FIUR and VLAMME
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***** A FEW WEEKS LATER *****
The alarm clock went off, making annoying beeping noises.
Christopher’s eyes flew open and he got up, wrestling his way through the sheets that had gotten tangled around his body.
“Honey, where are you going?” Karen asked, blinking at him sleepy-eyed. “You just got back and it was very late last night when you came home.”
He walked to the other side of their bed and placed a gentle kiss on his wife’s lips. “I need to see if my sisters are still alive. Then, I’ll be all yours. You only will have to share me with the boys.”
As if on cue, Colin and Christopher Jr. started to call loudly for attention.
“If one speaks of the devil...” the artist grinned. He went to the bed where the babies had been sleeping and lifted his sons into his arms. Returning to Karen, he gave her Christopher Jr. and sat down on the bed, holding Colin tenderly.
“I really am looking forward to seeing Liz and Taylor,” he said. “But, I have one question. Why isn’t Sam with Liz? That really puzzles me.”
Karen took a deep breath before she decided to let the cat out of the bag. “Your sister and Sam are not together anymore.”
“What? But... why? When I left, everything was fine and they were so happy.”
“I know,” Karen replied. “Liz broke up with her and ended the relationship.”
“Liz? Now that is... a surprise.”
“Nobody knows for sure why, but I think it had to do with the press people that were constantly harassing Liz. There were some not so nice articles and pictures in the newspapers.”
“And instead of holding on more tightly to her love, Liz decided to deny it... that’s typical,” Christopher remarked, shaking his head.
Sara was so aggravated and upset that Jack didn’t know what to do anymore to calm her down.
“I’M SO FED UP!!!” she roared. “Can’t you understand that? The whole day I just lie here while they are doing test after test. I hate having to be here!”
“I know, honey,” he said quietly. “But it’s only for your best. We want you to get well again.”
“But I’m not getting better,” Sara continued to argue. “I feel bad after each infusion and chemo!”
Jack cupped her face to make her look at him. “Sara, please, calm down.”
“What for? If I’m going to die I want to at least complain about it!” Caught in her outburst of extreme rage, she didn’t notice that Matthew and Rose, accompanied by Dr. Lewis, had stepped into the room.
Mad about her last words, Matthew told his daughter, “I don’t ever want to hear that from you again. You are not going to die! The Jones' are a family of fighters!”
Sara’s lower lip began to tremble as she looked at her father. “Daddy, please, get me out of here. I want to go home,” she whined in despair. “I hate hospitals!”
“I know, precious, but I can’t do that. Only here, they know what to do, and they will take care of you until you have fully recovered.”
Sara’s eyes turned to Gillian. “So? What’s the bad news for today?”
“Unfortunately, it’s not good,” the doctor sighed.
Tortured, Jack squeezed his eyes shut.
Sara laughed bitterly. “My, my, what a surprise,” she responded sarcastically.
Samantha sat on the bed in her room that Karen and Christopher had given to her. She was trying to meditate. Unfortunately it wasn’t very successful, since she couldn’t relax. Her thoughts whirled and circled around one particular thing.
Her blue eyes flew open as a sudden realization came to her. “The Parkers! Everything goes back to the Parkers,” she whispered. “Mr. Parker called me Kayla... at the grocery store... he must have known her...”
She opened her medallion. “Mhh... in love, J. Maybe Jonathan? It could be that... I need more information. There is no other way. I guess I will have to pay the Parkers a visit. Right now. There also is still the question how Alexander ended up with my medallion after Norman’s murder...”
“I really am sorry, but unfortunately I have to tell you that Sara is not responding too well to the chemo therapy,” Dr. Lewis announced. “We have to try something else.”
Jack, who was still holding on to Sara’s hand, inquired, “What does that mean, doctor?”
“We will have to do a bone marrow transplantation. Until we have found a donor, we can only try to keep the sickness in check with chemo and pills.”
“What are we waiting for?” Matthew wanted to know. “Let’s get going to find a donor. Why don’t you start with me, right now?”
“And then, it’s my turn,” Jack said.
Rose nodded. “Yes, test me too!”
