Diary Excerpts ~ Rebecca L. Fenton
November 2003

by TJ

RATING – G… for now

PAIRING – Eventually… Josiah/OFC


SERIES – Diary Excerpts ~ Rebecca L. Fenton

PREVIOUS STORIES – Nope… they just met

SUMMARY – Josiah Sanchez just met a new lady. Ever wonder what life is like from her point of view…?


DISCLAIMER – If only wishes did come true… Reality is harsh

John Watson and CBS own The Magnificent Seven and all of its characters.
I seek, nor shall receive, profit from this narrative.

I claim All Original Characters as my own.
Please, DO NOT use them without my express permission.

Some of the 'Other Ladies' mentioned here,
belong to other members of our quiet little list... <<grin>>


WRITER’S NOTES – There's a quiet little list where some of us play…

Play what, you might ask?

Well, we've created our own little AU and Rebecca L. Fenton has had the pleasure of meeting one, Josiah Sanchez.

Here, in her diary, she's recorded her thoughts.

Shhhhhhhh… we won't tell her we're reading…

Many thanks to Antoinette for her beta skills. Thanks also to Marnie, who gave me some great insight and advice.



Diary Excerpts ~

Rebecca L. Fenton ~

November 2003

~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~

November 2nd, 2003

Rebecca L. Fenton

Hello, old friend,

I know… I know…

It's been far too long since we last saw each other.

Truth is, I actually couldn't find you…

And, when I did…

Well, let’s just say you're looking a lot better without that coat of dust…

After I shook out the dust rag, I made some tea. We're in the den now and I've finally opened your pages. Funny! You'd think a professional writer would actually read 'real' books now and then. Darn these computers. I'm glad for mine when my ideas are flowing well, but I'm so glad to take my time with you.

I took a quick look at the last entry; it's dated May 13th, 2000… such a long time… don't you think? Of course, your pages only greet me when I feel the need to share those secrets with you.

My naughty man secrets… (See, now you have me smiling! That's the real reason I come to you!)

When I look back at those last entries, I know why David and I weren't meant to be. I've always been cautious with my feelings. You know that! Ever since my beloved husband died.

I don't know if I'll ever really be looking. I just know that as of yet, I haven't come across a man who makes me feel the way he did…

Don't worry, I'm not going to go into a big long spiel about Matthew. We had eleven amazing years together and I will always remember the wonderful times we shared.

Your brothers have those pages to keep them warm…

Okay, okay… just because I miss him that doesn't give me the right to bore you with the details every time we talk.

So, where was I…?

Ah, yes… I met someone! I'm not looking... You know that. But last night I met someone who could be a special friend.

I'm still doing volunteer work for one of Matthew's old charity organizations. The lady that chairs the institution's board has become a close friend over the last few years. We do a lot of good projects together and she is a great lady.

Anyway, a week ago Evie invited me to her Halloween Party on the 1st. It was last night. I wasn't going to go at first, but she convinced me I would have a good time. I even dressed up.

Can you picture me as Mother Goose? (Smiling again)

Evie's husband escorted me to get some punch and then seated me with some of the other ladies that Evie and I work with. Well, okay, it's all volunteering really, no pay involved so it's not really work. I certainly don't get paid for it, not that I'd want to. My royalties and Matthew's insurance policy provide me with more than enough to live on, and when I see so many needy people and such worthwhile charities, I'm more than willing to give up a little of my time.

Good grief, I'm really getting side tracked today, aren't I?

So, where was I…?

Oh, yes, I spent quite a while watching the younger crowd having fun. Oh, I know, I'm only forty-something! (Shhhh!) Just seems that most of the people at the party were a little younger than I. And, if not younger, then they are enjoying their lives to the fullest. There was even one young lady there who performed for her fellow party-goes. A belly dance, no less. She was quite good, I must admit. Brave too! She drew the attentions of one very confident young man and then her date shooed him away. By the exchange, I would guess the gentlemen are friends, but their discussion was still very amusing.

The party was going very well and I decided to get something to eat. Evie laid out a wonderful assortment of refreshments, I must remember to tell her again when I see her later in the week. So, there I was, plate in hand, practically ogling over the wide assortment of fruits and cheeses on one table when a strong, and dare I say, sexy, voice commented on the magnificent choices available. I couldn't help but turn around…

Honestly, his voice was truly wonderful.

The gentleman introduced himself as Josiah Sanchez. I'm embarrassed to admit that I practically hung on every word he said. I apologized for my behavior.

I lied.

Can you believe it?

I actually told him the music was a little too loud for me and I was trying to read his lips. I'll have to apologize once more if I see him again.

So, anyway… leaning closer, he suggested we gather a few selections and take them outside to partake. Okay, those are my words, but that's what he meant. Sitting on the enclosed veranda, he returned for some punch and then we enjoyed an interesting conversation. Not exactly what Evie had in mind for party activities, but I'm sure she was pleased when I told her I enjoyed myself very much.

