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.
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That night, as she discussed with Sophie, Olivia’s call, Parker avoided the woman’s eyes. Speaking with Olivia while undressed was so familiar to her that she tuned out everything else. The last thing she ever expected to happen was for Sophie to see her naked. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Sophie wanted more than a business relationship. That can’t happen. Especially not now - Olivia is back.
On the other hand, for Sophie, seeing Parker’s buff body only solidified the notion that she wanted to get her into her bed. She leaned into the woman next to her and allowed her breast to rest on Parker’s arm. “Hmm,” she whispered, “this is nice.”
Parker moved as close to the couch’s arm as she could - Sophie moved closer. “We’ll need to leave first thing in the morning and that means we pack tonight and get the car loaded up.”
When Parker turned her head, Sophie leaned in and kissed her. The kiss was exactly as she expected – warm wet and sensual. “Shall we move into the bedroom?” Sophie asked.
To her surprise, Parker said, “No.”
She ran her finger along Parker’s lips. “Just you and I snuggled together making love…how divine,” she cooed. “Come on, I promise you will love every minute. All we have to do is lock the door and no one will know.”
“I will,” Parker said as she stood up and moved away from the woman. “We need to get some sleep it will be a long day tomorrow.”
“It’s all the more reason why we should sleep together so we will be well rested in every way when we set out.”
“Sophie, it is my responsibility to keep you safe. In order to do that effectively, I must keep my emotions in check. Having sex with you will not make me emotionally distant; it will distract me from what I need to do to be successful. If I allow myself to go to bed with you, I will have to tell you to find someone else to protect you. Is that what you want?”
Sophie folded her arms across her chest and stuck out a lip. She let her gaze hungrily ravage Parker’s body lingering over her breasts and crotch. “What I want is to make love with you all night long.”
“That will not happen. Who knows, maybe after we get whoever is trying to kill you and get evidence on your stepmother I will take you up on it…but not tonight.”
“Fine,” Sophie said before she stomped away. Over her shoulder she said, “It’s your loss Parker.”
+ + +
Now in the car, Sophie looked out the window ruminating about why Parker refused to sleep with her. Anyone can see she still has feelings for Olivia. Well we shall see about that…when I want something I get it and Parker Davis will not be the exception. “I still don’t understand why we had to leave at this ungodly hour,” Sophie whined. “What’s the big rush? Just because Olivia says jump doesn’t mean we have to…who put her in charge anyway! What harm is there in getting there at five instead of two?” she said stifling a yawn. “After all, a girl needs her beauty sleep.”
Parker suspected that Sophie’s outburst was a result of her refusal to sleep with Sophie the night before. That doesn’t matter - all focus has to be on getting to Portsmouth safely. She looked in the rearview mirror noting that it didn’t appear that anyone was following them. “Look at you sitting there with your arms crossed pouting like a spoiled brat.” Parker countered. “How on earth did you take care of yourself all those months?”
“I took care of myself just fine thank you,” Sophie spat.
“By pitching a fit when you didn’t get your way or had to pick up and leave when you thought you were spotted?” Parker shook her head. “I sure read you wrong Sophie.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I thought you needed help…protection. Just how did you manage to stay hidden for all that time Sophie? By finding some idiot like me or Camille to hook up with until you grew tired of them.”
“Stop the car!” Sophie screamed. “Stop it right now! How dare you insinuate that I used Cammie? For god’s sake she was murdered because of me!”
Parker knew her foul mood for the last twelve hours was directly associated with the conversation she had with Olivia. Why do I let her get under my skin? She glanced over at Sophie who had tears running down her cheeks. “Listen, I’m sorry. I didn’t want to leave either.”
“Then why have we?” Sophie whispered. “I liked being at the farm…and I liked getting to know you.” She pressed two fingers against her eyes in an attempt to stave off the tears. “All the time I’ve been hiding, I never had anyone to protect me until Cammie.” She blew her nose and turned watery eyes on the driver. “I like it…being taken care of…no one ever did that before.”
“I thought your grandmother took care of you.”
“Being responsible for someone doesn’t mean you care about them,” she whispered. “I guess my grandmother loved me, but I was more of an after thought than anything else.”
“Didn’t she protect you from your father?”
“No, I was a pawn in their chess game for the queen.” She rested her head against the back of the seat and closed her eyes. “When my grandmother left me everything, it was checkmate for that gave me control over all her businesses. Essentially, I became my father’s boss.” She turned her head and watched the passing trees.
“I don’t understand. If you own everything why did you leave…who’s minding the store?”
Sophie laughed. “There are CEO’s, CFO’s and all kinds of lawyers to do that.” She shrugged. “You see, the final twist in their chess game was the codicil to the will. In her own warped way, I think grandmother wanted to tempt my dad into finding a way of getting rid of me.”
Parker frowned as she tried to digest all that Sophie said. “I can’t believe that…why would she do that?”
