Disclaimers: Mine.

Sex: Silly goose. Of course!

WARNING: I do NOT give my permission for this story to be re-posted anywhere with change in character names, storyline or title. Parasite writers beware.

Note: This story may contain some violence, but nothing graphic.

If you'd like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com .

Hope you like it Wendy!


Force Of Nature


Kim Pritekel


Part 6

(NOTE: violence in this part)


Rory sat on the kitchen chair, hands tucked in his lap. He was sitting in the corner made by two perpendicular walls, the two strange men and his father sitting at the other three places. Frightened blue eyes looked from one to the other, his appetite gone, even as the men shoveled the food in their mouths.

Joel glanced up at his son, noting the kid hadn't eaten a damn thing. “Eat,” he demanded, unwrapping his fifth taco, four more to go and three burritos. “I didn't waste the money for you to sit there like a fucking idiot.”

“I'm not hungry,” Rory whispered, afraid of what would happen after he spoke. If it was anything like last time, he'd have a matching bruise in a moment.

Instead, Joel glared at the boy, trying to intimidate him with just a look, just like his own father had done to turn him into a man. “I said, eat! ” Joel slammed his fist on the table, making everyone's dinner jump and drinks spill.

“Dude!” Big Red complained, lifting his beer.

“Shut the fuck up,” Joel growled, never taking his eyes off the boy.

Rory did his best to not cry, even as his bottom lip began to quiver. He gathered the wrapped taco in his small hands, unwrapping it and bringing his once-favorite food to his mouth, taking a small bite. As he chewed, he worried he'd throw it all up, just as he'd done with breakfast that morning. He desperately wanted his mommy!

Joel turned his attention away from the boy and to the other two men who flanked him at the table. “We're moving out after we finish. I got a lead on a place we can go.” He shoveled the small taco into his mouth and began to speak again, food falling out of his mouth as he did. “I'll take him, you two stay behind and pack our shit.”


Mason slapped his phone shut, eyes shut and a relieved smile on his lips. “She woke up,” he whispered, he and Digger sitting in the back of Digger's van. He looked at his longtime friend. “Maybe these fuckers will be allowed to survive this, then.”

“Hell, I think we should whack ‘em anyway,” the big man said, loading his weapons before tossing the box of ammo to his friend.

“We gotta be careful not to start a war, Digger. I don't want to go back to that life again, man. I promised Martha.”

“Yeah, well you're about to tonight, brother.”

Weapons loaded, both men shared a glance then Mason made his hunched way to the double doors at the back of the van. A glance out the tinted double windows showed him there were still lights on in the cabin. He still couldn't believe Joel had been stupid enough to leave the rental agreement for the cabin plain for anyone to see, lying on his bedroom dresser. His told him that he was there, the boy included.

Mason looked over his shoulder at his friend: dressed similarly in black leather, loaded with weapons and black grease on his face. “Ready?”

“Let's get the fuckers,” Digger growled, his blood and testosterone pumping dangerously.

Bringing an image of Martha and Kyle to his mind, Mason shoved open the back doors to the van and jumped out, followed by Digger, both shadows in the darkness as they made their way to the cabin. This is for you, Kyle. Mason shoved those thoughts and images out of his mind as he looked both ways, making sure nobody was around to ambush him and Digger before they could get to the cabin. His heart was pounding when he reached the front porch, his Desert Eagle at the ready. Digger caught his eye, nodding towards the back of the cabin, letting Mason know that was where he was headed.

Left alone on the front porch, Mason sent a silent prayer up into the night sky then turned towards the front door of the cabin, his face exuding the rage he felt inside as he kicked the door in with his size 13 combat boot.

Ronnie nearly pissed himself as the front door came flying in so quickly the doorknob sank into the wall behind the door. He had been sitting on the couch, snorting powder up his nose, but the cocaine was quickly forgotten as he fumbled to grab his gun, which was way over on the entertainment center on the other side of the room.

“Don't bother, you fuck!” Mason yelled.

At the same time, Big Red ran from the bedroom, headed towards the back door in the kitchen, but was nearly bowled over by Digger, who plowed in from the outside, his shotgun held at the ready. Big Red stopped, hands over his head, eyes wide. Without a second thought, Digger used his gun like a bat, smacking Big Red across the jaw and knocking him to the floor, unconscious.

