For disclaimers, see part one.
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The Rivers Edge
Jenna watched as Rosalie paced for several more minutes before her fear got the best of her. Finally she shot out of the chair, limped as quickly as she could to the other woman and grabbed her by the arms.
"What the fuck are you talking about? Do you plan on letting me in on this little secret of yours or do I have to beat it out of you?"
Shocked green eyes stared back into her own and she released her grip on the older womans arms. Jenna took a step back and apologized, all the while wringing her hands together. She couldnt believe she had lost it like that.
"I am sorry," Rosalie told her after taking a deep breath. "Sit, please, and I will explain." When the blonde didnt move she pointed to the chair and told her again.
Reluctantly, Jenna went back to the wooden chair and sat. She watched Madame Borineau expectantly until she too returned to her seat and took a deep breath.
"When you came in here I felt part of your problem. What I did not know until you spoke, and especially not until you touched me, was how little time there is."
Jenna felt the air escaping her lungs as she slumped back into the chair. Panic threatened to overwhelm her as her mind raced over the territory she thought that Rosalie might talk to her about. However, her fright would not allow her to discern what exactly the problem was so she watched anxiously as Madame Borineau gathered her thoughts before speaking.
"Jenna, there is grave danger ahead of you, and I mean that literally. There is only a short amount of time left to act on the course you have chosen. What worries me is that I can not see who is in worse danger- you, or the woman you seek."
"What do you mean you cant see?" Jenna blurted out and slammed her fists down on the table. "Youre the psychic here! Whats going to happen? How much time are we talking about?"
"Anger will not help you now, child. I am not sure, but I would guess that you havent more than a couple of weeks. Maybe a little more, maybe less. That is all I can see."
Jenna rose from her chair and paced much as Rosalie had previously. She ran her hands through her blonde hair and fought the urge to run screaming from the nightmare she had walked into.
"Is there any way to find her?" she asked after closing her eyes.
"You have found her."
Jenna took a deep breath and willed herself not to throttle the enigmatic woman. "Yes, and then I lost her. That doesnt help me now!"
Rosalie squinted her eyes and cocked her head. She remained that way for several moments, then nodded slowly and stood up.
"We must go to the water."
Jenna was quickly running out of patience. The maddening woman had taken her sweet time about leaving, and had been even slower about driving to her home. Now, as they navigated the path to the river, she seemed more interested in smelling the flowers than getting to the place where they might actually find the answers Jenna so desperately sought.
When they did make it to the riverbank where Jenna had been having her visions, Rosalie stopped in the middle of a sentence on the uses of some of the native plants and looked at her surroundings with wide eyes. Jenna watched as she spun in a slow circle, then closed her eyes and pressed her hands together in what looked like a prayer.
"What is it?"
Instead of answering, the psychic spun on her heel and started west away from the river. Jenna watched with wide eyes as she made her way to the stand of aspen trees where Leah had disappeared. She stood next to a small tree, tracing a design in its smooth gray bark with her hand. When Jenna arrived at her side and took a closer look at it she nearly dropped to her knees.
"Oh my God," she murmured, dumbfounded. "All this time and I never saw it."
"Young one, sometimes you have to see with these eyes," she began, pointing to her own green eyes. "And not so much with these," she finished, pointing to her heart.
The blonde turned back to the carving in the tree that read Robert + Leah 4ever in neat block script. How she had missed it before she wasnt sure, but now that she had seen it she could feel adrenaline rush up inside her and threaten to gush through her pores. She could now feel the sense of urgency that Rosalie had conveyed to her earlier.
"She must know about this place," Jenna mumbled, fighting the dizziness that threatened to knock her off her feet. "Is that why I see it? The visions-"
"It is a place of peace to her," Rosalie answered curtly and stomped back toward the water.
Jenna hurried to catch up with her and followed behind her as she went further up the bank. Her mouth was so dry she couldnt keep her tongue from sticking to the roof of her mouth. As they floundered through the thick brush that had swallowed the trail, she paused when Rosalie grabbed her arm and signaled her to stop.
