Redemption Song

by BlondeBard

Disclaimers: Xena and Gabrielle belong to MCA and Universal Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended.

This story contains fairly graphic violence. It also contains a consensual relationship between two women. If this is not legal where you are, or you are not of age, then read another story.

The characters contained in this story are mine, and mine alone. Do not copy or distribute this story without my consent. Characters within this story bearing resemblance to persons dead or alive are unintended.

Thank you to my beta author Buxxer.

Also thanks to my beta readers Mercury and Pawkat.

Apologies to all who have been waiting for this part. The holidays and an unhealthy obsession with Mahjong have contributed to my delinquency.

All comments can be sent to

Part 10

Sean stepped up behind his unsuspecting sister and tapped her gently on the shoulder. As she turned to face him, her eyes went wide with surprise. She leapt from her chair and threw herself into his arms. "Sean, oh God, Sean…what are you doing here?" she asked, having completely forgotten their agreement to meet.

"Well, I couldn't very well disappoint my little sister," he joked. Although she was older, he was six inches taller, and for some reason had always looked older than she.

Toni took an uneasy position next to Bill and Jack, watching the reunion and Greg's reaction. He seemed harmless, but something about him made Toni's hairs stand on end. She figured that her case of nerves had more to do with the fact that Greg knew too much about them than any personal feeling she might have for the guy, considering that she had only met him once, and briefly at that.

Megan and Sean spent several minutes catching up before they realized that there were other people in the bar with them. Sean took Greg's hand and pulled him forward. "Megan, this is Greg Middleton. I do believe I've mentioned him to you."

"Yes you have," she told Sean as she approached Greg and gave him a big hug. "It's really nice to finally meet you Greg," she told him.

"It's my pleasure," he replied hugging her in return. "Sean has told me a lot of stories about the two of you."

"Really?" she inquired. "I guess I'm going to have to spend the next couple of hours telling you the true version of those events," she told him, laughing gently. She realized then that she had lost her manners and turned to find Toni, Bill and Jack trying to stay conspicuously out of the way. "Greg, this is Toni, Jack and Bill," she told him indicating each in turn.

"Pleased to meet you," Greg said as he shook hands with Jack and Bill. "And nice to see you again," he told Toni as he took her hand. Toni nodded to him as they were introduced and watched as Megan's eyebrow raised. She had forgotten to tell Megan that she and Greg had met briefly when she had gone to see Sean in Gainesville.

The evening passed in the blink of an eye. Toni loosened up a bit after getting to know Greg, the drinks helped. Sean and Greg were going to be staying until early Sunday morning and they agreed to meet on Saturday to go snorkeling. Megan was reluctant to leave her brother and had tried to convince he and Greg to come back to their motel room with them. Luckily for Toni, Sean had read her expression, and had begged off, agreeing to meet them early Saturday morning.

Toni and Megan headed back to their motel, with Megan in an incredibly good mood. It made Toni very happy to see her this way, and she was glad that things had worked out well for the weekend. She could tell that Megan was excited, but exhausted. Megan protested when Toni insisted that they curl up and get some sleep. She had tons of energy to expend and she wanted to make love to Toni. Toni returned her passionate kisses, but knew that once they were curled up, Megan would fall right to sleep. She was not disappointed.


The four of them spent that Saturday together. Jack and Bill had conveniently found other commitments they had to attend to. Megan found some time alone with Sean and Greg and explained how important it was that they mention their visit to no one. They both readily agreed. Megan found that she liked Greg a great deal, especially seeing how much in love her little brother was with him. They spent the morning snorkeling offshore, had a light lunch and then went on the sunset cruise on the Schooner. They had a great dinner, sampling as much local seafood as they could. They spent the later evening in Jack's bar, as they had come to call the place where Jack worked. As they walked back to Sean and Greg's hotel room, they heard the sounds of a piano coming from a small, dimly lit bar. Inside they found several torch singers and helped close the bar, singing and drinking Bloody Marys.