That wasn't a lie.

With Mr. Sanchez as company for the remainder of the evening, I certainly did have a wonderful time. He's a very fascinating man; I have to tell you. Although, I was a little taken aback to find out that he works under Evie's husband at the Federal Building. I kept my cool and am so very glad I did. Josiah is so much more than just a federal agent. I have to be honest, knowing Evie has made my life so much more complete, but I was a little nervous when I found out what her husband does for a living. It's dangerous work and after Matthew's murder... Well, let's just say I had my fill of government officials during that awful time. I've learned to trust Orin Travis as much as I trust his wife. They are so dedicated to each other.

Well, it would seem that I trust Josiah, too. Once he had explained a little about himself to me, I afforded him a brief history as well. I spared him the details, but I did admit my distrust of persons in his position. Do you know what he said to me? He smiled, cocked his head ever so slightly, and said, 'He'd just have to try a little harder… if I'd grant him the pleasure of my company again.'

Well, my trusty friend, I was surprised, to say the least. I was totally shocked when he asked for my telephone number.

No! I didn't give it to him.

I told him that I would be around.

Yes, I know… but what was I supposed to do. I just met the man. He really is intriguing, but… Well, just but, okay. If he's really interested, I'm sure he'll find a way of finding me.

Besides… Evie and I have to go to the Federal Building on Wednesday. Perhaps I'll see him there…

Good grief!

It would appear that I've squandered away the entire afternoon. I need to prepare dinner and then I'm going to take a nice relaxing bath. Maybe even treat myself to some bubbles, what do you think?

I've enjoyed doing this again, my friend. Perhaps… just maybe… I may have the opportunity to fill you in more often.

Until then…

~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~

November 5th, 2003

Rebecca L. Fenton

Hello, my friend,

It's late, so I won't be long.

Just thought I would let you know that I saw him again. Mr. Sanchez, I mean.

Evie and I were at the Federal Building today for our bi-monthly charity collection. It's such a wonderful program. Allows people to donate anonymously, when they can and, to the charities they want to. Plus, having the drop boxes in secure locations guarantees that the money will get to its proper destination.

The donations are dropping off as we near Christmas, but we follow the trends so we know what to expect. People donate time and resources to holiday campaigns, which are so needed at this time of year. Another good point, of course, is that it makes filling out and mailing the tax-deductible receipts less time consuming. As all of our organizations are registered with the Internal Revenue under their Service code (501.3C) as non-profit, these receipts are necessary.

Oh, and speaking of holiday campaigns, Evie talked me into chairing the annual Children's Hospital Holiday Fundraiser. That's all right though, I think it will go well with the Christmas drive for the Hospice for Sick Children. Do you remember that charitable organization? It was Matthew's favorite. I'm still working with them, just here in Denver instead of back in DC. The downtown Recreational Facility for Youths and Children is the other one I work with regularly. No plans have been announced for the holiday season yet, so I'll have to wait and see if they need help.

So… Where was I?

Oh, yes… Having finished the collections, Evie wanted to drop up to see her husband, (as I suspected), but then she 'politely suggested' I might want to stop by the seventh floor. She interrupted my question with the answer, informing me that a certain 'gentleman' had been making numerous inquiries about a certain lady, including several through his boss's boss.

How cryptic is that?

Turns out that the big boss then asked his wife, who wasn't 'telling' me to do anything, but rather, 'politely suggesting' I find the offices of Team Seven.

I found the whole conversation rather funny and I'm sure Evie could tell by the sordid smile on my lips.

I have to admit, I have thought about the wonderful evening I enjoyed on Saturday. And I don't just mean the actual party, the company was rather pleasant, to say the least…

Well, needless to say, Evie wandered off in one direction and, I, in another.

From the elevator, I quickly found the frosted glass doors that announce the offices of Team Seven. Standing there looking at that sign, I was amazed at how anxious I was.

Everything came rushing back like a bad dream…

It took Evie months to convince me I could enter the Federal Building unimpeded. It took months more before I actually felt comfortable enough to relax inside those walls. Standing there, seriously contemplating entering that office, I was terrified.

I was however, very conscious of that fact and, looking for distraction, found myself riveted to the words on the glass. I remember thinking how Orin rarely talks about cases at home. He does mention the ATF teams by number though. Team Seven seems to be both a point of contention, and along with several of the others, the object of his pride.

That idea made me smile.

It was at this point that a young man came wandering out the door, and, totally oblivious to my presence, walked into me. Not entirely his fault, I was somewhere else as well. As his paperwork went in one direction, I went in the other. The poor fellow landed in a heap between his work and his unintended casualty.

