Irrefutable Evidence

Part Six

by CN Winters

See part one for disclaimers. Write the author at

Customs didn’t take as long as they expected since Denise was ‘packing heat’ as Sara teasingly put it. Soon they were in a rented car and traveling toward Sara’s house. It was still considerably warm for September and the fact the car had no air conditioning made it much worse. Add to that the recent rainstorm and you had one humid night as they drove in the darkness.

"Although you really can’t see it. It’s very beautiful here," Sara said as she drove the small compact down the vacant highway. The greenery looked tropical and moist, with the headlights being the only means of seeing Mother Nature around them.

"I’ll take your word for it," Denise smiled. They drove awhile longer in silence. The flapping windshield wipers were the only sound present before Sara spoke. Neither woman could explain it nor could they understand it. Conversation had been a cornerstone of their relationship so far. Sara tried not to analyze it too much. Lack of sleep, a three-hour plane trip and murders perhaps at their back left little in the way of lighthearted conversation. She knew that Denise wanted that distance that she spoke of in Detroit. Surely she didn’t mean THIS distant, did she? ‘Nah,’ Sara decided, ‘You’re just being paranoid Langforth.

"There’s a bed and breakfast that a family friend owns up ahead. I thought we could stay there for the night because I’m sure there are nasty critters living in my parents place."

No,’ Sara reminded herself, ‘YOUR place.’ She still hadn’t gotten used to it being ‘her’ place. She rarely came to the beach house - just another reminder of the life she had left behind years before. Or more to the point, the life that she was cast from given her evil ways. She was surprised her parents left her anything but soon the shock wore off and she saw it for what it truly was. It wasn’t about love or compassion. It wasn’t about a ‘final acceptance’. If her parents cut her out of the will then that would mean the family had skeletons in the closet . . . and oh my . . . her parents wouldn’t dare be remembered that way. It sicken Sara in a way but she figured if she never had their respect the least she could do is take the money. She had morals . . . but she wasn’t stupid.

"Won’t the place be filled with vacationers?" Denise asked, pulling Sara back from her thoughts.

"Perhaps. But I’m sure Nancy will let us stay in the den for the night," Sara replied.

They drove up the driveway to a big structure that seemed to get larger and larger. It looked like a large southern plantation house. It was white with black shutters. A white picket fence lined the huge property.

Denise looked around at the immensity of it with a sense of awe as she and Sara made their way to the porch. Slowly Sara stepped inside and a bell jingled noting their arrival. The silhouette of an old woman moved toward them from the shadows. Sara smiled as they walked to each other.

"Little Sara Langforth!" the woman exclaimed, keeping her voice down, as not to wake the vacationers.

"Hi Nancy."

"Oh darlin’ it’s been ages since I’ve seen you. How have you been?"

"Good," Sara said with a nod. "And you?"

"Can’t complain too much," Nancy said as they hugged.

"How’s Chester doing?"

"He passed away about a year ago honey," Nancy said with a forced grin, trying to make Sara comfortable with the bad news.

"I’m so sorry," Sara said reaching out to the woman, stroking her arm in support. "I had no idea."

"I’m okay . . . It gets lonely sometimes in this big old house without him. But the vacationers keep me company. I’ve also got a staff that helps me out. They’ve been a God send at times," Nancy explained.

"Well I’m glad you’re doing alright," Sara said. They exchanged grins a few more seconds until Nancy spoke.

"What brings you here in the middle of the night honey?" Nancy made sure to exchange a look to Denise as well.

"Oh!" Sara exclaimed realizing she’d forgotten proper introductions. "Pardon my manners. This is Denise VanCook. She’s a police officer who’s looking after me." Nancy and Denise exchanged pleasantries and a handshake, although it was obvious Nancy was bothered by the fact Sara required police protection. "I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," Sara grinned as she explained. "I became a witness for the police department and it’s safer here than in the city."

"Are you okay?" Nancy asked quickly, her concern evident in her voice.

"Fine . . . However, we do need a place to stay until I can get my house cleaned up."

"My rooms are all filled dear but you’re more than welcome to the study," Nancy offered sincerely, almost hopping Sara would agree.

"That would be great," Sara said with an appreciative smile.

"Good," Nancy said soundly. "I’ll be back with some blankets and pillows. You gals just help yourself."

