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Episode 12.5 – Introspection

April 29, 2014

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AM Introspection thoughts

DISCLAIMERS:

This short is an original story, and all characters are created by me.

All characters depicted, names used, and incidents portrayed in this story are fictitious. No identification with actual persons is intended nor should be inferred. Any resemblance of the characters portrayed to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

The registered trademarks mentioned in this story are © of their respective owners. No infringement of their rights is intended, and no profit is gained.

No scenes of violence in this one. No sex either (insert shocked face here). Just some reflection, emotion…introspection.

This story mentions a loving relationship between consenting adult women. If such a story frightens you, you better click on the X in the top right corner of your screen right away.

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So many thanks go to my beta-reader. Your help is very much appreciated and continues to be most welcome.

And thank you to all my readers. Your feedback has been most helpful and encouraging. Keep it coming!

This is a short episode, and is the next installment in my series, After Montana, which can be found at http://marshallcarson.wordpress.com .

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This episode is a little addendum to what happened in the previous three episodes.

I’m sure you savvy readers can work out who is speaking in each ‘thought’ 😉

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Oh, and as usual, to understand and enjoy the characters fully, you should probably read the episodes in sequence.

Comments and/or opinions can be sent to stagefreakmusic@hotmail.com or left at http://marshallcarson.wordpress.com

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JG – 06:30 hours PST – Monday – Somewhere in Studio City, California.

That yawn felt good. I just slept for twenty five hours straight. Man, I was tired. Yesterday was the first day Sam and I had to ourselves since before CJ went missing, and I had to go and fall asleep. I’m not complaining…far from it. I would still be on the move if it meant saving the life of a friend like CJ, or Kate for that matter. But when I woke up a few minutes ago, I realized how close I had come to all-out exhaustion. I don’t think Mark and I have relaxed until now.

Day before yesterday, we got the news it’ll be a month before Elizabeth Emerson’s trial will begin, sometime mid-February. It doesn’t seem like three weeks since we arrested her. The days have been a blur since then, including Christmas. We were surprised the trial date was set for so soon, but I’m sure it’ll be delayed a few times by her attorney. She definitely has a shot at that insanity plea! But our evidence is solid, and I figure she’ll be in a padded cell at the very least. Well, I hope that’s the case. She certainly shouldn’t get away with what she’s done.

As I sit here in bed and think about everything, Sam’s downstairs making breakfast. I can hear her whistling along to a tune on the radio. I sometimes wonder what I did to deserve the chance to be with her. She’s been a solid, steady presence in my life recently, and I love her more every day. Every time I think about her I get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, but I’m not telling anyone about that. Not sure why I hide the good feelings I get. I’ll need to ponder that more. I’ve pretty much moved in here now, but we still haven’t discussed me getting rid of my rental apartment just yet. It’s coming soon, though. I can feel it.

And thinking about feelings…I’ve been on a rollercoaster since this latest nightmare began. I wish I could maintain a more balanced space inside me when stress takes over. I went from total fear of loss when we were searching for CJ, to a feeling of delirious elation when she was home safe. I cried, I raged, I gave up, I got determined. I felt like the worst friend and then the best friend. I hated myself, I forgave myself. I shot into full agent-protect mode, then later on the same day I would be a frightened little bunny. I felt helpless to control any sort of emotion when we were walking toward that plane wreck, then when I saw CJ was still alive I became stronger again…after a slightly pathetic yelp into my hands. I’m so thankful I managed to hold it together in front of the AD. Anyway, I think that’s partly why I’m so exhausted. Going through every emotion, day after day, with no end to the anxiety in sight, I sometimes felt like a robot that wasn’t allowed to break down. Why am I analyzing it? I don’t think I’m making any sense here.

Another thing I keep thinking about is Elizabeth. I know. I don’t want to be thinking about her. I wanted to throttle her every moment I spent in her presence. But I’m trying to feel into how a parent can become such a vengeful and destructive force in their child’s life. My parents were not the best at showing their emotions, but they never did anything to deliberately harm me. Kate never did anything to Elizabeth, and yet that woman looks at her like she’d like to rip her eyes out. And that comment about Jason? We haven’t gotten much more out of Elizabeth yet. She’s not very lucid when she rants and raves on. We sent a shrink in to see her not long after the arraignment. We watched and listened through a suicide prevention camera on the wall of her cell. From her scattered ramblings, we surmised she had contact with Jason Lee Burns not long after he started dating Kate, way back in the early years Kate came to live in LA.

It seems Kate never managed to blot her horrid mother out of her life completely after she left home. Elizabeth had met Jason and Kate once when they were together, and somehow Elizabeth had wormed her way into his head. She seems to make a habit out of doing that to unsuspecting people.

When the shrink asked her what she’d thought of Kate back then, Elizabeth mentioned something about making Kate see how useless she really was, how no one would ever hire her because she was too ugly to work in pictures, and something about Jason impregnating her to ruin her life at a young age. Truthfully, I was red-faced while I listened. I wanted to beat the living daylights out of her. I truly believe Elizabeth has no clue who her daughter really is, how strong and self-conscious Kate really is. I think the old bitch has always been crazy. Yes, I can say that to myself now. Mark can’t hear me…unless he can read my mind. Elizabeth is evil crazy, envy crazy, bitter crazy, jealous crazy, or all four and more. She wanted someone to be more miserable than she was, and she decided that person would be her daughter. When Kate began to get famous and took control of her own life for the better, Elizabeth’s hatred and envy grew exponentially. So fucking sad. I wonder now if everything Kate has been through in the past what…? Forever…? Has been linked to her mother’s interference somehow? Blows my mind.

I hated being the one to tell Kate about what happened at the arraignment, and what Elizabeth had said to the shrink. I felt so bad and wanted to go hide, and yet I wouldn’t have wanted it to be anyone else who told her. I’m such a contradictory person. I contradict myself, that is. Kate took it well, of course. Nothing really shakes her loose. She appears steady as a rock most of the time. The only time I saw her fall apart – if you could call it that – was when CJ went missing, but even then she managed to function. I can’t help but admire her.

That bitch Elizabeth just plain ole makes me angry. If I was a parent…ooh, not ready for that discussion yet…but if I was a parent, I would never be able to comprehend the thought processes that would lead anyone to hurt their child. I see the love Kate and CJ have for their girls, and I know in my heart I would try to be as good a parent as they’ve turned out to be. They do everything with patience, love, understanding…they never seem to shout or show anger. Incredible. I want to be that kind of parent. I’m just glad that in my life, I haven’t met many Elizabeths.

I often wonder why I feel so protective of them both…CJ and Kate, I mean. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so protective of Sam too, but my honey hasn’t been in mortal danger yet. Oh, god, I hope never! But when DM had just come home, I didn’t want to stop for a second until everything was all right again. Sleep hadn’t mattered to Mark and I when we were out there in Minnesota, and it didn’t matter to me when I came back…not if there was some unknown nutcase trying to hurt Kate and destroy her life. I wanted to solve every problem, calm every fear, fix every issue, and catch every bad guy. Turns out there was a bad woman too, but anyway, I did my best and nearly worked myself into a coma. I’m not sure what I was thinking. Maybe I wasn’t thinking…just working on instinct?

Sam was there when I needed her – mostly on the phone since we were like passing ships in the night – and she let me blabber on about anything and everything. I don’t know how she puts up with me. I didn’t have people like this in my life before LA. I seem to have a small group of true friends and loved ones, and the strength that can give a person…give me…is amazing. Finding the right people who are a match in my heart…it’s so important.

