Disclaimers: Please see Part 1.
While Nikki had taken Lisa back out to the stables in order to see Shannon, Tess
stayed behind in the kitchen. She was hungry; Lisa had offered to cook them all
dinner just as soon as her father arrived, but Tess needed something now, and
sucking on a sugar cube that she had pulled from the porcelain pot left her with
an uncomfortable ache in her teeth, and a still empty stomach.
Opening the fridge, the photographer looked over the row of fully stocked shelves.
She frowned wondering where all her convenience foods were. There were no pork
pies, no sausage rolls, no tuna and mayonnaise pasties; she was just about to
close the door with a huff when something caught her eye. In the far corner she
spotted a tray of scotch eggs. With an internal, yes, she grabbed the savoury
treats and placed them on the table. This will do until dinner. She
It seemed that since Sam had started working for them, the cupboards were stocked
with much healthier snacks. Nikki would go shopping with the housekeeper every
week and buy much more nutritious foods. She said that they were able to eat better
without Tess picking up every box of ready meal or mini rolls she could find.
Tess didn't mind though, as long as she still got her favourite packets of 'Jaffer
cakes', Nikki could buy 'whatever the hell' she wanted. Jaffer Cakes, the
photographer thought and pulled open the top cupboard where she found four boxes
of her much loved orange flavoured biscuits. Taking out a full box she placed
them on the table next to the eggs and started tucking in to her nutritionally
Heading back from the stables Nikki heard the unmistakable sound of her fathers'
diesel pulling into the driveway. Taking a detour from their approach to the back
door, the sisters headed towards the front of the house to greet their father.
Richard Morris stepped out of his car and looked up to see his approaching daughters.
I didn't know you would be here Lisa.
I visited with CJ earlier and decided to stick around and get a lift back
with you later, besides I am cooking dinner tonight and there was no way Tess
would even allow me to leave! She joked.
Shaking his head, Richard moved towards his daughters and put an arm around each
shoulder. Well let's go in then.
The three walked towards the house when a sudden sound caught Nikki's attention.
She carried on moving but listened out again, hearing the same noise only more
distant. With a frown she stopped causing the others to do the same. You
go in dad, I just want to check on something first.
Need any help? Lisa asked.
No I will be right in, I just need to go and
She heard the sound
again, and it suddenly sounded awfully familiar,
check something out.
She said as though the statement was more of a question.
Nodding Richard and Lisa disappeared inside the house as Nikki listened out for
that strange noise. She cocked her head to the side, hearing it once more and
moved in its general destination. Gradually the sound though still weak, began
to get louder and as she approached her cane suddenly came into contact something
soft. Leaning down, she reached out and touched the object; Leto?
she asked. A pained whimper was her response confirming her suspicions. Nikki
frowned as she moved her hand along the dog; then froze as her sensitive fingers
came into contact with a warm sticky substance. It soaked up the dogs' side, thick
and warm with a strong metallic stench.
Heart leaping into her throat Nikki's body shook with fright. Oh god
TESS! She cried and leaned forward placing her other hand on the
golden hound and smoothing the dog's trembling form. It's okay Leto
TESS. She shouted again.
Leto started whining louder, and Nikki bent down kissing the frightened dogs head
as she heard the door open and multiple footsteps run out into the courtyard.
What is it? Tess asked looking around until she spotted Nikki crouched
down beside the far corner of the bridge. Thinking she had fallen, Tess sprinted
towards her lover. What she saw instead turned her cold with fear. Leto lay on
her side; eyes wide open looking hazily around, the left side of her body completely
soaked with bright red blood. She stared down in bewildered horror.
Richard and Lisa approached. What is it Te
Oh Jesus. Richard
exclaimed as he spotted the golden dog and his daughter, her hands covered with
Leto's blood as she tried to cover the wound.
Tess? Nikki cried, feeling hopeless as she blindly tried to calm the
Blinking, Tess moved forward and fell to her knees beside the blonde. She stared
down into Leto's eyes; eyes that looked back at her with fear. Shaking her head
the photographer switching to automatic pilot, Okay. She turned to
the Mayor and his daughter, Lisa go into the house and get towels
that we can use to cover Leto
quick. The teen ran off into the house
as Tess pulled the mobile from her trouser pocket. She tossed the phone to Richard.