The other woman raised her arm and pointed after motioning for her to be quiet. Jennas eyes moved in the direction she was pointing to see a picnic table and makeshift fire pit littered with what looked like used napkins. Her eyes swept the area to see three people wandering in the distance near the water, two men and a woman. And if she wasnt mistaken, one of them was a dead ringer for Leah.
Jennas stomach lurched and she leaned forward, trying to be sure her eyes were not deceiving her. Sure enough, as the woman turned about she caught a glimpse of her unmistakable face. Jenna took in the short man that never seemed to leave the womans side and was sure that it was Robert. The other man she had never seen, but figured him to be a relative of Roberts by the way he carried himself.
"The beginning," Rosalie muttered and tried to turn Jenna back the way they had come.
"Im not leaving!" Jenna hissed and tried to fight, overpowered by the surprisingly strong woman.
"Now is not the time," Rosalie growled back and continued forcing Jenna away from where Leah stood.
"What do you mean?" the blonde gasped as Rosalie dragged her away, all the while looking over her shoulder to keep an eye on Leah. "Shes right there!"
"What would you do? Cause trouble and get her hurt? No! You must be patient."
Jenna grabbed the older womans arm and made her stop their retreat. "You were the one that was just saying theres not much time left. Now that weve found her, do you think I want to just let her go?"
"Jenna, child," Rosalie spoke in a calm tone. "You would get her hurt. Do you want that? You can not just rush in there and try to do something before it is time. You must have a plan, for when the men are not around."
"Fine, well wait until they leave and follow them home." Jenna folded her arms across her chest and shifted her weight to her good leg impatiently.
Rosalie smiled gently at her and shook her head. "Your heart means much good, child. But we must be careful. Please, let us return to your home and there we will find our answers."
"You said we would find our answers here," Jenna shot back through clenched teeth. "What are we going to find at my house except that weve lost more time?"
"We did find answers, didnt we?" Rosalie answered while pointing in Leahs direction. "We know now what significance the water holds. From there we will find the rest."
Jenna stared at her back as she walked swiftly away, unable to bear the thought of leaving when they were so close to She wasnt sure what, but it was something big. She could feel it in her achy bones. Chewing on her bottom lip, she gave Rosalie one last glance and then turned back toward where she had seen Leah. She hurried through the dense brush, trying to be as quiet as she could without Rosalie catching up to her and causing a ruckus.
As she neared the clearing, Jenna could feel her heart pounding in her throat. Here could be the answers to what had been plaguing her for months, making her doubt her own sanity. Maybe she could finally convince Laura that she really was not crazy, that there had been an explanation for her troubles other than the copious amounts of drugs she had taken.
Snapping twigs behind her alerted Jenna that Rosalie was on her way back to get her. Taking a deep breath, she stepped out in the open and walked slowly toward the trio, not wanting to look suspicious. It dawned on her then that she had no idea what she would do when she got near Leah, and by the way Robert was hovering around her she didnt figure she would get much of a chance to speak with the battered woman.
"Just play it by ear," she mumbled to herself and pretended to check out her surroundings as she meandered toward the picnic area.
She shoved her hands into the pockets of her shorts and looked up at the sky. Cumulus clouds billowed heavenward and several birds twisted and turned through the air. Bringing her attention back to the earth, she watched Leah out of the corner of her eye. It appeared that the dark headed woman had spotted her and was watching her very intently, and Jenna wondered if she remembered her from the music store. She felt her pulse quicken and woodpeckers tearing at the lining of her stomach. Jenna wished that she had something to calm her nerves and suddenly wondered why she hadnt taken Rosalies advice to leave things be for now.
You cant do anything the easy way. Thats why, and youll probably get her killed, her mind scolded.
She frowned at the unwelcome thoughts and tried to clear her mind to the task at hand. She didnt want to get Leah killed and it would require a lot of cunning to get through to her without Robert finding out what she was up to.
Or getting killed yourself, the voice mocked. She already told you to let it be so you wouldnt get hurt.
Jenna rolled her eyes and continued toward the picnic area where Robert, Leah and the other guy were. Leah sat hunched now at the table, still watching her approach. Robert stood next to her with a possessive hand on her shoulder, talking to the man Jenna didnt know. They seemed engrossed in their conversation and didnt appear to pay her any mind.