”She always blamed him for my mother’s death and wanted him to pay. That’s why she left it all to me. My grandmother loved to manipulate people and situations…she was a master in doing that. Even in death, she’s still has control.” Sophie wiped the tears from her cheek with her hand. “I’m tired of running…I just want this all to be over…the best thing for me to do is go back to Philly and deal with it.”
With a slight turn of the wheel, Parker guided the car to the shoulder and stopped. “Look at me Sophie.” When she refused to make eye contact, Parker placed a hand on Sophie’s cheek and gently turned her head. “No one is going to harm you in anyway.”
“How can you say that? They murdered Cammie didn’t they? It’s very likely they will do the same thing to me.”
“Not on my watch,” Parker said firmly. “They will expect you to be in Portsmouth for the funeral...they’re counting on that. That is why Olivia wants us there…she has a safe place for you to stay and we can keep an eye on whoever your stepmother sent.”
“How do you know that and why does she have to be involved.”
“Because she’s the best and right now that is what you need. Trust me, Olivia wouldn’t tell me to come there right away if she didn’t have a place for you to stay.” Parker stroked Sophie’s cheek. “I won’t let anything happen to you, I promise.”
Sophie closed her eyes and leaned into the hand. “At this point, I am too tired of running away to argue anymore.” She opened her eyes and looked at Parker. “I do trust you though.”
“Glad to hear it. Now, let’s get a move on…I don’t want to be late.”
As Parker put the car in gear and started down the highway again, Sophie said, “Late, can’t keep her waiting can we?”
“Not if we want her help.”
”That sounds like an ultimatum to me.”
“Take it anyway you want Sophie,” Parker said. “But, that is what we are doing.”
Sophie just looked at Parker who kept her eyes on the road. I wonder if she realizes how intense the issues between them are. She leaned back, yawned and closed her eyes. Will this ever end she thought before sleep overtook her.
+ + +
Sophie’s eyes opened and for a moment - she didn’t know where she was. Oh yeah, we’re on our way back to Portsmouth. She looked over and studied the driver as she remembered the night before. She felt her cheeks grow hot. I wonder if she regrets not taking me up on my offer. She reached down and pulled the lever that let the seatback rise.
Parker looked over and smiled. “Did you get a good sleep in?”
Sophie shook her head and said, “I’m hungry maybe we can stop at Good Eats and have some of Dolly’s wonderful chicken noodle soup.”
“We can’t do that.”
“Why not? Your friend Olivia said she’d taken care of that man.”
“That guy worked with someone Sophie and he might be there. If you show up in town then everyone there that you care about will be in jeopardy.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. Hey, I want to apologize for acting like a brat earlier.” A weak smile crossed her lips. “I…I just feel like I don’t have any control.”
“Do you want me to back off?”
Sophie reached over and touched Parker’s arm. “No, I want you on my side…you make me feel safe.”
Parker briefly looked at the woman next to her. “In about thirty miles or so there’s a decent place to eat.” She looked at the dashboard clock. “We are making good time and I think we both will need to stretch our legs by then.”
Sophie’s face lit up. “You know, a big juicy hamburger with greasy french-fries sounds really good to me.”
+ + +
Parker watched with amusement as Sophie finished off the last of her double cheeseburger. “Where do you put all that?” she asked with a laugh.
“Are you going to eat your pickle?”
“No, go ahead and take it.”
“I just love pickles,” she said as she snagged the pickle.
With a laugh, Parker picked up the check. “Then it’s a good thing you’re with me.”
Sophie reached across and plucked the check out of Parker’s fingers. “This one is on me.” When she saw a touch of irritation in Parker’s eyes she said, “Please let me do this for you.” She batted her eyes. “It’s the least I can do…you’ve done so much for me.”
“Ok, but you know I’m still using the money your stepmother gave me and it only seems fitting that she pay for your meal.”
“Thanks, but no thanks,” Sophie said as she fished her wallet out of her bag. “I’d just as soon not have anything to do with her.”
“I can understand that.” With a quick glance at her watch, Parker said, “I don’t want to be late so we’d better get a move on.”
Once they were back in the car and heading towards Portsmouth, Sophie took a deep breath. “I know we spoke of this earlier, but I still don’t understand what’s so important about being there at a certain time?” Her answer was a glare. “Hey, I’m sorry didn’t mean to touch a sore spot.”
Parker ground her teeth, looked at the road ahead and looked in the rearview mirror. After thirty minutes of silence she said, “I don’t want her angry with me.”
“Is she that important to you?”
Parker blew out a breath. “It’s complicated. I want her to help us and if we are late she might not.”
“We don’t need her Parker. We can just drive west and see what’s out there. I bet we can make two months pass by real quickly that way.”
“Do you honestly think that after chasing you down for ten months she will suddenly stop? The next two months will be crunch time for her…going west will not stop her,” she said. “You don’t know it yet Sophie, but we will need Olivia if we are to stop your stepmother’s plans.”
“I bet you are just good as she is.”
Parker looked over at her passenger. “No, I ’m not Sophie…I don’t have the stomach for what she can do or her resources.”
