Fatal Hesitation

(A story in the When Heaven Meets Hell series)

Part Two

© JM Dragon 2006


Love/Sex: This story features relationships between adult women. If this bothers you, is illegal in the State, Province or Country you live or if you are under the age of 18, find something else to read. There are loads of general stories out there.

Language: No strong language.

Violence: There is implied violence in this story.

Hurt/Comfort: There are scenes of heartache to be dealt with by the characters.


 The evening had been wonderful, from the delightful meal at the sailing club to the friendly banter she and Don always shared.  To top it off, they watched the glorious sunset from the small bridge close to her parent’s condo.

Breathing in the scent of the evening, she could smell the sea that was lapping at the shore and the pungent, but not unpleasant, aroma of the flowers that were growing beneath the trees lining the road to the beach. Another fragrance assailed her senses and she smiled as she figured out what it was, Don’s aftershave. At least she suspected it was the lotion. “Isn’t it a beautiful sight?” Amelia turned to her companion and blushed slightly as she locked glances with the man who wasn’t looking in any direction but straight at her.

 “Oh yes, it never fails to amaze me.” His flashing, white teeth against the tan-bronzed skin glistened as the moonlight caught them. For a moment, her thoughts shifted to her business partner as she wondered how she was doing without her to keep up on the filing. “Penny for your thoughts?” Don remarked quietly. He saw something in her eyes that he was sure didn’t have anything to do with where and whom she was with right then.

With a faint chuckle, Amelia looked down to the beach as she shrugged slightly. “Nothing to tell, I was thinking about work.”

Don gave her a hard look as he considered her words for a moment before replying. “I see. You mean me and this marvellous evening cannot distract you from thinking about the job? It must have a powerful hold on you… or maybe it isn’t the job. Maybe it is someone who works with you?” He didn’t know a great deal about her associates but he was sure she worked predominantly with women. That information he gleaned from various things mentioned by his parents.

For a second Amelia wasn’t sure how to answer him, his voice had taken on a bitter edge and she wondered why. “Oh Don, please you can’t be serious. Tonight puts everything else, including the work, in the background. I can’t tell you when I’ve enjoyed an evening so much, thank you.”

Although she should have known it might happen, what happened next had Amelia reeling. Don bent down and kissed her gently at first before the pressure increased with his mounting passion. The passion was what had the alarm bells ringing inside Amelia’s head. This isn’t exactly how I planned to tell him we can never be anything more than friends. Pulling away from the embrace, she was thwarted by his strength. It wasn’t until she pummelled him on the chest and brought him out of his emotional out-pouring, that she was able to get free. Oh great this is way out of my league. Moving away from him, she saw his eyes glazed with passion as he struggled to keep control of his emotions. Amazingly he did, almost as quickly as he had fallen foul of them.

“Amelia I’m so sorry I don’t know what got a hold of me. No, that wouldn’t be right. I do know…you have. You enchanted me as a child, then as a young woman, and today the feelings haven’t changed.” He spoke softly, as though she was a child, as he reached out and took hold of her hand before she could prevent him.

Swallowing hard, she smiled gently. This isn’t going to be easy. “Look Don, you and I have known each other for years it’s natural that you have feelings for me, but…” she was prevented from finishing at that moment as he held his fingers to her lips.

“Don’t Amelia. Please don’t give me all that psychological babble. I know how I feel, have always felt about you and now you’re free. I want you to know that I’m waiting for you… have always waited for you. I knew you’d return to me one day.”

Oh my goodness, Amelia’s thoughts crashed around her .This isn’t what I expected. Has he carried a torch for me all these years? Their romantic liaison was never a possibility in the past and it certainly wasn’t in the future. “Don, I’m flattered…of course I am. However, I took some serious vows years ago and it might look like I’ve left that life behind, but it’s always going to be part of me. Whatever I decide to do with my life in the future, I can’t be anymore than a friend to you Don.”

