FIUR and VLAMME

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HOLLYWOOD DREAMS

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For Disclaimers see Episode 1

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EPISODE 48

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***** A FEW DAYS LATER *****

Adrienne was staring at a couple of monitors as Simon entered her office, carrying a file under his arm.

“Good morning,” he greeted her cheerfully.

She grumbled something back without taking her eyes off the flickering screens, but Simon heard a good morning somewhere in the grunting noises. At least, he thought he had.

Looking over her shoulder, he inquired, “What are you looking at, Procter?”

Adrienne leaned back, opened a drawer of her desk and pulled out her silver cigarette case and a lighter. She took her time to light it. After the first drag, she finally responded, “I read all the letters that the stalker sent to Taylor Stuart and I also had a very interesting talk with our profiler this morning. The idea came to me that I should watch video tapes from cameras that show the backstage areas and audience areas of the halls where Taylor was performing.” Adrienne took another drag of her cigarette and continued, “If the stalker thinks that he is her Dad, he wouldn’t want to miss any of her performances and he probably wants to be as close to her as possible. I’m absolutely sure that the guy is somewhere on these tapes and I’m going to find him.”

*****

Sara, Matthew and Rose sat at the table, having breakfast. The young woman was playing with her food while she glanced at her father from time to time.

As Matthew noticed that, he asked, “Is there something on your mind, sweetheart?”

Sara quickly shook her head, turning her eyes back to the scrambled eggs on her plate.

Silently, they continued eating, but Sara didn’t stop glancing at her father until it became too much for him. “Sara, out with it!” he demanded. “There is something on your mind, stop denying it.”

She hesitated a moment longer and then finally blurted out what had been bothering her for a couple of days. “Daddy, is it true? Is Dorian Turunen really my brother?”

*****

Sighing in frustration, Adrienne rubbed her eyes. For hours, she had been sitting in front of the monitors, watching video tapes. Until now though, her search had been quite unsuccessful. Suddenly, she became aware of something as she looked at the screen again. There was a cleaning guy, who swung a broom and whistled. Taylor, who had just returned from a performance, went past him to go to the locker rooms. The man stopped working and watched her dreamy-eyed for a moment before he turned back to his broom.

Adrienne could see that his lips moved, but the tapes were without sound so she had no idea what he was saying. She printed a picture of the man where his face could be seen in good quality.

Then, she reached for the phone and dialed a number. “Hey Spence, it’s Adrienne. Could you spare me a moment of your time? No, nothing world-changing. I just need you to do some lip-reading... Yes, that’s it. I might just have a trace in the Taylor Stuart case.” She hung up and looked at the printed picture. “Well, I’d say we have our first suspect.”

Adrienne put the picture aside and reached for her coffee cup. She took a small sip and her face contorted in disgust. There was nothing worse than cold coffee. With a curse, she put the cup away.

The door opened and her partner came in, carrying two cups of fresh, steaming coffee.

“Ahh, my lifesaver,” she exclaimed.

“As always perfect timing, huh?” Simon grinned and gave her one of the cups. “So? Did you find something yet?”

She held out the picture. “May I present... our first suspect.”

Simon took the picture and looked at it. “I don’t think you can arrest him just because he has a flashy keychain sticking out of his pocket.”

“Ha ha, very funny.”

He chuckled. “What is that supposed to be anyway? A penguin or a dog?”

“Some little stuffed animal. I don’t know and I don’t care.” Not wanting to continue with Simon’s jokes, she turned back to the monitors and put in another tape.

After a while, she rewinded it a bit and paused. “I’d call this interesting,” Adrienne mumbled. “Simon, come here. Have a look at this.”

He bent over her shoulder to see the screen.

She let the tape roll. “It’s a different ice hall and apparently a different man but again, he watches Taylor as she passes him by and his lips move as if he is saying something...”

“... and he has the same flashy keychain like the man you just showed me a picture of,” Simon finished for her.

Adrienne nodded. “That can’t be coincidence. I’m sure it’s one and the same guy. He thinks, he’s so smart to appear in different disguises... Newsflash buddy, we are smarter and now we will get you,” she hissed at the screen.

*****

It was in the afternoon.

Elizabeth was sleeping on the couch, her head resting on Samantha’s lap.

The brunette was very happy that her wife was finally getting some rest after all the stress and horror of the past weeks. Carefully, she brushed a few blonde strands off her forehead.

Samantha’s gaze went to Tasilo, who was sitting in front of the patio door, whimpering quietly to himself. Also, Jemima crept sadly through the house and a very uncomfortable thought spread through her mind. ‘What’s going to happen if the FBI is unable to find Taylor?’

In that moment, the telephone rang and Samantha contorted her body to reach for it without having to get up and wake Elizabeth. “Hello?”

“Hello, this is Agent Procter,” the voice at the other end of the line announced. “We will be at your house in about two hours. Invite family, friends and other acquaintances... as many as you can reach. There is something very important that we need to talk with you about.” With that, Adrienne hung up and Samantha stared a bit dumbfounded at the receiver in her hand, before putting the phone away. “This woman is really weird and seems to have no manners at all,” Samantha mumbled under her breath. “She must have had a very rough childhood and youth or something.”

She looked down at Elizabeth and shook her softly. “Angel? Angel? I’m so sorry, my love, but you have to wake up now.”

Elizabeth blinked sleepy-eyed, turned on her side and buried her face at Samantha’s tummy.

“The FBI just called.”

Suddenly wide awake, the blonde sat up. “What did they want?”

“They want to come here in about two hours,” Samantha explained. “We also are to invite family and friends to be present when they get here. There is something important that they need to talk about with us.”

“Okay, so we need to call Chris and Karen, Gillian and Jack. Maybe also Michiru.”

Samantha looked at her. “Did you not forget about somebody?”

“Uncle William can’t manage to come here from Scotland in two hours,” Elizabeth replied.

“I know that. Actually, I was talking about Sara.”

The blonde's face hardened. “No way!”

“But Liz...”

“No! I don’t want her here and I’m not going to discuss this!”

*****

Bound to the bed by the iron chain, Taylor lay there and listened to the silence. Lawrence had been gone for a while, which meant that he would be back any moment. Until now, each attempt to escape from her prison had ended in a failure, but she wouldn’t give up. Eventually, she would find a way to get out..