+ + +
Parker guided her car through the streets of Portsmouth to the place she once worked. She pulled the vehicle into a spot directly opposite the building. “We’re here,” she said. “Nothing seems to have changed since I was here last.” She pointed to a window. “See that window up there on the third floor? O and I used to work there.”
Sophie heard the fondness in her companion’s voice when she spoke of the past. “You miss it don’t you?”
Brown eyes captured blue. “Sometimes, but…everything just went bad. It’s kind of hard to think of the good times and not be reminded of the bad.” She held up her cell. “I guess I better call. O will be surprised that I’m here early.” She dialed Olivia’s private number and frowned when she got voice mail. “That’s strange she said she always answers that number.” She dialed 555-7282 and when she heard ‘hello’ she said, “Dr. West this is Parker Davis. Olivia told me to call you if I couldn’t reach her…she said to say mysteries of the universe.”
Amelia smiled at the code. Another of Olivia’s quirks. “Hello Ms. Davis, you made good time, Olivia didn’t expect your arrival for at least another hour or so.”
“Sorry,” she said feeling stupid. “Olivia is such a stickler for promptness and I arrive early.” Shit! All I need is to piss her off because I’m early. “Should I wait until she can speak with me?”
Amelia felt her face contort in surprise as her lips tugged into a smile. “I hardly think the fact that you made good time warrants you having to wait.” Amelia chuckled then added, “I see you know Olivia pretty well?”
“Ah, yeah I guess I do.” Damn, I hate not knowing the person I’m dealing with. “Are you the one I need to speak to about what we should do next?’
The tentative question made Amelia smile even more. Hmm maybe she’s afraid of Olivia…she can have that effect on people. “Yes, I can deal with the next stage of the journey. Is the car you’re driving a rental?”
“No, why?” She looked towards Sophie who raised her eyebrows and smiled before mouthing, what’s going on? Parker shook her head and held up one finger. “I’m getting directions,” she whispered holding her hand over the mouthpiece.
Amelia frowned, “I hope you’re not very fond of it. Olivia wants you to leave it in a no parking zone and wait near the inside entrance of the library across the street from the precinct.”
She glanced down the street and saw the library. “Sure, no problem the car is a junker that I picked up a week ago under an assumed name…no loss to me. Will we meet you in the library then?”
“Yes, I’ve been given your descriptions by Olivia.” Quickly checking the time, Amelia continued. “I’ll be there in twenty minutes tops.”
“Ok, can you make that thirty minutes, I need to wipe the car down.”
Amelia laughed, “I was supposed to remind you of that if you hadn’t mentioned it. I’ll see you and Ms. Durant shortly, goodbye Ms. Davis.”
Parker felt her blood pressure rise. Does she think I am stupid! Of course, I know not to leave any traces behind. She ended the call and turned to Sophie. “We need to go to the bus station and stow our bags in a locker then move the car and make sure that we leave nothing behind that could lead to either of us.”
“Then what,” Sophie asked as she took the plastic gloves that Parker handed her.
“We go to the library.” She rummaged through a bag in the back seat and pulled out her blonde wig. “Put this on and wear your sunglasses…we can’t take any chances.”
+ + +
The call Amelia received from the Davis woman was earlier than Olivia expected. When Amelia asked about the timing of their arrival, Olivia sarcastically called Parker a tortoise on wheels. You were wrong Olivia. I’d call her more like a race driver. She turned her head and glanced at the half open door of the room where Olivia was soundly sleeping. I half expected you to wake up when I was speaking. I knew you were tired, but I think it is more like total exhaustion. Well, I have it covered now and when you get up, they’ll be here. Selecting the keys for her vehicle, she headed for the car and the library.
Twenty-five minutes later, having found parking almost impossible, Amelia entered the library and glanced around for the two women. When she saw them, she almost burst out laughing at their absurd garb.
With amusement brimming from her eyes, she headed to the two women sitting on a bench trying to appear nonchalant. In those get ups, I bet they receive interesting stares. Seconds later, she stood in front of them. “Hi, do you have the time please?”
Parker couldn’t believe her eyes when she looked up at the woman who asked the time. She attempted to speak, but words would not find their way out of her mouth. I can’t believe it, I know her! Crap, I hope she isn’t the person we are to meet.
“It’s one twenty-five,” Sophie offered.
Amelia smiled. “Thanks. I said I’d meet some friends here in thirty minutes and I’m five minutes early. You couldn’t point me in the direction of the bathroom could you?”
All Parker could do was stare. What’s wrong with me? Snap out of it! “Hmm, yes, I believe it’s down that way,” she said pointing towards the center of the library. “Actually we were going that way, why don’t I show you?”
As she smiled her gratitude, Amelia had a distinct impression she’d seen the woman before. It’s the eyes – hmm, I don’t remember ever meeting anyone by either of their names before. As they walked at a steady pace towards the bathroom, Amelia searched the area for any evidence that anyone was following them – she saw none.
