Murder Most Foul
by C Paradee and Lois Cloarec Hart
Disclaimers - See Part 1 for disclaimers.
Lindsay walked down the hall of the modern building, mentally comparing its stark, impersonal appearance with the small, comfortable layout of the City Hall in Tucker's Way. As she neared Gareth's office, she went over her strategy one last time before entering the large room.
A brown-haired woman in business attire smiled pleasantly at her. "May I help you?"
Lindsay glanced at the nameplate, which read, 'Beverly Lindstrom.' Stifling her natural urge to smile warmly, she replied brusquely yet politely, "I'd like to see Mr. Edwards."
"He's in court. Do you have an appointment?"
Lindsay commented acerbically, "I had one last week and it certainly didn't do me any good. Mr. Edwards never showed."
The secretary sighed and opened the weekly planner on her desk. "Last Thursday?"
"Yes, it was. I had a luncheon engagement to discuss a donation for his upcoming congressional campaign. I'm having second thoughts now. I'm not accustomed to being stood up without the courtesy of a phone call or an apology."
"I contacted everyone in his calendar and rescheduled all the appointments." Glancing up from the planner, she asked, "What's your name? There's no one scheduled for lunch that day."
"Diane Calvin." Lindsay placed a hand on her hip and allowed irritation to creep into her voice. "And I can assure you that I had an appointment. I spoke with Gareth myself."
"I am very sorry. He must have forgotten to tell me. He's totally booked this week, but I can schedule you for next Monday."
Lindsay commented curtly, "Is he always so irresponsible about his schedule? I would think he would go out of his way to curry favor with financial backers."
The secretary looked startled. "Mr. Edwards, irresponsible? Oh no. He's extremely reliable. His day is always planned from start to finish. Last Thursday was highly unusual. He was called away unexpectedly. I've worked for him for five years and that was a first."
Lindsay softened her tone, smiling. "Must have been a rough day."
"You're not kidding. I didn't even get any advance notice. He called at nine and said he wouldn't be in. I suggested he call some of his more important clients himself, but he insisted I handle it. You'd have thought the cancellations were my fault by the way some of his clients reacted."
"Doesn't sound like a very nice guy to work for."
"Oh no, he's usually great. That was totally out of character for him. Gareth is normally meticulous to a fault and he was obviously not himself when he came in that night."
Lindsay raised her eyebrow. "So he did come into work that day?"
"Yes, but it was late. I was still waiting for a return call from one of his VIP clients. You should've seen him. He was distraught, and so pale; I thought surely he must have been in accident. I'd never seen him in such a state. He wouldn't even talk to me, just told me to go home. Seriously, he'd never have stood you up if it wasn't an emergency of some sort."
Nodding understandingly, Lindsay said, "Okay. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt this time. I have to go out of town next week. When I get back, I'll give you a call to reschedule."
Smiling, the woman said, "Thanks for understanding. I can assure you it won't happen again. Whatever the emergency was, it really upset him. He wasn't himself for days afterward."
Lindsay smiled. "I'll be in touch."
Her mind racing, Lindsay left the building en route back to the hotel. She felt bad about misleading Gareth's secretary, but her desire to help bring Delia's murderer to justice overshadowed her discomfort at misrepresenting herself. The pieces were beginning to fit together very nicely and she could hardly wait to find out what Jaye had uncovered.
Jaye waited patiently for the picture of Gareth to finish printing out. Although there had been ample pictures of the aspiring politician on local Internet sites, it had been more difficult to find a close up facial shot.
Her visit to both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald's offices had yielded a wealth of information on their primary suspect. The newspaper databases had been well maintained and were easy to search. Jaye printed out a few of the more comprehensive articles to share with Lindsay, then headed for the downtown branch of the Boston Public Library.
After spending over an hour perusing microfiche and the library database of the smaller local papers, Jaye had gathered what she considered to be a fairly complete picture of the public persona of their primary suspect in Delia's murder.
She mentally recapped what she'd learned. Gareth had a natural charisma that made him a popular speaker and he'd appeared frequently at fundraisers for candidates for local, state and federal offices for the past several years. He had only recently publicly indicated a desire to run for Congress on the Republican ticket the following year. The larger newspapers spoke favorably of him, but some of the smaller independent papers denounced his stance on environmental affairs and civil liberties.
She'd been particularly struck by his virulent campaign against gay rights. He had urged his followers to combat the "unhealthy and unholy" trend towards equal rights for homosexuals at every turn, stridently preaching the need to stop and repeal even the mildest pro-gay state and federal laws.
He also supported repeal of many of the environmental laws, citing unfair costs to businesses. Gareth's stance on other issues was more moderate, but always conservative. Jaye found it interesting that his presence and charm seem to outweigh his views on civil liberties with many of his constituents.
She picked up the picture, staring at it. The big question was why? Why would an aspiring politician commit murder? Her dislike of Gareth had escalated proportionally with her discovery of his stand against gays. She shook her head ruefully. A week ago, she hadn't even paid attention to political candidates' views on gays. So much had changed. The love between Delia and Patricia had been palpable the night before and her burgeoning feelings for Lindsay were causing her to question her own sexuality for the first time in her life.
Jaye grabbed her jacket, anxious to return to the hotel room and the woman who'd barely left her thoughts since they'd parted earlier that morning. She was as eager to explore her nascent feelings for the blonde, as she was to share her findings on Gareth. Concentrating on the microfiche at the Boston Globe had been nearly impossible as her thoughts continually strayed to the attractive young woman. It had only been with great effort of will that she'd been able to drag her mind off Lindsay and back to the search for a murderer.
Lindsay glanced up from the TV at the sound of the door opening. She'd been back in the hotel room for over two hours and the time had just crawled by. Smiling, Lindsay stood up, trying to ignore her excitement at seeing Jaye. "How'd it go?"
"Gareth's an interesting character study." She laid the copied articles on the table. "Wait until you see some of this. Turns out he's very popular with some of the locals. He just announced he's going to run for Congress, not that I'd ever vote for him."
Picking up on the disgust in Jaye's voice, Lindsay commented, "I take it you didn't like what you found out?"
Jaye snorted. "Not hardly. Not only does he vote against environmental issues, Gareth is openly prejudiced against gays. He's actively campaigning for a repeal of laws that have been passed to protect those living an alternative lifestyle, and has sworn to do his best to fight any future proposals initiated that might support gays. What a jerk!"
