Disclaimer. None really, except these are mine. But I wouldn't have ever thought of writing them, if I didn't have two wonderful actresses playing the roles in my head.

Sex. There is a lesbian theme and at times this is sexual. So, if you are underage, I'm afraid you will have to go elsewhere.

As always this is for Lynne. I wish times were better, but I never give up hope of sunshine in our life again.

Thank you all for voting for me in this year's challenge. As always I am honoured.






The black Suv screeched to a halt, the door opened quickly allowing a tall dark haired woman to emerge at full run. Briefly she stopped just inside the gates, her eyes darting around the play yard, before she took off in another run, disappearing inside the school building.

Martha Walters the kindergarten teacher looked up with a slight jump from tidying the paint bottles away, as the door to her room flew open. She relaxed as she recognising the woman. “Hello. Ms Jennings.” Martha frowned, something about the state of the woman made her smile stop. She didn't think she'd ever seen this normally composed woman look so..... Martha frowned again as she realised what it was, this woman was panicked. “Is something wrong?”

“I can't find Lucy? Usual she stays inside. I mean… I've looked.” A hand went back through dark hair, shaking.

Martha placed the bottles down, going over, laying her hand on a trembling arm. “I'm sure she's somewhere playing. Come on let's go check out the play area.” She offered a calm smile.

The two of them first went to the play area, finding nothing. Then went throughout the school, opening doors, calling out, eventually the two became three, four, then eight as other teachers joined in. Security guards became part of the search as time passed.

Martha found herself shaking as she closed the last door; a feeling was starting low in her stomach, one she didn't like, but one she recognised. She'd felt it before in those dark dreams, the one's that woke her covered in sweat through her twenty years of teaching, a nightmare that never went away, her worst nightmare. Her eyes fell on the pacing figure of Jennings at the end of the hall, Martha offered a small smile, waiting until the woman had closed her phone before stepping closer, knowing who the woman was trying to contact. “Any answer?”

Jennings swallowed hard. “No. I can't reach her. I keep getting her answer phone… I've left messages.... Why isn't she getting them? Damn it! Where the fuck is she?” She kicked out at a waste can, sending it up the hall, the contents littering its way.

Martha wasn't sure who the woman was referring too, the child or her partner. She turned her head as she heard footsteps, seeing the headmaster approach in relief.

He stopped in front of them. “Ms Jennings. We've checked the school from top to bottom. I… I'm sorry but we can't find Lucy anywhere on the premises. Is there any chance that your partner picked her up this afternoon?”

Dark hair shook. “No. She's out of town. I… it was me. I was supposed to be here, but I got…. I got held up at work.”

He nodded, giving a sympathetic smile. “We need to contact the police.”

Grey eyes shot up in panic. “No. Come on she's here somewhere. She's hiding okay, just playing a game, paying me back cos I'm late again.”

Martha swallowed the lump in her throat as desperate eyes looked at her in a plea. “I'm sure that's all it is. But the police will help us find her a lot quicker. You know how good at hiding she is.” She hoped to god the smile she gave was believable. Jennings stared at her and right in front of her eyes, Martha saw the hope and truth shatter its reality into grey.

“Oh… Chr…I…st.” Shaking the tall woman leant her back against the wall. “Call them please, call them… quickly.”

The headmaster nodded as he pulled the cell from his jacket.

Martha felt her own tears begin to match the young woman she was watching.

“I was just twenty minutes late, that's all. She knows to wait inside till I come...... Fuck!” The hall echoed the fist hitting tiled walls. “Why the fuck couldn't I have been here on time.”

The headmaster turned back. “They're on their way. We can wait in my office. This way Ms Jennings… Martha, would you arrange the other teachers to wait in the staff room? They will need to be available for questioning.”

Martha nodded, but didn't move until after both the headmaster and the bowed headed woman had turned the corner, only then did she allow herself to raise a hand to her mouth and let out a sob.



“Ms Jennings.”

“Kelly.... Call me Kelly.” Her voice was lost.

The headmaster sat, giving her a brief smile. “Kelly. We'll do everything we can to find her.” He cleared his throat. “Is there anyone who could have picked her up? Anyone we can call?”

Kelly shook her head, sipping the coffee he had given her, but not really knowing she was. “No. It's just Casey or me, never anyone else.”

He nodded. “Would she try to get home on her own?”

Kelly looked up for a moment, thinking. “Maybe she's…. She's stubborn like her mom.” A smile twitched at the corner of her mouth before it vanished, she took a gulp of coffee. “No. she'd know better and she'd be too scared. She doesn't like places she doesn't know.”

He smiled. “I'm sorry I'm not familiar with your situation. You're…” he quickly skim read the file he'd pulled up on the computer. “....Your partner is the birth mother?”


He rose, as a knock came at the door, opening it. He looked to the two men in question.

“Mr Richards. I'm Detective Symonds and this is Detective Michaels.”

Richards stood back to let them pass. Closing the door, he returned to his desk.

Kelly gave each of them a brief nod as they repeated their introductions.

“Ms Jennings?”

Her eyes darted to the other detective who hung back and pulled out his notebook. “Yes.”

“We have uniforms canvassing the area and going through the school.... Shouldn't be long before we find her.”

Kelly nodded again, but didn't believe either the words or the forced smile directed at her.

“I'd like you to tell me exactly what happened?”

“What happened.... Is my daughter is missing.”

He ignored the anger, he knew it only came from frustration. “I know this is hard, but we need to make a note of all movements ok? My team is questioning the teachers and anyone that may have seen her. So all I need from you is your movements.... Where do you work?”

Kelly inhaled. “Portman investments. We have offices on Jackson and third. I'm a lawyer.”

Michaels wrote it down.

Symonds smiled. “What type of lawyer? Criminal?”

“No. Corporate. I'm hired to work out business contracts. How is this helping find my daughter?”

“I'm just getting some background. Now tell me what happened today?”

Kelly sighed heavily. “I... I was late. About … I thought it was only ten minutes but it was more than twenty.” She swallowed hard. “.... I got a call at work just as I was leaving. I didn't realise the time until my secretary came in and told me, I got off the phone and came here.”

He nodded. “What time did you leave? “

Kelly sniffed and wiped her eyes. “Just after three twenty I think. I got here just after four. I came through the playground. She wasn't on the swings or anything.”

“Does she play on those a lot, if she's waiting for you?”

“Yea. When I've been late before, but she usual goes inside now if she's on her own.”

“What do you mean?”

“I told her off for playing outside alone when no one can see her. I told her she had to go find someone… a teacher, ya know?”

He nodded. “See anyone else around outside?”

Kelly thought. “No… Maybe?” She ran her hand back through her hair in frustration. “There could have been a couple of older kids by the bike area, I'm not sure. I wasn't taking much notice I just wanted to find her.”

“Not to worry we'll find out about those. Go on?”

“I always check the library first. She… she likes to read and she likes Mrs Scott.”

The detective looked over to the head master.

“She's our librarian. She's one of the teachers I asked to wait in the staff room.”

Symonds nodded, turning his attention back to Kelly. “Lucy wasn't there?”

“No one was. So … so I went down to her school room.”

“You didn't go there first?”

Kelly looked up. “No. It's at the back of the school. I went to where she usual goes first.”

He heard the defensiveness. He shifted forward. “I'm just asking questions so I can work out a map of things that happened that's all. Go on.”

Kelly relaxed slightly. “I met up with Miss Walters, Lucy's teacher, and we started going through the school. We … we couldn't find her anywhere. The headmaster called you.”

He looked down briefly at the notes in his hands. “Lucy was six on the 14 th of this month? Brown shoulder length hair. Green eyes. About two foot four?”

Grey eyes misted as memories of the party flooded her mind. Her hands were clenching and unclenching on her jeans. “Yes.”

“What was she wearing today?”

Kelly closed her eyes. “She a....” Her eyes opened, a smile forming at the memory. “....She's got on her lilac tracksuit with Barney on the back of the jacket. She had it on yesterday but she wanted it today too” She sniffed trying to keep her voice level. “....And a white tee underneath. No coat today she was to warm and a… a blue hair tie.” She motioned across the front of her hair. “You know the kind that slips back to keep her hair off her face.”

He stared at her, then tweaked a smile sitting back. “Yea I know them… Anything else?”

“She has her cookie Munster rucksack. Nike sport shoes. They have little blue bells on um and Gangster.” Her voice broke as she looked away palming a tear.

He frowned. “Gangster?”

“It's a stuffed toy, a hamster. But she… she couldn't say her H's when she was two, so it's just been called Gangster ever since.” She swallowed hard as her voice broke totally.

He looked down at his notes giving her time to compose herself. When he was sure she had, he looked up. “Where is Miss Matthews? That is the name of your partner.... Lucy's biological mother?”

Kelly sat back suddenly exhausted. The idea of it being a bad dream was fading, this was real and right now she wanted to throw up. “We're both her mother, but yes Casey gave birth to her… She's in Boston. I've tried to reach her.... God, this is gonna kill her.” Kelly covered her face with both hands.

“This is hard on the both of you.” He cleared his throat, waiting for her to look up, when she did he continued. “What she doing in Boston?”

“She's a doctor.... It's a conference for medical aid to South Africa. She's probably in a meeting, she turns her phone off.”

“How long has she been there?” He looked across to his partner.

“Three days. She left Sunday night.”

He tore off a piece of paper offering over a pen. “Okay. We'll deal with reaching her. Just write down the number and where she is and the place she is staying?”

Kelly quickly wrote it down. He took it passing it over to Michaels who rose, giving it to an officer at the door.

Symonds attention went back to Kelly. “Is there anyone else who might have picked Lucy up?”

“No. Just me or Casey.”

“You're sure? No grandparents or relative that might have showed up as a surprise? Someone that Lucy would have trusted on sight?”

Kelly stiffened. “No. My family haven't had anything to do with me since collage.”

“And Miss Matthews family?”

“They're on the East Coast. They've only seen Lucy once since she was born.” Kelly shifted uncomfortably. “They.... they don't approve of Casey's lifestyle.”

He'd been watching her body language the whole time. “You mean you?”

Kelly scoffed. “Yea, I mean me.”

Symonds nodded in understanding. “What about friends? Lucy's friends especially. Any birthday parties or sleep overs.... Anyone at all she might have gone with?”

Kelly slammed her hand down on her leg. “Damn it. Lucy knows not to go with anyone unless Casey or I arrange it in advance. She's not stupid.”

“I know she's not stupid. So there wasn't anything planned this week, especially today? Something that may have slipped your mind?”

Kelly bit back her anger. “No nothing. I was the one supposed to pick her up no one else.”

He nodded. Gently he backed off, seeing he was pushing too hard. “Could Casey have come back early and collected her?”

Kelly's eyes jumped to him. “WHAT!? No of course not. She'd have called me.”

For a moment there was silence.

“Have things between you and Miss Matthew's been ok lately?”

Kelly eyes narrowed. “What are you suggesting? That Casey is pissed at me enough to do this to make me sweat? Jesus Christ.”

“Not at all I'm just asking a question. Have they?”

Kelly gritted her teeth. “Yes things between Casey and I are fine, more than fine. We haven't had any lesbian domestics that would lead to this.”

A small knock at the door had Michaels up and answering it. Kelly broke her stare from Symonds watching the uniformed officer whispering. Michaels came over and whispered something to Symonds.

Kelly's eyes jumped to both of them. “What's going on?”

Symonds nodded to Michaels before turning his attention back to Kelly. “One of the teachers thinks she saw Lucy getting into a car.”

Kelly shot to her feet. “Oh, my god. When? Who's?”

“Ms Jennings please calm down.”

Kelly shook Symonds hand off her arm. “Don't tell me to calm down damn it.” Her attention went to Michaels. “Where is she? Whose car?”

“You drive a black SUV?”

Kelly blinked, turning her head sharply to Symonds. “What? Yes. What's that got to do with it?”

His voice was calm. He watched her closely. “The teacher believes it was your car she saw.”

“Mine? Are you crazy I… I… never picked her up. Christ, if I did would I be like this for fuck sake.” She pushed hard at the hand reaching for her again.

“Ms Jennings.” Symonds stepped forward, his voice stern. “I need you to listen to me.”

Kelly stared at him, her jaw twitching, chest heaving as she tried to get herself under control. “Are you looking for it?”

“All we have right now is a teacher telling us she thought Lucy got into your car.... All this means is it's possibly another black SUV. We will check with any other witnesses. You got to understand we have to rule out things first to make sure later it isn't a mistake. It wastes time. Going over false leads puts your daughter in danger.”

She swallowed the anger down. His words were making sense.

Symonds took a breath, glad that he could get through to her. He offered out his hand. “But.... I'm gonna need your car keys. Detective Michaels is going to take you home now.”

“My keys?” She stared at him. “Fine.” She pulled the keys out of her back pocket, throwing them at him. “I didn't pick her up, I wish to god I had. I'm not leaving here either. Not till I know where she is.”

“Your car is procedure Ms Jennings. We have to check every angle. Don't go looking anything else into it. We're here to find your daughter.”

She eyed him sceptically.

“You can't do anything here. You need to go home in case Lucy tries to contact you. Does she know the houses phone number?”

Kelly stared at him, then nodded. “Yes. Yes she does. We made sure she did and her full name.”

He smiled. “Good, that's good. Someone she knows has to be at home, someone she trusts.”

Kelly wanted to argue but right now she didn't know what to do for the first time in a long time she felt helpless. She was torn. She wanted to look for her. She had to look for her.

As if reading her mind Symonds put his hand on her shoulder, his tone softening. “You can't help her here. You can help her by doing this. We need a picture a resent one. The sooner we get that, the quicker we can find her. Also a list of family and friends, anyone that may have picked her up that she forgot to tell you about. You can call around friends. Can you do that?”

Her shoulders squared, meeting his gaze. She sniffed, drawing in a long breath, the anger leaving her eyes. “Yea. I can do that.”

He petted her shoulder. “Good. We'll keep you updated as soon as I know you know. A uniform will stay with you. Detective Michaels will have some questions for you, they may seem pointless and they're going to frustrate the hell out of you. I need you to answer them. Anger isn't going to help you or Lucy. Information will.”

She looked over to Michaels, who was already holding the door open.

“We'll find her.”

Kelly met Symonds eyes and let the determination in his face and voice pulsed through her, even though another part of her was shattering into tidy pieces. She glanced over to the headmaster as she moved to the door. He gave her a sad smile.

All the time they were walking through the school building, barely taking in the police cars or the crime scene tape that fluttered in the evening breeze. Even as she ducked to get into the car, her eyes travelled to the swing area and just for a moment she saw Lucy, waving and running towards her. Then the door slammed shut, shattering the image. As the car moved off, she kept praying this all was a bad dream and soon Lucy would wake her, complaining she was hungry.



The boardroom was stuffy, not because of the heat or because of the A/C being stale. The conversation was stale, the same thing over and over again. Casey looked around at the raised voices, she sighed. Wondering why she'd agree to do this again this year.

Tom looked over to her. “Come on, you agree with me here Casey?”

She took a sip of water before answering. “I know what you're saying Tom, I do. But there is no way we can force Karnon pharmaceuticals into supplying the medication for nothing.” She sat back, chewing the end of her pen, her eyes going around the table, meeting the same faces. She groaned inside at the fact that nothing had been accomplished.

“I get that Casey. What I'm saying is Karnon should at least be dropping the goddamn price for the amount we're willing to purchase.” His eyes scowled down at the well-dressed fair haired man at the head of the table.

Casey sighed, sitting forward. “Tom.” When Tom didn't drop his angry gaze directed at the man, Casey smacked the table, causing everyone to look up at her, including Tom.

The fair-haired man raised his hand briefly, interrupting Casey before she could continue.

“I know tempers are short today. I don't like coming in here either going over the same things. But Karnon has already offered a generous reduction.”

Tom looked at him sharply. “One percent? You call that generous from a multibillion dollar company that spends more on facials. We're buying over hundred thousand drugs a month.”

Casey inhaled her temper, brushing a blonde strand of hair behind her ear. “Mr Lewis. Surely you can understand that a one- percent reduction in supplying this drug to hospitals is still outside what they can afford? This trust would have to cover the short fall.”

Lewis leant forward, his fingers playing with a pen on the desk into spirals. “Yes. I can understand the problems of Economics in a country whose global debt is twice that of the United Kingdom. What I'm trying to make this panel understand is that Karnon has a responsibility to its share holders. It's research division. Its employees.....” he sat back, straightening his jacket. “....Karnon is already giving this aid program over five million drugs for free.”

Casey drummed her fingers on the tabletop. “And charging this program for the drugs delivery system. Which of course the drug couldn't work without.”

Lewis shrugged. “We don't make the delivery system. That is out of our hands. But the incentive we offer means by contract you purchase it from us. This isn't part of this negotiation.”

Casey bit the inside of her lip. “We know that. Can you at least it take to your board, a Twenty percent reduction optioned with another five years of purchase from your company?”

His eyes met hers, suddenly filled with interest. He laughed. “Twenty percent you're crazy.” He laughed, then met her eyes again. “There's no guarantee that you'll want this amount of drugs in the future. What do I take to my company as a guarantee.... Your word?” He smirked.

Casey forced a smile, knowing damn well that he was adding up in his head the profit margin. “No not my word. You want a guarantee, that's simple. How about two million people with Aids and that number is growing we both know that.” Bitterness entered her voice. “....Someone who has Aids isn't going to improve in a year's time or survive without the drugs your company produces. I think it a safe bet to say that the demand won't disappear.”

He studied her. Everyone at the table watched them, their heads going backwards and forwards between the two as if watching a game of tennis.

“The demand won't disappear. But the money might. What happens when in a two years time there isn't enough in the pot to cover the contract? How is that going to look when Karnon ends up having to sue an Aids program?” He shook his head. “.... Bad publicity. You'd have Karnon's spheres in a vice, if you excuse the expression. No, there isn't enough of a guarantee to form a long-term contract. Therefore there isn't any way a higher percentage can be offered on one year's supply. The one percent stands.”

Casey sat back, chewing the end of her pen again, her green eyes locked on his. “You really think the world is gonna clam up on money to help a third world? Some of us do have a conscious.” She sat forward. “If that isn't enough to convince you. This Aid program has been going for fifteen years, you really think it's going to close down in two?”

Lewis paused, his eyes going around the people at the table.

Casey itched at a bead of sweat that was forming under her hairline as she watched him. “We're willing to pay for the drugs in advance.”

His eyes slightly widened before he covered it. “How far in advance?”

Casey uncrossed her legs, trying to maintain the casualness, but inside her heart was thumping ten to the dozen. “Two years in advance. At the price we decide here today, no increase.” She watched him closely, seeing his mind go over the possibility. “But you see we need some guarantees too. What happens if your company closes in two years time? Wouldn't exactly be good for us as a benefit program if we have to spend millions in the courts trying to get back our money now would it?”

A few snorts were heard around the table.

Lewis face darkened. “You're kidding?”

Casey shrugged, sitting back. “In this economic climate of today, is any business safe.” she added a sweet smile.

Lewis shifted, his jaw twitching. “Five percent with an option of out from the contract in two years, before the next two year payment is made.”

Casey shook her head, inside she was giving herself a high five. “Fifteen percent with the same clause.”

He scoffed. “There is no way my board is going to agree those terms.”

Casey pulled her files into a pile, then looked up, she closed her laptop. “Why don't you take it to the board and let them decide.” She rose. “Okay. I think we need a break gentleman. We can meet back here tomorrow morning at nine, if we're all agreed?”

Nods and agreement sounded. She looked directly at Mr Lewis. He simply nodded and rose, his phone already out as he moved out of the room.

She rose, smiling to Tom as he approached.

His face shone. “Good god you're good at this.”

She laughed. “Well, it will give them something to think about.”

He smiled. “They're not going to agree on fifteen percent.”

She shrugged. “I know. But they'll offer up at least eight or maybe ten before we're finished.”

He opened the door for her, walking with her into the hall. “I'm glad you came back this year. You are very good at this.”

“I don't make the clauses Tom. Those are done long before in some dusty room. I just seem to make what were offering turn into exactly what they're looking for.” She allowed herself a moment of pride.

“Yea…. But you make it look so damn easy and we all know it isn't. Can I offer a drink of celebration.... Maybe dinner?”

There was something in the way he asked that made her stop and face him, her tone was serious, but friendly. “No Tom I don't think that's a good idea.”

He blushed slightly. “Can't blame a guy for trying.”

She relaxed and chuckled. “No I guess not.”

He grinned again. “No harm done?” his face went serious for a moment.

She shook her head, taking his offered hand. “No, no harm done. See you tomorrow Tom.”

He held her hand for a moment longer than necessary and let out a small exhale of relief. “I'm glad.” He dropped her hand, moving towards the elevators. “See you tomorrow for more battling of the Titans.”

She nodded, watching him enter the elevator. Flashing her once again his most charming smile, before the doors closed.

Shaking her head she stepped into the main hallway leading down to the lobby. She let herself finally relax, letting out a “ Yessssssssss.” She made her way down the stairs, humming as she reached into her bag, turning on her mobile, surprised when twenty missed calls flashed on the screen. The ‘Yes' inside her suddenly shrivelled, as she realised they were all from Kelly. She pressed redial as she stepped into the lobby, looking up as two uniformed police officers started towards her, aware that the receptionist had just told them who she was. The phone ringing in her ear was very distant as a feeling of dread over took her.

“Miss Matthews?”

“Yes.” She looked to both of them in question. The phone answering against her ear stopped her asking more, her fully attention went to it. “Kelly?”

“Cass. Oh, god Cass….”

Casey swallowed hard. She'd never heard Kelly like this before. “What's wrong?”

Then her world became a very small place, as all her senses focused down to the two words sobbed into her ear. “Lucy's missing.”



Kelly sat, clicking the phone closed, closing her eyes to the pain. Just hearing Casey had made her feel better, but she didn't think she'd ever get over having to be the one to tell her wife their daughter was missing, or hearing the panic and pain in Casey's voice. She looked up as Detective Michaels came into the living room.

“Did you reach Miss Matthews?”

Kelly threw the cell onto the seat, before rubbing her face in both hands, tiredly. “Yes, she's catching the first flight back.”

He nodded as he sat. “We'll arrange someone to pick her up at the airport.”

Kelly looked down at the picture on the coffee table, the one she'd picked out as soon as they'd gotten to the house. She'd gone from room to room and around the garden in vain hope of finding Lucy hiding somewhere. Her fingers traced across the surface of her daughter's face on the picture, then her fingers stilled on it and she pushed it across the table top. “This was taken two weeks ago at her birthday party. Is it good enough?”

He lifted it, then looked over to her smiling. “She's very cute.”

Kelly half sobbed half laughed. “And she knows it too.”

“It's perfect, thank you. I'll return it as soon as I can.... Excuse me for a minute.”

Her eyes followed him as he handed the photograph to another officer waiting by the door. She couldn't sit anymore, she rose, moving to the windows, looking outside, seeing the officer get into his car and drive away, she stared at nothing.

“I have a few questions for you, if that's okay? Are you sure you don't want to call someone to come and wait with you?”

She looked over her shoulder at him. “There's no one I want here except Casey. I've given you the list of people at work that need to know what's going on. The rest, well…. the rest it won't matter too. Casey has closer friends than I do. I know she'll call them as soon as she can.” She looked back out the window, then turned away, pacing again. “I can't seem to sit still….”

He didn't say anything, just sat watching her as she finally stopped to come and sit.

She wrung her hands together, her voice almost desperate as she spoke. “Tell me what's happening? Because to me there doesn't seem to be anything going on and it's driving me crazy.”

He titled his head. “There's a lot happening, just not around here.”

“Like what?” She snapped.

He could hear the undertone of frustration and anger, he didn't blame her. “Right now a team are going over the school and neighbourhood looking for your daughter and any witnesses. Also your daughter's details have been entered in the NCIC.”

“NCIC?” It rang a vague memory.

“The National Crime Information centre. Now every police force in this country is aware your daughter is missing and the information we have is updated as it becomes available. There is also a team that will deal with putting out alerts on the volunteer networks, including an Amber alert, notifying everyone on that system within the next few hours.”

Kelly inhaled sharply. She knew what the Amber network was, she didn't need to ask. “It's good to know something's being done, because I feel useless right now.”

“I know. Look it isn't just a handful of cops looking for her Ms Jennings. I know it seems that way right now. But things are being done.”

Her eyes fell, so did her voice. “You don't think this is just her going with a friend do you? Or wandering off?”

He stiffened.

She looked up, her eyes showing the agony of realization. “Do you?”

“Personally, no I don't and neither does Detective Symonds. We're treating this very seriously.” He watched her face go whiter. “I'm sorry.”

She looked away, squeezing her eyes tight to stop herself crying. She cleared her throat, turning to look at him again. “So what happens now?”

“I have some questions for you. But the next step will be the FBI coming in on the case.”

She felt her stomach drop. “FBI?”

“Ms Jennings the last known sighting of your daughter was getting into a car. None of your friends have come forward stating they have her. Your partner doesn't have her…” he paused. “.... That leads us to believe she has…” he paused again. “....She left against her will. That's a matter for the FBI.”

Kelly's eyes widened. “Abduction. You're saying someone's abducted her? Someone has her? Is… is holding her prisoner?”

He watched her closely, knowing this woman wasn't stupid, just shocked, shocked beyond belief. “Yes. That's what I'm saying.”

“No.” Kelly rose fast, running past the officer in the hall, heading towards the bathroom in the back, she slammed the door shut, gulping air, leaning against it for a moment, before she lunged forward and threw up into the toilet.

Detective Michaels stepped into the hallway, staring sadly.

“Why is it always such a surprise to them? My kid goes missing it would be the first thing I think.”

Michaels turned to the uniformed voice, recognising him. “Davidson isn't it?”

The cop nodded.

“Well, because they never think it's going to happen to them. They hope they're just gonna turn up back home on their own, right up to the time I make um face the reality. Besides…” he looked down the hallway, before looking at the cop again. “They don't see the things we do each day.”

“Ain't that the truth.”

Michaels looked across as he heard the toilet flush. “Give her a couple of minutes. Then ask her if she can come back up.”

Davidson nodded.



Casey had always hated waiting, but now even more so. She bite the nail on her left finger and winced as it hit the quick. Her skin crawled, her body twitched. All because inside she was screaming, screaming at how long this was all taking to get home, too long. She wanted to run there, but the logical side of her knew that was absurd. She kept telling herself over and over again, everything was going to be fine, and by the time she got home Lucy would be waiting with some great story about an adventure she'd been on. She bit deep again into the already blunt nail, unaware now she was hitting blood. The officer saying her name broke into her misery. She blinked him into focus. “Sorry?”

His eyes dropped to her finger. Her gaze followed his, surprised to see blood, she quickly pulled out a tissue. “I'd thought I'd quit that habit.” She offered him a weak smile.

He bent, lifting her bag, offering it over. “Your flight is arriving. Gate nine. There will be a car to pick you up at the airport to take you home.”

Casey rose, pulling her bag to her chest. “Thank you.”

This time he smiled. “Good luck. I hope everything works out okay.”

She managed to smile back at him before she turned and headed to the departure gate. She wanted to run, she wanted to scream, instead calmly she walked. While inside she increased the: Every things going to be okay. Every things going to be okay. But it still wasn't enough to stop the tears.



Michaels looked over to Kelly as she sat. He pushed over a glass of water, which she took with a nod of thanks.

“I'm sorry. It just hit me.”

“There's no need to apologise. I'd like to ask you a few more questions if you're up to it?”

Kelly sipped the water. “Go ahead.”

“Do you know of any reason why someone would take Lucy?”

Her chin trembled. She took a long breath, steadying her voice. “No none.”

He persisted. “No one that would do it to either get back at you, or Miss Matthews?”

Kelly shook her head. “No. I can't think of anyone. I've tried.”

“Someone at work perhaps?”

She inhaled, getting up and paced. “No, okay no! There's no one that I know who would take my child at all, to get back at me.”

“And Miss Matthews of course.” He made a note on his pad.

Kelly shot him a look. “I know that and not at her either.”

He nodded simply. “I know these questions are personal they have to be. You'd be surprised how many cases I've seen like this, where someone who thinks they've been wronged takes a child for no more than attention.”

“You're talking about ex's right?”

He sat back, crossing his legs. “If you like yes and family members. Are there any?” He noted a muscle twitched in her jaw. Not for the first time he wondered how bad her temper was. He remained silent however in asking the question.

“I have Ex's and I emphasise the Ex part.”

“No one more recent?”

She gritted her teeth. “Not for the past ten years. Not since I've been with Casey. What the hell is this about? “

“Let me explain something to you Ms Jennings. Most kidnapping of children are done for three reasons; Parental dispute. Family dispute or the last, Revenge.” He counted each one off on his fingers. “.... There are the other ones, more violent ones.” He saw her swallow hard and pale again. “But they only cover 2% of this crime. I don't need to cover the whole spectrum of percentages on this. But I'm telling you now, the highest are family or someone who knows the child or parents.... Especially the parents. I'm not here to judge you. In fact I don't care if you've been playing around on the side. What I do care about is this little girl and getting her back with her mother as soon as possible. So, I'm going to ask you again. Is there anyone past or present who would have a reason to take Lucy to use against you?”

She slowly felt along the couch's arm, until her legs felt the edge, she sat. Her fists clenched in anger. “No there's no one I know of.”

He studied her for a long time, then nodded in satisfaction. Knowing he'd have to ask the other mother the same question. “Okay I believe you.”

Kelly lifted the glass and gulped down half of it. It took all she could to not just throw it at him. “Have you always been such a bastard?”

He jerked, his gaze coming up to her. “I'm sorry you feel that way.”

She stared at him, then rose. “I need a shower, if you have no more questions.”

“No. Not at the moment.” He lifted the ringing cell from his pocket, as he watched her leave. “Yeah? Go ahead.”



Lead FBI agent Mark Davis looked again over the file on his laptop, looking up briefly as the car turned into the street which would lead him to his next assignment. “Nice neighbourhood.”

His fellow agent on the case Ally Jeffrey smiled over to him, before turning her attention back to the road. “Yea it is. Can they afford it?”

Mark quickly clicked onto the financial report on the two women who now had their team's full attention. “It's mortgaged. They're keeping up the payments no worries. They both have a well-paid job. Jennings is higher.”


“Four thousand between them plus loose change, no investments we can find. But they could get money if they needed it, but only to a certain limit. The house is worth about three hundred sixty thousand if they use the house as collateral, but that would take time. We don't have enough background yet to know about family or their full financial situation.”

“Did everything check out on her time line?”

“Yea, the secretary backed up Jennings story about time of her leaving the office. Her time to the school from her office works out too. A camera has her at traffic lights just outside of the city. No way she could have gotten to the school grabbed the girl, put her somewhere then drove back and pretended she hadn't.”

Ally popped a stick of gum into her mouth. “And now we have three witnesses who saw the other Black Suv around the school?”

“Yep. But no one got the plate number. Two of them thought it was the usual one, the Jennings car. They remember seeing it a couple times this week collecting the girl. Only thing that is different, is one of them thought the windows were tinted. Jennings car doesn't have that. The other witnesses said maybe. Traffic doesn't have any in the area reported stolen. They've got an alert out. But considering how many Black SUVs are in this area it's not gonna come up with anything except pissed off drivers. Might get lucky though.”

“We're here.” Ally pulled the car into the driveway, meeting his gaze, knowing what this now meant. All the signs were leading to definite abduction by persons unknown, ones who knew enough of time lines and Jennings car to be well prepared. Ally's top lip twitched, she broke his gaze and stepped out of the car, adjusting her gun slightly, before she closed the door.

Mark clicked his laptop closed, moving out of the car, his eyes falling on the van that pulled up behind them, seeing his team collecting their equipment. He smoothed down his black tie, as he fell into pace with Ally as they approached the house.

Michaels heard the shower running and waited a beat. When he heard it turn off, he tapped on the door.


“I'd thought you'd like to know Miss Matthews is on her way now. She's due at the airport in about ten minutes, I've got a car ready to bring her straight here.”

“Thank you.”

“Also the FBI is here.”

He stepped back as the door opened. He was well aware that the woman had been crying by the red eyes, he lowered his gaze as he realised she was in just a towel. “They'd like you to come down as soon as possible. I have to get back to the precinct if you need to reach me, I've left my card on the kitchen table. I'm leaving Officer Davidson here outside in a car. The FBI will handle the main investigation now.”

“Fine. Tell them I'll be down as soon as I'm dressed.”

He put his hand on the door, stopping the motion of closing. “For what it's worth Ms Jennings I was just doing my job. I don't get any pleasure asking those types of questions.” He winced, snapping his hand back fast as the door was firmly slammed in his face. He took a long breath, before heading back downstairs and into the living room with the two agents.

Agent Davis motioned upstairs with his head. “How's she handling all this?”

“Pretty well, she's frustrated. I don't think she's used to things being out of her control. She's also pissed at me right now.”

Ally looked over from where she was studying the family pictures on the mantle. “Didn't fall for your usual charm?”

He smiled wryly. “Not on this one. I asked if there was anyone that would use the kid to get back at her.”

Ally winced. “Ouch. And?”

Michaels shook his head. “None. I don't think she's playing around or has anyone wanting to hurt her that much. Anyone she can remember at least.”

Davis shrugged. “What about the birth mother?”

Michaels collected his coat off the back of the chair. “She hasn't been questioned. I have someone tailing her. She hasn't made any calls outside of her cell, which of course you can check soon.” He gave a brief glance to the watch on his wrist. “She should be here soon.”

“No word on the girl?” Ally caught sight of the picture on the mantle of her, on a happier day.

Michaels followed her gaze. “Not from my department. I'll get the full report sent to you as soon as I get back. At the moment you know what I know.”

Davis moved forward, offering his hand. “Thanks Detective.”

Michaels shook his hand, nodding over to Ally, as he moved to leave. As an afterthought he stopped and looked back at both of them. “For what it's worth. I don't think Kelly knows anything about why Lucy was taken, or has anything to do with it.”

Davis looked over to Ally briefly, then back to Michaels. “Dually noted. We'll stay in touch.”

Michaels nodded and left.

Kelly stopped just as she was about to enter the living room. Her eyes going first to the unknown man by her phone, then over to the red haired woman, who was looking along a bookcase. “I'm guessing you're the FBI?”

They both looked around to her at the same time. Davis spoke first; moving forward pulling out is wallet to show her his badge. “Yes. Ms Jennings, I'm sorry Detective Michaels let us in you were unavailable. I'm Special Agent Davis and this is Agent Jeffrey. I'm in charge of the case.”

She looked at the badges, then walked past them. “Have you found her?”

“No. I'm afraid not.”

Kelly pulled open the cabinet, lifting out a bottle of scotch, pouring herself a small amount. She took a sip. “Is there any new information?”

Davis looked across to Ally. Ally got the subtle signal for her to handle this. She smiled as she approached. “We know now that Lucy was seen getting into a car.”

Kelly swallowed another mouthful. “I knew that four hours ago.” She coughed at the burn on the back of the throat.

Ally looked down at the glass. “I know this is hard right now, but we need you to have a clear head.” Ally's eyes moved to the bottle.

Kelly finished the last in the glass, then placed it down. Putting the bottle back into the cabinet and closing the door. “I just needed one.”

Ally smiled again. “Thank you.”

Kelly moved past her, sitting in the chair. “I suppose you have more questions for me?”

“We do yes, probably ones you've answered before and more than likely ones you're not going to like.”

Kelly sighed. “I'm getting the feeling I should be pleading my innocence.”

Davis moved into view, sitting down on the edge of the sofa, allowing Ally to take the seat opposite. “I'm sorry this is making you feel this way. But…..”

Kelly interrupted. “But, you have a job to do. Yea, I heard that not so long ago too.”

Ally leant forward. “Kelly. Can I call you Kelly?”


“I know you're scared to death. I know what is going on is out of your control and right now you see us as pushing ourselves into your face and your private life.”

Kelly finally met her eyes.

“We need you to trust us and to trust in what we do. Even though at times it seems like we're attacking you. We're not. This isn't personal. We ask things because we need too. We need information because we use it. If you fight us or get angry it only wastes our time. More to the point it wastes time in getting Lucy back.”

Kelly chewed the inside of her mouth, looking across to Davis, then back to Ally. “I don't know either of you. How the hell am I expected to trust you to find my daughter?”

Davis's face grew serious. “Because it's what we do and my team is very very good at it.”

Kelly held his gaze until she was unable too. She lowered her eyes, her body losing the tenseness. “I don't know what to do anymore. Some ones got her, that thought…” she swallowed hard again. “....That thought just does something inside of me. I can't think straight. I'm.... I'm just so damn angry.”

Ally put her hand on Kelly's knee. “We know what to do Kelly. We're trained for this. Trust us to know we're going to do the right thing.”

Kelly nodded quickly, grabbing the hand on her leg. “Get her back okay, just get her back.”

Ally almost winced at the grip. “We will.”

All of them jumped as the front door was thrown open. Kelly was up in a second, just managing to get her arms open in time, as her wife threw herself into her arms in a full run.

“God. Kelly… Kel.”

Kelly held on tight, pulling Casey into her as tightly as she could. Feeling the ache inside burst, as she felt the sobs rake against her chest. “Shhhhh it'll be okay.”

Casey clung on as if her life depended on it, drawing in the scent that always had been her safe zone. She didn't remember the plane ride, or even getting into the car at the airport, all she remembered was getting out of the car outside their house and seeing the police car sitting there and the world came crashing down that Lucy wasn't there to meet her.

“Have… have they found her?” She hiccupped, trying to get her voice to work, she drew back looking up into sad grey eyes.

“No baby, not yet.”

“Oh god.”

“We'll find her. It'll be okay.” Kelly kissed the top of blonde hair.

Casey suddenly drew back, anger now sparking in her eyes. “How could you be late? God damn you. How could you? She's six. You knew she'd be waiting for you. Damn you Kelly damn you. She was depending on you.”

Kelly flinched at the words, but not once did she flinch as each fist hit her chest, she didn't move at all, letting each one make contact. Because inside she'd felt like hitting herself a thousand times already. She looked over as the two FBI agents began to intercede, she shook her head sadly. She pulled the fighting woman closer, ignoring the hits. Ignoring her hands being smacked away, she finally got hold pulling Casey into her, tightening the embrace, feeling the hits lose their power. “I'm so sorry.”

Finally the fight left Casey and she clung back onto the woman moments ago she was hitting. She buried her face deep into Kelly's neck, feeling the vein there jump against her skin. Sobs breaking her words as she finally managed to speak. “I didn't mean it. I … didn't mean it.”

“I know… I know.” Kelly let her own tears fall. “Shhhhh. We'll get her back. I swear it.” She looked back at the two Agents who were standing somewhat embarrassed. She looked down at Casey. “Cas. We need to be strong right now. These are two agents. They need to ask us some questions. They're going to help us find Lucy.”

Casey sniffled, turning her head, keeping her cheek resting against the strong heartbeat. Looking to the two, completely unaware until now they were even in the house. She drew back, wiping at the tears at her eyes.

Ally stepped forward, offering a tissue. “I'm Agent Jeffrey, but you can call me Ally. This is lead Special Agent Davis, you can call him Mark.”

Casey took the tissue, looking over to the man, who offered her a small smile. Moving more away from Kelly, she stopped, when she sensed her drawing away, she quickly reached back and took her hand, squeezing it, turning to meet Kelly's eyes.

Kelly relaxed, taking in all the emotion that swirled in green looking up at her. Seeing no more recrimination, it healed a small part of her own self reproach. She squeezed the hand back, absorbing the contact and the easy forgiveness given.

When Casey was sure that Kelly understood, she turned to the Agents. “How can I help?”

Ally smiled. “Why don't we get comfortable. “ She lifted her hand, motioning to the living room.

Casey nodded. “I could do with some coffee.”

Kelly moved, glad of something finally she could do. “I'll do that.”

The Agents moved back into the living room. Casey moved to follow, pausing at the threshold to look back down the hallway, her eyes locking with Kelly's as she looked back.

Kelly mouthed silently. “I love you.”

Fresh tears came to Casey's eyes as she silently mouthed back. “I love you.”

Both Agents watched the exchange with interest, both suddenly looked elsewhere as Casey came into the room.

“Can you tell me what's happening?” Casey sat, pulling off her jacket.

Davis cleared his throat. “The police department are dealing with their side of the investigation. They'll continue searching the area and following up witness leads. They're also handling the search for the car. Other than that, there's no new information as yet as to the whereabouts of Lucy. But we have ruled out any of your friends or teachers having her and she's not in the area where she disappeared.”

Casey looked at Davis in question. “None of my friends would take her like this and she'd never just run off. “ Casey swallowed hard, her attention going to the jacket on her lap. “What's the difference between what the police are doing and you?”

He opened his brief case, pulling out a file. “We do our own investigations.” He moved to sit opposite her. “Our method is different. This means we need your permission and your partners' permission to do a few things.”

Casey folded her jacket almost methodically, smoothing the creases out. Ally took a mental note.

“Permission for what?” She placed the jacket gently on the side table.

“First thing we need, is to put a trace on your home phone and cells. Also to check your phone records and computer email accounts.”

Casey quickly inhaled. “You're thinking… kidnapping? Someone wants money?”

Davis watched her carefully. “It's one option yes. However money isn't the only thing people can ask for. Either way, we need to know we have the phones covered in case there is a call.”

“Why the records and the emails? I don't understand those?”

“It could be that the kidnapper has tried to reach either you or Kelly before and you both didn't realise it. Records can show us patterns.”

Casey chewed on her nail. “Okay. Go ahead do it.”

Davis smiled. “Thank you.” he rose, leaving the room.

Ally took his place on the couch. “How you holding up?”

Casey gave a half laugh. “How do you think? I actually feel like I'm insane right about now.”

Ally gave a sympathetic smile. “I think Kelly feels the same way.”

Casey turned her head to the hallway. “I can't believe I hit her, or blamed her.” She swiped at a tear that escaped down her cheek. “She would have been beating up on herself enough. She didn't need that from me too.”

“Yes, I seem to get that impression.” Ally handed over another tissue.

Casey took it and sniffed. “She's keeps so much inside.” She shook her head, looking away to clear her thoughts. Taking a deep breath her gaze met Ally's. “You had some questions for me?”

Ally smiled at the determination she saw. “You up to it?”

“No. But go ahead anyway.”

Ally nodded, pulling out her palm point. “Kelly's already answered a lot of the questions we need, but I'm going to ask some of the same ones. First off though, Whose Lucy's father? Could he have anything to do with this?”

Casey blinked, thrown for a moment, then found her self-laughing. “Not unless sperm can drive a car.”

Ally wasn't quite sure how to answer that one. “Um?”

Casey had to make herself stop laughing, it was becoming a hysterical one. “I'm sorry.” After a few breaths she'd composed herself. “Lucy was conceived with the help from a sperm donor bank.”

Ally's face froze, then she chuckled. “Oh.” She scratched the back of her neck, looking up in amusement. “Well, guess that's why we couldn't find any information on the father.”

Casey looked at her sharply. “You checked that?”

“Yes we checked that. We've checked a lot of things you won't like either.”

Casey sighed wearily. “I suppose you have too. We don't really have a choice in things now do we? Or what part of our personally life you invade. I can't say I like it, but I can't seem to care very much either as long as it helps get Lucy back to us.”

Ally tilted her head, then made a decision. “We'd rather you agreed to us going after the information we need, or gave it to us yourself... As I've told Kelly, we're not the enemy. But you're right the more information we can get the easier it is for us to find Lucy. “

“I suppose.” Casey looked down at her hands, suddenly feeling very lost. “What…. What are the chances of finding her?”

“Believe it or not, the odds are higher now than an hour after she went missing.”

Casey looked up, hope tugging at the uncertainty in her voice. “Really?”

“Yes really. We're pretty sure now that she did get into that car. Which means someone went to a lot of trouble of getting your daughter.”

“What trouble?”

Casey and Ally both turned their head to the sharp question. Kelly came in placing the tray of coffee down onto the table hard enough to send the cream over the edge of the jug. “I said what trouble? What aren't you telling us?”

Ally sat back. “It doesn't look to be just some random abduction. But I'm sorry. I can't say anymore than that at the moment.”

Casey's eyes went from Ally to Kelly, pausing on Kelly long enough to recognising the signs of Kelly about to lose her temper. Casey leant forward, letting her fingertips rest on Kelly's hip. “Kel, can I have some coffee please.” When Kelly didn't move, she gently stroked along her hip, feeling the muscle there tremble. “Kelly?” Finally Kelly looked down to her. “Can I have a coffee.”

Kelly blinked then nodded, quickly pouring out a cup, adding the sugar and cream before passing it over, she poured one for herself then sat on the edge of the chair next to her wife.

Casey smiled at her. “Thank you.”

Kelly smiled back, aware of the hand on her back moving in smooth soothing circles. She turned her gaze back to the Agent. “Okay then, at least explain why the chances of finding her are higher now?”

Ally motioned to the coffee. “May I?”

Kelly nodded, and waited until the agent had sat back sipping the coffee she had taken. “Can you at least tell us what you meant?”

Ally looked over the cup at her, well aware that Kelly was trying her hardest to be civil. “I can tell you one thing. If your daughter had just wandered off and gotten lost we would have found her by now. The chances of her being hurt in that time are high. Roads, cars, accidents. We've ruled that out as a highly unlikely. All the hospitals in this area and the next state have been put on alert of your daughter's description...” She paused a beat, before continuing. “.... As for the school area itself… Someone would have come forward at least saying they saw her. The park nearby has a lot of joggers, cyclists, and dog walkers. Someone would have seen her. They didn't.” She sipped. “Knowing she isn't lost and alone raises her chances already.”

“And if someone has got her. That makes a difference how?”

Ally's eyes tracked slowly to Casey's. “It means they'll take care of her.”

Casey grabbed quickly for Kelly's hand. “For how long?”

Ally didn't look as if she was going to answer, she sighed, placing her cup down carefully. “Until we get her back.”

“That wasn't what you were thinking.”

Ally's eyes shot to Kelly's. Surprised she'd been easy to read. “It wasn't?”

Kelly shook her head, her gaze almost steel. “What you were thinking was, until they get what they want.”

Ally twitched a smile. “No. I meant what I said. Until we get her back.”

Kelly knew right then as she looked into the brown eyes, the agent didn't believe that at all.

Davis stood at the entrance sensing the tension. He coughed, drawing all the attention to him. “This is Agent Moss, he is going to install the phone recording devices around the house and monitor them. When it's set up, someone rings don't pick up until he says so. Understood?”

Both Kelly and Casey nodded, their eyes following the young Tec as he moved to the phone, setting up his equipment onto the table.

Davis sat. He briefly glanced down at Ally's palm point reading. He looked across to Casey. “Tell me about the Donor?”

For a moment Casey didn't know what he was talking about, then her brain played catch up. “We didn't know the name of the donor. All we had was a serial number and the details. We picked out the traits we wanted then called the clinic.”

Kelly frowned looking first to Casey then Davis.

“This was a private clinic?”

“Yes. The Deshler clinic it's here in Dalton.” Casey rose, going to a set of drawers in the bookcase, she rifled through for a moment until she found what she wanted, she came back passing over the envelope to Davis. “That's the number and address of the clinic.... Plus the information of the donor.”

Davis nodded pulling out the letters and quickly reading them through before passing them over to Ally. “You didn't try any other options?”

Casey felt Kelly stiffen, she patted her leg, answering before Kelly could. “We went through a lot of thinking and yes those included other options. But we wanted our child to be as much ours as possible when we conceived.

Davis forehead creased, he turned a questioning look to Ally who was looking down, clearing her throat. Then he looked a Casey. “I'm sorry I don't think I quite understand.”

Casey thought at any other time this would have been downright comical, but right now it was just too raw. “I didn't want to have sex with just any man Agent. Also we didn't want it to be so clinical with artificial insemination in a lab. We purchased the sperm and brought it home. We did it ourselves.”

Davis still stared at her blankly, then his brain got a clue. He felt his face flush. “Oh.”

Casey looked sideways at Kelly, well aware she was rolling her eyes.

Davis coughed composing himself. “So there isn't any way that the sperm donor could know that he had a daughter?”

Kelly nearly bit through her cheek. “He hasn't got a daughter. She's ours and only ours. All he did was jerk off in a cup.”

“Kel…. Please.” Casey's voice was a whisper.

Kelly took in a lung full of air. “No. There's no way the sperm donor could know, not unless the clinic gave him that information. He was a serial number, we were a serial number.” She pulled away from Casey's hand, as it reached for her.

Casey sighed heavily, her eyes tracing Kelly's movements to the window.

Mark and Ally exchanged a look, before Davis continued with his questions. “How many times did you use the clinic?”

Casey's eyes stayed on the back turned form of her lover. “Four times.”

“These things aren't cheap?”

That was enough for Casey to break her gaze on Kelly and look directly at Ally. “No they're not. But we had savings. We'd planned it for when we both were financial stable.”

Ally smiled. “You've been together for how many years now?”

“Ten, this is the eleventh.”

“There's nothing in your relationship that is worrying you?”

Out of the corner of her eye Casey saw Kelly's whole body stiffen. But her stare didn't leave Ally's. She was finding it hard to bite back her own anger now. “Bar the fact my daughter is missing? No. There's nothing in my relationship that is worrying me.”

Agent Moss rose, moving to the doorway. “I need to put the other taps in. Could one of you could show me where the phones are it would help a lot.”

Kelly strided across the room, throwing Davis and Ally a look that would kill. “I'll show you.”

Casey took a deep breath, letting the pause calm her.

Davis sat forward. “Casey, is there anyone you can think of that would take your daughter, to either get back at you or Kelly?”

Casey eyes moved to the doorway then over to the two agents. “You wanted her out the way before you asked that? Why?”

Davis nodded. “Yes I did. Because sometimes it's hard to answer certain questions with a loved one around. Especially if it concerns something they don't know anything about.”

Casey felt her mouth fall open at what he was implying. “You're asking if I have any lovers?”

“Is there?”

She shook her head in disbelief. “No for Christ sake. No. There is no one I know of who would do this and I'm not seeing anyone else.”

“What about past lovers?”

Casey shot him a look, which he ignored and simple calmly waited.

“No, there's no one in my past who would want to do this for whatever reason.”

Davis studied her, then nodded. “Okay.”

Casey grabbed her cup, swallowing a mouthful of coffee. “You asked her that question didn't you?”

Davis continued to look at his notes.

Ally answered. “The detective before us did yes. I can't tell you what she said.”

Casey scoffed. “You don't need too. I know her answer. She hasn't any lovers except me. I'm just surprised that's all.”

Mark looked up. “Surprised at what?”

“That she didn't knock him flat on his ass.” Casey slammed down her cup.

Mark and Ally exchanged a look. Ally raised an eyebrow. Mark shrugged.

Casey looked at both of them. “For someone who told me not ten minutes ago you weren't our enemy, you're sure not doing a lot to prove that. Do you always assume that people cheat?”

Davis sighed. “No we don't. But we need to rule it out and quickly.”

Casey crossed her arms. “But you'll still check it. Right?”

Davis jaw flexed firmly. “Yes we will.”

Casey turned her head, shaking it, biting her lip to try and stem the tears.

“You're a Doctor?”

She took in a long shuddering breath, focusing on his new question. “Yes. I have a practise here in town.”


Casey nodded. “I did my residency at St Marys. I share the practise here with three other doctors. They brought me in as a partner seven years ago. I've worked there for nine.”

Davis looked back through his notes. “Have you had any problems there with patience's recently?”

“No. But you can check with my receptionist in case there's something I don't know about.”

“What about what you were doing in Boston? Is that linked to your practise here in town?”

“No. Three years ago I was asked if I'd like to sit a committee to promote medical aid to Africa. It's run by the Mandela worlds aid trust.”

“And Boston had to do with this how?”

“I seem to be very good at negotiations. My part as a medical doctor helps me understand both the medical importance of drugs and how to talk to the companies about supplying the trust.”

“Any reason you can see if this could be linked to your daughter's disappearance?”

She thought hard. “I honestly can't think of any reason why it should.”

“Is the trust political?”

“No. The trust in fact stays well away from any political view of Africa or any other country. They want the neutrality of being able to go into the country and give out the aid.”

“And you're political views?”

“If you're asking if I disagree with how Africa treats its population, your damn right I disagree and I hope to god you do too.”

Davis had to stop himself from smiling. He actually was glad he didn't have to sit across a negotiation table with this woman. He mental noted that that could be very useful to this whole situation. “I'm FBI ma'am. I don't have a political opinion.” He answered dryly.

Ally had to look down to hide her smile.

Casey just blinked at him, then realised he was joking.

Davis smiled at her. “But you can't see your political view being the cause of this? Or someone is using your daughter to get you to change a vote or something?”

“No. My job has nothing to do with things like that. Someone would have already replaced me at the meetings for the trust. I don't have anywhere near that kind of power.”

He finally nodded. “Thank you….” his tone turned serious again. “ Kelly told us that you don't have very much to do with your parents.”

Casey stiffened. “It was their choice, not mine.” She was surprised to know that it still hurt to say that. She hugged herself, her eyes going to the doorway, wishing Kelly would come back.

“They live on the East Coast? You haven't seen them since Lucy was one?”

“That's right.”

“They didn't agree with your lifestyle?”

Casey sighed. “They didn't believe in the fact I'm in love with a woman. My life style as a doctor and having a daughter were just fine. They made their views perfectly clear, as long as I was with Kelly they wanted nothing to do with either me or their granddaughter. But as soon as I realise my mistake and come to my senses, they'll be waiting with open arms to welcome us.”

“You haven't had any contact with them since 2003?”

“Personal contact no. My mother sends a card at Christmas along with a letter stating the same thing I just told you. I … I don't think my father knows she keeps in contact.”

“What makes you say that?”

“He doesn't sign the card.”

Excepting the explanation, Ally nodded. “It might be wise to notify them of what happened?”

Casey swallowed. “I know.” A sense of relief covered her as she felt Kelly's return. Casey offered out her hand. After a pause Kelly took it, her grey eyes questioning. Casey just shook her head, pulling herself closer into the hug. Kelly had to shift in the chair to fit in. She threw an accusing look to the Agents.

Ally answered the unspoken question.” We were just talking about Casey notifying her parents.”

Kelly eyes quickly jumped down to Casey nuzzling into her. She tightened her hold around her. “Why bother?”

“Kel don't.”

Kelly was about to argue, but the plea in the eyes that looked up at her silenced her. “Fine. Notify them.”

“We can do that for you. If you give us their number?”

