~ Echoes of the Past ~
J. M. Dragon & E. O'Reilly
Part 12
© J.M. Dragon  &  E. O'Reilly 2007


This story primarily features stories involving women. If it is illegal in the state, province, or country in which you live; or if you are under the age of 18, please find something else to read.The events portrayed in this story are fictional and any resemblance to actual events and/or people is purely coincidental.

Language - Violence - Hurt/Comfort:  There are elements of strong language, violence,  physical and/or mental, as well as emotional hurt and discomfort in this story.

The events portrayed in this story are fictional and any resemblance to actual events and/or people is purely coincidental. 

Acknowledgments - Thank you Teresa and Alice for your invaluable help in editing this story.

Dedication: This story is dedicated to Parker who graciously let us use her name.

Author's Note:   This story the third storyline to J.M. Dragon's When Heaven Meets Hell and Fatal Hesitation. Although it is not necessary to read these two stories it might give the reader more background.

Please Note: Although we have completed the writing of this story, edits are an ongoing process. Rather than have our readers wait until the editing is complete we chose to start posting now.

This story is brought to you by:

JM Dragon author of Define Destiny and New Beginnings (to be released later this year by Intaglio Publishing).

Erin O'Reilly author of Revelations and New Beginnings to be released later this year by Intaglio Publishing.

Chapter 28

Amelia was grateful that the lights in the console area of the warehouse were dim – her head was exploding. The result of the tension caused by crying required attention. “I need ibuprofen.” She glanced around. I wonder if anyone else is here? The answer to her question came instantly when she saw two figures in the kitchen. She really didn’t want to face any more questions, she sighed before climbing the stairs listlessly.

“I wish I knew were Parker is,” Sophie said as she paced the floor. She saw Amelia arrive, but ignored her and carried on speaking and walking with purposeful strides. “I thought for sure we’d hear something by this morning.”

Teal smiled her welcome to her friend. The dark shadows under Amelia’s eyes and the pallor of her skin worried her. “Hey how you doing?” she asked.

“I’ve a headache, otherwise fine and dandy.” She smiled warmly at her friend. I’m so glad Teal stayed around to keep Sophie amused. I don’t think I could have taken the woman all by myself today.

“Well I’m not ok,” Sophie interjected. “I want to know what’s happening. I hate them keeping us in the dark like this. After all, it’s my life that’s on the line.”

“I’ll take care of that headache for you Amelia. Why don’t you and Sophie go downstairs and I’ll bring us coffee and breakfast…oh, and the ibuprofen too.” Teal didn’t allow either of them to argue as she motherly waved them toward the exit.

While she walked down the stairs, Amelia listened in irritation as Sophie whined behind her. “I don’t know how you do it…living in this place. It’s like a god damn jail.”

Amelia scowled at the comment and her thoughts about Sophie were less than charitable. However, she refused to have Sophie draw her into a reply. She silently sent up a prayer. Please God help me have patience with this woman. A few moments later when they entered the dining room, she settled silently into a chair.

“I bet you’ve heard from Olivia, haven’t you.” Sophie paused then added, “I’m the one paying the bill so I don’t understand why you are all keeping me out of the loop.”

That is it…that’s the last straw! “For the record, I don’t work for you and you aren’t paying for my services. This is my home and I’ve generously allowed you, a stranger, a safe haven because a friend asked me for help. If I have contact with anyone, including Olivia, it’s my business not yours.”

Sophie’s mouth flew open as she stared at the woman across from her. “I…I thought you were a nun. How dare you speak like that to me? Have you forgotten that I’m the one whose life is in danger? Do you think I like being here one second longer than I have to be?”

“I’m not a nun! I’m also not beholden to you in any shape or form. In fact, if it was up to me I’d have taken you to a hotel by now. However, some promises I like to keep no matter how distasteful they might be personally.” Stupid woman…she doesn’t have the brains to work out that it isn’t all about her!

Sophie felt the sting of the words and realized she hit a nerve. She moved a few steps closer to Amelia and said, “Hey, listen, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have spouted off like that. I’m just really worried about Parker.” Sophie bit her lower lip. “My stepmother already had someone I love killed, I don’t think I could bear it if it happened again.”

Amelia felt uncomfortable at the apology and the woman’s professed love for Parker. How do I get out of this without giving the game away? Damn you Olivia, sometimes what you ask is too much. “Look, we’re both a little fraught with anxiety right now. I hate it when Olivia gets hurt. She isn’t the best patient in the world and I have to live with her.”