As Nancy left, Sara and Denise headed to the den. "She seems like a good person," Denise said as they walked along.

"Nancy’s the best. I’ve known her for as long as I can remember. When I came out, my parents were a bit upset to say the least - - okay . . . they were down right pissed and they disowned me." Denise couldn’t help but smile with the theatrics that Sara put on as she made the omission. "I know they talked to Nancy about it, once they realized it wasn’t ‘just a phase’ of course, and things got better. They never ‘liked’ me again but we did remain civil with each other . . . Nancy’s a good friend. She was never one to judge," Sara added with a far off look, obviously remembering the past.

Denise didn’t have a chance to reply to Sara’s story. Nancy entered the room, weighted down with linens, which the ladies promptly took from her heavy arms. "Well, I’m going to bed but don’t take off anywhere tomorrow until you’ve had breakfast. Promise?"

"We promise," Sara agreed.

"Good," Nancy said before turning to leave. Slowly the older woman began to walk away.

"Hey Nancy," Sara called out making her stop. "Thanks a lot . . . for everything."

"No problem mom," Nancy said mimicking a term that ran rampant on the Bahamian Island. "It’s good to see you again. Sleep tight. We’ll talk in the morning."

Denise and Sara watched her leave and climbed under the sheet of a makeshift bed on the floor. Sara thought she would get a protest as she snuggled into Denise’s shoulder. She was relived to feel Denise stay loose and relaxed, going so far as to get comfortable herself by wrapping her arm around Sara. A few moments later Denise was out, a light snore floating through the room. Sara had to smile, as she lay there wrapped in the warmth of the officer. ‘She’s protecting me,’ Sara smirked slyly. ‘That’s all . . . nothing more.’




It was hot. It was humid. It was the Bahamas. They had been there three days, at Nancy insistence since they had no utilities at Sara’s place yet, and Denise was getting ‘used’ to the Bahamian lifestyle.

Denise stood barefoot on the back deck looking at the water. The sun was just beginning to rise and she could tell it would be a scorcher of a day if the rain clouds that passed by on and off during the early morning hours stayed away. Yellow and orange already filled the horizon over the blue of the ocean and white sand of the beach. Denise stood silently taking it all in.

Sara was inside doing some admiring herself – admiring the woman on the deck.

"She’s a sight to see. That’s for sure," Nancy said softly. Sara just grinned. "And I can see you’ve got it bad dear."

Sara chuckled. "My gosh is it THAT obvious?"

"Oh yes," Nancy conspired. "It’s not one sided either."

Sara turned to face Nancy, much more interested in the casual conversation. "What exactly do you mean?"

"She and I spoke this morning before you got up."

"And?" Sara prodded when Nancy didn’t immediately continue.

"Like I said," Nancy grinned wildly. "She’s got it bad." Sara sighed in frustration. She knew Nancy well. The old woman wasn’t about to divulge any secrets or conversations she’s had with others. Gossip was never one of those things Nancy engaged in with others. It was one of her best qualities . . . and right now . . . one of her worst. Nancy could only chuckle at Sara’s reaction before turning a bit serious. "Hey, I hear we’ve got some rough weather coming in. You sure you gals don’t wanna stay here for the time being?"

"How rough?" Sara asked.

"It’s not a ‘can yet but it might be getting to that point."

Sara thought for a moment. "That’s okay. We should be all right. Will you be okay here?" Sara asked.

"Sure. I’ve got lots of help here right now," she smiled to reassure Sara that she was just fine on her own. Sara nodded her agreement just before Nancy nudged the blond. "Better go enjoy paradise with her while you can," she teased.

Sara gave Nancy’s arm a pat and took Nancy up on the suggestion. Quietly Sara crept up behind the lieutenant.

"Beautiful isn’t it?" she whispered.

Denise felt a small hand run down her back and she turned to face Sara.

"Yes it is . . . I don’t think I’ve ever seen water that is actually blue," Denise said in amazement. She heard her own voice and she suddenly blushed. Sara cocked her head in question but didn’t say anything. "I feel like such a tourist," Denise laughed out loud. "I have to keep telling myself I’m working here. It’s not play time," she grinned.

"All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl you know?" Sara teased. "Besides you do go on vacation now and then don’t you?"

