Disclaimers ~ This is an original work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places or events is purely coincidental. These characters belong to me, if they have a passing resemblance to you or share your name, it's purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author.

Bad language ~ A fair bit.

Disclaimers ~ This is an original work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places or events is purely coincidental. These characters belong to me, if they have a passing resemblance to you or share your name, it's purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author.

Bad language ~ A fair bit.

Love/sex ~ Romance between men and women and between women. Sex between consenting couples.

Sickness & death ~ There are some deaths in this story. If that's not for you, I hope you enjoy reading something else.

Author's note ~ Questions, comments & thoughts all welcome. Loves_to_write_fic@yahoo.co.uk

© June, 2006 Cam Taylor


Chapter Fifteen

Monday, 18th January

" She said that?" Laurie exclaimed.

Janet smiled and nodded, then took a bite out of her slice of pizza.

"Then what?"

"Then we sort of... had a moment," the policewoman replied.

Laurie's brown eyes widened. "Then?" The slice of pizza she'd picked up at the beginning of their conversation hovered in the air as she listened to Janet.

"Then Lara walked out of the living room and over to the foot of the stairs, breaking the moment."

"Oh, God!" Laurie finally took a bite out of her mushroom and spicy ham slice. "So dat's how it mended?" she asked around a mouthful.

Janet shook her head. "No, things got... worse."


"I gave Lara my car keys and told her to go wait in the car. Then I... told Chris that she'd basically rejected me too many times, so I was moving on."

Laurie groaned and rolled her eyes. Will these two ever sort themselves out?

They ate quietly, each finishing the slice they were holding before carrying on their discussion. They were sitting in the best pizza restaurant in town, sharing a Momma's special. Owned by Giuliano Panucci, a big round man who liked his food and wore his heart on his sleeve, his friendly banter kept people coming back to his family-run business. Janet had called in to her mother's practice hoping to talk to Laurie. As soon as she mentioned it was about Chris, Laurie insisted they meet for lunch.

"So," Janet continued. "We all went out to dinner and... things got awkward."

"Oh, God! What happened?"

"Lara got all touchy-feely, holding my hand, stroking my leg. Chris was sitting opposite and I could see how miserable she was. I let Lara continue because..." her voice trailed off.

"You wanted Chris to get jealous," Laurie filled in.

Janet nodded, blushing faintly.

"Did she?"

Janet nodded again. "Lara's fingers... drifted high up my thigh and I jerked in surprise, smacking my leg against the table. Chris jumped up and stormed off to the toilet."

Laurie frowned at her new friend. "Is... anything going on with this Lara?"

The policewoman shook her head. "Not on my part. I mean... at first I invited her because I thought maybe I would be interested, but... seeing Chris and how she reacted..." The brunette sighed heavily. "Anyway, after dinner, Lara and I went to a movie."

Laurie picked up another slice of pizza, watching Janet sip at her drink. "Did you go home to your house or back to your mum's afterwards?"

"I dropped Lara off at her place, then went to my mom's. I... couldn't leave things they way they were. We had such an argument in the restroom!"

"What happened when you got back?"

"It was late when I got there. Mom had gone to bed and the two guys were doing their patrols. We had privacy to really talk. She was standing in the darkness of the liv-..."

"As usual!" Laurie interrupted.

Janet smiled. "I lit a couple of candles, so I wouldn't throw off her night vision, then sat on the couch and waited."

Laurie was in mid-chew. "Mated for hot?"

"For her to speak."

Laurie swallowed what was in her mouth. "Did she say anything? I know Chris. She can be... the most frustrating person when it comes to long silences!"

Janet nodded in agreement. "For a long time she didn't say a word. But when I didn't either, she turned around to look at me."

"Well?" Laurie chuckled. "Don't keep me in suspense!"

"We talked about what's going on between us. I was brutally honest with her, which I think she appreciated. She... told me how she really feels."

"What does she feel?" the investigator asked quietly.

"She likes me. I won't go into detail because I want it to stay between us."

"Oh, come on!" Laurie threw her hands up in mock despair.

"She's mainly confused and a little scared." Janet got the attention of the waitress. "I told her that until she works out what she wants, we shouldn't be around each other like we have been."

"You said that?"

Janet nodded.

"But she missed you... she told you that."

Janet frowned. "You know I like her, Laurie. It's just... you know what they say about getting involved with straight women."

"They'll turn your world upside down, then leave you broken-hearted?"

Janet smiled. "Something along those lines." The waitress stopped at their table and set their check down with a smile, then walked on.

"You know, a few weeks back Chris told me something about her past that I didn't know," Laurie said cautiously. "I know why she's scared to... pursue this. Just... give her a chance."