Call Dominic Fletcher and tell him we are on our way, his number is seven
on the speed dial. Richard did as requested, and Tess turned towards a silent
Tears fell from wide blue eyes as the blonde kissed Leto again. It's going
to be okay 'tow tow' Tess is here now, she whispered, feeling a reassuring
hand on her back.
Lisa emerged from the house with an arm full of towels. She sprinted towards Tess
and handed her the bundle. Shaking out the large pieces of fabric, Tess covered
Leto making sure she put firm pressure on the obvious gaping wound in her side.
Once she was done she lifted Leto carefully into her arms hearing the dogs painful
whimpers of protest as she did so. Sorry baby, but I've got to do this okay.
The whines of pain were almost her undoing, but she stayed strong
Richard approached his car. Dominic is waiting Tess; I'll drive.
Shaking her head Tess held Leto carefully with one arm as she pulled two sets
of keys out of her other pocket; she threw one to Richard and the other to Lisa.
No take mine, I don't want to get blood in yours, and Lisa lock up the house.
Once everything was done the four climbed into Tess's Blazer, Richard and Lisa
in the front, Tess and a very silent Nikki in the back. Blood still covered the
blondes' hands and she wiped them over her lilac tee shirt, trying to remove the
tacky substance from her skin. As it was, the strong odour of Leto's blood filled
the confines of the car making her feel nauseous, afraid and very confused.
The drive was tense and silent; except for the intermittent whimper of pain from
Leto and gentle shush of the photographer, as she tried to reassure the dog as
best she could. Richard drove fast, running one red light, and exceeding the speed
limit for most of their short journey, but within ten minutes they reached the
surgery; all breathing internal sighs of relief when they arrived.
Dominic Fletcher, a tall man with auburn hair, was waiting outside with an animal
stretcher as they arrived. Tess carefully but swiftly exited the car and placed
Leto on the stretcher where she was quickly wheeled off into the operating room.
Richard, Nikki and Lisa approached Tess in the reception. What now?
The Mayor asked.
Wait. Tess replied evenly. Dominic said he had to operate immediately,
so all we can do is wait. She pointed to a secluded room. In there.
As four approached the waiting room, Richard looking at his daughter; Nicole
honey, are you alright? He looked down at her clothing, Oh, look at
you, you are covered in blood. She even had it in her hair.
The blonde nodded. I can't get that smell out of my senses dad. God what
happened, did you see anything that could have caused that? There was so much
blood. She rubbed her hands roughly over her clothes, desperately trying
to remove the feeling.
Taking off his black suit jacket, Richard placed it around Nikki's shoulders.
Here put this on, you look awfully cold.
Nikki slipped her arms into the over sized jacket. Thanks dad. Even
though Richard Morris was himself small in stature, his jacket still drowned the
Entering the waiting room, they all became very silent. Tess sat down in the far
corner and Nikki sat opposite, Richard beside her and Lisa beside Tess. The room
was thick with tension; nobody knowing what to say, or ask as to how this had
happened. An hour passed, seeming more like two and still nobody had spoken. Richard
looked towards Tess who was chewing her bottom lip, Nikki who was picking at her
thumbnail and Lisa, who was staring intently at the vaccination posters on the
wall. He stood up suddenly. Well I need a cup of coffee, I saw a café
a few buildings down so am going to get a cup, I'll bring some back with me.
Lisa approached her father. I'll come too. She said, and together
they left the room.
Trying so hard not to release her emotions, her constricted throat stung and her
body shook. Tess tried to clear her mind, focussing on anything other than her
present whereabouts, but every time her eyes turned to Nikki she saw the traces
of Leto's blood on her shirt and hair.
She closed her eyes, rubbing her face in frustration. What happened, she
thought and sighed as the unavoidable images came to mind. Leto lying on the ground,
amber eyes staring up at her in a mix of
loving trust, fear and terrible
pain. The small golden body shook continually, and as each flash of pain swept
throughout Leto, her body would go ridged, coiling in agony as tortured whimpers
filed the air.