Mason, however, kept Ronnie captive at gunpoint. “Don't move, you fucker. Don't even think about it.”

“What you want, Big Hoss?” Ronnie asked, using Mason's biker name. “You ain't got no business here.”

“No?” Mason felt his rage build. Without thought, he raised his gun and brought it down across Ronnie's cheek: enough to hurt but not knock him out or kill him.

Ronnie cried out, his hands grabbing his face, blood slipping out between his fingers. “Jesus, man!”

“Don't kill ‘im,” Digger advised, standing over Big Red's still body, gun limply aimed at him.

“I don't intend to,” Mason growled, never taking his eyes off his prey. “But by the time I'm done with him, he'll pray that I do.” He raised and brought his gun down again. “Won't you, you sick fuck!”

Ronnie tried to protect himself, to no avail. “Why you doin' this, man?” he cried, literally crying like a child, blood pouring down from the cut on his cheek and from his mouth.

“This is payback,” Mason hissed, murder in his eyes. He lifted the gun again, but was stopped by a large hand on his own. He stopped, only to see Digger looking back at him, shaking his head.

“Don't do it, man,” Digger said. “He ain't worth losin' everything for.”

A long moment of tense visual shootout took place until finally Mason backed down, lowering his hand and turning away, his rage fighting against his emotion of almost losing Kyle. “Find out what you can,” he murmured, stalking out of the room.


Kyle was amazingly – surprisingly – happy to be home. She got settled in her bed, no energy to do much else, as Eva hustled and bustled around her, making sure she was comfortable and had everything she needed. It had been two days since she'd awoken from her medically-induced coma, and still felt as though she hadn't completely joined the waking world.

“Okay, honey,” Eva said, hands on hips as she looked around Kyle's room. Her tenant – and current patient – was tucked into bed with a homemade quilt tucked around her thin body and a space heater placed in the corner to keep her warm on this bitterly cold November night. “Do you need anything else?”

Kyle smiled and shook her head. “No. You've stuffed me with as much food as I can stand and I'm not burritoed to the point of inability to move. I think I'm good.”

Eva smiled, knowing Kyle was joking with her. “Okay.” She leaned over and placed a motherly kiss on Kyle's forehead, mindful of the fresh bandage placed there. “If you need anything-“

“I know, you're just down the hall.”

“Okay, so I'm being a little smothering.” Eva gently cupped Kyle's cheek. “It's just because I care. Almost lost ya once and I don't want that to happen again.”

Kyle smiled up at her in understanding and true appreciation. “Thank you.”

“Goodnight, honey.”


Left alone, Kyle lay where she'd been tucked in and sighed, staring up at the ceiling. Light caught her eye as a beam appeared across the ceiling and far wall, thrown from the window across the way. A small smile formed in Kyle's lips as she realized that Jamie must be in her bedroom. The seconds ticking away, she made her decision and carefully dug her way out of her cocoon and threw her legs over the side of the bed.

Making her way to the window, Kyle felt the chill coming from the glass, the winter temperatures outside trying to find warmth. She ignored them as she looked across the way: sure enough, Jamie's blinds were open, the overhead light turned on. At first, Jamie was nowhere to be seen, but soon enough, she stepped into frame as she walked across her bedroom, Kyle surmised to the fireplace. As she passed, Jamie glanced over at Kyle's window, stopping short, her look of surprise instantly transforming to a smile of welcome.

Kyle returned the smile fully, the biggest smile to light up her face since she'd awoken nearly three days before. She raised her hand in greeting, feeling unsure and awkward. Her heart leapt when Jamie waved her over. Uncertain, Kyle used her own gestures to clarify the brunette meant for Kyle to go to her house. With a nod and big, welcoming smile, Jamie closed her blinds, letting Kyle know all discussions were over. At least, in separate houses.

Amused and unsure of the wisdom of her night venture, Kyle dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, grabbing her jacket and keys. As she made her way down the squeaky stairs, she tried to think about just what exactly she was going to tell Eva, who without fail was sitting in her chair in her sewing room, old records spinning on the turntable.