Kelly looked down again at Casey waiting for her answer. Casey just nodded. Kelly kissed her forehead before answering. “555-434-2342. I don't know if that's their number anymore, if it's changed we don't have it.”

“I'm surprised you still know it?”

Kelly narrowed her eyes at Davis. “I had it hung up on me enough to remember it.” She felt Casey's hold tightened around her, she gave into the feeling letting her eyes leave Davis's and just try to immerse herself in the embrace for a while.

Davis looked back through his notes, then rose. “Okay, that's all I need for now... Ally is going to stay here for a while, if that's okay with the both of you?”

Kelly didn't move, but Casey nodded.

“She'll fill you in on what to expect next… I'm going to go back and update my team. I just want you to know that everything possible is being done.” He nodded to both of them.

Ally rose. “I'll be right back.”

Both of them walked out of the house. Davis opened the car door. “What do you think?”

Ally looked around the area, aware now that it was getting dark. “I don't think either of them have anything to do with this.”

“I'd have to agree. I'm going to start the team on checking out their jobs, also the phone records, let's see if we can find anything there. Also on Casey's family and I want more on their backgrounds. Too many unknowns at the moment. I'll contact Casey's parents and see what that brings up.”

Ally shrugged. “I don't think either of them are cheating on each other either.”

“Me either. But you never know.” He pulled the door wider to get in. “There's something about the Jennings woman, she doesn't like authority.”

“Most people don't.”

He grinned, starting the car. “Yea well, I wanna know why she doesn't. She also didn't like ex lovers being mentioned on either part. You saw her reaction when I was questioning Casey about that?”

Ally nodded. “Yea. But she is very protective of Casey it could just be that?”

Mark looked up at the house. “It could be yes. But I want to rule out anything else. See if you can find out from Casey why Kelly is so sensitive on the subject? Also about the donor thing, that seemed to piss Kelly off too.”

“Will do. How much information should I give them?”

“Pretty much anything they ask. They're both smart, maybe they can help on some things. Also run the media idea by them, as soon as we can get that started the better.”

“Casey isn't going to like what I have to say on that.”

Mark sighed. “I know, but I get the feeling Kelly is going to understand it more.”

Ally nodded, she stepped back, slamming the door shut. She leant forward into the window. “Why haven't we heard from the kidnappers?”

Mark paused in putting on his seat belt. “You know as well as I do, they don't work to a clock Ally. Why ask that?”

Ally inhaled. “Because something doesn't fit. They went to all the trouble of making sure they had the same type car. You and I both know they must have been either watching the school or watching Kelly, long enough to know she can be late. Then they wait to call? Don't use that fifteen minutes between taking the girl and Kelly showing up at the school finding the girl gone, to contact her and warn her not to contact the police or us?”

Mark thought. “We don't have any proof she was watched.”

Ally scoffed. “Oh, come on.”

“Well we don't, not yet anyway and yes I agree. This was planned.”

“So why no call?”

Mark clicked the belt into place, then released the parking brake. His voice was terse. “Because they're making them sweat.”

Ally stepped back from the car, knowing as well as Mark what that meant, it meant that this kidnapper was making it personal, or they had already gotten what they wanted.

Ally watched as he reversed, she answered his wave as he turned the car and finally headed off back down the street. Ally watched after him until his tail lights disappeared, then she looked back up to the house, seeing the living room light go on, her eyes tracked to the lone figure of Kelly standing at the window watching her.



Kelly felt the arms go around her waist, and somewhere inside she found a smile at the feeling, she placed her hands over the hands on her stomach, leaning back until she felt the warmth of Casey up against her back.

“There only trying to help.”

Kelly didn't say anything, she just let the feeling of Casey's breath on her back break into the chill she felt in her bones. Her eyes tracked Ally's approach to the patrol car parked just down from the house.



“We'll…we'll get her back won't we?”

Kelly turned quickly, pushing Casey back enough so she could look down into her eyes. “Yes.”

Casey let her eyes slip closed, trying as hard as she could to let the word battle down any doubts.

“Look at me.”

Casey opened her eyes. Her breath drew in as she saw the intensity of the eyes staring into her.

“We'll get her back, nothing is going to stop that. Do you understand me? Nothing!”

Casey swallowed. “Yes.”

Kelly waited, still staring until she saw the green eyes begin to fill with belief, she pulled Casey into her. “I love you.”

Casey stifled a sob. “I love you too. I'm sorr….”

“Shhhhh I know. You don't have to say it. It's forgotten.”

Casey drew back. “Is it?”

Kelly smiled sadly. “Yes.”

They both stared at each other, only breaking the gaze when a cough came from the doorway.

“I'm sorry to interrupt. But I think I need to tell you something of what to expect next.” Ally shifted uncomfortable in what she'd just walked in on.

Kelly took Casey's hand leading them both to the couch to sit.

Ally smiled as she sat. “Outside of your daughters whereabouts there are certain things we'd advise to be done in situations like this.” She waited until she was sure she had their attention. “The first one is media attention. The more people know what has happened the better. The best way for that is TV media, mostly news. We can work up what needs to be said. What do you think?”

Casey looked briefly to Kelly before answering. “What do we have to do?”

“I need to warn you there is a drawback to going to the media with this, it means your life is gonna be a media frenzy for a while, especially in your situation.”

“Meaning, because were gay.”

Ally almost smiled at the fact she was expecting Kelly to react first. “Yes I mean because you're gay. I don't know how many people know this? You need to look at the effect in your work or life.”

Casey sighed. “Anyone that it matters too knows were gay. And those that don't I don't think either Kelly or I would give a shit what they thought.”

Kelly turned her head and gave Casey a grin.

Ally found herself grinning as well. “Okay then.” her grin faded. “Unfortunately there is a draw back in having that attitude.”

Casey looked to her in question. “Meaning?”

“Meaning this country isn't exactly known for its tolerance.”

Casey still looked to her in confusion.

“She's talking about the people who wouldn't think it was such a bad thing for someone to take away a child and save them from two sinning lesbian lovers.”

Casey's head shot around so fast to Kelly that her neck clicked. “You can't be serious?” She looked back at Ally, seeing sadness looking back at her. “Oh, my god, you are serious. Would… would people really think like that? Be like that?”

Ally drew in a long breath. “Unfortunately, I'm sure a few would yes.”

Casey sat forward. “I think I'm going to be sick.”

Kelly rose quickly, running out of the room, coming back with a glass of water. “Here sip.”

Casey took it, sipping. Kelly gentle rubbed her back.

“The reason I'm telling you this is because I'm sure most of the response you will get will be positive, but… I'm sorry to say some of it won't be.”

“Such as?” Kelly gritted her teeth.

“Hate mail is one.”

“Oh god.” Casey took another long sip of water.

“The mail we will be filtered by us anyway, in case there is any contact from the person who has Lucy. So that won't get through. The problem is once we get your daughter back, the mail won't stop. I just want you to be prepared.”

Kelly cursed under her breath. “Is there any way to avoid any of this?”

Ally sat back. “Not using the media. Refusing to give interviews.”

“But that harms getting Lucy back doesn't it?” Casey's hand shook holding the glass.

“Yes, I'm afraid in my experience it does.”

Kelly studied Ally for a moment. “You have another option?”

Ally hoped she hid her surprise at being so easily read again. “There is one yes.”

Kelly felt a clench in her guts. She wasn't going to like this one bit.

“Casey appeals on her own.”

Casey looked at her. “What!”

Kelly closed her eyes.

“You appear on your own. You appeal to the public for help. You talk to the person who has Lucy. You make the connection. You become the only figure of focus the media see. “

“And what's Kelly supposed to be doing while I'm doing this? Hiding in the closet?” She disgustedly scoffed at her own joke.

“Cas.” Kelly reached over to touch her.

Casey moved away. “No don't Cas me. You can't honestly tell me you would agree to this?”

Kelly let her hand fall onto Casey's shoulder. “I don't know.”

Casey blinked at her. “You're serious! You'd think about doing this? Just stand back and not be acknowledged as Lucy's mother. Let everyone think you were a just a friend to me? Stand by and do nothing?”

“Cas that's not fair.”

“You're damn right it's not fair. None of it is. Our daughter being taken from her school isn't fair. Bigots out there thinking our little girl is better off without us in her life. DAMN FUCKING RIGHT IT ISN'T FAIR!”

Ally flinched totally unprepared for the show of temper. Her eyes tracked to Kelly's, seeing her long sigh as if she expected this. Ally looked again at Casey who was now up and pacing.

“So what if we get hate mail, so what if a few people start spitting at us. We're a family damn it.”

Kelly rose, catching at Casey's arm. “It matters. If one person doesn't phone in they've seen Lucy because of some sense of misplaced hate or believing she's better off without us Casey.”

Casey's anger stuttered, she looked past Kelly at Ally. “I can't believe we're even considering this.”

Ally found it hard not to sit back, as angry green eyes locked on to her.

“Then Kelly does it. I'll be the one sitting back.”

Kelly let out an exasperated sigh. “Cas.”

“Your name is on the birth certificate and Lucy's last name is Matthews. Those two facts aren't that hard to find out by the media or any local paper.”

Casey laughed at the absurdness. “And you really think the media isn't going to find out that we've been living together for ten years or the fact most of my work colleagues and friends know were lovers. You really think that some reporter isn't going to put two and two together? What's it going to look like then? I'll tell you what it's going to look like, it's going to say to the fucking world that we're ashamed of being together.” she pointed at herself. “It's going to say I'm ashamed of having Kelly as a lover and having her even near Lucy…. It will say I'm fucking blaming her for god's sake. Blaming who we are.”

Ally inhaled. “I didn't say it wasn't a flawless option. But those things would take time to find out. A moment a go you didn't care what people thought Casey. This would be a means to an end.”

Casey stared at Ally speechless, then over to Kelly, seeing the pain of resignation in her eyes. “I don't want to talk about this anymore.” Casey quickly left.

Kelly looked after her sadly.

“I'm sorry.”

Kelly turned expecting to find no remorse in the agent's face, she was wrong. “I'll talk her around to it. She's mad right now.”

Ally wanted to say no shit. But she didn't.

“Casey isn't used to people hating who we are.”

“And you are?” For a moment Ally didn't think Kelly was going to answer.

“Yes I am.” Kelly's eyes moved to the doorway. “I knew I was gay at twelve. I've had a longer time to see what the world thinks of people like me. Casey only admitted to herself she was gay when she met me.”

Ally this time didn't hide her surprise.

“The only people who have reacted to it badly are her parents. Everyone else she knows, has just accepted it. The area here where we live just treat us like any other family.” Kelly looked directly at Ally. “Casey doesn't see ugliness in people. She only sees the possible good. I know what is going to happen if we stand up together. I'm not sure she would handle any of the fallout from it and if….” She licked her lips trying to add some moisture to the sudden dryness that was spreading from her throat. “And if something happened to Lucy because of her admitting to the world that we're a couple. I'm not sure she'd forgive herself….” Her head dropped. “....Or me.”

“Not everyone is going to think that way you know. Most are going to think what is happening to you both is the worst thing in the world. A lot of people are going to sympathise with what you're both going through and being gay wouldn't matter one inch to them.”

Kelly gave a half-hearted smile. “I know. But it only takes one doesn't it? One, not to come forward with information they have to make the outcome of this really our worst nightmare?”

Ally swallowed hard, wanting to lie but knew that she couldn't. “Yes, it takes only one keeping silent to do that.”

Kelly looked down at her hands. “I don't think I want to take that chance with our daughter's life.”

Ally nodded in understanding. “I hate to ask this right now, but… What is your legal status with Lucy?”

Kelly sighed. “When Lucy was born, Casey and I drew up joint legal documents giving me full guardianship if something were to happen to Casey.” Her gaze went to Ally. “As you know this state doesn't recognise gay marriages or gay relationships…. After her parents….” Kelly swallowed the bitterness she felt. “…. When her parents made it quite clear that they saw me as some sort of abomination and I'd somehow corrupted their daughter into my deviant ways. Casey and I made sure that there was no way in hell they could try and claim Lucy if Casey died. Being a lawyer and knowing contract laws has its advantages.” She gave Ally an almost feral grin. “We drew up a contract. It gives me the same rights as Casey does as Lucy's mother. It also covers if we end the relationship for any reason, I still….” Kelly shifted, her body suddenly tense. “…. It still gives me access to her and I'll give financial support till she's eighteen. That what you wanted to know?”

“Yes it is. Thank you.” Ally paused. “It was your idea wasn't it, to add the separation clause?”

Kelly face was stone, a wry smile broke out. “Very good Agent Jeffrey. Yes it was. Casey didn't want it simple because Casey doesn't believe we are ever going to break up. However I'm a realist. I'm never ever going to leave her or do anything to make her leave me. But…. I … I wanted to make sure I didn't lose my daughter as well as my wife if she did decide to leave me.”

Ally studied her, suddenly seeing underneath the strong angry woman sitting in front of her. She was scared, not only of losing her daughter, but also at some point in her life losing Casey. Kelly Jennings didn't believe she was good enough for what she had. A lot of things began to make sense.


Kelly was up immediately to the sorrowful call from upstairs. She looked back at Ally from the doorway.

“Go. I'll be here if you need anything.”

Kelly nodded, leaving, taking the stairs two at a time to get upstairs.

Ally rose, lifting her cell phone out of her jacket, pressing 1#. “Hi Mark. I need someone to make up a statement for Casey to do.”

She listened.

“Yes I'm pretty sure she's going to do the interview on her own. She's not happy about it but can't say as I blame her either… yes I agree… No…. I'm going to hang around here for a while longer… One interesting thing, Casey only came out as gay when she met Kelly… Yes surprised me too. How did it go with the parents? Shit! Just what they need…Okay I'll tell them…. Any other news?”

She sighed, listening to him, knowing he was as frustrated as she was.

“No none here either… I'll keep in touch. Bye.”



Mark replaced the phone, sitting back, his eyes going to the profile board with Lucy's picture on it. His eyes traced over the red marker pen timeline.

3.25. Lucy leaves School room.

3.33 . Lucy seen playing in playground

3.42 . Lucy last seen getting into Black SUV

4.04 . Kelly Jennings arrives at school.

4.10 Search begins.

4.17. Search team is formed with Teachers and Security. School is searched.

4.28. Despatch 3 rd Precinct notified Lucy is missing.

4.45 Perimeter search set up.

5.12 Cyclist D. Roberts confirms seeing Lucy enter Suv at 3.42

5.19 Three witnesses give statement of seeing Suv in area.

Mark rose, moving in front of the board, sitting back onto the edge of his desk, his arms folded. He looked around as his door opened.

“We've got the phone records.”

“Anything interesting Simon?”

“Not so far. Casey made three phone calls on her cell on the way back from Boston. They all check out as either work or friends… She didn't talk to anyone on the journey. Her cell record shows all previous calls are too her home number or to Jennings. Also her incoming ones are the same numbers. A couple from work. But we're still checking.”

Mark sighed, his eyes went to the board again, it told him next to nothing. All they knew for a fact was Lucy got into a black Suv at 3.42. The rest on the board was virtually meaningless. He pushed away from the desk. “What about Jennings cell?”

“That's pretty routine too. Either work, home, school or Matthews.”

He nodded. “Any chance of them having another cell phone we don't know about?”

Simon shrugged. “Unless it's a contract we're not going to find it.” he handed over the other file in his hand. “You asked us to check out if Jennings had any police records. She does, but there aren't any convictions… The record she does have is when she was pretty young. She had a various run ins in her early teens. Got into trouble at school a lot.”

Mark scoffed. “Well that explains the dislike of authority.”

Simon continued. “There was nothing really serious until she was sixteen; she was pulled in over underage drinking. It seemed she went downhill after that until finally she did a three-month sentence in Juvvy when she was seventeen.” Simon handed over the report.

Mark took it, looking down at it with interest, his eyebrows rose. “Drugs?”

Simons nodded. “Cocaine. She was arrested with 2grams on her. She denied it was hers and she was clear in the drugs test, but she wouldn't tell anyone who it did belong too. The case was dropped and she was given a warning…. From what I can find out she was put into Juvvy for jumping a restraining order that was brought out against her by a Mr and Mrs Shaw. Their address states they were in the same neighbourhood as Kelly…. I'm guessing here but more than likely her parents had had enough with her wild ways and didn't bother to fight the judge's verdict. Thinking it would do her good…. I've got Duncan going to interview them to find out what really happened. Not sure how corroborative there going to be considering they don't talk to their daughter anymore.”

“I'll get Ally to try and find out.” Mark turned the page, reading down through the actually police report made at the time. “I want to know more about this. Do it quietly, but see if there are any rumours of Kelly being involved in drugs now?”

Simon nodded. “Thought you would, we're already on it.”

Mark moved back to sit behind his desk. “What else we got on her?”

“Pretty much what she told us. She hasn't had any contact with her parents since she was 17. After her 3 months in Juvvy were up, she went to live with an aunt in Dallas. There she got back into school and then collage. No more getting into trouble of any sort we can find. She became a full-fledged lawyer in 1992 worked for a firm in Dallas. Then in 1999 she up and moved here to Dalton. Started working for Portman investments right away. The word is she's very good at what she does and was headhunted for the Portman post.”

“Doesn't surprise me she's good at it…. What happened to the aunt?”

“She died eight years ago, Cancer. She left Jennings everything in the will, but after death tax and repaying debts, it only left her with a few thousand. The house was sold to cover the debts. Jennings hasn't got any other relatives we can find bar the parents. We're already asking around work about her. She doesn't seem to have many friends. The ones she does have respect her a lot. But none of them would consider their friendship very close.”

Mark nodded again. “Yea, I kinda got that impression too. She's a loner, except for Casey and the child….”

Simon offered over the other file. “Casey on the other hand isn't.”

Mark took the file.

“Casey got on well with her parents up until she met Kelly. She's an only child. Everyone we've talked too so far, likes her a lot. Her work colleges respect her and no patient so far has a bad word against her…. I've got someone on their way to question the Boston job…. Something that is interesting is this, her father owned a printing works up until his retirement four years ago, he sold the business for quite the profit.”

Mark looked up at that. “How much?”

“At least three million. I don't have an exact figure yet.”

Mark whistled. “For a printing business?”

“It seems the land it was on was worth a lot more.”

“Okay. I want a full back ground into her parents, financial, personal. Casey and Kelly don't have that kind of money, maybe the grandparents are the target, if this is about money. I want a tap put on their phones, have someone watch the house.”

Mark attention went to the report on Casey, absorbing the information about her schooling and training to be a doctor. A life of thirty-seven years condensed into three pages. He frowned as he saw something. “She was engaged to be married?”

“Warren Edwards. They met as interns were together for about four years, even lived together right up to four months before she called off the engagement and moved in with Jennings. Edwards is now a resident MD in New York.”

“Find out about him.”

“Already on it.”

“Anything on the emails?”

“They pretty much use their individual accounts only for work and communications with friends out of state. There not great email users on a personal level. They had some junk in the account but nothing out of the ordinary. The Tec's have an alert tracker on it now, any mail comes in we can trace the source.”

Mark closed the files, sitting back till the chair groaned. “So many possibilities Simon. Too many…” he glanced down at his watch.

Six year old Lucy Matthews had now been missing for 9 hrs.


When Kelly had gone up stairs, she wasn't surprised to find Casey in Lucy's room in tears. She didn't say anything as she'd moved into the darkening room, she simply pulled Casey into her arms, engulfing her into a bone-crushing hug.

No words escaped as they'd moved to lie down onto the small Barbie bed. All they'd done is let their senses fill with their daughter and let out the fear and grief of not being with her. It hadn't been long before the tears had dried, but still neither of them needed words to convey what was happening or what each of them was feeling. They just moved into the position they took every night when they went to bed. Casey in front with Kelly spooned around her like a blanket. The only difference in this nightly scene, was Casey clutching Lucy's night shirt to her.

Finally Kelly heard Casey's breathing deepened as sleep took her exhausted form, her body giving in to its need. Kelly laid awake, her breathing stirring blonde hairs in each exhale. She was staring at the zoo animals on the walls that were now streaked with the streetlights insipid glow. Remembering the day she put them there, the day before Casey had been due back from the hospital with their daughter for the first time. Kelly tried to swallow the fist that wanted to force its way out of her ribcage. As if sensing it Casey whimpered.

Kelly ran her fingers gently across the frown that now adorned her lover's brow. Casey turned in her sleep burrowing deeper into her chest, her hand grabbing her shirt into a tight grip. Kelly laid a kiss on her temper. “Sleep baby.” The frown lessened and Casey's breathing deepened again.

Kelly watched her for a few moments more, before once again her gaze went back to the animals and the memories and the growing pain.



Ally looked up from her palm point and the newly downloaded information Mark had just sent. Her eyes tracked to the ceiling, knowing she should go up and ask the new questions that had arisen, but some part of her wanted to give the two women the time alone. Soon enough their life was going to become a frenzy. She looked over to Moss who was sitting on the computer chair reading a magazine. She closed her palm point rising to stretch out her back.

“I'm going to make some coffee, you want some?”

Moss reached down lifting up a flask. “Herb tea. Coffee makes me antsy.”

Ally's eyebrows rose, somehow she never would have figured Moss as the antsy type. His whole appearance just screamed nerd. As she moved through the house she looked into the open rooms. Long ago when she first started in the FBI she'd gotten over the feeling of guilt of intruding into people's personal space.

She stopped. A pink door drew her attention, just off from the kitchen. It's colour standing out against all the original wood doors in the hallway. She pushed it open. It was a playroom, filled with books and toys, a sandpit stood in the far corner by the bay windows which lend outside to the back yard. She clicked on the light moving further in. She took in the room. It was a happy room, filled with pictures and Lucy's accomplishments framed and hung on the walls. She browsed, reading a certificate for swimming, then another for spelling amongst the many. Then something in the corner caught her eye, something that didn't seem to fit in. An oak desk and chair, It wasn't a child's.

“I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to find you snooping in here?”

Out of instinct Ally's hand dropped to her gun on her hip, as she spun to the voice.

Kelly watched the movement in slight amusement. “Sorry, didn't mean to spook you.”

Ally took a long breath, searching her senses to see if one part had detected her approach. It hadn't. Ally's eyes travelled over Kelly. Now dressed in a black tight sweater and black jeans, this woman looked every inch a panther. She mentally shook the thought clear. “I didn't mean to intrude.”

Kelly pushed away from the doorframe. “Yes you did. But I'm getting tired of getting pissed off at the things you do…. Casey advises me to just get over it, as you're only trying to help.”

Ally smiled, actually imaging Casey saying those words. “How is she?”

Kelly carefully replaced a little china doll, she'd just picked up from the shelf. “Sleeping. I moved her into our room. Unless you need her right now, I'd rather she slept for a while yet.”

Ally focus flickered over Kelly's face, seeing the beginnings of the dark shadows under her eyes. “You didn't sleep though. Right?”

Kelly quirked a smile.

“Didn't think so. You will have to at some point you know.”

“I'm fine.”

Ally didn't believe that at all, but she dropped it. Her eyes went back over to the desk in the corner, she nodded to it. “That doesn't fit with this room.”

Kelly followed her gaze. “I work in here sometimes. Before Lucy was born it used to be the office.”

“Doesn't Lucy disturb you when you're working?”

Kelly smiled. “No not really. I've been doing it since she was little, she's used to it, I'm used to it. She usually plays or reads in here while I work. I kinda like her around.” Kelly's smile disappeared. She moved to the door. “If there's nothing else you need to see in here I'd rather you stayed out.”

Ally didn't argue as she walked back into the hallway.

“What were you doing down this end of the house Agent?” Kelly made sure the door was firmly shut.

“I was going to make some coffee. If that's okay?”

“So you're staying? I'm not sure how this all works, but I'm pretty sure an Agent of your level doesn't baby sit the parents?”

Ally could have taken offence at the tone but she didn't. “I have more questions?”

Kelly sighed. “Why aren't I surprised.... Come on, I'll show you where the kitchen is. I want to make something for Casey anyway. If she doesn't eat regularly she gets sick.” Kelly clicked on the switch, both of them blinking as the buzz and ignition of the overhead fluorescent erupted light into the room.

Ally looked around in approval, the kind of kitchen she'd like if she ever came into enough money.

Kelly moved with ease, clicking on the coffee, before going to the fridge pulling out eggs and butter. “So what's your question?”

Ally chose one of the chrome stools to sit on. “I got the information on your back ground about ten minutes ago.” She watched the backed form still. “I have some question about it, if you don't mind?”

“You know damn well I mind, but as I said before what's the point of arguing about privacy, doesn't seem to stop you.”

Ally noted that Kelly took her building temper out on the eggs she was beating. “Does Casey know about the trouble you were in when you were younger?”


The sound of beating increased.

“I'm curious to know how you became a lawyer with a juvenile record?”

The beating stopped. Kelly slowly turned. “You know as well as I do juvenile records are sealed. Only someone with the FBIs authority can access it so quickly.”

“That doesn't answer my question.”

Kelly turned back, beating the eggs once again. “It would have been impossible for me to pick criminal law. I wasn't interested in that side of the law anyway.”

Ally played with the salt cellar in front of her, all the time keeping the corner of her gaze on Kelly. “Still must have been hard finding a firm to employ you?”

The beating stopped again, Kelly's shoulders slumped for a second, then she placed a pan on the burner, beginning to heat the butter.

“It would have been yes, except my aunt knew someone who was willing to give me a chance to prove I wasn't still just some fucked up teenager.” She turned her head. “And I know I don't have to explain who my aunt was or where that happened. Now do I?”

Ally pushed the cellar away. “No. You don't.”

Kelly scoffed, turning her attention back to the pan, adding the eggs. “I'm surprised. I didn't think that would be your question?”

“Really, what should I have asked?”

Kelly scrambled the eggs onto a plate, turning off the burner, before she turned around fully. “Drugs Agent Jeffrey and did I use them?”

Casey stood just outside the kitchen. She'd woken only a few minutes before, woken by the feeling of being alone. Then she'd smelled the cooking. She'd come down and heard the conversation. Something had stopped her from just walking in on it. Now however that something didn't apply. She walked right in moving straight to Kelly's side. Her gaze firmly locked on the agent who looked surprise at her entrance. “I don't believe you. I honestly don't.”

Ally sat straight.

“Are you even looking for my daughter, because from what I can see is all you're doing is making allegations. Do you know how hard it is for both of us to just sit and stay here and not get into our car and go looking for her ourselves? How hard it is to leave people we don't know to find her? …. We really don't need you doing this all the time. I want to trust you I really do, but you're making it impossible for us to even like you.” She crossed her arms, trembling in anger.

Ally sighed. “I don't expect you to like me Casey. I'm not here for that. I know it looks like we're not doing anything, but believe me we're doing more than you'll ever realise in finding Lucy.”

Kelly watched the exchange, she took Casey's arm leading her to the table, sitting her down, putting down the plate of scrambled eggs in front of her. Kissing her temple. “Eat.”

Casey shook her head, pushing the plate away. Kelly pulled it back, lifted the fork and put it into Casey's hand. “Eat, I don't need you sick…. Please, for me.”

Casey sighed and began to pick at the eggs.

Kelly looked back at Ally. “Okay, lets clear this up and save you some time. I don't do drugs and I never have.”

Ally lifted an eyebrow. “Ever?”

“No. I said it back then and I'm saying it now. The cocaine that was found on me wasn't mine.”

“You never gave the information of who it did belong too.”

“No I didn't.”

Ally thought for a moment. seeing something different in Kelly's eyes, they weren't as guarded towards her. “Will you tell me now?”

“Would it make a difference to know?”

“Maybe not, but it might make me understand the police record and stop us wasting time in investigating it.”

Kelly saw that Ally actually meant it. She poured three cups of coffee placing one in front of the agent, placing Casey's by her and holding her own as she sat down at the table.

“Long story short Agent. I was in love, albeit teenage love. I wasn't very bright back then I chose a girl from the same street whose parents were bible pushers, very restrictive....Worse than mine.” She took a sip of coffee her eyes moving to Casey and seeing her smile. Her gaze went back to Ally. “Sharon didn't like being restricted. In fact she made damn sure she got what freedom she wanted, along with anything else.” Kelly's eyes dropped. “I'd known her since I was eight, I think even then I was a little in love with her.” she looked over as she felt Casey take her hand. She answered the smile she saw this time.

It suddenly made sense to Ally. “It was her cocaine?”

Kelly smirked. “I can see why you're an FBI agent. You're a hundred times better then the idiots who questioned me along side Sharon back then.”

Ally bowed her head. “Thank you. I think.”

Kelly looked away. “Anyway, I kept silent mainly because she begged me too. Her parents were already threatening to send her away to some Catholic school out of state. Not long before both of us had been caught drinking with a bunch of friends. That, plus the fact we'd both been kicked out of school for attitude and low grades was making her parents impossible. They'd started to lock her in her room.”

“And the restraining order was Sharon's parents doing?”

“Oh, yea. They thought I was a bad influence, led her astray.” She gave a dry smile to Casey. “I seem to be labelled with that a lot.”

Casey reached over, bringing Kelly's hand up and kissed the back of it. Knowing Kelly's humour was just a front. Knowing the real hurt brought to the surface when her parents had thrown those words at her lover years later.

“Sharon and I would meet in secret and for a while it worked.” Kelly sighed heavily. “But she got deeper into drugs. It wasn't long before the circles she was moving in didn't include me anymore. I broke the restraining order when I found out she was going to run away with some guy….”

She remained silent for a long few minutes, only aware of the old pain of betrayal and remembrance. Then she pulled herself out of it.

“I went to try and talk some sense into her. She was the one that told her parents I was there…. They called the police. I was put in juvenile detention. My wonderful parents had had enough of me. When I came out, Aunt Cora was waiting for me, she took me with her.” She smiled fondly which changed. “Sharon tried to contact me a few times over the years, usual for money but by then I'd learnt enough about life to not follow my hormones… Eventually she stopped…. Well Agent Jeffrey what's the verdict?”

Ally sipped her coffee. “Thank you for telling me…. I have one question?”

Kelly nodded a go ahead.

“What happened to her?”

Kelly looked down. “She OD'd when she was nineteen.”

Ally inhaled, expecting as much. It also explained why Kelly was so vehement about drugs. She'd seen firsthand the destruction they could do. “I'll inform Mark there's no need to investigate the matter further.” She hid her smirk behind the coffee cup as she watched true surprise come into Kelly's eyes. She rose taking her coffee with her. “Trust works both ways. If you'll excuse me I have to make a call.”

Kelly just stared after her.

Casey was glad in what she'd just heard coming from the Agent. It wasn't often she'd seen Kelly let someone in to her past. It started a nice feeling inside to see Kelly's surprise at not being judged, but more to the point believed. “I know I'm contradicting myself Kel. But I'm beginning to like her.”


Grey eyes tracked to her. “Yea.”

The phone ringing made both of them stop breathing. Kelly was up and running, only just ahead of Casey.

Ally was standing by Moss as they entered the living room. Her voice was totally calm as she talked to them. All the time she was talking Kelly's hand was itching to pick up the receiver.

Ally saw it. “I want Casey to answer.”

Kelly bit back her argument remembering the conversation from before, as much as it killed her, she stepped back. Casey looked at her sadly, her heart beating ten to the dozen as the phone continued ringing.

“Listen to me Casey. You lift when Moss says so okay. Then you let whoever it is talk. You keep calling Lucy by her name. Ask if she's okay, can you talk to her. Keep them on the line as long as possible. Be honest. They're not stupid there going to know we're here.... I'll put it on speaker phone okay.” She looked to Kelly to make sure she understood. “But they won't be able to hear anything except through the phone line.”

Casey nodded as each instruction was giving, she took in a long breath, her hand on the receiver, looking to Moss for the go ahead, seeing Ally take up the position next to her, a pad in her hand.

Moss nodded. Casey lifted the receiver.

“Hello?” She had to clear her throat as her voice came out as no more than a whisper. She tried again. “ Hello.”

“Which one am I talking too?”

The voice was distorted just enough to hide whether it was male or female.

“I'm Casey.”

“The real mother, good.”

Kelly flinched.

“I have your daughter.”

“Is Lucy okay? Can I talk to her?”

“She's fine and no.”


“Shut up! I know this call is being traced.”

Ally quickly wrote something down, holding it up for Casey to read.

Casey repeated what she saw. “What do you want?”

“Money. What else is there? A million to be exact. I know how this works so listen I'm not repeating anything. I'm sending proof that I have her. I'll call again tomorrow at noon.”

Ally looked over to Moss. He shook his head, his hand moving indicating more time.

Casey nearly fainted at the amount asked, but her sense of panic over them hurting Lucy to show proof over rode it. “Wait. Please don't hurt her, she's only a child… please don't. Can I talk to her? Please…. Please.”


The phone clicked.

Ally quickly looked at Moss. He shook his head, she let out a curse.

Kelly moved quickly to Casey, prying her fingers off the receiver and replacing it. Pulling her into her arms, both of them were shaking.

Ally lifted her ringing cell, moving into the hallway, knowing it would be Mark. “Yes, they made contact…. Very short and sweet…. Okay understood.” She hung up and moved back in.

“Marks already running the tap, if there's anything there will find it. But the call was too short to get any sort of a trace. More than likely they're using a throw away cell phone.”

Kelly led Casey to a chair, well aware her own legs were more than wobbly. “I don't understand. We don't have that kind of money. Even this house isn't worth that much. Why would they think we had?” Her voice was shaky.

Ally didn't want to say what she had to next, but she knew she had too. “You both don't. But Casey's parents do.”

Casey pulled her hands away from her face, her head lifting.

Kelly paled.

“Did you know your father sold his printing business four years ago?”

Casey shook her head, her face still showing the shock of what she'd just had to do. “No. You know I haven't talked to them.”

“Your father is a very wealthy man now.”

“But I don't have anything to do with him. It doesn't matter how much money he has.” Her voice showed the desperation.

Ally let out a sad sigh. “I know. But I don't think the kidnapper knows that.”

All three of them fell into silence. The only sound was Moss tapping away at his laptop.

Kelly was the one who found her voice first. “Did you contact them and tell them what was happening? Tell them that Lucy was missing?”

Ally nodded.


Ally looked to Casey. “They wanted to know if you were still with Kelly.” She chose not to use the same words that were said. “When they were told you were, they said they had nothing to say on the matter and hung up.”

Casey stuttered a sob. Kelly closed her eyes in disbelief.

Ally felt the need to apologies, so she did. “I'm sorry.”

Kelly just shook her head to all the thoughts that were running in her head, about how someone as caring as Casey could come from people who would do this.

“I need to get back with Mark.”

Kelly just nodded, not lifting her gaze from Casey, who was wrapped around her.

Ally rose. “Moss is going to stay here, another Agent will relieve him at some point.” He touched Kelly on the shoulder, giving her a card. “You call me if you need me.”

Kelly took it. “What happens now?”

“Now we do our job. We have something to work with.”

“The call?”

Ally nodded, then motioned over to Moss to follow her. Her voice softened as she looked at both of them. “I know it's hard, but both of you try and get a little rest, eat too. You both need to take care of yourselves as much as possible. I know this isn't much, but they're going to take care of Lucy…. We know what they want now. They won't do anything to jeopardise losing it.”

They both gave a half-hearted nod.

Ally turned to follow Moss out of the room, then out of the house.

Casey tightened her hold on her lover. “I want to believe so much Kel… but what if they hurt her?”

Kelly felt her stomach drop. Her grey eyes hardened. In answer she hugged Casey back just as tightly.



When Ally arrived back at the Bureau it was well after one in the morning, but the early hour didn't lessen the activity. Mark looked up from the laptop, beckoning her over. “How they doing?”

“Pretty much as you'd expect.” Her eyes gazed over the screen. “Nothing on the trace at all?” That was unusual, normally they could get at least a country location.

“No. Call was too short. But to be expected considering any second rate kidnapper watches television or reads. They're looking into why they couldn't even get a global location…. What is interesting is the report on the voice.”

“Well it was distorted enough to cover gender.”

Mark pulled up the file on the screen, reading from it. “No it wasn't. The Tec's think it's male. Aged between 30 or 40. North American accent as far as they can tell. No speech impediment. It was altered through a computer program. They used a multi audio changer. You can buy the software in a million places. It's used for sound effects…. The interesting thing is that he filtered the call through the program and that takes talent.”

“He made the call from his computer?”

“Not according to our Tec's. They found a slight delay in one of the lower band audio levels.” Ally stared at him, he laughed. “Yea you have the same expression on your face that I did…. It means, he spoke into the program and then it relayed the changed effect to the phone line.”

“Can anyone do that? I sure know I couldn't.”

He shrugged. “Anyone that knows the software well enough. But using it to relay, takes more knowledge.”

“They find anything else?”

“A dog.”

Ally blinked. “Dog?”

“Somewhere in the near background, they picked up a dog barking. A puppy.”

“Do they know what colour and breed?” She asked sarcastically.

He grinned. “Knowing them they'll find out.” Mark looked over her shoulder to the man approaching his door. He beckoned him in. “Agent Jarvis this is Agent Jeffrey. Jarvis here is a profiler. Truscott sent him down.”

If Ally felt any surprise in the fact the head of their section had sent a profiler so soon into the case she didn't show it and shook the young man's hand. “Agent.”

Jarvis smiled. “Agent.”

Mark threw the file he was holding onto the desk, sitting. “Okay what do we know now that we didn't know before the call?”

Jarvis began. “The fact that the technology used in the call is available everywhere doesn't tell us a lot. But the fact it was relayed tells us the kidnapper has higher Tec education of some sort. “

Ally sat back onto the edge of the desk. “That doesn't say much, my nephew can do things on the computer I couldn't even come close to understanding. Besides, someone else could have handled that side of things, set it up for him?”

Jarvis smiled over to her. “Yes they could have. But there wasn't any hesitation in his speech. Usually when someone uses something they don't know or understand there is uncertainty…. Also, there is very little emotion. The only time he showed any, was when he referred to Casey as the real mother.”

“That tells us what exactly?”

“Dislike…. Jealousy…. Mostly it tells us that he knows about these women, their relationship. He doesn't like it much.”

“You mean he knows on a personal level? Or is just against gays?”

Jarvis pondered. “It wouldn't take a leap for me to say they have been watched together. The way the child was abducted…. Using the same car, knowing Kelly was going to be late. Watching the school enough to know that at the time the security and teachers weren't watching the area…. So to the kidnapper it could be very personal or yes just against the fact he has an issue with Gays in general.”

Both Mark and Ally nodded, the team was already in motion to deal with that.

“I think it's more to do with the lesbian issue. As I said he doesn't like it…. I very much doubt he will want any dealings with Kelly. But easy enough to test have her answer the call tomorrow. He'll refuse to talk to her.” he looked to both of them. Mark nodded.

Jarvis continued. “That isn't why he is doing it though. He's confident, sure of himself. He believes he is going to get what he wants. Taking into consideration the planning this took and pre-thought his methods are methodical. His calling at midnight and giving the next call as midday gave that one away. He's smug.”

“What about not asking to keep the media out of it? I know that surprised me.” Ally folded her arms.

Jarvis slightly shook his head. “It isn't important to him whether their involved or not. He believes where he has the child, she won't be found, no matter how many people know. He isn't going to waste time making demands that aren't important. He won't give us anything to work with. He knows the longer he talks the more we find out about him.”

“Is she alive?”

Jarvis looked right at Mark. “Yes she is. He'll have worked out any request from the parents in foresight, including talking to the child. He knows the police are involved and he would assume the FBI is. He knows the child is the key he won't just throw her away. He'll send the proof before tomorrow noon as he said. He'll show us that what he says he means.”

“So she's safe for now?” Ally exhaled.

Jarvis looked to her quickly. “Oh no, she's anything but safe with him. He will do anything necessary to get the parents and us to believe he means what he says. He sees her as a means to an end, not a child. He ignored totally Casey's emotional plea, his breathing didn't change, not once. He wants the money that is his focus right now, and only that.”

“And if he gets it?”

Jarvis paused. “Right now sir I wouldn't like to make any assumption. I don't know enough.”

“Fair enough. But your gut feeling?”

Jarvis shifted uncomfortably, exhaling. “If I have to say.... He wouldn't want the complication of being wanted as a child murderer. He'd know that law enforcement would slow or eventually give up over just being a kidnapper…. Having a whole country feeling sympathy or angry at him wouldn't be his ideal outcome…. He'd want to be able to spend the money without looking over his shoulder…. But I'm going by what I've heard so far… I don't know how stable he would be under pressure. At the moment everything is following his plans, but if his plans work and nothing happens to upset them. Yes. I'd have to say he would give her back, but only when he is one hundred percent sure of his safety.”

“And if his plans are disturbed in some way?”

“Well, to have such a methodical mind and being emotionally detached means that when those things are threatened, or he feel threatened, the usually response is…. Violence.”

Mark nodded. “Anything else?”

“There is one other explanation in the way he didn't ask for the media or appears detached.”

Mark and Ally looked at him in question.

“He isn't the one who has the child.”

Mark looked at Ally, who was already looking at him. Mark turned back to Jarvis the first to voice what they both thought. “He's working with someone else?”

Jarvis nodded. “Or for someone else.”

Mark sighed, rubbing his forehead. “I hate when there's an unknown in cases like this.”

All three of them fell into a heavy silence. Ally was curious about something. “Can you think of a reason he would have a puppy?”

Jarvis looked slightly surprised. “You mean the dog in the background?”

“Yes. If it were his and not a neighbours. Could that tell you anything about him?”

Jarvis was about to laugh, then something came to him. “Well there's the obvious reason.” Mark and Ally just looked at him blankly. “Kid's love puppies.”

Mark felt like someone had just kicked him in the ass. “Son of bitch…. He's using it to keep her happy. He's calling from where he has her.”

Ally didn't think it could be that simple. “That's a long reach. It really could just be neighbours.”

“Come on Ally we both know that most child abductors use some sort of animal to entice a child to go with them. Is it that much of a reach to use one to keep a scared child from screaming nonstop or crying?” He looked at Jarvis. “Could he have pre thought that?”

Jarvis was out of his depth now and he knew it. “You're asking me to answer things I can only guess at. I don't know enough about him from just this call.”

“But if he pre planned as much as you say he has, is it a long shot to suppose he didn't think of a puppy?”

Jarvis sighed. “No, it isn't. If he is the one who is handling the child he would make sure she wouldn't become a problem. But it would be a lot easier to drug her then allow her to be awake and play with a puppy. I told you he is emotional detached from this. He won't care about her happiness. Although....” He paused, his mind going over different explanations. “It could mean he doesn't have the knowledge in how to drug the child and didn't want the chance of harming her…. Or for some reason drugging Lucy would be dangerous.” He shook his head. “This is just speculation…. All of it.”

Mark shook his head. “I don't think so. There isn't anything in Lucy's medical history on record. Ally, I need you to ask them about that?”

Ally nodded.

Mark inhaled. “I think we just got our first break.”

Ally looked at him. “From a puppy?”

“Yes…. If she isn't drugged for whatever reason, he'd need her calm as possible. That tells us people are very close around them. Have seen them…. He hasn't got her locked up somewhere isolated.”

Ally's eyes widened, she scoffed. “Well, that narrows it down to about ten millions places.”

Mark ignored the sarcastic comment. “I want Casey to do the media interview tomorrow morning.”

“Before the next call?” Ally didn't hide her surprise.


Jarvis looked at Mark, not liking what he saw. “You can't mention the puppy.”

Mark stopped what he was doing, looking up. “Why not?”

“He wouldn't feel safe. He'd know he'd made a mistake. He'd feel out of control and threatened.”

Ally looked quickly to Mark.

Marks face darkened. “Then what's the use of knowing about the dog, if we can't use it to our advantage? People may not remember seeing a man with a girl. But they'd damn sure remember a new puppy barking every damn hour next door to them.”

Jarvis frowned. “If he realises he has made a mistake, he'll dispose of the dog right away, move the girl. You'll lose the advantage of knowing something he doesn't.”

Mark sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. He was tired damn tired. He knew he should have thought of that. “I see your point. Thank you Jarvis keep us up to date with anything you can come up with.”

Jarvis rose. “I will.” He nodded to Ally and left.

Ally spoke softly. “The dog just could be a coincidence.”

“We don't believe in those remember.”

“I know. But god, it's such a reach.”

“No more than some of the things we've had in other cases.” He gave a wry smile.

“Okay, then what do we do with the information, start checking pet shops?” She ran her hand back through her red hair. Getting more frustrated by the minute.

“Let's see what his instructions are tomorrow.”

Ally nodded moving to the door. She paused. “You still want Casey to do the interview in the morning?”

“No. We'll wait. Jarvis is good but there are too many variables. I want to know if this bastard is working alone.” His eyes went to the time victim board. “We're not going to get anymore information tonight. Go home get some sleep.”

Ally followed his gaze, the sight of the smiling six year old staring back at her, suddenly hit through the normal defences she had around cases like this. Her jaw tightened. She wanted to get this little girl home, home to two parents who were slowly falling apart without her. This was one case she didn't want to have to face them with the news that she was dead. Her name being called broke her thoughts. “Yes?”

He smiled at her in understanding. “Go home, get some sleep.”

“I'm going back to the house.”

Mark frowned. “Ally don't make this personal. A team is watching them already. They're safe. Go home.”

She was about to argue, but knew he was right. “I will. You too, I'm sure Donna is waiting up for you.”

Mark gave a slightly sheepish grin. “She always does. See you in the morning. Oh one more thing?”


“You really believe what she said about the cocaine?”

Ally didn't hesitate. “Yes I do.”

“Fair enough.” he sat back at his desk. “Night.”

Even as she looked at him she knew he was still going to check out the story. It disappointed her. As she turned to walk away she found she wasn't at all surprised, it was what they did. No one's word was believed, it would always be about proof. She pushed the elevator button, stepping in as the doors opened, wanting suddenly to be home and in a bath. As the doors closed, she briefly wondered what it would be like to have someone waiting up for her.



Ally didn't know why she found herself turning in the wrong direction to her apartment or for now sitting in the quiet street, staring at Casey's and Kelly's house. Her eyes flicked to her side window seeing the cop approach. She reached pulling her identification free and lowered the window, breathing mist into the cold air.

“Can I help you?” his eyes looked around the inside of the car.

She showed her ID. Noting his hand moved from his gun as he relaxed.

“Sorry Agent. I wasn't told there was going to be another team.”

Ally pushed the ID back into her jacket. “There isn't. I just wanted to make sure everything was okay.”

The patrolman nodded his head, turning to look around. “There hasn't been anything so far. A few neighbours came over earlier but they didn't go in. No press yet either. It's been pretty quiet…. You wouldn't even know.”

She followed his gaze to the house. “Know?”

He smiled, looking back at her. “That something terrible was happening right now around here.”

She looked around knowing exactly what he meant. The area was peaceful, calm, unaffected. “Yea.” Her eyes moved back to the house again, seeing the living room light on, the curtains drawn this time. “Do you know if they're awake?”

He breathed into his cold hands. “Wouldn't you be if it was your kid?”

She nodded. “Yea, I guess I would. Thanks.”

He touched the tip of his cap. “No problem. I'm just about to do my check. Night.”

“Night.” Her eyes didn't follow him as he left moving to walk back down the street. Her focus was on the house.



Kelly sat staring, at what, she didn't know. She lifted the glass to her lips and drank, letting the amber fluid numb her mouth before swallowing. She could hear Casey in the kitchen, sudden clanks breaking the silence as pots and pans were moved. Kelly winced and sipped again, swallowing hard this time, welcoming the brief pain of the burn on her throat.

Both of them had gotten angry at just sitting around, waiting. They'd tried to talk about the phone call but it had led to an argument about Casey's parents. Kelly wasn't able to keep her temper or her thoughts back at what she really thought about Casey's parents and what made the argument worse was it felt like Casey was defending them… things were said, things she couldn't take back now. Casey had simply stared at her with pain radiating from her eyes and left and began the cleaning. Kelly hadn't trusted her temper enough to go and apologise, she'd poured herself a drink and here she sat. Staring, staring at nothing, while each clank of noise hit her straight to the core.

Hearing the doorbell she rose, going to the hall looking down it when she heard Casey follow. She swallowed still seeing the hurt there. She looked away, a coward to face it, knowing it was her doing.

Ally was about to offer a smile of greeting, but it paused when she saw raw anguish in the grey eyes before it was covered. She looked past Kelly seeing the same emotion in the green eyes studying her. “Nothing's happened. That's not why I'm here.” She spoke quickly.

Both of the women let out a held breath.

Ally was unsure. “I have a question. I was going to leave it till tomorrow but…. Well I found myself here anyway.”

Kelly stepped back from the door walking back to the living room.

Ally moved inside, looking to Casey in question.

Casey just shook her head, silently asking her to drop it. “Have you found out something?”

Ally opened her coat letting the warmth of the house filter into the night cold. “A little.... But nothing big.”

Casey nodded, hugging herself into the living room. She gave a brief glance to Kelly, noting the glass in her hand.

Ally noted it too.

Kelly took a drink. “So what brings you back?”

“Well, a question has come up concerning Lucy's medical records.” Both of them looked at her. “Okay I'm going to be blunt. Is there any medical reason why Lucy couldn't be drugged?”

Casey intake of breath echoed in the room. “God.”

Ally gave her a supportive smile. “We don't know if he has. I just want to know if there is any reason why she couldn't. Allergies?”

Casey shook her head. “No, she hasn't. She hasn't had any major surgery so I don't know about general anaesthetic, but she's never had any sort of reaction to sedatives…. Why?”

“In the call our Tec guys picked out a dog in the back ground, a puppy.”

Casey looked at her not understanding.

“We're working on the assumption that he got the puppy for her to keep her happy and as quiet as possible. But that would mean he didn't drug her, its usual in cases like this. So, that led us to the question of why he didn't.”

“Maybe he doesn't have the knowledge too.”

Ally nodded to Casey. “Maybe. But it really doesn't take a lot to give a child sleeping pills or some other sedative does it?

Casey shook her head.

“We wanted to rule out he'd know of a reason why she couldn't? Which means we'd have an area to check into. They would have had access to Lucy's medical records, or they had personal knowledge of Lucy.”

“Oh. I see.” Casey looked down.

Kelly had sat listening. Now she sat forward. “Lucy doesn't have a problem with sedatives.” Her eyes went to Casey. “But she does.”

Ally looked quickly at Casey. “You do?”

Surprise sounded in her voice as she answered. “When I was younger…. They made me as sick as hell…. Now I can handle some, but others I have reaction too…. But what's that got to do with Lucy?”

Ally wasn't listening her mind was going over all the different things now running around her head. “I don't know.” She looked to her again. “Do many people know about your problem with them?”

“I suppose only those I'd have a reason to tell, like my doctor, dentist. I can't think of anyone other than that. I mean I might have mentioned it to friends, but I don't think I'd just bring it up in conversation.”

“Your parents know.” Kelly flinched as the angry green gaze locked on her.

“They haven't got anything to do with this. They wouldn't do this.”

Ally flicked her attention between each of them, wondering what had happened in the time she'd been gone.

Kelly looked down to the glass in her hands.

Casey took a long breath. “Of course they'd know.”

Ally let the heavy silence hang for a short while, letting either of the women speak, when they didn't she looked to Kelly. “What about you, would you have told anyone about this?”

Kelly took a last drink emptying the glass, rising to get another. “No…. I don't talk about personal details with people.”

Ally waited again…. She sighed tiredly. “I need to go and get some sleep. I'll be back tomorrow, early.” She rose looking to each of them. Watching as Kelly returned to her chair with another drink. She looked to Casey who rose.

“I'll see you out.”

Ally followed, pausing at the door as Casey opened it.

“What happened?”

Casey bit her lip, looking down. “Nothing.”

Ally stepped forward, keeping her voice low. “Something has. Did he contact you again somehow without us knowing?”

Casey head shot up. “No. No of course not.”

“Then what?”

Casey gaze flickered to the living room briefly. “We had an argument.”

Ally waited.

Casey inhaled. “It was stupid, but she said something I wish she hadn't.”

“Which was?”

Casey shook her head. “It doesn't matter.”

“Well it matters enough for her to be trying to forget it in a bottom of a glass.” Ally looked back to the living room. “Is drink going to become a problem with her?”

Casey stiffened, her eyes narrowing. “It isn't any of your business.”

“Oh yes it is. I don't need her running around drunk trying to find him.”

Casey sagged. “She won't…. That isn't how it affects her.”

“And how does it?”

Casey looked up with sad eyes. “It makes her hate herself.”

Ally blinked. “Meaning she'd harm herself?”

Uncertainty entered Casey's voice. “No.”

Ally's tone softened. “What was the argument about?”

Casey took a deep breath. “She thinks it's because of her being in my life, this has happened. I told her she was wrong..... That somehow my parents will use this.”

“I hate to say this, It… well it isn't an impossibility.”

“I know.” She wiped an escaping tear away.

“If you know…. Then why the big deal about her saying it?” Ally didn't understand.

“Because no matter what they say or do, they're my parents.…. I made it worse by defending them…. I defended everything they ever did to us. But worst of all I defended what they did to her…. I pushed her into a corner. She finally told me she always knew my father would win one way or the other and she'd lose.” Her eyes went to the lonely figure huddled over a glass. “I didn't…. I didn't disagree with her. I didn't say a damn thing. I just left her standing there.” She shuddered in a breath.

“Okay, listen to me. You two need each other more than ever. Don't let frustration and anger get between you. Talk to her, sort it out. I really don't need her being arrested, cos she gone loco on me.”

Casey finally looked at her. “I know.”

“Words don't matter. But they sure as hell can hurt.”

Casey nodded. “I'll talk to her…. If, if she'll let me in.” It even hurt to say those words. It had been such a long time since she'd even thought she wouldn't be.

Ally sighed. “I will be back tomorrow. Try and get some sleep at least. It's going to be a long day.”

Casey nodded, closing the door after Ally left, looking back into the room. Until finally Kelly felt her gaze and looked up, Casey couldn't face the desolation she saw there. She turned and went upstairs. Knowing as she turned the light off and lay staring at the ceiling it was the wrong thing to do. But unable to go back downstairs in case this time, she wasn't let back in.

It was well into dawns light when Casey felt the mattress sag. She kept her breathing calm and waited. Then slowly a warm body pressed up against her back, an arm encompassed her waist. She didn't turn, didn't speak. She just absorbed the feeling that Kelly had come to her.

“I need you.” Vibrated close to her ear.

Casey didn't stop the cry as she spun into the embrace that once again still welcomed her. Knowing the tears she felt on her face weren't just her own. She gave herself to the raw kisses which crushed her lips, meeting each one with the same desperate need. Arching, as hands and mouth began to mark her skin, barely breathing as promises spilled from her lover in broken gasps and exhaled heated breaths as she moved deep inside her.