Tess swallowed, feeling her eyes sting with tears. She saw the blood, so much
of it covering the grassy ground and Nikki's hands. The smell, oh god the smell
was so strong, and still she could detect the sharp scent, knowing it would stay
with her for a long time to come. Breathing deeply the brunette tried to cast
the images from her mind, but still they came.
Opposite Tess, Nikki sat with head in hands. The silence was becoming unbearable,
and Tess's reluctance to communicate or express her feelings, was adding a palpable
tension within the air. Try as she might, the blonde just couldn't get the tacky
feel of blood from her hands and she desperately wanted to ask directions to the
nearest bathroom in hopes of finding a sink. She decided to ask Tess and was just
about to do so when she heard it; an increase in breathing followed by a chocked
back sob. Standing immediately, Nikki moved towards Tess's seat until she was
directly in front of the brunette. She reached out, finding broad shoulders and
pulled Tess into her stomach as the last of the photographers control crumbled,
the shock wore off and her body shook with uncontrollable sobs. Still standing,
Nikki slipped between Tess's thighs, holding the woman close to her body as long
arms wrapped around her own waist.
Tess cried, overwhelmed by fearing the worst. She held onto Nikki, knuckles white
as she clung to the blondes' side. Tears rolling down her own cheeks; Nikki leaned
down, kissing the brunettes head.
She was in so much pain Nik, I hated seeing her like that. Tess cried.
Laying her cheek upon the dark locks Nikki sighed. She will be fine Tess,
she is a tough little cookie. She ran her fingers through the dark hair
in a calming gesture.
Taking a deep shuddering breath, Tess's lip trembled as she spoke How did
it happen? Do you think she fell?
I don't know
I just found her Tess. I'm so glad I heard her thought.
Nikki shook her head; not even wanting to consider what would have happened if
she had never heard Leto.
Me too. Tess sniffed, and took another quivering breath, God
knows how long she had been there, or how long she would have stayed there if
you hadn't have heard her. Pulling slightly away Tess looked at the blonde;
she couldn't help but smile I think I leaked on you.
I'm sure I can handle a few tears. Nikki replied, and Tess chuckled
through her own flowing tears. What are you laughing at?
I wasn't talking about tears!
She frowned for a moment then
Ah! Nikki smirked as she realised
what Tess was implying, Well this is my dads jacket anyway, though I hope
it isn't one of his posh ones!
Wiping wet cheeks with the cuff of her sweater Tess pulled away looking up into
Nikki's own watery blue eyes. Dominic has been in there a long time in there.
She stood up suddenly and started pacing the waiting room. God! What's taking
so long, it's been over an hour. She looked at her watch. Just how
long has he been in there?
Nikki turned to face the pacing woman. Let's hope it's a good thing that
he has been in there for so long. Can't operations sometimes take a long time?
Hmm. Folding her arms the photographer expelled a forced breath. Damn
it, gaping wounds like that don't just appear Nik, what the hell
She was interrupted as Dominic Fletcher entered the room, looking between both
women solemnly, Miss Alexander.
Tess stepped back grabbing Nikki's had and together they approached the vet, Yeah
doc how's Leto
A wide brow creased in thought as Dominic rubbed his forehead, It was a
deep and sharp cut; obviously made by an object of such description, probably
a knife of some kind.
Nikki paled as Tess's eyes shone with anger, What do you mean a knife, are
you saying that somebody purposely hurt our dog
that somebody attacked Leto?
I don't want to make any harsh assumptions but that is what it appears has
happened. Dominic looked towards the chairs. Please sit down and let
me explain. Tess stood her ground and when he realised the women were not
going to move the vet continued. The weapon was probably about five inches
in length and three in width at the base
my guess would be that is sounds
like a butchers knife of some kind, definitely something incredibly sharp.
He paused. Do you yourself own such a knife?
Tess frowned. Knifes
she shrugged, Sure in the kitchen,
but not one like you have mentioned. Our kitchen is hardly that of a connoisseurs.
And what about Leto? Nikki asked. How is she?
Dominic nodded. Well I did all I could
Tess stepped back, the air leaving her body. Oh no! she whispered,
tears once again threatening her eyes.
Nikki squeezed the hand holding hers tight.