"Nope not really. I mean not like this," Denise said spreading her arms out. "I’m a cop. I don’t often get the time off with my line of work and I don’t make enough to see places like this when I do."

"Well," Sara said, "I make it a rule to visit a new place every year."

"Is that so?" Denise said watching Sara strutting in front of her.

"Absolutely," Sara said with a firm nod of her head. "The world is a big place. Life is too short. And I plan to see as much of it as I can before I die . . . with your help now that is. You gotta keep me alive Denise," the blonde teased. "I’ve got an African safari planned for next year."

Denise took a sip of her orange juice and raised her glass. "I’m working on it," she winked.

"Well here’s to you succeeding," Sara added, clinking their glasses together. "Perhaps I’ll take you on the Kenya tour with me as a way of saying thank you." Denise’s mood shifted from carefree to one of rigidity in an instant but Sara quickly made up for it. "I mean I might need protection from those wild animals and it would be as friends. Scouts honor."

Sara batted her eyelashes in apology for the off the cuff comment. Slowly Denise began to smile. "I’ll think about it," Denise said, "But I’ll only come if I can take my gun," she smiled mischievously.

"It’s a deal," Sara said shaking Denise’s hand and then tugging it along as she walked, "Let’s get breakfast and head to the store for some groceries." Denise didn’t seem to mind the hand lock so Sara just enjoyed it while she could.

They ate and said good bye to Nancy with a promise they would return for dinner sometime before heading back to the States. The sky began to turn dark as they made their way to the grocery store for supplies. They had let of a few fumigation bombs the day before and let the place air out. Now they could begin the big cleaning.

Sara didn’t have a rambling estate like Nancy but it was larger than most of the dwellings Denise and Angie were called out to during their patrolling days in Detroit. It had a large porch that ran along the front of the three bedroom home. The living room and dinning room were open to each other with a small kitchen off to the left of that. On the right sat three bedrooms in a row. The master bedroom, of course, had a wonderful view of the gulf. The living room too contained a beautiful bay window next to the front door. As for the ‘dinning area’, it had a large patio door that gave access to the beach and tropical vegetation outside.

Denise sat the bags on the dinning room table, releasing a sigh, looking out to the water and the shrubbery outside.

"It’s only noon," Denise said rubbing her eyes and yawning. "Why on earth am I so tired?"

"Maybe it’s the fact your nerves have been on edge ever since Detroit?" Sara teased. "Grant it . . . you’ve lowered your guard from time to time but for the most part you’ve been very watchful."

"Maybe," Denise said walking over to the phone. Sara took one of the bags with her and she began stocking the fridge. When she heard Denise yell, she dropped a head of lettuce and ran to the living room.

"What is it?!" Sara asked startled.

"We’ve got a dial tone," Denise said showing the receiver off like some kind of prize.

"Oh God! Don’t do that again. I thought something was wrong."

"I guess my nerves aren’t the only ones on edge," Denise teased.

Sara simply shook her head and went back into the kitchen. Denise dialed and waited, listening to the ringing tone and the rain outside the window. She hoped Angie would be in the office since she hadn’t checked in with her partner yet. She was relieved when she heard her voice on the other end.

"Sgt. Michaels fourteenth."

"Hi Sgt. Michaels."

Angie could hear the grin through the phone but that didn’t matter. She had ‘issues’.

"Where in the hell are you?!" Angie exclaimed. "You realize I’ve been worried sick about you! I thought DeVittem’s goons got to you! You better have a damn good explanation!"

"Love you too Angie," Denise chuckled.

"Alright, I guess I deserved that," Angie said calming down. "I’m glad you’re okay. Now . . . where are you?"

"The Bahamas. Freeport actually."

"Did you just say Freeport, Bahamas? Are you telling me that I gave up MY Aspen trip so YOU could go to the Bahamas? Tell me I didn’t hear that correctly," Angie prodded.

Denise paused a moment, unsure of how to answer but certain of the reaction she would get. "No you heard that correctly."

Sara couldn’t hear the specifics of the conversation from across the room but she could hear Angie’s voice boom on the other end. She watched as Denise held the phone from her ear with a cringed look on her face.

"Sounds like you’re in trouble," Sara teased as Denise tried repeatedly to move the phone back to her ear again, only to move it away as Angie continued to rant.

