“You can’t trust her. It’s a trap.” Rick spat, shaking his head.
Lise looked at him, and retorted “Of course it’s a trap. But if she has information on what the States are likely to do next, I think we have to proceed.”
“Has it ever occurred to you that she wants to kill you? I mean, you are sleeping with her husband, and her son has clearly grown attached to you.” Rick asked, trying to not let the concern he felt creep into his voice.
“Why Colonel, I didn’t realize that you cared.” Lise said sarcastically.
Rick shifted his weight on his feet, a cloud rolling over his face before he growled in a low voice “If something happened to you…I don’t want to see Cooper or Jake go through that. Ever. You have been great for them both, and Cooper deserves that happiness. I’ve never seen a man endure so much to finally achieve it. He’s my friend, and I don’t want to see him hollowed out with grief over losing you, and the effect it would have on Jake.” He looked down at the floor, clearly disturbed that he’d said this much, and maybe a little angry that she could draw it out of him to begin with.
Lise quietly contemplated him for a few minutes before asking “Colonel…Rick…how long have you been married?”
“I’ve never mentioned that I’m ma…”
“You didn’t have to. Remember what I do for a living.”
A smirk twisted Rick’s expression.
“So you’re just messin’ with me for fun?”
“Did he tell you?”
“Cooper? Oh no. I’ve never asked him anything about you, and he’s volunteered very little. But when I see you two together, I know you’ve known each other a long time, and that you both trust each other, which is a big deal, because neither of you are “trusting souls”. But I watch you sometimes, and I’ve listened to what you’ve said about me and him, and I know that you’re married.”
Rick looked at Lise and said “Yeah. She’s my second wife. And after the crap I went through with the first, I never thought I’d get married again. I think it worked so well because I fell in love with her brain first.”
Lise smiled, but didn’t say anything.
Rick shifted again and said “When I see Cooper with you, I see him relaxed. I can see you care, probably more than you ever meant to, and I see that the two of you can just be. You don’t have to be talking. You don’t have to be doing anything specific, you can just be together and enjoy each other’s company without saying anything at all. That’s a good thing. Maybe the only thing. And he needs that.”
“What the hell, Old Man?” came Cooper’s voice in a hoarse croak. “She’s MY hot shrink. Get your own, dammit.”
Lise and Rick looked towards the bed in the center of the room, where Cooper sat grinning, squinting through narrowed eyes clearly pained by the antiseptic fluorescent lights humming overhead.
Rick stepped toward Cooper and asked “How much did you hear, Hoss?”
Cooper turned his head slightly to face his friend and said “Enough.”
Rick’s face asked the question that remained locked behind his lips. “Yes, Old Man. I think Nick was scared to death of you while you were cooking the bacon at the party at Mack and Kat’s house. Does that answer your question?” Cooper said quietly.
Rick let out a chuckle and nodded.
Cooper’s smile faded. “Good. Because I think Lise is right. If Teresa has even a hint of what they are planning, we need to find out what it is.”
Lise stepped to the opposite side of Cooper’s bed, and quietly took his left hand into hers. She found herself unable to put into words all the feelings she had for this man, but realized when his eyes met hers that she didn’t have to, because she had said it all without saying a word.