Stifling a smile, Lindsay said, "You won't get an argument out of me. I have no respect for people who preach hate and intolerance. You know what makes it so bad? They prey on people's ignorance and fears, but I don't have much respect for people who buy into that hatred either."
Jaye glanced down at the floor, but not before Lindsay saw the reddening of her cheeks.
"I wasn't talking about you, Jaye."
"Less than 48 hours ago you could have been. I've sure been an idiot."
Lindsay smiled. "Hey, come on. You apologized. Forget about it."
Caught off guard by the question, Lindsay momentarily looked away, only to find her gaze drawn back by intense blue eyes that riveted her to the spot and refused to release her. Lindsay's heart began racing as the surrounding room faded until she was only aware of the tall, dark haired woman standing in front of her. A small ripple in time became an eternity as a primal connection - forged from the depths of their souls - diminished the space between them.
Lindsay finally regained control of her roiling emotions enough to turn away. Chastising herself for the slip of control, yet confused by the definite interest mirrored in Jaye's eyes, Lindsay struggled for a casual tone.
"How about if we check out and head back to Tucker's Way? There's nothing else we can do here, and we can bring each other up to date on the ride back. Then we'll be able to start showing Gareth's picture around first thing in the morning."
Jaye nodded slowly. "Okay."
Lindsay was sure she saw a flicker of disappointment cross Jaye's face, further unsettling her, but she didn't want to have to handle sleeping only a few feet away from the tall woman that night. Right now she needed some space to try and figure out what to do about her growing feelings for Jaye.
Firmly reminding herself that Delia's niece would be returning to Toronto once the murderer was brought to justice, Lindsay warned herself there was no future in giving her feelings free rein. She grabbed her overnight bag trying to ignore the empty feeling the logic generated.
Gathering up their belongings, Lindsay prattled nervously. "It's really nice out today. Hard to believe it's late October. I bet it's at least 70. Couldn't have picked a better day for driving. Do you think that Dolan will believe us? I think we have a much better chance with him than the sheriff. Webster's so afraid of anyone with power or money, it's pathetic."
Lindsay glanced up from packing to find Jaye watching her with a bemused expression on her face. She felt a blush rise on her cheeks. "Guess I was babbling."
"No." Jaye zipped up her suitcase, smiling. "Just not giving me any time to answer. You ready?"
They arrived back in Tucker's Way at dusk, and drove straight to the Sheriff's Office.
"I'm glad Webster isn't here. It's going to be hard enough to convince Dolan."
Jaye looked at Lindsay and raised an eyebrow. "Oh, I don't know. You're pretty convincing. You did a great job finding out Gareth called off and cancelled all his appointments last Thursday."
Lindsay smiled at the compliment. "Thanks. I felt bad about deceiving his secretary, though. She was just trying to do her job. I hate lying."
"That's not really lying."
"Yes it is."
Jaye pursed her lips. "Okay. Technically it is. But some lies are necessary. We had to know if he could have killed my aunt. That was the easiest way to find out."
"I know. I still didn't like doing it, though." She sighed and shook her head. "Anyway, you've got the glass right?"
When Jaye nodded, Lindsay muttered, "Here goes nothing."
Dolan saw the women walked in and smiled. "What are you two up to now? We've got the suspects under surveillance."
Jaye shook her head, "We don't think they did it."
Narrowing his eyes, Dolan said, "You heard Stu's statement."
"Yeah, and Stu had a perfect motive for setting them up. Revenge."
"So who do you think did it then, Jaye?"
Lindsay spoke up. "We think Gareth Edwards may have done it. Jaye's got a glass with his fingerprints on it. I bet if you run them, they'll match the fingerprints on the window sill of the library."
Dolan studied them speculatively. "That name sounds familiar. I know who he is. He's that guy that just made the news in Boston yesterday. Announced his candidacy for Congress." Discounting their request, he ticked off the flaws as he saw them. "He's not from here. There's no motive. It just doesn't make any sense. I'm afraid you're barking up the wrong tree, ladies."
Lindsay countered with their primary evidence. "Gareth never showed for work the day Delia was killed. He called in unexpectedly that morning, leaving his secretary to deal with all his irate clients, never offering any explanation for his absence. She said when he came back in late that evening he was visibly upset."
"So? I'm sure there are thousands of people who called off work last Thursday and he could have been upset about anything from a bad donut to a tax audit."
Lindsay glanced at Jaye when she laid a hand on her arm, understanding that her tall companion wanted to explain the underlying reason, as they saw it.
"Dolan, my aunt and his mother were in a romantic relationship years ago. They resumed contact earlier this year and were planning to get back together permanently. Gareth's father passed away years ago, but he was appalled that his mother would consider a lesbian liaison. He was furious that it might imperil his career aspirations. He is absolutely fixated on his political future and we don't think he'd let anything stand in his way, even if it destroyed his mother's happiness. He is totally egocentric."
Lindsay watched Jaye closely, looking for any sign of embarrassment or discomfort as she related Gareth's motive to Dolan, but saw no evidence of either. She hid a smile at the startled look on the deputy's face as he listened.
"Are you sure?" Dolan ran a hand through his hair. "I just never...she didn't seem..."
Smiling gently, Lindsay asked, "Seem like what?"
"I never suspected, that's all. Did you know?"
Lindsay nodded. "I did. Jaye didn't."
Dolan riveted his eyes on Jaye. "How do you feel about this?"
"I don't have any problem with it."
Sitting back in the chair, Dolan shrugged. "Neither do I. It was just a shock, that's all. Do you have any other evidence? Webster's never going to buy this."
Jaye nodded. "There's a letter in her purse in the evidence room. It verifies what we've just told you."
"Bill is still going to be a hard sell."
"Even Webster can't ignore the evidence if those fingerprints match."
"I've got a contact in the lab in Portland. I'll give him a call and ask him to expedite this. Shouldn't take more than a day or two. I'll give you a call when I get the report."
Lindsay smiled. "Thanks, Dolan."
"No problem. I want Delia's killer brought to justice, too. If this guy did it, he's gonna go down for it, no matter who he is."
Lindsay looked over at Jaye as she shifted the vehicle into gear. "He took that pretty well."
"Yeah. Now all we gotta do is find someone who saw Gareth that day. I want an iron clad case."
"I hear you," Lindsay sighed as they drove up the long driveway and Delia's house came into view. "I'm going to miss this place. What are you going to do with it when you go back to Toronto?"
