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 Eighteen

Wednesday, 3rd February

J anet knocked on Chris' front door and stood patiently waiting for her new girlfriend to answer.

Chris stumbled downstairs curing loudly and hoping that it was some poor misguided sales person, who she could happily hurt. "What!" she asked gruffly, flinging open the door.

"Ooh, baby, I like what you're wearing!"

Chris suddenly sporting a sheepish smile on her face as she realised it was Janet at the door. "Oh, hey. I... uhm... didn't realise it was you."

Janet walked into the house and kissed Chris lightly on the lips. "That's okay. I guess I should have rung first. I didn't realise you would be sleeping." She pulled off her coat and draped it over the back of the sofa, before taking a seat.

Chris sat down next to the brunette. "What's up? Is everything all right with your mum?"

"Yeah, everything is fine. Uhh, this is going to sound so silly, but I had to see you and... be with you."

Chris smiled at the almost child-like look on Janet's face. "I've missed you, too."

"You have?" Janet asked hopefully.

Chris nodded. "Yeah. We haven't been along together since... uhh... that afternoon."

"I know," Janet nodded. "But... today is my day off," she smiled.

"It is?" Chris lifted Janet's hand and kissed the backs of her fingers.

"Yeah. I... I thought we could have a cosy day together, get a little closer..." She captured Chris' lips in a needy kiss. "We haven't exactly had a first date yet."

"Mmmm, I've got an idea."

"Mmm?" Janet bent her head and sucked Chris' ear lobe into her warm mouth.

"How about... a picnic... here in front of my fire, seeing as it's so damn cold outside! Then... maybe afterwards, we could... go upstairs and..." Chris trailed off.


"And get even closer," the blonde finished, smiling.

"Ooh, I like your plan. Are you going to stay in these lovely silk shorts?"

Chris laughed and squirmed as Janet stroked her thigh. "I can do that. We are alone, after all."

"It's a date then," Janet grinned. "Let's get moving. Otherwise, I'm going to devour you right here. Do you want to grab the food while I start the fire?" She started to get up from the sofa.

Chris pulled Janet back down and onto her lap. "I like that plan. Especially the devouring part," she murmured, kissing Janet's neck.


* * * * *

"This case is impossible!" Joey complained to the Colonel. "We've got no real suspect, no clue how to find him, no idea what he's going to do next," he sighed. "It's a nightmare!"

"I know it's hard, but we have to keep going," James said firmly. "He's a killer now. Would you rather give up and leave Kate unprotected?"

"No. Of course not, boss. It's just... frustrating!"

James nodded. "How is your search going?"

"Slow. I finished checking out all the single guys in town," Joey frowned. "That didn't come out right." James smiled, as a hint of a blush coloured Joey's cheeks. "Anyway, uhm... I'm almost finished checking up on all the known gay couples. Despite a few changes in who they are currently seeing, they are all still gay and don't seem to have anything against Kate."

James swivelled his chair towards the window. "You know, I was thinking..." he stared blankly out of his window. "Maybe it's a fisherman." James turned back to look at his longest-serving investigator. "What do you think, Joey?"

Joey sat quietly, eyebrows brought together in a frown, as he ran everything that had occurred through his thoughts. "That would make sense. But how would he phone her as often as he does?"

"Come on, Joey, your father's a fisherman. You know they don't have regular hours and there are satellite phones which can get better coverage than a normal phone."

"Expensive to use though," Joey argued, though he saw James' point. It wasn't impossible there man was a fisherman. They fell silent, each thinking over the possibilities.

"Shall I switch my search then? Leave Jackson to keep running checks on the guys in town, while I check out the fishermen?"

James took a deep breath, then gave one short nod. "Start off by finding out who is in town now and who has recently gone out on the seas." Joey nodded. "Then check to see who was in town on each of the nights an incident occurred. That should give you a shorter list."

Joey nodded again. "And if it isn't a fisherman?" the dark-haired investigator asked quietly.

"Then we're back to square two." James smiled at Joey's confused look. "Square two because we know it's a man and so far he's not gay. Now, where is Jackson?"

"Going through his list." At the Colonel's baffled look, Joey explained. "He made up a list of all the men he suspects. He's working his way through it."

"He's what?" James snapped angrily.

Joey nodded. "Yep. I'm sure he's doing it just so he can stay out of the office, and frankly, good riddance! He drives me mad!"

"Fair enough. Get to it, Joey. I want this case closed as soon as possible. Oh... and try talking to your father. Maybe he's noticed someone new hanging around."


