For a brief moment, the room was blanketed in a tense silence. Jody and Sam exchanged a worried look, while Fiona and Yarra stood up from their chairs, standing on either side of Alice, unconsciously lending some silent support.
"Where will you go, honey?" Joan softly asked, breaking the silence and shooting the teenager a look of gentle concern. She did not want to confront Alice with the fact that the girl had nowhere to run, but she wanted her to be realistic and not do anything that she would regret later.
"You cant keep me here," Alice managed to utter in a strangled voice, shooting Trishia a defiant look. "If I want to go then that is my decision."
"We understand that, Alice," Jody spoke in a soft voice, walking around the table and stopping in front of the girl.
A pair of frightened blue eyes locked with her concerned green ones and again Jodys heart went out to the troubled teenager. Alice looked like she could run out of the door at any moment and Jody was aware of that. She knew she had to proceed with caution if she wanted to convince Alice to stay. Both Fiona and Yarra looked at her with pleading eyes, like Jody was be the only one who would be able to stop Alice from doing something foolish.
"If I stay here, you will all be in danger. You dont know him, Jody," Alice cried, unaware of the tears that were rolling down her cheeks. "He..he is he is so cruel, I ."
The teenager paled when all of a sudden she was assaulted by memories that had been carefully locked away for a long time. Shattered images and sounds played like a movie in her head and a heart wrenching sob escaped through trembling lips.
Alice wrapped her arms around her stomach and almost doubled over in physical and emotional pain that the memories brought along with them.
"Oh, God. Oh, God, please," she breathlessly cried, swaying like she was going to fall over.
Jody stepped forward in order to catch the girl, but Yarra had already sprung into action. The dark skinned girl had firmly wrapped her arms around her new friend and pulled her against her slender, but strong body. She could feel the sobs rake through Alice and when the blondes knees buckled, she gently lowered her to the floor, still holding the crying girl close to her.
With tear filled eyes Yarra looked up at Jody, who was kneeling in front of Alice and took the girls hands in her own. They were cold and clammy.
"We are here for you, sweetie," Jody tried to comfort the teenager. "When I said you were welcome to stay as long as you like, I meant it and so did Sam. We dont want you to be out on the streets by yourself, Alice. We want you here, with us."
Jodys words slowly penetrated the pain filled mist that had invaded Alices senses and the teenager lifted her head to look at the woman in front of her with an expression in her eyes that bordered panic.
"But you wont be safe," she whispered. "If anything happened to you or anyone else, I would never forgive myself."
"And if you would leave and something would happen to you, we would never forgive ourselves," Sam spoke, kneeling on the ground next to Jody and putting a hand on Alices shoulder. "I know you are scared, Alice. I think we all are. But Peter and Trishia are here and we have the security system installed, so I think this place is the safest place to be. For all of us. Please stay."
Alice closed her eyes and slumped back against Yarras chest, hiding her face in the crook of the dark girls neck. Her breathing was fast and shallow and she was desperately trying to regain her composure. Her heart had been pounding so fast it had made her dizzy, but it gradually slowed down and Alice let the strong arms that had provided a warm safety net bring her some much needed comfort. It slowly dawned on her that she was feeling safe and that realization helped her to take a few deep breaths and push away the panic that had constricted her chest just a few minutes before.
"I am sorry," she finally mumbled. "I never meant to be such a headache."
Immediately Yarras arms gave her a playful squeeze and the dark girls voice sounded close to her ear.
"No need to be sorry, Alice," Yarra spoke, keeping the tone of her voice light in an attempt to ease the tension. "Believe me, these people love headaches."
And I do too, she silently admitted to herself, avoiding Sam and Jodys eyes that she could almost feel burn into her skin. At least, I do like this one.
"Do you know the story about the Wallaroo and the Willy-wagtail, Alice?" Yarra asked in a gentle voice. She could feel the girl in her arms shake her head and she smiled.