With everybody and everything now on the floor, the young man used a few profane words before noticing the predicament he'd placed me in. He not only apologized for his choice of language, but the accident, his inattentiveness, his clumsiness, and his stupidity… I do believe he apologized for his birth as he assisted me from the floor. All of which caused a rather large commotion, drawing the attentions of more than one individual.

Mr. Sanchez was amongst those who came to see what the disturbance was about.

Before I knew what was happening, Josiah had ushered me into their offices and was apparently asking me if I was all right.

Poor man! He had no way of knowing that my mind was firmly focused on the shoulder harnesses that he and his fellow teammates were wearing. I'm not sure how many agents there were around me… Honestly, I have no idea how much time passed between my entrance and Josiah finally guiding me to his office and closing the door.

He and his friend, Nathan seemed to notice my predicament and somehow Josiah knew to leave his harness outside.

The next thing I remember were those beautiful brown eyes staring at me. Nathan is the team medic and he wanted to ensure that I hadn't bumped my head in the fall. I believe he was a little perplexed by my behavior, but was reassured by my clearing thoughts. As he was leaving, he did advise Josiah to call if he was needed.

More than embarrassed by my behavior, I was also a little taken aback by Josiah's pointed question as he reseated himself in front of me. "Mind telling me what that was all about?" isn't exactly polite conversation, in my opinion. I told him I did mind, and he immediately presumed to ask me to dinner on Friday so that I could explain it under better circumstances.

I told him that would not be acceptable. I must admit, his straightforward approach shocked me a little, but also intrigued me. I stared calmly into his wonderful blue eyes to gage his response to my reply. I clearly saw the disappointment that I somehow ached to see.

As I said to you before, I find this man very interesting, indeed.

Seeing his response, I added, rather quietly, that I was available Saturday, if he should be able to fit it into his schedule.

A tap at the door interrupted his thoughts and a wiry young man with long dusty-colored hair reminded Josiah of their meeting in five minutes.

I stood, readying to leave while he began to scribble something on a notepad. He complained fervently as he wrote, saying the office was not the time and place, the 'bust' coming up, and several other mutterings. I was surprisingly amused at his demeanor.

Taking my arm, Josiah escorted me quickly to the elevator and called the car. Handing me the note, he smiled and told me to call him.

His words didn't sound like a request!

He waved cordially as the door closed and I was finally able to at look the piece of paper he handed me. Along with a full address, home telephone and cell phone numbers, it also contains two e-mail addresses and a pager number.

Something tells me Mr. Sanchez would like to hear from me…

And so, my friend, I'm sitting here contemplating the small notepaper I have sitting beside my computer.

Josiah Sanchez is a very intriguing man. Sophisticated in a 'rough' sort of way, and may need a lesson or two in manners… but I just might have to call him anyway.

I just might…

~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~

November 11th, 2003

Rebecca L. Fenton

Hello, my friend,

Oh… where to begin…

Today was very hard for me!

So many reasons why…

None of this will make much sense, I'm sure, but I'll try to start at the beginning.

I took Excalibur out for a ride this morning. Brutus and Rusty came along for a run. Poor things got tired and I told them to stay and wait while I rode on. When I got back to the old well, they were waiting patiently, tails wagging at my return. The ride home was gentle; my mind wandered again to homecomings lost, so long ago.

If you don't remember, then your brothers will. Veteran's Day, in many parts of the world, is known as Remembrance Day. It's 'another' day in the year where Matthew is so clear in my mind…

Amongst other things today…

So anyway…

Chores done to settle Excalibur, I chose a shower rather than a bath. The tub allows me too much time to think and I wasn't up to that. Especially, not after yesterday. My big comfy housecoat, warm slippers, and a nice cup of tea, I settled at the computer and an e-mail caught my attention.

It was from Mr. Sanchez.

The past few days…

Oh, let me start at the beginning, and try to explain.

I called him on Friday evening as he had 'requested'. I still maintain it wasn't a request and told him so on the telephone. He was pre-occupied, I'm afraid. He was still at work and there was a problem, although obviously he could not tell me what.

After relaying his displeasure that his call display was not revealing my number, he indicated that he would very much like to take me to dinner on Saturday. After several minutes of quiet conversation, I agreed. I also sent him an e-mail list of the restaurants I liked. He insisted we go somewhere that I was comfortable.

Truly, he fascinates me… And that voice!

Well, anyway, the dinner did not happen. I was actually thinking about getting ready late on Saturday and luckily, I decided to check my e-mail. One of Josiah's teammates was injured quite seriously during their operations and his presence was needed elsewhere.

I immediately responded, conveying my sincerest wishes to all those involved. I told him to be where he could do the most good.

The whole situation was rather unnerving but I tried not to dwell on it too much.

I made several attempts on Sunday to contact him. I spoke with Evie in between. She sounded very tired. Taking these young people under her wing was a blessing in disguise, old friend. Yet, when something like this happens, it brings Stephen's death back to her. Much like today brings Matthew back to me.

