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|Chapter 1-5 6-9 10-15|
Liz's fear paralyzed her as she offered no resistance when she was struck down and quickly bound. She felt the sting of a needle in her arm and she quickly slid into unconsciousness.
Rough hands pulled her to her feet and with two dogs flanking her Milton ordered her to follow the soldier in front of her. She stumbled as she tried to keep up, not noticing the blows that fell on her when she failed to keep up.
"Get in there and shut up. You are not to speak to anyone." Milton ordered. The door to the truck was slammed closed with a lock clicking into place.
Liz moved to a space that was made for her and silently, in a dead fog, sat and waited with the others until they reached their destination.
The truck finally came to a sliding halt, as if there was sand underneath the wheels. The back doors were quickly flung open and orders from the men had six women climbing out in a docile manner, walking to the small boat that was waiting on the shore.
"She's not going with them." Milton's Southern drawl interrupted the men that were pushing the women along to the boat.
"What do you mean! You said ten. I paid you for ten!" A heavily accented voice angrily shrilled.
"You have five in the other truck. This one's staying with me." Milton raised his weapon and pointed it at the man's chest. The tiny red light was moving in a lazy circle around his chest.
A small sound could be heard and Milton stepped back, wavering for a moment then he fell face first down into the sand.
"Move them! Quickly! Get rid of the body before the other truck arrives."
The sound of the other truck however, was already approaching. It slid to a halt and the men quickly had the doors swinging open ready to unload their human cargo.
Suddenly they were surrounded by men, hip deep in water with scuba gear and weapons pointed at the men that were holding the women, while the truck was bathed in a bright light that lit up that part of the coast.
Suddenly the muffled sound of choppers quickly descended on the beach scene, with lights that lit up more of the area, giving it the appearance of a movie set. Darkly clad men and women that were not with the smugglers and slavers had the slavers and milita group surrounded, darting anyone that looked like they were going to resist.
Alex had burst out of the back of the truck, not realizing it was saturated with AFT agents rolling onto her feet with a gun stuck in her face as she came to her feet.
"She's with us!" She heard Scripts voice and a whine of Angel voice as she saw the tall gray dog scramble down the shore toward the boat.
"Where's Liz?" She asked frantically as Script grabbed her arm.
They both hurried after Angel toward the boat where the agents were trying to talk to six silent women.
Angel was nuzzling an unresponsive palm of one of the tall silent figures and whining.
"They were given drugs." One of the agents told the others. "Just like the other bunch we found."
"What kind of drug?" Alex asked as she stood before the silent form of Liz. Her eyes looked ahead of her, not even blinking.
"Probably some cocktail mixture, like that date rape drug. Makes them manageable and until it wears off, they only listen to one voice."
"She's cold!" Alex felt the cold fingers that didn't respond to her squeeze.
"Mary! Get these women something warm. Let's move them over to the cars and turn the heaters on. They aren't even wearing anything to keep them from catching a cold."
The agent sounded compassionate.
The night was long as pictures were taken and the two groups were taken into custody. Alex stayed next to Liz, in Scripts truck, with a warm Angel pressed against her other side, until the agents had what they needed.
Scripts hopped up into the cab and looked at his back seat where Alex was sitting next to a still silent Liz.
"How are you doing, Partner?"
"Did they say how long this stuff lasts?"
"Bout a few hours. She won't remember a thing after the shot."
Alex shook her head. "She'll be having nightmares, Scripts."
"Yea." He put the truck into gear and headed back to town. "At least she won't have to worry about Bo Milton. He had a nice hole in the middle of his head."
There was silence as Scripts moved onto the highway.
"So, what happened?" Alex finally asked.
"AFT was asked if they wanted to participate in a sting operation of nabbing an FBI mole. Naturally they wanted to help. Friendly group. The Chief had them stashed away at the marine base, looking like marines. Mike and Danny sang like canaries when one of their agents paid them a visit in their car heading for a rendezvous at the house. We found out the meeting place, had it saturated with agents. Hell, there were more agents there than sand fleas."
A curved tale moved at the talk of fleas.
