Hostage of the Heart

By: Ambrosia

Disclaimers: Find 'em in Part 1

Violence: Yes there is. Some of which focuses on spousal abuse.

Feedback is welcome and can be sent to: SumrBrezze@aol.com

Part 6
Desiree sat up on the bed and started down at Piper in utter shock. Of all the people in the world, she had not expected the blue-eyed woman to say that she killed her own father. Desiree crossed her legs and tried to find her voice.

"You killed your own father?" she asked.

Piper nodded.

"Did you do it on purpose?" Desiree inquired hesitantly.

"Yes, I did."

The younger woman frowned. "What gives you the right to choose who should live and who should die?"

Piper scowled at her. She sat up in the bed glaring at Desiree. "Don't you presume to judge me for what I did. He had to die."

Desiree shook her head. "It shouldn't be up to you."

"Look. You don't even know me, so why I don't you just see your way out of my personal business," Piper stated evenly.

Desiree was silent for a moment as she bowed her head. She then glanced up at Piper. "Why did you do it?" she whispered.

The blue-eyed woman sighed and laid a warm hand on the other woman's exposed thigh. She peered at Desiree saying, "It's not a pretty story."

"I didn't expect it would be," the strawberry-blonde replied.

"He used to beat my mother a lot."

Desiree got a pained look. "Is that why you dream about him? I remember you telling him not to hurt your mother when you had that nightmare."

Piper nodded. "I dream about him doing that most of the time. Although the last couple of nights they haven't come because you were with me." She gave the young woman an appreciative smile and took one of her hands in her bigger one. "It's like you're my protector, my shield. I never did thank you for holding me last night."

Desiree smiled shrugging. "You would have done the same for me. Plus I was being partly selfish. I just wanted to touch you," she announced slightly embarrassed, causing the blue-eyed woman to grin.

"What are you grinning at? You look like the Cheshire cat."

"And you look like you need to be kissed." Piper leaned forward and touched Desiree's lips lightly once, and then opened her mouth running her tongue over the younger woman's lips, silently asking for entry. Desiree acquiesced and their tongues dueled for space in each other's mouths. A few minutes later, the younger woman placed both hands on Piper's shoulders and pushed her back.

"I'm not that easy to manipulate, Piper." She wagged a finger at the flushed woman. "Tell me what happened."

The dark-haired woman sighed. "Well I guess I should tell you. It all started in November of 1989. I came home from work one evening to walk into what looked like the aftermath of a battlefield…"

Entering the one-story house, Piper saw what a mess it was, which was unusual because her mother usually kept it orderly and clean. The cushions on the couch were on the strewn around on the floor, the coffee table was turned over and the books on the shelf were scattered around the small living room. Eighteen-year-old Piper became worried that either they had been robbed or her father had gone on another rampage.

She hurried towards the kitchen, because she heard a muffled sound coming from that direction. Entering the kitchen the teenager saw her mother bloody and crying. She was lying on the cold linoleum floor with her husband stooping over her with his big hands wound around her slender neck. It was obvious that the man was trying to choke her, and Piper got the impression that this time he meant to kill her mother. This was no ordinary beating. The teenager hollered for him to stop, but her father paid her no attention.

Making up her mind, Piper went to a kitchen drawer and extracted a hammer. She came towards her father and glanced at her mother who was gasping for breath with her eyes bulging out. She raised the hammer high above her head and brought it down so fast that the air could be heard and slammed it against the back of Alan's head. He immediately tumbled over and ended up lying next to his wife, whose eyes were wide with shock. Alan looked at his daughter, his blue-eyes filled with agony, anger and hatred. Marie sat up as Piper took a couple of steps towards her father, and began to strike him relentlessly with the hammer all over his body.

"Piper, stop it!" her mother shouted, desperately trying to pull her daughter away from her writhing in pain husband.

The teenager just shrugged her off, as she continued to strike her father with her hammer, focusing on his head. She meant to kill him and no one was going to stop her. All the years of abuse that this man had put her mother through, finally came down on her. All the rage she had felt came out in those few life-changing minutes.

"Die! Die you bastard!" Piper yelled, hitting her father again in the side of his head. She could faintly hear her mother begging for her to stop, but she would not until his cold heart no longer beat. Breaking out in a cold sweat, Piper then noticed the pool of blood that was forming under her father. She grinned coldly as she felt something hard hit her in the back of the head, making everything go black.

Piper fell silent as she looked at her hands, as if she had found something interesting with them.

"What happened?" Desiree asked quietly.

The blue-eyed woman glanced at her. "I found out when I came to that my mother hit me with a frying pan." She smiled humorlessly. "I woke up in a jail cell."

"Did your mother press any charges against you?"

Piper shook her head. "In fact she apologized for hitting me with the frying pan. She said I was scaring her and she had to do something to stop me. She and Frank, the man I was speaking to the first night we were here, tried to get me out of it, but they found me guilty anyway." She paused. "However, I wasn't much help because I refused to plead innocent. I was guilty and that's all there was to it. Frank after much talking finally got me to plead innocent by claiming temporary insanity. I felt like a jerk doing that, because I really don't know if I lost it when I killed him. I remember that I felt stable. I was just angry. Very angry."

Desiree studied her silently for a moment. "You said my father presided over your case?"

Piper nodded.

"So you kidnapped me because he sent you to jail for the murder of your father," the blue-green eyed woman stated.

Piper cocked her head to the side. "Not really. I mean that was part of it, but not the whole reason why I did that."

Desiree sighed. "Then why?" It was like pulling teeth trying to get information out of this woman.

"Because he sentenced me to prison for eight years, and frankly I think that something is going on, but I can't put my finger on it. Your father is part of a conspiracy that I have to solve," Piper replied mysteriously. Her blue eyes took on a far away look.

Desiree was shocked. "My father part of a conspiracy? He didn't do anything he wasn't supposed to." She tried to soften her next words. "You broke the law, you pay for it."

Her lover glared at her. "Why don't you shut up, Desiree." Piper got out of the bed, and put on a short black silk robe that she found in the closet. She turned back to the younger woman, who seemed to be speechless. "You may think you know everything, but you don't. I know something is wrong I just don't know what it is yet, and I know that your father is apart of it. A big one." She tied the straps of the robe, and crossed her arms leaning against the wall.

Desiree turned around in the bed to face her. "I'm sorry, Piper. It just seems so clean cut. You killed your father. Now maybe he deserved to die but it's not your place to decide when." She held up her hand for silence when the tall woman looked like she was about to say something. "And then my father presided over your trial. You were found guilty by the jury and then sentenced to eight years in prison by my father. Now where's the conspiracy?"

Piper stared at her for a minute in silence. "I know you're not dumb, Desiree."

"I know I'm not dumb either, Piper."

The dark-haired woman replied, "Then why don't you examine what's happened so far."

Desiree frowned. "What do you mean?" she asked.

Piper sighed. "Three dead jurors mean anything to you?"

The strawberry-blonde put a hand to her mouth. "That's right," she whispered. She looked up at Piper. "Do you think somebody's trying to frame you?"

"Either that or I'm really the killer."

"But you're not."

Piper narrowed her eyes at the young woman. "Is that a question or a statement?" she asked quietly.

Desiree replied a little too enthusiastically, "A statement of course."

The dark-haired woman nodded, but gave her a skeptical look. "Well there is something else that you should know too."

"What would that be?"

"You remember when I spoke to my lawyer Frank Webb, and I asked him if the person he was talking about was dead?"

Desiree thought. "You mean the one who had an attempt on his life?"

"Yeah, that's it." She paused. She had no idea how Desiree was going to take this, and this may be the end of a great relationship. "The person we were talking about was your brother."

The young woman's eyes grew wide as she jumped out of the bed and marched right up to Piper naked as the day she was born. She placed both hands on either side of the taller woman's head and leaned her face in close. For a moment, Piper inanely thought the woman was about to kiss her, but she would not be lucky enough to get that kind of reaction.

"What do you mean you were talking about my brother? Somebody tried to kill my brother and you didn't tell me?" Desiree asked between clenched teeth.

"I did tell you."

"When?" Desiree almost yelled.

