~ Echoes of the Past ~
J. M. Dragon & E. O'Reilly
© J.M. Dragon  &  E. O'Reilly 2007


This story primarily features stories involving women. If it is illegal in the state, province, or country in which you live; or if you are under the age of 18, please find something else to read.The events portrayed in this story are fictional and any resemblance to actual events and/or people is purely coincidental.

Language - Violence - Hurt/Comfort:  There are elements of strong language, violence,  physical and/or mental, as well as emotional hurt and discomfort in this story.

The events portrayed in this story are fictional and any resemblance to actual events and/or people is purely coincidental. 

Acknowledgments - Thank you Teresa and Alice for your invaluable help in editing this story.

Dedication: This story is dedicated to Parker who graciously let us use her name.

Author's Note:   This story the third storyline to J.M. Dragon's When Heaven Meets Hell and Fatal Hesitation. Although it is not necessary to read these two stories it might give the reader more background.

Please Note: Although we have completed the writing of this story, edits are an ongoing process. Rather than have our readers wait until the editing is complete we chose to start posting now.

This story is brought to you by:

JM Dragon author of Define Destiny and New Beginnings (to be released later this year by Intaglio Publishing).

Erin O'Reilly author of Revelations and New Beginnings to be released later this year by Intaglio Publishing.

Chapter 30

With zombie like precision, Amelia woke, showered and had her first cup of coffee before leaving for work took control. When she glanced at the clock, she groaned. “It’s only six-ten, I can’t remember the last time I got up this early except in my novice days.”

She looked around for any evidence of activity - nothing. Olivia is usually up and around by now. Olivia! She let out another groan of deep misery. Their argument the night before had cumulated in the rash statement - she was leaving. Was it rash though? Haven’t the cracks in our relationship been appearing for some weeks? I don’t know why she won’t be honest with me and admit that she loves Parker and wants to start again. That thought ran a tremor through her body that made her heart jump in reaction. She doesn’t want me here and I don’t want to be here like this…at least we agreed on something.

She sipped the hot coffee feeling abject misery crashing around her. I’m glad I’m alone right now. Others would think my world was ending – it is. “I guess the best thing for me is to leave everything and that includes our business partnership.” Teal should stay. She likes Olivia and they work great together. I bet Parker will fit in so perfectly that they won’t even miss me.

She sighed deeply and automatically reset the coffee pot for Olivia before setting off on her journey to the office. Traffic was light as Amelia steered her vehicle into her parking spot. As she looked at the two other spaces, sadness enveloped her. She normally was the last to arrive. Today I’m going to be first for the last time. Talk about irony. It was a little strange for her to open up the office, but she managed to remember the security code and entered the lower floor that they owned.

I remember when we argued about rental or outright purchase. Olivia wanted to rent. A precaution she said in case I change my mind. I said it wouldn’t happen. She was right to doubt me. After she flicked on the lights she passed Teal’s office space. I’m going to miss working with you Teal, but you’ll understand you always have. Her leaden feet took her to the corridor where her office door and looked to the far end of the hallway where Olivia’s office was. On impulse, she walked past her door and tried to open Olivia’s – locked. I should have expected that. Retracing her steps, Amelia unlocked her door and stepped inside. The aroma of the leather furniture and the polished wooden surfaces filled her nostrils. She felt tears roll down her cheeks as she hugged her arms around her middle. When all around her was changing, she could enter her office and know she was safe in her own environment. I’m going to miss being here.

On shaky legs, she walked toward the bookcase and began fingering the old and well used volumes. With a resolve, that she dragged up from a place deep inside, she began to take them off the shelves.

+ + +

Teal didn’t know what to expect, after hearing the devastating news of Parker’s passing. Olivia will probably take some time away…she will if Amelia has anything to do with it. As she turned her vehicle toward her parking spot, she was shocked to see Amelia’s car parked there. Why isn’t she at home comforting Olivia? She never gets up early.

After entering the first floor office suite, she didn’t immediately see anyone, but the light was on. She walked a short distance and heard the gentle thud. What’s she doing?

Teal knocked on the door but didn’t wait for a reply. She opened it and dropped her head around the opening. “Hey, I wasn’t expecting you.”

Amelia, with a book in hand, stopped and turned to face Teal. The quiet comment was almost her undoing as she drew in a deep breath. “I have stuff to do. Besides, it makes a change for me to be early.”

