DISCLAIMERS: This is an original work the characters are from my head. Don't use them without asking please.
OTHER STUFF: There is swearing, violence and blood in this story.
SEX WARNING: First of all…why is a warning needed? Is it a bad thing? At any rate there is one of "those" scenes in this story and it's between two women. Underage or illegal where you're at, please go away.
Just a side note…this is actually a sequel, the story this one spawned from is being re-vamped; but you don't actually need to read the first one…or maybe you do?
Please send any positive or constructive comments to me…I would greatly appreciate it: firstname.lastname@example.org
HUGE THANKS TO MY BETA READER: gabsmumo8…YOU ARE MY HERO!!!
THE TRUE TEST OF LOVE
Jamie had been awake for the last hour staring at the ceiling before the alarm blared in her ear. Unclasping her hands from behind her head she reached over and turned it off. With one hand still on the clock she let out a deep sigh. Slowly she rose to a sitting position. A few dragging moments later she made her way to the bathroom to start her long day.
As she entered her kitchen she was surprised to see Joe at the stove flipping eggs. David was at his usual place, sitting over a cup of coffee at the table. They both looked at her as she entered the kitchen. Both of them grinned as they simultaneously said "Happy Birthday!"
Jamie grinned and started for the coffee, poured a cup and joined David at the table.
"So what are the plans for today birthday girl?" Joe asked with his gravely voice as he served plates of bacon and eggs.
"Work like normal I guess." Jamie shrugged.
"What you didn't take the day off?" David asked as he buttered his toast.
"From the clinic I did, but we've got a lot to do around here." Jamie reminded him as she took another bite of the eggs.
"That's right; birthdays ain't a holiday here, city boy." The old man teased David.
"It's your thirtieth though, that should count for something."
Jamie groaned at the mention of her age. "Thanks for reminding me."
The two men chuckled.
"Tonight let's go to town and whoop it up, whaddya say?" David suggested. Joe was quick to agree, Jamie shrugged. The men started making big plans for the evening and Jamie sat back and watched with a grin. A lot of things were running through her mind on this significant day. The broodmares, the east pasture fence, the heifers, her clinic and lastly Sean Williams.
It had been seven years since Pinewoods. A lot has happened in that time. After leaving the Pennsylvania town she had accomplished her dream of being accepted into the nationally accredited veterinarian school in Colorado. Only a select few were ever admitted. Jamie's name was at the top of the list. It was the same college her father had been to. In six years she had completed the school bringing out a PHD in veterinarian science large and small animals as well as Veterinarian surgery and physical therapy. She even took extra classes specializing in equine breeding management and specialized medicine for horses. She laughed quietly at herself for being an overachiever. Three years into her college, David surprised everyone by moving up to Montana to help Joe in her absence. He learned quickly about life on a ranch. David even managed to nab a degree in horseshoeing and blacksmithing. He was certified to do therapeutic and corrective shoeing on horses. Over the past year he'd helped Jamie out at the clinic with client's horses and had a small amount of private business. Everything was going well; her clinic was up and running successfully for over a year now, thanks to her father's former partner Mac Davis. Sure everything seemed fine, but Jamie somehow still felt empty. Something was missing as of late and she couldn't quite figure it out.
"Jamie?" David said for the third time.
"Huh?" she brought herself out of her daze to find both of the men staring at her curiously.
"In your own little world over there?" David grinned.
She chuckled, "yeah I guess so, what did I miss?"
Later that day as they moved the small band of mares to the south paddock, Jamie sat on her bay gelding in deep thought. She didn't seem to be paying attention to her surroundings. That was highly unusual for Jamie. David looked over at the redhead with a bit of concern. "Jamie? Are you all right, you seem awfully quiet today?"
She glanced over at David who was riding beside her. She shrugged. "I guess, it's just that I'm thirty today."
"James turning thirty is not a big deal, just ask me, I know." He grinned. Jamie turned to him and smiled.
"It's not the age that bothers me, its well," she paused. "I guess it's because I'm alone."
David looked confused. "You're not alone James, you have me."
"Yes and I have Joe too, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm saying I'm lonely."
"Ahh, because you're not in a relationship type situation."
"Well whatever happened to that chick you meet a few months back? The one that, and I quote 'rocked your world'?"
Jamie grinned as she felt a small blush color her cheeks, recalling the night that David was talking of. "Amanda? She's a great friend, but just not quite the type to settle down, too wild."
"From the way you described it she was your type that night." He teased.
Jamie nodded and chuckled, "that was a hell'uva night. But that was just two people who needed the same thing. I'm talking about someone I can settle down with, maybe have a family." She shrugged. David reached over and stopped her horse.
"James you're scaring me, you want to settle down? Wow, you must be getting old!" he shook his head in an exaggerated motion. "See it's a good thing we're going out tonight, you need to get wild and crazy." He told her as his urged his horse forward. "Having another night of hot passionate sex probably wouldn't hurt either." He called over his shoulder.
Jamie grinned and urged the bay into a trot.
Pinewoods, that night
Adam's feet thumped heavily along the river's edge. His breathing was rapid but not out of control. Not like Samuel's ragged out of control breath. Adam glanced over his shoulder at the heaving man. A look of disgust crossed his hard handsome features.
"Weak fool," he mumbled, "he'll only slow me down." He saw the picnic area ahead; the wheels in his mind started to click. Adam slowed his pace as he entered the spot. Minutes later the heavier set man struggled into the area. Adam put on a fake smile.
"How 'bout a rest?" he suggested to the gasping man.
"Good idea." He bent over, his hands on his knees trying to control his rapid breathing. Slowly Samuel staggered to the picnic table and sat with a heavy plop. "Guess I should have hit the gym more often huh?" he joked.
Adam only smiled. Being in prison for seven years had done him a lot of good. Thanks to the justice system and the equal rights system. Being in prison was a cakewalk. He'd had full access to some very nice gym equipment, which accounted for his lean, hard physique. Thanks to the computer access and library the prison offered, he now knew where she was. Adam smiled as he leaned against the table.
"Jamie." He whispered dreamily. He closed his eyes and pictured her face, her long rich auburn hair. She was the only thing that kept him sane. She was the reason his control was so disciplined. She was his reason for life. His eyes popped open at the harsh coughing next to him. He scowled inwardly at the man for wrecking his fantasy. That would soon be made up for.
"Man I would kill for a smoke." The man told Adam
Kill now that's an interesting word, Adam thought to himself. He casually glanced around the area. His eyes fell upon a quarter staff size piece of wood. He walked over to it and picked it up. "Don't you have any?" he asked conversationally.
Samuel grinned, "yeah, but no matches." Adam nonchalantly returned to his place beside the man.
"Here," he pulled a book of matches out of his hip pocket. "Always be prepared."
"Boy, you are a regular boy scout." Samuel lit the cheap cigarette and took a heavy drag. He closed his eyes savoring the burning flavor on his diseased lungs. He felt a sharp pain along his temple, then felt nothing at all.
Adam brought the club up and forcefully back down, shattering the man face. Tiny droplets of blood sprayed his face and arms fueling the pent up rage. He thought about the first years in prison, how his slut sister and piss ant brother betrayed him. How they turned his Jamie against him. How they corrupted her. A dam of hate broke inside of him. He beat the club down harder and harder, faster and faster. His animalistic grunts of pleasure filled the trees. His brown eyes were nearly black with blind rage. They would pay dearly. No one would deny him his destiny, no one.
Having released his rage, Adam regained control of his hectic breathing, his adrenaline burst subsiding. He looked down at the ravaged body below him. His face drew into a look of disgust at the bloody mess he had made. Slowly he bent to the featureless man he once called his friend.
"Thanks for getting me out of that shit hole, but you were a detriment; nothing is going to slow me down now." He hissed at the corpse. He kicked the lifeless body for good measure and started towards the river. Samuel's cigarette lay on the ground burning slowly. Adam grinned.
"Muss'ant start a fire, Jamie would be opposed to that." He spoke out loud to no one as he ground the embers into the dirt. He picked up the extinguished butt and examined it. "Jamie would oppose to this too, clean up your garbage." He flicked the butt on to the still twitching body.
He approached the river and dropped to his knees. Adam pitched the bloody club into the rapid waters and watched it bob erratically as it disappeared on the current. He then cupped the cold water in his hands and splashed his face, scrubbing lightly to remove the stain of the bludgeoning. Then he dipped his arms and repeated the process. The May nights were still cool, and the cold water was refreshing and awakening. With a shake Adam rose and cleared his head. He knew what he must do.
"Jamie." He spoke softly and started north.
A fast Garth Brooks tune pumped loudly in Jamie's ears. David had found himself a girl and was pretty busy out on the dance floor. Joe had complained about the "nursery" they had chosen to spend the evening at and left for more suitable accommodations, like the VFW. Jamie leaned back against the bar and slugged down the last of her Bud Light. It was a good night. She'd already been on the dance floor a dozen times. It felt good to dance again. It had been awhile since they had gone out. She adjusted the belt buckle at her waist. It was hot in the bar tonight. Her black Wranglers clung to her curvy body and her emerald colored T-shirt was damp. Her long auburn hair was pulled back in a neat pony tail save the few run away strands she was constantly pushing behind her ears. But she felt good. She just wished she had a steady dance partner. With a sigh she scanned the room. A younger cowboy she had danced with earlier was making his way over to her a charming, determined look etched on his face. She grinned to herself; the guy had been eyeing her from the moment she walked in. He was about to be disappointed.
"Here we go." She whispered.
"Hello again," the handsome blonde drawled as he shot her a charming grin.
"Howdy Chris." She greeted him.
"Can I buy you another?" Chris offered.
"Sure," Jamie shrugged; she was never one to turn down a free beer. He caught the bartender's attention and quickly bought the drinks.
"Thanks," she took a swig.
"So," he started casually, "you don't get jealous when your boyfriend dances with other women."
Great opening, Jamie grinned to herself. "He's not my boyfriend, he just works with me."
"Oh what is it that you do?"
"I own a ranch south of town," she took another drink from the can, "and I also work at the Anders's Vet Clinic."
"Are you the secretary?" He asked trying to be sly about his eyes gazing over her breasts.
Jamie almost laughed out loud. "No I'm a vet, it's my clinic."
His eyes shot back up to hers in surprise. "Really, may I ask how old you are?"
"Thirty… today." She admitted.
"Well you don't look a day over twenty one." His grin was disarming. "I like older women." He stated his voice heavy with suggestion, as he stepped closer.
Jamie had to struggle to contain her laugh. She had to hand it to him; he was trying awful hard.
The blonde leaned closer, "maybe I could get you a birthday present?" He offered huskily.
"Yeah, like leave her alone." A voice behind him said lightly. Jamie's eyes widened in surprise, and she grinned as she looked into the familiar hazel eyes of the newcomer. Those eyes were twinkling with amusement.