Gillian couldn’t help but smile about so much cooperation. “That’s great. Also ask friends and other family members if they would be willing to get tested. The more there are, the bigger our chance is to find the perfect donor for a successful treatment.”
“I will make a few calls,” Rose declared and left the room.
Sara, who had been sitting and watching it all in complete silence shook her head softly in disbelief. ‘Maybe there is still hope after all...’ she thought.
Alexander was barely able to hide his surprise as he opened the door and found Samantha in front of it. “The jungle woman? What can I do for you?” he asked, leering. “Is Liz not enough to satisfy you and now you need a real man?” He grinned and waggled his eyebrows.
Samantha didn’t respond to that. Instead, she said, “I would like to talk with Jonathan.”
Alexander sighed exaggerated. “Too bad for you. He doesn’t live here anymore. You’ll have to talk with me then.”
“Whatever. I have some questions concerning Kayla Parker.”
He pricked up his ears as the name fell. “So, so... well, I’m sorry to have to disappoint you, but as far as I know there is no Kayla in our family.”
“She is my mother!”
“We don’t have jungle bitches in our family either!” he growled.
Samantha nodded and pressed her lips together. She knew, she wouldn’t get any answers from him. “Alright, here is another question. I’m sure you know Norman Kent?” She looked at him intently and thought she saw him pale a little bit.
Alexander hesitated a second before he answered. “No, I never heard of him.”
Samantha raised an eyebrow. “So? That’s strange, because I think you must have been good acquaintances.”
“Because he stole a medallion from me and Liz found it in your room... a few weeks after Norman was murdered...”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Alexander snapped and glared at her. “If I were in your place, I would immediately stop spreading such lies. Our family has the best lawyers. You don’t know how quickly you could find yourself in jail!”
Samantha crossed her arms in front of her chest and looked at him calmly. “Is that a threat?”
“If you want to take it as that, sure! And now leave! I’ve got better things to do than to listen to your stupid babbling!” With that he slammed the door shut.
She stood there for a moment, having more questions than before.
***** A FEW DAYS LATER *****
Bored, Victoria sat in her favorite café, stirring her coffee as Jonathan found her and sat down on the empty seat opposite her. “Vicky, my princess,” he greeted her happily. “I have not seen you in a long time. How are you doing?”
“Hi Da... I mean Jonathan...”
“It’s alright,” he told her smiling. “You can still call me Daddy. Even if I’m not living at home anymore, it doesn’t mean I’m not your father.”
She shook her head sadly. “If only that would be true... but you are not my father.”
The smile slid off his face. “What?”
“Do you remember the fight you had with mother shortly before you moved out?”
“The words she threw at you... you know, that I’m not your flesh and blood... it’s the truth.”
Jonathan stared at her in shock. “What?”
“You are not my father,” Victoria repeated. “I’m the unholy product of a one-night-stand that Mom had with a complete stranger.”
“Th-that... Ca-Catherine to-told you that?” he stammered.
“Oh my God! She lied to me?”
She snorted. “I’d say you both lied quite a lot to each other.”
“I still can’t believe it. Catherine and a one-night-stand... I wouldn’t have thought that of her... it just doesn’t seem to fit,” Jonathan remarked.
“I was very shocked myself,” Victoria admitted. “But I guess it’s the ugly truth.”
Jonathan drummed his fingers on the table while he thought about it. “I want a paternity test. I can only accept the horrible truth if I have a document in my hand.”
Victoria blinked in surprise. “Are you serious?”
“I’ve never been more serious about anything.”
“You want what?” To say that Michiru was completely shocked was putting mildly. She couldn’t identify the whirlwind of emotions that swept through her body after Samantha had announced that she intended to leave Los Angeles.
“I will go home, back to Vanuatu.”
“Sam... you... you can’t do that! Your home is here.”
The younger woman shook her head. “Home? Maybe once... but not anymore. I don’t have a home here. I don’t belong anywhere. Here is nothing to hold me. The jungle will be my home again. There, I will feel better... there, I will be happy again, together with Shakira. There, I can forget everything... especially...” Samantha stopped as she felt her throat closing up.
Michiru finished the sentence for her. “Especially Liz.”