"Just now." Piper tried smiling, but the shorter woman continued to shoot daggers at her. 'If looks could kill,' Piper thought. 'She still looks cute.'

"Don't be smart, Piper. What happened?"

"I don't have all the details, but apparently last Monday someone tried to kill your brother by shooting him and he blames me for it." She swallowed. "He says I did it. That I tried to kill him."

Desiree stared at her blankly. "Why would he say that if it weren't true?"

Piper replied, "That's what I'm trying to find out. Maybe he's afraid of the real murderer, or maybe he's in on it too. I don't know." She took a deep breath, half wishing that she had just skipped the country.

"So you think Richie meant to get himself shot?" Desiree stared at the tall woman dubiously.

Piper sighed. "I don't know. Could be."

"Why would he do that to you?"

"A good question, but I don't have an answer, Desi." She was starting to have a difficult time concentrating on the conversation, what with the young woman standing in front of her not even wearing one piece of clothing.

"Well is he gonna be all right?" She had never been as close with Richie as she had been with Larisa, but she did care deeply for him. They were blood, and it hurt Desiree that he had almost lost his life.

Piper assured her, "He'll be fine."

The strawberry-blonde sighed, as she stepped back from Piper. "Okay." She glanced up at the tall woman. "We'll figure this out. There has to be a-

"Wait a minute," Piper interrupted. "We?" she inquired.

Desiree looked at her. "Yeah, we. As in you and I. You got a problem with that?"

The dark-haired woman offered her a smile. "Not a one."

Desiree nodded. "Good." She leaned forward and gave her lover a peck on the cheek. Piper would have preferred the lips, but that would do for now. Desiree took Piper's hand and began to lead her out of the bedroom.

"Where are we going?" Piper asked.

"We're gonna try out that bathtub. A good soak always helps me think."

Fifteen minutes later, the two ladies were reclining in a tub full of peach scented bubble bath water. Piper had her back against the wall of the tub with Desiree sitting between her legs. Steam was rising from the water because it was so hot.

Piper ran a hand through the younger woman's now soaked hair and smiled to herself. She deemed herself to be the luckiest woman in the world at that moment.

"Piper?"

"Yes," the dark-haired woman said distractedly.

"We need to figure who is doing this to you."

"I agree," Piper retorted, turning her attention to the conversation at hand.

Desiree glanced over her shoulder at Piper. "Did you tell me the whole story?"

Piper nodded. "Yeah, you know about everything I know at this point."

"So in a nutshell you kidnapped me because you figure that my father is apart of some conspiracy that you want to solve."

"And I want all of the charges that have been brought against me to be dropped," Piper added, picking up the peach scented soap to run it across the younger woman's slippery back.

"Right now you're wanted for the murder of three jurors and for the attempted murder of my brother."

"And for you're kidnapping unless your daddy handled his business."

Desiree scooted around until she was facing her lover. "What do you mean?" she asked.

"I talked to him. I told him to get the charges dropped against me and you would be fine. Also I told him that if he ever wanted to see you again, that he better not mention that we had that little conversation to the police," remarked Piper.

"He's probably worried sick about me, Piper! Did you tell him that I'm all right?"

"He knows that you're alive."

Desiree threw her hands up in the air. "Dang it, Piper. Just because you have problems doesn't give you the right to mess with other people's emotions," she stated angrily, wondering if she had moved to fast with this woman. Right now she found herself wishing that she had never met Piper Redding. The woman was too unpredictable.

"Your father created my problems," Piper retorted in a voice that was too calm.

"No. You created your problems when you decided to knock off your daddy." Right after the words left her mouth, Desiree wished that she could take them back. 'That was a low blow, Love,' she thought miserably.

Piper raised her hand as if she were about to strike the younger woman, but just as quickly lowered it, as she jumped out of the tub and left the bathroom, leaving a more than sorry Desiree behind.

*****
Desiree entered the living room of the cabin and looked at the blue-eyed woman sitting on the floor in front of the roaring fireplace. Piper was dressed in a pair of blue cotton sweatpants and a black T-shirt. She had her legs bent, with her arms wrapped around them and her chin resting on one of her knees. Piper stared at the fire blankly.

Desiree, now dressed in a nightshirt with a picture of Tweety bird on the front, cleared her throat to get the other woman's attention. Piper glanced up at her but did not say anything. The strawberry-blonde walked towards her and took a seat indian style next to older woman. She stared into the fire for a few minutes before saying anything.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"About what?" Piper asked, still staring into the fire.

"About your father. About growing up with a man who beat your mother."

The blue-eyed woman shook her head. "The last thing I wanna do is talk about that man," she stated with a bitter tone.

Desiree fell silent shortly. "Then how about we talk about your mother. Where is she?"

Piper's eyes instantly began to fill with tears. "She died," she whispered.

The younger woman's blue-green eyes widened. "What happened?" she asked.

"She killed herself two years into my sentence." Piper took a deep breath. "She put a noose around her neck, jumped off the kitchen table and hung herself. She left a note saying that she couldn't live with herself anymore, and that it was her fault that I was put in prison because she didn't have the guts to leave my father early on in their marriage."

"That's horrible." Desiree hesitantly put a hand on Piper's back and began to rub in a circular motion. "Do you have any other family?"

Piper shook her head. "My mother has a couple of sisters but I don't know them well. Haven't seen them since I was eight years old."

A few minutes passed before Desiree said, "I'm sorry about what I said in the bathroom."

Piper offered her a small smile. "That's okay. I don't blame you." She stared at Desiree for a moment, before she leaned in and kissed the young woman lightly on the lips. She took one of Desiree's hands in her own and squeezed it saying, "I don't know how you feel, but it's good to have you here. I'm glad to say that I have met you and I'm sorry for this mess."

Desiree shrugged. "Same goes for me." She paused. "Piper I know deep down in my heart that you didn't do those things. Even though my brother said that you tried to kill him, there must be some explanation. You could never do such a thing."

A tear escaped Piper's left eye. She swiped at it quickly. "You are simply amazing, Desi."

"I just believe in you. I know I'm right. You're innocent and that's all there is to it."

The two women talked for an hour or so getting to know each other. After an hour they both fell silent and it was not long before Piper heard soft snoring coming from the young woman who was now lying on the couch behind her. The blue-eyed woman arose from the carpet and gazed at the petite sleeping young woman. She smiled, thankful that Desiree still had faith in her innocence. She needed all the people she could get on her side. Piper reached down and picked up the light young woman. Desiree automatically curled her arms around the taller woman's neck, still deep in sleep. Piper carried Desiree to the young woman's room, and then exited the bedroom after discovering a sleeping Tobias in the middle of Desiree's bed. She made her way to her own bedroom and deposited Desiree on her bed. Piper covered her with the cover, and then kissed her on the tip of her nose.

She whispered, "Goodnight, Desi."

*****
The next morning after feeding Tobias, Piper headed back to the bedroom with a tray laden with a bowl of strawberries, a bowl of whip cream and a basket of warm freshly baked croissants. There were also a couple of mugs of hot chocolate with minuscule marshmallows floating on top. She smiled as she opened the door, discovering that the strawberry-blonde was still sleeping soundly. Piper sat on the bed and placed the tray next to her. She looked at Desiree and wondered if she were to kiss the young woman would she awaken. She thought it was worth a try. Besides nothing would give her greater pleasure than to touch her lips to Desiree's.

"Worked with Sleeping Beauty," Piper stated aloud. She leaned down and kissed the young woman with little pressure at all. She looked at Desiree not noticing any sort of a response. She kissed her again with more pressure, but no dice. Piper decided to try another tactic. She reached into the glass bowl of strawberries and selected one. She then dipped it into the whip cream and placed it against Desiree's lips. Nothing happened so she smeared the young woman's lips with the whip cream, and was rewarded when the tip of a pink tongue reached out and rubbed against Desiree's upper lip. Piper groaned, remembering what that little tongue could do. The young woman's tongue came out again and soon licked all of the whip cream from her mouth. Blue-green eyes opened and squinted at a grinning Piper. Desiree grinned back and sat up. She ran a hand through her hair, which was very messy, but Piper thought that the young woman still looked sexy. In fact the mused look only proved to enhance her sexiness. 'I've got it bad,' Piper thought to herself.