"Hold on a sec," Angie said breaking from her tirade. Denise brought the phone to her ear again and tried to listen in on what was going on in her office back home. After a few moments Angie returned her attention to Denise, "Okay where was I . . . Oh yes, part three of the riot act - ."

"Is everything okay in there?" Denise asked.

"Yeah. Brenner and Wagner just walked in. Brenner got a suspect in the car jacking case."

"That’s great!" Denise commended.

"Denise said that’s great," Angie yelled to the others as they began to leave the office. "Anyway how did you pray-tell end up in the Bahamas?" Angie asked steering the conversation back to Denise. She wasn’t getting off the hook that easy.

"Sara has a beach house here," Denise replied.

"Oh really. Why the hell couldn’t I be blessed and be the one who’s bi? I could be the one getting the tan right now," Angie teased. "Seriously though, it does sound safer than in the city. But then again being alone and stranded in paradise sounds like it could be verrrry dangerous," Angie added with a laugh.

"Very funny," Denise replied. "How’d it go with Gennar?"

"He wants to know where you are," she said.

"Well don’t tell him. Don’t tell anyone. If he asks, just say I didn’t feel safe in letting anyone know . . . Or flat out lie to him and say you haven’t heard from me."

"Can I reach you?" Angie asked. "Do you have a number?"

"I do but I don’t want to take the chance."

"Gee thanks for the show of trust and support there Den," her partner replied.

"You know I trust you. I don’t want to put you in danger by knowing how to reach me. I’ll call later this week for an update. Hopefully the courts will push this one through." Denise could hear the sigh on the other end. "Yes I know you’re frustrated but for right now it’s for the best. I think we might do well to invest in one of those new cell phones I’ve been hearing about lately."

"That’s not a bad idea. Maybe we can look into it when you get back . . . but then again I’m not sure I want you to have access to me at all hours of the night. You’ll probably drag me out of bed at 3 am on some wild goose chase stake out and knowing my luck it will be the one night that I manage to land a real date."

"Hey, I only did that once," Denise argued. "If he couldn’t understand that ‘duty called’ he wasn’t the guy for you."

"Yeah you keep telling me that but I have to admit, I kinda saw his point too. Coincidentally, that was actually the last time I SAW HIM. Go figure huh?" Angie prodded.

"How many times am I gonna have to say I’m sorry for that?" Denise sighed.

"Until the guilt trip no longer works. Or next year. Whichever comes first," Angie replied.

Denise could hear Angie’s grin through the phone and had to smile herself. "I wish you were here Ang," Denise said sincerely.

"Hell you and I both," Angie chuckled. "I could use a few weeks in the Caribbean . . . Look Denise, I want you to take care of that witness and yourself okay?"

"I will," Denise said firmly.

"I love you," Angie said after a brief pause. "When you hadn’t called . . . I really did worry."

Denise smiled, "I’m sorry I didn’t call sooner. We’ve been staying with a friend of hers and I didn’t want to call out from there. But I promise I’ll stay in contact from now on . . . and yes, I will take care. Everything will be all right. You’ll see."

"Okay . . . I’ll talk to you on Wednesday?"

"Wednesday sounds good . . . Bye Angie."

"Goodbye Denise."

Denise hung up the phone and Sara peered out of the kitchen. She watched Denise stroking the top of the receiver after she hung up. Her shoulders were slumped and she had a long look on her face. Sara could tell, Denise didn’t like working without Angie.

For Denise it felt like a missing appendage when they weren’t together. Angie was the yin to her yang. Without the other there was a loss of balance. Denise never would have guessed that Angie would have become such a pivotal part of her life when they had first met. They weren’t instant friends. In fact Denise wondered if Angie had what it took to make it.

Only a handful of women were on the force at the time and most couldn’t take the pressure - not just the pressure of the beat but of their fellow officers. As time went on though Denise respected Angie – even admired her on some level. Angie was great at ‘reading a situation’ and was seldom wrong. They could interview someone and within minutes Angie had them figured out. She knew what made them tick. She could console them or put them off balance, depending on the nature of the interview. Denise knew, if it was not for Angie, she wouldn’t be where she was today.