* * * * *

Janet had finally gotten the fire going, while Chris had retreated to her kitchen to gather some food. Both women were now lying on their sides watching the flames. Neither was bothered about the silence between them. The food was off to one side, forgotten for the moment, neither of them really that hungry.

Chris had a contented smile on her lips, as she watched the ever moving flames. I've never felt this happy! she thought. God! Now I've jinxed it and everything will go wrong!

"What are you thinking about?" Janet asked upon seeing Chris' frown.

Chris smiled at her. "How I've never been this happy, then how I've probably just jinxed things!"

Janet laughed and reached over to squeeze the blonde's hand. "I'm sure you haven't, sweetie." She sat up and waited for Chris to do so too, before leaning over and capturing her lips.

"Mmmm, I like your kisses," Chris murmured softly.

"Oh, really? Would you like another?" At Chris' nod, Janet kissed her again.

Chris finally pulled away from the policewomen. "Do you uhh... wanna eat?" Janet nodded and helped Chris spread out the food.

While eating, they laughed and joked and talked about the latest gossip going around town. Once they finished, they pushed the remains off to the side and moved closer to each other. Chris was soon lying on her back on the plush rug that sat in front of the fireplace, staring up at the ceiling. Janet had her head resting on the blonde's chest, an arm wrapped around her.

"Tell me about your family, Chris," Janet said softly, curious, yet knowing it was surely a sensitive subject.

Chris shifted, then sat up. Oh, crap!

Janet propped her head up in her hand, eyes on the investigator. "Chris?" she prompted quietly when the blonde didn't say anything.

Chris gave a small nod, but still didn't say anything. Janet was about to change the subject, when she finally spoke. "My parents were Cathleen and William Branagon. They got married when they were eighteen. Young, but they knew they belonged together and loved each other deeply. A year into their married life, they had my sister, Grace." Chris paused to take a deep breath, heart aching as their faces filled her head. "Eleven years after my sister was born, I came along. Grace used to dote on me. Apparently we were inseparable." She fell silent, staring into the flickering flames.

The policewoman waited to see if Chris would say any more. When she didn't, Janet pushed her back down so she was lying on her back again, and put her head back on Chris' chest, wrapping her arm over her and listening to her heartbeat.

The close contact and silent support seemed to help, because Chris continued. "My dad owned a garage. He used to come home with grease and oil all over his overalls. I remember the smell, you know? He would... pick me up when he came in and swing me in the air, until mum would shout at him that he was getting me dirty." Chris laughed softly. "I used to love it. He'd put me down and look me over and say, "Well, looks like we have to clean up. Did you have to be so messy, Chris?" Which, no matter how many times I heard it, made me giggle." She laughed again.

"What did your mom do?"

"She worked in the local library. She loved to read. I swear she used to come home with half the library!" This time, Janet joined in when Chris laughed. "Thank you," the blonde said softly.

"For what, baby?"

"Making me talk about them. It felt good to think about them again."

Janet lifted her head and kissed Chris softly. "Any time."

Chris moved Janet off her gently and leaned over her, kissing her cheeks, her lips, along her jaw line. She stopped and looked down into the policewoman's loving green eyes, always feeling at peace when they locked onto hers. "I have a niece," she whispered, pulling back slightly.


"My... sister fell pregnant."

"Where is...? How old is...? What?" Janet shook her head, unable to finish any of her questions. "What happened to her? Is she with her father?"

Chris shook her head. "He died while Grace was pregnant. He was a soldier."

"So, what happened to her then?"

"My sister had a will. If anything was to happen to her, my parents were to be guardians, then me if anything happened to them. Of course, they died along with Grace, and I was next in line. Who could have known I'd be so young?" Chris took a deep cleansing breath. "She's with an aunt of ours."

"Do you... keep in touch?"

"I get a phone call maybe once or twice a year from my aunt. She lets me know what's going on."

"You're twenty-one now, own a nice home with plenty of space, have a steady job. Why don't you take charge of your niece?"

Chris sighed. "I've thought about it. More than once. I... I don't want to disrupt her life. She won't remember me. She would have to move down here, start a new school..."

"I see your point," Janet nodded. They fell quiet, listening to the popping and hissing of the wood.

"So..." Chris started, deciding to change the subject. "What is... the worst gift you ever gave to a girlfriend?" she asked, a small smile dancing along her lips.