Blue eyes refused to look up as Sophie wiped away a tear. “For over ten months I’ve been on the run trying to stay one step ahead of whoever my stepmother sent after me.” She lifted her head. “This is the only place where I’ve felt completely safe. I know it is your home and you’ve graciously let me…us stay here. It must be hell for you knowing that the person you live with and love is injured.” She reached her hand across the table. “Can we be friends?”

A hand went out automatically at the gesture of friendship as Sophie’s words tumbled mercilessly in her head. “I know it’s been tough for you, but believe me you’re in good hands.”

Without thinking, Sophie got up, went around the table and bent down to give Amelia a hug. “I know I am,” she whispered. “We’ll both get through this.”

“Right now, waiting seems to be our lot in life doesn’t it?” As she said those words, she made a decision. “Look I’m going to go to the hospital. Olivia will need a ride home once she’s released this morning. With luck, she’ll have the answers to all your questions. Please just be patient a little longer.”

With a soft smile, Sophie said, “I’ll do what it takes to get this done.”

“Here we go ladies,” Teal said. The tray she carried was almost as big as she was. “Anyone interested in scones, hot coffee and jam?”

Amelia smiled warmly at her friend. “Teal you’re the greatest. I’m going to collect Olivia from the hospital. Will you please stay with Sophie just a little longer?”

Teal hopped up on to a chair next to Sophie. “Sure, Sophie and I are buds.” She eyed Amelia. “You do remember that we have a business, clients and all that good stuff?”

“Good stuff, huh? I promise I’ll be back before lunch. Save some of those scones for me will you, they look delicious.” The tension headache she woke up with was remarkably disappearing. Amelia grinned at her friend. “I’ll take a coffee with me, but first I need my purse.”

With a laugh that belayed her size, Teal watched Amelia leave. “I guess she thinks work can wait.” She turned to Sophie. “I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry.”

Sophie winked and stabbed a scone with her fork. “Beat you.”

“Hey, no fair, my arms are shorter.”

+ + +

“Ms. Santos checked herself out AMA,” the nurse brusquely informed her.

Amelia stood at the nurse’s station perplexed. “What was her condition when she left?”

“We don’t know since she chose to leave before the doctor checked her.”

Why did you do that? Where are you Olivia? She frowned as her thoughts pulled up various scenarios of Olivia lying in a gutter unconscious. I’ve heard of that happening to concussion victims. “I’m sorry to bother you again, but do you have any idea what time she left?”

The nurse eyed Amelia. “I have better things to do then discuss a patient who caused nothing but grief while she was here.” When she saw the concern in the brown eyes, the nurse smiled in sympathy. “No one really knows. She left in a wheelchair to see another patient and never returned. I do know she’s not in the hospital…security searched and didn’t find her. Now, if that is all, I have to get to work.”

Parker! I should have known. “No, that’s all, thanks for your help.” Amelia strode off with purpose toward the elevator before she realized she didn’t know where Parker was. If her injuries are as severe as Olivia indicated then she should be in ICU. She quickly scanned the hospital information board, found what she was looking for, and after a few minutes of waiting in irritation, entered the elevator.

Amelia fished in her purse before she entered the ICU. Once she found her identification badge, she clipped it to her collar. Good thing I have hospital privileges here. She pushed the door open and located the nurse’s station. With a nonchalant voice said, “I’m Dr. West, which room is Parker Davis in?”

“Room seven.”

Certain that she looked guilty as sin, Amelia waited for the nurse to ask what kind of doctor she was or why she was there. Instead, the nurse said, “Her parents are visiting her and you’ll have to show your ID to the guard at the door.”

“Sure no problem,” she said.

“It’s the last door on the left.”

Amelia felt that her lie of omission was about to bite her back. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. “Thanks.”

It wasn’t hard to know which room was Parker’s for it was the only one with a man sitting by the door. The man looked vaguely familiar, but she couldn’t place him. When she got to the room, the man, who towered over her, stood to his full height and barred her entrance.

“Only family allowed,”

The hard look on the man’s face made it unreadable. The more Amelia stared at him the more she thought she’d seen him before. “I’m Dr. West.”

Dan Estevez eyed her guardedly as he studied the ID on her collar. I know I’ve seen her before. He looked at the badge again and saw her first name. She’s Olivia’s business partner. Maybe she’s been in touch with Olivia and has a legitimate reason for being here. For a moment, Dan considered why the woman would be there. Olivia hadn’t said anything about her partner coming here. I’m certain she would have.

Amelia saw the serious unbelieving look on the man’s face. Crap, I thought I was being so clever. “Look, it’s important I see my patient. Are you going to let me in or not?” Amelia countered.

