Disclaimers: These characters and events are my own.  Don’t steal ‘em.

Sex: Oh yeah!  If you gotta ask, you haven’t read any of my work before. J

NOTE: This story contains graphic sexual descriptions – yes, sorry, some hetero - as well as graphic language, and some violent content.  This story is really rough, guys.  Way different than my norm.  Be prepared.

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

Strange Love


Kim Pritekel 


Canton stared up at the dark ceiling, just as she’d been doing for the past two hours.  The sun would be rising in two more hours, and she’d yet to sleep a wink.  She kept going over and over the events of that night.  She kept seeing Annie’s face, both in fear and in passion.  Why had she stopped?  She knew she’d hurt Annie bad, and thought she’d heard the blonde crying in her bedroom earlier.  Canton hadn’t gone to her, because first of all, she didn’t think Annie would let her near her, and secondly, Canton couldn’t promise not to say something else stupid. 

With a heavy sigh, and slow motion, Canton turned to her side.  Luckily, she hadn’t done anymore damage to her side, which was good, but it was still very tender.  There must have been a recent sale on stupid, because lately, that seemed to be all Canton could do.

She sighed again, thinking about where she should go.  She’d decided that she would leave Annie alone once the new day dawned.  She call the whole thing off.  She’d basically done her job, so there was no real reason for her to stick around anymore.  She had the information she needed, anyway.  Job well done.  

So then why did she feel so terribly sad at the prospect?  Decision made, she should feel relieved, especially since this meant she could finally go home.  There was no relief.  Just misery.  

Annie sat on the edge of her bed in a dark bedroom.  She’d been tossing and turning ever since she’d attempted sleep.  Her mind wouldn’t shut off, filled with hurt from her encounter with Canton, and fear from her encounter with Reno.  She knew he wouldn’t leave it at that.  There was no way in hell his ego would allow it.  When would he strike next?  She knew this time he’d come back with a gun, determined to use it.  

And what of Canton?  The draw between them was undeniable.  But then, so was Canton’s utter disgust in who Annie was.  This, Annie had to admit to herself, hurt like hell.  Canton didn’t know her, didn’t know what she’s been through, and why she’d become who she was.  Why couldn’t she see that?  Why couldn’t Canton just let happen what obviously was happening, regardless of what either of them might want or think. 

She still felt the hurt from earlier.  Never had anyone’s actions or words cut like Canton’s.  “Dam it,” Annie whispered into the darkness, glancing over at the closed bedroom door, wondering if Canton was sound asleep. 

She didn’t have long to ponder that thought when there was a loud knock on the front door.  Annie’s heart stopped, her breathing immediately in her throat.  She pushed off the bed and left her bedroom, only to find Canton – gun at the ready – plastered up against the wall behind where the door would open up.  

“Ask,” Canton whispered, indicating the door. 

“Who is it?” Annie asked, trying to keep her voice from trembling. 

“It’s me, chica!  Open up, quick!” Michelle yelled from the other side.  

Still wary, Annie unlocked and opened the door, but just enough to where she could peek out at her neighbor.  Michelle stood in the hall, a large trash bag held in her hands, about half filled. 

“The cops are comin’, Annie.  You got anything you need to et rid of?  I think they’re gonna raid the building again!” 

With relief, Annie shook her head.  “No.  I’m good.” 

“Okay.”  Michelle hurried down the hall to the next door, helping their neighbors – most with a prolific drug habit – to get rid of contraband. 

Annie shut and locked the door, looking at Canton.  “They’re not here for drugs.” 

Canton shook her head, agreeing.  “I don’t think so, either.”  She put her gun down, hurrying over to the couch to grab and sat down, pulling on her shoes.  “I’ll slip out the window,” she said, getting ready to leave.  

“And go where?” Annie asked, suddenly panicked at the thought of Canton leaving.  “You’re hurt!”  

“I can’t stay here, Annie.”  Boots on, Canton stood, looking in the dark for her leather jacket.  She found it, making sure her phone and wallet were in the pocket.  She stopped, feeling a hand on her arm.  She looked down to see the pleading face of Annie looking at her in the dark. 