“Are you alright?” Eva asked, beginning to push up from her chair as she set her sewing aside.

“No, stay, please.” Kyle shrugged into her heavy winter leather jacket. “I'm going next door for a bit.”

Eva's eyes widened in surprise, but then a smile crept across her lips. “I can't keep you two girls apart, can I?” she mused.

“Eva, it's not like that-“

“She was at your bedside every night, Kyle,” Eva said softly, knowing in her heart Kyle needed to know, and likely Jamie would never tell her. “Between her devastation over Rory and worry for you, I wasn't sure our little Jamie was going to survive all this.”

Kyle said nothing, not sure what to say. She'd wondered why Jamie had been there when she woken up, considering it was at two o'clock in the afternoon.

“Take care of yourself, Kyle,” Eva said interrupting Kyle's thoughts. “Don't let yourself get too run down.” She winked and made Kyle blush – which was incredibly hard to do.

“Eva, it's not like that,” Kyle said again, though her words were weak.

“Yet.” Eva groaned as she pushed to her feet and walked over to her. “It warms my heart to see my two girls come together, Kyle.” She cupped the blonde's face, forcing her to look in her eyes: old but filled with love and wisdom of the past. “No woman is an island.” A quick hug to Kyle and Eva let her go, getting resettled in her armchair.

Amused and deeply touched, Kyle left the house, the harsh cold nearly stealing her breath away. As she walked across the two connected front yards, she thought about what Eva had disclosed to her: Jamie had been at her bedside every night. She would have smiled at the thought, but the cold had frozen her face in the short distance to Jamie's front door, which was pulled open the moment Kyle stepped onto the porch.

“Get in here before you freeze,” Jamie ordered, grabbing Kyle by the hand and tugging her inside, quickly shutting and locking the door behind her.

Kyle nearly swooned as the warmth of the house – as limited as it was – engulfed her. She allowed Jamie to remove her jacket and keys, hanging the jacket up and setting the keys on the small table by the stairs. She then once again took Kyle's hand and led her up the stairs to the second floor, and down the hall to her bedroom, where the temperature was twenty degrees warmer from the roaring fire in the fireplace.

Kyle followed obediently, neither speaking since Jamie's initial demand to enter the house. Now, standing in the center of Jamie's bedroom, she felt unsure and incredibly tired. She watched as Jamie closed the bedroom door and walked over to the bed. She pulled down the covers and turned to Kyle.

“Forgive me Kyle, but I just really need to have you close to me tonight,” she said in soft explanation. “Would you be willing to sleep here tonight?”

Kyle could see the pleading need and fear in Jamie's eyes, and knew there was no way she could leave her alone. “Of course,” she said quietly, trying to put Jamie at ease.

Jamie blew out a relieved breath, nearly falling to her knees as the tension left her body. She'd been afraid that Kyle would turn her down or would take what she was asking the wrong way. Or, better yet, afraid Kyle would take was she was asking exactly the right way. “Thank you. I'll get you something to sleep in.”

Kyle was given a t-shirt and shorts, which she knew would nearly fall off her thin frame, but it didn't matter. She could feel the intensity of Jamie's need for her presence, so wasn't sure how Jamie wanted to handle changing. Jamie was already in sleep attire.

“I'll turn away,” Jamie said, seeing the uncertainty on Kyle's face. “I don't want you out of my sight tonight.”

Kyle nodded. “It's okay, Jamie. You don't have to turn away. It's your house and I have nothing to hide from you.”

Though she knew it was wrong and incredibly inconsiderate, Jamie couldn't take her eyes off Kyle as she stripped out of her boots, jeans and sweater, leaving her standing there in socks and panties. She was shocked to see how thin Kyle had gotten, but more shocked to see the bruises that littered Kyle's body, especially her midsection.

Jamie's gasp caught Kyle's attention as she was about to tug the shirt over her head. She looked and met Jamie's gaze, noting where the blue eyes were riveted. “He wasn't a real nice guy,” she commented.

Jamie walked over to Kyle, almost feeling as though she were in a daze. “Kyle,” she breathed, a hand coming up to tentatively touch a bruise, dark as night. “My god.”