Evie tells me it is worth it though. I'm torn on the issue. I can see how much purpose they bring to her and that makes me happy. But moments like this… she thinks about them, not herself.

We had a very long afternoon on Monday.

But let me finish Sunday first… It was late in the day when I finally managed to reach Josiah. The conversation was quiet, very restrained, yet I felt a strange connection. The injured man, Ezra, will recover and that knowledge made his heart beat stronger. I find it so very strange that I was able to notice that…

Again, I was rather unsettled when I hung up the telephone...

There was an e-mail waiting for me on Monday morning. It said Josiah needed the day but wanted to meet on Tuesday. He suggested lunch.

After much thought, I cordially replied with the time and place.

Monday turned out to be a very stressful day. Evie accepted my invitation to come over in the afternoon and we talked. You know, the conversations where you mention a thousand things, yet nothing of significance ever comes up… significance to anyone but us, that is. I remember words… 'Stephen and Mary were so much like Ezra and Sherri when they first got to know each other'. 'Vin's carrying some guilt, as he always does'. 'Erin will take care of him in her way.' 'Simone Jenkins and David seemed at odds, not quite themselves'.

Evie was worried about them all. Chris, Nathan, Buck, JD… the only name I recognized was Josiah's.

Oh, I've heard the names before. I'm sure it was probably the last time something happened. I listened, as any good friend would, but I found myself getting angry. I've spent so long building a protective world around me. Listening to Evie and Orin ignore their own needs in favor of the young people that surround them. I never let all their troubles affect my judgment though. I've always been there for them, but I never let it get to me.

Until yesterday…

As I listened to Evie relate her feelings, I suddenly became aware that I was experiencing the same emotions. My anxiety grew. Josiah was involved, and I knew him. His apprehension on Friday… his e-mail on Saturday… the worry in his tone on Sunday.

I stood shoulder to shoulder with Evie as she prepared to drive home and I realized that I could, probably for the first time in our eight-year friendship, understand her turmoil.

I was terrified, old friend.

Closing that door after seeing her off… my walls crumbled and I was left defenseless again a torrent of emotion.

His e-mail this morning brought it all back.

My initial reluctance to meet Josiah for lunch today was fueled, and refueled several times throughout the weekend. But yesterday I sat in my bedroom and cried. Not for myself, not for my losses, Matthew and his babies, and not even for Stephen Travis. I cried because I realized how much I have failed a wonderful friend.

Today I woke up to all of that. Memories of Matthew burned strong in my thoughts. Worries for Evie and Orin were so fresh.

My walls came back quickly, rebuilding themselves in my defense, and coming back stronger than before. But I knew I had to face one more obstacle.

I met Josiah Sanchez for lunch today. I was late due to my nervous frustration, but when I finally arrived, my intent was clear. I told him I couldn't see him again. That he brought back too many memories for me. I made sure he knew it wasn't his fault, but that of his profession.

I also let him know that I thought he and his friends caused my friends too much pain. A loss they suffered again and again, each time one of their number was injured, or worse, lost in the line of duty.

It felt good to say all those things, old friend. I needed to be honest with him and I was. He listened quietly throughout. Never said a word until I was done. And then he spoke…

How, in all that is good and right, can I be so angry with a man who is so gentle? Such a contradiction in personalities I have never witnessed. I fear I never will again.

Josiah Sanchez is the most maddening individual I have ever met! He sat quietly and smiled at me. His wonderful blue eyes portrayed for me, all the kindness and strength he holds within. As he took my hands and caressed them gently, his look changed. He grew serious. The blinding gravity of his statement was so completely overwhelming; I had no clue what to do.

He said simply…

'Opening your heart can bring an eternity of promises, Rebecca. No one can ever guarantee exclusively that it will all be good. I would be a fool to try…Instead… I will say this… Protecting yourself from the bad may seem right… but it can never make you strong.'

I had no response…

How could I respond to words so… strong?

I tried to be angry. He knew nothing of my 'bad'… How dare he presume?

Yet… I couldn't help but wonder.

Rising from my chair, I stared at him blindly.

I had no response…

I left him sitting there…

But… not before I gave him my telephone number.

I sit here now… wondering… What have I done?

~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~

November 14th, 2003

Rebecca L. Fenton

Hello, my friend,

The last three days have certainly been…

Oh, what's a good word?

I'm feeling a little lightheaded this evening. It should be from the wine, but that's been gone from my system for hours.

Oh, I don't know…


Following Tuesday afternoon, I wasn't sure if I could face Mr. Sanchez again. I think I spent all day on Wednesday just thinking about the profoundness of his words. Of how he could possibly know the things I saw in his eyes.

He called that evening. Asked how I was. Asked if we could meet for coffee.

