Jody could not hide her smile every time she looked at Alice. The teenager was clad in a pair of dark blue shorts and a light blue top that brought out the radiant sapphire hue of her eyes.
Alice kept looking down at her slender frame, tentatively touching the fabric of her clothes with a soft smile. It was obvious she was trying to get used to the idea that she was wearing a brand new outfit and that it was hers to keep, together with a few more outfits that were neatly hung in the closet.
The new hairstyle and outfit, combined with the constant shy smile reflected in her eyes, truly made her a sight to see and Jody could not blame Yarra for not being able to keep her eyes off her friend.
Jody smiled knowingly and exchanged glances with Lucy who sent her an amused smirk. They were both completely endeared by the way Yarra and Alice interacted with each other, because the dark girl was not the only one who kept stealing glances at her friend. The bashful looks Alice shot at Yarra through long, thick lashes had not escaped the McDonnell sisters' attention.
Even though it provided a cute picture, Jody could not help worrying about the things that could eventually develop between the two girls. She knew Yarra was reliable and as honest as they came, but the things Alice had been through already and the issues she still needed to deal with in the future, would make her extremely vulnerable. Jody knew Yarra would tread lightly and be sensible, but from her own experience Jody knew that falling in love could make even the most down to earth person blind for pitfalls and obstacles.
Jody's tiny cell phone suddenly disturbed her musings and her heart skipped a beat.
"Sam, " she happily smiled, seeing the number on the display.
"Hey, honey," she warmly greeted her partner when she answered the call.
"Hi, baby," Sam answered and Jody could hear the smile in her voice. "Are you okay?"
"Not really," Jody answered in all honesty. "But talking to you makes me feel a lot better already."
"Good, I am glad," Sam answered. "Listen, sweetie, are you alone?"
Jody cast a look around the room where her mother and Lucy were softly chatting on the couch and three teenagers were lazing around on the floor, playing a game of Trivial Pursuit. She lightly furrowed her brows and shook her head.
"Not really. Why?"
"Could you, please, go someplace private?"
Normally Jody would have teased Sam about a request like that, but the serious tone of her lover's voice made her realize that Sam would have a good reason to ask her something odd like that.
"I'll go outside, on the balcony," Jody announced, rising to her feet and walking to the huge sliding doors that had been opened to let in the cool, evening breeze.
"No!" Sam almost shouted all of sudden, practically making Jody jump. "Not the balcony, honey. Stay inside, okay?"
"What is going on, Sam?" Jody softly asked, feeling her anxiety rapidly rising.
"I'll…just get some place private, honey. We need to talk," Sam answered and Jody could hear how tired and worried her lover was.
"Okay, baby, I am in the bedroom now. What is going on?" she worriedly repeated.
Sam took a deep breath and quickly related the events from that afternoon. She could hear her partner gasp and wished she would have had better news to share.
"We think he might be heading to The Reef," Sam added to the bad news. "For all we know he could be there already. We are on our way now, Jody and we will be there in about fifteen minutes. We don't want to scare the girls, so, maybe it's better not to tell them anything yet. We can explain once we have arrived. Trishia urged me to tell you to stay inside and don't go out. Not even on the balcony. We are dealing with a psychopath here and there is no knowing what he could do."
"My God. You think he could be outside on the beach, watching?"
"I don't know, honey," Sam sighed. "But Trishia won't take any chances and I have to agree with her."
Jody swallowed hard and cast a look at the huge window where she could see the darkening sky. In the distance a few twinkling stars already made a hesitant appearance. She knew that the darkness would cover anyone's presence on the beach, making it easy to get a good view of the well lit rooms.
"Alright, Sam," Jody whispered, well aware of the nervousness that had settled in the pit of her stomach. "Just hurry, okay?"
"We are on our way now, sweetie," Sam tried to reassure her lover. "We won't be long."
"So I can't tell the girls anything?"
"No, we will tell them when we arrive. I don't want to frighten them, baby."
"Okay, Sam. I won't say anything then. But I guess I'd better go back, and keep them away from the windows."
"Will you be alright?"
"No, but I don't have a choice," Jody answered. "Be careful, Sam. I will see you soon. I love you."
"I love you too, honey. Bye."
Jody broke the connection and slowly rose from the edge of the bed she had been perched on. Her heart was hammering in her chest and the palms of her hands were sweaty. She knew they would be safe where they were, especially with the guard stationed outside the entrance, but she still worried. Martin Coles had escaped the police again and Jody knew the man was as smart as he was deranged. With legs that almost felt numb she walked back towards the living room.