Chris quickly turned to the voice. "Amanda!" he said in surprise. "I thought you weren't coming out tonight?"
The brunette shrugged, "I changed my mind." She told him. "Jamie is my brother bothering you?" She playfully asked her.
Jamie grinned back, still in a bit of shock to see her.
"You two know each other?" Chris asked slightly confused. His eyes suddenly widened and a blush colored his face. "You're that Jamie?" he stepped back. "I apologize, then." He said with a laugh.
Amanda shot the younger man a look as he walked away. The women looked at each other smiling. Amanda eyes roamed over Jamie's body, stopping briefly at her chest. She liked the way the damp T-shirt enhanced the outline of her breasts and made her bright emerald eyes stand out. The way her toned upper body narrowed a bit into the feminine curve of her hips. Her jeans clung to very curve, daring one's mind to run wild. Her auburn hair was pulled back giving an undisturbed view to her beautiful features. The dimples that edged her mouth and the light freckles gave those features an innocent 'girl next door' air. Amanda loved the way the heat of the bar colored her cheeks. All in all, Jamie was delicious to look at.
"God you look good Jamie." She said thickly stepping closer.
Jamie let her eyes gaze over the woman before her. Amanda looked the same. Her dark hair cut short and neat. Her faded Levi's hung loose around her narrow hips. The heavy black motorcycle boots were neatly shined. She wore no bra under the white T-shirt. She could see the out line of her firm, small breasts across the tight cotton material. She still had the silver hoop pierced through her eyebrow. Her hazel eyes twinkled with excitement. A slightly arrogant 'kiss me' grin attached to her lips. Amanda was exotic and temptingly dangerous.
"So do you Amanda." She returned the timbre of her voice lower. Their eyes met and held again. Jamie spoke first. "So that, he was your brother?"
Amanda nodded and stepped into the empty space at the bar next to Jamie, facing her. "Step brother actually." She grabbed a pretzel from the bowl on the bar.
A sly grin pulled at Jamie's lips. "What did he mean by 'that'' Jamie?"
"Oh," Amanda's cheeks colored. "Well, he happened to be in the next room that night. And it's not like we were quiet or anything!"
They both chuckled remembering that awesome night. "Don't worry, he won't say anything." Amanda reassured her. They gazed at each other in silence again.
"So," Jamie cleared her throat, "what does bring you out tonight, to a country bar?" she asked suspiciously.
"Spying on my brother." She answered easily. "Trying to save all the beautiful redheads from him. He has great taste in women you know," her voice thick with suggestion.
Jamie cast a hooded look at Amanda. "You're trying just as hard as he was." Her voice was low. Amanda moved slightly closer, lightly pressing into her.
"But will it get me anywhere?" She whispered huskily into Jamie's ear.
Jamie felt the heat of Amanda's body and the slow seduction in her voice. Her mind wandered back to the passion they had shared before. The memories caused her body to react. Her heart thumped wildly in response, her own heat slowly spreading through all the appropriate places.
"It may." Jamie grinned trying to be casual. She took a swig of the Bud Light. "Why don't you try a little harder and see," she teased.
The corner of Amanda's mouth lifted into her trademark half-grin. Her hands went around Jamie's waist pulling her fully into her body. "How's this?" She whispered back heavily before claiming Jamie's lips.
Jamie should have been self-conscience of kissing another woman in public, but she wasn't. She should have been thinking that this was only a temporary escape from the loneliness plaguing her, but she wasn't. All she could think about was how good it felt to be kissed and how hot she felt with Amanda pressing into her.
"I got you a birthday present, wanna see it?" Amanda whispered in Jamie's ear.
Jamie grinned; she stepped away from the bar and Amanda's body and held out her hand. Amanda grinned in return as she grasped the offered hand and let Jamie lead her to the door.
David watched with amusement as the two women hurriedly left the bar.
"Happy birthday Jamie," he chuckled and turned back to his date.
Jamie gripped the sheet tightly as a long, low cry escaped from her throat. Her hips bucked wildly against Amanda's lips as her climax raged through her. Amanda held tight to Jamie's thighs and waited until her cries reduced to whimpers and her shuddering body quieted. She then trailed a path with her tongue up Jamie's stomach, between her breasts, stopping to kiss each one, then along her neck and finally to her mouth. They shared a long deep satisfying kiss their scents and tastes mingling together on their lips and tongues.
"Happy birthday Jamie."
Jamie chuckled and pulled her tighter against her body. She buried her face in Amanda's neck nipping lightly, "hmm, thank you." They shared a series of sated kisses until they both felt exhaustion slowly creeping over them
Amanda moved to lie on her side next to Jamie on the bed. She rested her hand on Jamie's sweat dampened abdomen. She pulled the sheet over their bodies and snuggled closer nuzzling her face into the red hair.
"Good night Jamie." She whispered as sleep threatened to take over. Jamie hummed a response. Moments later, they slept.
Adam carefully peered around the corner of the darkened alley. The streets was desolate, no surprise at three in the morning. He walked boldly from the alley and started down the middle of the street, avoiding the street lamps. He was sure that his sister had moved out of the house she'd been living in.
He chuckled to himself. It didn't matter; he'd find the betraying dyke. It would only take time. He would find his brother as well. Their turns were coming. He turned at the stoplight and stopped cold. There was a man, obviously drunk, standing next to his running car urinating. Adam grinned. He waited until the man zipped up his dirty pants then started towards him.
"Tough night?" he called as he approached the drunk.
"Is a good night." The swaying man slurred.
Adam balked at the stench of whiskey and cigarettes. "You need some help?"
The man ran a hand through his greasy hair contemplating the offer. "'Suppose I could use it." He staggered.
"Whoa," Adam laughed and reached out to steady him.
"Thanks," he stammered.
"No problem," Adam grinned. His hand went to the drunk's head, in a heartbeat; Adam had slammed the man's face into the car. The man fell to the pavement with a groan. Adam cleaned out the man's pockets and emptied his wallet.
"Hmm, damn rich drunk." He mused after finding three hundred dollars. He quickly opened the back door of the car, hefted the man up and unceremoniously shoved him in the back seat. Adam slammed the door and crawled in behind the wheel.
"Now to find some clothes." He smiled as he put the Impala into gear and drove away.
Jamie woke slowly with a grin and a warm body lying practically on top of her. Amanda was slowly trailing her fingers up the inside of a thigh. She was teasing one of Jamie's nipples with soft biting kisses. "Good morning." She told Amanda.
"It will be in a minute." Amanda wrapped her arms around Jamie and rolled her over, bringing her on top straddling her waist. All at once Jamie felt pull of arousal start through her now wide-awake body. She smiled down into Amanda's hazel eyes.
"Something on your mind?" Jamie asked her voice low and sensual.
"Constantly," Amanda admitted as she ran her hands up Jamie's stomach to tease the breasts. "Has anyone told you, you have the most perfect breasts?" She asked as she gently teased the sensation heightened, pink nipples.
Jamie gasped at the contact, "Well, yes actually. David once commented about them. He said they're just the right size. Anything more than a handful,"
"Is a waste," Amanda finished for her smiling broadly. They broke into a chuckle. "He's right." Amanda rose and sucked a nipple into her mouth.
Jamie emitted a low groan and clutched at Amanda's head urging her closer. A few moments later, Amanda grabbed Jamie's hips and pulled gently.
"Scoot up here." She rasped. Jamie grinned and worked her way up. She hovered over Amanda's face teasingly. With a growl Amanda grabbed her around the waist and forcefully pulled her against her mouth. Jamie cried out as she grasped the headboard, letting Amanda kiss her good morning.
David whistled as he made his way up the small flight of steps leading to Jamie's cozy ranch house. He opened the door and stepped into the kitchen. Like normal, he made his way to the fridge to do his morning raiding. Just as he was about to pull the eggs from the fridge a sharp noise stopped him. Slowly he closed the fridge door and listened with a confused look on his face. His face flushed red as he heard Jamie's voice moaning loudly in pleasure from down the hall. David grinned and quickly turned and exited the house.
An hour later he was tossing his saddle atop of a tall gray gelding. Jamie and another woman exited the house. He watched still grinning as they climbed into Jamie's Ford and left the yard. With a shake of his head he returned to his original task.
"That's my girl." He chuckled as he pulled himself into the saddle and started out to the pasture to meet Joe.
"It was good seeing you again; although I was surprised." Jamie admitted. "You never come to that bar." There was a question in her voice.
"Well, I had an ulterior motive."
Jamie gave her a questioning glance as she pulled the Ford onto the highway.
"I was hoping to see you. It's been a while." She admitted with a grin. "We should hang out more often."
Jamie grinned. "Yeah you're a great person to talk too, maybe a little dangerous at times." She teased.
Amanda chuckled, "comes with the territory. I like life on the edge, keeps me younger."
Jamie only chuckled. "Jamie can I ask you something personal?"
"There's not too much personal left after last night." Jamie laughed.
Amanda chuckled. "Well, what I want to know is, how many women have you been with?"
"Including you? Three, Why?"
She shrugged, "just curious, I mean you're a very passionate lover, almost as wild as I am."
Jamie laughed, "Hardly."
"How long were you with the other two?"
"I dated this girl off and on in college in Colorado,"
"Dated off and on?" Amanda raised an eyebrow in amusement.
"Yeah," she drawled out wondering where the question was headed.
"Is that the same as being casual lovers?"
Jamie turned to Amanda, "huh?"
"You know, fuck buddies, emotionally detached sex with a willing partner."
Jamie smirked. "Kind of like what we're doing?"
Amanda laughed out loud. "Exactly like what we're doing." They shared a moment of silence. "I guess the reason I ask," Amanda started slowly, choosing her words carefully, "is that, I don't want to be in a relationship at this point in time. I mean I realize how it must look since I was the one that sought you out last night," she paused looking for the right words. "I just, well we've known each other for a long time, and I really do enjoy being around you, but I don't want to lead you on or anything like that. Do you know what I'm trying to say?"
Jamie turned the pickup into the bar parking lot and pulled up beside Amanda's Harley. She killed the engine and turned to face Amanda. There was a reassuring smile on her face.
"I understand completely Amanda; I'm not going to ask you for anything, other than maybe just being my friend."
Relief flooded the woman's tanned face. She grinned at Jamie.
"And maybe the occasional night of wild sex." Jamie teasingly added as an after thought.
They laughed together. "I can definitely handle that." They smiled at each other.
"So tell me, friend, how long were you with your first lover?" Amanda watched the smile quickly disappear from Jamie's face. A pained look of sorrow and grief took its place.