Kyle braced herself for the pain of the touch, but Jamie's hand stopped just shy of the skin. For reasons she wasn't entirely sure of, Kyle took hold of Jamie's hand, bringing it up to cover her heart, Kyle's naked breast brushing Jamie's palm. She held Jamie's hand against her flesh, making sure she had Jamie's gaze.

“I'm still alive, Jamie,” she whispered. “This still beats,” she pressed their joined hands into her upper chest. “I'll be okay.”

Jamie's heart was pounding, her breath caught as her earlier anguish was swiftly replaced by lightheaded need. She didn't know what to do, but only knew what she absolutely couldn't do, which was give in to her desire. Kyle didn't deserve that kind of confusion in her currently physical state. Hell, she still had a fractured skull under that bandage! Even still, her gaze slipped down to where their hands were, unable to keep her eyes from taking in the naked breasts, so beautiful.

“Jamie?” Kyle said softly, her own voice shaky as she could easily read where Jamie had gone. As much as she wanted to follow, she knew she was in no shape to go there. Even still, she wanted Jamie to understand that she understood and wanted it to, just not tonight. Not now.

Hearing Kyle's soft voice, her own name floating in the air between them, Jamie raised her gaze and met Kyle's.

“I know,” was all Kyle could think of to say. There was so much more, but now wasn't the time. She brought their conjoined hands to her lips and kissed Jamie's knuckles before gently letting the hand go. “I'm going to finish dressing.”

Jamie nodded, taking a step back and turning away, grateful for Kyle's strength, because around the blonde, she didn't seem to have any. Instead, she sat on the bed, her gaze fixed on the fire that danced merrily, seeming to mock her inner turmoil.

“I know I'm being horribly needy and clingy, Kyle and I'm not real sure why that is.”

“Fear,” Kyle said softly, suddenly standing beside the bed and in front of where Jamie sat. She reached out a hand and allowed her fingers to trail through the thick, dark hair that she'd dreamed about on more than one occasion. “And you have nothing to apologize for.”

Jamie let out a soft sigh as her eyes fell closed, Kyle's ministrations calming her. Her head was cupped and drawn to rest against soft, t-shirt clad breasts, Kyle careful to avoid the painful bruised areas. She knew Jamie needed to be loved and comforted tonight, and she intended to do just that. She continued to pet Jamie's hair, her fingers sometimes dipping lower to leave a caressed trail across her cheek or neck.

“This has been the most difficult and terrifying thing I've ever been through,” Jamie admitted, bringing her arms up to wrap around Kyle's waist, pulling the blonde closer as she parted her knees, drawing Kyle between to stand closer.

“I know,” Kyle whispered, leaving a kiss on top of Jamie's head. “I'm so sorry. I know Mason will find him. My brother is the most determined, tenacious person I've ever known.”

“God, I hope so,” Jamie sighed, feeling as though she could fall asleep. She hugged Kyle to her before pulling away. “Let's get in bed.”

Kyle nodded, liking that idea very much. She slid under the covers Jamie held for her, getting settled on her back before she found her arms filled with Jamie, the brunette's head resting on her shoulder.

“Is this okay?” Jamie asked, even as she got settled. “Am I hurting you?”

“No,” Kyle murmured, feeling like she'd died and gone to heaven. She glanced over at the fireplace, the flames still happily lapping. “What about the fire?”

“It'll go off on its own in thirty minutes,” Jamie murmured, her hand sliding up the smooth skin of Kyle's arm then slipping underneath the baggy sleeve of the even baggier t-shirt, luxuriating in the soft skin and rounded plains of Kyle's shoulder. “You're so soft,” she whispered.

Kyle said nothing, simply smiled and held back a groan. She loved to be touched, and had been denied for so very long. Yes, Jamie turned her on sexually like nobody else, but right now just the feel of her fingertips running over her skin, the closeness and intimacy was worth a thousand nights of good, meaningless sex.

Jamie lifted her head, chuckling at the smile she saw on Kyle's face and the look of pure bliss. “You look like if you could purr you would.” Kyle made her laugh when she outright did purr. “You know,” she said, shocked she was about to admit what she was about to admit. “I kissed you goodnight every night when you were in your coma.”