“I’m going with you,” the blonde stated, encouraging n argument.  

Canton studied her for a moment, knowing that Annie had to get out of there, as she knew the dude with the fists would be back.  “Okay.  But only until I can find somewhere safe to put you.” 

“Fine.”  Annie would make up her own mind of when and where she went, but now wasn’t the time to fight about it.  Instead, she hurried back into her bedroom, stopping short when she heard the distant whine of sirens getting louder in the quiet early morning hours.  “Shit,” she breathed, stripping out of the t-shirt and sweats she wore and throwing on some jeans and a sweater.  

“You ready?” Canton asked from the doorway of the bedroom. 

“Almost.”  Annie shoved some clothing into a bag, as well as all the money she had hidden in her jewelry box.  It wasn’t much, but it was all she had.  “Ready.”


They both stopped, hearing the sirens now on their street.  “Can’t use the front door,” Annie said, looking at Canton for guidance. 

Without a word, Canton hurried over to the one window in the bedroom and looked down.  Annie lived on the fifth floor, and had a fire escape attached just outside.  Even so, she knew that lowering it would make a ton of noise and get unwanted attention.  She looked out at the building next door, which was a four-story building, and very close.  An idea began to form. 

Annie met Canton’s gaze, knowing that something was brewing behind those baby blues.  “What?” she asked, holding her bag close to her.

“We gotta jump,” was all Canton said, grunting as she pushed the window up, cold morning air rushing in.   She grabbed Annie’s bag from her.  “I hope there’s nothing breakable in here.”


“’Cause.”   Without a moment to spare, Canton heaved the bag across the narrow ally and to the roof next door, where it landed with a distant thud.  “Come on.  You’re next.”  

Annie swallowed hard, but was brave as she crawled out of the window ledge, forcing herself not to look down.  She stood on the fire escape landing, then with a quick word of prayer, launched herself to the roof of the next building, falling into a tumble when she landed.  It hurt, but she was alive! 

Feeling rather proud of herself, she pushed to her feet, limping a bit as her ankle wasn’t thrilled with her, and turned to see Canton leaping through the air, coming right for her.  Annie narrowly missed being smooshed beneath the brunette.  It took Canton a moment to get her breath back.  The landing had jarred her side pretty bad, knocking the wind out of her. 

“Are you okay?” Annie whispered, kneeling next to her. 

Canton nodded.  “Yeah.  Just hurt my side.” 

“Shit, woman!” Annie hissed.  “I am not giving that goddamn doctor another hand job!”

Canton grinned, getting to her feet.  “Come on.” 


Detective John Delaware arrived at the scene, called by the lead uniformed officer.  The apartment had been empty, but a great deal of blood was found under a welcome mat at the front door.  The police were worried this had become a kidnapping, as well as murder case.  

“What do we got?” the seasoned cop asked, noting the CSI team already on site.  It was obvious the apartment had been hastily vacated: bed on the couch still there, as well as the bed in the bedroom recently slept in.  Drawers in the bedroom looked as though they’d been rifled through, a ten dollar bill dropped on the floor. 

“Nobody here, but it looks like there was either a break in, or someone left awfully fast,” Officer Bernard Hamp explained.  “Also, the window in the bedroom was left wide open.  The fire escape ladder is still up, so they must have escaped over the roves of buildings.” 

John walked into the bedroom, looking out the open window, which technicians were steadily dusting for fingerprints.  He looked around the room, hands on hips.  “I’m gonna find you,” he muttered. 

“John, we’ve got the neighbor lady ready to talk to you,” another officer said, standing at the open doorway of the bedroom. 

“Alright.  Be there in a minute.” 


Canton felt as though a stopwatch had been started the moment she’d landed on that rooftop.  They had hugged the shadows, making it to her nearby motel room within twenty minutes.  She found the keys to her car, her phone charger and the bag – still packed – that had sat on the second full-sized bed. 