“I’ve been watching everyone since we arrived and I don’t see any threat,” the taller of the two women whispered before she opened the bathroom door.
Once inside, Amelia watched as the taller one checked for any evidence that anyone else was inside - there wasn’t.
“It’s safe,” Parker said before extending her hand. “I’m Parker Davis and this is Sophie Durant.”
Unable to suppress the laughter anymore, Amelia giggled as she shook each of the woman’s hands. “I figured you were Ms. Davis.” She smiled thinly. “When we entered the bathroom, you reminded me of Olivia.”
With her eyebrows creased, Parker cocked her head. “I do?” She shrugged. “Never saw the resemblance.”
Sophie irritated by the woman’s laugh asked, “Exactly what is so funny?”
“Actually it isn’t the resemblance. Hell would have to freeze over before Olivia would look like the two ugly sisters.” She looked at Parker. ”It’s the way you checked out the room - she does it everywhere we go. I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself properly, I’m Doctor West…Amelia West.” Amelia grinned as she shook her head at the disguises again.
“I hope you don’t take exception to our apparel my dear Dr. West. I’ll have you know that some of the finest designers of our time made them.” Parker grinned and waved her hand down her body then did the same to Sophie. “As you can see, we are dressed for a night of partying.
“Yeah, and I am the blonde bombshell of the pair,” Sophie offered.
Those eyes again they are so familiar. Amelia giggled at the repartee from the one called Parker Davis. Sophie Durant was a little drier, but who wouldn’t be in her position. “I’m afraid all I can offer you are three square meals a day and a bed. The partying is more Olivia’s forte.”
Parker laughed. “Your offer is exactly what I am looking for Dr. West.” She felt Sophie touch her arm. “My friend Sophie is more the party type.”
Sophie slapped Parker’s arm. “I am not.” Then she chuckled. “Well if the company is right…”
Amelia saw the interaction and mentally noted their body language towards each other. “I’ll let Olivia show you the sites…you can ask her anyway. We need to go now. My car is parked in the furthest part of the lot so I’m afraid so we have a fair walk.”
Just then, the bathroom door opened and Parker instinctively put herself between the door and the two women. When an elderly woman walked in, she relaxed her stance. “No problem with a long walk,” she said. “We need to get Sophie out of the public view,” she whispered as she held the door open.
As they walked rapidly towards her car, Amelia glanced again at the disguises. “If I were you I’d removed the …” she pointed to the extra clothing. “I’m sure you wouldn’t want Olivia seeing you like that,” she said quietly so that only Parker could hear.
For a moment, Parker felt taken aback by the off handed comment. Does she know about our history? She looked at Sophie who was walking ahead of her. I guess we do look rather ridiculous, but it was all I could come up with at the last minute. “Dr. West, we left our bags in a locker at the bus station. We can change into our regular clothes there.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea right now. Either Olivia or I will collect your belongings later.” She looked at the two again and smiled before shook her head. “Never mind, Olivia could do with some light relief when she sees you.” Once she opened her vehicle, she motioned for them to get in. “Let’s go home shall we.”
A buzzing noise woke Olivia out of her dreamless sleep. Disorientated, she looked around to verify that she was actually in her own home - she was. Why didn’t I go to bed?
In a slow fluid movement, she raised herself from the sofa and flexed her back cautiously. The sharp pain in her shoulder had diminished to a dull thud. In its place, was tightness from five stitches that she received the previous day. I can live with that. Just as well, I’m a quick healer.
Must be Amelia, I wonder how long I’ve slept? Doesn’t matter I feel a hundred times better than I did. Olivia glanced at her attire of shorts and a cropped Navy t-shirt. Amelia insisted I chill for a few hours and I did that. As her eye caught the time, she gaped in amazement it was almost two. Lunch…she’s probably gone out for lunch. Then she reached for her cell frowning as she saw the reference to a missed call. It was Parker’s number. Crap now she’s going to crow that I don’t answer my damn phone.
What she hadn’t expected when she approached Amelia’s car, was two other figures in the vehicle. Goddamn it, who are they? Her eyes took in the ridiculous clothing and accessories that she was sure were a throw back to the sixties. Oh no, that trip to the convent brought out her old habit of helping the down and outs. This is probably her way of atonement. Well, I promised no girlfriends so she can promise no charity cases in our home.
Amelia stepped out of the vehicle. “Hi there, good you’re awake. Did you sleep ok? How’s the shoulder?”
Olivia frowned slightly. More to the point, who are your new friends? “I’m good, you should have woken me,” she replied levelly.
“I guess I should have.” She walked around the vehicle and stood within a foot of Olivia. A soft sigh of appreciation passed her lips as she felt her friend’s strong aura envelope her. Good, she looks back to normal. Then she captured Olivia’s eyes. “You needed the rest. I figured I could handle this.” She motioned for the two women in the car to get out.
“Handle what?” Olivia tore her eyes from Amelia and scrutinized the women exiting the car. Her eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets as she realized who they were. “Oh my god I don’t believe it - Parker!” Her hands waved over the outfits. “What the hell is all this about?”
