Yes, we're out of retirement! We hope you enjoy this story of ours. Thanks to Jen who took over posting stories on the site so we could hopefully finish this shortly. It's going to be a long one folks so hang on for the ride and we think you'll enjoy it!
Disclaimers: This is a work of original fiction. Please do not copy in part or whole or link to it without the consent of the author. Any similarities to persons living or dead is coincidence.
This story is about a love between two women. If this isn't your cup of tea, feel free to drink elsewhere.
Many thanks to Jen, our editor, for helping put this piece together.
copyright 2000 by lynka
SCREEEEECCCCCHHHHHHH. "Goddamnsonofabitch!" The truck driver cursed as he stood on the brakes of his bright red 18 wheel truck bringing it to a screeching halt only inches from a slim form on state route 87. He wiped at his brow as he sat there for a couple of moments letting his mind process what has just happened and letting his heartbeat come under control. "Holy shit!" he whispered to himself wiping his face again with the palm of his hand. Leaning forward over the steering wheel he gazed at the surrounding area before he cautiously opened the door and jumped to the ground.
Slowly he approached the woman standing in the road. "Hey." He said as he stepped closer holding his hands out in front of him not wanting to scare her. "You all right?" He asked crinkling his brow as he took another step. It was as if the woman standing in front of his truck didnt even know he was there. She stood staring at the headlights that illuminated her slim form.
The roar of an engine starting stopped him in mid step. Cocking his head to one side trying to judge what direction the noise came from. He noticed for the first time how noises in the open forest suddenly seem to be all around you. He jumped towards the young woman grabbing her around the waist and lifting her off her feet letting his momentum carry them both across the road and into a ditch as a car sped past them heading in the opposite direction. "What the hells going on here?" He asked getting to his knees and shaking the limp form in his hands. A moment of stunned silence as he realized the blonde woman was not capable of responding.
"Well, shit." He grumbled. "Cant just leave you here for the bears. Come on. Ill take you into Sedona." He said gentling his voice and helping the woman up only now seeing the cuts and bruising on her face and arms. "What the hell happened to you?" He whispered in his own gentle way as he lifted her in his strong-arms carrying her to the passenger side of the truck. After securing her seat belt and locking the door he climbed into the still running truck. Releasing the emergency brake and grinding it into gear he felt the truck jump forward as he let out on the clutch.
The truck driver was a gentle soul having 3 daughters of his own. The oldest was about the same age as the young woman he had in his truck. "I wonder what happened to you?" He mused. "Dont worry miss, were only 23 miles out of Sedona. You're safe now." He continued to talk, telling her about his daughters and how he always wished he could spend more time at home with them as they were growing up. He was passing the time and he knew not a word was being listened to except by himself. "I think Ill call home as soon as I drop you off. The wifes going to have a cow. Calling at this ungodly hour but " He stopped chattering when he finally came to a stop in front of the small but efficient hospital. He carried the young woman in and laid her on the gurney the nurse had wheeled up to the door when she spotted the man crossing the parking lot.
"What happened to her?" The nurse asked looking at the cuts and bruises on the young womans face.
"Im sorry maam I have no idea. I just about run her over standing in the road. I didnt know what else to do so I brung her here."
"Whats her name?" She questioned.
"I dont know. She aint said a word since I found her."
"Alright, if youll have a seat over there Ill get the Doctor down here to take a look at her." The heavy set nurse said motioning to what appeared to be a small waiting room complete with snack, coffee and soda machines. And of course a pay phone. "Damn!" He muttered digging into his pocket. "Guess Ill have to call later when I get some change."
"Humm " The Doctor mumbled checking the reaction in her pupils with a little penlight. "Okay, lets draw some blood and see what we can find out. Wheres the man that brought her in?" He questioned.
"I asked him to wait in the waiting room." The middle-aged woman said.
"Good I would like to talk to him. There is no question shes been beaten. Lets go ahead and admit her until we find out whats going on." He instructed the nurse before leaving the room in search of the man who brought her in.
Moments latter her returned. "Hes gone." He stated writing the orders for the blood work and admission. "Lets get that blood work STAT. Id like to know whats in her system."
Twenty minutes later the young Doctor was standing at the desk in the emergency clinic reading the blood report. "Rohypnol," He repeated after reading it off the paper.
"Doctor?" The nurse questioned.
"Rohypnol, no wonder shes so out of it." He shook his head. "Shell never remember what happened to her. Im going to talk to Dr. Salmon about this." He said straightening to his 6-foot height.
"Humm " Dr. Salmon mumbled as he read the lab report. "Brad does this young woman have long blonde hair?" Dr. Salmon questioned.
"Yeah, pretty too. Why?"
