For disclaimers see part 1

Booyong Mountain

part 14


Lois Kay

It was impossible for Trishia to sit still. The tall police woman just had to pace, it was the only way she could get rid of the excessive energy that was fueled by her frustration.

"Alright," she sighed, raking her fingers through her hair. "Barry Miles is Steven Hayes’ half-brother. But why did he show up? Why did he kidnap Fiona and Robin? Why did he fire a shot at them when they were up on Booyong Mountain? What is his motive? Joe Michaels told you Barry is being used. By whom? How? Why?"

"If I knew the answers to all that, this case would be a lot easier, Trish," Carol Wong answered dryly. "What are the facts?"

Trishia let out a sigh and leaned her forehead against the window, while her eyes stared into the distance. Her normally bright green-blue eyes were dull and bloodshot. Trishia Waters was close to exhaustion and she knew it. But there was no time to relax. She had to stay sharp and try to find answers to all the questions that were swimming around in her busy brain. Somebody was trying very hard to hurt her family and she could not let that happen. She couldn’t let them down. They needed her. She had to keep them safe.

"The facts," Trishia answered slowly. "Barry Miles is the person who kidnapped Fiona and Robin. He escaped us," she added in a bitter voice. "Ira and his brother Gerry Wilkins are involved. I’m not sure how it all fits together, but I’ll find out."

"That boy, Kevin Swanson, was he able to tell you who sent him?"

"No, he wasn’t. Somebody paid him to show up and give us that message, as if it was coming from Fred. But if you ask me, I’d say that was a diversion. Something to confuse us and buy time. It put us on the wrong track and gave ‘them’, whoever they might be, time to plan the kidnapping. What’s interesting though, Inspector," Trishia continued. "Is that Ira knew about the kidnapping. He was the one providing the brain behind this all with a time and place to strike. It makes me suspect his big brother, Gerry, to be the master brain."

"What motives could he have?"

"Money. Prestige. Don’t forget, Sam bought Booyong Mountain away from under his nose. He probably hates her guts." Trishia took a deep breath and for a moment debated with herself whether she should tell the Inspector about her other suspicions. Shrugging her shoulders she decided it wouldn’t hurt. "Another thing, Inspector, I can’t it prove it yet, but I bet Gerry Wilkins was the one behind that situation at The Reef."

Carol Wong was silent while she processed what Trishia had just told her. Was it possible? Trishia never came with a theory without being able to back it up. And even if she could not explain exactly why she had a certain idea, her gut-feeling usually was spot-on.

"What makes you think that?"

"Because the few leads we were able to follow led to people who’d been involved in the Reef. Joe Michaels, Fred, Steven Hayes’ brother. It seems to me somebody has been frustrated with Sam for a while now and is willing to go through great lengths to make sure she suffers, financially and personally."

"You might be on the right track, Trish," Carol Wong admitted. "But we need to prove all that. Any ideas?"

"Yes," Trishia immediately answered and Carol Wong suppressed a chuckle. Leave it up to Trishia Waters to have a plan ready. "We’ll stop hunting and go fishing."

"Fishing, huh?" Carol Wong drawled. "And what kind of bait will we be using, Senior-Sergeant?"

Robin’s eyes traveled through the huge livingroom and she smiled when she saw everybody’s different stages of relaxation. Yarra and Alice were sitting together in a huge, overstuffed recliner. Yarra’s brown eyes were staring pensively at the ceiling, while Alice had put her head on her lover’s shoulder and was fast asleep.

Michael and Joshua were stretched out on the floor, building an intricate looking contraption with Timothy’s Lego blocks, while the little boy sat on Lucy’s lap, staring at the two young men with big, blue eyes.

Sam was sitting on the corner of the couch, Jody’s head nestled in her lap. Her partner was stretched out on the couch, while cradling Taryn in her arms. Both of them were asleep as well.

"This is worth a picture," Fiona’s voice suddenly whispered behind her. "I could make it this year’s Christmas Card."

Robin smiled and half-turned in her chair to be able to look at the photographer.

"What would be the theme?" she asked.

"Don’t worry, be happy," Fiona quipped with a wink and Robin chuckled. "Or I could make it into a poster and sell it to people with insomnia. Success guaranteed. Looking at all these sleeping beauties makes me yawn."