“Yeah it does, but frankly I thought you’d want to be with Olivia,” Teal replied as the rest of her small body joining her head in the room. She spied the numerous books strewn across the desk and a box that was on the floor. “ What’s going on Amelia?”

“Nothing, absolutely nothing! Its time for a change that’s all.” I am not going to cry…I will not. How can I admit Olivia wants me out of the way for good?

Taking steady steps toward her friend, Teal knew something was drastically wrong and it had to involve Olivia. Surely, any problem could have waited until after the funeral…this is weird. “Has this anything to do with Parker?”

That woman, again…will her name ever feel anything other than a hot poker to my heart? “Yes, Olivia has decided that she’s more important therefore, I’m leaving.” Amelia flung the book she held down on the table and it bounced once before landing with a thud and breaking the spine as it hit the floor.

Teal asked, “You’re leaving I don’t understand?”

“I’m leaving the business and Olivia’s home. When I find new premises I’ll have you send my things. Olivia and I decided last night that it was the best thing for us both. Besides when Parker moves in…”

“Hold up there babe,” Teal said as she edged closer to her friend. Doesn’t Amelia know Parker died? “When Parker moves in? Let me get this straight. You think that Olivia is going to take up with Parker again. Didn’t you see her after she came back from the hospital last night?”

Something in Teal’s tone caught Amelia’s attention. “Yes. She made it clear, or at least I made it clear for her, that Parker still loved her therefore she didn’t need me around as a spare wheel. She agreed.”

A hand went to Teal’s mouth as she stopped a squeal of distress. “You and Olivia argued last night over Parker?” Teal saw the pain etched on Amelia’s features.

Amelia said, “She said I cramped her style. I guess she’s right. I’m an ex-nun on the run from my own emotions and I can see how that would cramp anyone’s style. I said I’d leave today and that’s what I’ll do. She and Parker will be great to work for Teal. You’ll like Parker, she’s like Olivia, but lighter if you know what I mean.” In the cold light of day, she wasn’t so sure her angry words of the night before were what she wanted. She was still angry at Olivia’s belligerent attitude, but she knew that would pass.

Teal closed her eyes. “Parker died last night Amelia. She died in Olivia’s arms. There’s never going to be them again. What I don’t understand is why she didn’t tell you.”

Parker’s dead. Oh, no Olivia would have blamed herself. My god what a fool I was. I was blind…a selfish fool intent only on my feelings while completely disregarding what she was going through. I should have seen the anguish…why didn’t I see her pain. “What am I going to do Teal, I didn’t know. She just let me rant and rave, why did she do that?”

Amelia’s distress filled the room as Teal rushed forward and hugged Amelia around the waist. For a few seconds they remained like that until Teal sighed. “You need to go home and speak with her. She needs you right now.”

“I don’t think she thinks that Teal.”

“Maybe not, but we both know that you can help her through this. It’s who you are. Your empathy with people crushes any other emotion that gets in the way. Please Amelia, go. The friend who told me about Parker said she was worried about Olivia.”

Amelia’s eyes flew open wide in shock. “What do you mean?”

Teal shrugged. “She said Olivia looked like she could kill someone or might do something…perhaps even herself. Did you see her this morning?”

“Oh no, she can’t…God, please don’t let her do that,” Amelia cried. “I didn’t see her and that is unusual, but I was so hurt and angry that I never considered that she was there. I need to go. I’ll call you Teal…I promise.” She fled the room leaving Teal with the chaos inside.

+ + +

Amelia was surprised she hadn’t received a ticket after she broke every speed limit on her way home. Once at the garage door, she fumbled with the security key to open the doors. Inside she ignored her designated parking slot and parked in the middle of the garage. Olivia will be furious at my action if she’s home…she’d better be. Without looking around, she shouted, Olivia…Olivia…you up yet?” The words echoed off the building’s walls – no reply.

With her heart beating rapidly, she took a deep breath, knocked gently on her friend’s bedroom door, and entered. “Olivia, are you…” The crumbled bedclothes were the only evidence she’d slept there.

She didn’t hear the shower running and she hoped she wasn’t in the bathroom. A multitude of horrific scenarios traveled her thoughts. With a tremulous quiver of her lip, she wondered what she might find if she opened the door. A part of her expected to see Olivia slumped on the bathroom floor - she wasn’t. Thank you God, thank you, I owe you big time.