Janet laughed and rolled back onto Chris, liking the soothing sound of her heartbeat. "Hmmm? Let's see... oh, I know! I went to the fair with my dad once and I won this cheap, plastic ring out of one of the machines. I gave it to this girl I liked, slipped it on her finger, and it got stuck!" The two women laughed.

"What happened?" Chris asked.

"She had to get my mom to cut it off! I was so embarrassed after that, I think I avoided her for like, a week." They laughed again. "What about you? What's the worst gift you've given someone?" Janet asked, fingers gently caressing the blonde's stomach.

Chris frowned, trying to run through all the gifts she had ever given anyone. "Uhh... it's got to be... a musical mug. It was this novelty mug, that when you picked it up, it would start playing. It drove everyone mad after like, the fifth time!"

Janet laughed. "Who did you give it to?"

"I can't remember, all I know is it was soon smashed to pieces!"

Janet sat up, Chris following and leaning against her side, smiling as the policewoman wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "How many times have you been in love?" Janet asked, as she got onto her hands and knees and crawled over to the fireplace.

"I don't think I've ever been in love. Lust maybe... you come pretty close. I can't stop thinking about you." Or looking at you, she thought, eyes on Janet's firm buttocks as she leaned forward to stoke the logs. A thrill of desire coursed through her body.

Janet smiled as she sat back and put her arm around Chris again. She closed the gap between them to kiss Chris' temple, then turned back to watch the fire, smiling again as Chris took her hand that was dangling off her shoulder. "Back at 'cha," she murmured. We're so comfortable with each other, Janet mused, their fingers now intertwined, as they leaned against each other and watched the dancing flames. I don't think I've ever felt this relaxed with anyone so soon after getting together.

"Have you been in love before?" Chris asked.

"Once. She broke my heart... completely ripped it out."

"I'm sorry."

"Thank you, but it's a way of life, I guess."

Okay, Branagon, get off this subject. "Happiest memory?" she asked.

"Ohhh, a toughie. Uhm... meeting you?"

"Yuck...too mushy!" Chris grinned.

"Okay," Janet chuckled. "Winning the soccer league trophy when I was twelve. I got a medal and everything. Yours?"

Chris frowned in thought. "The day my niece was born. She had green eyes like yours, brown hair... like yours." Janet laughed and nudged Chris. "What? I'm being serious," Chris smiled. "Anyway, the day she was born, she was a screamer! My poor sister was exhausted..."

"...from giving birth," Janet finished.

Chris nodded. "Yep. My parents held her... didn't help. My sister tried feeding her... didn't help. Then they handed her to me..."

"She stopped?" the policewoman asked in amazement.

"Just like that," Chris clicked her fingers. "She looked up at me, eyes wide, and I looked down at her...." Chris stared at the fire, lost in the memory of that day.

"I should get going," Janet suddenly said.

"Okaaay. Why?" Chris asked, pulled abruptly out of her memory.

"You haven't had enough sleep. I woke you up. Then we... on the couch... now we're here," Janet explained, waving a hand about.

"Guess you're right. But... seeing as you have the day off, how about if you join me?"

"Just to sleep," Janet stated with a stern look.

"Of course. I have to work tonight," Chris replied with a devilish look.

"Okay, Chris. But I'm warning you..." she pointed a finger. "...your hands start making moves on me, I'll leave."

"What if it's not my hands?" Chris asked saucily, as she stood up.

"Same outcome. I don't want anything happening to you, Chris. I just found you."

Chris pulled Janet up and into an embrace. "I'm not going anywhere." She kissed the brunette softly. "Uhh... what if I want to hold you while we sleep?"

"That would be nice," Janet replied, smiling.

"It would be, but you said my hands aren't allowed to make moves on you."

Janet laughed, swinging their entwined hands a little. "You have a point. How about... we curl up around each other, your arms around me. Nothing more, Branagon. Understand?"

"I can do that." I think I can do that, she thought. But I wouldn't count on it! She again sported a devilish grin on her face as they headed for the stairs.


* * * * *

Franklin watched as a light blue BMW pulled up to the gate-house under bright lights. He watched, ducked low in his seat, as the blonde woman he was waiting for smiled at the guard and said something. The guard smiled in return and said something back. Franklin didn't think they were talking about him. It looked friendly. "But what if the guard has noticed me sitting here? What if he's called the police and they're stalling?" he wondered out loud.

The gate swung open and the BMW pulled forward, the young woman driving the car waving as she drove away from the gate-house.