"Were you trying to wake me up?" Desiree asked in a voice thick with sleep. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and then peered at Piper.

The blue-eyed woman grinned. "Guilty as charged." She dipped the strawberry once again in the whip cream and offered it Desiree. The young woman opened her mouth and bit down on the juicy strawberry that Piper still held in her hand. A thin stream of red juice dribbled down her chin to which Piper quickly leaned forward to lick clean, with one swipe of her tongue. She leaned back and offered the sweet fruit again. Desiree swallowed, and then took another bite leaving only the green stem in Piper's hand. Piper dropped the stem on the tray and started to reach for another strawberry when Desiree suddenly wrapped a hand around her wrist and dipped all five of Piper's fingers into the bowl of whip cream. She brought the creamy hand up to her mouth and opened it to take in Piper's thumb. Desiree kept eye contact with her lover while she sucked Piper's thumb clean. She moved on to the next finger giving it the same attention. Piper could only offer little moans of complete pleasure while she gazed into the younger woman's blue-green eyes. Desiree soon made her way to Piper's pinkie finger and sucked it clean. During the whole process the two women kept eye contact without either breaking away, although Piper had come close more than a couple of times. She just wanted to close her eyes with the ecstasy, but there was no way she was going to be the first to look away. Desiree then turned Piper's hand until the older woman's palm was facing her. She leaned forward and ran her tongue around the center of Piper's palm in a circular motion a few times, causing the blue-eyed woman to moan even louder. It tickled but it felt so good. Desiree dropped her lover's hand and got up on her knees on the bed and leaned towards Piper. She reached one of her own fingers into a bowl and came it came out with the tip covered with a dollop of the sugary cream. She then plastered Piper's lips with the whip cream while the older woman gazed at her. Piper had no idea whatsoever that breakfast would be this fun. Desiree brought her mouth close to Piper's and poked out her tongue to run it lightly across the woman's now completely white lips. Piper attempted to stick her own tongue out, but every time she tried Desiree would pull away until she placed it back in her mouth. The strawberry-blonde finally licked Piper's lips clean and then sat back on her heels, licking her own lips much like Tobias did after a good meal.

"I wonder if the rest of you tastes so good," Desiree said in a low silky voice. "Guess there's only one way to find out," she whispered. Leaning forward again she captured Piper's lips in an earth shattering kiss. She pushed the woman back on the bed and moved the tray out of the way. She then pulled Piper's blue sweatpants off and flung them across the room. She straddled Piper's hips, smiled seductively and removed her Tweety nightshirt, leaving her only in a pair of cotton underwear that were bikini cut. Piper reached her hands up to rub Desiree's firm stomach, only to have them swatted away by a frowning strawberry-blonde. Desiree picked up her nightshirt and proceeded to tie Piper's wrist together with it. She then placed her captive's hands above her head. Next, Desiree did not bother to remove Piper's T-shirt the correct way. She managed to rip it off with her bare hands, surprising the older woman in the process. Now both women were only in their panties. Desiree began to move on top of Piper, closing her eyes as she massaged the other woman's delectable mounds, stimulating their rosy tips. Piper groaned loudly, beginning to grind her hips right along with the strawberry-blonde. She tested the piece of clothing binding her wrists together, only to discover that she could not get free. She admitted to herself that part of her did not want to get free. Desiree leaned down and the pair shared a passionate kiss. Desiree abruptly broke away causing Piper to growl in frustration. She reached over and chose a strawberry from the bowl and bit into it. Piper watched her wondering what the young woman would do next. Desiree rubbed the remaining part of the strawberry on Piper's abdomen, smearing the sweet juice all over her stomach. She bent down to blow on the now wet stomach, causing Piper to contract the muscles located there. She looked up at her lover.

"Do you want me, Piper?" she asked alluringly.

Piper answered amorously, "You know I do baby."

"How much do you want me lover?"

"I want you so much, that I feel like I'm gonna die if you don't take me soon."

Desiree smirked. "Well we can't have that."

She crawled up and buried her face in the crook of Piper's neck and began to suck gently on her overheated skin. Piper moaned, closing her eyes. Never in her life had she felt something so good and so right. Piper was sure that she would have a hickey after Desiree was done, but she would proudly wear the telltale mark.

The strawberry-blonde placed her nose close to Piper's. "Piper?" she asked.

"Yeah, baby," the dark-haired woman answered dreamily, her eyes still closed.

"Where are those handcuffs?"

*****

 Taj walked into the small bare room and took a sit waiting for Detective Redding to come in. He had been annoyed when a couple of policemen had shown up at his church this morning, claiming that they had to bring him in for questioning. At least they had waited until the service was over, but Taj had better things to do and it was quite embarrassing to have the police coming after him.

Now dressed in a midnight blue two-piece suit by Calvin Klein, Taj sat ramrod straight in a cold metal chair. He tapped his fingers on the old scarred wooden table impatiently. Finally, Detective Redding entered the room carrying a portfolio with him. He smiled insincerely at Taj as he took a sit on top of the table. Taj frowned slightly noticing that something about this man seemed vaguely familiar, as if he had seen him before. Taj shrugged the thought off, considering the fact that he would remember this man if he had ever met him before, because the Jamaican man was excellent with names and faces.

Taj figured he knew what this was about, and his suspicions were confirmed when the detective opened the portfolio and he caught a glimpse of a picture of Piper. He made up his mind right there, that no way were the cops going to get information out of him. Piper was his best friend and he would do all he could to protect her.

Detective Redding glanced down at Taj and asked, "Can I get you something to drink, Taj?"
 

Taj shook his head. "And the name is Mr. Potter."

The detective smiled coldly at him. "Whatever you say, Mr. Potter." The detective studied Taj's suit. "Nice suit," he said.

Straightening his tie, Taj replied, "I was at church when you sent your men after me."

"Sorry about that," Detective Redding retorted, not sounding sorry at all. "Nice car you got parked outside too."

The Jamaican man sighed. "Listen," he started. "I am a very busy man so let's just get down to business. I know you want to ask me some questions about my involvement with Piper Redding so stop beating around the bush, because if there is one thing I don't have to offer you, it's my time." Taj sat back in the chair and crossed his legs. "Now get on with it."

The detective frowned. "You have quite a bad attitude, Mr. Potter," he exclaimed. "You haven't been here five minutes and you're treating me like I'm your worst enemy."

Taj rose from the chair slowly and leaned towards the detective. "That's because I don't like you. My impressions about people when I first meet them are usually right. It didn't take me fifteen seconds from the first instance of meeting you to tell that there was something crooked about you. I don't exactly know what it is, but I'm receiving bad vibes. So excuse me if I seem a little wary of your intentions." Taj took his seat again.

Detective Redding glared at him but chose not to comment. "Well let's get on with it then. Do you mind if I tape this?" The detective indicated a tape recorder resting on the table. Taj shook his head so the detective pressed the record button. He then took the picture of Piper out of the portfolio, and held it up for the younger man to see. "Do you recognize this woman?" he asked.

"Yes."

"Who is she?"

"I believe that's my best friend Piper Redding," Taj replied.

"Your best friend huh? Do you know that she is a fugitive?"

"It's all over the news. How could my miss it?"

"Do you know where she is?" the detective inquired, putting the picture down.

"No, I don't know," Taj lied smoothly.

Detective Redding nodded. "I see. So when is the last time you saw her?"

Taj pretended to think about that. "I saw her once after she got out of jail. It was a couple weeks afterwards. We had lunch at a park."

"And that's the last time you saw her?"

The Jamaican man nodded.

Victor clasped his hands together and looked at the other man intently. "Piper Redding is a very dangerous woman, Mr. Potter. If you have any information on her whereabouts, please tell it to me. We have reason to believe that she may have kidnapped a judge's daughter, and there is no telling what she will do to her if we don't find her."

Taj remained silent as he studied his perfectly manicured nails. He did not seem to be interested in what the detective had to tell him.

"Mr. Potter." Taj peered up at him. "Tell me. Honestly, do you think that Piper Redding is innocent of these crimes?"

Taj did not answer right away. "No. I don't." The detective wore a triumphant smile. "I know she is innocent," the Jamaican man added, causing the detective to frown.