Swiftly Dominic raised his hands. Oh no, no, no
I did everything I
could, and now it is up to Leto. She is doing very well, and an educated guess
would say that she is going to pull through this just fine
she is a strong
little hound Miss Alexander, she will be okay.
Profound relief flooded the photographers system. She sighed, her chin dropping
to her chest. Thank god.
Nikki pulled her hand from the photographers, taking a hold of her arm. Can
we go and see her Mr Fletcher?
Tess looked at the man hopefully.
Of course, but I must warn you, she is still under the anaesthetic.
The recovery room was a medium size sterile room that held a small variety of
different sized cages. It's smell was strong, a consistency of animals and surgical
cleaning fluids, both potent and overwhelming. Besides the recovering hound there
were three more animals but these were caged. A cat, which seemed peacefully asleep;
a very large black dog with a luminous green bandage around his back leg and a
chinchilla, which ran happily and in a some what gravity defying way around the
top of its cage.
As they entered the room Tess's jade eyes immediately searched out Leto; finding
her resting securely on top of a wide surgical table. She sucked her bottom lip
between her teeth, her brow crinkling in anguish as she stared at the unconscious
form of the golden mutt still trembling upon a large thermal blanket. Every so
often sporadic whimpers would fill the air as Leto cried out in her drug-induced
With hands entwined Tess and Nikki approached the prone dog, Dominic Fletcher
following just behind. They stopped at the table and Tess ran a shaky hand over
Leto's sleeping face.
The vet stepped forward. She was very lucky, the blade missed any major
organs or arteries and her dense muscular structure did indeed protect her from
any serious harm. I was able to repair the inner lacerations, hopefully she will
recover relatively scar free.
Daring not to reach out and touch Leto for fear her searching hands may make contact
with something tender Nikki turned to the vet. Why is she crying like that
Mr Fletcher, I thought she was unconscious?
Dominic nodded. She is, but it isn't uncommon for animals to whimper while
they are still unconscious, probably due to trauma and such
she will come
around in an hour or two, but I will have to keep her here over night for observation.
Tess nodded as she instinctively lifted Nikki's hand and placed it upon Leto's
broad head. Of course, whatever is best for her Doc.
Perceptive fingers moved gently over golden fur. Will there be any long
term or lasting effects to this Mr Fletcher?
The auburn haired man folded his arms. Physically I can say no, but as for
mentally we will have to see. From personal experience and knowledge of Leto I
can say that she is immensely friendly and trusting, whether this will change
make her less forthcoming with people I don't know, only time will tell
Looking down at the dog Tess could feel her anger boiling within. She couldn't
believe what had happened, but as apprehension sunk in she did indeed realise
that possibly somebody had hurt Leto on purpose. Taking advantage of the dogs
over friendly temperament, and good nature. Leaning forward Tess kissed her head;
she didn't know how, but one way or another she would find out who did this and
Bradley White emerged from the dark confines of his bedroom, and spotted the lifeless
form of his brother lying on the hallway floor. With an amused frown he approached
CJ and bent down, placing a hand on the young mans shoulder. He shook it gently.
Hey CJ, come on wake up, what are you still doing out here bro?
There was no response.
He rolled his eyes with a smirk. Hey, louder this time, Come
on CJ wake up, I think you need to get to bed for a while.
A slight groan was his response as CJ opened his one eye, the other being too
swollen. He looked around, as his mind recalled the events of the hours before
and bruising pain racked his long body.
That's is CJ, come on let me help you to bed. Bradley placed a hand
under CJ's arm and lifted him to a sitting position. You are in a bit of
a mess aren't you
good job I am here to sort you out huh?
With a grimace of pain the silent younger brother was hauled to his feet and led
slowly to his own room. Bradley pushed the door open with his shoulder and half
led half dragged CJ and over to the bed where he deposited the tall form onto
the soft sheets. Bradley shook his head, soft clean sheets! CJ always did
have an obsession with keeping his room clean, he did it once a week for gods'
sake; why, Brad had no idea.
Pulling the thick quilt over his brothers' shoulders Bradley patted his brother
on the arm. You get some rest now bro, and I will see you later. Then
he backed away, and with on final look into the darkened room; he left, closing
the door firmly behind him.