Softly humming, one of The Reef's guests exited the elevator on the third floor. Nodding a greeting to an elderly couple he headed towards the back of the hallway where he could find an emergency exit and a map of the floor he was on.
The same map was visible at the wall next to the elevator doors, but he wanted to be able to study it in privacy.
With a glint in his eyes he took in the details of the floor plan. He softly chuckled when he realized things were so much easier than he had imagined them to be.
He had worked his way down from the fourth floor, where the maps had showed the hallways and equally sized rooms. But he was not looking for those. He was more interested in the top floor that was off limits to the regular guests.
The only reason he was interested in the floor plans was that he needed an escape route. The Reef turned out to be a building that complied with all the safety instructions for public places and every hallway had its own elevator and three emergency stair cases on every floor.
The only puzzle he still had to solve was how to get to the top floor, since the elevator could only be operated with a special key card. Of course he did not have one, but he did have a pretty good idea where he could find his ticket to the penthouse. He would just have to be a little patient and wait for the right time. But it would be worth it, that much he knew.
With a sly smile he turned around and casually strolled back towards the elevator. He softly whistled, happy to know that soon his quest would come to an end.
With nervous fingers Sam slid the key card through the slot, very aware of an equally tense Trishia who was standing right behind her, impatiently shifting her weight from one foot to the other.
With a soft hissing sound the door slid open and both women quickly stepped inside, followed by a worried looking Peter. The ride up to the fifth floor passed in complete silence. Only the sound of the tick, steel cables pulling up the car could be heard. The elevator stopped with a soft thump and even before the door had completely slid open again, Sam and Trishia had already stepped out.
The guard in front of the door had already jumped up, his hand on his belt where he was carrying a can of pepper spray. When he recognized Sam his face relaxed and he sent the tall woman a welcoming smile.
"Ah, it's you Miss Stevens," he spoke with evident relief. "Everything has been quiet around here."
"Good, I am glad to hear that Gary," Sam answered with a pleased smile. "The situation has changed somewhat though and we need to talk."
"I will fill Gary in, Sam," Peter offered. "You two can go inside and talk to the girls."
"Thanks, Pete," Trishia mumbled, squeezing his shoulder affectionately.
"No worries, Trish," Peter answered. "I will fill in Gary, check out a few things and join you later, okay?"
"Great," Trishia smiled, following Sam inside the executive suite.
As soon as the two women stepped inside the room, they were greeted by a gentle smile from Jody and a mixture of stunned and surprised looks from the others.
"Wow, you are back," Fiona exclaimed. "Cool. Did you get him?"
She excitedly jumped up and rushed over to Sam and Trishia, eager to hear the latest news, which should be good, seeing the two women had come to The Reef together.
But neither Sam nor Trishia shared her excitement and when Fiona noticed the pained look the tall policewoman shot Alice, her stomach dropped.
"Did he escape?" she asked, feeling the blood drain from her face.
Alice's gasp was audible to everyone and Jody cast Sam a worried look. The teenager's legs were unable to carry her any longer and she sat down on the bed with a big thump.
"He escaped?" she repeated Fiona's question, nervously clutching her hands.
"Sort of," Trishia honestly answered, feeling Lucy wrap an arm around her waist and press herself up against the police woman's side. "Why don't we all sit down, so we can talk about it?"
Without waiting for an answer, Trishia grabbed Lucy's hand and pulled her towards the huge couch where she sat down, while her lover took a place beside her.
Silently the others followed suit and within a few moment everybody was seated and staring at Trishia with anxious eyes.
The tall woman raked her fingers through her unruly hair and let out a deep sigh. No matter how hard Sam had tried to make her feel better, Trishia still felt that she should have anticipated Martin Coles' move. In her own eyes she had failed miserably and the feeling of guilt made her stomach churn.
"This is what happened," she started in a calm voice, although her thoughts were in turmoil.
In a clear and simple way, Trishia related what had happened and how Martin Coles had been able to find out there was a surveillance system at Murrook Farm without even entering the driveway.
"And on our way over here, I received the news that the neighbors across the street had their car stolen about the same time. You don't need to be a genius to figure out who took it," Trishia ended with bitterness in her voice. "We now think he might be trying to make his way over here. He was smart enough to realize Alice could be at Murrook Farm, so I am afraid he will also figure out she could be here as well."
Her eyes traveled to Alice, who was still sitting on the bed, with Yarra and Fiona on either side of her.
