Storm Surge

Chapter Twenty-Eight

by KatLyn

Disclaimers: See Chapter One of Storm Surge for all the legal yada, yada.


The plane landed in Acapulco a little after six in the evening. As they taxied to the terminal, Alex looked out the window of the plane and felt a lump form in her throat as her emotions turned melancholy. It had been just over a year since she had last been to Acapulco. She and Feryle had spent two weeks here on their last vacation walking hand in hand on the beach, dining at the most romantic restaurants, and savoring every moment of the romantic bliss. Now as she looked out at the skyline, Alex once again realized the emptiness that had captured her heart. The last time she had taken in this romantic city her heart had soared with delight, now all she felt was a hollowness in her chest that threatened to overtake her soul.

So many events had changed the course of her life in the last year. Feryle's death, the long physical and emotional recovery period from her injuries and loss, her return to Jacksonville, and meeting Conner. Then, just when her life seemed to be getting back on track, Conner's death. Taking a deep breath, she chastised herself for her mental weakness. She had to stay focused and alert. This case wouldn't be over until Seth Thomas was back in Jacksonville and behind bars. And she intended to make sure he paid for murdering Conner.

Turning to Donald, Alex noticed how tired he looked and silently wondered if he were up to the mental and physical stress of this latest mission. She was tired, hungry, and wanted to spend a quiet evening taking a long hot bath then go to bed. She didn't want Donald to feel obligated to keep her company so she decided to give him and easy out. “I can't wait to get settled and take a long hot bath. How about you? Got any hot plans for tonight?”

Donald stretched as much as he could, given the small space, then yawned. “I think the first order of business is getting our rooms for the night then having dinner. I'll call the local precinct when we get to the hotel and see what their timetable is for tomorrow. Other than that, I have no plans, umm, unless you're up for something.”

“No, I'm beat. I think I'd like to make an early evening of it too. Hopefully we can pick Thomas up first thing in the morning and be home by mid afternoon.”

The plane came to a stop and almost everyone stood jockeying for position in the aisle. Donald and Alex remained sitting, knowing it would be at least ten minutes before the aisle would clear out enough for them to exit the plane, neither having a desire to become part of the elbowing and shoving crowd. They sat and talked quietly until the plane cleared then disembarked and moved with the rest of the horde of people to the baggage claim area.

Again, she and Donald held back from the rest of the crowd and waited for the mass to thin out before grabbing their luggage and exiting the airport. Donald hailed a taxi, Alex was stunned when she heard Donald give the driver directions to the Hyatt Regency Acapulco Hotel. She took a deep breath, mentally preparing herself for their arrival.

Donald looked at Alex with concern in his eyes. His senses had been acutely aware of Alex's nervousness throughout the flight. Her behavior during the afternoon was extremely out of character for the calm, cool, focused agent and it only seemed to worsen since their arrival in Acapulco. He knew Alex wasn't one to burden anyone with her personal life, even friends, but Donald decided to open the door and allow her the opportunity. “Are you alright, Alex?”

Alex shrugged, “Yes, I'm fine.”

Donald knew Alex was anything but fine. “You've seemed a bit distracted today, want to talk about it?”

“Maybe later. I'm just tired and need a shower to wake me up.” Alex tried to downplay her apprehensiveness. She never thought that Donald would reserve rooms at the Hyatt, although she knew of no reason for him not to. Donald was aware she and Feryle had vacationed in Acapulco; however, she knew he had no way of knowing that they had stayed at the Hyatt. Alex realized she was being overly emotional and mentally reprimanded herself for what she considered a weakness.

Just as she was regaining her normally stoic composure, the taxi came to a screeching halt just outside the glass doors of the hotel. The bellhop opened the door, and Alex stepped out into the cool, salty air. She took a deep breath then walked with Donald into the elegantly decorated lobby. For a moment, Alex felt lightheaded as her mind flashed back to images of her last trip. A myriad of emotions had been swimming around in her mind the last few weeks. It had taken all her strength to face the present ones—-now being assaulted by the past was almost too much to bear.

She didn't realize she had stopped walking until Donald placed his hand under her elbow, looking at her with deep concern, “Alex, are you sure you're okay?”

