Part 15

Jason squeezed his eyes closed, but the image remained. Magic Fingers' proof was a photo. The other man vowed the picture was recent. The glossy 4 x 6 print perfectly captured Keesha's wide smile and their energetic son. Jacob appeared bigger than the last time Jason saw them. Back when Jason believed the little boy belonged to AJ. The lie that AJ and Keesha allowed Jason to believe.

He rolled onto his side with his back against the wall. The cells were quiet this morning. Sundays brought a lesser roar to his new home. The other six days were always filled with raucous activity. The change surprised Jason the first week of his incarceration. Since then, he looked forward to Sundays and welcomed the silence it brought.

Keesha and Jacob. His former lover and their son. Possibly alive.

How? He rubbed his temple as a slight ache formed. The bodies in the morgue were real. He touched them both. Cold and lifeless. Dead. But that photo…

What if Magic Fingers and Tony were playing him? Setting him up. They had no reason to reveal this to him. Although neither had said a word, they had to have an angle. Nobody worked this hard for nothing. They wanted something and once they got it, then what? For all he knew, they had friends on the outside doctor a photo and created 'proof.'

But if Keesha and Jacob were alive, he couldn't stay in jail. He needed to know for himself one way or another. Jacob was his son. His only child. He lost everything when he relinquished Michael to Carly and Sonny. Giving the little boy back took a part of Jason that he didn't know existed. Then, he connected with Keesha. It started out simply as physical gratification. That didn't last. Every day, every hour spent with her made him long for more. Letting her leave wasn't easy although he pretended otherwise. Even to himself.

Something clicked in his mind. He couldn't live without knowing the absolute truth. Somehow, he'd break free and find them. Or he'd die trying.

*/*

"I'm sorry." Dara shrugged, hugging her knees to her chest. "That's all I can say."

"That's not what I want to hear!" Dawn moved around her sister's living room. She inspected every security device her trained eye spotted. "This is high-tech stuff. I can't believe you're at risk and you didn't tell me. I'm a cop, dammit! What the hell is wrong with you? Did you think I wouldn't care?"

"No." Dara gazed drifted to her silent brother-in-law who lazily sat at the far end of the sofa. His expression revealed little, but she knew his mind was working on overdrive. Would this land in tomorrow's edition of his paper? Shit. "Look, you were busy with him. I didn't want to intrude. Besides, it's taken care of."

"By Jerry Jacks!" her younger sister spat. "He's the most arrogant, chauvinistic man I know and that's saying a lot considering I work for NYPD."

"Peaches--"

"I don't care if he hears me." She folded her arms under her chest and tapped her toe. "Dara, tell me what's going on. If you need protection, come to me. Don't ally yourself with that jackass."

"I thought I held a grudge," Dara muttered. She stood and moved to stand in front of her sister. "Calm down. You're not telling me anything I don’t already know about him. But he's good at what he does. That's the bottom line."

Dawn's voice became deathly quiet. "Have you been threatened? Don't lie."

"I wouldn't and no, I haven't been. Everything is a precaution."

"Is it work related?"

"Yes."

"And that's all you'll tell me."

Dara swallowed hard and cast a quick glance in Fox's direction.

He gave her a tight smile. "You don't want to talk in front of me. Fine." He stood. "I'll wait on the stoop."

"No, you won't," Dawn stated. "Dara, talk to me."

"She won't if I stay."

"Don't answer for me." Dara glared at him. "She trusts you and that's fine with me."

"But?" He gave her a hard look. "I can't change the past. You can either hate me forever or forgive me. It's your choice. I love her. We're together for life. If I were you, I'd deal with it and move on."

"If you were me, you wouldn't have--" Dara snapped her mouth closed and inhaled a calming breath. "Don't leave. I need to talk to you anyway. And for the record, you're right. Only I can choose if I'll hate or forgive. Right now, the jury's still out." She gestured with her hands. "Please, both of you, sit. We need to talk."

The couple sat together on the sofa. As Dara claimed the easy chair, she noticed how easily they moved together. They communicated without words and to her jaded viewpoint, there was a closeness that wasn't present before. As much as Dara hated what Fox did, she hoped he was right and their marriage was for life. Her sister deserved to be happy and whether Dara liked him or not, Fox Mulder made her kid sister ecstatic.

"Fighting won't solve anything," Dawn said softly. Fox's hand settled on her knee and she leaned against him. "When I came in and saw all this stuff, I got scared and a little hurt. Dara, I'm a detective. How could you not come to me?"

"It wasn't a conscious decision not to," Dara explained. "Justus acted on my behalf and I let him. He didn't want to involve the police and I agreed."

"I'm not the police. I'm your sister."

Dara's heart constricted at the emotion in her sister's tone. "I know. But I didn't want to put you jeopardy in any way. Physically or career-wise."

"What…? Who are you representing this time?"

"A couple who were victimized by Rx Limited." Dara returned Fox's sudden stare. "I know that you met with Mr. Jones. Whatever he told you…I am asking that you do not print it."

"I didn’t know," he said. "He told me that he had legal representation, but he never said your name."

"Is it too late?" Dawn asked, looking at him.

Fox shook his head. "No, I haven't finished the article. I planned to do more research. I've heard bad things about this company, Dara. Are you sure you want to do this?"

"I can't walk away from a case like this. Mr. Jones and his wife aren't Rx's only victims. They're just the only ones brave enough to step forward. What they did to her was unethical and irresponsible. They knew the medication had the potential to do irreparable damage to her health, yet they continued to use her as their guinea pig. That's unacceptable."

"Well, maybe the media attention will help," Dawn offered. "If you're out in the open, they will be less inclined to engage in their usual tactics."

Dara nodded. "I plan to go public, but not yet. I want my clients safe and I don't want to give away too much too soon."

"That's a good plan," Fox said. "I'll put the story on hold. My editor doesn't know about it anyway. Just let me know when you're ready."

"Thanks." She found herself looking at him without the usual animosity and distrust. Maybe she could learn to forgive. Maybe.

He smiled. "No problem."

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