"We got a bulletin awhile back about a series of young blonde women being murdered and they all had Rohypnol in their systems. From everything you told me I think its worth the call to the FBI and let them evaluate her after she wakes up." He stated.
Two eyebrows shot skyward. "The FBI?"
"Yes, it seems this young woman might have escaped a serial killer." He finished looking at his companion who appeared somewhat shocked.
This was the most excitement the young doctor had experienced since he accepted the job in Sedona. Granted it had only been a year since he graduated Med. School and received his license to practice in Arizona. "Right, Ill give them a call." He told the older doctor as he slipped out the door and returned to his own office.
"Yes thats right," He said listening to the insistent voice on the other end. After being transferred three times and put on hold for several minutes finally a sleepy womans voice came back at him.
"I am Special Investigator Corey Van," she told the doctor. "Im sorry it took so long to reach me. What can I do for you Doctor?"
"Bradley. They just call me Brad. I have a young woman in the clinic here in Sedona that I was told you might be interested in."
"And why do you think that?" She asked standing stretching out muscles that were tight from being in bed.
"She has the drug Rohypnol in her system. She has been very obliviously beaten and she is approximately 27" he paused, "with long blond hair." He finished waiting for a response on the other end. "Hello?" He finally said into the deafening quiet.
"Okay Brad. Please listen to me very carefully. I need her to stay where she is until I get there. I need you to put a guard on her room. Call the local PD and let them know you have spoken to me and this is top priority. Have them send someone over there ASAP. Make sure no one; absolutely no one gets into her room okay? I dont care who they say they are." Before the doctor had a chance to respond, "I dont want to take any chances of something happening to her. I should be there in a couple of hours.
"Okay Ill call the police right now." He hesitated a moment to see if there was anything else.
"Keep her safe." Corey said hanging the phone up and dialing a number from memory.
"Morning John. Its Corey." She said hurried as she was pulling on the last of her clothes.
"Corey? Do you know what time it is?" He grumbled at her.
"Yeah, sorry." She said, "We might just have a break with the serial killer file I have been working on. Seems theres a woman in a clinic in Sedona that might have just gotten away from him. Im driving up there right now." She finished.
"Drive careful and keep me posted." He told her knowing there was no use in trying to talk her into waiting until morning."
Less then two hours later Corey was parking her Explorer in the small parking lot of the clinic. She had had to stop and get directions from a Circle K clerk; the only thing open at that time of the morning. She walked purposefully up to the big double doors that grudgingly opened for her.
"May I help you?" The cheerful voice came from behind her.
Turning to face the middle aged nurse, "Yes I would like to see Dr. Bradley" Corey said pulling her badge out of her pocket showing it to the woman and almost smiling at her reaction of startlement. "It's okay." She tried to sooth the older woman. "Hes expecting me."
"Oh you're here for that young woman." She stated picking up the phone and dialing an extension number. "Dr. Brad Theres a woman her from the FBI. Yes . Alright."
"Hell be right here." She stated very business like.
"Thanks." Corey smiled at her and leaned her elbow on the counter trying not to yawn. "Has anybody else been here to see her?" She asked casually.
"No there hasnt." Came a deeper voice to her side. "Hello, Im Dr. Bradley." He said extending his hand.
Returning his strong grip with one of her own. "So, what can you tell me?"
He extended his arm in the direction of his office. "I bet you could use a cup of coffee." He smiled at her when she nodded.
"So Dr. Bradley," She was interrupted.
"Please call me Brad."
She smiled back. "Okay Brad." She accepted the fresh coffee. "How did she get here?"
"Marge said she was brought in by a man. She thought he might be a truck driver."
"Marge?" she questioned.
"The nurse. I cant really tell you much. We treated her cuts. She had a nasty cut on the side of her face. Rope burns on her neck, wrist and ankles. Physically she'll recover just fine." He finished up.
Corey took a breath. "Was she raped?"
She nodded. "Id like to talk to the nurse for a minute before I go see your patient."
"Sure." He stood. "Ill go hold the fort down and send her in her."
"Thank you Brad." Corey extended her hand out.
.He held it between both of his own. "You're welcome. I hope you find out what happened to her and get the bastard who did this. Ill ask Marge to take you to her room. If there is anything else I can do "
"Ill let you know." She smiled as he loosened his grip on the tall investigator.
Waiting for the nurse Corey walked around the sparse room. On one white wall hung a photo of the Sedona area. One she suspected Dr. Brad took himself. On the wall next to his desk in the usual black frame hung his Medical Degree. "Humm " she noted. "The University of Arizona. Must be a native to still be here." She thought out loud as the door opened and the nurse stepped in.
Nervously, "You wanted to speak with me?" the round heavyset woman asked.
"Yeah." Corey stated giving the woman a relaxed smile. "What can you tell me about the guy who brought her in?"