Jaye hesitated. "I haven't really thought about it."
Seeing the troubled look on the tall woman's face, Lindsay said, "I didn't mean to pry."
"No. It's not that." Jaye parked the car and exited.
Lindsay watched the tall woman stride quickly toward the house and shook her head. She wanted to talk to Jaye about what had happened in the hotel room, but fought the desire. Where would she start? What would she say? What if she was wrong? Shaking her head, she slowly followed.
The next morning, Lindsay got up to the smell of coffee and bacon. Surprised, she made her way to the kitchen. The table was already set, and Jaye was putting bread into the toaster.
She smiled. "Morning. Smells good."
Jaye shrugged. "I figured if we were going to be walking all over town, it might be a good idea to start off with a good breakfast."
"It is. Thanks."
After eating, Lindsay took a sip of coffee. "Are we going to do this together or split up?"
"What do you prefer?"
"I think we should go together." At Jaye's steady gaze, she added, "That way if one of us picks up on something the other one missed..."
Jaye smiled. "Right. We can start off at Jake Anderson's shop and work our way uptown."
Hours later, tired and discouraged, they pulled into Blevins' gas station. "I can't believe no one saw him. I know he did it. I can feel it."
"If the fingerprints match, that will put him here whether anyone saw him or not. He's not going to walk if he did it, Jaye."
"I know. I still want an airtight case. He's a lawyer. I don't want him to be able to wiggle out of it with some fabricated story."
Lindsay gestured toward a group of three men sitting inside the garage next to a heater. "Shall we?"
Jaye plucked the picture from the seat. "Let's do it."
Hank Blevins looked up. "Hiya Jaye, Lindsay. Just a minute and I'll be right there."
Waving him back to his seat, Jaye smiled. "We're not here for gas." She held out the picture. "Any of you guys ever seen this man?"
Hank peered at the photo. "Not that I can recall. Why you askin'?" He handed the picture to Joe Marsh.
"We think he might have killed Delia."
"I heard Mary and Derek were the prime suspects. So where'd this guy come in?"
"It's a long story. I want to make sure we're right, first."
Joe handed the picture to Tom Denkins, who glanced at it and shook his head. "Don't recall seeing him." He handed the picture back. "Sorry, Jaye."
"Thanks, anyway." She glanced at Lindsay, "Might as well head home."
As they reached the car, Ned White pulled up in his rebuilt 1956 Chevy truck, his two coon dogs grinning from the bed. Lindsay smiled. "He takes those dogs everywhere and they just love it. Why don't we ask him if he saw Gareth? He usually hangs out here, too."
Jaye shrugged. "Can't hurt."
Lindsay walked over and petted the dogs. "Hi, Ned."
Nodding his head, the grizzled man said, "Lindsay, Jaye. I was sorry to hear about your aunt, Jaye. She was a good woman."
Lindsay took the picture from Jaye and handed it to the new arrival. "Have you ever seen this guy around here?"
Ned scratched his head. "He looks familiar. Who is he?"
"We think he might have killed my aunt, so we've been showing the picture around town. So far, no one's seen him."
Narrowing his eyes, Ned said, "Wait. I remember him. I had just come from Doc Farley's office. Old Blue had to be put down that day. 'Bout broke my heart to do that, but that cancer was eating away at him and he was in pain. I was wrung out and stopped here to talk to Hank. That guy pulled in a few minutes after I got here. Had to be around one or so. Just interrupted me like I didn't exist, demanding gas cuz he said he didn't have time to wait around. Hank sent his boy out to take care of the guy. I remember what day it was because your aunt was killed the same day I had Old Blue put down."
Lindsay's eyes sparkled as she grinned at Jaye. "I knew it! Thanks, Ned."
His weathered face creased with a smile. "Glad I could help. If he did it, I hope you nail the bastard. Good luck."
The women waved their farewells headed for the Sheriff's Office. Jaye smiled with relief. "I had just about given up."
"Me, too. It's all finally coming together. Now all we need are the results of the fingerprints. If those match, Webster will have no choice but to put a warrant out for his arrest and request extradition from Boston."
After bringing Dolan up to date, the women arrived home a short time later, satisfied with the deputy's promises to call in the morning to see if the lab had identified the fingerprints.
Lindsay became pensive as the implications of their hard work sank in. The closer they came to bringing in Delia's killer, the shorter their time together became.
"You're kind of quiet."
"I'm just tired. It's been a long day. I think I'll go soak in the bathtub for a while."
"Feel like pizza?"
"Sure. Get any kind you like. I'm easy." Lindsay could feel Jaye's eyes follow her down the hall and resisted the urge to turn around. No sense in playing with fire. It was going to be a long enough night as it was.
Neither woman was up when the pounding on the door began early the next morning. By virtue of her room being closest, Lindsay made it to the door first. Flinging it open, she had to cover her eyes to protect them from the bright morning sun. Peeking out between fingers, she saw Dolan grinning at her.
"Good morning, Lindsay. Great day, isn't it?" Dolan beamed broadly, his eyes cheerfully flicking past the befuddled young woman to the taller form coming down the hall. "Morning, Jaye. 'Bout time you got up."
"What rooster bit you in the butt?" Jaye muttered, querulous at being wrenched from a marvelous dream about Lindsay in a tropical paradise. She'd been admiring the very tiny bikini her dream companion was wearing when a large, obnoxious parrot had begun tapping on their beach umbrella. She'd woken to the sound of Dolan's knocking and wasn't about to readily forgive her friend for the intrusion.
Chuckling, Dolan brushed by the women, waving a file folder in the air. "Trust me, you're gonna wanna see what I've got here."
Lindsay and Jaye exchanged puzzled glances, then trailed after Dolan as he marched down the hall toward the kitchen.
The deputy sheriff looked around hopefully. "Got any coffee in here?"
Bemused at the normally laconic man's obvious excitement, Jaye started for the coffee pot, only to be stopped by a gentle hand.
"I'll get it," Lindsay murmured, smiling. "Why don't you sit down with Dolan and see what's going on."
The brief, light touch was all it took to send a thrill rushing through Jaye's body, and she had to force herself to turn away. Joining her old friend at the kitchen table, she slid into the chair opposite him and tried to still the tingling of her nerve endings.
"So what've you got?"
"A match. I've got a match on the prints!" Gloating like he'd just won the lottery, Dolan opened the folder and snatched out the top sheet of paper. Slapping it down in front of the tall woman, he pointed at the summary paragraph.