"I am sorry, Alice," she sadly apologized. "I wish I would have had better news."
"We…we are safe here, aren't we?" Alice quietly asked, her blue eyes dark in her pale face.
"We are on the top floor, the only access is the elevator and a private emergency exit that can only be opened from here, or downstairs with a special key from the fire department," Sam explained. "Nobody who is unauthorized will be able to enter this floor."
Alice slowly nodded and cast down her eyes. She felt nauseous and cold. She had hoped Trishia would have been able to arrest Martin Coles and lock him away, but again he had managed to escape the clutches of the law.
It only took one look at the police woman's face to know how bad she felt about the whole situation and Alice knew that Trishia was the type of person to blame herself for the failure of capturing her mother's murderer.
"You couldn't help it, Trishia," her soft voice broke the silence and she raised her head to look at the tall woman on the couch. "Martin…he is really smart and cunning."
"Can you tell me more about him, Alice?" Trishia asked with pleading eyes, hopeful that the teenager would be able to provide some information that would give her more insight into Martin Coles' way of thinking.
Alice just wished she didn't have to let the memories surface. She wanted to keep them where they had been for years, because it would make her feel so much safer not to know the things Martin Coles was capable of doing. But the look in Trishia's eyes had pulled at her heart and she knew that maybe she could provide the police woman with some information that could help her case.
Alice closed her eyes and cautiously reached out invisible hands to push aside the imaginary curtains that formed a barrier between her conscious mind and her buried memories.
Like Lisa Bailey had instructed her she breathed in deeply, while part of her brain reached out for something to ground her.
It was as if Yarra had been reading her mind, because her left hand was covered by a warm larger one and without opening her eyes Alice knew whose hand it was. She turned her hand palm up and intertwined her fingers with Yarra's longer ones, earning a gentle squeeze.
Taking one more deep breath, Alice tentatively let the memories come, concentrating on anything that could link the shattered images to Martin Coles.
It was frightening. The echoes of long lost sounds and fragments of pictures came rushing at her like a freight train out of control. And Alice was standing in the middle of the track. Holding her breath and bracing herself for the inevitable impact.
"Ssshh, take it easy, Alice, keep breathing. Take a deep breath, that's it…in…out. You are safe here, I have got you," Yarra's voice sounded close to her ear, chasing away the tight band that had started to constrict her chest, making breathing hard.
Alice gradually relaxed a little, not aware of her nails digging into the dark skin of Yarra's hand. Her friend did not utter a sound, nor did she try to pull away her hand, ignoring the painful pressure.
Alice's breathing that had become labored and shallow, rapidly returned to normal when she realized the blow she had expected never came. Instead the onslaught of memories receded and she was able to scan them with her mind's eye and pick out the ones she needed. Like flipping through a photo album.
When she finally opened her eyes again and slowly lifted her head, the expression on her face was a mixture of grief and wonder. The vice like grip on Yarra's hand relaxed and Alice shot her friend an apologetic look, which was returned by a gentle smile and a shrug of slender shoulders.
"When Martin started dating my mom, he was always charming and friendly and he used to take the three of us to do family things together," Alice started in a voice that was rough with emotion. She cleared her throat and softly continued. "That didn't last very long, but I remember when he took us all to a play at the Theater. We were allowed to go backstage, because he knew the director. They had been in school together and Martin used to be a member of that amateur group as well. His friend told us what a good actor he was."
Alice bit her lip and her eyes searched Trishia's.
"He has always been real good at impersonating other people and dressing up and acting like different characters. When my mom broke up with him he did stalk her for a while, but we didn't know that at the time. Later on we discovered that he had been the old man walking down the street, calling at our door to ask if he could use the phone. He can transform into a ragged drifter as easy as he can change into a distinguished looking grey haired old man."
Sam and Trishia exchanged a look of understanding and the police woman cursed under her breath. Martin Coles' acting skills in combination with his psychopathic mind could provide them with a lot of complications.
"Alice, do you think he would be bold enough to try and make his way into The Reef?" Trishia gently asked, feeling Lucy's grip on her hand tightening.
"Yes, he would be," Alice immediately answered without hesitation. "He would probably think it's a great challenge as well. He's evil, Trishia," the teenager added, not able to suppress the shiver that ran down her spine. "He has no conscience."
An idea started to form inside Trishia's mind and she pensively stared at the floor, mentally calculating the possibilities and risks. She exchanged a glance with Sam and slowly rose from her comfortable seat on the couch, reluctantly letting go of Lucy's hand.