Toni and Megan woke early to have breakfast with Sean and Greg and to see them off. They had a long drive ahead of them and both had classes early on Monday. Toni watched and was sad to see the loss and grief in her lover's eyes as she said goodbye to her brother, but she knew that it wouldn't be long before they saw each other again, and under more normal circumstances.

Toni noted that Megan had been both elated and saddened by Sean's visit. Megan insisted that she had had a great weekend, despite having not remembered that they were to meet. She had told Toni that having forgotten their plans, it had made for a fantastic surprise. Toni believed her because she hadn't seen Megan this happy in weeks.


Toni and Megan spent the days following Sean's visit getting to know each other better. The weather had Toni frustrated. The days would start out beautiful, it would rain in the afternoon and then be clear again in the evenings. Megan explained to her that this was typical Florida weather.

"I bet you were a cheerleader in high school," Toni teased as she and Megan were curled up, listening to the rain beat against their guestroom window.

"No I wasn't. I was on the swim team, the dive team and the water polo team," Megan told her proudly.

"Your high school had a water polo team?" Toni asked between bouts of laughter.

"What's so funny? What kind of sports did your high school have?" Megan asked.

"Well, there was the football team, the basketball team, the graffiti team, the after-dark-in-the-wrong-neighborhood sprint team…" she quipped back.

"Be serious," Megan told her. "You said you were on the basketball team at Syracuse. So I guess you played basketball in high school?"

"Yeah. God I loved it. But to be truthful, it was more fun playing pickup games in the neighborhood than any of the formal games in school. What about you? Or were you just a mermaid in high school?"

"Those were my sports, only because Dad insisted that I needed to get my head out of the books once in a while."

Toni sat silent for a few minutes picturing Megan in a Speedo atop the high dive. After a little while her smile turned to a frown as she puzzled over something.

"Didn't you tell me that you went to work for the Justice Department right after Law School in '94?"


"Aha! Caught you!"

"Caught me at what?" Megan asked confused.

"Fibbing about your age," Toni stated.

"I am not!" Megan retorted indignantly.

"You said you just turned 28."

"I did!" Megan insisted, not understanding where the conversation was going.

"That means you would have graduated high school at 14," Toni said, after doing the math.

Megan blushed. "Sixteen actually," she said very softly.

"You were sixteen when you graduated?" Toni asked incredulously. "You were probably Valedictorian as well."

"Salutatorian. I had a little trouble with AP Calculus. Look who's talking Miss Valedictorian of 1986."

Toni was quiet for a moment. She tried to recall having told Megan that she graduated at the top of her class, but couldn't remember doing so. It suddenly hit her. Megan knew all about her. Megan probably knew every little detail that she was asking about, and she felt the fool for volunteering known information. She felt suckered and belittled all at the same time. She jumped up from the bed, threw on shorts, a T-shirt and her sandals, and grabbing a set of keys, headed for the door.

Megan jumped out of the bed, realizing that something had gone wrong and placed herself between her lover and the exit.

"Move out of my way Megan," Toni told her forcefully.

"No. Not until you tell me what just went wrong," Megan responded. She was tired of running from their disagreements. It wasn't just Toni…she had a tendency to flee instead of talk herself.

Toni paced for a moment, wondering if she should just push Megan aside and leave. It was the easiest answer. "I just want to be alone for a while."


Toni stared at Megan, unsure of how to put her humiliation into words. "Why don't we talk about something you don't know about me?" she demanded.

"What are you talking about?" Megan asked softly, wondering what she had said that had set Toni off. Aside from the things Toni had told her, and the very skimpy profile that she was given when she began this case, she was perplexed.

"I know that I never told you I was Valedictorian of my class in high school. So you obviously have the benefit of knowing more about me than I know about you."