Parker was in a state of disbelief for a completely different reason. On the journey to the safe house, she’d asked Amelia about the place they were going.
“Oh you’ll be fine it’s the safest place in this town and probably the state. I should know since I live there.” Amelia grinned as she negotiated the turn towards the building.
Parker frowned. So, she’s the Amelia I heard Olivia arguing with. I knew that Olivia lived with someone...but this woman. Hmm, I need to find out more. “You’re allowing us to move into your place? Did Olivia mention that we’re in trouble?” When she saw the car drive up to the building she knew was Olivia’s, she smiled. Exactly where I hoped she’d put us.
Amelia replied casually, “Of course.” She pressed the button on her dashboard that would de-activate the security in the building and allow them entrance.
Parker glanced at Sophie who gave a bemused expression at the turn of events. I wouldn’t want to put up strangers in my home…especially fugitives. Sophie casually asked, “Do you live alone? I guess with all this security this can’t be a safe area.”
This time Amelia laughed as the doors began to open, “It’s a great neighborhood, very friendly. My partner is a security guru…you’ll see and understand shortly.”
Parker couldn’t believe that Olivia was standing there. She said partner. Is Amelia Olivia’s partner as in partner? The reference to their dress made her grind her teeth in irritation. She turned to Amelia and asked, “If someone asked you to describe either Sophie or myself what would you say?”
Amelia gave her a strange thoughtful glance as she considered the question. A rather odd question really,hmm what do I think. “I would say…that on reflection…”
“Amelia for god’s sake stop beating about the bush, they look like a pair of clowns. Where on earth did you learn to dress like that Parker? That look went out with the sixties,” Olivia snapped. I can’t believe Amelia went out and got them without telling me. Apparently, she didn’t understand how dangerous this is when I explained the case.
Parker shook her head at the rejoinder. “Amelia, will you shut your eyes please.”
Amelia shook her head in amusement. I’m not getting into a spat between those two. “Look, I could do with some refreshment and I’m sure Sophie could too.” Amelia smiled at the silent woman then back to the belligerent attitude of Parker. “Ok, ok. If this is a game between you two, let’s get it over with shall we. I’ve shut my eyes…now what?”
Parker smiled her satisfaction then reached out and touched Amelia’s arm. “What color are Sophie’s eyes? Is her face round, thin, fat, pock marked or smooth? How tall am I?”
Olivia initially watched the exchange with boredom then, when Parker touched Amelia, she felt her hackles rise. You are not going there Parker so don’t even try!
Amelia pulled out every damn file she had on memory of the two women and for the life of her couldn’t actually recall their real features. “I think you’re both around…my height, average kind of build that kind of thing?” She opened her eyes and smiled. “Ah, I see. I get the message, but it wasn’t me who said anything about your attire.”
Parker laughed. “Remember your old motto Olivia? Dress so they don’t recognize your face.”
A scowl replaced the bored expression on Olivia’s face as she tightly replied, “We all use our skills as we see fit and that was never my motto. You made good time…what happened, did you finally find a decent car that allowed you to drive the speed limit,” she said sarcastically.
Amelia watched the stand off. Oh, she’s mad now that’s interesting.The Davis woman is the first person other than me that actually gets under Olivia’s skin. Hmm, I wonder what the story is between them. Then again, do I really want to know - yes, I do.
In an effort to calm herself, Parker drew in a deep breath and looked at Amelia. “I thought I heard something about refreshments.” Then she turned her attention towards Olivia. “I won’t speak of your habits if you don’t speak of mine."
Amelia grinned and turned to Sophie. “Would you like to freshen up Sophie? We can leave these two to argue about goodness knows what. I’m sure I have something else for you to wear.” When she saw Sophie smile she added, “Then maybe we can all settled down and relax for a minute.”
Olivia totally ignored the comment and retorted tightly, “I’ve got work to do.” She turned on her heel towards the center console and sat.
This is really too much to take in, Sophie thought. I see that the animosity between Parker and Olivia is still the same. I do like Amelia though. “Yeah, thanks I’d like that.” As they walked away, Sophie said, “You really don’t like this get-up do you?” Both women laughed and went into Amelia’s room.
Standing alone, Parker watched Olivia at what she assumed was the hub of the building’s security. It was clear to her that Olivia didn’t want her there. All the words that had gone unspoken over the last ten years screamed for release. What I wouldn’t give to see that look you saved just for me in your eyes again. She closed her eyes and sucked in a breath. I’m crazy for allowing these feeling to surface again. She looked at the woman hunched over a keyboard again. For the umpteenth time I’ll let you go O … I can do that. Sure I can…yeah right. She heard Amelia and Sophie laughing and smiled as she turned away from Olivia and went to join them.