Dad and I have talked a few times. I’m still finding that quite difficult, but we’re both making an effort to keep in touch during our busy lives. Every time I hear the excitement in his voice when he speaks with me, it throws me back to when I was little. It made me cry after our call last week. I dunno, maybe I was still exhausted, or maybe I need to stop making up excuses, but when he says Jay with such affection still, I can’t help but remember when I was closer to him. I hope we can get some of that back. He seems to have forgiven my leaving without a trace. I haven’t forgiven myself for that yet. He’s in San Diego, and it’s looking like the threat to his life is over for now. He’s keeping a bodyguard just in case. I think I’d like to see him soon. I haven’t called Mom yet. Maybe I will…sometime. I need to stop rehashing the old feelings and thoughts my parents bring up in me. I was a different person in my teens, and I saw them differently in those days. I need to see them afresh and look at them through Jamie Green eyes, not Lisa Riley eyes. Hmm, that was quite profound for me. Maybe I should stop thinking now. I’m starting to make sense.

Sam just stood on the squeaky step so I know she’s half way up the stairs. Damn, I love her. It’s a unique feeling. Indescribable. I know I’m smiling because I feel so complete. I hope it lasts.

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EM – 13:00 hours EST – Monday – West Village, Lower Manhattan, New York.

Oh, I’m a little excited now! Things are finally getting back to normal. Well, apart from the fact that Jeffrey and I are all packed up and ready to rock’n’roll our way to sunny California. Oh! If someone had told me a few months ago I would be moving to Los Angeles, I would’ve said Pfffooey! and laughed at them for being silly.

Jeffrey and I thought we’d have things and stuff and goodness-knows-whatsits coming out of our drawers and closets that we never imagined we’d accumulated. But no! We’ve been working so hard to build Prescilla’s since we moved in together, we’re actually traveling pretty light now…hmmm, well, light for a spacious and fabulously decorated apartment full of handsome goodies that is.

Oh, poor Prescilla’s! I only went to look at the place once after the fire. I couldn’t stand it! All our dedication, blood, sweat, and tears snuffed out in a matter of hours. It made me feel terribly sad. I don’t know why I get attached to things like that, but as my Jeffrey said, we can build it again. And I know we can. Oh, our apartment…it seems the landlord received a big pile of cash upfront covering six months of expensive rent, but even if he hadn’t, we’d still be leaving. Even though I felt so deceived and screwed over, it’s turned out to be a good thing. What a great idea our lovely daughters had! Oh! And my Katie’s so supportive about it all.

Oh! My darling Katie! And my wonderful CJ! Jeffreydoodle and I can’t wait to be closer to them. Our sweet granddaughters too! I can’t believe anyone would want to hurt my precious bundles, but that woman! Oh, I’m not even gonna think of her. My blood will boil in seconds. The mere sound of her name ringing in my brain gives me chills. I felt so betrayed somehow, and angry doesn’t even cover what was going on inside me when CJ told me everything that happened. Ever since I had the courage to come out and be who I really am, I’ve been pretty lighthearted about everything, but not then. No, no. I think Katie gets all uncomfortable when I don’t flaunt my flamboyance now. She’s knows it’s a sign of unrest in the old man.

But her mother…oh, she doesn’t deserve to be called that! How spiteful! How horrifying! How devious and insane! And to think I lived with her for…oh! She must have been so two-faced. I never suspected she was harboring such…such…I can’t even go there. It’s not in my heart to understand sick things like that. But I can’t regret some of those times back then, can I? I mean, I have the most beautiful daughter from it, and I would never change her for the world. Is it egotistical of me to think that Katie got all her wonderfulness from me? I’m just in awe of the fact that I helped create such a perfect being.

Yes, nice thoughts are better. Think about moving closer to Katie. And Eddie’s just a short flight away in San Francisco too. Fantastic! The small amount of furniture Jeffrey and I actually own will be shipped and stored in Katie’s new barn. They want us to stay in the guest room until we find a place to live. I protested about that. I shouldn’t have bothered as it was to no avail, but I feel they need some time to themselves now. But oh no, she suggested we don’t sign a rental agreement or anything until we’ve had the chance to get a feel for the city. I think they have something mischievous up their sleeves, the pesky little sneaks!

Oh! I love them so. I don’t think there are words in this silly language to describe how proud I am of my daughters, and how those two children are truly embedded in my heart, and how happy I am to have such a stupendous family. Maybe I need to make up some new words to describe it all! Oh! Anyway, I need to get back to…what was I doing?

Oh yes, Jeffrey asked me to look on the Internet and find out more about West Hollywood. It’s a scary thing for some old man like me to up-sticks and move all the way across the country, but jumbled up among the fear is so much excitement at the thought of a new adventure. I’ll have the love of my life with me and we’ll get it done together. Jeffrey took to this like a duck to water. He doesn’t have much family left. A few relatives spread over a few different states, but he tends to keep in touch with them via the World Wide Web. I had felt a little guilty for suggesting we go live near my family, but he put those feelings to rest immediately. He’s just amazing! The only thing I’m worried about is that he burns like a bald man in the desert. Wait. He will be a bald man in the desert. Oh! Hah! Now I’m making myself laugh!? Right, I need to get out of my head and get on with the show.

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KC – 19:30 hours PST – Monday – Undisclosed location, Near Kagel Canyon/Sylmar, California.

What a day. There’s something very satisfying about reflecting on a day spent with my beautiful family. Sometimes I laugh at CJ’s childlike behavior. Her right arm is getting so much better, and she still has pain, though nothing like before. But today her entire body seemed to vibrate with excitement, and my goofy smile made me feel like a love-sick teenager. The new barn construction is underway earlier than anticipated. Mr. White’s friend, Billy, is a master craftsman and carpenter. The solid oak A-frame is already in place. But what got CJ buzzing was the delivery of four giant, round bales of straw for Nevada’s corral and stall. It seems like the past horrors in our lives are being overcome, and things are beginning to grow out of the ashes. I keep thinking of my old show, Rise of the Phoenix. That title kept popping into my head as the hours passed. It seemed apt.

There was a moment earlier this afternoon when I looked at CJ and my breath seemed to leave me. I didn’t need oxygen to survive. I only needed her. She stood in the January sun, her long, dark hair fluttering out at each puff of a cool, winter breeze. She wore the deep-blue sweater I got her for Christmas. I knew it would bring out her eyes. They looked like dancing sapphires today, so intensely happy. Her baggy jeans and sneakers completed the casual look, and it was incredible to see her with no sling and no plaster-cast.

After the doctor removed the cast this morning, he gave her the choice of a blue or black medical wrist support. I’ve never seen anyone engage in such a serious deliberation over a piece of stiff neoprene. She was almost giddy when she could finally give her wrist a proper scratch too. I smile just thinking about it. Her childlike quality doesn’t truly show itself very often, but when it does I fall in love with her all over again. Who am I trying to kid? I fall in love with her every minute of every day. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, she was standing in the sun watching Kamali after the straw bales were delivered. The dog leapt up onto the top of one of the bales and took on a regal pose like he ruled the world from on high. He held it for mere seconds until a familiar car came up the driveway, then he collapsed into a wiggling pile of doggy excitement at the thought of Shannon and Lucy coming home from school.

AM Introspection Kamali atop bale

But that moment where I watched CJ as she admired his performance…it was pure peace. I love her. I can’t explain to anyone how I love her. I just know I do, and that it will feed me until the day I leave this life. It’s an unconditional love that I have no power over, and I’m fine with that. Every day she brings me joy. Even when she was struggling with her injuries, we made it through with love and humor. What a great combination.