“Doctor West, if you’re looking for Olivia she had to leave on urgent business.”

Amelia’s eyebrows lifted in surprise. “How did you… Oh yeah, that’s where I’ve seen you before…you’re the man that was in her room yesterday?” Amelia felt relieved that at least someone knew Olivia’s whereabouts. “I came to take her home and found she checked herself out.” She shrugged. “I thought Parker would be the best place to start. Was Olivia ok when she left? Do you know when she’ll be back?”

Dan shook his head. I guessed right about why she’s here. The woman’s concern about her partner however, was a new development. In all the time I’ve known Olivia, she’s never allowed anyone close enough to feel that way about her. Hmm, maybe if it comes down to it we can use that knowledge to our advantage. “She’ll be back when our work is complete. Parker is in a coma and there was nothing for her to do here.”

A gasp of anguish had her hand flying to her mouth as she digested the news. “Will Parker make it?”

An older woman opened the door to Parker’s room. Ruth, who heard voices outside the door, hoped it was a doctor with some good news. Instead, it was a stranger speaking with Dan. “Who’s asking if my little girl will make it?”

Amelia gave the woman a compassionate glance. “My name is Amelia West. Your daughter is staying with us in town.”

Ruth turned the name over in her head and then she recalled why it sounded familiar, “Ah, Olivia’s Amelia?”

“Yes, yes that’s right.” Amelia caught her breath at the words. How wrong can you be? If this woman is Parker’s mother, how has Olivia spoken with her about me? We only met two years ago.

“Dan, it’s ok. I think Olivia would vouch for her integrity don’t you.” Ruth gave the man a motherly smile before he sat back down.

Minutes later, after meeting Parker’s father, she stood with Parker’s parents looking at the motionless woman. Amelia felt her heart break for many reasons, but the pain emanating from Parker’s parents affected her most.

“I don’t know what religion you are, but would you mind if I prayed for your daughter?”

Ruth gave Amelia a warm hug. “Thank you. We will pray with you…right Ed?” She looked at her ashen-cheeked husband.

A brittle “yes,” was all he could muster before he returned his gaze to his daughter.

The three moved to a corner of the small room to send their message to God for leniency and healing. As three sets of eyes focused on Parker, Amelia crossed herself and said, “In the name of the Father, the Son…“

+ + +

She heard a low moan and the nurse, Susan Martinolli, turned to see the comatose patient beginning to stir. She walked quickly to the side of the bed and said, “Parker can you hear me?” When she didn’t receive a response she took the woman’s hand and said, “Parker if you can hear me squeeze my hand.” The nurse felt a barely discernable grasp and smiled. “Good. Can you open your eyes for me?”

Parker heard a voice she didn’t recognize, but tried to comply with the request. She willed her eyes to open and when they did, she stared blankly at a young woman with blonde hair and green eyes. She closed her eyes again and said, “Oh, yeah I’m in the hospital…someone shot me.”

When Susan heard the words, she frowned. This was a suicide…she shot herself.Ah that will be why Doctor West is here, I did wonder. Great we now have a delusional patient as well as critical. She held a cup of water with a straw near her patient’s lips. “Drink this slowly.”

With effort, Parker sucked in the water. “Thanks,” she whispered. She allowed her eyes to drift away from the nurse to the glass window and the people standing on the other side. She recognized her parents and knew she’d seen the woman with them before, but couldn’t place where.

“I’m going to page your doctor. I’ll be right back.”

The patient grabbed the nurse’s wrist. “My mom and dad…I want to see them.”

The nurse hesitated. “Sure, I’ll tell them you’re awake…they’ve been worried about you.”

She watched as the nurse spoke with her parents and when her mother hugged the woman, she smiled. That’s my mom. Her eyes fixed on the other woman standing next to her father. That’s Amelia…she looks like an angel.

Ruth Davis walked quickly to her daughter and engulfed her in a gentle hug. “My baby,” she said with tears in her eyes. “You had me worried, but now I know you’ll be ok.”

Parker swallowed and ran her tongue over her teeth and around her mouth to give it moisture. “Mom, I love you.”

As he stood on the other side of the bed, Ed Davis wiped a tear from his eye. “Hey, how’s my princess?”

She reached out and took her dad’s hand. “I love you Dad.” She looked over at her mother who was still crying. “Don’t cry…I’m in good hands.” Her eyes focused on Amelia who was standing at the glass looking in. “Amelia.”

Ruth smiled. “She has been such a comfort to us…she prayed with us for your recovery. Her voice and manner was so reassuring that she gave us hope.” Ruth wiped her eyes with a tissue. “And, you woke up.”