Megan's head began to pound, she realized that she knew a few facts about Toni from her profile, and found her error. Toni assumed that she knew a lot more than she did. She intended to put that theory to rest by telling her all the facts that she knew. "Listen to me carefully. The only information I was given on you when I started this case was this: You grew up in Brooklyn. Your mother, Carlotta, died of colon cancer when you were 14. You graduated Valedictorian of you class with a 4.0 GPA. You played softball, volleyball, and basketball. You attended the University of Syracuse, getting your Bachelor's Degree in 1990 and quit in late 1992. That's it Toni. I swear it. In fact…when John and I began the case we thought we were going to be protecting a man."

Megan stopped her narrative and Toni thought about it. It took a few seconds for what Megan said to sink in. "I'm…I'm sorry. Megan…really I am. I've just never liked it when someone thinks they know me, and I guess I just reacted, and badly at that. It just hit me…you know, like you knew everything about me…and…and there was no mystery." She paced around some more and Megan waited. "No…no it's not that…not mystery exactly…more like…my life is an open book that you've already read. And I'm just putting filler in."

"You're not Toni…I don't know you as well as I would like. That's why I'm asking." Megan approached Toni slowly and put her hands gently on her lover's arms. She felt her relax somewhat under her touch. "Do you really think that I'm trying to play some kind of game with you?"

"No," Toni replied, looking contrite. She pulled lightly out of Megan's grip, embarrassed. She tossed the door keys back on the dresser and sat forlornly in the love seat. Megan sat tenderly beside her, waiting. "I suppose that I'm just a little overly sensitive. I've never been…this open with anyone before. And…well…it scares me."

Megan knew that this was what was bothering Toni. She had been able to read lately if Toni had told her the whole truth as opposed to her usual vagaries. "I'm sorry too, then, for not telling you that I knew a little bit about you when I had a chance."

They sat and took each other's measure, and finally, their hands clasped. Megan laid her head on Toni's shoulder and they sat quietly.


Later that day, they went snorkeling and spent a rather quiet afternoon together.

"Megan…I feel really stupid…" Toni told her when they returned to their room.

"Why?" Megan interjected.

"For…you know, doubting you. For doubting that you were sincere. I'm really sorry."

"Don't be. You were right in a way. I had a lot of chances to tell you what I knew, and I didn't. So…I guess we're kind of even?"

"Yeah," Toni smiled at her sweetly, and kissed her gently on the lips. "I hope we'll be able to get past this."

"I think so," Megan smiled back, "especially if you kiss me again."

Toni responded with a gentle kiss. After some time their kisses grew urgent and passionate. Megan stopped Toni short, reminding her that it was her time of the month. She insisted that Toni allow her to continue. Toni loved Megan's attention, but wanted to give some as well. She remembered her promise to allow her lover to please her and relaxed. She knew she would get her chance…later.


Toni still had some questions for Megan. The math still didn't add up. It wasn't that she couldn't believe that Megan was that smart. "So you went to Harvard when you were just 16 years old and got a Law Degree in six years?"

"Yeah," Megan answered. She seemed embarrassed by her accomplishments Toni noted.

"That's fantastic!" Toni told her, hugging her lover. "How did you do it?"

"I guess…well…I've always liked school…so instead of taking the summers off, I kept taking courses year round."

Toni hugged Megan to herself wanting to know what it was like to enjoy school. She thought that if she held her close enough, while listening to her talk, that she would feel it by osmosis or something.

"What was that for?" Megan asked, curious of the especially close hug that Toni was giving her.

"I want to know what you were like…and when I hold you…I can almost feel it. Tell me more about you? I really want to know."

Megan shifted herself slightly in Toni's embrace, until she was able to look into Toni's eyes. What she saw was affection and genuine curiosity. She knew at that moment that she could tell Toni anything. Every insecurity…every embarrassment…every humiliation that had befallen her and that Toni would understand. It was as simple as that. This simple revelation left her at a loss for words. She wanted to tell Toni everything all at once. But that was impossible.