I keep thinking about why I’m so happy after what Jamie told me about Elizabeth’s arraignment, but maybe it comes down to the fact that I cannot understand why Elizabeth has always hated me so much. I like that I can’t understand her.

I look at Shannon and try to imagine being so envious of her that I want to constantly interfere in her life to the point where doing anything to make her miserable is my goal. I will never be able to imagine that, and that thought alone makes me happy. That I have no capacity for hate, no feelings of jealousy or envy, no need to interfere with anyone else’s life to try to improve my own sense of self-worth…makes me happy.

Oh, and another thing…Jamie told me what she took from Elizabeth’s scattered pieces of information. Information gotten from some sort of mental health assessment as well as the shouting episode in court. She told me of the hints about Elizabeth getting to Jason way back when I was going out with him. I’m guessing Jason had been talked into trying to get me pregnant to ruin my chance of a career, and he’d gotten me the job in that bar because my mother wanted to publicly humiliate me, assuming I’d never be noticed, and I’d feel dejected every night. She’d said I was too ugly to be in showbiz, and apparently too stupid to finish university. I remember being affected terribly by these constant put-downs. I remember only too well why I left home.

I shouldn’t have let her see me after I ran away, but I won’t regret any of it. I’ve grown so much from the bad experiences in my past, and if I hadn’t gone through them I wouldn’t be the person I am today. If anything, she’s made me stronger and wiser. Maybe I should tell her that, but I fear it would make her choke on the vomit the thought would produce. Even after everything, I still don’t wish harm on another human being, even her. I just hope that someday, she can find peace. I know I have.

Something else that helps me to move on? I had been worried about attracting lunatics into my life, but it turns out that those people were in some way manipulated by Elizabeth all along. Kinda boggles my mind a little, but also shows how persuasive and convincing she can be, and how good she is at demeaning others. She talked Jason into screwing with me – and yes, that was what he was like in bed too. I don’t even want to remember how awful it was. And then she tried to get to Jack. Jack didn’t seem to have many endearing qualities, but at least he stood up to her eventually, so that’s something. Basically, the lunatic theory has been trashed because it was her evil and bigoted views that helped create each situation. That’s how I’ve been thinking about it anyway.

I have come to terms with what she did to us, and as much as I am a forgiving person, I can’t ever forgive her. I can forget…not what she did, but I can forget her. I can’t let her actions alter my life, my happiness, and my joy. I won’t let her hatred win. With my family and true friends around me, it never will. And I know there will be some tough moments in the coming weeks, but I’ll make it through the trial with CJ by my side. My wife is forever a source of great strength for me. It’s funny…she always says it’s the other way around. I guess we strengthen each other.

A conversation CJ and I had not long after Jamie told us what Elizabeth had said, keeps running around in my mind. My amazing partner just wants to protect me from the world, and she finished a rather poignant speech with, “I’m sorry for everything she’s ever done to you…” I shook my head and whispered, “I will never be sorry, CJ. Everything she did when I was a child made me want to run away as soon as I could and be a famous actress to get attention and prove her wrong. She manipulated Jason and quite possibly fueled his desire to hurt me, but I won’t be sorry for what he did either…the threats, the kidnapping, the beatings…” I tried to hold my tears at the memory. “I’ll never be sorry for that, because it was all worth it if it was how I was supposed to meet you.

I could see in CJ’s eyes that she couldn’t quite agree with me completely. It kills her to see me hurt in any way. I know this because I feel the same way when she’s in pain. She can’t comprehend Elizabeth’s hatred, and I love her even more for that. I didn’t think it was possible to love her more. My heart might explode soon. CJ looks at me and makes me feel like there’s no one else in the universe. It’s pure magic, and if I had to, I would endure any torture to hold onto that feeling forever.

In a moment of introspection, I tried to figure out what I had ever done to Elizabeth to deserve her wrath, and not coming up with anything from any point in my life, I cried at the senselessness of it all. I cried for her, because I don’t think she would ever look so deeply as to reflect on any of it. I wonder if she ever felt love for me, even when I was newborn. I just don’t know.

When a parent…or anyone who is supposed to love you…instead tries to kill everything you ever cared about, you either let it consume you and die inside, or you somehow take it as a learning experience, an episode of life that can only make you stronger, and move on. I chose the latter, and as much as I was hurting during those horrible events, it was so easy to traverse the pain because every time I look into the faces of my wife and daughters, I can’t do anything but love, smile, feel gratitude, and know the strength in our deep bond as a family. I adore my life with CJ, Shan, and Luce, and I adore the people who love us with all their hearts. It’s a glorious gift, and I’ll cherish it always.

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SM – 11:30 hours PST – Tuesday – Olympian Studios, Burbank, California.

Coffee. I’m drinking too much coffee today. This shoot is driving me insane. The whole cast is off their game, and we’ve barely been here three hours. Gah! It was sufferable on days like this when I could escape for a few minutes and talk to Kate. I miss her. I’ve been working a whole shitload of hours recently, and she’s been going through something I can only imagine, and then some. But harking back to lighter days, I loved when we would meet at the trash can and go for a much needed snack, or seek each other out when the stress got to be too much. Even when we met up and didn’t speak much, we’d still have the best time. I love that in a friend. I love Kate, and I can’t wait until we start Infinity One. I have a feeling it’s gonna be a fun show to work on.

Cripes…my hand’s shaking. Too much caffeine, and it’s only eleven thirty. Shit. Okay, I’ll go get a bottle of water.

Tony came and towed Kate’s trailer about a week ago. It’s at their house now since the studio bosses were complaining that she left it clogging up the lot. Clogging up the lot? The lot is freaking huge! I was livid, and I wanted to say something but I knew I couldn’t argue with them. Insensitive pricks.

I went to visit CJ and Kate last night, just for a cup of soothing, herbal tea and a quick catch up. They’d had a well-deserved good day, and they were both glowing. The kids were in hyper-mode after school. They came home to find the barn being built and the beginnings of a new inside-outside corral for up to four horses. The new barn looks awesome, and it’s good to see the burnt out remains of the old structure are well and truly gone. It made me so sad to look at that wreck.

Shannon thought the building was really great, but she was more excited about the two new halters for the horses – it seems they’ve found a new friend for Nevada. I love that our Shannon likes the simple things in life. Her favorite pink T-shirt with Piglet on the lapel, a cheap tiger mask that gave her hours of fun, a halter with a shiny buckle on it for a beloved pet…she really is a charming girl. So is Lucy. She has a whole different kind of charm. She’s a rough and tumble tomboy type. She builds castles and houses in her sandpit, plays ball in the yard for hours without ever getting bored, and rides her tricycle along the trail like she’s a competitor in a rally race. No fear! CJ and Kate have made them so happy, and the children have given them so much in return.

It makes me cry with relief to see them smile again…all of them. I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever have kids. Now is not the time, and I’ve never broached the subject with Jamie. I don’t think we’re quite there yet, and I don’t want to scare her off. I don’t think I actually want children right now anyway. I’m enjoying my life now that things are settling down again.

I admire my friends so much. I admire Kate. I have no idea how she made it through that nightmare with such dignity and…I dunno. She just seemed to have so much faith in CJ. She knew she was alive somehow. It was spooky. What fills me with relief is that she was right. I was hurting so much for her back then, and when she told us all to leave her alone…oh god, my heart broke. I felt useless. I was unable to help her. I knew nothing could console her…nothing except CJ walking in that door and grabbing her tight.