Ok so she’s not answering and it looks like she isn’t here. Then Amelia saw the open drawers and blinked rapidly as she headed for them. They had a ransacked look of someone packing at speed. She’s left me! As the voice in her head announced the fact, Amelia felt an incredible loneliness invade her.

She walked like a zombie when she finally exited the room for the computer console. Only then did she notice for the first time that the Jeep was gone. Was it there when I left earlier? Hard as she tried, she couldn’t remember. My blind rage was in control…I didn’t see anything else. With trepidation, she opened the mailbox they used for private messages between them. It blinked - no messages.

In a blur of tears, Amelia picked up the phone extension and dialed Teal. “Hello this is When Heaven Meets Hell how may I help you?”

When she heard Teal’s voice she thought, I think that’s exactly what I’ve done right now met hell headed-on. In a voice that was strange to her, she said, “Your friend was right Teal. Olivia was involved in a killing, but she didn’t instigate it…I did. I think our relationship is dead.” Then she burst into tears as the grief of the tragic situation hit her hard.

Chapter 31

The church, filled with somber people grieving the passing of one of their own. For Ruth, Ed, Frank and Crystal the day was surreal. Parker was voted the most likely to succeed in high school along with the best girl athlete. The outpouring of people attested to the fact that she was important to far more than her immediate family. Before the service began, many of the attendees paid their respects to the family.

Sophie Durant stood in the line nervously waiting to speak with Parker’s family. With the help of Stevie, she made her statement to the police before traveling back to Parker’s hometown. Stevie was her rock and Sophie felt a genuine fondness for the woman although they had only known each other for a brief time.

Finally, it’s my turn. “Mr. and Mrs. Davis, I am so sorry for your loss. I didn’t know Parker that long, but in the time that I had with her I found her to be a wonderful, loving woman. She was someone I will always remember for her humility and kindness.”

With stoic faces, the couple shook the woman’s hand. “Thank you, Sophie. We are grateful for your kind words and support,” Ruth said.

Sophie’s heart broke for the Davis’, but she had said what she needed to. No sense telling them we had a brief affair. As she walked down the aisle, she looked for Stevie and smiled briefly until she spotted someone else – Olivia Santos.

+ + +

The night before the funeral, Olivia watched through a window as the family sat with the coffin. She was glad to see that they kept the coffin closed. I want to remember Parker the way she was not as a cold, unmoving body.

The next day she discreetly joined the entourage shortly after the hearse left the funeral home. When they arrived at the chapel, she watched as the family entered the small building behind the coffin. A debate went on inside her head as to if she could actually attend and pay her respects without losing it altogether. Public displays of emotion are not my scene. What she hadn’t expected was the arrival of Sophie Durant and Stevie.

She placed a hand of the younger woman’s shoulders. “What are you doing here Stevie?” Olivia asked.

Surprised, Stevie jumped slightly before spinning around to see Olivia behind her - she gasped. “Olivia, I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“The unexpected occurs, isn’t that why this is happening? You didn’t answer my question. Why are you here? We never attend funerals of colleagues. It isn’t wise in our line of work,” Olivia said.

Stevie nodded her head in agreement. “Yeah, I know, but I told the Durant woman I’d make sure she got here.” She looked at Olivia and wondered if she’d changed her clothes or slept since Parker’s death. It doesn’t look like it “I am certain there are no other assassins out there, but I didn’t want to take that chance.”

Olivia stared at the woman speculatively. So good old Sophie has moved onStevie’s too good for her. “I’ve been checking. Believe me if I could prove there was anyone else they wouldn’t be alive now.” She had the feeling that Evelyn wasn’t in it alone, but couldn’t come up with any proof. “It’s over. The Durant woman can get on with her life.” She lifted her eyes. “Speak of the devil.”

“That’s good to know.” Stevie too saw Sophie making a beeline for them. “I think you might want to make yourself scarce. She doesn’t have a very high opinion of you right now.”

“You think I care about her opinion. The only opinion that matters to me …” She caught Sophie’s loathing eyes as the woman reached them.

“How dare you show your face here,” Sophie growled.

Stevie moved between the two women. “Listen, I know you both have strong opinions about the other, but this really isn’t the time or the place.” Her voice softened. “Why not wait until later.”