"Oh " She hesitated thinking back a few hours. "He was a truck driver. I remember that. He carried that poor child in here. When I saw him I wheeled a gurney up to them and he laid her down on it."
"Did you get a name?"
"No I asked him to wait but ." She left the sentence hanging.
"Did you see what trucking company he drove for?"
"No maam, Im sorry. He just carried her in and left. He said he almost ran her down. That she was just standing in the middle of the road."
Disappointed the tall investigator said. "All right Marge thank you can you take me to her room now?"
The tall woman stood and stretched, rubbing the back of her neck. Feeling it pop back into place. "Damn that felt good." She said to the small window she was standing in front of looking out into the parking lot. "Well, so much for the view." She turned and regarded the woman in the bed. She looked familiar for some reason. Corey sat back down and just watched her, trying in vain to remember a time they may have met.
"Ohh " The blonde woman in the bed moaned rolling her head from side to side.
"Do you remember how you got here?" The investigator asked jumping to her feet beside the bed.
"Ahh no." She said looking around. "Where am I?" She looked up at a dark haired woman. "Who are you?"
"Youre in an emergency clinic in Sedona. And as for me, my name is Corey Van. Im a Special Investigator for the FBI. Can you tell me your name?" She questioned keeping her voice soft.
"Rachel Woods." She said looking around again then suddenly turned her head to the investigator again. "The FBI? What did I do?"
"You did nothing wrong Miss Woods. I wanted to talk to you about how you got here." Before she could finish the door opened and Dr. Bradley stepped in.
"Good, you're awake." He said moving to the opposite side of the bed Corey was standing on. "How do you feel?"
"Like Ive been run over by a truck." She grimaced.
"From what I was told you very nearly were." He patted her hand then checked the stitches. "I see no reason to keep you here. You need to get in touch with your own Doctor and have them take a look at this cut. I put 38 stitches there but after its all healed you shouldnt notice it too much. Ill fill out the papers to discharge you and have the nurse come in and take out the IV. So just sit tight a moment." The Doctor had written something in the chart he carried before leaving the room.
Rachel laid there stunned. "What did he mean I almost was?"
"Why dont you get dressed in these?" The investigator handed her a clean pair of hospital scrubs to put on. "And we can talk on the way back to Phoenix."
"Why do you think Im going anywhere with you? I dont even know you. Where are my clothes?" Rachel demanded.
"Miss Woods, to begin with I believe you just escaped from a serial killer who has murdered 9 women all of whom look alot like you. If you would prefer I can place you in protective custody in which case we will get you to the Phoenix headquarters or you can just cooperate and come along willingly. Either way you will come with me." Corey stated in her most no-nonsense tone of voice while maintaining eye contact with the younger woman.
Wide round eyes peered back. "S..ser..serial killer?" She stuttered. "Whats going on?"
"That, Miss Woods, is what we are going to find out. Now will you come with me?" Corey gentled her voice and watched the younger womans hands shake.
"Yes." Was all she said as she went into the bathroom to change out of the hospital gown.
When she returned Corey stood up and grabbed a bag. She held it up "Your clothes. Theyre going to the crime lab as soon as we get back. And Miss Woods," Corey gave her a shy smile. "thanks for cooperating."
"Well investigator it seems you didnt give me much choice." She replied smiling a ghost of a smile just to take the sting out of the words.
"Theres always a choice. Ive been after this guy for over a year and youre the first real lead weve had." Corey stated opening the door and peering out into the hallway before she let the younger woman out.
"Im sorry I gave you a hard time. Ill help anyway I can. The greater good huh?" Rachel said as they walked out the front doors and headed to Coreys Explorer.
Corey was startled and looked at the younger woman with a definite sense of the familiarity she felt earlier. "Huh..right." She sounded puzzled as if the words "The Greater Good" should of meant something to her.
The ride out of town was quiet as they both thought about what was going on. Then Rachel yawned and apologized for being so tired.
"Its okay go ahead and rest." Corey told her as she cruised down highway 179 to Interstate 17.
"Okay, lets go over this one more time," the tall, dark-haired investigator for the FBI said grabbing a large cup of coffee and offering one to the slight, blonde woman sitting across the table from her.
"I cant," she whispered. "I just dont remember anything," she took a long breath then continued, "There just isnt anything to tell. I just want to take a shower and go to bed," she stated lowering her head down resting it on her arms that she folded across the top of the table. "I just want to go home."
"Corey," a middle age man said motioning to the agent to follow him out of the room. "So, what do you think? Is it our guy?"
"Could be." She paused looking back through the glass at the fragile, young woman sitting at the table. "My gut tells me it is."
"Then we need to keep her in protective custody. Corey, shes the only one thats survived. The only one that can help us I.D. this guy."
