~ Echoes of the Past ~
J. M. Dragon & E. O'Reilly
Part 8
© 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 20

Sophie was the first to wake and quietly made her way to the kitchen to make coffee. She noticed a newspaper lying on the console in the other room and took it with her. While the coffee brewed, she looked at the front page. Funeral for Slaying Victim Tomorrow. Her hand went to her mouth as she gasped at Camille’s face smiling up at her. “Oh, Cammie,” she sobbed.

“Hey,” a soothing voice said. “What’s the matter?”

Turning around, she saw Parker and collapsed against her chest. The taller woman’s eyes looked over Sophie’s shoulder and read the headline.

“I have to go to say goodbye,” she sobbed.

“I don’t think it is wise for you to go to the funeral.”

A petulant expression overtook the anguished one. She lifted her head to pierce Parker with a glare. “I’m going and you can’t stop me! Don’t you think they’ve taken enough of my life already?”

“And, how do I protect you Sophie? Even with Olivia’s help, we can’t cover all the areas that we’d need to keep you safe.” When she saw Sophie’s jaw set she added, “All it would it take is someone with a long distance rifle on a roof or in a window. Your life would be over just like that.” She snapped her fingers to emphasize the point. “If you’re out in the open, it will be impossible to stop.”

“Have you ever considered that I already think my life is over? Living like this for all these months has taken its toll. I’m tired of it Parker. Tired of running away and not facing up to that witch,” Sophie said bitterly.

Parker embraced Sophie and gently rubbed her back. “Shh, we’re going to get through this,” she whispered. “Remember, I promised to keep you safe.”

Olivia entered the building in stealth mode via the side entrance. She adopted doing that to accommodate Amelia’s sleeping pattern, which was much longer than hers was. Each morning at six am, she’d be off either to work or taking a run - today she ran. The exercise helped release built up tension and she had plenty in her life. While she took off her running shoes, she heard voices and listened just as any good private detective would. Then she quietly made her way to the kitchen.

The strong hands that held Sophie made her feel better, but for quite different reasons than the one Parker offered. With an unsteady breath, she replied, “Yes, you promised, but what about my promise to Cammie…or the one about not having anyone else getting hurt. I’m going Parker and neither you nor the Latina Amazon is going to stop me.”

Parker couldn’t believe her ears as she stepped back and held Sophie at arms length. “ Latina Amazon? Where did you come up with that?” She felt anger well up. “I’ll have you know that you’re damn lucky to have Olivia on your side.” She leveled her eyes at the woman. “I can’t believe you said that.”

“I don’t care what you think right now Parker; you’re too damned wrapped up in your own stupid life. Besides, you’re only doing this for the money, which means you work for me so you’ll do as I say.” Sophie interjected unhappily.

Olivia was incensed. The comment about her stature and ethnicity, which she had to admit, was a new one, along with the tone of the spoiled brat’s voice, had her hackles rising. “Lady, you’ll do what Parker tells you or you can leave this place, right now and to hell with you! Believe me…hell is exactly where you’ll end up within twenty-four hours.”

Dumbfounded, Parker shook her head twice. What’s going on here…why is O defending me? “Sophie, is that what you want?”

Sophie was at a loss for words as she faced the angry woman who had surreptitiously entered their conversation. How dare she listen in on a private conversation? Damn sneak. With a deep breath, she looked at Parker and said, “Please, let me go to the funeral. The last thing I can do for Cammie is to pay my respects.” Then she glared at Olivia and said, “If it was her funeral,” she hooked her thumb in Olivia’s direction, “you’d want to do the same regardless of the danger, wouldn’t you?”

She has me there. Parker’s eyes softened, as she looked first at Sophie then towards Olivia. “I would be at her funeral come hell or high water…nothing would keep me away,” she replied quietly.

Amelia heard the raised voices and ventured out of bed as she sighed heavily. This wasn’t a good move… Olivia allowed business to enter the privacy of our home and now it’s become a battlefield. She pulled on her dressing gown and made her way to where the three others were. It looked like a stand-off, but experience told her that Olivia wasn’t happy. “Hey guys, good morning. Is anyone in need of a caffeine fix?”

Parker’s face lit up with the arrival of Olivia’s partner. “Good morning. I’d love a cup. I think Sophie already has a pot going.”

Sophie, thankful that Amelia had eased the tension, seized the opportunity. “Yes it’s on the boil I’ll fetch it if you like.”

Amelia slowly walked towards Olivia and stood close enough so that their hips almost touched. With a twinkle in her eye, she whispered, “Good morning, did you run off all that built up tension this morning?” With a teasing smile, she walked towards Sophie who was trying to peel away from the quartet. “I’ll help you Sophie.”

