~ Paradox of Love ~
J. M. Dragon & E. O'Reilly
Part 3
© 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, Parker, Nancy, Linda and Mel for your invaluable help in feedback and editing this story.

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

Chapter 23

Parker swung open the kitchen door and to Olivia’s rapid glance, she seemed to glide into the room. Parker lazily trailed her tongue sensually over the bare shoulder the vest Olivia wore revealed.

“Mmm you smell gorgeous, you taste even better. I thought I said I’d bring you breakfast in bed. It is our anniversary, remember.” Parker mumbled into her shoulder as she licked the musky skin under her tongue and then reluctantly dragged herself away to take advantage of the pot of coffee steaming on the bench.

Olivia sighed inwardly. Every day that they had off was some kind of anniversary to Parker and it was grating on her nerves. Although, it was the anniversary of living together for two years, she felt every damn one piling on her shoulders. Taking a steadying breath, she quietly replied, “I know, but I woke early and figured I could at least make coffee.”

Parker grinned. “You should have woken me. I could have found better things for you to do than make coffee.” She slid into the chair next to her lover and snatched a kiss lingering on the full lips that responded but not as ardently as normal. “Anything wrong?” she asked. What could be wrong? They’d been together for two years and nothing was better than being beside each other twenty-four seven.

Olivia felt the usual stirrings in her body when Parker kissed her. How could she not for the woman had the ability to send her into a sexual frenzy–she always had and probably always would. “What could be wrong? I’m just tired. We’ve been working nonstop for the last six months. Did I tell you that I hate serial killers?”

Parker nodded her mind flicking rapidly through the last six months. They spent more time at work on the Operation Orange case. They only slept at home but didn’t always sleep. Her mind drifted to the moments of intense passion, when they had breaks in the case and Olivia was so voracious in the bedroom. When they broke the case the week before, she thought Olivia would ravish her in the car while on duty. Maybe serial killers weren’t so bad after all–for her personally anyway. Her lips tugged into a smile at the provocative thought. She reached across the kitchen table, picked up Olivia’s hand, and brought it to her lips before placing feather light kisses on the smooth surface of the darker skin. “I was thinking…yeah, yeah before you say it. I know dangerous.” Parker laughed as she saw the raised eyebrow.

“Ok, but who’s to say I would have said that?” Olivia felt that inner tension rising again and she didn’t know how to handle it. If Nicky were there, he’d tell her what an idiot she was–he liked Parker and thought she was good for his sister.

Parker chuckled. “How does a week in Mexico sound. I figured we both deserved a break. In fact… wait a minute, I’ll be right back.” A beaming smile crossed Parker’s face as stood up before shooting out of the room.

Olivia watched her streak out of the room like a child who had the keys to a candy store. With a shake of her head, she wondered, not for the first time, why she felt like she did. Parker was everything anyone could want. Her lover was beautiful, spectacular in bed, and would do anything for her. With a grave expression, she sipped at her cooling coffee. She couldn’t deny that lately she wanted to be in another room, state, or continent–any place that Parker wasn’t–claustrophobia Parker style came to mind. Parker came back into the room waving an oblong envelope. “Bet you can’t guess what I have here?”

As Olivia looked at her lover, she felt her stomach hit rock bottom. Bet I can! “Ok, what?” she said with a resigned expression.

Flourishing the envelope one more time she placed it in front of Olivia. “Open it please.” Parker stood over her with excitement emanating from every pore.

Strong taping fingers picked up the envelope and flicked open the seal. She picked out the contents that revealed two tickets to Mexico. As she glanced at the schedule, she couldn’t hide her dismay. It was an all inclusive vacation to one of the best hotels and beaches in the country.

With a squeal, Parker turned Olivia’s face to hers. “What do you think? It’s going to be great. We can make love all night and day and fit in a tan too. Not that you need one but…” Her words dried up as she saw a bleak expression in Olivia’s eyes.

Olivia slowly and carefully pried Parker’s hands from her face and stood up. She walked over to the sink and leaned against it. “Parker we need to talk.”

“I know I was impulsive, I should have asked if you liked Mexico. It doesn’t matter…we can go somewhere else. Name it Olivia and it’s yours.”

The expectant features of Parker had Olivia wondering, how she’d become such a cruel bastard. She knew her next words would hurt her lover. “It isn’t Mexico, it isn’t any place. I need…”

Parker rolled her eyes, “I know I was impulsive O and didn’t consider that you would rather take your vacation time here and just chill? Back home they’d call you a homebody. We can do that…it works for me. Anything is ok with me as long as you’re by my side.”

“For god’s sake Parker…it’s you I want to have a vacation from not the god damn country or any place else!” Olivia felt the tension ease a little inside as she finally said the words that had been building for months.

Parker stepped back. She felt like she’d taken a slug to the chest. “I…I don’t know what you mean.”

Olivia felt the pent up frustration she’d bottled for months flood out like champagne when popping the cork. “You are at my side twenty-four seven Parker. You do everything for me…my laundry, my clothes shopping…crap you even buy my tampons. At work you even speak for me and do all the reports.”

Wounded, Parker said, “I’m better at reports than you are.”

“For god’s sake Parker you don’t even let me finish! That’s exactly the problem. I love you but living with you attached to my side like a Siamese twin is hardly what I expected. Can’t you take a vacation and go see your family and leave me alone for a week? We work together…sleep together…we do everything together. I need some space.” Olivia blurted out. Saying something about their relationship eased the tension in her shoulders.

There was silence in the room as Parker digested Olivia’s words. She couldn’t understand why Olivia wanted her to go alone and see her parents. They adored Olivia and they would be disappointed if she didn’t go with her. She couldn’t leave Olivia alone–she might find someone else.

Parker smiled. “I know you you’re ribbing me right? Look, I should have asked you first about the tickets. I know we are saving for a place of our own. She shrugged. “Just forget I even brought it up. How about I make us breakfast then we can talk like you want.”

Olivia scowled in annoyance rather than remorse. “Ok Parker, if you’re so thick skinned that I need a sledge hammer to get through to you, I can do that too. I’ve asked you politely to take a vacation for a week and you obviously didn’t get the message. Now I’m not asking you I’m telling you. Get out of here…now! For good would be fine with me.” She turned her back on the woman she loved. Why didn’t Nicky tell her that love was a very volatile emotion?

Parker whispered, “You don’t mean that O…you can’t,” as she moved and reached out clasping Olivia’s arm like a limpet.

Olivia looked at the hand it was slightly smaller than hers was. Her strength was superior and it would be so easy to crush the hand if she chose to do so. Violence was never the answer–Nicky taught her that. “I mean every word. Go see your mom…it isn’t a request Parker…it’s the only answer.” She looked at the ashen features and added, “I hope.”