“But that’s not the solution. Running away is never a solution,” Michiru pointed out. “Believe me, Sam. You will regret it one day. Don’t make any hasty decisions. Wait a bit. I’m sure everything will be alright again.” She gave her an encouraging smile, but Samantha’s face kept its hard expression.
“No, I’ve made up my mind. My plane will leave in a couple of hours.”
Wrecking her brain, the other woman tried to come up with something else to say that would change Samantha’s mind. “I thought you wanted to find out about your parents and your past?”
“Yes, and that worked wonderfully, didn’t it?” Samantha snapped, defiantly. “I found out that my mother was murdered and that my father, if he is still alive, doesn’t know anything about my existence. I think, I should leave it at that.”
Once again she shook her head. “No. It’s enough, I don’t want to discuss this anymore. I will fly home, back to the life I know.”
“What about Taylor?” Michiru played the last ace she had up her sleeve. “Who’s going to protect her?”
Samantha shrugged her shoulders. “It’s been a while since the stalker left anything... I guess there is no threat anymore,” came the cold reply.
Michiru couldn’t believe it. “You can’t be serious?!”
All the emotions, which she kept inside, were beginning to overwhelm her. But instead of breaking down and apologizing for the stuff she said, Samantha just hugged the other woman. “Goodbye. It was nice knowing you. Thank you for being my friend and for being a part of my life here. I will never forget you.” With that, Samantha left the apartment.
Stunned, Michiru just stood there and watched her leave. “There is only one more chance. I need to talk with Liz. I have to make her see what’s going on. Only she can prevent Sam from going back to Vanuatu.”
“I really don’t care how much you have to do, Mom,” Alexander said, barely able to keep from yelling into the receiver, while he was on the phone with Catherine. “I have to talk with you now... No... NO! I will not let you put it off any longer... What?... NO! I will see you in your office... Yes, the situation is very serious. Do you think I would insist on talking to you if it wouldn’t be?... Yes, until later.” He hung up.
A nasty grin appeared on his face and he rubbed his hands gleefully. “Finally, I will get some answers and Mom will get a very nice surprise. She won’t like that too much but I will, that’s for sure. Now, all the dirty little secrets will be revealed...”
Michiru knocked briefly at the door and then entered Elizabeth’s office. “I need to talk with you,” she stated, not bothering with a greeting. She was going straight to the matter at hand.
Elizabeth glanced up from the documents in front of her. “As you can see, I am very busy, Ms. Kasawaki. Maybe another time,” the blonde dismissed her.
Slamming the door shut, Michiru went to the other woman’s desk and placed her hands on top of it. “I really have had enough of this!” she exclaimed. “What did I ever do for you to treat me so unfriendly?”
Elizabeth glared at her. “Did you have a great time in New York?” she snarled.
“What?” Michiru frowned.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about,” Elizabeth snapped, annoyed. “You were in New York with Sam. How was it? Did you have a lot of fun?”
“What does that have to do with my original question?” Michiru wanted to know.
“Everything! From the very beginning you tried to win Sam for yourself. To have a child from a married man didn’t seem to be enough, oh no. You also had to have Sam!”
Michiru stared at her, completely stunned and unable to form words. Her mouth opened and closed a couple of times, but no sound came out. She took a few shaky breaths before replying, ”That... that really... you rendered me speechless. What you just said is completely ridiculous!”
Elizabeth's hands curled into fists and hit the table. “Why don’t you just admit finally that you had your eyes on her from the very beginning?! All the lessons to make Sam into the perfect bodyguard were only for one purpose... so that you could make a move on her!”
Michiru became quiet and calm. She finally had understood what the blonde's problem was. “That’s what it is. You are jealous.”
“I’m not!” Elizabeth roared in denial but the other woman had hit the nail right on the head.
“You really have no reason for that. You were the one, who broke up with Sam. You also know that you are her only true love, but you destroyed your happiness with her, because you were too unsure of the relationship.”
Every word Michiru had just said was the truth and Elizabeth didn’t have any more words to continue the silly argument. She just stared at her.
“Do you want to know why Sam wished to train so hard and learn Martial Arts?”
