The Message Chapter 1

Author's Note: I am new at this and really just want to find out if I have "any" talent as a lesfic writer so any/all feedback will be welcomed.

This story will eventually contain a "loving" relationship between two women, assuming it's worth continuing.

The characters, town and storyline are all products of my imagination. Although Tennessee is "really" a state!

December 2006 © J.A. Breeze


The Message

By J.A. Breeze


"Will I ever be free of this mess I've made of my life? Am I destined to live the rest of my days looking over my shoulder, searching every face, wondering if someone's there? Watching me. Stalking me."

"I can't live this way. Someone has got to help me," she thought as she flipped open her phone and began to dial.


The message ended as abruptly as it began without the woman giving her name or call back number.

Casey Jarnigan pushed play on her voice mail and started to listen again. She had already played in through several times. The caller sounded so broken. So lost. Desperate.

Casey couldn't get the final plea in the message out of her head. "Please help me!"

Casey ran a hand through her short dark brown hair, a habit she had when she was thinking or troubled. "I want to help. But who are you? There has got to be something I can do, but first I need to know who you are."

Leaning forward she punched up the call list on her telephone looking for one that would match the time of the message. "It's got to be one of these," she mumbled to herself as she continued to scroll.

 "Ah, this one looks likely. Now to see if I can match the number with a name."

Casey turned to her computer quickly activating a database that would allow her to use the phone number to identify the caller. After dozens of keystrokes she finally had a match.

"Jennifer Gibson. Where do I know that name from?" Leaning back in her chair she used both hands to rub the tension from her neck. Several minutes passed while she thought. "Jennifer Gibson ... Jennifer Gibson ... where do I know that name from?" Finally, she sat forward as the answer came.

Turning her chair once again toward her computer, Casey quickly typed in The Wilmington Gazette. Once she had located the Web page, she looked for a button that would take her to the staff of the regional newspaper that served dozens of counties in the state.

"Where's the list of staff. It's got to be here somewhere? News, features, obituaries ... come on I know it's here," she complained to herself as she scrolled through the menu.

"Ah, ha ... here we go. Jennifer Gibson, publisher. Wonder if she is the woman who called. I guess there's just one way to find out," she said to herself as she picked up the phone.

Dialing the number of the The Gazette, Casey listened as the automated system picked up. She punched in the selection that would give her the publisher. The ringing stopped when a woman answered.

"This is Jennifer Gibson, how may I help you?"

Sitting up a little straighter, Casey hesitated a moment. "Is it the same voice?"

"A ... a.... Ms. Gibson," she stammered. "This is Casey Jarnigan. I'm an Assistant District Attorney General assigned to a special task force with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. And I believe you left me a message last night."

"The DA's office?" the woman questioned with an edge of uncertainty to her voice.

"Yes, and I'm working with the TBI on a special task force. I thought maybe that was why you called me."

"Ms. Jarnigan, you must be mistaken. I didn't call anyone at the DA's office. It's been years since I've done any actual reporting. Are you sure it wasn't one of our news staff?"

Casey took a moment to wonder what the other woman was hiding. She was positive Jennifer Gibson's voice matched the voice of the woman who left the message. "Maybe it would be better if I just left this alone ... for now."

"Okay, Ms. Gibson. I'm sorry to have bothered you. I thought maybe you had some information to share about our investigation."

"I can assure you Ms. Jarnigan that I don't know anything about your investigation or your special task force. It surely must have been someone else who called you."

Casey waited just a second, reluctant to break the connection. "I know it's her but how can I get her to open up to me?" But before she could say anything Jennifer Gibson was speaking again.

"Look, I appreciate your call ... and your concern ... but I'm very busy right now. Deadlines and all. So if there's nothing else, I really need to go."

"I understand, but Ms. Gibson?"


"If you ever need to reach me. I want you to feel free to call. Don't hesitate, okay?"

"I appreciate that but I really don't know why I would ever need the services of the DA."

"Well, you never know. I tell you what. Let me give you my cell number. That way you can reach me whether I'm in my office or not. You know, just in case."

"Ms. Jarnigan I cannot possibly imagine why I would ever need to reach you for something that couldn't wait until you're in the office."

"Please, just in case."

"Okay. Fine. Ms. Jarnigan, I'll take your cell number just in case."


Why didn't I just tell her? Lord, knows I need someone to talk to," Jennifer Gibson thought as she stared from her office window out over the Tennessee River. "That Ms. Jarnigan sounded nice ... like someone who really cares."