Don would not be thwarted. I’ve waited for her all these years and now that she is free I intend to make her mine. It doesn’t matter what she says, she’ll agree in the end, I’ll make sure of it. “Hey Amelia look, I’m sorry for coming onto you so strongly. Let’s call it a night shall we and see what tomorrow brings. We have that invitation to go sailing with the Courtney’s in the morning at nine. Let’s get you home for your beauty sleep.”

In a way, it was a relief to Amelia that he appeared to be taking her words seriously. At the same time, she felt there was an undercurrent in his manner that gave off an emergency signal. Tomorrow is another day and being in the company of another couple is a relatively safe option. After that, I’ll ensure I am never alone with him again. “Good idea, it has been a long day.” They walked towards the condo at a pace that would have had people wondering if rain was on the way instead of a perfectly balmy clear night.

+ + +

Sharon Agnew waited pensively for Detective Santos to arrive at her home. The detective had called to confirm her visit the day before. An hour earlier her phone call indicated she was on schedule and asked if the meeting at nine was still good. It certainly was and she sighed in relief that at last someone understood her plight and was going to help. She had lived in the town for most of her life so it was hard to stomach that no one believed her protestations about the predator who was stalking her. If not stalking her, the person was at least making a good job of pestering the life out of her. The messages, strange gifts left on her doorstep, mailbox, or at the school were becoming unbearable.

Even the principle of her school had written the events off as a prank by one of the kids. They will stop when they become fed up with their tricks and move on she was told. However, they hadn’t! Whoever was doing this had been sending her objects for the last eight months and the situation was now escalating. At first they were small, insignificant items like a comb, toothbrush and hair ribbons. Then they changed to offal from cattle and pigs. The last one had been a pig’s ear along with it a note - this could be yours. She had taken the offending item and the note to the sheriff and her complaint was relegated to the list when they have the time. The reason – the police were embroiled in the antics of teenagers threatening business’ in town. That had been the last straw. She knew then that only outside help could rid her of the problem.

Finding someone who could take on the case had been the difficult part. Several well known local state agencies had declined her business. Finally, beyond desperate, with eyes shut tightly, she blindly stuck a pin in the phone book. If it was luck or divine intervention she didn’t know but she had found an agency that would take her case. Looking at the concise printing on the detective’s card, she had to admit that the name of the agency had been off-putting. Who in their right mind would call a business, When Hell Meets Heaven? Whatever bizarre things her mind conjured up d with the title, she had to admit that the private detective appeared capable and interested, which was her main criteria. Now, she was sure things would move along and the situation would, at last, be put to bed.

The sound of tires crunching on the side drive of her house had Sharon quickly appearing at the window and looking out. A silver jeep was parked in the driveway and the vehicle door was opening. A black booted foot appeared followed by the lithe figure of the private detective. Twitching back the curtain, she waved at the detective who gave her a small, barely discernable acknowledgement as her eyes surveyed the surrounding area.  Leaving the window, Sharon headed to her front door and opened it. Now that the woman was there, Sharon wasn’t at all sure it was a good idea. What will the folks in town think if they find out? What does it matter anyway? They have no interest in me or what happens to me that is blatantly obvious.

“Welcome to Ransomville, Detective. May I offer you refreshment after your journey?” Sharon held out her hand and Olivia, who quickly surveyed the area around the house, shook the hand in greeting.

“Sure, I’ll have lemonade. A very cold one if you have it.” 

There was a tinkle of laughter from Sharon as she motioned for Olivia to enter then led her to the study. “No country girl would be worth her salt if she hadn’t detective.”

Not sure how to answer that one, Olivia merely nodded and followed her client. Inside the study, she noted that there wasn’t a piece of furniture out of place or any evidence that anyone ever used the room. A vast majority of the furniture looked brand new and barely out of the packing, while others, notably the chairs, hadn’t even had the cellophane removed. “Have you just bought these?”

Sharon looked at the objects in question, hesitated a moment then replied. “I guess you could say that.”

Olivia turned her head to the side and gave the woman a long, hard look, as she digested, not so much the words but the manner and tone of their delivery. Sharon Agnew is lying. Now why would she do that? Interesting. “If you want a hand in unpacking them I’ve been told I’m pretty good in that department.”