+ + +
After a delicious meal, Amelia, Parker and Sophie sat on a comfortable couch listening to relaxing music. From Amelia’s point of view, the meal progressed remarkably cordially after Olivia decided to be pleasant towards their guests. It’s only because I goaded her into it while we made dinner together. She looked in Parker’s direction and saw her casting a glance in the direction of the closed door. They’re all the same. “Hey Parker, why don’t you go ask Olivia if she wants to join us for coffee. I’m sure she’s checking on her mail or something like that.
I’m not sure I want her to join us. I don’t know if I’m up for another sparring match. She looked at Amelia and smiled. “You have great taste in music Amelia. What piece is this? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it before.”
Music was one of Olivia’s favorite leisure activities and one that they shared. One of the few things we do have in common. “It’s wonderful isn’t it? Rachmaninov’s-piano concerto number two. Actually, both Olivia and I love it…she bought it for me one Saturday at a classical music fair about a year ago.” As she recalled the memory, a wistful expression crossed her face.
“Will you two excuse me,” Sophie remarked. She rolled her eyes and shook her head at Parker’s unsubtle flattery. “I need to use the bathroom.”
Parker carelessly threw back, “Don’t be long,” before turning back to Amelia. The woman’s fond words about Olivia made her feel a bit of jealousy. I’m not sure which one I’m jealous of…O or Amelia. “Are you and Olivia partners in every sense of the word?” she blurted out.
“Well yes, I guess we are. We are business partners and we live together and share the daily stuff around the place except for the security…that’s all Olivia’s.” Amelia answered innocently. She was unaware of the meaning behind every sense of the word. “Would you believe that I’ve even taught her how to cook the odd dish?”
All Parker could do was smile at the woman’s apparent naiveté. “The Olivia I knew never entered a kitchen unless it was to have a meal.” She eyed Amelia. “Do you find it hard to work together and live together at the same time? I know it was hard for me and my partner to do that.”
Sophie stood at the edge of the room listening to Parker’s pitiful attempts to find out if Olivia and Amelia were lovers. I’m not even annoyed with her. The way those two look at each other, Parker hasn’t a cat in hell’s chance of coming between them. She coughed and when they both looked at her, she said, “I think Parker wants to know if you and Olivia are lovers.”
It was a like a punch to the stomach on a raw wound. Amelia realized that the association she had of partner was in total contrast to what the other women did. Is that what they think? Olivia and I are sleeping together as well as…oh no I’m an idiot of course that’s what most people think who know Olivia. Dumb, dumb and even dumber. With cheeks flaming, she stood up and walked unsteadily towards the door. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom. Please make yourself at home.” She fled before anyone else could comment.
From her vantage point at her console, Olivia heard the distinctive rat, tat, tat on the floor of Amelia’s gait. “Hey, everything ok?”
Amelia’s response was a shake of her head as she made her way to her room and slammed the door.
Olivia’s temper flared as she stood up and roared into the room where the visitors were. “So help me Parker if you’ve hurt her in any way you’re dead!” she growled.
Both Parker and Sophie looked up saw an enraged Olivia. “Oops,” gulped Sophie.
“Oops?” Olivia scowled. “Is that all the goddamn you have to say? Fuck you Parker! I don’t know why I ever thought I wanted to help you.”
“I need to see Amelia,” Parker said through gritted teeth. She refused to allow Olivia to provoke her into a senseless argument.
Olivia glared at her old lover. Just who does she think she is, demanding like that? “You think I’m going to allow you within a foot of her unsupervised! Think again.”
Sophie moved slightly to shield Parker fearing Olivia would become violent. “It wasn’t her fault. I misinterpreted something and my question upset her…I’m sorry.”
Parker ignored Sophie as she gently moved her out of the way and took a predatory stance before piercing Olivia with her eyes. “Get over yourself Olivia! For once in your life, let someone else take the lead. That attitude along with your out of control temper is what got you in trouble ten years ago!” she spat. “I want to see Amelia and I will! Either you tell me where she is or I will start opening doors till I find her!”
Sophie’s eyes bugged out. In the short time she’d known Parker, she never heard her raise her voice or get angry. “Hey,” she said touching Parker. “We can work this out without coming to blows can’t we?”
For Olivia, the unexpected body blow from Parker’s words reminded her of their acrimonious past. It didn’t ignite the fire of her temper, but deflated it totally. Her body sagged against the wall just as if someone had physically hit her. Who am I to dictate to Parker? These women require my skills not my emotions. “She’s in her room….”
Sophie watched Parker leave abruptly then her eyes turned to the woman she considered both scary and dangerous. Now, she saw her in a different light. She’s just like everyone else…she’s unable to stop the steamroller of her inner emotional needs. The revelation didn’t change her opinion - I still don’t like her. “I’m sure it’s going to be ok,” she said with a slight shrug. That was dumb! From the way Olivia backed down, I’d guess Parker hit a raw nerve and I come up with it’s going to be ok. She inwardly shook her head while fixing her eyes on Olivia. For a split second, she saw a bleak expression crossed Olivia’s features.