Kyle's eyes opened, surprise widening them. “You did?” Jamie nodded, feeling shy and unsure. Kyle cupped the back of Jamie's head, gently pushing it towards her until she could breach the rest of the distance and pressed their lips together.

Jamie was sure that some deep part of her had hoped for this very outcome by admitting that to Kyle, but she was still surprised by the move. She recovered quickly, readjusting her body a bit so she would be at a better angle for the kiss, which had begun as a soft, beautiful but simple kiss. As the gentle pressure continued, Jamie tilted her head a bit, moving her lips against the unbelievable softness of Kyle's, who responded in kind.

Kyle's hand slipped from the back of Jamie's head to join her other hand on Jamie's back, using gentle pressure to pull Jamie's body closer to her own. The kiss never stopped as Jamie followed, Kyle gasping at the sudden pain of contact with her deep bruises. Jamie whispered an apology against Kyle's lips before she used her forearms to rest the majority of her upper body weight on, still allowing their bodies to touch and relish in the shared heat.

Soon, Kyle sucked Jamie's tongue into her mouth, pulling a soft moan from Jamie in the process as the kiss continued to deepen. After a long, breathless moment, the kiss came to a natural end, Jamie placing one final kiss to the tip of Kyle's nose before she lifted her head, looking down at Kyle with adoring eyes.

“Good night,” she whispered, her own exhaustion taking hold, as well as she could read the same in Kyle's eyes.

“Good night,” Kyle whispered, back, cupping Jamie's face to place one final, lingering kiss on her lips. She waited until Jamie got settled against her again, then wrapped them both in a cocoon of blankets and warmth. A final breath slipped from between Kyle's lips as she fell into the most peaceful sleep she'd had since waking.


Digger made sure the knot was tight so the guy couldn't get away – once he came to – but not too tight that it would cut off his circulation. As one final sign to the other boys, he tugged Big Red's own handkerchief from his pocket – which sported the biker's personal colors – and laid the material over the top of the big man's head, the ends barely reaching past his eyes.

“That way them boys will know what we got here,” he muttered to himself. This was a sign that this was revenge, and now all was even.

Mason snickered, his own query not quite so lucky. Ronnie had been beaten to a pulp between the two men: vengeance and information-getting. He was still alive but was breathing shallowly. The best he could hope for was that he was found soon. Like Big Red, Ronnie sported his own colors on his head.

“Let's get the fuck outta here, man,” Digger said, gathering their weapons and anything else they'd brought in with them.

Mason didn't have to be asked twice. They'd done what they'd come to do and gotten the information they needed. It was time to move on.


Kyle looked over the edge of the cliff, her breath catching as she saw the roar of the sea far below. The sight both frightened and exhilarated her: one false step, she'd be gone.


“Beautiful, isn't it?”


Kyle was nearly gone as the sudden voice behind her startled her nearly to the point of tumbling. She staggered backwards, turning around to see who had spoken to her as well as who was laughing boisterously at her near misadventure. It was him. She studied him, waiting for his mirth to die down, which it eventually did.


“Sorry,” he said, reaching up to stroke his grizzled chin. “So you think you're free now, huh?” he asked, crossing leather-clad arms across his chest. “You ain't,” he answered his own question, head shaking from side to side.


“How can I be free?” Kyle asked, confused though something inside told her she knew exactly what he was talking about, what he meant.


“Look inside, Kyle. You know where to go.” He studied her for a long moment, waiting for her to get it. When it was apparent she wasn't going to, he took a step towards her. “Remember this place?”


Kyle glanced over to where he indicated with a nod of his head. About twenty yards away stood a large, industrial-looking building, which she knew instantly. “The club house.”


“That's right; the club house. If he gets him there before you get to him, you lose and will forever be lost and hating yourself.”


Kyle looked at him. “Where do I start?”


Instead of answering, he reached into the inside pocket of his jacket and removed two small packs of gum, one green one red. “You like spearmint or cinnamon better?” he asked, holding both packs out to her on his palm.


“Neither. I don't like gum.”


He pulled a stick from both, unwrapping the gum and shoving it into his mouth as he began to back away. “Too bad, kid. Fresh breath is important.” With that, he gave her a big grin then turned and walked away, leaving her standing suddenly alone, back on the cliff, the sea just below.