This wasn’t like their usual arguments. Normally they had a big blow up and then they made up with mad passionate love. This was different big time. It was low key and sounded more like the end to Parker. “If I go will you change the locks?” Her chuckle at her absurd comment wasn’t genuine. Besides, there was no way anything would keep her out…certainly not a key to a door–she could break in if she wanted.

Olivia, finally listening sighed. “No I’d never do that to you Parker. Can you understand I just need a little space on my own? I need to work things out in my head. What I want is what is good for me…and you. Haven’t you ever thought that being together in each other’s pockets isn’t healthy?”


Parker’s one word declaration set Olivia’s teeth on edge. Her thoughts were dark. Everyone needed personal space–except it would seem Parker. “I’m asking you to leave now…not in a couple of days but now this minute. Pack a bag and go.”

“Olivia, we are in a committed relationship this is nonsense. If you love me, you won’t want me to go. Think about it Olivia…think?”

    It was always the same. Parker tried to lull her into a false sense of security by clinging tighter. Leveling Parker the full force of a menacing gaze, she growled, “Get out Parker.” Then her emotions took control and she shouted, “Get out before I do something we’ll both regret!”

Parker felt the first stirrings of aggression from the ominous gaze. She could play the game too–she was an expert. “Ok, I’m going. Just remember who asked me to leave. You might remember that when you beg me to come back! Don’t forget Olivia, you’re not the only fish in the sea and trust me I’m a good catch. I promise you that you’ll regret this. All I’ve ever offered you was my love.” She swiped at her eyes. “All you offer are planned emotional responses. You need to take stock of what love is O or you’ll end up a lonely old woman!”

Olivia watched Parker leave the room as she felt two emotions. Mainly relief but there was a small part of her emotions that registered fear–Parker wouldn’t have any trouble finding someone else. In that moment, she hoped the separation would help.

Chapter 24

The door to the red Mustang opened and Parker slid in behind the wheel. “This can’t be happening,” she whispered. Their relationship always was tempestuous but the aftermath, the making up resulted in heart pounding, mind numbing love making. This time though, the difference in Olivia’s tone alerted her to the possibility of losing the only woman she ever loved. “I won’t let that happen, Olivia. You’re mine and just as I can’t live without you, I won’t let you live without me.”

She jammed the key into the ignition and pulled away from the curb allowing the wheels to squeal as she sped away. At the next block, she turned and parked the car, got out and walked to the hedge where she had a clear view of Olivia’s house. After an hour passed, the motorcycle and Olivia roared away in the opposite direction. Parker ran to her vehicle and after she started it, she turned the wheel made a u-turn before she guided the Mustang in the direction of the motorcycle. The red car was easy to spot so she knew she couldn’t follow too closely. When Olivia’s motorcycle stopped in front of a small restaurant in the seedy side of town, Parker knew why she was there–Nicky.

Parker smiled. “He will be on my side I know it.” She thought back to when she first met Nicky. It was obvious that Olivia adored her brother and Parker couldn’t help the feelings of jealousy that seethed just below the surface. Instead of letting her true feelings show, she devised a campaign to make the man her ally. It didn’t take long before he took her side on the many occasions when arguments flared.

Still, Parker had the nagging suspicion that Olivia was leaving her. “Can’t let that happen. I can’t live without you Olivia.” Right then she needed to find comfort and her mind flitted to Beth. “No, I don’t need sexual comfort, besides Olivia has spoiled me for anyone else.” Nodding her head, she pushed in the clutch, shoved the gear into first, and headed to her childhood home. It was where she always felt safe and she knew her mother would give her sound advice. As she drove, she remembered the first time she went to the farm after a blow up…

* * *

The argument was silly but for Parker it was a body blow when Olivia told her ‘get out and don’t come back’. When she drove down the road to the house, she saw her mother out hanging up clothes.

“What’s wrong,” her mother said as she engulfed her daughter in a hug.

With tears streaming down her cheeks, Parker sobbed, “Olivia doesn’t love me anymore.”

Ruth Davis pulled back and gave her daughter a sympathetic look. “I don’t believe that baby. She looked at you with love two weeks ago, someone just doesn’t fall out of love that fast. Go back and tell her you’re sorry and that you love her. Don’t you know that running away never solves anything?”

Parker knew the truth behind her mother’s words and smiled. “I knew I could count on you for good advice Mom.” She leaned in and kissed her mother’s soft cheek. “Tell everyone hi for me ok. I need to go back and straighten things out.”

* * *

“Mom was right then I wonder what advice she’ll give me now.” As the car ate up the miles, thoughts that revolved around her lover swirled in her head.

It was the first time Parker took Olivia to the farm that she first heard Olivia say ‘I love you’. They had been living together in Olivia’s house for six months and despite their passion, her lover never responded to I love you.

“I wonder why she said it then.”

She recalled entering the kitchen where her mother and Olivia were deep in conversation. Her mother was speaking so low that she had to move closer to hear. Neither woman seemed conscious of her presence.

Her mother patted Olivia’s hand and said, “I know how hard it is to go through life without your mother Olivia.”

She watched as her lover swiped away a tear that trickled down her cheek. “Yeah, it’s like I am lost…especially when Nicky isn’t around. It’s almost like I have no place to call home-emotionally anyway.”

Then her mother wrapped Olivia in a hug. “You will always have a home here Olivia. I know I can’t replace your mother but if you ever need one I’ll be here for you.”

That night when they made love, Olivia was a different person. Her fiery passion became tender as her gentle intimate touches sent Parker into sensual overload. Just as her passion peaked, she heard the words she longed to hear. “I love you Parker.”

After that night, everything seemed to change as Olivia took on the role of a committed partner. Parker took the detective’s exam and passed. At first, Olivia partnered with a veteran detective, Ed Layton and for Parker that was unacceptable. She wanted Olivia to herself and that meant they would be partners in all ways. With some gentle cajoling, Parker was eventually able to persuade their lieutenant that she and Olivia should be partners.

+ + +

As Parker sat waiting for the light to turn green so she could get on the highway to home and her mother, another thought struck her. “Did she insist that I join the Mayor’s task force on disaster preparedness so she could find someone else? At the time she told me that I was the best tactician she knew and that she would feel safer in a time of disaster knowing I was in on the plans.” She drummed her fingers on the steering wheel as she pondered what to do next until she heard, “All units we have a 10-55 at Samson and Fifth.”

Parker felt a chill run down her spine. “That’s where O is.” She reached under the seat, affixed a bubble light to the roof, and sped towards the scene. All the while, she prayed that the love of her life, Olivia, was safe.

When she encountered the police barricade, Parker stopped her car, got out, and then badged her way through the officers assigned to crowd control. As she neared the scene with her heart thumping, she focused on a body crumpled on the ground. “God don’t let it be O,” she whispered as she got closer.

David Tourney was standing near the body when Parker approached him. “What are you doing here?” he asked with a catch in his voice.