“There will never be another time.” Olivia’s eyes locked on Sophie. “Just say what you need to Ms. Durant and I’ll ensure we are never this close to each other again.”

Olivia’s calm response had Stevie’s senses on edge. “Are you certain you want to do this in here?” She eyed the church full of people. “You two should take this outside.”

Olivia felt several pairs of eyes on them. “Stevie’s right,” she whispered. Without another word, she slipped away and sat in a pew mingling with strangers.

Once they left the chapel and most people were in their cars, Sophie grabbed Olivia’s arm and screamed, “You murderer!” How dare you come here and act as if you cared about her! We both know you didn’t.” Sophie gritted her teeth. “You’re the only one responsible for her death…how can you live with yourself?” She moved closer and began pounding Olivia on the chest. “How could you have been so cruel?”

“It’s time to go,” Stevie said. “The helicopter is waiting.” She touched Sophie’s arm. “Come on we need to go now.”

For her part, Olivia allowed the physical act of aggression and anger. At least this way I get bruising on the outside as well as inside. It’s no more than I deserve.

With a hateful look, Sophie glared at Olivia one last time. “May you rot in hell for what you’ve done Santos.” Then she took Stevie’s arm and turned away

“You need to take care of yourself Olivia. I’m sure your friend Parker didn’t think the same way as Sophie. I’ll see you around,” Stevie said.

As the rotor blades swirled into action, Olivia climbed into her jeep and followed the other mourners to the cemetery.

+ + +

From the limousines window, Ruth saw the altercation between Sophie and Olivia. She was disappointed that Olivia didn’t come into the house with them, but she knew that mingling with others wasn’t her style. She excused herself, filled a plate with food and headed for the barn. I know her and know where to find her.

When the squeaking barn door opened and allowed the bright sunlight to filter inside she saw Olivia sitting alone on a hay bale with a devastated expression. “I’ve brought you a plate,” she said.

Blue eyes, filled with unshed tears, stared for a moment blankly at the older woman. Parker would have looked like that if… Olivia said, “…you didn’t have to do that Ruth. I’m not very hungry.”

Ruth took in the whole of the woman who was like a daughter to her. “Olivia, you look awful. When was the last time you slept or ate?”

“Does it matter? Nothing much matters anymore.” Her grave words echoed dully off the barn walls as her mind counted the people she’d loved and lost not only to death, but in Amelia’s case, life too. How much worse can my life become?

Although her nerves were still raw, Ruth knew that she might lose Olivia too if she didn’t speak. She sat next to Olivia and put her arm around her shoulders. “We need to talk,” she said. “There are things you need to understand.”

Olivia swallowed hard. Do I want to hear this? Can I take it? “Ok.”

Ruth wiped away a tear before she began. “When Parker was here last week,” she cleared her throat. “It seems so much longer than that,” she said. She shook the thought away and continued. “We talked about you. Did you know that she and your old partner Max were friends? He called her weekly to let her know how you were.”

A frown appeared on Olivia’s forehead. “I never knew that,” she replied.

“She was there at his funeral in one of her ridiculous getups. She saw how devastated you were and wanted to comfort you. When she saw you with a woman she saw your body language and knew that you had found love again.” She smiled. “Her exact words to me were…I hope she gets it into that thick head of hers that she can’t hide her love away. She needs to tell people that she loves them.”

Olivia blinked back the tears that threatened to wash away her last vestige of hold she had on her emotions. “I wish she had talked to me…I needed a friend that day.”

“Parker knew that you were over her and needed to move on.” She dabbed a tear away. “For my daughter, she lived in what might have been for that was her comfort zone. She let out a long sigh. “When Parker arrived at your home last week she called me and said she had met Amelia and was happy for you.”

The comment had Olivia closing her eyes in acknowledgement. “I came here to say goodbye to my first love. I tried to tell her that I forgave her and that she did save me. I’m not sure she understood. I needed to let her go along with the past. We chose different roads Ruth, she remained the same and I turned into a monster. I’m glad she never became like me…taking a life is...” She briefly closed her eyes in an attempt to stave off tears. “She didn’t deserve to have blood on her hands.” She allowed the tears to freely fall.

Ruth patted Olivia’s hand. “I don’t think she wanted to let go of the dream of you.”

