll not be happy until I always sleep that way," he said.
"What way?" Lester asked with a smirk.
Connor caught on. "With Briana in my arms," he said.
Briana knew what that meant but said nothing. Of course it is what she lived for, but it was not until later she would find out it is what she would have.
"Uncle Peter asked me if I want to work for him," Connor said to Briana.
"Is it what you really want to do?" Briana asked.
"Yes and no," Connor said. "I'd love working in one of his labs. You know how I love science. But ultimately I want to do something entirely on my own. At the moment it is really what I want to do. You're part of the reason why."
"How am I part of the reason?" she asked.
"When I know I can support us, I want you to be Mrs. Moore, and I want to sleep every night with you in my arms."
"Oh Connor. Are you asking me if I want to be Briana Moore?"
"No, Darling. I'm saying I want you to be Briana Moore, I mean, I want us to be what we really are already. We're already each other's.
"Oh Connor, don't make me cry."
"Make you cry? What are you talking about? I thought you'd be happy."
"I am. That's why I'd cry. It's more than I can believe," she said.
"Maybe this will take away your tears," Connor said, handing Briana a little blue cloth bag he took from his pocket.
"What's this?" Briana asked.
"Open it," Connor said.
Briana opened the bag and found two very thin gold chains inside. The moment she saw them she burst into tears. "I love you, love you, love you Connor, Darling," she said.
"Why aren't you smiling? I thought it would make you happy," Connor said a bit bewildered.
"Oh, Darling, I'm sorry. I'm just so happy. It's the most wonderful thing that ever happen to me. I'm just a girl, Darling. Wait 'til I have your children if my feelings mix you up now," and then she laughed, and hugged Connor and kissed him over and over. "I love you Darling. Thank you for loving me."
Connor had no idea how to respond to Briana's reactions, so pressed on with what he thought was right. Holding the smaller of the bracelets he took Briana's hand and slipped the bracelet over it. "You are now Briana Moore, mine to love and care for always and to please in every way I can," he said, and kissed her.
Briana had regained her composure, and took the other bracelet from Connor which she slipped over his outstretched hand. "I am now Briana Moore and you are now my life and my reason for living and I am forever yours to use, and love, and enjoy," she said.
For four days Connor and Briana had been making visits with Peter and Veronica, Lester and Jasmine, Eddy and Yuwon, Anthony and Elaine explaining Connor's plan. Briana wrote down what everyone agreed to do so everyone would know what everyone else was doing.
Of course everyone noticed Connor and Briana's bracelets and told them how happy they were for them. Peter and Veronica said it was going to be hard remembering their little girl was now Briana Moore, not Briana Arnault.
Both Lester and Jasmine were delighted, though not at all surprised. One afternoon when Lester, Connor, and Peter Arnault were in the cellar discussing the design of something, Jasmine told Briana something Jasmine thought she should know.
"You know Lester never knew his father. He died while Lester was a little boy. He died of a heart attack. Lester has the same heart problem his father had. I've always known it, and know our days together could end any time. That's why we make sure we enjoy every minute together.
"You need to know, Briana, Connor has that same heart condition. Medical progress has come a long way, and there may soon be a way for Connor's condition to be corrected, but Lester's cannot be corrected.
"I know this won't make any difference to your love for Connor, and it might make it stronger, so you'll always make the best of what you have.
"Thank you, Mom," Briana said. "It makes me want to make the most of my time with you and Dad too."
On the fifth day, using the Arnault's boat, Connor, Briana, Megan, and Freddy sailed as quietly as the could to the cave opening and anchored as far to one side as possible. Behind them and out of sight were Lester, Jasmine, Eddy, and Yuwon in Lester's boat.
When their boat was anchored, Freddy went to the side of the boat and silently let himself down into the water. He swam toward the Cave opening and suddenly went under. Then there was nothing for about five minutes. They heard something from inside the cave but weren't sure what it was, then they saw Freddy waving them in. Briana started the engines and navigated into the cave. As soon as they were in Freddy climbed the ladder back into the boat.
"There was only one of them," Freddy said. "He never saw me. You can see another opening at the end of the cave. It's the only one and must be the way up."
They proceeded almost to the end of the cave where two other much larger boats were moored.
"We better hurry," Connor said. "We might be a little late."
"They headed for the opening ahead of them where the dead Trasher was lying, and started up the rough pathway, Just then they heard explosions above them."
"Right on time," Megan said.
Peter, Veronica, Anthony and Elaine had set up the rocket launchers Lester had designed below Stove Pipe Hill. The rockets were designed to be more noise than destruction and Lester had shown them how to aim the launchers so all the Trashers would see were the incoming rockets without knowing where they were coming from.
At the agreed time, they launched the rockets and it was their explosions Megan referred to as right on time.
Connor and the others soon came to a stone stairway. At the top they found themselves in the "tunnel" that ran between the two Trasher buildings. There were no Trashers in sight.
"Which way do we go?" Freddy asked.
"We never saw this opening before and there's light behind us. It has to be that way further in," Connor said.
"They moved as quickly as they could while being as cautious as they could."
"That must be the doorway we saw before," Megan said pointing to the rectangular light on the floor and opposite wall ahead."
"They all pressed against the right wall with Connor leading and they all had their guns out. When they reached the doorway Connor looked in and was immediately spotted by a Trasher guarding Brittany and Philip, but before he had a chance to react, Connor shot him.
They rushed into the room and began untying Brittany and Philip. When another Trasher suddenly appeared in the doorway Freddy shot him before the others even noticed. He went over and dragged the dead Trasher inside.
Neither Philip or Brittany seemed strong enough to walk, but they managed to get them to their feet and support them enough to start back toward the stairway. When they were half-way down the stairs they heard Trasher voices behind them. They began to run as fast as the could, but could not move very fast with Philip and Brittany.
Connor was moving the fastest with Philip, and Freddy was struggling with Brittany, when he suddenly stopped, set her down and literally picked her up in his arms and began running.
Briana and Megan were watching behind them while running. When the feet of two trasher could just be seen on the stairway, Megan and Briana began walking backwards watching the approaching Trashers. When their bodies were visible they both shot and two Trashes tumbled down the stairs. Then they turned and began running to catch up with the others. When they got to the boat it was running and everyone else was on board. They clamored aboard and Connor turned the boat around to make a run for the entrance.
They had just started when more Trashers appeared and were starting the other two boats.
When they had just cleared the cave entrance, Connor sounded the horn: three short bursts, three short bursts, two long bursts. The trasher boats were closing in on them fast. Just then Lester's boat appeared. Those on Connor's boat could see flashes of light and smoke coming from Lester's boat and hear very big explosions behind them.
"The Trashers boats are burning," Briana said.
"That's Our Dad," Connor said, slowing down. "How do they look, Darling?" he asked Briana.
Megan and Briana had covered Philip and Brittany with blankets. They were both naked. They made them as comfortable as they could.
"They beat Philip pretty badly, there might be some broken bones, but he smiled as soon as he saw Megan. There's nothing visibly wrong with Brittany except bruises, but there's no telling what they did to her, they're so evil and cruel. Freddy's holding her, but I don't think she even knows it."
Lester quickly caught up to Connor's boat. Connor signalled that everything was a success. Lester had a radio and radioed Peter and Veronica the good news.