“Big Red!” Kyle gasped as her eyes flew open, her heart pounding.

She looked around, the bedroom dark as the fire had long ago died out. Looking to her left, she saw Jamie asleep lying on her side, her back to Kyle. Suddenly it all became very clear to her and she knew she had to try.

As quietly as she could, Kyle gathered her clothing, not bothering to put it on, as waking Jamie would be the worst thing she could do. She tip toed over to the bed, laying an almost non-existent kiss to Jamie's lips, then left the room, the door clicking closed behind her.

Kyle raced down the stairs, quickly dressing in the entryway, tossing the shorts and t-shirt to a nearby chair. Her own clothing tugged on, Kyle grabbed her jacket and put it on, her gaze landing on Jamie's purse and car keys, which sat on the same table as her own keys. Chewing on her lip in a moment of indecision, she finally snagged them, whispering an apology to Jamie as she hurried out into the bitterly cold early hours of the morning.

Hopping into Jamie's Sorento, Kyle cursed herself for leaving her cell phone in her bedroom at Eva's house. She had no time to return for it, so instead backed out of the drive and shot down the street.

As she drove, she racked her brain for details of memories and clues dealing with Big Red. She now remembered he had been one of the men who had barged into Eva's house that day, as well. His house was on a hotline path of safe houses that led to the biker club house, which was essentially an armored tank. Nothing and nobody would be penetrating that place. If that was where Joel was heading, he'd be a very smart man indeed. Once he reached the club house in Wyoming , Rory would be lost to Jamie forever.

Kyle drove, her head pounding, though she didn't care. She was still physically exhausted, but her adrenaline had popped her wide awake and rearing to go to get Rory back.


As Mason drove on, his headlight slicing through the early morning ink, his mind whirled. Yes, Martha had told him that Kyle was awake and doing well, and had even been released from the hospital, he hadn't seen her. He missed her and was terribly worried. That alone is what kept him going, driving to the house of Big Red, a stop on the pipeline. Ronnie had told him and Digger that Joel was traveling short distances a night in order to avoid detection by observers or the law. Tonight, he would be stopping at Big Red's, with plans to make the final leap into Cheyenne this time tomorrow. In short, it was now or never.


Kyle blasted the radio to help keep her awake as she pushed the small SUV to its limits, praying along the way that she wouldn't get stopped by a cop. She couldn't afford that kind of trouble or hindrance right now: especially since she didn't have her license on her and was effectively in a stolen vehicle.


Joel checked the windows and doors again, Rory already asleep and tied to his bed. Only one more night of this shit then he and the boy would be long gone, forever out of that bitch's grasp. He checked outside the kitchen window once more, looking out into the darkness and missing the figure that crouched just beneath.

Deciding to get some sleep, Joel turned off all the lights in the house and grabbed the .45 Ronnie had given him, then headed to the guest bedroom he'd be using for the night.


Mason pulled the van to a stop about three houses down from Big Red's, making sure to keep the house in his sights the entire time. He was about to open the driver's side door but was stopped by a hand belonging to Digger on his arm.

“You see that?” Digger asked, using his other hand to point.

Mason followed the direction of Digger's finger with his gaze. At first he didn't see a thing, but then he saw it: a small figure scrambled to the gate in the ten-foot high security fence, crouching for a moment before scurrying inside. The figure looked to be dressed in everyday clothing: jeans and a dark-colored jacket. What caught Mason's attention – and likely that of Digger – was something bright white on the person's head.

He and Digger exchanged a look. “Who ‘n hell is that?” Digger asked.

“Let's go find out.”


Kyle held still, crouched beneath that kitchen window after she'd managed to sneak into the backyard. In this residential neighborhood – regardless of how rough it may be – going in through the back door was the only way to go. She strained her neck to look up towards the kitchen window, feeling a sense of relief as the light suddenly went out, leaving the house dark.

Staying as quiet as she could, she reached into the pocket of her jacket, bringing out her Swiss Army knife, about to search through all the various tools when suddenly a hand was pinned across her mouth and she was yanked to her feet. Fighting against the terror that rose inside her, she squirmed until she was able to turn, amazing at how easy it was. Her eyes widened when she saw Mason glaring at her.