"I'm sorry about the beach Alex. But they stopped me and Angel from pulling you out. We could have done it."
"She was their bait." Alex muttered bitterly, looking at the darkened face that was beside her. The blue glint wasn't showing and Alex guessed her eyes were closed. Maybe she was sleeping now.
The truck pulled into the driveway, slowing as he moved toward the gate. The lights came on and white geese could be seen milling around in their suddenly lit up yard.
"Hey, how are you going to get through that?"
Alex hopped out of the truck, after quickly glancing at Liz. She moved into the shadows then came back toward the truck.
"Liz, come on. We're home."
The blue eyes fluttered open and a darkened face turned toward her. Alex reached out and waited until the long cold fingers curled around hers.
"Stay here, Angel. Jobs done." Mark's soft voice informed her.
Angel looked toward Mark then watched as Alex encouraged Liz to move toward the door to exit, with a light tug on her hands.
"Good night, Mark. See ya later. Much later I hope." Alex guided Liz past the geese and up the walkway. The door opened before Alex had a chance to touch the nob and a gun was pointed directly at her. A darkened face with a hood over the head was in the doorway.
"Just keep coming in." The soft voice told her.
They never got into the door as a big gray Irish Wolfhound rushed past Alex and Liz and had the dark figure by the throat.
It had happened so fast Mark was almost caught flat footed while the large dog leaped out of the rolled door passenger window that Mark had left open for Angel to hang out of. He had his gun pointing toward the struggling figure on the floor ordering Angel to release the man whose throat she was ready to shake apart.
"Angel, release and hunt!" Mark ordered as he moved quickly to cuff the frightened man. Alex grabbed the man pulling him onto his stomach and nodding to her partner to follow the dog.
Liz remained standing in the doorway, exposed. Alex leaped up and grabbed her pulling her down onto the hard tile floor, frightened that she may get hit with a sniper shot.
When will this end?
Soft lights came on in the entranceway. Angrily, Mark pulled off the mask of their prisoner, while Angel loomed over the prone figure. Mike's face was sneering at them as his face was revealed.
Curses and an attempt to spit at Mark was halted by Angel whose long face pushed up against Mikes. This time there was fear in his eyes, but he refused to give them the pleasure of admitting to it.
"Get your sorry ass dog, outta my face." Mike hissed. Angel pushed past the cuffed wrists and grabbed the man's neck again.
Mike screamed and became still.
"Now that we have your attention." Mark told him, letting Angel play the tough guy. "Where's Danny, your buddy?"
Alex had sat up pulling Liz, who was still unresponsive into a sitting position. She turned to look at Liz for a moment to see if she was doing okay.
She nodded to Scrips who nodded back. Alex stood up and leaned down to help Liz to her feet. She coaxed her into her room but she wouldn't go. So instead, she guided her into her own and sat her on the bed. She pulled the soaked shoes and socks off, then had her stand as she undressed her from her wet cloths. The thin frame was cold. Alex knew Liz didn't have many cloths, and certainly not warm sleep ware. She rummaged in her drawers and found her longest T-shirt, pulling it over the still figure. She pulled the covers back and helped Liz get settled.
The only time Alex used her heater on the heating blanket was to warm her bed up before she went to bed in winter. Now she turned it on to thaw out the nearly frozen woman. Certain that Liz was going to be all right alone. She rejoined Mark just outside of her doorway, who was continueing his questioning of Mike, to make sure he was the only surprise.
To be sure, Mark checked the camera for the cavern that he had reattached. There was nothing. He scanned the other monitors but could find nothing.
Marks radio went off, at his hip. He unclipped it and responded.
"Scripts, where are you? Over."
"At the house with Alex and Liz? What's up? Over."
"Mike got away? Over."
"Roger that, Chief. Got him bagged over here. Any more lose? Over.
"Nope. One of the AFT agents is on his way with Wayne. Over."
Liz shivered as her consciousness gradually awakened to hearing a seagull crying from somewhere. She realized that arms were around her and a soft breath was tickling the back of her neck. She recognized the smell of Alex but was frightened to open her eyes and not find her there.