"One day, a long time ago an old Wallaroo was too sick and hungry to go hunting. When a paddymelon crossed its path, he asked him to go look for his family. They had gone fishing, but never returned. The paddymelon wanted to help the old Wallaroo and he promised him to search for his family. When the paddymelon was at a distance, the Wallaroo called after him to take his boomerang, because he might need it. The paddymelon thought that would be a good idea and told the Wallaroo to throw it after him. And he did. But the boomerang was thrown with so much force, that it killed the paddymelon in an instant. The Wallaroo hopped over to dead paddymelon, skinned him, cooked his meat and ate him.
After a while the paddymelons tribe became worried about him and an iguana volunteered to go and search for him. He crossed paths with the Wallaroo and the same thing happened to him. He was killed and the Wallaroo ate him. After the iguana failed to return home, his tribe called a council meeting. They were afraid that both the paddymelon and the iguana were in the Land of Silence and would never return. A Willy-wagtail offered to go look for them and he promised to be very careful. He followed their tracks and came across the old Wallaroo, who asked him to go look for his relatives. The Willy-wagtail offered his assistance, but when the Wallaroo called after him to take his boomerang, he became suspicious. He was prepared when the Wallaroo threw the boomerang at him with all his might and he managed to jump aside. The Wallaroo became very angry at him and threw all the weapons he had at the Willy-wagtail, but he never hit him. Instead the Willy-wagtail took the boomerang and threw it at the Wallaroo, hitting him in the chest and killing him. He skinned the Wallaroo and prepared to eat it, but the flesh was too old and tough to eat. So he took the skin with him and went back home, to his tribe, telling them about the deceptive way the old Wallaroo had killed their friends. Everybody was sad about their loss. And from that day on it was decided by the tribe that nobody should ever travel alone again. As a mark of remembrance, Wallaroos have a strip of white fur on their chest, where the boomerang hit the old one and killed him."
Yarra paused for a moment and was aware of the silence in the kitchen.
"You dont have to walk alone, Alice," she softly continued. "It is safer to stay with your friends, no matter how good your intentions are, of not wanting anyone to be harmed. Friends can rely on each other. They are there to provide comfort and to keep each other safe."
Alice shifted in Yarras arm and unexpectedly a pair of red rimmed blue eyes looked at her from such a close range, Yarras heart skipped a beat and she involuntarily sucked in a breath, immediately hoping nobody had noticed.
"Thank you," Alice whispered, managing a watery smile. "That was a nice story."
"There is more where that came from," Fiona spoke, after clearing her throat. "Yarra can tell all the stories and legends of her ancestors. When this is all over, we should camp out one night, make a nice fire and let her tell us some stories, Alice. That is so cool."
"You should ask my dad," Yarra grinned, grateful for Fionas response which had given her time to regain her composure. "He knows a lot of dances as well and he plays the didgeridoo."
"Sounds like we will have to organize a party soon, huh?" Jody smiled, patting Alices knee and sending Yarra a grateful look. "That is, if we are invited as well?"
"Of course. At least you are not afraid of the creepy crawlers in the bush, like some people we know," Fiona smirked, casting a look at Lucy who pulled a face and stuck out her tongue.
"You were not the one who was attacked by a legion of green ants," Lucy replied with feigned hurt. "Those bites are painful, you know."
"Served you right for not looking down before you parked your butt in the dirt," Fiona shot back. "Face it Luce, you are a lousy girls scout."
"I never pretended to be one in the first place," Lucy mumbled. "Besides, I know better places to sleep than a lumpy, rock littered, hard bush floor."
"I bet you wouldnt mind if Trishia was there with you," Fiona teased. "To kiss away all the pain."
"Okay, girls, that is enough," Sam called out, rising to her feet and pulling Jody with her. "Put a sock in it, Fi. You two can verbally assault each other later. Right now we need to discuss some serious business first."
"So, will you stay here, Alice?" Yarra softly asked, before slowly releasing her hold on the blond teenager.