Janet studied the investigator closely. Chris was talking about me? Talking about me to Laurie, her best friend?

"So, what now?" Laurie asked softly.

"I'll wait," Janet replied easily. "If she can deal with it, she knows where to find me." They split the bill and stood up, ready to leave.

"You will give her time then?" Laurie asked.

"Yes, of course. She makes me feel... I can't explain, but... whenever she walks into my sight, my breath catches, my heart beats wildly, and words disappear."

Laurie smiled knowingly. That's how Helen used to make me feel. They left the restaurant together and walked towards their cars, each of them pulling out their keys. "Still on the night shift?" Laurie asked.

"Yeah. I should be switching back soon though." They had parked next to each other when they arrived and now, they stopped at their respective doors. "Take care of my mom, Laurie. And tell her I'll see her later."

"All right. Bye, Janet." Laurie got in her car. She reversed out of her space, waved a final time at Janet, then drove out on to the road. Turning the radio on, she started singing along to the song that was playing. Speeding up as she hit the main road, she didn't notice the car behind her speeding up as well. As a horn started blaring, she glanced in the rear view mirror and saw the car closing in on her. "Oh, what now?" she muttered. She sped up a little more, looking back in despair as the car behind her did the same.

Reaching out a shaking hand, she turned the volume down on her radio, crying out in surprise as the car started to overtake her and clipped the side of her car. "Oh, Jesus!" Glancing at the car, she couldn't see who was driving as it had black tinted windows. She decided to try and let whoever it was pass. Easing up on the accelerator, she pulled over to the right. The car pulled over with her, bumping her hard again. "Fuck off, you maniac!" she shouted in the car's direction.

Laurie started to speed up again, her tires squealing as she shot back on to the road. Going sixty, she groaned as she saw the bend coming up. If she didn't slow down, she might lose control and go flying off the road. A steep drop down and she'd plunge into the sea below. She pictured it in her mind -- her car being recovered, her body swept away and maybe washing up on the beach, or even worse, Chris' beach. Her friend discovering her.

Oh, God, what should I do? If I can get to the clinic, I can call the office or the police. The bend was fast approaching. I already tried slowing down and that didn't deter him. Shit! This is probably our guy! I have to get to the clinic. Eyes drifting away from the road, she spotted her mobile phone hooked up to her hands-free kit. I better try calling the office.


* * * * *

At 5.30, Kate showed her last patient out of the building and sighed as she shut and locked the clinic doors. "What a busy day!" she exclaimed to the empty waiting room. Fran had already left for the day and she was alone. I wonder what happened to Laurie? She said she was going to lunch and hasn't come back yet. The doctor walked towards the small kitchen for coffee. Maybe James called her, Kate pondered, as she made herself a mug of coffee. Surely she would've rung me? What am I supposed to do... wait here? Go home? She picked up the mug, cradling the hot mug in her hands. Mind you, if I stay here, I can get half an hour of alone time. Draining half her coffee, Kate smiled and left the kitchen for her office.

Back at her desk, Kate stared down at the folders that lay in front of her. Ugh, I can do those tomorrow. She leaned back in her seat and sat listening to the silence. No patients, no investigators, just me. Alone. She closed her eyes, relishing the quiet.

The telephone ringing on her desk startled her. "Yes?" she asked shrilly into the mouthpiece.

" Doctor Levens, this is officer Monroe. I'm at your clinic door. Can you let me in? "

"I'm finished for the day, Ben. Can't it wait until the morning?"

" No, ma'am, I'm afraid it can't. "

"Okay, hold on." Kate let out a deep breath as she put the phone down. Picking up the keys to the front door, she left her office and walked quickly along the corridor to the front doors, seeing Officer Monroe waiting patiently. Unlocking the door, she opened it a crack and looked out at the young man expectantly. "What is it, Ben?"

"Walter Gustavo told me to come and get you, Doctor Levens."

"Why? What's going on?"

"I wasn't told, ma'am. I was just told you had to be protected and that I should come and get you as quickly as possible."

"She can come with me," a deep male voice said from behind the officer.

Kate watched Charley stroll towards them.

"I'm sorry, sir. I've got strict instructions to pick the doctor up," Officer Monroe said politely, eyeing the bigger man suspiciously.

"Walter sent ye?" Charley asked. Ben nodded. "Walter's friend sent me. Call Walter and tell him Charley Rigg is here and that I'm taking the doctor with me."

"Sir..." Ben protested.

"Go and check."

Doubtful, the young officer reluctantly walked back to his patrol car.

"Charley, what the hell is going on?" Kate asked, her fear surfacing.

"There's been an accident."

"Janet!" Kate gasped in horror.

"No. Laurie."