"I have an idea, but I need to talk to Peter first," she explained. "But I will only be outside this door," she promised, pointing towards the entrance. "I will be back soon. And Alice?"
Alice's eyes locked with Trishia's and in the police woman's eyes she could see genuine respect and admiration.
"Thank you," Trishia smiled. "And I love your hair. You look like Renee O'Connor."
Yarra rolled her eyes, while Fiona and Lucy chuckled, grateful for the playful remark that somehow eased the tension in the room.
"What?" Trishia asked with raised eyebrows.
"Nothing, sweetie," Lucy answered with a smile. "I will tell you about it later."
"Please, do," Trishia mumbled, bending down to kiss Lucy's cheek before she headed to the door. It was closed with a soft click, leaving the occupants in the room staring at each other.
"I hope it will be a good idea," Lucy groaned. "This guy gives me the creeps."
Sam noticed the somber faces of the three girls who were still sitting on the bed, side by side and she decided to try and lighten the mood a little. She firmly believed they would be absolutely safe at the moment and it would only be a matter of time before Martin Coles was arrested.
Reaching out a long arm, Sam pulled Jody close to her body, until the smaller woman was practically sitting in her lap. But the happy smile on her partner's face showed that she thoroughly enjoyed the attention.
Wrapping her arms around Jody's torso, Sam pulled her even closer and rested her cheek on the top of Jody's head, letting out a sigh of contentment.
Her clear blue eyes traveled through the room, until they came to rest upon another blond head and she met eyes that rivaled her own in color and brilliance.
"Trishia is right, Alice. Your hair looks really good. Did Jane come up and do that for you?" she asked with a pleased smile. "And I love your outfit as well. It looks good on you."
Alice felt a blush creep up her cheeks and quickly cast down her eyes. She was not used to being the center of attention, especially not when she was complimented on her looks.
"Thanks, " she managed the reply. "Jody arranged for it," she explained with a little smile.
"But it was Fiona's idea," Jody was quick to make sure her sister received the credit for her plans. "I merely acted as mediator."
"And bankroll," Fiona grinned, rolling her eyes when she saw Sam nuzzle Jody's neck. With a deep sigh she shook her head and glanced at her mother with feigned disgust.
"Mom, can you tell them to stop being so publicly affectionate? Or maybe they should get a room."
"Fiona," Joan McDonnell sighed. "If it bothers you so much, you could close your eyes and go to sleep."
"And miss out on all the fun?" Fiona quipped. "No way!"
"Oh, that reminds me, Sam," Yarra spoke up, casting a teasing look at her friend. "Fi here told me you will be selling tickets when she finally falls in love. I'd like to make a reservation already. I'd hate to miss the show."
Fiona stuck out her tongue and tried to playfully swat her friend across the stomach, but Yarra caught her hand and started tickling Fiona's ribs. The dark haired teenager tried to pull herself free from Yarra's tight grip, but the older girl was just too strong for her. Squirming she tried to wiggle herself away, but with a mischievous grin, Yarra used her other hand to pin Fiona down so she could keep torturing her.
"Alice! Help!" Fiona gasped in between fits of laughter and high pitched squeaks.
Alice's blue eyes were dancing and she had scooted away from her friends, to put a safe distance between herself and their flailing arms and legs. She thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between her two friends and she knew that even though they were always teasing each other, it was never done out of spite. It was just a way the two girls showed their affection for each other.
"No, thanks," Alice answered with a laugh. "You started it, Fi."
"Oh, no, she already has taken your side," Fiona groaned, squealing when Yarra managed to tickle her behind her knee.
"Jody!" Fiona cried, trying a different tactic. "Help!"
But Jody did not answer. She wouldn't have been able to even if she had wanted it, because Sam had been using the girls' play fight to her own advantage, using the distraction to pull down Jody's face and claim her lips in a deep kiss. Sam's probing, teasing and tasting lips had robbed of her any coherent thought and the only thing she was aware of, was the woman who was holding her so close to her tall frame that she could hear her rapidly beating heart.
"You are on your own, kiddo," Lucy smirked, extending her legs in front of her, crossing them at the ankles and looking at her suffering youngest sister with amusement. "Jody is…engaged in other activities."
Yarra heard Lucy's comment and with a frown she looked over her shoulder, curious as to what activities Lucy had been referring to. When she noticed the kissing couple on the couch, she grinned and for a second her grip on Fiona lessened. The dark haired girl immediately pushed away Yarra's strong hands and managed to roll away from the taller girl. Her movements were a little too fast though and with a big thud she landed on the floor.