"I know that, Captain. I really dont think shell want to stay with us though and we cant make her."
"Then youll just have to convince her that it would be in her best interest to accept our hospitality."
"Ill try," the investigator said as she turned to re-enter the interrogation room.
"One last thing." The tall women turned to face her captain placing her hand on her hip. "Im assigning you to take care of her."
"What?" Corey blurted. "Why me? Come on captain you know I can do more out here. Send that new rookie. Anybody can baby sit."
"Anyone may be able to baby-sit but not just anyone will be able to keep her alive if this nutcase decides to come after her again. Now, Corey you know what were up against. If you have a better idea Im listening," the captain said calmly.
Corey just stopped trying to come up with a response, any response that would get her out of this assignment. She couldnt. So she tried a different approach. "But captain . Ive been working on this case for over a year. Isnt there anyone else you can assign to watch her?"
"Im not taking you off the case, Corey, quite the contrary. Look at it this way. It will give you a chance to go stay in that cabin of yours for longer then the occasional weekend. And hopefully the quiet surroundings will help that young lady relax and remember something else that might help in the investigation. Its already Thursday night so take the weekend and Ill see you both here first thing Monday." The captain mustered his most no-nonsense stance then looked directly at the tall investigator.
Corey knew when she was beat. She knew her captain well enough to know there was no changing his mind on this, at least not now. With a sigh she turned and entered the interrogation room where she found a sleeping Rachel Woods.
"Hey" Corey said trying not to startle her. "Come on, Im going to take you home." She paused. "My home," the investigator said quickly hoping to catch the young woman still sleepy enough to just follow her without question.
"Great. Finally, I get to go home and take off these stupid scrubs. They're not as comfortable as they look on T.V."
"Im sorry but I cant take you to your home. Youre in danger and we want to put you in protective custody."
"No, I dont think so, Agent Van, right? I want to go home and get on with my life. This is one nightmare I want to wake up from."
"Miss Woods, I know you would like nothing better than to go on with your life as if this never happened but if you dont come with me, the nightmare as you called it may turn out completely different. We wouldnt be having this conversation now. Instead I would be looking at photographs of you " Corey paused taking a deep breath and shaking her head. "Look Miss Woods hes still out there somewhere. What were asking is a minor inconvenience compared to..."
Protesting Rachel looked up into the hard blue eyes above her. "Death " Rachel chewed on her bottom lip as she finished the sentence for the Investigator. "I have a job, an apartment I need to take care of, not to mention a life I want to get on with." Suddenly she stopped. "Your home. Why?"
"Because Miss Woods we have a serial killer out there and youre probably his number one priority. No one else has gotten away from him. So, its my job to protect you whether you want me to or not. It would make it easier for me to do that, Miss Woods, at my residence." She straightened up extending her arm towards the door, "So shall we?" Corey asked looking speculatively at the younger woman.
Rachel stood glaring at her. "Im too tired to argue about it right now." Her voice was flat and quiet as she followed the tall woman out of the room and to her car.
The ride was quiet as they both stewed over the current situation. Softly Rachel asked. "What about a change of clothes? Why cant I go to my place and at least pick them up?"
"Well, Ms Woods, I dont think you know how much danger youre in. When you were found you had no identification on you at all. Which means we have to assume he has your address, keys, credit cards, checkbook and anything else you may have had with you. He may be in the area watching your place or even waiting in your apartment right now. And if youre thinking that having someone with you will be protection, I dont think hed care. He'd most likely kill us both without a second thought. Youre the only person that managed to escape. He will find a way to kill you. If he doesnt know where you are then he wont get that opportunity. As for clothes Ill find you something to sleep in tonight and well get you a few changes tomorrow. Okay?" Coreys eyebrows raised in question as she faced this small woman while waiting for the traffic light to change.
Nodding her head in acknowledgement as she watched the traffic move around them she asked, "Where we going?"
"The safest place I know. My cabin." The investigator stated turning onto the Beeline Highway heading north towards Payson.
Two hours later the tall woman pulled off the main road onto a barely noticeable dirt road. The bumpy ride woke the woman sitting in the passenger seat of her Explorer. "Umm sorry I guess I should have woke you before I turned off." She tried to apologize, something she wasnt partially good at.
"Where are we?"
"Almost to my cabin."
"This is where you live?" Rachel asked peering out the window into the darkness not seeing anything except what the headlights illuminated.
"Not as much as I would like it to be. I have a condo in Phoenix I use during the week and usually spend my off time out here," she said in a soft voice. "I built this cabin myself." She added turning into the drive that would lead to the side of the cabin.
Corey loved this place. She had spent every available hour she had building the cabin. She had refused to let anyone help her. She wanted a place that was hers and hers alone. Something nobody would have any claim on and couldnt take away from her. With a heavy sigh and a shake of her head she tried to rid herself of the unwelcome thoughts that still plagued her dreams.