"I'll tell you what," Megan said, "I'll trade you…story for story?"

Toni recognized it for the question that it was…and readily agreed. All that she could think about was hearing more about her lover as a young girl. She didn't recognize it for the two-headed sword that it became.

"So…when you were in high school, what did you do when it wasn't basketball season?" Megan asked her.

The images that came into her head had Toni stammering for words. Her first thought was how to sugarcoat the truth. But what came out of her mouth was the unadulterated version.

"I just hung around in the neighborhood. You know, hanging out with the gang."

"No…I don't know what it's like. That's why I'm asking you."

Toni hung her head for a moment. She wasn't sure where to start. "In the neighborhood I grew up in, you weren't allowed to criticize anything until you had tried it. It was some weird unwritten rule. You couldn't say that smoking cigarettes was bad unless you had smoked them. It was the same with anything else. You couldn't say that pot was bad for you…that's why you wouldn't smoke it…unless you already had a reputation for smoking pot. It was cool if you quit, after smoking it for a while, but it wasn't cool to condemn pot smoking outright. The same with sex. You either did it…or tried not to talk about it if you didn't. If you were asked, you had to admit to being a virgin…or you had to know what you were talking about. So what about you? Ever try any drugs or have sex in high school?"

"Are you kidding?" Megan asked, then realized Toni wasn't. "No…I didn't try either until I was in college."

"So what did you try?" Toni asked softly…curious.

"Well, in my freshman year, I met this girl in my dorm. Her name was Jane. She had a very infectious personality. She was extremely outgoing. She was putting herself through school by working full time at any job she could find that would pay the bills. I was extremely attracted to her and later found out that she was bisexual. I guess I was hoping that her and I would…you know…hit it off. I tried to hint at my feelings for a couple of years…but I think she was really only going through a phase of curiosity because she never bit…if you know what I mean.

"When I was nineteen and I had just gotten my bachelor's degree, we went out one night, Jane and I. I really thought that this might be it…you know…what I'd been waiting for. She had just broken up with her last boyfriend because he couldn't keep his pecker to himself…and she seemed really disgusted with men in general. But instead I found out that she was a friend with someone I went to high school with. He was the captain of our boy's soccer team. His name was Chris and he was attending Boston University. We wound up talking to Chris and his roommate Dean instead of what I was hoping for. They took me to a bar that didn't seem to care if you were of age to drink…and I got smashed drinking Kamikazes. The next thing I knew, we were at Chris and Dean's place…and getting very familiar with one another. Only…I was getting familiar with Dean." Megan paused. Not only were the details sketchy, but she wasn't too proud of the outcome. "The four of us were in the same room, but on different single beds. Jane was with Chris and I was with Dean. At this point, I was so drunk that I didn't really care what happened, except that I kept insisting on condoms. They had them, but they looked as though they had been in their wallets for years. I decided that I might as well try it. At least I would know, once and for all if I really wasn't attracted to men. The part I remember most was how much Jane and Chris seemed to be enjoying themselves, and how little I was. It just plain hurt. I kept trying to move around, you know, like you're supposed to, and hoping that at some point it would feel good. But it never did. And although Dean was very attractive, I didn't know him at all, and so it didn't mean anything. When we got back to our dorm, I felt kind of nauseous. I grabbed my shower kit and headed for the bathroom. I was bleeding a little and felt really embarrassed. I thought I had gotten my period. I didn't realize until the next day that I didn't have my period, but that I had bled from…you know…losing my virginity. Needless to say…Dean never called; not that I expected him to, because I felt like such a lame fuck. Jane and Chris went out one more time…and that was the end of that." Megan trailed off. Toni was the first person she had ever told this to. She had never even told Sean that she had lost her virginity to a guy.