"Ouch," she mumbled, rubbing her elbow that had connected with thick carpet on the floor. When she looked up she noticed a pair of warm brown eyes peering over the edge of the bed, looking down at her. She grinned at her friend and slowly shook her head.
"You are a sucker for romance, Yarra," she teased her friend, who just laughed and shrugged her shoulders. "And I guess it's thanks to Jody I got free after all, even though she doesn't even realize that," Fiona added with a soft snort.
A strong, dark skinned hand appeared and Fiona gratefully grabbed it to be hauled back to her feet again.
"Did you hurt yourself?" Yarra asked, her eyes scanning Fiona for injuries.
"Just my ego," Fiona answered with a smirk, before turning to look at Jody and Sam again, who had just come up for air and were looking at each other with a smile.
"Are you two done already? Jeez, the world would come to an end, leaving the two of you wondering what the heck happened," she teased her eldest sister, who slowly raised her head and tried to look calm and dignified, instead of flushed and disheveled.
"We are done…for now," Sam smirked, tenderly brushing away a reddish-blond strand of hair that threatened to fall in Jody's eyes.
Lucy rested her head against the back of the couch and closed her eyes with a sigh. She was bone tired and even though she scolded herself for being selfish, the only thing she really wanted to do was to have a long, long shower with her lover, crawl into bed, wrap herself around Trishia's naked body and go to sleep.
To sleep, huh? A little voice in the back of her mind mocked. A naked Trishia within reach and you want to go to sleep. Who are you kidding?
A little smile tugged on the corner of Lucy's mouth and she let out a longing sigh, remembering clearly how Trishia's skin felt underneath her hands. Soft in all the right places and stretched tautly across her nicely developed muscles.
Lucy's mind traveled back to the first time they had slept together and just the memory alone made her heart rate increase. What she had told Jody before had been so true. Trishia had proven to be very loving and gentle, she had provided Lucy with a gift she would never forget.
Her memories were so vivid that Lucy could almost feel Trishia's warm breath caressing her overheated skin, while the large hands had tenderly explored every inch of her body. Trishia had taken her time, with soft touches, warm kisses and little nibbles, until Lucy's desire had been so great, it had almost been painful. She had thrown back her head and practically begged Trishia to take care of her aching need.
Holding her close with one arm, Trishia had passionately kissed Lucy's lips and when the dark haired woman had arched her body, Trishia had finally made Lucy hers, melting their bodies together and making her lover's world explode in a kaleidoscope of colors, leaving her gasping for breath.
Lucy remembered how Trishia had lovingly kissed away the salty tears that had stained her cheeks, whispering words of love and comfort in her ear and holding her close until her breathing had returned to normal and her racing heart had calmed down again.
Lucy pushed back her hair and opening her eyes she let out a deep sigh. The memories had been so vivid, her body had responded eagerly and for a moment Lucy wondered if she had developed a one track mind. Not aware of Sam's and Jody's curious stares, she shook her head and softly laughed.
"What?" she asked when she raised her head and her eyes met her sister's.
"That is what I wanted to ask you," Jody dryly replied, but her eyes were twinkling when she noticed Lucy's slightly flushed state. "What was that smirk for?"
"Oh, nothing," Lucy shrugged, trying her hardest to look indifferent. "Just…some…memories, that's all," she ended with a mumble.
"Must have been nice memories," Sam remarked with a saucy grin.
"The best," Lucy answered with a wink, determined not to blush under her sister-in-laws inquisitive stare.
Jody smiled knowingly and brought her face closer to Sam's to whisper something in her ear. The tall blonde's eyes shot wide open and a smile slowly crossed her features.
"It's not polite to whisper in company," Lucy warned, playfully raising her finger.
"I know, but somehow I don't think you would appreciate me making this remark out loud," Jody whispered teasingly.
Lucy sighed and rubbed her face where a blush made his way up her cheeks after all, thanks to her sister's whispered comments.
"Pay backs, Pea," she warned the grinning Jody. "You just wait. The next time I can make you blush, I won't hesitate."
As soon as Trishia had walked out the door and entered the hallway, Peter had noticed the barely hidden excitement in his tall partner's eyes. He had looked at her curiously and when Trishia had taken his elbow to steer him to the other side of the hall way he had obediently followed, sending Gary an apologetic smile.