I don’t think I could’ve stood it if Kate had had to go on alone. It would’ve killed me to see her in that much pain. Sometimes I think I love her too much, but then I think, you can’t love a best friend too much. She’s like the sister I never had. I’m grateful for her, and she is second only to Jamie in my heart. I think she always will be.

Jamie. Oh boy, we’re getting pretty serious. My life with her is something I could never have anticipated a few years ago. I never really looked at women like that. But as Kate said, it just takes one person, the person, to make you realize what you really want. And she was so right. I couldn’t have imagined this much happiness and passion. I’ve never been so satisfied in every aspect of a relationship in my entire life. Long may it continue. Jamie stays at my house so much I’ve started thinking of it as our house. It feels better with her in it, and I think I’ll ask her to move in permanently. Scary because she might say no, but worth discussing and overcoming my fears of rejection. I think back to when I met her. I was scared back then too. But it’s that strange kind of fear where your heart leaps when she looks at you, your pulse races when she brushes her hand past your skin, and you realize you need another human being so much you want to scream. Needing someone can be terrifying, especially when you’ve never experienced such a strong attraction before. I think I need to toughen up. I feel like such an emotional wimp sometimes.

Wait, who shouted my name? Oh crap, where did the time go? Back to work…

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CJC – 16:35 hours PST – Tuesday – Undisclosed location, Near Kagel Canyon/Sylmar, California.

Mmm, that was a good nap. I think I’m awake. I can hear a screaming child. Oh wait, that’s singing? Lucy has to hone her harmonies a little, and she’s giving it everything in her valiant attempts today. I suppose there aren’t many better sounds to wake up to than your child happily blasting her lungs out.

I’ve been home for what? Maybe four weeks? I can’t believe how much I enjoy being here with them constantly. I am in love with our children, and I can see why Katie wanted to take some time off to be a mom. I thought I was too committed in my career to leave it behind. And I was…before. Before the whirlwind that was Kate Marshall entered my life, stole my heart, and turned me into a mushy, lovesick puppy. I might even have gotten broody last week. We were looking through baby photos of Shannon and Lucy, and I wondered if Katie and I had a baby, what he or she would look like. Shock horror! Ack, I don’t care. Having my family has only done me good and made me the happiest, not-so-moody federal agent there ever was. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ll still act all tough and moody at the office because let’s face it, I have to be. It’s like I automatically transfer to the role of ‘indestructible CJ’ at work. My close colleagues all know it. They do it too.

Anyway, I’m not quitting my job. Nope…but I’m enjoying this break now that I can handle the pain better and help around the house. See, I may not have seemed to be in agony before, but I really, really was. I don’t tend to show what I’m going through, so the fact that I had to let it out in front of my devoted wife shows just how bad it was. Those meds the doc had me on sent me flying, especially when Katie had to up the dosage after my many mishaps. I had a few more after the bathroom incident, but as usual Katie handled me with ease. I’m such a stubborn and grumpy pain-in-the-ass sometimes, and for some crazy reason, it seems to endear me to her even more. Hmm. She’s a glutton for punishment.

I can’t imagine my life without her. I almost don’t remember my life without her. I tried to dig out those memories recently and had to think real hard about what I was like back then. I was so aloof some would think I was arrogant. I guess that was a good thing for a woman trying to make it in the FBI. I wanted to be respected for my work as an agent and utilize my mind as much as possible. I knew I was good at certain things and not so great at others. A few of my peers at Quantico seemed to see where my talents lay, and one of my bosses back then too. But the person I was…I just don’t recognize her. She was pretty miserable, if I’m honest. Stayed detached from people and things. The only thing I liked back then was the cabin. It was a place of solace for solitary CJ. Ugh. I am so thankful Katie came along and showed me what it was like to feel true love. That scary, stomach-flipping, terrified-out-of-your-mind, wonderful, life-affirming, amazing, can’t-live-without-her feeling of being so in love you want to scream it from the rooftops. Bliss.

I was also thinking about things I can’t cope with. Being without Katie is the obvious one, and now our daughters are included in that, but the recent nightmare was the ‘not being capable’ thing. I wish I could be better at handling a physical or emotional handicap. I tend to see it as a flaw, but I think my childhood ensured it was a necessity. Being abused by my father and trying to be strong for my mother created a tough shell around my heart. I wanted to show her that once we were on our own, I could be there for her at the same time she was there for me. And I was pretty independent at an early age because Mom had to work to make sure we had food on the table and a roof over our heads. I guess it was a struggle, but I’ll always remember the many special moments she’d share with me, and her never-ending love.

Alyssa Carson was what I’d call a free heart. She knew what love was and was never afraid to make sure I knew how much she cherished me. She wore her love on her sleeve…something my father could never appreciate…and she would pour so much of herself into making sure others were happy. I often think about the day she found out what my father had been doing to me. I didn’t recognize her for a while that day. She was filled with fury. I thought she was going to kill him. The decision she made to leave and never let him near us again was the best one, and I’ll always thank her for it. She was so strong, so protective, and so loved by me. Katie reminds me a lot of her. Wow, I never noticed that before. Two of the most wonderful women I have the pleasure of knowing in my lifetime. I’m so damn lucky.

Oh, I just remembered I was having an amazing dream. So clear. Maybe it was a premonition. It was definitely a classic example of my eagerness to be fully healed and fit again. I could see myself like I was watching a movie. Weird, but at the same time, it was a peaceful vision. The sky was on fire behind me, and I was riding Nevada, but at our side was a slightly smaller horse. I’m gonna take a wild guess and say it was our new horse.

See, we went to a horse sanctuary place last week. They rehome some of their animals, and we found a young, dapple-gray mare about two or three years old. They didn’t know her age exactly because she had been a rescue…found beside her deceased mother on a neglected farm as a yearling. So sad. Anyway, the children fell in love with her gentle nature. She can’t be ridden yet, but I know how to break in a horse for riding when the time is right. I did it once back when I lived with my grandma, and I can remember most of what I learned. I’ll brush up on the specifics when the time comes. With things like that, I sure do have the patience. I love horses. Trail riding is something I’ve missed, but I know I’ll get back to it soon. Mm-hmm. What was I thinking about?

Oh yeah, my dream. So I was riding for home, sunset blazing behind me and a contentment filling me that I’ll never tire of. Then I saw her. My Katie. My stomach flips even in a dream. She was standing on the back porch watching me. I could feel her eyes even though I couldn’t see her face clearly yet. It’s astonishing how a distant look from her can penetrate my soul. I know she loves me as much as I love her, and I know it is endless. Never fails to surprise me. She looks at me, and all the tough, cold, empty parts of me that used to exist in abundance just dissolve and fade away. She is a miracle in my life. She makes me whole, and I’ll never, ever take her for granted. I love her. I can’t explain to anyone how I love her. They can never feel what I feel inside. I’d die to protect her.

As much as I’m my own person, an individual, she completes me in a way no one else ever could. She is my other half…the other half of my soul.

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MM – 13:55 hours PST – Wednesday – Federal building, Los Angeles, California.

Just got back from a briefing with my agents, and I gotta say, they seem different when CJ’s not here. They don’t falter in their work, but there’s an air of melancholy in the room. She and Kate came in to visit about a week ago, and they all perked up immediately. I wonder if Agent Carson knows the effect she has on people. I suspect not. She’s always so hard on herself, and the woman doesn’t know the meaning of modesty.