They surrendered to the passionate reclaiming of their bodies, of their hurting hearts, and finally as the world froze on the brink of explosion, into the darkness of the nightmare, they found a brief haven of light and peace.




Ally yawned as she poured herself another coffee, the cobwebs of sleep still clinging to her. She drank her fourth cup of the morning waiting for the caffeine to at least try and focus her eyes. She had gone home concerned about the two women and hadn't been able to shake the feeling until finally her brain had shut up enough for her to close her eyes for a few hours. She'd come into work as usual at 7am, although she'd sat for an hour in her apartment watching the clock, knowing if she'd come in any earlier Mark would have kicked her ass. She wasn't sure why this case was affecting her so much, she'd dealt with child kidnappings in the past, but the truth was, it was.

“I hate to say it Ally, but you look worse than I do.”

Ally couldn't help the smile as she swung her chair around to the voice. Almost barking a laugh at the state of Johnson's normally kept hair standing on end from hours of running his hands through it.

He slumped back. “God I could use a back rub.” He stretched, till his back clicked. “I've been going over these phone records since I came on shift at four.”

She smiled again. She liked Johnson. He was young but good at his job, not to cocky, but cocky enough to know he was good at it. She'd worked with him now for three years and still didn't understand why he was single. He was swooned over by most of the females in the building and a few of the men. A half Brad Pitt, Robert Redford clone, even down to the damn dimples in his cheeks when he smiled.

“Have I got ketchup on my face again?” His brow furrowed, wiping a hand across his chin.

She laughed. “No.”

“Then quit staring. Didn't your mother ever tell you it's rude and not to do it?”

“My mother told me not to do a lot of things. Doesn't mean I listen to her.”

His eyes came up to her in surprise, then a large crooked grin came to his face exposing the said dimples to light. “Yea?”

Ally kept his stare. “Ahuh.”

His grin grew. “Oh goody.”

She snorted.

Both of them jumped, breaking the stare, as the main office door slammed. Ally looked over seeing Mark, as soon as she saw him she knew something had happened, his whole body was tense. She rose immediately falling into step with him as he went into the office. “What happened?”

He hung up his coat, turning, he held up an eight by four photograph, offering it over. Ally took it, looking at it he talked.

“It arrived at the Dalton post office this morning, we intercepted it. He defiantly has her. That's a blow up. The lab's still working on the original.”

Ally took in the scene; Lucy sitting in a chair, her eyes brimming with tears, holding up the late edition newspaper from yesterday. Ally swallowed. “She doesn't look harmed or drugged.”

“No.” Mark took back the photo, moving to pin it on the board.

Ally slowly placed her mug down. “Where was it posted?”

“In a box ninety miles west of here in a small town called Westbury. We've worked out it was put there between eleven and three. It wasn't there at the last pick up at ten forty-five. It was there at the three am one. It arrived at Dalton main office just after five this morning. I've got a team down there now.”

Ally's teeth clenched on hearing the time. “Why didn't you alert me about this?”

He looked back, hearing the beginning anger. “Because you couldn't have done anything by coming in. The same reason I didn't come in. The labs do their own job…. They don't need us for that.”

She didn't like it but she let it go. “What did they find?”

He read methodically off the sheet on his desk. “Sent in a self-sealing envelope, no DNA in the glue or any other fibres. No DNA or fibres found under the stamp. Fingerprints were found on it but to badly smudged…. Standard envelope can be brought in thousands of places. Five sets of finger prints in all found on that. Four have been identified; Three as handlers in the sorting office, one as the collector from the mail box. One unknown… There was nothing on the photo itself. No DNA…. No prints. Camera used is a Polaroid. Date of film used is 2007, expires 2009. They're running a check on the serial number and place's that still stock it.”

“Most people use digital cameras, but I know of at least a dozen stores that have one. God knows how many online ones. He knows we can find out more from a digital image reproduction; Printer type, ink, paper and overlapping images.”

“Turning into a clever little bastard isn't he.” Mark didn't keep the malice out of his tone. His attention went back to the picture, he tapped it with his knuckle. “There's nothing in the image so far to give us any clues to where she is. But they're still enlarging and breaking it down. All they'll say is a room with natural light. He's made sure there are no reflections or anything to give himself away.”

Ally approached, looking at it closer. “She isn't wearing the same clothes.”

“No. They caught that too.... Or her shoes.”

Ally's eyes dipped to Lucy's tiny bare feet as he said it. Seeing them suddenly made her want to cry. She swallowed hard, trying to focus on her thoughts. “Stop her running away?”

“Maybe or making sure no one can hear her walking around if someone is underneath where he has her.”

Her eyes moved over the image again, pulling her sudden emotion back into line. “She's clean.”

“Yes, he seems to be at least taking care of her.”

She found Lucy's eyes, realising they were an exact copy of Casey's. “She's scared.”

Mark looked up from his laptop, frowning. “Ally?”

She blinked, straightening, turning to face him. “Sorry. I don't know why I said that.”

“You okay?”

She forced a smile. “Yes, of course.”

He looked at her long and hard, then nodded, giving his attention back to the laptop in front of him. “I've got everything set for the call at noon. I want you to get Kelly to answer it first, test Jarvis's theory. Then when Casey takes over, I got a list of things I want her to ask. I got your update about the sedation….” He gave her a slight disapproving look letting her know he knew she hadn't gone straight home. “I'm not sure what the hell it means…. But at least it gives us a lead to believe he isn't drugging her because he doesn't want to take the risk she is going to react like Casey. But I agree with you, it means the grandparents could be more involved. I've got them flying down here later today.”

Ally sharply inhaled. “I don't think Kelly is going to like that. I'm not entirely sure Casey will either…. Can I warn them?”

“I don't see a reason not to. If they are going to pay the ransom they're going to need Casey's parents help to do it. You know as well as I do the kidnapper isn't going to believe they can't get it.”

“What about the picture? They're going to ask if he sent proof and right now they're imagining the worst.”

Marks eyes went to the image. “It could have been worse.” He cleared his thoughts of previous proof sent in cases, the bloodier kind. He pulled out another copy of the photo and handed it to her. “Yes, show them at least it will tell them she's unhurt and alive.”

Both of them looked over as Johnston almost tripped into the room, his face alight with excitement. “You are not going to believe what I've just found.”

They both followed him back to his desk. He pulled up on the screen the list of phone records. “Okay see this one.” he highlighted it. “This is the call that Kelly was taking the day of the kidnapping.” He moved the mouse over clicking the number. The screen filled with times and dates. “This is Hayward investment. They've been calling her regular at least twice a week for the past five months, each call is between ten to twenty minutes long.”

Mark and Ally looked over his shoulder, reading the screen. Mark spoke. “Who are they?”

“According to Kelly's work records, they are employing her to work out a contract to do business with another firm called Axel, they wanted to look at the possibility of buying into a partnership with them.”


Johnson grinned. “All businesses have to have a tax number. So I ran it down, they haven't done a tax return before, just registered the business. Up until six months ago Hayward investments didn't exist. Axel doesn't exist at all, well that I can find so far…. But Kelly hasn't had any dealing with them whatsoever. As for Hayward, it wasn't hard to get an address from the number. All calls to Kelly's office came from there. I called it….” he waited.

Ally knew the look he had, he wanted them to ask. She could sense Mark losing his patient. She asked. “And?”

Johnson's dimples made an appearance. “The number is no longer available. I called the Phone Company and they told me the account was closed at midnight last night…. They're faxing over the payment details and bank records. The address is; East Burbank. They're renting a lot on parkway. 3210J.”

Mark stood straight. “Good work. I want a team down there now stat. Surveillance only. No going in, until I know what's there. I want anyone contacted with it under surveillance. Don't spook them.”

Johnson nodded, already pulling the phone to his mouth to relay the order.

Both Mark and Ally looked at each other, knowing they were both feeling the same thing, a surge of excitement. A business meant bank accounts and bank accounts left trails. Slowly Mark turned and went back into the office.

Ally followed. “If this is part of it.... The kidnapper has been planning this for well over six months.” Her voice was incredulous. “Mark you know what this means if Hayward is involved. There's another player in the case. Kelly was talking with a woman on the phone the day of the kidnapping.”

“I know.” He paced, suddenly he returned to his desk. “I want you to ask Kelly everything she knows on….” He pulled up on the laptop the woman's name. “…. Sarah Tyler and Hayward investments. Everything Ally…. Any damn little thing.”

“I'm on it.” She turned and left at a half run.

He looked back at the picture, then to the clock.

Lucy had now been missing for over sixteen hours.



Kelly pushed the last of the cereal around her bowl, not able to eat anymore, her stomach was already in knots. Waking up without Lucy's usual laughter had been the hardest thing she'd ever done. Warm arms came around her shoulders, distracting her from her thoughts.


Kelly couldn't help the smile. “Hello.” A kiss was bestowed to her cheek and then Casey released her moving into view.

Casey's eyes dipped to the bowl. Her voice was teasing hiding her worry. “You told me I have to eat…. It works both ways you know.”

“I know. I'm just not hungry yet. But I will later. I promise.” Kelly took in Casey's appearance, white robe and hair like sunlight. Her body remembered the night before, it stirred.

Casey turned from pouring her tea. Her sip from the cup caught as she noticed the look directed at her, it stuttered her breath. As words formed on her lips the doorbell rang, halting them.

Kelly looked over her shoulder to the sound. “I expect that's our FBI shadow.” She rose, but not before smiling back at Casey.

“I'll put the coffee on.” This time Casey's smile was forced as she felt the small haven they'd found shatter. She'd tried, tired so very hard to just imagine Lucy being away for the night at friends. She knew she was fooling herself, but the reality just wanted to make her go and get in her car and scream into the streets for her daughter. Just the thought of her alone and scared with a stranger made her want to be sick, to just curl up. She flinched as she felt the hot tea spill, looking at her hands in wonder as they shook conveying what she was feeling inside. She took a long steadying breath and turned her mind to fixing the coffee. Knowing falling apart wouldn't help Lucy or Kelly.

Kelly moved into the living room offering Ally a seat.

Ally looked around. “Where's Casey.” She was still worried about what she saw last night. When the door opened she'd been relieved that Kelly looked more like herself and there was no sign of a glass in her hand.

“Making coffee she'll be in, in a sec.”

Ally made herself comfortable, lifting the briefcase. “I have something to show you both, it's the proof he sent this morning.”

Kelly froze in sitting, then let the weight of her body sit her down. “We didn't get anything?”

“We had the sorting office watched, it's standard practice.” She left unsaid the true reason for doing it.

“Oh.” Her eyes shifted to Casey as she came in, watching her as she smiled to Ally in greeting and set down the coffee tray. Kelly held out her hand. Casey didn't hesitate she took it coming to sit next to her.

Ally pulled out the photo and handed it over.

Casey gasped, grabbing at it first. “Oh no.”

Kelly felt that steel ball drop into her stomach again. “Christ.” Casey gripped her hand hard enough to make her wince. “She's alive.”

Ally nodded. “Yes.”

Casey's eyes drank in the sight of her daughter. “She doesn't look hurt?”

“No she doesn't.”

“She…. She looks so scared.” Casey hand smoothed back the hair around her daughter's face.

Ally kept her own emotions deeply in check. “Yes.” Her eyes went to Kelly seeing the anger building. She needed to get that under control. “Kelly…. I want you to tell me everything you know about Hayward Investments and the woman you've been dealing with called Sarah Tyler?”

Kelly's eyes broke from the gaze on her daughter, caught surprised. “Hayward?”

Ally nodded, glad that the anger had vanished for now. “Yes. You were on the phone to her the day of the kidnapping.”

“So? What's that got to do with it?”

“We're looking into something and anything you can tell me will be a lot of help?”

Kelly's brow creased. “Looking into what?” Then her brow cleared, realisation dawning. “I was on the phone to her. It's what made me late.”

Casey looked at Kelly then to Ally. Seeing what Kelly was getting at. “Were they part of this? Did they call her deliberately to do that?”

Ally shrugged, trying to play it down. “As I said we don't know. That's why I'm asking Kelly.”

Kelly thought, pulling together her memory. “They contacted the firm about six months ago I think. Mostly it was questions about how they should approach another business.” she paused. “.... Afell or something like that. Wait…. Axel industries, that was it.”

“Did you deal with Axel directly?” Ally made notes.

“No. I didn't need to. The information about them came from Miss Tyler.”

“What was talked about yesterday? What made you take the call instead of passing it to your secretary?”

Kelly stiffened. Feeling it Casey put her hand on her thigh in support.

“Jane told me Miss Tyler insisted she talked to me…”


Kelly exhaled. “She was informing me that Hayward didn't need my services anymore and wanted to thank me for my time and a cheque was being sent.”

Ally nodded still writing. “Okay but why did you take it? Surely other clients have insisted to talk to you in person and you're refused? What made you take this one? What was different?”

Kelly whole body tensed again she could feel Casey's eyes on her silently asking the same question. Her whole body sagged, her voice low. “There wasn't any difference…. I just thought I had enough time to take the call and get to the school…. Even if I was a little late. I've been late before it didn't seem to matter I'd be a little late this time too. She was safe… she was at school.” Her agonised eyes went to Casey. “I would have made it up to her for being late again…. I didn't think anything would happen to her Cas. I swear I didn't.”

Casey didn't feel anger, she couldn't. She pushed herself close into Kelly. She couldn't preach she'd been late herself, thinking Lucy safe until she got there. It could have so easily have been her. “I know. Honey I know.”

Christ. Thought Ally. What must it be like to carry that much guilt around, knowing she'd put work before her own daughter. She only hoped to god they could find Lucy. If the outcome was the worse one, Kelly wasn't ever going to forgive herself. Ally mind went back to business wondering if Kelly would have taken the call if it weren't a woman. “Did you get on well with her?”

Kelly looked sharply up. “I never met her. All our dealings were through the phone.”

“You've talked on and off with her for five months, at least twice a week, with some of the calls lasting twenty minutes or so. You must have gotten to know her a little?”

Casey was the one to stiffen this time. “What are you insinuating?”

Ally kept relaxed. “I'm not. I'm asking a question.” she looked to Kelly. “Did you like her?”

“I didn't have an opinion on her.”

Ally scratched her temple with the edge of the pen. “You see I'm having trouble with something. You took a call from this woman when you were already on your way out. You came back into the office to except it. I'm sorry if I've got this wrong but you don't seem the type to just go and take a call unless you wanted too.”

“I told you I thought I had time.” Agitation sounded in Kelly's voice.

Ally shook her head, calling a list on her palm point. “Would you have taken the call if it had been George Winters or…. Daniel Phillips?”

Kelly's face started to redden.

Ally met her eyes. “Would you have?”

Finally Kelly sighed. “No.”

Casey looked to Kelly quickly.

“So? Explain to me why you took Sarah Tyler's?” Ally waited.

Kelly knew Casey was also watching her for an answer, she felt the need to explain herself. “Because the Winters and Phillips cases are complicated. I knew if I took their call there would be no way I'd be able to get off the phone in time to pick up Lucy and more than likely it would have pissed me and them off. Miss Tyler usually only had small questions or information to give me. I knew I could handle it within five minutes.”

“It took seventeen?”

Kelly snapped back. “I know that now!” she took a breath. “She surprised me by closing our dealings. It meant I had to arrange the details…. If I'd known before she was going to do that I wouldn't have accepted it…. I didn't realise how long it was until Jane came in…. I got off the phone immediately.” Her eyes slid to Casey seeing if she believed her, she felt the tension ease as she saw that she did.

Casey smiled, pushing the moment of mistrust back where it belonged. She knew if her emotions weren't already pushed to the edge, it never would have sprung up from the doubt.

Ally nodded finally excepting the reason. “Was there anything unusually about your dealing with Hayward? Or with Tyler?”

“All I can think of Miss Tyler didn't know one single thing about contracts or law. Other than that it was a standard case of a new company looking into a merger with another company and wanting to know where they stood…. You can ask Jane for the full details, each of the conversations I would have left notes on. I honestly can't remember every single phone call or what was discussed, I have other cases.”

“What about Tyler herself?”

“She was nice enough. I got the impression she was more of a secretary.”


“If I had any questions she'd always have to get back to me about them and as I said she didn't know anything about contracts.”

“What sort of checks do you do on clients normally?”

Kelly rubbed her temple. “If were engaging in any contract details. We'd make sure that we were being told the truth for the contract. Usually we'd do a security background check on the company. Ask around other legal firms about rumours.”

“And with Hayward?”

“It hadn't gotten that far. They were employing me for information only. There was nothing illegal if that's what you're asking?”

Ally smiled. “I wasn't. I wanted to know if Hayward checked out.”

“As I said it didn't get that far.”

“How did it work then?”

“They employed me as an advisor, leading to finally drawing up the contract for the merge with Axel and deal with the legal side.”

“It didn't strike you as odd that a company miles away was asking for advise and didn't just go to a local lawyer for information?”


“Why not?”

Kelly sighed heavily, reminding herself information was important, no matter how much this seemed senseless. “Because if you're trying to buy into another company on the quiet you don't go to someone local that might leak the information. It would put up the price and let others know that the business is vulnerable. They'd lose their advantage…. It's common for a company to go across state for the security.”

“What makes you think Axel was local to them?”

Kelly blinked taken aback. “I…. I guess I assumed it was because they'd come to me out of state.”

Ally accepted it. “Did she mention why she chose your firm?”

“I remember her saying we were recommended.”

“She say by whom?”


“How were you paid?”

“A deposit was made at the end of each month for time used with me.”

“You invoiced them?”

“Yes…. Jane will have the details.”

Ally wrote it all down. Even as she wrote it she realised the information was next to nothing. “Thank you Kelly. I'll send this information to Mark.”

“Ally what's going on?”

Ally paused in her writing, torn between keeping information until it was proved either wrong or right, but the lost tone in Casey's voice made her question that reasoning. She looked up slowly from the page. “We don't know…. But we're trying to find out.” It was as near to the truth as she could give. She saw that neither Casey nor Kelly believed it. But she was thankful they didn't push it.

Casey's eyes dropped to the picture in her hand again. “What happens at noon?”

Ally lifted the list form the brief case. “First off. I want Kelly to answer the call?”

Both of them looked to her in surprise. Casey looked confused. “But I thought we discussed this before and the harm to Lucy?”

“No that was the media. This is dealing with him directly.”

Kelly didn't like this at all. “Why the change?”

She knew honesty was the only way this time. “We're testing a theory, we believe he knows about your relationship and doesn't like it very much. We want to know if we're right?”

Kelly looked uncertain. “I don't like the idea of testing him, especially while he has our daughter.”

Casey looked across to Ally in alarm.

“There isn't a threat to Lucy, he hasn't told us he only wants dealing with Casey. You wouldn't have broken any rules.”

Casey swallowed, trying to keep her voice steady. “And it's that important to know if you're right?”

“Yes. Because it will tell us something and right now we know nothing about him.”

Casey looked at Kelly who was still looking unsure. Her gaze returned to Ally. “Will it help you catch him?”

Ally met Kelly's eyes directing her answer to her. “The more information we can get. The closer we get to him.”

Casey looked to Kelly, waiting. Kelly finally spoke. “What do I need to do?”

Ally let out a mental sigh of thanks. “When you answer the phone you wait for him to speak first. Let him say what he needs too. You reply to that. If he wants you off the phone don't argue with him. All we need is his reaction not his anger.” She turned her gaze to Casey. “Let him know we have the proof. Thank him.”

“Thank him!” Kelly spat the word.

“Yes. He kept his word. We need him to believe that you believe him.”

“Okay we can do that.” Casey took Kelly's hand, the touch calming her.

“Answer whatever he asks or says with honesty. Don't argue. Ask to talk to Lucy. If he allows it find out if she is okay. Don't and I mean it don't ask her where she is…. He won't let her talk to us again if you try that.”

“God this is hard.” Casey exhaled the words.

“I know. But you need to hold it together as much as you can. He isn't going to talk longer then he wants to and antagonising him won't help. The more comfortable and confident he feels the more likely he is to let something slip.”

They both eventually nodded in understanding.

Once again Ally found herself not wanting to tell them what she had too. Knowing it was going to cause a problem. Even as she looked at the two of them close again, not separated by whatever had been said in the argument from the night before. Ally didn't want to break that closeness and somehow she knew she was about too. They looked at her waiting. Ally steeled herself.

“Casey's parents are flying down here today at the request of Mark.” Ally watched the impact. Casey's eyes automatically jumped to Kelly. While Kelly just looked like she'd been slapped and the worst thing Ally thought was the fact Kelly was expecting the slap.

“Why?” Casey found it hard to keep her voice steady. She looked down at her free hand seeing it shake. She clenched it hard into a fist.

Ally saw it. “For two reasons; Mark wants to question them in person. He wants to find out if they are involved….”

Casey took a deep breath. “And the second reason?”

Ally's tone softened. “You are going to have to talk to your father about the money.”

Kelly pushed everything she was feeling deep inside herself. However it wasn't deep enough not to touch her voice. “I…. We can't….” She took breath. “We can't raise that amount of money.”

Ally gave a small nod. “We know….” She straightened, her voice turning serious. “We haven't discussed the Ransom…. It's the FBI's policy not to condone paying any ransoms for kidnappings. But, if you both choose to do so the FBI will still offer full support in carrying out getting Lucy back. But we can't offer the money. I hope you understand why.”

They did.

Casey bit her lip, feeling more vulnerable than she ever had before. “What do you think Ally? I mean about paying?”

“I'm an FBI agent Casey, I just told you what I thought.”

“That's not you…. That's the government… What do you think?”

“I just told you what I thought.”

Casey nodded sadly excepting the answer.

Kelly didn't “And if it were your child?”

Ally sighed. “I can't answer. I haven't got any children.”

Kelly needed to know. “Okay then your father, mother, sister, brother. Pick one. If it were them?”

Ally let her eyes drop. “I honestly don't know….” Then her eyes came up meeting Kelly's with the same determination she had seen there when she'd heard Kelly promise that Lucy was coming home. Knowing she was breaking protocol. “I more than likely would do anything necessary to bring them back.”

Once more in her life Kelly began to trust someone else. She gave a curt nod.

Ally pushed over the list of questions. “Try and memorise them, he'll know if you're reading from a list. I want you to try and act as normal as possible. We're finding out he isn't stupid. He is going to know we're involved and trying to trap him into giving out information. I want you to make him feel that you're willing to do anything for Lucy. That you're going to listen to him more then you're going to listen to the FBI. Be as calm as possible. But don't hide your emotions.”

Kelly looked over the list. “And if he wants us to prove we'll listen to him more than the FBI?”

Ally shook her head. “We're not going to let you put yourselves in danger to prove a point.”

Kelly eyes hardened. “And if I tell you to leave now, to get out and leave us alone and take care of this by ourselves?”

Casey gasped. “What are you doing?”

Kelly ignored her. “If I demand that Agent Jeffrey. What happens then?”

Ally's eyes met the stare. “We don't just go away. We'd continue our investigation without you. We'd follow you. We'd keep taps on your phone. There is a felony being committed. We don't just let that drop just because you ban us from helping you. Which I may add wouldn't be a very smart idea. You can't do this on your own.”

“And if he requests it?”

“He won't. He's smart enough to know we wouldn't just back off. All he could accomplish is having us out of your house and you isolated out of the loop of FBI activities. He wouldn't want to lose your involvement in knowing what's going on.”

Casey relaxed as she saw it was only a question as Kelly nodded.

But as Ally watched her rise and start to pour the coffees, she wasn't so sure.



Mark looked up as Johnson came in. “Well?”

“The surveillance team has set up at Hayward. So far no activity, the place is empty. I tracked down the letting agent. Hayward only took a six-month contract. Take a guess at when the lease was up?”

Mark groaned. “Yesterday.”

Johnson nodded. “Paid in full in advance, bank deposit on the 12 th of March. The payment was made from The Hayward account we've managed to track. We're still looking at the source of it.”

Mark threw his pen down. “What about Tyler?”

“We're watching her now. She lives on the other side of Burbank. Thirty-six years old…. Collage education…. This is pretty strange Mark. She's married with two kids. No police record what so ever. Various jobs, all secretarial. No major debts. She's at home now, no movement, no phone calls. Her husband is in the Marines, he's stationed in Afghanistan, and he's on the last three months of his tour. We're checking bank records now for movement.”

“This doesn't make any damn sense. He knew we would check phone records, he knew we'd put together the call at the time of the abduction. He knew we would track it down to Hayward and Tyler. There's only one reason he'd do that….”

Johnson stared silently, just letting Mark vent his thoughts.

“…. Because it won't lead us to him….” Mark chewed the inside of his cheek. “Bring her in.”

“Now?” Johnson couldn't hide his surprise.

“No. After the call at noon, until then watch her. If there is any sign of contact between them, leave her under surveillance. But my gut is telling me she doesn't have anything to do with this.” The intercom buzzed, he pressed it. “Yes?”

“Mr and Mrs Matthews are here.”

Mark straightened. “Okay bring them up.” He clicked the intercom off. He looked to Johnson. “I want those bank records.”

Johnson nodded and left.

Mark put away the files on his desk. Moving around he brought two chairs closer to his desk making sure they were both angled so the time board was out of view. He glanced up as he heard an angry voice enter the main offices. He took in the appearance of the two; Mr Matthews was the one making all the noise. His eyes slid to Mrs Matthews quiet and shorter then her husband. Casey resembled her the most. He could see her trying to calm him down and wasn't having much luck with it.

Mark went to the door to meet them, cutting off Mr Matthews in mid rant. “Thank you both for agreeing to come down and help with the Case. I'm Special Agent Davis. I'm in charge of finding your granddaughter…. Please have a seat.”

Mrs Matthews didn't hide her uneasiness as she sat, her eyes darting to her husband to see what he would do.

“It wasn't like I had a choice. I was virtually threatened with being arrested if I didn't.”

“I'm sorry you were made to feel that way. But I'm sure you understand time is very important, and we need your help.”

Mrs Matthews huffed. Then finally took the chair. “I can't see how we can help you. We haven't had anything to do with Casey for years.”

Mark took his own seat. “Yes. I'm well aware of how things are between your daughter.”

Matthews's face-hardened. “What is our involvement in this?”

“Some things have come to light I need information on? Information I think you can give me.”

Matthew's words sounded his suspicion. “Should I be contacting my lawyer?”

Mark smiled. “That is your right of course. But I'm just going to ask some questions, I'm not holding you, or charging you. You can of course leave at any time.”

Matthews scoffed. “After flying all the way down here you're just going to let me leave and go back? Why the hell didn't the FBI just ask the damn questions back at my home?”

Mark blinked feigning surprise. “I'm sorry I just assumed you would be coming down to be with your daughter at this hard time. I arranged the plane to get you here as quickly as possible. I thought you would have been worried about your granddaughter?”

Matthews jaw snapped shut, shifting slightly embarrassed. “Well… as I said things…. Between our daughter haven't been pleasant.”

“Of course I understand. I can only apologise Mr Matthews. I'll arrange a plane back immediately at the FBI's expense. I'll deal with the kidnapper myself and arrange for the California office to ask any questions I need.”

Matthews looked confused. “Kidnapper?” he looked across to his wife then at Davis again. “What kidnapper?”

Mark watched him very carefully. “Your granddaughters.”

Matthews paled. “What? No. She's just missing. I was told she'd gone missing from school, wandered off somewhere.” The shock was evident.

Mrs Matthews sat forward. “She's…. She's been kidnapped? How… how can you be so sure?”

“Casey received a phone call late last night informing her Lucy had been taken and this was sent this morning.” He pushed the photograph across face down, watching both of them intensely, as they turned it over.

Mrs Matthews's hand shot to her mouth, letting out a small cry.

Mr Matthews's face paled even further. “Oh my god.”

“Oh Jason…. She looks so much like Casey did as a child.”

Mr Matthews snapped to Mark. “Why weren't we told of this?”

“I'm sorry I thought the Agents assigned to you had advised you of the change in the situation.”

Matthews looked down at the picture again. “What does he want from them?”

Mark slightly relaxed. If these two were in on it, they were the best actors he'd seen in a long while. Matthews was controlled but not enough to hide his shock at the picture. “One million dollars.”

Mrs Matthews gasped. “They don't have that kind of money surely?”

Mark shook his head. “No I'm afraid they don't.” His eyes went to Mr Matthews who sat straight in answer to it.

“You think this is about me, my money?”

Mark shrugged. “We don't know. All we do know is they haven't got that amount and up until four years ago neither did you. Now you do.”

Matthews muscle in his cheek jumped. “I haven't got anything to do with my daughter for over five years or my granddaughter.”

“I know. But I don't think the kidnapper knows it. Or if he does he's ignoring it.”

Mrs Matthews reached across and grabbed her husband's hand. “Jason we have to help them.”

He glared at her. “Why? What has she ever done for us except hurt us…. Turned her back on us, chose that woman over us.”

She blinked at him. “Jason….” Her voice was chiding. “That doesn't matter right now.”

“Doesn't it? I don't see Casey calling us to let us know this has happened. We had to hear it from them!” His eyes flicked to Mark.

Mrs Matthews sighed heavily. “Jason this is our granddaughter, she hasn't done anything to us…. She needs our help.”

His jaw flexed again, his gaze went to Davis. “Am I supposed to just turn one million over to them? How do I know they haven't done this or that woman?”

Mrs Matthews let out a curse of disbelief. “Jason for God's sake.”

Mark kept his expression neutral although inside he wanted to slap Matthews upside the head. It was one thing to investigate that possibility as an FBI agent it was a totally different thing for a father to even think his daughter was capable of it, especially one like Casey. “They're not involved. We have done a very thorough investigation. There is no reason for either of them to do this or arrange this and if you saw them or spoke to them you wouldn't have even asked that question Mr Matthews.”

“What about that woman? You know she does drugs? Have you checked that fact?”

Mark was surprised this time, but again kept his face neutral. Now how in the hell did you find out about her juvenile record Mr Matthews?

“We are well aware of Ms Jennings past Mr Matthews. There is no evidence what so ever that she is involved in the use of any illegal substance.”

Matthews scoffed. “All that means is you haven't found any, not that she isn't still a junky.”

Mark wasn't going to spend a waste of time arguing. Matthews obviously had made up his opinion of Kelly and god himself probably couldn't change his mind. He decided it was time to try a different track. “Do you have any knowledge of Hayward investments?”


“Hayward investments or a Mrs Sarah Tyler?”

Matthews's brow drew in. “No…. I don't know those names. I haven't dealt with any company called Hayward.”

“Have you been approached within the last seven months, maybe a year. By someone you didn't know asking question about your daughter?”

“Of course not. We don't talk about her, especially to strangers.”

“Doesn't have to be a stranger. Someone you know taking sudden interest in your daughter?

Matthews shook his head.

Marks eyes slid to Mrs Matthews. “Have you?”

She shook her head. “No. I … I don't talk to anyone about Casey anymore.” Her tone was self reproaching.

Mark checked his notes. “Casey had an allergy to sedatives as a child. How many people would know about that?”

Mr and Mrs Matthews looked to each other surprised by the question. He spoke first. “What the hell has that got to do with this?”

Mark flickered a smile. “Just a question Mr Matthews.”

Matthews virtually growled in annoyance. “Our family doctor knew. Close family more than likely did. Maybe a few friends back then. I don't know who else it wasn't something we shouted about.”

“What about now?”

“I really don't know why you're asking such stupid questions.”

“They are loose ends Mr Matthews and more than anything I don't like them. Indulge me.” Mark looked over his notes on his laptop again. “Tell me about Warren Edwards. Your daughter was engaged to him?”

Matthews's face reddened. “They were going to be married…. It all went to hell along with Casey when she met that woman.”

“How was Warren after the separation?”

“How the fuck to you think he was, he was devastated, it's one thing to be left for another man but a woman!”

“He moved away?”

Matthews got himself under control. “He left about a month afterwards, went to live with his sister. I can't remember where now…. I asked him to stay and fight.”


“Yes fight? Fight for my daughter. She was confused, I knew if Warren just got her to see the mistake she was making she'd have told that woman to get the hell away from her and come to her senses.”

“But Warren didn't stay?”

Matthews looked away. “No. He didn't have any fight in him. He wasn't even angry…. You know what he said to me?”

Mark waited.

“….That Casey should have happiness and if it wasn't with him he wasn't going to stand in her way of where she'd found it.” Matthews snorted in disgust. “If he'd stayed things would have been different.”

“So you blame Warren?”

“No Agent Davis I blame Jennings. Casey didn't know about that sort of thing before she came into her life. Turned her head, twisted her soul.”

Mark had expected an outburst. But the absolute calmness in the way Matthews spoke made Mark wonder how much he really did want Kelly out her life and what he would do to get it. “Is there anyone you could think of that would hold a grudge or dislike against you enough to make you pay one million dollars?”

His jaw fell open. “You…. You think this is about me?”

“We look at all options. We rule out those that aren't relevant. Yours is a very plausible option. You have the money. Your daughter doesn't.”

Matthews thought. “I don't know anyone that would want to make me pay.”

“Business dealing, any misunderstanding with clients?”

Matthews laughed. “I ran a printing business. It wasn't that exciting. I printed pamphlets, brochures. I paid my bills on time. I met all contracts. I never pissed off a client. No. Nothing in my business would make someone wait four years to do this.”

“And when you sold your business did that piss anyone off?”

Matthews sighed. “No. By then the business was already suffering. I was down to a skeleton staff…. When I let them go they got a good redundancy payment and I actually found most of them employment elsewhere. The Internet and email pretty much finished us off. Besides that, people didn't want loads of crap through the door. The declining rain forest gave everyone a bloody conscience.”

“Your company had already closed when you'd sold the land?”

“Yes. My father started the business in the late 50's. He did manuals for cars, for electrical goods it was very good money, it was the time of the American dream.” He smiled in remembrance. “He brought the land lot along with three others in the area in the sixties, expecting to sell it in the housing building boom. But it never came to anything. He'd find it ironic to know that nearly fifty years later that's just what I did and it saved my ass.”

Mark glanced at the laptop seeing that Matthews's father had died in the late eighties and his mother was only a year later. “Roughly how much are you worth Mr Matthews?”

Matthews stiffened again. “Last tax year I have just over four million. I've invested wisely and we don't just go around spending on things we don't need.”

Mark smiled. “In this financial climate Mr Matthews I think that's very wise.”

Matthews relaxed again. “If this… man who has Lucy wants my money, surely he doesn't have to know me. I mean, that's what these questions are about isn't it?”

“I didn't say it was a man?”

Matthews looked aback. “I'm sorry I just assumed it was. I mean isn't it usually?”

Mark put the false smile up again. “Not always no. But in this instance it is a man. As for the questions I'm just taking all evidence into consideration.” Mark stayed silent for a moment, letting them sweat. He kept his attention on the laptop. “How did you find out about Kelly's drug involvement?”

Matthews stilled. “What?”

Mark let his eyes finally leave the laptop to come up to him. “I said. How did you find out about Kelly's drug involvement? It wasn't a charge. In fact, it happened when she was seventeen and it's in a closed juvenile record…. So, I repeat how did you find that out?”

Matthews swallowed. “She must have mentioned it… I mean told Casey. Casey would have told me.”

Mark sighed. “Mr Matthews. I think I'd rather have the truth. Because if I find out otherwise, it doesn't look very good for you if you tell me something that latter turns out false…. It doesn't make me trust you or believe anything you tell me and quite frankly wastes FBI's time…. When we should be concentrating all our resources on finding Lucy.”

Matthew's face reddened again. “You're calling me a liar?”

“Yes I am. So let's stop pretending and tell me how you found out?”

Matthews took a long breath. “I talked to her parents.”

Mrs Matthews looked at him in shock. “Jason?”

Matthews continued. “It was easy to find them, I knew where she'd come from, Casey had told me that much. I just looked in the phone book…. I talked to them on the phone. They're good people.” His eyes hardened. “And they told me all about their daughter…. Including her drugs and alcohol. Did you know the girl she was seeing died because of drugs? Because she pulled her down to her level.”

Mark ignored the question. “Was that the only contact you've had with them?”

“No. I spoke to them a few times those first few months. But I haven't had contact with them since Casey chose to exclude us from her life.”

Mrs Matthews looked at him sharply at the comment.

Mark rose. “Thank you for coming down. Once again I am sorry for assuming you'd wanted to be with your daughter. I'll arrange for your flight back.” he waited by the door, watching them.

Mrs Matthews leant close to her husband. “Jason…. We can't just leave.”

Matthews breathing increased, his face stone.

“Jason. Please.”

He looked at her sharply, but she didn't draw back. “She's our granddaughter, Casey will need us….”

Mark watched closely as he saw something come into Matthews's hard gaze. He wasn't sure what…. opportunity?

Matthews rose, turning to face him. “We won't be going back Agent. If you could recommend a hotel we can stay in? and if you could tell our daughter let her know where we are….When she needs us.”

Mrs Matthews sighed in relief, rising to stand next to her husband. “Yes, please tell her.”

Mark nodded, signalling to the agent who had brought them up. “Please take Mr and Mrs Matthews to the Sandflower hotel.”

He watched them go, then went to the phone lifting it. “I want a 24/7 watch put on Mr and Mrs Matthews. They are just leaving the building and will be staying at the Sandflower…. Yes I want taps.” He put the phone down, sitting, his eyes going to the time board. Then he rose lifting the marker pen and began to update the board.



Kelly looked at her watch for the hundredth time. 11:48. She closed her eyes, trying to keep the tremors back. She glanced over to Casey who was sat in the sun seat by the window, chewing her thumbnail, her attention somewhere else. Kelly's eyes shifted to Ally who was speaking to Moss in the corner. It amazed her how quickly she accepted Moss into their environment, to the point now she didn't even notice him half the time sitting quietly in the corner of the living room. She looked at her watch again. 11:51. She sighed, she wanted to get out, to run, to escape. Her eyes moved to the phone, wanting it to ring yet at the same time not wanting it too. A hand on her shoulder made her start.


She looked up, wondering how she missed Casey moving across the room. “Yea?”

“You looked like you needed a hug.” Casey sat, engulfing her.


Together they sat, watching the phone.

Kelly's eyes shifted to her watch. 11:53.

They sat watching the phone.

Kelly glanced at her watch. 11:55.

They sat and watched.

Kelly glanced at her watch. 11:58.

Ally left Moss coming over to them, smiling encouragement as she got the pad out ready. Her own eyes now on the phone.

Kelly wiped her hands on her jeans, trying to ease the sweat she felt building there. Casey let go of her embrace, now sitting straight. But still they watched the phone.

Ally glanced at her watch. 11:59. “Remember to wait for Moss to tell you to pick up.”

Kelly nodded, but she didn't look at either Moss or Ally. She swallowed hard, her eyes fixed on the phone.

When it rang it still made them all jump. Kelly was up immediately.

“Wait for Moss.”

Kelly nodded, her hand over the receiver.

Moss spoke. “Now.”

Kelly lifted. “Hello.”

The same metallic voice sounded. “You got the proof.”

“Yes…. Thank you.” Kelly hated thanking this bastard.

“Good. Then you know I say what I mean.”

Ally looked up at that.

“Yes. We know.” Kelly didn't keep the anger out of her voice this time.

The voice paused. “Who is this?”

Kelly swallowed. “Kelly.”

“Get off. I want the real mother. Get her now or I'm gone.”

Kelly wanted to argue so wanted too, but Casey's warm hand on her arm stopped her. Kelly handed the phone over, looking to Ally knowing they'd gotten what they wanted from her.

Casey calmed herself. “It's Casey.”

“Don't let her near the phone again or you won't hear from me again. Got it?”

“Yes. I understand.” Her eyes sadly shifted to Kelly, watching her go to the window.

The voice calmed again. “You have forty-eight hours to get the money. No excuses I know you can get it.”

Casey remembered the list. “Why are you doing this? She's only a little girl. What have we done to you?”

Static clicked in answer.

Ally shook her head, nodding her to move on.

Casey took a long breath. “Please can I talk to her? I promise I won't ask anything. Can I just hear her voice? …. Please.”

“Tomorrow at noon.”

Casey's breathe stuttered. “I can hear her tomorrow?”

“Maybe.” As he said the word all of them knew he was smirking.

The phone clicked.

Casey threw the phone down in rage. “God damn him.”

Ally gently picked it up putting it back on the cradle, looking over to Moss who shook his head. All of them looked up as Kelly ran from the room and from the house. Ally wasn't sure what the hell was going on but her instincts took over as she ran in pursuit immediately.

Casey just moved to the window, watching her lover run down the street. Knowing how she felt, understanding why, but it still made her bow her head and sob.

Ally had considered herself a good runner, that opinion was rapidly being changed as she increased her strides for the second time trying to keep up with Kelly. She was beginning to wonder if telling the team outside the house to stay put was now such a good idea. She was fast losing all sense of direction of where the hell they were. They'd gone down the street and turned off god knows how many times and now were suddenly in the middle of trees. Ally ducked under a branch, which nearly ripped her head off. She gulped in air, catching the sight of Kelly's white T-shirt darting in and out of the trees. Jumping a low log Ally stumbled cursing. Her head came up, looking around. She rose, gulping air, twisting her body around quickly for any sign, giving her senses a panoramic view of the area. She saw nothing. “Shit!”

Now she listened. Her head jerked left as she heard footfalls and a branch snap, she took off in the direction. Finally she slowed her run, as she spotted Kelly sitting on the ground her face buried in her hands. Ally thanked god, then started to walk. Her whole body froze as Kelly threw back her head and let out a howl akin to a trapped wounded animal. Ally hadn't heard anything like it in her life, it made her heart nearly jump out of her chest. She stood still giving herself time to recover, hearing the cry echo around the trees, silencing the wildlife. Ally found her feet again, moving forward, even making sure she stepped on twigs, signalling her approach. But Kelly didn't even look up.

“Kelly?” Ally voice was punctuated with deep breaths. She stopped a few feet from her, bending to try and ease the stitch. “Kelly?”

Red rimmed eyes looked up at her. Ally couldn't think of anything to say or do that would stop the agony she saw there, so she simply sat. Easing herself down onto the woodland floor and waited.

“You know when we're kids…. We don't think about being old…. Or the future. Things seem so simple.”

Ally didn't react to Kelly's voice breaking the silence. She kept her gaze out towards the trees.

“It wasn't like that for me. Things were never simple…. My parents wanted the perfect child, perfect grades, and a perfect catholic girl…. I always questioned about god. They got tired of answering the questions and in the end used him as a threat that all bad girls go to hell.” Kelly scoffed. “I knew I wanted away from my parents, I didn't want to grow up anywhere near them or god. I saw my future. The one I wanted…. I saw myself in a house with Sharon….” She threw a stick out towards a tree. “…. When things turned to shit…. And I discovered that love is nothing but a pain in the ass. I stopped dreaming about a perfect life…. Stopped believing in fairy tales.”

Ally watched as another stick flew amongst the trees.

“I was fine…. Perfectly fine in my closed up world….Aunt Cora showing me the love I never had as a child…. I made my own way in the big bad world.” Kelly's voice dropped. “…. Then I met Casey.”

Ally sat listening, hearing the wildlife come back to normal around them.

“As per usually things weren't simple when I met her…. Her situation…. Her parents…. But I just couldn't stay away from her anymore then she could from me.” Kelly sighed heavily. “I convinced myself I didn't have to doubt her. Didn't have to worry she was going to suddenly discover she made a mistake and run back to him…. She showed me every single day she wanted and loved me.... Needed me” Kelly took a shuddering breath. “…. I accepted my time with her was just meant to be and to stop waiting for the anvil to fall. I was scared to death when she suggested having a child together. To me it was another thing I could lose. But they both make me feel so whole…. I finally believed I deserved some damn happiness, was worthy of it.” She laughed bitterly. “ I fucking believed it too. Finally believed this time I was going to get what I wanted in life. Then… then this happens.” Kelly's head looked to Ally. “Do you believe that someone can be cursed? Or bad luck?”

Ally shook her head. “No. I don't believe that.”

Kelly looked down. “I think I must have done something pretty bad in a previous life to have karma in this life that sucks so much. The problem is I would accept what happens to me…. but…” her voice broke. “…. But I can't take the fact that others I care about have to pay for it too.”

Ally shifted onto her knees, shuffling closely. “Kelly. Sharon died because she was taking drugs, she made that choice not you…. Her life fucked up because of her choices…. Nothing you could have done would have stopped her destruction…. Lucy being kidnapped has nothing to do with your damn karma. It has to do with some asshole believing he can make money by taking a child and betting on the parents love and pain to get it…. As for Casey you really think she would believe this bullshit?”

Kelly blinked, looking at her.

“Well would she? Because I'm damn sure I don't. I know you're angry I know you're hurt. But if you're even thinking of getting out of Casey's life and backing off, you need to face her and say it, instead of running off to the woods to beat yourself up….” Ally bit back her temper. “Have you even stopped to think what she's doing right now? I'm betting she knows damn well why you ran…. What you're going through and once again blaming yourself. She knows you more than anyone.” Ally rose, brushing the leaves off her palms. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself Kelly and divert that energy elsewhere. Casey feels guilty enough about having to go to her parents for the money. It doesn't take a genius to figure out she feels like she's putting your feeling out the way to virtually go begging. You said she was there for you whenever you needed her, I think it's about time you returned the favour.” Ally swallowed hard and resisted the urge to step back as Kelly rose in one fluid motion to face her.

“What the hell do you know?”

Ally kept her voice calm, even though she sensed the danger. Instinctively she shifted her balance to the balls of her feet, keeping her peripheral vision on Kelly's clenched fists.

“Only what you've told me. There isn't any such thing as bad luck or being cursed. What there is, is people who live their life looking over their shoulder every five minutes and then standing at the end of it when the shit hits the fan, saying I told you so. You make your life Kelly, Casey makes hers and I make mine. But what you don't have is any control in something like this happening. When someone decides to take your child, nothing you did or could have done would have stopped it. This wasn't your fault.”

Kelly stared at her and for a second Ally was sure she was going to take a swing at her. Then Kelly stepped back, her whole body sagging. “I was late Ally…. How can you say it wasn't my fault?”

Ally relaxed her body. “If you were on time he would have adapted and did it another time. He would have waited Kelly…. Would you even be thinking like this if it had been Casey who was late? Would you have blamed her like you're blaming yourself? Called her cursed? Bad karma?”

“No. No of course not.”

“Then stop thinking that's what she's thinking about you and any minute she's going to go running back to her parents telling them they were right about everything they ever warned her about.”

Kelly's eyes came up to her fast. “Shut up. You don't know either of us, least of all her.”

“Don't you have any damn faith in her at all?” Ally found herself more than angry. “I've only known her for less than two days and I can fucking see how much she loves you.” Ally turned walking away, she looked back over her shoulder. “Get over yourself Kelly…. Because right now I can't see a damn thing Casey sees in you.” Then she stomped in the direction she hoped would eventually get her back to the house.

Kelly watched her go. Caught between anger and wanting to laugh out loud at the madness that seemed to be around her.

Ally was lost. She couldn't figure out how the hell she was. She couldn't believe that this wilderness was less than twenty minutes running distance from a suburban street. She untangled her foot from yet another bramble, cursing. She could call in and get a fix, but she knew she'd never live that down.

“You're going in the wrong direction Agent.”

Ally spun, her hand dipping to her gun, once again finding it was Kelly who had snuck up on her and leaning against a tree as if she belonged in the woods.

“I wish you'd stop doing that.”

Kelly pushed herself off the tree, going to the edge of the dip and offering down her hand. “Come on.”

Ally looked at the hand, then took it, grunting as she pulled herself up the incline. Coming to the top she released her grip. “Still want to hit me?”

Kelly looked around. “The jury's still out on that one…. It's this way.”

Ally once again found herself having to keep up.



Casey sat trying to sip her tea, finding her hands shaking as she raised the cup. Every so often her head would turn to the kitchen door thinking she'd heard the front door open, but once again she'd imagined it. She managed to take a sip of the tea not surprised to find it cold. She put it down, pushing the cup away, burying her face in her hands for a moment before pushing her hands back through her hair. This time she heard the front door open, but she didn't get up. She waited, her eyes fixed to the doorway.

Kelly looked into the living room, seeing Moss who motioned in the direction of the kitchen. She looked over to Ally who was brushing the mud from her black trousers. Then taking a breath she moved down the hallway, stopping when she came to the doorway. Casey was looking at her.

“I'm mad at you.”

Kelly nodded.

Casey's gaze fell to her clenched hands. “Don't you think I want to just run off somewhere and get away from this? Do you know how hard it was just to sit here wondering if this time you kept running.”

Kelly kept silent.

Casey let out a sigh, her voice low. “Have you finished running away and blaming yourself?”

Kelly stepped into the kitchen. “Yes.”

Casey's eyes came around to her. “For how long this time?”

Kelly kept still. “For good.”

Casey's gaze flickered as her mouth creased, her chin trembling. “Good. Because I really need you Kel and…. I'm…. I'm breaking apart inside and I can't seem to…. stop it.”

This time Kelly didn't wait she ran, kneeling taking Casey into her arms. “No more I promise…. No more, I'm here.”

Casey held on to her with everything she had, letting her belief in Kelly anchor her back together.

Ally took in the scene feeling for the first time in a long time she was intruding. She turned away, moving up the hall to the living room. “I'm going back to Mark…. Give them as much space as you can.”

Moss nodded. “I can take the surveillance to the van for tonight?”

Ally smiled. “They'll appreciate it. Let them know I'll be back later.” She turned to walk to the door.

“Ally? You okay?”

She paused. “No. I don't think I am.”

“Anything I can do?”

She looked back at him. “Keep them safe and track down that bastard.”

“You go it.”



Agent Boyd and Travis sat in the interview room, each looking at the woman who now sat opposite. She shifted nervously.

“Mrs Tyler would you know of any reason why we asked you here?”

Her eyes shifted to Travis. “No…. I don't. I don't know what the hell is going on. You turn up at my house virtually pulling me from it, in front of my children.”

Travis looked down at his file. “Tell me about Hayward Investments?”

Her eyes jumped in surprise. “Hayward? I… I worked there. I only finished yesterday. Has something happened?”

“Who hired you? How did you get the job?” Travis smiled.

But Sarah noticed it didn't touch his eyes. “What am I doing here?”

“You're helping us with an investigation we're working on.”

“Investigation of Hayward? Look if they were doing something illegal I don't know anything about it…. But….” She stopped.

Travis leaded forward. “But?”

“Well. I thought something was weird there.”

“Why is that?”

“Well for one I never saw Mr White….” Her eyes went back and forth from the agents. “He was the owner.”

“And you never saw him?”

“No not once. I didn't even talk to him on the phone.”

“Why don't we start at the beginning. How did you get the job?”

“It was advertised in the local newspaper?”


“February of this year. There was an address to send applications too.”

“Where was that?”

She frowned. “A PO box here in Burbank.”

“What happened next?”

“I sent in my CV and a few days later I got a letter saying I'd gotten the job. I started on March 1 st .”

“Just like that.”

“Yes just like that.”

“And you didn't think that was strange?”

She scoffed. “In this day and age, you're kidding, I had a job last year where a writer sent me his whole work via email to proof read and I never met him.”

Travis nodded. “Didn't it make you nervous going alone down there when you didn't know what you'd find? Or even if it existed?”

“I'm not stupid, my husband is in the army. One of his friends came with me the first time to check the place over…. Look this was easy money it didn't bother me I didn't know who I was working for, I wasn't doing anything illegal.” She paused her eyes going to both of them. “Was I?”

Travis ignored the question, turning the page over in his notebook. “Who's the friend?”

She sighed. “Sergeant Major Keen. He's stationed back at Lulworth now.”

“What did your job actually involve?”

“Phone calls, bank accounts, and doing whatever instructions came through. I was only employed for two hours a day. It worked for me, it meant I could fit in my time there around the children and well…. The money was good.”

“How were you paid?”

“At the end of every week the money went into my bank account…. Look if this is about taxes I pay mine. I put in a self-employed assessment every damn year.”

“Tell me about Mr White?”

“What's to tell I never met him, all I got each day was a list of instructions through email.”

“Which account?”

Sarah looked at him again. “The Hayward account, I checked it every time I started, on the computer there.”

“You ever heard of Kelly Jennings.”

“Yes of course she is the lawyer I talked too. She works with Portman investments.”

“Why did you talk to her?”

“Mr White left instructions for me when he wanted certain questions answered. I'd ask her. I think it was about buying into a company. Lots of legal jargon, most of which I didn't understand…. Please tell me what this is about?”

“You called Kelly yesterday at about 3 30.”


“Why that time?”

She looked to both of them again, her face a mass of confusion. “Mr White asked me too.”

“To call her or to call her at that precise time?”

“To call her as soon as possible.”

“How did he relay those instructions?”

“I went in the day before as normal; he'd left an email asking me to come in later yesterday at three instead of in the morning. I came in and there was an email asking me to contact Miss Jennings and close the account. I read the instructions in the email and called. He made it sound very important that I talked directly to her. He didn't want any mistakes made about closing the account down. He said he had that happen in the past and didn't want to have to pay out for time he hadn't used, then spend weeks trying to get the money back.”

“So you called her?”

“Yes, it wasn't her at first I got the secretary, but luckily Miss Jennings was still in the office and came to the phone.”

“And you told her about closing the account down?”


“Then what did you do?”

“ I left Mr white an email telling him everything was okay and that I'd spoken to Ms Jennings directly and I thanked him and let him know if he needed me again to contact me.”

“You knew he wouldn't want you again?”

“Of course I did. He'd told me at the beginning it was only a temporary position and he'd let me know last week that yesterday was going to be my last day. He paid me for the week though, which I thought was nice of him.”

“What sort of phone calls did you deal with in your time working there?”

“That was one of the funny things. I only received calls from Miss Jennings. There were a few cold callings but no other ones that were important.”

“What else was funny? ”


“You said it was one of the funny things?”

“Oh I just meant it… well it was like I was being paid for nothing. I actually ended up cleaning the office to pass the time.”

“You didn't see any sign of cleaners or anyone else working from there?”

“No. It was just me. I don't even think Mr White went in there.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Well you know little things, like pens being moved, my chair, the computer, the coffee machine. Everything was always the same.”

“What reason did he give for not meeting you?”

“He said he had another business that completely took up his time.”

“He say where this business was?”

She frowned, thinking. “No. He only mentioned it in the first letter, he would be away from the office ninety nine percent of the time and not to expect him to be around. It was later he told me if I had questions to just send an email to him.”

“What address?”

She shifted uneasy again. “Hayward investments.”

Travis frowned this time. “You sent an email from Hayward investments to Hayward investments?”