Sharon sucked in a deep breath as she saw the muscles ripple in the strong arms of the detective. I just bet you are and in other ways too no doubt, she thought as she shook her head. “I’ll take care of it later. Where are my manners? Let me fetch you that cold lemonade.”

Olivia carefully observed every item in the room. Having a great memory for that kind of thing had held her in good stead for years. Her instincts kicked in big time. Something about this place isn’t right. She couldn’t place a finger on what exactly but something was setting off alarms. Maybe the fact that the woman is spooked has a great deal to do with it. I bet once I get a look at the gifts and messages she’s received I will have a clearer understanding of what isn’t right.

Walking over to a desk, which was the focal fixture of the room, she picked up one of two photos. It was a group photo of what appeared to be a graduation. She had one herself hanging on the kitchen wall which was appropriate since it was the only place, other than the computer, that she spent any length of time. Placing the picture back in exactly where she had taken it from, she selected the second photo. It was more personal showing Sharon Agnew when she was a little younger with two other women. Perhaps they were her siblings, though there wasn’t any noticeable similarity in their features. They all looked happy, particularly Sharon. A sound behind her had Olivia replacing the photograph carefully and turning towards the noise. A faint smile played over her lips as she saw the expression on Sharon’s face - she wasn’t happy. “I have a graduation picture displayed at home, is this from yours?”

“Yes, I was top of my year and had the teaching world at my feet.” She shrugged. “Well that was what many of my lecturers said at the time.” An underlying bitterness permeated her voice as she placed the lemonade on the highly polished coffee table.

Olivia digested every movement and gesture of the woman. She is certainly edgy. “Know what you mean. Right, how about we look over your… keepsakes.”

     At the mention of the items, Sharon seemed more cheery. Another oddity, Olivia supposed. Where is a shrink when you need one? As she thought that, a genuine smile crossed her lips as the face of Amelia flooded her mind. A thought she banished into the background as she opened the large box stuffed with various objects and letters.

+ + +

Teal laughed as she replaced the receiver of her phone. Phil was going to arrive later to check that all the alterations had been completed and were as the doctor order… or in this case, the detective. The mere mention of Phil had Teal’s senses going into overload as she thought of the weekend they had shared. It had been nothing short of perfect and all she wanted was to be held in those strong, yet gentle arms again. Argh, who said working kept you alive in this mercenary world. I’d settle for love anytime. As she continued to wallow in her own daydreams, she failed to hear the phone at first, but then had to scramble to lift the receiver and sound professional when her whole body felt like jelly.

“Hello this is the WHMW agency how can I help?”

A familiar voice that held amusement, answered. “You can help by not spending the whole day, daydreaming about a certain party.”

“Oh darn it Olivia how did you know… I wasn’t anyway!” Teal spluttered out in self defence. A huge was grin plastered on her small face. The detective is good, way too good.

“Teal, can you do some leg work for me please?” Olivia asked politely. She normally would have asked Amelia but she was on vacation and Teal was the next best thing.

“Sure, how can I help?” Her adrenalin received a burst that had nothing to do with sex. This was an unusual and rare request.

Olivia smiled into her cell at the surprised, but excited tone. “I need to have a background check done on Sharon Agnew at this address. If you can’t find anything give Captain Tourney a call, his number is…”

“Oh hold it right there Olivia. How can I ask a police captain to do that for me?” Teal was astounded at the request. She knew that Olivia had friends in strategic places and apparently, according to Amelia, the captain and Olivia went back years. However, that didn’t mean she could ask for that kind of information. “What if he asks me why?”

There was a loud chuckle at the other end of the line. “David and I go back a long time Teal. Trust me, if he knows it’s for me he’ll find out. It will cost me a dinner date with him, but I’ll survive.”

“Oh he’s sweet on you, now I get it. No problem at all,” Teal announced pleased to find out that Olivia wasn’t as alone as she appeared.

There was a profound silence at the other end and then Olivia spoke quietly. “Just find out what you can about my new client. By the way, are the alterations to Amelia’s office and her apartment complete?”