The Eighties were now over and the Nineties were just beginning – they had made great strides in the last ten years and Denise knew that they could go higher. If everything on this case worked out that is. Denise knew she had to stay focused. She came back from her thoughts to see Sara approach.

"How’s Angie doing?" Sara asked gingerly, sensing Denise’s melancholy mood.

"She’s okay. She’s a tad miffed," the detective chuckled, "but she’s okay."

"You really love her don’t you?" Sara said sincerely, wondering if there was a deeper meaning to Denise and Angie’s working relationship.

"Yeah I do," Denise said sincerely.

Sara studied Denise a bit longer. "Am I causing problems for you two?"

"What do you mean?" Denise asked unsure of Sara’s questioning.

"Well, I can’t help but notice how close the two of you are. Does the fact that we’re together make her jealous? Does she see me as a threat?"

Denise was confused and it showed. But Sara watched as the lightbulb clicked on. "Do you think Angie and I are lovers?" Denise asked with a grin.

"I have my suspicions," Sara replied. Suspicions, Sara berated herself, Now you sound like the jealous wife. Just shut up Langforth before you choke on your foot anymore.

Denise laughed and shook her head. "No, Angie and I are not lovers . . . Never have been. Never will be."

"Good," Sara nodded and started back to the kitchen.

Denise gave a physical shake wondering what in the world that conversation was about and followed after Sara. "Why the curiosity?" Denise asked, making Sara stop and turn around.

Sara considered just why she had asked. "I’ve never been a woman who enjoys coming between people," Sara explained vaguely. Denise wanted ‘distance’ and Sara was trying her damnedest to keep that distance yet she wanted to get some answers in the process.

"Well don’t worry. Angie and I are the best of friends. I love her deeply but it’s very platonic . . . It would be detrimental to our partnership if we were anything except friends."

"I guess it goes back to the pesky thing about maintaining a certain distance?" Sara added.

"Exactly . . . Plus she’s as straight as they come . . . She’s not homophobic. She’s just exceedingly hetro," Denise explained with a smile.

"What if Angie changed her mind?"

"About what?" Denise asked.

"About your relationship?" Sara grinned, prodding Denise for more information. "Say she decided she wanted more than a friendship with you. Would you take her up on the offer?"

Denise smiled again. "Two year she broke up with a guy she’d been dating for about three years. She was drunk and said something’s that could melt a stone . . . But I turned her down . . . She fell asleep on my couch," Denise grinned as she remembered that night. "The next morning she could only remember bits and pieces of the evening but she did remember some of the things she said and she thanked me profusely for not taking her up on any of them . . . People can say lots of things about me . . . I’m stubborn. I’m hot tempered at times. I can hold a grudge with the best of them . . . But it must also be said that I have a large amount of self-control."

"Well . . ." Sara began, "in the time we’ve known each other I’d have to say that’s all true. Especially the self control aspect. You’ve displayed that all too well," Sara grinned. "For the most part," she threw in as a slight tease.

She was relieved when Denise didn’t take offense and she smiled as well.

"Come to the kitchen," Sara said with a wave of her hand as she started to walk. "Lunch is almost ready." Lightening and thunder struck at the same instant shaking the floor and rattling the windows. "WooHoo!" Sara chuckled. "That baby was close." Her grin however vanished when she saw Denise’s face full of fear. "You okay?" Sara asked the detective. Denise paused a moment and looked out through the large bay window at the storm.

"Yeah," Denise said trying to brush it off. "Just caught me off guard is all. Seems like the storms are getting worse huh?"

Sara noted the concern in Denise voice but dismissed it. "Well it’s just a little water and wind. We’ll be okay. Now how about that food?" she asked completing her journey to the kitchen.

Denise let out a deep sigh. "Yeah, it will pass," she told Sara. On the inside however Denise did her best to steady her breathing and she prayed that it wouldn’t last much longer.




The rain never lifted. A week had passed and the storms were still sweeping across the island. Some were short and some lasted all night but one fact remained the same – they were getting more and more powerful. They lost their power twice since arriving and Sara was reading by candlelight for the second evening in a row when the phone rang.

Denise looked over at Sara concerned. No one had their number so why was the phone ringing. "Maybe it’s a wrong number," Sara said upon sensing Denise’s concern. The officer waited until the third ring and snatch the receiver up.


"Hello. Sara?" an older woman asked.

