Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction. Any resemblance to anyone, living or dead is purely coincidental. The characters are fictional and of my own creation. The place, time, and incidents are purely fictional. Copyright © February 2004.
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Inevitable Destiny 11
Inevitable Destiny 12 - Anxiety
By Ken Rogers
All the breath went out of her and she felt faint. Her eyes flicked to Samantha as Samantha looked up from her position beside Angela, and her task of tempering Juliana's enthusiasm, and she saw Tanya pale, even in the dim light.
"Tan?" Samantha asked, dread in her voice. She started to get up and Tanya held up a hand to stop her, motioning for her to stay where she was. Tanya turned away. Panic gripped Samantha and she started to get up again, but Juliana sensed her fear and began to cry and clutch at her. Reluctantly she calmed herself and turned back to Juliana, though a large block of ice seemed to have settled in her stomach. She kept glancing over to Tanya while she soothed the frightened girl but Tanya was turned away from her and talking in a very low but angry voice.
"How the fuck did that happen with you still alive, Lesh?" Tanya growled in a horse whisper.
"It was an inside job, T. I swear to god, it was one of those tight-assed secretaries."
"Shit!" What was she going to tell Sam? She had failed her, she had failed Phyllis, and reluctantly she admitted that she had wanted to see more of the redhead. "Is she·." She hesitated, a sudden lump in her throat preventing her from finishing the question, which shocked her more than anything. She had been around death since she was a child and lost many good friends, but this one· this one was bothering her more than she could believe, both because of Sammy and· and Phyllis too. Given her brief association with the redhead, her concern for her was more than just professional failure to carry out her contract.
"I don't know, T. They got her in surgery and won't tell me anything, except they're doing all they can."
Relief flooded through her, as she was suddenly able to breathe again. "Then she's still alive," Tanya whispered without realizing it.
"Yeah, but the PM's told me they lost her twice on the ride in. She's in bad shape, T. That bitch nailed her good. If I'd just been a second sooner."
"What? What do you mean? Did you nail the shooter?"
"Wasted her, T. I'm sorry. I had no time. She was fixin' to shoot Phyllis again. I popped her, but her gun went off and the bullet hit the Phyllis on the side of her head. I think the noise I made coining into the room and the sound of my gun deflected her aim enough it didn't kill Phyllis, but she's pretty bad."
Tanya angrily wiped away an errant tear. What the hell was wrong with her?
"Yeah· yeah, I'm right here, Lesh. You stay with her. Don't you dare let anyone get to her again, Lesh."
"Not unless I'm dead, T."
"Even then, Lesh. You keep her safe." Tanya could tell that the stoic woman was upset for failing in her mission and she certainly hadn't helped so far. She needed to say something to her. "Lesh."
"Yeah. I'm sorry·."
"I know. I know you did what you could and you probably saved her life. Just think of that, Lesh. We can't get them all right, you know."
"Yeah. Still sucks."
"Keep her safe."
Tanya closed her phone and reluctantly turned around just as Kev brought them alongside the pier.
"All right, let's move," Tanya stated, grateful for the diversion.
Samantha looked at her apprehensively. "Tan·."
"Not now, Sammy. You take Juliana. We need to get Angela to medical care." She avoided her stare, knowing it would probably make her more apprehensive, but she couldn't tell her now. Last thing she needed was Sam hysterical right now. Juliana was bad enough. She made her way onto the pier and got the PM's in motion. They were just idling, waiting for someone to direct them and she was more than happy to be the one to do that. When Angela was loaded on the box sided ambulance, Tanya turned to Samantha, who was waiting with her arm around a confused Juliana, talking to her, and keeping her calm.
"Sammy, you two go with Mikey. Mike; see you there. Be careful."
"Always, boss," Mikey said, giving her his big grin. He knew something was wrong but he also knew he had to keep Sam and her charge quiet.