"Was she innocent when she killed her father?" Victor asked angrily.

"She did what she felt she had to do."

"Just like in this case. She did what she had to do, which is kill four people, try to kill another and kidnap a judge's daughter. Great argument, Mr. Potter."

Taj sighed. "Are we almost done?" He checked his watch.

"Almost. What makes you think that she's innocent?"

"I know her. I've known her for over ten years and she would never kill someone in cold blood," Taj replied vehemently.

The detective studied him. "You honestly believe that." He shook his head and shrugged. "Okay. I guess we have nothing more to discuss then. You're free to go. Thank you for your time, Mr. Potter."

Taj got out of the chair and straightened his double-pleated trousers before heading for the door. The detective calling his name stopped him. Taj turned around and waited for him to speak.

"If I find out that you lied to me I'll bring charges against you so fast you won't know what happened. I bet that if I was to pay enough attention to you, that I would find something to charge you with. I bet you're all ready doing something illegal. Aren't you boy?" The detective once again smiled coldly.

Taj wanted to deck him but he managed to keep a cool façade. "I'm not your boy, and if I were you I wouldn't threaten me." Taj opened the door. "You don't who you're messing with."
*****
The sound of her cell phone ringing brought Piper out of her deep sleep. She gently removed a sleeping strawberry-blonde from on top of her and hurried out into the front of the cabin. She reached the computer desk, found the phone and answered it sleepily.

"Piper?"

"Yeah. Who else would it be?" She rubbed her half-closed eyes.

"This is Frank."

"I know that. What do you want Frank?" she asked in an annoyed tone of voice. "I have nothing to say to you, and if this is about trying to get me to come back it's not gonna work."

"No. That's not what I want. You need to turn on your television to channel two," Frank stated.

"What for?" she asked feeling warm arms circle her naked waist and soft lips touch the side of her neck. Piper took her free hand rubbed one of the arms around her.

"Just do it. Now."

The phone then went dead in Piper's ear. She pushed the end button, frowning at the electronic device.

"Was that your lawyer?" Desiree asked softly.

"Yep." Piper walked out of Desiree's arms and took a hold of the young woman's right hand. She began walking towards the couch saying, "Let's watch some t.v." Piper sat down on the couch buck naked, putting Desiree on her lap. Desiree looked over her shoulder at Piper and said, "Piper I know it's just you and I here, but I feel a little self-conscious sitting here with no clothes on."

Piper laughed removing her lover from her lap and walking into her bedroom. She emerged a few minutes later wearing a pair of blue jeans and the black tank top she had on the first night. She handed Desiree her Tweety nightshirt.

The young woman took it and smirked. "You get to wear day clothes and I get to wear this skimpy gown?"

Piper nuzzled her neck, causing Desiree to giggle. "You don't have to, but I think you look pretty dang hot in it," she whispered.

Desiree giggled again. "Well in that case I guess I will." She put the nightshirt on and sat cross-legged on the couch. Piper took a seat next to her after retrieving the remote control. She clicked on the television and turned to channel two to find that the news was on. She figured that was what Frank had wanted her to tune in on. Turning up the volume the two women began to listen.

"And now we'll go to Chad Adams live in Pasadena with the latest update of the Piper Redding Mystery."

Piper saw Desiree glance over at her wearing a worried expression. She took one of the young woman's small hands in her own and gave it a reassuring squeeze. The strawberry-blonde smiled slightly as she turned her attention back to the screen.

"Hello. I'm Chad Adams live in Pasadena with some sad news. Another juror from the 1990 murder trial of Piper Redding has been killed. Thirty-eight year old Michael Lowell was killed in his own home yesterday by a masked female who police suspect may have been none other than the fugitive Piper Redding. Annie Lowell, the victim's wife witnessed the gruesome murder. Apparently the female used a hammer that ultimately caused the death of Michael Lowell. Police have uncovered that a hammer was also used in the killing of Alan Redding, Piper Redding's father. She killed him about nine years ago with that same tool.

"Here is the current description of the murderer of Lowell. The woman has been described as being a little less than six feet with blue eyes and long dark hair. She may have a scratch on her neck, and was wearing black pants, a black sweater and a black ski mask. She was driving a lilac Honda Civic without a license plate. This is all of the news that we have now, but we will be sure to get back to you if anything else is to come up. If you feel that you have seen this woman please call 1-800 555-7897. That number once again is 1-800 555-7897. Thank you. This has been Chad Adams. Back to the news room."

Piper clicked off the television and stared at the now dark screen. All that she could hear in the room was her own ragged breathing, of which she desperately was trying to control. She glanced over at Desiree noticing that the young woman was staring at her with something in her eyes that made Piper flinch slightly. Those blue-green eyes were wide with evident fear and mistrust. Desiree snatched her hand away from Piper's and jumped off of the couch walking away backwards. Piper got up causing the younger woman to back up until she could not go any further due to a wall being behind her.

"I'm not going to hurt you. Desiree you have to listen to me," Piper stated in a soothing voice.

"There's nothing you could tell me to make me feel better. You lied to me. It's true. You are the killer. I believed in you and you lied to me."

"I didn't," the dark-haired woman said louder than she meant to.

"You did!"

"I didn't," Piper remarked between clenched teeth. She was trying to hard to control her own temper. All the stress and accusations were starting to wear her out, and she did not want to take out her anger on Desiree. It was amazing that the young woman had trusted her this far.

"Where were you yesterday, Piper?" Desiree asked nervously. She could feel her palms becoming wet with perspiration.

"Huh?"

"Oh now you're hard of hearing. I asked you where you were. You were gone all day."

"I told you where I was," Piper explained wearily.

"Tell me the truth."

Piper balled her hands into fists. "That was the truth."

"Okay." Desiree placed her hands on her hips. "So you were gone all day because you fell asleep in your car?"

Piper nodded.

"And you got those two scratches from a branch."

Piper confirmed this.

Desiree gave her an incredulous look. "You must think I'm pretty stupid. I hope you're not one of those people who think that blondes are dumb, because you're the one who is dumb. You can't even cover up your tracks good. Why don't you just tell me the truth, Piper?"

The blue-eyed woman took a deep breath. "Doesn't that strike you as odd?"

"What?"

"That it was so easy for them to say it was me. I wouldn't go out in broad daylight dressed in black to kill someone. That would be stupid. Somebody's trying to frame me, don't you see?"

Desiree shook her head. "All I see is someone who killed four innocent people who were just doing their job, and someone who tried to kill my brother." Angry tears formed in the young woman's eyes. She had really believed in this woman's innocence, and the truth was tearing her apart in side. "Damn you!" Piper shouted. "You tried to kill my own brother! How could you make love to me knowing what kind of a monster you were? How could you be so gentle and yet so cruel?" Desiree wiped the tears away running down her flushed cheeks.

Piper ran a hand through her hair. This was turning into a nightmare. "Baby, listen to-

"Don't call me your baby!" Desiree shouted. "I am not your baby. I hate you! Do you hear me? I hate you. I'd like to kill you myself."

"I didn't try to kill your brother!" Piper yelled.

Desiree laughed humorlessly. "Then why did he say you did? I believed your word against my own brothers! I must have lost my mind."

"He's lying."

"No he's not. You're the one who's a liar. You are a liar, a kidnapper and a cold-blooded killer! But I guess I shouldn't be surprised, huh? You're father was an abuser and you're a murderer."

The next thing Desiree knew it she was falling towards the floor. Piper had walked towards her so fast that the young woman had not had sufficient time to duck the blow that the older woman gave her. Coming out of her daze, Desiree touched her lip and when she pulled her fingers away she noticed there was blood on them. She also noticed that one of her teeth had come loose. She spit it out and looked up at Piper who seemed to be as shocked as she was. Piper knelt down next to her.

"Baby, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do that," the dark-haired woman apologized.

Desiree scrambled to her feet and went over to the computer desk. She searched it until she found the cellular phone. She then ran to the kitchen and came out a few seconds later with a butcher knife. Piper looked at her frowning.

"What are you doing?" the blue-eyed woman asked.