"Hey, are you all right?" Alex asked softly. She could feel the body she was wrapped protectively around relax.
"Hmm." For a moment there was silence. "I have a terrible head ache." Liz muttered.
Alex squeezed her. "Is that something like, "Not tonight, Honey, I have a headache." She laughed into the neck. "Or is that, "Boy, have I got a headache."
Liz stretched tentatively in Alex's arms, as if wanting more space between them.
Alex let her go waiting for Liz to say something.
"I have to use the restroom." She told Alex as she moved to get up.
Alex had a terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach that something was not right.
"Liz, nothing happened last night." She quickly told her, trying to alleviate some of the blank spaces that might be scarring her.
"Why…why do you say that?" Liz asked shakily. "Look, I have to go…" she limped out the door and headed toward her own bathroom.
Alex thought for a moment. If she followed her into her bathroom, would Liz think she was being overprotective? If she didn't follow her, what if this gut feeling was right? That something was not right here.
Alex swung her legs over the side of the bed, noting the time. She picked up the phone and dialed the clinic. She needed some advice. After a few minutes of explaining what she thought was happening, Alex hung up and went to see where Liz was.
Liz was in her room, standing before the windows that overlooked the ocean. She was very still and didn't meet Alex's eyes when they caught both of their reflections in the window.
Liz didn't even acknowledge Alex's presence. Worried, Alex left the room, to put some hot water up for tea. Mai was on her way over. Alex stopped at the front door and opened it enough for Mai to walk in. She didn't worry about how she was going to get past the geese. Mai, to Alex's mind, probably walked on water too.
While the water heated she returned to Liz's bedroom, finding the door closed and probably locked.
She tapped on the door softly.
"Liz? Liz?" There was only silence.
"Liz, talk to me. Milton is dead. The rest of the group were caught and they're in custody with the AFT agents."
"Liz?" she called softly. "Please, say something."
"Leave me alone, Alex." Was the muffled reply.
"Liz, right now, it's not good for you to be alone."
She wasn't sure if what she heard was a snicker or a laugh.
"I'm making some tea, Liz. Would you like a cup when the waters ready?"
There was no sound for a dozen heartbeats.
"Sure." Was the faint reply.
"Great. I'll make some mint tea." Alex hesitated a moment. "Will you let me in Elizabeth?"
Alex let the silence stretch out until the water kettle told her she would be finding out what the answer to her question would be.
Alex returned to the door and tapped. "Elizabeth? Liz, say something."
"I'm here, Detective. I'm not going anywhere."
Was that anger in her voice. Alex cringed at what she called her.
Alex was fiddling with the hot water in cups waiting for Mai to arrive. She felt apprehensive about a situation she had no idea why it had her own emotions rolling about. Alex had never, to her knowledge, felt this awful about facing a person that was…was Liz suicidal? No. She was a survivor. Alex took a deep breath and looked up at the sound of the monitor alarm. She walked around to view the consul. It was Gary and Mai's car.
She opened the door and pensively waited for the two. She looked up into a worried Gary's gray eyes. He pulled Alex into a hug while Mai patted her on the shoulder as she walked past them into the kitchen.
Gary pulled Alex over to the couch and sat down with Alex next to him.
"Now tell me…what's been happening?" He didn't release her hand. She was surprised to find her hand was shaking.
"Well, we got caught by…"
"No, Alex. I want you to start at the very beginning."
Alex paused. The beginning? The beginning of my life? The beginning of this whole covert stuff? When I first realized I was attracted to Elizabeth Duke?
Gary patiently waited.
"Gary, the beginning of what? I mean," She took a deep breath to ease the tightness around her chest and shoulders. "Gads. I feel like I'm in one of those confessionals where I'm about to reveal my whole life in front of the congregation and ask for forgiveness." Alex blurted out.
Gary said nothing, but he continued to hold her hand that was by now cold.
"I don't any body an explanation or apology for my life!"
