~ All Our Tomorrows ~
J M Dragon
Part Two
February 2001
e-mail: jmdragon1@hotmail.com

Disclaimer:   See Part One

Chapter Three

Dreams! Bad dreams were all around, chasing her and making her cry.

Lisa struggled to see through the mist that shrouded her. She wanted so much to be home! She wanted her family so badly now! Within her dreams, she could feel herself cry out for each of them.

No answer!

Why didn’t they answer her?

Why didn’t they come for her?

She would wake up soon wouldn’t she?

The swirling grey mist around her was cold, so very cold. She was here alone, not even Rag Doll or Blacky to keep her company. Totally alone!

Her Mom’s never left her alone, ever!

Walking through the mist, she thought she glimpsed a light in the darkness all around her. Was it a light or just imagination?

Words echoed in her scared mind about a poem her Mom, Jace had recited. It had been cold and wet and she was feeling so ill with the measles, she heard her mom as clear as a bright day, her voice soothing.

By oneself the night is dark,
Let me show you stars so bright.
On one’s own the shadows form,
Come see the moon glowing just for you.
Forlorn without hope faced with gloom,
See there Love the sparkling raindrops just for us.
Desolate you think as clouds re-appear,
Never fear I am here to bring you a smile that lets the sun shine.
As you are shrouded in the mist,
Please remember Child the love we give.
The greyness departs with every step out of the dark,
Take the light that is shed with fleet of foot and a spark.
Remember my Child when the rainbow is near,
We will always appear.

Lisa looked around at the light she saw in the distance, and the words became clear to her. Starting to run in her dreams towards the light, for the rainbow was there, where her family would be waiting for her. She knew it!

* * * * * * * * * *

Lt. Delaney sat at his over spilling desk in the far end of the office and chewed on a plastic cigarette. He’d been trying to give up the dreaded weed for years but had failed dismally each time, now he’d even forgotten how often that was.

Staring again at the door to the office, he checked his watch and shrugged. That woman would be the death of him, he was sure. Never once had she arrived at a meeting on time. When she did, she was so condescending that you had to wonder if she really did care in her attempts to help find the victims or support the families.

He had to concede that when she was in full sail with the families, they believed everything she said. The woman had the ability to charm a snake out of a basket if she chose, he was certain of that.

Walking over to the window, looking onto the police car park, he scanned the area for her vehicle. Sure enough, it came zooming into the area marked for authorised visitors. Drawing it to a stop, the tyres screeched at the speed it was travelling, before halting suddenly.

Within seconds, the tall figure of the woman gracefully stepped onto the tarmac, negligently closing the door of the vehicle as she locked it. Walking with an easy gait over to the side entrance to the building, her long chestnut hair looked like it had hints of burnt copper as the sun shone down on her head. Doctor Thea Rosnova was certainly a beautiful woman, but cold as ice. If she ever thawed, it would flood the state of New York, in his opinion anyway

He turned back to his desk resuming his seat giving the impression that he was nonchalant about her lateness. His hands were wringing together in annoyance under the desk.

The door opened to the office area as Thea Rosnova walked in and smiled, nodding amiably. Stopping to talk to one or two other officers, she made her way to Delaney’s desk ignoring the fact that she was late.

“Ah Delaney, nice of you to call me.” Thea remarked with a smile that did not reach her eyes, the sarcasm dripping liberally with the words.

“I see you made your usual entrance, late as always.” Delaney answered. This woman was a pain in the butt. He didn’t care for Dusterly, but over the past two years Rosnova had become somewhat overly confident, and it wasn’t anything to do with having any strong leads in that period of time.

“Delaney really, it’s the traffic here in New York. Everyone knows it’s difficult to get across the city at short notice.” Rosnova gave him a shrewd glance. The detective did not particularly enamour her, but he was the one who always had to take the brunt of the bad publicity she never had. After all, she was only around to soothe the grieving parents at their loss.

“Yeah. Yeah, you say that everytime, even when you only have a block to travel. The Captain wants us to talk to the ‘Mother’ of the new victim of the serial abductor.” Delaney scoffed at her excuse.