At first sight it would have appeared that nothing was different. The house looked
the same, the gentle murmurs of the country sounded the same and the peaceful
flow and calmness in the air were still present. If it were not for the patch
of dark red blood by the bridge, nobody would have been any wiser, and as Tess
stood on the sturdy wooden structure she stared down at that patch as if looking
Richard had driven them home from the vets, and Tess had gotten out the car just
before the bridge so she could look around the surrounding area. She watched as
the other three occupants of the Blazer all stepped out the vehicle, heading silently
into the house
all except Nikki. The blonde stood quietly at the door before
sliding down the wall and sitting on top of the three steps. Thinking.
Tess's vision returned to the drying patch of blood, half on the grass, and half
on the driveway. Her brow creased in thought as she bent down, reaching out as
if to touch the spillage, but long fingers didn't connect. Instead Tess mind worked
overtime; desperately trying to come up with an explanation for how this could
have happened. She found it hard to accept Dominic's explanation that it was indeed
a malicious attack, and although she had every faith in the vet, she was greatly
hoping she would find a less disturbing answer. Though if she couldn't, she knew
what she had to do.
Looking up the photographer watched Nikki who was still sitting silently by the
front door. She held the cane in her right hand as she slowly moved it across
the ground, her mind seemingly elsewhere. Pushing to her feet, Tess brushed a
dusty hand across her jeans and approached the blonde. Hey!
Nikki's head moved in Tess's direction and she smiled. Hi, did you find
Shaking her head, Tess looked back towards the bridge. No, nothing
a bloody thing. She sighed, though it sounded more like a growl as she pushed
both hands into her pockets. You think that somebody did this on purpose
It wasn't a question and Nikki knew it. Yes. You know I felt like we were
being watched Tess, and you did too on the day of the Exhibition. I think somebody
hurt Leto, but I don't know why.
Tess was silent, her mind a whirl of thoughts and feelings as she tried to make
sense of what had happened. She folded her arms, looking back over to the bridge
as images and memories of the past months flitted through her mind. Sucking her
bottom lip between her teeth Tess once again approached the spot where Nikki had
found Leto feeling like she had missed something important. She bent back down,
running her fingers through the dry dirt and gravel
thinking. Nikki felt
like we were being watched, I felt it too. I saw a shiny object in the bushes.
She bit hard on her lip; inadvertently drawing blood. Sam saw a man on
Leto got hurt when we were inside with Lisa and CJ. Her mind
drifted as she remembered snippets of remarks from conversations she'd had. Sam
said the guy on the track had a crooked nose
and Lisa said CJ's brother Brad
wasn't very attractive due to his dodgy looking nose. She paused, what
was the name of that guy Rosalind mentioned at the exhibition?
The brunettes' eyes moved rapidly over the ground as parts of the puzzle began
sliding into place, and as the last piece slotted inside her mind, her eyes turned
to saucers and she stood abruptly. Son of a fucking BITCH!
Nikki jumped, surprised by the photographers sudden outburst. Tess?
Hearing rapid footsteps approach her on the gravelled driveway she got up. What
is it Tess?
Take my hand. Tess stated, and Nikki did as requested without thought,
holding out her own hand until it was engulfed in Tess's larger one. I think
I know who is behind this.
Who? The blonde asked as she was led into the house. Who hurt
Yeah. Tess stated. AND who's been spooking you these last weeks.
They entered the house following the sound of muted voices that led to the kitchen.
Tess walked in slowly, but with raging conviction as she escorted Nikki into the
room. She stopped and looked at the Mayor and his younger daughter.
Richard frowned as he noticed the mounting rage in the photographers' eyes. Um
you find anything?
You could say that. Tess replied then looked towards the younger daughte.
what is CJ's last name?
The teen looked confused. Oh um White why?
Tess nodded. And his brothers name?
Lisa could see the burning gleam of escalating rage in Tess's jade eyes. His
brothers name? Well it's Brad
why are you asking?
The brunette turned to Nikki, still within her grasp, Bradley bleeding White.
She said through grated teeth.
Richard looked confused. Who's Bradley White?
Nikki paled as she began to understand just what Tess was saying. Bradley
White, he was they guy who attacked me at the shopping centre.