She left Kate sipping coffee with her colleagues and came to see me in private during her visit. I knew it was going to be a difficult conversation by the look in those vivid eyes. It’s hard for CJ to express her emotions to me because she feels she can’t reveal any kind of weakness in front of her bosses, but on this particular visit she managed just fine. I think the plane crash changed something in her, and going by what she said to me, my actions during the search and events thereafter changed something in her too. She thanked me with tears in her eyes, for everything I did in Minnesota. I almost broke down when I told her how sorry I was about demanding she return to LA so fast. I told her it was my fault it happened. At that point she got up from her seat, and using her much-improved right arm, she held me and said it was nobody’s fault but Elizabeth’s.

It was the most uncomfortable, and at the same time, most wonderful moment I’ve ever had with her. We both agreed to keep our tears a secret. Special agents don’t cry at work. After much sniffling, I insisted on apologizing to her anyway. She accepted it, but repeated that what Jamie and I did meant so much to both her and Kate, and that it wasn’t my fault she got on the ill-fated plane. She said she’ll never forget what we did, and I told her I would do it again…time and time again…to find a lost loved one. Her eyebrow rose at that comment, but thankfully she let my little confession slide. I’m lucky to have formed a bond with my agents, but we still manage to maintain a solid line between personal and professional during normal operational hours. These past months have not been normal, but the line will remain on an everyday basis because it will always be necessary while we work together…and I want to keep my team together for as long as possible.

I haven’t mentioned it to anyone yet, but DD Mitchell has given the go-ahead for another agent to join the team. I’ve requested someone who impressed me recently. By pure coincidence, Tim Dalton contacted me, and we talked about Elizabeth Emerson’s case and what date he would have to come to LA for the trial. He happened to mention that his grandmother passed away, and after I offered my condolences, he added that there was nothing holding him in Minnesota any longer. He wanted to transfer out. I took it as a hint and said I would see what I could do. He didn’t correct my assumption, so I think he wants to come here. He has a clean personnel file and an excellent work record to date. No experience with serial killers though…but neither did my other agents, except CJ. I might talk to her about it. She seemed to get on well with Dalton.

I almost lost my title because of my refusal to return without CJ. Mitchell had taken a verbal beating from the director, who warned that I was “this close” to being demoted to special agent again. When Julius told me this on one of my calls to him from Minnesota, I didn’t even hear it. All I cared about was finding CJ. Was that unprofessional? I don’t know. Maybe. But like I said, I’d do it again. It’s unusual for me to feel something for anyone. I feel something for CJ and Kate. I feel something for my team. I feel protective.

Which reminds me, I think I’m learning to let myself love too. It’s unsettling and new to me, but only because I’ve never had cause to practice it before. CJ invited me over to see how the new barn was coming along, and to have dinner with the family. I hesitated because she mentioned inviting her aunt too. Cecilia and I have not really had the chance to spend a decent amount of time together. I was accused many years ago of being married to the job. Maybe I am. I do like Cecilia. She’s a good woman. She’s passionate, caring, funny, and has some interesting quirks that seem to match my own. I’m not going to think about those quirks because they’re intimate quirks, and I’m at work. I do feel I’ve let her down though…cancelled on her too many times. We’re still talking, but I’d wonder if she would feel I was intruding on her family get-together.

I’m such an idiot. Why don’t I just call her? I know I want to go to the dinner, and I want to see her. I feel like I have a family when I’m over there. My life has always been so lonely, except for the Bureau, but I’ll have to retire someday, and what will I have left? I want to have loved ones so I need to make the effort and put myself through the discomfort of letting them see that I care. For me, that might be harder than dealing with a killer.

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LJC – 20:00 hours PST – Thursday – Undisclosed location, Near Kagel Canyon/Sylmar, California.

Aunt Cece is here for dinner! And so is that man from Mommy’s work. I always forget his name. Em…em…Mark! I felt sad a minute ago because he ate a piece of the cheesecake I wanted. But then Mama gave me some of her piece, and I was happy again. Mark saw my sad face and told me I could switch the lights on in the special car he came in. It’s one from his work, and I’ll be allowed to sit in the driver seat and press the button. It’ll be so cool! But that’s not until it gets dark outside, and I’m bored just now so thinking about school is a good idea.

I played ball today. I love it, but that was after school. And while I was at school I added numbers in my workbook, and we played with mag-mag-magnetic letters on the big board. I spelled dog. Gillian is a girl in my class. She’s my friend. She couldn’t spell some of the words, but I helped her because she can’t see the letters like other children. She gets them all mixed up. I can’t remember why, but she smiled when I showed her the right way, and that made me feel good. We did a Show and Tell today too. We had to bring something from our mommy’s work. I had to choose which mommy ‘cause I have two! I brought a medal Mommy got in the FBI, and I had to tell class about how she got it for being really brave. The other children asked me all kinds of questions, and I didn’t know the answers to some of them so I just told them how awesome my mommies are. They’re so cool!

And guess what? Mommy came to pick me up from school. I didn’t think she could because she had a broken hand, but she says she managed to drive the big truck with her other hand. Mama came with her, but…uh, ‘cause she might have needed help, and we all went to get my big sister together. That was cool too! My mommies laughed a lot on the way home because I was making funny faces when I told them about a story the teacher read. It had a monster in it, and I wanted them to know what the monster looked like so I had to make the faces it had. Heh…they had tears when they laughed. It was fun. Mama said I was a hoot. I’m not sure what that means, but she was smiling when she told me so I guess it’s a good thing.

This cheesecake is good. Shan’s got a new dress on just now. She likes dresses, and she got it for a Christmas present. I got jeans and new sneakers with red lights in the heels. They’re totally cool! We got toys and stuff too, but the best present was our new horse. She’s not here yet, but she’ll be home soon when the barn’s finished. She’s a big horse and she nibbled my hair when we went to see her. But she didn’t hurt me. She made me laugh. When she comes home, she’ll be a new friend for Nevada, and I think they’ll be best friends, just like me an’ Shan. I felt sad when Idaho died, and when I asked Mommy what our new horse was called, she said we could think of a name together. Shan asked what Nevada and Idaho meant, and Mommy said they were the names of places in America, so we looked at all the other places in America, and when Mama said we lived in Cali-California, we wanted to call our new horse California. But that’s a big name for a horse, so we’re going to call her Calli. I can’t wait to see her running in the field. She’s so cool!

AM Calli 3

Uh-oh…‘Mali needs a pee. I showed him a sign for when he needs a pee. He sits down and puts a paw up to his nose. Mommy says I’m really clever when I teach him things, but when ‘Mali and me play together, we can talk to each other. I teach him the way I moved my hands to tell Shan things before I talked properly. Mommy says sometimes that’s better for dogs anyway because they can’t speak. But he talks to me different ways. He’s my best animal friend. I think Shan likes the horses better, but we all love each other so it’s okay. I’m going to go out back with ‘Mali now. I think Aunt Cece is coming with us. She’s so cool!

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TD – 11:10 hours CDT – Friday – Quiet suburban street, Eagen, Minnesota.

What a different feeling to a few weeks ago. Grandma’s house feels so empty. Even though she was very sick towards the end, she still had that crazy ole grandma vibe going on that I loved about her. She always accepted me for who I am, and she would make scathing jokes about people who have no tolerance for a proud FBI agent…and a bisexual one at that. She loved me, and I’ll miss her. And now I have to move out of her guest house because her estranged son is traveling back here to sell her home. It just seems wrong somehow. I’ve grabbed a couple of the keepsakes she said I could take…some special memories of her that he’s not getting to just throw in the trash. Okay, I’m not gonna cry. No way.