Alex closed her eyes, tears stinging her lids. Nodding to Donald and giving him a weak smile, she knew she had to be honest with her friend, “Yes, I'm fine. It's…it's just that Feryle and I stayed here, and…ummm, forget it let's go.” Turning, Alex quickly made her way through the lobby towards the registration desk. She was only a few feet from her destination when she felt Donald's hand on her arm. “Damn, Alex, why didn't you say something earlier? Come on, let's go somewhere else.”

Planting her feet, Alex pulled Donald back. “No, Donald, it's alright. I'm fine. We're tired, hungry and we're staying here.” Alex was determined not to let Donald see her vulnerable, and she dragged him the rest of the way to the registration desk.

Stopping in front of the counter, Donald lay his credit card on the counter and requested two rooms. The tall blonde woman standing behind the counter merely glanced at Donald before raking her eyes over Alex's body. “Would you like adjoining rooms, sir?”

Donald didn't miss the hungry look the registration attendant was giving Alex, “Uhh, yes, adjoining would be fine, thank you.” Donald placed the credit card on the counter. The woman's eyes never left Alex as she reached for the card.

Alex felt the woman's eyes exploring her body and wanted to tell the woman to fuck off. Instead, she turned to Donald and rolled her eyes, “I'm going to go get a drink. Join me when you're done here, alright?”

Turning, Alex walked quickly into the darkened room, sat down at one of the empty seats along the bar, and ordered a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. Alex was accustomed to getting admiring looks from men and women, but there was something about this particular, woman that gave her a strange feeling. Sipping her wine, she decided her discomfort was a result of her acute awareness and the emotional roller coaster she was riding and shook off the uneasy feeling as she waited for Donald.

Donald joined her a few minutes later for a drink. The alcohol had allowed Alex to make some progress in calming her nerves and she was feeling somewhat more relaxed and in control as they left the bar. As they walked towards the elevator, Alex again sensed she was being observed. Looking around, her eyes met the registration clerk's and Alex saw her smile as a solitary brow rose in response. Alex quickly looked away, but she felt the piercing eyes burn into her back as she and Donald walked across the lobby and into the elevator.

After the bellhop placed the luggage in their respective rooms and left with a sizable tip from Donald, Alex turned to go through the door adjoining their rooms. Stopping and turning towards Donald, she silently wondered if she had imagined the entire scene. “Did that woman seem…unusual to you?”

After a hardy laugh, Donald grinned and looked at Alex with teasing eyes, “Yeah, she was quite a strange one, Alex. I was a bit nervous that she was going to come over the desk and ravage you where you stood”

As Alex turned again to walk into her room, she heard Donald chuckle, “I have to admit though, she has great taste in women. However, I think I can keep her away from you with my charm and good looks.”

Alex let out the first good laugh she'd had in weeks, “Yeah right, Fairfax. I'm going to take a shower. I'll see you in an hour…lover boy.”


Pulling off his shoes and stretching out on the bed, Donald reached for the phone and dialed home. As he was waiting for the call to be connected, he thought back over the last couple of days and was glad he had asked Alex to come to Mexico. She needed a diversion from sitting alone in the house all day. Although he'd had some second thoughts during their flight, Alex seemed more relaxed since they'd had a couple of drinks. Hopefully, after a good dinner and a little more wine, she could get some sleep. He was lost in thought when Catherine answered the phone. “Hey, honey. Just wanted you to know we made it to Acapulco. We're staying at the Hyatt.”

Catherine listened and took down the room and phone number. “Olivia wants to know if you need any help.” Catherine paused for a moment. “She really feels terrible about all that's happened and wants to try and make it up to you and Alex.”

Donald sighed heavily. “I know she does, but I just don't think right now is the best time for them to see each other. Maybe when we get back we can have Alex over for dinner and see what happens, alright?”

“Okay, you're probably right, but call if you need anything. I'm sure Olivia will do whatever she can from this end to help out.” Catherine and Donald said their good-byes, and as she placed the phone down, she turned to see the woman behind her. “Damn, you always have a way of scaring the hell out of me. I'm going to give you a shadow name, too, if you don't behave.”

“I didn't mean to listen in, Catherine. Is everything alright with Donald and Alex?”