"What is going on, Trish? I can tell you have something up your sleeve."
"How is your acting, Pete?" Trishia casually asked, suppressing a grin when Peter looked at her with a frown.
"My what?" he finally asked.
"Your acting," Trishia repeated, raising her eyebrows. "Didn't your school have those annual plays? You know, where mom, dad, granny, grandpa, all the siblings and kids from the neighborhood showed up?"
"Don't remind me," Peter groaned. "Yes, we had them and I am still traumatized. They made me a lamppost one year. But my best performance was when I had to be baby Jesus. I didn't have to talk, so that was easy."
"So, the lamppost did talk?" Trishia asked with a grin.
"No, it didn't, " Peter sighed. "But I was eight and I really needed to pee, so standing still was kinda hard."
Trishia laughed out loud and playfully slapped her partner's back, making him cough in exaggeration.
"I can't wait to tell your kids this story," she smirked.
"Yes, please do," Peter mumbled, but his eyes were laughing. "It will make me lose their respect even before they hit their teens. But tell me, what is on your mind? You have that brooding look in your eyes."
Trishia's face lost all playfulness and when she looked at Peter again she was deadly serious.
"I have a plan," she admitted. "But I need your cooperation and when I have that, I need the inspector's permission. There might be some risks involved."
Peter leaned back against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest. His eyes were glued to Trishia's face and he slowly nodded.
Trishia stretched her long frame and felt the tired pull of her muscles. She knew she desperately needed some sleep, but she did not have the time yet. First she needed to talk to Peter about her plan and after that, discuss the details with Carol Wong. But maybe, after she would be finished doing that, she could afford the luxury of a hot shower and a few hours of undisturbed sleep. She would definitely need that, to make the plan work.
"If Martin Coles has already made his way inside The Reef, unrecognizable to us and pretending to be somebody else, what would you think his next step would be?"
"Trying to make his way up to the fifth floor and try to get to Alice." Peter immediately answered.
Trishia nodded and stuffed her hands in the pocket of her jeans, slowly rocking back and forth.
"What would he expect us to do?"
"Stay put and wait for him to show up, so we can haul his sorry carcass to jail where he belongs."
"And what would he not expect from us?"
"I don't think he would expect us to let the girls wonder around this place all by themselves. I don't think that…holy crap, Trish! You must be kidding! You are not trying to use Alice as bait, are you?"
"Of course not," Trishia snorted. "I would never do a thing like that. But I know he hates me, because I am gay. And on top of that, I am a huge obstacle between him and Alice. So, I was thinking of using myself as bait."
"So, what is this plan of yours?" Sam yawned when Trishia finally made it back into the sitting room. She cast her friend a curious look and could not help noticing the fine lines of tension around the policewoman's eyes.
"I am sorry, Sam, but I can't tell you yet. Tomorrow morning I will know more. The inspector needs to go over a few details first, before she is willing to give permission. As soon as she will contact me in the morning, I will tell you all about it, especially since I will need your help as well."
"Fair enough," Sam answered. "But what will we do in the meantime?"
"I don't know about you," Trishia smiled, walking towards Lucy and grabbing her hand in order to pull her to her feet. "But I can hear a cool shower and a comfy bed calling my name."
Lucy's eyes lit up for a moment, but quickly the worried frown returned to her face.
"But, Trish, what about…? Will there be anyone else besides that guard outside? What if…?"
"Ssssh, it's okay honey," Trishia reassured her lover. "Everything is taken care of. Right, Sam?" she asked her friend with a smile.
"Absolutely," Sam nodded, appreciating Trishia's idea for that evening and unfolding her tall frame from the couch, pulling Jody to her feet and wrapping her arm around her partner's shoulder. "No need to worry, Lucy, we will be fine here tonight."
Sam walked towards a door at the far end of the huge sitting room, with a quiet Jody at her side. She opened the door and let Jody step inside. With a friendly wave at her family and friends she closed the door behind her, looking forward to sharing a shower with her smaller partner and afterwards taking her to the big bed in the middle of the room.
"What was that all about?" Jody asked, suppressing a yawn behind the back of her hand.
"On our way up here, Trishia, Peter and I discussed potential scenarios about what could happen if Martin Coles wiggles his way into The Reef. One of the things we came up with is that it's very likely he will try and get his hands on one of the keycards to this floor. The only thing he would have to do is get the night clerk away from the front desk and look for the right keycard, " Sam explained pulling off her shoes and wriggling her toes with a content sigh.