“I was a block away and thought you might need help.” Parker’s gaze fell on the body–Nicky Santos was laying in a pool of blood. Relieved, she asked, “Does Olivia know?”

“Yeah, she was here when it happened. After we arrived she took off.” His sad, expressive eyes seemed to plead with her. “She needs to come back so I can question her.”

“I’ll find her for you David,” Parker said. “Do you know who did this?”

“No, but I think Olivia does.”

“Why do you think that?”

“When I got here she said, ‘that bastard will pay for this’, before she took off.” David sighed as the medical examiner knelt by the body. “I need to work the scene. Find Olivia before she does something she’ll regret.”

Parker didn’t wait. She ran back to her car and jumped in. “She’s at home I know it.” As she neared the house they shared, she saw the Harley parked in the drive. She let out the breath she’d been holding when she entered the house and saw her lover sitting alone in the kitchen.

Chapter 25

Olivia felt the hand on her shoulder and for a moment wondered who it was. She looked up and saw Parker, the woman she loved, with tears in her eyes. “You know?” she whispered.

“Yeah, I just came from the scene.” Parker knelt down in front of Olivia and searched the red, swollen blue eyes before she said, “I’m here for you no matter what.”

“He’s not coming back to me ever again is he?” The bleak words echoed in the silent kitchen.

Engulfing Olivia in her arms, Parker whispered, “He will always be in your heart. You just have to look there and you’ll find him.”

Olivia felt the warmth of another body close to her and an inner craving began to ignite. Not the carnal one she normally associated with Parker but a comforting one to assuage her pain. “My heart feels sore and tired Parker. Why does everyone I love leave me? It isn’t fair.”

Parker kissed the top of Olivia’s head as her heart broke. “I’ll never leave you O. I’ll always be here for you no matter what.” She lifted Olivia’s chin. “Never doubt my love.”

Tear drenched blue eyes gazed into Parker’s concerned filled ones. It was all there for the taking. She was prepared to let Parker go for personal space and she didn’t know why she felt that way–it was crazy. Then her thoughts turned to her brother and she sobbed for him. Oh, god Nicky why did you leave me, it hurts so much. “It isn’t your love that has ever been in doubt it’s mine,” she said softly. “Why do you still stick around me Parker? I’m not good for you. People I love die.” 

Moving closer so her body was between Olivia’s knees, Parker gently touched the tear stained cheek. “I’m not going to die on you. As for your love…I know you love me O and I also know how hard it is for you to let others in.” Her thumb wiped away a tear. “Lean on me and let me help you get through this…please.”

A part of Olivia wanted to let go completely. However, the part of her that shouldered responsibility and the hard-nosed attitude she needed to survive in the cruel environment of policing, reared up and fuelled her depression. “If I let you in completely Parker you’ll die. That’s the bottom line. I won’t have the only person left that I love on this earth die before me. It isn’t going to happen I’ll ensure that.”

Parker frowned for she heard something other than Nicky’s death in Olivia’s words and tone. “How can you say that?” She eyed her lover. “What aren’t you telling me O? Why would anyone want me dead…it doesn’t make sense.”

Olivia released the grief of the moment with one clear moment of transparency and curved her lips into a bitter smile. “Nothing makes sense anymore Parker. If I tell you something, it has to remain between these four walls. Can you promise me that?”

As her hand caressed Olivia’s cheek, Parker let their eyes lock. “I would never do anything to break your trust in me. What you tell me is between only us.” She sucked in a deep breath. “Remember when Hal Blankenship was shot and how worried I was that it might happen to you?” Olivia gave her a slight nod. “You told me that as long as we had each other and were strong in our love, nothing would happen to us. I believed you then and I believe in you now.” She shrugged and she waited for Olivia to reply.

Strong hands grasped the hands that caressed her face in a vice like grip. Olivia’s eyes were feral and haunted and for anyone who didn’t know her, she looked dangerous. “Nicky was on to something big. After you left, he called me to meet him at that…place.” Her voice broke as she recalled vividly the carnage of seeing her brother gunned down. With her stomach in turmoil she continued. “He told me there was a hit out on me because of what he’d discovered. They weren’t going to hurt him directly but the people he loved. He loved you too Parker.” Olivia suddenly stopped talking as a far away expression appeared in her eyes.

The information had Parker’s head spinning. She knew that Nicky had to live in the gutters and his contacts were the lowest sort of lowlife and somehow his murder tied into that. “But they killed him not you.” Her forehead creased in confusion. “Who…who is responsible for the murder? What did he know?”

Olivia’s brow creased in tenderness as she recalled the swift movement of her brother shielding her to take the bullets. “He protected me to the end, he always said he would.” Tears flowed freely down her cheeks as she softly spoke. Then she wiped them away with a vicious swipe of her hand. Absently and only partly making sense, she replied, “Who can tell exactly who a lowlife is? You’ll never believe me when I tell you the name…I didn’t believe Nicky. That was the last thing I said to him. The last thing I said…” 

“You know who killed him…or had him killed?”

“Yes.” The single word bounced in the room heralding a deathly silence.

A shiver ran down Parker’s spine as she tried to think of what to say next. She needed Olivia to tell her who was responsible so she could protect her. She stood up and pulled Olivia out of the chair and into her arms. “Let me share your burden O…together we are strong apart we will falter.” Her mind flashed on Olivia’s earlier words. Get out Parker. Get out before I do something we’ll both regret! The words haunted her. Once she knew the name, the bond between them was forever. “You can trust me,” she whispered.

The solemn words that followed didn’t even sound to Olivia as if she was speaking even when her lips moved in sync. “Damien Reeves…the DA to you and me.”

Parker couldn’t hide her disbelief when she heard the DA’s name. “You know that for a fact?”

Olivia didn’t hide her distain at the remark. “My brother never lied to me! Are you calling Nicky a liar?”

“No, never O,” she said pulling Olivia into a tighter hug. “We need to be sure before we tell David about him.” She took a step back. “David was Nicky’s partner for a long time…did he know too?”

“We never got the chance to have a cozy chat Parker. I think the fact that it’s etched in blood…Nicky’s blood…tells the story. You’re going to say exactly what I did aren’t you. Well you’d be in good company since that was the last thing I said to my brother. I called him a liar. How do you think I feel now? He died in my arms and I have to live with the knowledge that his last words on this earth from his sister were callous? Not for long though. Revenge they say is sweet.”

With a swift move, Parker engulfed her lover in an even tighter hold. “Shh, let me help you O. Let me ease your pain and grief.” She kissed Olivia’s cheek then both her eyes. “You need to rest and while you do I will hold you and keep you safe. Then, we will walk down your path together and see that Nicky’s given a proper send off. After that we can figure out what to do about the DA.”

From the depths of her despair, Olivia heard the words of comfort. They were like a morsel of food to a starving man. Right now, she needed to feel the love and companionship to eradicate the loneliness that enveloped her. “I’m so tired Parker, so very tired.”