The key rattled in the keyhole, the door was opened and the crazy man entered the room. “Hello, my beloved daughter,” he greeted her.

Taylor felt her stomach churn in disgust and every muscle of her body tensed and cramped up as she heard these words. She did not turn around to look at him.

“What would you like today? Pizza or pasta? Or maybe some fried chicken?”

“Go to hell, you mean rat bastard!” Taylor spat.

Lawrence sighed. He felt a bit insulted and responded, “My, we are in a bad mood today, aren’t we? Well, I’ll prepare dinner. Maybe your mood will have improved in about an hour?”

Then, the girl turned around, glared at him fiercely and lifted the middle finger of her right hand.

His eyes widened in shock. “Just what have those horrible people been teaching you? It’s about time for you to learn some manners and show some respect! And if I have to beat it into you, so be it!” Lawrence raged and stomped from the room, banging the door shut and locking it.

Taylor curled up, alone in the room and alone with the fear. Her heart was pounding strongly. What if that guy would have one of his scary temper tantrums? She wrapped her arms around herself and fought the tears that were burning hotly behind her closed eyelids. “I need to get out of here... I need to get out of here...” she kept whispering.

*****

Elizabeth, Samantha, Christopher, Karen and Gillian were in the living room as the FBI agents arrived. They had tried to reach Michiru, but unfortunately to no avail.

Without speaking a word, Agent Procter took the printed pictures of the man out of her briefcase and spread them out on the table.

Simon Chapman kept to the background, leaving everything to his partner.

The doorbell rang.

Elizabeth excused herself to open the door.

Jack entered. “I’m sorry, I’m late. Traffic was horrible.”

They went to the living room where Adrienne pierced them with a dark glare due to the interruption. “Is everybody finally here?” she snapped.

“Yes, please continue,” Elizabeth replied, trying hard not to snap back at the woman. The agent's rude behavior was really getting to her.

Adrienne pointed at the pictures. “This is our number one suspect.”

“Who of the five men?” Christopher asked, frowning.

“Our suspect is very clever and intelligent. You see five different people but it really is one and the same person, who uses disguises to move around unnoticed. Often camouflaged as a cleaning person, he was always in the backstage areas and so in close proximity to Taylor when she performed in ice halls.”

The news shocked the group.

“How did you find out that it is one and the same guy?” Christopher inquired.

Adrienne smiled superciliously. “Two things,” she answered. “First, every time Taylor passed him by, he watched her for a moment and mumbled something. One of my colleagues is a master at lip-reading. He found out that the man said the words ‘soon, Daddy will take you home’. “

“Oh God, that bastard!” Elizabeth hissed.

Samantha placed an arm around her shoulders and Karen hugged Christopher, who was also fighting his emotions.

“What is the second thing?” Gillian asked.

“This keychain,” Adrienne answered. “It’s on each video tape, it's sticking out of the man’s pocket.” The agent pointed at an enlarged picture of it. “I don’t think that a lot of people have something as noticeable as that, so it can’t be coincidence.

Samantha had a long look at the picture. “I’ve seen one like that not long ago,” she stated. “But the man, who had it, did not look like the ones you have pictures of.”

“Could you describe him?” Agent Procter asked, getting excited.

Samantha grinned cheekily. ”I could draw him for you.”

Christopher stormed out of the room to get paper and pencil for her.

Ten minutes later, they had a wonderfully drawn gray and white picture of the man.

“Oh dear God, I remember him,” Gillian exclaimed. “He was at the hospital with a heavily bleeding head wound a few days ago. I guess his data concerning name and address will be wrong though.”

“Why was he bleeding on his head?” Elizabeth inquired.

“He told me that the cupboard in his kitchen came loose and fell on his head.”

“Do you know what that means?” Elizabeth asked. She continued when everybody looked at her questioningly. “If this guy is really Taylor’s kidnapper... it means that she is still alive and probably fighting him. God, we have to find her!”

Jack had a look at the picture that Samantha had drawn and his eyes widened in recognition. “That’s him! A few weeks ago this guy was standing in line before me at the grocery store. He told me that he had just taken his daughter home. That was one day after the night where Taylor disappeared!”

Elizabeth's legs gave way.

Samantha managed to catch her in the last second and helped her back to the couch.

“Okay,” Agent Procter said grinning and rubbed her hands together. “We have a lot to do. Let’s go and catch this bastard.”

*****

Sara lay on the bed in her room and zapped through the different TV channels. Dorian had just left after a visit with her father. She didn’t know how to act around him. The news that he was her brother had hit her like a ton of bricks. There were questions on her mind that bothered her, but she did not have enough courage to ask them. Why didn’t Matthew stay with Dorian’s mother? And why didn’t he know for so many years that he had a son?

Her mind drifted to another situation that was the cause of many a sleepless night. Taylor. Days went by without any sign of her friend and Sara grew more and more restless. She didn’t dare go to the Stuarts or call them to ask if there were any news. “Liz will never forgive me,” she muttered. Then she turned on her back and stared at the ceiling. “Taylor, just where are you?”

***** ONE WEEK LATER *****

Armed with binoculars and other observing equipment, the FBI agents and their team were waiting for Lawrence to leave the grocery store that he had just entered.

“Everybody knows what to do,” Agent Procter announced. “As soon as he comes out, we will follow hot on his heels. He will lead us to the place where he’s hiding Taylor.”

Simon Chapman nodded in agreement.

Adrienne looked through her binoculars again. Over the walkie-talkie she was informed that the bug had been placed on Lawrence’s car.

“Good. Everybody take your position and keep your eyes open.”

About thirty minutes later, Lawrence came out of the grocery store, holding on to a couple of bags.

“There he is,” Simon pointed out.

“Alright. Operation ‘Ice Princess’ will start now,” Agent Procter replied.

They waited until Lawrence was out of sight.

Hidden safely in a van, Adrienne switched on a small monitor. A map of Los Angeles became visible where a moving, green dot was blinking. She grinned in triumph. “Now we will get you, you son of a bitch. And pray to God that the girl is still alive when we get there...”