Tanya immediately turned to Kevin even as she climbed aboard the ambulance. "Kev, thanks, man. We need to paint the town."
"Anytime, T. Just name your day and your poison." The big man waved to her and immediately disappeared back onto his launch.
No one was giving Samantha time to question them and since she had to tend to Juliana there was little she could do. She wanted to scream at them to tell her what was wrong, but Juliana came first.
"Come on, you two, let's go," Mikey said, ushering them towards the waiting limo. Sam looked back at the ambulance but the big doors were closed and it was moving rapidly away without lights or siren. She turned to Mikey, but he was moving towards the car.
"Mikey, what happened?"
Mikey inwardly cursed his luck at being left with a distraught Samantha. He didn't have a clue what had happened, but he had never seen Tanya pale like that before and he was worried. He reached the back door on the limo and pulled it open before turning to Samantha.
"Mike?" she pleaded her eyes bright with unshed tears.
"I don't know, Sammy. T will tell us when she wants us to know." It was the truth, and Samantha could sense that, see it in his eyes. She had no choice but to accept it.
Mikey took the scenic route to the safe house. Tanya had given him the high sign to give her some time and he wasn't about to disappoint her. He had carelessly let her down once and after chewing his ass like it had never been chewed before, she proceeded to beat the shit out of him. He didn't want a repeat, even without that as a reminder. He, like many of the people she had helped and saved from one disaster or another, loved the woman and had a deep respect for her. Letting her down was something he just never wanted to do again. She was as hard as steel, and as ruthless as they came when necessary, but he knew that she had a heart of pure gold beating under her rough exterior. She was sister and teacher to most of them and they kept her close to their heart.
He glanced in the mirror at the soft voice. Juliana was apparently asleep on Samantha's shoulder.
"How much further?"
Good, she didn't realize she was being taken for a ride. "A little while yet," he answered. "Hey, listen, you want me to stop and get you and the kid something to eat?"
He caught her faint smile in the mirror.
"Thanks, but no. She's asleep. I think that's best for her right now."
Silence returned and he breathed a sigh of relief. Whatever had happened, he didn't envy Tanya when Samantha found out.
A few minutes later his phone rang and he put it to his ear, noting that Samantha seemed to stiffen.
"Bring her in, Mikey?"
He nodded. "Not far now, maybe ten minutes."
"Thanks, Mike. I won't be here when you get here. Tell you about it later."
"Right. Yeah, sure, the kid's fine. She's sleeping," he said, continuing his one sided conversation while Tanya talked to him. Mentally he groaned. Samantha was really going to be pissed when Tanya wasn't there.
"Later, Mikey, and thanks."
"Yeah, okay, yeah. No. No, the boss would kill me if I stopped. Don't sweat it. Yeah, later."
"Who was that, Mike?" Samantha asked, her voice low but on edge.
He snorted. "That damned Russell wanted me to stop and pick him up some ice cream. Jesus, T would skin me alive if I did that. What an idiot!"
Samantha seemed to sag back into the seat and Mikey breathed a sigh of relief.
True to his word, they arrived at the lonely country house about ten minutes later, after a five-minute trip down yet another lonely country road.
* * *
Mike looked up as a distraught Samantha entered the kitchen, coming down the back stairs after settling Juliana and getting ready for bed herself. She was wearing a plain white robe, slightly too large for her, and a pair of thick white socks, having no slippers available here that fit her small feet.
"I don't understand, she said she would meet us."
Mike shrugged and continued rummaging in the fridge. "Russell said she got a call and took off, Sam. You know this thing has her strung tight. Probably something she felt she had to take care of herself. I'm sure she'll be back later."
Sam was pacing around the good-sized country kitchen in frustration, oblivious to her surroundings, her arms folded tightly against her chest. "Something happened, Mike, I know it."