It was only a few weeks ago too, that I was almost obsessed with the plane crash investigation. I was so determined to find out everything I could about why Agent Carson had been targeted. I can’t describe to you the frustration I felt with not being officially assigned to the case, and the relief I felt when they found her alive. She made a huge impact on me when I worked with her for that short time. She carries herself with a confidence that in no way can be misconstrued as arrogance…not to me, anyway. She knows her job and does it well. Very well. She holds her professional persona like a well prepared and carefully constructed mask that she only lowers occasionally to reveal who she truly is off-duty. I had the privilege of seeing brief moments of that in the car when she spoke of her wife. I can see pure love there. I felt she wasn’t just a colleague. I saw a friend in her. Those amazing blue eyes show kindness and warmth, when she’s not facing down someone like Hess that is. Man, that killer had really made her mad. I thought she might spit venom. I’m not surprised she turned into the ice queen back then. After what he’d done years ago, I wanted to kick the shit out of him too.

Then she had to leave. I had a weird knot in my stomach. I wish I hadn’t suggested Doug Jensen’s place to her. Maybe if she’d driven back to Minneapolis, she’d have been spared that horrible crash. Or maybe not. Seems she would’ve just been targeted in some other way. When someone’s out to get you like that, it’s gonna happen no matter what you do. I guess you just don’t expect that someone to be two hit-men hired by some crazy broad. I only found out recently when I was talking to AD Mulroney on the phone, that the crazy broad is related to CJ’s wife. Unreal.

I felt it was my duty to keep in touch with Mulroney and update him as promptly as possible after he left Minnesota. I know how information between different federal offices can get ‘lost in transit’ when they’re in the middle of a big case. They don’t exactly make it a priority to share that information with other departments.

Keeping that connection with the AD though…it made it easier to talk with him about the transfer I wanted. He said he’d see what he could do, and I got a little excited. I think I’m going to LA pretty soon. I have a funny feeling that if the transfer is accepted, I’ll be going to his Specialist Serial Homicide Unit. Not sure if I have the background for that, but it’s definitely something I’m interested in pursuing. If he gives me the chance right now, I’ll take it. I know I can learn from the team, especially if it’s headed by CJ Carson. I’ve heard only good things about that unit They have quite a reputation already, and their number of cases solved are always quoted as one of the highest in the Bureau. Good place to transfer to, good career move.

I think…I hope I connected with CJ because she seems so accepting of alternative lifestyles. She has one herself. The problems I’ve had in the past…before and after I joined the FBI…well, let’s just say I’ve had a few homophobic punches thrown at me and one not so pleasant knife in the gut. I’m not even really out. I don’t go around flaunting it when I’m seeing a guy. I just feel attracted to a person, and if I want to pursue it, I do. But sometimes others are not so straight-forward and broad-minded. Maybe I’ll have better luck in Los Angeles. And maybe I’ll have a better bunch of colleagues. Don’t get me wrong, the guys here in Minneapolis have been okay, but I see the looks I get sometimes, and it unnerves me a little. Think positive, that’s the ticket.

I feel a strange anticipation about the future, and if grandma was here now, she’d tell me to go for it, move to the West Coast and live my life to the full. I’m gonna give that a try. I need to go give evidence in the Emerson trial soon. It might be a one-way flight for me. Now there’s a scary thought. Where am I gonna live? I’ve only been to LA a couple of times, and both times were for work. I never really saw any of the cities, and have no idea where to look. Shit, my heart’s racing. I need to calm down. Breathe, Tim, breathe. I had palpitations like that when everyone thought CJ had been killed. I don’t know exactly what I was feeling, but there was definitely some guilt in there, and remorse, anger, pain. I think the fact that it was a fellow agent lost also contributed to that heavy feeling you get when the weight of the world is on your shoulders. It was like I was dragging my solid concrete feet everywhere I went.

Damn it, I’ve been standing here reflecting on my feelings for half an hour. What am I, a little girl? Hah, kinda. Never saying that out loud, though. OK, back to packing.

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TW – 16:35 hours PST – Friday – Little Tujunga Canyon Road, Sylmar, California.

I can’t get over how happy they are. I just dropped the girls off at home, and CJ and Kate seem to smile constantly. They are as full of energy as their daughters, and after everything they’ve been through recently, it just amazes me how they’ve bounced back. I saw them go through all kinds of emotions in the past weeks, and I have to admit I felt it with them. Not sure you’re supposed to feel love and connectedness with your bosses, but it’s impossible not to with CJ and Kate. They’re so welcoming, so open, so honest and kind. I really lucked out with this job.

When I first started driving for Kate, she was nice…a little stand-offish but pleasant enough to be around. I enjoyed the brief chats I had with her back then, but after she met CJ, things changed. I’m happy to say, for the better. I think she was lonely before. For what, she wasn’t sure. Then CJ happened, and things seemed to fall into place for her.

Jump forward to now? Now, I’m part of a family that I never want to leave. I’ve been offered higher paid jobs a few times over the years, but nothing will ever compare to this one for me. I mean, look at me? I’m driving a lavish BMW to go pick up meds and run a couple of other errands for CJ, and I love it. The BMW is only a bonus. It’s the family I love. One of the best parts of my day is collecting those two girls from school. They are awesome and wicked smart. Kate and I had a heart-to-heart one day, and she told me all about what happened to Charles Davenport. That whole case sounded unreal to me. The fact that these two children have come from all that tragedy…well, on one hand it makes me wanna cry, but on the other, look at them now. They’re happy, thriving, and they don’t really seem to look back. Occasionally, Shannon will, but that’s to be expected. She remembers her old life much more than Lucy does.

Damn it! Look where you’re going, idiot!

Honk!

Jeez, I was having a nice peaceful drive. Some people need to re-take their Driver’s Ed. Hmm, I don’t usually lose it like that. Mind you, I usually have the kids in the back. For some reason, they keep me calm. Ooh, I’d better remember to text Cyn back once I get to the drugstore. She’s working today, and she’s missing Kate like crazy on the Deadline set. I wonder if they’ll get to work together again. Not only would it be good for them, but I can see Cyn when I pick Kate up and drop her off at the studios. Always a bonus.

Shit. I still find myself scanning my surroundings like some crazy person is going to jump out onto the road and carjack me. I was so glad CJ taught me some cool FBI moves. Not only because of the recent stuff that was going on, but just because I feel more capable of taking care of Shannon and Lucy when things are tense. But I can relax for a while, right? Those guys are locked up, Tony. Chill. And Kate’s mother…oh boy, I mean, Elizabeth. So glad she’s gone. She gave me the creeps, and she was always such a bitch to Kate. And man, did she hate CJ. I don’t get it. My bosses are awesome. Who says that? Nobody else I know. I’m really kinda lucky that I love my job. So many people hate theirs, and are just doing it to pay the bills. Workplace politics, number-crunching, bitching between colleagues…when I think about it like that, I have a dream job.

Okay, I know the drugstore is here somewhere. Ah, there it is.

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SAC – 20:05 hours PST – Friday – Undisclosed location, Near Kagel Canyon/Sylmar, California.

I just remembered when I was sitting in my bed like this two nights ago. I was crying a bit and feeling sad. When I looked into my nightstand drawer and opened my photo album, I saw Daddy. I miss him sometimes. Craig and Simon, and my first mommy too. But it doesn’t feel like she’s my mommy now. Well…‘cause she isn’t. But I got sad because I didn’t want to call her mommy anymore, and I talked to Mama about it. She hugged me and told me it was okay. I love her. She’s so soft and gentle and funny and clever. When I asked her if it was bad that I sometimes forget to think about people who died, she told me it’s never bad. Sometimes we’re just very busy living in the minute we’re in, and older days get fuzzy. That’s what I was feeling, and when she said that happens to a lot of people, I felt better.