Alice swallowed hard and looked up at Jody through long, damp eyelashes. Part of her wanted to be ashamed of her outburst, but she knew there was no reason to feel that way, since Jody, Sam and their family had once more proven to be her friends. Again a part of the wall that Alice had built around her heart crumbled and fell, leaving her with a sense of safety and quiet happiness.
"I will stay," she answered in a husky voice.
"Thank you, Alice," Jody smiled, the relief evident on her face.
Alice answered the smile with one of her own and half turned to look at Yarra. Tentatively she put a hand on Yarras muscular arm and gently squeezed.
"Thanks, Yarra," she whispered.
"No worries, Alice," was the answer, while a pair of dark eyes shone with a bright, inner light. "Let me help you to your feet."
In one fluid motion Yarra jumped up and extended her hand to Alice in a silent invitation. Without hesitance Alice grabbed it and let herself being pulled to her feet again, all traces of dizziness gone. When the fingers that were holding her hand relaxed and slipped away, they both felt a sense of loss.
"So, what is the plan?" Sam asked, looking to Trishia and Peter. "You think he will be stupid enough to come here?" she put words to everybodys concern.
"It wouldnt surprise me if he did," Peter mumbled, deliberately avoiding the concerned look in Jodys eyes.
"What can we do?" Jody asked. "If he shows up here, I want to be prepared."
"Thats my feisty wife," Sam smiled, wrapping one arm around Jodys shoulders and kissing her cheek. "But Jody is right, Trish: what can we do? I dont want to be here and feel like a sitting duck."
"Isnt it possible for the girls to go to The Reef?" Lucy asked, looking at Trishia. "He wouldnt know theyd be there and you could wait for him here. IF he shows up," Lucy added. "You would only have to worry about yourself and Peter."
"And me," Sam added with determination. "I am not leaving."
"If Sam stays, Ill stay," Jody immediately added, slipping her hand in Sams larger one and giving it a gentle squeeze.
"Right, this is going to be complicated," Trishia sighed, shooting her lover a small smile. "I do think Lucys idea is a good one though, but there is one thing that worries me about it."
"There wont be anyone looking after the girls," Peter said. "But it does have its advantages, Trish, you have to admit that. If Martin doesnt know Alice is not here, he will never think about checking out The Reef. I think she would be pretty safe there."
"There are too many ifs, Pete," Trishia answered her partner. "Id hate to leave anything to chance. If we are not with Alice, we wont be able to protect her."
Sam turned to the smaller woman at her side and looked at Jody with questioning eyes. What the redhead read in them was something she didnt like, but when she opened her mouth to protest, Sam softly put a finger against her lips and sent her an apologetic smile.
"Hear me out, honey," she pleaded. "I think Lucys idea could work. It will only be a matter of time before Martin Coles will find out that Alice is here, if he doesnt already know. If the girls and your mom are away from here, Trishia and Peter will be able to completely focus on trying to capture him. We have the cameras to use and I know I can help with keeping an eye on them. I will get an extra security guard at the hotel and tell him to not let anyone near the executive floor. We might even give them a picture of Coles so they will know what he looks like and they can keep an eye out for him." Sam cast a look at Trishia who nodded. "I would feel better if you would go with them, honey."
"No. No, Sam, please dont ask me to do that," Jody whispered, feeling the tears sting in the back of her eyes. "I dont want to be away from you. I went through hell last year and I dont want to go through that again. Please!"
Sam bit her lip and wrapped Jody in her arms, pulling her close. She could hear the smaller woman softly cry and she could feel the pain lace through her heart, like a hot knife. She did not want to be away from her partner either, but Lucys idea had been a good one and Sam knew that the girls and Joan would be safe at The Reef, because she did not think Martin Coles would even think about trying to find Alice there.
She knew the events from a year ago had been hard on Jody. Those hours that Sam had been gone to meet Megans kidnappers and exchange herself for their friend, had been torture on them all. In the months after that drama, Jody had regularly woken up in the middle of the night, bathing in sweat, after having a nightmare about losing Sam.