Alex closed her eyes and tried to fight the feelings of living a covert life amongst people she cared about before Sunrise and in Sunrise, where she had decided to end that type of life. She didn't live a lie, she was just not completely open with them. Everyone had secrets. She told them she wasn't going to stay long. She told the truth. She suddenly felt very lonely. She knew Mark Scripts would understand. She was sure he would. But Elizabeth…she suspected. She knew. She asked her twice. She didn't lie to her. Elizabeth had opened herself to her. She told her, her part in this operation. Why did she avoid telling her hers?
A hand tightened around hers and she looked up into the level gaze of gray eyes. Alex for a moment wished they were blue, so she could practice on staring into them and telling the truth.
"I'll get some tea." Alex tried to pull her hand from his.
"Alex. You don't need tea right now. You need to take time to think where you are right now and where are you going to take this situation. But…you need to do it with open eyes on what it's going to involve."
"What…what do you mean?"
"Have you ever stayed in one place long enough to develop any deep feelings for anyone?"
Alex took a deep breath then let it out. "No." She said softly. "I've tried to prevent that from happening."
"Why?" He asked with no apology.
Was being truthful with him going to be a prelude of all the other people in Sunrise she would have to be truthful with? Once it was out that she was working for the FBI's covert group, how many people that were open and friendly would be after that came to light?
"Being in the police business isn't always condusive to warm and friendly relationships, besides the hours suck."
"So, what made Sunrise different?"
Alex shifted uncomfortably. He was right, she had let her friendships here become more embedded in her skin. Was that why she wanted to settle here?
"I don't know, Father Gary. Why do you think?" Alex asked.
Gary was not put off with her anxiousness.
"We're a nice town." He smiled. "You need to know before you talk to Elizabeth, Alex. She's going to be on a long road to recovery. Mai's going to try and talk her into staying. She's had some experience in working with post-traumatic stress, up in Canada. Elizabeth will be feeling great one day and another…like a perfect stranger."
Gary leaned close to her to get her attention.
"And so will you."
Alex's protective wall went down, with the soft words of recognition. Gary held her as she sobbed. Part of her mind was asking herself why was she crying? She survived all her jobs. After the completion of one she quickly moved into another. She had no problems. "Seven years of no problems", she sobbed. "Why now?"
"Maybe because you're ready to make a commitment, to a town, it's way of life and to real relationships that have a beginning and a progression towards more meaning in your life." He suggested as he rubbed her back in circles, feeling the tension in the muscles.
"Here. Turn around. With less tension in your shoulders you can think better."
It was hours later when Mai came out of Elizabeth's room. Gary was listening to a story Alex was telling about her discovery of Angel's soggy toy and how Elizabeth had found it funny, which now Alex also did.
"Elizabeth's sleeping." She held a hand up as Alex was going to look in. "Alex. Sit down for a moment. I need to ask you something."
"I'm going to stick it out." Alex told her seriously.
"Sticking it out?" Mai asked.
"I really care about her Mai."
Alex took a deep breath. "We may have moved a little too fast in some aspects of our relationship, but I don't regret them. If she only wants a room mate…I can deal with that. But she needs someone here."
Mai nodded. "She does. She's going to be moody sometimes, she's going to be weepy. Can you handle that?"
Alex laughed. "Hey, I'm a woman that was a teen summer counselor. I survived and so did my girls."
"This isn't going to be a summer thing, Alex."
"The teens were rape survivors. I've been there, and I've been one. I know what it's like to be used, abused, and rescued. It is a long road. I can do it. I want to do it. I would like to see if…there is something more than friendship with us." She admitted.
Gary nodded his head and rose. Mai patted Alex's hand. "I would like to see you both going to the counseling groups at the House. She'll need the support and I think…it would do her some good to hear your story. She thinks you're going to leave."
"Oh. Well…we haven't had much time to talk about tomorrows."
"When she wakes, sit down and talk…about you. She knows nothing about you, which is why she thinks you're working for the FBI."
Alex took a deep breath. "Okay. Thanks. Both of you." As she hugged each one she began to cry again.
Mai held her against her tiny frame for a long moment, until the sobs in Alex's frame which was the same height only more muscular stopped.