"It’s been a rough two days," Robin sighed, defending her sleeping friends. "Besides, I’m sure that if I closed my eyes, I’d be off to dreamland again."

"Then take a nap," Fiona encouraged softly. "Trishia’s been in the office for the last hour and a half, she might never come out again. I’ll wake you up when there’s an interesting development."

"Don’t tempt me," Robin yawned behind her hand.

"Oh, but I’d love to," Fiona smiled, fighting the urge to wrap her arms around the other woman and claim those soft, willing lips in a breathless kiss, like she had done before. It had made her world stop spinning, while, on the other hand, she had never felt more alive.

Good grief, McDonnell, you’ re a goner.

"But, I’ll be good," she added. "Besides, Sam’s looking at me with those baby blue eyes and I can tell her brain’s working overtime."

Fiona sent Sam a sweet smile, chuckling when the tall blonde narrowed her eyes and let out a frustrated sigh.

"This is so funny," Fiona whispered. "Sam is dying to tease me, but Jody must have put her on the leash, because she hasn’t said a thing and I know she wants to. I can see it in her face."

Fiona grinned and her eyes traveled from Sam to Yarra, who was wide awake now and stared at her friend with a mixture of amusement and interest.

"Yarra’s catching on," Fiona chuckled. "That could mean trouble."

"Honey, relax. Stop grinding your teeth," Jody’s soft and sleepy voice broke the silence. She looked up at Sam and smiled, patting her hand in a comforting gesture.

"I promise you can go after her soon enough. Just give them a few moments or so to come up with a plan of defense."

A pair of green eyes landed on Fiona and Jody winked at her, making her sister blush, which made Sam chuckle in amusement. She leaned over Jody and gave her partner a quick kiss.

"Now, who was teasing?" she whispered.

"I was," Jody confessed with a smile. "She’s challenging you, which is alright, to a certain level. I just don’t want you to be too frustrated."

"Does that mean I can get my tickets out of the drawer?" Sam asked, making sure Fiona could hear her and she laughed softly when she noticed the look of concern on the photographer’s face.

"Yes, sweetheart, I guess you can," Jody yawned.

"Pea!" Fiona protested.

"Don’t ‘Pea’ me, sweetie," Jody answered. "I’ve tried to protect you, but you’ve been taunting my poor baby all day long. That wasn’t very nice of you. And she has been good. You do have to admit that."

Fiona grinned and blew her sister a kiss.

"Thanks, sis, I appreciate it."

"No worries," Jody answered with a laugh.

"Does that mean I can give Fiona ‘The Talk?" Sam asked, letting a strand of Jody’s hair curl around her finger.

"The Talk?" Fiona echoed. "You’ re joking, right?"

"No, I’m very serious," Sam frowned. "It’s the same talk Megan and Sarah gave me. And Jody and I passed it on to Trishia and Lucy and Yarra and Alice."

Fiona cast a look at Robin who just smiled and shrugged her shoulders.

"Alright, alright, I’ll take the bait. What kind of talk?"

"You know, the birds and the bees and all that," Lucy answered with a serious expression on her face. "This is no joke, Fiona. It’s just a way to make sure you know what you’ re getting yourself into. The responsibilities, the financial and legal consequences, the contributions."

"Contributions?" Fiona echoed.

"Sure, I’m surprised you didn’t know that, Red," Yarra sighed, rubbing her forehead. "But then, there’s never been a reason for you to know all this, I guess. Until now."

Fiona’s eyes traveled from Lucy to Yarra and finally to Sam, who looked at her with innocent blue eyes. Michael and Joshua in the meantime had paused their building activities and were watching the conversation with interest.

"Or we could just give her the book," Jody’s sleepy voice sounded and Sam coughed, hiding her face behind her hand, while Yarra bit her lip and studied the ceiling.

"That might not be a bad idea, sis," Lucy nodded. "After all, this is Fiona we’ re talking about and she usually is pretty smart."

"Usually," Yarra mumbled.

"A book?" Fiona muttered with a frown. She knew her family was teasing her and she wished she could get a step ahead of them.

"Where did you put it, honey?" Jody asked, not daring to look at Sam.

"It’s in the safe," Sam dead- panned. "I thought it would be a good idea to keep it away from the twins."

"Like they can read," Fiona could not help saying, hearing Robin chuckle.

"No, they can’t," Sam admitted with a nod. "But they can look at the pictures."