He sighed, closed the fridge and leaned back against the counter. "Look, Sam, there's no sense second guessing her. She'll tell us what's going on when she gets back. Now it's late. Juliana's sleeping and Angela is resting well. Her nurse said she's doing fine. There's just nothing you can do right now. Why don't you get some rest yourself? You've had a long stressful day."
Sam shook her head and continued to pace, the icy knot in her stomach and her pounding head steadily worsening with her anxiety. "No, I couldn't. Something's wrong÷"
"Sam, you need to rest or you'll be in bad shape tomorrow."
"I don't care, I'm not·." She sighed in frustration. "I wouldn't sleep anyway."
"Well at least you could rest÷"
"No! I can't, I÷"
"Sam, where are you?" The plaintive query coming down the back stairs stopped her in her tracks.
She hung her head. "Shit."
Mike hid his smile and his relief.
Samantha looked up, glaring at him. "Not one word, Mikey."
He held up his hands. Sam turned on her heels and headed up the back stairs. "I'm coming!"
* * *
Russell poked his head in from outside, where he had been doing a little minor maintenance and restocking of the armored car Mikey was driving, glancing towards the stairs then back to Mike. "She know?"
Mike shook his head as he took another bite out of his carefully constructed and overloaded sandwich, mumbling through a mouth full, "Nope."
Russell entered the room and went to the cupboard for a cup; fixed himself a cup of coffee, drowning it in cream and sugar, then came up close to Mike, leaning back against the counter next to him.
"You know what's happening, Russ?" Mikey asked, keeping his voice low.
Russell turned his head so he was speaking practically into Mike's ear. "Yeah. It's a bad scene, Mike. They nailed her friend."
Two heads swiveled to the back stairwell. Samantha was standing there, but not for long. She stormed across the room, her face paler than normal even through the dark skin coloring, her whole body seeming to tremble. Her intense green eyes were locked on the big man, ignoring Mikey.
"What did you say?" Her voice was shaky and full of dread, but very determined.
Russell looked down at the petite woman in the plain white robe. "We were just talking, Sam÷"
She came right up to him and stuck a shaking finger in his face.
"Don't even finish that lie, Russell! Tell me what happened!"
He turned to Mikey for help and a small hand, that seemed to have grown claws, dug into his face turning him back to look into those incredible green eyes now so filled with fire.
"Tell me!" She waited, her grip on his jaw never slackening. Juliana called for her, but she ignored it, her green eyes boring into his soft brown almost frightened return gaze. He looked away.
"Tell me," she repeated, her voice resolute but beginning to quaver.
He sighed. "Phyllis was sh· hurt."
Samantha seemed to crumble against him, and he grabbed her in surprise, sloshing his coffee before he could set it down to use his other hand. She sagged and he picked her up, carrying her to the kitchen table and nudging out a chair with his foot, gently setting her down. Mike got her a glass of water. The accusation in her eyes as he handed it to her hurt him.
"I didn't know, Sam," he said simply.
"He didn't know, Sam. I was just telling him when·." He left the rest unsaid as he looked into her pain filled glistening eyes, her tears already streaking her cheeks.
After drinking a little of the water she looked back to Russell. "How bad was she· sh·." She shuddered then hesitantly said, "shot?"
"She's alive. That's all I know."
She studied his face through her freely flowing tears, searching for the lie but all she saw was simple honesty and compassion. She nodded and took the handkerchief that Mikey held out to her.
"Samantha?" Juliana was standing at the foot of the back stairs, fearfully looking into the kitchen, her eyes locked on her savior.
Samantha wiped her eyes and turned to give her a smile. "Go on back up, Julie. I'll be right back up. I just have to talk to these men for a minute, okay?"
She looked doubtful but reluctantly nodded before turning to the stairs and disappearing.
Samantha listened to her climb the stairs then turned to Mikey, speaking calmly but resolutely. "Give me fifteen minutes then send that nurse up with a sedative."
She held up her hand to stop his protests. "Fifteen minutes. Then you're taking me to Phyllis."