Parker took the opportunity to approach Olivia. “I think we need to come up with a coherent plan. Do you think it would be too risky to use Sophie as bait to find the killer?”

Olivia still watching Amelia, felt her anger abate somewhat. She let Parker’s question whirl around in her head before saying, “Everything to do with this case is risky Parker. I need you to look at the information I’ve received from some of my contacts. We’ll build a strategy for the funeral after that.”

Not prepared for the jolt she felt, Parker reached out and lightly touched Olivia’s hand. “Sounds like a plan and I have to admit I would love to know more about your gadgets.” She shrugged and added, “Just how do I get my hands on some of them?”

Olivia looked down at the hand on hers and a fleeting memory of how her body was set aflame with passion when Parker touched her struggled for acknowledgment. I wonder if I allowed myself to let go would the spark reignite. I‘ve buried it and it will take a giant excavator to find. What about my feelings for Amelia? She mentally shook her head. I’m not going there, too much pain and heartache for us both. “You can see, but can’t touch. There are some toys in life that you can’t buy with currency,” she replied cryptically.

As they entered the area of the console and Olivia’s ‘toys’, Parker let out a genuine laugh. “You always did know how to pique my interest didn’t you. Look, but don’t touch, sounds like a challenge to me.”

Olivia gave Parker a hard stare. “Some challenges can be deadly Parker. We need to formulate that plan,” she retorted heading for the stairs. As she walked towards her equipment, she thought about some of the items that were still in the prototype stage. The only reason I have them is that DOCO makes them available to me as payment for any task that they want me involved in. Usually means the equipment is associated with death. Something Parker wouldn’t and shouldn’t understand.

“Wow, I can’t believe all this,” Parker said with wide eyes. She looked at Olivia and creased her brow. “How did you get all this stuff,” she asked. “Are you sure I can’t touch…I’d love to see how that one feels in my grip.”

Olivia watched the genuine fascination in Parker’s eyes. I remember when I had that kind of appreciation in my eyes . Damn, that feels like a century ago. “I’ll let you loose on some of this stuff after we plan out what to do tomorrow. Right now, we need your planning mind focused on what to do, ok?”

Parker stopped and waited until Olivia turned to her. “Olivia, I want you to know how much it means to me…I mean you’re helping me out.” She bit her lower lip. “Sometimes it feels like old times, but I know it is a moment I can’t get back.” She blew out a breath, pursed her lips and shrugged. “I guess we better get started on making a plan.”

+ + +

Amelia and Sophie arrived downstairs with the coffee and several slices of toast. As Sophie went to the dining room with the heavily laden tray, Amelia approached the console and the two women.

Unconsciously, Amelia placed a gentle hand on Olivia’s forearm and smiled into the eyes that turned to meet hers. “I think you and Parker need to eat breakfast and definitely have that caffeine fix." When she received a curious look, she added, "I know you do." She raised her eyebrows fixing them on Olivia expecting her usual negative reply, but there wasn’t one. "Right?”

As Olivia looked at Amelia, Parker’s words kept echoing in her head. It is a moment I can’t get back, played like a broken record. She felt unsettled and knew that the words hit a cord regarding a situation she needed to rectify sooner rather than later. Because of the mental distraction, she let her guard down and said, “You’re always looking out for me aren’t you Amelia?”

Amelia became self-conscious when she realized Parker was there and moved away. Quietly replying, “Someone has to and I’m happy to serve. Come on you two or the toast will be cold.” She headed towards the dining area without looking back.

“I guess we should do as we’re told,” Parker said avoiding Olivia’s eyes. It’s clear to me she’s moved on. What a dope I am.

+ + +

Olivia glanced up to the kitchen and for a moment watched Amelia and Sophie who appeared to be sharing a joke. Crap, what wouldn’t I give to be doing that instead of listening to Parker plan something then find a hundred reasons why it isn’t going to work.

Parker knew that the irritation of spending four hours without a break was getting to Olivia. Working side by side with the woman felt so natural and right that she lamented that they were no longer together. When she saw Olivia’s attention turn to Amelia, it felt like a body blow. “Are you listening to me?” she snapped.

Olivia returned her gaze to Parker. “When you finally decide on a plan YOU think is executable, I’ll be fully attentive. Have you come up with something you find satisfactory?” she asked. “We’ve talked around the houses for the last three hours Parker. I think the first plan you came up with was the best. I think with my contacts, we can keep Sophie…and yourself relatively safe. There are no promises here though, I hope you know that.”