Lucy had to bury her face in Timothy’s hair to hide her laugh. The puzzled expression on Fiona’s face was priceless.

"Alright, I’ll ask," Fiona sighed after a brief silence. "What kind of book?"

"Cover Tim’s ears, Luce, will you?" Sam winked, making her sister-in-law chuckle, before she turned her attention back to Fiona who was staring at her with increasing trepidation. She raised one eyebrow and had to keep herself from laughing out loud when she heard Fiona sigh.

"You want me to guess, is that it?" Fiona remarked, fighting the urge to fidget.

"Might not be a bad idea," Lucy smiled sweetly. "That way we can determine if you are really all that smart."

Fiona glanced at Robin with a silent plea for help in her eyes and the biologist felt her heart go out to the younger woman, but she also knew that Fiona had always teased her friends and family about their love lives. It was obvious it was her family’s turn now to tease her mercilessly, but she also knew Fiona had brought it on herself. It would be interesting to see how the photographer would handle the situation.

Taking a deep breath, Fiona straightened her back and looked around the room. All the expectant faces almost made her chuckle and as her eyes traveled across the room she suddenly realized her family was on a major fishing expedition. True, Sam and Jody knew about her feelings for Robin, but they would not have talked about it with the others. Yarra and Lucy just suspected there was something going on, but there was no way they could know for sure. They were all just trying to see if she would take the bait and give them any first-hand information.

Fiona grinned and stuffed her hands into the pockets of her shorts, while she slowly rocked on her heels. There was a smug smile on her face when she looked at Sam.

"There is no talk and there is no book," she concluded. "At least, not one I’d be interested in."

"I must not understand," Sam replied in a serious tone of voice. "I thought we were all talking about the same thing. What were you talking about Fiona?"

"I was merely responding to what you were saying, Sam," Fiona answered haughtily and Sam could feel Jody chuckle. Fiona had the habit of always getting in the last word. It would be fun to see if Sam could find a way to win a verbal sparring session.

"You think that’s wise?" Sam asked and there was a twinkle in her eyes.

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do," Fiona quipped, winking at Yarra who laughed and just shook her head. Fiona always managed to talk her way out of things.

"Really?" Sam smiled, gently squeezing Jody’s hand in a silent reassurance. She was only playing with Fiona. "That’s interesting. Especially since you suggested that Jody change the name of this place not that long ago. So, if you’d really do as the Romans do..." Sam paused and grinned when she saw the blush creep up Fiona’s cheeks.

Jody turned her head so she could look at her youngest sister and she sent her a reassuring wink. She knew that, even if Fiona was embarrassed, she would probably find a way to talk herself out of this tricky situation.

While everybody was waiting for Fiona’s answer, Robin’s eyes traveled to her brother’s face. He was looking at her intently and there was a silent question in his eyes. She knew Joshua had known about her attraction to Fiona and, even though they had not discussed it, she knew he was alright with it. As long as his sister was happy.

Almost imperceptibly Robin nodded, immediately seeing Joshua’s face light up with a radiant smile. She smiled back and cast a look at Fiona who was frantically trying to come up with a reply to Sam’s remark.

"There is an easy solution to all this, you know that, right?" she whispered, almost laughing out loud when she noticed the shock in Fiona’s eyes. "You can end this right now and get the worst over with."

Fiona’s dark-green eyes blinked in surprise and Robin could tell the photographer was considering her options with the speed of light. An amused smile appeared on her face and Robin swallowed, quickly moistening her lips.

Oh, my God. She’s gonna do it. She’s really going to do it.

A hand lifted her chin and in front of the very surprised audience, Fiona brought her face down and gave Robin a slow and deliberate kiss.

For a long moment the silence was almost deafening, but then Yarra threw her head back and laughed out loud, waking Alice, who looked around with sleepily blinking eyes.

"Way to go, mate," the dark-skinned woman laughed with sparkling brown eyes. Leave it up to Fiona to have the last...word.

Jody looked up into a pair of indignant blue eyes and softly laughed. Fiona’s gesture had not really surprised her. From the moment she and Robin had entered the kitchen that afternoon, she had noticed something between them had changed. It had been subtle, but to her perceptive eyes it had been clear. The glances they had exchanged had been a mixture of shyness, longing and affection and there had been quite a few touches; Fiona putting a hand on Robin’s shoulder and giving it a gentle squeeze before letting go, Robin seeking Fiona’s close presence, every now and then brushing her arm against the photographer’s.