“To be able to protect you and your family. Everything Sam did, she did out of love for you. Do you want me to tell you why I was in New York with her? We followed some hints concerning Sam’s parents.”
By then, Elizabeth felt stupid and like the most awful person in the world. “Did you find out anything?” she inquired quietly.
“Only that Kayla Parker is dead,” Michiru responded sadly.
“Oh my God... I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry.”
“Don’t tell me, tell Sam.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “It’s too late for that. She’ll never talk with me again because I broke her heart.”
Michiru gave her a small smile. “Well, realizing your mistakes is the first step in making it better.” Then she looked at her watch. “But, if you are not going to hurry then it really will be too late.”
Wrinkling her forehead, Elizabeth asked, “What do you mean?”
“Sam’s plane to Vanuatu will leave in about an hour...”
The blonde paled. “She wants... she wants to leave?”
Michiru nodded. “She said here is nothing to hold her.” Fixing a stern glance on Elizabeth, she told her, “This is your last chance, Ms. Stuart. Don’t let it slip through your fingers. It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks, it doesn’t matter what the newspapers write. You two belong together. Such a love is everything and definitely worth fighting for.”
“You are right. I have to go to her and make everything okay again.”
Michiru’s smile widened as Elizabeth stormed out of the office. “Good luck for you both, my friends.”
At the airport, Samantha rose from the bench, she had been sitting on, as her flight was announced over the speakers. “So, that’s it,” she mumbled. “The end of my life in the so called civilization. I can’t say, I regret it. I found true love, even if it didn’t last long.” She opened the medallion that held Elizabeth's picture and gently ran her thumb across it. Tears welled up in her eyes. “My Angel, I would have given you everything... everything... if only you would have let me...” She pressed her lips against the picture in a tender kiss, before she closed the medallion and slid it in her pants’ pocket. “Goodbye, Angel...”
Her heart was heavy with sorrow and sadness as she made her way to the plane.
Elizabeth had managed to get a ticket for the same flight that Samantha had booked. Of course, she had no intention to use it but she needed it to get to the gate. Hopefully, she wouldn’t be too late to talk with the other woman and to keep her from leaving the country.
After she was through the security check, she hurried to the gate.
An employee from the airline stepped into her way. “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but you are too late. The flight has been closed. The plane will leave any minute.”
“You better tell the pilot that he will have to wait,” Elizabeth spat harshly and pushed past the woman. She ran as fast as she could.
Meanwhile, the plane began to slowly roll towards its take off point.
“SAM!” Elizabeth shouted. Wildly brandishing her arms, she raced after the plane.
It began to rain.
“NO! NO! SAAAAAAAAAAM!!!”
The plane had lift off and Liz could only watch it leave, helplessly. The whole pain of her soul was released in tortured sobs. Crying she broke down, sinking to her knees.
Unstoppable, the rain kept falling, mixing with the hot tears that rolled down her cheeks. One last desperate cry was ripped from her throat. “SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!!!” And after a while she added, whispering, “I will always love you... always...”
A hand was gently placed upon her shoulder and she heard a voice whispering, “I will always love you too, my Angel.”
Tortured, Liz squeezed her eyes shut, while her frame shook with heavy sobs. “Oh God... I can still feel her... I can still hear her...”
Alexander stepped into the office of his mother and carefully closed the door behind him. “I told your secretary that she shouldn’t let anybody in and also to not put any phone calls through. We can talk undisturbed,” he stated and sat down in the leather chair in front of Catherine’s desk.
The head of the Parker family sighed. “Alright. What is so important that it couldn’t wait any longer?”
“I have a few questions concerning a certain Colin...” He smirked as he saw how her face paled. “Also, I had a strange visit that I’m sure will be of great interest to you. Mom, I want some answers concerning Kayla Parker.”
“Why are you interested in your father’s love affair?”
“Like I said, I had a visitor.”
Catherine’s eyes widened in shock. “What?”
“Finally, everything seems to connect,” Alexander replied. “The legacy, Norman was talking about before a bullet ended his miserable existence, is a child.”
Catherine’s breathing increased and she held a hand to her heart, but still she tried to pretend she didn’t know anything. “What the hell are you talking about?” she asked roughly.