“Then let’s get right to it shall we? I, for one, will enjoy that particular encounter. I hear tell she’s not interested in the appeal for her child on the TV and the media generally, how interesting.” Rosnova looked closely at her well-manicured hand.

“Yeah, well she’s not the run of the mill parent either, and we are already late. I’ll call Anderson to meet us in the parking lot.” Delaney moved out of his seat and unhooked his jacket from the peg that held it securely.

“Oh really? Do we have to take Anderson? He’s a terrible driver. Why not let me drive?” Rosnova did not like the little man who was Delaney’s second, he was just so…so formal all of the time.

“No! It’s Anderson for me. You may, of course, take your own vehicle and meet me there.” Delaney looked at her squarely. No way was he riding with that bitch in control.

“I think I will. Where are we going?” Rosnova asked, with mock interest.

Delaney looked at her with a calculated glance. ‘Was the woman joking? Playing him for a fool probably.’

“As if you didn’t know. It’s your apartment block. I’m sure you can find your way home quicker than you find the station house.” Delaney sarcastically retorted and left the woman laughing at his comment, slowly following him out of the room.

“Oh Detective, you are so easy to rile. You make my job so much more pleasant.” Rosnova spoke in such a low tone that it was inaudible to anyone in the office as she sauntered out after him, smiling wickedly.

* * * * * * * * * *

Kelsey had been shocked at the muted response to his news from Catherine Devonshire. He knew, of course, that she had been under strain. His previous association with her left him in no doubt that stress and extreme pressure would not extinguish the flame that swept through her in adversity, or so he had thought.

 He guessed in this instance, the abduction of her child had hit home, harder than even she could possibly ever have envisioned. The kid was not even a blood relative, only some foster kid!

His mind went over the conversation as he looked over at the dozing form of James Thompson, who was residing in the seat next to him, on the way to a rather unexpected destination.

“Ms. Devonshire it’s Kelsey, we have news.” he said, excited at the prospect of informing her of the current update.

Catherine placed a weary hand over her eyes. She was tired, very tired, all of a sudden. The fact that Jace was now on a flight home had impacted far harder on her than she thought it would. They had been separated before, but this time it was different. Or was it that she was different?

“Go ahead Kelsey. I’m listening.” Catherine replied, but even she could hear the lack of enthusiasm in her voice.

Kelsey looked around him and mentally shrugged as he heard the rather moody reply.

“James here has located Clauser or Hudson, whatever you want to call her, to Athens, Greece.” Kelsey said, once more excited at the news.

James Thompson had looked up from his absent observation of his coffee cup in surprise as Kelsey mentioned that he had located the whereabouts of the woman Catherine desperately wanted to see, and he would rather see in hell.

“I see. Anything else?” the voice was subdued and verging on desolate, Kelsey thought to himself.

“No. Do you want us to make more enquiries, or go to Athens directly and make contact?” The Detective knew he would have to take sick leave or something like that to follow this through and he wanted to follow this to the end now. It was just beginning to fire up, in his opinion, and he loved the excitement of the final chase.

“No!” Catherine answered, her mind finally digesting that she was talking to Kelsey and that he had come across a vital link, one that perhaps could lead to Hudson. It was Hudson. She had no doubts in her mind at all.

“No?” Kelsey repeated in surprise. Had things changed in six hours?

Catherine was silent for a few minutes and Kelsey asked if she was still there.

“Yes, I’m still here. I need you to go to a place called Xianspiros.” she finally replied quietly.

“Where the fuck is Xianspiros, and why?” Kelsey asked, dumbfounded at the logic.

“Thank you Kelsey for your rather dramatic request for a geography lesson. Xianspiros is a very small island in the Mediterranean where my relatives came from, and where currently my Aunt lives. That is the place you will find Hudson, not Athens.” Catherine spoke mechanically, her thoughts obsessed, not by what that could possibly mean, but on her kidnapped daughter and partner instead.

“Well, that sure would be a good place to start if you have family there. Any other place you have family?” Kelsey asked, should that prove to be a dead end.