"Listen to me, baby," Sam whispered with lips that almost touched Jodys ear. "Alice seems to really trust you. She listens to you. What if she gets another panic attack and tries to run? I know you could stop her from doing that. We need you to keep her safe, Jody."
"Thats emotional blackmail, Sam," Jody sniffed, knowing in her heart that her lover had just made a good point.
"I know and I am sorry," Sam sighed, pulling her lover even closer. "But I know that you know that I am right."
Sam could feel Jody nod against her chest and she knew in her heart that the smaller woman already had made the heartbreaking decision to leave Murrook Farm and go to The Reef, for Alices sake.
"I am so sorry, love," Sam whispered again, swallowing away the lump in her throat. "I so wish things were different, but if its any consolation, it would make me feel a lot better to know you are at the Reef."
"I guess Id better go pack then," Jody sighed, rubbing her cheek against Sams shoulder. "There is one up side to this though," she unexpectedly added.
"There is?" Sam smiled.
"I am supposed to start work on Monday. I can sleep in now and have breakfast delivered."
"You might be home again on Monday," Sam smiled. "And if you are, I will make you breakfast."
"Oh, I so hope it will be over by then, honey," Jody grunted, slowly untangling herself from Sams arms. Before breaking contact completely, she reached up to give the tall blonde a quick kiss. "I love you."
"I love you," Sam smiled, feeling an aching loss when Jody stepped away from her to walk towards their bedroom in order to pack some clothes.
"I know it will probably be for the best," Lucy mumbled. "But I cant help wishing I would have kept my mouth shut."
"It was a good idea," Joan complimented her daughter, rubbing soothing circles on the tense muscles in her back. "I know it will be hard to be away from Trishia, but hopefully it will only be for a short period of time."
"Away from Trishia?" Lucy echoed. "But I "
"You are going with your sister and mom," Trishia interrupted in a gentle but stern voice. "Peter, Sam and I will remain here."
"But " Lucy started to object.
"Honey, please?" Trishia pleaded, feeling guilty when she saw the defeated look on Lucys face. "I would feel a lot better if I dont have to worry about you as well."
"Me and my big mouth," Lucy mumbled, only audible to Joan who was sitting closest to her daughter. "Does it occur to you that I might worry about you?"
"It does," Trishia answered. "And I am sorry, Lucy. I really am."
"There are worse things than being banished to The Reef," Fiona helpfully added. "But I see your point, king size beds, Jacuzzi, room service, five star restaurant, yeah, I dont like it there either," she smirked, earning a slap from Yarra, who felt sorry for Lucy and Jody.
"I dont have any clothes," Lucy objected, knowing it was a lame excuse. "I have been walking around in the same clothes since yesterday morning. I think I should "
"Borrow some of Jody," Sam interrupted. "You two are about the same size, so that shouldnt be a problem. And hopefully this arrangement wont last long. I guess Id better call The Reef and make sure the executives floor will be ready when you girls arrive."
Yarra suppressed a yawn and slowly rose to her feet. It had been a very interesting day. Who knew when she was sneaking up to Fionas bedroom window she would make a new friend and somehow got involved in a murder mystery at the same time?
"I guess Id better get home," she announced, stretching her long limbs. "Or dad will have my hide when he comes back Monday," she grinned. "I promised I would clean out the shed."
Sam, who was talking on the phone, turned around and looked at Yarra with a frown.
"Your dad is not home?" she asked.
"Mom and dad are visiting relatives," Yarra explained. "And the boys are studying hard for some exams they will be having soon, so they stayed up in Brisbane. Its just me, myself and I."
"Thats a crowd," Fiona smirked. "And one of you actually is a handful already."
"Listen who is talking," Yarra grinned, giving her friend a friendly punch in the shoulder. "If I would only get into trouble half the time you create chaos, my life would be a constant mess."