Alex padded barefoot down the hall rubbing his eyes and yawning. His mother was at the table in her pajamas studying the paper over a cup of coffee. The boy stopped and studied his mother frowning. She was still pale looking, and still very thin. Her last bout of sickness settled in heavy and she was slow to recover. He scratched a hand through his unruly light brown hair, as he entered the kitchen and walked over to kiss her on the head.
"Good morning maw." Alex started to the fridge and pulled out the milk to fix a bowl of cereal.
"Morning honey," she returned wearily.
"Cocoa Puffs?" he offered
Sean Williams looked up at her son and grinned, "No thanks sweetie I had toast."
Alex glanced to the sink to see the dish confirming she had actually eaten something. He stood directly over his mother crunching the cereal loudly. He grinned as he let a little of the milk purposely dribble down his chin. A couple drops landed on his mother's short brown hair.
"Hey!" she hastily wiped at the milk. She turned in her chair and playfully smacked him in the bare chest. "Get out of here you pig." She threatened him trying to suppress a grin. Alex chuckled around the cereal and started to the living room to watch TV. Sean watched as he rounded the corner. She sighed. Her little boy had sure grown up fast. Only fourteen years old and he already acted more mature then he should be.
"I guess having a constantly ill mother will do that to you." She sighed quietly. Alex had taken charge of her health at a young age. He made sure she ate, took her pills, and got her off to work on time. He was so protective of her. Sean shook her head, god how she loved her son. He once commented about how the new prescription didn't seem to be helping. She had told him there is no cure for regret and guilt. Jamie crossed her mind for the second time that morning. Seven years, it had been seven years since Jamie. It still haunted her dreams, kept her up at night, playing constantly on her conscious. She sighed again and looked at the clock. With what little energy she had, Sean forced her self up to change for work.
Ten minutes later she came back to the living room. Alex was listening to the TV intently. She went to the kitchen and poured another cup of coffee.
"Mom, come listen to this."
She walked to the entrance of the living room and leaned against the doorway frame, "what honey?"
The reporter was talking about a prison break, and when it happened. Sean gasped out loud when a picture of Adam flashed on the screen. All the blood drained from her face, and she felt faint. The cup slipped from her hands and fell quietly to the carpet.
"Don't I have an Uncle Adam?" he asked as he turned to his mother. Alex saw her pale trembling expression and leapt quickly from the couch. "Mom?" he hurried over to her side just as she collapsed to the floor.
David hollered and swung his arms at the heifers as they tried to slip past him. The gray gelding was dancing back and forth in aid to his effort. The young cows were determined not to go through the corral gate. Jamie, Joe and David had built a fence of horsepower in front of them for encouragement. The phone on David's belt rang. He ignored it.
"Shit!" he swore as a heifer slipped past him. He spun Gray around and started after the rouge bovine. She dropped down into the ditch and hightailed it for freedom. The duo caught up fast. His phone rang again.
The trio raced against each other jumping over small bull berry bushes and patches of sagebrush. A stand of chokecherry bushes lay ahead of them. David ignored his phone as it rang yet again. The heifer saw her opportunity and cut sharply left as they neared the brush. David wasn't prepared for that, Gray was. The horse followed the heifer; David went straight into the bushes. After the snapping of branches and the dust settled, he laid there trying to get his senses back together.
"I didn't know I could fly." He grumbled as he took account of his surroundings. He was on his back in the thick brush; one leg hung up on an upper limb the other below him almost touching the ground. His left arm up over his head with his shirt snagged. His right arm lay peacefully on his stomach. He spat some dirt from his mouth just as his cell phone rang.
David sighed heavily and slowly reached for his phone with his free hand.
Jamie was laughing hysterically on the other end.
"Hi Jamie, I'm really busy right now can I call you back later." He told her in a restrained polite voice before he hung up on her. He tossed his phone out of the bush laid his head back and sighed. He was never going to live this one down. David looked up.
"Hmm, gonna be a good berry crop." He dryly commented out loud about the green berries hanging thickly all around him. Heavy breathing and footfalls sounded outside of his unfortunate haven. He looked to see three horses and two humans staring at him.
"You're bastards all of you!" he growled. Jamie and Joe burst into laughter.
Adam whistled as he drove down the road. The Impala was a nice car, it handled nicer than he expected. He played with the radio until he found a station that suited him. Adam smiled. After ditching the drunk into the river, he immediately started out of the city. He needed to get as far away from Pinewoods as possible. It was no doubt all over the news by now. When he was far enough away he would secure some more money and clothes. He sighed dreamily as he set the cruise control to sixty-five and let thoughts of Jamie play through his mind.
"I have to warn her!" Sean cried on the edge of hysterics.
"Shannon, please calm down," Shane pleaded, "we will, I've been trying to get a hold of David. I'm sure his father already has. Jamie will be well taken care of. We need to worry about us. I've already called the cops; they've got men watching our houses." Shane reasoned.
"That's not the point; I need to see her, now more than ever Shane! I'm tired of wallowing in guilt; I have to set things straight, I have to warn her!"
Shane stared at his older sister. She hadn't slept all night, she looked paler than usual, she wasn't going to take no for an answer. Shane sighed heavily.
"Let me call Mark, I'll get everything straightened out. You get ready to go." Shane said as he picked up the phone and dialed Mark Hansen's phone number.
"Go? Where are we going?" Alex came to the kitchen where his mother and uncle were talking.
"Alex, honey, I need to go to Montana immediately. There is something I need to take care of."
"Alright, I'll start packing," Alex shrugged.
"Honey I don't think,"
"Well, I do think mom, and I'm not letting you go alone. After what you told me about Adam," he hesitated, "I can't let you be alone. I'm a little scared mom, I'll admit it. I'm scared about what might happen if he comes after us. I'm scared for you and uncle." Alex trailed off.
Sean swallowed the tears that threatened. She reached out and pulled her son into a tight hug. "I'm so sorry Alex, I'm so sorry you had to be dragged into the middle of this." She whispered as tears leaked down her cheeks.
Alex returned the hug fiercely. "I love you mom." He whispered back, they stood in each others secure embrace for a moment. "I want to know all about this Jamie though, the whole story, okay?"
Sean nodded as she wiped away the tears. "I promise honey, when we get going, we'll have a long talk."
"It's all worked out, Mark hasn't gotten a hold of David yet, but he said he would and he also said he'd take care of things on this end. It's still early so let's get going if you want to start out today."
The phone rang as soon as the trio walked through the door of Jamie's house. David hurried across the kitchen and grabbed the hand piece.
"Oh hello dad what's up?"
"Look David, is Jamie alright?"
David frowned at the worried tone in his father's voice. He looked over at Jamie and Joe.
"She's fine dad, what's wrong?" he asked lowering his voice.
"Listen David, Adam Willis escaped from prison last night."
David paled; he looked quickly over at Jamie. She and Joe where laughing about something as they made sandwiches.
"We're not even sure he'd try to find Jamie, it's unlikely he even knows where she lives, but I'm telling you just to be sure. I had the police here get in contact with the police there. It would be wise for you to call them."
"Yeah, I'll do that dad." He agreed readily.
"I'm sure they'll have him caught before he leaves the state, but this is just to be sure. I think you should tell Jamie about this too David."
"I think you're right dad, I will tell her after I consult with the police."
"Good, your mother is beside herself, it's all I can do to keep her here."
"I'll bet." David agreed. "I'll take care of it dad."
"I know you will son," Mark hesitated for a second, "I also think I should tell you that Shannon and Shane are on their way to Montana."
David hesitated, unsure how to take that information, "why?" he finally asked.
Mark sighed, "Shannon was very persistent about wanting to talk to Jamie in person."
"Okay, well that could complicate things."
"Give her a chance David, you and Shane are still good friends, you know the story of what happened and why, just let her have a chance."
"I know dad, I've tried to talk to Jamie about it, and it didn't turn out well. She might not be very, friendly to Sean."
Mark sighed, "I'm afraid of that. I don't know what to do about it. It's out of both of our hands I'm afraid. I'm just giving you fore warning. What happens will happen. Just make sure you talk to the police, okay?"
"I will dad I promise."
"I've got to go; I'll call you later tonight." Mark told him
"That would be fine, bye dad."
David hung up the phone and leaned against the wall. It felt surreal, was this really happening? Too many 'what if's' popped up. What if he did come after Jamie, would he be able to protect her? What if they didn't catch him, would they have to live their lives in constant fear wondering? What if something happened to Jamie, would he be able to live with himself?
"David?" Jamie's voice caused him to snap his head in her direction. "Are you alright?" her brow furrowed in concern.
David put on a small smile, "I'm fine, still sore I guess." He started to the table where Joe was setting plates, and sat down.
"Who was on the phone?" Jamie inquired as she set the platter of sandwiches in the center of the table.
"Dad, just checking in as usual." He tired to keep his tone light, while his mind was in turmoil.
Alex woke groggily to the captain talking about the descent to the run way. Alex rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. Airplane rides weren't all that exciting. In fact, he'd fallen asleep as soon as they lifted off. To his left his uncle Shane was still sound asleep. To his right his mother stared fretfully out in to the sky. She looked like she hadn't slept.
She turned to her son and managed a weak smile. "Sleep well?"
He nodded and yawned and stretched his arms up as far as the cramped cabin space would allow. "How much further do we have to go?"
"It's a smaller town about an hour from where we're landing. I was hoping to rent a car from here." The plane jerked lightly and they felt the subtle downward pull.
"Good I can't wait to get off of this plane." Alex groaned. He leaned his head over and rested it on his mother's shoulder. "Have you ever been to Montana?"
"No, but I hear it's beautiful."
"Me too, in the books at school, they show all these pictures of cowboy's on horses, chasing those cows with the long horns, riding those wild broncos." He said excitedly raising his head to look up at her. "All the shoot outs with Indians and bandits and stuff like that. It sounds so great!"
Sean smiled at her son's childlike enthusiasm. It eased some of her tension seeing her sons' blue eyes twinkling with excitement. It was good to see him acting like the kid he was instead of the grown man he had to be. "Honey, I think the days of cowboys and Indians are over, I'm pretty sure they don't circle the wagons anymore." She teased.
Alex laughed, "I know that, it's just very interesting to me. I would love to learn how to ride horses and chase cows and stuff like that. Have you ever ridden a horse?"
Sean smiled and shook her head. "No, never had the chance."
"Someday, can I learn?"
Sean reached out and brushed his hair back from his face, "anything you want honey." She told him sincerely.
After landing Sean and Alex went to gather the luggage and Shane went to see about renting a car. Forty-five minutes later they were on the road.