Catherine summoned her retreating energy levels to remain with the conversation. It was proving difficult. “No! No, I have no other close relatives living. This is the only place that would be of interest to anyone with any evil intent.”

“Okay, we will get on the next available flight out to Greece. As soon as we reach our destination, do you want us to make contact with your Aunt?” Kelsey asked quietly. The woman was definitely not with this conversation at all. Otherwise, she would have rapidly told him exactly what she wanted, and who to contact, and probably exactly what to do!

“At your discretion Kelsey. Make it count! I need to go. I will expect a report.” Catherine replied quickly, terminating the call before he could answer.

James Thompson looked at the puzzled frown on the detective’s face and asked, “What’s the problem?”

Kelsey shook his head, pushing a loose lock of sandy hair from his eyes.  A perplexed expression crossed his face as he glanced at the Californian. “Beats me. For the first time since I’ve known that woman she was incredibly vague, as if she wasn’t listening or interested in the conversation.”

James Thompson looked at the man in front of him and sighed softly. ‘Some people never had a clue, must go with the badge, the indifference to people’s feelings.’ “She’s upset Kelsey. If your child had been abducted wouldn’t you be?”

Kelsey considered the question and shrugged his shoulders. “I haven’t got a clue. Who knows?” He dismissed the subject as irrelevant to his views of the woman he was discussing.

James realised then, that the man had no depth of character. He was a ‘dumb’ cop.  At least he appeared to be a very good cop and that’s exactly why Catherine wanted him. So, he would go along for the ride. After all, Catherine was family.

So, here they were on the flight due to land in Athens. They had already contacted a helicopter company that would whisk them away to Xianspiros within an hour of landing at the airport. Having access to unlimited amounts of money had proven useful in establishing flights to Athens in the first class area. Not to mention, the standby of a pilot to fly them to the smaller island. Money talks, it always had, it always would in his book. A high percentage of others also thought that way, even people you never expected.

“Okay, Sally Clauser or Hudson, here we come. I know you can be bought I just know it!” He spoke softly into the cabin, which was silent other than the odd movement from the galley, where the steward was preparing a beverage with ice, hearing the chink against the side of the glass.

‘Good idea, a scotch would go down well about now.’ He pressed the overhead switch for personal attention.

* * * * * * * * * *

Chapter Four

“Jace you can’t be serious?” Grace exploded quietly, not wanting to attract anyone else’s attention to them in the lounge. The various members of the household were seated and being entertained by Jake and his insistence that they play a trivia game with him.

Jace looked at her friend and saw the concern in her expressive brown eyes. “Grace I will be okay. All I’m going to do is turn up and consider the proposal, which Constantia wanted Catherine’s help with. What could be simpler? I would be home before anyone missed me.”

Grace gave an exasperated sigh. They had been over this ten times already. Catherine was going to be livid if she found out that Jace planned to leave for Xianspiros to aid some crazy plan that Catherine’s Aunt was hatching. “If you wont listen to reason or common sense, listen to your heart. What about the children? They need you. What about Catherine too? If she knows that you are gallivanting all over the world and into a potentially dangerous situation, she would be tearing her hair out.”

“Don’t be ridiculous Grace. How can you say dangerous? Unknown perhaps!” Jace replied and smiled engagingly at Grace.

“Don’t you dare use that butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth expression with me Jace. I’m not Catherine and your green eyes don’t have the same effect!” Grace could not fathom this woman at all! She wanted to give and give. Taking unnecessary risks, and for what?

“Never thought it would Grace, but always worth a try. Now, if I had smouldering grey eyes and that long, lean, masculine body that you can’t take your eyes off when it’s in sight, I’d win without a fight.” Jace chuckled and saw the faint blush cross her friend’s cheeks.

“That’s completely different and well, you know.” Grace blustered, knowing that the blonde was right on the button with that one.

Jace placed an arm around her shoulders and hugged her briefly. “I know, and it happens to me too. Except the eyes that I look into happen to be ice blue.”

“I’m coming with you then!” Grace spluttered out, and watched a look of astonishment cross her friend’s face.