Desiree shook the butcher knife at her menacingly with blood still dribbling down her chin. She wiped it away and said, "Don't you come near me or I'll kill you. So help me God I will kill you!" She thought back to the news and remembered the number the newsman had given. Desiree began to dial the number after figuring out how to use the phone. She was on the third five when she heard Piper's voice.

"Put the phone down, Desiree," Piper's voice was devoid of any emotion. Desiree looked up and saw that Piper was holding the gun she had managed to kidnap the young woman with.

"You're going to shoot me now?" Desiree asked trying not to sound scared.

"If I have to," Piper said coolly. "If I have to shoot you in order to protect myself then so be it. I may have took you to bed, and we may have had fun but you're not worth going back to prison for." She pointed the gun at the other woman's head. "If you don't think I'll do it, try me."

Desiree noticed that the woman had a dangerous glint in her eyes, and for the first time the strawberry-blonde got the impression that Piper might actually do her harm. She pushed the end button and threw the phone over to the couch.

"Throw the knife on the couch too."

Desiree did as she was told, her heart beating loudly.

"Good girl. Now sit in the chair and stay there."

Desiree did that too, as she cautiously watched the other woman go into her bedroom. Piper came out a few minutes carrying a duffel bag and the handcuffs. She put the duffel bag on the kitchen table and placed one cuff around Desiree's wrist. She then pulled the young woman up roughly and led her into the kitchen where she once again locked her to the refrigerator. Piper went back to the kitchen table and retrieved her bag. She headed to the front door and then turned around. "In case you're thinking differently, I will be back. This isn't over yet. I'm just gonna go take a dip in the lake." With that she left the cabin. Desiree shook her head starting to cry softly.

*****

Detective Redding picked up the phone and dialed Judge Richard Love's number. On the second ring the man picked up.

"Good afternoon Judge Love," said Victor.

"Detective. Did you hear about the killing of Michael Lowell?"

"That's precisely why I'm calling. We suspect that Piper Redding did that job too. What do you think?"

The judge did not give a reply right away. "I've been thinking about it, and maybe she didn't do it. Maybe she's being framed," he lied. It was killing him not to tell the truth, but he had Desiree to think about. No matter what he had to protect his daughter. After all it was partly his fault she was in her current predicament.

"Framed?" the detective repeated with surprise in his voice. Now he knew that the judge was hiding something. Piper Redding must have his daughter as her hostage. The detective smiled with victory. Now all he had to do was find out where the fugitive had stashed the young woman and herself as well. Not being able to find Piper was making the man extremely tense and agitated. "What do you mean?" the detective continued. "She tried to kill your son, sir. He even admitted that it was her."

'I know,' the judge thought grimly. "Maybe he was just confused."

"Confused, sir?" The detective frowned. 'What are you hiding, Judge?' he thought. "Did you hear the description of the female who murdered Michael Lowell?" he asked the judge.

"Yes I did, but Piper Redding is not the only woman who is tall, has dark hair and blue eyes. There are probably plenty of women who fit that description."

"Uh huh. Well this information hasn't been released yet, but I happen to know for a fact that Redding paid off the four jurors who died to argue in her defense. Five thousand dollars each. Obviously they didn't fulfill what they were supposed to, so when she got out she killed them." Victor sat back in his chair. "What do you think about that, sir?"

All the detective could hear coming from the other line for the next few seconds was the judge's harsh breathing. "I told you that someone is framing her."

"Why all the sudden are you defending her?" he paused for emphasis. "You hiding something, sir? If you are you need to tell me what it is. This woman is very dangerous and needs to be apprehended as soon as possible. What if she goes after your daughter while she's on that ski trip? What if she goes after Larisa? Too many lives have already been lost, don't make it more by becoming silent. I need your help if you can give it to me."

"I'm sorry. I can't help you."

"Well that's too bad. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have a man like you in our judicial system. Have a nice day, sir." The detective hung up the phone in anger. He hadn't got anywhere with that call.

Victor looked at the computer screen in front of him and thought. This Tommy Jung that he had located may have some answers for him. According to what he had found, Jung, Potter and Redding had been like the three Musketeers in high school. He figured that Potter and Redding had been the closest, since Jung had not met them until he started at their high school as a junior. Tommy Jung had migrated from China, which was where he had been born and brought up. The detective mused that perhaps Tommy Jung was embroiled in this somehow. Well there was only one sure way to find out. The detective arose from the chair got his car keys and left the office.

*****
He turned down the rock music playing on the stereo because he thought he heard a knock on his front door. Tommy left his bedroom and walked to the front door to squint in the peephole. He saw a man that he had never seen before in his life. He asked who it was, and the man stated his name showing a badge.

"I don't speak to police. I've got nothing to say," Tommy stated.

"Open the door Mr. Jung. This is very important. I need to ask you some questions."

"Go away man." Tommy ran a hand nervously through his jet-black hair.

The detective grinds his teeth. "If you don't open this door right now, I will open it myself. I have my own methods. You want to see?"

Two seconds later the door was opened and the detective saw Tommy Jung. The man was definitely Asian, standing at about five feet five inches. He had dark brown almond shaped eyes; black hair and most women would probably describe him as being cute. Detective Redding smiled at him. Tommy nervously smiled back, and the detective got the impression that if pressed enough unlike Potter, this man would talk.

The detective closed the door behind him and asked, "Do you know Piper Redding?"

Victor then saw a touch of fear in the man's eyes. "No-no man. I don't know her. She used to go to my high school, but that's it." Tommy tugged on an ear that had a gold plated earring in it. The detective noticing this reckoned that it was probably a nervous habit.

"The two of you weren't friends?" the detective asked.

"No. Not really."

Detective Redding frowned. "What do you mean not really?"

"I mean I knew her, but I didn't know her. You know?" Tommy took another tug on his ear.

The detective raised both eyebrows. "Ah. So you don't know where she is?"

Tommy shook his head. "I don't have any idea man." The detective stared at him, so he continued with, " If I did I'd tell you."

"Oh you will," the detective replied menacingly. He advanced on the younger man and snatched the earring out of his ear, causing the Asian man to cry out in pain. By ripping the earring out so forcibly, the detective had caused the man's earlobe to split. Victor grabbed Tommy around the neck and slammed the man's head up against a wall. Tommy soon found out that his feet weren't touching the ground any longer. Fury showed in the detective's brown eyes as he glared at the scared younger man. "You better tell me what you know right now, before I make you regret the day your sorry behind was born. Do you understand me?" He tightened his grip on Tommy's neck.

Struggling for breath Tommy nodded profusely. The detective nodded putting the man back down on his own two feet. Tommy rubbed his neck looking at the detective. "What do you wanna know?"

"Did she take anybody hostage?"

Tommy nodded.

"Who?" the detective inquired impatiently.

Tommy swallowed and said a silent apology to Piper and Taj before answering, "Desiree Love, that judge's daughter."

The detective could not help it. He smiled brightly. 'Gotcha Piper,' he thought. "Do you know where they are?"

Tommy nodded again as he began to tell the detective where the two women were. He also told him his and Taj's involvement in the plan, and how he had made it possible for Piper to capture Desiree.

"Thank you," Detective Redding said, patting Tommy on the back. "You've been a great help."

*****
About an hour later, there was another knock on Tommy's door. He sighed and walked towards the door apprehensively. Once again looking in the peephole, he breathed a sigh of relief. He opened the door and grabbed the person standing on the other side of it into the apartment. Tommy then quickly closed the door and locked it.

His visitor put strong hands on his shoulders and asked, "Are you okay?"

Tommy nodded. "I'm fine. We have a problem though, Taj."

Taj squeezed his shoulders and let go of the man. "What problem is that?" He frowned noticing that his friend had a Band-Aid on his ear. He pointed towards it and asked, "What happened?"

"Some cop or something came here earlier harassing me. He tore my earring out man, but that's not important right now." He hesitated on going further. He knew how much Taj cared for Piper, and he had a feeling that the man was about to get very angry at what he had to say.

"What is important?" the Jamaican man asked.

"He made me tell him about Piper and Desiree."

"What did he make you tell him?" Taj managed to ask in a calm tone of voice. That was the only thing about him that was calm at the moment.

"Where they were," Tommy murmured.