Parker sucked in as deep a breath as she could. “I need to speak with her.”

Ruth leaned in and kissed her daughter’s cheek. “I’ll send her in.” She looked toward Ed. “Let’s give them some privacy.”

With a smile and a wink Ed said, “We’ll be right outside when you’re done.”

+ + +

When Ruth Davis told her that Parker wanted to see her Amelia frowned. Why does she want to speak with me? She reluctantly complied and entered Parker’s room. “I told them I was your doctor so I could speak with your parents,” she offered.

Parker closed her eyes and gave Amelia as much of a smile as she could manage. “I’m glad you did, where’s Olivia?”

Would it be prudent to say she is completing what you started? If it was a role reversal and Olivia was lying in the bed, would I want to know? Yes. Amelia smiled slightly and quietly replied, “I believe she’s completing the assignment. That’s according to her associate outside the door.”

Parker shifted slightly at the answer. That’s Olivia, never leave until the final curtain falls. “I vaguely recall she fell off her bike. Was she hurt?”

Amelia felt her anxiety grow over Olivia’s disregard for her own health. “A concussion and she was supposed to stay over night – she didn’t.” she said with a shrug. “Anyway, no one can stop her when she decides something needs doing.” There isn’t one person, barring maybe Parker, who could stop her. My opinion obviously no longer counts - if it ever did.

Parker struggled to speak. “Yeah, I understand that.” Her memories clouded her face as she felt sadness etching into the lines.

“Yes I’m sure you do.” Amelia smiled slightly and squeezed Parker’s hand in understanding.

Parker raggedly whispered, “I need to tell you...”

When Parker’s breathing quickened and she seemed to labor for each breath, Amelia gently touched her hand. “Why don’t we talk when you’re stronger?”

“No, I need to tell you now.” Parker gasped for air and focused on Amelia’s face. “I was Olivia’s lover.”

Amelia felt her body stiffen with the words. “I know,” she whispered.

Parker struggled to speak. “It isn’t what you think” She closed her eyes as a pain surged through her chest.

All Amelia could do was shiver. I don’t want to have this conversation with her…I know how Olivia feels. “She loves you Parker.”

“She isn’t in love with me…that’s over.”

Amelia wanted to run and hide. However, she remained quiet as thoughts of the two together rattled in her brain. I’ve seen how they react to each other. I know they are still in love. I can’t have this conversation now. I’m such a coward about my feelings for Olivia.

“Love her,” Parker whispered.

Just then, Parker’s DOCO doctor entered the room and Amelia breathed a sigh of relief. “You need to step out while I examine my patient.”

“Certainly,” Amelia said. She looked at the pale woman and gave her a weak smile. “I need to leave.”

Parker’s eyes pleaded for understanding. “Don’t make the same mistake I did.”

Amelia shook her head and leaned in and kissed Parker’s cheek. “She loves you not me. She’ll come back for you.”

“You really need to let me examine her,” Dr. Bastrop said.

Chapter 29

Olivia and Stevie boarded the helicopter as the blades whirled above their heads. Evelyn Durant was in police custody for conspiracy to commit murder. The tape Olivia provided them would help in sending the woman to prison. The authorities needed Sophie’s statement and it would be Stevie’s assignment to make sure the woman returned to Philadelphia safely.

The entire ride back to Portsmouth was in silence. Olivia’s mind however, was circling like a hawk over its prey. She considered all the possibilities. Parker wasn’t so bad in the field, she needs re-training, but she has an aptitude. I know I didn’t get to see her in action but Dan’s observations are enough for me. When she gets better and leaves the hospital, I think I’ll ask her to join WHMH. The workload is crushing these days…I’m hardly ever home. With another partner, I’ll be able to spend more time at home. Amelia is sure to agree if it means I can spend more time with her. Who knows, it could bring other fringe benefits. Amelia seems to like Parker and she appears to like Amelia. God what am I saying…a ménage- et- tois…I don’t think so. I’ll have to watch Parker…she’s always been a flirt.Hmm, lots of interesting possibilities. I think we can dump the past and look toward a bright future.

“Almost there,” the pilot said.

As the helicopter touched the tarmac, Olivia looked at Stevie. “Do you understand your mission?”

Stevie frowned for she’d had her fill of the morose woman. “Yeah, I’m not stupid. How difficult will it be to collect the woman and get her back to Philly?”

Under normal circumstances, Olivia would have put the woman in her place with a glacial stare and sarcastic words. She was too tired to give anything but the minimal response. She opened her phone and snapped a picture of Stevie then sent it to Amelia. “I have no interest in your intelligence only in your performance.” After she exited the helicopter, she dialed Amelia’s number.