Catherine sat down in Donald's recliner. “Yes, everything's fine. Donald was just calling to give me the room and phone number and said he would call if they needed anything.”

“I just wish I could be there with them to help. I feel so useless here.”

Catherine chuckled. “You're not useless, you're keeping me company. I know you want to help, but right now is just not a good time. Give it a few more days. I promise you will see Alex soon.” Pulling herself out of the recliner, Catherine headed for the kitchen. “I'm going to the market, anything special you want for dinner?”

Sighing heavily, she shrugged. “Anything you want is fine with me. I think I'm going to take a nap. I'll see you when you get back, alright?” With slumping shoulders, she slowly walked away.

Catherine shook her head slowly as she watched the woman walk down the hallway. Damn, this has to be over soon.


Alex let the warm water cascade off her body. Even thought the FBI plane was more comfortable than flying a commercial airliner, she felt a too familiar tightness in her aching muscles. She knew from experience that her recovery process would be long and tedious. The skin beneath the cast itched constantly and for a moment, she was tempted to remove the rubber sleeve she wore when showering and soak it off. She had only another week to wear the bulky cast and didn't think a week would do much difference one way or another.

She was reaching to pull the rubber sleeve off when she heard knocking at her door. Turning off the water, she quickly dried and walked into the bedroom listening. Walking to the passageway between the rooms and opening the door, she saw Donald asleep on his bed. Shaking her head, she turned to walk back into the bathroom when she noticed the envelope that had been slipped under her door. Picking it up, she turned it over in her hand and then sat on the bed to open it. Pulling a sheet of hotel stationary from the envelope, she read the note.

I wanted to make sure you had everything
you need. Please give me a call if I
can assist you in any way.

                Ext. 8472

Alex felt a chill course up her spine, realizing Alicia must be the registration clerk. Tossing the note in the trash, Alex decided she would keep an eye on this Alicia woman. She seemed too friendly, and Alex suspected that her job at the hotel was not the reason for her eagerness. Walking back to the bathroom, Alex wondered if she were getting too paranoid. Paranoia has been one thing that's kept me alive thus far. No, I'm not being too paranoid, maybe I'm not paranoid enough. Twenty minutes later she quietly knocked on Donald's door, opened it slightly, and found him still asleep.

Grinning, Alex couldn't pass up the chance to tease her friend. They had been through a lot in the past few weeks, things that had shaken them to the foundation of their friendship, and Alex was anxious to restore the comfortable banter between them. Slowly she crept beside Donald and bent down near his ear. Reaching out, she gently stroked his chin and breathlessly whispered, “Come on lover boy, I'm hungry.”

Donald slowly opened one eye, and smiled as he peered at his friend. “You'd better be glad I'm not a bad boy, or you'd find yourself in one hell of a predicament right about now, Alex Montgomery.”

Alex laughed and sat on the end of the bed. “Yeah right. You'd be too afraid I'd beat the hell out of you if you tried to make a move on me.”

Rubbing his face, Donald sat up and began pulling on his shoes. “Well, besides the small issue of preserving my life, I'm well trained and whipped. You have nothing to worry about from me.” Chuckling, he turned to tease Alex. “Now the lady down at the registration desk is another story all together.”

Donald noticed the dark look that shrouded Alex's face, and his tone softened. “Hey, I was teasing. Are you okay?”

Alex nodded then ran her hand through her hair, “Yes, I'm fine. I just had a personal visit from Ms. Friendly. Luckily, I was in the shower and didn't get to the door in time, but she left me a note.”

Donald looked intently into Alex's eyes, “What did the note say? If you want to make a complaint, I'll be more than happy to go with you.”

Walking back into her room to retrieve her wallet, Alex waved him off. “It will be alright Donald. Once she finds out I'm not interested in her little games, she'll latch onto the next female that checks in. Forget it, let's go eat, I'm starving.”

Walking out of the room, Donald stopped at Alex's door and double-checked the lock. As they took the glass-enclosed elevator down to the main level, Alex caught a glimpse of Alicia watching them from the registration desk. It was as if she were waiting for them to come downstairs. Walking across the lobby, Donald took Alex's arm and led her into one of the Hyatt's three restaurants. Fortunately, they only had to wait a few minutes before they were seated beside a window overlooking the ocean. They quickly looked over the menus and placed their orders, then sat back enjoying the view, both lost in their own private thoughts.