Olivia’s cold and unfeeling response was in total contrast to her facial appearance. “I need to know everything, and I mean everything, you know about your stepmother. I want to know her habits, routines and anything else about her. Go back as far as you can remember and include your stepbrother too.” Her jaw set as she sank into her favorite armchair. Two can play at their games. “Also, tell me about your father. Is he involved too?”
Sophie, with a wide unbelieving expression, felt her body automatically fall back onto the sofa. I see she’s back to scary mode. With a deep sigh, she haltingly began to dredge up old, unwanted memories of the woman who wanted her dead. “To my knowledge my father is not involved…but I wouldn’t put it past him. It all started when my mother died…”
+ + +
Parker made her way towards Amelia’s room. She knocked lightly. “Amelia, it’s Parker, may I come in?”
There was silence from the room.
“Please Amelia, we need to talk.” When she still received no reply, she put her hand on the knob, opened the door and went in. Amelia was lying on her bed with her face hidden by a pillow. Parker crouched beside the bed and softly said, “Hey, I’m sorry.”
“Didn’t your parents bring you up to understand another’s personal space?” Amelia said through the pillow. “Go away please.”
“I won’t leave until you speak with me Amelia.” She reached over and gently pulled the pillow away. Empathy filled Parker’s heart when she saw the tearstained cheeks. “I once was on the police force and when we were searching for clues I would be single minded in the pursuit. My partner would always tell me that if I concentrated on the miniscule I would overlook the obvious.”
Amelia’s curiosity got the better of her as she responded to the softly spoken words. “Have you found something obvious you’ve overlooked?”
“Not me Amelia, you and Olivia.” She gently touched the woman’s cheek and wiped a tear away. “I was in disguise when you gave me a cantaloupe you chose for yourself. At the time, I thought you were one of the kindest people I ever met. I wished that I had more time to spend with you. You seemed like an angel to me.”
A spark of remembrance ran in Amelia’s consciousness. That’s where I’ve seen her before. A weak smiled played on her lips. “Oh, that’s why you looked so familiar to me. I saw through your disguise you know. In fact, I mentioned you to Olivia. Funny really, because I called you a friend and I hardly spoke more than a sentence or two with you.”
Parker grinned. “You saw through the disguise, but you didn’t see me, did you?”
“I saw into your heart and that was enough for me Parker. We each follow a path and ways, which define the people we instinctively know as good.”
Parker could see Amelia’s innocent appreciation of humanity reflecting in her eyes. With a nod, Parker acknowledged the compliment. “Not too many people bother to see another in that light Amelia.” She reached out and took the woman’s hand. “I’ve been around you and Olivia for what,” she looked at her watch. “About three hours and the obvious thing that I see is a deep loving relationship. Naturally, I thought that you and Olivia were partners in life as you are in business. I’m sorry if that upset you…I upset you. I never intended that to happen.”
Amelia graciously accepted the apology. “I should have known that people might think that, but you see, up until yesterday, I didn’t even know Olivia was …well. I won’t say that you’re wrong about me loving her because you’re not. You need to understand how I see this relationship.”
Amelia drew in a deep breath before staring off into the distance. “Sometimes it feels like I’ve known Olivia forever. The fact is we met a little over two years ago when I was a nun.”
A nun…did she leave the convent because of Olivia? Parker kept her eyes steady and her emotions in check. “Go on,” she said quietly.
“To cut a rather long and terrible story short, my life was turned upside down, although I was going through an inner turmoil anyway. People I trusted…we both trusted, betrayed us, and people we loved and respected died. With the aftermath, all we both knew was that together we could face the world and all its problems. Alone, I doubt either of us would have been much of a survivalist. Of course I love her, she’s the most stable part of my life and I think I am for her too.” She shrugged. “I doubt she’d admit that openly.” Amelia gave a tight smile and looked over to Parker who appeared to be lost in her own memories.
“That partner I spoke of used to tell me that by taking chances we experience the best life has to offer.” Parker paused as she pondered the wisdom of admitting who the partner was. That will serve no purpose. “Are you afraid to admit your love to Olivia?”
Amelia laughed softly. “I still don’t think you understand Parker. What we share is far more complex than physical love. It goes beyond that. What should I call it? Hmm, let me see now…an eternal need. Yet, it’s as simple as adding one and one together - we make the perfect pair.”
Parker listened to the heartfelt words and wanted to cry. Instead, she took a cleansing breath and said, “Being in love encompasses more than a physical desire, but at the same time it is though touching that we convey our deepest feelings for another.” She paused to collect the raw emotions that threatened to engulf her. “I think it was Helen Keller that said something like…if you stay in the shadows you will never see the sun. Come out of the shadows Amelia and let the love you feel for Olivia shine on your face. Don’t wait…opportunity can slip through your fingers and then it is lost forever.”
“Perhaps you’re right.” The comment took Amelia so off-guard that she tried to divert the conversation away from herself. “Has that happened to you?”
Parker refused to let the discussion turn in her direction. “Are you afraid of the way Olivia makes your body feel?” As the brown eyes met, she held them. I won’t let you off the hook that easily. “It is a strange sensation isn’t it…when you are so overtaken by her presence that you think you’ll never breathe again.”