Taj exploded. "How could you?!"

"He was gonna kill me man! I had to tell him," Tommy said in his defense, backing up just in case the other man had the urge to hit him.

"I would gladly die for Piper!"

"Well I'm sorry but I wouldn't. I'm not the one who is in love with her." Tommy bit his bottom lip wishing he had not said that.

Taj glared at Tommy as if he could have killed him right then and there. Taj turned away and opened the front door, walking out without another word.

*****
Picking up the bottle, Judge Richard Love poured himself another shot of brandy. He drained it and sat back in his chair, wondering about what he would do. He could tell from the conversation on the phone earlier with Detective Redding, that the younger man had not believed what he had said. He had a feeling that the man would go on investigating the disappearance of his youngest daughter. The judge poured himself another brandy and downed it in one gulp. He felt the warm liquid slide down his throat, but drinking half a bottle had yet to calm him any. He ran his hand over face noticing that a beard had formed. He had not even bothered to shave; half-afraid that he might try to take the razor and cut his own throat so deep was his despair and guilt over the current events. It was partly his fault that those jurors were dead. It was partly his fault that Desiree had been taken hostage and it was also his fault that his only son had nearly lost his life.

Pouring himself another drink, Judge Love thought back to the night that the greed had over taken him.

The judge walked to his Cadillac and got in the car. Before he could start the engine he saw out of the corner of his eye a figure standing next to his window. The man was trying to get his attention by making motions for the judge to roll down the window. Judge Love did so and asked the young man what he wanted.

The man spoke with an English accent. "I have an offer that you can't possibly refuse. Why don't you meet at the coffee shop across the street in let's say," The English man looked at his watch. "five minutes." He straightened up from leaning in the window. "I'll see you there." The man walked off, leaving the judge wondering what this was all about. He glanced at his own watch, remembering that he and Sandra were supposed to have dinner with the Carlton's tonight. He did not want to be late again arriving at the restaurant. He decided that he would make this short, so the judge started the car and headed across the street.

On entering the establishment, Judge Love instantly recognized the English man from outside sitting in a booth near the back. He made his way over and took a seat in the opposite booth. He looked at the man expectantly, wondering what it was that he wanted. The man had curly dark brown hair that went down to his neck and was wearing dark shades, so the judge could not tell the color of his eyes. He also had a dark brown mustache. Before anything could be said a waitress came by the table and sat a cup of coffee in front of the judge and the English man. Both thanked her as she moved away.

"I ordered you a cup of coffee. Do you like coffee?" the English man asked as he took a sip from his own cup.

The judge picked up the coffee cup. "Yes I do. Thank you for the kind gesture."

The English man smiled slightly. He extended a hand and the judge shook it, noticing the man had a strong grip. "I have a proposition for you."

"What would that be?" Richard asked. "And might I ask what your name is?"

The English man replied, "You can call me Joe."

"Okay. Joe." The judge knew that this probably was not the man's real name, but he didn't pursue it.

Joe leaned further across the table. "How would you like to be twenty thousand dollars richer?" he asked quietly.

The judge frowned. This was beginning to sound like a bribe. It would not be the first time someone had tried to give him one. "What would I have to do?"

Joe shrugged leaning back in the booth. "You're controlling the Piper Redding case. Aren't you?"

"Yes I am."

"When she is found guilty sentence her for at least ten years. You do that and the money is yours. Cash, and in any sort of denominations you desire."

"How do you know that she'll be found guilty?"

"Oh, she will," Joe said confidently. "Just look at the lawyer she has. What's his name? Franklin Webb. My dog could do a better job defending someone."

The judge found himself to be tempted but shook his head nonetheless. "I can't. I'm not interested." He started to rise from the booth, but the other man put a restraining hand on his arm.

"Wait," Joe said. Judge Love sat back down in the seat. The English man opened his jacket and pulled out a stack of twenty's that must have been at least an inch and a half high. He handed the stack to the judge under the table. Richard looked around and took the money, placing it in his own jacket. Joe smiled at him and took another sip of his coffee. The young man tossed a five-dollar bill on the table and got up. "That's your incentive. Remember the twenty thousand that can be yours too." With that said Joe walked out of the coffee shop.

Judge Love downed another drink of brandy and put the top on the bottle. Sure enough the jury had found Piper Redding guilty of murder two weeks later. Judge Love sentenced the nineteen-year-old with ten to fifteen years in prison. If he had never met the English man he might have given Piper only three years. That was what he had planned on if she were to be found guilty. Two days later he received a phone call from Joe. The man asked him how he would like his twenty thousand. Richard replied that he would prefer all hundreds. The money arrived by airmail three days later.

Yes, the judge felt guilty for his actions, and now other's were suffering because of his mistakes. True he had not made Piper go on a killing rampage, but if had just said no to that man all those years ago, this mess might not have started. When Piper Redding had got out two years before she would have completed a full decade, the judge had been worried that the mysterious Englishman would come back, but so far he had not heard a word from him. He hoped that it stayed that way.

"What have I done?" the judge asked himself aloud. He opened the bottle of brandy again and took a swig straight from it.

*****
For what must have been the twenty-something time Piper's cellular phone rang. Desiree gritted her teeth in agitation, because she could not reach the phone, due to it still being on the couch and she being handcuffed to the refrigerator. Piper had yet to come back and that was fine with her. Well at least partly fine. If the woman did not come back then that meant eventually Desiree would die because no one knew where she was, and she had a feeling that no one ever came up here. The only positive thing she could think of to happen would be for Taj to come back to the cabin, but then she thought that maybe he was in this whole scheme the entire time. He and Piper might be in cahoots with each other. Desiree hoped not, because if Taj could not help her then all she had was Tobias. She glanced down at the cat that was lying beside her, and began to cry again. 'I'll probably never get out of here alive,' she thought miserably as the phone stopped ringing again. She touched her free hand to her aching jaw and touched the empty space with her tongue where her tooth used to be. Guess she had been wrong about Piper ever hurting her.

A few minutes later there was a knock at the door that made the all ready nervous young woman jump. She stared at the door wondering who it could be. Whoever it was he or she could very well be her ticket out of here. Luckily, Piper had left the door unlocked. She yelled for the person to come in. The door opened and a man who was probably somewhere in his early thirties walked into the cabin. He looked at Desiree wearing a shocked expression. She noticed that the man had curly blonde hair, green eyes and was rather tall. The man closed the door and locked it. He came towards her and knelt down on the kitchen floor.

"What happened to you?" he asked studying her predicament.

Desiree replied, "I was handcuffed to the refrigerator by a murderer. Have you heard of Piper Redding?"

"Of course I have," the man replied. "I'm her lawyer." He stuck his hand out and she shook it. "My name is-

"Frank Webb," Desiree finished for him. "She told me."

"Ah. Where is Piper?" He glanced around the room as if she would suddenly appear.

"She's not here. She went out for a swim hours ago, but hasn't returned yet. I don't know what you think but she's guilty. She probably did everything the police are accusing her of."

Frank turned his attention back to her and smiled warmly. "Don't worry." He stood up. "I'll get you out of here." He looked at the handcuffs. "Do you know where the keys are?"

Desiree shook her head. "I don't have any idea. Piper might have them."

"Hmm." Frank reached behind him and took a gun out of his steel gray trousers. "Now you have to remain very still." He pointed the gun at the handcuffs as Desiree's blue-green eyes widened.

"What are you gonna do?" she asked nervously.

Frank took a deep breath. "I'm going to have to shoot them off. It's the best I can do for now, and we have to hurry." He took the safety off, aimed and pulled the trigger. After the bullet went through the metal of the gun a sharp ringing started in Desiree's ears.

"Sorry about that," Frank said, helping the young woman to her feet. He put the gun back in his waistband.

"That's okay," she replied, touching her ears. She still had the cuff around her wrist, but at least she was free.

"Come sit over here." Frank took a chair from the kitchen table and placed it over by Desiree's bedroom door. She walked towards it and sat down. He squeezed her shoulder and asked, "Are you okay now?"

She looked up at him and gave the man a small smile. "I'm fine. I think we should be going now." She started to get up but he gently pushed her back down in the chair. "Not yet. Let's wait for Piper to get back."