The comfortable silence they had fallen into was one only long-time friends could share. They sipped on wine and munched on Bruschetta as they waited for their salads to arrive. Donald excused himself to go to the restroom, and Alex was looking out over the ocean when she heard a quiet voice beside her. “Hello, I see you decided to dine in the El Pescador. Is everything to your liking?”

Alex turned her head slowly towards the voice and recognized the face as the woman, Alicia, from the registrations desk. “Yes, thank you.” Alex's words were clipped, almost unfriendly.

“If I might, I would like to suggest the Smoked Salmon, it's divine.” The woman's eyes swept over Alex's body. “Forgive me, I haven't introduced myself, I'm Alicia...Alicia Vergara. I am the Hospitality Coordinator here at the Hyatt Acapulco.” Her lips curled at the edges, hinting at a smile, “Please, let me know if I can do anything to make your stay more pleasurable.” One brow lifted as the woman's smile became wider, inviting Alex to read whatever she wished into the message.

Dark eyes met the woman's unspoken invitation, and her own brow lifted as she responded. “I'm afraid we're in Acapulco on business and won't have time for…”

“Is everything alright?” Donald interrupted as he walked from behind the woman and sat across from Alex. He looked up into piercing dark brown eyes and saw loathing thinly disguised behind the smiling façade of Alicia's face.

“Yes, everything is fine. Ms. Vergara is the Hospitality Coordinator for the Hyatt and just wanted to make sure we were happy with our accommodations.”

“Oh certainly, Ms. Vergara. However, I'm afraid we'll be too busy to partake in all you have to offer in the way of amusement. Agent Montgomery and I are here on business. Hopefully, we'll be leaving in the morning.” Donald watched the woman as a faint look of agitation crossed her face then was, once again, hidden behind a forged smile.

“I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe on your next trip you'll have more time to spend enjoying the local attractions. It was nice to meet you both. Enjoy you're stay at the Hyatt.” The woman turned and quickly walked out of the restaurant. Pulling the cell phone from pocket, she quickly glanced over her shoulder before punching in the number.

“Yes.” The man's voice was short and harsh.

“It's Alicia. Their plans are to stay for only tonight. They're leaving in the morning.”

“Well, we'll just have to change their plans, won't we?”

“Look, I did this for you, we're even. We are not doing anything. You want more information, then get it from someone else. Leave me the hell alone.” The woman's voice seethed with anger.

“Now, now Alicia. I think you owe me a hell of a lot more than this little favor. After all, your brother is safe because of me.” His voice took on a threatening tone, “I'm sure you wish that to remain so. Yes?”

Releasing a frustrating sigh, she growled into the phone. “Yes, of course I do.” She could almost feel the smile cross the man's face on the other end of the line.

“Good. Now be a good girl and meet me at the villa. We have a few plans to make tonight.”

She heard the distinct click in her ear and knew the man had ended the call without waiting for her reply. “You'll pay for this Papa. One day I will stop you and you're evil ways.” Walking across the lobby, she grabbed her purse and keys and walked out into the cool night air.


Looking at Alex, Donald tried to keep his voice from revealing the concern he felt over the woman's appearance. “What was that all about?”

Shaking her head, Alex gave him a puzzled look. “She's the Hospitality Coordinator here, it's her job to make sure the guests are happy and comfortable. I think I was just being a little overly paranoid earlier.” Their conversation was interrupted as the waiter brought their salads. Once he had made his exit, Alex turned back to Donald and smiled. “Come on, enjoy your dinner, and then let's take a short walk and head upstairs.”

Donald wasn't sure if Alex was trying to convince herself or him, but he smiled and nodded. “Okay, you're right. I think we're both a little on edge.”

They finished their dinner then took a stroll along the beach, enjoying the cool evening air. The wine had worked its magic and both were feeling more relaxed and at ease. I might even get some sleep tonight, Alex thought as they waited for the elevator to deliver them to their floor.

Reaching Alex's door first, they said goodnight and Donald waited until he heard the click of the lock before walking to the next door and entering his own room. He took a quick shower then crawled into bed and was instantly asleep.