“Olivia, are you ok?” Amelia asked anxiously.

“Yes. I’ve sent you a picture of the woman who will collect Sophie.”

“Where have you been? I’ve been worried about you no one would tell me anything.”

“Please have Sophie ready to go when Stevie Jenkins gets there.” Olivia deliberately kept her voice calm and businesslike for the benefit of the younger woman standing next to her. However, her thoughts were in total contrast. All I want to do is come home Amelia, but right now I need you to understand for a little while longer as I tie up the loose ends.

Amelia frowned at Olivia’s cold matter of fact tone. “Does that mean you’ll be home soon?”

“As soon as I get Stevie on her way I’m going to the hospital.”

Alarmed, Amelia said, “Have you had a relapse?”

“I need to see Parker… she takes precedence,” Olivia said. “I don’t know when I’ll be there so don’t wait up.”

“I met Parker’s parents and they seem like really nice people. Do you want me to come to the hospital after Sophie leaves?”

“You saw Parker?” Olivia could feel her blood boil. How dare she get into my business?

Amelia heard the anger. “Yes, I was worried about you and wanted to see if she knew anything.”

“Just make sure Sophie is ready to go. Stevie will be there shortly.” She didn’t wait for a reply. When the pilot emerged, she said, “Wait here for Stevie and another passenger. Then take them both back to Philly.”

The man nodded. “How long?” he asked Stevie.

She looked at Olivia. “Will she be ready when I get there?”


“It shouldn’t take anymore than forty-five minutes tops,” Stevie said.

“I need to refuel. I’ll be back here in thirty.”

Olivia didn’t wait, as she headed for the door. In her last conversation with Dan, she learned that Parker had a major set back. I have to get there and tell her how I feel.

Once Olivia was out of sight, Stevie opened her phone and dialed. “She’s on her way to the hospital now.”

+ + +

With rapid strides, Olivia ate up the long corridor that led to the ICU. She pushed the double doors open and went inside completely ignoring the protesting staff.

“Olivia,” a woman’s voice said. “Wait up.”

When she stopped and looked around, Olivia saw Karin Baker, a woman she met at one of Teal’s Wednesday night get-togethers.“I don’t mean to be rude, but I really don’t have time to talk right now.”

“If you want to visit someone in here you need to sign in. If you don’t they will call security to escort you out of the hospital,” she said.

Olivia sucked in a deep breath to calm her rapidly, climbing blood pressure and shook her head. “My…I need to see someone, can you help me Karin?”

“What’s the name?”

“Parker, Parker Davis.” When she saw Karin’s facial reaction turn serious, she held her breath for a moment. “Is she still alive?”

“Yes. You must be the Olivia she’s been asking for.”

Olivia felt her shoulders relax. “Can I see her please?”

“Sure, I’ll take care of the details here.”

Ed and Ruth Davis were standing by their daughter’s bed when Olivia entered the room. She said, “Hi.” When the couple turned around with ashen looks on their faces, her smile disappeared.

Ruth spoke first. “Olivia is here baby.” With tears glistening off her cheeks, she turned to Olivia. “She’s been asking for you.”

Somehow, Olivia made her feet work and she moved closer to the couple. “How’s she doing?” Her eyes settled on Parker.

Ed patted her on the shoulder. “We’ll wait over there,” he said indicating the chairs in the corner of Parker’s hospital room.

Ruth impulsively wrapped her arms around her daughter’s friend and whispered, “Thank you.”

“Hey.” Olivia picked up Parker’s hand.

“You came,” Parker said.

A smile that was a mixture of sadness and joy crossed Olivia’s face. “Evelyn Durant is in police custody. I have her on tape admitting everything.” She smiled. “We always did make a great team Parker. I’ve been giving this some serious thought and wondered if you would like to work with me.”

Parker closed her eyes and struggled for a breath. “Good, now Sophie will be safe… yeah we did. I think I’d like working with you.” She began to shiver. “I’m so cold,” she whispered.

Ice blue eyes looked at the numerous blankets covering Parker. “Want me to get you another blanket?”

“Hold me.”

The feelings and emotions coursing through Olivia’s mind were foreign to her. From a place deep inside she said, “You got it.” She looked at Ruth and Ed, for their nod of approval and when it came she crawled next to Parker and wrapped her arms around her. “Are you warmer now?” she asked.

Parker’s ragged voice said, “Yes.” She turned her head and moved so her lips and Olivia’s touched in a warm sweet kiss. “I’ve always loved you O.”