"You built this yourself?" Rachel inquired as they pulled up in front of the cabin.
"Yeah, it took me a couple of years...." Corey let the thought drop before she gave away more of herself then she wanted to her young visitor.
Corey ushered them both inside the cabin from the porch, turned on the light then shut the door behind them. Rachel tried to take in the surroundings in one quick look but then let her gaze work its way across the room. The cabin was one very large rectangular room. Her eyes started to the left where a small living room occupied a small amount of space. Just beyond the living room was a computer desk with all the essentials. The bedroom laid across the entire length of the back of the house on a raised platform. From her vantage point Rachel could see a large screen TV and a large bed. As her eyes continued their inspection, they fell upon something she had only seen in home decorating magazines. A sunken fireplace area with a large, leather couch and a white sheep skin rug on a red brick floor. The beauty of it sharply contrasted with the no nonsense style of the rest of the cabin. The kitchen to the far right finished out the quick tour Rachels green eyes had taken.
"Anything wrong?" Corey asked when she saw the young woman not moving at all.
"Um... nothing... its just... its beautiful."
"Well, come on in." Corey said bringing Rachel out of her musings. She motioned for her to relax in the living room.
"Oh...thanks." She whispered barely loud enough for the investigator to hear.
They sat in awkward silence both women avoiding eye contact with the other. Finally, Rachel broke the silence. "So, do you always bring people youre protecting up here?"
Corey lifted her ocean blue eyes to meet the emerald green ones across from her, "No. Ive never been assigned to this duty before."
"Ah... You really dont want me here then?" It wasnt a question that needed to be answered. Rachel could feel the tension coming from her reluctant companion.
"Look, maybe we need to get a few things straight." Corey said with absolutely no emotion. "First, I brought you here because I knew you would be safe." Corey stood and moved towards her bedroom. Her voice trailed off as she reached her destination. "Second, I cant say I like this duty at all but, thats not for you to worry about. I will do my job." Her voice got louder as she returned to her houseguest, "And third, here are some sweat clothes to put on so youll be comfortable. It gets rather cold up here this time of year. I know theyll be big but..." She handed her the sweats and went into the kitchen.
Exhaling a rather deep breath she had been holding, she accepted the change of clothes and stood looking for the bathroom or a place to change. "Ah... I would like to take a shower if thats at all possible. After all thats happened..." her words just fell off and she lowered her head.
The gesture didnt go unnoticed by the investigator as she leaned over the counter in the kitchen. "Im sorry. I should have..." but she wasnt sure how to finish the sentence. "The bathroom is to the right of the bed. Theres a closet with towels and supplies. If you need anything else," her voice became a lot gentler, "just give a yell."
Rachel nodded in understanding and headed off towards the bathroom to shower. When she reached the bedroom she stopped as she approached the sunken hot tub. She smiled to herself as she continued on to the bathroom.
The young women turned the water on as hot as she could stand it. She quickly took off her clothes and threw them in the corner by the door then stepped into the shower. The water covered her like a blanket offering a cleansing agent. Her hands trembled as she scrubbed her entire body. As the moments passed she scrubbed harder, as hard as the bruises would allow. She felt dirty, as if she had been raped, although she hadnt allowed it to go that far, and she just wanted to feel clean again. Tears started to flow down her checks as she dropped the cloth and let the water flow over her head. She could feel the pain at her sides. Her head ached with a pounding that threatened to explode her head. She was battered and bruised and needed to break down. Her arms instinctively moved to comfort her body as she slid to the floor of the shower not able to control her emotions any longer.
Corey slid the shower door open turning off the water. She had waited for the young woman but after forty-five minutes she thought it best to see if she was all right. She glanced down at the fragile, frightened woman shivering from the cold water then gently scooped her up in a large bath towel. "Its going to be all right."
Rachels green eyes acknowledged the soft voice letting herself be carried out of the shower and into the bedroom. Corey sat them both down on the edge of the bed holding the smaller woman around her shoulders. Finally a cracked voice whispered, "Ill be okay. Thank you. I just need a few minutes to get myself together Agent Van."
"I can stay here if you want me to. If itll make you feel better."
"No. Id rather be alone to get myself together. Thank you, though, for the offer."
Corey gently squeezed her shoulder to let the shaken woman know she would be there if needed. "Im just down in the kitchen if you need me." The investigator slowly left the bedroom and walked towards the kitchen. As she passed her desk, she glanced back over her shoulder and listened for movement, which she heard ever so slightly. "She sure is quiet," she said to herself.
Rachel headed toward the aroma of dinner coming from the kitchen. As she reached the counter separating the kitchen from the rest of the cabin she asked, "Whats for dinner?" trying to keep her voice perky.