“Don’t try that with me. I want to know the truth!” he demanded. “I want to know everything about you, Dad and Kayla!”
“There is nothing that you need to know!” Catherine argued, panic clearly audible in her voice.
“If that’s how you want it... fine,” Alexander sneered. “I’m sure that Vicky would really like to know that Colin Stuart is her father.”
Catherine just stared at him in disbelief.
“That’s right, Mom. I know all about your dirty little secret, but I guess it’s only one of many many many more, you're keeping. I know that you had an affair with Colin Stuart. I saw the letters. How do you think Vicky will react when she finds out that she’s part of the Stuart family?”
“You wouldn’t dare,” she hissed.
“Then tell me everything about Kayla.”
“Your father left us for her, she died, end of story!” Catherine raved, beside herself with fury. She had never thought that one day her own son would do something like that to her.
Alexander shook his head. “No, Mom. It’s not that end of the story. It’s just the beginning. I want to hear it all.”
Elizabeth was still kneeling on the wet, paved ground.
“Angel, please, don’t cry anymore. I am here. Everything is going to be alright.”
She looked up. In front of her was Samantha. She blinked, thinking that it was just an illusion, conjured up by her mind. But no. The brunette really was there.
Slowly, Elizabeth rose to her feet. Hesitantly, she reached out a hand and tenderly caressed the other woman’s cheek. “How can this be?” she stammered. “The plane...”
Samantha took the small hand off her cheek and guided it to her lips to place a gentle kiss upon the delicate knuckles. “I wasn’t on board,” she explained. “I wanted to... but I couldn’t.” Then she pulled the smaller woman into her arms and held on to her tightly. “I don’t want to lose you, Angel. And if we can only be friends in this society then that will have to be enough.”
“Shhhh, we will get through this. Together we can overcome every obstacle. But, we have to be honest with each other and above all, we need to talk about things that bother us, okay?”
“Okay. Then let’s go home before all this rain will wash us away and we do end up in the jungle again.”
A tiny chuckle escaped the blonde's throat at that comment.
Meanwhile, Catherine had jumped off her chair and scowled fiercely at her son. “Why is that of interest to you? It has nothing to do with you at all!”
“It does,” Alexander insisted. “I was the one, who had to shoot Norman! It could be that somebody is getting too close to the truth.”
“Liz’ jungle bitch. She claims, she’s the daughter of Kayla Parker and wanted to speak with Dad.”
Catherine shook her head. “NO! That is absolutely impossible! It can’t be! I took precautions... it was a perfect plan... everything had worked... Kayla was dead... Norman took the child away... and Jonathan came back to me...”
He interrupted her ranting. “Are you trying to say that you killed Kayla only so that Dad would come back to you?”
“Yes,” she admitted in a trembling voice.
“Great,” Alexander commented sarcastically. “But now, Kayla’s daughter, the legacy Norman was talking about, is here... if she knows that she is Kayla’s daughter then it’s only a matter of time till she finds out, who her father is... and then... Oh Mom, if they find out what you did...”
“They won’t!” she cut him off, underlining her outburst with a sharp hand motion.
“What if they will?”
She took a deep breath and stared off into space as her mind began to work feverishly.“I will make sure that they won’t!”
With trembling fingers, Elizabeth unlocked the door to the house and entered, followed closely by Samantha.
“We should get out of the wet clothes,” the brunette said. “Go ahead and put on something dry, I’ll get my bag from the car.”
After they had showered and dressed, they sat next to each other on the couch in the living room. The TV was running but neither paid any attention to the screen.
Jemima was stretched out on Samantha’s lap and enjoyed the rubbing she got from long, gentle fingers.
“She missed you a lot,” Elizabeth said quietly. “She always sat in front of the door and waited that you would come home... Sam?”
Elizabeth took a deep breath and then blurted, “I want to give our love another chance. I want you to come home and live here with me again.”