Sarah nodded. “There are two accounts. Both of them belong to Hayward I think. The account I checked was account 1, his always came from 2.”

“What did you think about that?”

She shrugged. “I just thought his other business had the same name.”

“You said you notified him that you'd talked to Jennings, was that your last communication with him?”

“No. he replied to my email?”

Travis looked up with interest. “How quickly?”

“I don't know. I always check the email every hour, it wasn't there at four but I checked it just before I was leaving at five and it was there. I think the time on it was 4 50 but I could be wrong.”

“What did he say?”

“He thanked me for my work. And would contact me again if he needed me in the future and would I phone the phone company and cancel the account by midnight yesterday.”

“Which you did?”

“Yes I called them straight away and did it. Please tell me what's going on? Has something happened to Mr White? The offices?”

“Did you have anything to do with the banking side of thing, paying bills arranging payments?”

“Of course I did. When invoices came in I would log in to the Hayward account and arrange the transfer.”

“You had the account details?”

She stiffened. “Look. If money has gone missing it's got nothing to do with me. I paid out exactly what came through on invoices. You can check the bank details against the accounts in the office.”

“Did you notice how much there were in funds in the account?”

“Of course I did. I had to tally out goings and in comings.”

“And how much was in the account?”

“Just over five hundred dollars when I last checked yesterday.”

“Did you deposit any money?”

“I…” she looked unsure again.

“Go ahead Mrs Tyler. You?”

“I opened the account.”

Travis didn't hide his surprise. “When?”

“When I first started in March I opened the account. Mr White said he hadn't had time to sort out bank details and would I do it for him.”

“And the money?”

She swallowed hard, her voice now becoming panicked. “I didn't think there was anything wrong in doing it. I thought it was weird but I didn't see anything wrong in it.”

They waited.

She took out a tissue blowing her nose, sniffing. “The money came in the post the first week I was there. I opened the account and put the money in. then I sent him the log in details of the account.”

“How much money was there Mrs Tyler and was it sent with anything?”

For the first time she broke eye contact with them, looking down “Ten thousand dollars. There wasn't anything with it.” her eyes came up fast. “Oh dear god is that what's this is about?…. I swear I didn't take any of it. I swear on my children's life. I put the money in the account I opened, all of it…. I never touched any of it.” her eyes were wide now.

“Did you also arrange the payment for the lease of the offices?” Travis passed her another tissue.

She took it, breathing unevenly. “Yes. He said he hadn't had time to sort out either the bank accounts or the lease agreement. An agent came to the office the end of the first week I was there. I signed it on his behalf…. I…I…. paid the full amount from the account like he asked.”

“If the lease hadn't been signed, how did you get into the offices, how did you get hold of the keys?”

“There isn't any keys, he gave me the codes to the doors in the letter he sent me telling me I had the job. It's computerised, you just put in the code and the doors unlock.” She reached for the glass of water. “…. Please tell me what's going on, was Mr White doing something illegal?”

Her eyes now held a trapped look as if suddenly she saw something she didn't see before in the things she'd done, she took a drink of the water, her hand shaking. “I haven't done anything. I just followed what he told me to do. I know some of it was strange but I didn't see anything wrong.” she put down the water, sniffing again, looking to both of them this time. “Please. What's going on?”

Boyd who had been sitting silently through the whole interview sat forward. “Mrs Tyler we are investigating a kidnapping.”

Sarah gasped. “Mr White?”

Boyd shook his head. “No. Not Mr White.”

Sarah looked at both of them in total confusion. “Not him, then who?”

Boyd looked at Travis. She looked to both of them fear and panic shining from her eyes.

Boyd rose. “I'm afraid we need to keep you here a little while longer for further questioning, concerning the kidnapping of Miss Jennings daughter. Who was kidnapped yesterday while you were on the phone to her. I'd advise you to contact a lawyer.”

Sarah's mouth opened and finally words came out. “Oh my god.”




Mark was sat in his office, the full team were sat around him in various places. All of them facing him and waiting.

His eyes briefly went to Ally, he cleared his throat, silencing the room. “Okay. We have new information. Hayward investments were set up in March of this year. By the looks of things, our Mr White is the kidnapper and he used Sarah Tyler to set up the offices and bank accounts. We don't have any leads to Mr White at all. He's very smart. He sent cash to Tyler so there's no trace there….” He looked over to Dean, one of the Tec guys. “What have we found on the email account activity?”

Dean shifted forward. “We tracked both accounts. Hayward account 1, was the one Tyler used and the only activity there is the out goings and incoming to and from Hayward account 2 and Portman investments. Both Hayward accounts are registered to the Hayward's investment lot address in Mr White's name. As for the emails from Account 2 we tracked them back to source ISP's and all of them came from a Gmail set up to access other accounts on a mobile phone, the closest we can track to it is access through a Wi-Fi internet source.”

“Which tells us what?”

Dean shook his head. “Nothing. We can't get a fix as to where, only that it was in the United States.”

Marks teeth clenched. “What else have we got if anything?”

“On the emails I'm afraid nothing. Although everything that Tyler told our Agents does check out to some degree, as all the emails that were sent to her were still in the in box.”

“Could she have sent them to herself?”

“She could have if she's the one running the Hayward 2 account. But I think it's highly unlikely to be her. The Hayward 2 account weren't sent from the office computer or her personal one at home. Also on three of the emails she would have to have been in two places at once. Time shown on those emails has her active in the other account and in the office. In fact one of the emails which were sent to her was while she was talking on the phone to Miss Jennings.”

Mark sat back. “Damn.” He looked over to Johnson. “What have you come up with on the bank records?”

“Pretty much what Tyler told us.... She was the one to open the account in the local branch on March 9 th . Set up the account with Ten Thousand in cash. The account shows payments to her personal account once a week. Then six thousand was paid out on the 11 th of March to the leaseholders for the offices. The phone company bill came out of there twice, firstly the end of June and finally yesterday to close the account; Also payments to Portman three times over the last five months. The remaining amount in the account tallies perfectly with those out goings. “

“What about log ins to the account? Tyler said she gave him the information. What about the phone company who arranged the line set up?”

“All logs came from the office computer. No one tried to access it outside of that ISP. If he did log into it, there would have been an unknown ISP logged. There wasn't. Her computer at work was the only one. As for the phone line it was set up by the letting agent and activated by them. The bill was sent to the lot. It's standard practise with them.”

Mark growled. “Trusting bastard isn't he. He didn't even bother to see if she was ripping him off. Knowing damn well if she did, we'd see it and catch her red handed.”

Johnson exhaled. “He took a hell of a chance trusting her enough to make that call to Jennings yesterday at the right time. Or doing anything for him for that matter.... One hell of a chance.”

It was the profiler Jarvis who answered. “Not really Agent Johnson. That's why he employed her so long ago, he was testing her, giving her little tests now and again; bank, lease, dealing with Jennings. Besides, putting ten thousand dollars cash in to the hands of someone is a very tempting thing, plus carrying out his instructions to the letter, told him he could trust her and to some degree depend on her. If he didn't or had any doubt, he had plenty of time of starting again and choosing someone else.”

Mark looked directly at Jarvis. “So, you don't think Tyler is any way involved in this?”

Jarvis shook his head. “No. He used her. He isn't tied to her in any way. There won't be a trail from her to him. He more then likely just picked her because he liked her letter. He is going to be very good on judging people and see through any lies.”

Mark nodded, turning to Dean again. “What did we get on the PO box number?”

“It's in Burbank the main post office. Mr White leased the box for two weeks beginning of February, paid in cash. My team is down there now. But I can't say I'm expecting anything, the box has been used hundreds of times since then. Also the cameras aren't directed at the box area just the counters. They're already looking at surveillance tapes. It's gonna take a while, because no one remembers Mr White. So we don't have a clue who were looking for. But we'll run the standard face recognition programs through our database. Maybe we'll get lucky and he's already got a record. But that is going to take time.”

Mark nodded. “Which we don't have.” He sighed. “What about the contact to the office letting agent. He had to have arranged that?”

Johnson nodded. “He did. It came from the Hayward 2 account. The woman I spoke too said the office space had been on the market for a very long time and they were just glad to get someone interested it. They gave the code to Mr White over the phone when he called wanting to view it on February 26 th …. But no one was available. He told them he only had a short window to view and if it wasn't then he wasn't sure he could do it again. She said and I quote. ‘ he was so nice about it.' unquote. She gave him the code and she checked the offices after his visit to make sure that nothing was taken. By then he had sent an email saying he wanted the property starting immediately and someone would be in the office on the Thursday 5 th of March to sign the contracts and arrange full payment. The agent Mrs Walker didn't see any reason for changing the codes. She said that if she went down there on Thursday no one was there she would have changed the code. But as Mrs Tyler was there to sign the contracts and the amount was paid in full within the forty eight hours. Mrs Walker didn't think anymore about the property.”

Mark threw up his arms. “Doesn't anyone do business face to face anymore and have all people gone crazy, giving out damn key codes over the phone. Jesus.”

Everyone chose not to answer.

“Okay. So what did their phone records show?”

“The call came from a cell phone. No record…. It was pre paid. We checked its records. It wasn't used for any other calls since then or before.”

“Why aren't I surprised…. What did she say about his voice?”

Johnson shifted. “She said it was just a voice; Nice, friendly, American as far as could tell. She could hardly remember it.”

Mark nodded expecting as much. “Okay when the Tec's get through cleaning up our kidnappers voice I want you to take it down to her and see if it jogs anything?”

Johnson nodded.

“What about the Suv. Anything yet on that?”

Blank faces stared at him.

“It can't have just disappeared. That area has cameras doesn't it? Are you telling me not one road camera or CCTV picked up the Suv in that area. That no one sold one to someone?”

Everyone shifted.

Jarvis cleared his throat. “He would know where the cameras were. It wouldn't have taken him very long to arrange a route around them. As for not finding it, you more than likely won't. He would have put it somewhere safe. Anywhere out of sight. He would have changed cars very quickly. He could have brought it any amount of time ago, and it wouldn't have to be in this state either. You're not going to find anything that way. He's too clever. He'll want to stay anonymous.”

“Okay what have we got on the camera and the film?”

Ally turned her head to a new voice, one she didn't recognise.

“It's a standard Polaroid; Manufactured 1993. We tracked it to a Target store in Austin Texas. Five hundred were sent there in the Christmas of that year. It was sold from there. After that there isn't any trace of it. As for the film this batch was sent to a firm in Pelbury in Boston. They sold it about a year ago. There's no record of sale it was paid in cash.”

Jarvis spoke again. “The camera wouldn't be personal to him, he would have got it for this. I'd recommend checking the Internet auctions. Check there for the film too. I'd concentrate on sales for the end of January up to the first two weeks of February.”

Mark's eyebrow rose. “Why?”

Jarvis smiled almost smugly. “Because that's when he had the PO Box in Burbank…. He isn't going to set up boxes all over the place to leave you a trail to follow.”

Mark leant against his desk thinking. “Okay run the checks on those… Where are we on the sperm donor?”

Ally turned her head again to another agent she didn't recognise. She guessed he was one of the field officers brought in on the case.

“They've said there is no way a donor could find out details of where his sperm went. Everyone is given a number. All the records are kept on database. The only person to access it is employees within the clinic. So far they all check out. We've been through the computers and there isn't any sign of hacking or trace marks of someone accessing the information on Kelly and Casey for the last six years. The last access was a month after they brought the sperm, to close the account. As for the donor we're checking him out now. But so far no red flags.”

Mark nodded. “What about Warren Edwards?”

A woman's voice spoke up, this one Ally recognised as Susan Smith new to the FBI and their division.

“I've tracked him down to New York, he is a doctor there. He runs a practise in Broad Street. He started it five years ago. No police record on him.”

Mark frowned. “Susan? Why the hell aren't you down there?”

Susan shifted a little uncomfortable under the disapproving gaze. “He isn't there. He went on vacation to Mexico two weeks ago. I checked with the airlines and he did board a flight to Mexico City and I've checked with the passport and immigration office and he did arrive there. But after that I can't get a lock on him anywhere. But he was going backpacking. It's been planned for over a year. I've tried his cell number but the trace indicates that the region it was last reported in has no signal. The route he was taking is even worse for reception. It's a dead zone.”

Mark sucked his bottom lip. “Was he travelling on his own? When is he due back?”

“He's travelling with Richard Carter his partner and Raquel Stevens. Edwards has been seeing her for the past two years. They're due back in two weeks time. The trip is for a month. Richard has checked in with his wife six times so far. He told her they're having a great time and were heading out more into the Ataza trail area. It's pretty remote there. So he didn't think they'd be able to keep in touch much, but would as soon as they came out of there.”

“Did Edwards check in?”

“He called his receptionist at the beginning of the trip asking if everything was okay. It was pretty much chitchat. He called his sister twice into the holiday both times at the beginning, saying he was having a great time and at some point was heading to the big back packing trails. The numbers check as coming from his listed cell phone, and global source shows they were made from Mexico…..” she turned the page on her notes. “….Stevens called her parents three times telling them she was having a great time and pretty much the same sort of thing. She mentioned Warren to them several times and told them they were heading for the Ataza trails. Again their phone records show the source was in Mexico. But again any attempt we've made to trace the cells, or contact is coming back number unavailable. I'm betting they're in the Ataza region. It's known for no contact. It's one of the reasons so many people want to go there.”

Mark nodded. “Did you check the airports to see if he flew back early?”

“Yes sir there was nothing. I also alerted US border control and they've had no one of that name coming through. I also sent them down the passport photo and they are now checking to see if someone of his description came through.”

Mark looked down to hide his smile. Smith was going to go far in this job. She was new and green, but she had the potential. “Very good Agent. Why didn't Carter's wife go with him?”

“She was going too, it was all arranged. But she had a very bad asthma attack a week before they were leaving. They didn't want to take the chance of her having another one in the middle of nowhere. Her husband was going to stay behind and cancel the whole trip, but she says she insisted that he go with their friends. I'm still checking some things out. I'll make sure to be there when Edwards comes back. I'd like to put taps on his sister phone Sir?”

Mark nodded. “Do his office too. I'll sort out the court order for it.” he didn't like the fact Edwards was so far off the radar anymore then Smith did. Also dig around a little more find out how he has been for the last six years with personal relationships? Go down there, just because he isn't there, his past is.”

Susan lowered her head, realising she'd made a mistake in not following up. “Yes Sir.”

Mark gave her a nod, knowing he made his point. He turned back to the rest in the room. “Where are we on Mr and Mrs Matthews?”

Dean spoke. “They're now booked into the Sandflower hotel. There have been no calls and they haven't been left or met with anyone.” He opened up the file on his PDA. “Background is still ongoing. But, what we have so far is; his ex employees liked him. In fact most felt sorry for him when the business failed. We can't find anyone with a motive for the kidnapping, or to do this for a sense of revenge. He's well respected in his community but not very much liked. Mrs Matthews however is well liked; she does a lot of charity work, but doesn't seem to do anything without her husband's say so…. Their family background showed up a brother on Mr Matthews's side who has nothing to do with him anymore and lives in England. Mrs Matthews has no siblings and her parents are both deceased.”

Dean cleared the back ground and called up a list of phone records.

“There's been no unusual telephone activity at their house phone, or on their cells. All numbers are checking out.” He tapped the screen, bringing up financial records. “They haven't spent a lot in the past five years. They still live in the same house. Mostly they have been on holidays, especially around Europe. But no large out goings of funds, or incoming either. He's chosen well in the market and his capital hasn't been touched.... Mrs Matthews has an account but it only contents a small amount and the in goings and out goings are for shopping or personal items. Mr Matthews account transfers 1000 dollars a month to her. His account is the main bill payer.... Before they sold the land, he was very near to having to sell the house, his financial situation was very poor. If they had sold the house they could have set up smaller elsewhere and had a comfortable retirement, but that would have been it, comfortable.... As for the land itself, development companies chose it very quickly, there weren't any rumours before hand. I spoke to the company and they told me they chose the land as a last minute prospect, it wasn't their first choice. It would have been very hard for Matthews to foresee it happening unless he had an inside contact. Which we're checking.”

Mark nodded in response. “What have we got on the kidnappers phone call this time?”

Dean cleared his screen, bringing up the new phone call. “Pretty much the same as before.... He used the same system to mask his voice. We've broken it down to what we think is his natural voice. It is American. We're thinking more mid west region now. We've run it through our database and he hasn't had any communication with us before in something like this. We did manage to track some of the call this time, it was made within the United States. Put I'm afraid he is keeping his calls way to short for us even to get a GPS fix if he's using a cell. There is something strange about the call, and we're trying to find out what it is?”

“Strange how?”

Dean looked unease. “Well, if I had to make a guess, he's somehow found a way to mask his call. We're thinking he is making the call through the Internet, but found a way to change the signal into us believing he is on a landline or a cell.”

Mark mental shook his head. “Which means in English?”

“We won't be able to track it.”

Mark's eyes widened. “At all?”

“No Sir.”


All the Agents in the room mental said the same thing.

Mark cursed again under his breath. He took in all the information. Sighing, just once he'd like some sort of lead in this damn case. He looked around at the waiting faces. “Anything at all on the photograph?”

Dean shook his head. “Sometimes we can get a print when the top layer is separated to expose the chemicals to react to air so the photograph can develop. The surface is tactile and an impression can be left usual by the thumb where the film is held. But not this time, he was careful. We did find a small indent on the left side, he more than likely held the film with tweezers or something similar. The photo itself has nothing in it we can find to give us an idea of location. No reflections, no markers. The chair she is sitting on can be brought in hundreds of places. The newspaper was late edition New York Times; Sold after 1 PM yesterday. He kept the main headline out of sight and page edges, so we couldn't get a print number. I don't think we're going to narrow down where it was sold from.”

Mark took a long breath. “Okay you all know what you need to do. Get to it. Jarvis stay, you too Ally.”

The team rose and left, leaving the three.

Mark sat. “Jarvis, what do we know now about him from the phone call.”

Jarvis adjusted his glasses. “Well we proved he doesn't want contact with Kelly. His emotions came through, he lost his temper.”

Mark resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He didn't need to be a profiler to figure that out. “And?”

“He's keeping everything to his timeline, he isn't rushing. He isn't giving us any time to work with things. From how he responds, phrases certain words. He knows that Casey has to go to her father. It could be one of the reasons he only wants to talk to her. Make her see that if she can't get the money. “No excuses” remember he said that. He's putting all the pressure on her.” Jarvis cleared his throat, his hands moving as he talked in front of him. “ It's one thing I don't like.”

Mark shifted forward. “Don't like?”

“Yes. He's diverting blame. To his psyche if he doesn't get the money and he has to kill the child he will be without blame. It won't be his fault. He would have done everything he could to protect the child, including keeping his word, giving clear instructions. It will be Casey's fault. She would have been the one unable to get the money from her father. She's the one who didn't try hard enough.”

Mark frowned. “Why didn't he just go to Mr Matthews? Contact him that he had his granddaughter?”

“Because he knows they have been estranged. He knows he wouldn't get sentimentality, or the emotion of wanting what you love back. He would have had to work harder to make Matthews give up the money. In his world he believes Casey will do a better job of convincing her father.”

Mark nodded that made sense. “Why doesn't he want to talk to Kelly? Is it personal?”

“On some level yes.... I'm not sure if it's because he dislikes her or the fact she is Casey's partner. But the main reason would be that he knows Mr Matthews dislikes her and knows Kelly has no lee way in asking for the money. Knowing that, he won't talk to her, it would be like talking to a third party to get what he wants. He doesn't want to waste time doing that or being drawn into mistakes being made. To him, Kelly is nonexistent.”

“Is that why he chose to take the child when he did? Set up Hayward to get to Jennings and arrange everything around her?”

“No, he chose that because he saw the opportunity. His plan worked perfectly with Jennings in the scenario. He would have checked both of them. All their movements for a least a month before he hired the Hayward offices, maybe even longer…. Casey being away at this time. Jennings non-punctuality at picking up the child. He chose Kelly because she was the easiest one to manipulate and it was the most reliable plan.”

Mark scoffed. “You make him sound like a genius.”

Jarvis shook his head. “Oh no, but he is clever. This is his entire focus.”


Jarvis blinked a little surprised. “I don't understand the question?”

“Why do this? I mean if it's just for the money, why hasn't he told us how it wants it? Cash, Bonds, Electronic transfer, Diamonds? Why give us forty-eight hours, why make contact again? There would be no point if he gave us the instructions? He knows the more he contacts us the more we get on him. So, Why?”

“He isn't giving us forty-eight hours.... he's giving Casey that time to talk to her father. You've got to understand his link to the money is Casey. Contacting again keeps his hook into Casey's emotions. Making her believe she can talk to Lucy tomorrow made sure he had Casey full attention and on emotional overload. “

“Yes but why? Why not make it twenty four hours make Casey really sweat at getting her father to give up the money, but pressure on them?”

Jarvis face was blank. “I don't know. But it could be because he wants full control; it's his time line remember. He's a psychopath. It's always about control and power.”

Mark shook his head. “No I don't think so. I think there's another reason he has to keep to that timeline. One he has to keep too and he can't change it. One we don't know about, but if we did we'd have him.”

Jarvis didn't look convinced. “If there is you're never going to find it out, because we don't know who he is. Mr White will show us no leads, no part of him. There won't be a trail, if there is, it's a false one he will want you to follow. Divert your attention.”

“Now that I believe.” Marks eyes shifted to Ally. “You're very quiet?”

She shrugged. “Nothing I can add, the team covered everything.”

Mark turned his attention back to Jarvis. “I need you to update the whole team, full profile, let them know what to expect and look for in a psychopath. Tell them to incorporate it into the background checks.”

Jarvis rose gathering his files together. He nodded to Mark and as he passed to the door to Ally, then was gone.

Mark took in a long deep breath, moving back to behind his desk, his eyes rising to Ally again as she took the chair opposite. “So, what's going on in that head of yours?”

She looked back over her shoulder to the Time board, then back to Mark. “I think you're right. His timeline is for a reason. But if you're asking me what it is, I'm as much in the dark as the rest of us.”

Mark sighed, pulling up the surveillance file on the laptop. He read the last report. He sat back. “Tell me what happened earlier? You left the house in pursuit of Jennings and told back up to stay put?”

Ally cringed inside. “There was no need for back up. She was upset by the call. She was just blowing off steam. I had her in sight the whole time.” she didn't think telling him she'd lost her for five minutes would go down well. But she knew he wouldn't accept Jennings emotional state at the time.

“Going off on her own, off our grid. You were off our grid. You had no idea where she was going. Or what you were walking into. That isn't like you Ally.” He leant forward. “What's going on?”

“Nothing's going on?” she sighed. “Can I speak freely?”

He sat back, nodding.

“Both of them are falling apart with this, especially Kelly. She blames herself for all of it. The things from her past have made her believe she shouldn't have happiness and anything she touches, she destroys. The last straw was the kidnapper threatening Casey with no more contact if Kelly talks to him again. She isn't used to giving up control. To make matters worse Casey now has to go back to her parents. Something Kelly thought was behind them.”

Mark lazily smiled. “You sure you don't want Jarvis's job?”

“I'm not a profiler, I just read people well. She wasn't in danger except from herself.”

He looked up. “You think she'd harm herself?”

Ally shrugged. “Put it this way if Lucy is killed. I wouldn't want to leave her alone for long and I think Casey knows this too. I'm hoping Kelly has at least put some of her demons to rest.”

Mark pondered, and then exhaled. “Okay but you still shouldn't have gone off on your own. But I can understand why you did. But….”

Ally interrupted his words. “…. Don't let it happen again.”

He smiled, turning his attention back to the laptop. “I don't like Warren being off our grid either.”

Ally nodded. “You want me to find out from them what the story is with him?”

“You think they'll tell you? Last time I checked they weren't exactly big on giving us information?”

“They trust me a little more, and they both understand when I ask something it's for a reason.”

“What about Casey and her father? How will that go?”

Ally exhaled noisily. “I hate to think. But she will talk to him. You interviewed them. What do you think? Will he give her the money?”

Marks jaw tightened. “He's an asshole. Can understand why not many people like him. His wife is pretty much under the thumb with him, but he did listen to her about staying.”

Ally noticed his brow twitch. “But?”

“I didn't like what I saw when he found out he was the only way Casey could get the money. I think he sees an opportunity. So, yea I think he will give Casey the money it wouldn't surprise me if he made a big point of doing it. “

Ally knew what he was hinting at and she felt her stomach turn. “Jesus he'd really use it to get rid of Kelly?”

“He really thinks she is under some sort of spell with this woman. I'm thinking he sees an opportunity here and knowing enough about him he'll use it and I'm guessing Kelly knows that too.”

“Fuck! If she thinks the only way to get Lucy back is to stay out of their lives she'll do it.”

Mark ignored show of temper. “Yea but would Casey let her?”

Ally shook her head, rising to pace. “Casey shouldn't have to choose between her lover and Lucy. If Kelly sees Casey being used and torn apart like this, she'll step out of the equation. She'll disappear.”

“So, next time she runs off Agent don't cancel the god damn back up!”

Ally froze, turning to face him. “You knew this. You'd already worked it out.”

“As soon as I met Matthews and I saw what he was thinking. Sit down Ally.”

Ally stood where she was.

“I said sit down.”

Gritting her teeth she sat.

“I have no idea what's going on with you in this case. Why are you making it so personal? You know not to get involved. I've never seen you buck protocol before?”

“I don't know?”

“Do I need to assign you away from them?”

“I'd rather stay with them, as I said they are now trusting me, if you bring someone else in they are going to have to start from scratch.”

“Do you want me to reassign you?”

Her voice was low. “No.” Then taking a breath she looked up. “I honestly don't know why I'm so emotional, why this one seems to be worse than the others. Christ if cases like this didn't affect me Mark I shouldn't be doing the damn job. I can handle it. I let her go because I didn't see any danger, not because I suddenly couldn't do my job.”

Mark eyes bore into her. He broke his gaze looking back at the laptop. “Fair enough. I don't want you elsewhere, you're still the best I got in situations like this. I'll make sure after this is over you get some off time. You haven't had any vacation in over a year.”

Ally stiffened. “Are you saying I'm not capable of doing my job Sir?”

Marks voice was careful. Mentally trying to remember when was the last time Ally had called him sir. “No. What I'm saying is, you have Vacation owing, I'm scheduling it for after this case.”


Mark forced a smile. “Good. Now can we get back to the case or is there anything else I should know about? Or should I just book you on Oprah?”

Ally's mouth twitched a smile. “No. Anyway with this case it would be more Jerry's department.”

Mark laughed. “Yea.” He sobered. “You really okay Ally?”

Ally knew as she looked at him, this was Mark asking, her friend, her ex partner, not her boss. “Yes I am.”

This time his smile was genuine. “I'm glad.”

Ally mind went back to the case. “If you think Matthews is capable of using this to get rid of Kelly. Would it be that much of a leap to believe he didn't set it up in the first place?”

“No it wouldn't. But things aren't ever that simple. There's nothing in his background or what we've found so far links him in anyway. When he found out the girl was kidnapped he was shocked and if he was lying I'll hang up my badge tomorrow.”

Marks eyes went to the time board, and Ally's followed. Both knowing they were running out of time.

Lucy Matthews age six had now been missing exactly twenty-four hours.


Casey hand hovered over the phone again, she drew it back, taking a long breath. Her eyes drifted down to the card in her hand again.



ROOM 329

She felt Kelly's arm encircle her, pulling her close. She leant her head against the solid comforting weight of her lover. Her eyes still fixed on the card. “Why is this so hard to do?”

Kelly took her hand. “Because he's an asshole.”

Casey half laughed. “I'm scared Kel? What if he says no? What are we going to do?”

Kelly swallowed the lump in her throat. “He won't”

Casey sniffed, tilting her head enough to look at Kelly. “How can you be so sure? When he's my father and I'm not.”

“Because he is your father Cass, that's why. Everything he has ever done for you has been out of love and wanting to protect you.”

Casey moved away, anger tingeing her voice. “How can you defend him after everything he did to us? To you!”

Kelly sighed. “I'm not. I'm telling you the reason why. Cass, I always understood why he did it. It doesn't mean I like it or him. But, you asked me would he give you the money and the answer is yes. “

Casey looked over her shoulder at her, her face showing her uncertainty.

“But he isn't going to offer it, he wants you to ask.”

“Beg you mean.”

Kelly bit back her anger, knowing deep down what Jason was going to ask for. She pulled Casey back against her. “No. He won't. He's proud Cass… he needs to know you still look to him for help. He won't make you beg baby.”

Casey shook her head, stubborn tears escaping. “I have to do this. You understand don't you? If… if it weren't for Lucy I wouldn't be talking to him again.” Her voice held slight desperation as she grabbed Kelly's arm in a vice. “Please say you understand?”

“Shhhhh… I understand. I do.” Kelly reached across lifting the phone. “Talk to him Cass. It will be okay. I'm right here.”

Casey grabbed Kelly's hand holding the phone. Kelly gently eased her hand from under it, now wrapping both arms around Casey.

Casey dialled the number.

“Hello…. Yes… please can I have room 329… tell him it's his…. daughter.”

Kelly tightened her hug as she felt Casey's whole body stiffen and then start to tremble.

“Daddy…. We need your help.”



Ally smiled as the door opened. “Hi. How you doing?” She stepped into the house.

Kelly sighed and stepped back. “Don't you get tired of asking that question? I know I'm getting tired of being asked it.”

“Sorry, force of habit and besides I am interested in how you're doing.” Ally gaze moved to the living room seeing Casey on the phone. Noticing how pale she was. She turned back to Kelly. “Her parents?”

Kelly nodded. “Her father wants to come here…. Casey wants to go there.” Her jaw twitched as she saw Casey lower her head and argue with something said. She turned away.

“Well if she does go there she will have full protection.”

“From who? Her father or the kidnapper?”

Ally frown. “Does she need protection from her father? Has he abused her in the past?”

“Not with his fists or sexually if that's what you mean. There are other ways.” Kelly turned and went towards the kitchen.

After a moment Ally followed. Kelly was already putting dishes in the dishwasher.

“What did you mean?”

“It doesn't matter. If you ask Casey her father didn't do anything. But I guess I saw it because I'm an outsider and recognised manipulation.” Kelly looked back at Ally, her tone turning bitter. “My parents were masters of it.” Her attention went to closing the dishwasher with a slam. She wiped her hands on a cloth leaning back against the work surface. “You know Casey never wanted to be a general doctor. She wanted to be surgeon. But her father told her she didn't have what it takes under pressure, that she'd fail.” Kelly shrugged. “....So, she went towards general practise and dropped the surgeon idea. Thing is, I checked back with a few of her friends and a couple of teachers, they said she would have made a very good surgeon. She had the passion for it.”

The more Ally heard about the father the more she disliked him. “Why didn't he want her to be a surgeon?”

“That one's easy. He didn't want her leaving. He knew where they lived didn't have any place for a surgeon. She'd go to one of the big hospitals somewhere too far away. But, there is a place for doctor. It was where she was going to go too, before she met me.”

Ally nodded now understanding. She motioned to the coffee machine. “Can I?”

“Go ahead.”

“She would have gone back with Warren right, set up practise together?”

Kelly almost smirked. “I was wondering how long it was going to take you to get around to Warren. You've covered everything else in our past.”

Ally stirred her coffee, smiling up. “Wouldn't like to disappoint you.”

Kelly was too tired to argue. “What do you want to know?”

“What did you think of Warren?”

“Well that's a toughie.” Kelly sat. “I spent most of the time around him being jealous.”

“Because you wanted Casey?”

Kelly laughed. “It wasn't because of his car.”

Ally sheepishly grinned. “Sorry, dumb question.”

“I met Casey at the hospital. I was there sorting out a business contract for one of the patience on her round. I had to go back almost daily for two weeks. I liked her right off.” Kelly eyes unfocused, as she remembered. “It started simple enough; we'd go for coffee and a few lunches. She told me she was engaged to be married and was working out how to tell her father she didn't want to go back to her home town to practise. But Warren wanted to set up there too. She wasn't sure what to do.” Kelly sighed, leaning back in the chair. “I didn't think I had the right to give her advice, so I didn't. I just listened. When my client was checked out of the hospital I knew I didn't have any excuse to go there, so I gave her my number and told her if she ever needed a lawyer to contact me.”


“She called me out of the blue about a week later, asking me if I could come back into the hospital as she had a patient who was worrying about losing their business. A corporate company was bullying them into selling…. I went.”

Ally found herself wanting to know more. Wanting to know how these two different women came together, made a life, had a child. “ When did it become more then friendship?” Ally was amazed when Kelly actually blushed. The answer came from a voice behind her.

“It was when I seduced her.”

Ally turned her head to the doorway, seeing Casey standing there, a smug grin on her face. A hundred questions rushed around Ally's head. The Agent in her wanted details, the romantic in her wanted details, but all she managed to say was. “Oh.”

Kelly was up immediately, seeing the strain behind the grin on her lover's face. “You okay? What did he say?”

Casey shuddered a breath. “It went okay, I guess. But I couldn't talk him out of coming here.” Casey met Kelly's eyes. “I'm sorry I tried to keep him out of our home. He wants to come.”

Kelly forced a smile. “It's okay.”

Casey knew it wasn't, she could see the storm clouds and insecurity behind the grey eyes. “It's not. But thank you for saying it. He will be here at six tonight.” Her gaze went to Ally. “How are you Ally? And what are you up too this time?”

Ally was surprised to be asked and smiled. “I'm doing okay thank you. I was being nosey again. I'm afraid.”

Casey moved away from Kelly, getting a cup of tea. “I was the one to seduce her you know.”

Kelly blushed again and returned to her seat. “Cass.” She looked down embarrassed.

Casey couldn't hide the amusement in her voice. “Well it was. If I'd waited for you to make the first move, I'd still be waiting.”

Ally was finding it hard not to grin, seeing Kelly almost squirm. “And I thought you'd be the first to make your move.” She laughed. Grey eyes locked on her and she found her urge to grin scurry and hide. “I'm sorry I shouldn't be asking this right now. All I really wanted to know was about Warren. I don't mean to make light of your pain or what's happening. Let's forget I asked okay.”

Casey turned to her quickly. “No don't…. I don't mind and neither does Kelly. It…. It's nice to remember something like that. I mean….” She sighed. “We can't do anything Ally we just sit here hour after hour…. going crazy. Our minds calling up,… calling up horrible things. I need this. We need this…. Please ask? Take our mind somewhere else for a while.”

Kelly watched as Casey moved next to her, placing her tea onto the table, moving the chair closer. When Casey sat, Kelly could feel their legs touching under the table. Casey smiled. She found herself answering it. She turned to look at Ally. “She's right. Go ahead.”

Ally relaxed. “So you seduced her. Eh?”

This time Casey blushed, looking down as she sipped her tea. “Ahuh.”

Kelly let out a small laugh. “Now she gets embarrassed.”

Casey shushed her.

Ally watched them, and once again she found herself wondering what it would be like to have someone. “I'm sorry, but I think I'm going to be clique here or something worse. Were you gay?”

Kelly snorted.

Casey chuckled. “Let's just say I had major leaning it that direction from an early age.”

“But how then did it happen with Warren?”

Casey sipped her tea again. “Warren was who I was supposed to be with, the perfect plan for my father, husband, practise, and children. Don't get me wrong I did care for him and to be honest if I hadn't met Kelly when I did, I would have married him.” she put down the teacup. “But, it would have been a mistake. The marriage would have ended sooner than later.”

“And you realised this when you met Kelly?”

“No. I'd known it before but I'd talked myself into believing I'd fallen madly in love with him. I don't know if you'd understand Ally. I did love him, but it wasn't in that big heart stopping way. If anything I was comfortable with him, safe, I felt loved. I… so wanted that. When I first met him he made me laugh made me feel like I could do anything I wanted too with my life. He gave me a sense of freedom I'd very rarely seen. But when I met Kel....” Her gaze went to her lover. “.....I began to see what I had with Warren was just one thing, safe.”

Ally frowned, trying her hardest to understand. “And Kelly wasn't safe?”

“Hell no, she was danger.” Casey laughed as she grabbed Kelly's hand. “She was everything that unbalanced me in life. She tipped my conformed world right on its logical ass.”

Kelly squeezed her hand back, grinning.

Now Casey's whole focus was on Kelly. “She was and is passion, want, need, gentleness. But most of all she is someone who showed me what real heart stopping love is supposed to be.”

Ally found herself blushing as Kelly and Casey kissed. She looked down finding her coffee very interesting.

Kelly broke the kiss. “I think we're embarrassing the FBI.”

Casey cleared her throat. “Sorry.”

“No. No. It's fine.” Ally took a long gulp of coffee.

Casey and Kelly gave each other a knowing look.

“Is that why your father reacted the way he did?”

Kelly and Casey lost their smiles. Ally wished sometimes she didn't have to ask questions.

Casey nodded. “My father saw Kelly as the reason for my leaving Warren. He wouldn't listen…. He never listened. He would have reacted the same way if Kelly had been a guy. The whole women thing was just an added bonus to add to his arsenal of attack…. He never really knew me, I'd had crushes in collage with woman, but I was too much of a chicken shit to act on them.”

Kelly chuckled.

“Oh shut up.” Casey looked at Ally again. “I think I always knew my father controlled my life, but I didn't realise how much he did until Kelly and I got together….” her voice dropped. “It got very ugly with him. He tried so hard to tell me how bad Kel was. What he didn't know was she'd already told me everything because she was trying to scare me off. Ironic right?”

Ally turned her gaze to Kelly seeing the sadness there. “Yea pretty ironic.”

Casey inhaled deeply. “When that didn't work he actually threatened her.”

Ally's eyes set on Kelly again.

Kelly shrugged. “Not physically. My business…. He informed me the information he had on my past would get me kicked off the bar. I told him to go ahead, they already knew. That just pissed him off more.”

Casey finished the last of her tea. “Anyway the end result, I wasn't going to let Kel go, and she finally got it into her thick skull I meant it.”

Kelly's eyes dropped sheepishly.

Ally noticed as Casey talked her, her thumb was lazily moving across the back of Kelly's hand, totally unaware she was even doing it. Ally brought her attention back to Casey.

Casey continued. “I'd told my father I wanted him in my life, and I loved him and I wanted him to be happy for me. When that didn't work and he continued his attacks on Kelly, I gave him an ultimatum, the first time I'd truly stood up to him. He'd have to accept Kelly, because I wasn't leaving her. He tried to act as if it didn't matter when we were first together. But each time we saw him he'd find some way of making Kel feel like shit. Eventually we moved here, we didn't talk much…. But when….”

Casey's face lost all colour. Kelly squeezed her hand. The touch calmed her like it always did, she gave Kelly a smile of thanks, she cleared her throat. “When Lucy came along he came to visit, but he ignored Kel so much, acted as if she didn't exist. He started making plans, to talk about schools Lucy should go too, taking her on holidays, then I saw what he was thinking. He'd make Lucy feel so confused, he'd tell her about Kel, make her…..” her hand went back through her hair. “Oh god I don't know what he'd do. But I couldn't let him. I had a huge argument with him and he just stood there with that damn plan, a plan that I'd get over Kelly and come home with Lucy and be back on his time line of my life. I told him to get out and I haven't talked to him until tonight.”

“I'm sorry.” Ally didn't know what else to say.

“Thank you. The worst of it Ally was my mother. She never said a word, even though I knew she didn't agree with him.... I miss her.” This time she didn't hold back on turning into Kelly's arms.

Ally looked at them both sadly. “I wish I could say something that won't sound stupid.”

Kelly eyes moved from Casey. “Ally. Can I ask you to do something?”

Ally nodded. “Sure.”

Kelly swallowed. “Can you be here when her father comes tonight?”

Ally didn't hesitate. “I'll be here. Any reason?”

“Two actually. The main one I'm not so sure I won't hit him.”

Ally smiled. “And the other one?”

“He…. He won't want me around.”

Casey jerked back, her eyes blazing. “If he thinks I'm kicking you out of your own home Kel, he is asking too much and if you're even thinking of leaving because of him, I swear to god I'll kick your damn ass.”

Kelly shook her head. “Cass, I'm not leaving you and he won't ask that. But I'm not so sure I can stomach being around him and being treated that way right now. I…. Don't think I can control my temper and the price is too high Cass, to high if I piss him off. Please understand.”

Casey's eyes dimmed. “Oh Kel…”

Ally cursed him. “I won't leave her alone.”

Kelly gave her a nod, thanks radiating from her eyes.

Casey sniffed, drawing away wiping at her eyes. “Damn. I didn't want to cry again.”

Ally reached into her pocket pulling out a packet of tissues pushing them over.

Casey took them, half-laughing. “Do all Agents get issued with these?”

Ally grinned. “We get them the same time as the gun and the attitude.”

Kelly laughed along with Casey. Her own stomach was in knots reliving the story along with Casey. She had to admit she was beginning to like Ally and had already begun to trust her. “You wanted to know about Warren?”

Ally nodded. “Yes. I know it's not an easy question, but how did he really handle finding out about the two of you?”

“I hurt him.” Casey voice dropped again. “I wish I hadn't.”

Kelly gave her a hug again. “He handled it better than I ever would have. He let me know exactly what he thought of me. He was angry, hurt, jealous. But he never brought Casey into it, never blamed her.... Told me that if he couldn't make her happy, I damn sure had better.”

“He blamed you?”

“Not entirely. He said to me once that fate makes fools of everyone in the end, especially those who don't believe in it. I… I never really knew what he meant until Lucy was born. If you don't believe in fate you can't have some sort of expectation of the future. For a long time I never saw a future of any kind other then what I was doing. Having Lucy showed me even though I didn't believe in fate, I still wanted a future. That make any sense?”

Ally sat back rubbing her neck. “None what so ever.”

Kelly smiled. “Well hopefully one day it will.”

Ally's eyes came up fast. Catching a twinkle of something in Kelly's eyes, that made her suddenly uncomfortable. She cleared her throat. “Going back to Warren. Do you think he accepted it as much as he said he did?”

“Yes. He didn't bother us if that's what you asking. He kept in touch with Casey for a while odd phone calls and emails, I think that was for about a year. But can't say I blame him for stopping or losing contact. As I said he handled it better than I ever would.” Kelly looked to Casey.

Casey agreed. “When I moved out I didn't really see him much, he changed shift at the hospital, then later he told me he was moving back to New York to be with his sister and finish his residency there.”

“And he just accepted that you were leaving him? He didn't argue with you? Or try and persuade you, you were wrong?”

Casey snapped. “Of course he did, he was hurt and angry, and I didn't blame him one bit.” Casey exhaled. “I moved out after telling him, but I think he thought he could change my mind. He didn't really give up for at least a month. As we kept talking he realised I wasn't going to come back. That's when he changed shifts and stayed away from me.”

“Did you know your father asked him to stay and fight for you?”

Casey looked to Kelly in surprise then back to Ally. “No, I didn't know that. When?”

“I believe it was just before he made the decision to go to New York. When he went I think your father thought of him as a coward.”

Kelly scoffed. “That doesn't surprise me. Bastard.”

A little of the past started to make sense. “Well that would explain why my father stopped throwing Warren in my face.”

Kelly shook her head sadly. “Warren wasn't a coward. He just knew when to let go of something.”

Ally nodded coming to the same conclusion. She relaxed back, processing the information about Warren. He would be classed as a nice guy. “Have you heard from Warren since he left?”

Casey smiled. “He sends a Christmas card and for the past two years he's started sending an update email of what's being going on with him. He has a new girl friend. His last email talked about her. He talked about moving in with her. It's kinda of a big thing, as he hasn't had anyone steady since we broke up. I was glad for him.”

Ally's sense peaked. “You updated him?”

“Sure. But to be honest it's mostly chitchat emails. I don't think he really wants to know how happy I am. But I think he knows I need to know he's at least happy in his life.”

Ally smiled. “Yes.” She glanced down at her watch, rising. “Thank you for sharing this with me, but if I'm going to be back here in time for your fathers visit I need to go and sort out some things first.”

Kelly rose. “I'll walk you to the door. Casey can do the cooking for once.”

Ally followed Kelly out. Kelly opened the door, her hand fell onto Ally's arm stopping her. “Why are you asking about Warren?”

Ally could have lied but she chose not to. “He is on holiday in Mexico, has been for the last two weeks. That's one person from Casey past who is off our radar. We don't like it. I'm checking to make sure he isn't a problem…” Ally checked the hallway to make sure Casey wasn't there. “I didn't ask in there… but I'm asking you now. Could Warren have done this? “

Kelly blinked. “Warren? I…. Jesus Ally. We haven't seen him in over six years.”

“I know. But could he have done this?”

Kelly shook her head. “He'd never hurt Casey like this. It was the main thing about what happened, he never wanted Casey hurt. He was like me he couldn't stand it. I got Casey because Casey wanted me. I was backing off, she's right when she said that. Warren did the same, except the big difference was Casey wasn't fighting for him to stay.”

Ally sighed, finally nodded. “Okay. Look I'll be back before her father gets here.”

“Thank you.”

Kelly watched her go, tracing the movement of the car until it was out of sight. She went back inside, closing the door. All the time her mind was trying to see if there was any part of Warren that would kidnap their daughter.


Ally opened the back of the surveillance truck, stepping up and in.

Moss shifted over, giving her room to sit. “Hi Ally.”

Ally's nose crinkled. “Jesus what's that smell?”

Moss held up a pizza box. “Anchovies.”

Ally fanned the air. “You guys have got to learn to clean up, the Perp could smell you a mile away.”

Both Moss and Bennett chuckled.

She leant forward, looking at each of the four screens on the console, seeing different live images of the street. “Anything unusual?”

Bennett shook his head, flipping a button to call up data feed. “No, only real movement was an MSC news van sniffing around early. They took some shots of the street, talked to a few neighbours. I think it will be on the news tomorrow.”

Ally sighed. “I'm surprised it's taken them this long. Okay better arrange for a few more patrol cars to be here tomorrow morning. I don't want news hounds anywhere near the house, until Kelly and Casey decide what they want to do.”

Bennett nodded, clearing the data image.

Ally picked up the report sheet. “Did you check out the van?”

Moss answered. “Yes, it checks out fully, it did come from MSC.”

Ally finished reading, putting the report sheet back on the top. “Right. At six, Mr and Mrs Matthews are going to come here. I've already notified Mark and they are going to be tailed from the hotel. I don't know how long there going to stay, so be advised could be a late one.”

Moss smiled. “Not for me I'm off in half an hour. Shaw's taking over.”

Ally nodded. “No problem, just make sure he's up to speed…. How we doing on the line traces?”

Moss reached over pulling up his laptop. “I've gone over each of the main phone lines around here, within a two-block radius. There isn't any sign of them being tapped. If it was done outside of that radius, it would have taken some heavy duty surveillance devices. Even the ones we use need to be near a junction or main source.”

Ally read the screen and nodded. “So he didn't tap their phones?”

“Doesn't look that way no.”

“Okay. Anything found to give us a clue as to where he watched them?”

Bennett pushed his chair on wheels to the back of the van, pulling down a relief map of the area, pushed himself back. Laying the map out so all of them could see. “We had a team go over the surrounding area. As you see out the back of Jennings house there is a hill ridge, mostly trees. We went over that with a fine tooth comb, if he did use the area he didn't leave as much as a footprint.”

Ally traced over the map with her finger. “What about here?”

Bennett shook his head. “We checked there, nothing. It's the only elevation left. So we moved to unknown vehicles. Again came up with nothing. None of the neighbours remembers seeing anything out of the ordinary around here. There was a phone company van here for three days in March, but that checks out. It's a closed road so people would have seen any parked cars or vans they didn't know. “

“What about empty houses?”

“There were three in the time line. The Atkins house, number 23 it's the third on the right opposite our place. They were away for a two-week holiday. But it's alarmed and they noticed nothing unusual when they returned. We checked it over and no evidence the alarm was tampered with or the house.... The second is Mr Tai's house. That's the first on the street, not a good view of our people's place but would have seen coming and goings. Mr Tai was visiting family for a month beginning of this year. It's alarmed and again when he returned nothing unusual. We checked it over, no evidence of alarm tampering there either, or the house…. The last is a renter, number 44. Its two doors down from our place, it was empty for three months up until February of this year. We went over it pretty thoroughly. Before the Morgan's moved in it had been cleaned by a professional cleaning service. Not a lot left to find…. Alarm was reset when the Morgan's took over, so that would have wiped any tampering. Also the windows at the back had been replaced. We talked to the double glazing people but none of them remember any problems with breakage with the doors or the windows. But, it's the only one that was empty and unused and no one took much notice of coming and goings there.”

“You saying it's a possible our guy was there?” Ally studied the house.

“Yep. The main bedroom has a clear view to our people. He could have sat there unseen and unknown for days watching them.”

“You update Mark?”

Bennett nodded. “First thing.”

“No DNA?”

“Sure, we sent that up to the labs. But the amount of people who have been in and out of there the last week, we'll be lucky.”

Ally's eyes went to the screen, which held the house they were talking about. “He just sat there, watching them. Gives me the damn creeps he can move around unnoticed and not leave a trace.”

Bennett rolled up the map. “Headquarters are checking the letting agent. Try to see if we can find out where they advertised. If it was a web site we might get lucky and find an ISP log, but that's going to take some time. God knows how many hits a site like that gets in a day and this would have been months ago. If it's just newspaper advertisement….” He shook his head. “It's a slim bet we'll ever find him.”

Ally ran her hand back through her hair. “Yea. I'm hearing that a lot about him….” her eyes caught a movement on one of the other screens seeing a cab pull up outside Kelly's house. She glanced down at her watch. “Damn it. They're early….” She rose opening the door stepping back down onto the street. “You know where I am when you need me…. And get rid of that damn smell.” She slammed the door shut, running to her car.

Moss and Bennett looked at each other and grinned.


The doorbell rang.

“I'll get it. It's probably our FBI shadow.” Kelly opened the door. She'd never been punched in the gut in her life, but right there and then she knew what it felt like as Jason Matthews turned to face her his eyes telling her exactly what he thought of her. It took a lot but she managed to put a smile on her face and keep her lungs taking in air. “Hello Mr Matthews, Mrs Matthews.”

Mrs Matthews looked to her husband, seeing he wasn't going to speak, moving in front of him. “Hello Kelly. It's nice to see you again.”

Kelly softened her smile. “Hello and thank you.”

Matthews moved in front of his wife, stepping close up to Kelly's face. “Where's my daughter?”

Casey head came up sharply from reading the newspaper, hearing her father's voice echo down the hallway. She rose quickly, her eyes dipping to her watch as she exited the kitchen heading towards the front door. Cursing on seeing he was over a half an hour early. She felt her steps falter seeing him standing in the doorway. “Hello Daddy.”

Matthews walked straight past Kelly, not even giving her a second look as he opened his arms. “Casey girl. Come here.”

Casey looked unsure then stepped into the behemoth hug. Her eyes fixed on Kelly's, seeing the anger there. Then her eyes moved to her mother who was still nervously standing outside. She pulled away from her father, ignoring his attempt to hold her, moving quickly to her mother. “Oh mom.”

Amanda Matthews grabbed her daughter tightly. “I've missed you Casey. So much. We'll get your baby back. Shhhhh don't worry.”

Casey let the tears fall. “Thank you. oh thank you for coming. I've missed you so much.”

Kelly smiled at the scene. One of the hardness things for Casey was losing her mother. Her senses prickled and she turned her head to see Jason glaring at her. She held his stare until finally he moved his eyes from her.

“Amanda come in the house. People will be watching.”

Amanda held Casey for a moment longer then pulled away, smiling sadly as she moved into the house to stand next to her husband.

Casey faced outwards, wiping her cheeks dry, giving herself time to compose herself, before taking a deep breath and turning around.

Kelly wanted to move to her but she kept her place, her hand tightening on the door handle till her knuckles were white. She'd promised herself she wouldn't react, wouldn't intervene, and wouldn't cause a problem. She would let Casey handle him.

Casey gave her an apologetic look before moving past her to stand before her parents. “Thank you both for coming.”

Matthews scowled. “I would have thought you would have contacted us instead of the FBI informing us that our grand daughter was missing. “

Casey winced. “She's not just missing, she's been kidnapped.”

His eyes narrowed. “So they told us. It should have been you Casey to tell us. We're your parents, Lucy's grandparents. I would have thought we would have at least rated a damn phone call.”

Kelly gritted her teeth.

Casey squared her shoulders. “I didn't call you because I didn't know if you'd hang on me again.”

Jason eye's jumped to Kelly then back to his daughter. “I have never hung up on you .”

Casey bit her tongue, knowing if she said want she wanted too, this would turn into an argument, which would go around in circles. “Dad please…. Let's not do this again. Not now.”

His jaw shifted, he gave a curt nod. “You're right, this isn't the time for arguing, it's the time where families pull together.” he moved forward slipping his arm around his daughter's shoulder. “Gonna offer your old man a drink.” He moved forward drawing Casey with him into the living room.

Kelly stood standing there, her eyes focused on them.

“Kelly? Is… it okay if I call you that?”

Kelly looked to Mrs Matthews. “Yes it's fine. I don't think though it would be wise to call you Amanda.”

Amanda smiled moving closer. “You can call me Amanda. I'd like that.”

It was strange for Kelly to see parts of Casey staring back at her from her mother face. It was even stranger to know Casey's eyes were exactly like her fathers. “Can I get you a cup of tea, or Coffee or something? Otherwise I'll be in the kitchen if you need anything.”

Amanda frowned. “You're not coming in the living room with us?”

Kelly's eyes shifted to Casey and her father, who was taking off his coat looking around the living room. “I told Casey I'd stay out of his way.”

Amanda sighed. Slightly uncertain she reached across taking Kelly's hand.

Surprised at the touch Kelly looked down.

“Kelly, I've never really thanked you.”

Again surprised Kelly looked up. “Thanked me?”

“Yes. For making my daughter so happy and giving her the life she's always wanted.”

Kelly's mouth dropped opened.

Amanda smiled, patting the back of Kelly's hand. “My husband is a very hard man, proud, and I'm afraid very selfish at times. But believe me he does love Casey. He just too stubborn to see that what he has always wanted for her is exactly what you give her….” she drew closer. “I'm not asking you or Casey to forgive the way he has treated you….” her voice stuttered. “.... or myself. But please understand I love him, it doesn't mean I always agree with him. I've made choices in my life I have had to live with.” Her voice gained strength, her grip on Kelly's hand matching it. “But please believe me I won't make the same mistakes again…. I won't lose my daughter a second time or her family.”