"We've got the bastard, Jaye. Two complete and one partial on the window ledge. Perfect match with the glass you gave me. My buddy at the crime lab faxed the report to me last night."
Jaye hooted victoriously as Lindsay joined them, leaning over the tall woman's shoulder to read the summary for herself.
"We got 'im! All right!"
Jaye and Dolan exchanged high fives as Lindsay laughed delightedly. Elated, the tall woman asked, "What's next?"
Dolan sobered rapidly. "Well, there's a fly in the ointment."
"Let me guess," Jaye snorted. "Its name is Bill Webster."
"Got it in one. Yeah, once I had this report, I got Ned White to sign a statement swearing to his identification of Edwards on the day of the murder. Then I took all the evidence to the sheriff, including the letter from your aunt's purse." The deputy shook his head in disgust. "All he did was rake me over the coals for having the nerve to go off on my own. Wouldn't even stop rantin' long enough to look at what I had. Told me if I didn't stop defying his authority, I could damn well look for a job as the school janitor."
Jaye shook her head in exasperation. "Damned idiot! All he cares about is his image. God forbid he might actually solve a crime!"
"Oh, Dolan, I'm so sorry," Lindsay exclaimed. "We never meant to get you in trouble with this."
"Aw hell, if doing my job right is gonna get me in trouble, then I'm in the wrong job anyway." Dolan's chin jutted pugnaciously and Jaye recognized the familiar sign of obstinacy in her old friend. "That jackass' ineptitude isn't going to mess things up this time. I've got a friend in the Portland DA's office, and I've already talked to him. He wants me to bring everything we have on Edwards to a meeting this afternoon. If he likes the look of it, he'll convince his boss to issue a warrant that the Boston PD can execute. With the solid evidence we have, we'll get that murderer extradited to Maine in no time to stand trial. I could use your testimony at the meeting, though, 'cause it isn't gonna be easy convincing the DA to go after one of Boston's leading citizens."
"We're with you."
Jaye glanced up, seeking confirmation of her words from Lindsay. She was rewarded with a reassuring smile.
"Of course we'll go." Warm green eyes regarded Jaye affectionately as Lindsay softly added, "Besides, we have a promise to keep, remember?"
Overcome with emotion, Jaye simply nodded. She was profoundly moved that Lindsay took her promise to Delia as seriously as she herself did. She wouldn't have expected less from the compassionate woman, but the blonde's unwavering loyalty, and her acceptance of a ghostly presence she couldn't even see, still touched her deeply.
Dolan was looking from woman to woman in confusion. "Promise?"
Lindsay shook her head. "Private matter. Don't worry about it." Briskly, she patted Jaye's shoulder. "I'll be ready in ten."
Two sets of eyes followed her as she left the kitchen.
"Good kid," Dolan said approvingly. "I'm sure glad we have the evidence to clear her once and for all."
"Yeah, me too," Jaye agreed, standing up. "I'd better get a move on too. Help yourself to the coffee. Should be just about ready."
Returning to her room, the tall woman's thoughts turned to Patricia. This was going to be one of the hardest days of that elegant woman's life, and she hoped that her and Lindsay's presence would help ameliorate the pain.
Jaye shifted uneasily in her chair, her eyes sweeping the dark-paneled office as she half-listened to Dolan's friend, Clint Rouen, debate with the district attorney, Samuel Bradley. When they first arrived in Portland, Clint had listened carefully to their story and examined all the evidence. Convinced there was a case, he had taken them to meet his boss.
Initially the second meeting had not gone well, as the DA, a corpulent, sharp-eyed man, had evinced strong reluctance to indict Gareth Edwards, particularly when he heard the putative motive for the crime. His distaste for the interference of amateurs had been clear from the beginning, and his attitude towards Lindsay and Jaye had been dismissive at best. However, with backing from Rouen, Dolan had carefully laid out the circumstances, including the forensic evidence. Now, Bradley was sitting upright and paying close attention.
The tall woman could see the DA practically salivate over the promise of the high-profile case. She knew he was well aware of the career enhancing potential of such a conviction. The motive, which the attorney had initially dismissed as unsavory, now sounded like a prime ingredient for a sensationalistic, headline-grabbing coup. Even if the ultimate aim was the capture and conviction of her aunt's murderer, Jaye found the meeting increasingly repugnant. She hated to think of what effects the lurid, invasive publicity would have on Patricia.
Finally losing patience, she spoke up. "Are you going to issue a warrant for his arrest or not, Mr. Bradley?" Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Lindsay smother a smile and Dolan roll his eyes.
The DA looked at her patronizingly. "Now, now, Miss MacLaren, we can't just rush into this willy-nilly. We have to ensure that all the 'i's are dotted and the 't's are crossed first."
"But you will eventually issue that warrant?" Jaye persisted, determined to pin the slippery man down to an answer.
Dolan laid a soothing hand on her arm. "Gareth isn't going to get away with this, Jaye."
Lindsay joined in. "Of course he isn't, Jaye. After all, the press would have a field day if they heard that a murderer got off just because he had political connections."
Jaye almost laughed out loud at the instant alarm on Bradley's face, and inwardly she saluted her quick-witted friend.
"Now, now, there's no question that no one's going to get away with anything." Bradley turned to his assistant, who had been listening intently.
"Clint, what's your opinion on this? Do we have enough to convict?"
Rouen nodded. "I believe so, yes. They've laid a solid foundation, and I don't doubt that once we get our people on it, we'll be able to lock it up."
Bradley pursed his lip in apparent deep thought, but Jaye could tell from the gleam in his eye that it was already a go. Standing, she nodded at the men. "If you'll excuse us, we have things to do. Dolan has our contact information whenever you need to get hold of us."
Lindsay rose silently and followed her tall companion out of the office. As they walked down the hallway, Jaye apologized. "I'm sorry if I was abrupt, but I really think we should get on the road as soon as possible. It's a couple of hours to Boston, and we're going to need time to prepare her for what's about to happen."
"I know." Lindsay bit her lip. "Do you think she'll try to warn Gareth before the warrant is served?"
"It's a risk, but one I think we should take. It'll only be a matter of a couple of hours anyway, and I don't think Gareth would even run. I get the feeling that Delia was an impulse killing. He's not a career criminal and he won't think like one. Even if his mother did warn him, he'd be more likely to try and ride it out."
"She probably won't believe us in any event. It's not going to be easy to persuade her that her only son is a murderer, let alone that he killed the love of her life."