"Hey, its one of my talents," Fiona shot back.
"Yarra," Sams voice interrupted their bantering. "I really want you to come to The Reef as well. I dont like the idea of you being home, while that criminal might be roaming our property. He could as easily end up on your doorstep."
"Oh, wow, thanks Sam," Yarra sighed. "You just had to remind me of that, didnt you? I guess I dont have a choice then, huh? After those encouraging words."
"Sorry, Yarra," Trishia apologized with sincerity. "But you are dragged into this and I feel responsible for you as well now."
"Okay then," Yarra agreed, thinking there would be worse things than being stuck at a luxury holiday resort, with her best friend and Alice. She cast a glance at the blond teenager and was rewarded with a shy smile.
"Can the three of us share a room, Sam?" Fiona asked, warming up to the idea of making the best of a bad situation. "Hey, Yar, they have this huge entertainment system with a flat screen TV and dozens of cool DVDs. Do you like movies, Alice?"
"I um I havent seen many movies lately," Alice answered. "I cant even remember what the last one was I saw."
"Well fix that," Fiona promised, noticing the tension on her friends face and trying to get her to relax a little. "We can pick out some movies we want to see, order a huge bowl of popcorn and just enjoy our own, private movie theater."
Carol Wong cast a look at the policeman who was standing in front of her and unconsciously wrinkled her nose in thought. After her team had secured Martin Coles house and had not found him there she had decided to go over and have a look around herself.
The place was scarcely furnished and even the walls were bare, except for one large picture that had probably been up there long before Martin ever rented the place. Faded by time and the harsh sunlight streaming in through the window, the once vibrant colors had turned dull and lifeless.
"He never meant to stay here long," Carol Wong sighed, pointing towards the picture when Phil Kanides shot her a quizzical look. "You reckon Martin, as we know him, would want a thing like that on the wall?"
In spite of the situation and the enormous stress he was under, Phil softly chuckled and shook his head.
"I think you are right, inspector. He is much too dandy for that."
"Then I believe the man was here on a mission," Carol Wong continued. "He was after Alice, that is clear. But maybe he had some other things up his sleeve as well. I cant wait to talk to him."
"Id like a chance at that as well," Phil Kanides admitted, switching on the VCR that had been plugged back in and sliding in one of the tapes they had found. "I cant believe he was my partner and I didnt suspect a thing."
"Dont beat yourself up, Phil," Carol spoke, leaning her back against the doorsill and looking at the TV with anticipation. "He had me fooled as well. Lets have a quick look at those tapes and see if we can learn more about this loser. We might even find a clue about where to find him."
"I cant wait to pull apart his computer," Phil mumbled, pressing the play button. "I bet it will be the mirror of his sick mind."
The black screen slowly came to life, at first displaying some snow and flickering black stripes, but slowly the images cleared and the contents of the tape became visible.
With a deep frown that creased her forehead Carol Wong leaned forward to get a better view and impatiently drummed her fingers against her thigh. But then she froze in mid motion and squinted her eyes. Slowly she turned to Phil Kanides, who was watching the screen with wide eyes and rising anger.
"Asshole," he growled.
"Is this what I think it is?" Carol asked, needing to be sure that her imagination was not running away with her normally rational mind.
"If you think that this is a recording of beach cams, then yes, you are thinking the right thing," Phil answered with a strained voice. "The mongrel must have recorded it through his computer. Talking about invading peoples privacy."
"Whoa, wait, wait," Carol exclaimed, pushing herself away from her back rest and walking towards the desk. "You think Coles recorded different beach cams and that is how he tried to find Alice? My God, Phil. I think you could be right. He has a whole stack of tapes here, there must be at least fifty of them."
"You know, inspector, I bet that on the beaches where those poor girls were murdered, we will find beach cams. The images on those things are not that clear and I bet he was keeping an eye out for teenage girls that resembled Alice."
"Slender and long blond hair. Damn, Phil, I bet you are right."