I can’t allow her ideas to influence the way I live my life and my upbringing in the church. What Olivia and I share has to be enough for us both. “Both Olivia and I have issues from the past to deal with. Until we do well...” She spread her hands out in a resigned gesture. “Take you and Olivia for instance.”
With a shake of her head Parker laughed. “Is our acrimonious relationship that obvious?”
“To me yes. Do you know the name of our Agency?” Amelia chuckled changing the sensitive subject matter.
“Yeah, I do. WHMH, right?”
Amelia nodded. “Ah, but do you know what the initials mean?”
Parker grinned. “Nope, but I bet you’re going to tell me.”
With a smug expression on her face, Amelia replied, “When Hell Meets Heaven. Kinda fitting don’t you think.” She smiled. “Thank you.”
“Caring enough to make sure I was ok…and for the apology.”
“Like I said earlier, I wished we had more time to get to know each other.” She tipped her head to the side. “Perhaps after this is all over…who knows what the future holds.”
Out of her element, Amelia said, “We’d better go join the others before Olivia takes it into her head that I need saving.”
This time Parker laughed as they headed for the door. “All I need is for her to think I’m invading her territory.”
“I won’t tell you how long the last person was in hospital the last time she tried to save my honor.” Amelia chuckled alongside Parker as they left Amelia’s room.
With a pang of jealousy tugging at her heart, Parker thought, I wonder if Olivia knows just how lucky she is to have Amelia’s love…bet she doesn’t have a clue. Take a note out of your own book O and stop overlooking the obvious?
They entered the room hand in hand. With a twinkle in her eye, Parker said, “Don’t worry Mom. We kissed and made up.”
+ + +
Amelia silently watched Olivia at the console - it was one in the morning. From her vantage point, she considered her options. I could breeze by and say goodnight as I usually do, or I could say nothing and go to bed. She was so reticent when Parker and I returned. I’m not even sure she wants to speak with any of us, except maybe Sophie. They looked tight when we returned. That thought created a pang in her chest. Am I losing you Olivia? What’s happened to us lately? You haven’t changed…but I have on my views on life and… us. Parker is right. You do make me feel things that I’ve never felt before. Does everything always have to be about sex?
“You’ll bore a hole in my back if you don’t shift your gaze…unless that’s the intention.” Olivia swung her chair around and gazed in Amelia’s direction with an unreadable expression.
With a gentle smile, Amelia shrugged. “I’d never intend that,” she replied softly. She walked over to within a foot of Olivia. “How’s the shoulder?”
“It’s tightening up a little,” Olivia grudgingly admitted. “I think the doctor needs to hone his skills with the needle.”
Tilting her head to one side, Amelia gave her a serious look. “Want me to take a look at it? I might not be adept with the needle, but I can probably see if the stitches are getting infected?”
Under any other circumstance, Olivia would have gratefully accepted the offer, but she didn’t want the others to misconstrue the situation. “I’ll manage. Hey, it’s late and you need to get some sleep.”
“What about you getting some sleep too?” Amelia smiled warmly at the concern she heard in Olivia’s voice.
Olivia removed her eyes from Amelia and glanced back at the console. Several messages from DOCO needed her immediate attention regarding O’Donnell. “I’ll go to bed as soon as I’ve dealt with the mail…and before you say it, I promise.”
“Olivia about today…about Parker…”
A hand in the air silenced the rest of the words. “It’s not my business Amelia. I tend to forget you can handle most things.”
There was a heavy silence between them as Amelia contemplated the bleakness of the words in her heart. “Most things yes, though not every thing. I’ve still got you on my side for those times, right?”
Olivia felt her throat go dry, as she wanted to shout, until the end of time, but instead avoided looking directly at Amelia. She said, “Sure, until you find someone else more suitable.” She felt her heart breaking with the realization of the truth of her words. One day there will be someone for Amelia and it won’t be the likes of me. Even Parker is better suited for you Amelia and that’s saying a lot. There are times even now when I hate Parker as much as I once loved her…talk about irony.
Amelia pursed her lips. There will be a time when we’ll have to talk seriously about what each of us want. It’s too late and this is an inappropriate time.I wish Parker and Sophie weren’t here. I’d make you listen to me Olivia and understand, because I think you’re the only one who ever will truly understand me. “Goodnight Olivia.” She gently placed a hand on the uninjured shoulder and squeezed. “Don’t stay up too long, ok.”
The touch, which felt like it scalded her skin, had Olivia almost jump out of her seat. She unsteadily whispered, “I won’t. Goodnight Amelia, pleasant dreams.”
The rat-tat tat of Amelia’s steps taking her across the floor to her bedroom allowed Olivia to pick up her scrambled nerves and concentrate once again on the information on the screen. Damn, you get under my skin Amelia. Thank god, you don’t realize that or I’d lose you too and then I’d be lost forever.
To be continued
to the Academy