“Lean on me O,” Parker said as she took Olivia’s hand. “Come with me.” She led the woman by the hand down the hallway, past Nicky’s room, and climbed the stairs to the room that they shared. With great care and gentleness, she undressed her lover before she pulled back the sheets. “Lay down for a while.” After Olivia complied, Parker crawled in next to her and wrapped her in a protective hold. “I’ll watch over you Olivia. You’re safe with me.”

Olivia gazed into Parker’s eyes as hers filled with the trusting expression that said she trusted her lover implicitly. As the emotional trauma dragged her to sleep, she mumbled, “You’ll protect me won’t you Parker…promise,” as her eyes closed.

“I promise that I’ll stay by your side always, Parker responded as she laid her head on Olivia’s shoulder. Her tears breaking free for the man she’d called brother.

Chapter 26

Parker stood in the doorway and watched a listless Olivia sit in her favorite chair and stare blankly at her. She walked softly toward her lover and when she reached Olivia, she gently touched her shoulder. “Hey, you want something to eat?”

Olivia shrugged and blew out a breath. “I’m not hungry.”

“O, you need to eat something. Nicky wouldn’t want you close out the world.”

Olivia’s response was an icy stare.

With a change of tact, Parker said, “Why don’t you get a shower? You’ve had those clothes on for the last three days Olivia.”

“So what.”

“The viewing starts this afternoon…you don’t want Nicky seeing you like this do you?”

A derisive laugh followed by a sneer and it made Olivia oddly feel better. “How stupid are you Parker? Nicky is dead! He doesn’t give a damn how I look!”

In a voice that was so soft, that Olivia had to strain to hear it, Parker said, “How can you dishonor him like that.”

Parker wiped away an errant tear as she shook her head. “Have it your way,” she said before she turned and left the room.

Struggling to hold back the tears until Parker left, Olivia let them fall once again. Nicky was her life He was the one person who grounded her and now he was gone. “Thanks to you Reeves. Bet you think I don’t know but I do and I will find you and then justice will be mine.” Her thoughts turned to Parker who was now her rock. She had spent the days since the shooting making all the arrangements for the funeral. “And I’ve treated her like shit.” As her thoughts turned morose, Olivia tried to pull herself out of her spiraling depression. She needed to get rid of Parker before someone killed her too. Then her mind wound around the person responsible for her brother’s death–the district attorney. She required justice–even if it was only Santos justice.

As Parker’s words finally filtered into her consciousness, she realized that her brother would never have wanted her to shut the world out as she was doing. She remembered what he said to her after their father died. ‘Oli, you can’t just sit there and grieve it does no good. You have to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and get on with life’. “But that is so hard Nicky. How will I get through life without you to guide me?” The tears that seemed to be flowing non-stop suddenly dried up. “I need to honor him before I do anything else.” Gathering all her strength, she stood up and went in search of Parker.

+ + +

The black limousine pulled up in front of the Santos home and a man dressed in black got out and stood by the limo’s back door. It was a gray dismal day, which Olivia thought fitting since it matched her mood. “The limo is here,” she said to Parker who appeared by her side.

Both, dressed in their formal police uniforms, strode out of the house and toward the waiting man. When Olivia seemed to falter, Parker took her arm and steadied her. “We’ll get through this,” she whispered as the man opened the door.

Olivia remained silent as the vehicle pulled out into the street. Neighbors stood outside their homes to pay respects to the man who was always willing to help. “They all liked Nicky,” she said.

Parker patted Olivia’s hand and said, “Everyone loved him O. He was a kind decent man who put his life on the line so they would be safe.”

The limo driver watched the two women through the rearview mirror. When he noticed them in conversation, he discretely began listening.

“I’m all that is left of my family and it is up to me to vindicate Nicky,” Olivia said matter-of-factly.

“Tomorrow we can go see David and tell him what you know.” Parker looked out the window and noticed a number of people exit their business establishments and bow in prayer as they passed. “Today will be difficult and it will be for some time but eventually you will get back to your old self.”

Glacial blue eyes fixed on Parker as Olivia growled, “I’ll never go back to that person Parker…she’s dead.”

“You don’t mean that. It will take time but you will heal.”

“Who the fuck do you think you are,” Olivia screamed. “Nothing and no one will ever replace Nicky and that includes you.”

Parker closed her eyes and breathed deeply. “We’re here,” she said as the limo pulled up to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.

The parish priest, Father Johansson, approached the vehicle and opened the door. “Olivia, I’m so sorry for your loss my child,” he said as he extended his hand to Olivia.

After Olivia got out, Parker fell in step behind the priest and her lover grinding her teeth as they climbed the stairs. Olivia was pulling away from her and she chalked it up to Olivia’s depression. In no time, Olivia would realize that she needed her more than ever.

The limo driver watched his two passengers disappear into the church and smiled. He picked up his phone and dialed a familiar number. “It’s me. I’ve delivered them to the church. As we suspected she has planned the funeral out to the last item.” He listened than said, “Yeah it was a stroke of genius to get her on the Mayor’s commission.” As other mourners filed past the car he added, “The plus in this might be the Santos woman. From what I overheard she knows who killed her brother and she wants revenge.”

An hour later, the driver slide out from under the wheel and positioned himself by the back door again.

Chapter 27

The funeral for Nicky Santos drew hundreds of people. His burial was with full police honors as nearly all the police officers from Portsmouth paid their respects to their fallen comrade. In a solemn procession, more than a mile of cars followed bagpipers who preceded the vehicle carrying Nicky’s body. As the hearse rolled slowly down the street, cameras snapped and film crews jockeyed for position.

Olivia lingered by the casket long after the others left the cemetery. For the better part of the day she remained stoic and in charge of her emotions. Now, the reality of the situation was painfully real and she felt her heart sink.

“O, we need to go to and meet the others,” Parker said in a gentle tone.

For a long moment, Olivia didn’t respond as she rested her hand on the casket. “I can’t leave him here alone,” she whispered.

Parker draped her arm over Olivia’s shoulders and pulled her close. “He’s in your heart O…he’ll never leave you. Besides, he’s with your parents now they’ll look after him.” When Olivia pulled away, Parker wasn’t surprised. “We need to leave so these men can do their job. Come on…we can come back later and visit him. Would you like to do that?”

Tears drenched Olivia’s shirt and they streaked her cheeks with moisture. “I didn’t realize you believed in the afterlife Parker. I guess it’s who you are. Right now, I don’t know if I ever will. Look, this is the sum total of my family and their all dead.”

A warm arm wrapped around her waist as her lover gently pulled her away. “Let me take care of you. I won’t let any harm come to you Olivia.”