Mason was just as stunned when he looked into the eyes of his baby sister. He removed his hand and crushed her to him, almost moved to tears, so happy to see her not only alive and awake, but on a mission to take Rory back.

“What are you doing here?” he hissed into her ear after the love rush ended.

“What do you think?” she hissed back.

Mason took her by the shoulders, looking into her tired, darkened eyes. “Don't you realize that one more hit to the head could kill you at this point?”

“So I won't get hit in the head.”

Mason smiled despite himself and took her in another hug. A moment later, Digger took her from him to join in the love fest. “You always were a pain in the ass little shit,” Digger grinned.

Kyle returned the smile, but then the seriousness of the situation filtered into her expression. “We need to get in there and get Rory out before Joel heads to the club house.”

Mason studied her, brows drawn. “How'd you know that was his plan?”

Kyle felt a chill run through her. How did she know, indeed? “Just made logical sense,” she said quietly, covering for her own confusion.

“Well, smart move. Now, let's get in there and get this kid!” Digger whispered, pushing to his feet and hurrying to the back door.


Jamie sighed in her sleep, rolling over to her side, an arm flinging out in subconscious need for contact with Kyle. Consciousness dawned as Jamie's brows drew, her hand finding only bare sheet-covered mattress. Blue eyes opened, seeing that she was alone in the bed and in the room.

“Kyle?” she called out sleepily.

Getting no response, Jamie sat up, pushing her hair away from her face. Suddenly very awake as concern struck her, she scooted off the bed, flicking the bedroom light on. She saw that Kyle's clothes were gone, which concerned her even more.

“Kyle?” she called out, pulling open the bedroom door and rushing out into the hall. Nothing. A search of the bathrooms – empty – made her stomach roil. What she found in the entryway made her nearly vomit. “Kyle,” she breathed, running back upstairs and tugging on a pair of jeans then running back downstairs to don a coat and grab her keys – which weren't there. Confusion and terror registered right before she slammed out of the house.


The house was quiet and dark – or so it seemed. Kyle stopped and stopped her brother and Digger with a raised arm. The three listened: whimpering. Kyle's heart broke as she knew in her heart that it was Rory she was hearing. Without even a glance to the other two, she hurried off deeper into the house, leaving Digger and Mason to curse silently in her wake, as it was likely Joel – and anyone else that may be in the house – would be awakened.

Kyle followed her ears and her instincts, her focus solely on Rory, somewhere inside knowing that Mason would protect her from any unseen enemy. She found herself heading down a long hallway filled with doors: some open, some closed. At the end was one of those closed doors, the whimpering behind it.


Joel sighed in his sleep, turning to his back as a loud fart sounded in the room, the sender unaware in his slumber. Mason, however was privy to it, as he'd just entered the bedroom. Gun raised, he stood by the door, unsure what to do, as he wasn't hugely keen on entering the stench. Within moments, however, he didn't have a choice as he saw that the man in the bed was beginning wake up.


Kyle pushed the bedroom door open, the darkness in the room stopping her from getting a very good visual of what she was walking into: for all she knew, it could be a trap.


“What are you doing here at nearly four-thirty in the morning?” Eva asked, a shawl wrapped tightly around narrow shoulders. One look in Jamie's face told her something was very wrong. “Come in. Do I need to make some coffee?”


Digger searched the other rooms, finding all of them empty. Deciding to go see what Mason and Kyle had found, he headed off towards the direction he'd seen Kyle go, as he had no idea if she had a gun: likely not, as she'd always hated them.


Something inside Joel screamed at him to wake up and open his eyes. He did, only to find the barrel of a gun so close he had to go cross-eyed to see it.

“Don't move, fucker,” a man's voice growled.


Kyle didn't even hear Digger come in behind her as she hurried to the bed, her eyes adjusting to the darkness in the bedroom and allowing her to see a bed – the only piece of furniture in the room – and a tiny figure tied to it. When the figure registered that someone was in the room with him, he began to whimper even louder.

Kyle's heart lurched, knowing that was Rory. “Rory, it's me, it's Kyle, sweetie. I won't hurt you.”