Olivia frowned, maybe this isn’t the time or maybe it is perfect timing for what I need to say to you her. “There was nothing to prepare me for what happened back then Parker, but I eventually forgave you. I now know that what you did was for the best.”

“Enough forgiveness to love me?”

Olivia’s mind ran riot as she held Parker to her. Don’t you know that I’ll always love you Parker? You were my first love and until the day I die, you will always be a part of me. Before she could say what was on her mind, Parker spoke again.

With each breath Parker took in, she gurgled, rattled and wheezed. A lone tear rolled down her cheek. “Tell her O…tell her.”

Olivia felt her eyebrows meet. “Tell who?”

Her reply was a long droning beep from one of the monitors. She didn’t have time to react as a code blue team rushed into the room.

“Please move away,” Karin ordered.

In disbelief, Olivia got off the bed and moved to where Ruth and Ed stood wrapped in each other’s arms. She stared numbly at the people who moved into the room like a well choreographed dance.

Just as they were about to put a tube down Parker’s throat and start compressions, everything ceased when a loud voice boomed, “Stop!” Vince Bastrop, Parker’s doctor, stood in the doorway. “She DNR.”

Karin frowned. “That’s not what it says on her chart.”

The doctor held up a paper. “She signed this earlier today…her parent’s are witnesses. I’m sorry I didn’t get it into the chart, but I had an emergency in another part of the hospital.”

The attending physician took the paper. “All seems in order. I’m calling it…time of death eight twenty-two.”

One by one, the monitors stopped and silence enveloped the room. Ruth and Ed moved to the bed and looked down at their daughter. Olivia stood frozen in place not wanting to accept what had happened. When she heard the low sobs of Ruth, she went to the man and woman she had always considered family, and put her arms around them. Time seemed to stand still as the three looked down on the woman they all loved.

Olivia tried to hold her emotions in check and treat the situation much like any other – she couldn’t. “When you are ready call me and I will make sure the plane is available for you to take Parker home.”

With mournful sobs, Ed engulfed Olivia in his arms. “Thank you.”

After Ed let her go, Ruth hugged her and kissed her cheek. The two grieving women held the each other in an embrace for several minutes. Then Ruth whispered. “Go home to Amelia. She will help you through this…she was a great comfort to us earlier.”

Olivia let Ruth go and turned to the bed, bent down and kissed Parker’s still warm cheek. She mouthed I’m sorry before she turned away. “I…” she started to say. “Please let me know if you need anything.” She kissed Parker’s parents then left the room.

Karin saw Olivia emerge from the room and approached her. The cold hard face that she saw frightened her. The only time I saw anyone look like that, they went out and killed someone. “Olivia, I’m sorry…I know how you’re feeling,” she offered.

The icy blue eyes of the dark woman stared at her. “How the hell would you know what I’m feeling,” she growled. With one swift motion, she pushed Karin out of the way and walked away rapidly.

Dan, who had been watching the scenario, could only shake his head. Shit! At least O’Donnell is dead and that’s a win- win situation…for most of us anyway. He hurried out the doors and down the corridor. I need to make that call now. “ Santos has left the hospital.”

In the ICU, the staff covered Parker’s body and waited for someone from the morgue to collect her. Karin, still in shock from Olivia’s reaction, picked up the phone to call Teal.

“Karin, we need you in room three.”

Karin put down the phone. I’ll call her during my break. She felt cold run down her back as she recalled Olivia’s eyes. I hope no one crosses her…there’s no telling what she might do.

+ + +

Karin finally had a moment to collect her thoughts. The ICU was hectic and full of drama that night, but Teal’s friend Olivia was never far from her thoughts. I need to call Teal and alert her.

She dialed the number and heard a sleepy voice say, “Hello.”

“Teal, this is Karin.”

“Oh yeah, hi Karin…what time is it?”

“Listen, I’m sorry to be calling so late, but something happened here that I think you should know about.”

The seriousness of her friend’s voice made Teal sit up straight. “I’m almost afraid to ask,” Teal said.

“Your boss…I mean friend Olivia was in here visiting a patient.”

“Yeah, I know her friend Parker.”

“Yeah, that’s the one.” Karin hesitated wondering about the wisdom of divulging a patient’s information. Then she remembered the angry, feral look in Olivia’s eyes. “She died in Olivia’s arms,” she said.

“Oh no, that’s awful.” She thought about her earlier conversation with Amelia about the woman. “Was Olivia’s business partner with her?”

“No, she was alone and that is why I thought I should call you.” She took a deep breath. “I’ve seen my share of people who have lost a loved one and for the most part they act in one of three ways. They are either stunned, tearful or want revenge. Olivia was neither Teal. I’ve never seen anyone whose eyes and face looked as angry as hers did.”