You know his name? Asked the Mayor.
Rosalind let it slip at the exhibition; she said that was the guy she had
employed to frighten Nikki.
Lisa realised what Tess was implying. Hey no
how can you be sure?
Tess's angry eyes moved back to the teen. You said it yourself Lisa, CJ's
brother had a crooked nose! And guess whose fist just happened to land squarely
in that position when I got Nikki away from that bastard.
CJ told me Brad's nose had always been like that. The teen said mono
Oh come on Lisa. She didn't mean to sound so irate with the
brunette, but her good nature was dwindling to nothing. It's his brother;
they are probably in this together.
NO! Shouted Lisa. No, CJ isn't like that. I know him; he wouldn't
want to hurt anybody or anything. She felt a sudden panic at the
photographers' insinuation. She wanted to believe Tess was wrong. She may not
have known CJ for a lengthy period of time, but it was long enough to know that
there was no way he could be capable of what Tess was implying.
Tess turned to a quiet Nikki. What do you think?
Nikki blinked. I think we have to call the police this time Tess, this has
gone far beyond anything we thought would happen. If he is the same guy from the
Gallowtree, then he has more than proved he means business and I don't want to
take any chances; Leto nearly lost her life because of this. She squeezed
the hand around her own, trying to covey her underlying fear.
Tess looked back at the Mayor. I agree, do you?
Richard nodded. Absolutely.
The photographer nodded. Fine, then I call them right now.
Head feeling heavy, the pain only just bearable, CJ opened his eyes to the dimness
of his bedroom. He squinted in the hazy shroud of darkness surrounding him and
looked at the clock, it was almost seven o'clock. Attempting to move he was assaulted
with a wave of agonising pain shooting through his stomach and side. Crying out
the young man fell back onto the bed, his mind hazy he rapidly drifted into unconsciousness.
Sitting in the living room, two officers from Derbyshire's Criminal Investigation
Department faced Tess and Nikki. The blonde now wearing an oversized shirt that
actually belonged to Tess, she had instantly alarmed the police when they had
entered, seeing her wearing a tight tee shirt covered in dry blood. Though it
did stand as a starting point for their explanation as to why they had been called.
The Mayor stood by the fireplace, and Lisa sat on a single chair near the television.
She appraised the two men, taking in the reasonably priced suits, and clean-cut
image. D C Brian was a man in his thirties with slick short blond hair; D S Fairbrass
was an older man with a high receding hairline and thin moustache. The younger
man took notes as the elder questioned the women.
Miss Alexander, what makes you so sure that this Bradley White was the man
who attacked your dog
and has apparently been stalking the both of you?
The photographer sighed exasperated. I have already explained this to you.
The brothers names, the sightings of a man matching his appearance in this vicinity.
Lisa folded her arms; she sincerely hoped Tess was wrong about this. How could
she believe that the guy she had been seeing was just with her to help his brother
get back at her sister and Tess? It hurt to imagine such a thing when she thought
they had been getting on so well together. What was more, she was developing serious
feelings for CJ.
Fairbrass shook his head. Yes you have explained that Miss Alexander, what
you have yet to explain is why you think this man has singled you and Miss Morris
here out. He paused, Do you think it is because of the nature of your
Tess's eyes narrowed and Richard stepped forward. Sergeant Fairbrass, before
Christmas my daughter was attacked by a man at the Gallowtree shopping centre,
and it was Miss Alexander who rescued her.
Constable Brian looked at his partner before turning to Richard. So there
will be a report of this?
Richard shook his head. No
no report was ever made, because it turned
out to be a family matter.
The young constable frowned. I am sure I don't need to explain to you the
necessities of reporting any attack to the local constabulary Mr Mayor!
Yes I do realise that constable. Richard sighed knowing he was going
to have to explain his wife's actions. We discovered that my wife had hired
this man to try and scare Nicole into coming back home. It was she who let his
name slip by revealing to Nicole her attacker was called Bradley White.
Richard paced in front of the two men. We thought that would be the end
of it, but it seems very possible that this man has taken it upon himself to exact
revenge upon my daughter and Tess.
Fairbrass looked over his younger partners shoulder. And you think this
was the man who you believe tried to kill
Leto. Nikki stated quietly.