“We need a plan that will produce as little collateral damage as possible. This rain is supposed to continue for several days and that is to our advantage. Hired killers use one of two weapons, a long range rifle for distances or a hand gun for close up. Rain means umbrellas, which is to our benefit since this Shamus fellow can’t go for a distance shot. He will want to make a visual before he makes the kill. The downside is that civilians might be in the line of fire and like it or not Olivia their safety is important to me.” She shook her head. “Can we justify harming an innocent,” Leveling her eyes on Olivia. “And, just so you know, I want in on the action…I don’t need your contacts to keep me safe. I am capable of doing that all by myself.”

Olivia sighed heavily. Parker sometimes I think you and I are on a different planet, but I’m glad that you never changed. “There are no guarantees in this world especially in this situation.”

With eyes fixed on the furthest point in the building, Parker blew out a breath. “Sure, let’s go with that plan? We’ll need to let your contacts know…I take it you’ll do that.”

Olivia inwardly sent out a thank you that they’d finally fixed on something. “The plan is executable. Yes, I’ll personally inform everyone that needs to know.”

“Ok, sounds good to me.” She already knew the answer, but figured she’d ask anyway. Maybe I’m wrong. “Do I get to be in on the meeting with the people who we’ll be working with?”

“No!” Olivia stood up, flexed her muscles and felt a tug on the stitches. Damn I’m going to have to do something about them.

Parker’s eyes seemed to blaze in anger. “No? Just how am I supposed to work with people I don’t know?”

“You don’t work with them, I do. Your priority is to stay with Sophie and ensure she doesn’t get in the line of fire.” She saw movement towards the kitchen door and, glad of the break, moved away.

“That is unacceptable! I will not sit back and let people I don’t even know do my job! I will be in on the capture or chase or whatever happens. This is my plan and mine to execute!”

Olivia turned around and pierced Parker with a soul-searching look. “You want in do you? Do you want me to explain what in means Parker? If you get involved on that level there’s no going back.”

“It’s my client, my job…my call!” She eyed Olivia in question. “How can you know that?”

The old familiar hatred she had for Parker exploded into rage. “Know, how do I know? Ten years ago I sold my soul to that particular devil and trust me, there’s no return.”

Parker felt her heart pierced and the sensation was so real that she had to look to see if blood was seeping onto her shirt. Defeated by the words and unable to stop the lone tear that streaked down her cheek she looked back at Olivia. “I’m sorry for making you go there,” she whispered.

Olivia’s lips twisted in self-derision. “You didn’t. I walked into that fire pit all on my own when I shot my brother’s murderer.”

Parker felt Olivia’s pain of loss as acutely as her own. “Is there any chance of redemption?” she asked softly.

“I’m working on it a step at a time.” Her eyes lifted and settled on Amelia as she walked down the stairs with Sophie behind her.

There was nothing Parker could say - Olivia would never accept her help. But, I can try can’t I? “I…I want you to know…I”

“Know what Parker? What exactly do I need to know? Do you want to know if I could toss you to the baying wolfs and still live with myself?”

Like you did to me. The inference hung between them with each understanding the implication of the past.

Parker looked again at her shirt sure this time she would see blood oozing – she didn’t. “How can I get out of this place?” she asked softly.

Olivia, surprised at the response, saw the anguish on Parker’s face. Maybe she’s going stir crazy. I can understand that. “I’ll let you out. When you’re ready to come back, press the button on the door and it will activate the security sensor so we know you want back in.”

Amelia chose that moment to shout, “We have lunch…either of you interested?”

Parker gulped back the emotions she felt. “I’m really not hungry…please tell them I’ve gone out for a walk.” She refused to look at Olivia and nodded at the control panel. “Will you open the door please?”

Softly Olivia answered, “Sure.” She pointed to the side door she used earlier and activated the switch that unlocked the door. “You be careful out there, ok.”

Without a word, Parker walked towards the exit and disappeared through it.

Olivia saw and heard the door bang close and her eyebrows knitted as a sudden chill spread over her body.

“You coming,” Amelia called.

She turned towards the sound of the voice that she always found soothing. “Yeah, be right there.” She looked back at the door and shivered once again before leaving the area. Crap Parker, you pick the damnedest times to run away…I wonder why this time.

Chapter 21

Cold damp air hit Parker squarely in the face as she exited the warehouse. The rain that had been falling all day turned into a fine mist that coated her bare arms. “Shit!” she screamed. “Damn you Olivia Santos! Damn you to hell!” The flood of tears that she held off for the better part of the last four hours finally cascaded down her cheeks as she lifted her head to heaven. “How could you ever think that I would sit by silently knowing that you killed someone?” she said towards the building’s camera. “If you’re watching Olivia, tell me why? Why did you ruin everything and then walk away like it meant nothing?” She extended her middle finger towards the camera. “Fuck you!”