Teal had a six-month learning curve of knowing when Olivia wanted to change the subject and this was that time. “Yes, Phil will be here this afternoon to check out the finished product.”

Drolly, Olivia remarked as she ended the conversation, “I suspect that isn’t all Phil is checking out. Call me when you have the information… sooner rather than later Teal, bye.”

The mention of Phil’s name did that somersault thing to her stomach again as she drifted off for a few seconds into her own dream-world that existed just for her and Phil. Oh if only. Then she pulled herself back to her professional mode and began the task of finding out as much as possible about Ms. Sharon Agnew. A question tumbled in Teal’s mind, why didn’t Olivia do this research earlier.

+ + +

Amelia sat comfortably in the window seat of the conservatory in the condo. She had a book resting on her lap and apparently was in the process of reading. However, the pages had not been turned. To anyone looking, she gave the impression of serene peacefulness - that was far from the truth.

The day before had been a relative success - she managed to never be alone with Don for even a second. His demeanour had been relaxed and cheerful and clearly he thought nothing untoward had happened between them. She spent the day with the visage she wore for the public at large, but that changed when she returned home later that afternoon.

“Don, I’m sorry I have a terrible headache so I’m going to pass on dinner tonight.” Don hadn’t taken it well and she was sure he was suspicious of the well used excuse. Fortunately, she hadn’t had to fabricate an excuse for her parents who had seen her lacklustre smile when she’d greeted them.

“A nice long bath will relax you after the day out,” her mother said casually. Dutifully she had done that and in many ways it had been good for her… except for one thing. Her thoughts had drifted to work, or rather the agency, and the two people she missed the most, Olivia and Teal.

It was becoming clearer through the haze of indecisiveness she had worn like a mantle since leaving the convent, that very soon now she had to make a choice. There was no diverting the issue for much longer. After her vacation, she had to decide what was best for her and the people involved in her life. Will it be the convent and the order or the agency and my friends? At times like these she wished she had someone to confide in - someone like Sister Marie. Although they hadn’t been in each other’s company for any great length of time, she felt the spiritual aura the Sister wielded reach into her soul at times. It made her realise that she had a say in what her life should be and to not hide behind the mantle of the order she, for so long, had thought to be her place in life. Still, she couldn’t quite divest herself of either of the lifestyles she had indulged in. If only a halfway house existed that I could happily attach myself to. That way I could live my life in both camps.

That night her parents decided to spend the evening in. They had a pleasant enough meal and watched TV together afterwards. Her parents, recognizing she had decisions to make, knew they could only stand by and watch. That was a particularly hard thing to swallow as they watched their child flounder knowing they could not help her in any way. Right now, all they could do was wait and hope for the moment when their child decided to trust them with her problems. And, that could possibly be never. The evening slid by and finally they all decided that an early night would be beneficial on them all. Particularly for the young woman who appeared to be fighting her own brand of demons inside her head.  

The next morning Don phoned and Amelia had pulled a face which was duly noted by her mother. “Don, you can’t monopolise Amelia’s time for her whole vacation. We need some time too,” she said in a motherly fashion. “We are having a family outing today.”

 “Really?” Don said confrontationally.

“Yes, dear,” her mother said with a slightly worried expression in her eyes.

 “Okay. Can I speak with her?”

“Don I will tell her you called and she will call you back later.”

“Fine,” he said apparently taking it well.

After she hung up the phone, she turned to her daughter. “You know, Don is a lovely boy darling, but don’t you think that you should tell him that you’re not interested in him romantically?”

Amelia scowled at her mother. It was something she hadn’t done in years and all her convent preparations and training hadn’t diminished her ability to be upset with her parent. “Mother, I tried he doesn’t seem to want to listen.”

Shirley West was pleasantly pleased at the outrage on her daughter’s face for it meant that her petulant child was still inside that public serene image she had shown to the world since adopting the church and God as her life. “Well you didn’t try hard enough, the boy is clearly besotted. What do you think Pearson?”