Olivia reluctantly gave in and let Parker lead her to the limo. Once they sat down and the door closed, the vehicle made its way to Nicky’s favorite haunt–Nick Bar the local police after hours hangout. He jokingly would tell people that the owner, Nick Belisarius, named it after him since he spent so much time there. The crowd was raucous as they celebrated Nicky’s life with liberal amounts of alcohol. 

Olivia sat alone at a table brooding while the party carried on around her. Her mind set on the district attorney and her plans for his demise.

“O, do you think you can speak to some of your guests?” Parker asked. “They’re here for you.”

Olivia closed her eyes hoping that Parker would go away. When she opened them, Parker was still there and that caused her to sigh heavily. “I can’t…I just can’t.”

“Can I get you anything to eat or drink?”

With a shake of her head, Olivia pursed her lips. “Can’t you just go away and leave me alone?” When she looked into Parker’s eyes, she saw the hurt she caused and shook her head again. “Look, I’m sorry. I need some fresh air…can you give my regrets to everyone. I really appreciate them being here but I’m not ready to socialize with anyone.” She glared at Parker then closed her eyes. The woman was the one person she wished would leave.

Leaning in, Parker gently kissed Olivia’s cheek. “Sure. I’ll take care of everything. If you don’t come back I’ll see you back at the house ok.”

With a brief nod, Olivia stood up and said, “Thanks,” before she left.

Watching her lover leave, Parker sighed as a she felt her body stiffen. She couldn’t let her lover go alone. Before she could leave and follow Olivia, she felt a tap on her shoulder. Turning, she smiled at David Tourney. “Hi David, how are you holding up?”

“I’m ok. It’s Olivia I’m worried about.”

“Me too…she just can’t seem to get out of her funk. It’s been less than a week and something like this will take time. I can’t imagine what it is like to watch someone you love shot down.”

“I’ll need to speak with her about what happened soon. Do you think you can arrange that for me?

Parker shook her head. “I’ll try but don’t count on it. She’s closed herself off to everyone…even me.”

Chapter 28

 There is a defining  moment in your life when what you know and what you expect of yourself suddenly turns on its head and you act in an uncharacteristic manner. For Olivia, at the precise instant that she walked blindly towards a nondescript city building, her moment had arrived.

Glancing at the plaque, on the outside wall indicating the offices of the District Attorney, she calmly walked inside confidently. It was mid-afternoon and having donned her police jacket and taken the entrance reserved for police officers, she knew there was little chance that anyone would stop her. She recalled her brother’s words, ‘always walk into a place as if you’re supposed to be there Oli, and people will believe you do’. For the past two years, since she and Parker became detectives they had virtually lived in and out of a vehicle. Having spent most of her working life as an officer on the graveyard shift, those that would recognize her wouldn’t be around for at least another four hours. With her head down, she steadily progressed via the stairwell to the main corridor that held the offices of the District Attorney.

If asked at that moment, what was on her mind, Olivia would have said nothing. No one would have believed her but it was true. She had no exact thoughts of what she was going to do when she came face to face with the man who had been responsible for her brother’s death. The process of her thinking that deeply wasn’t possible. Her concentration was in moving her body by sheer will to the place where her life might change forever. That much she knew was certain…one way or another over the next few minutes her current life was going to change drastically.

Her eyes glanced at each door plaque and the names were a blur until she found the one she needed. The name hit her forcibly with its clarity–Damien Reeves, District Attorney.

Olivia came out of her funk and surveyed the corridor. Several people scurried along adjacent corridors with folders and sheaves of paper. They were all in a hurry and far enough away from her that they couldn’t recognize her. She held her gloved hand by the left side of her face to obscure the surveillance camera view of her. She gazed at the frosted window of the office and spied two figures. The other person was probably his secretary. Checking out the office space closest to the door, she saw a name plate…Susan Fitt. “I’ll wait for her to come out,” Olivia mumbled as she found an unmanned cubicle where she could watch for a change in the status quo. It was also close to an exit door, which made it the perfect spot.

Fifteen minutes later her vigilance paid off as the person who turned out to be a woman opened the door and walked over to the desk Olivia surmised was hers earlier. Then a handsome man with a ready smile dropped his head around the door and spoke to the woman. “Susan will you go over to Charlie Squire’s office and pick up that case he wants my opinion on?” He didn’t wait for her reply as he shut the door.

Olivia continued to watch as the woman threw the files she had on her desk and then walked down the corridor. Just in case the office in question might have been close by, Olivia gave the woman two minutes before she moved. Olivia pulled up the collar of her jacket and stealthily moved from her position. Her eyes darted up and down the corridor–it was empty. Then, she entered the DA’s office.

The dark headed man at the large highly polished oak desk lifted his head and frowned. “Do I know you?”

Olivia had a moment to digest the features of the man who would be pivotal in her future. Then her lips curled into a feral smile and she calmly said, “Me, no, not personally.” She shook her head. “My brother…for sure.”

Reeves scratched the corner of his left eye before he rolled them. “Look, I think you have the wrong office. Do you know who I am?”

Olivia’s head twitched as he asked the pertinent question. “Perhaps it should be me asking, do you know who I am?”

“Hey, I’m a busy man, if there’s a problem on a case that involves your brother see the assistant DA who’s handling it. You’ve got the wrong office and man.” He glanced at the phone and was about to call security when a hand, covered in police issue leather gloves, seized his in a vice like grip.

“I wouldn’t even think of it if I were you Reeves.” Olivia’s voice dropped an octave and became more menacing as her eyes drilled into his.

Reeves felt the piercing gaze rip off his skin and skewer his heart, as adrenalin rushed around his system in fear. “Look, let me rephrase that how can I help you Ms…?”

 Olivia’s body hummed with the power of life and death over the man–it felt good. Her mind toyed with several scenarios before she finally stated in an icy voice to match her glacial expression. “Santos, as I said you knew my brother.”

The man’s gaze was incredulous as he locked eyes with her. “Of course I know him…because of his death the whole god damn police force is taking a day off instead of catching criminals.”

With that simple statement, Reeves signed his own death warrant. Olivia pulled a pistol with a silencer from inside her jacket pocket, took aim, and shot him at point blank range. The blood splattered and hit both the wall and her jacket. With a disinterested flick of her finger at the offending liquid, she gave Reeves a cursory glance. He was dead. The gaping hole between his eyes and the brain matter covering the wound along with the blood made taking a closer look irrelevant. Pocketing the gun, Olivia slipped unseen out of the room, pushed open the stairwell door and headed down toward the underground parking garage.

When she opened the door, two officers who were about to enter the building blocked her escape. The first, a middle-aged burly man with brown distrusting eyes gave her the once over. The other much younger one, with flaxen haired with a baby face and grey eyes that were much more inquisitive, Olivia thought was a rookie. 

“What’s with the blood?” the younger man asked refusing to move out of Olivia’s direct path to the outside world.

Olivia grimaced then bit out tightly, “What’s it to you?”