Kelly nodded unable to find any words, but the one thing she did know, was she believed her. Because the fire she saw in Amanda's eyes was the same as when Casey dug her heels in on wanting something.

“Now then, you're part of this family whether Jason likes it or not…. So I'd like us to share a pot of tea together, you go and get it and bring it into the living room. We have some decisions to make concerning our grand daughter and I know Casey wants you there and so do I.”

Kelly was sure she'd just fallen down Alice's rabbit hole and was now caught in some strange land where any minute upside down flamingos and queens yelling ‘off with their head' would appear. She finally found her voice. “What about Jason?”

Amanda took her coat off, handing it to a slight still shocked Kelly. “I'll handle Jason. Just don't let him get to you. I may stay quiet and act as if I don't have an opinion. I've learned my dear to choose my battles.”

Kelly mutely nodded, watching her go into the living room. She saw Casey watching her with a questioning look. Kelly shrugged her shoulders in answer, then putting the coat in the closet she went to get the pot of tea, hoping she didn't come across any ‘drink me' bottles.

Amanda held out her hand, which Casey took with a grin. Casey looked over to her father looking at the pictures on the bookshelf by the window she lowered her voice talking to her mother. “What did you say to Kelly?”

Amanda sat, bringing her daughter down next to her. “I didn't hurt her if that's what you asking?” her voice held sadness.

Casey relaxed a little. “I'm sorry it's just this is very hard for her.”

“I know. I just asked her to join us.”

Casey frowned. “Why?”

Amanda sighed, hearing the mistrust. “I wish I could take time back Casey. I deserve the suspicion. I asked her to join us because she's part of this family.”

Casey wanted to believe it, but as she was about to speak her father came into view, sitting himself in front of them.

“You have a beautiful house Casey, you've done well.”

“Thank you. Kelly and I worked hard to get it.”

“Hmmm.” He looked over his shoulder to the pictures on the mantel of Casey, Kelly and Lucy. “Lucy looks like you did at that age.”

When he turned to face her again, Casey thought for a brief moment she saw something of the father she grew up with, but he quickly covered it.

“Well I guess we'd better talk about this horrible thing.” He face grew ridged, his eyes now looking past Casey.

Casey turned her head knowing already Kelly had come back into the room. She hated it when she saw the uncertainty come into her lover's eyes as she stopped in the doorway.

Amanda rose. “Let me help you with that.”

Kelly handed over the tray, still unsure if she should stay or not.

Amanda placed the tray on the table, smiling back at Kelly. “You sit next to Casey I'll take this one next to Jason.”

Jason let out a sound akin to a growl.

Kelly took a long breath and went to sit as instructed. Casey gave her a reassuring smile as she sat, her hand moving slowly between them to touch the tips of Kelly's fingers. Kelly felt it and gave a smile.

Amanda saw Jason about to react and pushed a cup of tea into his hand. “Sugar today Jason?”

He blinked, his anger having to refocus. “What?”

Amanda smiled. “Is it your sugar day dear. I can't remember?”

“Sugar? No of course not.”

She smiled again. “I thought not…” she handed a cup to Casey. “Do you still take one?”

Casey took the cup, smiling her thanks. “Yes.”

Amanda passed Kelly's “and you're none?”

Kelly took the cup. “Thank you. Yes.” She looked down at the teacup for a moment wanting to check to see if it said ‘drink me' anywhere on it.

Amanda took hers and sat. “So here we are.” She sipped her tea looking to each of them.

Casey was finding it hard not to giggle hysterically at the whole situation. She never thought all four of them would be sitting quietly sipping tea. It was just too surreal. She could feel the tension radiating off Kelly. Well aware that her father was still glaring at her lover. Any minute now she was going to give herself permission to go right ahead and have a nervous breakdown.

Amanda glared at Jason. He finally dropped his eyes from Kelly and putting his cup down. He cleared his throat. “How is Lucy?”

Casey stopped sipping her tea. “He said she is fine. I…I might be able to talk to her tomorrow. Did… did you see the picture?”

Jason eyes sparked with anger. “Yes. She didn't look hurt.”

“No. Just scared.” Casey put her cup down her hand already beginning to tremble.

Kelly reached over and took her hand, she didn't care what Jason thought.

Jason gave her an evil look, but held his tongue. “He wants money.... More to the point my money.”

Kelly nearly bit through her tongue.

Casey felt Kelly flinch and squeezed her hand gently. “Yes. We…. We don't have that kind of money.”

“Hmmm. How much time did he give?”

“Forty-eight hours. He's calling again tomorrow at noon.” She felt her hands sweat.

“He tell you how he wants it?” He placed down his cup, glaring at Kelly again. Letting her know this was all her doing.

“No. Not yet.” Casey saw it, tightening her hold on Kelly's hand.

He looked away in disgust. “What's the FBI doing to catch him? What they say about giving him the money?”

“There policy is not to pay. But they won't leave just because we do. They're doing everything they can to find out who he is.”

He grumbled. “What guarantee do I have that if I give the money we get Lucy back and he doesn't just run off and kill her.”

Amanda's head snapped around to him. “Jason!”

Jason looked at Amanda. “What? I'm only asking a question.” his gaze went back to Casey. “Surely you have thought about this?”

Kelly tasted blood in her mouth as her jaw clamped shut on her tongue.

Casey took a long hard breath. “Of course we've damn well thought about it. Do you think we're idiots? He has our daughter, and we've spent the last twenty-four hours in a nightmare, imagining what he's doing with her. I don't need you saying that okay. We know. So keep your opinions or ideas to yourself.”

He blinked. “Don't use that tone with me.”

Kelly's hand clenched the teacup.

“Jason be quiet.” Amanda's voice was sharp.

“She doesn't need to speak to me that way. I've come here to help and she wouldn't be in this situation if that woman had been on time to pick up our granddaughter. How can you trust Lucy in her care for god's sake. I sure as hell know I never would again. “

Into the stunned silence came the sound of a shattering teacup as Kelly's hand closed around it in a vice and it crushed. She jumped up, as hot tea spilled down her leg. “Shit.”

“Kel!” Casey threw her father a look, her hands trying to catch hold of Kelly's hand where she spotted blood.

“I'm fine leave it.” Kelly pulled her hand away. “I said its fine!”

Amanda rose giving her husband much the same look as her daughter had done. This time he actually shrunk back.

“Kelly. Let me see you hand please.” Amanda held out her hand.

Kelly cursed. “Look its nothing…. I'm going to change.” She turned and left.

Casey spun around. “How fucking dare you.”

Jason shifted uncomfortably, actually aware he had gone too far. “I didn't say anything that wasn't true.”

Casey moved forward, only to stop when she felt her Mother's hand on her arm.

“Why don't you go and see if Kelly is okay.”

Casey looked to her father again, anger still in her eyes, but her face just held disappointment. “I wish I knew what's happened to you? Because, the father you used to be would never deliberately hurt someone, like you just did to Kelly. There's one thing you haven't gotten yet, when she hurts, I hurt.”

Jason face held the look of being slapped. “C…asey.”

Casey gave her mother a hug and ran out of the room, heading upstairs.

Amanda sat down next to him. “Why Jason?” she shook her head. “You said you would try?”

He slumped, rubbing his face with both hands. “I… I don't know. I… just see red when that woman is around.”

“She has a name Jason. Maybe you should try to use it. Hasn't she showed she's good for Casey?”

“You call this good for her!” He bolted straight.

“This wasn't Kelly's fault.”

“So you say. I don't trust her.”

“Well that doesn't really matter now does it. Because Casey has shown she can live her life without us in it. Do you really want to go away from here and once again lose her from our life?”

He looked directly at her. “If it wasn't for Kelly…. She'd be with us. We wouldn't have lost six years of her life. She'd be married, working near us. That woman has taken her away from what she could have been.”

Amanda shook her head sadly, standing. “Oh Jason. Casey left our life because of you.”

His eye's steeled. “You're wrong Amanda, very wrong.”

She paused, looking back at him. Wishing she knew just for once what he was thinking.



“Kel open the door.”

Kelly held her hand under the cold tap, watching the red crimson spread and mix and disappear down the plug hole.

“Please open the door.”

Kelly closed her eyes, cursing herself for wanting to cry, cursing herself that he'd gotten to her so easily. She jumped as a hand slapped the door wood.

“Open it! Don't shut me out. Please baby.”

Grabbing a towel Kelly wrapped it around her hand, turning off the tap. Reaching she slid the lock across, stepping back to sit on the toilet seat.

Casey entered, her eyes flickering to the blood in the bowl then down to the towelled covered hand. She knelt down. “Let me see.”

“It's nothing.”

“Ahuh. Let me see anyway. Humour the doctor in the family.”

Kelly sighed, offering out her hand. Casey unwrapped it carefully, wincing as it revealed a gash where the china had dug into the palm. “Don't move. I'm just getting my bag.” She rose, but before leaving she gently placed her hand on Kelly's cheek, leaning down to place a whispered kiss on her lover's lips. “Be right back okay?”

Kelly nodded.

Casey was back quickly, taking out tape, gauze and cleaner. “This is gonna smart some.” She quickly cleaned the area.

Kelly hissed air in.

Casey gave her a sympathetic smile. “Nearly finished.”

Both of them looked up as the doorbell sounded. Casey pressed the gauze down on the wound. “Hold.”

Kelly did.

Casey rose, quickly heading down stairs, reaching the front door as her mother came out of the living room. Casey opened the door.

Ally's smile faltered as she saw the state of Casey. “What's going on?”

Casey paled. “Have you news?”

Ally relaxed, smiling. “No. I'm just here as requested remember. Guess I'm late. What's going on?”

Relieved Casey motioned to her mother. “Ally this is my mother, Amanda Matthews. “ Casey closed the door. “Mom take care of her, she's FBI.” Then she turned and ran back up the stairs.

Frowning Ally looked after the departing figure, then turned a questioning look to Amanda. “I'm thinking I've missed something?”

“You could say that. You're working on my granddaughters case?”

“Yes I am.” Ally followed Amanda as she headed back into the living room. She stiffened as she got her first look at Mr Matthews. He was standing by the fire, his eyes looking her up and down. She had to admit he was an imposing figure.

“What sort of an Agents name is Ally?” his tone didn't hide his disapproval.

“My first one.” her eyes took in the scene, the broken cup on the floor and Amanda mopping up the mess.

“So have you caught him yet?”

Ally perched on the end of the sofa arm. “It isn't that simple. We are following a few leads.”

He scoffed. “That's bullshit speak. It means you know jack shit.”

Ally glanced at the floor again, then her eyes went to the staircase. “If you excuse me I'm just going to go upstairs and check on those two.” She gave a forced smile and headed upstairs. Going directly to the master bedroom, she poked her head inside, seeing the bathroom door open. She tapped on it before putting her head around the door. “Anyone at home?”

Kelly looked up as did Casey, who was just putting the last of the tape on to hold the bandage in place.

Ally's eyes widened. “Shit what happened?”

Casey started to put away her first aid kit. “Kel, killed a cup.”

Ally's eyes jumped to Kelly. “You throw it at him?”

Kelly snorted. “I wish.”

Casey patted her knee and rose. “They came early.”

“Yea I know I saw it in the surveillance van. Marks pretty pissed they didn't wait for the escort.”

“I should have known he'd do that. He used to do it in business meeting, turn up early to throw everyone.”

“How bad is the hand?”

Casey clicked her bag shut. “It's ok, its deep but I've got it tape stitched and should be okay. She had a tetanus shot last year when she got a nail in her foot.”

“She need to go to hospital? I can arrange someone to take her.”

Kelly's head went to each of them as they spoke, she coughed. “Hello she is sitting right here you know.”

Casey smiled with affection. “She'll be fine.”

Ally nodded. “So, he's been here less than half an hour and already we have blood. Going well then?”

Casey shook her head sadly. “Going like it always does Ally. He still doesn't listen.”

Kelly stood. “He's not going to give us the money.”

Both Ally and Casey looked to her in shock. Ally spoke first. “You are kidding?”

“No. He wants a guarantee. Now he knows the FBI doesn't condone paying he isn't going too. I can…. I can just feel it.”

“Kel come on. I know he doesn't like you and I know he has been an asshole, but not even he would do that.” Casey wasn't sure who she was trying to convince more.

Kelly shook her head. “I've got nothing to do with this. He isn't going to hand over his money and go against the FBI's wishes. He'll want to do it their way. Casey he always does things by the book you know that.”

Ally shifted uncomfortably. “Kelly I have to say it here, the statistics aren't higher when the ransom is paid for getting back someone.”

Casey looked to her quickly. “What does that mean?”

“It means the odds are against you when you pay the ransom, you're depending on the word of the kidnapper to return the child. It breaks even whether the kidnapper does that or not. You're giving them what they want. “

“So now we don't pay? What are the chances on getting my daughter back doing that?” Casey voice cracked.

“That isn't the FBI's decision. We just advise not too. “

“You didn't answer the question, what are the chances of getting Lucy back if we don't pay?”

Ally exhaled. “In this case, with no leads on him what so ever. The chances aren't good for us to catch him. Not paying him means you don't give him the chance to keep his word. In my opinion not paying and he'll…. defiantly kill her.”

Kelly moved to the door. “I need to go to my office.”

Both Casey and Ally looked at her.

Casey stepped forward. “What for?”

“I have business friends. I can get the money.”

“With what? We don't have anything worth that much.”

“Does it matter what I have to sell or promise Cass. I'll get the money.”

“Kelly he'll give us the money. Please just wait.”

Kelly's face steeled. “We don't have time to wait. I'm pushing it as it is. He hates me being around for fuck sake. We were only in each other's space for twenty minutes and look what happened…. Please let me try this…. Please? If he gives us the money then we're covered, but if he doesn't Cass…. We lose her. Let me try….”

Casey face was in turmoil. Her eyes searching Kelly's, she drew in a sharp breath when she realised exactly who Kelly was going to go too. “Go…. Just remember I'm here waiting for you and I can't come and get you. Promise me you'll remember that?”

Kelly ducked her head sealing her promise with a kiss. She looked to Ally. “Can I go?”

Ally looked to each of them confused. “Sure, like I could stop you. But you will be followed by one of the team outside.”

Kelly nodded, ducking her head quickly for another kiss from Casey. “I love you.”

Casey followed her into the bedroom watching Kelly get her coat and briefcase. “I love you too.” She stood listening to Kelly run down the stairs and the front door slam.

Ally stepped up behind her. “Casey? Where is she going to get the money from?”

Casey turned her head. “I don't know.”

But even as she heard Casey say the words. Ally for once didn't believe her. She flipped open her phone, alerting the surveillance team what was happening and to be aware Kelly was on her own. Her last thought as she followed Casey down the stairs. Mark wasn't going to like this.



Kelly pulled into her parking space, her eyes going to the rear view mirror, seeing the car that was tailing her pull into the lot opposite. She grabbed her briefcase off the seat and got out, locking the door. Heading for the glass doors of the offices, just as she pushed the doors open she caught the reflection of the two FBI Agents getting out of their car behind her. One stayed by the car, while the other one made his way to follow her.

She made her way to the elevator, pressing the button for her floor. As the door closed she watched the FBI agent enter. When the ding of elevator signalled her floor, she was already squeezing through the opening doors.

She pushed the door open of her office.

Her secretary looked up, surprised. “Good god. Kelly what on earth are you doing here?”

“Martha. I need you to make a call to Senator Daniels.”

Martha mouth was still open and Kelly moved past her into the office. Martha rose quickly and followed. “Have they found Lucy?”

Kelly looked up from opening her drawer. “No. Please Martha just call Senator Daniels for me. It's urgent.”

Martha was about to argue more but a look from Kelly made her turn and go and get the number and place the call.

Kelly pulled out her filo fax, skimming through the numbers. The intercom buzzed, she pressed it.

“Senator Daniels on line 1”

“Thank you.”

Kelly lifted the handset. “Ted. Yes hi…. I need a favour…. I need to speak to Monica?”

She heard his intake of breath, then after a pause he told her what she needed, she wrote the details on the pad.

“You sure that's all you have? No… No… it's just important. Okay thanks… I owe you one.”

She placed the receiver down. Reaching over she pressed the intercom. “Martha, can you come in here a moment please.”

She sat back waiting. Her eyes looked up as the door open. Martha entered with a concerned look on her face.

“I need your help…. But before you say yes I have to tell you that the FBI isn't gonna like it.”

Martha's eyes widened. “Oh boy.”

Kelly had to smile. “It's nothing illegal. I just need to lose my shadow for a few hours.”

Martha's brow creased. “Will this help get Lucy back?”

“I'm hoping so yes.”

Martha mulled it over for a minute, then straightened. “What do I have to do?”

Kelly rose, tearing off the page from the pad. “I need you to go somewhere with a pay phone and call this number. Tell the person on the phone that Kelly is looking for Monica.”

Martha took the page looking it over, then up to Kelly. “That's it?”

“No. First I need you to go downstairs and take my car out. Give me the keys to yours.”

Martha's looked confused. “Kelly, how is that supposed to fool the FBI. They know what you look like?”

A grin spread across Kelly's face. “Don't worry by the time they come in here to check I'll be gone.”

“Okay fair enough. What else do I say to this person. How will Monica know where to find you? You don't want her calling here or at your house surely?”

“She knows where to find me.”

Martha frowned. “You sure you know what you're doing?”

Kelly exhaled. “I don't have any other choice. The FBI don't have a clue who he is and Casey's father is being an asshole.”

“When isn't he.” Martha placed her keys on the desk.

Kelly threw over hers. “Take the rest of the day off, and take my car home with you. “

Martha nodded, turning to leave, then she paused looking back. “Be careful okay.”

Kelly nodded. “Don't worry about me.”

Martha looked unsure then left. Then two seconds later she was back. “Shit. I forgot to tell you, a package came for you yesterday. I'll get it.”

Kelly frowned. Surely the FBI were stopping her mail. She moved around the desk to intercept Martha as she came back in carrying a small box. “How did this get here?” She took it.

Martha shrugged. “It went to the offices downstairs, they brought it up late afternoon. The address on the outside was for accounting. They didn't know it was for you till they took the wrapping off, the box inside had your name on it. It said personal so they didn't open it…. Should I have told the FBI? Aren't they suppose to be filtering your mail or something?”

“Yea. They are. I'll just check what it is.” Kelly opened it and for some reason she made sure the raised lid blocked Martha's view inside. Her breath caught seeing the cell phone and two dark words standing out from the white paper across it.


She closed it, forcing a calm smile. Even through her heart was threatening to burst from her chest. “No. it's just something.... I ordered ages ago for a present for Cass. You don't have to mention it to them. It's a…. kinda embarrassing.” Kelly dropped her eyes hoping she was doing a good impression of being embarrassed.

Martha suddenly understood and blushed. “Thank god they didn't open it in accounting.” She laughed.

Kelly sheepishly smiled. “Yeah.”

“God, can you imagine Ian's face trying to work out what the hell it's used for.” Martha laughed again and this time Kelly had to join in at the image.

“Yea, kinda glad I avoided that….” she chuckled. “So um…. If you don't mine I'd rather not have to explain myself to the FBI on this one.” she threw the box on the desk.

Martha grinned. “No problem. You've checked it anyway….” She turned, leaving. “…. Just be careful today…. I'm heading out now.”

Kelly nodded, raising a hand of goodbye. All the time her heart was going ten to the dozen wondering what the package really was. She quickly went around lifting it, she paused nearly opening it, her eyes going around the office, wondering exactly what surveillance the FBI had installed. She knew she couldn't take the chance. She grabbed Martha's car keys off the desk with one hand and tucked the box under her arm and headed out in a run.

She didn't stop till she reached the roof, moving quickly to the far side of the building, the opposite side of the car park where she'd left the FBI. She looked over the building edge, the wind stirring her hair into frenzy. Her grey eyes tracked the traffic below, she spotted her car moving away towards the intersection, she gazed back seeing the FBI car follow. She knew the other agent was now in the building checking for her. She moved swiftly, stopping when she reached the emergency fire ladder, kicking it with her foot she watched it judder and metal scream down towards the pavement below. Tucking the box into her jean waist, she started down.

She didn't really stop or relax until she was safely in Martha's car and heading away from the building. She felt the push of adrenaline savouring the feeling, she remembered it from her wild youth. Finally she pulled the car over, turning off the engine. Her eyes fell on the box she'd thrown onto the passenger seat when she'd entered the car. She was beyond nervous when she pulled it onto her lap, her palms were already sweating when she lifted the lid, exposing the TELL NOONE and the phone. She lifted the paper, barely touching the edge, turning it. She inhaled sharply seeing her name at the top of letter.

Dial 0#1.


If you want to see your daughter alive, you will tell no one, especially Casey. This is between us. You are the only one that can save her.

The question is; Are you willing to pay the price?


If this call is traced, I will know.

If the FBI mirror it, I will know.

If you are followed after my instructions are given. I will know.


There is one chance.

It's your call.

She finished reading, her throat closing with the sob and fear rising. This was about her.... Somehow she was the cause of her daughter being kidnapped. Her mind tried to rake over anyone or anything that would have led to this; Her past, her choices, and her failures. Her hand shook as she lifted the phone, turning it on watching as the screen came to life. Taking a long breath she pressed the sequence, putting the phone to her ear.

“I expected your call sooner. Kelly.”

She swallowed again, almost cursing at the fact the bastard was still using the voice synthesiser. “I…. I only got the package an hour ago. I'm here now what do you want?”

“I don't want excuses. You know what I want.”

Kelly wanted to tell him to go to hell, wanted to tell him to stop being a coward and come out of the shadows and face her. “I … don't know.”

The voice laughed. “Oh yes you do. You've always known.”

She shook her head. “I don't know. I want my daughter back… Tell me what I need to do? I'll do it.”

“Are you so sure?”

Her temper broke. “Yes damn it I'm sure. Tell me?”

He laughed again. “Die.”

Her heart actually stopped beating for all of a beat. “W…. What!?”

“You die or she does'…. Solomon's choice. I'll give you the same time he gave to them…. A night…. Phone me before six am tomorrow. I'd advise you not to be late.”

The phone clicked.

She sat there, staring at the phone in her hand, her mouth open.



Ally resisted the urge to put her fist through the nearest wall, which just happened to be the toilet in the Jennings house. She'd just got off the phone from the surveillance team, having to answer it while sitting caught in mid stream had been bad enough but finding out the reason for the call was making her want to shoot the messenger. As calmly as possible she washed her hands exiting the room. Moving towards the living room with her teeth clenched.

All three looked up as she entered. She could still see the suspicion aimed at her from Mr Matthews. She wisely chose to ignore it and him. The mood she was in right now the temptation to shoot him was over bearing. “Casey, can I talked to you outside?”

Casey gave her a questioning look before nodding and moving into the hallway. “Is something wrong?”

Ally actually laughed. “You could say that.” She took Casey's elbow, steering them further down the hallway. “Where is Kelly?”

Casey blinked. “At her office.”

Ally took a breath. “I'm serious. Where the hell has she gone?”

Casey stiffened her face showing still she didn't understand.

Ally paused her anger a beat, looking Casey right in the eyes. Ally's anger deflated like a balloon. “Jesus…. You don't know.”

Something in Ally's tone struck fear deep inside Casey. She reached out grabbing hold of Ally's jacket. “What? Know what?”

“Kelly shook off the agents that were tailing her. She got her secretary to take her car as a decoy. She's completely disappeared.”

Casey stepped back. “What? No! She wouldn't.”

“She has.”

Casey shook her head again.

Ally inhaled deeply. “Casey? Who is Monica?” she repeated the name heard on the phone tap at the office.

Casey eyes snapped up. “Monica?”

Ally didn't miss the brief recognition. “Kelly phoned Senator Daniels, she wanted Monica to contact her.... She sent Martha to a pay phone to dial a number and leave a message…. We ran a trace, it doesn't exist. The Senator is saying the call was just a friendly one. So, who the hell is Monica and what has made Kelly go off on her own?”

Casey shook her head again weakly. “Senator Daniels is a friend. She probably was just telling him about Lucy. If she's gone off on her own as you put it, she's trying to get our daughter back.”

Ally exhaled so hard her fringe went up in an angry flurry. “Bullshit!” Angry green eyes shot to her. “Fine! Get angry but god damn it, that's bullshit and we both know it.”

“Kelly thinks she can help.” Casey's eyes darted to the living door as her voice rose.

Ally threw her arms up. “God save me from parents that think they can go off like some vigilantly and help.”

Casey pulled Ally further down the hall. Well aware her parents could hear the raised voices. “She isn't like that.”

Ally shrugged her hand off. “So you keep saying. Tell me Casey how much do you know about her? Because from the first time I saw her….” Ally shut up, realising her temper was making her careless with her thoughts, so instead she focused on pacing trying to calm herself.

Casey eyes just stared. “What's that supposed to mean?”

Ally spun to face her. “If I go back fully into her Juvvy record what exactly am I going to find? Because I'm beginning to feel like that whole Sharon story was a pile of shit to get me to stop looking at it. Great just great.”

Casey face stilled, her eyes now turning into molten green. “How dare you. Just because she's disappeared you're thinking of her now as a liar…. I.”

Ally cut her off. “Isn't she? She told you she was going to the office. Did she mention this little stunt along the way?” Casey's face gave her the answer. Ally snorted. “I thought not.”

Casey's eyes flicked to the living room door, seeing her mother standing there nervously. “It's okay mom….” Casey forced a smile.

Her mother nodded looking unsure but went back into the living room.

Casey turned attention back to Ally. “Look. I don't know where she's gone she didn't tell me.”

“Now that I believe. So, who is Monica or do I have to dig and find out myself?”

Casey looked away briefly, then back. “Kelly knew her when she was younger.”

Ally waited.

“ They met in Juvvy.” She hoped Kelly would understand her telling this.

Ally waited again. When she saw Casey wasn't going to say anything she stepped closer. “That's it? Come on. Why would she want contact with her now?”

Casey's eyes shifted nervously.

“Casey I can't help her if I don't know what the hell is going on.”

Casey exhaled. “ Monica's uncle is Dean Valenz.”

Ally breath caught. “Dean Valenz, as in head of the New York criminal syndicate? Jesus Christ.”

Casey eyes steeled. “I don't know about any of his criminal activities and neither does Kelly. She knows Monica and that's it. She has nothing and I mean nothing to do with Valenz. When Kelly met Monica they were 17 years old dumped in the same place. Monica's parents were killed and she went from relative to relative, her uncle didn't have anything to do with her until she got into trouble. That's all I know about her.”

Ally's eyes narrowed. “What sort of trouble?”

Casey stiffened. “That has nothing to do with this.”

“Yea…. Well, right now it does because your lover has run off and the last thing we heard was she wanted Monica to contact her. We're they lovers?”

Casey flinched, that hit too deep a nerve. “So what if they were? I don't see a point of talking about this anymore.”

Ally shook her head. “Casey this doesn't look to good for Kelly right now. Her daughter is kidnapped and now it seems she's runs off with an ex lover who is linked to criminal activities. “

Casey's temper broke. “She hasn't run off with anyone. If and I mean if she has gone to see Monica it's because she thinks Monica can help. That's all Ally and unless you stop attacking Kelly you can get the hell out of my damn house!” Casey spun away and stormed back towards the living room.

Ally ran to catch up. “Wait! Okay wait.”

Casey turned, her face still showing the anger.

Ally pushed the anger away, she knew Casey was the last hope of finding Kelly. “Casey I'm not attacking anyone. What I'm trying to do is find out what the hell is going on? Kelly out on her own is dangerous. We don't know what she's trying to do. Can't you understand her doing this looks suspicious?”

“Suspicious to the FBI, Not to me.” Casey wanted to scream, everything was madness around her. “She had nothing..... NOTHING to do with Lucy's kidnapping!”

“So you're still saying you trust her?” Ally was amazed.

Casey looked away biting the need to lash out. She turned back, locking eyes with Ally. “Yes! I still trust her. She hasn't planned this, she isn't running back into an ex lovers arms. She is trying to save her OUR daughter and sitting around here and waiting for the FBI or my parents to help isn't working. If one of us didn't have to stay here I'd be right by her side. Do you get it now. Yes. I trust her!”

Ally leant back against the wall. “This kidnapper is leaving no damn clues anywhere. What exactly do you think she can do?”

Casey hugged herself. “She's doing what she thinks is right. At least she's doing something.”

Ally shook her head sadly, pushing herself off the wall, walking to the front door. She opened it looking back. “ Mark will want her found. If I were you I'd contact her and tell her to get her ass back here.”

Casey stayed silent, watching the door close as Ally departed. She looked to the living room, not wanting to go through a question and answer session with her father she turned and headed upstairs. Hoping to god Kelly did know what she was doing and at the same time a small question was forming of why exactly did Kelly go to Monica now of all times.


Kelly's eyes took in the bay, almost smiling in remembrance of the nights she'd spent here. The cool breeze was lifting off the water adding salt to the air. She kept walking along the beach until she reached the rocks outcrop. Her hand went over it, this time she did smile. For a moment she was transferred back to teenage laughter and bomb diving from the top. She stilled as she heard the sound of shingle shifting behind her.

“I must say I was surprised to hear from you after so long?”

Kelly's eyes fluttered shut to the velvet voice, a voice that once used to make her feel so much. She turned, smiling, taking in the look of her ex lover. She was still beyond beautiful, flawless like always and of course dressed totally wrongly for a walk on a beach. So different from the rag bare teenager she'd first met, who was fighting like a wild cat. Now she was a woman adored in the finest names in the world. However, when she met the cool brown eyes she knew the wild cat still thrived somewhere underneath. Kelly smiled.

Monica smiled back, well aware she was being given the once over. She didn't mind it gave her time to do the same. Their eyes met in a knowing smile.

Monica looked away first, her eyes going to the rock face. “Oh, my god did we actually jump off that!?”

Kelly grinned. “We were young.”

“Jesus…. We were nuts.” Monica snorted.

Kelly reached out her hand to help Monica up next to her.

Monica sat, wiping sand off her hands. “So…. Here we are.”

Kelly looked out across the bay again. “Yea, here we are. Thank you for coming. I wasn't sure you would.”

Monica shrugged. “I wasn't doing anything…. Besides it intrigued me. I haven't heard from you in ten years. Except of course the standard yadda yadda have a merry one emails.”

Kelly looked down. “I told you why we couldn't see each other again. I didn't see a point of keeping in contact after it…. Well, after how we ended. Thought it was what you wanted?”

“Ahuh….You still with her?” Monica looked out to see.

“Yes.” Kelly studied her.

“Good. She is good for you.”

Kelly was surprised.

Monica laughed. “What? You expected me to still be insanely jealous?”

Kelly gave a wry smile.

Monica slapped her leg. “Pllllllllease…. I'm sorry to bruise that wonderful ego.” Her laugher faded. “Kelly what we had was fun, well actually way beyond fun but I knew I didn't have much more than that with you. We weren't exactly exclusive to each other now were we…. When you fell for Casey I knew you wouldn't cheat and our little arrangement was over. Of course I wanted it to continue, but I'm not stupid when I know I'm up against love.”

Kelly shook her head, chuckling. “That's not what you said when I told you about Casey.”

Monica grinned. “I was pissed with you, that's all.” She looked sheepishly up. “I'm sorry I threatened to boil your rabbit. I was going through my jilted Glenn Close stage.”

Kelly barked a laugh. “You didn't and I never owned a rabbit you idiot.”

Monica bumped shoulders with her. “I didn't? Damn what an exit line that would have made.”

Kelly just shook her head.

Monica grinned, then her face turned serious as she really looked at Kelly, seeing the darkness under her eyes, seeing something else there too. “Kelly. What's going on? Why did you want to see me?”

Kelly took a long deep breath. “Someone's kidnapped my daughter.”

Monica eyes widened. She grabbed Kelly's hand. “What the fuck!”

Kelly swallowed. “Yesterday. God was it only yesterday.” A half sob escaped. “Monica I talked to him today…. He… said he'd give Lucy back only when I'm dead.”

Monica mouth opened. “What! You're kidding? What sort of demand is that…Wait, isn't it usually money?”

“Yes…No…. He asked for that too…. Shit, I'm not making sense, none of this does. I think I'm going insane anyway.” Kelly jumped down off the rock, her face showing the panic and fear. Her lungs needing more air, she felt the earth shift on its axis.

Monica slipped off the rock going to her. Taking her hand, she led her back, her voice gentle. “Hey come on…. Take deep breaths. Start from the beginning….”

Kelly sat, taking deep long breaths until the world stopped spinning out of control, gripping Monica's hand she did just that, told her everything.

Monica had sat silently taking in the whole story from start to finish. She rose pacing as she thought. Finally she turned. “Well it looks to me like you have only two options. One…. you off yourself and hope he holds up his part of the plan and hands over Lucy. Which in my opinion is a totally fubar idea in itself, cos you got no guarantee what so ever, especially as your dead!”

Kelly threw a handful of sand away. “And the second?”

“You go to this FBI agent Ally and work something out with her.”

Kelly virtually sat back in shock. “What?”

“Well, what did you expect me to say? That I'd go to my uncle and get him to use his not so legal ways to track this guy down before 6 am tomorrow and order a hit?”

Kelly blinked. “No of course not.”

Monica tilted her head studying her. “You're a fink Kelly. That's exactly what you wanted me to do.”

Kelly shook her head sternly. “No….” Then she ran her hand through her hair. “Before I talked to the kidnapper, all I thought he wanted was the money. I was going to get you to ask Valdez for it. I didn't care what I'd have to do to get. But Jesus I didn't think once about getting you to ask him to track him down like that.... Jesus Monica give me some credit. I wouldn't ask something that would put Lucy in danger. Besides that I wouldn't do that to you. I know how things stand with you and him remember.”

Monica nodded curtly, but her tone softened again. “Well if you want the money it's yours. I don't have to ask him for a dime. I have my own.” She sat down next to her.

“It isn't about the money anymore.”

Monica sighed sadly. “No. It's not…. Okay who the hell hates you enough to want you dead Kelly?”

“I don't know. I've been trying to think who I pissed off this much.” She looked at Monica. “There's only Casey's father who would want me dead.” She shook her head. “But this, even for him is too much. I don't think he has anything to do with it. The FBIs think Warren has something to do with it. But, I'm not so sure…. This hurts Casey he'd never want that.”

“Warren as in the guy she dumped at the altar, that Warren?”

“She didn't dump him at the altar for Christ sake.”

“Don't be so picky with words yes she did, they just weren't at the church when she dumped him.” She hated to admit it, but it was kinda how she felt. But she knew she had no reason for it. “Anyway what does it matter if she screwed him over for you.”

Kelly eyes sparked. “Monica you know damn well it wasn't like that.”

“Okay okay don't get shitty.” Monica thought for a moment. “Well, all I can say is if someone dumped me like that I wouldn't be too sure, I wouldn't want them dead.”

Kelly sighed. “Warren wasn't…. Isn't like that. “

Monica looked at Kelly. “We both know people change.”

Kelly scoffed. “So, you're telling me he's waited nearly ten years to get revenge and then go after my life for my daughters.” She shook her head. “No. What would be the purpose? He'd never get Casey back doing this.”

Monica shrugged. “Who knows what someone thinks when they do something like this.… I know I sure as hell don't. Why do the FBIs think it's him?”

Kelly ran her hand back through her hair. “As they put it he is off their grid. He's away somewhere out of the USA.”

“I suppose that would be a big pain in the ass for them.”

“Monica at one point they thought it was me for Christ sake, they tend to make you guilty one minute and then prove your innocent the next.”

“Yea I know.”

Kelly looked at her sharply. “You've had dealings with them. Why?”

Monica gave a bitter laugh. “Kel, when your uncle is Valdez it's a dead cert that the FBI are going to want some interest in you. They don't need a reason…. Anyway it doesn't matter…. Maybe my uncle can help a little. He certainly knows ways to do things outside of normal channels.”

“Thank you.” Kelly knew what it would take for Monica to ask.

Monica looked back out towards the bay. “I think you really do need to tell this Agent what happened with the call.”

Kelly rose. “How the hell can I do that? He said he'd know.”

“Kelly….” Monica waited until Kelly finally faced her. “I said tell the agent not the FBI.”

Kelly blurted. “She is the FBI.”

“You said you trusted her, trusted her, not the FBI. Do you think if you went to her somewhere safe and told her what happened? If she knew what was at stake she'd go running to the FBI and tell them?”

Kelly mind was reeling, could she trust that much? “I…. I don't know what she'd do. That's the problem because if I'm wrong she brings the FBI in on this behind my back and if he finds out that's it. Lucy is dead and gone.” Kelly shook her head fiercely. “No. I can't take that risk.”

Monica shifted. “So, what now? You kill yourself? “

Kelly looked at her sharply.

Monica rose, angry. “Don't even think about it. You've got no guarantee none! Stop thinking of yourself for once. What about Casey?”

“You think I'm thinking of myself?” Kelly spat the words.

“Yes. You haven't changed since we were children, I told you then you had a paranoid hero complex. That everything is your fault and you have to fix it, no matter what. You really think Casey is going to survive losing you at the cost of a maybe getting Lucy back?”

It surprised her Monica was even thinking about Casey feelings. “Then what! You tell me what to do? Because I don't know anymore.”

Monica grabbed her catching her face in both hands. “Trust. You can't do this on your own. Trust someone to help.”

Kelly pushed her hands away. “Who? You?”

Monica sighed. “I thought you already did.”

Kelly anger stuttered, seeing that she'd hurt her. “I'm sorry I do trust you. I didn't mean that…. But you're asking me to trust a woman I don't know and who is FBI. Can't you see I can't take that risk?”

“Oh I can see it. But I can also see you can't do this on your own. Because I'm afraid you killing yourself isn't going to be an option I'm going to agree with.” Monica bit her lip looking away. “What if I go to see this Ally?”

Kelly laughed. “Oh yes I can see that going down well. They are already going to know who I've contacted and no disrespect to your uncle he isn't exactly top of the FBI's most wanted friends list. She isn't going to trust you.”

Monica snorted. “I don't need her to trust me. I want her to believe me. Besides, is she cute?”

Kelly gave a shocked look. “Monica!”

“Well is she? Does she bat for our team?” her smile was pure sex.

Kelly swallowed. “Cut that out.” She looked away feeling her face flush. “I think she's straight.”

Monica chuckled at the blush. “No one is that straight my friend. You especially should know that….” she smirked, licking her lips.

Kelly just shook her head, she wasn't immune to Monica even after this time. “Behave.”

Monica laughed again. “God I have to say it. I've missed you.”

Kelly looked back across the bay, realising she'd missed her too. “So have I.”

Monica watched her profile curiously for second, before clearing her throat. “Let me go and see her. You go back home. Do what you need too. Get your smacked hand, say nothing. If he is watching somehow which I doubt, he'll know you're keeping quiet.” She pulled a cell from her back pocket. “This is mine. No one outside of my uncle has the number, the phone is clean. And if you were to ask?…. It doesn't exist. The perks of having a paranoid uncle…. I'll call you when I've talked to him. I won't tell him about the kidnapping because he still things he owes you and knowing him and his Italian roots he'll want to be a hero too.”

Kelly took the phone. “I'm beginning to collect these you know.”

Monica knew the joke was forced but she still smiled at it. “Just don't mix them up”

Kelly gave a dry laugh.

Monica smiled. “Trust me Kelly and I won't tell Ally jack shit until I know I can trust her.”

Kelly inhaled, she really didn't have any other option. “I do trust you and I trust your judgement.” She reached out suddenly catching Monica arm. “But Monica…. Don't tell her anything if even one part of you doubts it. Don't play with my daughter's life.”

“I won't. I couldn't.”

Kelly pulled Monica into a hug. “Be safe.”

Monica hugged her back just as fiercely, letting herself for a moment go back in time to when she thought she had this woman's heart. Then she pulled away, the sadness in her eyes gone. “Thank you for calling me….” she squeezed her harder. “Now…. Get back to Casey before she comes looking for you.”

“I will.”

Kelly watched her leave, wondering if she'd done the right thing.



The timid tap at the door, made Casey look up from the baby book, she quickly wiped the tears from her face. “Yes?”

Amanda put her head around the door. “Hello…. I didn't want to intrude. I just wondered where you went too?”

Casey beckoned her mother in. “You're not intruding…. I…. I needed some time on my own. Sorry.”

“Oh lords don't apologise. I can understand why. Your father…” She sighed. “Well he….” She shook her head never finishing the words. She walked in and tentatively sat on the edge of the bed, her eyes now drawn to the baby pictures. “She is so beautiful Casey. I can see parts of Kelly in her too which I suppose is a strange thing to say.”

Casey looked down at the pictures again. “Actually it's not strange Kelly would be bursting if she'd heard you say that…. I'm sorry you missed so much of her life Mom.”

Amanda offered over a tissue. “No…. It's I who should be saying that. I shouldn't have stayed away so long. But….”

Casey took her hand. “But….?”

Amanda gave a bittersweet smile. “The longer time passed, the longer I convinced myself it was too late to make things right with you.”

Casey nodded, parts of her understood, but a far bigger part was still hurt. “Why does he hate Kelly so much…. Is it just because we're gay? Or that no one would be good enough for me?”

Amanda sighed heavily. “Honestly Casey. I don't even think your father knows why anymore.”

“Kelly didn't break Warren and I up. I was already thinking about leaving him. It…. It just never felt right with him.”

“And with Kelly it feels right?”

“God yes, right from the moment I met her. We became friends so quickly. But before long I knew it was something more than that.... When I realised I was falling in love with her everything felt right…. She completes me. I wish he could understand that, and you.”

“Casey I learnt a long time ago to trust in your choices. You're as stubborn and hard headed as your father. But I admit discovering that you were…. Well…. Um....”

Casey found her mother's embarrassment endearing. “The word you're looking for mom is lesbian.”

Amanda laughed nervously. “Well yes a lesbian, it was a shock. I mean you never showed any leaning in that direction before. Then all of a sudden you're in love with one and well are one.”

It felt weird to be having this conversation with her mother, especially as she'd been out now for so long. She took a breath, wanting her mother to understand. “It wasn't all of sudden, I'd had leanings as you put it long before, I just kept them to myself and never acted on it.”

Amanda looked at her surprised. “Oh.” Her face showed that she was trying to work something out. “So if it hadn't been Kelly you probably would have…. I mean at some point you would have chosen a woman as a lover.”

Casey slowly nodded. “Yes. If things hadn't worked out with Kelly I couldn't have just turned my back on those feelings after finally accepting who I am.”

“I see.” Amanda chuckled. “Well.... that certainly knocks your fathers theory on its ass about Kelly corrupting you.”

Casey sat shocked for a moment then burst into laughter and before long Amanda joined in. Casey moved across and took her mother into a hug.

Amanda was surprised but quickly answered it.

“Actually if you ask Kelly I was the one doing the corrupting.”

Amanda laughed, embarrassed. “Casey Anne there are something's a mother shouldn't know.”

Casey hugged her harder answering the laugh again. “Thank you I needed that.”

“Well what else are mothers for.” Amanda frowned as she felt Casey pull away.

Casey lowered her eyes, closing the baby book. “So what happens now with us? Do you go back with him and once again I lose you?”

Amanda shook her head. “No. Not this time. I've got my daughter back and I'm not letting go easily this time.”

“And father?”

Amanda shook her head sadly. “I don't know Casey. He just won't let go of the anger.”

“What if he tells you to leave with him? Not to contact us like last time? What then?”

Amanda looked away. “Then I'd hope you'd offer me the guest room until I can find a place of my own.”

Casey felt the jolt of pain from her mother, but at the same time felt a jolt of hope. “The guest room is yours for as long as you need it.”

Amanda turned her head, sadly smiling. “Won't Kelly have something to say on that?”

“Kelly would be the first to offer it if she were here mom.”

“Is she that forgiving?”

“Not really. But, she'd do it just to see me happy.”

Amanda felt suddenly very unworthy of kindness from a woman they'd treated so badly. “I hope one day she can forgive me Casey. I suddenly realised it means very much to me and that you can too.”

Casey face crumpled. “I always understood in some way why you left. I can't say it didn't hurt…. I don't have to forgive you for what you did to me. But, I don't think I'll ever forgive the way my father treated Kelly and our daughter. Your silence in it all hurt the most mother because I knew…. I knew deep down you didn't agree with it.”

“A lie of silence.” Amanda sighed heavily. “Well I promise no more Casey. I won't stand by and see you hurt or Kelly for that matter. I won't make the same mistakes.”

“I'll try to believe that.” She so wanted too.

“Good….” Amanda turned her head. “Wasn't that the front door?”

Casey was up, hearing the pounding of footsteps on the stairs. Kelly burst into the room. Ignoring the shocked look of Amanda she pulled Casey into her arms. “Cass….”

Casey felt the relief swarm over her as Kelly's arms engulfed her. “God…. Are you okay? Ally said you'd disappeared?”

Kelly clung onto her, seeing Amanda slip quietly from the room, hearing her arguing outside the door with her husband. “I'm fine. Shhhhh. I'm fine.”

Casey stepped slightly away searching her eyes. “You're not…. What happened?”

Kelly just pulled her closer. “Just hold me right now. I'll tell you soon.”

So Casey did, gripping her tighter, well aware Kelly was shaking. Just feeling it made her heart shiver in dread at what Kelly must have done.



Ally was pissed, actually beyond pissed. Mark's temper had come out full force. He wasn't happy, hell who could blame him. She wasn't happy either. The fact she'd been the one to trust Kelly to go to the office and not pull a stunt of disappearing had nearly cost her being reassigned. Even as she pressed the ground level 3 button on the elevator she knew the only reason she was still on the case was her long-standing friendship with Mark. It hurt more to know she'd let him down. As she'd been leaving the office the call had come through that Kelly had returned to the house. She'd been surprised when Mark had told her to go and find out where Kelly had been, half expecting to be told to keep away from them and end up on surveillance only.

So here she was on her way there yet again, the only question now was, could she control her temper enough and keep her own feelings of betrayal under wraps? She slammed the door shut on her car, reaching across for the seat belt. Suddenly, something didn't feel right, she stiffened. She didn't know why she'd always had a sixth sense about trouble, but she'd learnt in her work to not doubt it, and she didn't now. Her hand eased down to the gun on her hip, then with one fluid motion she turned her body, the gun in her hand now pointing it into the back seat and the startled woman she could now see. “Put your hands where I can see them.”

“If I don't you shoot me?” Monica was impressed, she was sure she'd gotten into the car unseen. She'd actually jumped when the gun suddenly appeared in her face.

Ally didn't say anything, just cocked the hammer back.

Monica raised her hands, wiggling her fingers. “Now what?”

Ally looked the woman up and down, she didn't sense a threat anymore. “Now I arrest you and take you upstairs and you tell me what the hell you're doing in my car?” Ally began to ease herself towards the door.

“Wait! I'd rather not go upstairs if you don't mind.”

“You don't have a choice.” Carefully Ally reached across with her free hand for the handle.

Monica let her eyes travel quickly over the agent, before she decided to take a chance. “Kelly sent me. I'm Monica.”

Ally stilled. “So?”

“I need to talk to you.”

“And you broke into my car? Haven't you heard of a telephone?”

Monica suppressed a grin. “Now Agent you know as well as I do, telephones aren't exactly safe.”

“And breaking into my car in an FBI car park is?” Ally quirked an eyebrow.

Monica grinned. “What better way to keep prying eyes and ears out of the way. Can I put my arms down now? It's ruining the line of my suit?”

Ally tilted her head thinking, she holstered her gun. “Sure of yourself aren't you? I'm still taking you upstairs for questioning.”

Monica exhaled, lowering her arms. “That wouldn't be a very good idea.”

“Really and why's that?”

“Because you'll never find out why I'm here if you do.” Monica relaxed back, watching the agent carefully, she could see the curiosity peeking.

“I live by the adage Miss Valenz that curiosity killed the cat. So, you can come quietly or I'll haul your ass out and cuff you.”

Monica smirked. “As much as that offer is tempting, and in any other scenario quite arousing, I'm afraid I have to decline.”

“It wasn't a….a request.” Ally swore as she felt the blush and her words stutter.

Monica sat forward almost answering with another innuendo. It was fun playing with the Agent. But this wasn't why she was here. She sat back. “I'm here to find out if I can trust you.”

Ally snorted a laugh. “Trust me? Miss Valenz I know who your uncle is and excuse me but I'm finding that somewhat ironic. Now get out of the car. Or do I need to pull my gun again?” her hand dipped back down.

Monica rolled her eyes. “I can see why you annoy the hell out of Kelly.” She leant forward shuffling to the edge of the seat, almost touching nose to nose.

Startled brown eyes widened.

“Can we cut the macho bullshit. I have something to tell you. The question is Miss G woman do you want to know what was so special that I came into an FBI building and broke into your car to tell you?”

Ally blinked suddenly aware of the scent of roses, she mentally shook her head clear. “So, um tell me.”

Monica quirked a smile. “Drive.”

Ally pulled away. “What!?”

Monica sat back, slipping down into the seat so the outside couldn't see her. “I said drive. You can choose where? Somewhere quiet would be nice and before you ask if this is a set up it's not. As for my uncle I have very little to do with him. Which I'm sure you've checked already…. In fact I choose not to get involved in any of his so-called business. He is my uncle and that's it. The reason I'm here is for Kelly and to get her daughter back.” She folded her arms and waited, her eyes never wavering from Ally's.

Ally didn't know why but she believed her. She turned without a word and started the car. “This had better be good.”

“Believe me I'm always good.”

God damn it. Ally felt herself blush again, well aware Monica could see it by the resounding chuckle.



Kelly shifted uncomfortably, waiting for Casey to stop pacing and look at her. “Cass?” A hand came up telling her not yet. Kelly sighed.

Casey slowed. “So you're telling me you can't tell me what you talked to Monica about?”

Kelly nodded.

“That whatever it is Monica is now dealing with it?”

Kelly nodded again.

“And I'm supposed to just except that and not question you about it? And on top of that not mention to anyone including the FBI anything about your meeting with Monica? In fact to lie and tell them you didn't.”

Kelly swallowed hard at the look aimed at her and slowly nodded.


“Why what?”

“Why can't you tell me?”

“Cass…. I shouldn't have even told you that I talked to Monica.”

“Why the fuck not? Was that her idea?”

“No of course not.”

“Is this about her uncle?” Casey stopped, totally facing her. Fear suddenly sparking at what exactly Kelly could have done to save their daughter, especially with someone like Valenz. “Kelly what did you do?”

Kelly sighed, she knew she should have lied, told her anything, but that idea had gone right out the window when Casey had thrown in her face the fact Ally had told her that she was making contact with Monica. “This hasn't got anything to do with him. I went to Monica not him. Cass…. Don't ask me anymore okay just trust me on this.”

She felt hurt. “Am I supposed to trust Monica on this too?”

Kelly felt tired, tired beyond belief. “No…. Just trust in me enough to know I'm doing everything and anything to get our daughter back.”

Casey's heart stuttered. “What exactly is that supposed to mean?”

Kelly looked up sharply, surprised to hear jealousy in her lover's tone. “Okay what do you think it means? Because I'm getting the impression here this is more than me not telling you things. What exactly do you think is going on with me and Monica?”

Casey stilled. “It doesn't matter because you're not going to tell me anyway.”

Kelly rose catching her arm. “Casey?”

Casey looked anywhere but at her. “I won't ask. Keep your damn secrets.”

“Casey?” Kelly tried to search her eyes and face wondering what was going on, then she saw it. Pain.... jealousy. “Cass…. Monica and I were over a long time ago, you know that.”

Casey pulled her arm free. “Yea I knew that, right up until the time you ran off and went to her.”

Kelly blinked. “What? You can't be seriously thinking my going to her was to restart something that ended when I found you? That I'd do that with our daughter missing! Jesus Christ Casey.”

Casey eyes finally came to rest on Kelly again. Seeing the anguish and pain there, it hit her jealousy right in the face. She lowered her eyes feeling suddenly ashamed. Her voice came out as a broken whisper. “No… no of course not. I'm sorry.”

Kelly stepped away, shaken. Her own voice was just as broken. “You did, didn't you?”

Casey reached across, flinching as Kelly stepped back away from her. “I didn't. I was angry. This is the first time you haven't told me something Kel…. It just, well…. I've never stopped being jealous of Monica.”

Kelly sat. “Jesus.”

“Is it so hard to believe that I was threatened by her, of her?” Casey fought not to cry. This wasn't the time for this.

“Yes. I finished it with her the moment I fell for you for fuck sake. I told you everything about her, the reason we were together. You said you understood?”

Casey inhaled, wishing to god this subject hadn't come up, Monica hadn't come up. “What else was I supposed to say? You told me three days after we had become lovers about her…. I couldn't exactly tell you I thought the arrangement was wrong, that I'd never understand how you two could just have sex and then in the next beat go off and find someone else to bed. Can you honestly tell me you didn't know I had a problem with that!? We were new lovers for Christ sake and this was dropped on me. I was wondering if I was just one of your damn conquests.”

Kelly just stared at her, her shoulders sagged. “You could have said something, anything.”

Casey spun, angry now. “No I couldn't, you were already skittish around me, convincing yourself I was better off without you. You would have accused me of judging you or worse. For Christ sake Kelly I had fallen in love with you, I didn't want to lose you, I wasn't sure what the hell to do. I was terrified most of the time at some point you'd realise I wasn't worth the shit my parents were throwing at us and you'd run off……..” her words stopped when she realised what she'd said.

Kelly felt the words right to her core. “Say it…. I'd run off back to fuck Monica.”

Casey closed her eyes to the pain she heard. “Yes. At the beginning I felt that.”

“How long for? The whole time we're been together or just around birthdays and Christmas.”

Casey winced recognising the sarcasm for what it was. Kelly's defences coming up. “The first month we were together, through the whole time my father was trying to break us up…. It stopped when you stopped trying to push me away.”

Kelly laughed in disgust. “So, it's my fault.”

Casey wanted to scream. “No…. It was mine.” She walked over stopping in front of Kelly kneeling down. “I was the one that didn't believe I was good enough to fight for. Kelly I love you. I trust you.” She ignored Kelly's scoff. “ I do…. Don't you understand I found it hard to believe someone like you would fall in love with someone like me? It wasn't about trust back then it was about what I thought I deserved. What you deserved and I thought you deserved better…. Even if I didn't understand the relationship you had with Monica it was simple for you, what you wanted.... I couldn't understand why you stayed with me when everything was so damn complicated…. Please try to understand.”

Kelly's jaw twitched. Trying to understand, it did make sense, she'd had the same fears in the beginning of Casey running back to Warren. She could understand about back then. But this was different this was now. “But you really thought I'd go back to her now…. After all our years together?”