Sleep came quickly for Alex but was sporadically interrupted by the now common nightmares. She glanced at the clock, noticing it was only five AM and groaned. Knowing more sleep was out of her reach, she tossed back the covers and headed for the bathroom. She quickly donned the pair of sweats she'd thrown into her suitcase, wrote a quick note to Donald and slipped it under the adjoining door, then headed out the door in search of the hotel gym.

Alex burnt off her frustrations for an hour as she completed her usual cardio and strength conditioning routine then headed back to the room for a quick shower. Entering her room, she quickly turned on the shower, and knowing Donald would be up by now, she knocked on the adjoining door. The door opened almost immediately and Alex was surprised to see Donald already dressed. “Good morning. You hungry?”

“Yeah. I was just about to give up on you. Did you have a good workout?” Donald looked Alex over and frowned seeing her sweats soaked with sweat. “Never mind. By the looks of you, I can tell you did. Go get dressed, I'm starved.”

Alex laughed at Donald's frown and reached out her arms in his direction. “Don't I get a good morning hug?'

“Hell, no. Not until you're clean. Now go, do whatever it is you women spend half your lifetime in the bathroom doing.” Donald watched and smiled to himself a he watched Alex turn and close the door. There were few people that he could call true friends, and Alex was one of them. He was determined to make up for his failures in the past, not only on this case, but in their friendship as well. He sat down at the desk and picked up the phone to call Catherine as he waited for Alex to return.

Catherine picked up the phone on the third ring and smiled when she heard her husband's voice. “Good morning to you to, lover. I missed you last night.

Donald smiled into the phone. “I missed you too. We're about to go pick up Thomas, then head out. We should be home sometime in the early evening. Just wanted to let you know so you could be naked and waiting when I get home.”

Catherine growled back at her teasing husband. “You are so bad Donald Fairfax. There is nothing more I would like than to do just that, but remember we do have a houseguest.”

Donald laughed at Catherine's obvious frustration. “Oh, and speaking of our houseguest. I'm dropping Alex by her house when we get home. Why don't you two meet us there? It's time those two straightened things out.”

“You're sure. You don't need to push this you know.”

“I'm sure, Catherine. They have to see each other eventually, and I can't think of a better place for that to happen than at Alex's house, with both of us nearby.”

Catherine could hear the certainty in Donald's voice and smiled, knowing that he had made the right decision. She knew Donald had struggled with the decision and knew he was as eager to see this finally be resolved as she was. “We'll be there…and Donald, be safe. I love you.”

“I love you too, sweetheart. See you tonight.”

Donald had just hung up the phone when he heard Alex's soft tap. Opening the door, he grinned. “Much better, stinky. You ready for breakfast now?”

Alex slugged him in the shoulder and walked past him into the room, “Very funny smart ass, and yes I'm famished. Let's get this show on the road so we can get back home.”


After breakfast, Alex and Donald took a taxi to the local police precinct. After waiting for over half an hour, they were finally led into what appeared to be an interrogation room. There they waited for another half hour before a large, burly man in a Captain's uniform entered the room.

Captain Cortez introduced himself and asked Alex and Donald to sit. “I'm afraid there is going to be a little delay before we can release the prisoner to you. It seems some of the paper work has been misplaced, and it will take most of the day to straighten it out.”

Donald released a frustrated sigh. “Captain Cortez, I'm afraid I don't understand. When I called last evening, I was told everything was in order and that the prisoner would be released to us this morning.”

Cortez watched as the frown deepened on the Agents face and held up his hand in resignation. “I am truly sorry Agent Fairfax, but this was something no one expected.” Standing and walking to the door he called back over his shoulder, “I'm sure by tomorrow morning, everything will be in order and you can be on your way. “

Donald and Alex watched as the door closed behind the Captain then looked at each other in confusion. Shaking her head, Alex stood and reached for her jacket, “Damn, one more night won't kill us Donald. We've waited a month for this. Why don't we enjoy the day, have a nice evening and try this again in the morning, alright?”

Donald noticed Alex was taking this delay in stride and decided not to make a fuss about it. “Okay. So what do you want to do with our free afternoon on taxpayers' money?”

Alex grinned as she slid her arms through her jacket. “Let's go sightseeing. I think it's time we both had some fun.”