"I don't know÷"
"Find out," she demanded curtly as she stood, holding the back of the chair to keep from collapsing. "You'll take me to her or I'll go alone." She moved quickly to the stairs then stopped, turning to look at Mikey. "Oh, and find me something else to wear. I will not go to see my injured friend looking like a whore."
* * *
Tanya was waiting as Samantha came out of the elevator dressed in faded blue jeans, a red polo, and sneakers. She started forward but Samantha held out a hand to stop her, brushing past her and going to the nurse's station, leaving her standing.
Damn, I knew she'd be mad, but·. Tanya sighed and moved up behind her, listening to her try to explain to the skeptical nurse why she wanted to see Phyllis. The nurse was about to refuse, but at Tanya's nod she changed her mind. She smiled at the obviously distraught but stunningly gorgeous brunette, idly wondering what part of her heritage gave her such stunning green eyes. "All right. You can see her, but just for a few minutes. Keep your voice low, but it might be good for her if you speak to her."
"Thank you, so much." She had seen the refusal in the woman's eyes and was sure Tanya was the reason she had changed her mind, aware that Tanya was standing behind her. It tempered her anger a little, but not much. The nurse led her to the darkened ICU cubicle.
"Just a few minutes, now. She needs to rest," she reminded, then left her alone.
It was Deja Vous, except the woman with the tubes in her nose and mouth, the machines chattering away, and the bags of chemicals standing sentry around her, was her friend Phyllis. It took her a moment to come up beside the bed. Phyllis was heavily bandaged; her head swathed in bandages and even the dressings on her chest and leg obvious through the covers.
Samantha gently took the fingers of her right hand, careful of the needle in the back of her hand. Her fingers were cold. Tears were flowing freely down her cheeks.
"Oh, Phil, I'm so sorry. Please believe I never meant for any of this to happen." She brushed a little hair back from her cheek; most of it covered in the bandages that covered the right side and top of her head. Her cheek was as cold as her fingers were, the only sign of life the very slow rise and fall of her chest. "I promise you that we'll get whoever made this happen to you." She leaned over and softly kissed her cool cheek. "Please get better, Phyllis. I miss you terribly."
Reluctantly she let her fingers go and backed away from the bed, then fled the room.
* * *
Tanya watched Samantha leave the room, again going right past her. She nodded to Lesha's replacements to stay at their post and followed Sam. Outside, Mikey saw her coming and waited for her even though Samantha pointedly closed the door on her. She opened the door and slid in, closing it behind herself, then turning to Samantha as Mikey pulled away.
There was a definite chill in the air that she could not blame on the air conditioning. Samantha sat in a forward seat as far away from Tanya as she could get, her arms wrapped around her knees, her head down.
"Samantha, I'm sorry."
"You promised me none of my friends would be harmed, Tanya." Ice dripped from her voice.
The use of her full name was like a slap in the face. Samantha had always called her Tan then T, except for their first few meetings. She couldn't stand the accusation in her eyes and looked down, nodding. "I know," was all she could say, because it was true, she had failed them both.
"Tell me what happened! You said you were watching out for her!"
"The shooter was already in the building, past PLM&T's security."
She sighed. "She was shot in her office, Sammy. Lesha got there in time to stop the woman from killing Phyllis, but not in time to stop her from shooting her."
"Who was she?"
"Lester Maranze's secretary, Marci Sowicki."
Samantha's mouth fell open. "Oh."
"I'm sorry, Sammy."
"Uhm, what? Oh, no, I'm sorry, Tan, I didn't think· I· I'm sorry."
"I understand, Sammy."
"No, I shouldn't have yelled at you. I'm so sorry." Samantha moved up beside her and Tanya took her in her arms as she started to cry.
"It's okay. You were hurting for your friend." She held her while she cried feeling strangely like she wanted to join her.
* * *
Inevitable Destiny 13
Return to the Academy
To be continued·.
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