Eva watched from where she sat at the kitchen table as Jamie spoke with the uniformed police officer, the officer trying valiantly to follow her frightened ramble of facts and worries of the events of the past four days.


“Get up you piece of shit,” Mason growled, moving back just enough to let Joel get out of bed. He rolled his eyes when he realized the guy was naked. “Put some fuckin' clothes on!”


Somehow through Rory's haze of four-day terror, he heard Kyle's voice and realization dawned. “Kyle?” he sniffled.

“Yeah, it's me, baby.” Kyle moved in, quickly untying the 5 year old, fury rising within her with each knot, though she knew she had to keep it inside.

“I thought the bad men hurt you?” Rory said, looking at her completely confused.

“Not me, big guy.” Kyle gave him the best smile she could, even though she felt like she could vomit. “I'm a super hero!”

“You're a super hero!” Rory exclaimed, lunging himself at her once the final rope was untied. He rested his head on her shoulder, relief like nothing else filling him he was wrapped up in strong arms.

“Come on baby boy,” Kyle whispered, rocking him gently. “Let's get you to your mom.”


“I just know something is wrong!” Jamie cried, the officer swimming before her as her emotions rose to a near uncontrollable level.

“Ma'am, we're doing all that we can-“

“You don't understand!” she howled. “Kyle just woke up from a coma two days ago! There could be brain damage that was undiagnosed that is now showing itself!”

Eva got to her feet, hurrying over to Jamie. “Honey,” she said, her voice soft and soothing, an arm around Jamie's waist. “We don't know that.”


“On your knees, you piece of shit,” Mason growled, gun aimed at Joel's head. They'd moved into the living room, and the boy's father – now dressed in a pair of sweat pants – lowered himself to his knees, hands behind his head. His gaze was fixated on the barrel of the gun.

Kyle had already left the house, Rory in her arms, headed for Jamie's Sorento. Digger had stayed behind to make sure everything went okay. Kyle had already been given Mason's cell phone so she could call the police the moment she and the boy were in the small SUV.

“You're making a mistake,” Joel said, his voice shaky. “He's my son.”

Mason ignored his claim. “If you so much as drive through Jamie Johnson's neighborhood again, I'll fucking kill you. Do you understand?”

Joel nodded vigorously. “Okay, man. Never again. Never again.”

“Good boy.” Mason lowered the gun, eyeing the frightened man for a long moment before turning to head out of the house.

“Fuck you!” Joel yelled, reaching underneath the couch cushion – near where he knelt – and withdrew a .38 revolver.

“Mason!” Digger yelled, raising his own weapon and firing.

Joel hit the floor, the one shot hitting him square in the chest. After the thud of Joel's fall, a deathly quiet filled the house, both Mason and Digger staring with disbelief at the body.

“Self defense, man,” Mason whispered, his heart pounding, his entire life flashing before his eyes. He turned to his oldest friend and took him in a grateful hug. “Thank you.”

Digger said nothing, only able to stare at the body on the floor over Mason's shoulder.


Detective Hopper entered the house, not sure what he'd find, but just knowing what he'd been told by the officer who had taken the call. He was met at the front door by the kind old lady, but could already hear the shrillness of the upset of the kid's mother. It took everything inside him not to groan.

“Jamie,” Eva said, quickly moving to Jamie's side. “Detective Hopper is here.” She rubbed soothing circles on Jamie's back, trying to calm her down.

Jamie was about to open her mouth to say something when the front door was suddenly flung open, a little whirlwind making his way inside.


Everyone stopped, frozen in place as they watched Rory Johnson make a beeline through the living room and on into the kitchen, a direct target at his mother. The force of his need for her nearly knocking her backwards, even at his slight size.

Eva could only stare in shock, her eyes wide, brain trying to wrap itself around what she was seeing and hearing. The Detective was in essentially the same state.

It only took a moment for Jamie's brain to catch up with what was happening. She fell to her knees, grabbing her son and holding him to her like both their lives depended on it. Both she and Rory were crying and clinging to each other, neither noticing there wasn't a dry eye in the room.

Kyle stepped into the room, already wobbly on her feet. She watched the scene before her, deeply touched by the reunion between mother and son. That was the last thing she saw before blackness.


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