She looked down the street and saw the blinking lights of a bar about a half block away. “Yeah, a good stiff drink is what I need.”

By the time she walked to the bar, Parker’s clothes and body were wet. A warm blast of air along with the heady smell of beer greeted her when she opened the door. Once her eyes adjusted to the dim light she looked around. It was like every other bar she had ever been in; wooden chairs arranged around tables that were dark and probably sticky to the touch.

She took a seat at the bar and instantly heard a woman’s voice ask, “What’ll it be?”

“Whatever you have to take away the pain,” Parker said without looking up.

The reply was a throaty chuckle. “Well, that depends on what kind of pain you’re in.”

She lifted her eyes and gazed at a tall brunette woman with laughing green eyes staring at her. “Love gone wrong…broken heart…unrequited love…betrayal…you pick, they all apply.”

“I’ve got just the thing.”

When the woman came back, she sat a shot glass and a bottle of beer in front of Parker. With a practiced touch, the woman filled the glass with Cuervo Gold.

“So, this will cure me, huh?” She fished in her pocket, found a fifty and laid it on the bar. “Keep ‘em coming until this runs out,” she said before lifting the shot glass to her lips.

“Are you driving?” the woman asked.

“Nope,” Parker said as her eyes captured the woman’s gaze. “I’ll even buy you one,” she said as she downed the tequila. “It’s the good stuff so come on and drink with me,” she said as she looked around the bar. “It’s only you and me in here.”

The woman’s laugh was genuine as she poured herself a shot. “I don’t get a lot of customers in the middle of the afternoon,” she said as she filled Parker’s glass. “Once the factory a couple blocks down ends a shift, I’ll be real busy.” She lifted her glass. “I’m Faith, I own the place. Don’t believe I’ve ever seen you in here before.”

“Well, that’s because I’ve never been in here before, Faith.” She laughed and took a swig of the beer. “I’m Parker.”

“So, Parker, tell me about this guy that broke your heart and drove you to drink?”

The sneer that crossed Parker’s face disappeared as quickly as it appeared. “That’s funny,” she said. She held up her glass and nodded towards the bottle.

Faith poured another and watched as Parker quickly threw it back. “Have you had anything to eat today?”

Parker rubbed her eyes before she shook her head when she felt her stomach protest at being empty. “Do you serve food here,” she asked as she finished the last of her beer. She held the bottle and shook it. “And, I’ll need another.”

Faith pulled a Corona from under the bar and opened it before giving it to Parker. “We don’t serve food, but we do have a lovely selection of beer nuts, pretzels and chips though.”

Parker laughed. “I’ve had all the nuts I’ll ever want.” She looked around the bar. “Hey, since no one is here, you want to go to that little Italian place I saw on the corner?”

Once again, an unadulterated laugh filled the room. “Exactly how can I do that…who’d mind the store?”

“You own the place. Close it for an hour or two,” Parker said and fished in her pocket. “Here,” she said putting a wad of bills on the bar. “This will more than cover any business you might lose.”

Faith’s eyes gave the woman across from her the once over. “That is a tempting offer, but…”

Parker interrupted, “No buts just go with it.”

For a long moment, Faith just looked at Parker while she debated the wisdom of closing her bar. “Let me see if I can find you something to eat. We always have some sort of cold cuts in the frig.” Faith started to pick up the bottle of tequila and Parker immediately grabbed it.

“Leave it. I’ll let you know when I’m done.”

In a few minutes, Faith returned and placed a paper plate with a sandwich in front of Parker. “Sorry, ham and cheese is all I have.” She grabbed a bag of chips from a rack. “I’ll even throw in a bag of chips.”

“How generous.” Parker picked up the money on the bar. “Take it out of that.”

“It’s on the house.”

Parker nodded a thank you before taking the bottle and pouring liquid into two shot glasses and picking one up. “Here’s to true love,” she said before she swallowed the tequila. Then she took a bite of the sandwich, and smiled. “So how’d you come to own a bar in....”

+ + +

Olivia sat down at the table without a word. Her mind filled with thoughts of Parker. Why did she really want to go out? She was acting weird those last few minutes that’s for sure. Damn, but she always did take the world and everyone in it too seriously. That’s why she’s in the wrong profession. She made one hell of a cop but on her own, out there…not Parker she’s far too nice. She gazed at Sophie and snorted. She’s a prime example of why Parker shouldn’t be in this line of work. The woman is nothing but trouble with a capital T. I hate people with money who haven’t worked hard for it themselves.