"See, you idiot. Nobody notices you," Franklin said to himself. He waited for the blonde to drive past him. He liked her car. Maybe he'd get one. Or maybe once Judge killed her, he'd let Franklin have hers. He'd have to change the license plate, of course, and the colour. Maybe to a nice yellow or perhaps a racy red? Franklin smiled and pulled into traffic, two cars behind the woman called Chris. Judge did seem happy about the news I found out. Maybe he will let me have her car, Franklin thought, as he kept a watchful eye on Chris. They haven't got a clue who they're looking for. Ha! The idiots! Well, as long as it keeps them away from finding us.

Judge had told him all about the investigators, had even showed him their pictures so he could recognise them. He liked the looks of Chris Branagon, but not as much as he liked Kate. Still, she was pretty.

With the gate-house now out of sight and the rush hour over, traffic was fairly thin. Franklin sped up, going around a silver Toyota in front of him. The traffic lights ahead were about to change to red. If I stop, I'll lose her! He sped up again, his heart beating fast as he whizzed through the amber light. Safely through the intersection, he slowed back down to the speed limit, smiling in satisfaction. At the last turn-off before the long stretch known as Bayview Point, the Jeep in front of him indicated that it was about to turn. Perfect. Franklin waited as the Jeep turned and disappeared, then sped up to follow closely behind Chris' car, planning on passing her while traffic was out of sight.


* * * * *

Chris frowned as a green Ford behind her started to speed up and come down alongside her car to pass her. What the hell is this guy doing? She eased off her accelerator and watched as the green car kept going. Just in a hurry I guess. The man hadn't sped off into the distance though. He'd just pulled in front of her, his car slowing, then weaving about dangerously. "What the hell?" Chris wondered aloud. The indicator lights on the car ahead of her flashed on and the car kept slowing down. They were on a narrow two-lane road, and with traffic coming towards her, Chris couldn't swing around him. She slowed as he did, blowing out a frustrated breath as his car died in front of her. "Great!" She turned her indicator lights on, too, to warn any other traffic that came up behind her.

The man had stopped right in the middle of the lane and got out of his car. He stuck up a hand in apology, then walked to the front of his car. Chris watched as he lifted the bonnet and disappeared behind it.


* * * * *

The frustrated investigator looked down at the clock on her dashboard. "Come on! It's been five minutes!" Looking in her rear view mirror, she saw nothing was behind her and no flash of approaching headlights. Great. Just me he's holding up! She turned off her engine, and leaving her lights on, she undid her seat-belt and climbed out of the car. "Hey, do you need a hand?" she yelled.

The man stuck his head out to the side and squinted at her from behind thick glasses. "I'd be very grateful," he said.

Chris retrieved a highly visible warning triangle from her boot and turned it on before placing it a few paces behind her car. As she walked towards the man, she glanced down at his tyres as she went past. "I think you have a problem here," she called out, seeing the left back wheel was flat.

"Sorry?" he called out.

"You've got a flat. That's why you suddenly veered all over the place."

"Oh. I thought something was wrong with the engine. Should I call someone out?"

"Not if you've got a spare. I can change it if you want."

Franklin smiled, the plan coming together. "Please. I'm not very good at these things."

Chris nodded. "If you get me your..."

"Spare tyre?"

"Yeah," Chris nodded. "And your bootjack."


"Uhm... it raises the car so we can get the spare on."

"Oh, yes. I know what you mean."

Chris watched the rotund man walk towards his boot after he closed the hood. He's sweating a hell of a lot. I hope he doesn't keel over!

He handed her the bootjack and stood watching as she bent down to place it under the car. I could do it now, Franklin thought. While she's down there defenceless. One good whack on the head. But then who would change the tyre?

Chris held out her hand after the car was jacked up. "Got a wrench for the bolts?" The man walked back to his boot and came back with the tool. "So, what's your name?" Chris asked.


"You never changed a tyre, Franklin?"


Chris got the wheel off, and standing up, she rolled it towards the back of the car. "Hey, Franklin, come grab the spare so I can dump this in."

Knowing this was his chance, Franklin bent and picked up the wrench. He slowly made his way to Chris, coming up behind her silently. He cracked her on the head and watched as blood ran freely down her face. She looked at him in disbelief before crashing to the road. Franklin pulled out the spare tyre, then dumped Chris in the boot and locked her in it. Calmly, he walked back to the side of his car and started to fit the new tyre onto the hub. As a car roared up, Franklin jumped, startled at the sudden presence of someone else.