I declined.

I needed more time, my friend. Isn't that the silliest thing… acting like that, at my age?

Honestly though, Josiah makes me think too much. I'm a perfectly normal person outside these walls… well most everywhere except that Federal Building anyway. Oh, I really should apologize to Evie again, but I know she won't hear it.

Thursday morning I found myself contemplating the same dilemma. I've been in Denver almost nine years now and I finally meet a man who interests me…

No! I mean interests me intellectually.


He's a very handsome man as well…

You know, I read what I write here and I know I can't lie to you… to myself, really. Not even Matthew was allowed to read your brother's pages. You ARE me, in a very real way…

Silly, isn't it? The last occasions, on which I spent time with you, David Prescott was a part of my life. Trouble was, I was never really a part of his. Why did it take two years for me to realize that?

So, back to Josiah… He's so very different, but…

Oh, WHY?

Why did I let myself get to know him so well that first night? I should have known better. Yes, they weren't 'being' agents that night. But I knew a good percentage of them were. Probably why I usually steer clear of Evie's functions.

Well, I used to…

And this is why!

I am afraid to get to know Josiah; honestly, it's just so…

So maddening, that's all! I was going to tell him on Tuesday that I couldn't continue meeting with him. Well, I did tell him actually… He just… just took the wind out of my sails, is all.

See, I told you. Maddening…

Yet, when I hear his voice…

I need to remind myself WHY I gave him my telephone number!!!

He used it again on Thursday evening. We just… talked. For almost an hour… and yet I don't really remember what we spoke about. Isn't that silly?

Well, I do remember the dinner invitation. I couldn't really talk afterwards. He kept asking if I was okay. When I finally found my voice, I hesitated. I confirmed only that I would call him in the morning with my answer.

How rude is that?

Old friend, I think Thursday was probably THE worst night's sleep I've had in years. I'm actually not sure if I slept at all. As I said, well tried to say… Mr. Sanchez is not the problem; it's his vocation. I don't know if I can trust him. It's the most awful thing in the world to say but heaven help me; it's the truth.

And yet…

This morning I telephoned him at six AM and accepted his invitation for the evening. His answering machine sounds very gruff. Twenty-five minutes later, a much smoother voice apologized for being in the shower, and then told me he was very happy that I had accepted. We briefly discussed menu choices and determined that we would stay with 'regular' food. Nothing exotic, or of one particular culture. Once that was decided upon, I agreed to allow him the choice of establishment. He agreed to telephone me with the appropriate information. I declined his offer to pick me up, as did he. Decline my offer at a ride, that is…

As the Grandfather clock chimed noon, the telephone rang and Mr. Sanchez informed me that we had reservation at the Wellshire Inn for six o'clock.

Acknowledging that I would be there… Yes, he did ask again to make sure.

I said goodbye and went straight to work. Honestly, I don't know what came over me. I truly believe my excitement overcame me.

But it felt strangely satisfying, too.

I telephoned Conker and she spoke with Richard on the other line. (I know, I know… Her name is Veronica, but she's Matthew's sister and he always called her that. I've been doing it for so long, gosh, more than twenty years now. I hardly notice anymore, you know… Just when I write it down, it does look funny. Oh, well!)

Oh, yes, while we waited for Richard to find the information, she asked about using the cabin. Of course, I told her she was most welcome to it. That's when she informed me that they are going to do some skiing on the Thanksgiving weekend and was I still coming. I've spent most of my Thanksgivings in Denver with the Chase family. Yes, they are Matthew's blood, but as his widow…

I would have never, ever given him up, old friend. I won't let his memory die. And they remember him too…

I know... thinking too much…

So anyway, while I reminded Conker of that Children's Hospital Charity meeting I have set up for the 29th, Richard found the name and number for the Willshire Inn's owner. Having a brother-in-law in the newspaper business is handy, especially when his paper has a restaurant critic amongst their staff…

I must thank Richard again, too. That restaurant is wonderful and the owner, Mr. Simpson, was very helpful in making the arrangements I asked for.

So, to the dinner, shall we? I arrived slightly before six and Mr. Sanchez was outside waiting for me. He took a good close look at the DB7. Actually, I think he mumbled something about taking her out for a spin. I asked if he'd ever driven a right-hand drive before. He has such a nice smile, you know. I think his eyes actually twinkled when he said for a chance to drive an Aston Martin; he'd 'sure give it a whirl', I think those were his words. What is it with men and cars?

Good heaven, I can't believe I just wrote that. Matthew was the worst, remember? His '61 Lagonda is still in the garage.

Oh, note to self… Keep Mr. Sanchez away from the garage.