Mai kissed her on her cheek. "I'm glad you'r staying on Alex. I really like you and it would have saddened me for you to leave." She suddenly smiled. "Gary and Mark are too tall to work out with."
Alex chuckled. "Yea. I get a neck ache trying to look up at them all the time."
Gary snorted. "Is that why you keep knocking me down to the mat. Geish! I think I spend more time on the mat looking up at you two then I do with the others."
After the two had left, Alex thoughtfully made another cup of tea and thought of what she was going to say to Elizabeth. Did she really not regret that night of making love to her? No. It felt right then, and Elizabeth had made the move. Besides, she already had made up her mind to stay. Elizabeth came at the right time in her life. They both would survive and together.
To clear her thoughts and wait for Elizabeth to wake up, Alex moved into the dinning room to work off some of the nervous energy the anticipation was bringing up in her. She slid the doors open in the dinning room, which was still devoid of any furniture. She breathed in the cold foggy air and closed her eyes for a moment. Turning around she decided to work on a kata then she would warm down with some T'ai Chi. What a combination, she laughed to herself. One was the same as the other, just working up different types of energy.
Alex felt the energy move through her limbs as she punched to the solar plexus of her imaginary opponent and whirled around into a round house kick. The finish of the 5th degree kata, which was all she interested in doing, called for a whirling back kick to the temple of her opponent, which she gave to the solitary clapping of her audience.
"Impressive." A better looking Liz stood in the doorway.
Alex was breathless for a moment, not knowing if it was from the exercises or seeing Liz.
"Morning. How are you feeling, Liz?"
"Better, though there's room for improvement."
Alex nodded not knowing if that was directed at her.
"Are you finished?" Liz continued.
"Ahh. Well, I was going to practice some T'ai Chi." She looked embarrassed for a moment. "Mai asked me to lead the class on Tuesday."
"Mind if I follow along? I haven't done it for a while." She looked around her. "I haven't had this much room around me in a long time."
Alex took a deep breath, nearly crying. Why the sudden urge to cry? She shrugged her shoulders. "Me neither, except in the hall."
"You lead." Liz nodded to her.
"Oh, right. Well, let me know if I forget something."
As Alex centered herself before she started the first movement she felt the small nervous ball of energy in her chest move down her legs as she sank into the first movement, as she shifted her weight to her left to move her right heel she could feel that energy shift to the left leg and drain into the wooden floor. She kept her thoughts focused on the movements, feeling the arm drop then come up to grap the ball of fire, shifting her weight as she turned to move into the bird pose. She could almost feel the energy of the person slightly to the right of her as they both moved slowly, enjoying the quieting movements that let each muscle group move and stretch. A faster edition of yoga, Alex thought.
She finally came to a stop, letting the energy dissipate and her awareness of the air and the person next to her dominate her awareness.
Liz was distantly aware of bright lights and sounds around her but a part of her remained asleep, in a dull lifeless world. She remembered she had been here before. She didn't know for how long she was there, in that void, but she could feel the pressure of something against her cheek, a body pressed against hers, soft breaths tickling the back of her neck. The smell of Alex was all around her. The beating of her heart against her back that quickened as she moved within the tight encircle of arms.
Is it over? A small panic crept over her. If it was, then Alex would be leaving and she would be alone again. Her customary wall reflexively came up causing her body to stiffen against the warmth she wanted so bad it hurt.
She felt as she were one person with two parts pulling at her. One wanted a protective distance and the other wanted to wrap herself around the smaller woman imploring her not to leave her.
As she gazed out at the ocean she refused to meet the green eyes that had a message for her that she was afraid to read. When Alex left to make tea she moved to close the door. She wanted space, she desperately needed space. Fears she hadn't allowed herself to explore were pushing their way up as if a stick was stirring the murky bottom of still lake.
She remained looking out at the ocean, refusing to let Alex in least she break down and let her know how much she meant to her. She was frightened.
A different tap on her door brought her out of her turmoil. She listened.