There was compassion in the younger woman's voice and Jaye felt a surge of gratitude that she wasn't alone in this. She knew she'd need every bit of Lindsay's grace and tact for what was to come next.
As Jaye turned the corner onto the wide, tree-lined street, she noticed a white Lincoln pulling into Patricia's driveway.
"That's her," Lindsay said. She glanced across at Jaye. "Are you ready for this?"
The tall woman shook her head. They had spent much of the drive from Portland going over how to tell Patricia, but hadn't arrived at a decision. Jaye wanted to simply lay the facts out bluntly, but Lindsay favored a more gentle approach, arguing that the woman needed time to absorb her son's criminal behaviour.
Steering Henri into the driveway, Jaye parked behind the Continental, acknowledging Patricia's eager wave. With a whispered, "Let's wing it," she climbed out of the Jeep, Lindsay right behind her.
Patricia was pulling several shopping bags out of the trunk, and the two younger women hastened to help her. Laughing, she allowed them to relieve her of her burden.
"Honestly, I'm not usually such a shopaholic, but I needed something new to wear to Gareth's fundraiser next week, and I got carried away." Patricia led them up the curving brick walkway. "So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit? I'd hoped to see you again soon, but I didn't think it would be this soon." She opened the door and stepped aside so they could enter, adding, "Not that I'm not delighted to see you, of course. Will you stay the night with me? We could go out for dinner if you like, or stay home if you prefer."
Jaye set the bags she was carrying on the hallway floor, and Lindsay followed suit. Both women shifted nervously as Patricia looked at them curiously.
"Patricia...um, we have something serious we need to speak to you about."
Looking gratefully at Lindsay for taking the initiative, Jaye nodded her agreement.
Tilting her head inquisitively, Patricia extended a hand towards the living room entrance in invitation. "Why don't we go in there, then?" Once the three women were settled, she asked politely, "May I get you some tea, or perhaps some coffee?"
Jaye twitched uncomfortably, aware that they'd automatically taken the same seats as on their first visit. Lindsay was sitting on the couch, half-turned to face their hostess, and the tall woman was opposite them in an easy chair. The younger woman reached out and took Patricia's hand. She was drawing a deep breath to begin when Jaye blurted out, "We know who murdered Delia!"
Lindsay shot her a reproving look, but quietly agreed. "We do have conclusive evidence, Patricia, and the Portland DA will be issuing an arrest warrant very soon."
Patricia drew in a sharp breath, responding gamely, "I'm glad. It was horrible enough that Dee was murdered, but to have her murderer go unpunished would've been unbearable. Tell me...who was it?"
Unable to sit still during this, Jaye sprang to her feet and began pacing. She listened as Lindsay carefully began to lay out the facts of the case.
"You know, at first we couldn't figure out who would want to kill Delia. She'd spent forty years in Tucker's Way and knew everyone. She certainly had a sharp tongue at times, but she was a well-respected and genuinely liked member of the community."
Patricia nodded at Lindsay's statement. "I know. I simply couldn't believe it when I heard it. Who could've hated Dee so much?"
Jaye interjected, "Someone with a very personal motive."
"But..." Patricia shook her head in puzzlement.
In a level voice, Lindsay requested, "Just hear us out, okay? Let me go through the whole thing and set it out for you step by step."
With a little shrug Patricia agreed, casually extending an arm along the back of the couch as Lindsay released her hand. Ticking off the points one by one, but leaving out Gareth's name for the moment, the blonde went through the discovery of the incriminating footprints and fingerprints, access to the murder weapon, proof of a motive, and the identification of the suspect on the day in question.
"So you're saying that there's no question that this man, whoever he is, killed her?"
"Well, who is he? And why did he do it?" Patricia looked from one woman to the other, a confused look on her patrician features.
Jaye sank to one knee in front of her. "He did it because he thought he had a lot to lose if the truth about your relationship with Auntie D came out. He did it because he believed that the scandal would ruin his future and his political aspirations."
Dawning comprehension broke over Patricia's face, swiftly followed by horror and denial. "You're saying you think Gareth murdered Dee? No! That's impossible! He'd never do such a thing!"
She pulled back in revulsion, sinking further into the cushions and holding her hands up as if to repudiate the accusation.
Her voice firm but compassionate, Jaye insisted. "There is no doubt, Patricia. Gareth's prints are at the crime scene, and he was positively identified as being in Tucker's Way that day. He's the only one who had a motiveto stop you and Delia from getting back together."
A strangled noise from across the room interrupted them, and Jaye whirled on one knee, shocked to see Gareth in the hall entrance pointing a gun at the trio.
"Gareth!" Patricia stood up, stepping around Jaye. "What are you doing? Put that thing down!"
"I can't, Mother. Pleasestep aside." Gareth was sweating visibly, red splotches prominent on his pale face, and his crisp, white shirt stained under the armpits. He waved the revolver, trying to get his mother to move out of the line of fire, but she advanced steadily towards him.
Her voice firm, Patricia reassured him. "Son, there's been some kind of mistake. We'll get all this resolved, but you need to put that away. Where in heaven's name did you get a gun, anyway? You know I don't approve of them in the house. And when did you get here? I didn't even hear you come in."
"It was Dad's gun, Mother. He knew you didn't like guns, so he kept it locked away in the basement." Gareth took a step to the side, but Patricia matched his movements, continuing to block his line of fire to the younger women. "I got here half an hour ago. You weren't home."
Jaye didn't move. She knelt on the floor in front of Lindsay, determined to protect the blonde as best she could, and felt Lindsay's hand close hard on her shoulder. If only she could get close to Gareth...but he was too far across the room. She could see the gun waver in his grip, but she knew that at that range she wouldn't stand a chance; and if she were killed, Lindsay would be next. All she could do was hold her breath for the moment and hope Patricia could talk some sense into her son.
"Gareth, I know you would never do something like what they're saying..."
"I didn't want to, Mother!" Gareth wiped his sleeve over his face. "Beverly told me someone had been around asking questions. I just knew it was her from the description. I can't let them ruin things now. I've come too far...but I can fix things. I can fix everything..."
Patricia stopped short in her tracks, the anguish apparent on her face. "Oh God, no, Gareth... Tell me you didn't kill Delia! Tell me you wouldn't do that to someone...to the woman I loved."