*****

Alexander was completely and utterly stunned as he walked down the stairs and found his mother in the kitchen. “Mom? You are home...” he stated wide-eyed.

She had been taken to Anchorage a few days ago after the police there thought that she was somehow involved in the attempted murder of Samantha. The man they had caught claimed that Catherine had hired him. Of course, she denied everything and with her money and influence it was easy to get out of that.

Greatly annoyed, Catherine gave him a look that could have killed. “Yes, a circumstance that I only owe to the wonderful work of Steven McLure,” she snapped. “He got me out of that horrible prison in Anchorage.” Still glaring at her son, she continued, “At least somebody is concerned about me and my wellbeing. My family doesn’t give a damn, or so it seems. My daughter is not talking with me anymore and my son doesn’t think it’s necessary to call and ask how I am.”

“Did they drop the accusations?” Alexander wanted to know.

“Not completely, but it’s only a matter of time. I have the best lawyer one could wish for. Tell me, what did I miss while I was having detention pending trial in Anchorage?”

*****

Trembling, Lawrence leaned against the door that led to Taylor’s hideout and wiped cold sweat off his forehead with a tissue. “They are here,” he whispered in a panic. “I don’t know how, but they found us. I have to pull the final ace from my sleeve. I will not stand by while they take my beloved daughter away from me.”

He went to the bathroom, taking a syringe and a tiny bottle with a clear fluid from a cupboard. Lawrence filled the syringe and threw the bottle in the trash can. Then, he went to the living room, got his revolver and put two bullets in.

Lawrence stuffed the weapon into the waistband of his pants. Tears welled up in his eyes, as he thought about what he would have to do now. “I’m sorry, Taylor. They don’t leave me any other choice. Only like this, we can be together forever.”

*****

Perturbed, Christopher was pacing the living room and looked at his watch about every thirty seconds.

Karen sat on the couch, nervously biting her finger nails.

Staring at the phone, Elizabeth was standing with crossed arms next to it, hoping that it would finally ring and bring some good news. After a moment, she ran her hands through her short hair in frustration. “This waiting is driving me absolutely crazy,” she exclaimed.

Samantha chose that moment to enter the room through the patio door, closely followed by Tasilo and Jemima. “Any news yet?” she asked, raising her eyebrows hopefully.

Elizabeth shook her head.

“I hope everything will work out,” Christopher mumbled and sat down next to his wife, nervously drumming his fingertips against his knees.

*****

Taylor’s eyes grew wide as the door opened and she discovered Lawrence with the syringe in his hand. She wriggled in her bonds, trying to get away from him but all she managed to do was hurt her wrists and they began to bleed again.

The girl fought like a Berserker and shouted for help at the top of her lungs. She kicked him with her bound legs, but he didn’t seem to notice.

Lawrence threw himself on top of her, forcing the air from her body so that Taylor could barely breathe.

In the next moment, she felt the sting in her arm and a few seconds later everything became blurry in front of her eyes.

Tenderly stroking her cheek, Lawrence said, “I really am so sorry. That was the last time you had to feel pain. From now on there will be no more.” With sweaty, trembling hands, he reached for the revolver and placed it against Taylor’s forehead. “Soon, we will be truly united.”

He was just about to pull the trigger as the door flew open and a shot rang out.

Disbelieving, he looked down at his chest and saw that blood was spreading over his white shirt. Slowly, Lawrence turned around and discovered the FBI agent that stood in the door, pointing her gun at him.

Carefully, he climbed off the bed and staggered towards Adrienne, his face turning into a mask of rage. “Why couldn’t you just leave us alone?!”

“DROP THE WEAPON!” Adrienne ordered.

Lawrence slowly raised his arm to aim at the FBI agent.

She fired again and the bullet hit him in the leg.

He fell to his knees but got up once more.

“DROP YOUR WEAPON!!!” she screamed even louder.

“I WON’T, YOU BITCH!!!” Lawrence roared and stormed towards her.

Agent Procter pulled the trigger of her gun a couple of times. The bullets hit the man in the chest until he finally dropped to the floor. Blood was dripping from his body as he took his last breath. “Taylor... come... with... me...” were the last words that came over his lips before he died.

Adrienne stepped over him, went to the bed and freed the unconscious girl from the bonds. She pulled the empty syringe out of her arm that was still stuck there. Pressing a button on her walkie-talkie, she announced, “We need an ambulance! He gave her a shot of something and her pulse is pretty low. Other than that, she seems to be very malnourished.”

After having made sure that the crime scene was clear, Simon entered the room.

Adrienne looked at him. “Call the Stuarts. We found Taylor and she is alive... at least for the moment...”

*****

“Finally, we’re back home,” Michiru said and Jonathan closed the door behind them. Immediately, they were greeted by very happy babbling.

Michiru hurried into the living room, where Billy was sitting on the couch, holding Sakura.

The little girl reached out with her tiny arms, squealing in happiness as she saw her mother.

Michiru took her into her arms and held her tight. “My sunshine, I’ve missed you so much,” she whispered into a tiny ear.

Jonathan joined them, stroking his little daughter’s back.

Watching the happy couple, Billy beamed.

“Thanks for being our babysitter again,” Michiru said, smiling at her best friend.

He made a declining hand motion. “No problem. I’m so glad that you are back.” Billy sounded very relieved.

“What’s wrong?” Michiru wanted to know.

Billy looked at Jonathan. “Catherine has been calling about every hour today, demanding to know where you are.”

“What? Why?” Jonathan asked, very surprised that his former wife would want to know that.

Billy shrugged his shoulders. “She said, it’s about your daughter.”

Michiru’s eyes widened and she thought, ‘Sam...’

“My daughter?” Jonathan frowned. “Sakura?”

“No, I don’t think it’s about Sakura.” In a small voice, he added, “Her constant calling got so on my nerves that I accidentally blurted that you’re on your honeymoon.”

“Billy!” Michiru exclaimed in dismay.

“I know, I know. I’m sorry.”

Jonathan patted his back. “Don’t worry. Sooner or later she would have found out about it anyway. I will drive over and see what she wants. If it’s not about Sakura then it’s about Vicky.” He said goodbye to his wife and daughter with a kiss to the cheek and left the loft.

Billy also went home.