“You can’t Grace! My god, Colin would kill you! Not to mention me, as well! I do not need a chaperone. Have you forgotten you are pregnant?” Jace shot back a reply, concerned for her friend, but secretly happy too that she had volunteered to help.

“Jace, are you saying my gentle husband would attempt murder? No, no my friend. He might think it, but never attempt it. I will talk to him and he will see the logic. Trust me on that one. As to the pregnancy, well I’m four months now and the doctors are all very happy with me. To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t a restriction on me travelling on flights. I’m coming with you and that’s the end of it!” Grace reiterated and looked immovable in her decision.

“Catherine isn’t going to be….” Jace trailed off realising what she was about to imply, and it was exactly what Grace had told her earlier.

Grace gave her a satisfied smirk at the sudden dawning of her earlier message. “Catherine isn’t what exactly, Jace?”

Jace smiled wryly, having been caught out with the comment. She laughed lightly, drawing the attention of the others in the room.

Alison and Faith both looked quizzically at them and asked in unison. “What are you two planning?” Both older women looked at each other, slightly embarrassed that they had asked the identical question.

Everyone laughed when Jace and Grace answered in unison also. “Nothing! Why would you think that Mom?”

As Jace contained her laughter she looked at Grace, “I’ll book the flights for as early tomorrow as I can. You have the pleasure of convincing Colin.”

Walking away she heard the barely audible reply, “Why thank you Jace, that will be a pleasure.” The blonde couldn’t help but smile as she went over to her Mother and Faith.

* * * * * * * * * *

Catherine was staring out over the picturesque scene overlooking the park and the lake from her lounge area. Her fingers were drifting over the locket clasped securely around her neck, holding the link to her family.

She mused about her life as it was now, and what it had been like three years ago. The loneliness she knew had been creeping up over her reclusive years, and she had considered herself in a life that she had welcomed and never wanted to be relieved of.

How things change! Although each incident that had led to the place she was in now, they could be considered trivial in many people’s minds. To her, each had created an indelible mark that was to make her not only consider, but actually change her life completely. Who would have thought the cold-hearted Catherine Devonshire Warriorson would ever do that for one small blonde and two orphans?

It had been for her, a heart searching, stopping at the welcoming door of Jace Bardley, and asking to be allowed inside. The joy it brought, along with the pain, was worth anything…anything at all.

To make her even more thankful that she had allowed love back into her life, two orphans had made her reflect that she could bring happiness into complete stranger’s lives. Jake and Lisa were hers in more ways than perhaps Lucas her own son had been, and Elena was certainly part of her. Jace had said so, that had been some conversation.

