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From his seat on the couch, Bo watched Andrew attempting to cozy up to Jeannie's friend.  After debating the merits of rugby versus football, they had moved on to British versus American music, movies, and now two hours after dinner, they were engaged in some vigorous debate about health care reform as they played chess in a corner of the living room.

"I've lived with the National Health Service," Andrew was saying.  "Do you know how long it takes to get to see a specialist?"

Shivaughn spoke equally forcefully.  "But isn't that better than never being able to see a specialist at all?  That's the case for large numbers of Americans."

The debate continued, but Bo was distracted as Jeannie plopped down on the sofa next to him.  "Your mom's upstairs?" he asked.

Jeannie nodded.  "Marlena and Grandma are with her."  They both watched the verbal sparring for a few minutes, before Jeannie leaned over and whispered, "He doesn't mean anything he's saying."

"He sure sounds like it," Bo said.

"He's just playing the contrarian to rile her up.  Trust me, I've seen it before."  Jeannie shook her head and chuckled.  "It's all a game to him."

Bo heard Shivaughn say "check mate," so he said, "Looks like he's losing the game."

"I heard that," Andrew said.  In a sotto voice, he told them, "I let her win."

Shivaughn glared at him.  "And I heard that -- and no you didn't.  I beat you soundly.  Admit it."

Andrew shrugged.  "Okay, I'll admit it."  He turned to Jeannie.  "You should've warned me that she's a chess shark."

"How was I supposed to know?" Jeannie said.  "You're the chess player in the family."

Bo laughed at the sibling banter.  It sounded so familiar -- except for the chess part.  In the Brady household, it would have been about fishing or football.

"Well . . . I guess I'm out of practice with Father gone."  Andrew stopped short, as if he had just realized what he had said.  "Sorry, I shouldn't have said that."

"It's no big deal to me," Jeannie said, but Bo could see the tense look on her face and could hear the tension in her voice.  She was trying to act nonchalant about Shane's disappearance, but Bo could read people well enough to tell that it was affecting her.  She made an obvious attempt to change the subject.  "By the way, Shivaughn, all that stuff Andy's said about politics -- he doesn't believe any of it."

Shivaughn stopped and looked from Jeannie toward Andrew with a quizzical expression.  Andrew had a sheepish look on his face and he shoved his hands into his pockets.

"Are you serious?" Shivaughn said.  "All that stuff about market economics and the tyranny of regulatory bodies was just BS?"

Andrew shrugged.  "Cambridge Union.  You've got to be able to argue any side of an issue."

"So you were just yanking my chain?" she asked.

"Well, actually, most of my mates would call it 'taking the piss,' but, basically, that's a pretty good description."  He watched Shivaughn stalk off toward the guest rooms and looked at Jeannie and Bo.  "Was it something I said?"

Jeannie stood up and walked after Shivaughn.  She was shaking her head and muttering, "Sometimes, Andy . . . Sometimes."

As she left, Andrew looked at Bo.  "I guess I cleared out the room."  He hopped over the back of the couch and landed in seated position.  "So, Uncle Bo, what should we talk about?  I assume market economics is not your bailiwick."

"Yeah, you could say that," Bo said.  He studied his nephew.  It had been a long time since they had been together, not since before he joined the army.  The boy had grown up a lot.  At least in some ways.  Bo motioned in the direction the girls had just gone.  "You like that girl, don't you?"

Andrew gave Bo a funny look.  "Jeannie?  She's my sister."

"Come on, Andy."  Bo chuckled at the obvious dodge.  "Her friend.  Not that I blame you.  She's pretty hot."  Bo couldn't deny that.

Andrew rolled his eyes dramatically.  "Please.  I just met Shivaughn today."

"And you've spent pretty much every minute since with her.  She even got you into the kitchen to help Ma make her chowder."  Bo gave Andrew a knowing look.

"That obvious?" Andrew asked.  When Bo nodded, Andrew sighed.  "Not that it matters.  Jeannie threatened to leave me with a much higher singing voice if I touched her."

"Now that sounds like your sister," Bo said.  "I think Kimber threatened to do that to Roman once.  It had something to do with him threatening to bring out baby pictures on her prom night."

"And that sounds like Mum."  Andrew leaned back on the couch and he grew serious.  "She's real glad you're all here.  I'm not sure she'd have made it through everything without Marlena and now you and Gran."

"I didn't have much choice, did I?" Bo asked, but it was a rhetorical question.  "But I'd have been here even if I wasn't the marrow donor.  Your mom means a lot to me.  And, Andy, I think your being here for all of this was real important too."


"We seem to be getting on better than before," Andrew said.

"She was worried about you."  Bo thought back to some of the long calls he had with Kim when Andrew was in Afghanistan.  A lot of the time, she reported things she had heard from Shane, but she also had revealed how scared she was that something would happen to Andrew.  "She's a mother.  That's what they do."

Andrew nodded.  "I know."  Then he yawned.  "You know what . . . I think I'm going to crash."  He stood up and then stopped.  "Hey, Uncle Bo, how about you join me early tomorrow and we go surfing.  The waves won't be anything that great, but it'll be fun.  Meet me outside at 7.  I'm sure we have a wetsuit that'll fit you."

Bo actually had enjoyed the few times he tried surfing during visits to see Kim, but he shook his head.  "Nah.  These meds have left me kind of tired and sore.  Ask me again after I finish having my blood filtered."

"Your loss," Andrew said, as he headed toward the stairs.

Bo watched him leave and then got up from the couch and headed toward his room.  He ran into Shivaughn who was standing near the arch that separated the living room from the kitchen, apparently on the pretext of getting a glass of water.  Bo gave her a wry smile.  "Surf lesson.  7 a.m."