Part 24

Seventy-two hours and counting.

Fox covered his hand over his wristwatch. Following the passage of time wouldn't return his wife any faster. All it did was make him sick and cause his overactive imagination to work even harder. Every day of her disappearance, he'd written an article about missing black women. Another reporter was handling Dawn's case and since there were two missing black detectives, the media attention was hot. Skinner managed to publish both stories on the front page every day.

"Maybe you should take a break," Dana said from across the room.

To her credit and Fox's relief, she'd toned down her experiments in enticement. He almost believed her concern was sincere.

"There's no break from this," he said. He unbuckled his watch and shoved it inside his pants pocket.

"I didn't mean... What I meant was just get out of here for a few hours."

His mouth lifted in a half smile. "Oh, so you're trying to get rid of me."

"Something like that. The families of the missing women have been calling you nonstop."

"They want their daughters and wives to get some attention, too." He rubbed his eyes. "I can't fault them for that."

"No, but the constant reminders can't be easy. Just take a walk outside and breathe. I'll take the messages."

He had to admit the idea of walking around for a little while sounded promising. If the PD had any information about Dawn, he'd have his cell. But Scully was right. Listening to others who were going through the same thing and had been for months if not years was not easy. He couldn't take a break from his own misery but he could from theirs.

Fox stood and pocketed his cell phone. "I probably won't be gone longer than an hour. I may stop by Dara's trial. Spender's coverage of it hasn't been very detailed."

"Don't start stepping on toes."

"Who me?" He pointed at his chest. "It never crossed my mind."

The endless bustle of Manhattan's sidewalks never ceased to amaze him. His world had virtually stopped, yet everyone here continued on. He eased into the flow and walked in the direction of the courthouse. He spoke to Dara twice a day. They discussed everything and nothing. Always the conversation ended with promises to call as soon as anything new developed.

As he neared the concrete steps, someone called his name. He stopped and looked around. At first, the busy walkers made finding the person difficult. Then, he saw a hand wave. The unkempt trench coat and beat-up Yankees cap were the standard uniform for one of his best news "sources." Fox returned Frohike's wave and moved quickly toward his newsstand.

"I couldn't miss the headlines," the short bespectacled man said. "Has there been any word?"

"Nope," Fox said. He glanced at the seller's wares. All the local papers had picked up the story about Dawn and Gwen's disappearances. Their beautiful faces graced every cover. They looked fierce in their academy blues. Fox knew the photos had been taken a few months before he and Dawn met. He swiped one of the wallet-sized prints in their early dating days. The photo continued to have a special place in his wallet.

"I got something," Frohike said.

Fox's eyes narrowed. "What?"

"Black female cops have been disappearing for the last year. At least one or two a month."

"What are you talking about?"

"It's true. I've heard things. I can't believe it's not front pages news, but then again, I'm not surprised."

Fox grabbed his arm and squeezed. "What else do you know? Why haven't you told anyone?"

"Like who? NYPD? You gotta be kidding me!" Frohike tugged free of Fox's grip and vigorously rubbed his arm. "They already know!"

Fox almost forgot how to breathe. Van Buren, Cragen, Curtis and Stabler gave promises, but none of the cops mentioned a thing about a series of missing female cops. How long had Dawn been in danger and no one warned her? The duplicity of the police department ceased to amaze him. He was out for blood now. "What do they know?"

"As in suspects?" Frohike asked.

"Anything," Fox bit out. "I want to know everything. From beginning to end."

The odd little man looked nervously around them. "I can't get into that here."

"Close the stand. I'll make up the difference in sales," Fox said. "I need to know it all. Right now."

---

"You have to leave right now," Jerry said. "Grab the essentials that you and Jacob can't live without and be ready to roll in thirty minutes."

Keesha maintained the stance she decided when the news of Jason's jailbreak first made the headlines. She was tired of running. Jacob was finally settling in. Moving again wasn't fair. She wouldn't do it again.

"Didn't you hear me?"

"I heard you," she said. "We're staying here. You gave us new identities. We'll be fine."

Jerry muttered an expletive. "You can't believe that. What has Jian-Wa Chang been telling you? That he's a bad ass and can save you? Don't fall for his bullshit."

"Jian wants us to leave," she said. "I've told him no, too. I don't want Jacob to fear his own shadow. No more running."

"This isn't about shadows. This is about a cold-blooded killer whom you betrayed. He's already killed his best friend. Who's to say he won't do the same to you?"

"I'm the mother of his son."

Jerry rolled his eyes.

"I know it sounds crazy, but I know Jason as well as anyone can. I don't think he'll find us here and if he does, I don't believe he'll hurt me."

"I never thought you were a fool."

Keesha sighed. "Jerry, I appreciate everything and I understand where you're coming fromó"

"At least take this." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a Glock. "Don't hesitate to shoot first. Whatever happens, the authorities won't be a problem."

"I guess it helps to be connected." She took the gun and examined its features.

"It certainly doesn't hurt."

---

Jason found his money just as he left it. He took 250K in cash and left the rest. Then, he headed for Port Charles. A few loose ends needed taking care of. After that was the family reunion with Keesha and their son.

Slipping inside the Quartermaine mansion was easy. Almost everyone was off vacationing except Justus and that's who Jason wanted to see.

The clink of ice falling into a glass tumbler echoed as loudly as the click of Jason's gun. Justus grew still for just a moment. Without turning around, he said, "Hi, Jason," and raised the glass to his lips and swallowed.

"Tell me where she is."

His cousin slowly turned to face him. "You know I can't do that."

"I don't want to kill, but I can't let you warn her. She'll run again."

"With that gun in your hand, you have the nerve to wonder why."

"I know why," Jason said. "She's afraid of me."

"Do you think her fear is unjustified?"

His jaw clenched. "That doesn't matter now."

"It matters to me." Justus placed the glass on the bar and rested his hands at his waist. "Lil Bit is more than my cousin. She's my friend. If I have to die to protect her and her son, I will."

Jason aimed the gun at Justus' head. "So be it."

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