Chapter 48

Keesha looked at the plate that was placed before her. She guessed that maybe the stuff on the plate was food, but none of it was recognizable. She picked up the plate and held it before her nose. She sniffed and almost gagged when she breathed in the odor. Whatever was on the plate was not appropriate for human consumption. She put the plate on the ground and kicked it far away from her.

There was no way for her to tell time, but Keesha knew that hours had passed since Gina was called away. She was worried about her. The look on Gina's face had scared her. She didnít know what to expect next, but she intended to be ready.

She glanced around the cave. The other women were in the midst of consuming the slop that was given to them. The guards stood at the attention a few yards away. Confident that no one was watching her, Keesha dipped her hand inside her pocket. Her fingers traced the pick she had stolen from the belt that Gina left before she was taken away. The edge wasnít too sharp, but if push came to shove, it would do.

~*~

"I can't believe this," Lizzie said angrily, as she walked between Lucky and Tommy.

"Believe it," Lucky replied, a little bit annoyed. She had been going on and on for a while and he wished she'd drop it.

"Macho, Rambo wannabes!"

"That's not fair, Elizabeth. This is in your best interest," Lucky replied, exasperated. He had been repeating himself for the longest time. Why couldn't she understand that they wanted to keep her safe, he wondered.

"Oh, please! Before neither of you had any problem with me helping, but when the big Jason Morgan says no, the two of you can't agree with him enough. Traitors!"

Lucky sighed. He couldn't argue with her anymore. He looked over Lizzie's head at Tommy. He hadn't said much since they left Jason's penthouse. His eyes had a faraway look, but Lucky wanted him back in reality. With him. To help him deal with Lizzie's anger.

"Hey, man, are you gonna help me out here or what?" Lucky asked. "Your cousin refuses to see reason."

"See reason??" Lizzie cried, barely screeching the words. She knew that Lucky had chauvinistic tendencies, which was one of the things she found endearing, but this was ridiculous.

At the sound of Lizzie's voice, Tommy's reverie, where he thought of seeing his mother again, was broken. Looking at the Lizzie's angry face and Lucky's tired one, he laughed. He didn't mean to laugh at their expense, but he couldn't help himself.

"Excuse me? You're laughing??" Lizzie asked incredulously, turning her wrath on to Tommy.

"I'm sorry, Lizzie," he said with a smile.

She softened when he smiled. In the short time they'd spent together, she knew his smiles were a rarity. She mumbled, "Okay."

"I'm also sorry that I didnít say something about you coming with us before," Tommy replied.

"We can go back and tell Jason," she offered, poised to turn around.

"No, that's not what I meant. I shouldn't have said it was okay in the first place. Jason was right. Bringing you with us could only put you in danger. I should have thought of that."

Lizzie couldnít believe what she was hearing. Men are unbelievable. She thought. No matter what, they always found a way to stick together.

"Um, okay," she said, through tight lips.

Tommy knew that she was angry again. Her anger wasnít something he wanted between them, so he stopped and said, "Lizzie, wait. Listen to me."

She and Lucky stopped. Lucky looked at her face and was relieved that the heat was taken off of him. Yet, he didn't really want the heat on Tommy either. He seemed like a good guy. He had some baggage, but who didn't these days.

"I'm listening," she replied, folding her arms against her chest.

"Remember when I told Jason and Ward about all the women who were held there?" he asked. When she nodded, he continued. "If something didn't go right, I don't want you to be subjected to what they've gone through. It's bad enough that my mother hasÖ Horrible things happen to them. I donít want anything like that to ever happen to you."

Lizzie's eyes glistened with tears at his caring words. She knew he meant them. She could see the depth of emotion in her cousin's eyes. He didnít know that she had already experienced horrible things. She decided that now wasn't the time to tell him. Maybe later when this was all over.

Lucky felt a chill at Tommy's words. His respect for Tommy grew and he was proud to call him friend. He knew that Tommy didnít realize it, but Tommy's caring meant a lot to Elizabeth and to him.

"Okay," she said quietly. "I won't go. I'll run interference with Gram, instead."

"Run interference?" Tommy asked, as they continued to walk down the street.

"I'll explain," Lucky offered. "It means that Elizabeth with keep Mrs. Hardy distracted while we're out tonight."

"Oh, I see," Tommy nodded. "Thanks, man."

"No problem."

~*~

"I have to tell him something," Justus said, rubbing his jaw in frustration.

"I donít care what you tell him, as long as, you don't tell him what we've planned," Jason replied. His mind was on their plans for the night. Thoughts of AJ were not allowed.

"Okay, fine," Justus said, moving to the door.

"Justus, I'm serious. Tell him whatever you want, but not about this," Jason warned.

"I understand. What I donít understand is why you're so adamant about his not being involved."

Jason sighed and rubbed the back of his neck, easing the tension there. "No reason. He'll get in the way that's all."

Jason was lying. That much, Justus could sense. Why was the question that formed in his mind. He knew that he wouldnít get a straight answer from him, so he left and went back to his penthouse.

After Justus left, Jason breathed a sigh of relief. He was so full of questions that Jason didnít want to answer. Besides, he couldnít even answer them for himself.

He called for Johnny to bring the supplies in. He knew that Johnny would need some time before he could gather what Jason requested. While he waited for Johnny, Jason decided to take a break on the sofa.

Within in seconds, the strain of everything and the pain in the base of his head subsided and he was asleep. In his dream, he was in Paris. He was happy and felt carefree as he walked through the romantic city with a beautiful woman on his arm. She was smiling back at him with a face full of love and joy. In his sleep, he mumbled her name.

"Keesha."

Chapter 49

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