"Well, only canned food. I dont keep much up here otherwise so how about some chili?" she said holding up a can of Hormel. "This is about my level of cooking expertise." she said with a smile.
Corey dished up the chili, placing the bowls on the counter. The two women ate in silence with the investigator making mental notes of the actions of her houseguest. Rachel ate just enough to be polite but not enough considering what the woman had been through. Her eyes stayed lowered, fixed on her plate. She looked as if she were emotionally defeated. Corey couldnt help wondering what this woman was like before all this happened. She pictured the smaller woman smiling, laughing and a small curl came to her lips. 'What am I thinking? Im just here to protect a witness,' she mentally chastised herself for allowing her thoughts to wander.
The tall woman cleared the counter placing the dishes in the sink for the time being. "I dont keep much up here in the way of food. I usually shop on my way through town. Well have to pick up some essentials tomorrow along with some clothing that fits you a little better."
"Well, these arent that big on me, really." The blonde woman noted even allowing a small smile to come to her face as she spread her arms out to show off the over sized garments.
"No, not at all." Corey laughed. "Its getting late. Do you think you will be able to try and rest?"
"I would like to lay down. I feel just so whipped. What was that drug they said was in my system?" She mumbled through a yawn.
"Its called Rohypnol. Its also known as 'The Date Rape' drug. Its no wonder you cant remember anything. Its got quite a punch. It looks like an aspirin. Usually it's put into a drink." Corey stopped looking up at her companion who looked like she was a million miles away. "Hey," she added, "you okay?"
Rachel shook her head away from the images that formed. "Yeah sorry just my mind wondering it was just a bunch of images mostly just jumbles " she continued to think about what she saw.
"Well, anyway the couch in the fire pit is the most comfortable. Go ahead and Ill get the extra blankets," She said pointing to the leather couch by the fireplace.
"I couldnt. Ill just stay here on this one," the small woman said patting the back of the couch in the living area.
Corey chuckled. "That couch is barely comfortable enough for sitting. I have it there so when uninvited guests come, they dont stay long." She smirked. "Now, come down here and make yourself comfortable."
The smaller woman joined the investigator in the pit. "If youre sure..." she questioned as the soft embrace of the couch engulfed her body.
"Of course Im sure." Corey answered.
As their eyes met the blonde woman said simply, "Hey, Im sorry you got stuck with me."
Corey brought her blue eyes to bear down on the young womans. "I dont get stuck with anyone. If push came to shove, Captain Daniels would have assigned someone else. And although Im not overjoyed to be on this assignment, Im glad I am." She relaxed her stare until softness shone through again, "I think well get along just fine. Its just that Im not used to having anybody around. Well, good night Ms. Woods."
"Rachel ... please... call me Rachel." A smile crept up on her face.
"Okay.... And its Corey, by the way." She returned the smile. "Ahh... I... dont have to worry about you not still being here in the morning. Do I? I mean...you wont run off or anything during the night..."
"You have my word. Ill be right here."
"Good, cause if I couldnt keep one eye open tonight, I would have to tie you up." A sheepish grin formed on her face as a blush raised on Rachels. The younger woman couldnt keep her eyes opened any longer as they shut and her head relaxed on the pillow. Corey covered the gentle woman with the covers then started to lean down to place a gentle kiss on the sleeping womans forehead but stopped herself almost as soon as she started. 'What is it about her?' She thought to herself as she headed for her bedroom.
Rachel could swear she saw the dark haired woman falter ever so slightly over her but dismissed it as faulty sight as she struggled to keep her eyes open. Before drifting into a deep sleep her last thoughts were of the strange woman who seemed to be her knight in shining armor. 'Something about her is so familiar to me...'
No! Noooo..." Rachels screams pierced the silent night.
Corey was already dozing on the sheepskin rug awakened earlier by the womans cries in the night. At first Corey ran to the pit, gun in hand. She was about to wake the young woman when her cries stopped and she settled into sleep again. Corey tried to go back to bed but the cries began again a short time later. This time she gently rubbed the sleeping womans back until she settled back into sleep. She decided to throw on a long shirt, start a fire and stay close by the young woman. She had finally drifted off to a light sleep when Rachels screams once more disturbed the night. Corey moved so she was kneeling beside the screaming woman. Trying not to startle her or make any contact with her body, the investigator softly said, "Rachel." After several attempts the older woman had no choice but try and wake her using physical means. Gently she placed her hand on the womans shoulder and shook her lightly while continuing to talk to her softly.
Rachels eyes flew open at the moment of contact. She tried desperately to crawl away from her attacker as she continued to beg for mercy. Corey quickly removed her hands holding them up in full view of the frightened woman and continued to speak quietly. "Its okay, Rachel. Its me, Corey. Youre safe. Youre at my cabin and no one is going to hurt you. Look at me."