“Okay, let’s go.”  She left the motel room key on one of the beds. 

Safely buckled up in Canton’s car, the two hurried from the area, careful to stick to back streets and alleyways, which Annie was able to help navigate.  Finally, as the sun began to show the first signs of rising, they found a hotel, both exhausted. 

Annie got the room for them, paying with cash and using a fake name.  Settled in their room, which was luckily at the back of the building, Canton decided to take a shower.  The doctor had advised against it for a couple days to allow the stitches to do their job, but Canton felt gross.  She decided it had been long enough.

The water was hot on her skin, and it felt wonderful.  She groaned, arching her head back to let the water fall over her face.  She needed to come up with a plan, but for now, she just wanted to feel and enjoy the bliss.  Knowing that Annie still needed to shower, she didn’t stay as long as she wanted to, and stepped out of the shower stall.  It felt great to put some clean clothes on, too.  Annie had given her a t-shirt of hers to wear since her own shirt was destroyed from blood, but she’d been wearing that shirt for two days.

Annie was reclining on one of the two beds, hands tucked behind her head.  She listened to the shower as she stared at the window, the curtains closed with just a sliver of gold coming through as the dawn began to creep upon them.  She was so exhausted she couldn’t sleep.  The one good thing about such exhaustion, her mind no longer worked.  There was so much to think about, but she didn’t want to think about any of it. 

The bathroom door opened and Canton appeared, followed by a wave of shampoo-scented steam.  The brunette looked comfortable in a pair of flannel pants and a t-shirt, her hair wet and combed back from her face. 

“Feel better?” Annie asked.

“Much.” Canton tossed her dirty clothing to the floor next to her bag and sat on her bed.  “Plenty of hot water left if you want a shower.  It’s got awesome pressure.” 

“God, that would be nice,” Annie sighed, sitting up.  “My place, you gotta run around just to get wet.” 

“Oh, I hate that!” Canton exclaimed, brushing out her hair.  “I had this place once where the pipes and fittings were so old, I would constantly have to get that heavy-duty industrial-strength cleaner to dip the shower heads into.”

“Oh!  Like that crap Billy Mays hawks on TV?”

“Yeah.”  Canton stood, ready for a dramatic imitation of the gregarious commercial king. “Hi, Billy Mays here, for Kaboom!”

Annie fell back, laughing.  “That dude doesn’t have a volume control!”

Canton grinned, glad to see the blonde laughing.  They were both quiet for a moment, the air growing heavy and thick with unsettled issues and emotions.  Annie sat up again, tossing her legs over the side of the bed and standing. 

“Gonna take a quick shower,” she said quietly, grabbing her bag and heading into the bathroom, closing the door behind her.


They lay in the dark, the dripping of the faucet in the bathroom the only sound.  Well, that and the radio blasting in the car in the parking lot.  The sun was beginning to rise, spreading its golden fingers across the sky and city.  

Canton glanced over across the dark room to Annie.  She knew the blonde was awake, and had been awake as long as she had.  Too much sat between them to find any nocturnal peace.  “Can’t sleep either?” she whispered. 

Annie turned her head to look at her companion from the narrow space between their beds.  She shook her head.  “You?”

Canton sighed.  “Not a wink.” 

Annie was quiet for a moment, then turned on her side, facing Canton.  “Why do you judge me so harshly?” she asked softly, no more anger in her voice, just a pure need to know.  “Why do you hate me?  You don’t even know me.”

But I do.  Canton studied her for a long moment, then sat up, turning to face the blonde.  “I don’t hate you, Annie.  And… that’s a lie.  I guess I have judged you, haven’t I?”  She sighed, brushing her hair out of her face.  Since she’d gone to bed with wet hair, it had dried in funky ways, which might have been amusing in a less-serious moment.  “Don’t you worry about catching something?”

Annie also sat up, resting back against the headboard, a pillow hugged to her.  “That’s why I won’t work without protection.  I don’t want to die, Canton.  I don’t want to be another statistic out there.”