I only remember some of the bad times now. I remember when Daddy would be real busy, and when he would go to work I felt lonely. Me and Luce always felt lonely, so we would stay close so that if we needed a hug, we could hug each other. Mommy was never there, and we were never allowed to make a mess in the house. We had lots of toys, but sometimes I just wanted a hug from Mommy. It sounds funny to me to think about her and call her that now ‘cause CJ is my mommy. Yes, CJ is my mommy, and I love her. She’s cool and goofy and funny and really, really tall. Oh, and she’s tough too ‘cause she’s an FBI agent.

Lucy loves them too. I remember when she wouldn’t talk. She was too scared, but that was uncle Steve’s fault. He hurt us, but he hurt Lucy the most. And our first mommy wouldn’t stop him. I don’t want to think about that anymore. It makes me sad. But I never feel too sad in our house, and Mama’s coming to read me a story once she gets Lucy’s pajamas on. That always makes me feel happy and sleepy. Mommy’s downstairs talking to auntie Jamie on the phone. Mommy got her cast off the other day. She can wiggle her fingers real good now, and she says she’ll be able to take me out for a ride on Nevada soon, just like she promised. She got lost, and that’s why it took her so long to take me. I was scared when she was lost ‘cause I knew something was wrong, but Mama never said anything about it. It still felt weird though…‘cause she was so tired and worried and sad, but I didn’t know why. Mama talked to me about it after Mommy was safe, so that’s good. I understand more now. Mama wanted to protect us from being scared. She always wants to protect me and Lucy from getting hurt. So does Mommy.

I remember meeting Mommy for the first time, when she came into the room in that house. I didn’t like it there. She talked to me and made me feel safe right away. And then when she came to the place with Mama and told us we were coming home to live with her, I felt safe then too. I love living here with Mommy, Mama, Lucy, Kamali, and Nevada. We were so sad when Idaho died ‘cause she was like part of our family too, but I can still go put flowers beside her grave anytime I want and say hi to her. And we have a new horse coming soon so Nevada won’t be lonely.

I’m never lonely anymore. I have my family, and I have really nice friends like Tony and Cyn and Jamie and Sam, and I have Sian and other friends at school. Tony and Cyn look after us sometimes when our parents go out at night time. It doesn’t happen very much, but sometimes Mama has to go to a show or a…a…an awards thing. She’s an actress, and she said maybe I can watch her new show ‘cause it’s about pilots in space, but she said she has to see if there’s too much fighting in it first. Mommy’s excited about the show. She says she likes Star Trek, so she’ll have to watch Mama’s new show too. Heh. Imagine watching your wife on television. That’s funny.

Oh, Mama’s coming! Time for cuddles.

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CJC – 00:40 hours PST – Saturday – Undisclosed location, Near Kagel Canyon/Sylmar, California.

Look at her sitting there. She’s only three feet away from me, and I can feel her energy holding my heart hostage…and I let her willingly. She has a wistful smile on her face, and every time I glance up, she looks more beautiful than the last time. I’m so in love with her. She’s getting tired now. I can see her eyes growing heavy, but she’s responding to some pretty important emails so we’ll be here for a little while yet. She told me I should go to bed already, but I don’t want to…not without her. Wow, sometimes I really am pathetic. About five minutes ago, I just had to touch her and wriggled my toes over to poke her in the thigh. She grinned but didn’t look away from her laptop. Then, a couple minutes after that, I closed my eyes briefly and felt her toe sliding in between my legs. Touché!

So now I’ll sit here aroused, waiting patiently until she’s finished. I can see from the smirk on those luscious lips that she knows only too well what condition I’m in. But it’s a game of wills now. Will I cave, or will she? Pah. I know I’ve lost. She can probably smell me.

Okay…need to think about something else before I burst. Okay, okay. Uh…hmm.

Yeah, I felt overwhelmed the other day. Katie is so strong. Damn it. Seems I can’t stop thinking about her. Oh, well. She…she’s just so organized and together. In between going to work meetings, scheduling the children’s day, taking care of me…although I’m pretty independent now, thankfully…and project managing the building works around the farmland, she also took me with her when she had an appointment with a fighter jet simulator as research for her part on Infinity One. It wasn’t just any old simulator either. They had her pulling two Gs at one point…so they said. I don’t know if that was true, but man, she looked a little green around the gills afterwards. And she has to go back for more later.

She loved doing it though. It was just one of many cool things she gets to do for this new show. But what overwhelmed me was the reception she got from everyone. They love her. There was pure excitement at getting Kate Marshall on the show to begin with, and now everything she does with this crew is full of wonder for most of them. Even at that facility, people were clambering over each other to shake her hand and welcome her. Of course, she handled it all with ease and made them all laugh. As much as it freaks me out that she’s famous, it also makes me feel so very lucky to know her in every way. She is a truly exceptional person, and I get the privilege of loving her and living with her forever. And what’s more, she loves me back. I don’t know what I did to deserve her, but I’m going to do everything I can to continue receiving the gift Katie gives me.

She gave me a look just then. I wonder what it meant. Oh, okay. She licked her lips. I hope that means she’s nearly done with the emails, otherwise I’m gonna melt…or jump those beautiful bones right now. How can she still do this to me after all this time? I think I’ll feel this way when we’re old and gray. I just hope my body can keep up with my libido when I’m sixty. Come to think of it, I was never this amorous before. I guess this is what happens when you’re lucky enough to find your one true love. But ours is not just an animal attraction. It goes far deeper than either of us can understand. I love everything about her.

I know we’ll encounter more problems in the future, but I’m sure they’ll be due to external forces…my job, her job, some crazy person. Katie and I are our own force to be reckoned with, and she makes me feel like I could save the world sometimes. With her by my side, I probably could.

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KC – 00:45 hours PST – Saturday – Undisclosed location, Near Kagel Canyon/Sylmar, California.

Okay, how do I tell her I finished emailing two minutes ago but I just can’t help watching her? She’s gazing off into space right now, her mouth open just a tiny bit. I bet she’s thinking about what I did with my toe. In fact, I know she is, but a few more minutes won’t kill her. Oh god. Flashback to a few weeks ago when she could have been killed. I feel my gut heave and my heart ache just like it did when she was missing. I relive those feelings quite a lot, but have to remind myself that’s she’s right here. I think she wonders sometimes why I keep walking up to her and touching her to see if she’s real. I had never been so unsure in my life, but those few days after she came home from Minnesota, I was sure I was seeing more crazy visions. But look. She’s there, sitting back on the couch like some Greek goddess. Her beauty astounds me every day, and yet she doesn’t seem to see it. It makes her all the more beautiful to me that she’s confident but not egotistical. I can’t find any bad qualities about her. Then again, I’m very biased.

I watched her doing her physio today. She still can’t move the wrist, but that determined look she gets on her face when she’s concentrating on moving her fingers is priceless. She’s cute when she’s thinking, like she is right now. She’s nibbling her bottom lip, and it’s starting to drive me wild. Deep breath, Katie. Hold out for a few more minutes.

I know she’s in pain still, but at least she talks to me about it and doesn’t try to hide it like she did at first. She always thinks she has to be so damn tough. I’m glad she’s realized that in front of me, she only has to be herself, no matter what. I know she knows that, but it doesn’t hurt to remind her every so often. What else am I gonna nag about? Hah!

Mmm, that was a smoldering look I just got. I think it’s time to stop the emailing charade and close up the laptop. I think I just got wet. It’s incredible how easily she can fire me up. If this is what it feels like to be completely in love, I’m forever thankful I was lucky enough to find my soulmate. I know that word is over-used, but I can’t think of another to express what I mean. She is my soul’s mate, in every way.