Teal digested the information and looked at the clock. Eleven-thirty, everyone over there will be asleep. “Thanks for telling me Karin, I’ll take it from here.”

“You’re welcome Teal. I just hope Olivia doesn’t do anything crazy.” She started to hang up then she added, “From what I saw, Olivia really cared about Parker.”

“So I’ve heard.”

“Goodbye Teal, I’ll see you next Wednesday.”

“Yeah, goodbye,” Teal absently hung up the phone.

“What’s that all about,” Phil asked.

“Olivia’s friend died. Do you think I should call Amelia?”

“No, it’s late and don’t you think Olivia already told her?”

“Yeah, you’re right. I’ll speak with them in the morning.”

+ + +

The anger and insurmountable ache of not knowing what was happening was something that Amelia had never felt before. Olivia wasn’t being fair! How could you just go away and leave me, without an explanation when you’re injured? Didn’t you think I cared? Then you call and tell me you’re returning to someone else. The uncharitable thoughts she experienced about Parker didn’t entirely make sense to her. It was all new terrain just like her life. She now knew how Sophie felt when she’d waited for news of Parker and they’d used stalling tactics. I can’t go on like this Olivia. Maybe it’s time you and I went our separate ways.

Once again, she felt like a caged animal as she paced the console area becoming more frustrated with each step.

+ + +

Why did she have to die?It should have been me. I deserve to die for all my deeds. Hell isn’t good enough when my time comes. The intensity of her self-hatred rung in Olivia’s head as Dan drove her home. They hadn’t spoken since she’d asked him for the lift. She guessed he felt just as responsible for Parker’s demise as she did. He deserves it too … he didn’t heed my instructions.

Now, all she wanted was to go home and crawl into her bed. She’d take as many sleeping tablets as she could without committing a foolish act and wake up to the soothing sight and sounds of Amelia. The guilt she felt weighed heavily as the distance from the hospital became greater, much like the chasm that death brought between her and Parker. Thank god, I have your quiet understanding to keep me going Amelia because I’m not sure I could live anymore if you weren’t there.

“Olivia we’re here.” Dan quietly pointed out as he pulled up next to her building.

Olivia turned her gaze from her inward thoughts to the reality of the situation. He looks like shit…I bet I don’t look much better. “Thanks Dan. I’ll be at headquarters in the next few days to file the reports.” Her hand tugged at the door handle and it sprung open.

Dan, unable to meet her eyes, nodded. “Stevie should be in Philly soon do you want me to…”

“No! I’m done with this case and so are you. Stevie can handle the rest of the operation.” Olivia replied.

“Sure. Well, I guess I’ll see you around Olivia.”

The tempo of his voice finally invaded her own sorrow as she turned to him. “Don’t beat yourself up over this Dan,” she said. “It’s the nature of the beast - we lose people.”

This time Dan looked at her directly. Sure and are you accepting that as the truth - I don’t think so. “I know, but it doesn’t take the edge off losing a good person. Take care of yourself Olivia.” As he guided the car away from Olivia he thought, I wonder how long before she works it out. I sure don’t want to be around for that...she’s one evil bitch when backed into a corner.

She watched the vehicle drive away. I can feel it in my gut there’s something he’s not telling me. I’m done with this he can wait for another day. Then her eyes drifted to the building she called home. For the first time in the ensuing hour since Parker left them, she felt that she could go on. “I can do that because I have you Amelia. I wonder what you’d think of that confession.” Her footsteps moved automatically toward the side door and she entered the security code.

+ + +

Amelia watched Olivia walk over to the console, press several buttons and then bend her head toward the screen. That’s it the very last straw! She can’t even say hello until she reads her damn email. With speed that she didn’t realize she was capable of, she arrived at the console. “So, you decided it was a good time to come home. Don’t you know how worried I was about you? For goodness sake, Olivia you could have had a major relapse out there. Don’t you care what happens to you or how we all feel about you?”

Olivia felt wounded by a sharp knife as the censure in Amelia’s voice pierced far more than her ears. She blinked back the tears that she allowed to fall and reset the security alarm. She didn’t turn around. What’s the point? “I’m tired Amelia, can we have this conversation tomorrow?”

“No! No, we can’t. I’ve been out of my mind with worry. You left the hospital without a word only to return and take up with your old girlfriend,” Amelia responded angrily.

“I needed to finish the assignment. As you already know, Parker couldn’t do it. Thank you for going there. Her parents were grateful,” Olivia replied. “Your praying with them gave them comfort during a difficult time.”