Looking at Alex with a skeptically, he opened the door for her. “And just what are we going to go see?”

Grinning over her shoulder, Alex walked out of the room. “You'll see. Come on.”

They returned to the hotel after leaving the precinct and changed into comfortable clothes. After a lengthy discussion, they had decided to stay at the Hyatt, even though they were both still wary of Alicia Vergara. It was only for one more night, and they would be out for most of the day, both deciding it was too much trouble to change hotels for the one night.

Alex was in the room when Donald called Catherine to inform her of their delay, promising their plans were still on for the following evening. “They'd better because I've already spilled the beans.”

Donald chuckled, “No need to worry, honey. Everything's going as planned. Talk to you tomorrow…Okay…I love you too…bye.” Donald hung up the phone and turned to Alex, “You ready?”

They stopped by the registration desk on their way out of the hotel and secured their rooms for another night, both relaxing when neither spotted Ms. Vergara. Donald hailed a taxi, and they were soon off to start the sightseeing Alex had been so mysterious about.

To Donald's surprise, they pulled up to one of the oldest historical attractions of the city, the San Diego Fort. He glanced at Alex and saw the big grin on her face. “What? Did you think I was going to drag you around shopping all day?” Taking Donald's arm, Alex pulled him from the taxi, “Come on, I know old forts and museums are your favorite.”

Shaking his head, Donald smiled at Alex, “You sure know how to make my heart go pitter patter, don't you girl.”

They spent several hours looking around the former five-point fortress that was located on a hill overlooking the Acapulco Harbor. It had been converted into a history and anthropology museum, and they were pleasantly surprised with the number of artifacts on display. The most amazing display to Alex was a baroque carriage marked with the seal of William II of Holland.

When they had exited the fort and settled back into the taxi, Alex gave the driver their next destination. “At least my last trip here prepared me for our unexpected layover.”

Donald smiled, and wrapping his arm around her shoulder gave her a hug, “Yeah. If you ever get tired of being an agent, you can always be a tour guide.”

Alex treated Donald to a long lunch at Planet Hollywood before heading out for their last stop of the day. She smiled as they stopped in front of The Mercado Municipal. “Didn't think I'd let you escape a little shopping did you?

Donald snorted and pulled himself from the taxi. “Damn, you women must have some kind of shopping radar implanted in you brains.” He tried his best to snarl but could only laugh when he saw the almost happy look on Alex's face. “Alright, you bought me lunch and took me to the fort. The least I can do is walk around the rest of the afternoon while you shop.”

Rolling her eyes, Alex marched ahead of Donald into the market place. A labyrinth of stalls, the old Acapulco marketplace was filled with vendors selling wares ranging from hand woven baskets to onyx chess sets. They idled away a relaxed afternoon rummaging through the stalls. When they headed out to hail a taxi, Alex couldn't help but chuckle at the difficult time Donald was having with the bags.

Shoving the bags in the back seat, Donald dropped into the taxi. “Don't even start.”

Alex bit her lip, trying not to laugh at all Donald had bought. She looked across to his bags, then down at the single package in her lap. “I didn't say a word.” Mumbling under her breath and added, “Women's radar, yeah right.”

“I heard that.” Donald growled but was thoroughly enjoying the teasing banter. He'd only intended to make one small purchase for Catherine, but before he knew it he realized that several hundred dollars worth of items were now in his possession, and he was now having to pay an even higher price by being teased by Alex.

They were both tired and hungry by the time they returned to the hotel, and quickly made their way to their rooms, neither had spotting the mysterious Ms. Vergara on their way into the hotel. In the elevator on the way to their floor, Alex decided they had nothing more to worry about. Ms Vergara was simply an over eager hospitality hostess, and nothing more.

Reaching their rooms, Alex took several of Donald packages from his hand so he could unlock the door. Following him into the room, they both spotted the rolling table sitting beside the window at the same time. Tossing the packages onto the bed, Donald walked over to the table and picked up the small envelope that stood beside a very expensive carafe of red wine. Pulling out the note, he sighed and shook his head. “Seems our hospitality coordinator feels bad that our stay was extended, and sent up some wine and cheese to make us feel all better.”