Her tone alerted the older officer to a potential situation, as he looked her over seriously then with his hand on his gun handle he nodded his head. “Answer the man?”

Through all the morass of what she had suffered in the preceding week, her own adrenalin levels were shooting for the sky. Killing the DA had boosted her to an emotional plane she’d never before known. When they solved a case, her sex drive went into overdrive but the rush she felt after killing the DA was even better. With a derisive flick of her eyebrows, she answered, “A suspect I just brought in decided to make my day by bleeding over me after he accidently ran into a wall.”

The younger man blushed slightly confirming that he was a rookie. The older one on the other hand, didn’t look convinced.

“You can’t be too careful these days so I’ll need to see some identification.”

This time, Olivia’s expression changed and she managed a slight smile as she reached inside her pocket before flashing her badge. It was so quick she knew they couldn’t have seen her name but they did see that she was a detective. “Does that satisfy your curiosity gentlemen?”

The older man moved aside and tipped his hat. “Sorry detective, but you can’t be too careful now can you? Are you…”

“No you can’t,” she said with a tight smile not allowing him to finish the sentence. “I’ll see you around.” She side-stepped them both and as a precaution if they were still watching her, she headed for the area where the detective field vehicles were parked. When she reached the end of the row of vehicles she turned around–they were gone.

Olivia felt invincible as endorphins filled her body and libido. She needed an outlet and knew exactly where to go. She smiled cynically at her thoughts and she walked to the nearest exit of the garage and headed for the subway to take her home. As the sirens went off and an ambulance converged on the building, Olivia was skipping down the stairs to the subway station. If she timed it right, she would be gone before they locked the place down.     

Chapter 29

The house was remarkably quiet when she arrived home, inserting her key in the lock, she entered and called Parker’s name. There was no answer. She growled. Any other time she couldn’t get away from Parker and now that she needed her the most, she was gone. Glancing around the comfortable but shabby hallway, she felt the memories of her family invade her thoughts of sex with Parker. She vividly recalled her mother saying goodnight to her and Nicky. She would tell them not to worry that when their dad got home he’d kiss them goodnight–he always did. Shaking her head, she tried to dislodge the happy memories as the reality of the past hour worked its way to her subconscious. If her folks or her brother knew what she just did, they wouldn’t believe it and certainly wouldn’t have agreed that it was the right way. She was certain that she would never see them again. There was no way the Catholic Church would grant absolution for a cold blooded murder.

Dragging her feet, she entered the sitting room and settled in her dad’s, which then became Nicky’s, favorite chair. Her hand reached inside the jacket and she took out the gun she’d used to kill a man in cold blood. Such a small object and in the wrong hands a lethal one. The man was a scumbag that would never have come to justice so it seemed perfectly fitting for her to be judge and jury. One day she’d meet the man in hell and make his afterlife the purgatory, what he made others suffer. The thoughts fueled her libido and as she breathed in deeply the door opened and she heard Parker call her name.

“Olivia, are you here?”

Olivia debated whether to answer. The thought of Parker seeking her out was deliciously arousing. She’d miss Parker. Olivia didn’t love the woman enough to let it all go and let the justice system punish the DA. In that brief moment she realized that her brother, even though he was dead, meant more to her than Parker ever could. Before she could answer, Parker walked into the room and stood in the doorway looking at her.

“Hey, you ok? I was worried about you. Do you feel better after taking in some air?” Parker walked into the room and knelt by her chair. It was then her eyes took in the handgun in Olivia’s hands. “O, what are you doing with your dad’s gun?”

Olivia glanced at the weapon held between her fingers. “Nothing,” she shrugged before laughing cynically. “You didn’t think I was going to do something silly did you…like take my own life.” 

Parker found it hard to muster a smile but she managed. “You never…me on the other hand, sure. Especially after, I spent the entire afternoon being nice to everyone. I could murder for a drink.” Although her words indicated that she believed Olivia, her thoughts were chaotic. She placed her hands over the gun and gently pried it from Olivia’s grasp. The fact that Olivia released her hold easily made Parker draw a measure of reassurance.

“I’d rather we went to bed,” Olivia said flatly.

Olivia grasped Parker’s hand and jerked it. After enduring Olivia’s inattention for days, the pain the grab inflicted was oddly stimulating. The lips that kissed her savagely fueled her building passion. She found the violence she felt rising in Olivia anything but repulsive as she responded in kind. She had missed the sexual charge that Olivia had kept locked away over the past week. Why Olivia wanted make love to her in that fashion really didn’t matter–her need was too great. Through released lips she whispered, “For you lover, I’ll do anything.”

Olivia felt the surge of sexual excitement wash over her body. In one fluid movement, she stood up and grabbed Parker’s wrists before dragging her to the bedroom. She ripped off Parker’s clothes as she let her teeth mark a trail down her neck grazing the flesh. Olivia greedily licked the blood that seeped through the bite marks.

From deep in her subconscious Parker noticed something odd–red stains. Blood? The thought disappeared as she felt her lover bite her breast hard. She became lost in the passion of making love with the woman she loved–nothing else mattered.

+ + +

In the blind rage of a sexual obsession that transcended all else, Olivia pinned Parker’s arms above her head. “Stay there and don’t move,” her husky voice ordered. When she came back, she handcuffed both of Parker’s wrists before attaching them to the headboard. She looked down at her lover as a predatory smile curved around her lips. Once she tightened the last strap around her waist she growled, “You want me don’t you?” She climbed on the bed resting on her knees as she bent to lick the blood that the deep bite on Parker’s breast produced.

“God, O it’s been so long and I want you so bad.” Parker lifted her pelvis and tried to make contact with the large dildo strapped around Olivia’s waist. “Please,” she begged.

Olivia began her assault by thrusting her hips and penetrating Parker hard. Repeatedly she pushed going so deep that Parker cried out. Olivia stopped for a moment as the small sane part of her brain noted her lover’s distress.

When Parker screamed, “Don’t stop.” She renewed her assault by pushing deeper inside Parker as she ravaged the woman’s breasts.

No part of Parker’s body was off limits as Olivia greedily took what she wanted. Shooting Reeve’s and seeing his terrified eyes before the bullet entered his forehead only fueled her desires. She knew Parker was more than willing to satisfy the need that raged inside her body and mind so she took everything. Each time she heard Parker crying out as her orgasm peaked, Olivia would remember the power she felt as she killed the DA. Finally, an hour later, Olivia pulled out of Parker and rolled onto the bed.

Parker looked at her lover sprawled beside her on the bed in what seemed like a stupor. Olivia’s lovemaking, if Parker could call it that, left her bruised and sore. If she was honest, what occurred over the last hour was nothing but a cold impersonal fuck. Even before Nicky’s death, she couldn’t shake the feeling that Olivia was leaving her and if the last hour was anything to go by, she knew it was true. As she moved slightly, she felt a searing pain emanate from between her legs and she let a small trickle of tears leave her eyes–Olivia had already left her emotionally. She rolled over and kissed Olivia’s cheek. “You ok?” she asked.