"You’d do anything to get the last word in, wouldn’t you?" Sam remarked with a sigh, but her blue eyes were sparkling when she looked at Fiona and Robin, who slowly broke apart.

"Of course, she’s a McDonnell," Lucy replied, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. Fiona noticed the tears and stepped a little closer, grabbing Robin’s hand to pull her along.

"Are you alright, sis? You’ re not upset with me, are you?" Fiona smiled, kneeling in front of Lucy, who was hiding her face in Timothy’s hair.

"No," she answered with a quivering voice. "It’s the hormones."

Lucy looked up into a pair of identical dark-green eyes and laughed through her tears.

"This is insane. The other day I cried over a washing detergent commercial. How sick is that?"

"I don’t know, sis, you tell me," Fiona grinned, reaching out and brushing away a tear from Lucy’s cheek.

"It sucks, Red," Lucy sighed. "For years I’ve been looking forward to this day so I could give you a hard time and now I can only melt and cry. I didn’t know getting pregnant would rob me of my wit."

"Only temporarily, Luce," Jody’s cheerful voice sounded from the couch.

"I hope you’ re right, Pea. I so wanted to tease the heck out of our baby sister and, now I finally have the chance, words fail me."

"Oh, you poor thing," Fiona grinned, wrapping an arm around her sister and enveloping her and Timothy in a one-armed hug. "But as you know, timing is everything."

"Your timing is immaculate," Lucy nodded with a laugh. "But don’t forget, I’m not your only victim from the past. I’m sure I’ll have my revenge. Once this temporary insanity ends, that is," she added with a frustrated sigh.

"That could take a month or nine," Fiona grinned.

"Seven," Lucy corrected. "I didn’t exactly get pregnant today, you know."

"I know," Fiona winked.

Lucy pulled a face and turned her attention to Robin who was standing right behind Fiona, still holding on to the photographer’s hand.

"Are you sure you want to be involved with this sister of mine? She’s a handful, but I’m sure you’ve already noticed that."

"I know," Robin nodded with a smile. "But I do like her the way she is."

"Good luck," Lucy sighed, rolling her eyes in mock exasperation. She wanted to add another remark, but Trishia stepped into the room and immediately the expression on her face turned into a serious one.

"Trish, honey, are you alright?" she asked with concern, noticing how pale and tired her partner looked.

"Any news?" Sam asked, eying her friend with a frown. Trishia looked like she hadn’t had a decent sleep in a long time and inwardly Sam cursed. The police woman should be spending time with Lucy, enjoying their pregnancy and not solving mysteries and chasing kidnappers.

"I talked to the Inspector," Trishia nodded, taking a seat next to her partner, smiling at Timothy who immediately tried to crawl into her lap. She wrapped her arms around the small boy, who tucked his head underneath her chin and let out a contented sigh. Glancing aside, Trishia caught Lucy’s gaze and for a brief moment all worries and fatigue seemed to disappear. Soon they would have their own child and Trishia wondered how that would feel. She loved the twins with all her heart and it seemed impossible that she would love their own child even more. The idea filled her with an emotion that bordered on giddiness and she knew she had a goofy smile on her face, but she didn’t care. In the long, hard hours she had already put into the case, the thought of Lucy and their baby filled her with determination and gave her the energy she needed to do her job.

Lucy’s dark-green eyes shone with warmth and Trishia leaned towards her to give her a quick kiss.

"Thank you," she whispered. "You always manage to make me feel better."

"It’s my job," Lucy smiled, tucking a strand of hair behind Trishia’s ear. "It was in the small print, remember?"

"Was that the same section about me hanging up my wet towels after showering?" Trishia joked gently.

"Two paragraphs down," Lucy quipped and they both laughed.

Trishia looked around and she felt a heavy responsibility for all her friends and family who were assembled in the living room.

"Where’s your mother?" she asked Lucy.

"She’s taking a nap. She was exhausted after last night."

"I can’t blame her," Trishia sighed, feeling bone-tired. "I guess we’ll have to brief her later, there’s not much time."

"What’s going on, Trish?" Jody asked, alarmed by the tone of urgency in the police woman’s voice.

"I just talked to the Inspector and we do have some new information I’d like to share with you."