Leto right. He looked at the blonde. And it was you who found
Nikki sighed. Her and yes I did
I heard her whimpering and just followed
Rubbing his large hands together Fairbrass stood quickly. Well I think that
with the information you have given us it will be enough to bring the brothers
in for questioning. He looked towards Richard. Unfortunately Mr Mayor
I also intend to question your wife on this matter.
Richard shook his head, Of believe me detective I hold nothing but anger
towards my soon to be ex wife for the way she has acted; she deserves whatever
punishment you boys in blue dish out!
Fairbrass nodded slightly surprised by Richards's evident contempt towards his
wife, as Brian rose to his feet, Then you will be hearing from us very soon.
Mr Mayor, Miss Morris, Miss Alexander and Miss Lisa, we will get on this right
Thanks, said Tess, as she also stood followed by Nikki. Lisa remained
seated, staring at the carpeted floor as she realised CJ was about to be questioned
by the police.
After a shaking of hands and another promise to call them with news as soon as
possible, the officers left the house. Richard stood by the door and watched them
leave. When they were out of sight, he returned to the living room.
Listen, I've just realised something, he scratched the back of his
neck, My solicitor gave me the address of Rosalind's current place of residence;
I wrote it down on a post-it, but left it in my office at home. If I go and get
it I can call it into the station and save the officers some searching time. The
sooner this mess gets cleared up the better.
The photographer pursed her lips with a nod, Good idea, anything to get
this moving along. Tess looked at the teen, Hey Lisa do you want to
go home with your father, or stay here with us?
The quiet girl looked up glumly, I'll stay here if that's ok; you are coming
back right dad?
The Mayor nodded.
Taking in the sight of Lisa's grave expression Tess softened, Lisa, I'm
sorry about the way I spoke to you earlier. She sighed, I didn't mean
to sound so harsh, but I was angry and I know this is in no way your fault, how
were you to know CJ was helping his brother.
Lisa shrugged, but Nikki stepped forward, Tess I really don't think CJ is
as bad as it appears, I just didn't get that malicious vibe from him.
Tess was still not fully convinced, but she was willing to give the young man
the benefit of the doubt, Well I am sure we will soon find out for sure
That's right. Richard walked forward hugging his daughters then took
the surprised tall woman is a fatherly embrace as well. I am going to get
that address now; I will see you all in a couple of hours. And with a warm
smile, hiding the nervousness and anger that he felt towards this whole situation,
a situation initially caused by Rosa, the Mayor left.
He had stood in the bushes not far away from the house and watched them leave.
Bradley laughed; it was completely obvious that the two men were police officers.
Not only did the average suits and strong smell of cheap cologne give them away,
but the dark green Impretza, (used by the police force because of the cars above
average handling and manoeuvre-ability during chases) parked in the court yard
served as another giveaway. He wasn't stupid and he did know the police, after
all he had been questioned by them often enough, fortunately for him nothing had
The car drove off but still he waited; unsure of why, he soon understood his decision
as he spotted Mayor Morris leaving the house. Within a minute Richard was gone,
leaving the two women completely alone. Bradley grinned, wide and toothless; this
time there were going to be no mistakes. This time he was not going to
let that woman get the upper hand over him; he was calling the shots, and he had
the element of surprise firmly in his favour. In no way would they be expecting
this so soon after their 'precious' dog had died.
Moving from his hidden position in the bushes, Bradley crept to the side of the
house, intent on approaching the side door. He had already checked the building
over while the women were away last week and found the side door, which led into
what looked like an office, to be his best point of entrance. There was only one
simple lock on this door, and he knew from experience the best ways in which to
breach that barrier.
Reaching the end of a high set of bushes, the man stopped and looked around thoroughly
before taking off with a swift dash to the next lot of greenery. These ones surrounded
the tree that stood about ten foot away from the side door. He crouched, now hidden
within the crop of wildly growing shrubbery and scoped out the area, taking in
the sights one last time before he made his approach towards the side door. After
deciding the scene was all clear he moved to the door and stood against the wall,
pushing a hand into his khaki green jacket pocket and pulling out a long silver
key. He wondered how many people actually knew how certain numbered keys, which
you could buy in any local locksmiths or dry cleaners, could penetrate the locks
that they thought secured their homes. With a triumphant grin, the door opened
and Bradley walked quietly into Nikki's office.