“But you are!” Canton exclaimed, her passion-filled voice indicative of how much she cared.  She gave Annie a rueful smile.  “Sorry.  I’m getting on my soap box again.  How did you fall into this life?”

Annie blew out a loud breath, blowing her bangs out of her eyes.  “Jeez, where to begin.  Guess I’ll just tell you the whole story.  Weird,” she glanced over at the curtained window.  “I’ve never told this story to anyone, before.”

Canton waited, wanting to be able to fill in the blanks she hadn’t been able to find.

“I grew up in Bum Fuck, Kansas, population 2,100.  My mom and step-dad were farmers.  We were raised to be the perfect house wife and mother.” 


Annie’s smile was soft and lost to the darkness of the room.  “My twin sister, Andi and I.  God, we were inseparable, yet so, so different.  She wanted that life: to get married, have kids, all that.  But not me.”  The bitterness in Annie’s voice was potent.  

“What happened?” Canton asked when there was nothing more to follow.  It was almost as though Annie had gotten lost in her memories of the past. 

The blonde blew out another breath then continued.  “Me and y step-dad never got along.  He was an ass, and really liked to hit us.  I got tired of it.  I had this boyfriend, Robert – who didn’t treat me hugely better, by the way – who of course, neither of my parents liked.  Well, I was determined.  The day I graduated from high school, me, Robert and two of his friends headed out into the big, bad world.” 

“You moved out?”  Canton was curious to see what Annie’s take was on the situation.

Annie looked over at Canton.  “I ran away,” she said softly. 

“Was it that bad for you, Annie?” Canton asked gently, her heart breaking for the lost teenager Annie had been, which ultimately turned into the lost adult she was now.

Annie smirked.  “I thought so at the time.  Now, hell, sometimes I’d kill to be back in that farmhouse.”  She sighed, sitting up and turning on the bed until she mirrored Canton’s position.  “So, all our shit packed into Robert’s car, we headed west.  Me and Robert lasted exactly six months after that, but then I made the biggest mistake of my life and hooked up with his friend, Alex.  I knew he’d had a crush on me forever, and I was afraid of being alone out there, and way too stubborn and afraid to go home.” 

“What was Alex like?”

“Brutal,” Annie said, her voice flat.  “I stayed with the son-of-a-bitch for almost two years when I’d had enough.  I finally got the courage to leave him when I was 22, and spent the next three years trying to get away from him.  I moved from town to town, job to job, but he always found me.  I got sick of him showing up at my jobs, so finally, two years ago, I decided to go underground, and became the full-service whore who sits before you now.” 

“You’re not a whore, Annie,” Canton said quietly. 

“No?” Annie challenged. 

“No.”  Canton scooted off her bed and slid onto Annie’s sitting next to her.  “I didn’t know, didn’t understand why someone so beautiful and smart would give up on herself like you had.”  She shook her head in wonder.  “There’s so much more to you than meets the eye.  I guess I just hate seeing potential go to waste.” 

It was rare Annie heard anything nice or positive, other than, Nice ass, baby, and was incredibly moved by Canton’s words.  She turned to the brunette, taking her in a tight hug.  Canton held her, enjoying the moment of forgiveness that passed between them.

Annie laid her head on Canton’s shoulder, letting the warmth and softness from the other woman envelope her.  They both knew it wasn’t about sex or lust, but simply allowing themselves to fully feel the other person.  Trusting and caring.  Ten minutes into the hug, she pulled away, scooting back to the head of the bed.  She piled pillows against the headboard and laid back into them.  She waved Canton over to her, patting the spot between her spread legs. 


Unsure at first, Canton went, resting her back against Annie’s front.  It had been years since she’d allowed herself to be held, but somehow it felt right.  She was warm and comfortable, and wished she could stay wrapped up in Annie forever. 

“Tell me your story,” Annie said, resting her check against the top of Canton’s head.  She hugged their bodies close, reveling in the comfort Canton’s closeness offered. 