"Who is this?" Denise replied offensively.

"Sorry. It’s Nancy. Is she around?"

"Hold on," Denise said before placing her hand over the mic, looking at Sara. "Why in the hell is Nancy calling us? You gave her the number didn’t you?"

"She isn’t public enemy number one," Sara said rising and walking to the phone.

"Didn’t I tell you NOT to give this number away…To anyone?!"

"Let’s fight later after I’m off the phone," Sara said snatching it away from Denise’s hand. "Hi Nancy. What’s going on?"

Denise darted to the kitchen shaking her head. What am I gonna do with her? She promised she would listen and she didn’t. Sara’s fierce independence would send Denise to the nuthouse before this was all over. However her anger took a back seat when she heard the concern rise in Sara’s voice as she talked with Nancy. She went back to the living room and waited for Sara to finish.

"What’s wrong?" Denise asked before Sara could hang up.

"We have a storm coming," Sara whispered as she place the receiver down.

"There’s a news flash. We’ve had storms for the past week. Stuck in paradise and I can’t even get a tan," Denise replied.

"No Denise," Sara answered starting to look around the living room. "We have a bad storm coming. Nancy said there are hurricane conditions that started in the Atlantic last night . . . and they’re heading this way . . . fast."

"A hurricane?" Denise asked, rising and starting to pace. "Or hurricane conditions?"

"Right now they’re just conditions. A hurricane hasn’t manifested yet but it very well could by the time it reaches the island . . . I don’t know why I forgot about hurricane season."

"What do you mean? You knew there was a hurricane coming yet you brought us here anyway?" Denise replied, growing angry again.

"Spring and autumn is hurricane season but it’s been years since the Bahamas has seen one. I didn’t think it would be a concern."

"Well it is now!" Denise yelled. "What are we supposed to do?"

Even as they spoke the wind began to pick up. They watched the palm trees outside beginning to swoop to one side. "We’ll cover the windows with the sheets that were on the furniture," Sara said running to the bedroom.

Denise stood by watching Sara throw the sheets out into the living room.

"Go out to the shed and get some hammers and nails," Sara ordered. It was an odd experience for Denise to be the one taking orders now and she stood still watching Sara continue to search for more sheets. "Go now before it gets worse outside!" Sara yelled.

Denise went to the kitchen and got the key. She ran back through the living room. With a deep sigh she opened the front door. It slammed against the house; almost losing its hinges. She tried to close it again with her hands but the wind was too strong. Finally Denise put her shoulder behind it to slam it shut. Her feet tore up the grass as she raced to the shed. The wind blew her long, dark hair into her face making it difficult to unlock the shed.

But she did get the lock free and stepped inside. Another gust whipped through taking the shed door along with it. Denise didn’t notice. She was too busying trying to remember to breathe. Once she had the supplies in hand, she turned to close the shed, only to find the door missing. She watched as it began to tumble across the lawn.

Suddenly something hard hit her from behind, nearly knocking the wind out of her. She turned around toward the house and she watched as the shingles, that once kept the weather out, became dangerous projectiles. To her left she saw the electric and phone lines snap and begin to wave wildly. Denise felt paralyzed. She lost her concentration. She felt dizzy. After a few seconds she closed her eyes to catch what was left of her mental prowess again.

She began to run back to the house. Or at least she tried. It was easy getting to the shed. The wind was at her back. Now she had to walk into it. The heavy rain that just began didn’t help either. She was almost around the corner, hanging on the end of the house, when Sara came out. Sara grabbed Denise by the hand and pulled her to the porch. Sara’s strength startled Denise as Sara gripped and tugged her inside. They stood at the doorway and pulled the door closed together. Once inside they heard ripping and cracking sounds around them. They looked outside. The palm trees, that earlier were only bent, now had completely snapped.

Sara was pretty impressed – Mother Nature was certainly on a rampage today. It was dangerous no doubt. But Sara also had a sense of awe as well. She turned to make a smart aleck comment to Denise about the weather but she stopped before she could utter a sound. Sara was worried but not nearly as much as Denise. Denise looked downright petrified. Here was a woman who stood her ground against a gunman outside her apartment weeks before without fear. Yet this same woman was now physically shaking because of some strong wind and rain.

