She had been talking nonstop since the pair arrived at the Copenhagen airport. Gray had alerted Monk by telephone, and he had arranged a private car to whisk them safely to the waiting jet, already refueling. Logan smoothed out all diplomatic and visa issues.
Still, Gray had not breathed easily until the Challenger was wheels up and into the air.
"Her bullet wound?"
Monk shrugged and collapsed into a neighboring chair. "Scratch really. Okay, a really deep nasty scratch. Will hurt like hell the next few days. But some antiseptic, liquid skin sealant, and a bandage wrap, and she'll be right as rain in a couple more days. Ready to rip more people off."
Monk patted his jacket, making sure his wallet was still there.
"She only stole it as a way to say hello," Gray said. He hid a tired smile. Grette Neal had explained the same to him yesterday. God, was it only yesterday?
While Monk had ministered to Fiona, Gray had reported to Logan. The temporary director was not happy to hear about his escapades following the auction…an auction Gray had been forbidden to attend. Still, the damage was done. Luckily he still had the flash drive containing all the participants' pictures, including the ice-blond pair. He had forwarded it all to Logan, along with faxed copies of some of the pages from the Bible and his notes. He had even sent his drawing of the cloverleaf tattoo he had spotted on the night's assailants. Some unknown blond assassin squad.
Logan and Kat would work at their end to ascertain who was behind all this.
Logan had already made inquiries with the Copenhagen authorities. They reported no deaths at the park. It seemed the body of the assassin they had clotheslined had disappeared. So the aftermath of their flight from Tivoli Gardens proved no worse than bruises and scrapes among the jostled visitors. No serious injuries…except to a parade float.
He watched Monk check the pocket of his jeans.
"Ring still there?" Gray asked, needling his friend.
"She didn't have to steal that, too."
Gray had to give Fiona credit. Fast fingers.
"So you going to tell me about that ring box?" Gray asked, closing the Darwin Bible.
"I wanted to surprise you with it…"
"Monk, I didn't know you cared that much."
"Oh, shut up. I meant I wanted to tell you about it in my own time, not…not because Ms. Copperfield over there pulled it out of a hat."
Gray leaned back, facing Monk, arms crossed. "So you're going to pop the question. I don't know…Mrs. Kat Kokkalis. She'll never go for it."
"I didn't think so either. I bought the damn thing two months ago. Haven't found the moment to ask her."
"More like, you hadn't found the courage."
"Well, maybe that, too."
Gray reached over and patted Monk on the knee. "She loves you, Monk. Quit worrying."
Monk grinned like a schoolboy at him. Not a good look for him. Still, Gray recognized the depth of feeling in his eyes. Along with a shimmer of genuine fear. Monk rubbed at the joint where his prosthetic hand met the stump of his wrist. Despite his bravado, the man had been shaken by last year's mutilation. Kat's attention had gone a long way toward healing him, more than any of the doctors. Still, a deep vein of insecurity remained.
Monk opened the small black velvet box and stared at the three-carat engagement ring. "Maybe I should have gotten a bigger diamond…especially now."
"What do you mean?"
Monk glanced over at him. The new expression shone from his face…a trembling hope was the best way to describe it. "Kat's pregnant."
Gray sat up, surprised. "What? How?"
"I think you know how" Monk said.
"Christ…congratulations," he blurted out, still recovering. The last came out somewhat as a question. "I mean…you are keeping the baby."
Monk raised one eyebrow.
"Of course," Gray said, shaking his head at his stupidity.
"It's still early," Monk said. "Kat doesn't want anyone to know…she said it was okay to tell you."
Gray nodded, taking time to assimilate the news. He tried to picture Monk as a father and was surprised how easy that was to imagine.
"My God, that's just great."
Monk snapped the ring box closed. "So what about you?"
Gray frowned. "What about me?"
"You and Rachel. What did she say when you called her about your escapades in Tivoli Gardens?"
Gray's brow crinkled.
Monk's eyes widened. "Gray…"
"You didn't call her, did you?"
"I didn't think—"
"She's with the carabinieri. So you know she heard about any possible terrorist attack in Copenhagen. Especially some nut job yelling 'Bomb!' in a crowded park and joyriding in a parade float. She has to know you were involved."
Monk was right. He should have called her right away.
"Grayson Pierce, what am I going to do with you?" Monk shook his head sadly. "When are you going to cut that girl free?"
"What are you talking about?"
"C'mon. I'm happy you and Rachel have hit it off, but where's it really going?"
Gray bristled. "Not that it's any of your business, but that's what we were planning on discussing here, before all hell broke loose."
"Lucky break for you."
"You know, just because you have a two-month-old engagement ring in your pocket does not make you a relationship expert."
Monk held up both palms. "All right…backing off…I was just saying…"
Gray was not letting him off the hook that easily. "What?"
"You don't really want a relationship."
He blinked at the frontal assault. "What are you talking about? Rachel and I have been bending over backward to make this work. I love Rachel. You know that."
"I know you do. I never said otherwise. You just don't want a real relationship with her." Monk ticked off three items on his fingers. "That means wife, a mortgage, and kids."
Gray just shook his head.
"All you're doing with Rachel is enjoying a prolonged first date."
Gray sought some retort, but Monk was hitting too close to home. He remembered how it took overcoming a certain awkwardness each time he and Rachel met, a buffer that had to be crossed before a deeper intimacy could be reestablished. Like a first date.
"How long have I known you?" Monk asked.
Gray waved the question away.
"And during that time how many serious girlfriends have you had?" Monk formed his fist into a big zero. "And look who you pick for your first serious relationship."