It had not been difficult to blend in with the crowds. Nobody paid attention to the good looking man who was casually strolling past the shopping windows, now and then standing still to admire something that had caught his eye.
Outwardly Martin Coles looked like he was enjoying his stroll alongside the shops. To any bystander, he looked like he was just another man who was enjoying his Saturday off. But behind the dark sunglasses his eyes were restlessly traveling back and forth. Every time he spotted a police car he turned around so he was standing with his back to the street, giving the impression he was checking out the variety of goods in the windows.
Within a period of less than ten minutes he had already seen three different patrol cars and that had made him nervous. He knew they were looking for him and he also realized that by now they must have found out about the web cams, his computer and the tapes. It angered him he had not been given the time to at least take the tapes with him, since they contained the most incriminating evidence.
Martin Coles mentally slapped himself for the umpteenth time since leaving his house, for not erasing some of the video tapes. He wasnt afraid they would find something anytime soon, but he knew that especially Carol Wong and Trishia Waters, would want to see every second of footage and that would probably be his downfall.
"Bitches, stupid filthy dykes," he mumbled to himself, feeling the red hot flame of anger burn inside his chest.
Martin Coles noticed an elderly couple park their SUV in a relatively quiet side streets and suddenly his mood lifted.
"Ill get those bitches. I will kill them dead," he almost sing- singed, walking straight towards the car, where the couple was exiting the vehicle.
"Excuse me sir," Martin politely addressed the elderly man with a nice smile. "I am sorry to bother you, but I need to borrow your car for a little while? Police business," he added, flashing his ID. "I promise you will get it back in one piece. If anything should happen to it, the police department will pay all costs and damages."
"But but " the elderly man stammered, completely taken by surprise by Martins request. "I my wife and I need it to get home again I "
"Ill be back before you know it," Martin Coles answered, pulling the car keys from the old mans hand and opening the door. He was losing his patience with them and knew it would be hard for him to control his anger. But the last thing he wanted to do was to pull out his gun and shoot them. There were too many people around and attracting attention would not be a sensible thing to do.
Without saying another word, Martin closed the door, started the engine and drove off. A glance in the rearview mirror showed him the couple was still standing in the middle of the street, staring after him and he chuckled.
"Bye," he giggled. "There are some women waiting for my attention."
"No, Fiona, we dont need a car with darkened windows," Lucy sighed impatiently. "This is not one of your silly movies. As long as we make sure Alice is out of sight, we could ride a freaking bus!!"
"Dont get your knickers in a twist," Fiona shot back, zipping up her bag and unceremoniously dumping it on the floor. "I was just kidding, you know. But if you cant even tell the difference between a joke and something serious anymore, it may be time for you to go to a mountain retreat, sit with the nuns and meditate!"
"Okay, you two, that is enough," Trishia called out. "I want you two to stop it, right now. No, I am serious, Lucy," she added when she saw that her lover was opening her mouth to say something. "I know we are all under a lot of stress, but shouting matches really wont help anyone. So, please, try to be civilized."
Trishia raised an eyebrow when Fiona attempted to answer her, but the teenager quickly snapped her mouth shut and swallowed hard.
"Thats it," Trishia smirked. "I know how the two of you can carry on sometimes and I am asking you, the both of you, to please be nice. Alright?"
"Now," Trishia continued, ignoring the almost invisible pout from her lover. "As for transportation, Lucy, Joan, Fiona and Yarra will take my car, stop at Yarras so she can grab some things and feed the animals and then go to The Reef. Did Sam give you her card for the private parking area, Lucy? Okay, then you are set to go."
Trishia turned to Jody, who was wrapped in Sams arms and did not look like she was planning on letting go anytime soon. The policewoman cleared her throat and shot an annoyed look at Peter, who was grinning at her.
"Sam? Are you ready to take Alice and Jody down to The Reef?"
"Not really, "the tall blonde sighed. "But I guess we should go anyway. I will wait until Lucy and the rest arrives. As soon as they are all at the executives floor and I see a security guard in front of their door, I will be heading back," she repeated the instructions Trishia had given them.