For a long time they sat silently each with their memories of Parker and how much they would miss her. “She also told me last week, that if anything ever happened to her that I needed to make sure you knew she loved you and wanted you to find happiness with Amelia.” Tears rolled down her cheeks. “I think she knew she was going to die,” Ruth whispered.

Olivia turned to the older woman and reached for her before hugging her in shared grief. “Yeah, she always did plan everything down to the last detail. That’s my Parker. Do you remember that damn rooster she bought me…?”

They reminisced for a while until Ruth stood up. “I really should be getting back to the house. She took a few steps then turned back around before slipping her hand into her apron pocket. “Here,” she said. “There was an incident when you and Parker were on the police force and there was a shoot out and one of the officers was killed.” She saw Olivia nod in acknowledgement. “After that, Parker told me that she didn’t want to die without telling you how much she loved you.” Ruth wiped away tears. “She asked me to give you that letter if anything ever happened to her.”

Ruth moved closer to Olivia, leaned in and kissed her cheek. “I love you. Promise you won’t be a stranger.”

“I won’t,” Olivia whispered.

With a gentle smile, the older woman nodded. “Oh, Frank and Crystal are going to name their baby after her." Ruth let a small smile cross her face and pressed her hands to her cheeks as the tears began to flow again in sentiment rather than grief. "I'd better get back to the house." She left this time without turning back.

Olivia smiled slightly at the new information. “You’re right again, Amelia. When one door closes, another one opens. I hope it’s a girl and she turns out just like you Parker.”

Chapter 32


Olivia drove to the warehouse with a forlorn hope that everything was just as it was before Parker entered her life again. Before pressing the security access code, she stared hard at the building. A deep-seated fear settled in the pit of her stomach as her thoughts turned to Amelia. Did you leave me five weeks ago? Maybe you remained once I was out of the way. “I guess the only way to find out is to go inside.” She entered the code and moved her vehicle slowly into the assigned spot. Her heart sank as she saw two empty places. One belonged to her beloved Harley, which was beyond repair, and the other for Amelia’s car. Ok, that doesn’t mean anything. It’s only six and she sometimes is stuck in traffic or has a late client.

Walking into the main area, she glanced at the console, where lights flashed continuously, automatically carrying on as programmed. Looks like it’s still in the mode I placed it when I left.

With a shaking hand, she pressed the internal memo board - No Messages.

That’s understandable. After all, I haven’t been in touch directly with her. With the way I’ve treated her, I wouldn’t blame her if she never wanted to speak to me again.

Her thoughts flashed over the previous weeks. She woke the morning after the argument, set on making Amelia understand why she was as she was. “Parker’s death took more of a toll on me than I expected…I wanted to apologize – you were gone. You never wake early and all I could figure was that you meant what you said. God help me. I ran away from Amelia, Parker, her death and worst of all myself.” Her mind wandered over the few days she’d spent at DOCO headquarters and her report. They needed her help on a case and taking it seemed the best solution. Parker’s funeral was the day before she joined the others in the field. It was her only contact with anything familiar. She’d sent a cryptic message to Teal for her to look after the office, as best she could until she returned. “The question at that time was, would I?

There were times when it would have been so easy to place myself in the firing line. Each time I did, I saw your face Amelia. How am I going to live any kind of decent life if you aren’t here to help me?”

Once the work was successfully completed, and she filed her report, her mind drifted to the letter Ruth had given her. She pulled it from the pocket inside her jacket that was closest to her heart and ripped open the seal. She saw Parker’s distinctive writing and began to read the contents.



If you are reading this, it means I didn't duck fast enough or my draw was a bit slow. I know you’re shaking your head and saying can't you ever take things seriously. Yeah, I can, but I put myself in your place and thought that maybe a little laughter might help. Tonight I watched, as you sat in that ugly old green chair you love so much with your leg sprawled over the arm while you read one of your motorcycle magazines. I thought how lucky I am to have you in my life. After college, I drifted from town to town and job to job never finding the happiness, I hoped to find.

Then, I saw you smile and I knew that my search was over. You are my life Olivia and I never want to be without you near. I know that sometimes situations and people change, but no matter where I am, I will always love you and that includes the great beyond.

You try so hard to keep me from seeing the ugliness of life. Did you know how worried I was each time you took off after a suspect? My heart was in my throat because I knew what a daredevil you are. Will you do me a favor O, please be careful out there, it’s a dangerous world and even you can’t miss the bullet every time. You are such a wonderful loving woman with so much to give and for me to share that with you is my greatest honor.