"Are you okay?" Sara asked, looking over Denise considering that maybe she’d been hurt outside and didn’t realize it at first. Denise was drenched by the rain and looked like a dripping popsicle but more delicious. Damn she’s sexy when she’s wet, Sara considered silently. She would have dwelled on that fact a bit longer if she had known that Denise wasn’t so emotional on edge. She lightly pushed Denise’s wet hair from Denise’s face making her jump a tad.

"I don’t like storms," Denise confessed as Sara continued to stroke her hair back. "Not at all." Denise couldn’t meet Sara’s face. Her eyes kept shifting around the room around her. She only looked at the blonde when Sara cupped her chin so they could look face to face.

"I don’t like them either but it will pass. Just remember how you stood up to those bounty hunters at my apartment and at the office. You’re very brave Denise. You’re the bravest person I’ve ever met."

"It’s not the same. People are much more predictable than Mother Nature," Denise said as she listened to the wind continuing to moan along with the pounding rain. Her eyes kept shifting around the room and outside to the windows, practically ignoring Sara.

Sara realized that the more time Denise had to think about the storm the worse she would feel so Sara knew what she had to do. Denise was someone comfortable with control. That loss of control at the moment made her a wreck. The weather wouldn’t give her that option of control over her destiny. Sitting only made things worse so Sara had a solution.

As carefree as she could muster Sara announced, "Let’s get to work. We have lots to do before the real storm comes." Just as soon as she said it she regretted the wording.

"What do you mean the ‘real’ storm?" Denise said looking urgently to Sara for an answer.

"It’s going to get worse before it gets better Denise. I won’t lie to you," Sara confessed. "If it is a hurricane at some point it will grow calm as the eye passes over and then-."

"It will get worse again," Denise finished. "I understand. I just thought that this was the worst is all."

"It may be," Sara said holding up a finger. She walked to the kitchen and she turned the battery radio on. "There. We’ll listen for updates . . . Is that okay? Or will it make you more uncomfortable?" Sara asked genuinely searching for an answer.

"No. That’s good," Denise nodded. "We’ll know what we’re up against."

"Okay then," Sara said rubbing her palms together, "We’ve got matters to attend to. We’ll start by cracking the windows in here to relieve the pressure inside. Then we’re going to nail the sheets up to protect us in case the windows break. I don’t want to spend the afternoon dodging glass, do you?" Sara teased.

She prayed Denise wouldn’t take offense and she was relieved when the officer’s lips curled ever so slightly in a grin. "No I agree. Where should I start?"

"Jane go North," Sara pointed acting like Tarzan hoping to lighten things up. "Me go south."

Denise tried to join in and asked, "Can you do the yell too?"

"Yep," Sara answered confidently. "But not damn near as good as Carol Brunette," she smiled.

The rest of the evening went on in a similar way – Sara gave the orders, trying to invoke humor as Denise did the tasks. By the end of the night they had a mock bunker with the sofa and kitchen table. Sara stuck to her plan of keeping Denise calm by keeping her busy. But the time had come when there was nothing more they could do and Denise began to grow tense again.

Sara climbed under the table and reached for Denise to follow her.

"C’mere," Sara said, pulling Denise close and putting an afghan around them. "Wanna tell me why you’re so spooked of storms?" Sara said casually. "If not that’s okay."

Denise took a deep sigh. "I’d really rather not think about that now."

"That’s okay, that’s okay," Sara said through a smile. She began a light rocking motion as she kept Denise close to her stroking her hair, playing with the ends now in then. After a bit of silence Sara cleared her throat.

"When I was five I got stuck on a Ferris Wheel. My brother and me. The very top car too – just my luck," Sara laughed with a hint of melancholy. "They tried several times to get it moving and ended up catching it on fire. People were running and screaming . . . They had just called in a cherry picker to get us out and they managed to empty the cars closest to the fire first until they had it under control. Since we were the highest we were the last to leave. My brother jumped into the picker with no problem but when I jumped . . . I didn’t make it inside. I caught the edge. The fire was out at that point but instead of taking the chance of pulling me inside they just lowered the basket until we were both on the ground . . . Ever since then I haven’t been any higher than six feet outdoors . . . Hotels? Office buildings? . . . No problem. But outdoors? Well, I’m scared to death . . . as you already know," Sara winked as Denise looked up at her.