Tenderly, the blonde placed an index finger on the other woman’s lips. “Shhhh.... I know I’ve made a mistake, but that won’t happen again, no matter what the newspapers are writing... no matter if sponsors cancel movie projects... I will not shove my happiness to the background anymore. I want to be with you and the whole world shall know it. I don’t care what nasty things will be said behind my back. I know that my family and friends accept me as I am and they stand by me. If you are with me we can reach anything. I love you so much, Sam.”
The heartfelt speech had moved the other woman to tears. “And I love you, my Angel,” she confessed, before she tenderly cupped Elizabeth's face and looked deeply into her eyes. “I love you.” she whispered once more, their lips slowly drawing closer to each other.
***** A FEW DAYS LATER *****
Staring off into space, Sara lay in the hospital bed as Dr. Lewis quietly entered the room. Without taking her eyes off the white ceiling, Sara said, “Don’t worry, I’m awake.”
“Good. There is something I need to talk about with you, Ms. Jones.”
Sara looked at the doctor. “I thought we said we would use our first names? I see you more often than I do my own family or friends, Gillian.”
“Sorry, you are right, Sara,” the doctor apologized and sat down on the chair next to the bed.
“So? Why the serious face? What’s wrong today?” Sara inquired, calmly.
Gillian cleared her throat. She knew it wouldn’t be easy. “I wanted to talk with you alone first so that you can decide how you would like to continue.”
The photographer snorted. “That’s a joke, right? As if I have anything to say in that. Do you think a magic fairy will appear to grant me three wishes?”
“I know it’s not easy and you will have to be very strong...”
“It’s not going to get any easier no matter how long you hesitate,” Sara snapped impatiently. “Just tell me, Doc!”
“We are searching for the best donor and despite your family and friends...”
Sara’s hands clenched the sheets so hard that her knuckles turned white.
“... we were unable to find one. I really am sorry. We also checked the national database but at the time there is nothing.”
The young woman closed her eyes and sighed. “That wasn’t all, right? I mean, I noticed that for some reason there are more and more tubes connected to my body and more tests are being done.”
Gillian looked at her sympathetically. “The horrible truth is, if we don’t find a bone marrow donor soon, your chances to survive will sink to zero.”
Sara swallowed hard and her eyes sparkled with unshed tears.
Dr. Lewis patted her hand in encouragement. “Just don’t give up. All isn’t lost yet.”
She turned over and faced the wall.
Feeling sad, Gillian rose from the chair. “I’ll leave you alone now. You need to rest.” She was almost out of the door, as Sara called out in a small voice, “Gillian?”
“Please, tell my Dad, okay? And... I don’t want to see anybody.”
Gillian wanted to respond that Sara would need the support of her family and friends, now more than ever, but she also knew it would be in vain to suggest that at the moment. “Alright. I will tell them as carefully as I can.”
“Thank you. But, you have to promise me that you won’t say a word about how bad my condition really is... or about how much time I have left.” The doctor opened her mouth to talk back, but Sara cut her off. “Promise me! I decide when they shall know about it.”
Not feeling too comfortable with it, Gillian relented to the young woman’s wish.
In silence, Jack and Matthew sat in the waiting area of the hospital’s station.
“Would you like another coffee?” Matthew asked, only to say something because he couldn’t take the brooding silence of the other man.
Jack shook his head in denial and tiredly rubbed a hand across his face.
“You should go home and get a good night’s rest,” Matthew told him as he saw that. “If there is any news, I’ll call you immediately.”
“I could tell you the same,” Jack answered.
Both of them jumped from their seats as they saw Dr. Lewis coming out of Sara’s room. They bombarded her with questions and Gillian answered them patiently. “... Sara needs to rest. Today I can’t allow any visitors.”
“What about the blood that you took from us?” Matthew asked.
“Yeah, what about that?” Jack wanted to know too.
Dr. Lewis pointed at the chairs. “Let’s sit down for a moment.”
Jack put his hands on his hips. “I guess that means it’s not good.”
Matthew nodded in agreement. “It’s out of question that one of us could be the donor, right?”
“Unfortunately, yes.” Gillian answered quietly.
Jack was beside himself. “That can’t be!”
“Oh yes, it can,” Matthew mumbled nearly inaudible. “What kind of a person am I? I couldn’t help my wife then and now I can’t help my beloved daughter.”