Even as her words begged for reassurance, Jaye knew the reality was sinking in. She shifted discreetly, drawing her leg under her in preparation, waiting for an opening as Gareth's attention was transferred to his mother.
Frantically, the distraught man pleaded for understanding. "I had to, mother! Don't you see? It would've ruined everything I've worked for...everything we've worked for all these years. I was going to put us in the White House...but you almost spoiled that."
His tone grew petulant now, angry words spitting out at his mother. "You're the perfect lady. You would've been irreproachable on the campaign trail! But no, you wanted to throw it all away. And for what? So you could shack up? Jesus, you're not a kid! What the hell was I supposed to do? Introduce you two to everyone as my mom and her geriatric lesbian lover? For God's sake, Mother! I'd have been the laughing stock of the party. They'd never have put me on the ticket."
Patricia drew herself up regally. "I have a right to a life of my own, son. I gave up the one person I ever loved when my father forced me to marry your father for the sake of propriety. I wasn't going to waste the final years of my life without her." She softened her stern tone and extended a conciliatory hand towards her progeny. "We would've been discreet, Dee and I. We would've stayed out of the limelight."
"Stayed out??" Gareth's voice rose to a shriek. "There's no such thing in today's world! They'd have found you. There would've been headlines in all the major newspapers about the dyke's little boy and his foolish political dreams! They'd have laughed at me, mother! They'd have laughed!! My life would've been ruined!"
Jaye wondered if he was going to have a stroke. She could practically see the froth around his lips and a vein was pulsing wildly in his temple. She desperately hoped he would just pass out, even if only for a few seconds, so she could get the gun away. Her hopes were dashed when he calmed himself with an effort, sucking in deep breaths and steadying the gun with both hands.
"I'm sorry, Mother, what's done is done. But don't worry; I don't blame you. You were seduced, but I can fix this. Nobody knows they're here. I just have to get rid of them and everything goes back to normal. Everything will be fine again."
Jaye wondered if Gareth truly believed that. Gazing at his eyes, she shuddered. The fanatical, faraway look in them seemed to indicate that he had disconnected from reality, which didn't bode well for her and Lindsay. She coiled her muscles, prepared to do whatever she could to at least save the young blonde. She felt a fleeting regret for what might have been, then pushed it aside so she could focus.
"You're wrong, Gareth. The Portland District Attorney's office is issuing a warrant for your arrest even as we speak. Killing us will only add more counts to the murder indictment."
Lindsay's quiet voice startled Jaye, and she eagerly looked to see if the words had made any impact on their captor.
"No...No, you're wrong," Gareth insisted. "If I get rid of you two, I can make the rest of it go away. I know people."
"You can't make me go away, son. I know what you did, and you have to answer for it. Put the gun down."
Jaye felt the fingers on her shoulder squeeze and she nodded almost imperceptibly. They were both ready to take advantage of any opportunity that presented itself, but the two main players seemed oblivious, focused only on each other.
"No, I'm not going to listen to you. You always did this to me. Made me make amends and stuff." Gareth's voice was distinctly whiny now. "Dad never did. That's why I always went to him. He knew how to fix stuff. He'd know how to make this right."
Patricia stood firm, her voice laced with deep sadness, but resolute. "There is only one way to make this right, Gareth. I'll stand by you. I'll testify in your behalf, but you have to put the gun down. I won't let you hurt these women."
Just then the sound of a car pulling into the driveway could be heard and Gareth swung wildly towards the door. Patricia grabbed for his hands, and the gun boomed. Jaye lunged to her feet, crossing the room in three bounds as Gareth clutched at his mother, the two of them slipping to the floor. He barely seemed to notice when the tall fury wrenched the gun from his hand, ejecting the clip and sliding it across the floor to where Lindsay now stood, frantically dialing the phone.
"No, Mom, no!! Mother, please...I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to, Mom." He rocked his mother in his arms, her blood staining his white shirt crimson. Looking up frantically at Jaye, he begged, "Help her! Please help her."
Tears in her eyes, Jaye knelt beside the woman, her eyes quickly assessing the damage. Patricia had taken the force of the blast full in her chest. Jaye had seen wounds like that before and knew that death would only be a matter of moments in coming. She felt Lindsay come up behind her and she looked up, shaking her head at the mute question in grieving green eyes.
Patricia tried to raise one hand...tried to say something to her son, but the vitality ebbed from her eyes and her body stilled. The detectives who had arrived looking for Gareth to execute the warrant, swarmed over the scene scant seconds later, finding him still cradling her body, muttering, "I didn't mean to, Mother. I didn't mean to. I'm so sorry, so sorry." The monotonous repetition didn't stop even when they pulled him away, giving the newly arrived EMS access to the already cooling body.
When Jaye finished giving her brief preliminary statement to one detective, he jerked a thumb at where Gareth was huddled against the wall, rocking back and forth as he mumbled his endless apology to his dead mother.
"Looks like a prime candidate for the loony bin. Anyway, we'll need you and your friend to come down to the station. We've got the Portland warrant, but he'll be charged and tried with this murder first before any extradition to Maine."
The detective moved away, and Jaye wearily leaned against a massive oak hutch as she watched the frenzy of activity. The crime scene experts who had been called in were snapping photographs and collecting evidence. Lindsay was still talking with the other detective, and Gareth was finally being led away in handcuffs. She closed her eyes for a moment, drained by the events of the day. Silently she mourned Patricia's death, wishing she could have done something to change what had happened, but at the same time grateful that the woman had saved them.
When exhausted blue eyes flickered open, Jaye started in surprise. Across the room, beyond the flurry of activity around the body, stood her aunt's shade...but this time she wasn't alone. Two old lovers, finally reunited, stood in a tight embrace. Delia sported a brilliant smile on her worn face, but Patricia's joy was moderated by the sorrowful, loving gaze she directed after her son. As Jaye watched, despondency and delight battling inwardly for ascendancy, she could have sworn that they grew younger amidst the radiance that surrounded them. Entranced, she didn't even notice Lindsay crossing the room towards her until the blonde burrowed into her arms as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
Jaye wrapped her arms around Lindsay, holding her securely as the young woman wept. She didn't interrupt, knowing that the tears were necessary, but after a long moment, she leaned down and whispered in one delicate ear.
"They're together, sweetheart."
Lindsay's head jerked up, hope in her wet eyes. "You can see them?"
Nodding, Jaye smiled. "Delia and Patricia. Together. I can see them."