David sat at the small table in his cabin staring out into the night. The call to the police was about what he expected. They already were in contact with the Pinewoods authority, they had all the information and pictures tacked up and put out an alert. They would keep their eyes and ears open, but until they knew for sure, not much could be done. Not as productive as he would have liked. He called his father back to report what the police had told him. His father had nothing new to add to the situation. David then personally called a friend he and Jamie knew on the force in Montana. Jonathon Lambert and Jamie had gone to high school together. He promised he'd personally look into it and find excuses to drop by the clinic and the ranch to check up on them. Knowing that Jonathon was going to do that David feel better. What was troubling him now was how to tell Jamie. He knew he should have told her today after his father called. He didn't know how. He was scared, plain and simple. David flinched startled by the ringing of thephone. He quickly looked at the clock on the wall. It read twenty after two. He rose quickly and answered the phone. "Yes?"
"Um, David?" the unsure voice asked.
"Yeah, Hello Shane."
"Hey, I just wanted to call and let you know that we made it to town. We're staying at the Sundown motel."
"Good, glad you made ok." They both paused awkwardly.
"David, do you think this is a good idea? I mean Sean and Jamie meeting again?"
David sighed heavily, "honestly, I don't know." He heard Shane sigh heavily on the other end.
"I'm not too sure about it," he admitted. "I don't think this is going to bode well for either one of them."
"There isn't a whole lot we can do about it Shane, we know the whole story, Jamie doesn't. I mean, I'm not taking sides by any means, I'm just, I'm scared Shane."
After a long pause Shane said, "Me too buddy, all of us are involved in this in some way, I'm scared for all of us."
Jamie walked out of her office into the hallway leading to the waiting room. It had been a busy morning already. She was hoping to cut out at noon to go grocery shopping since her fridge was bare. She had an emergency patient to take care of first. Jamie rounded the corner to the waiting room where Jonathon Lambert sat next to his daughter on one of the benches. The little blond girl sat with a worried expression on her face. She was holding a white and black long eared rabbit. Jonathon grinned and rose to meet Jamie.
"Hey Jamie, sorry about this, but she was pretty worried." He motioned with his head towards the rabbit.
Jamie grinned, "It's not a problem Jonathon, really." She turned to the girl. "Hey Kelly, lets bring Hopper back and have a look at him." She smiled encouragingly at the little girl.
Sean looked over at her brother on the next bed snoring loudly. She envied him, he could sleep through anything. The few hours of fitful sleep she did get left her feeling more exhausted. She absently rubbed her forehead trying to ease the headache she had since arriving in Montana. Sean sighed and looked over at her son. He was flipping aimlessly through the channels, not even looking at the TV. He was staring longingly through the window.
"You're going to burn up that remote." She teased him.
It took a moment but he finally responded with a distracted, "huh?"
Sean got up off the bed, "let's go look around outside, I need to think and I can't do it over your uncle's snoring." She told him in a teasing voice.
Alex sprung to his feet, tossing the remote on the bed. "Okay, we can go get something to eat too, it is noon." He grabbed his mother's jacket and helped her into it. Sean dug through her purse for a pen and a piece of paper to leave Shane a note, then mother and son left the motel room.
Jamie entered through the sliding glass doors and went immediately for the rows of metal carts. After struggling to separate one from its companions, she pushed the wobbly basket through another set of glass doors. She made her way to the dairy section.
"Maw can I get a magazine or a book or something?" Alex asked eyeing the stands of magazines as he set the milk in the cart.
"Sure, I'll go pick up some lunch meat, meet me at the check-out stand."
He nodded and headed toward the rack. Sean pushed the cart around the corner to the deli.
Jamie rounded the corner to the dairy section. She picked out the milk and three different types of cheese and set them in her cart. As she turned she eyed the magazines and decided she needed to pickup the Western Horseman. She strolled over next to the young man.
"Excuse," she said as she reached in front of him to grab the magazine. The kid turned to her with a small smile of understanding. Jamie froze. Something in her subconscious flooded open. The boy was hauntingly familiar. There was something about his facial structure and those startling blue eyes. She couldn't help that she was staring at the boy.
Alex shifted uncomfortably and glanced quickly sideways at the woman. Why she was staring was beyond him, he wasn't trying to steal the magazine. "I'm not stealing it I promise." He finally said turning to look at her.
Jamie blinked then choked out a small laugh of embarrassment. "I'm sorry it's just that you seem so familiar to me."
"Oh, well I'm not from around here." He supplied her.
Jamie nodded with a small smile and turned back to her cart. She continued through the store in a semi-daze. At the check-out stand she saw the boy again paying for the magazine. Jamie craned her neck watching the boy as he got into a rental SUV. She shook her head, it was nothing but still she felt a bit shaken. Her mind was still wandering as she pushed the cart through the glass doors. As a result she ran into another cart stopped at the cart corral.
"I'm sorry," she looked up and the rest of the sentence was choked out by the loud gasp. The blood drained from her face. There was Sean Williams staring at her with the same wide-eyed shocked expression. Jamie felt like shewas sucked into a vortex and was back in Pinewoods. The roaring in her ears drowned out the noise around her. All she could do was stare at the woman in front of her. It was indeed Sean. Her hair was shorter and brown, and she looked like she could stand to gain some weight, but the blue eyes were the same. Jamie trembled as she gripped the cart handle tighter.
Sean was also shaking. She hadn't meant to meet Jamie like this. She didn't know what to say. She stood staring at her. Jamie looked as beautiful as she remembered. She also looked scared at that moment.
"Ja, Jamie?" Sean finally stuttered out.
Jamie blinked at the familiar voice. She cleared her throat and replied the only way she knew how to at that moment. "What the hell are you doing here Sean?"
"Jamie I came to talk to you, but I don't want to do it here. It's very important, please; I'm at the Sundown room 21." Sean rushed out. She quickly turned and walked through the doors before Jamie could reply.
Jamie stood staring after her. She took a deep breath to try to calm her run away heartbeat.
"What the hell just happened?" She spoke out loud. Her mind was in turmoil. Without really knowing she was doing it, Jamie gathered her bags and started to her Ford. In a haze of confusion she started the pickup put it in gear and pulled out of the parking lot.
Was that really Sean? She was on auto-pilot, her mind spinning in a hundred different directions. She blinked and realized she was heading downtown. The Sundowner was downtown. Did she really want to see Sean? Jamie wasn't ready for the feelings seeing her again would evoke. Suddenly a surge of anger rocketed through her.
How dare she do this! How dare that woman re-enter her life! Jamie felt the flush spark through her. True she never saw or spoke to Sean after what happened in Pinewoods, and why would she? So what was this woman doing now? Why was she in Montana? Jamie never knew what happened to her after wards. So why was she doing this? This woman had almost gotten her killed. Jamie pulled into the motel parking lot. She killed the engine of her Ford. Did she really care about what Sean had to say? She looked down and saw her hands trembling. Jamie took a deep breath and let it go slowly trying to calm herself. Sean wasn't going to go away until she revealed her purpose for re-entering Jamie's life.
"Just get it over with Jamie, and then you'll be rid of her." She coaxed herself out of the pickup and slowly started to room 21. She stopped at the door closed her eyes and took another deep breath. She would not go in there showing Sean how scared she actually was. Jamie knocked on the door. Seconds later it swung open. Jamie swallowed hard as she looked at Sean. The older woman was shaking visibly. The fear was evident in her now dull blue eyes. It gave Jamie a shot of encouragement.
Sean stepped aside and let Jamie in. After shutting the door she quickly retreated to the edge of the bed and sat staring at the floor twisting the hem of her sweatshirt nervously. "Did, um did you want to sit down?"
Jamie needed the security of the door as an escape. "I'm fine." She gruffly stated. "What do you want?"
Sean took a deep breath, "I have to tell you something, about Adam."
At that name Jamie balked, she swallowed the fear she was trying hard not to show.
"He's out, he escaped." Sean bluntly stated. "I, um, I wanted to warn you,"
"Why? Are you planning to deliver me to him again?" Jamie spat out cutting her off.
Sean gasped, "No, Jamie I, I just wanted to tell you in person."
"Why? Why was it so imperative that you came all the way up here to warn me in person?"
Sean took a deep breath, "I, I don't know" she stuttered, "I wanted to try and help you,"
"What makes you think I would ever want your help?" Jamie hissed.
"Jamie, please, I want to make amends,"
"Amends?" she laughed without humor, "perhaps apologize?" she mocked. "No Sean you traveled a long way for nothing."
Sean was shaking with frustration, tears filling her eyes as she stood and took a few steps toward Jamie. "I was hoping you would be willing to listen to my side of the story." She pleaded.
"Your side? The side where you helped your brother kidnap me?"
"You don't understand,"
"You're right I don't" Jamie cut her off again.
"Please just listen to me, you have to believe me."
"Believe you? The last time I believed and trusted you I almost died!" Jamie shouted taking a menacing step towards Sean. Sean stumbled back a step from the fury in the emerald eyes. They stared at each other, both of them breathing hard.
Long seconds elapsed before Sean suddenly realized what it was that Jamie refused to see. She took a deep breath and straightened up. "But you didn't, did you Jamie?" Sean spat back finding a little courage as she stepped forward again. "You're alive and well Jamie, I'm so sorry it happened but that part of your life is over with. The past is where it belongs. Don't relive it! I'm here to help you!"
Jamie took and deep breath, intending to let loose on a torment of words, but stopped short. They stared at one another in silence, trembling. Jamie clenched and unclenched her jaw at the realization. "You're right. It is the past." Jamie agreed tiredly. "I don't want your help Sean. I hate you for what you did to me. All of the hurt and betrayal, feelings like that don't go away overnight." She said quietly as she turned to the door and opened it. "Thank you for warning me about Adam." She said over her shoulder and slowly walked through the door shutting it quietly behind her. Jamie couldn't bring herself to tell Sean good-bye.
Jamie sat behind the wheel of her truck. She wiped the tears away as she started the Ford and backed out of the space.
Sean backed to the edge of the bed sobbing quietly into her hands.
"Hey maw?" Alex stepped through the door, "wasn't that the woman from the store I was telling you..." he trailed off. "Mom?" he asked as he quickly went to her side.
Jamie pulled into the clinic parking lot. She parked and dragged herself out the pick-up and started to her office's private entrance. She sat behind her desk and stared blankly at the wall. Her heart was heavy and her mind jumbled. How to even begin to make sense of what was happening? Sean was suddenly back in her life. Adam was out. She was scared.
"Come on Jamie, get it together." She scolded herself. She couldn't concentrate, there was something eating at her. Jamie restlessly clicked the pen in front of her. She blinked suddenly. It was guilt that she was feeling. Why should she feel guilty? She was the one that was almost killed. The guilt should be all Sean's shouldn't it? Jamie stood in frustration. The more it nagged at her the more restless she felt. She needed air. Jamie exited through the door and out to the corrals in the back. She leaned up against the corral and looked into the clear blue sky, hoping to find the answer. It was moments later she heard a noise and glanced towards the source.