Amelia scowled in the half-light of the console’s blinking lights. She couldn’t make out Olivia’s expression and that irked her even more. “I would offer my help to anyone in pain you know that. What I want to know right now is do you want me to leave so you can continue your relationship with Parker?”

So why aren’t you offering it me? I need you the most right now. However, Parker’s name and the essence of the question sparked the last vestiges of Olivia’s anger. She brushed away the tears and spun around to face Amelia with her ice-cold eyes glittering dangerously. “Is that what you think I want?”

“Yes, in fact I know it. Parker loves you. I think she hopes that one day you’ll be together setting up a life again. Don’t let me stop you! I’ll be out of here in the morning,”

Olivia saw the blind anger registered in Amelia’s eyes. “Then go, get lost! I don’t give a damn Amelia. Besides, I don’t want a homophobe around…it cramps my style. Didn’t want to tell you before, but living with a chaste nun is hell.” Olivia crossed her arms. .

Amelia saw a cold, uninviting expression appear on Olivia’s face as she spoke. That hit harder than the angry words, as her heart did a somersault at the pain they caused. All I wanted was one word Olivia - stay. “I hate you Olivia, you’re the first person in my life I’ve ever felt like that about. I’m glad you want me to go because I would have gone anyway.” She didn’t feel or mean the caustic bravado her words conveyed, but once said she had to stand by them. She fled to her bedroom and slammed the door.

Olivia watched the whole scenario like a scene out of a play where she was a spectator. Well, you can’t hate me more than I do myself at this moment Amelia and it’s for the best. You’re better off without me, everyone I love dies. As the words floated in her head, she automatically went to her bedroom and sank down fully clothed on the bed. With the bottle of pills clutched in her hand, she reached for the water on her bedside table.

+ + +

The helicopter had been in flight for Philadelphia for about two hours. The pilot said, “Dan needs to speak with you.”

Stevie frowned. “He does, that’s odd.” She made her way to the cockpit and took the headpiece from the pilot. “Hey, Dan what’s up?”

“I just wanted you to know that Davis died. Olivia said the rest of the operation is yours.”

With a quick glance at Sophie, Stevie shook her head and rubbed her neck. “I’m sorry to hear that. Once I deliver the package to the police I should be done except for the paper work. Of course, I’ll keep in contact to make sure that all runs smoothly. Thanks for the information.” She handed the pilot his headgear and made her way back to Sophie.

“What’s up,” Sophie asked. “Or is it a state secret?”

Stevie shook her head. “It’s no secret,” she said. From the short amount of time she was with Sophie, she liked the woman. Telling her the news would not be easy for Sophie who had asked at least twenty times if Stevie had any word about Parker.

“If it’s not a secret then tell me.” Sophie cocked her head and smirked. “Pretty please…with cherries and whipped cream on top.”

The irony of Sophie’s insistence on knowing the secret was not lost to Stevie. You really don’t want to know. “Hmm, I have some bad news.” She refused to make eye contact.

“Did the evil stepmother get bailed out and run away?”

“I wish it were that Sophie.” She clenched her jaw. “I thought that once this operation was over we could recruit Parker to work for us.”

“Oh that is a wonderful idea Stevie…I can attest for her professionalism and knowledge of how to protect someone,” Sophie said. It dawned on her that the woman had said she had bad news. “Was she in an accident?” she whispered.

“She was shot by O’Donnell.”

Sophie gasped. “Why didn’t anyone tell me? Turn around this minute! I need to go back.” She began fumbling with her seatbelt.

Stevie put her hand on Sophie’s in an attempt to calm the agitated woman. “We can’t turn around Sophie.”

“I beg to differ with you! We will turn around this moment. Hey, you up there in the cockpit turn this thing around we need to go back to Portsmouth.”

The pilot turned and looked at Stevie who shook her head.

“Why are you telling him that? I need to go back and see Parker!”

“She died an hour ago.”

“No,” Sophie wailed. “No, no, no you have it all wrong.” Sophie closed her eyes in an effort to stave off tears. “Why didn’t anyone tell me? Did they think it wouldn’t matter to me? Well, it does.” Her shock turned to anger. “That damn Amelia had to know! And that fucking Olivia, how I hate her guts for letting this happen.” Then tears started to flow uncheck. “I was just getting to know her,” she sobbed.

All Stevie could do was pat the distraught woman’s hand and be there for her. “Look, after we get to Philly, I’ll make some calls and find out when and where the funeral is. Then I personally will escort you there.”

Grateful eyes looked a Stevie. “Thank you.”


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