"Anyway," she continued, unbuttoning her shirt, "If he tries that trick, he will be surprised. I contacted Brian and had him make some… arrangements."
"Like what?" Jody curiously inquired while she sat herself on the bed next to Sam and looked at her lover who was sporting a smug smile on her face.
"Well," Sam drawled. "Like the fact that the key cards to this floor will not exactly be what Mr. Coles will expect them to be, so they will be of no use for him. That means his plans to get up here tonight will be ruined and we will have a good nights sleep."
"Did you have Brian swap the cards?" Jody asked wondering why that would be so special. It was something anybody could have come up with.
"Yes, but I had them fixed as well," Sam grinned. "You know they can be altered through this certain computer program, right? Well, I could not help wondering if we could somehow turn the tables on Mr. Coles as soon as he would try to use the key card. Now, according to our smart assistant manager that is possible, so, Brian fixed them for us."
"How?" Jody asked, curious to find out why Sam was so excited, but too tired to really try to understand the technical side of it all.
"If Martin Coles gets a key card and tries to use it to get to this floor, the elevator won't move. It will just sit there and do nothing."
Jody looked at Sam with tired eyes and tried to comprehend what her lover had just told her. It was not exactly what she had been expecting, which gave her face a blank expression.
"Okay, honey," she finally said, lightly shaking her head as if she was chasing away an annoying fly. "I am glad he won't be able to come up here, even if he's able to get his hands on a key card, but I had expected something more…dramatic."
"Like what?" Sam asked, shrugging her shirt and jumping up to remove her shorts and panties.
Jody's mouth was suddenly dry and she swallowed hard, moistening her lips when her eyes seemed to be glued to Sam's shapely behind.
"Umm…well…like…I don't know," she stammered. She blinked her eyes a few times and let out a deep sigh, pulling her eyes away from her lover's naked skin and focusing on removing her own clothes. "Maybe something like alarm bells going off, or the door refusing to open again. That would have solved the problem then and there. The only thing the police would have needed to do then, would be open the door, cuff him and drag him out."
Sam's blue eyes looked at Jody with a wistful expression. At that moment she reminded Jody of a little girl who had just discovered that it would be impossible to fly.
"That would have been great," she admitted with a sigh. "I thought about something like that, but Brian said it would be against the safety regulations. We could get into trouble with the fire department if we did that."
"Samantha Stevens, you are and always will be a big kid," Jody smiled.
Sam laughed and stepped closer to her lover, aware of the effect her nakedness had on Jody. The smaller woman's eyes grew slightly wider and even with the dim light in the room, she noticed the slightly dazed expression in those green orbs she loved so much.
"I am a kid," Sam said, putting her hands on the bed, on either side of Jody and slowly bringing her body closer. "But that is why you love me, isn't it?" she purred, tenderly kissing the soft skin of Jody's neck.
"Among other things," Jody croaked, feeling the goose bumps explode all over her body. She felt Sam's smile against her skin and tried to ignore the soft, teasing lips that were softly nibbling her neck.
Two can play this game, she decided, lifting up her hands to unexpectedly cup Sam's breasts, using her thumbs to stimulate the already hardened nipples.
When Sam's body jerked and the tall woman let out an uncharacteristically squeak, Jody chuckled and playfully pinched the sensitive skin.
"You are a tease, Sam," she accused her lover, but her voice was full of love and warmth. "But I think that's another reason why I love you so much. By the way, honey," Jody spoke, leaning her head back so she could get a good look of Sam's face. "I thought you wanted a shower?"
"Only if you will come with me," Sam answered, suggestively wiggling her eyebrows.
"Don't I always?" Jody chuckled.
"Yes, you do," Sam answered in a serious voice. "I don't know anyone else who is so responsive to my touch."
Jody's eyebrows shot up, before she frowned and looked at her lover with narrowed eyes.
"There better not be anyone else," she growled, making Sam chuckle.
"No, only you, baby," Sam promised with eyes that radiated love and devotion.
"I knew you were a good catch," Jody dead panned, kicking away her shorts and panties, which left her as naked as her lover. "How about that shower now, lover-girl."
Sam extended her hand and grabbed Jody's, pulling her to her feet and quickly kissing her lips.
"Can I wash your back?" she asked with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.
"You sure can, but remember, honey, my back is that part of my torso without breasts," Jody chuckled. "I seem to remember you were confused by that the last time we showered together."
"Maybe I need some more lessons," Sam whispered hotly in her ear, while her fingers trailed down on her lover's naked back and Jody softly moaned.