Alex smirked, “Well as long as she didn't add it to the bill, we'll take it.” Alex walked over and picking up the bottle, and noticed it was the same vintage they had shared last night with dinner. “Very perceptive women, Donald. At least she has great taste in wine.”

Dropping down on the bed, Donald kicked off his shoes, “Well, it's fine with me. As much as we have eaten today, I don't think I'm up for a large dinner. As far as I'm concerned, this can be dinner. Is that alright with you?"

“It's more than alright. I'm going to change. Want to see if they have any good movies on the television?”

“Sure, sounds like my kind of night.” Donald picked up the remote and began flipping through the channels while Alex took a shower and changed. By the time she returned, he had selected three movies and insisted that she choose. Alex knew Donald liked action movies and picked 15 minute, with Robert DeNiro, then settled down on the bed and stretched out.

Donald reached out to hand Alex a glass of wine. “No thanks. I think I've had my quota for the day.” Raising the aluminum can in her hand she smiled, “I think I'll stick with a safe beverage tonight, but I will take some of the cheese and crackers.”

Donald placed the platter between them on the bed, and they began munching quietly as the movie started. About half way through the movie, she looked over at Donald and noticed he had fallen asleep. She quietly eased herself off the bed and turned the volume down on the television, then padded back to her room.

She was glad she had decided to pack a book and settled down between the sheets to read. After an hour, she felt her lids grow heavy. Deciding not to pass up a chance for a little sleep, she closed the book and turned off the light.

Alex's eyes flew open an hour later and suddenly sensed another presence in the room. Forcing her body to relax she listened and waited. She could hear the rustling of clothes as the figure moved closer and all her senses went on full alert. The figure moved near enough for Alex to feel the heat radiating off her body but kept her eyes closed even as she got a faint whiff of the familiar perfume.

Her mind was reeling, trying to figure out why the mysterious Alicia would be in her room in the middle of the night when she heard a quiet click. She felt her muscles tense and almost allowed herself to react, but quickly recognized it as the phone being taken off the hook. Focusing on the movement around her, she continued to listen as the figure punched in several numbers.

Mentally noting that only seven digits had been pressed, she knew the call was local which perplexed her even more. No one except the local authorities knew of their presence in Acapulco. She lay quietly; focusing on her breathing as she tried to fit the pieces of the puzzle together, she heard the woman began to speak softly.

“Yes, it's me. They are both unconscious.” The woman was silent for a few moments then Alex heard her growl into the phone, “I told you it would work, the rest is up to you. I'll stay until you get here, then I'm leaving.” As if a second thought came to her mind she added, “This makes us even Papa. I'm through with you and your evil life.”

Alicia replaced the receiver back into the cradle. Locating the adjoining door between the rooms, she secured the lock. Walking to the window, she looked down at the ocean below, wishing she could fall into the water and become lost to her family and their evil ways. She had worked hard to overcome the influence of three generations of her father's family. Years of struggling to put the past behind her had left scars on her soul. Her heart ached for the freedom she knew she would never truly have---not as long as Papa was still alive.

She felt tears sting her eyes as she thought of her brother and his many failed attempts to escape. Somehow Papa had always bribed Hector back into the fold, back into the vile, ruthless world he called his empire. Releasing a haggard sigh, she decided that after tonight he would have to finally defend his own life and honor if he were to make the final step away. Looking out into the darkness, wishing for a life of normalcy, she never noticed the subtle movements behind her, until she suddenly heard the mechanical click, followed by hard, cold steel pressing against the back of her head.

Alex had watched as the woman walked to the window and peered down to the ocean. She patiently waited until she heard the woman attempt to silence threatening sobs. Knowing this was her one chance to take control of the situation Alex reached under the adjacent pillow and pulled out her Sig. She crept from the bed, and moving like a silent shadow made her way across the room, never letting her eyes leave the sobbing woman.

Alex knew the woman's presence was in some way connected to Seth Thomas, and felt a surge of anger rush through her body. Fighting the urge to shoot the woman where she stood, Alex raised the gun only when she was standing directly behind the woman. Taking a deep breath, she pulled back the hammer, and smiled as she saw the woman tense. “Who the hell are you and what the fuck do you want?”


Continue to Part Twenty-Nine of Storm Surge

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