Amelia’s father slid the newspaper down slightly and looked at the two women in his life, just like old times. His grin was evident as he finally answered, “I think Amelia is old enough and wise enough to deal with this situation. Now, if you two don’t mind, I’m checking out my shares.” He pulled the paper back up and immersed himself in the ups and downs of the share market.

With a puffed out sound that wasn’t comprehensible, Shirley continued her act of preparing more toast. They’re two peas from the same pod.

That had been three hours earlier and Amelia was now alone with her thoughts again. What she wouldn’t give for a couple of therapy sessions with one of her patients right now to take her mind off her own problems. Perhaps that is another avenue. Instead of Sister Marie, maybe I should see one of my own. As the idea permeated her thoughts, she shrunk from it. I am a physiatrist after all, surely I can figure out my own problems. Finally opening the book her mother had given her she began to read. A romance, well of course!

+ + +

Olivia had reluctantly left Sharon Agnew, who was attending a meeting at the school. She would take the time to take stock of the small town. From what the woman had cautiously said, there were plans well on the way for closing the school in town and bussing the children to the larger one twenty miles away. Maybe the woman has more on her mind than the person or persons who are sending her the obnoxious messages.

As she crossed the main street to check out the local sheriff’s office, she was amazed that people still lived in places like this. Talk about a one horse town. The placard outside the town indicated that a mere 800 people lived there. As she scanned the main street, she saw the prerequisite barber shop, hotel, diner, doctor’s office, sheriff’s office and a local store that seemingly sold everything under the sun. At least that was what she deduced from her cursory glance while passing the building. A small bank flanked the end of the street on the left and to the right was the railroad depot. Inside the three metre square building they called a station she suspected, was the last of the Western Union telegraph offices. It was a completely out of date method of communication and she was glad for the new technology. On the western edge of the town was a church, traditional in style, wooden structure probably from the 1800’s. The local school was on the eastern edge of town which was in the opposite direction from Sharon’s home. That really wasn’t a significant point since everything was in walking distance for anyone living in the town’s vicinity.

As she reached the sheriff’s office, she stood for a moment deciding on her approach. She could be adversarial, which wouldn’t take much effort from her or she could actually be nice, which would take a great deal of effort. Well, I’ll decide once I met the guy. Opening the door, she stepped inside and was slightly surprised when a female voice asked her, “How can I help you?”

Olivia had made the same assumption most made about her - that the sheriff was a man. Quickly displacing her surprised expression with a slight smile, “Hi, I’m looking for the sheriff.”

The woman stood up from behind her desk and motioned Olivia forward. She had a beaming smile on her attractive, fresh looking features. Her bright glossy brown eyes held a spirit within them that held Olivia’s attention. Usually that meant that the person was intelligent. “Well you’d be looking for me. I’m Sheriff Mason, how can I help?”

At least this seems like it is going to be a pleasant experience. One thing she did know, a bright attractive woman was a bonus when it came to her job. Usually, she came across the dregs of society and the police she met were usually world weary men. Holding out her hand, Olivia offered it to the sheriff. “I’m Olivia Santos a private detective. I’m working for Sharon Agnew.”

Although the sheriff took Olivia’s hand she dropped it quickly when she mentioned her client’s name. “I see. She finally decided to do something on her own about that nonsense she’s been spouting about around town.”

Having seen the notes and gifts, the sheriff’s summing up of the situation appeared completely wrong. Perhaps she isn’t as intelligent as it first appeared. “Have you seen the items she’s been receiving, especially the new ones?”

“Ms. Santos, I don’t think there is anyone in town that hasn’t seen the box of mementos she carries with her everywhere. However, I did offer to have my deputy look into her case as soon as he was free from a trial he is involved with.”

Olivia pondered the statement for a moment. “I’ve seen this kind of thing before when I was on the force myself and, in my experience, it usually means trouble.”

Sheriff Mason digested the comments and then motioned for Olivia to take a seat. “How about we have a coffee and I’ll give you a little background and you can do the same for me.”