Casey grabbed both hands seeing the tears form. “Because of goddamn insecurities I thought I'd lain to rest. Maybe it's my father being here starting all this shit again, then Monica is back in the picture and Lucy. God, I'm so insane right now I'm not sure what the hell I'm feeling half the time. But I know one thing for certain it was never about not trusting you baby…. If I'd stopped and thought before I let my anger and jealousy take hold I wouldn't even have fucking felt it in the first place because I would have kicked my own ass at even imagining you'd do something I know damn well you're not capable of.”

Kelly finally let her eyes meet Casey's. “I…. wouldn't…couldn't do that to you…. to us. I love you.”

Casey choked a sob. “I love you too so damn much…. I'm sorry I….”

Kelly just pulled her to her.

Kelly‘s voice a hoarse whisper in her ear. “We have to get her back Cass. We're breaking apart inside without her.” Casey sobs now mixed with Kelly's as they held on to each other for dear life.



Ally stopped the car. “This quiet enough for you?” she tried to hide the discomfort she'd felt through the whole journey with a silent woman behind her.

Monica stretched up, glancing around, smiling at the choice. She recognised the place as the entrance to the park land. “Perfect.” She opened the door and stepped out.

Ally spun surprised, cursing she got out. “Where are you going?”

“Nowhere, just wanted to stretch my legs.”

Ally folded her arms, not amused. “Talk.”

Monica wagged a finger. “Tsk…. This is the part where I find out if I can trust you…. If I do, then I talk.”

Ally sighed. “Trust me how?”

Monica shielded her eyes to the sun, then reached in and pulled out the sunglasses from her bag. “Trust you enough to know if you do the right thing, or your sense of being a G woman over rides it.”

Ally frowned. “You know no one calls the FBI that anymore. Much the same way we don't call people like your uncle the mob.”

Monica face froze, a small smile formed. “Play nice Agent.”

“This isn't a game.”

“You're right it isn't….”

Ally exhaled. “So, what do I do to answer your question?”

Monica tilted her head. “Well you've already kinda started it. You didn't arrest me.”

“I should have, how the hell did you break into my car anyway?”

“Wouldn't the more prudent question have been how the hell did I get into an FBI car park then break into your car?” She grinned, pleased with herself.

“It isn't a secure car park. Those are on the top levels. But you knew that.”

Monica's answer now was a smile.

“My car is alarmed.” Ally suddenly felt like the mouse to a cat.

Monica rolled her eyes and reached into her bag pulling out a small alarm key. “Which is activated by one of these.” She tossed it over.

Ally caught it surprised. “Hey that's mine.” She quickly searched in her pocket, confused when she pulled out hers.

“Actually, it's not, just a copy. Come on Agent I heard you were top of your class you know as well as I do those little gismos exist in the auto chop shop world.”

Ally dropped it and trod on it getting great pleasure in doing so. “I thought you said you had nothing to do with your uncle's activities Miss Valenz.”

Monica actually flinched. “I don't. I just have enough money to know where to get one. Haven't you heard money opens all doors?”

Ally couldn't miss the steel tone and she wondered why she suddenly felt like a heel. “Look…. This is all very entertaining, but I'm not known for my patience.”

Monica looked around the area. “If I told you something that went against your FBI policy what would you do?”

Ally walked around until she stood in front of her. “Went against it how?” Ally studied her face trying to figure out what this all was, she realised she couldn't read this woman in any way. It made her uncomfortable. “Like what?”

Monica was also studying, but her sunglasses were hiding the fact. She hadn't just appeared in Ally's car; First she'd checked into her background, her cases. While reading the file she began to admire the woman herself. She could see why Kelly had just trusted her on face value. She was an honest woman, resourceful, honourable and that one was the problem. Ally was honourable to the FBI too.

Ally stepped closer. “What is going on? Why did Kelly see you?”

Monica broke out of her thoughts. “She needs help.”

Ally frowned. “Your help, for the money?”

Monica slowly pulled off her sunglasses. “No. Your help.”


Monica slowly nodded. “Now the question is.... Can I trust you to help her and to leave your FBI badge at the door?”

“I don't understand. Help how?”

“Help catch the bastard that wants her dead.”

Ally didn't know exactly what to say. “Look. The FBI is doing everything in its power to catch him. As for wanting her dead I haven't got one damn clue what you're talking about.” Her mind froze, suddenly she went over everything that had happened. “You didn't want to be seen with me, why?”

Monica shrugged. “Bad for my reputation.” The look in the agent's eye was intriguing. It was as if she could see Ally's mind at work.

“I don't think you give a rat's ass what people think of you Miss Valenz. Why did Kelly contact you? Why now?”

Monica shrugged again. “You tell me?”

“You're an outsider.... Someone from her past.... Someone the kidnapper might not know about. But that doesn't make any sense what would it matter who she went to for the money.”

Monica kept her expression neutral.

“Why would Kelly go to you and why the hell would you go to all this trouble to get me alone and off the radar asking for my help…. Unless….” Ally's eyes widened. “Son of bitch, he's made contact with her outside of the house.”

Monica still stayed silent, but she was impressed.

“That's it isn't it? He found a way somehow to get to her. Come on damn it I need the details?”

“So you can go running to the FBI?”

Ally cursed. “I am the damn FBI. Jesus Christ. Do you know what this means. We have a link to him. If he's gone out of his way to target Kelly it's a flaw, his first flaw.”

Monica shook her head. “I was wrong about you. “ She turned walking away.

“Hey wait.”

Monica didn't, she just kept walking.

“Fuck.” Ally took off after her, stopping in front of her halting Monica's walk. “Where are you going?”

“Back to my apartment I have a dinner party planned.”

Ally stuttered. “You're fucking kidding me.”

Monica gritted her teeth. “Look. This conversation never happened. Kelly isn't going to talk to you. She isn't going to trust you. You want to know why?”

Ally didn't answer. She was debating whether to pull out her gun and actually shoot this annoying woman.

“Simple.... Because I don't trust you to do the right thing. “

“Which is what? Ignoring the fact he's contacted her and let Kelly handle it her way. Come on.” Ally scoffed.

Monica looked to the heavens. “No you jack ass, helping her. She can't do this on her own. She wants your help, not the fucking FBI's. Because as both of us know the FBI can't do anything quietly they have to stamp their big footprint over everything….” Monica exhaled. “This is about a six year old little girl who has been stolen, not some macho bullshit about who is bigger in the gun department.”

“The FBI is there to help, we have…….”

Monica laughed. “Jesus are you brain washed? Can't you think for yourself anymore?” Monica then made a choice, a choice to trust. “ He wants Kelly dead….. Get it dead. That's his ransom.”

Ally almost laughed until she saw Monica was deadly serious. “He… told her that?”

“Yes, his words, Solomon's choice, her life for Lucy's. Now do you get it? She doesn't know what to do and you know the worst part? If she was fucking sure that bastard would hand over Lucy at her death….” Monica swallowed. “....She'd do it. Put a damn gun in her mouth and do it.”

Now that Ally believed, the rest of it seemed too absurd. “He must be mad.”

Monica laughed. “Oh for god's sake do you think sane people kidnap children.” Monica watched her, seeing the turmoil cross the agents' face, knowing she was fighting years of training years of obeying. “Ally?”

Ally looked up surprised on hearing her first name.

“She needs your help. This isn't a game it isn't about the wrong way or the right way it's about getting Lucy back.”

“How the hell can I help her? The FBI has the resources. I can't do anything on my own. We have no clue who this guy is, where he is?”

Monica straightened. “The FBI isn't the only option on resources.”

Ally tensed. “I thought you didn't have dealings with your uncle.”

Monica looked away. “I normally don't but I can't ignore the fact he has influence in certain areas. “ She turned her gaze back. “And for Kelly I'll use them.”

“And what am I supposed to do? Just keep quiet that I have this information, and let you track him down using god knows what illegal resources?”

“Unfortunately even my uncle isn't a miracle worker, the kidnapper wants an answer by 6 am tomorrow.”

Ally just managed to stop her mouth falling open, she laughed sarcastically. “This is insane. We need that phone we can run a trace.”

Monica reached across grabbing Ally's jacket pulling her closer. “You do and Lucy is dead, dead!”

Ally was shocked not only at the words but at the strength she felt in the hand pulling her. “Why me, why my help?”

Monica released her. “Because he won't expect Kelly to go to you, she isn't even telling Casey about this…. As to how you can help?…. I guess that's why they pay you the big bucks.”

Ally's eyes widened. “You're expecting me to come up with a plan? When I don't even know what the fuck is going on.”

Monica shook her head. “Typical…. It's easy. You have until tomorrow morning at six to work out how Kelly can either stall him or find him, without the FBI knowing. “

Ally ran her hand through her hair, trying to sort this out. “Shit. You make everything sound so simple. Why don't I just work out the cure for cancer while I'm at it?”

Monica looked at her sharply, not liking the sarcasm. “Stop thinking what you can't do and start thinking about what you can.”

Ally pointed her finger, nearly touching Monica in the chest. “I'll tell you what I can do and that is march you into the FBI offices along with Kelly and make her give us that damn cell phone…. Do you know how quickly we could get a fix on him when he calls tomorrow? He wouldn't even know we were doing it. Within two minutes we'd have a location. Within ten minutes we'd have that place surrounded. He wouldn't know what hit him.”

Monica batted the finger away, her annoyance building. “And it only takes one second to squeeze a trigger…. You willing to bet Lucy's life, Agent? Because I'm damn sure he isn't bluffing when he says' he'll know.”

Ally's felt unsure, she took a long breath. She made a decision, which would more than likely cost her job. “I don't know how to help her. But, I won't take the chance that he'll know if we trace the call. I…. I won't report the fact she talked to him, or…. she has the cell.”

Monica slightly relaxed, seeing now Ally was beginning to understand. “And my involvement?”

Ally bit her lip. “I won't report you either. So when the shit hits the fan we can share a cell.”

Monica grinned. “How can I refuse an offer like that?”

Ally rolled her eyes, fighting the blush and winning. “Are you always on heat?”

Monica did a double take, genuinely laughing. “My my…. You…” she prodded Ally in the chest with a red nailed covered finger. “You…. G woman are beginning to have potential.”

This time Ally didn't have any say in the blush.

Monica chuckled. “Now…. Let's work out a plan.”

“If we can.” Ally ignored Monica's scowl and fell into pace next to her.


Jason looked up at the approaching footsteps, he felt the anger build at just laying eyes on Kelly as she walked into the living room. He almost grinned as she paused seeing him, he took great pleasure in seeing the uncertainty and knowing it was his doing. He watched as her shoulders squared, heading towards the bureau.

“Where you run off too? It get to much for you around here?” he threw down the magazine.

Kelly's hand paused on the drawer but it was the only sign that his words had reached her. “I had somewhere else to be.” She pulled open the drawer taking what she needed.

He scoffed. “I see. Somewhere more important than here with everything going on.”

She took a long breath closing the drawer almost methodically, focusing on it to keep her mouth shut. “No. Not more important.”

His lips thinned. “Yea. But you still went. Can't say I'm surprised.”

She turned to him, already knowing she shouldn't have taken the bait, but she couldn't help it. “You're not?”

“Nope. I suppose when you've run away so many times in one life its instinct. Kinda like a rabid dog has to bite….. only way to cure it is to put it down.” His eyes twinkled at his own humour.

Kelly forced a smile. “I suppose. Problem is, with rabid dogs Mr Matthews is you can never tell what they're going to do next…. You know the reason for that?”

He frowned. He wasn't entirely sure what she was talking about. “What? No of course not.”

“Reason is they're mad. If you can't get rid of them the first time around you've lost your surprise. They'll see you coming next time.”

He relaxed back realising she'd turned his own words against him. “So, you think you can see me coming?”

She stiffened. “I'm not a rabid dog to be put down.”

“Maybe that's how I see you.” he smirked.

Her eyes came up to him slowly and for a brief moment he saw the hurt there, he felt glad of it, but something else inside felt a moment of guilt.

“Do you really see me as that, something to be put down? Destroyed?”

He hid his surprise at her question realising she genuinely wanted to know. He opened his mouth to claim his victory and see the hurt again, but instead his mouth closed, slowly and somewhat sadly he shook his head. “No.” Then his back straightened. “…. But I still don't want you near my daughter.”

Kelly nodded her head. “I know…. But what I don't understand is why? Why after all this time…. with Casey happy…. with Lucy. With everything Casey has chosen? I don't get why you just haven't accepted she wants me with her.”

He rose. “Because Casey doesn't know what she wants. She hasn't had the chance to think outside of it, at the bigger picture.” His temper was rising.

Kelly didn't move as he stepped closer. “You still think I've some sort of mind control over her.” she scoffed. “For god's sake Jason, she's your daughter. Do you really think anyone and I mean anyone can tell Casey to do something she didn't want to do? She's her father's daughter!”

His temper stuttered.

“You taught her to fight for what she wants and now you get pissed off and on your high and mighty horse because she stands up to you. You forced her into this situation.”

“If it weren't for you there wouldn't have been a situation. You've made her think she's like you. She isn't damn it. She's…. just confused. You've confused her, she wasn't like….” He swallowed even the words made his blood boil. “She's not a lesbian.”

In any other situation Kelly would have laughed at the absurdity of that remark. “I can't make someone something they're not. She would have been with someone else, another woman given time. What would you say then? You're not a bigot Jason, no matter how much you sound like one. Her being a lesbian just gives you more arguments to work with. Your problem isn't just with me it's with anyone who shows Casey love or a life that isn't controlled by you. A life that you see her in; your plan, your map. Casey loves with everything…. Everything! You should have been proud that she stood up for her values and what she wanted. But instead you made her have to choose.”

“Yeah, well, she chose you!”

Kelly took a breath, seeing he wasn't even listening. “I know. And you know what.... I thank god every damn fucking day that she did.”

His mouth snapped shut on his angry reply. Now his tone was pure sadness. “If she hadn't met you she'd be married to Warren.” he shook his head. “…. It was you. I lost her because of you.”

Kelly bit back her anger, but she couldn't hold in the bitterness. “No. You lost her all on your own. I've let go of the guilt I felt over that one.”

He straightened, his emotions back under control. “You would say that, considering you got what you wanted.”

Kelly took a breath, knowing she was talking to a brick wall that would never understand. “You're wrong. I never wanted her hurting because of it and she does' every birthday, every father's day, every Christmas. And you know what? She tries to hide it because she knows it makes me sad and yes mad. How is that getting what I wanted Jason? Knowing the price of our love is her constantly hurting because she's lost her father? You really still believe if I wasn't here you would get her back?” She studied him, seeing he still believed just that. She shook her head. “You're a fool.”

His face flashed uncertainty and confusion, but before he could answer Kelly had turned and headed back out of the room. His eyes fell on his wife as she entered, her head turning to follow Kelly down the hall. Then her eyes fell on him. “Oh Jason. How can you be so wrong and still not see it?”

He clenched his jaw, walking over to the drink's cabinet.


Ally sat in the car, her eyes fixed on the house. Her mind was a mass of confusion at what she'd found out and now what she was about to do. It could all go so wrong, horribly wrong. This wasn't about losing her job, that was a given as soon as Mark found out. This was about a six-year-olds girl's life. Her FBI side was battling with not advising Mark of the new information and the phone. But the other side knew what Monica had said was true. Not telling gave them an edge, one the kidnapper wouldn't anticipate. She groaned slightly, her hands slapping the steering wheel in frustration.

She didn't know what to do. No that wasn't right, she knew what to do, she had to find away to protect Kelly and get the girl back. What she didn't know, was how to do it? On top of that she was trusting the niece of a well known criminal. She almost chuckled at the look on Marks face when he found out that one, right before he fired her and put her up on charges. That thought sobered her. Her eyes went to the house again. Then with a resounding sigh, she got out of the car and headed towards it. Her strides a lot more steady then her stomach was.

Kelly opened the door on the first ring. Tensing at the look Ally gave her. “How pissed are you?”

Ally stepped in glancing around to make sure they were alone. “Enough to shoot you myself, and solve everything.”

Kelly hid the flinch well. “Monica trusted you?”

“Looks that way. Where's Casey?”

“Upstairs. She was upset.” Kelly's eyes dropped.

Ally felt some of the anger leave her, suddenly seeing how hard this all was on Kelly. “You tell her?”

Kelly closed the door. “No. She knows I saw Monica thanks to you. But she doesn't know why. She's leaving it for now.”

Ally nodded, wondering how long it would be before Casey didn't leave it. She saw out of the corner of her eye Mrs Matthews's step into the doorway of the living room to see who it was. Ally turned smiling forestalling the questions. “Hello again. I'm just here to sort out the press release. I'm afraid I don't have any more news.”

Amanda looked to each slightly uncertain. “Oh. Can I get you something to drink, to eat?”

Kelly stepped forward. “It's okay. I'll take her to the kitchen. Casey is taking a nap.”

Amanda smiled, but she was sure something was going on, but she still turned and went back into the living room.

Ally fell into step with Kelly. “I can't tell you how much I don't like this.”

“But you'll help me?”

Ally exhaled. “Yea. But I haven't got one damn clue how too before 6 am tomorrow morning. I don't think even Valdez can come up with something that fast. We need more time? Do you think he'll give it?”

Kelly let Ally pass into the kitchen ahead of her, she closed the door, leaning fully back against it. “No. He won't. He wants his answer before six.”

Ally quickly turned, suddenly not liking at all what she could hear in Kelly's voice, defeat.

Kelly straightened her shoulders. “I have an idea and you're not going to like it.”



Monica stared at the red wine in the glass, cupped in her hands. She took a long sip, not really tasting it. Her thoughts were locked on the meeting with her uncle. She'd never gone to him before for a favour, after she'd discovered exactly what business he was in she'd distanced herself as much as possible. She'd thought about changing her name, but that would have hurt him, and as much as she disliked what he was, she couldn't not like and love the man who was her uncle, who was more than a father.

She took a long sip of wine again, holding it in her mouth until she tasted the berry and sunshine of Italy. Swallowing, she slumped back into the leather chair, placing the bottom of the glass on her chest, staring through the wine glass at the walls beyond. Seeing the pictures of her dead family, memories, lost memories, through the wine they were stained in red, just like her life. She sat forward, mentally shaking herself out of her thoughts. All that mattered was her uncle would help, she never really doubted he wouldn't. But still, it had been hard to see him again and seeing the look on his face when he realised she was only there to get his help. Her head turned and she frowned at the knock at her door. No-one from the security desk had warned her anyone was on the way up.

She stood at the spy hole, stepping back surprised, she opened the door in a rush. “What the hell do you think you're doing here? Are you nuts?”

Ally's mouth froze on an answer. The woman in front of her did little to resemble the woman who had hi jacked her earlier. This one showed no signs of makeup, or designer wear, this one was barefoot dressed in old jeans and baseball shirt with red hair spilling wildly. She almost did a double check on the apartment number to see if she was at the right place.

Monica waved a hand in front of the agent's face. “Helloooooo.”

Ally blinked almost stepping back, remembering why she came she quickly pushed past a surprised Monica and closed the door.

“Hey. What the fuck!”

Ally shhhhhed her. “We have a problem.”

“You're damn right we do. How did you get past security?”

Ally looked around the apartment, it looked like a home, not anything she would have associated with Monica. Once again she wanted to check the apartment number.

“Hey.” Monica lashed out connecting the solid muscle of a shoulder. “Are you listening to me?”

Ally rubbed her arm. “Yes. Jesus.”

Monica's crossed her arms. “So?”

Ally moved deeper into the apartment now intrigued to the point she was being led by her curiosity, forgetting why she was here. “Your security has gaps. And I didn't think you'd want them to know you had an FBI agent visiting. No more then I want the FBI knowing I'm here either.” She turned her head meeting Monica's gaze. “I assume your uncle is notified of your visitors?”

Monica's face reddened. “He doesn't watch me. That seems to be more the FBIs department.”

Ally shrugged, her eyes going back to the room, stopping at the wall with pictures. Taking in the various images; spotting a young happy Monica, one who resembled the woman who was here, a free spirit. She couldn't help the smile, which faltered when the now defiantly unhappy Monica stepped right in front of her face.

“What damn problem?”

For a moment Ally couldn't catch her breath, then inhaling sharply she stepped back.

Monica frowned. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

“What? No. I'm…..” Ally couldn't finish because right now she didn't know what she was. So she fell back into what she did know. She let the FBIs side of her steady her. “….Kelly wants to give him what he wants.”

Monica blinked. Her stomach flipping so hard it forced her voice into a whisper. “No.”

Ally raised her hand to steady her, then thought better of it. “I can't talk her out of it.”

Monica moved away. “Does she always have to be the fucking martyr? There's no guarantee he's going to return Lucy doesn't she see that?”

Ally sighed, reliving the argument she'd had with Kelly earlier. “Yea she sees it, but she doesn't see any other way.”

Monica spun. “Well she's wrong.”

“Is she.”

Monica's eyes narrowed. “Don't tell me you're agreeing with this?”

“No. But I can't come up with anything.” Ally shoved her hands into her trousers pockets. “Did you talk to your uncle.”

Monica was caught by the change in subject. “Yea. He's mad as hell someone has done this.”

“He… he wouldn't do anything stupid would he?”

Monica's eyes came up slowly. “Like what? Order a hit?”

Ally swallowed. It was one thing to think Valdez was involved in assassinations it was another to have it confirmed by his niece. She stayed silent.

“Would it be such a bad thing if he did?” Monica tilted her head.

Ally snapped her mouth shut on her first reaction of yes, she was starting to even question that. She turned away moving towards the windows.

“What is he doing exactly?”

Monica could see the turmoil cross Ally's face, she chose to let the question go. She moved back to her chair lifting the wine, her eyes following the agent. “He's checking the Warren angle. My uncle has better contacts in Mexico.

Ally resisted the urge to say ‘no shit'. “Good, at least that will tell us something. What else?”

“He's putting feelers out to find out if anyone has anything against Kelly or Casey, anyone we don't know and rumours in places the FBI wouldn't check.”

Ally wanted to curse. “In other words were on our own.”

Monica sparked. “He isn't a miracle worker. We're lucky he's even helping us. He doesn't owe me anything.”

“But he thinks he owes Kelly?” Ally didn't miss the cool look she was given. “Well?”

Monica sat again. “Why is it important? Shouldn't we be discussing how to stop Kelly putting a gun to her head to get her daughter back?”

Ally flinched. Well aware she was now getting the Monica she'd seen before; Guarded, emotionless. She felt a touch of sadness at seeing this side return and knowing it was her doing. “No. It doesn't matter. I was just curious.”

“Really. I thought your mother taught you not to do that.”

Ally recognised the teasing as a peace offering. She managed a smile. “Yea.”

Monica sighed. “I got into trouble in Juvvy. I went in there with an attitude thinking I was better than anyone else. As a result I got my ass kicked more times than I can count. I managed to piss off one particular nasty piece of work.” She swallowed a mouthful of wine in a gulp. “I was being beaten and nearly raped when Kelly arrived on her white charger and rescued me.” she took another drink of wine watching Ally's reaction of surprise then anger, over the rim of the glass. She wondered if Ally knew she gave so much away in her eyes. She put down the glass sitting forward again. “So yea. My uncle thinks he owes her. You blame him?”

Ally shook her head. “No. Can't say that I do.... Why didn't he help you out of there before?”

Monica snorted. “You haven't done your homework very well have you.... He didn't know. My father wanted nothing to do with his brother once he found out where his life was leading, he disappeared off my uncle's radar.... When my parents were killed, my uncle was already trying to track me down, but by that time I'd disappeared into the wonderful world of our foster system. When he did find me….” she smiled in remembrance. “.... He got me away from it. That satisfy your curiosity?”

Ally lowered her head unable to keep eye contact. She hadn't expected to be told. “Thank you.”

Monica semi smiled, seeing that the agent meant it. It was nice when people managed to surprise her, it was rare “You're welcome.”

Ally answered the genuine smile aimed at her. She cleared her throat, needing to get back to some sense of stability, because right now she felt off balance.

Monica watched the struggle and wondered what was going on inside the head of this woman. Suddenly she really wanted to know. “Ally?”

Ally looked up. “Yea?”

Monica blinked caught off guard by the raw emotion she saw, she had to focus to remember what she was going to say. Remembering what it was she suddenly felt nervous in finding out. Instead she went with something more important. “What is Kelly's plan exactly?”

Ally sagged, her eyes going anywhere but at Monica. Knowing the reaction she was about to get. “She wants me to help her get away from the house.” She paused. “…. She'll contact him and give her answer.”

Her eyes slipped closed as Monica shot to her feet and started yelling. Not really blaming her, because both of them knew, what Kelly's answer was going to be.

Ally thanked god Monica had finally exhausted her anger. She really couldn't blame her for her reaction, she was feeling just as useless and frustrated and angry. She didn't like being useless, this was one of the first times she actually didn't have options or rules to fall back on. Her eyes shifted as Monica came out of the bathroom, well aware the redness around her eyes meant she'd been crying. She'd almost gone to her. But she hadn't. She didn't think Monica would have welcomed it or wanted to see her cry. What had surprised her, in amongst the throwing and swearing and downright nasty side of Monica, Ally had caught a glimpse of fear and panic.

“I'm not mad at you.”

The soft words caught Ally by surprise. Just minutes ago she'd been ducking flying objects. “You're not? I got the feeling your blaming me for Kelly's choice.”

“I'm not.”

Ally waited but Monica didn't continue. She signed heavily. “If I had any other options I'd handcuff her to make sure she stayed put.”

Monica gave a weak chuckle. “You really think that would stop her?”

Ally gave a half snort. “Probably not.”

They looked at each other until both gave an understanding smile. It broke when a knock sounded at the door.

Monica rose. “Doesn't anyone ever go past the fucking security desk?” She pulled the door open in a rush, stepping back her anger deflating. “Uncle Dee!?”

Ally stiffened.

“Hello there. Aren't you going to ask your old uncle in?” Blue eyes twinkled as he moved forward to hug her.

“Um…. Hello.” Monica returned the embrace, before stepping back, her eyes shifted to her uncle's two bodyguards, smiling slightly. Well aware that this could turn into an explosive situation. She could practically feel the tension radiating off Ally. “Can the goon squad stay outside?”

He smiled, his eyes going to the woman on the coach briefly, before nodding back to the men.

They stepped to either side of the doorway guarding the hall.

Ally had only seen pictures of Valdez. The pictures did him little justice, he had the kind of presence that handsome politicians do. She was well aware of his brief study of her, but his eyes and face had given away nothing except curiosity. She couldn't tell whether he recognised her as an FBI agent or not. His whole mannerisms were relaxed, just like any other uncle paying a call. The fact he travelled with two bodyguards was the only give away he was anything but a normal uncle or normal anything. Ally found herself raising as he walked towards her.

“I hope I wasn't disturbing anything?” His gaze went to Ally before giving Monica a knowing smile.

Monica gave a stiff smile, crossing her arms. Knowing full well, he was assuming this was just another conquest on her lay chart. “No.”

His eyes showed a shadow of surprise, he returned his gaze back to Ally, this time looking a little deeper. His gaze shifted down to her hip, he gave knowing smile. “Ah. I see the FBI is improving their image. Should I call my lawyer?” He moved past her, sitting, smoothing down his trouser leg.

Ally tensed again, slowly sitting, her eyes never leaving him. “Do you need one? As far as I know visiting a relative isn't a federal crime.”

Valdez grinned. “Yet.”

Monica looked to the both of them, seeing the staring. She rolled her eyes. “Wouldn't it be quicker to see who can piss farther?” Both sets of eyes came around to her, one blue with amusement the other darkening in anger.

Finally Valdez laughed, relaxing back. “My niece has quite the way with words doesn't she?”

Ally relaxed, finding an unusual common ground with Valdez. “No shit.”

Valdez laughed again.

“Hey. I am here.” She shot Ally a look before turning her attention to her uncle. “Dee? Not that I'm not happy about a visit from you, but it's after midnight and you don't make house calls. What are you doing here?”

His eyes shifted to Ally in question.

Monica caught the unspoken question. “You can talk in front of her. Her names Ally. She's helping, she's put her FBI badge in the drawer.”

His eyebrow rose. “Really?”

Ally crossed her arms. “Yea really.” Then she added. “For now.”

A small smile quirked. Oh he liked this one, this one had fire. “Well. If my niece trusts you who am I to argue.”

“I do.”

Ally felt her face flush as Monica gave her one of those soft looks again.

Valdez caught it, wondering exactly what he was missing and reminding himself to run a full check on this one. He cleared his throat until he had both their attentions. His eyes steeled as they directed at Ally.

She had to concentrate not to draw back from it.

“You have a problem. Whoever has done this isn't leaving any markers, even to me. No one has been bragging or searching for material or plans. Whoever this is, is off my grid as much as yours. This is personal. This is small time.”

Ally exhaled sharply, biting back her response of kidnapping a child isn't small time. But she knew what he meant, no known gang were involved in this. “What about rumours?”

He shook his head. “Nothing…. I still have a few areas that need to get back to me, but otherwise none. I'm doing a full track of Kelly and Casey, anyone before or now.”

Ally cursed. “We've done those.”

“Not in the places I go you haven't.”

Monica saw Ally about to argue. “Dee. What have you got?”

He smiled, changing his attention to Monica. “What makes you think I've got anything?”

She smirked. “Because you taught me how to play poker.”

He grinned. “You're right I do.”

He reached into his jacket pocket pulling out an envelope, he tossed it over to a surprised Ally. “Bet you don't know about that.”

Ally opened it, pulling out an 8X10 photograph of a blonde woman kissing a dark haired man. She didn't recognise either of them. Ally looked over to him. “And that is?”

“Richard Carter and Raquel Stevens.”

Ally's widened eyes dropped down to the photograph again. “When was this taken? How did you get this?”

Monica came over looking over the photograph before looking to each of them. “Who are they?”

“It was taken in March of last year. As to how I got it. I wanted to know everything about Warren. Richard's wife had him followed early last year, the PI on the case was aware I was looking for information, he contacted my office.”

Monica eyes dropped to the photograph again hearing Warren's name. “Wait a minute you mean Casey's ex, that Warren. What has this got to do with him?”

Ally felt her palms sweat. “Okay so Rachel was having an affair. What's that got to do with the kidnapping?”

Monica's face flushed aware she was being ignored. Valdez saw it, rising his hand stalling the outburst he saw was coming. “Rachel is engaged to Warren. But it seems she thinks his medical partner Richard is more alluring at times.”

Confusion showed on Monica's face. “So? I agree with Ally. What's it got to do with the kidnapping?”

Valdez shrugged. “I don't know. But don't you find it odd that the three of them are on holiday together in Mexico?”

Ally thought it over for a moment. “Not really. Not if Warren doesn't know anything about the affair. What happened with Richard's wife?”

“The PI gave her all information about meetings and times, with a lot more evidence then that photograph. They had been meeting for about a year he followed them for about three months. He informed Richard's wife, she took the evidence then paid him off. He didn't know whether she confronted her husband or not. The account was closed July of last year.”

Monica shook her head. “I don't see how this shows us anything other than Warren is a dope who got cheated on again.”

Ally looked over curiously at the tone in Monica's voice, it sounded like bitterness. Is that how she felt about Kelly and Casey and what happened between the three of them? She realised that Valdez was looking at his niece in much the same way.

Monica became aware she was being stared at. “Well? What has it got to do with it? So what if Rachel is screwing around. That wouldn't make Warren kidnap Lucy. If he did something it would be aimed at Rachel surely, or Richard?”

Valdez looked to Ally, wondering if she was as bright as he thought.

Ally sighed aware of the test. “It could have been the catalyst.”

Monica frowned. “The what?”

Valdez inwardly grinned, no he hadn't been wrong.

Ally continued. “…. The one thing to push Warren over the edge if he'd found out.”

Monica shook her head slight, confused. “Okay wait. You're saying he finds out that Rachel is screwing around and he suddenly wants revenge at Casey for doing it ten years ago?”

Ally rubbed her now throbbing temple. “Something like that yes.”

Monica brow deepened. “Can that happen?”

Ally took a breath. “It has before. I have too many cases to mention where something small made some guy pick up an AK47 and go nuts.”

Monica sat back. “Jesus….” Then she sat forward. “Wait a sec. If he knows Rachel is having an affair what the hell is he doing on holiday with her and Richard? That doesn't make sense.” She looked to Ally then to her uncle.

Ally placed the photograph down. “No it doesn't. Unless they don't know he knows.”

Valdez nodded. “But that just raises another question doesn't it. How can Warren be involved in this when he's in Mexico with them?”

Monica blinked. “He paid someone to do this for him?”

“Wait. We're getting ahead of ourselves here.” She looked to Valdez. “Is he still in Mexico?”

Valdez smiled starting too really like this woman, she was already way beyond the whole ‘can you do this'. “Yes. I've had three confirmed reports of sightings in the last week, but nothing for the last two days. As you know….” He smirked. “….They're hiking in the Azure trails, I have someone on the way there.” His eyes went to Monica. “As for hiring a kidnapper, I would know about it. Especially now certain people know I'm personal involved with Kelly. Besides he doesn't have the funds, even if he was promising the ransom. No one is that stupid to get involved in a child's kidnapping on the off chance he'll get a ransom.”

Monica threw up her hands. “Then what the hell has the photograph got to do with anything?”

Valdez sighed. “It's the only thing that doesn't fit.” His eyes went to Ally's seeing she understood what he meant.

Monica bit her lip. “I should tell Kelly about this.” She rose going to her phone, dialling.

Ally rose quickly, putting her finger quickly on the hang up. “No.”

Monica's eyes narrowed. “Why the fuck not?”

“Because it won't help her.... If we lead her to think this is Warren she'll do something stupid to draw him out. We have no connection to him, not one.”

Monica tried to get Ally's hand off the button. “She wouldn't jeopardise Lucy that way. I thought you would have seen that in what she's willing to do.”

Ally kept her hand firmly on the button. “Monica no. We have nothing and I mean it, nothing.”

Valdez watching slightly amused it had been a long time since he'd seen anyone stand up to Monica, he felt a jolt of surprise when he realised the last time had been with Kelly. His eyes went to Ally again, seeing the same set to her jaw and eyes filled with stubbornness. Yes. He defiantly had to check this one out. He rose gracefully, removing the phone from Monica clenched hand, ignoring the glare she gave him. “I'm afraid your guest is right. Besides calling the house wouldn't be a wise plan considering her colleagues are listening in.”

Monica pulled the phone from him, smashing it down, well aware of Ally's grunt of surprise as her fingers were nearly caught. “I'm not stupid Dee. I gave her my cell phone.”

Ally caught the look Valdez gave his niece as she walked away. A look of surprise and then something she wasn't quite sure of.

Monica turned. “Fine I won't tell her. But I don't see this getting us anywhere and in less than five hours she has to call that bastard with an answer. We all know what it's going to be and it isn't an option for me. So you'd better damn well do something to stop it.”

If Ally hadn't gotten to know Monica so well in the brief time they'd spent together she would have just seen the anger coming out in her. Instead she saw the vulnerability. Before she had time to think she'd stepped forward, only to have Valdez move past her and pull Monica into a hug. Ally looked down embarrassed realising that was exactly what she'd been about to do. She rubbed her neck, thinking it was a good job Valdez had gotten there first, because right now she'd have been on her ass nursing a broken jaw, what the hell was she thinking.

Monica held onto her uncle, closing her eyes, letting his safety seep into her, her eyes opened only to lock onto Ally's, her heart jumped as she saw the same vulnerability she was feeling. Then the agent dropped her eyes. Monica pulled away from her uncle.

He smiled. “I will do something about it. Trust me it isn't an option for me either. We'll find a way Monica.” He smoothed his thumb over her cheek before drawing full away.

Ally's eyes were firmly fixed on the floor, giving them some privacy. Her eyes rose along with her hackles, she straightened as Valdez walked up to her, she looked down at his offered hand.

“It was nice to meet you Ally.” Valdez grinned as she took his hand, he tightened his handshake, and she tightened hers in response. He relaxed his hand. He leant forward bringing his mouth close to her ear. His voice fully amused. “You don't have to return the sentiment.”

Ally was aware she'd just been slipped his card. She pushed her hands into her pockets, she just gave him a smile, not liking it at all.

Valdez turned back to Monica.

She came forward giving him another hug. “I'll let you know if I find anything else out, don't worry. I can do a lot in five hours. I'll find him.”

Monica just nodded. She broke free, opening the door well aware the goons outside were stepping around her uncle as he stepped into the hall. He gave a nod to Ally, before smiling to his niece and leaving.

Monica closed the door, seeing Ally still scowling. “So you've met my parents, when do I get to meet yours? Do they bake?”

Ally couldn't help it she burst into laughter, glad that Monica joined in. Ally let the laughter carry her for a while, letting the fact if the FBI found out about this meeting, she'd be now under suspicious for leaking information. She laughed again, this time at herself. What the hell was she doing? And who the hell was she?

Monica watched Ally laugh, fully aware it had gone beyond the joke she'd cracked. Suddenly feeling worried. “Ally?”

Ally tilted her head back, closing her eyes and swallowing hard. “I'm so screwed, when this is all over.”

Monica didn't know what to say, for the first time in a long time she felt remorse at the result of her actions.

Ally shrugged it off, moving to the door. “I'm sorry I have to go. I have to check out what your uncle's just told me.”

Monica nodded, opening the door for her. “Can you keep him out of this?”

Ally sighed, moving into the hallway after she'd checked it was clear. “Yes. Don't worry about him.”

Monica dropped her eyes shyly. “Actually I was worried about you.”

Ally turned to look at her. “Oh.”

Monica kept her eyes on the floor for a moment longer, looking up to find confused brown eyes studying her. “Look, don't get mushy on me. You get caught we're all screwed.”

Ally stiffened. “Miss Valdez. I assure you I have no intention of getting caught.” She turned and made her way down towards the back stairs, wondering why those words hurt so much.

Monica moved forward, almost calling her back. Instead she stopped and turned back into her apartment, slamming the door hard.

“Way to go Monica….” She moved to the table, lifting her wine, downing the remains in one. Then her features softened, eyes going to the door, remembering the agent's eyes and how quickly they'd changed to hurt. Do you know how much you wear your heart on your sleeve G woman? What are you doing in a business like this? Why the hell do I care? With those thoughts Monica slumped back onto the sofa. “Well…. Fuck.”




Ally poured herself another OJ, adding ice, sipping it as she walked barefoot across her kitchen into the open plan living room. She'd come home still angry. The shower hadn't helped or the fresh change of clothes. Why was she angry? Hurt feelings? Dealing with a criminal? Or Monica? She'd known the woman less then twelve hours and her world was turned upside down. Worst of all she was a damn conundrum, one Ally couldn't make out at all. She'd been sure Monica was nothing more than a spoilt rich bitch, used to getting her way, ignoring rules. Then Monica had showed a different side. Ally shook her head at her thoughts, sighing heavily as she sat in front of her laptop calling up the FBI access site, logging in. She felt the calm filter into her. Her eyes went to the laptop clock, she had four hours before returning to Kelly. Now she focused on what she was good at, her job.

She tapped in the request….

Carter. H. Richard. X52343PH

Stevens. P. Raquel. F932523PH

She sat back sipping her juice, waiting for the search records to finish. It took no more than three minutes before the screen was filled with full information on them both. Placing her OJ down, she began to read, scrolling through the information. The Agent on the case had been through, right down to back ground bank information. As Ally read she could see how Richard had kept an affair secret for so long. He had a bank account that had nothing to do with his wife, where he deposited Three hundred dollars at the end of the month, that account had several withdrawals. Ally cross-referenced the bank transfers within the account; Finding out dates and times of payment made to florists and payments of hotel bills on the debit card assigned to the account. It was clear to Ally if she checked with the PI that had been following him, they would match times and places Richard had spent with Rachel.

Ally wrote down any information that left a question. She moved to Rachel Stevens. To the untrained eye there didn't seem to be anything out of ordinary. But knowing Rachel was having an affair gave Ally an advantage. Her credit cards showed a lot of activate outside of New York in the latter part of last year. Ally cross-referenced the transactions and dates with Richards's account. Times and areas matched.

Ally went back to the main screen accessing Warren's information. Adding in the dates she'd now confirmed were rendezvous times for Richard and Rachel. She waited, her fingers idly strumming on the laptop. The computer beeped signalling its results. Ally sat forward her concentration fully on the screen, scrolling down over bank transactions and credit card. Her finger stopped on the down button. Two dates stood out, both of which matched area and timeline for meeting of Richard and Rachel. Ally sat back, her finger going over her chin, thoughtfully.

“Were you playing detective Warren?”

She looked at the information again. It didn't really tell her anything other than Warren may have had an idea about his partner and girlfriend. It still didn't link to anything that was happening now. Besides they'd all obviously moved on from it, the three of them were on holiday in Mexico together. Warren was still with Rachel and his partner was still a partner.

Ally scratched her head trying to figure out what it should mean. She sat forward calling back up Rachel's records again, going slowly through to see if she'd missed something. She stopped on a credit card entry for January of this year. Ally clicked on it opening the file.

Velo glass and window repair. 942.43.

Ally frowned, that was a lot of money for a broken window. She returned to the main entry screen, scrolling through. She stopped again, clicking the entry open.

McRoe. Auto shop repair. 1760.32

Ally looked at the dates, four days apart. She lifted the phone dialling the first number.

“You have reached the emergency number of Velo. The opening hours are between eight thirty and five pm. If this is an emergency please hold the line.”

Ally waited, realising it was 2am in the morning. She was lucky it had an emergency line.

“Hello this is Paul speaking. How can I help you?”

“Hi. This is FBI Special Agent Ally Jeffrey.”

The bored voice suddenly sparked into life. “Oh. Wow. Okay. How can I help you?”

Ally rolled her eyes, didn't any one ask for credentials anymore or verification, she could be anyone for Christ sake. But she kept silent accepted it knowing that verification would take up her precious timeline. She wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

“Thank you Paul. I need some information. Can you access accounts of clients for early this year?”

The young voiced Paul was eager to help. “Sure I can. I have full records access. I need it to see if someone who calls our emergency services is up to date with payments.”

Ally could hear the tapping of a keyboard.

“What is the date and name?”

Ally gave it. She waited.

“Okay I have the information. What do you need exactly?”

“What was the work for?” Ally lifted a pen ready to take down the details.

He let out a slow long whistle before speaking. “It was for a complete patio double door window.”

“Judging from the whistle, that's not standard repair?”

He chuckled. “Well no it's not. It means the framework would have been damaged beyond repair. Usually with patio doors its one glass. This was for both doors, the glass was smashed and the framework buckled. That's some damage. Mainly we deal in accident calls, like people walking into a door, or a football going through it. This was big, a complete refit.”

“Does it say what caused it?”

“Hold on a sec there's an attachment.”

Ally waited.

“It's an insurance claim and also a police number I think. This usually means it was a break in. See, we have to forward our information in things like that. The insurance guys wanna know how much and the police guys wanna know if we find anything unusual.”

Ally felt her stomach flip. “Was there anything unusually?”

“Not that I can see but the workman on it did leave a note on the case saying it wasn't an accident, it was caused deliberately. But he hasn't said anything else. He's one of our regular guys. We use mostly outside contractors now for repairs, but I can get him to call you tomorrow.”

“No. it won't be necessary.” Ally wrote the information down.

“There's a number here next to the police receipt, you want that?”

“Yes.” Ally took down the number. “Thank you Paul you've been very helpful.”

“Hey no problem, glad to help. Besides it's the most exciting thing that's happened to me in a long time.” he laughed.

“Thanks again. Bye.” Ally placed the receiver down.

Ally called up the New York police records site, using her FBI number she accessed the records, inputting the number she'd been given. The police report flashed up.

Attempted break in. January 23 rd 2008.

Rachel Stevens. 2423 Pine Tree Avenue.

911 call logged 3 17am

Ally read the report.

What it came down too, was. Rachel had been awakened by the sound of smashing glass. She'd immediately called 911. A patrol car had been there within ten minutes, whoever had done it was long gone. Forensic had come up with no prints but had worked out that Rachel's black Bart grass cutter, which has been kept in a shed at the back of the building was used.

Ally resisted a smirk. Wonder what gave it away the fact the damn thing was sticking out of the side of the house. She allowed herself a chuckle. Her eyes went back to the report.

The Bart had been driven into the back patio windows. Nothing was stolen. No one had seen or heard anything until the impact. Rachel had given a statement, she had no idea why someone would have done it, unless it was a burglar breaking in. She was supposed to have been away that night, but due to feeling unwell she'd stayed at home. After looking into it, the police hadn't come up with anything new the case was now inactive, unsolved.

Just as Ally was about to close the file, she noticed a number attachment at the bottom, she quickly clicked on it. Another case file opened.

January 25 th 2008. Vandalism Car.

Rachel Stevens. 2423 Pine Tree Avenue.

Report. January 26 th 2008.

Ally read quickly through the report. Rachel had come home to find her Lexus rear window smashed and the paint work scored completely down one side. All four tyres had been ripped. The car had been left at home while Rachel was away on business.

Nothing appeared to have been taken from the car. No prints were found. No witnesses to the crime.

Status…. Inactive. Unsolved.

Ally sat back, the pencil tapping her chin, her mind going over the new information. She signed out of the N.Y.P.D records department, returning to the FBIs main screen. She pulled up the two financial records of Richard and Rachel, this time using the dates of the two crimes as the format search.

She waited. Almost immediately two hits came up. At the time of the attacks Richard's debit card showed up as being in use. Rachel's only flashed once.

“Of course it did. She was ill she didn't go. She was home when she wasn't supposed to be.”

Ally gave herself a moment to think, like always at times like this she voiced her mind to the walls. She stood moving up and down into a pace. “Okay. So at the time of the attacks Richard and Rachel were together, or supposed to be together. So what?”

She paced some more.

“Sooooooooooo. Warren knew they were having an affair and flipped out. He decided to cause Rachel some damage?” She shook her head. “Why not Richard?” she frowned. She really needed to know something, she moved to the phone lifting it, dialling.

A strained voice answered. “Hello?”

“Kelly it's Ally. When you first got together with Casey were there any attacks on her car or home? Anything that looked like vandals?”


“Look it's important. Was there anything?”

Ally could hear Kelly swearing, and then silence and deep breathing.

“No there wasn't anything.”

Ally's chest fell. “You're sure? No broken windows?”

“Yes I'm sure. What the hell is this about?”

“Nothing.” Ally sighed tiredly. “Just an idea. It doesn't matter. Goodnight…I'll….”

Kelly's voice broke in. “Wait. Casey's cat was poisoned.”

Ally took in a sharp breath. “Go on?”

“She thought she'd just gotten hold of rat bait or something, next door had been laying it. Casey found it one morning outside on the steps, dead.”

“What did next door say?”

“How the hell can I remember it was ten years ago….”

Ally waited for Kelly's anger to die down.

“…. I think they said they weren't using it. Casey said she'd seen it. Anyway Warren brought her another one, but it must have run off or something it disappeared the day she was moving in with me.”

“Warren brought her the replacement?”

“Yea they were still together when it happened.”

Ally took a breath. “Were you two lovers by then?” Ally heard an almost growl, she interrupted it. “It's important Kelly otherwise I wouldn't ask.”

“Yes we were lovers.”

“How long?”

She heard Kelly take in a deep breath. “About a month.”

Something clicked into place in Ally's head.

“What's this about?”

“I'm working on something, you know cleaning up loose ends.” She kept her voice light, hoping Kelly would get the message that she couldn't talk about it right now.

The phone was silent again, until Kelly's voice broke it. “Is there anything else?”

Ally half closed her eyes in thanks that Kelly had understood. “Only if you can think of anything else that could have happened?”

The phone line was silent for a minute. “No. There isn't.”

“Okay I'm sorry I disturbed you. Try and get some sleep Kelly I'll see you tomorrow.”

“Yea. Good night Agent.”

Long after Kelly had hung up, Ally held the receiver in the hand, her mind elsewhere. It was fitting a puzzle into place, a puzzle that had too many pieces missing to see the finished picture. She started as the phone let out a long toned squeal letting her know it was off the hook, she replaced it. Moving back to the laptop, she called up all of Warren's records, slowly bit by bit going through his financial history. After twenty minutes she sank bank, rubbing her eyes. There had been nothing she didn't know before, the dates that matched rendezvous' with Richard and Rachel could have been a coincidence. She had to smile as she heard Marks voice's in her head. “We don't believe in those remember.” That was the problem, he was right she didn't.

She took a sip of OJ, wincing at the watery taste of the melted ice, calling up the profile report on the kidnapper. She read it through again; Unemotionally detached…. Those words stood out at her. Was that Warren? Did Kelly mistake Warrens backing off for Casey's sake? Was it instead because he didn't care? Thought of Casey as property? A thing he owned? If that was the case, then Warren would have done something then, not ten years down the line. He couldn't have helped himself. He couldn't have waited….

“Ugh.” Ally rose in frustration. She was never going to get an answer in the past, she had to stay in the now, this timeline this kidnapping. Her eyes went to the laptop as an idea came to here. She sat, punching up Warren's information again. She frowned as she accessed his work record. There was nothing about his employment now, just the address and reference of his practise. There were no attachments for interviews with his staff. Ally remembered it was Agent Susan Smith who was supposed to be covering this angle. She changed the laptop screen to FBIs directory, inputting Susan's name. The screen opened with Susan's Smiths picture and contact numbers. Ally dialled the cell number, and waited.

A very sleepy voice answered. “Hello?”

“Agent Smith, this is Agent Ally Jeffrey I'm working on the kidnapping case you're on.” Ally heard the inhale and the ruffling of sheets.

“Of course, I remember you from the meeting.”

“Can I ask why you don't have on Warren Edwards file the employee interview attachments?”

Susan cleared her throat from sleep. “I only got down here late this afternoon. I haven't had time to transfer my notes to the file. Is there a problem?”

Ally bit back her temper, it was standard procedure to transfer end of day notes to file. “I need to know if anything stood out for you?”

“Like what?”

Ally heard the yawn. This time her temper didn't stay down. “Agent Smith are you aware that a six year old child's life is at stake in this case.”

Susan's voice bristled. “Yes. I know what is at stake Agent Jeffrey. There wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Everyone likes him, even his damn patients want to make him a saint. He does charity work, house visits, besides that he isn't involved in this he's in Mexico.”

Ally frowned, her free hand calling up Warren's sheet again. “Wait. Back up. What charity work? That isn't in his work record?”

Susan's voice now was showing the fact she didn't like to be wakened at 2 am in the morning and told how to do her job. “It isn't work, its charity. He does a clinic once a month at a Homeless shelter.”

“Did you check it out?”

“Did I check what out?”

Ally closed her eyes. “The homeless shelter!”

Susan paused as if suddenly realising she might have missed something. “No. I'm doing it first thing this morning.”

“What's the name of it?” Ally ground her teeth.

“Just a minute.”

Ally heard the beep of a laptop.

“Okay I've got it.... St Luke's Faith Open Home. 129 Dockland Street. 555-7383. Is there anything else?”

Ally finished writing. “Yea. Even if you don't think something is important Susan, on cases like this…. everything is.”

“I'll remember that.” Susan's voice was now subdued.

“One last thing. When you said the employees liked him, did any of them mix with him outside of the office on a personal level?”

“No. None of them, some of them even mentioned it. He didn't join in the staff events at all. He'd contribute to them with cost and such, but he'd never go to the dinners or anything else.”

“Did they think that odd?”

“No they didn't. They just said he liked his free time and privacy because he worked so hard as a doctor. Besides that he spent most of his free time with his girl friend Rachel.”

Ally nodded. “Okay thank you. I'm sorry I woke you.”

“Don't be. I'm going to type up my reports then get some sleep.”

Ally smiled. “Night agent.”

The phone clicked.

Ally looked down at the address. Most homeless shelters had some sort of office worker on call. She lifted the phone dialling the number.

“St Luke's?”

“This is FBI Agent Jeffrey. I'm working out of the New York office. I need some information? Who am I talking too?”

“John Winter's. I'm one of the night staff. What's this concerning?”

“I need information on a doctor that does a clinic once a month. Can I speak to someone that might have that information?”

“Oh you mean Dr Edwards. I know about it, I'm one of the people that runs this place. I'm going to know as much about him as anyone.”

“Thank you I appreciate your help Mr Winters. Can you tell me how long has Dr Edwards been doing the clinic?”

“Since March of last year. Best thing that's happen here if you ask me.”

“Did you have a clinic before that?”

“Hell no. only thing we had was band aids.” He laughed.

“So you approached Dr Edwards about the clinic.”

“No way. He approached us about it.”

That one surprised her. “He just came in and offered his services?”

“Pretty much happened that way. He told us he wanted to give back to the community but he didn't want to do it at Blue Cross drop in centres. Said they were a waste of time and tied down by too much bullshit and red tape. He ain't wrong there. Most of the people who come here want to stay off the radar. They ain't criminals, well most of um ain't. But some are escaping something in life and everything at Blue Cross eventually shows up somewhere. People don't want to be found if you know what I mean.... Which means when they're sick they don't go for help, even it means they'll die, this clinic gives um another option.”

“I understand. Must be hard to fund a clinic?”

“Well, we get a small grant. But most of it is covered by Dr Edwards. He brought in some fancy medical stuff beginning of this year. Since the clinic started we've had various donations come in to help fund it. Look, what's this about. Is Dr Edwards okay?”

“Yes he's fine. I'm just looking into some enquires considering stolen medical supplies.”

His voice bristled. “Look lady if you think Dr Edwards is handling stolen meds you're wrong. He does everything by the book. He even got us to set up an account for the donations so we get a tax rebate for it. This place is run on damn donations, but that account is for the clinic, it buys the meds and shit. So your way off if you think he doing something illegal.”

Ally felt a spark in her stomach. “An account?”

“Hold on.” After a few minutes his voice returned. “St Luke's account at Barstow Bank. We started getting large donations in from people that knew Dr Edwards. They wanted to make sure the money was being used for the clinic only. Some people are snobs when it comes to giving to the homeless but it's okay in their world to give to a clinic.” He snorted in disgust. “Preacher politics, ya know?”

“Yea I know….” And she did most of her older family thought the homeless could get a job if they really wanted too and were either druggies or winos. She'd given up arguing the case with them. She cleared her thoughts. “Who handles the account?”

“What you mean?”

“Who has access to the account? Are you the account holder?”

“Me?” His voice squeaked. “No way. Dr Edwards writes the cheques for the medical side and a couple times he's written cheques for the shelter itself when we've needed it. It's in the name of this place, St Luke's. All we do is make sure we put the money into it when the donation come in. It goes into our audits at end of year.”

“Do you have statements?”