In a low voice Trishia told her intently listening audience what she had learned from Carol Wong and the conclusions the two police women had been able to reach. There were still a lot of questions, but at least they had a few more leads.

"You mean that Fra...Barry Miles is Steven Hayes’ half-brother?" Lucy asked with obvious disbelief.

It was so hard to comprehend. Steven Hayes had tried to hurt them seriously and he had even planned to kill Sam. But during the last few years it had become something of the past, a bad memory that was slowly but surely fading. Until now.

"He is," Trishia nodded, noticing the brief flash of anger in Sam’s eyes. "According to Joe Michaels, he wants revenge."

"Revenge?" Yarra frowned. "What kind of revenge?"

"For the death of his brother," Trishia answered. "But the strange thing is that for some reason he’s after Sam. While...," Trishia swallowed hard. "While I was the one who shot him."

Jody had been listening quietly, but after Trishia’s last words, she slowly shook her head, a pensive expression in her eyes.

"No, Trish, I think it’s a little different than that."

Trishia cast her sister-in-law a questioning look, but she remained silent, although she was curious to hear what Jody had to say.

"You just told us that Barry Miles was disfigured by his brother, who threw acid in his face. That’s horrible, by the way," she added with a shiver. "I don’t think he wants revenge for Steven’s death."

"He doesn’t?" Trishia asked with surprise. She wondered how Jody had reached that conclusion. But she knew her partner’s sister was an intelligent woman and she probably had a good explanation for her line of thought. This could be very interesting.

"No, I don’t think he does," Jody shook her head. "When I was still working at The Reef, as William Jenkins’ assistant, I remember he sometimes talked on the phone with a person named Barry. He was always very secretive about that, but once he told me Barry was a very good friend, who had run into a lot of tragedy, caused by his brother. He never really told me what that was all about, but Trish," Jody’s eyes were dark when she looked across the room. "What if...somebody, who is out to get Sam, told Barry that Sam is responsible for William Jenkins’ death?"

"That would make sense," Trishia slowly nodded. "A lot of sense even, Jody. Sam, does Gerry Wilkins have reasons to...hate you?"

Sam frowned and unconsciously rubbed her right calf. The muscles were so sore and stiff after her hike up and down the mountain, she had been tempted to take a serious pain pill. But she decided she wanted to keep a clear head, so she tried to ignore the pain and discomfort and concentrate on the conversation.

"I...maybe, yes," Sam drawled. "I never gave him any reason to hate me, at least, I don’t think I did, but then, he’s a pompous, arrogant ba...person, who is not held back by business ethics. I know he wanted to buy Booyong Mountain, but I beat him fair and square. Although he might see that a little differently."

" think he’d organize all this just because you bought the land?" Alice sounded.

"Not if this wasn’t the first time," Robin’s voice broke the silence. The biologist squeezed Fiona’s hand and turned her attention to Trishia, who looked at her with a mixture of surprise, curiosity and excitement.

"Go on," the police woman encouraged, the tension in her voice clearly audible.

"In that letter Joe sent Dad, he...there was a name," Robin explained. "I...maybe it doesn’t mean a thing, but he mentioned a ‘Ger’." Robin swallowed hard and noticed the eager look in Trishia’s eyes, knowing the police woman had already considered what she was about to say.

"If Gerry Wilkins was the one behind all that happened to The Reef, then he might have a motive."

"And that would explain why and how this Barry Miles got his information," Fiona added. "From Gerry Wilkins who wants to hurt Sam, personally and in business, but who wants to keep his hands clean."

"Again," Sam added with a grim expression on her face.

Trishia leaned back into her seat, pulling a dozing Timothy with her. Her eyes were smiling when they traveled across the room and her face was almost relaxed for the first time in many days.

"Girls, I believe we have just hit the nail on the head."

"But how will we know for sure?" Lucy sighed. " Barry has escaped."

"Oh, but if Gerry Wilkins is behind all this, he’ll have a very good reason to contact Barry and convince him to finish the job," Trishia replied calmly. "And when he does, we’ll ask him."

"You mean...kidnapping Fiona and Robin? Again?" Yarra asked alarmed.

"That’s what I mean," Trishia nodded.

"But that won’t happen, because the police are after him, right?" Joshua asked from his spot on the floor. His forehead sported a small, worried frown.