I guess I am rambling. What I am trying to say is that I will always have your back. When you narrowly get out of a jam, know that the angel on your shoulder is watching out for you.

I love you Olivia Marie Santos,



Olivia allowed the words to permeate her thoughts and she made a far reaching decision. DOCO has to go - immediately. There’s no place for it in my life if I want to make amends with Amelia- and I do.

With a new resolve and courage she thought she lost, she stood before the director and made her proclamation. “I’m not going to work for you anymore,” Olivia said through clenched teeth.

“Surely there is something we can do to persuade you to continue your work with us,” the director said.

“What part of I won’t work for you anymore didn’t you understand?”

“Is it the money? You’re due a raise…and we can sweeten the pot with additional incentives. There are several new prototypes due out in a month that we’d like you to test for us.”

Olivia held up a hand. “I’ve more than fulfilled my obligations and I won’t be back…end of discussion,” she said with an icy gaze.

“No one walks away,” one man said.

The disbelief she saw in the eyes of the director and two of the team leaders brought a feral smile to her face.

“Watch me...the only way you’ll keep me is in a body bag.” With a nod, Olivia turned her back on the life she had known for ten years and walked out the door. They expect me back – not this time. I’ll terminate all contact.

+ + +

A frail woman who was sitting in the shadows moved toward the others in the room. “Do you think she’ll be back?” she asked.

“You know her.”

The woman moved cautiously to the window and looked through the grimy pane to the street below. As she clung to the sill for support, she watched the black Jeep leave the building and move away. She unconsciously touched her chest. “She only thinks it’s over.”

“How can you be so sure?” the director asked.

“The one thing Olivia hates is loose ends. Right now she is in emotional flux and not thinking straight.” When she could no longer see the Jeep, she turned back to the others in the room. “She has unfinished business with DOCO. One day when she least expects it, all the pieces and questions will begin to surface and she’ll have to know the answers.” A thin smile crossed the woman’s lips. “Then, she’ll be back and she’ll be ours again. No one can prevent it - least of all her,” she whispered.

+ + +

Now, Olivia was trying to piece her life back together. The only piece that really mattered though, might not want to return to the jigsaw puzzle she called her life. Who can blame her? I’m not sure if I want to continue that lifestyle either.

With a heavy sigh, she walked over to the bedroom door that Amelia used and tentatively opened it. The bed was orderly as usual with nothing out of place. She drew in a shallow breath, closed her eyes for a second or two before opening the wardrobe. Several outfits hung there, but they were old. To the best of Olivia’s memory, her friend had never worn them. She also saw a couple of the dress suits Amelia wore for work. However, she saw none of the clothes that Amelia had worn recently. Maybe she just hasn’t been back for these.

Her feet took her listlessly to the drawer used for her underwear, t-shirts and other stuff. On opening each one, she realized there was a chance, a slim one, but one that indicated Amelia hadn’t left for good. Many of the items remained.

I guess I‘m going to have to wait. I could call Teal. No, I’ll wait. I guess that’s what I’ve made Amelia do. It’s only fair that I do my share. She lay across the bed waiting for Amelia to arrive home - if she ever did.

+ + +

Amelia tortured herself repeatedly as to why she’d never admitted the truth to Olivia or herself. I miss you so much. I can’t make it right, not now…not after what I said.

Her heavy steps took her to the edge of the shore and she felt the lapping of the waves caress her toes in her sandals. It was the perfect place to get her head around everything. Her parents gave the keys to the condominium without prying into the explanation of why she turned up on their doorstep at midnight requesting the use of the vacation home for a few days. I’m going to have to explain when I go home, but now I need to elucidate my inactions to myself first. What kind of psychiatrist am I that I can’t solve this?

Teal was the only one she’d informed of her sudden vacation. What was the point in placing a message on the computer for Olivia? It is clear that she didn’t want to talk or come home so why should she have any interest in where I am. Olivia had simply left that fateful morning after their argument and hadn’t returned. All she knew via Teal was that Olivia had gone to Parker’s funeral. She’d been gone five weeks without a word except a cryptic one for Teal to keep the business ticking as best she could. I can’t blame her. I bet she feels like everyone she loves leaves her in one way or another. First her brother, then Max and now Parker and all I did was make it worse. ”I abandoned her.”