"You!" Alex strode purposely to where Jamie stood against the corral. "What the hell did you do to my mother?" He spat.
Jamie took a step back in surprise as the young man she recognized from the grocery store pointed an accusing finger at her.
"Excuse me? Who are you, and who is your mother?" Jamie asked when she got over the shock of being yelled at by a kid.
"What did you do to my mother?" he repeated as he took another step closer.
Jamie's temper flared, she was confused beyond belief and not really happy about getting railed by a kid.
"Look kid, I don't know who the hell you are, or what the hell you're talking about, now get out of my clinic before I call the cops!" She retaliated through clenched teeth.
"You want to know who I am. I'm Alex Williams, Sean Williams's son!" he crossed his arms defiantly over his chest waiting for her reaction.
Jamie furrowed her brow in confusion then, her face went pale as she grasped the meaning of his words.
"Her son? I didn't know she had a son." She gasped.
"Has a son," he corrected her, "here I am, and I want to know what your problem is with my mother. She came all the way up here to talk to you and to warn you! Why the hell didn't you at least listen to her?"
"Look, Alex is it? Your mother did something horrible to me,"
"Did you ever ask her why, or let her explain? Hell no! You were too busy being caught up in your own self-pity you can't see other people's grief and suffering. My mother almost died because of the guilt she harbors!"
Jamie swallowed hard, she hadn't known Sean had a son, she didn't know how it had affected her or the boy standing in front of her. Maybe the boy was right; maybe she was caught up in self-pity, blinded by hatred. She had the right to be, didn't she? What Sean did to her was; what was it? She didn't know Sean's side of the story. She'd become a hateful, resentful person.
"I'm not done yet," he cut her off again harshly, "she told me about everything that bastard tried to do to you. I know this doesn't make it right, but she had to do it to save me."
Jamie jerked like she'd been slapped. "What?"
"Adam kidnapped me, threatened my life if my mother didn't help. He threatened my life if she went to the police or anyone else for that matter. It hurts me to know what she had to go through to save me. She didn't tell me a whole lot about you, only that she cared about you and that she was forced to betray you. I hate the fact as much as my mother that that asshole is related to us, but don't punish her for his insanity. She admits that she still cares about you, why else would she drop everything and rush over here." He took a deep breath and sighed heavily. "Look, I can't ask you to forgive her, I don't know what you went through or what you're still going through, but all I'm asking is that you please at least hear her out," Alex pleaded. "Let her get it off her chest, let her explain, if not for your sake then for hers. You're not the only one who's been made to suffer from all of this."
Jamie looked into the pleading blue eyes. Sean did deserve a chance. Didn't she? Deep down, Jamie wanted to know why. Why didn't Sean just tell her about Alex? Why didn't she tell her about Adam? She needed to know.
"I, ahh," she cleared her throat, "I'll talk to her, for both of our sakes." Jamie quietly told him after a long moment of silence.
Adam carefully scanned the camping grounds. There weren't as many people as he would have liked, but he found suitable prey. He watched from the car as the middle-aged couple left the RV. They were smiling and holding hands as they started out towards the hiking path. Adam smiled.
"That's what Jamie and I can do. I know she likes to hike." He said to out loud as the couple passed in front of the car. Adam exited the Impala and nodded a greeting to the passing couple. He strode casually over to the RV deliberately passing by it. He glanced at the couple, and then darted behind the big vehicle.
Adam quickly tested the windows. He took the hammer he found in the trunk of the Impala and used the claw end to pry at the window's molding. He glanced around nervously. It was mid-day, but there was no-one around. The window came loose with a pop. He grinned as he dropped the glass and quickly scaled up and though the window.
The next morning Jamie stared at the phone trying to find the courage to pick it up.
"James, do you want me to call?" David gently asked coming to stand next to her.
She looked at him. He looked as tired and pale as she felt. It had been a long night for the three of them. They had sat around the table discussing what to do. Both Joe and David agreed that she should talk to Sean.
"No David, I have to do this." With determination she picked up the phone and dialed the number. David walked over to where Joe stood by the stove.
"I'm worried Joe, what if they don't get this guy."
The old man hitched his shoulders in a heavy sigh. "They will David; the police around here are good." He said wondering just who he was trying to reassure.
Jamie hung up the phone and looked at her watch. "I'm going right now," was all she said as she headed for the door.
Jonathon watched as the Ford merged on to the highway. David had called him last night and gave him the story in its entirety so he was aware of the three people from Pinewoods staying in the motel. Slowly he pulled onto the highway and followed her to town at a safe distance.
Jamie pulled into the Sundown and parked the pick-up. She walked up to the door and knocked. It immediately opened. Sean looked like she hadn't slept at all. Her eyes were dark and sunken and she looked abnormally pale.
Sean stepped back to admit her in then took up position on the edge of the bed. Jamie stood by the door facing her. It was silent as both women collected their thoughts.
"Why did you do it Sean, did I mean so little to you?" Jamie quietly asked.
"No you mean a lot to me. He kidnapped my son, threatened his life as well as mine. I panicked."
"You panicked so you agreed to help him kidnap me?" Jamie snapped.
"No, I had no other choice; he threatened the life of my child! I was scared Jamie, what would you have done?"
"I would have gone to the police!" Jamie retorted stepping towards her.
"It's real easy for you to say that! You weren't in my situation!" Sean yelled back sobbing. "Jamie I was holding the lives' of two people in my hands." She stopped and looked down at the ground. "I was so scared; I didn't know what to do."
Jamie stopped and stared at her. Sean was right; she had no way of knowing how she would have reacted in that situation.
Sean sniffed and wiped at the tears on her cheeks. "I was even more afraid when I realized how I felt about you. Those feelings grew so quickly." She whispered then paused. Sean looked up at Jamie. "It wasn't an act, the way I felt about you. He didn't take into consideration that I would fall for you. I was determined to get us out of the situation in any way possible." She paused and shook her head as if trying to dispel the memories. "Adam was keeping such a tight watch on me, I couldn't have gone to the police, but I did manage to confide in Shane. He was the one that saved us both that night; he was the one that contacted the police." Sean fell silent watching Jamie carefully. Minutes drained by before Sean spoke again.
"Jamie I know that me telling you all of this doesn't make it right. I don't know how to begin making amends; I don't know how to fix it. All I can do is to say that I am so sorry, I never meant for any of it to happen." Her voice broke on a sob as she looked away.
Jamie swallowed the tears that threatened as she digested this information. She stared at Sean trying to see through her. She couldn't, all she could see was frightened woman pleading for understanding and forgiveness. It was long moments later before Jamie finally spoke.
"I'm sorry too Sean." She paused, "and I don't know what to do either." Jamie admitted. "Part of me wants to forgive you and part of me still wants to not trust you." She wiped a tear away. "I really cared about you Sean and it hurt." She stopped to swallow the lump of pain in her throat. "I know I've been hateful and deaf to your side of the story. Seeing you here now after all these years, seeing all the misery and pain," she paused, "I believe you Sean. It hurts that you didn't tell me about Alex and everything else, but I understand why you couldn't." Jamie quietly admitted. She stared down at her shoes. The silence dragged on as Jamie tried to get her emotions under control. Finally she looked up at Sean.
"Do you still care about me Sean?"
Sean stared at Jamie, trying unsuccessfully to control the sob that threatened. "Yes."
Jamie nodded as she looked at the ceiling while wiping the tears. "I know that I still care about you too Sean," she slowly admitted. Jamie realized it was true, she did still care. There was a pregnant pause before Jamie spoke again. "I would like for you to talk to Jonathon Lambert at the police station. He's the one handling things you should let him know you're here, just in case." She paused again wanting to say more, to ask more but not knowing how to do it. With a deep sigh she finally said, "I'm in the book if you need to reach David or I. Be careful Sean, I'd hate to see you get hurt." Jamie told her sincerely. "I've got to go." She said quietly as she left.
Hours later Jamie sat in the coffee shop staring at the half empty cappuccino. She felt someone come up next to her. She looked up to find Amanda smiling at her.
"Hey, you look like you're a thousand miles away?" She pulled out a chair and sat down.
"Yeah you could say that." She forced a small smile. "What are you doing here?"
"Well," Amanda grinned, "this is the only lesbian hangout in town."
Jamie favored her with a small laugh.
"You want to talk about it?" Amanda gently asked reaching out and lightly grasping Jamie's hand.
Jamie sat quiet for a moment. "Yeah I think I do."
Adam whistled as he turned into a run down gas station. He felt better having gotten a few changes of clothes. The khakis cargos and long sleeve t-shirt was a bit large on him, but he didn't mind. Adam started pumping gas into the Impala. He popped the hood to check the oil. There was no sense letting his get away car break down he thought to himself. Adam grinned at his latest venture. Not only did he score some fresh clothes and another six hundred dollars; but he also found a gun. The one thing he would need the most, a .38 special revolver with a full cylinder. He smiled at his luck as the recapped the gas tank and went to pay. While in the building he bought some of the average gas station fair to munch on. He walked out the door carrying a brown bag of snacks and water and chewing on a Slim Jim. Adam stopped short. A highway patrol was pulling into the lot. Running to the car would cause a scene so he nonchalantly started to the car. The officer gave him a once over as he passed by.
"Hello." Adam smiled. The cop smiled back and started to the store. Adam fought down the urge to run to the car and continued. Once safely in the car he hurriedly tossed the bag into the passenger's seat, buckled his safety belt and pulled out of the lot. When out of seeing distance he chanced flooring it keeping an eye on the rear view mirror. After a handful of miles Adam let out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding. He was going to have to alter his route a bit, and try to stay off the interstate as much as possible just to be safe. It would take longer by secondary roads and by-ways; but he wasn't too worried about that.
Jamie drove through the dusky May evening in heavy thought. She and Amanda had talked for two hours. Amanda was just as compassionate as she was wild. She saw the story through both Jamie's and Sean's eyes. Amanda had reminded her how hard it must have been and how much courage it must have taken on Sean's part to travel two thousand miles to confess and ask for forgiveness. She suggested that Jamie show that same courage and provide the forgiveness that Sean sought. Yes it would be hard to get over it but the fact that Sean was here proved something. What did it prove? Was she here to repeat history, or was she here to protect?
Jamie shook her head in frustration. What to believe? Why would Sean drag her child and brother up here just to harm her again? Jamie sighed heavily. She knew better than that. She knew Sean better than that; or did she? Jamie shook her head fiercely again; of course she knew better than that. Sean was here to help. Jamie was being selfishly unreasonable. Scared people act unreasonably.
Jamie admitted to herself that she was indeed scared. She was scared that Adam was out; she was scared of the unknown. She was scared of all of the what if's; but mostly she was scared of the feelings Sean's being here evoked. She was scared that something might happen to Sean.