They stepped inside the huge bathroom and Sam made quick work of pulling Jody with her in the separate shower area. She pulled her lover close and buried her face in the soft skin of her neck, while her hands stroked Jody's back and slowly slid down, until they cupped her behind and pulled her even closer.
"Lesson number one…" Sam whispered, capturing Jody's lips in a searing kiss. She softly nibbled and sucked Jody's bottom lip and put her tongue to good use by tracing the outline of the smaller woman's lips, before gently sliding inside and caressing Jody's tongue with her own in an erotic dance of promises.
Jody moaned and pressed her body even closer, reveling in the feel of Sam's wet skin sliding against her own. That was something she would never get tired of feeling. The intimate contact was as intense and electrifying as the first time they had made love.
While Sam's larger hands kept her in place and Jody's arms were wrapped tightly around her lover's body, their hips started a grinding motion, causing both of them to experience a throbbing feeling in the lower part of their abdomen.
Their movements increased in speed and pressure and with a soft groan Sam pressed Jody back against the shower wall. Her lovers' knees buckled and she would have slid down on the floor of the cabin, if Sam's strong legs had not kept her pinned against the wall.
"Honey, please," Jody panted, feeling like her skin was on fire. Her green eyes, with the dilated pupils were dark with arousal and stared at Sam pleadingly.
The tall woman kissed her passionately and while her hands and arms supported Jody to help her to remain upright, her lips had already started to nibble and taste their way down. Jody knew exactly where her lover was heading and she threw back her head and bit her lip to prevent herself from screaming out loud, when Sam kneeled in front of her and gently draped one of Jody's legs over her shoulder.
A pair of magnetic blue eyes that were filled with fire looked up and caught the need in her lover's eyes. Sam smiled lovingly and brought her lips closer to Jody's skin. Her lover's body jerked and in spite of the water that cascaded down her face and the rest of her body, she could hear Jody's moans of pleasure and encouragement.
The soap lay forgotten on the dish.
He had counted at least twelve security cameras in the parking garage. He knew it didn't take a genius to conclude that the area that was separated from the rest of the underground parking by a wall, would be the area for private parking. There was a sign on the wall that read " Private". He knew that behind that barrier he would find the private elevator that only had three floors it could stop at: the parking garage, the first floor, where the reception desk was and the fifth floor, all the way on top of the building.
He rubbed his eyes that started to feel tired now and wondered if he could be fast enough to steal a key card and use it to board the elevator on the first floor. If he could lure the night clerk away with a very good story, he might be able to pull it off. But he needed some luck.
He chuckled softly and shifted around, not comfortable at all on the cold floor. Deciding he had seen enough, he crawled underneath the car that was parked next to the one he was using as a shield to stay away from the cameras' reach. He had no intention of being filmed. He knew the police were looking for him and up until now he had managed to stay one step ahead of them.
"Idiots," he giggled, wrinkling his nose when his arm brushed an oil stain on the concrete floor. "That will sufficiently ruin this coverall," he smirked. "I better not tell that to the nice man who gave it to me."
He crawled his way back to a dark corner, where he knew the camera would not be able to capture him clearly. He pulled himself up and quickly took off the dark blue coverall he had found underneath the tarp of the truck he was hiding behind.
With a look of disgust he lifted the tarp a little and threw the stained fabric inside, glad to be able to get rid of it. Reaching inside he pulled out a leather wallet, smiling when he saw the stack of dollar bills greeting him when he flipped it open.
He squinted his eyes to be able to read the name on the driver's license and let out an amused chuckle.
"James L. Ferguson. Sales manager for McNamarra Pharmaceutical."
His fingers pulled out some pieces of paper and photographs. The latter were immediately tossed back under the tarp, but the neatly folded sheet of paper had his interest.
"My, my, look at this," he smiled. "Reservations for The Reef. One room, one person, non smoking. Paid in advance by credit card."
He licked his lips, neatly put the reservation back in the wallet and slid it in his pocket. Lifting the tarp up a little higher he pulled out a suitcase.
"Thanks, Jim, " he giggled, sticking his hand under the tarp again and patting a shoulder. "Burrr, you need to dress warmer, mate. You are cold," he remarked, laughing at his own joke.
He picked up the suitcase and casually walked towards the elevator that would bring him to the reception desk at the first floor.
"Time for Martin to check in, Alice," he smiled, but his eyes were cold and completely void of emotion.
To be continued in part 19
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