I’m going to see if she snaps out of her thoughts at the sound of the computer closing down. Right…and shutdown. Ooh, nostrils flared. She’s still all glassy-eyed though. I know she’s tired, but she wouldn’t go to bed when I suggested it. For my will is as strong as yours…and my kingdom is as great. I only added that last part because we watched that movie with the kids a couple days ago. I know CJ is engaging in a battle of wills. She refuses to fall asleep because she wants to make love. I’m going to make it worth her while. She’s making me hot just looking at me from under her eyelashes. Wow. My wife is stunning even when she’s exhausted. Okay, enough torture. I always feel like the blood is flying through my veins faster than the speed of light just before we’re intimate. The anticipation makes it even more exciting, and I’ve made her wait for a half hour or so. Far too long, if you ask me.

I’m on my feet, and she’s following without a word. Oh, yeah. Bedtime.

.

EE – 23:40 hours PST – Saturday – Century Regional Detention Facility, Compton, California.

I am so angry. I paid that attorney well, so you’d think he’d be able to do his job better! This is ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to sit here on this disgusting bunk trying to figure out a way for that idiot to get me out of this horrendous place. They leave the cell doors open during the day to allow the inmates to mingle. Why on earth would I want to mingle with these…these degenerate lifeforms?

I was sure with enough money and a little manipulation that I could somehow appeal the judge’s decision and be a free woman again…at least until my trial. Money can buy anything in this day and age. I know it. And I have money! My attorney said I should plead insanity. Pah! I’m not insane, but he told me my grasp on the reality of my situation was slipping away fast. I’m beginning to question my choice of lawyer.

Why doesn’t anyone understand about Katherine? That child is an abhorrent deviant. How can she even consider living with that woman? Oh it’s just awful, and it should be against the law. A person like that wife of hers should be shot. But I couldn’t just go up to her and put a bullet in her head to save the world from the twisted, warped thoughts she has, and has brainwashed my Katherine with. I am the only one who can make Katherine see the error of her ways, and when I get out of here I’ll try again. I must make sure to tell my attorney the next time I see him that we simply must do anything to free me from this horrid place. I am powerful. I am rich. I am far too high-class to stay in this hellhole. Perhaps the insanity plea would get me out of here. I could lie to them just to escape prison. I don’t deserve prison. I just did what any mother would do to protect the reputation of her child. Why doesn’t Katherine see how her unholy ways will one day cause the devil to seep into her veins and destroy her? Why do I bother?

I should never have to endure a place like this. It smells appalling, it’s noisy and unsanitary, and it is filled with the dregs of society. Why just yesterday, I was sitting here minding my own business when two…I don’t even know what they were…women? They walked by and said some strange things. I shouldn’t have reacted, but I couldn’t help it. They were being wretched.

“Well, look at Miss Moneybags there,” that bigger-than-a-house woman said sarcastically.

And then her little, spikey-haired friend with the tattoos snickered. “Haven’t had a rich piece of meat like her in a while, huh?”

“Hah. I hear she tried to off her daughter-in-law-“

When I jumped up from my bed, the broad inmate fell silent, no doubt from fear, and I stormed towards the door. I was ready to give them a piece of my mind.

“Daughter-in-law? DAUGHTER-IN-LAW? Don’t ever call that hideous, evil, deviant of a woman my daughter-in-law. She warped my Katherine’s mind, led her down the path to Hell. Two women should never lie together. It’s an abomination! It’s disgusting, and I won’t have it!!”

“Lady, you have no idea what goes on in prison, do you? You’ll have it. Oh yeah, you’ll have it real good.”

A few whistles followed, and a lot of confusing hooting and cheering. I wasn’t sure what it meant, but something about the way they said it made my skin crawl, and I don’t want to be here when they decide to come back. Yes, I plead insanity.

.

The End…

©2016 StageFreak Productions

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20 comments

  1. Fantastic! Great to get some insight into each of the character’s minds. And I just wanna say “YES!” about the introduction of Tim’s bisexuality! Don’t see much of that. Then again, I liked his character before, so this is just icing on the cake! Thank you for sharing your gift with us, and be sure to keep us updated in the Xena Fan Fic Chat group!


    • Thank you 🙂
      Glad you enjoyed it.


  2. I was so excited to see this short plus the two other stories that are being promised to us! Ms. Arthur, I must say of all the authors I’ve read through book or fan fiction or whatever, I love your work the most! The way you craft the story, the way you unveil your characters to us, and the way you leave us wanting more, it doesn’t compare to anyone. Thank you for sharing the Carson’s with us! In this short you let us into the minds of the characters so easily. Even though this was sort of a revealing of thoughts, hopes, and feelings I felt as if I already knew what each character was thinking and that is attributed to the way you write the characters in each story. I truly hope that Carson’s continue to speak you and that you continue to share your amazing mind and skills with us.


    • Many humble thank yous’, Christine.
      I’m so glad they speak to you in many ways 😉
      I was supposed to be taking a break from writing the series but CJ and Kate had other ideas… so I guess they speak to me too!
      Thanks again. Your feedback is very much appreciated.


      • I know you are working on your novel now and you write the Carsons, but are there other stories that us devoted writers can read while waiting patiently for the novel and the next Carson episode? I feel as though I cannot get enough of your writing. I’m addicted! 🙂


      • I’m working on the novel AND the next Carson episode… they won’t shut up! 🙂
        There isn’t anything else that I’ve written online (except poetry) as After The Storm was my first attempt at fiction. I must apologize for causing an addiction 😉


      • I’m quite alright with them not shutting up AND with the addiction. Maybe I’ll have to re-read CJ and Kate to feed my habit! Ha! Or, maybe you have a suggestion of some other writing to fill my time with? 😉


      • To be honest, anything I’d suggest, you’ve probably read! I know you are in the XFFC group so the stories I would recommend have all been listed in there. You’ve probably read more of them than I have!! 😉


      • Ah, but maybe I haven’t read the particular stories you would recommend. Since you started my addiction couldn’t I guilt you into some suggestions?? 😉


      • Perhaps if you email me, I’ll have a think about it 🙂


      • Is that the stagefreak email or there something different? Ooohhhh….I’m looking forward to picking your brain. 😉


      • Of course, the email listed in each story.


  3. You are good, really good!! You have us all addicted to the Carsons and their adventures. I like it more because they are the wonderful characters from Xena. Thanx for your stories. Please keep on writing! The break you are talking about…please don’t take it now..pretty please! Good luck with the writing!

    Lientjie


    • Thank you, Lientjie 🙂
      Reader feedback is always very useful… and much appreciated by me!


      • Pleasure! I forgot to mention that your writing is so good that me as a South African that is Afrikaans speaking, enjoys it. Sometimes writers loose their readers! But you don’t!

        Lientjie


      • Glad to hear it! This website allows me to see where people are coming from. It always surprises me that people from so many varied countries are reading After Montana. Fantastic 🙂


  4. Hej ta historia jest niesamowita to jeat najlepsza historia jaka czytałam jestes the best ale proszę nie koncz tego nie moge doczekac się dalszych prztgod CJ i Katy


    • Hello, Sabi.
      Thank you and I am glad you enjoy CJ and Kate.
      The series will not end. I am taking a break to write a book then I will be back to write more of After Montana 🙂


  5. I was so happy to see more stories about the Carson`s. I just love the series . Thank you so much. You just always keep it interesting.


    • Thank you, Nancy 🙂



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