Awareness seeped into her consciousness. Jamie looked around and was surprise to find herself at the cemetery. She was parked in front of identical marble gray headstones. Even in the dark she knew what was chiseled into the marble.
"In loving memory of Tom and Bev Anders"
"In sorrow we grieve, in happiness we remember"
"Forgotten you will never be"
Jamie stood at the foot of the graves, tears silently running down her face. "Help me." She pleaded as she dropped to her knees and wept openly.
David looked out of the window for the hundredth time and checked his watch for the thousandth time. He paced ceaselessly around the kitchen.
"David sit down, you're worse than a mother hen." Joe ordered in his gravelly voice. Truth be told, he was nervous too. Jamie should have been home by now but one of them had to put on a strong front.
David leapt for the door when he heard the Ford pull into the driveway. He watched as Jamie crawled out of the pickup and slowly made her way to the house. He looked at her expectantly.
Jamie saw the worry on his face as she approached. She felt bad for not calling and she could only imagine what the men had gone through. She gave an apologetic smile as she stepped past him into the kitchen. As expected, Joe sat at the table trying to hide the worry in his weathered face.
"I'm sorry I didn't call, I just needed time by myself to think," she quietly explained to them. She sighed heavily. "I'm very tired and I'm going to sleep now." She walked out of the kitchen and to her room.
David watched her go and started to follow. Joe stopped him with a hand on the younger man's arm.
"Let it go son, she'll tell you when she's ready."
Adam woke with a jerk. He sat up from the reclined position he had taken to get a few hours of sleep. It was still dark out. He turned on the key and read the green digital clock.
"Almost five." He yawned as he opened the door and stepped out. He stretched languorously easing the cramped muscles. Adam strolled around the car and stopped at the small man made pond in the center of the camping site. He grinned, he had only been in Montana for couple hours, but he already liked it. Adam inhaled the crisp air heavily. He let it out on a content sigh. A lot of the tension had eased when he crossed from the North Dakota state line into Montana.
"Like I'm coming home." He whispered. He looked down and stared at the license plate like he had never seen one before. As he contemplated it, a thought crossed his mind. He knelt down and studied the plate. A grin formed on his face as he rose and quickly went to the passenger door.
Twenty minutes later, Adam pulled out of the camp site feeling pretty proud of his new Montana plates and not giving a second thought to the Pennsylvania plates sitting at the bottom of the pond.
Jamie woke to the phone ringing. She rolled over and fumbled for the hand piece. "Hello?" she asked her voice groggy. She listened to the man on the other end as she turned on her lamp. "Yeah, I'll be right in." With a big yawn she stretched and crawled from the bed.
Hours later she came home from the clinic and flopped at the table. Joe and David were having a late breakfast. Joe looked at her expectantly as he set a cup of coffee down in front of her.
"Breech foal, not pretty." She explained as she took a sip. She sighed and dropped her head back and closed her eyes. "I at least saved the mare."
"Here eat something." David set the plate in front of her. Jamie straightened up and started eating. The men joined her at the table.
"I was sort of thinking this morning." David started. "I would really like to invite Shane out to play poker because I mean I haven't seen him in a while and we're still friends and I'd like to see him." The room grew still as the David held his breath waiting for the reaction. Jamie sighed heavily.
"You can't just invite Shane out. Invite all three of them out." She took another bite of her eggs. The men looked at her in shock. "It would give me a chance to talk to Sean more." She admitted quietly.
Shane hung up the phone and turned to his sister and nephew with a look of shock. "That was David; we are supposed to come out tonight about six for supper."
"Cool!" Alex exclaimed, "do you think they'll let me ride a horse?" Sean and Shane just looked at each other in surprise.
Jamie looked at the clock for the hundredth time in an hour. It was still only an hour until she was to have company. She looked over the house again to make sure it was clean and tidy. As she was wiping down the sink for the fourth time she stopped short. Why was she doing this? She felt nervous that was for sure, but why was she cleaning and making sure everything was in perfect order? Did she care what they thought?
Jamie blinked and stared out through the kitchen window. David and Joe were just emerging from the barn. She had the security to make it through the evening. It was strange; she really didn't feel as nervous as she thought she would about them coming to the ranch. Jamie had had all day to think about it; it was a good thing, there was one thing she was going to find out about tonight. Since the revelation she had been rolling it around in her head. Everything would be in the clear after tonight. She heard the unmistakable crunch of tires on the gravel drive. Jamie watched as the SUV pulled up next to her Ford and parked. David rushed to the truck with Joe warily walking behind. Jamie grinned as Shane emerged from the Dodge and embraced David. Sean and Alex stood by. The boy looked around in open-mouthed awe.
David tentatively gave Sean a hug and then was introduced to the boy. She watched Joe make the rounds. Jamie grinned knowingly as the boy pointed to the barn and Joe, with a huge grin nodded and started to lead the boy towards the barn. Joe was going to be taken with the boy. Jamie took a deep breath started to the door.
Sean looked up as the door opened and Jamie slowly walked through. They stood looking at each other. Jamie could tell the men were holding their breaths. "Hello again Sean."
Sean grinned in relief and nodded, "thank you for inviting us out." She softly told her. The men let out an audible breath.
Jamie turned to Shane. "Hey Shane, long time no see."
Shane smiled widely and made his way over to her for a big hug. "You too and I thank you for inviting us out."
"And now that you're here Shane; you get to help me with the grill." David clapped him heartily on the back...
Jamie chuckled, "please do he grills just about as well as he rides horse."
"Hey!" David protested with a laugh. From the barn came a loud excited voice. Moments later Alex came trotting over to where they stood.
"Mom! Joe is gonna take me on a horse ride! Can you believe it, I'm gonna ride a horse maw, is that okay?"
Her son's enthusiasm was hard to resist, still Sean looked at Jamie worriedly. Jamie grinned reassuringly at her. She turned back to her son. "Just be careful and listen to Joe okay?"
"Yes!" Alex pumped his fist into the air and ran back to the barn where Joe was waiting. The old man handed him a halter and the duo started around the barn. Sean watched worriedly as they disappeared. She turned back to find only Jamie standing there with her. The stood awkwardly unsure what to do or say.
"Um, do you need any help in the kitchen?" Sean finally asked. Jamie stopped and for the first time really looked over her. Sean looked so pale and beaten down. Her frail frame seemed to barely hold up the long sleeve shirt and baggy Levi's she was wearing. Yet Jamie could see underneath it all to the beauty Sean possessed. Strange feelings came over Jamie. She felt her heart go out to her and she felt a tingle ofattraction. She smiled softly at the older woman.
"I would appreciate that Sean, thank you."
Adam had been smiling since crossing the Montana state line. His smile widened as he passed by the "Welcome to Blue Lake". He giggled with delight.
They were setting the table when Sean suddenly stopped and looked carefully around the comfortable house.
"Where's Mouse?" she asked innocently inquiring about the Mastiff she remembered Jamie having during college.
Involuntarily tears sprung to her eyes at the mention of Mouse's name. Sean's heart dropped as she watched the tears slip from Jamie's eyes. "I'm so sorry Jamie." She told sincerely.
Jamie shook her head and wiped away the tears, "its okay," she sniffed. "I had to put him to sleep a couple of months ago because his health deteriorated so badly." Jamie fiddled with the napkin holder absently. "I…I just, I miss him too much to even try to replace him."
Sean moved around the table and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. They stood like that for a moment until Shane and David noisily made an entrance bring the steaks in.
Supper was a loud affair, Alex practically bouncing in his chair while recounting the horse ride and all the stuff Joe had taken him to see. Sean was smiling widely at the way her son was acting.
Jamie was smiling widely at the boy's exuberance. Joe was pretty well taken with the boy which she figured would happen, Joe liked kids. Jamie laughed as Alex described, complete with hand actions, the race he won against Joe. Jamie studied him, his bright blue eyes shining his face aglow with excitement. He looked like his mother so much; she wondered what his father looked like?
After supper the men volunteered to do the dishes and clean-up. Sean and Jamie stepped out onto the porch. The sun was just setting turning the sky a pale orange. They stood in silence absorbing the beauty of the sky. Jamie looked over at her. She took a deep sigh and broke the silence.
"Tell me about Alex."
Sean clenched her jaw. She figured this was coming. Sean did deserve to know. With a heavy sigh Sean sat on the last step of the porch. Jamie sat on step above her on the opposite side and turned to lean against the rail and watch Sean.
"To start you have to know that Adam is my half brother." Sean started, "his father was a nasty abusive man that always had to have his way. In the end he got what he deserved. He was killed in a bar fight leaving an abused widow and one six year old son. She met Paul Williams at a meeting for abused women. They fell in love and along came Shane and I." Sean paused as she wiped away a tear at the memory of her parents. "Adam was always very protective of me; he became even more so after our parents were killed in a car wreck." She turned to Jamie when she heard a slight gasp. Jamie stared at her wide-eyed. Sean nodded in understanding.
"Almost ironic isn't it?" she asked. "I was eighteen and just beginning college when that happened. I chose to stay in Pennsylvania with Adam. Shane was only 15 and was sent to live with our aunt and uncle in California. Adam was good to me; got me set up in an apartment helped me with scholarships and helped me find a job. He was a college student at that time. He and some of his roommates lived in a house just down the street from my apartment building. Adam wanted it like that so he could watch over me." Sean gave a humorless laugh. "Watch over me he did. I was seeing this guy from one of my classes, one night he went a little too far for my comfort and I tried to kick him out of my apartment. He wouldn't go. I don't know if it was by luck or what, but Adam and his buddies showed up just in time. Adam and I saw him again a few days later. He looked like he'd been in a wreck. He wouldn't even look at us. Adam told me later that day that he would never bother me again. He was right, they found him dead in is dorm room, an apparent suicide." She looked up at Jamie again to see her staring wide-eyed in surprise.
"Adam killed him didn't he?"
Sean sighed, "he never admitted to it, but I believe he did. I know for a fact that he killed Bobby." Sean stopped and looked out across the darkening yard.
"Who's Bobby?" Jamie gently asked.
"Bobby was the reason Alex was born," she paused again. "Bobby was one of Adam's roommates. He was kind of like Adam, always looking out for me, watching me. Bobby admitted his attraction to me one night while I was at their house waiting for my brother to return. I didn't return the attraction. I had come to realize something about myself by that time."
"That you were a lesbian." Jamie softly said.