Nervously, Michiru started pacing. “It can’t be about Vicky. That wouldn’t make much sense. Somehow Catherine must have found out that Samantha is Jonathan’s daughter... Oh God, I have to go to Sam and tell her. Jonathan must not hear it from Catherine. She will just dish out another lie. Sam has to tell him... the truth.”

Michiru left the house with Sakura. “Hopefully, we won’t be too late.”

*****

Only a few minutes had passed since the ambulance arrived at the hospital. Dr. Lewis and the paramedics had rolled Taylor into a room. Her body suddenly started to jerk and jump uncontrolled.

While the paramedics were holding down the girl’s arms and legs, Gillian yelled for a nurse to get her something that would help with the seizure.

“If only we would know what the bastard gave her... this is a matter of life and death.”

*****

Elizabeth hung up, her feelings a mixture of worry and relief.

Agent Chapman had just called to tell them that they found Taylor and that she was in the hospital.

Looking at the others, she said, “Taylor is in a very critical condition. She is fighting for her life.” No matter how hard she tried to keep them at bay, the tears came anyway.

“Oh God,” Christopher mumbled, not knowing what else to say.

Samantha was also feeling helpless. “At least they found her and she’s alive...”

Elizabeth didn’t listen. Like a headless chicken, she ran through the room, searching for something. “We have to go,” she muttered. “Where are my car keys?”

Karen patted her husband’s knee and Christopher said, “I think it’s better if I drive.”

“Well, then hurry!” the blonde demanded, on the verge of being hysteric. “Our little sister needs us!”

“Liz, please calm down,” Samantha said with tears in her eyes. “I know what you think, but Taylor is not going to die.”

Glaring at her lover, Elizabeth hissed, “If she does, then Sara will be responsible. That’s for sure! It’s all her fault anyway!”

“Don’t you think it’s the stalker’s fault?” Samantha asked.

Christopher chimed in. “Sara is Taylor’s best friend, Liz. You know that.”

“No best friend would want my little sister to drive a motorcycle in the middle of the night, during such bad weather!” Elizabeth raged.

Samantha was shocked. She had never seen her wife as upset as she was now. Gathering her in a hug, she begged, “Please, you have to calm down.”

Elizabeth held on to her and took a couple of deep breaths. “I can’t forgive Sara. I just can’t.”

The brunette kept her silence. She just held her and prayed silently that everything would be alright. Samantha knew that it was only the strong concern about Taylor’s wellbeing that had her wife in such an uproar.

“Let’s go to the hospital now,” Elizabeth said, her voice sounding a little bit calmer.

*****

“Quick, doctor, hurry,” the nurse said, giving Dr. Lewis the syringe. “Her heart is racing out of control. She’s near a circulatory collapse!”

With a serious expression, Gillian stuck the needle into the girl’s arm and emptied its content into the vein.

Only a moment later the jerking stopped and Taylor lay motionless on the table.

“You did it!” The nurse smiled.

Unfortunately, the girl’s heart chose that moment to stop working.

In disbelief, Dr. Lewis and the nurse stared at the monitor, which showed a flat line and a drawn out beeping noise sounded.

“DAMN!” Gillian exclaimed. “Get me the defibrillator!”

*****

They were sitting in the car on their way to the hospital.

Suddenly, Elizabeth tensed and begged her brother to hurry. “Chris, you have to drive faster! Something horrible has happened, I can feel it.”

Samantha placed one hand over her own heart. With the other, she reached for Elizabeth’s hand and squeezed it.

The blonde returned the squeeze, before she leaned against her and buried her face at the brunette’s throat.

The engine howled in protest as Christopher sped up. Soon they had reached the hospital.

*****

Meanwhile, Dr. Lewis was still fighting for Taylor’s young life. Again and again she shocked the girl’s chest. “Come on, Taylor. You’re strong. Don’t give up. Fight!”

The seemingly endless minutes ticked by. The monitor beeped, still showing a flat line.

Elizabeth appeared at the door, gazing shocked through the small window at Taylor’s motionless body.

Before anybody was able to hold her back, she kicked the door open and stormed into the room. “TAYLOR! Wake up, please!”

There was no reaction on the monitor.

Elizabeth took her sister’s pale face into her hands. Tears were running down her cheeks as she sobbed, “You can’t die, sweetie. You can’t! We need you! Please, wake up. Wake up!”

“Let’s try once more,” Gillian announced. “One more time. Liz, please step back from the bed.”

The blonde stared at the line on the monitor, willing it to move.

Dr. Lewis shocked the girl once more.

The small body jumped.

There. The line moved, showing Taylor’s heartbeat, which grew steadier by the second.

Elizabeth and Dr. Lewis took a deep breath in relief.

The rest of the Stuart family had arrived at the room. Greatly relieved and happy that everything would be fine now they fell into each other’s arms.

Elizabeth looked down on Taylor and stroked her forehead. A strong hand was placed on her shoulder and she leaned back into the body behind her.

Samantha placed a little kiss on her wife's neck.

*****

Taylor had been brought to a room of her own.

Christopher, Karen and Elizabeth stood around her bed.

Still weak from the ordeal of the past few weeks, the teenager just lay there, happy to be with her family again.

“I’ve got great news,” Christopher blurted, looking down at his little sister. “While I was parking the car earlier, I received a call from Uncle William. I told him that you are back with us and he was very relieved. He also said, he would come visit us soon and he would bring a very special surprise.”

“I hope it’s a new cool game for my PlayStation,” Taylor croaked, a small smile showing on her face.

“He said it would be a surprise for all of us.”

“Oh.”

Elizabeth nodded. “That’s typical for Uncle Will to speak in riddles. We will see what it is once he gets here. I do like the fact though that it will be something for the whole Stuart clan.”

Christopher grinned. “Yeah, even though the clan is not that big.”

“That doesn’t matter,” Elizabeth replied seriously. “Still, blood is thicker than water.”

The whole time, Samantha stood beside the window and gazed out of it, thinking. As she heard Elizabeth's sentence, her eyes turned to the people that had gathered around Taylor’s bed. Everything suddenly seemed so strange to her and her wife's words echoed through her mind again and again. ‘Blood is thicker than water... blood is thicker than water...’ She felt as if her heart was pierced by a sharp knife and her hand enclosed the medallion of her mother. ‘What do I have? Nothing. Liz has a loving family that supports her and catches her in times of need, but I... I only have traces of a past. A puzzle, where most of the pieces are missing and I can’t talk about it with anybody.’