“Will Parker be joining us?” Sophie asked. When she received no reply, she looked across at Amelia who was sitting next to Olivia.

Amelia shrugged then dug her arm into Olivia’s ribs. “Sophie asked you a question are you going to answer her?” A sweet smile pulled at her lips until she felt the heat of the glare from Olivia.

“Sorry, I was preoccupied. No, she sent her apologies. She’s not hungry right now…went for a breath of air.”

Sophie gave a petulant scowl. “Damn, I made a special treat for her. She has a sweet tooth, but then you know that don’t you? I mean, you did live together so you’d know that.”

Amelia raised her eyes at the revelation, but instead of commenting picked at her salad instead. Her mind churned, desperate to ask several pertinent questions.

Olivia’s hackles rose. I don’t much like you Sophie I think you’re a spoiled brat and right now I think you’re more in danger from me than Shamus O’Donnell. Her voice dropped to a quiet menace. “I did know that, thank you for reminding me…on both counts.” She placed some of the salad on her plate and proceeded to eat mechanically.

Sophie felt a chill go down her back. The cold, blue gaze that caught hers for a few moments dropped to dissect the food on her plate. “I’m not hungry either. I think I’ll take a nap.” She stood up and left but not before she snagged the dessert, she’d baked.

+ + +

“That was great, thanks,” Parker said with a forced smile. “Are you a good listener, because I have a story for you. She eyed Faith, who smiled gently in encouragement and continued. “Ten years ago the love of my life walked out on me and I thought it was over.”

“But, it wasn’t.”

“Oh, I kept tabs on O’s whereabouts, but yeah, it was over until circumstances brought us together again four days ago. Then bam, like a shot in the gut, all the old emotions and feelings bowled me over.”

Faith poured Parker another shot and watched as the woman across from her downed it in one gulp. “What did he say?”

Parker laughed and shook her head. “There you go being funny again.” Parker took the last bite of the sandwich, shrugged and said, “She’s moved on.”

Faith said, “Ouch that must have been hard to take.”

“Yeah, once I realized I hadn’t resolved my feelings for her, it was like the dagger pierced my heart all over again.” Parker looked around and saw a jukebox. “If I find a good song will you dance with me?”

For a moment, Faith didn’t know what to say. All it took was one look into Parker’s forlorn eyes for her to make her mind up. “Sure why not? Just make it an upbeat song and not a sad one.”

Parker stood in front of the jukebox with its flashing bright lights and looked over the selections. She chose three songs and turned to find Faith standing behind her. When she folded her arms around the woman, Parker felt the sadness she refused to acknowledge overwhelm her. As they moved in time to the music, she closed her eyes remembering how two nights earlier Olivia laid next to her rubbing her belly. When the music changed and Roy Orbison and kd lang began to sing Cryin’ the need to feel Olivia close again seemed to engulf her. She moved away from Faith and looked down to see if her broken heart was bleeding. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “Lately, no matter how hard I cry, it never seems to be enough.”

“Hey, it’s ok.” Faith pulled Parker back into her arms. “I like dancing with you.”

The woman holding her allowed Parker to hide the tears. “I didn’t realize how much I missed being with her,” she whispered before burying her head in Faith’s shoulder. “Thank you,” she whispered.

Faith pulled back slightly and smiled before she leaned in and kissed Parker’s cheek. “No one here is going to judge you so go ahead and cry…it’s good to let it out.”

+ + +

Neither Amelia nor Olivia spoke, each contemplating several tumbling thoughts.

“I guess she has a sweet tooth too…”

“…Look, I was going to tell you,” they both said at the same time.

Olivia pushed away her plate. “I think it’s catching this lack of appetite business.”

It would have been so easy for Amelia to cause a commotion over Olivia’s failing to mention that Parker was that close a friend. Perhaps she’s an old lover…they have that kind of body language. She mentally shrugged. After all, I might be reading more into that as others have with me and Olivia’s living together. They lived together, which means, knowing Olivia as I do it must have at least been a serious friendship. “You should eat Olivia,” she whispered softly. “You barely had breakfast and making plans, then implementing them requires nourishment.”

Olivia felt her throat constrict as she tried to reply. She’s given me another get-out of jail free card. How many more are you going to give me Amelia before you decide I’m just not worth it? “Thanks Mom,” she replied. With a deft move, she pulled the plate back and began to munch on a lettuce leaf.

“I’m going into the office this afternoon. I’ve brought a couple of my clients forward so that I can be at the funeral in the morning.”