Sean nodded her head, "that I was a lesbian," she repeated. "Bobby didn't like that. He claimed it was because of a dyke that is mother left his father. He beat and raped me in the living room of my brother house." Sean saw Jamie pale and clutch at the step. "I don't know how long it went on because I was slipping in and out of consciousness; but I vaguely remember Adam coming home. I can remember hearing a lot of yelling and struggling. When I came to again I remember seen Bobby lying on the floor in a bloody mess and Adam standing there with the gun still in his hand." Sean looked away as she felt a hand on her shoulder. "I was in the hospital for a month. A month after I was released I found out that I was pregnant. I was so far into depression that I became critical was readmitted. Adam was always there telling me I couldn't die because I owed him for taking care of me. He informed me that I was going to live because I had two brothers and a baby to think about." Sean laughed. "He was right, I did live. Alex was born while I was still in the hospital. They were going to give him up for adoption saying that I was unfit as a mother. I don't know how Adam managed it, but he got to keep Alex until I proved myself and got out of the hospital." The smile that came across Sean's face was a smile of pleasant memories. "When I first saw Alex, I knew my life had changed. I was determined to keep him. I did, a month later I was released from the hospital with flying colors and got to keep my son." She turned to Jamie. They stared at each other trying to read one another until the door cracked open and Alex poked his head through.
"Mom, it's time for your meds, did you remember to bring them?" Sean looked away from Jamie to her son.
"No I didn't honey, I've got to run back to town and get them." She told him as she stood and stretched.
"Okay, can uncle and I stay here, Joe is teaching me to play poker?"
Sean looked to Jamie. Jamie nodded and turned to the boy, "that would be fine, just watch Joe though, he cheats." She smile and winked at the boy. Alex smiled back.
Sean watched the roadside ditches for deer as Jamie warned her. She was trying to concentrate on the road, but her mind kept wandering back to the conversation on the porch. Headlights from an on coming car brought her back to the present. The on coming car was less than ten yards when she saw a glint of white bolt out of the ditch out of the corner of her eye and slammed on her brakes jerking the SUV to the side of the road. The white figure resembling a dog darted in front of her crossing into the other lane. Sean gasped in horror as the bumper of the car thumped the stray dog sending it skidding across the highway. Sean sat stunned into disbelief. The car didn't even stop, didn't even slow down! Hastily she scrambled from the car and rushed over to where the dog lay. She felt her throat tighten as she approached the animal. It was lying on its side whimpering in pain. It's once white coat was stained red with blood and Sean could see the back legs of the dog twisted at an unnatural angle.
"Oh Jesus!" she gasped as she quickly took off her jacket and fell to her knees. The whimpering dog weakly lifted its head and stared pleadingly at her through pain filled amber eyes. Sean caught back the sob as she covered the dog. She'd left her cell phone with Shane and she knew she wouldn't be able to carry the injured dog by herself. She didn't know what to do. The sound of an approaching car had her on her feet and stepping out into the road. When the car came into sight she sighed with relief to find it was a highway patrol. She frantically waved her arms hoping he would slow down. Sean sighed with relief when the cruiser pulled up alongside her.
"Is there a problem ma'am?" Jonathon asked as he stepped out of the car.
"Yes some asshole just hit this dog, it's badly injured, and I'm not sure what to do." She stammered out in a bit of a panic.
Jonathon looked over at the covered dog and shook his head. "I'll call the vet," he opened the back door and produced a blanket; "we'll get it rugged up and carry it to the car." They started walking quickly to the dog. Jonathon pulled the coat from the animal and cringed. He opened his cell phone and punched in a number.
"Jamie, this is Jonathon, we've got an emergency case coming in…no a dog that's been hit, it looks pretty grim…alright, ETA five minutes."
They laid the blanket out and as gently as possible maneuvered the whimpering dog onto it. Sean's heart tightened at every cry of the dog, she didn't even realize the steady stream of tears sliding down her face. Getting the dog secured in the back seat, Jonathon climbed into the front seat and turned to Sean.
"Follow me; we're going to Anders vet clinic, just up the road." He turned on his lights and started down the highway.
Sean hesitated only a second before sprinting to her car to follow the officer.
As they pulled into the parking lot, Jamie was there to greet them. She stopped when a second vehicle pulled up next to the cruiser. Jamie was confused as to why Sean was here. She studied Sean noting the tear stains down her cheeks as the woman rushed around the car to assist Jonathon.
"Jamie," Jonathon called out to her. Broken from her reverie Jamie hurried to join them. They carefully carried the wounded dog from the car to the clinic.
Adam drove past the sign that read Anders Vet Clinic. He drove for about a quarter of a mile before pulling onto a turn off along the road. He smiled as he stowed the gun between the waist of his jeans and the small of his back. He picked up the small flashlight and exited the car.
"The perfect opportunity to do some snooping around." He grinned as he climbed through the barbed-wire fence and distanced himself from the highway before back-tracking. He jogged carefully through the trees only using the flashlight if necessary. As he approached the clinic he saw headlights shining in the parking lot; but it was the strobe of red and blue lights that stopped him cold.
"What the hell?" he muttered angrily at the sudden disruption of his plans. He watched from a distance as three people moved to the cop car. His breath caught. One of them was Jamie; he would recognize her figure anywhere. He was transfixed on her as she and the other two carried a bundle out of the cop car. A sharp yelp echoed through the forest.
Adam let out a chuckle. "Probably that damn dog I hit." He watched as the trio maneuvered the animal between them until they disappeared into the building. He would wait. Adam grinned, it wouldn't be an easy task knowing that his destiny was inside, but he would wait.
They gently set the whimpering bundle down on the stainless steel examination table. Jamie looked up at the man and woman before her. It was plain to see that Sean very upset. She stood at the front of the table softly stroking the dog and whispering words of comfort. Every time the animal cried out; a fresh flood of tears slid down her face.
Jamie knew that feeling all to well; she couldn't help the stirring in her at the compassion Sean showed for the stray dog.
"Jamie, do you want me to call Mac?"
She turned to Jonathon, "no let me assess the situation." She turned to the cabinet over the counter and pulled out various bottles and opened a package of needles and syringes. She filled one of the syringes and returned to the dog. Jamie pulled the bloody jacket off the dog andhanded it to Jonathon. She palpitated the front leg of the dog, and then slowly inserted the needle.
"What will that do?" Sean asked as she wiped away some tears.
"This will just put him out so I can examine him without him feeling any pain." She said as she looked up to see worry etched into Sean's face. Sean nodded faintly.
Twenty minutes and two x-rays later, they set the dog back on the examination table.
"Jonathon, could I beg you to make some coffee? I've got some decisions to make."
"Sure." He smiled briefly and left the room.
Jamie sat down on the stool in the corner of the room and rubbed her eyes. She hated this part; the part where she had to decide if the stray was to live or die.
"What decisions?" Sean asked quietly. Jamie looked up. Sean had stood a vigilant post at the dog's head through the entire procession. Sean looked steadily at Jamie, her bright blue eyes bore into hers. Jamie didn't see the woman who was forced to betray her; she didn't see the woman that had hurt her and went out of her life. What she saw the woman that never left her life; the same woman who she had fallen in love with years ago. She was the same kindhearted woman that would not understand why Jamie was about to do what she had to do.
Jamie inhaled deeply and let it out on a long heavy sigh. "The decision as to whether the dog lives or dies." She told her bluntly.
Sean started and gasped, "Well of course he'll live; why wouldn't he?" She demanded.
"Sean," Jamie started carefully as she rose and walked over to stand next to her. "I have to look at this objectively. This dog is a stray, he's malnourished, fairly dehydrated and as you can tell sustained a lot of injuries; because the dog has no owner, there is no one to pay the bills." She reasoned, "The clinic can't spend the money and time on rehabilitating a dog that will more then likely be put to sleep at the local pound."
"He can be rehabilitated though?" Sean asked seeming to ignore the rest of what Jamie said.
Jamie exhaled sharply, "yes I could save the dog. The breaks are clean and can easily be cast there is no internal damage; but it would be more humane to put him to sleep, he has nobody who cares about him." She gently told Sean.
"I care about him!" Sean sobbed out desperately, she reached out and grasped Jamie's wrist. "I'll foot his bills," Sean offered tears welling up in her eyes again. "Please, Jamie don't put him to sleep." She pleaded choking on the sobs in her throat.
Jamie felt her throat constrict at the anguish and sorrow in Sean's face. Her eyes softened as she watched the tears spill over Sean's cheeks. She wondered just who the tears were for. In a surprise move she pulled Sean into a tight hug.
Sean instantly wrapped her arms around Jamie's back and sobbed into her shoulder. Jamie gently rocked her. "It's alright Sean." She whispered in her ear. Jamie pulled back to look into Sean's face. She reached up and gently wiped away the tears.
"He's lucky to have found you." Jamie smiled encouragingly, "I'll get him fixed up."
A smile widened across Sean's face.
"Thank you." She whispered as she gently reached out to stroke the dog's neck.
Jonathon came back into the room carrying two cups of coffee. "I just got a call, I've got to go. Is everything all right here?" he handed the cups to the women.
"Everything is fine, thank you Jonathon."
He looked carefully over the women noting how close they were to each other. "You better call David and Joe and let them know okay? I've got to get going." He tipped his hat to Sean. "Ms. Williams," he said and disappeared through the door.
Jamie watched him go then turned to Sean, "well, let's get your dog fixed up. Let me call the men first." She walked to the phone on the wall and dialed the number. "There's a couch in my office at the end of the hall if you want to lie down for a bit." Jamie offered.
Sean sniffed and shook her head, "no I want to be here."
Jamie smiled knowingly.
"That was Jamie, she's got to cast the stray and get him settled for the evening." David announced as he hung up the phone. He turned to the table where Joe, Shane and Alex sat playing poker.
"Does she want one of us to go up there?" Joe asked. David shook his head as joined them at the table.
"She said it shouldn't take more than an hour. Sean is with her." David informed him. He didn't miss the raised eyebrow of Shane. "Sean was the one who brought the stray in, her and Jonathon." David noted the look of relief on Joe's face.
Adam almost laughed out loud in glee as the cop pulled away from the clinic. He'd wait a bit longer to see if the other person would leave too. Five minutes stretched into ten then into twenty. He was getting antsy, what if Jamie left before he got there? The other person was a woman that much he knew. He could handle two women. The sexual image that entered his mind made him groan in pleasure. Adam suddenly stood and boldly started towards the building. He carefully made his way around the place checking for open doors. He found one in the back and quietly entered the building. He was in what appeared to be an office. The door was open leading to a well lit hallway. He slid along the wall and carefully poked his head around the jamb. The hallway was short and lead into a waiting area; just beyond that were four doors staggered on either side of the building. Lights glowed through the small windows of a set of double doors at the end of the hall. He edged closer and listened. He heard Jamie's familiar voice talking about a broken bone and how this particular cast was designed to set it. He jerked as a second familiar voice asked about healing time.