"Why?" Desiree asked with fear creeping into her voice.

"Because I'm taking her with us. She's going to get herself killed if she stays out in the streets, and no matter what she's done I want her to remain safe," he replied, leaning against the wall by Desiree.

"Why? She's a murderer."

Frank glanced down at her. "So you say."

*****
Taj drove down the highway as fast as his car would go. If a police car were to catch him at the speed he was going then they would just have to chase him, because there was no way that Taj was going to stop. He had to get to the cabin as soon as possible to warn Piper and Desiree that someone knew where they were. He wiped the sweat from his brow wondering what they would do next.

The Jamaican man looked over to phone lying next to him. He picked it up and dialed Piper's cell phone number again. He had been trying for the past few hours to get in touch with her, but every time he dialed the number the phone would just ring and ring. It was starting to worry him that Piper would not answer her phone. Maybe he was too late. Taj shook his head trying to remain positive. Piper was an intelligent woman and she would knew how to defend herself. Everything would be fine.

*****
The phone began to ring again. Desiree started to get up to answer it but Frank ushered for her to stay seated. He made no move to pick it up himself as he crossed his arms across his chest. The phone stopped ringing two minutes later.

"Whoever it was they were persistent," the lawyer stated.

Desiree agreed with him. "Frank?"

He looked down at her. "How did you know where we were? How did you find out?" It had suddenly come to her attention, that the only person who should know they were here was Taj. As far as Desiree knew no one else had a clue.

Frank smiled down at her. He looked at his watch. "Well I don't have any other explanation for you then the truth. Would you like to hear it?"

Desiree frowned slightly. Something did not seem right. "The truth is always good," she replied.

"Well," he pushed himself off the wall, "first let's start off with how Piper and I met." He started to walk back and forth in front of Desiree. "We met in San Francisco almost nine years ago when she needed a lawyer because she killed her father. Did she tell you about that?"

"Yes. She told me everything."

Frank nodded. "Very well. Well I went to the jail she was being held in and volunteered myself after learning what had happened. This brave young woman had killed her own father in order to protect her mother from the abuse he gave her regularly. My heart went out to young Piper, so I wanted to take the case. Much to my relief she and her mother decided to choose me, and that's where it all began. Unfortunately, I lost the case and Piper went to prison for eight years." He glanced at Desiree. "You don't know how I felt when the jury read the verdict. I still remember it like it was only yesterday. And then for Judge Richard Love to give her ten to fifteen, that was brutal. I remember looking over at her and she looked calm and cool." He smiled slightly. "I admired her for that. I've seen some people who have totally broken down and started screaming and crying, but not her. After that I didn't see her again until she got out a few months ago. I held her in my arms and she cried, because she was so happy to be free. I had never seen her cry before that day." He paused gathering his thoughts. "Now all this has happened." Frank shook his head. "I don't believe she did any of it. In fact I know she didn't."

"How can you be so sure?" Desiree interjected.

Frank stopped pacing and looked at her. "Because I know who did it," he stated quietly.

"Who?" the young woman almost whispered. Maybe Piper was innocent.

The lawyer then took off the blonde wig he was wearing and put it in his pocket. He then took the contacts out of his eyes and put those in his pocket also. He smiled at Desiree and she noticed that he really had dark brown hair and brown eyes.

"I did," he stated simply. He smiled again saying, "I'm Victor. Piper's big brother."

*****
Piper stopped running through the woods and leaned up against a tree, trying to catch her breath. She had been running for nearly an hour and she was drenched in sweat. She thought about taking another dip in the lake, but changed her mind. What she needed to do was get back to the cabin, and figure out what she was going to do with Desiree. While running Piper had come to the conclusion that this was all over. She would go back to the cabin and set the young woman free, by giving Desiree her keys and telling her she was free to leave. After that was done Piper would try to get out of the state as fast as she could. After she was settled somewhere she was write Desiree a letter and send it stating how sorry she was about what had happened.

Piper held up her hand, which was beginning to bruise from the blow, she had given the strawberry-blonde earlier. Piper could have kicked herself after she did that. She had never wanted to hurt Desiree and now she had done it. Now the young woman thought that she was a murderer and after Piper thought about it she could not blame her. If she were in Desiree's position she would have most likely thought the same thing. Piper flinched every time she thought back to when the young woman claimed that she hated her. A tear rolled down Piper's cheek and she wiped it away harshly. At the moment she wished she were dead.

Looking around the now dark woods the dark-haired woman took a deep breath. It was time to go back to the cabin and send Desiree on her way. She pushed away from the tree and headed back to the cabin.

*****
Desiree felt instant fear again. "I thought Piper was an only child."

"That's what she thought too, but as you can see it's not true."

The young woman licked her lips. "Then you're not Frank. You were only pretending to be him."

"Oh, you don't get it do you?" he asked giving her a pitying look.

"Get what?" she asked wondering how she could get out of here. Desiree did not think it would be wise to just get up and try to go since the man had a gun, and he looked quite strong.

"I am Frank." At her puzzled look he continued. "I was pretending to be a lawyer all those years ago. I made Franklin Webb up." He laughed. "I've also been Joe, and I'll tell you about him shortly."

"Wait a minute. Her own brother was her lawyer and she didn't know about it?"

"That's right cutie. I used to hug her during the trial, like I told you she never cried but sometimes she need comfort. Well sometimes I would hug her and I would have to restrain myself from snapping her neck."

"Why?"

He stared at her as if she were the stupidest person he had ever met. "You still don't get it?"

"Get what?" she asked with a touch of irritation in her voice. 'Calm down girl. He has a gun,' she mused to herself.

Victor sighed. "She killed my father. It took every ounce of control I had not to kill her a long time ago. It had to be perfect. Everything had to be just right." He started to pace again. "You see I wanted her to suffer. Giving her death simply was not enough, so I made it that she would spend years in jail only to come out and have the threat of going back again. But this time I wasn't going to let her go. No, my little sister would die before she went back in and everyone would know that I did it, because I would simply claim that she came after me because she found out that I was Alan Redding's son. She was so angry and insane that she tried to kill me, but I got to her first. Of course, as you should know that plan flew out the window when I found out that she was missing, and so were you." Victor shook his head. "Boy was I upset, because I was just about to go after her, and she pulls this stunt." He took a deep breath. "So every since last Monday I've been looking for you two. Searching and searching and finally I find out where you are from this guy Piper used to know in high school. Did she tell you about Tommy Jung?"

Desiree shook her head unable to speak at the moment.

"Well he along with another guy Taj Potter were her friends in high school. Do you know Taj?"

Desiree nodded.

"Yes, I know him too. That sucker wouldn't tell me a damn thing. But that's okay because Tommy told me." He fell silent for a moment still pacing. "So let's talk about Joe." He laughed. "I gave myself an english accent when I spoke as him. I have to admit I sounded very much like a true Brit. Anyway, I went to Judge Love, your daddy one night and gave him a proposition. I told him if he sentenced Piper to at least ten years in jail than I would give him twenty thousand dollars. Needless to say he did and I mailed him the money, but she got out early so I suppose I'll have to pay your daddy another visit. I know. After he finds out that you are dead as well as Piper then he'll kill himself. He'll be so distraught over your death and his own guilt that he'll take a gun to his head and blow his brains out." He laughed merrily. "Perfect." He looked over at Desiree who was staring at him like a deer trapped in the sights of a hunter. "Don't you think?" She didn't answer so he asked again. When she still didn't answer he came over and backslapped her. Feeling the painful sting in her cheek, Desiree's eyes blurred with tears.

"I asked you a question."

She nodded, and he went back to pacing. "I agree. Anyway I knew that wasn't enough. So this is what I did. You know there are four jurors who died right?"

Desiree nodded again.