“Why wouldn’t I be,” the words echoed sarcastically in the silent room.

“You seem…so…I don’t know what the right word is.” Parker shrugged. “The last time you made love to me like that was when you shot that suspect in the Bergamo case.”

“What are you implying? That I’m lousy in bed unless I’ve shot someone and have an adrenalin buzz? You’re unbelievable Parker.” Olivia rolled away from the close proximity of Parker’s inviting body. A part of her wanted to feel Parker’s hands make love to her but the mention of the Bergamo case was like a cold shower on her overheated emotions.

Parker reached out tentatively and touched Olivia’s shoulder. “No one has ever made me feel that way you do. I always want you and just the thought of you touching me makes me want you more.” She moved closer and kissed Olivia’s shoulder. “Let me make love to you …please…let me show you how much I love you.” Inside she tried to squelch the growing fear that Olivia was lost to her forever.

Olivia shrugged away the hand on her shoulder as she perversely ignored Parker’s pleas. Swinging her legs off the bed, she stood up with the dildo standing at attention ready for another go at the woman. Once the device tumbled to the floor, she looked at the woman who was lying naked, bruised, and bleeding from the sexual onslaught. How could she love or respect someone who allowed that to happen to her body. It was Parker’s fault–she didn’t say ‘no’. Her thoughts were chaotic, as she remained stoically silent. In some corner of her mind, Olivia knew that what she had done to Parker was unforgivable. Swallowing hard, she kept her face devoid of expression. “It’s true.”

Once Olivia left the bed, Parker had the overwhelming feeling that there was more to her actions than she previously thought. The only time Olivia was that aggressive in bed was when she felt out of control. That knowledge gave her some measure of hope that Olivia wasn’t leaving her. Her greatest fear was that whatever Olivia did, it involved some sort of violence. “What’s true?” she asked cautiously.

Olivia’s eyes darted around the room, giving the impression she expected someone to be listening in. “I shot a man today. Not just shot him…I became judge and jury and executed him.” As she said the words aloud, the enormity of the situation finally hit her. Her thoughts traveled to a conversation she’d once had with her father a few weeks before he died. She lived up to her father’s expectation–she was the one that went to the dark side not her brother.

As she heard the words, Parker sucked in a breath. “Hey,” she said as she got out of bed and winced in pain before wrapping her arms around Olivia. “Everything is going to be ok. We’ll work it out together.” She gently kissed Olivia’s lips. “Come back to bed and let me love you.”

“How can you love a murderer Parker? I’ve ridden roughshod over all the things we stand for. I’m not worth loving.” Olivia’s eyes turned almost black in the half-light of the room mirroring the self-loathing she felt. “There’s no redemption for me Parker…I can’t let you love me. I need to go. I won’t drag you down with me.”

With her grip firmly on Olivia’s shoulder Parker looked directly into the blue eyes. “Don’t shut me out. Nothing you do will ever change the love I have for you…don’t you know that? Your fight is my fight, your sorrow my sorrow, and together we will fix whatever has happened.” She kissed Olivia again. “Remember our vow? Remember that together we are strong apart we are lost. Let me help you.”

The feel of Parker’s warm body and her equally heated words covered Olivia’s raw emotions like a blanket. Was it as simple as that? Could Parker make it all go away? She knew nothing was ever that uncomplicated. Allowing the moment of calm to tame the savage beast that she allowed to have free reign, Olivia rested her forehead against Parker’s skin. “I have never understood you Parker…not really. Even now, after what I’ve told you, you still defend me, you continue to love me.”

“I’ve always loved you. Nothing you do or say will ever change that for me.” She wrapped her arms around Olivia and let their bodies melt together. Inside she was trembling for she feared losing one thing more than anything else–Olivia’s love. “You do love me right?” she asked and immediately kicked herself.

Olivia masked her annoyance with Parker whose arms wrapped around her like an octopus. Then she guided them back to the bed. Her actions were obviously to Parker’s delight as she heard the woman in her arms sigh gently. “It isn’t about love anymore Parker. Love is for people who can make a life together. I can’t anymore…it’s time for you to let me go.” Her hand slid down Parker’s body as she began a circular motion on her belly.

“Never, I’ll never let you go,” she whispered, as her eyes grew heavy. “I will always love you and will stand by your side.” She fought the sleep she knew was inevitable and tried to brush Olivia’s insistent fingers from circling her belly. “We have to find David and tell him.”

“It isn’t we anymore Parker. I’ll take care of everything myself. I made the mess I’ll clean it up.” Her fingers continued to weave their magic as she pushed away Parker’s feeble attempts to restrain them.

As sleep began to overtake her, Parker’s mind screamed that Olivia was going to run. “You have to tell David…if you don’t I’ll have to. Don’t make me do that O,” she slurred. The fingers that felt like a feather touching her finally won and all thoughts ended as she slipped into the deep sleep that always occurred when Olivia rubbed her belly.

Olivia watched Parker and smiled. It was a calculated move on her behalf to stop the never ending questions and the entreaties of love. The woman’s tenacity was one of the things she loved most about Parker. She bent her head slightly to kiss Parker’s forehead. She would miss Parker and the way the woman made her feel. However, Olivia was in a place where she had to be alone. Unwrapping herself gently from Parker’s arms she knew the action wouldn’t disturb her for the rhythm of Parker’s breathing indicated she was sound asleep. “You were my first love Parker I’ll never forget you,” she whispered as she collected her clothes from the floor and left the room.

Chapter 30

Parker awoke, stretched, and instantly felt pain. She kept her eyes closed as she recalled how Olivia ravaged her body and then admitted to committing a murder. The question of who surfaced and she opened her eyes to ask her lover that question. Her hand felt the place where Olivia usually laid–it was cold. Creasing her brow, she eased out of bed acutely aware of the pain between her legs. “Olivia,” she called.

As she ventured out of the bedroom, cold air hit her naked body and she felt her nipples swell as a smile crossed her face. When she found her lover, her breast would be perky just as Olivia liked them. Her eyes roamed the room for any evidence of her lover. Once again she said, “Olivia where are you?”

The overwhelming feeling that had haunted her for a week reared its head–Olivia had left her for good this time. Fearing the worse, Parker entered the kitchen and peered out the window–the motorcycle was gone. “Shit!” She stood in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room and cast a critical eye around the room. Everything seemed in place until she saw or didn’t see the wooden box that Olivia prized over all else. It held mementoes of her family.

She dialed Olivia’s work cell number and it went right to voice mail. “Fuck, where are you O? I can’t let you leave me.” Repeatedly she kept redialing and finally in frustration slammed the phone down. Her mind flickered back to Olivia’s confession of murdering someone. “Is she on the run?” She looked at her cell and frowned. “Better not use that anymore…too easy for them to trace.”