Toni listened to Megan's story. She was holding her so tight that she didn't realize it until she heard Megan gasp for air. She felt tears drop onto her arm. She turned Megan's face towards hers and brushed away the salty drops. "Hey…sweetie…we don't have to keep going if you don't want to," she offered.

"No way you," Megan laughed and hiccuped. "You got to hear my story…now I want to hear yours."

"Okay," Toni replied without hesitation. It was certainly the least she could do. She took a deep breath and began. "About a week after I turned 15, when I was a freshman in high school, a girl named Amanda transferred in. Her father was a career diplomat, so she had lived all over the world. She certainly didn't understand the rule in our neighborhood, that you both did something, and had vast knowledge of it or if you hadn't, you owned up to it. When pressed for details, she tried to act as cosmopolitan as her upbringing suggested, and she told the gang that she had been with both men and women. I guess she was just trying to be cool, fit in. Needless to say, I was intrigued. No one in my neighborhood admitted to being gay. Of course, she didn't say she was a lesbian, but that she had tried both." Toni looked embarrassed, but continued. "She managed to get me alone at her house. I was excited and scared at the same time. She started a conversation that hinted at her experience she had with women. I didn't really get it, but neither did she, because I thought she was the experienced one. She came on to me. She went for it at first…and I guess I got a little carried away…" Toni stopped.

Megan waited for her to continue, even though Toni was upset, and it was apparent that she didn't want to continue the story. But she had agreed to tell the story. Megan wasn't sure if she should press, but she felt an overwhelming need to know whether the situation had turned out badly. "What happened?"

"She started kissing me and she let me touch her…all over…and I was extremely turned on. At some point I had unzipped her jeans and was touching her…down there. It was then that she said "No", but I kept going. She asked me again to stop, and I didn't. I kept thinking about the guys I'd heard talking…about how they said that a girl doesn't 'really' mean 'no' even if she says it. After all, she asked me over, and she started the…well, I just kept going. I smothered her protests with my mouth. She reached an orgasm, and so did I, pressing against her, but she had told me to stop and I didn't." Toni hung her head, the shame of what she had done apparent on her face. "Her father was transferred about a month later, and neither of us spoke about the incident ever again. I…I raped that girl…and I didn't touch anyone again until I was 23. I couldn't. I'll never forget that day…and unfortunately Amanda probably won't either."

Megan was at a loss for what to say. It sounded like your classic rape story. Was Toni really guilty of rape, or did the girl invite her to do it, and then decide she didn't want to after all? Could Toni have stopped? Even by her own admission, yes, she should have. But she was 15 and the other girl had initiated it. However, Toni thought of her first time…with anyone…as a rape. How did you condone that? How did you tell the person you loved that it was okay to have done what she did? Why? Because she was young and had lost control? Megan hadn't felt in control of her first time, but she also didn't consider it rape…she didn't say 'no'. "I really don't know what to say," she told Toni honestly.

"I didn't think you would have the answer Megan. I didn't tell you that story to get some sort of absolution from you. I told you because you wanted to know what my first time was like. Frankly, I find it no less horrific than yours. Dean may not have known that you were a virgin, and frankly, he may have treated you differently, had he known, but that doesn't mean that he didn't take you on your first 'ride'. God only knows, Megan, maybe it was his first time too, and he didn't realize that you had no experience. I'm pretty sure that Amanda had never been with anyone until me, but I guess I'll never know, because we didn't know each other any better than you and Dean did. And she had bragged that she had had lots of experience. Megan…I'd never 'made love' to anyone until I met you. Sex was nothing compared to what I have with you. I've never 'had sex' with you. I've only 'made love' with you. I didn't know the difference until you showed me."