“I grew up here, in the city.  My dad was a cop for years.  My mom died when I was little, so it was just me and him,” Canton began.

“Were you close?” 

Canton nodded.  “Very.  I wanted to be just like him.  So, I was.  I joined the academy at eighteen, graduated and became a cop.  My dad was a homicide detective for more than twenty years.”  Canton’s mind drifted back to memories that were so dark, she hadn’t allowed herself to go there for a long, long time.  Absently, she began to race random patterns with her fingertips on Annie’s leg.  “My dad discovered a batch of dirty cops,” she continued, her voice dropping to nearly a whisper.  “I was working in the department by then, too.  Together, we began our own investigation.” 

Annie could tell something bad was coming, and nearly held her breath in anticipation.  She instinctively held Canton a little closer.  “What happened, Canton?” she whispered. 

“They killed him.”  It was out.  Canton couldn’t take it back, now.  “Made it look like a bust gone bad.” 

Annie’s eyes slid closed, heart breaking at the pain she could hear in Canton’s voice and feel within the woman, herself.  “I’m so sorry.”  She placed a gentle kiss on Canton’s head.  “What did you do?” 

Canton blew out a long breath.  “Nothing I could do.  The department refused to get Internal Affairs on it, so it went down in the books as my dad was killed in the line of duty.  I left the department the following year, completely disillusioned.”  

“Wow.”  Annie was silent for a moment, allowing all that she’d been told to sink in.  Something occurred to her.  “What does it feel like, knowing your old department is looking for you?”

“It’s hard.” 

“Why don’t you just turn yourself in, Canton?” Annie asked.  She’d asked this question before, but had never gotten a straight answer. 

Canton pulled away from Annie, turning to look at her.  “That’s a long story, Annie.  For now, I’m ready for sleep.” 

Annie could see the stall for what it was, but she could also see the exhaustion in blue eyes.  She nodded.  “Okay.  Sleep well, Canton.” 

“You, too, Annie.”  Canton gave her a soft smile then slid over to her own bed, climbing under the covers and promptly falling into a deep sleep.


Det. Delaware looked around the hotel room, latex gloves on his hands.  The technicians were yet again dusting for fingerprints.  Nothing had been left, other than the room’s keycard.  He was as grateful that the night clerk at the hotel had called the police after seeing a witness sketch of Billy’s murderer as he was devastated at the name that they could finally put with the face. 

“Can’t believe it’s her,” Det. Dodge said, stepping up to his partner.  

John sighed with a nod.  “I know.  Never would have thought she was capable.  Man, what would her dad say?” 

Dodge nodded.  “No kidding.” 

Even though the evidence was clear, Canton’s fingerprints identified as those found at the prostitutes apartment, the seasoned detective felt there was far more to the story.  DNA testing was being done at this very moment, blood taken from the bloody knife at the murder scene, as well as that found under the welcome mat at the apartment.  A rush had been called for, and results were due later in the day.  Maybe once and for all, the truth could come to light. 


Canton’s face was splayed on the TV in the Blue Cock bar, open at noon to service its “early” patrons.  The reporter was talking about the murder suspect’s former and distinguished, career as a police officer.  Reno watched the footage, his anger growing. 

“I knew that was the same bitch,” he muttered, shooting back his Jack Daniels.  He was angry, and had no intention of letting either of those bitches get away with humiliating him.  He’d find that gun-wielding bitch before the cops did.  He just knew it in his gut.

Feeling better with his decision made, he reached down, feeling the hard bundle tucked into the waistband of his pants.  That bitch wasn’t the only one who knew how to party.


Canton’s eyes slid open, looking around the darkened hotel room.  The readout on her cell phone told her it was almost ten-thirty in the morning.  They’d gotten to sleep less than six hours before, and Canton wasn’t sure why she was awake.  Annie was sound asleep, curled up on her side and buried underneath her blankets. 