"We were," Trishia agreed. "But the Inspector and I have just decided it’s better to stop the hunt. The forest is too big and widespread. Barry can easily escape us again and again and again."

"So, you guys are giving up?" Michael asked with surprise.

"We’ re stopping the chase," Trishia answered. "But we’re not giving up."

"But, what’s the plan?" Joshua asked.

Trishia cast a look at Fiona and Robin, who were sitting side by side, their fingers still entwined and their shoulders touching. Fiona’s eyes were clear and alert when they stared back at Trishia and the police woman sighed. She could tell Fiona had already caught on and knew what she was about to say. She hated it to be so predictable.

"He’ll try to make his way over here," Fiona calmly said, feeling Robin jerk beside her. "And you will let him."

"It’’s the logical choice," Trishia explained softly. "But nobody will be in danger. We’ll make it look like you and Robin are in the apartment. Once he shows up, we’ll grab him."

"Sounds easy enough," Fiona mumbled. "But if he finds out it’s not us, he’ll know you’re on to him and you’ll never find him again."

"That’s the risk," Trishia confessed with a sigh. "But we’ll have to take it."

"Maybe not," Fiona replied softly.

Lucy and Jody exchanged glances and both women suddenly sat up straight. Jody cradled the still sleeping Taryn against her chest, while she slightly leaned forward, studying her youngest sister with a weary glance,

"You’re not considering what we think you are, are you?" she asked in a voice that was strained with tension.

Fiona looked up and when she met the worried gaze in Jody’s eyes she swallowed hard. It would be hard to convince her family. Very hard.

"Listen, Jody, it’s the logical thing to do, really," Fiona tried to explain as calm as she good.

"Logical?" Lucy echoed. "Logical? Fiona, putting yourself in danger is not a logical thing to do. This is real life, sweetheart, not a book or a movie."

"I know that," Fiona answered, a little miffed. She glanced at Trishia, who was looking at her with pensive eyes and the photographer knew that the police woman was considering what she was about to propose.

"Trish, you know I’m right. If I’m down there, you’ll have a better chance of catching this bloke. Besides, Sam has a top notch security system and you’ll know when and how he’s coming. I’m not afraid, Trish. I know I can do this."

"We," Robin added calmly. "We can do this. You’re not going to do this alone."

Fiona cast a look at the woman beside her and immediately noticed the look of determination that was sent her way. For a split second she hesitated, but then she smiled and grasped Robin’s hand in a tighter grip.

"We can do this, Trish," she said, turning back to face the police woman, while she felt Robin’s arm slip around her waist. Fiona’s heart skipped a beat and she answered Robin’s loving and supportive gesture, by wrapping her arm around the biologist’s shoulders, pulling her close. It felt so good to be able to hold her like that.

"Trish?" Lucy asked, shooting her partner a worried look. "You’ re not seriously considering this, are you?"

Trishia sighed and rubbed her tired eyes. Timothy stirred and snuggled closer and in spite of everything she smiled when she looked down at the little boy in her arms.

If Barry Miles got away from them, Sam, Jody and their children would still be a target. If Gerry Wilkins really was behind all that had happened, there would be no telling what he would do next. He could send Barry Miles again, or somebody else. And maybe he would succeed, eventually. She could not risk that. Trishia felt the responsibility to keep her family safe weigh heavily on her shoulders and she knew she had to do anything she could to capture the person who was responsible for jeopardizing the safety of her loved ones. So, if that meant using Fiona and Robin as bait, she just had to make sure that nothing happened to them !

Reaching out a hand, she covered Lucy’s fidgeting fingers and they immediately stilled, grasping Trishia’s hand in a tight grip.

"I want the two of you to do exactly what you’re told. And I do mean exactly, Fiona," Trishia added in a stern voice. "There’s no room for individual adventures and heroism. Not following my orders will mean I’ll have to pull you out of there immediately."

Fiona nodded but briefly wondered how Trishia would know if she disobeyed her orders. She didn’t have to wait long for an explanation.

"I want the two of you to be wired."

Fiona’s head shot up and she sent the police woman a shocked stare. Wired?

"No way," she responded. "Wired? I don’t want half the police force and my entire family to know when, where and how I did what! I’d like to go to the bathroom by myself, thank you very much. I’ve been able to do that myself for a while now" she ended and Robin let out a nervous chuckle.