  The words didn’t hold any sting, but Olivia knew that the sheriff was going to attempt to gain more information from her than she was ever going to receive regarding Sharon Agnew. Glancing at her watch, she decided time wasn’t on her side for a lengthy friendly chat with the local enforcement. “Sorry Sheriff I have other things to do right now, but if you want to know if I’m good at what I do call this number.” Olivia selected a card and tossed it on the desk and the sheriff picked it up immediately. Before she could respond, the private detective had left.

Turning the card over, Sheriff Mason pulled at her lower lip deep thought.

After leaving the sheriff’s office, Olivia decided the diner was always a good source of local gossip in a town this size and anyway, she was in dire need of lunch. Crossing over the street, she entered the diner, which had the same quaint feel as much of the town. She glanced at the clock on the wall. It was lunchtime and by the looks of the place it was filling fast. Finding a booth that was empty, she sat down and checked out the surroundings. The place wasn’t proportional to any she had eaten at in the city but it didn’t need to be very big in a town that small. After all, it wasn’t exactly the heaving metropolis of the countryside either. Picking up the menu, she would have been amazed if she saw other than the general basic meals offered by any small outlet. The place was clean and tidy but a little shabby around the edges giving the place character.

“Hi there what can I get you?” A waitress had appeared at her shoulder, pen poised over a note pad and waiting. How is it they have a knack of doing that? Maybe I’ll have to take a course because it sure would be handy in my line of work.

“What do you recommend?” Olivia peered up into the misty grey eyes of the waitress, who was of average height and weight. Pretty much nondescript.

The waitress took on that bored expression as she recited the regular menu items and then a couple of the chef’s specials.

“Okay thanks. I’ll have the scrambled eggs with hash browns and a side order of fries. Coffee black and thanks for your help,” she said though it would be difficult to say the woman had been any help at all.  Maybe it was her tone of voice or the fact she said thank you, that made the waitress appeared to shoot out of her boredom and grin back enthusiastically. “Sure thing, I’ll bring that coffee.” 

With a wry smile, Olivia gazed around the place taking special not of the people seated there. They all looked normal - or as normal as you could ever term a human being. Mentally sifting through the items Sharon had shown her, Olivia created in her mind a plan of action of how to find out who was doing this to the woman. The one thing that kept popping into her head was that she would need to stay overnight and take up a surveillance point near the house. Maybe more than one night. Hopefully the perps will make themselves known over the weekend. Otherwise I’ll have to have to call Teal and cancel my schedule until the middle of the week. She’ll have to call Andy to step in for me on the smaller cases.

Andrew Garcia had been a young man in need of direction eight years earlier. She and Max, her partner in particular, had entered the breach and bailed the youngster out of trouble. They put him on the straight and narrow before he became a lost cause. Over the last eight years he’d gone back to school and even ended up with a college degree. He graduated in psychological before entering nursing school. From time to time, to supplement his training income, he had done a few simple odd jobs for them. Now, a fully accredited nurse he was working in the hospital psych ward. He had had a year’s sabbatical in Eastern Europe and returned to the city shortly after Max’s death. As Olivia thought about the young man, she supposed she should mention him to Amelia sometime. They have something in common. As she pondered, she wondered, why haven’t I told Amelia about him? Hmm interesting. Teal is going to be surprised too. She hadn’t been informed of Andy either.

“Here’s your coffee, anything else you need give me a holler.” The waitress disappeared as silently as she arrived.

Sipping the steaming coffee, she pulled a face as the gravely mixture entered her mouth. Wow this is worse than any I’ve had from a vending machine. Replacing the cup on the saucer, she felt eyes looking at her. Lifting up her eyes to see who was looking, she realized it wasn’t just one pair but several. As she stared back she saw they were looking at her in curiosity rather than any animosity. As it was in a small town, the gossip mongers would be out in strength if they found out why she was there and who she was working for. As with many people when confronted, they looked away and these country folk did just that. Olivia considered trying the coffee again, but decided instead to drink from the glass of water. Her lunch turned out to be a rather interesting event mostly because she received more furtive glances than a Hollywood star.

As she left, she gave the waitress a large tip and a wink as the woman said, “Anything you need just to head in my direction.”