Canton made her way to the bathroom, trying to rub the sand out of her eyes, which burned from not enough sleep.  But, she knew she had things to do before Annie was up and could protest.  She had to put an end to all this, a scenario which was growing worse by the day.  Hell, by the hour.  Annie didn’t need to be drug into all this, and besides, Canton had completed her mission, and needed to finally bring closure to that, too.  

She took a quick shower, grabbing her keys, wallet and hotel stationary as she snuck out of the room, the door clicking softly closed behind her.  The day was sunny, but chilly as she tugged her jacket on.  She was cautious as she made her way across the parking lot and to her car.  The afternoon was quiet, which she was grateful for. 

She drove to a more rural area of town, where she knew she could do the things she needed to do, and be unseen.  Within twenty minutes, she was parked on a lonely dirt road, close enough to the hotel to get back to Annie soon, but far enough away so as Annie would not be found or bothered.  Taking a deep breath, and a leap of faith, she pulled her cell phone out of her pocket, flipping it open and dialing a number she hadn’t dialed in years.


Detective John Delaware had only been asleep for three hours after an all-night investigation of the apartment and Canton’s motel room, when his wife woke him up.  Blinking heavy, blood-shot eyes at her, he kept his irritation in check, knowing his wife of thirty years would only wake him up if absolutely necessary.  In big cases like he was involved in now, sleep was rare and came in small spurts.  When the spurts came, it was the most precious thing on earth. 

“John, you need to take this call,” Mona Delaware said softly, holding the cordless phone out to him.

“Who is it?” John growled, voice raspy from exhaustion. 

“Canton Steeves.”

John was wide awake.  He looked at his wife, then the phone she held, taking it from her stead hand.


Canton slapped her phone closed, sighing as she tossed it to the passenger seat of her car.  That done and her fate sealed, she turned to the next task on her list.  She grabbed the pad of hotel stationary and a pen, then began to write, beginning with: Dear Annie.   

Annie inhaled the fragrant air, the smells not only bringing her out of sleep, but waking her stomach, as well.  She opened her eyes to see Canton unloading a paper grocery sack of Styrofoam containers. 

“That smells so good,” she moaned, the last word a squeak as she stretched her arms and body. 

Canton smiled.  “Good.  I got us a feast, so I hope you’re hungry.”

“Starving.”  Annie sat up, a big yawn nearly splitting her face.  Something dawned on her.  “You went out?!  Canton, what if you’d been seen?”

“Don’t worry about it.  I know my way around this town.  I can move like a ghost, if I want to.” 

Doubtful, but saying nothing more about it, Annie padded to the bathroom, quickly taking care of her needs, as she wanted food.  Within a few minutes, the women sat on opposite sides of the small, wooden table in front of the window, eating the Mexican takeout Canton had picked up on her way back home.

“God, this is so good,” Annie moaned around a mouthful of burrito. 

“That, it is.”  Canton was quiet for a long moment, finishing her lunch before pushing the empty container away.  “What are your thoughts on leaving here?” she asked quietly. 

Annie glanced at her, plastic forkful of refried beans halfway to her mouth.  “Are you going to run?” she asked, green eyes twinkling with adventure. 

Canton shrugged noncommittally.  “Would you?  Leave?”  

Annie thought about it for a moment, then nodded.  “Yes.  In a heartbeat.”  She tossed her fork into her container and sat back in her chair, full and content.  “This place has been one bad memory after another.”

“Good.”  Canton’s grin was huge, relief flooding through her.  Mission complete.  “Listen, there’s something I want to do this afternoon, and then we can discuss what we do from there.  Okay?” 

“Sure.  I’m game.”  Annie got to her feet, shoving their lunch trash into the paper bag, and stuffing it into the room’s trash can.  “Where are we going?”

The cemetery was quiet and still.  Canton hadn’t been there for nearly ten years, and wasn’t sure if she’d ever be able to get back, so wanted to visit one final time.  The dead leaves crunched under their shoes as they weaved their way through the sea of small monuments to the dead.