Jack rubbed his chin in thought. “What about all our friends that were tested? Is one of them...”
“I'm sorry, but no,” Dr. Lewis replied.
“What about that database you mentioned... there has to be someone, who can be Sara’s bone marrow donor.”
She shook her head.
“It’s a nightmare,” Matthew muttered, shaking his head and fighting tears of despair.
“We can’t sit here and do nothing!” Jack exclaimed angrily. “There has to be something we can do. We need more people that would let themselves get tested...”
Hopeless and helpless, Matthew stared at the floor and Gillian said quietly, “If only it would have been discovered sooner then it wouldn’t be too late.”
Jack pricked up his ears as he heard that. “What?”
“We can only wait.”
“I should have noticed something sooner... I should have... if only I had not been working so much lately... it’s all my fault,” Jack announced dejected.
“Don’t blame yourself. It’s not your fault,” Dr. Lewis encouraged him.
Excited beyond all else, Jonathan knocked at the door of Michiru’s loft and she let him in. “Where is my sweet little daughter Sakura?” he wanted to know.
“She is still with Billy and Juan,” Michiru answered, a bit exhausted. “I just came back from another training session with Taylor.”
“Too bad,” he mumbled, a tad disappointed because he had wished to see his little girl.
“Is there anything else?” Michiru asked. “You look like something is up.”
“How can you tell?” Jonathan wondered.
She sighed exasperated and rolled her eyes. “What do you want, Jonathan?”
“I want more than just to occasionally visit Sakura.”
She groaned in annoyance. “We went over that a hundred times and I will not change my decision today.”
“But Michiru, can’t you understand? I want to be more than just a visitor. It’s been a while since I broke up with Catherine and filed for the divorce. I want to be our daughter’s father in every way I can.”
Michiru rubbed her temples. A headache was beginning to make itself known. “You are seeing her almost every day...”
“That’s not the same and you know it,” Jonathan interrupted her.
“What do you want?” she asked again, nearly snapping, because he was beginning to get on her nerves and that wasn’t helping the headache.
He took a deep breath and then blurted, “I would like to buy a house with some land for the three of us.”
The news hit Michiru like a ton of bricks and for a moment she could only stare at him, dumbfounded. “Jonathan...” she stammered.
He took her hands in his. “I want us to become a real, happy family.”
“It’s really nice to know about your plans for the future,” she spat sarcastically and freed her hands from his grip.
“Our plans,” he corrected, grinning broadly.
“Can you for once think about me and my feelings?!” she demanded angrily, battling tears of rage.
He was shocked by her outburst. “Wh-what?” he stuttered.
“Do you really think, I could forget your lies and how you’ve hurt me that easily?”
“Michiru, please,” Jonathan sighed. “That’s all behind us and in the past.”
“It might be behind you, but it’s not for me. Now, please, go. I don’t want to discuss this anymore.”
He walked to the door but once his hand reached for the knob, he turned to face her once more, remarking sadly, “Please, let’s find a way. I love you both so much. Or...”
“Or what?” she asked, a bit scared.
“Or I will try and get full custody of Sakura.”
Her face turned into an angry mask and she shoved him out, banging the door shut behind him. “No... no... he wouldn’t dare to do that... or would he?”
Victoria was a nervous wreck when she came out of the building and sat down on an empty bench, under a tree. She was still shaking, as she whispered to herself, “It’s done. They are testing my DNA. But where was Daddy... uh... I mean Jonathan... uh... whatever. I thought we had an appointment at the same time? Has he forgotten about me already?”
She looked up as she heard a car stop and saw Jonathan’s black Jaguar.
He looked a bit stressed as he climbed out and hurried over to her. Jonathan placed a little kiss on her forehead and sat down next to her, taking one of her hands. “I’m so sorry that I’m late, princess. Something came up.”
“It’s alright,” she replied in a tone that said that it wasn’t alright at all. “I did the test.”
Fear flickered briefly over his features and he wasn’t quick enough to hide it.
“Don’t worry,” Victoria said, as she saw it. “It’s not going to hurt. They’ll just stick a cotton bud into your mouth to take an example of your saliva. That’s all. In a few days, we’ll have the results... the truth.”