But anyway… I think Josiah knew something wasn't quite right when we entered the restaurant and I introduced myself. The host immediately recognized my name and started to fuss. Josiah's eyebrows rose suspiciously and I knew the proverbial 'cat' was out of the bag. I don't know about you, but asking for a secluded, overly spacious corner of the restaurant isn't asking too much, don't you think?

Well, after the dressing down I received once seated, Mr. Sanchez and I enjoyed a wonderful evening together. There were low spots, the quiet meandering he hides behind those eyes… I could tell he was studying me and I told him I didn't appreciate it one bit. When he told me, it was his job… I'm sure I must have jumped. Whatever my reaction was, he noticed…

He explained that he is a former police officer. That he dropped out of school, joined the army, and did two tours in Vietnam before joining 'the force'. Amazingly, he has a degree in Psychology and Philosophy and worked for the police force, and now the ATF, as a criminal profiler.

That one word explained all I needed to know about the way he looks at me. It's somewhat scary, too…

If I was not impressed with the man before this evening, old friend. I certainly am now. Knowing all that I do… I understand a little better why… how he was able to read me so clearly…

No! I declined to tell him my past. I answered his questions and only smiled when I felt like offering no answer at some of them. He accepted that without question…

We had quite a few solemn moments this evening, but we had many moments where we smiled and laughed. We danced, too. I allowed him to hold me and, I felt so at peace in his arms.

Truly a wonderful evening…

We parted company at the restaurant. He presumed to kiss me. I turned my cheek for his lips. He smiled graciously and bestowed his kiss on my hand instead. I'm… not really sure, if I can be with this man, my friend, but I do know I am intrigued, despite myself.

Intrigued enough to… invite him here tomorrow…

Good heavens, what have I done…

~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~

November 16th, 2003

Rebecca L. Fenton

Hello, my friend,

It’s Sunday…

Nothing so unusual about that, I suppose. It’s just… so different…

The world, I mean.

Hard to explain really...

Well… not really...

I just feel different.

Let's see if I can explain…

I spent most of yesterday in the company of a gentleman. A 'real' gentleman.

Oh, yes, Josiah is very much a man… strong, broad, very masculine… very much a man. But there is more to him. So much more…

He surprised me in more ways than one yesterday… showing up much earlier than I had anticipated to begin with.

Brutus and Rusty announced a vehicle in the driveway about twelve thirty and I was puzzled. I don't get much company way out here, unless I invite the children, that is. I like it that way, too. Company usually only arrives on my terms.

Mr. Sanchez arrived on his terms, and I was not ready. The intercom sounded and I proceeded to the door. There he stood, not dressed for dinner and unshaven, as well. I was a little perturbed, I must say, but, inviting him in, I did offer lunch, as I had not yet finished mine. He declined, saying he'd already eaten.

Brutus and Rusty kept their distance, eyeing him suspiciously, I'm sure.

Josiah sat quietly with a cup of coffee while I finished my toasted shrimp sandwich.

Somehow, I don't see him enjoying such a thing.

The thought amused me as I watched him look around my kitchen.

Already off my stride from his unexpected arrival, I was further surprised when he asked if I rode horses. He informed me that, having seen my address, he realized that a friend lived only a short distance away, and he boarded his horse there. His early appearance was spurred by his interest in 'taking a ride with me'.

I could only smile!

For a man who knows nothing about me, Mr. Sanchez knows far too much.

His rough attire and relaxed presentation made so much sense all of a sudden.

Honestly, my friend, the way his eyes sparkled, his smile was wide and he was just so very relaxed. How could I possibly say no?

Simply put… I couldn't.

I quickly prepared the roast beef and slid it into the oven on a low settling. I did a quick tidy of the kitchen and, telling him to wander if he pleased, I proceeded upstairs to change.

When I emerged, I could hear the piano keys and joined Mr. Sanchez in the sitting room. In his own words, he doesn't 'play very well', but he enjoys the fact that he can 'tap out a tune or two'. He did very well with 'Moon River', I must say.

Such an elegant choice…

Securing the premises, we walked through the gardens towards the barn. He was amused that Brutus and Rusty kept their 'eye on me' and impressed that they did not chase the other animals that roam around the outbuildings. The dogs waited outside while I introduced Josiah to my horse.

I do believe Mr. Sanchez was impressed again. Saying that Excalibur was a 'big fella for such a little lady'. At five foot ten, I don't think I am that 'little' and I made him aware of that fact. I was taken aback when he stepped close, wrapped his arms around me, and, holding me tight, he announced that I was 'just right'.

I swear; standing there, looking up into his lovely blue eyes, I became lost in him. If only briefly…

A low growl broke the spell of the moment, I'm afraid. I laughed quietly as Josiah licked at his lips nervously, commenting on how 'well' the dogs were trained. I'm not entirely sure if the remark was a question, a statement, or a fleeting hope on his part.