"Make sure all cell phones are on, just in case. Lucy, honey, have you preprogrammed the numbers I gave you?"
"Yes, senior sergeant Waters," Lucy saluted, which made the girls chuckle, but earned her a slightly hurt look from Trishia.
"I was just "
She was interrupted by Lucy who had quickly stepped closer and wrapped her arms around the taller womans neck
"You were just making sure I have all the right phone numbers," Lucy whispered. "I know, baby. I am sorry. I know you are worried and so am I. Leaving you here is not something I enjoy doing and it makes me cranky."
"I am sorry," Trishia softly replied, pulling the woman in her arms closer, not caring they were in the middle of the room, surrounded by three curious teenagers and a few amused adults, who politely busied themselves with other things to at least give the couple a sense of privacy.
"Promise me one thing," Lucy softly spoke in a hoarse voice. It was obvious the dark haired woman was fighting with her tears. "Please, look after yourself. Dont take any risks, okay?"
"I promise," Trishia answered, using her thumb to brush away a lonely tear that had escaped one of Lucys moist eyes and was sliding down her cheek. "You do the same, okay? I will call you every couple of hours. If you and the girls stay where you are, things will work out fine."
"Okay," Lucy answered, letting out a shuddering breath. She pressed her face in the crook of Trishias neck and tried to calm her nerves. She felt a sense of dread she couldnt explain and she tried to push away that disturbing feeling. Trishia would not be alone, her partner would be with her and there was the new surveillance system, which would allow them to keep an eye on the property, without even having to leave the house and expose themselves to anyone outside. Trishia would be alright. She simply had to be.
Lucy lifted her face from its comfortable spot and looked up at the woman she loved. She could see the concern in Trishias clear eyes and tried to send the tall woman a reassuring smile.
"I will be fine," she whispered, tracing one of her lovers dark eyebrows. "I guess wed better get going, I am not very good at this saying goodbye stuff."
Trishia answered the smile with one of her own and brought her face closer. Without any haste, she leisurely kissed the soft lips that quickly warmed to her intimate touch and kissed her back with a mixture of tenderness and passion.
Slowly the intensity lessened, until only their foreheads touched and they looked at each other while trying to control their breathing.
"I love you," Trishia whispered.
"I love you too," Lucy answered. "I will talk to you in a couple of hours. Okay?"
"Okay," Trishia smiled. "Come, Ill see you to the car."
The policewoman wrapped one arm around Lucys shoulders, while she used the other one to pick up the weekend bag on the floor and carry it outside to the car. The rest of them followed quietly.
Trishia had parked her car in front of Sams in such a way that only from the house it was visible who was entering the car. Alice would crawl in and make herself comfortable on the back seat, lying down. Trishia did not want to risk Martin Coles, if he was around, seeing the teenager leave the property.
Martin Coles did not really know where to go. He knew his house would be swarming with police and it was not unthinkable that his picture would be splattered all over the six oclock news that evening. The most sensible thing would be to go in hiding, or to change his appearance and do something his opponents would never expect him to do, attack.
It did not take him long to decide. He felt like life had not left him any fair chances and he decided to do something unexpected. A quick trip to the local pharmacy provided him with the tools he needed to change his appearance. And whatever the instructions said, it wasnt true. It had not taken him twenty minutes to change his dark hair into a vibrant blonde. Blue contacts dramatically changed the way he looked and the wire rimmed glasses, in combination with the faded jeans and t-shirt gave him a look nobody would have expected of Martin Coles.
A quick look in the mirror of the cheap motel room he had rented for a few nights, made him smile.
"I dont think my own mother would recognize me," he told the image in the mirror. "That is if she were still alive," he added with a giggle.
Squaring his shoulders he glanced at his own image for one last time, before turning around and walking towards the door.
He had a few scores to settle.
To be continued in part 15
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