“We get statements through sure?”

“How much is in that account Mr Winters?”

“You want to know that now?”

“Yes now if you don't mind.”

“Shit.” The phone went almost silent, except for the back ground swearing. He returned. “Last statement, which was first of this month. The amount was little over Twenty thousand.”

Ally blinked. “Excuse me?”

“I said. Twenty grand.”

“Isn't that a lot of donations?”

“If you'd ask me that last year before we started the clinic I would have said hell yea. But Dr Edwards got a lot of people to donate and meds ain't cheap. He only does his main clinic once a month where he sees the patients. He also comes in every other week to fill scripts. So, no lady Twenty grand ain't a lot cos it don't last long in a place like this where seventy percent of people need antibiotics. Besides the account has been higher than that, but by the time the Doc has paid out for things it drops fast.”

Ally swallowed hard. The spark in her stomach was turning into fireworks. “Mr Winters how many statements do you have there?”

“About….” She heard him counting. “…. Must be about fifteen. Why?”

“Do you have a fax?”

“We aren't in the dark ages of course we got a damn fax.”

“Can you fax them to me?”

Winter's paused, now suspicious. “Maybe I should check out first if you are FBI?”

“No problem sir. My ID is DXU 2352 300 just call the FBI office and give them that reference. My fax number is 565-3838. This is very important Mr Winters.”

“Stay on the line. I'll use the other phone.”

“No problem. Thank you.”

She heard the phone get placed down. She bit nervously at her lip. She waited…. waited…. waited…. waited. She jumped as her fax machine beeped and started printing.

“You still there?”


“I checked you out. You should be getting the stuff through now.”

Ally moved to the fax, watching as the statements came through. “Yes I've got it thank you.”

“You're wrong about Dr Edwards and I'm sure those statements will show you. We may be a shelter but we ain't stupid, we have our accounts gone through every year including that one.”

Ally lifted the first statement looking it over. “I'm sure you do Mr Winters and this will give me the information I need. Out of interest when does your accountant do your books?”


“What month does your accountant see your financial information.”

“Every January. Why?”

“No reason was just a question.” Ally knew damn well it wasn't just a question. It meant the account, statements and movement within the account from January till now hadn't been audited or seen by anyone else other then Warren. “Thank you for your help Mr Winters.”

“That it! Can I go back to the excitement of cutting my toenails again?”

Ally laughed. “Yes sir you can. Thank you again.”


Ally stretched across placing the phone down, her eyes fixed on the statements, she lifted all of them shifting them into date order, moving back to the desk to sit as she did. The information showed her who made donations, and who was paid from the account.

She wrote down the names of each. Working her way through she could see that the average out goings met with the incoming. There weren't any big cheques written out, only two for equipment that was brought in the earlier part of the year. She wrote down the names of the drugs companies Warren dealt with. She moved to the last statement, then stopped, something niggled at her. She went back to the previous statement then back through to the beginning. That's when she saw it, the reason for the niggle; A donation, once a month for five hundred dollars all from the same person…. W. Edwards.

Ally frowned. She quickly typed up his information screen, scrolling through his bank details. She found the entries on his banking account.

$500 St Luke's. Charity number 230987987987c

She noted the fact this had been checked out by an agent on the case. Of course it had checked out. St Luke's was a charity and if Agent Smith had followed up on it Ally would have known right from the start that Warren was a doctor there and had access to the account. Even though it had checked out it still made Ally's palms sweat. She sat back. He was donating to his own clinic. Why? Ally was getting a headache, all she had now were more unanswered questions. She rubbed at her temple as her eyes stopped on the statements again, another name she recognised next to a donation stood out. Richard Carter. Five hundred dollars a month.

She quickly wrote down the amounts for both of them, adding them up. She stared at the notepad.

Warren Edwards …. Total. $9000

Richard Carter …. Total. $9000

Ally exhaled speaking to the walls again. “So what? They're partners, they give to a worthy cause. They get tax breaks for giving to a charity. It doesn't mean jack shit. Jesus Christ I'm off on a wild goose chase expecting to find the god damn golden egg.”

She threw her pencil down in disgust. She was tired. Her eyes went to the clock, she was running out of time. Shaking her head she rose, she had to meet Kelly soon and she was nowhere nearer finding out if Warren was part of this or not. Walking to the window she stared out at the sky. Then after ten minutes she let out a drawn out sigh, returning to the laptop.



Some say that three am in the morning is the loneliest time for those who can't sleep. As Kelly sat in the window seat of the bedroom looking down into the empty street, she thought they were right, she hadn't felt so alone in a long time. Nothing moved outside except for the night breeze stirring the trees, the streetlights cast their amber shadows giving the surroundings a bleak look of winter. It wasn't cold enough yet for that, but Kelly felt a deeper cold, one that touched her core. She'd tried to sleep, but her dreams had been filled with nightmares of what was happening to her little girl, nightmares that screamed tortured cries, till the point she'd woken sweating and gulping back her own. She'd moved away from the warmth of Casey, not wanting to wake her, trying to give her a moment of peace.

Her focus moved from the street to Casey. Casey always looked so young when she slept, but she could now make out lines that weren't there before, deep furrows, the silent bearers of pain, despair and loss. Etched proof the full impact of the kidnapping. Kelly pulled her legs up, resting her chin on them wrapping her arms around her knees, trying to memorise as much as she could in just one look. Her eyes caressed her lover.

She felt her insides tighten at the thought of never seeing Casey again, the ball in her throat hurt more than anything she'd ever felt in her life. But she was doing the right thing, there was no other way. Her life was nothing compared to getting Lucy back. She couldn't think about what this would do to Casey. Those thoughts were just too much to handle that she was going to cause her so much pain. She hoped Casey would someday forgive her. That thought tormented her the most, almost making her rethink her choice. Kelly swallowed hard, she had to do this and for once she prayed, prayed that she had the strength to see it through and Lucy would be safely home.

She looked away, she didn't have much time left. Ally would be there soon to get her away from the house. Kelly frowned, why had Ally wanted to know about Casey's cat, or anything that had happened back then? It must have been important because Ally had called knowing the line was tapped. But what could have been important about it? Kelly shook it off, rising. She moved to the bed, bending down to kiss Casey in her sleep. Casey moaned slightly and snuggled further into the blanket.

Kelly smiled bitter sweetly down at her. This was hard. Her hand hovered just above Casey's face. “Goodbye baby. I love you.” Closing her eyes to the pain, she left the room, going to get ready.




Ally dialled in the number on her phone as she started the car. Her stomach was a mass of excitement at what she found in the last half hour. If she was right she needed help. She checked the mirror before moving the car in the direction of Kelly's.

“Mr Valdez residence?”

“This is Ally. I'd like to speak to Mr Valdez.”

“One moment Agent. I'll put you through.”

Ally moved the car into the light stream of traffic.

“I'm surprised to hear from you so soon Ally.”

Even on the phone Valdez soft tones sounded like a politician.

“I need a favour.”

“Of course go ahead.”

“Thelmic Pharmaceuticals.”

Valdez voice paused. “You have an interest in them?”

“Look Mr Valdez I don't really have time to prove to you I have no interest in anything you are doing. All I need to know is what do they sell?”

“You think I have something to do with them?”

Ally exhaled. “Well considering your name is on the board of directors I'd say that was a big yes.”

Valdez chuckled. “I'm impressed. What do you want to know?”

“What does the company sell?”

“That's easy used medical equipment. I assure you there is nothing illegal about it.”

Ally scoffed. “I doubt there is” she resisted the urge to add he was too clever for that. “Warren Edwards brought two pieces of equipment early this year.”

“Did he now. So?” his voice was now curious.

“So both cheques he wrote for the equipment weren't to the company itself but to a Dale Cartwright. I want to know if the amount he paid was right?”

“Give me the information.”

Ally did.

“I'll call you back in five.”

The phone clicked.

If Ally was right in her thinking, she knew how Warren got the money to fund the kidnapping. Somehow he'd found away to launder his money back to himself. Now all she needed to know was how in the hell Warren staged a kidnapping from Mexico.

The phone rang.


“Mr Valdez.”

His voice was angry. “It seems one of my employees has been running a little business of his own. The equipment Warren brought was four thousand dollars cheaper than the cheque he paid.”

Ally swallowed. “And the second cheque?”

“It was over five thousand too much.”

“Son of bitch. “ Ally slapped the steering wheel. “What about the drugs?”

“Also over paid. Ally as much as I'd like to say I know what's going on right now I don't. Other then Warren was over paying for equipment and drugs? And my Mr Cartwright was raking in very nice profit. I'm not sure what this is leading too? Or what this has to do with Warren?”

“It's leading to an idea Mr Valdez. One I don't like very much and doesn't make sense in some ways.” She sighed heavily as she moved through the green light. “Has your man gotten anywhere tracking down Warren and company?”

His voice showed amusement. “My man as you put it is on his way to the trail they set off on. He will be out of communication till tomorrow. I'm sorry it isn't faster.”

She cursed. “I know. Everything is too late on this case.” Ally suddenly had a thought. Something the profiler said. ‘This is done to his timeline.' Another piece of the puzzle fell into place. But what the hell did it mean? Valdez voice broke into her thoughts.

“Are you on the way to Kelly's?”

“Yes I'm ten minutes away…. I'm…. I'm not sure I can just let her do this.”

“I can't see how you can stop her. With or without your help Kelly is going to do what is needed to save her daughter. I…”

Ally waited.

“…. I wasn't there for my niece when she was younger Ally, if it hadn't been for Kelly doing what she thought was right I would never have gotten to know her. That doesn't make it any easier letting her do what she thinks is right now. I'd have her followed if I didn't believe that bastard would know.”

It was the first time Ally heard any true emotion come into his voice. “I know I feel the same way….” Her voice dropped. “I'm aware of what happened with your niece.” She wasn't sure why she told him.

“You are?” He was surprised. “I didn't think Kelly would have told anyone.”

“Monica told me.”

“Well.” His surprise went up a notch. “My niece trusts very few people. I hope you don't disappoint her.”

Ally swallowed hearing the threat. “I assure you I'm not out to hurt her.” She realised as she said the words she meant it. She shifted uncomfortably this was not the time to go near the confusion she felt about Monica. She pulled the car up just next to the surveillance truck. “The reason I called you is I need you to activate the GPS on the phone Monica gave Kelly.”

There was a long pause. “I could say I don't know what you're talking about.”

“Then that would waste time I didn't have.”

He chuckled. “Was it a guess Agent that I have the facility to do this?”

She semi grinned. “An educated one.... From what I've seen of Monica she'd spot in an instant anyone you put on her to protect her. You'd have to find another way to keep tabs on her. Besides I saw your face when Monica told you she'd given her phone to Kelly. It was surprised and a brief moment of panic.”

He laughed. “You're right of course. I made sure I knew where Monica was. I have to make sure she is safe can you understand that? I would ask however you didn't inform Monica of this information.”

“Yes sir I can understand it and it isn't my business to inform your niece either.”

“Good. I'll arrange the activation. I'm guessing you're going to try and keep tabs on where Kelly is going?”


“If she ditches or doesn't take the phone you'll lose her.”

“Don't you think I know that.” her voice took on an edge, she knew the plan wasn't full proof.

He didn't react to her anger. “Ally. I hope you know what you're doing? Be careful.”

It felt strange to have a well known criminal telling her to be careful, what was more strange was she heard he meant it.

“Thank you.”

He rang off. She sat in the car staring at the surveillance truck. She glanced down at her watch. Four minutes. She got out of the car making her way towards the back of the van. Counting to ten to calm herself she pulled open the door, making the two men inside jump.

“Sweet Jesus Ally. I think I gave birth!”

She laughed at O'Malley. “Sorry about that Shaun.”

He shook his head. “What the hell you doing here at this time?”

She sat, shrugging. “Couldn't sleep and I had a feeling.”

Jameson looked up. “What sort of feeling?”

“One of those that won't let you sleep. Is that soda?”

Jameson frowned, passing her over a can. “You okay? Anything we should know about?”

“Nah, just restless. You know just case spooks.” She shrugged again pulling the tab on the drink. “So anything happening?”

He nodded understanding the need to check people she was in charge of. “No. Nothing's happening.”

O'Malley looked up at the surveillance screens. “Had a few bats fly over. Casey went to bed about one. Kelly was up for a while then lights out at 3, nothing since.”

“What time the parents leave?”

She saw Jameson wince. “Casey's father is some piece of work. He was arguing all the way to the car with his daughter, she was in tears most of the time. They left just after midnight. Despatch told us they got to the hotel okay and he was still yelling.”

Ally took a sip of the soda, her eyes going to the monitor clock. “Yea he really is a bastard.” She leant across placing her soda down on the work area, her eyes on the clock, as the clock hit 4.00 exactly. She moved her hand away letting it catch the edge of the soda can, the can toppled, spewing soda outward towards the keyboard, then rolling, it fell right into O'Malley's lap in a spray.

O'Malley shot up, ripping the surveillance ear phones from his head. “Fuck!”

Ally grabbed a handful of tissues wiping down the board. “Shit, I'm sorry.”

Out the corner of her eyes on monitor four she caught the dark shadowed figure of Kelly escaping through the back door. Her focus returned to the two men who were trying to mop up the soda from the control board and floor. Inwardly she sighed in relief they hadn't noticed, she also flinched inside, she felt like Judas. Only she could get away with a simple plan like this, simple, because they trusted her. Right now she didn't like herself very much. What she'd done would be found out later when the tapes were reviewed, but right now it gave them precious time. She'd deal with the betrayal later.

She slumped down onto the seat. “I'm sorry guys.”

O'Malley grunted, sitting down again wiping at his jeans with a cloth. “No worries.” He placed the headphones back on, his eyes going to each monitor.

Jameson dumped the soiled tissues in the trash, coming over he laid his hand on her shoulder. “Hey. Don't worry about it nothing is damaged. Look Ally I know these two are your case but you look beat. Why don't you go home? We've got everything covered here.”

Ally nodded tiredly as she rose. “I should have stayed in bed. You're right. Look I'll make it up to you I'll bring breakfast.”

Jameson smiled. “Sounds good. See you at eight.”

Ally looked back at O'Malley. “I'm sorry Shaun.”

He just waved her away.

Ally stepped out into the street, looking back up at Jameson. “Sorry I'm leaving you with him in a bad mood.”

He grinned. “He's always in a bad mood. Get some sleep.”

“Yea.” She stood there till he closed the door. Then she ran to the car, starting and pulling away in the direction Kelly had given her for the meet up.




Kelly's heart hadn't stopped thumping the whole time she'd run. She expected any minute a helicopter searchlight to find her. She ducked down as car headlights lit up the bend of the road. When it was safely past she stood again running back into the woodland, heading for the road on the far side. She broke free of the trees, her body humming from the run and adrenaline, she crouched down and waited. Soon she picked up the sound of a car approaching, she kept low, watching the headlight light up the dirt track. As it pulled up she waited again, when she saw the figure of Ally get out she let out a huge sigh of relief, she rose. “Hey.”

Ally jumped, swinging her torch around. “Kelly?”

Her arm shot up to the glare. “Yea. Get that thing out of my face.”

Ally lowered the torch. “I fucking hate this.”

Kelly got into the car, waiting until Ally sat in next to her. “I know I'm sorry. Thank you.”

Ally swung around to her. “Don't you dare thank me for this. Fuck. I can't believe I'm even helping you. This is an insane idea.”

Kelly took a deep breath, pulling out a letter from her back pocket. “I need you to give this to Casey.”

Ally stared down at it angrily. “A good bye forgive me I blew my brains out letter?”

Kelly hand shook. “Yes.”

Ally snatched it away, throwing it into the glove compartment. “Fine, I'll give it to her as soon as we find your dead body.”

Kelly grabbed her. “You listen to me. You think this is easy for me.”

Ally pried Kelly's hand off her jacket. “No. But you have no fucking guarantee he is going to give back Lucy for Christ sake. Let me help you.”'

“To do what?”

Ally took a deep breath trying to calm her anger. “To give us a guarantee.”

Kelly looked at her sideways. “I'm not turning the cell over to you.”

“Listen to me Kelly. You need to make him understand you're not going to blow your damn head off until your sure Lucy is safe.”

“And how in the hell am I supposed to do that?”

“You still have Monica's phone?”

Kelly frowned. “It's in the rucksack.”

“Take it with you.”

Kelly mouth opened to argue, her face reddening.

Ally interrupted. “He doesn't know about Monica, he doesn't know about her cell. It's one thing we have in our favour.”

“And that helps us how?”

Ally almost told her about the GPS then she thought better of it. Kelly wouldn't put Lucy's life in jeopardy. “I just want you to take it with you. Give Lucy a chance of life. If you want to go ahead and kill yourself, fine. Lord knows I can't fucking stop you…. Just tell me what he says after you've talked to him. That's all I ask. It might help us catch him if he goes back on not giving Lucy up. He won't know anything about it. Please…. Don't ask me to just let you walk out of here and not leave me with an option to help her.”

Ally could see the torture of thought on Kelly's face.

“He won't know Kelly. Keep the phone on silent. He can't trace something he doesn't know about. Then call me afterwards.”

Kelly jaw clenched. “If I do. You swear to me you won't follow me?”

“Kelly.” Ally said her name in an exhaled breath.

Kelly grabbed her again. “You swear to me when we get there you will drive away and won't follow me. SWEAR IT!”

Ally nodded. “I swear it. I won't follow you if you call me after you've called him. But so help me god Kelly if I don't hear from you I'm coming back. “

Kelly stared, trying to read her eyes, when she was satisfied she released her. “I'll call.”

Ally thanked god, then composed herself. “Where am I taking you?”

Kelly's head bowed. “Caraway Lake. I'll give you the directions.”

Ally started the car and drove.

The car ride was less than fifteen minutes, it was travelled in silence. A few times Ally had looked over to Kelly, only to find her staring out of the window shedding silent tears. Ally was finding it hard not to cry herself. She wanted to tell Kelly what she'd found out but nothing she had was concrete enough. She focused on the drive, putting out of her mind that she was more than likely taking Kelly to her death. She swallowed hard.

“Pull over here.”

Ally looked over to Kelly, seeing the tears gone to be replaced with determination. Ally looked around, seeing the lake at the bottom of the road, the moon shimmering its reflection. It looked so peaceful. “Why here?”

Kelly pulled the rucksack up, putting Monica's cell onto the silent, stuffing it to the bottom of the bag. “We used to come up here in the summer.”

Ally nodded, she'd seen the information on the file, now remembering the cabin. “The gun there?”

Kelly stiffened but didn't stop pulling the rucksack on. “Does it matter?”

Ally exhaled. “This isn't right…. it just isn't.”

Kelly looked over to her, her voice softening. Knowing the situation she was putting Ally in. “I hope you never find out what it's like to lose a child. Even if it is a slim chance to get her back, can't you understand it's my only way? I have to take it. If…. you tell me you can catch him before he hurts her, or tell me I don't have to do this because you know where he is? I'll stop. I'll give you the cell, I'll do it your way. Give me another option Ally?”

Ally clamped her eyes shut, well aware she was crying. Her voice was broken. “I can't. I can't find him in time.” she felt a warm hand on her shoulder, she opened her eyes to see grey eyes glistening tears of understanding at her.

“This isn't your fault. This is my choice.”

“Casey isn't going to see it that way Kelly.”

Kelly face slightly broke. She knew that was only half right, the other person Casey would be blaming was her. “I'm sorry.” She gave Ally's shoulder a brief squeeze. “Take care of her for me. Get my daughter back.” she turned to leave only to have Ally grab her.

“You call me…. Before…. before you do anything else.”

“I will. I promise. Will you do something else for me?”

Ally gave a bitter laugh dropping her hand. “Sure.”

“Take care of Monica.”

Ally's eyes jumped in surprise.

“She may act tough. But she isn't.”

Ally just stared, then nodded. “She's gonna hate me, but I'll make sure she's okay. Good luck. I … I wish things could have been different.”

Kelly gave a half smile, then stepped free of the car, she gave a sad wave.

Ally returned it, before she backed the car up and drove away from her.

Kelly followed the headlights with her eyes, watching it climb the hill and finally disappear over it. She sucked in a breath, pulling out the cell phone from the back of her jeans, heading down towards the cabin by the lake. When it answered, she spoke. “I have your answer.”

“Do you now. And that would be?”

“First I want to know my daughter is going to be released.”

The synthesised voice cackled. “Do you really think you're in any position to make a demand of me?”

“Yes. You want me dead. You don't get that until I'm sure my daughter is safe. I don't care what I have to make sure, but I'll do it.”

The phone fell silent, only static. Kelly swallowed hard, but she stayed silent, concentrating on walking.

“Where are you? Are you alone?”

She blinked, she didn't expect to be asked that. “I'm …. I'm at Caraway Lake. Yes I'm alone.”

“How did you get there?” his voice now was suspicious.

Kelly stopped walking. “I ran here. I left the house at 3.” She knew the timeline was right for the run, she'd done it many times, all she had to do was cut across country.

“Interesting. That's quite the task in the dark.”

“I know the way. I've done it before. I like to run.”

He laughed. “Oh I know you like doing that.”

She bristled. He knew too much about her, she didn't like it. But she kept silent.

“How did you get past the surveillance watching your house?”

Kelly calmed her voice, she'd expected him to ask. “They change shift at 3. There's three-minute window where no one is watching. They're watching for you, not for someone leaving the house. It wasn't that hard to sneak out the back onto the back road then up to the turnpike.” She prayed he believed her.

“Always the resourceful one aren't you.” his voice was a sneer. “You wouldn't be setting me up would you Kelly? You know the penalty.”

Her voice trembled. “I know. And I'm not. You didn't expect me to do this at home did you, in front of Casey?”

“It seems to me you're not going to do anything anyway. So what's the point of this conversation? Goodbye.”

“Wait Jesus wait. Can't you understand all I want is too know that Lucy is going to be safe.”

“You have my word.” His voice now began to show his anger.

“I know…. I know. But if you were in my place would you believe in that? I'll give you what you want I swear it. But I need to know she's okay and will be okay. I'm on my own, no one followed me. No one knows I'm here. I wouldn't jeopardise Lucy surely you know that. Surely you understand why I'm asking this?”

The phone fell silent for a moment. “I suppose.”

“Then you can understand why?”

The phone was silent again. Kelly felt her palms sweat. Then finally he spoke again. “Yes.”

She closed her eyes briefly in thanks.

“Go to the cabin. I'll call in thirty minutes and believe me Kelly if I discover this is a trick or you have set me up. I'll send your daughter back to you in small packages.”

The phone clicked off.

Kelly bent and threw up, when there was nothing left, she started her run towards the cabin. She was halfway there before she realised his slip, he knew about the cabin.




Ally pulled the car over, she'd taken a side road off the main one about fifteen miles from where she'd left Kelly. She dialled Valdez number.

“Valdez residence.”

“It's Ally.”

“One moment.” The phone clicked. Valdez spoke. “Ally?”

“Do you have the GPS lock?”

“Yes she's near Caraway Lake.”

Ally let out a sigh of relief. “Yes. I just dropped her there. She's going to call me when she's called him.”

“Do you trust her to do so?”

Ally pulled her hand back through her hair. “Do I have any other choice?”

“Where are you?”

“About fifteen miles from her.”

“The GPS hasn't changed I'll call you if it does.”

“Thank you.”

Valdez clicked off. Ally sank back in the seat. She was bone tired, now it was about waiting. She turned the heat up in the car.




Kelly had entered the cabin without a problem, she'd set up the oil light, knowing the electricity wouldn't work without the generator being started. She didn't want to attract attention, a light would be seen miles across the lake and alert the rangers. She avoided looking around, she knew all she'd see were memories, memories of summers spent here as a family. She shivered, wrapping her jacket more around her. She'd gone to the gunlock up under the floorboards in the bedroom. The owners had had it installed as a precaution. Kelly hoped the code she'd been given still worked. It had. Now she sat staring at the gun laid on the table before her. The phone ringing made her jump, she grabbed at it almost dropping it before she got a firmer hold and answering.


“I've thought over what you said.”

“Yes.” Kelly's mouth felt dry. She tried to lick her lips but no moisture was left. “Are you still there?”

“Yes. I'm still here. I'm trying to figure out if you're lying to me Kelly?”

“I'm not.”

“You see I have the same problem as you. You don't trust my word and I don't trust yours.”

“Jesus Christ. What do I have to do to prove to you I'm alone? There's no one. No taps, no wire. No tracking. I'm alone. Damn it.”

“Losing your temper won't make me believe you more. It's just an emotional response to stress.”

Kelly gritted her teeth. “You're right. I'm sorry. I… I just don't know how to prove to you that I'm not lying.” Suddenly her flesh goose bumped. She quickly looked around the cabin. She rose, the cell still to her ear, walking to the window, looking around. “I'm not lying.”

“No. I don't think you are. You care too much for Lucy. You would do anything to get her back wouldn't you?”

Kelly stared out into the night, trying to focus beyond the darkness. She moved to the door opening it, shivering as the cold air hit her. “You know I will.” She walked along the deck, till she reached the end, looking around.

“But, you need to know she'll be safe first?”

Kelly stared out into the night, she made her way back to the cabin, stepping inside, shutting the door. Shrugging off the feeling she just had as paranoia because he knew about this place. “Yes I need that.”

Just as she turned she felt the air shift, but before she could turn back a blow hit her on the side of the head, one hard enough to make her see stars and cry out. The cell flew from her hands as the floor rushed up to meet her falling body, another blow struck across her back, the force driving air from her lungs in a gush of pain. Another hit to the back of her head snapped her head forward onto the wooden floor. As blackness took her, she heard his distant voice.

“Well then, let's give you what you need.”





The shrill of her cell phone snapped Ally out of her near sleep, she mentally slapped herself that her eyes had slid closed. She answered. “Yes?”

“The GPS is on the move.”


“You heard me. It started moving about two minutes ago, heading west. It's on what looks like a fire road, heading away from the lake.”

“Shit.” Ally started the car, shoving the wheel around as far as it would go to turn back towards the lane. She shoved the gear in and floored it. “What direction now?”

“North. I'm guessing she didn't call you.”

“No fucking shit.” She suddenly remembered who she was talking too. “Sorry.”

Valdez laughed. “I've heard worse believe me. It's still heading north. Ally if you take the next left you'll be approaching a branch in the road. Take the right. It will take you quicker to her direction.”

Ally took her eyes off the road, glaring at the phone. “You're tracking my GPS?”

She could almost hear the grin in his voice. “That would be against the law Agent Jeffery. “

She rolled her eyes knowing now where Monica got her sense of humour. Her concentration shifted back to the road, taking the right turning he suggested. “Now what?”

“Kelly changed direction to south east. Take the left coming up to you.”

“What's in the area she's headed too?” She winced as her car hit a pothole large enough to rattle her kidneys.

“It's moving her away from the town area. Give me a sec I'm running a search.”

Ally felt the tyres spin, she shifted gear using the extra power to clear from the water and mud. “Well?” She felt a drip of sweat start down her temple.

“There are several ways she can go on the road she's on. Wait, she just changed direction, she's heading towards…..” his voice tailed off.

“Heading where?”

“She's off the road. I've got no idea where the hell she's headed.”

“God damn it.” Ally slapped the wheel. “Okay, am I going in the right direction?”


“Thank fuck for that.”

“It's stopped. Shit. I've lost it. The GPS has gone down.”

Ally winced as she heard Valdez shouting in the background. Then his voice came back.

“I'm sorry Ally. I've just been told the GPS signal isn't sending. Either the phone is off or it's been destroyed.”

Ally resisted the urge to scream. “Just give me the directions to where you last had her.”





Fog, deep mind thickening fog. Pain, rivers of it moving up and down within her. She coughed, tasting copper. She spat. Her eyes opened briefly before they slammed shut as nausea rose. She kept her eyes shut, trying to figure out where she was. She was sitting, she could feel the back of a chair against her. She shifted slightly then groaned as pain flashed up her side.

“Sleeping beauty awakes.”

She stiffened. The voice wasn't synthesised anymore. She tried to open her eyes again, the nausea hit immediately and it took all she had not to slam her eyes shut again and throw up.

“Interesting colour you're going. If I were a doctor I'd have to say you have a severe concussion.” He chuckled.

She swallowed hard. Moving her head as slowly as possible to fight off the waves of blackness to the figure she could see out to the corner of her eye. Her swollen eyes widened as she finally focused. “W…. Warren?”

He eased off the table edge he had been sitting on, throwing out his arms. “Taaaaa Daaaaaaaaaa. Surpriseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.”

Kelly swayed slightly, fighting the blackness that called her. She just blinked at him in shock

“Admit it. You didn't have a clue. No one has a clue.” He laughed.

Kelly tried to pull her arms forward, not surprised to find them tied at the back. “You bastard.”

“Tsk tsk. Sticks and stones.” He wagged a finger at her.

Kelly jerked her head around, looking for any sign of Lucy. “Where is she?”

He crossed his arms, smirking.

“God damn it where is she? I'll fucking kill you if you've hurt her.”

He sighed. “Can't you be a little bit more original?”

Her eyes snapped to him. Her mind clearing enough now to realise there was defiantly something wrong. His face was emotionless and his eyes held nothing more than boredom. She calmed her temper. “Why?”

He looked at her momentarily confused. “Why must you be original?”

“Why did you do this? Why take Lucy?”

He looked blankly, then shrugged. “Why not.”

She swallowed.

He started laughing at the look on her face. “Did you think I had a reason?”

“I…. I don't know.”

He clapped. “Finally we start to hear some truth.” He walked calmly in front of her, kneeing down. Making sure he was far enough away if she decided to lash out at him in any way. “Look at how the mighty have fallen.” His eyes travelled over her. “If only Casey could see you now.” he shook his head, his eyes sparking for a moment. “She'd more than likely throw herself in front of you to protect you.” He rose, scoffing in disgust.

Kelly sat silently watching him move around the room. Now her vision was clearing and her head. She tried moving her hands, she guessed they were secured at the wrist with something that felt like plastic. Her legs had the same, tethering her to the chair. Her eyes quickly scanned the room. When she realised he'd stopped moving her eyes shot to him.

He was leaning against the table, studying her in amusement. “You won't get out of those bindings. It's used on psyche wards. As for where you are.... No one will find you.”

“Is…. Is Lucy here?”

He smiled. “Maybe….” He smile widened at the hope he saw spring. “…. Orrrrrrr maybe not.”

She clenched her teeth on the anger.

His smile broadened. “It must be killing you to keep that temper of yours in.”

Her eyes shot him daggers.

He laughed as he turned, lifting from the table the gun, admiring it for a moment before turning to her again. “You know I wasn't surprised you went for this. Would be the only way you could get your hands on one. Sometimes Kelly you are just too predictable.” His head tilted almost like a questioning child. “Is that why Casey likes you more than me?”

Seeing the change suddenly made Kelly realise exactly what she was dealing with. Her eyes dipped briefly to the gun. Warren was running his finger along the barrel. “It wasn't like that.”

“It wasn't?” he frowned. “Explain to me how it was. Because one minute I have her in my bed fucking me and the next she's in yours fucking you.”

She winced uncertain what to say. She didn't doubt if she said the wrong thing he'd shoot her. She couldn't let that happen, not now, not now she was so close to Lucy. “Warren. Casey never meant to hurt you.”

His eyes shot up to her. “Funny that's what she said. You know she even added tears to prove the point.”

“She wasn't lying. What happened, happened. Casey never meant it to hurt you.”

His eyes wavered from anger, then he blinked and they were emotionless again. “No. She didn't.” He walked forward pointing the gun right in her face. “Now you on the other hand couldn't give a shit who you hurt.” He pulled back on the hammer.

Kelly watched the barrel turn, she looked up into his eyes. “You've right. I don't give a shit who I hurt. I never have.”

He paused, pushing back the hammer, lowering the gun. “I knew I was right.” he turned back to table, placing the gun down.

Kelly exhaled in relief. She shifted slightly, almost gagging as pain shot up her side again.

“You shouldn't move around. You have two cracked ribs, one of them is pushing into your lung.”

She looked at him to see if there was any sense that he cared, she wasn't surprised to see he didn't. She felt her skin crawl, realising he must have examined her while she was out.

As if reading her thoughts he smiled. “I'm a doctor remember. I just give the advice it's up to the patient to follow it.”

“What does it matter? You're going to shoot me anyway.”

He leant back against the table again. “I might not.”

She looked away. “I'm not going to play your games anymore.”

“You'll play Kelly, if you want Lucy to be returned to her real mother.”

Kelly closed her eyes, then turned to face him. “You won't get away with this.”

“Are you that stupid? I already have.” His eyes sparked. “Do you know how long I've planned this? Years! Every single detail, every eventuality, every outcome, I even planned that you might go to the cabin.” He scoffed at the look on her face. “I'd been there before, even slept in your bed.” He smirked as she dropped her eyes. “And tonight....” He laughed. “It didn't take much for me to come in the back way while you were out front. Must thank you for that by the way, I was having a hard time coming up with an idea on how to get you out of there and take you down in the open.” He waved his hand. “Anyway I'm going off the subject.” He pointed at her. “.....You are predictable. You do everything on your own. I knew you'd never tell Casey anything. You never do. That's how I could believe you were alone. You don't trust anybody. So I knew those FBI goons didn't have a chance in getting information out of you. Not even Casey it seems is allowed in on your little secrets. Ten years Kelly and you haven't changed. What does that say about you?”

Kelly took in a sharp breath. “You don't know me.”

He laughed “Oh but I do. Better then you know yourself.” He circled her. “You know I watched you all. Your happy little family and you know what I saw?”

She kept silent.

He kept circling. “I saw you.... Day after day putting your work before your daughter. I never found a gap in Casey's timetable. Not one.” he hissed it into her ear. She jerked away.

He laughed. “But you….. Your timetable around her was so full of holes I could have taken her on any number of occasions. What's it like Kelly knowing the only reason I could get near her was because you were so self obsessed with work?” His voice fell as he moved closer. “All it took was a pretty voice on the other end of the line to keep you in the office. That must leave you with a nice warm feeling.”


He nimbly jumped back as she jerked towards him. “Temper.... Temper.... Remember those ribs, I've given you the advise you should follow it, won't be my fault if one of them punctures your lung and you slowly drown to death in your own blood. Besides don't get so worked up, I'm not saying anything that isn't true.”

She glared at him. “You want to talk about truth Warren how about the fact you're not the first son of bitch to get dumped or the last. You're using it as an excuse, but really underneath your nothing but a manic. That's all you are.”

His eyes lost their warmth. “Careful Kelly remember what I can do.”

Kelly stared at him, aware of the thin edge she was on. “Oh so it's okay for you to speak the truth but I'm not allowed too?”

He tilted his head again. “And what truth is it you think you know? Its okay go ahead I won't blow your head off. I'm interested to know what it is you think you've figured out?”

“I know you're doing this to get back at me, because I stole Casey from you, corrupted her.... Well fine you win. You've done it. You got back at me. Now just give Lucy back to Casey. You can do what you like to me I don't fucking care.”

The smile on his face turned into a grin, then spread into a leer. “Oh Kelly you couldn't be more wrong.”

Kelly suddenly felt the first real stab of fear at the look spreading across his face.

“You see. This isn't about you. This is all for Casey.” His smile fell. He spoke through clenched teeth. “She's going to suffer as much as I did. In fact more than I did when I lost everything.” He leant forward so his face was a mere breath from hers. “And you my dear are just half of the package that's going to break her into teensy weensy little pieces.” He drew back. “Thank you.”

She blinked. “Thank you?”

He nodded. “Ahuh, for coming to me.”

Kelly felt her stomach plummet, as she realised her mistake. She'd played right into his hands.

He grinned. “Light bulb go off did it….” he laughed again. “ Ahuh Einstein. I couldn't have done it without you.” he backed off quickly seeing her muscles bunch about to throw herself at him. “Oh Kelly if you could see the look on your face.”

“You son of a bitch.” She struggled against the chair, ignoring the pain building in her body.

He rolled his eyes. “You've done that one try another.”

“You're a fucking manic.”

“Oh that's a nice touch.”

Kelly fell silent, not wanting to give him anymore satisfaction. “Where is Lucy?”

He shrugged. “Around somewhere. You know how kids are.” He chuckled at himself.

Kelly tried to shake her head clear. “You did this all to get back at Casey for leaving you ten years ago? I don't get it why didn't you just get on with your life?”

He looked sharply at her. “What life! Tell me could you if Casey went off and fucked someone else and then told you about it and then dumped your ass? Then kept in contact telling you how happy her fucking life is, including fucking happy pictures every Christmas!”

Kelly heard for the first time anger in his voice. “She wasn't tormenting you Warren. She wanted to make sure you were okay.”

He spun at her. “I wasn't fucking okay. Did you know her father tried to bribe me?” he scoffed. “…. When I told him where to shove his money he called me a coward. My whole fucking world had just ended.” He looked away. When he turned back the emotion was back under control he moved back over to her. The only show of his loss of control was a line of spittle on his lips. “Casey is going to suffer just like I suffered and you know what?”

Kelly found it hard to keep her eyes away from him. “What?”

“She's gonna blame herself for it. Because she's going to know it was me that killed her daughter and her lover and she's going to know it's because all those years ago she dumped me. How long you think she's going to live with that Kelly? Knowing her choice ended in this? Hmmm… How long before daddy finds her in the bathroom with a bottle of pills down her throat and her wrists sliced.” His eyes sparked again. “Or do you think she'd just wallow in self-pity. Hideaway in that house with memories of you both? I'm not sure which she'd do?” His head tilted in that child like way again.

Kelly felt like dying at just those thoughts. “You crazy fuck.”

His eyes blazed as his hand lashed out catching her across the face. “Don't ever say that.”

Her vision spun. “Why not it's the truth. You like truth don't you?”

He hit her again, then he drew back, his control back. “Ohhhhhhh very good Kelly, make me lose my temper. I'm not ready yet to end your misery. I'm having way too much fun.”

Kelly tasted blood in the back of her throat. “Warren don't do this.”

“Too late, my bad.” He giggled. When he turned he had a knife in his hand. “You know I always wanted to be a surgeon. Casey should have been a surgeon. But her father talked her out of it.... I so wanted to make him pay for that.” He moved towards her. He stopped just in front of her, running his thumb along the edge of the knife, the skin parting on the sharpness like a ripe plum. He cocked his head, oblivious to the pain or the fact he was dripping blood. “Which part of you is Casey's favourite? I'd like to send her a present.”

As Kelly eyes tracked up from the knife to his eyes, she saw what madness looked like.




Casey shot up in bed, her breath coming in gulps. “Nooooooooo.”

She blinked, looking around. “Kel?” her hand trembled as she reached across the bed. The nightmare throwing her senses into overload.

“Kelly!” Her hand found emptiness, a sick feeling started low in her stomach. She pulled the covers off in a rush, jumping from the bed, running down the stairs. First into the living room, then down towards the kitchen. She didn't know why she was crying but the tears were running down her cheeks like a waterfall. She pushed open the study door, empty. Suddenly the nightmare came back. She rushed to phone dialling Kelly's cell, from upstairs she heard it ring. A feeling over took her, a feeling of dread. “God no.” Slowly she sank to the floor knowing what it meant. Kelly had left.

“Damn you. Damn you.” Sobs came hard and fast this time. Knowing that somehow Kelly had found away to get to Lucy and had done it without telling her. She let out a wail that filled the house, then collapsed into a ball.

She was still sobbing when the FBI burst in through the front door, guns drawn. Jameson quickly saw her on the floor. He holstered his gun running to her. “Casey? Casey?”

She looked up at him. “She's gone.”

Jameson blanched. “Kelly's gone?” he looked over to O'Malley as he stepped into the room.

“It's clear. There's no sign of Kelly.” O'Malley confirmed it.

Casey nodded her head. “She's gone.” She gulped a sob. “She didn't even tell me?”

O'Malley immediately moved away, lifting his cell phone to his ear. “Sir we have a problem. Kelly is off our grid.”

Jameson bent down taking Casey into his arms, helping her to stand. She clung onto him. “Why didn't she tell me?”

He shook his head sadly. “I don't know ma'am. But we'll find her.”

Casey bowed her head, she didn't believe his words.





Ally fell for the second time, cursing she got up, shaking the wet mud from her hands. Her nose creased, she sniffed at it then drew her head and hand away fast. “Welllllll. Shit.” She ducked wiping it on the grass.

She shook her head as she made her way down the hill. She'd followed the instructions to Kelly's last position. When she'd reached the area Kelly had left the road, she'd stopped the car and looked around. At first she saw nothing but miles of farmland, empty in all directions. It was only as she was getting back into the car, she'd spotted the distant outline of a roof, a building, almost obscured by trees. Not wanting to take the chance her car might be seen or heard, she left it and starting running in the direction of the building. When she'd stepped, well more like fell into the stream, she knew she'd caught a break, it was leading right in the direction of the building, giving her better cover then the open fields. She followed its snaking path, trying to shut out the icy feeling spreading up her legs as she trended water.

Pausing, she caught her breath, climbing up the small embankment to check her position. Now, she was close enough to make it out. It looked like a storage building of some sort. Looking around she could now see the dirt road that made its way back towards the main road. She ducked back down sitting for a moment, gathering her thoughts. She knew she should be calling for back up, knew she shouldn't be doing this on her own. She reached down to her hip, pulling her gun free, the sound of it clearing the holster sounding like it was amplified in the surrounding silence. She slid the bridge back to push a bullet into the chamber, wincing as the click echoed. Taking a deep breath, she rose, going over the top of the embankment, running quickly towards the stone wall she'd seen, stopping in a skid, into crouch. She looked around again, satisfied she hadn't been seen. She could make out a small light coming from somewhere to the left of the building, the rest of the area was in darkness.

Keeping the gun low she rose again, this time crossing the track, towards the other side, stopping as she reached the bush cover. Now she could see the car sitting just past the left of the big double doors. She froze, her skin prickling, a sound came from behind her to the right. Ally brought the gun up slowly to her chest, cupping her other hand around it. She waited, her ears straining for sound. Then in a movement so fast wind didn't stir, she threw herself left into a roll, twisting in its turn to come up onto her knees and the gun out in front of her.

“FBI. Don't fucking move!”

The movement stopped. Then a small whisper was heard. “Don't shoot its Monica.”

Ally blinked uncertain she'd heard right, her gun dipping. “What?”' she switched on the small penlight that was in her hand alongside the gun, flooding the area in front of her and exposing a somewhat dishevelled Monica emerging from the trees. Ally cursed lowering the gun, shifting to sit back on her heels. “What the fucking hell are you doing here? You scared the shit out of me.”

Monica pushed a branch out the way angrily. “I scared the shit out of you? I'm the one who had a gun shoved in my face.”

“I….” Ally gritted her teeth, reaching forward she grabbed Monica's arm pulling her down next to her. “Be quiet.” She looked back to the building nervously.

Monica landed with an ‘omffff.' “Hey.”

Ally rubbed her brow. “Shut up….What are you doing here?”

Monica flicked a lodge of mud from her arm. “I'm here same reason as you, to help Kelly.”

Ally looked sharply at her. “How did you know she was here?”

Monica gave her a smirk.

Ally's mouth fell open. “You knew about the GPS track on your phone?”

Monica voice sounded indignant. “Of course I did. Why the hell you think I gave it to her.”

If the situation had have been different, Ally would have burst out laughing. “Jesus you are something else.”

Monica eyes went from the building she'd been studying to Ally, giving her one of her trade mark smiles. “You're only now just figuring this out.”

Ally felt herself blush she shifted forward. She didn't have time for this. “You had no intention of letting Kelly doing this on her own.”

“And that surprises you?” she scoffed. “I'm actually glad to see I was wondering what the hell to do.”

Ally looked at her. “Why?”

Monica gave her a sideways glance. “You see the car don't you.”

Ally rolled her eyes. “I'm not blind.”

“You run the plates yet.”

Ally temper built. “I haven't exactly had time.” her temper stilled. “Why?”

Monica folded her arms. “It's Warren's car.”

Ally's eyes jumped to the car. “What? Are you sure?”

“I ran the number plate.”

Ally stared at her. “You did what!”

“The FBI aren't the only people allowed to run traces, give me a break okay. It's Warren's car. That's why I'm glad to see you. I didn't know what to do.”

Ally knew what she had to do. She pulled her cell phone free.

Monica grabbed her hand. “What the hell are you doing?”

Ally glared at her trying to pull her hand free, which only tightened Monica's grip. “We need back up and we need it now.”

“No. You lo…”

The scream that pierced into the night stopped them both in their argument.

Monica eye's snapped to the building. “Oh, my god.”

Ally pulled her hand free from Monica's now shocked form. Dialling, she swallowed hard, trying to keep her voice level. “This is agent Ally Jeffrey I need assistance. I have….”

Another scream sounded. Before Ally could grab her, Monica was up and running.

“Monica! Shit…” Ally threw the cell down knowing they could get a trace. “Wait.” She increased her stride, watching as Monica threw open the door and headed into the building. Ally slammed to a stop into the wall next to the door, quickly ducking her head around into the doorway, looking and catching Monica heading down into the basement through a trapdoor. Ally jerked back. “Fuck.” Steeling herself she pushed off into a run after Monica. “Will you wait….God damn it.” she called out as loudly as she dared.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs Ally looked around, hearing the distant sound of Monica's run. Looking left she realised she was in a service tunnel of some sort. She set off in the direction she could hear Monica heading.




Warren tilted his head again, looking down at the bowed head of Kelly, his hand twitched slightly as he watched the drip of blood run down Kelly's face across her neck and down on to her shirt.

He tapped the knife to his chin. “You know it would have been a lot less painful for you if Casey had liked your hair.”

Kelly drew in a ragged breath, feeling the burning on her cheek from the cut.

Warren frowned. “I've never thought about it before but how in the hell do you cut off a face.” He shook his head. “Maybe Casey likes another part better.” He tapped the knife on her shoulder. “Hey, you still with me? Pick another thing?, I know she told me once she loved your face. But….”

Kelly coughed, grimacing as pain lashed her. “Go to hell.”

He chuckled. “Don't be a bad sport. You can't say I didn't try.” He frowned again. “But it's getting to messy.” He reached over grabbing a towel, wiping the blade across it. “What else does Casey like?”

Kelly tried to concentrate on the pain, letting it fight against the bodies need to shut down. She took huge breaths, feeling the blood running down her face. “She likes my cooking.” Her voice came out no more than a hoarse croak. The last scream had scratched it raw.

His face froze, then he threw his head back and laughed. “Oh wow. You've still got a sense of humour. Must be where Lucy gets it from.”

Kelly head snapped back to look at him.

“Seeeeeeee. Now I got your attention again.” he moved closer, placing the tip of the knife at Kelly's throat, he moved it down slowly, pausing it on the apex of the V of her shirt. “Is Casey a breast gal?” he wiggled his eyebrows.

Kelly swallowed.

He moved the knife again coming to the rise of her breast, pushing slightly so the knife point easily entered the fabric. The whole time his eyes were locked on Kelly's. “Well. Is she?”

Kelly winced as she felt the point break the skin. She cleared her throat, trying to ease the muscles there. “Go to hell Warren.”

The corners of his mouth went up. He slowly cut two buttons off the shirt, using the knife he parted her shirt, placing the curve of the blade against her skin. “I've been in hell. I kinda like it.” His hand flicked.

Kelly's whole body arched to the point the chair cracked, as she screamed again.



Ally nearly slammed into the wall as another scream sounded, this time it echoed along the tunnel until it faded. “Fuck.” She slowed at the corner, keeping her back flat against the wall, before she quickly took a look around it. She saw Monica on her knees. She quickly ran to her, grabbing her under the arm and pulling her back around the corner.

“Are you hurt?” When Monica didn't answer, Ally shook her. “Monica are you hurt?”

“No. God no. I saw….”

Ally nervously glanced back around the corner before looking at her again. “Saw? Saw what?”

“There, round there, there's a grate. I saw....” Monica eyes snapped up, she grabbed Ally's arm in a vice. “Its Kelly god Ally he's….”

Ally nodded, rubbing Monica's hand. “I need to take a look. Stay here.”

Monica nodded, her shaking hands coming up to cover her face.

When Ally was sure she was going to stay, she cautiously went back around the corner, looking left and right, she spotted the grate just a little higher than her height on the left. Standing on tiptoe she looked in, then drew back in shock. “Oh, dear god.” She stilled as she felt a presence behind her, her body tensed ready to turn, but before she could. Monica spoke.

“We have to do something.”

Ally swung around. “Don't you ever do what I say?” Ally's frustration stuttered when she saw the look in Monica's eyes, fear. “Monica I need you to stay here…. Please. I can't have you sneaking up on me all the time. I can't do this and concentrate on helping Kelly. Let me do my job. Please stay here.”

Monica mouth opened about to argue, but then she saw how badly Ally was shaking. “I'll stay.”


Some of the old Monica worked its way through the fear. “Would it help if I gave the Girl Scout oath? Go….” She pushed at Ally.

Ally exhaled in relief. She turned walking, then breaking into a light jog, She turned her head whispering back. “You were never a Girl Scout.” Then her voice went serious as she picked up the pace.

Monica couldn't help the smile, her eyes went to the grate, she couldn't look again. What she'd seen would give her nightmares for years. She looked back up the tunnel, as soon as Ally turned around the bend, she silently took off after her.




Warren threw down the knife on the table. “Well that was disappointing.” He sighed turning back. “I thought it would be more fun.” He frowned. “It was fun when I dreamt it.” he moved forward, wiping his hands on the now already red towel. His head tilted again, his lips almost forming a pout. “Why isn't it fun now?”

Kelly drew in a ragged breath, her body burnt everywhere. She shook her head, spraying sweat and blood from her hair. “Lucy…”

Warren leant forward, not able to understand the whisper. “Huh. What you say.”

Kelly forced her head back. “Where's Lucy…. Please.”

He drew back. “God. it's always about your needs isn't it.”

Kelly's head fell forward again, the weight of it too much to keep up. “Please Warren. Take her home.”

He frowned again. “No.”

Kelly let out a strangled sob. “Please.”

“No. Shut up.”

Her eyes closed feeling she'd lost. She heard a click, expecting when she opened her eyes to see a gun, instead she saw him standing there with a cell phone.

“Say cheese to the pretty birdie.” He moved closer taking another picture.

Her retinas winced at the flash. “What…. What are you doing?”

He lowered the cell, staring at her. “Sending Casey her present.” He grinned.

Kelly felt her insides twist. “Warren if you do that. They'll know who you are?”

Warren ignored her, his concentration on the cell as he attached the photographs, then pressed send. “Well it's not as good as Inter flora but I'm sure she'll appreciate the thought.” He giggled.

It was then she knew, he didn't care who knew who he was, or where he was. She started working her wrists against the plastic.




Casey sniffed, looking up as her cell sounded. Without thinking she reached across opening it.

Jameson was already up when he heard her scream, just in time to catch her before she passed out. He lifted the phone looking at it and for the first time in a long time, he wanted to throw up at what he saw.




Ally slowed, tiptoeing towards the door she'd spotted ahead of her. She pressed her ear against it, listening, she could make out two voices. She looked around, moving further up the tunnel to see if there was another way in, it was a dead end. Just as she was about to give up and go back to the door, she stopped. A vent was high up on the wall. an air vent big enough for her to crawl into, and maybe get a look at what was going on behind the closed door. She looked around for something to stand on, swearing when she found nothing. She went to it, stretching to reach, trying to get a grip with her fingers, which failed.

“Need some help?”

Ally cursed, turning around. “So much for the girl scout oath.”

Monica walked past her looking up at the vent. “Be pissed at me later. Here.” Monica turned, bending, putting her hands together into a bridge. She looked up at Ally. “Come on.”

Ally sighed, pushing her gun back into the holster, she kicked off her shoes, placing her foot into Monica's hand. She stepped up, getting her fingers into the vent holes on the grating, looking it over. “I need something to undo these screws.” She stepped down.

Monica searched in her pockets, pulling out a penknife. “Here and you doubted I was a Girl Scout. Always be prepared.”

Ally took it, waiting for Monica to get back into position, once she had she went up to the vent again. It was a slow task but finally she'd got all the screws free. “Watch out.” Ally grabbed the vent and pulled, a creak echoed up the tunnel, enough to make both of them still, and wince. Ally stepped down, placing the cover against the wall. She moved back to the door listening. She could hear Warrens voice still talking. She went back to Monica.

“Okay you boost me back up there. Then you get the hell back to the car and wait for the FBI.”

Monica temper flared. “Why the hell should I? I can help more here.”

Ally didn't have time for this. “Because I need you to tell them the situation, so they don't come in here with guns blasting. They need to know he has Kelly and Lucy somewhere down here okay. They need to know I'm on the inside.”

Monica's eyes shifted uncertain.

“Monica. You ask me to trust you. Now trust me.”

Monica sighed. “Fine. I'll go.”

“Promise this time.”

“Oh all right. I promise.”

Ally stared at her, seeing the stubbornness still there. “Monica please.”

This time Monica bowed her head and nodded. “Okay.”

Ally gave her a half smile. “Thank you.”

Monica didn't look at her she simply bent, offering her bridged hands again, then with a grunt, she helped lift Ally towards the vent. “You'd better not screw this up G woman or I'm going to kick your damn ass.”

Ally caught the edges, pulling herself forward, until half her body was inside. She stilled, giving the air duct time to adjust to her weight. She heard Monica's footfalls slowly fade in the distance. She turned her focus to wiggling her way along the vent. She shivered as a spider the size of her hand turned high tail away from her. She could hear Warren's voice getting louder, looking up she spotted the shaft of light ahead. She was sweating now, the heat in the duct adding to her own workout heat. Gently she edged herself in front of the light, blinking slightly to adjust her eyes. She spotted Kelly immediately tied to a chair, Ally had to swallow hard at the amount of blood she saw. She let her eyes take in the layout of the room, seeing the door she'd been standing against, but after a check of what was in her view, she didn't see any other way in. She brought her knees up as close as she could, shifting until she was half lying, half sitting. Now what the hell did she do? Her eyes jumped to Warren as he stepped into view. Slowly Ally brought her gun up, tracking his movements. Ally blinked as a drop of sweat moved over her eyes.

Kelly inhaled sharply as the slap hit her.

“Wake up. I didn't say you could sleep.”

Kelly shook her hair from her eyes, looking at him with a glare as he moved away. Then she looked beyond him, her eyes nearly widening at what she saw. She looked quickly to him, thankful he hadn't caught her look when she'd spotted Ally inside the vent. Her eyes went back to her.

Ally put her fingers to her lips, pointing at Warren, then at the door.