Hmm wonder what anything means. Still she had no time to dwell on such things and decided to head back to the Agnew home and make plans for her stakeout. Tonight I am going to get the sucker who preys on lonesome women.


 Teal knew Amelia was going to love the new additions to the office, hers in particular, not to mention the addition Olivia had arranged for her apartment. It would have been so easy for Amelia to go home with tail between the legs and live with her parents again once she’d effectively left the convent. However, Amelia being Amelia, didn’t want that. She said, who wants to go back to living with parents when you’re in your thirties. Teal had offered her a place to stay as she had a spare room in her apartment, but that was declined too. She reasoned that living and working under the same roof with a person was too much. I need my personal space.

The notable person who didn’t offer her a place to stay had been Olivia. It was true the detective didn’t know Amelia that well, but even so, from what Amelia had indicated from her view of Olivia’s home, she hardly used the place for much more than a place to sleep. Not that it would have mattered, Amelia would have used the same stock phrase she’d used on Teal… I need my personal space.  Though, Teal had the distinct feeling Amelia would have taken up Olivia’s offer. A part of her had been a little jealous of that aspect of her friend’s surmised relationship with the detective. What had happened had been better all round, as Olivia knew of an apartment.

The death of Max Anderton caused a vacancy that Amelia was happy to fill. Olivia also didn’t appear aggrieved that her deceased partner’s home was now being taken over by the new partner. She had called it the right choice. The place was close to the office and had its good and bad points. Olivia living in close proximity was a major plus, even if the detective rarely made her presence known on the weekends. Amelia had spent a fortune on changing the décor and generally upgrading the establishment, so much so it was hard to associate the old place with the new. Now, the new addition to the apartment would be a wonderful surprise for Amelia and one Teal knew the doctor would love immediately.

The insistent sound of the phone ringing had Teal heading towards her desk and retrieving the instrument. “Hello this is the WHMH agency, how can I help?” They had decided from the early days, at least she had, that reducing the agency name to initials was a good idea, and less intimidating.

“Teal, how are you doing?” Amelia sounded reassured to hear her voice.

“Amelia, it’s wonderful to hear from you. How was your first week?” Teal was worried about her friend and was very pleased to hear from her. All the changes had to be taking their toll in more ways than her friend would probably accede.

There was a few moments silence and immediately Teal knew something wasn’t right. Amelia was such a spontaneous person. “For the most part great, my folks were pleased to spend some time with me.”

“Oh. There’s a but coming, right?”

“Can’t sneak anything past you can I Teal?” Amelia smiled at her end and shook her head ruefully. The sound of Teal’s voice is what I needed.

“You never were a very good liar. Do you want an excuse to come home?” There was no point pussy-footing around the issue, she knew her friend too well. The renovations to the apartment were done so it was safe for her to come back home.

With a relieved sigh at the end of the phone, Amelia breathed out her reply, “Yes.”

“Great, well I think I can say that you’re needed here. Even our intrepid detective would agree if she was around. Pack your bags. Want me to book you on a flight out of there?”

“No, I’ll make my own travel plans thanks Teal. How is Olivia? Busy as always I suspect.”

Teal smiled; yep there is more going on under the deep waters between those two than even they understand. “At the moment I actually think she’s taken on a job she isn’t quite happy with. I’ve even had to call the police captain friend of hers for information. If you ask for my opinion, she could probably do with your expert help.”

“Oh you’re only saying that Teal, we both know she’d never admit that she needs…my help. Though it’s nice to think she might at some stage.” Amelia sounded resigned to the fact Olivia would probably never say she needed her partner’s help.

Teal’s brow furrowed as she dwelt on that comment, stranger things can happen. “Call her cell and say you’re free and ask if she needs any help with any leg work?”

“You know I might just do that Teal, thanks for the information. See you when I get back. It should be late afternoon tomorrow.”

The call ended and Teal wondered if Amelia really would call Olivia. It just may be one of those moments when the ice is broken and things change forever. Her mind returned to her own dreams and a certain party.


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