Turning she picked up a framed photograph from her desk. She ran a finger over the faces there. One by one. Gently stroking as tears began to stream down her face. "I'm so sorry ... so very sorry," she whispered. "How could I do this to you? To our family?"

Turning back to the window, Jennifer thought about the desperation that prompted the phone call to the DA's office in the wee hours of the morning.

She had returned to the office late the night before. There was some work on the budget she needed to complete. The figures accounting had given her on anticipated revenue were off. She was certain of it and wanted a few hours to go over them again without interruption.

While she sat at her desk working ... one, two and finally three hours slipped away. She blindly reached out for a mug of coffee. Bringing it to her lips she discovered it had gone cold. Flinching in disgust. She got up to get a fresh cup from her private coffee service. As she stood she stretched her shoulders and back trying to relieve the stiffness.

She glanced at the clock as she waited for the carafe to fill. "Oh, hell, I've done it again," she said out loud as she realized it was after midnight. "But since it's this late I may as well finish this up and get it out of the way."

With a fresh cup of coffee in hand, Jennifer returned to her desk. After taking a careful sip she set down the mug and rubbed her fatigued eyes.

"I am getting too old for this," she thought just as the phone rang making her jump in surprise.

Glancing at the phone she saw it was her private line. "Now who would be calling me at this time of night? Maybe something is wrong with one of the kids," she thought as she reached to answer.     

"Jennifer Gibson, how may I help you?" she gave her standard greeting.

"Jennifer, baby, I'm so glad I reached you. Burning the midnight oil I see."

Jennifer choked back the shock as she listened to the voice she had never wanted to hear again. "What do you want? I thought we agreed you would never contact me again."

"Oh, baby, don't be that way. You know you miss me. I've been waiting for you to call."

"And I told you I never wanted to hear from you or see you again."

"And I told you I'm not willing to give you up that easily. Now either you change your mind and see me ... let things go back to the way they were ... or everyone is going to know about you ... about us."

"You promised you would leave me alone. Please, I need you to just leave me alone."

"Baby, as long as there is breath in my body, I will never leave you alone. I will always be somewhere watching you, waiting for a chance to be with you again. You're mine and you know it. I will have you again. And do you know why? Because you want me just as much—no you want me more than I do you."

"I told you I'd go to the police. Get a restraining order against you and I will do it."

"You know you won't do that. You're too worried about your family, your loving husband, learning your secrets."

"Fuck you ... leave me alone," Jennifer screamed as she slammed down the phone.

"What am I going to do?" she asked herself as she buried her face in her hands. As the phone began to ring again—mocking her, daring her to answer, not to answer—Jennifer gathered her belongings and fled from the building.

Using her remote she unlocked the doors to her Lexus 470-GX and flung her bags onto the passenger seat. Once she was safe inside the luxury utility vehicle she rested her head on the steering wheel. "What am I going to do? What am I going to do?"

A few weeks earlier Jennifer had been in a meeting with top city officials and overheard a conversation about a new task force the DA had set up at the request of the Governor. It seemed several key state and city officials as well as some well-known community leaders and elite businessmen and women had become the target of a rash of threats and harassment. Grabbing her handheld from her bag she quickly accessed a list of phone numbers including one for the DA's office. As she dialed she wondered what to say. What kind of message should she leave?

Jennifer was brought back to the present when her intercom buzzed. She glanced once again at the photograph she held in her hands, at her family. She placed it gently back in its place on her desk. And after taking a deep breath she picked up the phone, "Yes, Maria?"

"You asked me to let you know when it was time for the department heads to meet."

"Thanks, Maria, I'll be right there."

Jennifer opened her top desk drawer and pulled out a mirror. Quickly erasing the evidence of the tears she had shed. She ran a brush through her blonde tresses that just brushed her shoulders and finally satisfied that she was presentable, she shrugged into her jacket. Adjusting the sleeves and lapels, she picked up a folder from her desk and prepared to leave her office. "You can do this. Just keep it together. One step at a time ... one day at a time."


As Casey placed the handset back on its cradle, she mulled over the conversation with Jennifer Gibson.

"Something is troubling you. I just know it and I'd be willing to bet it has something to do with the investigation. I hope you call me soon, Jennifer Gibson. I have a feeling you need my help."

Knowing she needed to be prepared for a meeting later that afternoon, Casey picked up a file from her desk and began to read a report from the agent assigned to the task force. But even then it was difficult for her to concentrate and push the woman's voice on the message into the back of her mind.

To Be Continued.

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