Olivia swung her body around to within inches of Amelia. “It’s too damn dangerous…you’re not going! How can I do what I have to if I’m worried about you as well as them?”

Amelia heard the panic rise in her partner’s voice. “I’m sorry, but when did you become my keeper Olivia. I’m going. I’m perfectly capable of standing next to a grave to support these people and pay my respects. You just do your job and I’ll do mine.”

“For god’s sake Amelia, this isn’t a family picnic and you’re no longer a nun responsible for saving people from themselves. This situation is fraught with untold dangers and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you become a target as well as Parker and that…that woman,” she spit out.

Amelia hackles rose at the reference to her old profession, but heard the bitterness at the end of the sentence. “What exactly do you have against Sophie? Is it because she gave away another of your secrets or…that she has a thing for someone you cared about. Maybe cared is the wrong word…you might still care and it’s getting up your nose. Have I hit the nail on the head Olivia?”

Olivia wanted to strangle Amelia. Instead, she stood up and walked to the other end of the room. “I don’t care about Parker…I mean I do, but not how I once did. How can you continue to love someone when they betray you and worse - betrayed your heart?”

Amelia heard the pent up pain of years gone by. “I’m a good listener, why don’t you tell me.”

“What will that do exactly? If I shed some of the weight I carry on my back in the form of a confession, I’ll feel lighter. Give me a break Amelia. I told you when we first met that I didn’t need a shrink and that situation still applies,” Olivia replied acidly.

“I never said it would, but to share your pain with a friend, one who cares about you, might make you feel less alone. I think that’s your problem Olivia…you won’t let anyone in because you’re afraid that if you do it will happen all over again. I’m not Parker. I don’t know what she did or you perceive she did to you, but I will never knowingly hurt you. You have my solemn promise.” Amelia caught Olivia’s angry gaze and allowed her love for her friend to show.

Olivia felt the gentle entreaty and knew the truth behind the words. It is too late, too damn late. “Parker was the one who told the police that I’d shot my brother’s killer. I told her in confidence as a lover shares secrets with someone they love and trust. She chose not to keep my secret and when they arrested me…well…it was the last time I saw her until the other day.”

Wow. Now I understand the body chemistry they have - a love-hate kind of relationship. “If you had seen her immediately afterwards, what would you have said?” Amelia asked quietly.

A feral look appeared in Olivia’s eyes. “There wouldn’t have been words Amelia, I’d have shot her like I did my brother’s killer. As it turned out, I think she received the worse of my actions because of what she did. I …” she shrugged. “Well, I went away.”

“What happened to Parker?” Amelia was intrigued. She was seeing a part of Olivia’s life that she had been unaware.

A defeated air surrounded Olivia as she sank into the nearest chair at the table. “She committed the worse sin possible in the eyes of some cops. She gave me up to the authorities without giving me the chance to do it myself. From what I heard later, they made her life hell. Somehow she survived it and ended up here.”

“Would you have turned yourself in?” she asked starkly.

“No, the scum deserved everything I gave him. He robbed me of my brother I returned the favor and took his life. Don’t you say and eye for an eye in that damned bible of yours.” Olivia’s words rang with power of revenge, remorse far from her heart. Amelia’s heart broke for both women. What Olivia did in an act of revenge shattered both their lives. Does she understand that or is she still so angry with Parker that she can’t see anything but hate? It's hard to tell right now. “I guess at the time what happened to Parker would have made you happy.”

“Yeah I was happy. The place where I was at that time was still in the vengeful mode. I have to hand it to her though. It took some guts to ask me for help. If the circumstances had been reversed, I wouldn’t have,” Olivia remarked quietly.

“I think you should tell her that and tell her that you’re proud of her and what she did with her life after you effectively destroyed both your lives. Don’t you think she deserves that Olivia?” Amelia smiled slowly as she placed a hand on Olivia’s uninjured shoulder. “I’m proud of how you’ve turned your life around Olivia, and the person you are today.”

Olivia felt the words keenly. Amelia’s right, I did destroy both our lives. I should talk with Parker and tell her that. As soon as she gets back, I’ll do just that. Amelia’s words helped her achieve what her best efforts over the years hadn’t. She’s allowing me to forgive myself and get on with my life. It’s time I did the same for Parker. Her hand touched the fingers on her shoulder and rested there for a few moments. “Thanks. I guess talking to a friend isn’t so bad after all.”

Amelia chuckled softly. “I guess not. Now, will you eat something- please?”

Olivia sighed and gave her friend a grateful smile. “For you, I will. Pity Ms. High and Mighty took that dessert away. I was looking forward to a piece of that carrot cake.”