Kelly's eyes shifted briefly to him then the door. Unsure of what Ally was trying to tell her, her eyes went back to Ally again.

Ally pointed to the door again, then at Warren, making her fingers look like they were walking, praying that Kelly would get it. She needed Warren away from the door and focused on Kelly.

Kelly shook her mind clear trying to figure out what it meant, it clicked. She nervously looked at Warren to make sure he wasn't looking at her and gave Ally a nod.

Ally thanked Christ. She shifted around, heading back along the vent.

Kelly's eyes went to Warren seeing his attention was back on her.

“Do you think she got it?”

Kelly for one brief heart chilling moment she thought he was talking about Ally, then she saw the cell in his hands. Knowing now he meant Casey. “Yes.”

“Do you think she's upset?”

Kelly wanted to cry, imagining what Casey was going through right now. “Yes.”

“Good.” His face perked. “Well then that kinda means you're no longer needed. “ He rubbed his hands together. “Well except for the whole dismembered body thing.”

He turned back to the table lifting the gun.

Kelly stiffened.

Ally moved as fast as she could along the vent, seeing the exit not far ahead, she slowed and pushed herself free, gritting her teeth as her muscles let her know they'd had more than enough work out today. She lowered herself silently to the floor. She moved to the door, laying her head against it, listening. She drew back when she realised what he was about to do. She squared herself, stepping back, gun raised. Pushing her balance onto the ball of her left foot, she had one chance in this to get the door open with one kick. She gritted her teeth and focused.

“Time for me to go Kelly. I must say it has been fun. But you see Lucy will be missing me all alone in that house.”

Kelly's eyes snapped to him. Four things happened at once as Kelly heard his words.

Warren levelled the gun at her head.

The door flew open.

Ally stepped in screaming for him not to move.

Warren began to turn.

Then time sped up again.

Kelly shouted, her voice hoarse at the strain. “Don't kill him! Lucy isn't here.”

Ally jerked, her finger hesitated on the trigger, It was enough time for Warren to turn and fire. Ally grunted, flying sideways as the bullet hit. She scrambled to the left, knowing there was cover there, feeling the heat of the second shot skim across her thigh. She winced trying to get a shot at him, one that would take him down and not kill him.

Warren let out a yell, stepping quickly behind Kelly, crouching down so her body shielded him, he grabbed her hair pulling her head back, placing the gun against her temple. “Come out. Come out where ever you are.”

Ally shut her eyes to the pain, placing her hand on her shoulder. The bullet had missed her vest completely, taking her high near the neck, she was bleeding far too much. She could already feel the tingling of her skin and light headedness. She pulled a tissue from her pocket, wincing as she forced it into the wound, already knowing it wasn't going to help, but it might give her some time.

His voice sounded again. “I don't ask twice. Get the hell out here or I'll blow her brains out.”

Ally tilted her head back, gulping air. Then she shifted forward, she could see him through the gap in the shelves. She could tell by his face he meant it. “Wait… Wait. You shot me in the fucking neck.”

He frowned. “So?”

“So, you're a fucking doctor work it out.”

His brow creased. “I hit your neck?”

“Yea” Ally as quiet as possible reached around pulling her back up gun free from its taped place against her back. Knowing what he'd ask for soon.

“You can't move?”

“Not much.”

He frowned again. “Throw your gun out.”

Ally covered the gun in blood which was easy, her hand was covered in it now. She tossed it as far as she could.

Warren watched it land. he stood up a little to get a better look, seeing the blood. “Oooooo that's not good. That's arterial blood.”

Ally swallowed hard, well aware he was right, she could feel the hole under her hand pulsing blood with each beat of her heart. If she was lucky she had about another two minutes before she passed out. She needed him to come over to her. “So now what?” she coughed.

He tapped a finger against the gun. “I'm thinking.”

Ally took in a lung full of air as the room spun. She heard him move, she shifted a little forward, her eyes widening.

“I think it's time to say good bye to Kelly.” his grin spread, he cocked the hammer, pressing the point into Kelly's temple. “Bye-bye.”

Ally had to make a choice, and she did. She pushed forward using what little strength she had left.

Kelly's eyes widened seeing Ally rise with another gun in her hand.

Warren didn't, his focus was on Kelly ready to pull the trigger.

Ally meant to shout she really did, but somehow there wasn't any energy left inside her. She knew she had one shot, she fired as she fell.

Kelly's flinched as something sprayed her, her eyes jumped to Warren.

He stood there, complete surprise on his face, his head tilted in that child like way, his arm fell, the gun dropping from his hand in a clang. His legs buckled and he slipped sideways almost gracefully and down to the concrete floor with a thud.

The room fell silent.

Kelly stared down at the hole on the side of Warren's temple. Then she pulled her arms trying to get free, wild, screaming, knowing what this meant. “NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO!”

Ally mouth worked to speak, but nothing came out except escaping air. She stared up into the fluorescent light, blinking, not feeling pain anymore. But she felt a deeper pain hearing the screams, knowing it was because now they had no link to where Lucy was. She closed her eyes, tears breaking free, trying to focus on the sound of Kelly, wanting to get up to help her. But all she could hear now was her heart beat, slowing, slowing…………………

Kelly pulled at the ties, until her arms were about to come out of their sockets. She couldn't get free. She yelled again in rage, her eyes finally moved from Warren to Ally. “Ally…. ALLY!” She stilled, watching the sunflower pattern of blood start to spread around the fallen woman. “ALLLYYYYYYY.”

Her eyes jumped to the door as FBI burst in. Kelly became almost oblivious to the sudden movements as more piled into the room. It was then the full impact of everything hit her, she hung her head and began to sob.




The FBI agent wondered who he'd pissed off to deserve this, as he grabbed the raging woman in his hands yet again. “Will you stop that ma'am.”

Monica glared at him. “I ain't your ma'am and if you don't get your god damn hands off of me you're going to be singing higher than an altar boy.”

He inwardly winced, but kept his grip. “I can't do that.”

Monica tried to throw an elbow back into his ribs, but he adjusted. She yelled and brought her foot up bringing the heel of her shoe hard down onto his foot, hearing his whine.

When he spoke his voice was hoarse. “Don't do that again.”

“Or what? you'll shoot me?”

He looked to the heavens. “I might.”

She froze briefly, then looked over her shoulder at him. “Just let me go.”

“I'm sorry. I can't.”

“Look I told you who I am. Why I'm here, I'm not involved in the fucking kidnapping.”

“I'm sure that's right ma….” His words paused on using the word. “…. Miss Valdez. But right now you're not going back into the building.”

She exhaled, then she caught the movement coming out of the building. Her eyes widened, seeing the stretcher. She felt the agent holding her relax slightly, she used it putting all her weight back onto her hips, then with one big yank she twisted free and took off in a run.

He glared, cursing and took off after her.

She skidded to a halt near the stretcher, her eyes going over the mess that was her friend. “Oh, my god.”

The agent chasing her stopped, about to grab her, then he heard Kelly.

“Monica?” Kelly eyes flickered open.

The agent stood down, walking parallel with them, making sure he could hear what was being said, and within reach of Monica if she took off again.

Monica hand pushed at the hair on Kelly's forehead. “Yea honey I'm here. What the hell did you get yourself into this time? Did you fall off your white charger.” she smiled as she cried, her hand starting to shake.

Kelly coughed. “Oh, god.”

“Shhhhh, sorry. You know I tell bad jokes when I'm scared shitless. It's gonna be okay.” Monica had to skip to keep pace with the fast moving stretcher.

Kelly grabbed at her. “He's dead. He's dead.”

“Good. The bastard deserved it. I hope it was painful.” Her temper stilled as she watched Kelly struggle to rise. “Hey. You're safe.”

Kelly shook her head pulling the oxygen mask free from her face. “No no ….. …. …. Lu…cy isn't here.”

Monica paled. “No.” she swallowed hard. “Ally will find her don't worry okay. She's super G Woman remember.”

Kelly shook her head till she winced in pain, pushing the hand away that was trying to put the oxygen mask back on her mouth. “She's dead.”

Monica stopped walking. “What?” her eyes went back to the building, she ran to catch up with the stretcher that was now being loaded in the helicopter. She had to yell to be heard over the sound of the rotor starting. “Kelly what did you mean. Who's dead?”

Kelly coughed. “Ally. He killed her…” Kelly started crying. “It's my fault, it's all my fault.” Then her eyes fluttered closed.

Monica didn't stop the hands that grabbed her this time and pull her away. She just stood there numb. Even as the wind from the blades of the rising craft ripped at her hair and clothes, she didn't move. Then she exhaled sharply not knowing she'd been holding her breath the whole time. Her eyes tracked to the building, seeing another stretcher come out, but this one held a black body bag. A whisper escaped her. “Oh no.”




Monica sat silently staring at her hands in the interview room. She hadn't remembered the ride back to the city or the questions that were bombarded at her. She had no idea how long she'd been there. It felt like weeks. Finally the two agents had left her alone.

She sat back in the chair, her arms hugging herself. She'd told them all she knew, well almost all. She'd kept silent about her uncle's involvement, and most of Ally's. She didn't know why she felt the need to protect Ally, it wasn't as if it mattered anymore. She squeezed her eyes shut. They opened when the door clicked, she straightened.

“Miss Valdez. I'm special Agent Mark Davis. I'm in charge of this case.”

She said nothing, her eyes just followed him as he sat.

He placed the coke on the table pushing it across. “Thought you might be thirsty.”

Her eyes flickered to it and for a moment she didn't move, then she reached across, opening it and drinking. “Thank you.”

He smiled. “I thought you'd like to know that Kelly is out of danger.”

Monica let out a breath. “Thank god.”

“I hope you can understand why we're holding you for questioning. A lot has happened tonight and we're still trying to make some sense out of it.”

She sipped her drink, just watching him.

“We're not charging you with anything.”

“Then I guess I can go.” She moved to rise.

“Actually, I was hoping you would be patient with us just a little while longer.” He smiled again.

She relaxed back. “For what purpose?”

He sighed, rubbing at his neck. “I'm trying to figure out why one of my best agents went rogue?”

Monica flinched. “She didn't go rogue. She was doing what she thought was right.”

He studied her, surprised at the anger. “That's as maybe. But now were left with a dead suspect and a kidnapped girl and no leads as to where she is.”

Monica looked away. “I'm sorry she screwed up your perfect ending.” She jumped as his hand slammed down on the desktop.

“I'm glad you find this the time for jokes. I'm trying damn hard here not to find a reason to throw you in jail for obstruction. Give me a reason why I don't.”

Monica kept her focus on the crack in the wall. “I don't have a reason. Maybe you should.”

He looked up at the tone in her voice, it was pure pain. His voice softened. “Just tell me why Ally did this?”

She turned her head to him. “Because I asked her to help.”

He sat back, trying to read her, he shook her head. “Just like that, she helped you, throwing away her career?”

She sat forward. “No.... not just like that. This wasn't about her damn career this was about a six-year-old girl. You know what happened, I've told your goons, she choose to help.” Monica rose. “What the fuck does it matter anymore. She's dead.”

Mark blinked, frowning. “Who's dead?”

Monica laughed. “Jesus. Fucking mind games now.”

He rose, moving around the table to stand in front of her. “Who is dead?”

Monica stepped up to him. “Ally! For Christ sake.”

He stepped back at the venom. Slowly he stepped forward, realising now where the pain he heard and saw was coming from. “Miss V…” he paused. “…. Monica. Ally isn't dead. She's in intensive care at St Stephens.”

Monica's breath stuttered, she searched his face looking for signs he was playing her, when she saw the truth, she needed to sit. She reached back until she found the tables edge and sank down, just catching the chair seat. “How? I saw….” Her voice broke off.

“She was in a bad way. But she isn't dead. She came out of surgery an hour ago, she's stable.”

“Bu…. But I saw the body bag. Kelly said….” She stared at her hands, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

“That was Warren Edwards. Ally shot him after he shot her. I'm sure Kelly thought Ally was dead, there was…a lot of blood.”

“Oh, my god.” She buried her face in her hands.

Mark didn't know what exactly to do. He pulled out a tissue pushing it in front of her.

Her face shot up. “Can I go, can I see her.”

He stared at her, caught. “I'm….”

“Please. I'll go under guard.”

His head turned sharply as the door opened.

Dean Valdez walked calmly into the room, he threw one look at Mark then walked around the table, pulling Monica up into his arms. “Hey pumpkin. Let's get you home.”

Mark stiffened. “Now wait a god damn minute.” He made to move forward, when a small man in glasses stepped in his way, holding up a piece of paper.

“I am Mr Valdez attorney. I have here a release order for Miss Valdez, signed by Judge Ridgly.”

Mark scowled, snapping it from his hands reading it. “Son of bitch.”

Monica hung on to her uncle. “Dee. I need to see Ally.”

Valdez nodded, keeping his arms locked around his niece. “Will go straight there.” As they moved past Mark, Valdez gave him a look that would have wilted stone.

Mark took a step back before he knew what he was doing. “This isn't over.”

Monica twisted her head around to him. “You're right it isn't.”

Valdez smiled down at her, he nodded to his lawyer, before he walked his niece from the room.

The lawyer opened his briefcase and walked back to Mark. He offered up a file.

Mark looked at it, not touching it. “What's that?”

“The information requested by Agent Ally Jeffrey from my client. With instruction that if anything were to happen to her, you were to be given it personally.”

“And I'm only getting this now!” Mark grabbed it.

The lawyer offered a small smile, pushing his glasses back up his nose. “Some of the information only became available a short time ago.”

Mark glared at him, before opening it, skimming through the pages, his eyes widened. He bolted from the room back towards his office, yelling instruction as he ran.




Casey sat, still as stone. Her eyes didn't want to believe what she saw. She'd been going out of her mind the whole time Kelly had been in surgery. She hadn't gotten to the hospital in time to see her before she'd gone in. part of her was glad, the part that hadn't wanted to see the images that had been on her cell phone in the flesh. Her eyes crept up to Kelly's form on the hospital bed, now there was no trace of blood, just white. White walls, white tubes, white bandages, white sheets and Kelly's alabaster half covered face standing out of it all like a statue.

Casey hadn't touched her yet, the chair she was sitting on was on the far side of the room, she couldn't bring herself to raise and touch her, it would mean her nightmare was real. If she sat long enough she hoped dawn would rise and she'd feel the breath of her lover on her neck, waking her.

Her eyes moved to the observation glass, seeing the two blacked suited figures, they hadn't left her side. They'd told her some of what had happened, told her it was Warren, but all she'd really heard was Lucy was nowhere to be found. She gulped hard, her eyes slowly coming back around to Kelly, she was angry, it was there under the surface, hidden behind the grief, pain and worry. How dare she leave like that..... How dare she keep secrets..... But the anger couldn't come out, how could it, because it would mean too, that this wasn't a bad dream.

The nurse came in, going to the monitors to check, changing the IV bag, giving Casey a sympathetic smile as she left the room.

Casey still sat, not daring to go to Kelly. Her only movement now, the wringing together of her hands as she tore apart into pieces the tissue she held. She sat and watched and waited, waited for the feather light kiss on her neck and the dawn.




Valdez laid his hand on Monica's shoulder, staring past her through the observation window into the critical unit. Not recognising Ally at all under all the breathing equipment and wires. He stood silently.

Monica couldn't take in the horror in front of her. This wasn't Ally, Ally didn't look like that. She was beautiful, full of life, not this thing in front of her. She took breath to steady her voice. “Is she going to live?”

He felt the tremble of her words through her body. “Ally is a fighter. Her chances are good honey.”

Monica gave a short nod, her eyes locked on Ally. “I shouldn't have brought her into to this. She didn't…. She didn't deserve this. She didn't really want to help, I…. I bullied her into it.”

Valdez gave an understanding smile. “Monica. I don't think anyone, even you could bully her into doing anything, unless she wanted too.”

They were silent again.

“I like her.” her voice was almost childlike.

His eyes moved from the window, down to his niece, his face creasing a soft smile. “I know.”

Monica sniffed, then stood a little straighter. “Uncle Dee. What about Lucy?” she turned to him.

He gave a small smile. “Come on.”

She looked at him in question, taking his offered hand, allowing him to lead her.





Casey's head snapped up.


She rose moving quickly to the bedside. “Kel? Oh god Kel?”

One bloodshot eye blinked open, unfocused, until finally it came around to Casey. “I'm…. So…rry.”

Casey gasped, fresh tears spilling. “Don't talk. It's okay. You're safe.”

Kelly face scrunched. “Can't…. can't see.” her left hand rose going to her face.

Casey grabbed it. “Shhhhh. It's just the bandage baby.”

Kelly gripped the hand back, trying to talk, then she remembered, her lip trembled. “L…Lucy?”

Casey shook her head unable to talk now. She kissed the back of Kelly's hand, hating the fact it was so cold.

Kelly closed her eye, turning her head away, darkness took her again.

Casey just bowed her head, holding on to Kelly's hand for dear life, then the dam broke, her whole body shook from sobs, because now she knew this wasn't just another nightmare, this was real and there would be no lingering kiss to wake her in the dawn.




Monica stopped walking, jerking her uncle to a halt. Seeing where he was leading her. “I can't go in there. Casey is in there.”

Valdez looked back at her. “Yes you can.”

Monica pulled her hand free from him. “No. I can't.”

He moved forward. “She needs a friend Monica.”

She scoffed. “Fine go find her one. Because I can tell you now she won't see me as one.”

He exhaled, well aware of the look in his niece's eyes. “And why is that?”

She stared at him in disbelief. “Because she knows now I helped Kelly.”

Valdez crossed his arms. “And?”

“What do you mean and.... She knows I helped her and look what happened.”

Valdez shook his head gently. “Monica helping her probably means it's the reason Kelly isn't dead right now. Have you thought of that?”

Monica shook her head, starting to step away. “That wasn't me, it was Ally.”

He walked up to her, slipping his arm around her shoulders, gently urging her towards the intensive care doors. “Stop beating yourself up. She needs a friend that understands okay and you need this too.”

She shot him a look, letting him know she so didn't think that.

He stopped at the doors, taking his arm away, giving her a gentle push forward. “Go on. I have something to take care of.”

Monica looked at the door then uncertainly at him.

“Go on.” He turned walking away, when he got to the elevator he took a sneak look back, a satisfied grin coming to his face as she watched Monica enter the unit.



Casey straightened hearing the door opening. She wiped at her eyes, turning to look over her shoulder to who it was. her jaw clenched. “What are you doing here?”

Monica almost ran back out the door. “I…. I…. Um. I wanted to see if she was okay?”

“Does she look okay?” Casey's anger found a target.

Monica lowered her eyes. “I know you must hate me right about now, can't exactly blame you. I don't think very much of myself either.”

Casey wiped at the tears again, her other hand still locked to Kelly's. “Are you expecting me to feel sorry for you?”

Monica inhaled sharply. “Actually no. Forget it, this was a bad idea anyway.” she began to turn. Then as a second thought she turned back, finally looking at Casey and seeing the devastation there. “I just thought you could use a friend.”

Casey wanted to yell at her, scream at her, but she knew Kelly wouldn't want it that way. Tiredly she looked away. “She should have told me.”

Monica stepped forward. “She didn't do it because she didn't trust you. She did it to protect you.”

Casey's head came around fast. “I know that!”

Monica gritted her teeth and walked right up to her. “Then why the hell are you mad at her.”

Casey blinked. “I… I'm not.”

Monica shook her head. “Yes you are. Casey believe me when I tell you being mad at her will get you nowhere. I should know. I was mad at her for years for leaving me. All it did was make me lose a good friend.”

Casey eyes came up slowly, her voice nervous, yet understanding. “You were in love with her. Weren't you?”

Monica shifted embarrassed, never believing in a million years she'd be having this conversation. Her eyes went to Kelly. “Yea.” She took a breath. “….You knew didn't you? I mean…. Back then?”

Casey nodded.

Monica gave a soft laugh, her eyes going to Casey again. “She didn't though?”

Casey inhaled. “No.”

Monica shrugged. “It wouldn't have mattered if she did, she fell in love with you. I'm glad she didn't realise…. She such a damn martyr, she problem would have done something horribly honourable and screwed up all our lives. Things happened the way they were supposed to.”

Casey gaze softened, knowing Monica was about the only other person in the world who would know Kelly so well. Her anger retreated, leaving only the pain.

Monica saw the change and moved closer to her. “Casey?”

Casey just shook her head. “I can't…. I can't take this anymore.”

Monica's eyes nearly sprung from their sockets as Casey grabbed her, clinging to her and began to sob. Monica immediately wrapped her arms around her. “Hey…. It's going to be okay.” She just wished she believed her own words.

They finally both broke apart slightly embarrassed. They were saved by the door opening.

Monica almost sighed in relief at her uncle. “Casey. I want you to meet my Uncle Dee.”

Casey wasn't sure what to expect, but he certainly wasn't it. His eyes were kind. “Mr Valdez.”

He bowed his head slightly in greeting. “If I may call you Casey?” he waited for her nod, then continued. “Would you both come with me for moment?”

Casey's eyes went to Kelly immediately.

He forestalled her excuse to leave. “Please. It won't take long. We won't be going far.”

Monica looked to him in question, trying to read him, in surprise she found she couldn't. She walked towards the door he held open, hearing Casey following. Monica whispered to him as she passed. “What are you up too?”

Valdez just smiled sweetly at her. He walked forward leading the way, taking them through hospital.

Casey looked to Monica in question. Monica just shrugged in return.

“Mr Valdez. I don't really have time for this.” Casey tried to figure out where they were going, her eyes showed surprise at spotting her mother. “Mother?”

Her mother rose coming to her, giving her a long hug. “Oh baby. How's Kelly?”

“She's asleep.” Casey's face showed her total confusion. “What are you doing waiting down here? Didn't they tell you she's in the intensive care?”

Amanda looked to Valdez. “You didn't tell her.”

Monica and Casey's head moved in the same way, both looking first to Amanda then over to Valdez. They also both spoke at once.

“Tell me what?”

“Tell her what?”

Valdez moved forward taking Casey's hand. “I have something to show you.”

He pulled her forward, pushing open the door they'd been standing near.


Casey stepped back in shock. Then she fell to her knees, as soon as she did, her arms were filled with a very real six year old. “Lucy.” Her voice came out as a sob.

Monica just stood there looking at them, till she felt her uncle's hand. “How did you find her?”

“Ally showed me where to look?”

Monica turned to him. “Ally? But…. But how?”

“I'll tell you later.”

Casey couldn't believe it, even as she felt her daughter in her arms she didn't believe it. She looked over to Valdez. “Thank you, oh, god thank you.”

He smiled. “It wasn't just me.”

Casey gripped her daughter tighter, then drew back, quickly checking her arms, legs, everything she checked everything. The she cupped her face. “Are you hurt sweetheart?”

Lucy shook her head. “No.”

“You're sure?” this time Casey's question went to Valdez, dread on her face, thinking the worst.

He read her thoughts. “She's not hurt, anywhere.”

The relief Casey felt nearly made her heart stop. She pulled Lucy to her again. “Oh baby I've missed you so much.”

“Me too mummy. I was so scared. I tried to be brave, like you taught me. But I didn't like it” her small face creased.

Casey kissed her. “Shhhhh. I know baby I know. You're safe now.” She looked to Valdez “How did…. you?”

He looked at Amanda, then to Casey. “You're mother will tell you.”

She nodded, she didn't really care how, all she cared about was Lucy was back, safe unhurt.

Lucy pulled at her. “Mummy. I want to see Kel.”

Casey swallowed, not really wanting their daughter to see Kelly right now, wanting to spare her those nightmares. “She's hurt baby.”

Lucy nodded. “I know. Dee Dee told me. She's hurt bad.”

Monica raised an eyebrow at her uncle. “Dee Dee?”

His head bowed, a touch of red spreading to his cheeks. Monica snorted.

Casey could only nod at her daughter's question.

Lucy frowned, a stubborn look came on her face. “I wanna see her. Pleaseeeeeeeeee.” She tugged at her mother again, trying to make her stand.

Monica nearly burst out laughing at the look, recognising it as blend of both Casey and Kelly's.

Casey finally smiled, rising to her feet, pulling Lucy up into her arms, kissing her again, feeling the pain move a little further back in her heart hearing her daughter talk. “Let's go see Kel.”

Lucy squirmed to get down. “Aw Mum.”

Casey tightened her grip, kissing her again. “Hush. I'm allowed, I've missed you.”

Lucy rolled her eyes, sighing and sat still, wrapping her arms around Casey's neck.

Monica couldn't help it this time, she burst out laughing, and crying.

Casey gave her an understanding smile, before looking at Valdez as she walked away, she mouthed. “Thank you.”

Valdez bowed his head.

Amanda fell into step beside her daughter, starting to tell her, exactly how Lucy had been found and why she was there.

Monica watched them, then she turned to her uncle grabbing his lapel, pulling his face down to hers. “Now tell me, before I hurt you.”




One month later…

Kelly's gaze followed the golden Labrador and her daughter as they played. Laughing out loud at some of the antics each were doing. It felt strange laughing, not because of everything that had happened, but strange because of the numbness in her face. She'd undergone three plastic surgeries to correct the damage to the left side, the surgeon had done a good job, even when she looked in the mirror she could see little of the damage, but it felt different. It was always going to be a reminder of what she'd nearly lost.

She grinned again, watching as Lucy was found by the dog and then giving a good licking. Inhaling, Kelly sat back, feeling the pull on the skin graft on her chest, another reminder. She sighed, sipping the hot coffee..... So much had happened in a month. Amanda was living with them now, finally having enough of her husband's ways, the last straw had been the way he'd forbidden her to visit Kelly in the hospital. Jason in the end had returned home. But Amanda had stayed, becoming a second guardian to Lucy when Casey was with her in the hospital. Now, Kelly didn't think she could see their life without Amanda in it.

“You warm enough out here baby? You want another blanket?”

Kelly turned her head to Casey's approach, smiling. “Cluck. Cluck.”

Casey smirked. “And your point?”

Kelly shook her head, grinning. “Nothing. And yes I'm fine.”

Casey ran her hand over Kelly's face. For some reason she always felt the need to touch the hurt side more. She sat on the swing seat next to her, taking her and, snuggling closer to her lover. Her eyes now following Lucy's movements too, she smiled. “It was kind of Monica to offer us this place.”

Kelly sipped her coffee. “I know. She's becoming worse then you with the mother hen stuff.”

Casey laughed. “Good. Because it takes two of us to keep you in place.”

Kelly raised an eyebrow. “Oh really”

Casey nudged her. “Shut up. You know what I meant.”

“Did I hear my name mentioned.”

Both of them turned to Monica.

Monica flopped down onto the swing seat making it rock. Kelly shot forward giving her a glare as her coffee nearly spilled. Monica just smiled.

“So, what I miss?” she looked to Casey and Kelly.

“Nothing. I was just telling Kelly how kind it was for you to offer us to stay here.”

Monica scoffed. “Oh please. I did it for my own sanity. If I had to listen to grumpy bear over there moaning about the hospital one more time I would have needed therapy.” She leant forward snagging a marshmallow off the plate. “Besides I don't use this house much.”

Casey was shocked. “Why? It's beautiful here.”

Kelly nudged her knee. Casey looked at her, seeing a warning in Kelly's eyes.

Monica sat quietly watching them, knowing what Kelly was trying to do. She bit into the marshmallow. “It's okay Kelly….”

“I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked.” Casey gave an uncertain smile.

“Nah, don't worry about it. This was….” Monica looked around then to the house. “…. Well I grew up here. It belonged to my parents. They sold it just before we moved away. It's the only real home I remember….” She looked to Casey again. “….What my father didn't know it was his brother who brought it…. When he found me, it was the first thing he gave me. I guess I don't come here because….” Her smile was sad this time. “…. Too many memories.”

Casey's face filled with concern. “I'm sorry. Monica we can leave.”

“Oh sit down. It's a house for families, and right now it has one.” her eyes traced to Lucy. “It's good to hear laughter again here. Besides that you both need time to heal in a place that isn't a fucking media circus. Those leeches can't get through my security.” She smirked. Then her voice took on a wistful note. “It's been good for me too. I'd forgotten how much I love this place. So, you are all my guests, until you get tired of me.”

Casey returned the smile. She'd gotten to know Monica better over the last month. Each of them would meet at the hospital, they would talk, and in a way Monica had helped her heal and forgive. But also along the way Casey realised she liked her and finally could understand how Kelly could be in a relationship with her. But more importantly to Casey, she'd actually been allowed to see the Monica underneath, the unguarded one.


Casey blinked her thoughts clear. “Sorry just spaced for a minute.”

Kelly nodded, slightly concerned. “You sure you're okay?”


Monica watched the two of them. The first time she'd seen them together, unguarded, loving, inseparable, and at times telepathic for each other needs. She'd had the biggest stab of jealousy in her life. But the more she saw it the more she realised it wasn't because she wished it'd been her with Kelly. It was because she wished she had that with someone special like Casey. She looked away as Casey and Kelly kissed.


Kel grinned breaking the kiss from Casey, waving over to her daughter.

“No. I'll go you should be resting.” Casey started to get up.

Kelly pulled Casey back down giving her another long kiss before rising, wrapping her jacket around her. “I'm fine. Cluck cluck.”

Casey rolled her eyes, letting this one go. She watched still smiling as Kel set off in slightly slow pursuit of her daughter and the dog.

Monica snorted. “You know we may need to start drugging her to keep her still.”

Casey laughed. “Like I hadn't thought of it.”

Monica studied Casey as she watched the other two playing, seeing that some of the strain had gone from her. “How are you doing?”

Casey's eyes dipped for a moment before resuming their watch of her family. “Good days. Bad days.”

Monica's gaze went to Kelly. “And her?”

Casey sighed. “She is terrified of Lucy going back to school next week.”

“And you're not?”

Casey gave a nervous laugh. “Oh I am. But one of us has to control it. Otherwise we'd be keeping Lucy home until she's fifty.”

Monica laughed. “I was thinking more eighty.”

Casey looked at her and burst out laughing, she quietened. “Your uncle offered us bodyguards for her. Did you know that?”

Monica shrugged. “No. But it's the sort of thing he'd do.”

“We said no. We…. We're trying to get our life back to normal…. for Lucy and for us.”

“So, what happens Monday?”

Casey snorted. “Well we've talking about it, logically of course.”

“Of course.” Monica nodded her head in mock agreement.

“And we ended up with…. We're going to sit in the car outside the school for the next ten years.”

Monica grinned. “Good. I'll have company.”

Casey grinned back.

Monica looked to the two playing figures again. “Is she going to go back to work?”

Casey let out a long sigh. “She doesn't want too. I've talked her into taking a leave of absence for six months, then to think about it again.”

“He really did a number on her didn't he.”

Casey stiffened. “Yea.”

Monica looked at her hearing the change in tone. “You still doing the ‘it's all my fault trip'?”

Casey shot her eyes to her, about to snap. But there was no accusation in Monica's eyes. Her ire quietened. “I'm trying not to.”

“Good. Cos it was no one's fault except that sick bastard's.”

Casey finally smiled. “Thank you.”

Monica shifted uncomfortably. “Nothing to thank me for.”

Casey reached over laying her hand on top of Monica's. “Oh yes there is.”

Monica kept her eyes down. “No. Casey there isn't.”

“You still doing the ‘it's all my fault trip'? Monica?”

Monica's eyes shot up, seeing the twinkle in Casey's eyes. She barked a laugh. “Well shit. When you get so sneaky.”

Casey grinned and shrugged. “You're rubbing off on me.”

Monica shook her head, chuckling. “I don't think that's necessary a good thing.”

Casey took her hand back, well aware now she was making Monica uncomfortable with all the touchy feely stuff. “Well, tough I do.”

Monica cleared her throat looking down at her watch. “Ally's late.”

Casey allowed the change in subject. “Wasn't it her review today?”

Monica shifted nervously. “Yea.” Her jaw tightened. “It wasn't the only thing today she had to go too.”

Casey looked to her in question.

“It's also the…. Well, it's the inquest of the…. Shooting and…..”

Casey frowned for a moment, then she saw the look in Monica's eyes and got what she wasn't saying, Warren and the kidnapping. “Oh. Well, we were told we weren't needed, they had our statements. I didn't think that was till next week though?”

“It was. It was brought forward. It…. Well it was Ally's idea not to tell you. Don't be mad at her or anything. She said there was no reason for either of you to go through it all again.”

“I'm not mad. Just surprised.”

“Ally thinks they'll close the case today.” Monica watched Casey carefully.

“God.” Casey sat back. Not knowing what exactly to feel. “Well…. I suppose that's good. I mean that's it's closed. It's just….” Her voice trailed off unable to finish it.

Monica gave a small smile. “It's not that easy to close for you two.”

Casey exhaled. “I wish it were. Right now I think we're just trying to behave normally for Lucy.” She looked right into Monica's eyes. “For us it's going to be a lot harder to close.” She gave a half-hearted smile. “But we will…. Someday.”

Monica nodded in understanding.

They both turned as Amanda came down the steps form the house.

“Do you think Kelly could let Lucy go long enough to come into lunch?” her eyes showed amusement as she watched Kelly and Lucy playing.

“You don't have to do that mom.”

“Hush. I like doing it. I'll give her some lunch then we'll go play that video game Monica showed us. I'm really getting into it you know.”

Casey looked to Monica in question.

“Sims.” Monica smirked.

Casey at her mother in surprise. “Sims?” she laughed.

Amanda shhhhhed her. “Lucy and I are sharing a beach house together. I can't wait for the vacation. There's a boy called Chad who's got great hips.”

“MOM!” Before Casey could flush any deeper red, she heard Lucy approaching at a run, catching her as she jumped into her lap.

Lucy beamed. “Hi ya grandma.”

Amanda caressed her granddaughter's cheek. “Hello sweetness. You ready for lunch? I've made apple pie.”

“Mom. I hope that isn't all lunch is?”

Amanda just smiled. “She's having spaghetti first.”

Lucy jumped down. “Race you to the house grandma.” She took off in a run, hotly pursued by a blaze of barking yellow.

Amanda chuckled following at her own speed.

Kelly winced as she sat down. Well aware by the two glaring women she hadn't hid it well enough. She looked to each of them. “What?”

Monica shook her head at Casey. “Drugs?”

Casey grinned at her. “Ahuh. First thing tomorrow.”

Kelly looked to each of them trying to figure out what they meant, then she caught the two equal twinkles. “Oh great. Now your tag teaming cluck clucks.”

Casey snuggled back in. “You okay?” She looked up from her position of snuggle.


Casey kept staring.

Kelly sighed. “I just stretched the graft that's all….” Her voice lowered. “I'll be more careful.”

Casey leant up and gave her a quick kiss. “It's all I ask.”

Their eyes locked.

Monica cleared her throat. “When you two have stopped lovey dovying. Ally's here and she's FBI and will have to arrest you for not providing buckets for this disgusting display.”

Kelly and Casey's eyes didn't waver from their lock, they just grinned at each other. Finally Casey turned to Ally coming down the steps. “Hi Ally.”

Ally waved, concentrating on the steps. It seemed stupid to her that the wound that was taken the longest to heal and left her with a limp, was the one that hadn't been the worst one. She hated using the cane. But the times she'd tried not to she'd ended up on her ass. She hobbled her way over. “Hello there.”

Monica noticed how tired she was looking, she also noticed the scar. It was always visible, to high to be covered by the neck of clothing. She inwardly shuddered. She hated that scar. “You're late.”

Ally recognised the tone. She'd been worried. “I missed you too.”

Monica blushed. “I…” she didn't finish it as Ally gave her a smile. Monica's mouth closed, then she scowled. “Oh sit down before you fall down.”

Ally grinned, lowering herself into the seat opposite them.

Casey and Kelly exchanged amused sideways looks. Kelly untangled herself from Casey, reaching across she poured a coffee, offering it over to Ally. “You look tired.”

Ally started, taking the coffee. “Thanks. Well, it's been a long day.” She took a long sip. “God that's good.”

Casey shifted suddenly nervous. “How… how did it go?”

Ally looked to her then Monica. Monica nodded, letting her know she'd told Casey. Ally sighed. “It's closed.”

Kelly frowned. “What's closed?”

Casey took her hand. “The case.”

Kelly felt her stomach flip. Her eyes jumped to Ally. “I thought that was next week?”

“They brought it forward.”

Casey felt the shiver go through Kelly and gently eased her back to sit, wrapping her arms around her, understanding exactly how she was feeling.

Kelly swallowed. “So that's it. It's over.”

Ally looked down. “The case is anyway and the FBI's involvement in your life. The media will die down soon enough.” She understood it wasn't going to be that easy to close for any of them. “At least that's something.”

Monica had watched Ally the whole time, she could see something there under the surface, something Ally wasn't going to talk about.

Kelly just nodded. “You know I don't know what the hell I feel right now…. I guess I'm numb.”

Casey tightened her hug. “Me too.”

Kelly kissed her cheek. Then her attention went to Ally. “How did it go for you?”

Ally was well aware that all eyes were on her now. She took another long sip of coffee. “Pretty much what I thought. The inquest found it was a lawful shooting. So I ain't going to jail.”

Monica almost jumped up and swore, but she caught something again in Ally's eyes. “And?”

Ally relaxed back, stretching out her leg. “And Warren was identified as the sole kidnapper and was killed firing upon an FBI agent and threatening Kelly life.” She shrugged. “I'm relieved from field work for two year probation. I… I lose my special agent status.” She looked down.

But not before all of them saw the pain in her eyes.

“Oh Ally.” Casey felt like she wanted to cry.

Kelly swore. “That's not damn fair. After everything you did for us.”

Monica was the only one who stayed silent.

Ally shook her head. “It is fair Kelly. They could have kicked my ass out of the FBI. It's only because things turned out the way it did. I'm not facing felony charges.” She exhaled. “I broke so many damn rules I'm lucky I didn't screw everything up.”

Kelly leant forward, laying her fingertips on ally's leg. “It's because you broke so many damn rules my daughter is still alive and so am I.”

Ally looked away. “I know and I'd do it again and they know that. They can't take the chance. So…” she shrugged. “I'll be in areas where I don't have the opportunity again.” She was aware that Monica just sat silently watching her.

Kelly lowered her eyes sitting back. “I'm sorry.”

Ally sat straighter. “Don't be. I made the choice.”

Casey shook her head. “You shouldn't have to pay like this. You're good at your job.”

Ally grinned. “Thank you. But I'll get used to it.” She finally turned her eyes to Monica. “Nothing to say?”

Monica shrugged. “They've already said it.”

Ally tried to read her but couldn't. Slightly disappointed she looked to Casey and Kelly. “There is some good news from the case closing?”

They both looked to her in question.

“All those damn question you kept bombarding me with, that I couldn't talk about because it was an ongoing case. I can answer them…. I mean if you still want to know?”

Kelly looked to Casey quickly, unsure. Casey smiled at her. “It's okay.” She looked to ally. “We need it closed.”

Ally understood. “Well where do I start?”

Kelly didn't know where to either, there were so many things she didn't understand.

Monica spoke first. “How did he do it?”

Ally took in a long breath. “That's not a simple answer. We don't know every single detail and to be honest I don't think we ever will.”

Kelly frowned. “Okay. So go with an easy one. How the hell did he get back from Mexico? Was he even there?”

“Oh he was there alright. He had to be.” Ally saw the look on their faces. “It was his alibi. The one thing Warren knew was that timelines were important. Once he took Lucy the FBI would be called in, they would check into both your pasts, his name would show up. He knew he'd be a suspect until cleared, which he couldn't be as he was the kidnapper. So, he put himself somewhere we couldn't get to him.”

Monica wanted to spit. “Yea. That trail with no communication.”

Ally nodded.

Monica continued. “But how? I mean he was seen by the other two with him.”

Ally's face darkened. “They were found dead two days after the shooting.”

Casey's face paled. “Oh, my god he killed her?”

Ally nodded. “She'd been having an affair with Richard, he had to kill her, it was part of his long term plan for revenge.”

Kelly shook her head. “I don't get it. If he knew about the affair why did he go on holiday with them?”

“I need to explain something first. So this makes more sense.” Her gaze fell on Casey. “Warren did things that were needed. All of it was planned, all to get his end goal, Lucy and Kelly dead and your life miserable and destroyed.” She sat back finding it hard to see the pain in Casey's eyes. “He started planning this august of last year.”

Casey inhaled sharply. Kelly just looked at her in disbelief.

It was Monica who accepted it. “That's when he found out about Rachel's affair. It was the catalyst.”

Both Casey and Kelly looked to her in surprise.

“Hey don't give me that look. I ain't a dumb blonde.”

Both their eyes fell sheepishly.

Ally grinned at her. “Monica's right. It was.” her face sobered. “I'm afraid it reminded him of everything he went through when it happened with you and Kelly….”

Casey nodded, her eyes focusing elsewhere.

“….and because he was already somewhat unstable…..” she paused hearing Monica's muttered. ‘ no shit . “It pushed him over the edge.” She shifted forward. “We know the affair between Richard and Rachel stopped when his wife found out. We now know it's because Mrs Carter confronted her husband and made him choose. For him it was an easy choice, he ended it. It didn't end there however Mrs Carter went to Warren and told him.”

“Jesus.” Kelly exhaled. “Why?”

Ally shrugged. “She said because she thought he deserved to know. Plus the fact Warren was Mrs Carter doctor. She really I think confined in her MD about her mental state because of the affair rather than telling Warren.”

All three of them looked surprised.

“The fact he was her doctor is important.”

Casey sat forward. “Why.”

“Warren planned the trip to Mexico, for all four of them. A kind of good will gesture to prove they'd all moved on from the affair. But he was doing it for the other reason, his plan. He couldn't have Mrs Carter being there, she was an innocent in his eyes…. He was her MD as I said. Two weeks before the trip he substituted her Ventalyn for Amrita. Amrita does the opposite to Ventalyn, it gave her a very bad asthma attack. He treated her put her back on the Ventalyn and nobody knew. But he got what he wanted, he advised her the trip would be a bad idea, travelling in a low oxygen area could bring on a serious attack. So she took her doctor's advice and didn't go. It was easy for him to get hold of the Amrita he ordered it through the homeless centre clinic. Mrs Carter told us he did give her a new inhaler on one of her checkups.”

Kelly just shook her head. “So he planned to kill them all along?”

“Oh yes. All he wanted them for was an alibi, to make sure the folks back home or more importantly the FBI when they checked. Both Richard and Rachel mentioned to family members and friends when they called that Warren was with them. As soon as they went into the Ataza area, he knew it was a four day communication black out.”

Monica scowled. “That doesn't explain how he got back into the US?”

Ally smiled. “You saw the picture of Richard and Rachel?”

Monica shrugged. “So?”

“Didn't you notice the similarities between Richard and Warren. Height, build, hair….”

Casey swallowed. “Oh, my god, he used Richards passport.”

Ally nodded. “Richard Carter crossed the Mexican US border the day before the kidnapping. All Warren really had to do was grow out his beard and wear contacts.”

Monica shifted. “Sneaky little shit.”

“But you would have found out sooner or later?” Kelly asked.

Ally voice was tense. “Kelly everything he did we would have found out and put together sooner or later. He knew that, he didn't care. All he needed was the four days and no way could the FBI find out that quickly. His timeline remember, his plan.”

Kelly gave a nod. “I…. I figured that out… I mean at the end, just before Ally shot him. He wanted Casey to know it was him. He needed Casey to know.”

Casey squeezed her hand feeling the distress coming from her.

Ally waited.

Monica sat forward. “So he gets back into the USA. Kidnaps Lucy, stays out of sight until he gets what he wants?”

Ally looked to her. “Yes.”

Monica sat back exhaling. “Jesus. That makes it sound so easy.”

“It was anything but easy. I said he knew the FBI would be on his trail, he couldn't afford one tie to him. Even if he was supposed to be in Mexico, he had to make sure there was no link. He started this in august of last year remember…” she cleared her throat. “Warren was working in a clinic, a shelter. It put him into contact with various patients, one's that had dealings in the not so legal world. Warren starting looking for what he needed.... Oh, he was subtle beyond belief, not one of them knew what he was up too.... One of the homeless he talked to was a Roger Brent. Brent told him of a man who could launder money. A Mr Cartwright, who worked at a company dealing with used medical equipment. Warren made contact with him and started buying equipment and drugs at a higher price. The excess money was then laundered back to Warren, with Cartwright taking a cut. It gave Warren an untraceable amount of money to finance the kidnapping, using it to set up Axel investments for one, the rest for anything else he needed..... You wanna know how sneaking Warren was? He even got Richard to donate to this place.” Ally scoffed in disgust. “Anyway Warren also got talking to a seventeen-year boy at the shelter, called Mickey. He is whiz with computers and electronics.”

“The voice thingy.”

Ally looked at Monica. “Yes. Warren paid Mickey to make it, even gave him the money to buy the components. He showed Warren how to work it through the computer to make a call. Warren told him it was a surprise present for his nephew…. You know even now no one really believes Warren was capable of this. He was such a good guy.” Ally shook her head.

Kelly and Casey now sat closer together, needing the touch of each other.

Monica was shaking her head too. “I only met him once, if I didn't know what I know now. I think I'd be the same.”

Ally took a sip of coffee. “He got the Polaroid off of EBay, sent a money order, it was sent to the Burbank office. We still don't know where he brought the film, more than likely a flea market.... He came down here in February of this year and watched you both from the house down the street. Making sure he knew your routines. It wouldn't have been very hard to find out when Casey was next away on a business meeting, he already knew of her involvement in the AIDS for Africa program.”

Casey's voice was a whisper. “I'd told him.”

“Yes. So, he started putting his plan into action.”

All four of them sat in silence.

Monica spoke. “How did you know where to find Lucy?”

Ally stiffened. “I didn't…. I mean not for sure? When I was checking the information on Richard and Rachel and Warren, I pretty much thought it was him, mainly because of the money trail. So, when I was going on that basis, I started looking for something, anything that stood out.” Her eyes went to Kelly. “When I had to meet you I had to leave it, then after you…. well went off my radar and I had to come looking for you. Before I left the car I called Valdez and told him what I knew and where to dig around.” She sighed. “I knew Warren would have to put Lucy somewhere there was no way we would look. He wouldn't take the chance of anyone finding her or the FBI tracking her.” she thought for a moment before continuing. “I think in the back of his mind he actually thought he'd slipped up somewhere, and there'd be a link to him. He had to put Lucy somewhere none of us would look or even think of looking.”

Kelly knew where her daughter had been found. It was one of the unanswered questions she now had an answer too. “Richard's cabin at Westbury. What about the woman you found with her?”

Ally answered. “He hired her to take care of Lucy. She really didn't have anything to do with the kidnapping. She told us that Warren had told her Lucy was his daughter and that Casey and him were going through a very messy divorce, Casey was having an affair with a woman and was trying to get sole custody of Lucy..... He even told her that he had taken Lucy away without anyone knowing, because he was going to get proof that Casey was an unfit mother at the trail. Warren was very smart.” She shook her head still in disbelief. “Ya know. He even told the woman not to be surprised if the TV or newspapers showed Lucy as being kidnapped, that Casey was the sort of woman to lie like that. To get him into trouble just so she could keep Lucy.”

Casey gave a small sob. “And she believed that?”

Ally's voice softened. “Casey. Warren judged people very well. This woman is anti gay, is a devote Christian and if you ask me a little nuts. Yea, she believed it.”

Monica knuckles were white. “Why the dog?”

“Warren couldn't help his caring side, his doctor side. As much as he wanted Lucy dead to get back at Casey he couldn't help reacting to her as a child. He didn't harm her in anyway, didn't drug her because of the reaction to the sedative. He brought her the dog as a gift, nothing more.”

Monica looked over at Kelly. “I'm surprised you let her keep the dog?”

Kelly stiffened. “It wasn't the dogs' fault for fuck sake, or Lucy's. She loves him. It wouldn't have been fair to take him away, not after everything she'd been through…”

Casey's gently squeezed Kelly's hand, then changed the subject. Her voice low. “Lucy's therapist agrees. Warren didn't harm her, in fact if anything….” She paused. “Lucy liked him. The only time Lucy really got scared was when he made her sit there for the photograph. She…she told us she didn't want to do it and he shouted at her. But other than that….”Casey's eyes were sad. “She thought he was a friend.”

Kelly rose, moving away to stand staring out across the gardens. “Son of bitch”

Monica sighed. “How did he get Lucy in the car so easily?”

Casey eyes were locked on Kelly, wanting to go to her but knowing Kelly needed to be alone for now. “She… she saw the car and thought it was Kelly's, she just jumped in. it wasn't till she was inside she realised it wasn't.”

Monica frowned. “Why did she stay in it?”

Casey saw Kelly shudder ignoring Monica's question she rose, going to wrap her arms around her lover.

Ally spoke. “I can tell you that. Warren told Lucy that Casey had been hurt in an accident. That he had been sent by Kelly to look after her. That Kelly was going to be away for four days but would call her, but each time he'd have an excuse why she didn't. He told her he knew mummy, that he was a doctor just like her.”

“I'm not being dumb, but Lucy doesn't seem the sort to believe that pile of bullshit. She's a smart kid.”

Ally smiled. “If Lucy hadn't known him she wouldn't have.”

Monica almost jumped from her seat. “What?”

Casey spoke from Kelly's side. “Lucy had heard me mention Warren. She was always around when I emailed him or sent…. Christmas cards. Lucy used to help me every Christmas to seal the cards. So she knew I knew him.”

Monica's mouth fell open. “That manipulative sod of bitch.”

Casey snuggled closer into Kelly. “Yes he was.”

Kelly exhaled. “I wanted to kill him.”

“I know.” Casey's voice was soft in understanding.

Kelly lowered her head. “How the hell do we get over this?”

Casey stepped closer so their bodies were touching everywhere. “Together. That's how”

Kelly nodded, taking her hand. She looked back over to Ally. “It's there anything else we should know?”

Ally shook her head. “No.”

Kelly looked away again and began walking across the grounds, lifting her arm up to go around Casey as they walked.

Monica watched them briefly before she turned her attention to Ally. “If this woman isn't involved, how could Warren make sure he'd get revenge if he was caught?”

Ally tensed. “He never thought he would be. Not until he'd done what he'd planned too. Then he'd have simple sat waiting for us to come get him.”

“That doesn't make sense. Why would he think that? Didn't you say he thought he'd screwed up?”

“It's complicated Monica. He was a psychopath, their line of thinking isn't always easy to read. He thought his plan was full proof, it was the weaker side of him that doubted it, the side that came out in rage; like vandalising Rachel's place, killing Casey's cat. Once he was back in control he seriously believed nothing could go wrong. He didn't need a backup plan of killing Lucy if he was caught because quite simply he wasn't going to be.”

“Okay I'll buy that, so what went wrong in his perfect plan?”

Ally looked towards Kelly. Nodding, her head slightly. “She did. He never allowed for the fact Kelly could have changed. That she'd trust someone. He didn't allow for that factor anyway in his mind.”

Monica inhaled suddenly, knowing now that if Kelly hadn't changed, hadn't trusted. The outcome now would be so very different.

Ally sipped her coffee watching her. “It's over Monica.”

Monica looked away. “Is it?”

Ally wanted to touch her. “Yes.”

Monica finally looked at her, feeling uncomfortable with the unguarded gaze directed at her. “So what weren't you telling us?”

Ally's eyes fell. “I've told you everything.”

Monica shifted along the swing seat until she was opposite her. “I'm not talking about Warren. I'm talking about the FBIs review of you.”

Ally sat back keeping her eyes on Casey and Kelly walking around the gardens. “I'm not doing field work anymore. That's pretty much it.”

Monica kept silent for a moment, studying Ally's profile. “Well that's a given considering your doing a desk job. So a slap on the wrist and…. What else?”

Ally's gaze dropped. “I quit.”

Monica couldn't hide her surprise, or her anger. “You did what!?”

“I said I quit.”


This time Ally was anger. “Because I don't want a god damn desk job and I don't want people ordering…..” her voice stopped.

Monica frowned. “Ordering you to do what?”

“It doesn't matter.”

“Well it matters so damn much you quit!”

“I… I was ordered to cease all contact with Valdez.”

Monica wasn't shocked, she'd expected it. An FBI agent can't be looked to be compromised in any shape or form. “And?” Her brows drew together trying to figure out what exactly was going on.

Ally finished… “….. And any of his relatives.”

Monica still stared, then she realised. “You mean me. They told you to keep away from me…. That's why you quit?”

Ally swallowed. “Yea.”

Monica just blinked, caught between giggling and swearing. “Why?”

Ally shifted uncomfortably.

Monica shifted forward, ducking her head to get into eye contact with Ally, needing to see her eyes, the eyes that never hid anything. “Ally? Why would you quit over something like that?”

Ally finally met her eyes. “Because I'm god damn crazy about you, that's why...... and no one not even the FBI is going to tell me what to do about seeing you.”

The grin that spread across Monica's face was like the one Ally had seen in those photographs on the wall of her apartment, it was happy, it was free.

Monica grabbed Ally's face and kissed her, it was sweet, and it was a silent touching of words she couldn't find to say. She sat back. “You have no idea what you're getting yourself into G woman.”

Ally gave a goofy smile. She was still trying to get over the kiss. “Ex G woman.”

Monica smile faltered. “Ally, you shouldn't have to give up your job because of me.”

“Yea I do. Besides I'll find something else to do.” She cupped Monica's face wanting to see that smile again. “You're worth it.”

Monica did smile that smile again, and this time it was Ally who started the kissing first.

Kelly nudged Casey, directing her eyes back towards the swing seat.

Casey turned to look, she grinned, biting her lower lip, offering up her palm to Kelly. “You owe me twenty, gimme.”

Kelly rolled her eyes, digging into the back of her jeans handing it over to a giggling Casey as she pulled away, heading up towards the house.

Kelly looked to Ally laughing, to Monica blushing and the smile on her face she'd never seen before. To Amanda smiling and hugging Casey.

To Lucy running free from the house, with Boots the Labrador a gift from a mad man fast on her heels.

She took it all in, like a balm. Her new found family and something inside finally fitted. She knew as they all came together, to sit, to talk, and to laugh. That yes, it was going to take time. But they were all going to be okay….


The End.

Thank you all for reading. Hope you enjoyed. As always let me know what you think...... Thank you for all the feedbacks I do try to answer all, but if I miss you I apologise and thank you now.


K Savage Copyright 2010


I would like to thank everyone who offered to beta read. My partner usually does this for me, but at present she is unable to do so fully. I however feel loyal to her, not to change. Until she feels she can no-longer full fill the task. So, at present I am posting without full beta finishing. This is due to my impatience. I hope this doesn't spoil your enjoyment to much...... Thank you.


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