Rachels eyes quickly took in her surroundings then made contact with the blue eyes searching for some form of recognition from the woman. Tears swelled up in the green orbs and a pair of long arms swooped up the fragile spirit to protect her from the demons of her dreams. Her hands stroked the blonde hair as her arms held on tightly. The smaller woman placed her arms around the strong neck and nestled her head into her shoulder. Rachel began to relax so Corey started to reluctantly release her tight grip but the smaller woman held on. Corey regained her hold and figured shed wait and let the blonde woman decide when she wanted to be let go.
"Are you all right?" Corey finally asked.
"Yes," she said letting go of the investigators neck. "It was that woman from the bar. She had me tied up and was coming after me again. Her hands grabbed at my face as she kissed me over and over again. She was angry."
Corey leaned back on her heels. "A woman?"
"It showed in her eyes; hatred. Her left hand reached out for my breast." She unconsciously covered her own with her left arm. " I tried to crawl away but with my hands tied behind me I couldnt go far. Her hand grabbed at me again..." Rachels quivering voice stopped as she looked at the investigator. "You didnt know?"
Stunned Corey just shook her head. "Weve never had any indication that it might be a woman. I ah do you remember anything else?"
"Her tattoo. She had a tattoo on her left hand. It was some sort of flower or design or something. It was right here." She rubbed the area where her thumb met her hand. "It was a flower but then swirled down like a vine design."
"Do you remember anything else?"
"No. Im sorry, I guess Im not very good at this witness stuff."
"Youre doing just fine. Ill be right back." Corey got up heading for her desk. She quickly scribbled some notes on a pad then disappeared into the kitchen. A few minutes later she returned with two cups of tea handing one of them to Rachel. "Hope you like it. Tends to calm me down on those nights I get really wound up from a case."
"When did you start the fire?" She asked suspecting that this wasnt the first time she woke her hostess this evening.
"A couple of hours ago." She said moving a small oak table in front of them then sitting next to the blonde on the couch. Absently, she placed her leg up on the small table allowing her shirt to fall to her hip. She often sat here alone drinking her tea and staring into the flames. She wasnt aware of the younger womans eyes drifting to sneak a peek of the well-muscled leg on display. In fact, her thoughts were of the long forgotten feelings stirring in her own body as she thought of holding the small, blonde woman in her arms once again.
They finished their tea in silence both women lost in their own thoughts. Corey moved the table off to the side of the couch out of the way. "Maybe we should try and get some rest. Itll be daylight soon and we both could use a few more hours of shuteye." Rachels body tensed up at the thought of her protector leaving. It did not go unnoticed by the 'knight' in question. "If you dont mind, Ill just lay back down here next to you. Will that be all right with you?"
Rachel settled back on her pillow. She knew she should have dismissed Corey so she could sleep in her own bed, but she didnt. "Id like that." She whispered instead and slipped off to sleep.
Corey lay on the soft rug listening to Rachels breathing change to a steady rhythm as she finally fell asleep. She was vaguely aware of her own ragged breathing. 'No one should ever have to go through what she did.' She thought to herself as she felt an overprotective anger rise in her. 'Why does it seem like I know her?' She questioned, rising slowly without a sound retrieving another cup of tea then sitting at her desk.
E-Mail time 4:40 am.
It appears that our killer may be a woman. Will contact you when I have more details.
P.S This protection thing's not so bad after all.
As quietly as Corey had gotten up a few moments ago she tried to be that quiet when she returned to her houseguest. "Ohh Damn!" She blurted, hopping around on one foot losing her balance and landing on her rear end.
Rachel jumped off the couch clutching at her own shirt, quickly trying to get her bearings.
"Sorry sorry." Corey said seated on the floor holding her foot.
"Ohhh " Rachel whispered finally waking up enough to realize where she was. "You all right?" She asked with a hint of a smile on her face.
Laughing, "Yeah just thought I would get another cup of tea."
"What did you do to your foot?" Rachel questioned watching Corey hold onto it.
"Stubbed my toe." She said pointing to the offending piece of furniture.
"Let me see." The blonde woman sat back down on the couch holding her hand out.
Corey balanced herself leaning back and resting on her hands as she extended her leg to the smaller woman. The warmth of Rachels touch was almost unbearable. Almost
Rachel cradled the injured foot in her hands. Gently rubbing the toe until she saw a smile cross the investigator's face. Her massage extended down Coreys foot.
"Sorry I woke you." Corey said softly watching the movement of Rachels hands on her foot. "That feels so much better. Thank you."
"Anytime." Rachel felt her companion move slightly. "Oh sorry." She said releasing her foot.