Her eyes came to rest on Elizabeth. ‘My love, you can’t understand this chaos of feelings that’s raging inside me. I don’t understand it myself because I know that your family is also my family. But I would so like to know about my real family.’

Samantha was brought back from her thoughts as Elizabeth's voice rose in volume. “No Taylor. I don’t want Sara anywhere near you ever again. I don’t want her to visit you here at the hospital or later at home. I want her to stay away from you!”

The teenager was rendered speechless. She had never seen her big sister act like that.

Gillian opened the door and entered the room. “I’m sorry, but you all have to leave now. Taylor needs lots of rest. You can come back tomorrow morning.”

*****

Catherine moaned in pleasure, while strong fingers were massaging the cramped up nape of her neck. “Oh, Steven, thank you. That feels so good.”

The lawyer stepped back from Catherine’s chair and adjusted his tie. “It really bothers me that you are having such a rough time lately. I just want to do all within my powers to make you feel better.”

She rose and smiled at him. “You really are a very sympathetic man. Sometimes, I feel like I’m going to lose my mind with everything that’s happening. Everybody is accusing me of something.”

After a break, she added, “Just what is keeping Jonathan?” Anger was clearly audible in her voice. “He should be back from his honeymoon with that little slit-eyed whore.”

Steven grabbed one of her hands and breathed a tender kiss against the knuckles. “Calm down, Cathy. Everything will work out. We are holding all the aces in our hands.”

“Yes,” Catherine grinned. “And the traitor will never recover from the blows he is soon going to feel.”

*****

Sara was staring out of the window and tried hard to think of Dorian but again and again this thought was pushed away by another; Taylor.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door and she whirled around. “Come in, please,” she called out.

Matthew entered. “Dr. Lewis just called. Taylor...”

“What about Taylor?” she interrupted him.

“They found her and she is okay,” Matthew replied calmly. “She is at the hospital.”

“What about the Stuarts?”

“They’ve already been visiting her.”

Sara nodded. “Good, good...”

“Is that all you have to say?” Matthew asked, greatly surprised. “I thought you would immediately storm out of here to race to your best friend.”

Sara looked at the floor and answered in a small voice, “I’m sure, I am the last person she would want to see. Taylor must hate me.”

“I don’t believe that.”

“What do you know?” she hissed angrily.

“I know that Dr. Lewis called because Taylor wants to see you.”

Looking at him in disbelief, she stammered, “W-wh-what?”

Matthew nodded.

“Yeah right. Probably only to tell me that it is all my fault. The bad thing about it is, she’s absolutely right.”

Matthew wanted to console his daughter, but he knew that only Taylor would be able to change her mind and make Sara see that the kidnapping wasn’t her fault.

“Okay, I will go then,” Sara announced.

Shortly before she disappeared into her car, Matthew said, “We have to talk this evening. It’s important.”

“About what?” she inquired.

“Business is forcing me to go back to Australia. Rose will accompany me. I’ll leave it up to you, if you want to come with us.”

Sara swallowed. “That will be a hard decision.”

He nodded, knowingly. “Until later. Give Taylor my greetings and tell her I wish her a speedy recovery.”

*****

The doorbell rang at the Parker house and Catherine said, “Isaac has the day off.” She rose and was just about to go and open the door, but Steven held her back. “I will open,” he told her, giving her one of his charming smiles.

“You are such a nice man.”

Steven disappeared for a second and returned with Jonathan.

“Good evening, Catherine,” he greeted her.

Her face hardened. It had been a while since they last saw each other. “Do I have to congratulate you to your third marriage?” she spat.

“I wanted to tell you in person,” Jonathan answered. “I’m sorry you found out like that.”

“Yes, yes, yes.” She waved him off. “Let’s not waste our time with mushy talk.”

“Of course.”

“One of the reasons I wanted you to come over is to inform you that you are no longer a part of my will.” Catherine paused and then added acidly, “Because of your affairs.”

Jonathan wanted to make a comment, but thought it best to keep his mouth shut. There was no need for a fight. He wanted to get out of here as soon as possible to return to Michiru and Sakura.

“I have made a new one all for myself. You will not get anything. The same goes for Victoria.”

Jonathan pricked up his ears. “So, this is about Victoria?”

Catherine frowned. “Of course. Or do you have so many daughters that you can’t remember?”

Steven McLure took a deep breath and wanted to say something, but Catherine cut him off with a sharp hand motion. “I know that Jonathan isn’t Vicky’s true father. Still, he is responsible because he accepted her as his daughter and was her father for all these years.”

“I never said anything different,” Jonathan defended himself.

Catherine scrutinized him. “Good. Steven, it’s your turn now.”

The lawyer turned to Jonathan. “You are here today to sign a couple of papers concerning the movie company. It will release you from all duties.”

“Congratulations,” Catherine added sarcastically.

Jonathan noticed that she had turned into a very bitter woman. “I told Vicky that I’ll still be her father. I created a bank account for her so that she will never have to worry about her financial situation.”

She just glared at him.

“Okay. Let me read it and then I will sign.” He walked over to the desk and sat down.

Steven leaned against the book case, waiting patiently.

Catherine went to the small bar and poured herself another glass of whiskey. It wasn’t her first drink this evening.

*****

Samantha was lying on the couch, while Christopher, Karen and Elizabeth played with the twins.

The doorbell rang.

“I’ll go get that,” Samantha announced and rose.

In front of the door, she found Michiru, who was holding Sakura on her arm. “Sam, it’s good that you are here. I have to talk with you.”

“Come on inside,” Samantha replied quickly.

Michiru entered. “We don’t have much time. Get your medallion.”

Samantha was confused. “I always carry it with me.” She pulled it out and opened it. The beautiful melody rang out.

“I have to show you something. I had forgotten about it, but now I remember.”

“What?”

Michiru went to the living room.

Elizabeth rose, looking at Taylor’s coach in concern. “Michiru? What... Sam?”

“Hi,” Michiru replied. “I’m sorry that I’m disturbing you at such a late hour. I came to pick up Sam. Could you please take care of my daughter?”