Annie walked behind Canton, glancing at the various names on the stones they passed.  She even as they walked deeper into the cemetery, she felt a sense of peace.  Maybe she would be able to leave the drab life she’d lived since she was eighteen years old.  The irony wasn’t lost on her that what she’d run from in Kansas was paradise compared to what she’d found in the rest of the country.  It’s amazing how closed-minded a young mind can be.

“Here we go,” Canton said, stopping at a polished, black stone.  A handsome man in full dress uniform smiled its face. 

“He was handsome,” Annie commented, noting the resemblance between daughter and father. 

“Yes he was.”   Canton wiped away a few dead leaves from the top of the stone.  “Man I miss him.”  She stared down at his face, so many memories flashing through her mind’s eye.  “After my mom died, it was just us.  He dated off and on, but it never took.”  She sighed, shoving her hands into the pockets of her jacket. 

“I never knew my real-dad,” Annie said quietly.  “Only my mom’s husband.” 

“Do you miss your family, Annie?” Canton asked softly. 

Annie nodded, unable to speak as sudden emotion crept up on her.  She saw her twin sister, Andi, who she didn’t often allow herself to think of; it would be entirely too painful. 

Canton glanced over to the left to see a man walking their way.  She felt butterflies began to beat against her ribs, her stomach in knots.  It was the moment of truth.  “Annie,” she said, getting the blonde’s attention.  “I want you to keep this for me.” 

Annie watched as Canton’s leather jacket slid off her shoulders and down her arms, until finally the brunette held the jacket in her hands, holding it out to her.

“What are you doing?” she asked, then noticed the man walking toward them.  “Canton,” she hissed, not taking her eyes off him. 

“I know,” Canton said softly.  Detective Delaware said nothing, but stayed back, almost as though affording the two women a bit of privacy.  “Look at me, Annie.”  Canton waited until she had the blonde’s attention.  “Hold this for me until I get back.  Okay?”

“But, Canton.  What are you doing?  Run!” Annie whispered, not wanting the man to overhear. 

Canton shook her head.  “I can’t run anymore.  I’ve gotten you too deep as it is.  If we keep it up,” she said, bringing a hand up to just barely touch Annie’s cheek, “you could be charged with accessory after the fact.”  She looked into the blonde’s face, studying her eyes, almost as if committing them to memory.  “You’ve been through enough.  I won’t drag you through anymore.” 

Annie’s eyes slid closed for a moment, feeling like she wanted to cry.  Her initial panic turned into devastated loss, which took her by surprise. “Okay,” she whispered.  “Okay.”  She took the jacket but then grabbed Canton in a desperate hug, feeling as though a part of herself were being ripped away.  She felt tears stinging her eyes, but did all she could to keep them at bay. 

Canton squeezed her eyes shut, holding on to Annie, not sure if she’d ever see her again.  “Please be safe,” she whispered into Annie’s hair, feeling the blonde nod in return.  She pulled away, putting her car keys into Annie’s hand.  Without another word, she stepped back from the blonde, and walked over to the awaiting detective, where she was read her rights and a pair of handcuffs were snapped onto her wrists. 

Canton nodded acknowledgement as her Miranda Rights were read, her eyes focused on the shoes of her father’s oldest friend.  

“Let’s go, Canton,” John said quietly, duty the only thing keeping him from telling the daughter of his best friend to run and never look back.  He knew if Canton had indeed killed William Kinslow, there was a damn good reason why. 

Canton nodded, turning to look at Annie one last time.  The blonde was openly crying now, which made Canton’s heart flip in her chest.  She gaze her an encouraging smile, then turned to follow the detective to his car.  John Delaware opened the back door of the sedan and met Canton’s sudden gaze.

“Make sure she’s safe, John,” she said quietly, pinning him with her intense gaze until he agreed.

“Alright, but what are you worried about?”

“A guy named Reno.  He will go after her.” 

Delaware chuckled.  “Yeah, he’s one of two people who came down to the station to talk to us about you.”  He helped her into the backseat.  “I’ll send an officer to look after her.” 

Canton nodded, just before Delaware closed the door, officially locking her inside. 


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