She gently turned Lindsay in her arms until the young woman faced the right direction. The blonde shook her head in frustration, and Jaye knew only she'd been gifted with the ability to see them. She rocked Lindsay gently, consoling her even as she enjoyed the warmth and softness of the young woman's body leaning back against her own.
The ghosts regarded Jaye and Lindsay, luminous smiles conferring a benediction on the younger women as they began to disappear. Jaye could've sworn her aunt winked, a slightly smug twinkle in her eye. Long after the last image had faded, the tall woman held Lindsay tight, both of them deriving comfort from the embrace.
Jaye squinted until the driver of an oncoming vehicle dimmed their headlights. She'd forgotten how dark the Maine turnpike was at night, lined on both sides of the highway with dense woods and an occasional 'Moose Crossing' sign.
Concerned blue eyes glanced at Lindsay, who was barely visible in the passenger seat. Jaye had been horrified by Patricia's death, but the blonde was still recovering from the trauma of finding Delia and had been even more hard hit.
"You doin' okay?"
Lindsay smiled wanly. "Yeah. What a nightmare. I just don't know what Gareth was thinking. He must have totally disconnected from reality." Shaking her head, she added, "How else could he think he could shoot us and just walk away?"
"Too damn bad he didn't shoot himself and save everyone the trouble."
Jaye quickly glanced at Lindsay. "He wanted to kill us." She shuddered, remembering her fear of losing Lindsay forever at the hands of that madman.
"Don't you see? Gareth needs treatment. He's sick. You heard him. He wouldn't even shut up when the police read him his rights."
"I heard him all right. He assumed we were on to him because you were at his office, so the first thing he does is go to his mother's house to get a gun to murder us with."
"See what I mean? No sane person would think that killing us would automatically solve everything. He had to be crazy to think he could get away with it."
Jaye shook her head. Even after all Lindsay had been through, including being charged with murdering Delia, she could still find some compassion for the actual killer, even knowing how coldly he'd planned their demise.
"I think if he's sane enough to premeditate murder, he's sane enough to stand trial. For God's sake! His whole motive revolved around his public image."
Lindsay briefly laid her hand on Jaye's arm. "But it's over now. The cop I was talking to told me that if he were found competent to stand trial, he'd be charged with involuntary manslaughter for killing Patricia. Add to that, probably second degree murder for killing Delia, and he'll be behind bars for years."
Jaye grinned. "Makes me happy."
Lindsay chuckled. "You're incorrigible."
"Only..." Jaye clamped her mouth shut, finishing the sentence in her mind. When someone I care about is threatened.
She could feel Lindsay's eyes on her, but resisted the urge to look at her. "Nothing."
"Do you think you'll see Delia any more?"
"No. I think she's at peace now."
"I'm glad she's not alone. I mean, I'm really sorry Patricia had to die, but I'm glad they're finally together. They were true soul mates."
Jaye looked at Lindsay before returning her eyes to the road and nodding. "Yes, they were."
Lindsay smiled in the darkness of the car. "So, you are a romantic."
"Me? A romantic? Nah. You won't ever see me reading those mushy books and..."
Quiet laughter filled the car. "Okay. Whatever you say."
The sound was contagious, and Jaye began chuckling. "And just what is that supposed to mean?"
"I don't think anyone but a romantic would so readily recognize those two as soul mates."
"I'd have to have been blind not to. I've never seen two people love each other so much. If you could've seen them..."
Lindsay spoke softly. "I didn't need to. The way you described them was enough."
Jaye shrugged, unsure of how to answer that. She didn't consider herself particularly romantic, but lately--every time she looked at Lindsay--she wanted to hold her and whisper endearments into her delicate ears. She wanted to taste her sweet lips...
"Jaye! You're gonna miss our exit."
The tall woman hit the brakes, easing the car into the exit lane. Thankful that the darkness disguised her red cheeks, she muttered, "Must be more tired than I thought."
They arrived at Delia's house a short time later, worn out from the tumultuous events of the day and their escalating feelings for each other, and tumbled into bed.
Jaye woke early, after spending a fitful night. She lay in bed gazing at the rising sun, unable to see the beauty in the orange-tinged sky. It was the beginning of the end. A deep, soul-shattering loneliness threatened to consume her. Lindsay had turned her whole life topsy-turvy, and the idea of leaving the blonde filled her with despair. She fought to come up with an idea to delay their parting.
"All you have to do is tell her how you feel."
Jaye started. She'd been so deeply immersed in her thoughts that she hadn't even noticed the welcome materialization of her aunt's ghost. She smiled wistfully, delighted to see Delia again even as she balked at her relative's uncomplicated advice.
"I'm not sure how I feel...I don't know..." Jaye shook her head in frustration.
"J-mac, what am I going to do with you?" Delia settled onto the side of the bed and gazed fondly upon her niece. "Are you going to keep fighting it until it's too late?"
"Do you have to talk in riddles?" Jaye muttered peevishly, though she knew precisely what her aunt was referring to.
Delia raised one eyebrow in a carbon copy of her niece. "No need to take that tone with me, Eeyore."
Delia waved her hand dismissively, then smiled gently. "You shouldn't be afraid of love, J-mac."
Jaye sighed. "I'm not."
"Then why are you fighting so hard against what your heart is telling you?"
"You make everything sound so simple. It's not like that. Besides, I don't know how she feels."
"So that's what you're afraid of--rejection." Delia placed her finger over Jaye's lips, stilling her protest. "Let me finish."
"Life's a gamble, J-mac. If you don't take chances, you aren't living, you simply exist; and you'll go through life unfulfilled and unhappy. I love you like my own daughter, and I don't want that for you. If you run away now, you'll always wonder about what might have been."
Jaye turned troubled eyes to her aunt. "It's not rejection I'm worried about, so much as my ability to love her like she deserves to be loved. What if I can't? I don't want to hurt her."
"What about Lindsay? Doesn't she get any say-so?" Delia gazed at Jaye compassionately. "Nothing would make me happier than knowing my two beloved 'daughters' will find the same love that Patricia and I share."
Patricia shimmered into place next to Delia, placing an arm around her lover, who concluded, "This is a decision you have to make, J-mac. Make it with your heart, and you'll be okay. I have to leave you now."
"Wait. Don't go yet." Jaye beseeched the fading figures.
Delia smiled gently. "It's time. Remember how much I love you...always."
Jaye's parting image was a vision of the two women smiling lovingly at each other as they disappeared for what she knew was the final time.