Megan was deeply touched by Toni's words, and her actions. Toni had never pressured her; actually, she had been the one to pressure Toni into a physical relationship. Megan had been embarrassed then and she was embarrassed now. She had let Dean take her, hoping that he would somehow make her 'right'. Make her a woman. At least, make her the woman that her family expected her to be. She had so wanted to be what her family expected at that time. And she realized that Toni was bolder than she had been at that age, and that there was no way she could hold something like that against her now. "Toni, what happened then…I know you think you did something horribly wrong, but even if that is the case, not knowing what was really going through Amanda's mind at that time, you can't keep beating yourself up for it. It's over…it's the past. You have to move on. You can't let it affect your feelings for me."

"Megan…nothing…I mean…no one will ever affect my feelings for you…except for you. I have moved past that particular moment. I can't say that I will ever forget it, because I won't…but it will never stop me from loving you. Megan…you…really don't know much about me, do you?" Toni asked.

"That's why we are talking Toni. So that we can get to know each other better."

"I think there are lots of things you should know about me before you decide that I am who you think. And I realize that it upset me that you have some sort of 'rap sheet' on me. But if you think that just because they can't prove anything…that I didn't do some of those things…then you are mistaken."

"You've told me yourself that you were not an innocent bystander in all of this. You have told me that your father was killed by the Ribisis for what they perceived as skimming off the top, but that he had been playing the stock market. You have told me that you have killed people, not who, but that you have. I'm not as naïve as you think I am. Your reputation as Toni 'the Blade', was not one you earned by accident. I know this. I'm not delusional…but I must admit…that despite knowing all of this…I am still in love with you. My mind screams to stop it, but my heart rules. I love you anyway."

Toni had been wrong about her lover. She had thought that Megan had been looking at her through a pair of rose colored glasses, but Megan had just put that assumption to rest. "I…I suppose I thought that you had some weird romanticized notion that all the hype you had heard about me was just that, and that you thought I was guiltless. I'm actually relieved to know that you know otherwise. I'm not an innocent. I've done some really horrible things, and just because the Justice Department can't prove otherwise, without my testimony, doesn't make me any less guilty. Frankly, I would have kept going with my current lifestyle, if they hadn't killed my father."

"Is that what really clued you in?" Megan asked.

"Do you mean, is that what made me see that the life I was leading was one of crime and that I would never get out without some major catalyst?"

"I…guess that's what I'm asking, if I'm allowed to be perfectly honest."

"To be honest…I'm not sure. I was never given the opportunity to just lead that life. I didn't like having to rough people up because they owed the Ribisis money. But I would have kept doing it alongside my father for as long as he lived, because it was the only life I ever knew. When he was killed, was when I started questioning the wisdom of my lifestyle. My father had a good life. He simply made book for the Mob. They saw something else in me. They cultivated it. They taught me how to enforce…something my father was never called upon to do. If he ran into a delinquent bet, they sent others to do their bidding. And I went along with it, because, frankly, it pleased my father. He never knew that I had hurt others, seriously, because they owed the Ribisis money. He thought that I was along for the ride, as he had been many times, so that the debtor would know who not to screw with. He really had no idea that I had broken a young man's kneecaps because he wouldn't throw a game for the Mob. But they killed him. They didn't even ask…they didn't even ask him how he was earning extra money. The Baldaccis did. They asked. He refused to join them, remaining faithful to the Ribisis. Thinking they knew him, and trusted him. God was he wrong."

"I…don't know what to say…again."

"Megan," Toni told her, taking her hands, "you are allowed at any time to be perfectly honest with me and expect me to be perfectly honest with you. Our parent's generation is completely different from our own. Your dad could expect to pull someone over for speeding without expecting to be shot. You probably shouldn't expect the same thing. My dad made book for the mob…and that was all he did. He didn't expect to have to enforce on delinquent bets…however, I was. The Ribisis taught me a lot of things I would not have known, nor wanted to have known. I learned how to shoot any hand held weapon invented, and many that were illegal. I learned quite a few torture techniques that were useful in getting required information. When my father was alive, frankly, I didn't care what I did, as long as he knew I was getting the job done, and that he was proud of me for it. After he died…well…that was when I started to have a hard time doing what was expected of me. At first I started to question everything that was asked of me, and then I quickly realized how dangerous that was. Then I did what I was asked, and tried to get as much information about my task as they would allow.