"Here come on lay back down, lets try this again. Ill even tuck you in." Corey lifted the blankets for her houseguest to stretch back out on the couch. "After all Im responsible for you being untucked." She smiled broadly at the young woman.
The early rising sun had been in the sky for hours by the time the investigator stirred. Her eyes tried to focus on the beauty lying on her couch but it was empty. She brought herself to her knees then to her feet glancing around the cabin looking for the blonde haired woman. Her eyes found her query sitting at her desk.
"Hey there." A gentle, pleasant voice greeted her.
"Hey there yourself." The tall woman headed towards the desk to see what the woman had gotten into. "How are you feeling this morning?"
"Sore. My head still hurts, but I think I finally got some sleep. How about you?"
"Im fine. Just not used to sleeping so late." She said stretching her arms above her head then running her hands through her hair in an attempt to order it. "What are you reading?"
"Im sorry. I came over here for some paper and a pen, but then these papers caught my eye." She pointed to the neatly stacked pile of computer-printed paper. "I was just glancing through some of the pages."
"Thats okay. A friend has been bothering me to write a book about the time I spent in D.C. I just thought I would give it a try." Corey dismissed the manuscript for the book she had been writing as a whim. "How about I take care of that cut? Lets go up to the bedroom so I can change your bandages."
Rachel followed Corey up to her bedroom. "Take a seat on the bed." The investigator turned nurse disappeared into the bathroom and returned with the necessary supplies to complete her task. "How about some breakfast? Theres a great little cafe not far from here. Suzie makes the best, homemade food around." She tried to tempt the smaller woman into agreeing to commit what she thought of as one of the seven deadly sins.
"I cant go into a restaurant like this!" Rachel looked at herself with a comical expression on her face. "Still its better than those scrubs they gave me last night."
"Lets see what I can find you. I know theyre in here somewhere." Corey opened each of her drawers in the armoire searching for her old clothes. "Here they are. Not much of a selection but, I think theyll fit better." She tossed the clothes on the bed next to the blonde haired woman. "Take your pick." The tall woman opened her dresser drawers taking out a change of clothes before turning to Rachel, "Im going to hop in the shower. I wont be long."
"Ill be all right. I guess Ill change and see if these fit any better." When her tall protector disappeared into the bathroom, Rachel quickly undressed then put on the smallest set of clothes she could find. The cuffs of the pants and sleeves of the shirt had to be rolled up but it was a definite improvement. She moved over to the mirror and checked herself out. 'Well, at least this looks a whole lot better.'
Corey stepped out into the bedroom still drying her hair with the towel as she took in the site of the woman standing before the mirror. A smile came to her lips as she took in the beautiful form standing before her. 'Its been too long.' "They never looked that good on me," Corey said smiling. "Well stop at the mall on our way back and get you some clothes that fit you a tad bit better."
"You look good in a smile." Rachel said as her eyes locked with Coreys. 'That was a stupid thing to say. Why did you say that?' Her face quickly flushed and she turned away pretending to straighten out her shirt. "I didnt know Payson had a mall." She tried to change the subject.
"It doesnt." The investigator noticed the crimson color in her checks before she turned away. "I want to drive back to Phoenix and take care of some things at the office. Phoenix has a multitude of malls to shop at. Pick one. Lets go get breakfast."
The women stepped out on the porch into the sunlight peeking through the tall pine trees that surrounded the cabin. Rachel walked to the rail tucking her hands in her jeans as she leaned her head against the redwood post. She listened to the quiet of the forest and the singing of the birds. Peace settled around her like a blanket.
"Are you okay?" Coreys voice was almost a scream as she shook Rachels shoulder.
"Umm. Yes, Im sorry. I was just noticing how peaceful how beautiful it is here."
"You scared me. I thought with that bump on your head I was losing you."
"No, Im fine." Her eyes never left the picturesque scene in front of her. "Look at the way the sunlight seems to just filter through the trees. Isnt it great?" Rachels eyes lit up bringing a smile to her face.
"You know, a smile looks real good on you too. Lets go," She nodded in the direction of the truck.
Reluctantly Rachel followed the investigator to her truck still smiling. "Its very unusual." She said as she sunk into the leather, passenger seat of the Explorer.
"The color of the truck. Ive never seen this shade before."
"No. I suppose not. And you probably never will again. I drove the poor guy at the body shop crazy. He must have mixed the color two dozen times before it was what I wanted. I just wanted something different."
"Well, its different. A nice, golden tan like the coat of a palomino except when the sun hits it just right. Then it almost takes on more of a milky color. If you were going for different, you got it. But I like it."
"Thanks. Im not used to getting compliments about it. Mostly, the guys just jive me about it. Heres Suzies place. Ready for breakfast?"
Continued In Part Two
original fiction <> homepage