“I’ll bring you some when I’m done at the office, now eat.” Amelia grinned as she pushed the salad plate towards Olivia.

+ + +

When other customers began to come in for an after work drink, Parker took her seat at the bar and kept her glass full. For ten years, I’ve carried around the love I feel for her. Olivia decided that it was over and that was all there was to it. The vision of the day that ended her happiness filled her consciousness.


“How could you do this to me Parker?” Olivia screamed as the detective put her in handcuffs. “I trusted you and this is how you repay me!”

With tears streaming down her cheeks, Parker said, “I had to O, you gave me no choice. You know me…you know me.”

“Not anymore,” Olivia spit out. “I never want to see you again! If I do you’re dead.”

She stood at the window and watched as the officer escorted Olivia to the squad car. “I told you that I’d tell the police if you didn’t turn yourself in…why didn’t you believe me. By the next day, the story that Parker had sold out her partner for a slimy DA who deserved to die spread throughout the department – she became persona non grata.

On several occasions, she tired to visit Olivia at the jail, but no one would allow her visitation. She waited for the trial in hopes that she could see and speak with Olivia, but there wasn’t a trial. From what little she could garner, Olivia agreed to a plea deal.

When the first friend Parker made when she began on the police force joined the rest of the department in giving her the cold shoulder she was determined not to let it affect her. But, after a month of the silent treatment along with finding feces in her locker or on her car each day she went to work, she quit and moved back to the farm

It was two years before she took a job in Philadelphia as a private investigator. She used all her resources to find Olivia only to come up empty with every turn until she received a mysterious note that simple said find Max Aderton and your search will be over. “I’ve heard that name somewhere before…but where.” Then it came to her. “He’s the private detective that wanted information on a missing person…and he’s from Portsmouth.”

Cautiously she dialed the man’s number and held her breath. When she heard the familiar voice on the recording say, Aderton and Associates, leave a message at the beep and we’ll be back with you shortly, her search was over - Olivia was his partner.


“That was the last time I saw her,” she whispered to the shot glass. She looked at her watch. “I should check out that church.” She stood up and the room began to spin.

Strong hands grabbed her. “You better sit down and let me bring you some coffee,” a soft voice said. “Besides, it’s raining.”

“Not a problem,” Parker said with a wave of her hand. “I don’t have far to go.” She gave Faith a quick kiss on the cheek. “Thanks.” When Faith nodded she added, “You’re a great dancer…can I come back sometime and dance with you again?”

Faith smiled. “You get over her first.”

+ + +

When rain started pelting the metal roof all the walls reverberated magnifying the sound. Sophie heard the sound and glared at Olivia. “She’s been gone a long time, aren’t you worried?”

Olivia avoided looking at her. “No, I’m sure she is over at the church or the cemetery. Parker is a master tactician and she doesn’t leave any stone unturned. She needs to be certain that everything goes according to plan tomorrow.”

No sooner had Parker left the bar then, the clouds opened wide and a cold rain poured down. With a shivering body, she stood close to the building near the door she went out four hours earlier and pressed the button.

All eyes turned towards the control center when a loud buzz echoed throughout the warehouse. “I bet that’s her now,” Olivia said. She went to the control panel and activated the camera aimed at the door. Her eyebrows creased as she saw Parker huddled next to the door. “You stay put,” she said as she pointing at Sophie. She pushed the button then, with cat like ease, pulled a blanket off the back of the couch and hurried towards the door.

“Parker where on earth have you been?” she exclaimed in irritation “You look like a drowned rat.” She took the blanket and tried to put it around Parker’s shoulders.

“Stop it,” Parker shouted as she pushed the arm away. “What are you doing O, putting on a show so the others think you’re a caring person? You’ve made it perfectly clear on more than one occasion over the last four days exactly what you think of me, so stop this holier-than-thou crap! Ah, I know, it’s for the nun right! What a pathetic person you’ve become!”

“Suit yourself I don’t need this from you,” Olivia quietly replied.

“Great, we agree. Now get away from me and go back to playing housie with the nun.” Parker looked around and noticed that Amelia’s car was missing. “Oh, I see she’s not here. Does she make you hot and bothered O? Too bad she isn’t interested in bedding you…I know how much you enjoy frequent fucks. You know she’ll never be as good as I am in bed, don’t you. What would a virgin like her have that could keep a fiery woman like you satisfied?” Parker’s eyes widened. “That’s it! You want to add a notch on your belt with a virgin!” she growled. “Just leave me alone I don’t need anything from you!”