The soft strains of music drifted in the cooling breeze as everyone around them danced, laughed, or chatted happily. It had been a good day so far, Grace and Colin’s wedding day. Everyone was happy.
Jace put her arms around her partner and they encompassed the baby too. “Would you like for me to tell you a story Catherine?”
Catherine smiled and gave the small snub nose next to her lips a brief kiss. “Sure, anytime. I love your voice.”
“Good, because this is about a dark time and how the image of love transcended everything and brought something unique and wonderful into the world.” Jace saw the puzzlement on her lover’s face. Today was the day she was going to learn about how their daughter was conceived.
“A fairy story Jace? I’m all ears.” Catherine responded and rested the blonde’s head on her shoulder.
‘No fairy story Catherine, just a belief in the strength of love.’ Jace started her story, “There was once a young Californian who was in love with a beautiful English woman, but misunderstandings separated them for a time.” Jace heard the sharp intake of breath at her words. “That particular misunderstanding was so powerful that it broke the two apart. It appeared that they were destined never to see each other again and recapture the love that they shared.” Catherine kissed the top of Jace’s head tenderly at the words, which even today still caused her to feel a sharp pain in her heart.
“When everything appeared bleak and desolate to the Californian, she embarked on a solution to her problems with another, a dear friend who loved her deeply. Although they married, it was only a shell of the emotions she knew she was capable of and it became intolerable to her, the living of a lie. But, her tender heart was unable to voice this to her new partner, and they lived as best they could for several months.” Jace turned her head slightly and kissed the underside of Catherine’s jaw hoping to convey how much she regretted the pain she had inflicted on them all.
“One night, unknown to the Californian, her English love was seriously injured and lying close to death. No one was allowed to mention it to her at the explicit orders of the proud English woman. That was the night that the Californian had decided to end her marriage and live alone, rather than this lie she had created. Her new partner was distraught and wanted her to reconsider and her tender heart allowed her husband one last night of passion. As she succumbed to the act, her one thought was of her love and passion for the English woman, all thoughts of another totally banished. She was, in her heart and soul, with her ex-lover and they were making love.” Catherine was breathing heavily now. She had remained silent and wanted to pull the woman closer to whisper that as she lay in her own torment, all she could think of was the night they had shared making love together. She had used it as her bridge home or she would surely have died that night.
“The marriage ended that night and although there was sadness and distress all around her, something wonderful had happened, the conception of a child, the child that was to the Californian, created with her English lover. The love, passion, and essential spark that had given life, had been between them and not her husband. This child was a testament to the love that raged between the two of them and had brought them back together again, it would always be their child.” Jace whispered the words softly into Catherine’s ear and felt the stiffening of her lover, as she digested all the words.
Catherine swallowed several times and tried to speak but couldn’t.
“Jace, come on give your old Dad a spin ‘round the dance floor.” Jason Bardley smiled warmly at the two of them and held out his hand for his elder daughter to take.
Jace looked at Catherine who smiled slowly, her features still carrying the stunned expression that the story had placed there.
“Go Jace. I have parent duty, remember. I’m going to take Elena to bed.” Catherine said quietly and received a brief kiss as her lover was whisked away.
 She looked down at the dark head of the child in her lap who was sleeping soundly, safe in the knowledge that she was secure. Bending down, she placed her lips on the downy cap of hair and several tears she was unable to blink away flowed down her cheeks and rested on the small head. Gently wiping away the moisture, she cradled the child in her arms, as they made their way towards the house. Her mind was full of incredible images, but so wonderful that she could not help the smile that creased her face as she entered the house.

Miracles, they say, do happen. She was hoping that the very faith and love, that had created the miracle called Elena, was going to come into force and see their elder daughter returned safe to them. Just as Jace believed in that particular miracle, so would she believe in this one.

“Ms. Devonshire?” Serena Dusterly stood at the doorway of the room, watching the facial expressions cross over the face of the woman who had remained static, gazing at the same spot for several minutes.

“Yes?” Catherine turned abruptly, her mind now clicking back with precision to the matter in hand.

“I have made the phone calls, which I thought may help.” Serena said quietly, but with confidence. This woman would not intimidate her or she would never function adequately, and there was no time for a lack of confidence now.

“Did they produce the results you expected?” Catherine’s tone turned professional and she moved to sit on the sofa, indicating for Dusterly to sit opposite her.

“Yes, I think so.” Serena said and quickly sat in the indicated chair, facing the taller woman.

“I think so? That’s hardly a confident answer, Ms. Dusterly!” Catherine flicked her a sharp glance.

“I’m sorry. Yes, it has produced results far better than I had hoped, under the circumstances.” Serena spoke quickly and this time, she let her eyes lock with the ice blue ones.

“Now, that is information I’m interested in. Want to tell me what you have so far? On the other hand, shall we wait until after the police have been over? Incidentally, you know both of them. A Lt. Delaney and a Doctor Rosnova, due anytime now actually.” Catherine informed her, looking at the large clock on the wall. They were already late from the allotted time Captain Travis had given, but she would wait a little longer before she made a complaint.

“I think it might be wise to wait for them. You will of course, let me know what they say. We can add more pieces to the puzzle if they have any more information.” Serena said. She hated both of them for differing reasons and they disliked her. She was very sure.

Catherine scrutinised the woman closely and gave a wry smile, shaking her head. “I’m sorry Ms. Dusterly, but you will be part of the meeting. After all, you are my personal advisor, that being so, you need all the information first hand.”

Serena drew in a sharp breath and slowly exhaled it. ‘She could do this, she could.’ “Okay, sounds like a good idea to me.”