Nikki sat on the large three-seat sofa, legs up and crossed as she nursed a large
cup of coffee in both hands. Taking a drink, she grimaced as the still too hot
liquid slid down her throat; she took in a deep breath cooling her overheated
mouth. I wonder how Leto is. She muttered.
Tess looked up from her position, sitting on the floor facing the blonde. Nikki
was the first one to speak since Richard had left, even their drinks had been
made with presumption; she hadn't even thought to ask either sister whether they
wanted one, just doing so automatically. Lisa had disappeared up stairs, before
her drink even arrived and had yet to return. I'm sure she's fine,
if she wasn't we would have heard something right? And it has been over two hours
now, actually I think I should ring to see that she came around from the anaesthetic
Tess looked up. Talk to me Nik.
The blonde sighed and leaned forward, placing her hot coffee on the floor beside
her chair. I just can't believe that it's him again. I thought that guy
from the shopping centre was just a distant bad memory, yet now it appears he
is back. Uncrossing her legs Nikki let them fall to the floor. You
now that I think about it
the first time I felt like we were
being watched; the feeling was familiar, like I had already felt this before
that was because he has made me feel that way before. Frightened, watched,
overwhelmed and in a way alone.
Alone? The brunette asked confused.
I don't know
alone as in, I feel overwhelmed by his presence and his
alone. That cold icy feeling I got when I felt his knife on my throat
is the first feeling I get whenever I feel we are being watched. She laughed
wryly, I'm thinking about this so much that it's almost like I can feel
Tess smiled and leaned forward, shuffling over to the blonde on her knees. Look,
she kissed Nikki gently. Leto will be fine
the police will find this
guy and question him once and for all
whatever happens Nik, remember that
we can get through anything as long as we do it together. Her right hand
travelled through short blonde locks until it reached the back of Nikki's neck
where it stopped as Tess pulled her in for a lingering kiss.
Together. Nikki affirmed as she pulled away with a smile.
Nikki laughed as she rose to her feet. Right, well while you go and make
that call to the vets; I am going to get my book I need to occupy my mind with
something for a while.
Want me to get it? Tess asked as she rose next to Nikki.
That's ok, the blonde stated, it's in my office
it while you go and see how 'tow tow' is doing.
Right. Tess affirmed as they both left the living room, and headed
to their intended destinations in different directions.
He felt himself coming to again, but this time his mind was clearer, more alert.
Taking a deep breath CJ opened his eyes, and looked around the dark interior of
his room. It was now half past eight and the young man gingerly pushed himself
to a sitting position. Blinking, his mind tried to recall how he had come to be
in bed at this time of day; when the last thing he remembered was kissing Lisa
goodbye outside her sisters' house.
Suddenly it all came back, Bradley, his accusations, his anger and his violent
outburst. Reeling in shock he rose to his feet and tentatively excited his bedroom.
The pain in his head and stomach was sharp, but not enough to force him to stay
he needed to find Bradley
now. Walking down the hallway he
stopped at a large mirror and looked at his swollen reflection with shock. His
left eye was half swollen and purple; dry blood ran from the corner of his mouth.
Unzipping the jacket he still wore and lifting up his white tee shirt he saw large
contusions covering both sides of his body. Frowning, and anger replacing the
upset he had been feeling CJ moved past the mirror and into Bradley's bedroom,
it was empty. He walked into the living room finding that just as vacant; then
a swift disturbing thought came to mind. With Brad's current state of mind, he
knew how unpredictable his brother could be. Yet one thing he knew for sure, if
his Brad did still fear Tess and Nikki may have some idea of what was going on,
he wasn't going to wait around any longer.
Sensing the urgency in this revelation, CJ reached into his pocket and pulled
out his car keys. He had to get back over to Riverside Farm, not to stop his brother
from making another terrible mistake, he was finished with that
Bradley got he definitely deserved. No, he had to get over there and help make
sure nothing terrible happened, and knowing his brother the way he did
knew just how malevolent that man could be.
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