“Of course,” Karen replied smiling and reached for Sakura.

“Mommy is going to get Daddy,” Michiru told her. “You stay here and be a nice girl. Have fun playing with Chrissy and Colin.” She placed a little kiss on Sakura’s cheek and then grabbed Samantha’s hand. “Come on, it’s time to meet your past.”

Samantha nodded, but there was fear in her eyes.

“Sam, what... I’ll come with you and stand by you, no matter what,” Elizabeth decided.

“No,” the brunette responded, looking at her sadly. “I have to do this on my own. It’s about my family.” She looked at her medallion and then at Michiru. “Let’s go.”

Elizabeth watched them leave. Tears welled up in her eyes. “Sam... what did I do?” She couldn’t understand why her wife didn’t want to be accompanied by her.

*****

Carefully, Sara stuck her head through the door of Taylor’s hospital room.

Immediately, the teenager looked up and grinned as she discovered her. “Hey. Ain’t that fair? Now you have to visit me at the hospital and entertain me.”

Sara walked to her and sat down on a chair beside the bed. “Actually, I thought you wouldn’t want to see me after everything that happened.”

“None of this is your fault,” Taylor replied. “Don’t let anybody talk you into feeling guilty... even if it is my sister.”

“She talked with you about it, huh?”

Taylor nodded. “She ranted and raved is more like it. I’m sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry.”

“I got to know a couple of things. That crazy stalker guy had been after me for a long time. If he wouldn’t have kidnapped me in that night, then it would have happened some other time.”

Sara sighed. “That’s not making me feel better, you know? I’m just glad it’s over and that you are mostly okay.”

“Me too.”

Silence fell and Taylor watched her friend closely. “Something else is on your mind. Tell me. At the moment, I can’t run away.”

Sara gave her a crooked grin. “My family situation changed.”

The teenager blinked. “What?”

“I have a half-brother.”

Taylor’s mouth fell open. “Who?”

“It’s Dorian.”

“Now that is... wow... unbelievable.”

“It’s true and it’s confusing me.”

“Does he know?” Taylor inquired.

“Yes. I want to ask him so many things and I don’t know how. It’s driving me crazy.” Sara sighed again and rubbed her temples

“Go to him. Right now,” her friend decided.

“You think I should do that?”

“Yes, don’t waste any more time. It’s a very cool thing to have a brother. Now, get out of here and come back tomorrow to tell me how it went.”

*****

Michiru stopped the car and turned off the engine.

Samantha looked at the cemetery and then her questioning eyes turned to the woman beside her.

“Step out of the car and then follow the way until you come upon a grave, which is been guarded by the statue of an angel,” she said.

“But... Michiru...”

“Go, Sam. If you want to solve the secret of where you come from, you have to go.”

Trembling, Samantha climbed out of the car and gazed at Michiru. “Please, come with me.”

The other woman shook her head. “No, Sam. This moment only belongs to you.”

It turned darker and the wind picked up.

Samantha entered the small cemetery through the squeaking iron gate and walked along the pebble-covered path. She pulled her jacket tighter around herself. Her long dark hair was blowing in the wind. She slowed her steps as she saw the angel statue coming closer and closer. Samantha was scared of what she would discover, but on the other hand, she couldn’t wait to know, who she really was.

*****

At the same time, Elizabeth was pacing in the living room with her arms crossed in front of her chest. Even though it wasn’t her intention, everybody else present grew nervous due to her constant walking up and down.

The twins began to cry, which brought the blonde back from her absent state of mind.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she apologized. “It’s just because of Sam. I’m having a real weird feeling...”

“I would tell you to follow her, but you don’t know where they have gone,” Christopher responded.

Karen nodded. “Yes. The whole thing is very mysterious.”

Brooding, Elizabeth thought about what Michiru had said and came to a conclusion. “The Parkers! It must have something to do with them... I have to check into that... I have to find Sam!”

*****

Samantha knelt in front of the grave with the tombstone Kayla Parker. A bouquet of red roses had been placed there. They looked as if they had been put there just a couple of hours before. Tears were streaming out of her deep blue eyes as her fingertips gently caressed the inscription. Samantha’s body shook from heart-wrenching sobs. “Mama... I can feel it... you are my mother...”

*****

Elizabeth stopped in front of the Parker estate, thoughtful to keep her car hidden in the dark. “Michiru’s car is not here. Maybe I was wrong? Should I ring the doorbell?” She thought about it for a moment and then decided, “Nah, better not. I wouldn’t know how to explain my presence here.”

Elizabeth sank back into her seat. “Oh, Sam. Just where are you and what are you doing?”

*****

Samantha jerked as she felt a hand on her back.

Michiru had followed her. It was her hand.

Sniffling, she rose from the ground.

“Jonathan took me here once and I have been thinking about her a lot. I wanted to bring you here for a long time but then so many things happened,” Michiru explained.

Samantha nodded. “But now it’s time for the truth to be revealed. I’ve been living in uncertainty about my heritage far too long. Finally, everything is beginning to make sense and I don’t want to wait any longer.”

Michiru patted Samantha on the back encouragingly. “It’s your right. Let’s go.”

*****

“Ah damn, the bottle is empty,” Catherine muttered. “I’m going to get me another one.”

“Catherine, I think you have had enough.”

She scowled at him. “Stop telling me what to do, Jonathan. I can’t bear the situation otherwise!”

“Please, let me get it,” Steven chimed in.

Catherine shook her head. “No. I can’t stand being alone in the same room with him.” Still angry, she left the study and went down to the kitchen to get another bottle of whiskey.

Jonathan turned to Steven. “So, you come here often?”

The lawyer didn’t bother to answer. He was not interested in small talk with him.

“It’s great that you are taking care of Catherine. She needs help and support.”

Steven still didn’t say anything.

“I really am worried about her,” Jonathan tried once more. “You have to believe me.”

Suddenly the doorbell rang. After a few seconds, the ringing turned more and more anxious.

Steven frowned. “What the hell?” he left the study, followed by Jonathan.

Catherine appeared in the hall, holding another bottle of whiskey. “What’s the meaning of this?” she ranted. “Who’s disturbing my peace and quiet? Steven, open the door. Now!” She waved the bottle at him and he did as he was asked.