"Oh. Oh, God. Is she... all right?" Kate asked, relieved that it wasn't her daughter, but upset and anxious that it was her ever-present companion at the clinic.

"We should get going," Charley said in an emotionless tone, not answering the doctor's question. Kate nodded and turned to head back towards her office. "Where are ye going?"

"To get my coat and turn off the lights."

Charley didn't move from the front door. Blue eyes watched the officer talking on his radio, then saw Ben shut his door and start up the patrol car, swinging it around and leaving.

"Is she all right, Charley?" Kate asked again, when she returned.

"I don't know. When me and Chris got to the scene it was taped off. An ambulance crew had taken Laurie over to the main hospital two towns away."

"Oh, God! The sooner my building gets completed the better!" After locking up the clinic, they hurried over to Charley's car and climbed in. "How is Chris taking it?" Kate asked, as she fastened her seat-belt.

"Badly. She was totally freaking out. And it didn't help that nobody knew anything." Charley drove quickly, his own worry propelling him on. It was a long drive and took them an hour to reach the hospital. It took another five minutes to track down the Colonel and other investigators.

"How is she? Is she okay?" Charley asked, voice strained, his mind having come up with the worst scenario already.

"We don't know. All they've told us is that they're doing all they can," Joey told him.

"Do we know what happened, boss?" Jackson asked, approaching and taking a seat.

James ran a hand through his silver hair. "I understand that Madelyn talked to Laurie on the phone," he said. "Then Madelyn called Charley, who raced to the scene with Chris. Madelyn's on her way over here right now, she can tell us what she knows when she arrives." He walked off to see if his daughter had arrived.

Joey, Kate, Patrick and Jackson, sat waiting in hard and uncomfortable grey chairs. Chris paced, unable to remain still. She hated hospitals. Nothing good ever happened when she was in a hospital. Her memories drifted back to when she was sixteen and had been made to sit alone while her family were being taken care of. She had thought they were being treated. In actual fact, her parents were gone and it was only her sister who had fought on.

"Chris Branagon?"

Chris looked up at the doctor who was standing in front of her. From the look on his face, she knew he'd been standing there a few minutes. "Ye-..." She coughed to clear her dry throat. "Yes?"

The doctor sat down next to her. "I'm not sure how much you know. Did the police say anything to you?"

Chris shook her head. He's stalling. It's bad. It must be bad if he's stalling!

"I'm afraid your mother..." he stopped talking as the young girl's face went deathly white. He watched as she held her breath, her hands gripping the edges of the chair in a death grip that turned her knuckles white. "We uhh... we couldn't do anything for your mother," he said. "She was already... gone."

"My... my dad? My sister? Where are they?"

"We lost your father on the operating table..."

Chris suddenly stopped her pacing. I waited there alone for over three hours. She looked blankly down the corridor. Sixteen and left alone with no idea of what was going on!

Charley leaned against the wall watching the love of his life pacing back and forth. He wanted to gather her in his arms, to hold her and tell her it would be fine. But he knew from experience it was best to leave her alone.

"What did Madelyn say when she phoned you, Charley?" Joey asked, hating the silence.

"She was near tears, words spilling but not making much sense. Told me Laurie had phoned her, shouting about a car chasing her, bumping her, then the line went dead." They fell back into silence, digesting that information.

James returned with Madelyn, who sat down and told them word for word what Laurie had said to her. "How is she?" she asked, once she had finished.

"She's being treated. That's all they've said," Joey replied.

Janet hurried down the corridor and stopped in front of Chris. "I heard on my radio. Is she all right?"

Chris shrugged.

"They haven't told us anything," Charley told her.

"Are you okay?" Janet lightly held Chris' arm, stopping her from pacing. She could see the haunted look in the blonde's eyes.

"I guess." In truth she felt numb.

"Can I get you something? You look like you could do with a warm drink." You look like you need a hug, but I don't think now's the time for me to indulge.

"I'm fine."

"Why don't we sit down?" Janet suggested softly.

Charley frowned at Janet. What the hell is she doing? You can't tell Chris what to do when she's like this! Janet, still holding on to the blonde's arm, led Chris over to the line of chairs. I'll be damned! Not once would she listen to me and we were dating! Charley thought, pissed off that this woman who barely knew Chris had more influence over her than he ever did.

Kate eyed her daughter, glad she had come -- for Chris' sake.

They all sat in a line, all of them in silence, hearing only the sounds of patients crying out and doctors being paged. After two hours of nothing, Chris suddenly took Janet's hand for comfort, needing the feel of warm flesh. She wanted to run, wanted to be away from the place she hated most. She stayed. She remained where she was because she needed to know that Laurie was all right, needed her friend to know she was there. Janet curled her fingers around Chris', giving them a gentle squeeze of reassurance.



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