Blonde hair lay disheveled across the pillow, and green eyes underlined with dark smudges gazed around the room. Lindsay was in no hurry to get up.
Would they say goodbye today?
She'd totally failed at her attempt to maintain a distance, and was completely, utterly in love with Jaye. Her infatuation with the woman that had lived in Delia's stories had blossomed, even against her will, into something wild and powerful. She was consumed with desire for the woman, but with longing for a lifetime of love. Nothing less would satisfy the bone deep yearning that suffused her.
She knew Jaye felt something for her, too. Lindsay had seen it in her eyes, but was it enough? She fought the urge to go to Jaye's room and tell her how she felt, fearing her heart would never recover from a second rejection.
Pondering her limited options, Lindsay struggled to overcome the irrational fear. I've never been afraid to take chances before, why is this time so different? She sighed, knowing the answer. She'd never been in love before. Not like this. If she lost Jaye, she would lose part of her heart and soul.
Lindsay narrowed her eyes, and fervently vowed, "If I lose you, it's not going to be because you didn't know how I felt." She grabbed the bedding to throw it aside, then suddenly froze as she heard feet padding along the wooden floor of the hallway.
Jaye leaned against Lindsay's doorframe, her eyes lingering on the sleeping woman as her thoughts turned inward. She'd only intended to go make coffee, but her rebellious feet had brought her to this open door, and no cool, rational logic could drag her away.
The fear that had consumed herfear of Lindsay's reaction, fear of her own emotional inadequacies, even fear of loving a woman romanticallyall ebbed away as her gaze caressed the disheveled blonde hair and the delicate hand curled around the edge of the quilt. In its place, the love that had been steadily growing with every moment spent in Lindsay's presence eradicated the last remnants of doubt. A peaceful acceptance settled over her, and she welcomed the overpowering feeling that almost staggered her with its intensity.
Consumed by her own thoughts and emotions, Jaye hadn't immediately noticed that soft green eyes were now focused on her. Her breath hitched as she realized she'd been caught, her heart so clearly on her sleeve that there could be no more dissembling about her feelings. Momentary panic welled, then dissipated, as she read Lindsay's unspoken welcome. Emerald eyes that reflected her own passion...an inviting smile that echoed promises her body thrilled to...an outstretched hand that coaxed her to leave her last reservations at the door...
Never breaking their shared gaze, Lindsay sat up--slowly, deliberately, unfastening each button of her nightshirt until it hung loosely, the pale inner swells of her breasts clearly visible through the opening. Jaye felt all the moisture in her mouth dry up, and she took one stuttering step towards the bed then another, her eyes now glued to the tantalizing sight.
Moving on instinct, Jaye's trembling fingers grasped the bottom of her oversized t-shirt and pulled it up over her head. She was gratified at Lindsay's audible intake of breath as she fully exposed her upper body.
Green eyes widened, and the blonde's mouth parted slightly as she watched the tall woman's slow approach.
In unmistakable overture, Lindsay drew back the quilt in invitation. Reaching the bed, Jaye sank down on the edge, drawing one leg up so that it was touching her lover's. The distance between them shrank to nothing as Lindsay leaned forward, one hand on Jaye's pajama clad thigh and the other tracing a line down her throat, across her nude torso, and around the outer edge of her left breast.
Jaye arched into the longed for touch, silently pleading for more, but Lindsay took her time, cupping and teasing the pliant flesh gently until the tall woman thought she would go mad with want.
Laying one hand on Jaye's chest, Lindsay cocked her head as if listening to the thunder of her tall lover's heart. She smiled joyfully and slowly drew the dark head down until their lips touched.
Frozen, Jaye could do nothing but revel in the sensation as a warm tongue flicked across her lips in an undemanding request for entry. Eagerly. she inhaled Lindsay's scent and the taste of her kiss. She was so lost in a sense of wonder, that she almost missed the husky words whispered into her mouth.
"I love you. I will always love you."
Tears filled crystal blue eyes, and she pulled back enough to cup Lindsay's face, her long, slender fingers caressing the delicate features.
"Oh, Lindsay, I love you too. I was such an idiot..."
"Shhhh...Nothing else matters now."
Jaye nodded wordlessly, her throat choked with emotion. Suddenly overwhelmed with the need to feel Lindsay's skin against her own, she gently pushed the other woman's shirt back off her shoulders. Shrugging out of it, the blonde tossed it heedlessly to the floor and drew herself up proudly under her lover's awed gaze.
Jaye was familiar with the naked female form in every media of artistic expression, but she was certain she had never seen such sheer beauty. She knew she'd never in her life been so overwhelmed with desire as her eyes took in Lindsay's nude body.
Stunned into immobility, she was only brought back to herself by the sound of Lindsay's low chuckle. Obviously deciding that her partner needed some prompting, the blonde drew Jaye down on the bed and eased on top of her lover's larger frame.
Jaye groaned at the exquisite sensation of breast against breast, then moaned even louder as Lindsay began a slow, thorough exploration of her body. She closed her eyes and simply absorbed the feelings--the suckling pressure on her rigid nipples, the fingers tracing the lines of her body, the warm, wet tongue blazing a trail straight down from her navel...
Mindlessly, she allowed Lindsay to ease the pajama bottoms off, instinctively spreading her legs as her lover slipped between them. Fingers tenderly explored her, driving her half-mad with anticipation. When finally Lindsay granted her the touch she was burning for, Jaye nearly screamed her pleasure. She was sure that relief was only seconds away, but her lover played her skillfully--bringing her to the edge only to back off--until the tall woman's hips were straining upwards, begging for the culmination Lindsay withheld.
Kept on the knife-edge of desire by a very adept tongue, Jaye was almost shocked when a tidal wave of ecstasy swept through her, leaving her limp and trembling with aftershocks. Lindsay crawled up the long body, wrapping the tall woman in a tight embrace as she nestled her head into her lover's neck. Boneless, Jaye simply remained motionless, absorbing the delicious, loving warmth.
When moments later she tried to raise up, intent on giving Lindsay the same delicious pleasure, the blonde just chuckled and murmured soothingly, "Rest for a bit. There'll be lots of time."
Jaye sank back into the bed gratefully. Lots of time. Yeah, there will be lots of time now. Lots and lots and lots of time. Turning her head to gaze down at the lithe body curled around hers, she smiled...a euphoric, blissful smile...a smile that acknowledged the absolute rightness of their union.
What God...and ghosts...hath joined together...
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