Jenna wracked her brain for some excuse to approach them, all the while checking over her shoulder to see if Rosalie had followed her out into the clearing. She suspected that though she could not see the older woman, she was there watching from the bushes.
Unable to wander around any longer without feeling suspicious, Jenna made her way slowly to the table and smiled at the trio. Inside, though, she shivered when Robert looked at her, remembering how he had beaten Leah in her visions.
And not too long ago, from the looks of things, her mind piped in as she took in the yellowing cheekbone that Leah was trying to hide behind her hair. She tried not to think of how she had seen her do that before as she opened her mouth to speak.
"Hi there," she began, trying not to stare at the dark headed woman. She was stunning, in spite of the bruising. "Hey, I was just wondering if any of you had seen a puppy come this way. I looked away for a minute and the little guy was gone."
Robert shook his head no, pulling Leah toward him, and his friend turned a predatory grin in her direction. Jenna smiled and tried to ignore his eyes roaming over her body. She stole a glance at Leah, who looked like she had seen a ghost. Slowly, she too shook her head.
Jenna grimaced, trying to play along with her lie. "Well, thanks anyway," she replied and let her shoulders hang dejectedly. She turned go when an idea hit her.
"Do any of you have a pen? I was hoping I could leave my number with you in case he comes along."
Roberts friend grinned again. "Sure thing, let me run up to the car and get one."
Jenna sat uncomfortably down on the bench facing Robert and Leah to wait for the pen. She looked back over her shoulder toward the stand of bushes, wondering if Rosalie was there or was mad enough to have left.
"Whats his name?" Robert asked, shaking her from her thoughts.
"Oh," she said and chuckled. "Sparky," she answered, mentally slapping herself in the forehead.
Robert raised an eyebrow and turned his attention to Leah. "We should get a dog, dont you think baby?"
A forced smile creased her lips, and a meek "Sure" was all she said.
"Yeah, a nice Doberman or pit bull. We could name it Killer or something cool like that."
Jenna ignored the dig at her choice in names for her fictitious dog, praying that he would forget the idea. She couldnt imagine what would happen to Leah if Robert were to sic the dog on her.
"Do you live around here?" Leah asked timidly, looking at the ground when Robert eyed her for having spoken.
Jennas heart ached to see the beautiful woman so beaten down, and she was afraid to answer lest she provoke a visit from Robert or his friend or both of them. But her instincts told her that if Leah were bold enough to ask, she needed to answer.
"Yeah, I live about a half mile down the river. On the other side of those bushes is a trail that leads right to my back yard." She searched for signs of recognition of the area on Leahs face and found none.
"Sounds nice," Robert mused as he chewed on his lip. "We have a pretty nice place, dont we babe? Were right up-"
He was interrupted by the other man returning with a pen and scrap of paper. "Here ya go," he smiled, eagerly holding the items out to the blonde.
Jenna could have murdered him but instead smiled her thanks. She wrote the number down, deliberately handing it to Robert in hopes that Leah would be able to get to it and contact her.
He looked at the number, then tucked the paper into his pants pocket. "Good luck," he told her flatly, effectively dismissing her.
She waved and turned back in the direction she had come. As she made her way back to the brambles, she heard Robert say something gruffly to Leah. She turned to see him grab her by the arm, then let go when his friend pointed over his shoulder in Jennas direction. Rage boiled inside her, especially for the man that knew what Robert was doing and did nothing to stop him. She clenched her teeth and hurried back toward her house, knowing there was nothing she could do for Leah at that moment except hope for the best. She tore her way through the brush and emerged on the other side to an obviously angry Rosalie.
"Will it take her death to get you to listen?"
"I dont think what I did was anything life threatening," she responded and crossed her arms over her chest. Her own ire was still simmering just below the surface and she didnt think it would take much for it to spill over.
Rosalie muttered something in a language Jenna didnt understand and shook her head. "You dont understand the forces at work here."
"No? I understand that that man is beating the shit out of her and that he probably will kill her. I also understand that I am the only one who seems to care about helping her."
Rosalie grabbed her tightly by the shoulders and shook her to emphasize each word that she said. "What you just did will likely kill her."
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