We had a brief discussion and then Mr. Sanchez saddled Excalibur for me. I agreed to follow along from the fields as we made our way to 'Chris' ranch'. Brutus and Rusty looked rather put out that I encouraged them to the back of Josiah's Suburban but did not get in myself. They watched me intently as we made our way to the neighboring property.

I was introduced to Mr. Chris Larabee. A few years junior to Mr. Sanchez, I was curious when Josiah introduced the man as his 'boss'. I forced myself to relax, knowing instinctively that I had reacted to the presence of another ATF agent, yet hoping I had not shown too much of that reaction. I don't think Mr. Larabee took much notice, but I know Josiah did.

Mr. Larabee seems to have quite the eye for horses, as well. He watched purposefully as Josiah and I proceeded to the barn. Finally commenting on Excalibur's lines and presentation, he asked if I bred him. I was surprised at the question, answering honestly, that I'd never considered it… although… he can be unruly at times. From his response, I'd say Mr. Larabee thought that statement quite funny. He suggested I should bring him around more often. He knew a horse or two that Excalibur could 'get to know'. The exchange was quite enjoyable, lending greatly to the relaxation I've found with Mr. Sanchez.

I considered briefly that perhaps I've thrown all federal agents into one basket. However, Mr. Larabee's reaction as I let Brutus and Rusty out of Josiah's vehicle was quite abrupt. Rather rude actually. And, while I understand completely his concern for his horses, I would think a reasonable man would ask first, rather than react, asking questions later.

I found myself cowering behind Josiah as he hastily explained that the dogs were trained extremely well. Brutus and Rusty had immediately sensed my apprehension and took up a stance at my side.

I don't think I left a very good impression with Mr. Larabee as we rode away. Looking back, it occurs to me that perhaps I should have left the dogs at home, but… well, they have been my only company and protection for so long… Old habits die hard… isn't that what they say?

Josiah mentioned that 'Chris had a tendency to react first and ask questions later.' He also said 'that fact' was a 'good thing'. 'Probably what kept him and the rest of the team alive'.

I thought about that for a while…

Josiah seemed to sense my bewilderment. He mentioned names quite fondly as we rode. Some of them I recognized from listening to Evie. The manner in which he spoke of his 'teammates' reminded me of the way Evie and Orin speak of their friends.

All things considered, if this friendship with Mr. Sanchez is to have a chance, I will need to learn to trust more than just Josiah.

Such a huge task…

Yet, I believe I want to try.

Our ride took us to a pond that Mr. Larabee has on his land. Quite extensive property, I must say. I've probably ridden on it before, although, unknowingly, of course. Most of the surrounding properties board horses. And, as do I, my neighbors enjoy the beauty of our country living, respecting each other's property whilst enjoying the freedom of a good ride.

Josiah obviously enjoys it too. He seemed very much at home on his mount… another fine animal, as well. The horse wasn't very comfortable around the dogs at first, but I sent them off at a distance and Josiah's 'Bounty' settled some. Perhaps, in time, he will get used to them. And they him…

After a while, Mr. Sanchez returned to Mr. Larabee's ranch while I returned home with the dogs. Luckily, Johnny was there feeding the animals, so I asked him to settle Excalibur as well. He's a wonderful young man. Studies hard, and tending the barn and stock gives him some extra money. I'm happy to offer him the work and he's more than happy with the fee I pay him. I think we will miss each other when he moves. He insists he will find someone else to take his place. He's such a responsible boy. His mother should be proud.

So… where was I?

Leaving all the animals with Johnny, I made my way to the house. The aroma coming from the kitchen was exquisite, and after turning the roast, I quickly showered and changed. Leaving my strawberry curls loose, I stayed casual in my attire as well, not wanting to present too formal to Mr. Sanchez. I did the potatoes and put them on. Threw some baby carrots on to cook and readied the Yorkshire pudding and the gravy ingredients.

I'd already slipped the Yorkshire in the oven by the time the intercom rang again. With a tea towel in hand I opened the door and stood mesmerized at the sight before me.

There stood Mr. Sanchez, showered, shaven, and wearing the most glorious smile… a lovely white tuxedo as well. Curled in one hand were pink and white carnations, in the other, a blush wine.

To say that I was completely and utterly surprised and overwhelmed would be the gravest of understatements, old friend. He seemed pleased with my reaction though! He invited himself in, while I stood dumbfounded and speechless. He handed me the flowers and guided us both back to the kitchen, commenting all the while on how delicious the house smelt.

Several oblivious minutes passed as he seated me at the nook and 'inspected' the food. He waited… He actually waited while I regained my senses and then he came to me. As I rose to my feet at his beckoning, he took my hands in his, smiled so wonderfully, and kissed my cheek. He said simply, that he was 'very happy to be here', and offered his help.

I stammered something about setting the dining room table.