Samantha stood in front of the door. She entered without being asked to do that.

Catherine’s eyes widened. “NOOO!” she yelled as she found herself pierced with a glare from deep blue eyes.

Steven was very confused and looked from one person to the other.

Jonathan had grown pale and just stared at the new arrival.

*****

Dorian opened the door and couldn’t believe what he saw. “Sara. Hi,” he greeted her. “Come in.”

She shook her head. “No, better not.”

“It’s alright. Vicky isn’t here,” he responded and winked.

Sara smiled. “Okay. I’d like to come in then.”

Dorian led her to the living room where they sat down on the couch, neither one of them knowing how to begin a conversation.

“So? Do you think it’s cool having a brother?” Dorian asked. “I think it’s cool having a sister.”

Sara smiled. The ice was broken and they began to talk.

*****

Michiru stood at the gate to the Parker house and looked at the villa. “Oh Sam, why do you want to do this on your own?”

Elizabeth stepped out of the shadows and joined her. “Sam entered the house of the Parkers. Why?” she wanted to know.

Looking deeply into the other woman’s eyes, Michiru replied, “Her family.”

“So, it’s true then. Jonathan really is her father?”

Inside the house, Samantha held out her arm. The medallion lay on her palm. She opened it and the dreamy melody sounded.

“What’s the meaning of this?” Catherine screeched.

Samantha was only looking at Jonathan. She wanted to see his reaction. “Shall I read the inscription?” Not waiting for an answer, she began in a broken voice, “For my beautiful...”

“...Angel Kayla. In love, J,” Jonathan finished.

Samantha started to cry and the man in front of her was also unable to hold his tears back. “Until today, I’ve been always considering the feelings and wishes of others. The truth has to be revealed now.”

“What wild stories are you trying to make up?” Catherine demanded. She wanted to tear the medallion off Samantha’s hand, who quickly pulled it back and glared at the red-haired woman.

Catherine took a step back.

Samantha turned her eyes back on Jonathan. “A while ago, when we met at the grocery store you called me Kayla.”

He nodded. “Yes. Because you look so much like her. And now you have her medallion... what’s going on?”

Samantha took a step closer to him. She was shaking. “I was at the hospital in New York...”

Catherine gasped in shock.

“An old nurse named Laura Emerson told me her name. She was the midwife when Kayla was there...”

Holding his breath, Jonathan stared at her.

“Kayla gave birth to a daughter...”

“SHUT UP!!!” Catherine roared and threw the whiskey bottle at the other woman.

Samantha managed to dodge it without problem.

“Catherine? Are you out of your mind?” Jonathan asked, completely shocked by this turn of events.

“Ah, shut up, you fool.” She pulled a revolver out of her blazer and aimed it at the other woman. “She knows everything.”

Jonathan was confused. “What’s going on? What do you have to do with anything and why are you pulling a gun?”

The alcohol had made her mind foggy. “I will finish what the loser in Anchorage was unable to do. Besides, if she tells you or I tell you is making no difference anymore, since this little bitch knows everything. I was in New York.”

“What? What were you doing there?”

“What I was doing there? You really want to know that? I was trying to save our love that your pregnant slut had endangered!”

Jonathan shook his head in disbelief. “You were in New York with Kayla?”

She sneered. “Kayla was weak... the Caesarian operation had robbed her of her strength... you were not there... she wouldn’t have continued living anyway.”

“Oh my God!” he exclaimed. “You... you killed her?”

“Yes, yes, but there was still another problem. Your daughter, Samantha, was still there,” Catherine spat. “You would still not come back if you had her and she would have inherited everything. I couldn’t allow that... so, I hired Norman to help me make your daughter disappear. Was life nice in the jungle, Samantha?” she sneered at the tall woman.

“That’s horrible... just what...” Jonathan couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“MURDERER!” Samantha roared.

“SILENCE!” Catherine shouted back, lifted the revolver and shot at the ceiling.

Michiru and Elizabeth heard the shot. They ran to the house.

Alexander came racing down the stairs and looked at the small group in the entrance hall. “What the hell is going on here?” he wanted to know.

Michiru and Elizabeth stumbled through the door.

“Liz! Go away! It’s too dangerous,” Samantha yelled.

“Oh no,” Catherine chuckled and waved the revolver around. “Nobody is going to leave the party!”

“I’m asking once more. What’s going on?” Alexander replied.

“Stay out of this, my son,” Catherine told him. “She has the medallion. The one, you said Norman didn’t have anymore...”

“Mother, stop it! The whiskey is loosening up your tongue too much.”

Elizabeth looked wide-eyed at her former fiancée and suddenly, she understood. “You. That’s why the medallion was in your room. You had something to do with Norman’s murder...”

Alexander raced back upstairs.

“Oh no, you will not get away,” Elizabeth said and pulled out her cell phone. Not thinking twice about it, she quickly dialed the number of the FBI agents.

Catherine screeched enraged, because the situation was getting out of hand.

Steven had disappeared. Nobody had noticed that he had left.

She brandished the weapon about and aimed it at Michiru, who had fled into Jonathan’s arms.

Samantha wanted to go to Elizabeth to protect her.

Catherine whirled around as she became aware of the movement behind her and freaked. She started shooting.

Elizabeth screamed in fright and threw herself at Samantha, taking the tall brunette to the floor with her.

A straying bullet hit the rope that was holding the huge crystal chandelier that hung from the ceiling. It came loose.

Catherine looked at the ceiling as she heard the cracking. Whipping her arms up to protect her head, she only had time to scream as the chandelier came down right on top of her.

***** TWO WEEKS LATER *****

Bright sunlight fell through the window and bathed the room in golden light. Samantha lay behind Elizabeth, tightly pressed against her back. Her arms were wrapped around the blonde’s waist. Tenderly, she breathed little kisses on her wife's neck and stroked the soft skin of her belly.

“Hmmm,” Elizabeth moaned. “That is the nicest wake-up call, I ever had.”

Samantha grinned, rolled her on her back, bent over her and kissed her gently on the lips.

Minutes went by before they let go of each other.

“Good morning,” Elizabeth said, smiling.