The sky above turned into an indigo color as darkness fell. Amelia stood in that one spot simply breathing in the aroma of salt, sea and fresh air. The crash of the waves on the rocks to her left felt like the last week of her life. All preconceptions seem to wash away and what remained was life in raw reality.

How have I given up so much of my old existence and yet still cling to the shroud of its demise as a security blanket. I thought giving up my life in the church would have been the hardest decision I’d ever have to make. How wrong could I be? I’ve never actually given up on anything. I might not call myself a nun, but I still hang mentally to the way I lived my life then. Amelia walked a little way along the beach as her feet made contact with the odd shell that crunched under foot. It was one more example of how she was feeling. Self-analysis is the pits! Her eyes floated up to the sky that had fully turned into the inky depths of night except for the odd star that pierced the blanket of nightfall. I really need to go back. The thought passed like a shooting star. Exactly where, do I want to go back? There was only one place - Olivia.

She retraced her steps and felt the peace of her final admission sink in. Ten minutes later, she opened the back gate from the beach to the patio of her parent’s condominium. The light she left on in the kitchen was a beacon of sorts to a place she found refuge for a time. She unlocked the door and looked around the comfortable rooms. She wandered in them all, memories, fortunately for her all good, surged through her as she picked up items of places and things they’d done as a family over the years. Framed photos carried a theme through the whole building - happiness.

I want to do that with someone I love…walk through a kaleidoscope of wonderful memories and collections that I’ve built over the years. Her eyes captured the picture of her mom and dad sitting on the beach with arms wrapped around each other and smiling happily. Her heart beat erratically for a few seconds as she replaced her parents face with her own image and one more. The rightness and harmony she found when she did caught her breath in the back of her throat as she whispered to the empty room, “I love you Olivia. Not just love you…I’m in love with you. I want to share all this with you.”

She finally said the words that hid behind the shroud she’d refused to give up. The death of her old life finally floated away and disappeared for good. She automatically reached for her purse and pulled out her cell. She dialed the short code she had for Olivia’s private cell. As expected, the answer machine kicked in, but it didn’t matter, not now.

Amelia made a valiant plea to her friend. “Hi, it’s me. When are you coming home? I…I want, no need, you to come home Olivia. Back to those who love you…please. I know I made a big mistake and it’s my fault you haven’t returned, but we need to talk, it’s important.”

With her old life in shreds, she smiled. For the first time she felt that whatever happened, it was as it should be. The outcome might not be positive, but at least I know I can go forward. No, Olivia and I can both go forward whatever we decide regarding our relationship. She doesn’t deserve to have another echo of the past on her shoulder for years. Her mind was now a safe haven for the future

She jumped slightly when her cell rang. Olivia’s name pop on the screen and she answered, “Hi that was quick?”

Olivia drew a deep breath when she heard Amelia’s voice. Her chaotic thoughts fell away as she lay on Amelia’s bed in their shared home. “Yeah, where are you?”

The sound of the smoky voice filled Amelia with a yearning to see Olivia’s face and stare into the depths of her blue eyes, often, filled with ice, but with her, never - except for that last time. “I’m at my parent’s condo at the beach. I thought after …we all needed a break.”

“This break is it a prelude for leaving altogether? Teal sent me a message she suggested that you may leave the business.” Olivia held her breath waiting. Their last discussion had been acrimonious with things said that probably damaged their relationship for good.


Olivia felt tears roll down her cheeks at the definitive answer. “I’m glad. I’m home by the way, when will you be back?”

Amelia smiled as her happiness bubbled over. “I left the car in town and took the train. With luck, I can be back tomorrow afternoon.”

Olivia warmly replied, “I’ll collect you. Give me a call when you board the train, please.”

Softly Amelia said, “Thanks, I will. Olivia?”


“I’m glad you came back…to us.”

Olivia smiled slowly. I came back to you Amelia no one else. “And you’re welcome. Now get some sleep, we’ll talk tomorrow.”

Amelia ended the call and sank back into her chair. God I wish I’d called earlier. She smiled in anticipation of seeing Olivia again - it had felt like a lifetime.

+ + +

The train station bustled with people moving like ants through the various terminals. Although the town didn’t have the volume of traffic of a larger city, there were plenty of people using this form of transport to commute from the numerous destinations.