Directing him to the china and silverware in the hutch, I left him to his task and returned to the kitchen. Shaking off my befuddlement, I added some frozen peas to the baby carrots. Then, removing the roast from the oven, I used the stock to prepare the gravy base, adding some potatoe water to increase the volume. Mashing the potatoes, I set them aside and drained the vegetables. Mr. Sanchez offered to 'slice the beast', as he put it, and while he did so, I finished off the gravy and Yorkshire pudding.

A quick inquiry as to whether he enjoyed his apple pie hot or cold, I slipped it into the oven to warm. I'm glad I made it last night, as I wouldn't have had time today.

So… everything was ready… except me. I felt so underdressed it wasn't funny. Mr. Sanchez insisted I was fine, but I just didn't feel right, especially when he slipped his jacket on again. I asked him for five minutes, and with a wink and that wonderful smile, he shooed me on my way.

I don't think I've ever changed that fast. Off went my blouse and skirt. I quickly washed and re-applied my usual amount of modest make-up. Primping my hair into a small bun with loose tassels, I walked into my closet and chose the soft red evening gown I wore to the 'Christmas in July' fundraising banquet. It's very proper, yet unassuming in presentation. I thought the color would go well with Josiah's white tuxedo as well.

I know I took longer than five minutes.

Imagine my surprise when I entered the kitchen and found no one there. Once more, silent hands slipped around my waist, and soft lips nuzzled my ear. He beckoned me to the dining room and there I found everything prepared. The table set and adorned with serving dishes, the wine chilling in the ice bucket and several ornamental candles lit around the room. The chandelier was set on its lowest setting and the room glowed.

With his arm still around my waist, old friend, I couldn't help but lean into Josiah's shoulder. It took several minutes, before we seated and dined.

We covered so many topics during dinner. The pleasures of the day, the simplicity of the evening… even the fall apples I mounded into the pie shell. We discussed the upcoming Thanksgiving celebration. I mentioned that I normally spent it with Matthew's sister, here in Denver, but they were trekking to my cabin and I had a charity meeting to chair. He said we'd have to go to my cabin ourselves one day. He also invited me to accompany him for dinner with his friends.

I said I would think about it.

He's such an easy man to talk to, old friend. The easiness of the day stretched into the night and eventually, we adjourned to the living room. I refused to let him soil his clothing starting a fire, but did promise 'another time'. With the stereo playing softly in the background, we enjoyed more conversation and wine.

I'm not sure at what point he asked… I just know he did. And for the first time, I was willing to share some.

There are few people in this world that know Rebecca Louise Holliway Fenton.

I mean really, really know me.

The ‘me’ I am now… and how I got this way...

The smiles… and my frowns… My fears...

All that this world has thrown at me, my friend… the joy I lived through in my growing years, and that shaped who I became… the love of family, friends, and Matthew... Little Becky Lou Holliway became Mrs. Rebecca Fenton practically, straight after high school, and how she was happier than she could have ever thought possible.

Your brothers have the whole story on their pages. Eleven wonderful years that saw Matthew and I grow up together. Neither of us were yet twenty! Both of us were prepared for the rest of our lives… together… 'Till death do us part…

His love made me the novelist I am today. That first book was all him and I was so glad when it started him on his chosen path.

I still blame myself… for everything…

Yes, I know.

It's not my fault!

It was never my fault. But who else do I have to blame?

I lost Matthew in a pool of blood on my living room floor…

So much blood…

I lost his children at that unfeeling hospital, before they could breathe the life that he gave them.

A day in the life, they say…

My life ended in three short weeks.

I learned to 'not cry', very quickly.

It didn't help!

It never helped!

But it was a lesson I learned very well.

That tragedy built my walls of seclusion, old friend. The 'agents' of all those bureaus… they said they were there to help! Protect me…

The mistrust and fear I have in me will take time to go away; if it ever will completely… remains to be seen.

I shared some of this with Josiah Sanchez last night… and he listened. I made it clear to him that I can never forget… he said simply; 'he would never ask that of anyone'.

I told him, to know me would not be easy. He said simply, 'he knew'. When he took my glass and set it aside, he smiled, moving closer. He said, 'he asked nothing more than the opportunity to try'. I set my forehead on his broad chest and whispered that I would like that, too.

His large hands lifted my chin and he kissed me… an appropriate embrace for that solemn moment, tender, not intrusive.

I kissed him back, old friend.

Heaven help me… I kissed him back!

It was not long afterwards, that he left. As he stepped off the veranda, I said I would be pleased to join him for Thanksgiving dinner. He smiled when I insisted that the hostess allow me to bring something.

I stood quietly, watching him drive away.

For the first time in so very long, I slept soundly.

{{deep sigh here}}

Several of my entries since Halloween have asked you, 'what have I done?'

I know the answer to that now…

I've let someone else inside…

Heaven help us both!

~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~ 7 ~~~~~~~


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