Before Trishia could respond, Sam had jumped up and started to pace, the limp in her gait more prominent than usual. Her face was pale and the expression was grim, but Jody could tell by the look in those clear blue eyes that her partner was working hard to come up with a solution.

"Trish," Sam spoke, turning around and looking to her friend from across the room. "I really understand Fiona’s reluctance to be wired. Isn’t there another way?"

Sam knew there would be another way, but she wanted Trishia to think things over before she would give them an answer. The solution was the wireless intercom system Jody and Sam used to keep an eye on the twins. Whenever Taryn and Timothy were asleep, Jody or Sam were carrying around a little receiver that would transmit any sound their twins would make.

"You’re thinking about the intercom, aren’t you?" Trishia replied, casting a look at the small device on the table.

Seeing Sam nod she suppressed a sigh and raked her fingers through her hair. She knew it would probably work. It would not be the same as wiring the girls, but usually the reception was pretty clear.

"What is its reach?" Trishia asked in a tired voice.

"About a kilometer," Sam answered. "It works in the apartment. I’ve tested it," she admitted with a shrug of her shoulders.

"Geek," Fiona teased.

"Nerd," Sam shot back with a smile. Fiona had been with her that day when she had tested the intercom system. They had both been curious about its possibilities.

"Alright, we’ll use the intercom," Trishia decided. "Promise me, you’ll do as I tell you, Fiona," she added with trepidation. Her sister-in-law could be so stubborn sometimes.

"I promise," Fiona answered. "Thanks, Trish. I’ll be good, I promise. I want you to catch this bloke."

"I’ll make sure you’re good," Robin mumbled, giving Fiona’s waist a gentle squeeze.

Robin looked at Trishia and gave the police woman a reassuring smile. She would do anything she could to keep Fiona out of trouble, for more than one reason. The main one being that just the thought of something happening to Fiona tied her stomach into knots.

"But what if this Barry Miles doesn’t show up, Trish?" Alice asked hesitantly.

"He will," Trishia answered with self-confidence.

"How do you know that, honey? For all we know he could be on the other side of the country already," Lucy sighed.

"Because his...’boss’ will contact him and urge him to finish the job," Trishia answered calmly.

"He will?" Lucy frowned with a quizzical look in her eyes.

"Yes, because he’ll think he’s not under suspicion at all."

"How?" Yarra asked, intrigued by the whole plan.

"Because we’ll be putting some pressure on Ira, telling him we know he’s the brain behind the kidnapping. We’ll make him believe we think he had a friend who kidnapped Robin and Fiona, so Ira could have a part in their rescue, thus becoming a hero in Fiona’s eyes." Trishia shrugged her shoulders and smiled. "We’ll just play dumb."

Fiona smiled and her eyes showed respect when she looked at the police woman who looked so calm and confident.

"All the more reason for this Gerry person to tell Barry Miles to finish the job, huh? Since he thinks he’s clean," she said, seeing the corner of Trishia’s mouth curl up in a small smile.

"Do you really think he’ll go for it?" Sam asked.

"I’m not sure, Sam, but for some reason I feel he will."

The tall blonde nodded and wrapped her arm around Jody’s shoulder, pulling her close. She needed her partner’s warmth and closeness to chase away the worries and concerns that played in the back of her mind.

It was as if Jody could feel the turmoil of emotions, because she leaned into the contact and rested her head against Sam’s shoulder, smiling when Sam dropped a kiss on top of her head.

"So, what do we do in the meantime, Trish?" Michael asked curiously.

"Nothing, Mike. We wait."

It was dark again and the only light came from a lantern that was blackened by the soot that had been build up by years of use. It would have been easy to have pulled it apart and cleaned the glass, so the light would shine brightly, but he didn’t mind. He liked the darkness. Light usually meant pain and that was something he had experienced enough.

After dipping a torn cloth into a small bowl of clean water, he used it to wipe off the blood from his shoulder, where the dog had sank his teeth into his flesh. The puncture wounds were not deep and he hoped it would not get infected. But he would put some ointment on it and hope the small amount of antibiotics would clean it out properly.

He knew he didn’t have the luxury to spend time in cleaning and resting his painful arm. The man had called. Again. Just as he had entered his little hideaway, the phone had rung and it had been him. Telling him what to do.