She moved to unlock the door, surprised it was Mai. In her hand she had a steaming cup of tea. She sniffed the unfamiliar scent. Mai guided her to the bed and sat her down.
Between sips of tea, Elizabeth found herself willingly telling Mai about her and her desires, and hopes and now need to sink her roots in this creative town, but with Alex who she felt was going to leave.
Mai listened letting her go at her own pace and sometimes spending times crying at parts of her story but managing to go on. Mai nodded when she finally finished.
"You still have a long road to go, but you will walk it." Mai nodded. "I think you know that, it is Alex you are not certain about. You will both need to talk, which after you both get some rest, will. Alex has her own demons, which I think would help if you both shared. You only have just met, and need to develop more slowly into the relationship you both desire. Don't think you have not made an impression on Alex. You are the only person I have known her to become personally interested in. We have had plenty of women passing through the House that she's had to protect, and you are the only one she has chosen to move in with. Professionally it was not a good idea, but she acted on a heart response. She has also bought furniture and other things for a home." Mai laughed. "That tells me there is more to Alexandra than duty and that she's ready to settle down."
Eliazbeth sighed inwardly and looked into the empty tea cup with the leaves settling on the bottom. Mai took the cup from her hand and gazed into the cup for a moment. Smiling she looked into the puffy red eyes.
"Do you think you can get some sleep?"
Liz nodded surprised. "I, really feel tired. I mean…a different type of tired."
"Hmm. Yes, I understand. Not a heavy, weary type of tiredness."
"Good. Now tuck you feet under the covers. When you wake, you will be refreshed and ready to tackle the subject of Alexandra Adison." Her smile was warm and it made Liz's sleepy mind think of a movie she had once seen but couldn't remember what it was.
She drifted off into a nice comfortable sleep. No nightmares, no one chasing her. It was a funny dream. Both her and Alex were in a boat but they were in a tub of foamy substance, shaving cream! Alex lost her oar and when she gave hers to Alex to guide them along, she promptly lost that too. It meant that they were going to have to go along with the current, but the funny thing was. They were in a tub and there was not current in the foamy stuff. So, thinking about it, what did they need oars for?
Liz woke to a breeze that smelled like damp fog. Startled blue eyes opened. She was facing the windows and there was only a gray wall of moisture pressing up against the windows.
Curious she rolled over to see where the open window was. Her bedroom door was open. She got out of bed, pulling on a pair of sweat pants over her chilly long legs.
She could hear small grunts coming from the dinning room area and for a moment she paniced. She pulled the sword out of the cane and peered into the room.
A smile curved on her lips as she watched the small detective…her room mate….Alex, move into martial arts poses quickly defending and attacking imaginary opponents as the kata stretched the practitioners abilities. There was a sheen of sweat on her upper lip as the breeze from the morning air cooled most of her working body down. As Alex spun to finish off her opponent, Liz clapped appreciatively.
So, where do we go from here, Elizabeth Ann Duke?
Following a leisurely breakfast that seemed to be slower than usual, as both women seemed to be getting their thoughts prepared for the talk they both needed.
"Leave the dishes, Alex. We need to talk without distractions and I'm to anxious to be putting it off any longer." Liz admitted.
"Yea. Good idea. I know what you mean."
"Do you want to sit on the couch?"
"You go first." Liz told Alex quickly as they settled, with distance between them.
"Hmm. What do you want to know about me?"
"Everything. Start with your earliest recollections of your life."
Alex looked at her startled. She smiled a little. "Is that the writer in you? Wanting to know everything about your character?"
"Only if the character is very important to me."
Alex nodded not letting her eyes stray from the serious blue ones that were trapping her into revealing a painful life she hated to talk about. It was what got her into this business in the first place.
"You are very important to me too, Elizabeth. Enough to…want to remain your room mate."
Liz's face lit up and her eyes took on a deeper blue. "Tell me your story, Detective. And leave nothing out. I have a fertile imagination and you might not like what I fill the gaps in with." Liz leaned back and listened as the voice she hoped to wake up to every morning started her own life saga.
|Chapter 1-5 6-9 10-15|
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