Olivia paced the platform where Amelia’s train was due to arrive. She glanced at the large clock on the wall – two minutes late. A scowl of frustration gathered on her face until she heard the distinctive sound of an approaching train. She turned in the direction of the stopping train, crossed her arms over her chest and silently waited for Amelia.

A few minutes later, the doors opened and people spilled out of the doors like liquid. Men with briefcases rushed passed her, woman with shopping or children trickled by as transport staff trundled trolleys along laden with parcels. None of them of interest to Olivia until a familiar figure exited a car half way down the platform. A feeling of well-being flooded Olivia when she saw her friend. An unbidden smile appeared on her face as she strode down the concourse. Within seconds, she faced the one person with whom she wanted to spend the rest of her life.

“Hey there, how was the journey?” Her voice dropped an octave or two and her eyes sparkled in welcome. She desperately wanted to hug her friend, but was afraid of the reaction.

Amelia felt her breath catch as Olivia stood directly in front of her. All she could do was return the glowing smile, her toes curling in response to their closeness. She said, “Great, nothing to report.”

Olivia didn’t move as she drank in every feature of the smaller woman. Where, do you begin to tell someone that life wasn’t worth living, without her in it? “I’m pleased about that. They wouldn’t want to face my wrath if something had gone wrong.” How inane that sounded.

“I missed you,” Amelia replied. She disregarded any decorum and with a sob of joy, she dropped her small case and threw her arms around the taller woman in a fierce hug. “Do you know how I’ve been feeling since you went away? I’ve missed you so much!” Her voice broke when she allowed her inner emotions to surface.

The instinct, especially after recent events, to push emotion away reared its head, but Olivia stomped on it aggressively and returned the hug. She bent and kissed the top of Amelia’s head before she whispered, “Yeah I think so. I missed you too and I almost lost it when I got home and you weren’t there. I should have called you. Will you forgive me?”

Amelia moved reluctantly from their tight embrace and stared up into Olivia’s face. “Only if you’ll forgive me for my stupidity. I’m so very sorry about Parker.” Her eyes took in the emaciated skin on Olivia’s face. She’s lost too much weight.

Amelia saw Olivia’s eyes cloud with what she was sure was the remembrance of pain. Then Olivia said, “We both said things that I suspect neither want to bring up again.”

Parker’s words rang in her ears. Love her. With a deep breath, Amelia whispered, “I love you Olivia and no matter what happens I want you to know I always will.”

Olivia felt her inner core shrink slightly at the words. Is there a, but, in there somewhere? “That’s good, right?” Her blue eyes captured Amelia’s brown ones.

Amelia felt the smile tug at her lips at the quiet question, “Yeah it’s good in fact it’s the best. I think anyway.” They stared into each other’s eyes until Amelia decided to take a chance and step over the line into another life. Her hands moved to tangled behind Olivia’s neck as she gently tugged her head. They were inches apart as she breathed out before their lips engaged, “I dream about you twenty-four seven Olivia Santos, you are my life.”

The explosion of senses as their lips met left both women shaking when they finally broke apart. It took a few moments for Olivia to assemble a coherent thought from the exquisitely chaotic mess her mind was in. “Do you mean that?”

Amelia saw the incredulous look in Olivia’s glassy eyes. It was a look she felt sure mirrored in her own. Her heart was still trying to calm down as she felt the overload of passion take her down a road that was achingly recognizable yet deliciously untried. With a gentle finger, she traced the familiar lines on her friend’s face as she placed them finally on Olivia’s lips. Then Amelia smiled tenderly, as she felt a returning pressure from Olivia’s lips. “Oh yes, I know it’s probably hard for you to believe, me being that chaste nun and all.” Her eyes twinkled as she watched Olivia’s eyes roll at the comment. “We need to talk let’s go home.”

With sparkling eyes, Olivia picked up Amelia’s case and slipped her hand into the smaller one as they headed down the platform to her jeep. When they reached her vehicle, Parker’s words echoed in her head. Tell her. Before Amelia climbed in the vehicle, Olivia enclosed her in a loving hold and snatched a tender kiss. “Home is where the heart is and mine is anywhere you are.” We need to talk. Things might not be as easy as it appears right now. The main thing is that we are together and that is enough for now.

The vehicle moved away to the promise of a brighter future as the echoes of the past faded into the distance - or did they.


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