The car pulled to a stop. "Hey, man, do you need a hand?" a young man hollered out the window.

Franklin looked at the man and smiled. "No, thank you. I'm almost done." He watched the car speed off into the distance. If he'd been here a minute earlier, he would've seen what I did! Eyes falling on Chris' car, he sighed. I'm glad he didn't ask about her car. Franklin finished screwing the bolts back in. He dumped the bootjack and the wrench on his back seat and climbed in the front. That wasn't so hard. Even got her to do half the dirty work for me. He smiled and pulled back onto the road, abandoning Chris' car with the headlights, taillights, indicators, and the roadside triangle still going strong. He patted himself on the back for doing such a good job with kidnapping Chris.


* * * * *

"It's almost 8. Where the hell is she?" Charley demanded.

"Maybe she had car trouble," Patrick replied.

"It's a brand new car, Patrick. What the hell can go wrong with it?" Joey said.

The investigators were standing quietly outside Kate Levens' house. Janet had arrived there earlier from work and had unlocked the door for them, but they remained outside. Charley and Patrick were due to work and Joey had stuck around after dropping Patrick off.

"What if someone messed with it?" Patrick suddenly said.

Charley glared at him. "Why did ye have to say that?" He started walking up the drive.

"Where are you going?" Joey called out.

"To see if she's coming."

The two men watched the big guy stomp away. "Why's he so worried?" Patrick asked in confusion. "She's not even technically late yet."

"We all worry. We're very close, like family. Charley... I think he cares a bit more, if you know what I mean."

"Charley and Chris?"

"Nothing's happened between them, at least not to my knowledge. I think he'd like it to, though."

"Hey, guys, what's going on?" Janet asked, as she appeared in the doorway.

"Chris is late," Joey said, looking her up and down. "Well, not really. It's only... a few minutes past."

Janet frowned. "Doesn't she usually get here by 7.30?"


Maybe I wore her out, Janet thought, chewing on her bottom lip. Or maybe she's hurt? The guy after my mom... maybe he... no, I can't start thinking that. "Maybe she's just stuck in traffic."


* * * * *

At 8.30, the investigators got even more worried when there was no sign of Kate. "That's it! I'm calling the boss," Charley said. He'd gone to the end of the driveway looking to see if Chris was coming. With no sign of her, he returned to the house and stood with the other investigators. Now he turned and stomped into the house, highly upset and worried.

"Did you try your mm at work?" Patrick asked Janet, who was now as worried as Charley; not only about Chris, but her mother as well.

"Yes. There was no reply."

"Maybe one of us should drive over there, make sure nothing's happened."

"Jesus, Patrick! Stop blurting out negative thoughts," Joey barked at the new investigator.

Charley walked out of the house. "The boss is on his way," he said. "I'm going to look for Chris. I know which way she comes to get here. Maybe she's just broken down or got a flat." He ran over to his car and climbed in.

"Should we go looking for Kate?" Patrick asked Joey.

"No. We'll wait for the boss. We can't all go rushing off," Joey replied.

"Why did you let Charley go?"

"You want to try and stop him?"


* * * * *

The Colonel's silver Mercedes came slowly down the driveway and stopped near the two waiting investigators. He climbed out of the car, asking, "What the hell is going on? Charley said Chris is missing?"

"Yeah, and Kate," Joey informed his boss.

"Kate's missing, too?" James asked in disbelief.

Joey nodded. "She hasn't made it home yet, and Janet got no answer at the practice when she phoned."

"Where's Charley?"

"Went looking for Chris," Patrick informed James.

"So he's missing as well!"

"Not exa-..."

"You know where he is?" James interrupted with a raised eyebrow. Patrick shook his head. "Then he's missing." James looked around, taking in a calming breath. "How do we know Chris is missing?"

"She usually gets here by 7.30," Joey told him.

"And Kate... maybe she's still at the clinic?"

"Janet called there, but no one answered the phone."

"All right. Joey, drive over there and make sure everything's all right." James walked into Kate's house and found Janet seated in the living room.

"James, what's going on?" she asked, her eyes wide with fear.

"I've sent Joey over to your mum's practice."

"And Chris?"

"Apparently Charley's gone off looking for her."

Patrick walked into the living room and hovered near the door, hands stuffed into his trouser pockets. "What uhm... what should I do, boss?"

James turned to look at the new investigator. "Why don't you make us all a cup of coffee or tea? I'll have a coffee. Janet, what would you like?"