Forgetting all the pain her body felt, Parker walked with a purposeful stride into the bedroom. She closed her eyes as the pain between her legs escalated. If it were anyone else, she would have cried rape–she knew she was compliant. She pulled on black jeans and slipped her arms through a black silk blouse that she tucked into the jeans before running a belt through the loops and fastening it. “I’ve got to find her.” Once she put her boots on she secured her holster and gun, donned a black leather jacket, and headed for the door only to stop.

Parker listened as the phone on the other end rang until she heard, “Tourney.”

“David this is Parker have you by any chance seen Olivia?”

“No,” he said harshly. “Listen, I can’t talk right now we’re in the midst of a high profile murder investigation.”

She closed her eyes as a chill ran up her spine before she said, “Nicky’s?”

“No, the DA. I’m sorry I need to go.”

“Don’t hang up on me David…we need to talk. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”

“I really don’t have time…if you find Olivia tell her I’m looking for her.”

The line went dead. “Shit,” she said under her breath. The uneasy feeling that David was looking for Olivia screamed for recognition. It only took seconds for her to go out the door, jump behind the Mustang’s wheel, engage the engine, and speed toward downtown.

Chapter 31

Olivia dismounted from her bike, with a swift kick set the bike stand, and strode in the direction of the wall of remembrance in the Good Shepherd Cemetery. Climbing the few steps to the bank of lockers holding the urns of the departed she proceeded to number three sixty-five and stood beside it or a few seconds as she stared at the name–Paul Santos.

She reached inside her leather jacket and took out the wooden box that held what she considered her most beloved treasures-memories. Opening the small catch, she selected from the contents a key, placed it in the keyhole of the locker, and listened as she heard the tiny mechanism release the lock. With a heavy sigh, she opened the door and gazed at the small urn made from the same wood that made her mother’s coffin that contained her father’s ashes. In the sixteen years of her life with her parents, she had never expected that in death they wouldn’t share the same burial preparations since in life they shared everything. Their father’s will had been specific he wanted to be cremated and their mother had been equally as adamant about being buried. They had seen to it that they appeased both their wishes. The final sensitive touch of using the same wood had been Nicky’s idea. With an almost fearful movement of her hand, she touched the urn and then stepped back, tears running copiously down her cheeks. As she tried to brush them away, they fell even heavier. Finally, ignoring her tears, she rested her hazy gaze on the contents of the box.

Inside, were pictures of her parents getting married along with some of her and Nicky as babies and toddlers. Another was of her dad receiving the Medal of Honor for bravery, in the line of duty along with a few others. Her personal favorite was the one taken the last Christmas they were all together. Her mother had finally given in and decided to allow a restaurant to cook. One of the waiters had taken the photo. She smiled at the pudgy little girl she once was. Her brother looked so young and innocent and her parents were such a handsome couple. She could see in their eyes how much in love they still were.

Picking her way through her scattered memories, she touched the rings her parents had worn–family heirlooms from her father’s side that went back at least two hundred years. The eldest child received them when they reached twenty-one to share with the one they chose to love and cherish for all time. She felt sadness wash over her. Nicky was gone and she would never share her life like that with anyone.

She closed the box, placed it inside the sepulcher next to the urn and shut the door. She turned the key locking away the things of her family that she held dear, for safe-keeping. “You were right Dad. I did go over to the dark side and I’m so sorry I shamed our family name.” Bowing her head Olivia gazed unseeingly at the floor as her thoughts traveled down the years to a conversation she’d had with her father a few weeks before he died.

+ + +

“Hand me the spanner Oli. We need to keep the old girl tuned up or she’ll not ride well for you.” Paul Santos grinned at his daughter as she handed him the spanner and watched him avidly as he worked on the Harley-Davidson 1983 Super Glide®- FXSB.

Olivia was excited about her first bike. She never expected her dad to buy the used Harley for her. Her Mother hadn’t been so happy about the fact that her tomboy daughter was interested in her husband’s manic hobby, motorcycles. From the first ride at five on the back of her father’s bike, she was been hooked. Now there was no going back in less than a week, she was going to be the proud owner of her own bike and she couldn’t wait. “Nicky’s sixteenth wasn’t as contentious was it?”

Paul Santos looked at his youngest child and smiled, she and Nicky were so different in personality. Olivia had more of his traits and Nicky had many of his mothers. “He wanted to travel to the Antarctic and see the animals in their true habitat. Made your Mom happy she got to go with him.”

“I figure he’s going to be a vet or animal scientist types one day don’t you Dad?” Olivia remarked as she watched her dad finish the tweaking of her new bike.

“Yeah, I do.” Paul Santos turned to his daughter and with an exaggerated wave of his hand indicated the bike was ready. “You know with this bike comes great responsibility. People aren’t always nice to bikers you have to respect that others have a different point of view.”

Olivia shook her dark head. “I’m going to be an evil biker dad, everyone will be afraid of me.” She grinned as she spoke, amazed that her words had a sudden unusual effect on her father.

Paul Santos took Olivia by the shoulders and gazed into her eyes seriously. “Olivia, never ever make people afraid of you. Respect you and your views sure but afraid…never! When you make them fearful of you they retaliate and that isn’t good–trust me on that.”

With a wide eyed expression, Olivia quietly asked, “I don’t understand Dad. I was only teasing.”

  With a shake of his head, Paul Santos drew his daughter into a warm embrace, “I know Oli, but you and me both have a mean temper when crossed, call it that dark side like in the movies. Your Mom and Nicky are placid kind of people they think before they do things, you and I rush into the breach. We’re the other side of the coin and we need to be in control all the time Oli…all the time. If for a while we let that slip, anything could happen and it probably wouldn’t be good.”

“Dad we’re not bad people…you’re a cop?”

“Yeah I get to put my dark side on to a good cause. When I think of your mother or see her and feel the love I have for her, I know I won’t do anything stupid. I couldn’t face not having her in my life. When you meet the right person Oli you’ll know what I mean and crossing that line isn’t an option.”

“Then I hope I meet that right person early rather than later in my life,” Olivia remarked in reflection.

“Oh I figure in a couple of year’s time every boy around for miles will want to have you in their arms. You have your mother’s stunning looks baby.” Paul Santos kissed the top of her dark head.

“Dad I’ve been meaning to tell you and Mom, about boys…”

+ + +

Her father was right and Olivia tried to squash the memories but they called to her as she sank down on the hard cold floor and cried for her family and the shame she’d now brought them and, for the future that could never be.

To be continued next week in part 4 of 5

Return to the Academy

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Find JM Dragon and Erin O'Reilly's books at SCP
JM Dragon author of Define Destiny
Co-author with Erin O'Reilly of New Beginnings
Erin O'Reilly author of Revelations and Deception

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