Samantha returned it with a broad one of her own. “Good morning, indeed.”

Tenderly caressing the soft cheeks, Elizabeth looked deeply into Samantha’s eyes.

“I’m so glad that the nightmare is over.”

“Me too,” Elizabeth responded. “Catherine is dead and Alexander is in jail for the murder of Norman Kent. I hope the bastard will rot there for eternity.”

Samantha placed her head on Elizabeth’s chest, listening to the heartbeat.

Stroking the dark hair that spread over her chest, Elizabeth mentioned, “I wish, I could have gotten to know her.”

“Who?”

“Your mother.”

“Yes, I wish that too. After everything Jonathan... I mean, Dad told me, she must have been one very amazing woman.”

Elizabeth nodded. “I bet, she would have been an outstanding mother to you.”

“Angel?”

“What?”

“I wish that I could have gotten to know your parents.”

Smiling, Elizabeth replied, “You would have loved them.”

“I know. If they were just a tiny bit like you, then it would have been hard not to love them.”

Silence fell. They just lay there, holding on to each other and basking in their love, each wrapped up in their own thoughts.

“When can we go and pick up Taylor?” Samantha wanted to know.

“In two and a half hours. God, I’m so glad when she is back at the house. I think, I’ve never been so scared in my life as when the monitor showed the flat line or when Catherine pointed that gun at you.” Elizabeth shivered.

“Don’t think about it anymore, Angel,” Samantha said, holding her a bit tighter. “All of that is far behind us.”

“You are right. I really hope that our family can live in peace now. I don’t think my heart could take any more shocks.”

“Well... ‘The Oscar’ is this evening... What do you think how many shocks you are going to get if ‘Lords Of The Darkness’ gets one after the other?”

Elizabeth laughed and Samantha joined her.

“Okay, we still got over two hours. Just what are we going to do?”

Samantha waggled her eyebrows and licked her lips. “Oh, I might have an idea... or two...” she purred and her head disappeared under the cover.

Elizabeth's giggling turned soon into lustful moaning.

*****

In a sparkling, black evening gown, Shania Twain stood on the stage. With a beaming smile, she opened the envelope and announced, “The Oscar for ‘Best Movie’ goes to... ‘Lords Of The Darkness’!”

For the 12th time thundering applause rang out in the hall.

Once more, Elizabeth was moved to tears. She never had thought that the movie would be such a success. She went to the stage to take the prize and thank a lot of people.

At the after party, many people came to Elizabeth, to congratulate her or to ask her if she and ‘Stuart Films’ would like to partake in a couple of new movie projects.

While Shania Twain was singing her song ‘C’est la vie’, Elizabeth's eyes were searching for her little sister.

Taylor had begged and pleaded for hours to come with them, even though she should have rested some more at home.

Finally, Elizabeth found her in a corner where she was talking to Sara. She felt Samantha’s strong arm around her shoulder.

“Go to her and talk with her. Get it out of the way,” Samantha whispered into her ear. “You know that it wasn’t Sara’s fault. Besides, no matter how many times you will not allow it, Taylor and Sara are best friends and you know how stubborn your little sister can be.”

Sighing, Elizabeth nodded.

Placing a kiss on the temple of her beloved angel, Samantha added, “I love you. Now go.”

The blonde walked over to the giggling girls. She cleared her throat.

Sara whirled around and froze, her eyes widening in shock.

“Sara? Can I talk with you for a second?”

“Uh... uh... y-yes?” the young woman stammered.

“I want to apologize for my behavior concerning the mess with Taylor. Uh... could we leave the whole thing behind us and be friends again?” Elizabeth blurted.

Sara grinned. “Sure.”

Smiling, Elizabeth gave Sara a hug before she returned to Samantha.

“So? How did it go?” the brunette asked.

“Mission accomplished.”

“Good. Now we have even more to celebrate.”

*****

Meanwhile, Alexander sat in his cell, scowling at the TV.

On almost every channel they were talking about ‘The Oscar’ and how big a success ‘Lords Of The Darkness’ was.

“You just wait, Stuarts. Relish your happiness as long as you can. Soon, your beautiful dream is going to burst like a bubble. You will see, Liz. My time of vengeance will come. Then we will see, who has the last laugh!”

***** THE NEXT MORNING *****

Having been torn from her land of dreams by heavy ringing, Elizabeth waddled sleepy-eyed to the door. She also had a bit of a hangover.

Her face lit up as she opened the door. “Uncle William!” she exclaimed happily. “You finally made it!”

“Hey Lizzy, my precious,” he greeted her and wrapped her up in a strong hug. He let go of her and said, “Get the bunch together, it’s time for the surprise.”

It took about thirty minutes until the whole Stuart clan had gathered in the living room.

With closed eyes, Karen leaned against Christopher’s shoulder, while the twins were crawling through their playpen, babbling happily.

Samantha was holding on to Elizabeth, who was sitting on her lap.

Trying to keep her eyes from closing, Taylor hung in an armchair.

Grinning roguishly, William rubbed his hands. “Okay. Here is the surprise.” He opened the entrance door and led Victoria into the living room.

“Oh great!” Taylor spat sarcastically. “I was beginning to wonder where she had disappeared to.”

“Taylor!” William glared at his niece. “Show a little more respect towards your sister!”

The teenager blinked in surprise because never had her uncle yelled at her. Then, she looked at him frowning. “What does Liz have to do with this?”

“I’m talking about Victoria. She is your sister too.”

Taylor laughed at first but stopped as she saw his serious expression. “You are joking, right?”

“Taylor, it’s true,” Victoria said. “We have the same father.” Then she looked at the others, smiling bashfully. “I am your sister.”

Deadly silence ruled in the living room. The Stuart clan had been rendered completely and utterly speechless.

“Isn’t that great?” William exclaimed. “That’s a real wonderful surprise, don’t you think?” he pulled Victoria into his arms and kissed her cheek. “It’s official now. Welcome to our family.”

Dumbfounded, Christopher, Karen, Samantha, Elizabeth and Taylor looked at each other, trying to wrap their minds around what their ears had just received. To say it was a shock was putting it mildly. But... that’s the way life is.

*****

THE END... OF SEASON 3 :-)

Maybe there will be more...

 

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