"Well I killed them of course. Well at least three of them. I didn't do the last job. Anyway, during the trial I offered all four of them five thousand dollars to convince the other jurors that Piper was innocent. I let them all think that Piper had orchestrated it, so years later the police could find out that she had paid them off. Therefore, when they ended up dead then her motive for killing them would be that they didn't do what they were supposed to do. Now, you may ask how I could be so sure that they wouldn't be able to convince the other jurors to vote in Piper's favor. Well I pretty much knew that the verdict would be guilty, because as her lawyer I purposely messed up so badly that I made the other team look even better than they were. I also made sure to tick off the judge, the jury, Piper and her mama. I'd say stuff that would make the jury glare at me, and Piper would ask me on more than what occasion what I was doing and was I trying to get her put in jail. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. She kept me anyway though, because sometimes I would do well and we became friends. Besides it was too late for she and her mother to get another lawyer. Speaking of her mother you heard she passed away a couple years after Piper was put in prison, didn't you?"

Desiree nodded.

"It was said that she committed suicide by hanging herself, but that's not true." He faced the young woman. "Guess who did it?"

"Oh, God," Desiree groaned.

Victor laughed. "No, not Him. Yes, as you probably already know I did it. I made her write the suicide note and then I made her hang herself. I told her that I would sneak into the prison and kill her daughter if she didn't do it, so she did."

"Why would you kill her mother?"

Victor shrugged. "I was upset. Here my mother was a great woman, but he leaves us and marries Marie. She wasn't good enough for him, and she deserved all the beatings he gave her. I'll have you know that my father never had to lay a hand on my mother. She knew how to take care of him and she was a good wife. I loved every moment of Marie's fear when she knew she was about to die."

"You're sick," Desiree whispered.

Victor glanced at her. "Maybe I am, but I'm not the one who is about to die." He took the gun out again and showed it to her. "Do you know what this is?"

Desiree looked up at him. "It's a gun."

He slapped her again on the other cheek. "Don't be smart. I know it's a gun, I mean do you know what type of a gun?"

She shook her head touching the newly painful spot.

Victor sighed. "Women aren't good for much more than cooking, doing what a man tells them to do and giving birth." He paused. "And the occasional beating when they need it. In fact the only woman on this earth who I thought was worthy of being here was my mother. She died of a stroke last year, leaving only my sister and I. This," he held the gun out again, "is a glock 17 9mm. Nice isn't it?"

Not wanting to make him angry again, Desiree nodded. "It is," she stated quietly.

"Do you know where I got the money to pay the judge and the jurors? A detective doesn't make that much money."

"No, I don't."

"Robbed a couple of banks in some small towns." He laughed. "They never knew it was me, and it was so easy. I even saved a little bit for myself. Well for my family at least. I have a couple of children you know. I guess that makes Piper an aunt.

"Do you think they would be proud of what you did?" Desiree asked.

"No they wouldn't. But they don't need to know. What they don't know won't hurt them. Right?"

"Absolutely."

Victor nodded. "I'm glad that you see it my way. I'll be right back." Detective Redding went to the front door opened and grabbed a bag from outside. Closing the door he came towards Desiree with a blue sports bag in his hand. He put it on the floor and unzipped it taking out a rope. He instructed Desiree to put her hands behind the back of the chair, and when she did he tied her wrists tightly. He then came around to the front and tied her legs to the front legs on the chair. Standing up he exclaimed, "That ought to do it." He then went back in the bag and took out a can of kerosene. He showed it to Desiree. "Do you know what I'm going to use this for?"

"Are you going to burn me up?"

Victor laughed maniacally. "Why I do believe you are getting smarter. Yes I am. Both you and Piper when she gets back. When will she be back anyway?" He glanced at his watch. "I'm anxious to get this over and done with." He took the top off the kerosene and started it splashing around the room. He put the liquid on the carpet, the walls, the computer, the kitchen table and other places. Finally emptying the can he put it back in the sports bag.

"Won't that look odd?" Desiree asked.

"What?"

"Well, when the police find this place they may find out that the fire started due to kerosene. How are you going to explain that?"

"I won't. I was never here. Nobody knows I'm up here now and nobody will ever know. So when they if they ever find this place I had nothing to do with it," he replied confidently.

"So how will my father kill himself over my death when he doesn't know that I'm dead?"

Detective Redding thought about that. "Good point. I'm going so fast I forgot about that." He paused. "Okay. No problem. I'll say this. I was here, but when I got here Piper was dousing the cabin with kerosene because Taj called her and told her I was on her trail. Not wanting to leave any evidence behind that she was here she puts in on fire in her haste to get away. So I get here, rush into the cabin, which is now on fire and she tries to kill me but I kill her first. It was self-defense. Unfortunately, due to the rising flames and smoke I can't see you tied up over here, so I rush out of the cabin and it blows up, killing you in the process. How about that?"

'Damn.' "Do you honestly expect the police to believe that?"

"Yes I do. A lot of people respect me and they would never doubt me."

"What about the fact that you're her brother?"

"Nobody alive on this planet knows that except you, my sister and I. She's not talking and neither are you because you'll be dead."

"Did you try to kill my brother?"

"No, I didn't. I forgot to tell you about that. This is what happened. I shot him, wearing a mask and everything, but I made sure that it wasn't fatal. Before I shot him I instructed him how to tell the police what happened. I told Richie to tell the police that Piper Redding tried to kill him. If he didn't do all that I told him to do, then I would come after his whole family. Obviously, the guy listened to me."

'Oh, Piper. I'm so sorry,' Desiree thought to herself.

Just then they heard a key working in the door and the detective rushed over to it. He shot twice before he even saw who it was. The person in the doorway fell face down to the ground. Victor put the gun in his waistband and dragged the body into the cabin. Desiree gasped when she saw the person.

The detective smiled triumphantly. "Well look who we have here. Piper has arrived."

"Y-y-you killed her! You bastard!" Desiree shouted, noticing the blood that was starting to pool around the woman's head. She deduced that Victor must have shot her in the head with two bullets he fired.

The detective looked at her in surprised. "What's the matter? She takes you hostage, and by that bruise on your jaw she hit you too, and you're upset by her death?"

"I loved her!" Desiree blurted starting to cry.

Victor rolled his eyes. "Oh, great. You're not only stupid but you're a fagot. I knew she was but you too?" He tsked. "And you're so cute." He shrugged. "Oh well. It doesn't matter because you're about to die anyway." He went to his back again and took out a matchbook. Next, he went around the room lighting matches and tossed them in various places. Mini fires started that would soon turn into huge ones. He went to his bag and picked it up. "Well I have to be going now." He smiled at her. "Oh, don't cry. You're about to join her in Hell."

When Victor turned around his nose connected with a fist, and he went stumbled backwards, almost falling on Desiree. Before he could straighten up again he took another blow to his right cheek which made him fall to the floor. Victor hurried to his feet and took out his gun shooting the person who hit him with it. The attacker did not seem to notice as the gun was kicked out of Victor's hand and the other person caught it in the air. The person pointed it at Victor's head. The detective finally got a good look at the person. Meanwhile, the fire was starting to burn out of control quickly.

"Well well well. If it isn't the boy." He smiled brightly. "How are you Taj…oops I mean Mr. Potter?"

"Better than you're about to be," Taj replied as he pulled the trigger three times. Victor fell to the floor instantly dead from two bullet wounds in his head and one in his chest. He knew the cabin was about to blow, so he did not bother untying Desiree. Instead he picked her up and carried her outside. He then went back inside, trying to dodge the flames as he went to the body lying by the front door. Taj knelt down and put two fingers on her neck feeling for a pulse although he did not expect to find one. He was right. She was dead.

Taj put a hand to his mouth and swallowed trying to hold back the tears. He kissed her on the back of the head and said, "Farewell my friend." Taj rushed back outside and hurriedly untied the ropes from Desiree's wrist. He then grabbed her and started running away from the house just as it started to collapse. Desiree fought him, trying to go back to the cabin.

"No!" she shouted. "Piper is in there. I have to go get her!"

"She's dead, Desi." He was able to pull her back since he was stronger than she was.

"No! Let me go. Let me go, damn you!" She cried.

Just then the cabin exploded and flames flew high through the sky. Desiree screamed and collapsed to the ground. Taj put his arms around her as tears fell from his own eyes.

"NO! NO! PIPER!" Desiree screamed over and over again as Taj held her, trying to offer her some comfort. They watched the flames licking at the cabin, destroying it as well as someone very dear to them.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Part 7

Taiko's Scrolls Of The Xenaverse