Knowing he had been so close to the person he was looking for, had fueled his anger and his determination. If the dog had not been there, he would have been able to do it. But the German Shepherd had taken him completely by surprise and he had failed. But he would get another chance, he was sure. The man had told him that. It had been a promise. He would have his revenge and after that he would disappear. Probably forever. He knew some places where nobody came. Ever. That’s where he would be heading soon. But first he had to finish his job. As soon as possible.

There was no time to rest. Not yet.

Robin eyed the receiver of the intercom that was put on one of the bookshelves, the little green light indicated it was transmitting. It felt strange, knowing the police officers who were stationed in Sam’s office, would be able to hear every word they’d say. There were so many things she wanted to tell Fiona, and ask. But she knew they would have to wait.

With a small sigh she turned around, halting in her movements when she noticed a pair of dark-green eyes studying her with affectionate curiosity. Fiona’s eyes traveled from Robin’s face to the intercom and back again.

"Annoying, huh?" she smiled, chuckling when Robin nodded and rolled her eyes.

"Yup, we can’t gossip about Trish now, or Sam," Fiona continued with sparkling eyes, knowing full well both women could hear her. "We’ll have to do it later."

"Are all the doors locked?" Robin asked, wanting to be sure.

"Yes, they are. I checked and double-checked and if you want me to, I’ll check again."

"Don’t be silly," Robin replied with a smile. "I was just...I guess I’m a little nervous."

"So am I," Fiona admitted. "But we’ll be fine, Robin. There are a lot of people keeping an eye on us."

"That’s one of the things that makes me nervous," Robin joked, making Fiona laugh.

"Just make sure you don’t snore, cause you’d never live it down," Fiona advised.

"I don’t snore," Robin immediately replied, glancing up in Fiona’s laughing eyes. "Do I?"

"Do you really want to know?" Fiona asked, suddenly very serious.

Robin glanced up at the photographer with narrowed eyes, while Fiona stared back at her with an innocent glance. Too innocent.

"You’ re teasing," she concluded.

"How do you know?"

"Easy," Robin answered, stepping closer. Reaching out a hand she touched Fiona’s mouth and let her thumb caress the photographer’s bottom lip.

"There’s this little...curve here, which is only visible when you’ re teasing. That’s how I can tell."

"You must have been paying close attention," Fiona replied in a soft voice, leaning into the hand that was still caressing the side of her face.

"I guess I’ve only had eyes for you for a while now," Robin whispered, letting her hand slide to the back of Fiona’s neck and pulling down her face. "I’m very interested in you, you know."

"As I am in you," Fiona whispered, seeing Robin’s lips come closer. When they met hers in a soft, tender kiss, she involuntarily closed her eyes and let out a small sigh, reveling in the softness that robbed her from her speech and breath. Slowly, unhurriedly, their kisses intensified and Fiona moaned softly when Robin nibbled on her bottom lip.

It seemed as if their hands led a life of their own, when they started to roam, exploring the planes and soft curves of each other’s bodies. Robin’s hands had ended up underneath Fiona’s t-shirt, stroking the bare skin of her back and were sending hot jolts of longing through the dark-haired woman, making her tremble.

"Fiona," Robin whispered against the photographer’s lips.

"Robin," was the hoarse reply.

"We need to slow down, Fiona," Robin sighed, turning away her face and burying it in the crook of Fiona’s neck.

"Yes, we do," Fiona answered, barely audible. Her legs felt rubbery and she was convinced a few more minutes of kissing Robin would have ended with her on the floor. Her heart was racing and her body’s craving was so intense, she felt like she could hardly breathe.

"You set me on fire," she whispered in Robin’s ear that was so close she just had to kiss it.

"I’m glad," Robin responded. "But right now, that’s only utterly frustrating, because...I..."

"Same here," Fiona answered with a hint of amusement in her voice. "I don’t really like the idea of having an audience."

"No," Robin breathed, knowing that letting go of the tall, warm body would be a good thing to do, because she needed some physical distance to regain her composure. She slowly withdrew her hands from underneath the photographer’s shirt and chuckled when Fiona let out a frustrated groan.

"I know, sweetie," she whispered, giving the other woman a quick kiss on the lips. "Soon, alright?"

"Yes, please. I don’t want to explode," Fiona sighed. "I hope this bloke doesn’t take his sweet time. The sooner he shows up, the better."


To be continued in part 15

Return to the Academy

Feedback is always appreciated at