“Vicky, my princess. No matter what the results will be, you will always be my daughter.” Tenderly, he brushed some of her long blonde hair aside that had fallen into her face.
His words had moved her and so she buried her face at his shoulder, holding on tightly to him. “What if you really are not my Dad? Then I will always have to live with the knowledge that I don’t know, who my creator was. I’m feeling like a bastard child,” she sobbed.
“Oh, my little princess. Don’t do that to yourself. There is no reason for that. I will always be there for you. Always,” Jonathan confirmed, rocking her a little bit.
“Thank you... Daddy...”
“I’m going to die,” Sara said to herself, alone in the hospital room. “I... WILL... DIE... It’s inevitable...” She finally realized the seriousness of the situation and lost the battle with the ever present tears. “Jack... oh, Jack... my beloved Jack...” she sobbed desperately. “I don’t want to leave you... we are a family... I love you so much...”
Outside of the room, Jack felt his heart clench all of a sudden. “Sara,” he said and looked at the closed door. Then he rose and leaned his forehead against it. His hand reached for the door handle but he didn’t dare to press it down. “Sara. I know that you need me. If only I could be with you, just holding your hand. Why couldn’t I protect you? I have to protect you. I love you so much...”
After saying goodbye to Victoria, Jonathan had gone into the building to do the test. Now, he was on his way to Michiru’s once more, hoping against hope that he could talk with her again and maybe change her mind. He tried to reach her with his car phone, but Michiru let the machine pick up.
Aggravated, the coach rolled her eyes as the phone rang for what seemed like the 20th time. “Damn it!” she cursed. “Why can’t he stop harassing me?!”
To take her mind off of it, she switched on the TV and zapped through the channels, trying to find something interesting.
The doorbell rang.
Michiru rose and opened the door. The surprise she felt in the first instant faded and turned to real happiness. A big smile appeared on her face, which was returned by the person in front of her. “Sam! It’s so good to see you. My, look at you. You’re shining brighter than the sun. I think that means you and Liz got back together, huh? Come on inside and tell me everything.”
They had barely made it to the living room as Samantha hugged the other woman tightly and almost lifted her off the floor. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she gushed. “I know it’s all your doing that everything is alright again.”
Michiru blushed, a bit embarrassed about all the praise. “Oh Sam...”
“No, no, no, don’t deny it.”
“I’m happy when you are happy. You two deserve to be happy with each other, more than anybody else.”
Samantha’s grin broadened another notch. “I have more good news. I think I know who my father is.”
Unable to be still, Samantha paced in the room. Her heart was pounding and breathlessly, she said, “The past days, I’ve been thinking about it all. And now... I can feel it. I think it’s Jonathan Parker.”
Michiru’s eyes widened in shock. “What are you saying?”
“I think, it’s true. I want to meet Jonathan, tell him about it and see what his opinion is going to be. Everything fits.” Her eyes were sparkling with joy as she looked at Michiru.
Before the other woman could reply something, they were interrupted by the news. Automatically, both of them looked at the screen. “LIVE... a horrible accident on the freeway... many people dead...”
Suddenly, Michiru’s knees grew weak and Samantha had to support her to keep the small woman from sinking to the floor. “Michiru? What is it?”
“The burning Jaguar...” she sobbed in answer.
“You mean the burnt black car in the middle of the wreck?”
Michiru nodded and stuttered, “That’s... it’s Jonathan’s car...”
“How can you know that for sure?” Samantha asked, shocked.
“The license plate... do you see it? The one the fireman is holding... it’s Jonathan’s...”
“But... that would mean... that Jonathan died in this accident...”
Michiru nodded absent-minded and mumbled, “Why? Why? Oh Jonathan... Jonathan...” Tears rolled down her cheeks. “I still loved you... despite everything... I loved you...”
Confused, Samantha stared at the screen, shaking her head, not wanting to believe. “No, no... that can’t be true. I just found my father and now...” Crying, she fled from the loft.
Michiru was too upset herself to hold her back. She buried her face into a soft couch pillow. Heavy sobs overtook her.
*****STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT EPISODE...
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