Adam's wrinkled up in a frown. "That can't be," he whispered to himself. He edged closer and dared a peek through the small window in the door. He gasped when he saw his sister standing next to Jamie. He flattened himself back against the wall and edged back into the darkened waiting area. What was she doing here? He felt anger swell through him. That bitch was after his Jamie!
"Not again! You won't have her again you whore!" he spat as he contemplated what to do.
"That didn't take as long as I expected." Jamie noted as she pulled her gloves off and tossed them into the trash can. "Let's get him settled in the recovery room then clean up this mess." The women carefully rolled the table through the doors. Jamie opened the next door up and they wheeled inside.
Adam tried to get his pounding heart under control. He had ducked down behind the front desk when the doors opened. He heard their voices but couldn't make out what they were saying. Moments later the voices drew closer. He pulled the gun from the waist of his jeans. He heard the swoosh of the doors as the voices became less distinct. Anxiety got to him as he stood and made his way to the doors. Grinning wildly he pushed his way through.
The women both jumped as the doors opened. They spun around at the sound. The women both paled when they realized who it was standing there with a gun pointed at them.
"Good evening ladies." Adam smiled pleasantly.
"Oh, my god!" Sean gasped in disbelief. Beside her Jamie had frozen in shock.
Adam shrugged, "not God but definitely his rival." He stepped forward. Sean immediately stepped in front of Jamie shielding her from Adam's sight.
Adam stopped and chuckled. "Aw isn't that sweet, protecting a loved one." He mocked with a grin. The humor suddenly left his face. "You're a fucking whore Shannon!" he shouted, "You're the reason Jamie left me! You're the blame for everything!" His face turned red, his eyes wild with madness. He was trembling with rage. Sean pulled Jamie closer into her back. She could feel Jamie shaking, or was it her? Sean couldn't grasp how surreal the situation was.
Adam stood for a moment seething, trying to get himself back under control. He took a deep breath and calmed a bit. "I happen to have a remedy for that however." He grinned.
"This can't be happening." Jamie whispered so softly Sean barely heard her. She felt Jamie press her face into her shoulder. Sean swallowed hard. Not again, she was not going to let this happen again.
"Adam, be reasonable, what do you expect to gain here? Jamie doesn't love you, you hurt her. How can you expect her to do anything but detest you?" She was treading dangerously and she knew it.
Adam strode forward and roughly jerked Sean aside. Sean connected heavily the wall bouncing her head hard against the brick. Her vision dimmed for a second.
"Sean!" Jamie cried the sound of Sean's groan of pain bringing her back to reality. She made a move toward her. Adam immediately trained the gun on her stopping her cold.
"No Jamie, let the bitch be. She doesn't deserve your kindness." He voice took on an eerily gently tone.
She tore her eyes away from Sean and stared at him. "Fuck you! You won't get away with this. The men know where we're at and they'll know something is up if we don't show up soon." Jamie spat with hatred
Adam shrugged, "then call them and tell them you'll be longer than expected."
Jamie stood defiantly staring at him.
"Do it." He took a menacing step forward point the gun at her chest.
"Fuck you!" she repeated.
Adam controlled the rage that threatened. He didn't want to hurt her and she knew it. He grinned evilly, he still a card to play. He moved over to Sean and roughly grabbed her by the hair jerking her to her feet.
"No!" Jamie rushed forward again at Sean's cry of pain. Adam pressed the gun to Sean's temple. Jamie stopped, her heart pounding in fear.
"Now make the call Jamie, and then you, this slut and I are going for a drive." His voice was disturbingly calm.
Jamie stared it to Sean's panic filled eyes. She swallowed hard and turned to the phone.
Joe was coming back from the bathroom when the phone rang. "Got it," he told David who started up to answer it. "'Lo?"
There was a pause, "Joe?"
"Yeah Jamie are you 'bout done?"
"Joe, um it's going to take a littler longer than I expected but we've got it handled. I just wanted to call and let you know."
For a moment Joe said nothing, "you need help?" he finally asked, something wasn't right.
"No," Jamie replied a little too quickly, "I've got to get back, bye Joe."
He didn't even get to say bye before he heard the click from the other end. Frowning he replaced the hand piece. He had an unsettled feeling in his stomach. Jamie sounded very tight on the phone, like her words were forced. Joe swallowed the panic that tried to over take him. He jumped slightly when David spoke to him.
"Was that Jamie?"
Joe turned and looked at him. "Yeah she said it was gonna take a bit longer than expected," he informed them, and then he added; "she said something about having left a light on in the barn." He started to the door. "I'll go take care of it." He offered as he hurried out the door.
Jamie turned to Adam. "I called now let her go."
Adam laughed out loud. "I think not Jamie; you seem to cooperate better when Sean is in pain. Let's go." He motioned to the door with the revolver. Jamie slowly started out with Sean and Adam close behind. They walked out into the dimly lit parking lot and started towards the SUV.
"Adam, let her go." Jamie pleaded this time.
"No Jamie she has to be punished for all that she did. You'll soon realize that you don't need her in your life. You'll soon realize all that you need is me. Only I'll be able to ease the pain in your life." He stated as a matter of fact.
Jamie's face furrowed in anger, "you don't get it do you? I will never love you, I hate you! You're the cause of all the pain in my life! You took everything away from me." She shouted stepping bravely toward him. "You are nothing but a murderer and maniac!"
"Really, don't forget who betrayed you." He reminded her with a smirk.
Jamie snorted and took another step toward him. "Like she had the choice you asshole! You're the reason Sean did what she did; and guess what Adam?" she spat out his name. "I forgave her. That leaves you holding all the blame."
Adam felt the rage flood him. His Jamie was more tainted then he thought. This was not the right way. He'd have to find another way to convince her. Adam pointed the gun at Jamie in frustration.
"You can't hurt me Adam and you know it!"
He paused, "Jamie you'll see things my way." With a quick move he slammed the gun into Sean's stomach. She cried out in pain and collapsed to the ground clutching her mid section.
"You son-of-bitch!" Jamie leapt forward tackling Adam to the ground. She struggled to get purchase of the gun. They rolled across the parking lot and Jamie slammed into the tire of the SUV. She grimaced in pain and lost what hold she had on the gun. Adam quickly stood and pointed the gun down at her.
"Get up," he panted. Jamie slowly rose to her feet. Adam stepped closer and grinned. "I knew you'd be a good fighter."
Jamie glanced around him to see Sean trying to struggle to her knees. Adam turned to see what had Jamie's attention. He grinned and turned back to Jamie. In a desperate move Jamie slammed her forehead into Adam's nose.
"Ahh, you bitch!" he grabbed for his nose and blindly swung the gun at her. He managed to catch her in the shoulder the hammer cutting a deep gash through skin. Jamie cried out and stumbled to her knees.
Adam turned to Jamie shaking his head and blinking away the tears the head-butt caused. In a wild rage he realized that Jamie would never love him. She wouldn't be doing this to him if she did. She would willing come into his arms if she did. She had betrayed him; she had led him to believe she could love him. That wouldn't do. He watched as she staggered to her feet.
"You don't get it Jamie," he hissed spraying spit everywhere. "No one can touch you if I can't!" he shouted angrily as he aimed the gun at her and pulled the trigger.
Time slowed to a crawl. Jamie heard the report of the pistol echoing with the Sean's cry of panic. She felt herself being shoved to the side. She watched in slow motion as Sean's body jerked harshly when the bullet struck her. The piercing shriek of pain echoed through the trees as Sean landed with a thud on her back.
Jamie sat frozen in shock. She looked up to the reverberating sound of a gun being cocked.
"One down one more to go." Adam spat vehemently his eyes wild with rage.
Jamie's breath caught in her throat, slowly closed her eyes as a shot rang out through the night.
Jamie felt nothing. Her eyes snapped open at the sickening sound of wet gurgling. Adam stood before her, his face ashen with shock. Blood bubbled from his mouth. With a gasping breath he collapsed to his knees dropping the .38 and clutching the enormous blood patch in the center of his chest. He blinked in shock and let out one last gasp and he fell flat on his stomach with a dull thud.
Jamie looked up to see Joe's expressionless face staring at her. The butt of his old rifle still pressed against his shoulder, the barrel aimed at Adam.
They stared unblinking at one another until a dry cough turned their attention to Sean.
"Sean!" Jamie quickly crawled over to her. She pressed her hand over the bullet wound in Sean's shoulder. In the background she heard Joe talking on a cell phone.
"Sean I'm so sorry," Jamie sobbed leaning over her, "please don't…please forgive me." She cried softly in Sean's ear. She rocked over her whispering the last phrase over and over again. Joe stood over the women; rifle in hand his eyes never leaving the still body of Adam Willis.
Sean slowly came to awareness. She first recognized the feeling of a warm hand holding hers and the gentle feeling of another hand stroking her hair. That pleasant sensation was quickly eclipsed by a throbbing ache in her shoulder. She groaned.
"Sean?" a familiar voice asked hopefully. Slowly she opened her eyes. She blinked as her hazy vision came into focus. Emerald green eyes were looking down at her anxiously. She smiled faintly.
"Hi," she croaked out.
Jamie's laugh came out on a sob of relief. She pushed the hair back from Sean's face. "How are you feeling?"
"Like hell," was the hoarse reply. "Why is it whenever we're around each other, one of us ends up in the hospital?"
Jamie sobbed out a small laugh as she wiped away a tear with the back of her free hand. "Just lucky I guess." They smiled at each other then Jamie leaned over and placed a soft kiss on Sean's lips. "Thank you," were the words Jamie whispered.
About a Year Later
Jamie was lying in bed staring at the ceiling. She glanced over at the clock. The alarm was about to go off. With a sigh she looked back up at the ceiling. It was hard to believe how fast the time had passed. She grinned as the alarm went off. An arm quickly snaked out from under the blanket, reached across her chest and slapped the clock awkwardly until the buzzing quieted. The arm then dropped to rest across Jamie's chest. Jamie chuckled.
A muffled grunt was her only answer. Jamie clasped the hand resting on her chest in her own. She kissed the palm. Sean rolled over and looked at Jamie with a sleepy grin.
"Morning honey." She said with a yawn. "Do we have to get up today?" she asked after a satisfying stretch.
Jamie rolled onto her side and propped her head up on a hand. She traced her finger along Sean's jaw, "eventually." She whispered as she leaned over and captured Sean's lips in a long deep kiss. Sean moved around until she was able to push Jamie onto her back. She slid over Jamie resting half on her, her thigh nestled between Jamie's thighs gently rocking into her.
"Happy birthday, baby." Sean whispered huskily and she started placing kisses slowly down Jamie's chest.
Jamie smiled; it was going to be a wonderful day. The white dog looked up from his post near the door to see about his humans. Assured that all was sound, he laid his head back down with a groan to finish his sleep.
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