"Tea, please, Patrick."

James walked over to the phone and punched in a number. "This is Colonel James Anders," he said, when it was answered. "May I speak with Mrs. Valmont?"

After a pause, Mr. Valmont came on the phone. " Hello, Colonel. How are you? My wife is away, can I help? "

"I'm fine, thank you. And yes, perhaps you can help. I was just looking for Jackson. Is he there?"

" No, he hasn't come home yet. "

"Have him call me when he gets in, would you?" He waited for the expected response, then thanked the man and hung up. He turned to look at Janet. "Jackson's not home yet. That could mean he's stuck in traffic. They could all be stuck in traffic," he said, a hand raking through his silver hair in frustration. Someone pounded on the front door, making them all jump. "Wait here," James told Janet as he headed out of the room. Patrick had also heard the pounding on the door and now stood in the kitchen doorway watching on. James cautiously opened the door. "Charley?"

"I found her car!"

"What? Whose car?"

"Chris'. It was in the middle of the road, like she'd broken down or something." He walked into the living room and flopped down on the sofa, taking in deep breaths.

"Where was this?" James asked.

"Bayview Point. All her car lights were still on and there was a roadside warning triangle placed behind the car."

Patrick had returned to making the drinks and now walked into the living room carrying a tray of filled mugs. "What did you find, Charley?" he asked, as he set his load down.

"Chris' car."

"Where is she?"

"I don't know. Gone."

"Her car's just... there?"

Charley nodded. "Boss, I... searched the area. There was... there was blood in front of the car."

"In her car?" James asked.

"No. Ahead of her car, on the road."

"Maybe she hit a deer," Patrick suggested.

"Not here," Charley said. "You get deer over in Abbots wood." He looked at James. "What do we do, boss? I cannae just sit here."

"No, neither can I. My mom and Chris are out there," Janet said, biting on her thumb-nail.

"I cannae believe this is happening on Laurie's birthday!" Charley muttered. "We're supposed to be with her at the hospital. Kate brought balloons and we got a cake. There's no way we're getting there tonight, Laurie's probably thinking we all forgot!"

"Look, Chris is like a daughter to me," James said, jumbled thoughts running through his head. "I'm as worried as you all are." He sat down heavily on the sofa, his hands grasping each other. "I'm just as protective of her as you investigators are. We are a family. I worry about all of you, like the father I am."

The phone rang. Janet picked it up eagerly before the end of the first ring. "Yes?" She listened, hope fading from her face. "Hold on." She held the phone out for James. "Jackson for you."

James took hold of the phone. "Jackson, Kate is missing," he said impatiently. "That is, she hasn't shown up at her house yet. Weren't you watching her at the clinic?" He paused, listening to Jackson on the other end. "Yes... yes... all right," James said into the mouthpiece. He hung up and sighed. "Jackson said Kate's on her way home. They left the clinic together. He watched her get into her car and drive off. He can't imagine where she is. He got stuck in traffic on his way home and suggested that Kate may be as well. He's heading over here, just in case he's needed."

"At least we know now that mom is on her way home," Janet spoke up. "Thank God." She let out a sigh of relief.

James let out a troubled breath. "Charley, why don't you go and retrieve Chris' car? Bring it here."

"I don't have a key."

"If there's not a spare under the sun visor, I'm sure you know how to start it up without a key, don't you?" James smirked. "You worked for your brother, after all."

The investigator nodded, blushing as he stood up. "Patrick, give me a ride there," he said, hurriedly heading for the front door.

"What about me?" Janet exclaimed. "I'm not staying here, waiting around..."

"Janet, it's not safe!" James argued.

"I'm a police officer, James! I've been in bad situations. I can handle myself."


"I'm going looking for Chris, Colonel. Just tell me now if there's a particular area you'd like me to go to."

James looked at the attractive young woman whom he had known since she was born, whom he had watched grow up into the striking beauty that was before him now. Slowly, he nodded. "Why don't you head towards the harbour, drive past the warehouses. Do not..." She met his hard, serious, grey eyes. "Do not check out anything alone. If you spot something, call here," he finished, handing her his mobile phone. "Janet, please don't do anything alone. Your mother will kill me, my wife will kill me. So, please, do this sensibly."

Janet smiled warmly at him. "Thank you, James." She took his hand, squeezing it reassuringly.

Joey burst into the house. "We have a problem."

"What is it?" James asked, startled into half-standing.

"I found Doctor Levens' car."

Janet ran from the house.



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