From her vantage point on the couch, Sophie listened to the heated exchange and had to keep herself form going to the aid of Parker. The look in Olivia’s eyes when she told her to stay put scared her so much that she didn’t move an inch. When an obviously furious Olivia came back into the room, Sophie gave her an open mouth expression. I don’t care what she does I’m going to Parker. She stood up and glared at Olivia. “Where’s Parker,” she demanded.

“In her room.”

“What did you do to her?”


As Sophie pushed past the woman she muttered, “Lair.”

+ + +

Sophie didn’t knock, but opened the door and went in. Sitting in a chair shivering and soaking wet sat Parker Davis. “Look at you,” Sophie softly said. “Let’s get you out of those wet clothes.”

“No, I’m ok.”

“Don’t be silly.” With great care, Sophie undressed the woman then gently dried her off with a soft, fluffy towel. “Come on, let’s get you in bed.”

Even under the blankets, Parker still shivered. Desperate to help, Sophie began looking in the drawers and in the closet for an extra blanket.

“They’re in the linen closet,” a low smoky voice said.

Startled, Sophie turned towards the voice and saw Olivia standing in the doorway. “Can you get one…she was soaked to the bone and can’t get warm.”


While waiting for the blanket, Sophie sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed Parker’s body. “Are you feeling any warmer?”

“A…a little,” Parker chattered as she pulled the covers closer.

“We’re getting you another blanket.” Sophie turned to see if Olivia returned and nearly jumped out of her skin. “I didn’t hear you come in,” she said gulping in a deep breath.

“I brought two.” Olivia’s eyes turned to the woman in the bed and gentled. She finally said, “Let me know if you need anything else.”

Sophie leveled her eyes on Olivia and pierced her with an angry look. “This is all your fault,” she said between clenched teeth. “All she asked for was your help.”

“And, I’m giving it to her. If she wants to go out in the rain the day before a big job and get drunk it has nothing to do with me!”

“It has everything to do with you and you know it,” Sophie ground out. “Please leave and close the door behind you.”

Olivia stood in the doorway debating if she should dismiss Sophie and be the one to help Parker. She doesn’t want me to help…her new girlfriend has it all under control.

Sophie turned away from Olivia and spread the two blankets over Parker. When she heard the door close she stood up, undressed, crawled in next to the still shivering woman and pulled her close. “There, do you feel warmer?”


“I once heard that this is how people who are stuck in the snow without heat get warm,” Sophie said as she rubbed her hand up and down Parker’s back.

The two women lay close until Parker finally stopped shaking. “Thank you,” Parker whispered.

“After all you’ve done for me, I don’t need thanks. It feels good to take care of you for a change.”

“Guess I will have a lot of apologizing to do tomorrow.”

“To who?”

“Olivia for one…I should never said that to her.”

Sophie moved so she rested on her elbow. “How can you feel that way Parker? She has done nothing but put you down and glare at you here and at the farm,” she bit out angrily. “You owe her nothing.”

Parker closed her eyes and thought, I betrayed her. I owe her everything before she began shivering again.

Sophie put her arms around Parker again and held close. Sophie’s lips kissed the cool cheek, then move to Parker’s forehead and finally found their way to the lips. “Hold me please.”

Out of a wanton desire to feel close to someone, Parker complied, put her arms around Sophie and gently kissed her. She felt acute pain as all the words Olivia said kept running through her head. You made it clear O that you don’t want anything to do with me. From the indifference, I see in your eyes, I think you wish you’d never seen me again. She felt Sophie’s lips kissing a shoulder. Are you enough Sophie? I’m so tired of being alone.

Wordlessly, she began exploring Sophie’s body with soft touches and kisses. When she felt Sophie respond, her fingers moved lower only to have them stopped.

“No, let me love you Parker. You just lay there and let me love you.”

She had no fight left so she did as requested and closed her eyes as Sophie’s lips continued to assault her body. Just as with everyone since Olivia, Sophie didn’t measure up. As she felt the tongue lick her, she let her body drift into the feelings the tongue and fingers elicited in her.

Parker knew that if Sophie continued she would come so she reached down and pulled her head up. “Not yet, let me touch you.” After Sophie crawled up her body, Parker began her exploration.

Their love making wasn’t a display of fiery intense passion, but of a slow, gentle discovery. Then, out of mutual need and desperation, they clung to each other as both felt the rush born out of want and need.

Sated, they laid together wrapped in each other’s arms. Parker kissed Sophie’s head as the overwhelming feelings of sadness and pain engulfed her. She never gave me a chance to explain or say goodbye.

“Now that’s the perfect way to get warm,” Sophie purred as she kissed the arm holding her.

Her lonely soul cried I love you Olivia as a lone tear rolled down her cheek.

To be continued

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