Part 19

She moved aimlessly through a forest. Behind her beamed a bright light. Before her lay a fog. She wanted to stop. Confusion hindered her thoughts. Trust loomed overhead. It clung to the branches and drifted through the mist. She didn't know which way to go, but her feet continued to move, taking her deeper into the fog.

Dara woke with a start. Arms held her close. She struggled from their grasp and scrambled to her feet. In the darkness, she didn't know where she was. Her body trembled with fear.

"Dara? What's wrong?"

Soft lamplight suddenly filled the room. Alex stood and reached for her. His hair was disheveled and his green eyes were soft with sleep. He took her hand. "You're trembling."

"I had a weird dream." She looked at the sofa where they had been sleeping. A woolen, plaid blanket lay in a heap at their bare feet. "I didn't know where I was."

"I can see that." He guided her back to the sofa. After they sat, he pulled her close. "Do you want to talk about the dream?"

"It was confusing with nothing specific." She glanced at her wrist but it was bare. "What time is it?"

"Late. After midnight," he said. "I guess we fell asleep watching the movie."

Suddenly, she felt self-conscious. Her hands moved to smooth her hair. She looked around for her shoes. "I should go--"

"No, stay. I have an extra bedroom."

"I don't know, Alex."

"What's there to know?" he asked. "It's late. We're both tired. In the morning, we can have breakfast together. I make a mean omelet." He brought her hand to his mouth and tenderly kissed each finger. "What do you say?"

Shivers went through her at the touch of his lips. She feared drowning in his beautiful sea green eyes. Slowly, she nodded. "You're right. I'll stay."

"Great."

*/*

The escape plan didn't come as fast as Jason wanted. He encountered dead ends and loop holes. Tony and Joey's offer for assistance began to look better and better. But Jason didn't want to include them. He didn't trust them. After Sonny and Carly's betrayal, he lost the ability to trust. When it came to Keesha's secret in keeping their child from him, he understood her reasons. He lived a dangerous lifestyle. For years, he had no reason to give it up. But had he known she carried his child, he would have turned his back on everything. If she had trusted him enough to tell him about the pregnancy, he would have told her that.

He fell onto his bunk exhausted. His mind was sore from overuse. His body ached from the grueling workouts he maintained to keep himself fit for anything. The top bunk creaked as Tony flopped around. Soon after, loud snores followed. Jason wished sleep would come that easily. But it never did. It hadn't since Keesha left him.

Jason closed his eyes and yielded to the temptation to think about her and their son. He imagined their family reunion. His dream continued the fantasy.

"Jason, what are you doing here?" she asked, surprise in her eyes.

"I know the truth," he said. He pulled her into his arms and she went willingly. "I couldn't stay away."

"I'm sorry. I should have told you--"

His mouth claimed the rest of her words in a searing kiss. The taste of her filled his senses. Wanting more, he deepened the kiss. His tongue raked hers. She grazed him with her teeth. Electricity shot through him. It had been too long.

They made love with wild abandon. Later as they lay spent, he realized what he never had before. That he loved her.

In his sleep, Jason smiled.

*/*

The obnoxious ring of the telephone trilled, interrupting the quiet night. Dawn reached for the phone, but Fox answered it first.

"Yeah," he said, his voice gruff with sleep. "You gotta be kidding me. Okay, okay, fine. Hold on. She's right here."

She turned on the lamp with one hand while taking the phone with the other. Fox rolled his eyes and mouthed the words, 'Pretty Boy Curtis.' Her husband's hazel eyes darkened with ferocity. He clearly didn't want her to answer this call.

She gave him a half-smile and said, "Sorry." Into the receiver, she added, "What's up?"

"We have an abduction. A possible homicide. Kragen's pulling everyone on this."

On instant alert, she stood and began grabbing her clothes. "I'm on it. What are the details?"

"Gwen Marshall over at the Three Seven was working undercover for Vice. Her car was found at a garage. Blood everywhere with signs of a struggle."

"Oh, God." Her knees buckled. Dawn landed on the edge of the bed. In an instant, Fox's hands were on her shoulders. "Gwen and I were at the Academy together. I sung at her wedding."

"I know," Rey said. "Look, I can pick you up in about thirty minutes."

"I'll be ready." She handed the receiver to Fox.

He hung up the phone and turned to her. "What's going on with Gwen?" he asked. Sleep no longer colored his voice. His eyes were clear with concern. His hand caressed her cheek. "Is she okay?"

"I don't know," she murmured. "Rey described a bad scene, a very bad scene. I gotta get ready. He's picking me up."

Fox stood when she stood. He followed her into the bathroom. She felt his eyes on her as she quickly showered and dressed.

"What can I do?" he asked.

"Just pray. Maybe it's nothing."

"I will," he said. "Promise me you'll be careful."

She nodded. "I always am."

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