"It wasn't until the last year and a half, this wiseguy kept trying to pump me for information. I had my own agenda at that point and wasn't looking for anyone to screw it up. I finally figured out that he was FBI. I resisted him at first. Then I gave him a leak, just to see what would happen, and a certain bad boy was caught and sent away for life. For a few months I fed him crap and watched things happen. Raids would go down, when there really wasn't anything. Finally I started to leak some good shit to him. Family members started dropping left and right. The family started getting scared, and got a little tight-lipped about things. I had been gathering my own personal information on the family during those years and had hoped to use it to prove that they had had my father murdered." Toni paused in her narration. Megan looked at her and wondered if she would continue without prompting. The look in Toni's eyes assured her that she would, at her own pace. Toni hung her head for a minute and then continued. "I was called before Leo Ribisi. I thought for sure that they had figured me out…that they knew I was the leak. Instead, Ribisi told me that my best friend Sal was the snitch, and that he wanted me to eliminate him. When they took me to him, he had been nearly beaten to death. Of course he had nothing to say, because he wasn't the leak…I was. He asked me to put him out of his misery…so to speak. I did."

Megan knew that she had stumbled on to one of Toni's greatest secrets, one that she had a hard time dealing with, and one that had shaped the woman that she had become. She wrapped her arms around Toni and waited. She wondered, how such a cynical person as herself, who had damned this woman before ever having met her, she wondered how she could have let herself fall in love. And for a moment, however brief it was, she cursed herself as well. Not matter the circumstances, Toni had just told her that she had killed her best friend, condemned her best friend, for a crime she had herself committed.

"If you're wondering…it wasn't just my father…it was Sal…that's why I'm doing this. It started with them killing my father, but I knew, when they made me murder Sal…that's why I decided to turn myself in and tell the Justice Department everything I know."

"So, the Baldaccis didn't kill your father?"

"No, they told me that, because they made a mistake, and nobody likes to admit they made a mistake, especially not the Ribisis. They thought my father was skimming off the top…you know, making bets on the side, and pocketing the money. But he was really making his money in the stock market. The Baldaccis approached him about 4 months before his murder. They asked. He told. They tried to buy him over to their family. He refused out of loyalty. The Ribisis didn't ask. They assumed. And they killed him. The day after they killed him, they found out how he was making extra money and they hushed it up within the family by pinning the blame on the Baldaccis. When they told me…of course, I believed them. I had no reason not to. When I stopped grieving and started thinking, I began to put things together…slowly and quietly. The last thing I needed was for them to think I was on to them. I played along, maybe too well. They began to single me out when they had bad business with the Baldacci family. They had no idea that I had doubts about them."


"What? Kill?"

Megan was silent. She wanted to know, but wasn't sure how to ask without hurting Toni.

"Yes I did. Does that surprise you?"

"Yeah, I mean…yeah…you're not the person I thought I was going to meet. And that person has killed quite a few people and has never been caught."

"You're right Megan. I've never been caught. Does that…change things?"

Megan thought for a moment. "No…because I don't think you are the same person you were when I met you, no more than I'm the same person when you met me."

"I am the same person Megan…I'm just not taking orders anymore."

"Sure you are…only your orders don't include killing."

Toni mulled that thought over for a few minutes. She was a little resentful of any scenario. She hated doing her father's bidding, but did it out of love. She really hated doing the Ribisis bidding, but did it out of loyalty. And she realized that she hated doing Megan's bidding, because at this point, she hated being told what to do, or who to be. But, of all the people in her life, Megan had her own best interests at heart. In fact, Megan threw in her own heart to boot. Something occurred to her, but she didn't speak it out loud. 'I'd kill for you Megan.'

Continued in Part 11.

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