“Glad you think so.” The doorbell chimed and Stephanie called that she would see to it. “I think our police friends are about to descend on us. Are you ready?” Catherine stood up and looked down at the woman.

Serena glanced up into glacial blue eyes and saw a wicked twinkle in them, and she smiled up at her. “Yes, I’m ready.”

Catherine turned away and saw Stephanie walking towards her study to deposit the police inside.

Serena looked at the retreating broad back and for some reason, she could not help but smile. The woman was simply incredible. She charmed you and you did not even know it was happening. Wow!

Slowly getting up from the chair, she followed behind the woman and into the study, to come face to face with her own demons of the past. Only this time, she actually felt as if she was on the side that believed in her!

* * * * * * * * * *

Colin Montgomery looked at his wife and smiled tenderly at her, his hands stroking the slightly swollen abdomen as he cradled her in his arms.

“Colin.” Grace ventured, knowing that her husband was relaxed and very content at the moment.

“Yes darling?” Colin bent his head a fraction and kissed the side of her neck, feeling the tremor in Grace’s body as she reacted to his touch.

Never a better time she hoped, and mentally crossed her fingers and toes. “Jace had a message from Catherine’s Aunt earlier today, asking for Catherine’s help. And of course, Catherine can’t help directly as you know.”

“Yeah, does Jace need our help?” Colin asked, as he nuzzled the side of his wife’s neck. He could hold her like this forever and never let her go, she meant so much to him.

Grace smiled at the immediate offer. Her husband was one in a million and she knew it. He did not always show it, and certainly she had her problems with his protectiveness, but he was hers and she wondered at her good fortune. “In a way, yes. Jace needs our help.”

Colin muffled a confirmation of his desire to help as he slowly placed tender kisses along her neck, finally reaching her collarbone. “No problem, she has it.”

Grace knew that at this moment, he would agree to anything and she did not want to do that to him. He needed to agree without cohesion, or at least this type of cohesion, however pleasurable it was.

“Colin, will you stop for a moment darling?” Grace pleaded and stroked a tender hand over his cheek to show that it was a temporary cease of activities.

Colin heard the quiet, but definite request and he moved away slightly so that they were still touching. He gazed at her lovingly to find out what the problem was.

“Colin, this help that Jace wants, well…well it’s like this you see, she is planning on…that is she wants to go….” Colin put a gentle finger to her lips, silencing her stumbling words.

“How about Jace wants to help on behalf of Catherine, and she wants you to support her, right?” Colin smiled at the look of surprise on his wife’s face. Grace really did have him all wrong at times. That did not matter to him, he loved her, she was going to be the mother of his child, and she was his reason for getting up every morning. He was happy, if she was happy.

Grace shot up out of the bed and faced him, her expression filled with tenderness and love.

“How did you know? I thought you would be angry. Her Aunt lives in Greece, you know?” Grace pointed out tentatively. She wanted him to have all the pertinent information.

Colin chuckled and locked his grey eyes with her brown ones. “I learned my lesson Grace. I don’t want you rushing out of the house and driving like a maniac because you were angry with me and I stifled you. I want you to be as happy with me, as I am with you. If you need your space then I am going to be happy to stay behind and let you have it. My only wish in this life is for you to look after yourself. I want you and our unborn child back safely, so that I can love you both. That’s all I want Grace, and if going with Jace is what has to happen, I want you to know that you go with my blessings. But, I would hope you want to come back to me sooner, rather than later.” He smiled warmly at her.

Grace was crying tears of happiness as he spoke words that she knew must have been difficult for him, with his family background. She was humbled at her husband’s trust and understanding of her needs, knowing that to insist she stay would have been hard for her to take.

“I don’t know what to say, Colin.” Grace said tearfully. She was emotionally wrung at the pure expression of love he had given.

Colin gently wiped the tears away and placed his face close to hers. “How about… You love me.”

Grace threw her arms around him and placed a passionate kiss on his lips, mumbling repeatedly against his mouth how much she did love him, until they were lost in the sensuous desires of their mutual need.

Continued in Part 3


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