"That had to be pretty damn scary for you," Denise offered.

Sara grinned as she considered it. "Yeah it was. . . and I know if it wasn’t for you that night at my apartment, I don’t think I could have made it. Not just with the gunman but with that damn fire escape," Sara said starting to chuckle before turning serious. "We all have fears Denise. Things that go bump in the night. You helped me with mine . . . I pray that I can help you with yours now."

Denise grinned but soon an inquisitive look washed over her face. She moved from Sara’s embrace and soon the two of them were standing in the living room.

"You hear that?" Denise asked with a grin.

Sara paused a moment listening. Then it struck her.

"I hear . . . nothing," she smiled.


Denise ran to the door with Sara right behind her. She opened it to find a light breeze and the sound of water dripping off the house. It was dark now and the sound of the insects had returned.

"Let me turn up the radio," Sara said stroking Denise’s arm and rushing back inside. Denise took a moment to take things in before joining Sara.

"The hurricane watch for the following and surrounding areas has been lifted: Ft. Lauderdale, Key West, Jamaica, Cuba, Bahamas-."

Denise and Sara didn’t hear the rest. They were too busy rapped up in their hoots and hollers. When they settled down Sara found herself wrapped in Denise’s arms. Knowing she’d never keep her promise of distance if she stood there much longer, Sara pulled back and took Denise by the upper arms, getting a firm yet friendly grasp on them.

"Told you we’d be alright," she said smiling at the officer.

Denise reached up and she stroked Sara’s hair, ignoring the little voice in the back of her mind for the moment. "Thank you," she whispered gently.

"For what?" Sara said, trying to downplay the effect the gesture had on her.

"For sharing your story, for keeping me busy . . . for keeping me sane." As Denise moved closer Sara was certain that Denise was going to kiss her. At the last second however Denise changed her destination and she planted a grateful kiss on Sara’s forehead. "Thank you."

Sara knew the kiss was a show of thanks but something else burned hotter and brighter behind it. Sara’s impulse to push the limits of ‘distance’ brought goosebumps to the surface of her skin that she was sure Denise could feel. The most difficult thing however was that she could tell Denise felt the same. But just as times past, as soon as she felt Denise come closer she felt her retreat within herself. Helpless she watched as Denise released her and begin to set the furniture upright again.

If she was unsure before she knew it with undeniable certainty now – Denise wanted her too. It may not be tonight Or even tomorrow but eventually it WILL happen. The infamous self-control of Denise VanCook would fall to Sara Langforth when Denise was ready. By the heat in Denise’s eyes, the feel of it in Denise’s fingertips, Sara knew the duty bound officer would be worth the wait.




The storm hadn’t done as much damage as the sound would have them believe. Except for the trees, a shed door and few shingles, everything looked the same. The phone and utilities were operating again although it took a few days work. Denise had just finished talking with Angie. Everything was peaceful back home which was a good sign.

Sara was making dinner when Denise walked up behind her, their bodies nearly touching.

"Where did you learn to cook?" Denise asked as she sampled the Parmesan sauce. Sara watched as Denise dipped her finger in the white gravy and sucked it dry. Sara masked her arousal with a playful smack, trying to condemn Denise’s lack of table manners. Denise noticed the delight Sara was experiencing with her gesture, making her grin.

"Why do you insist on teasing me?" Sara asked in frustration. She knew Denise was fully aware of her excited state. No sense in trying to hide it Sara figured. "Just remember that turn-a-bout is fair play," she threatened with a wooden spoon.

"I’m sorry," Denise said picking up the salad bowl. "I’ll keep my lips to myself."

"Are you kidding?" Sara mumbled to herself. "That’s exactly the problem."

"What’s that?" Denise asked from the dining area.

"Nothing," Sara replied in a singsong voice. "Can you please get the wine out?"

"Sure," Denise replied. She walked back the fridge and yanked the bottle with a smooth grace before strutting back to the dinning table. Sara for her part stood in the kitchen putting the meal on plates. Gently Denise sat the bottle on the table and quickly turned back to help Sara with the dinner when the bottle exploded all over the table.

"What the hell?"

Sara quickly looked over her shoulder to see the glass covering the linen cloth, complete broken. Denise’s eyes however instinctively looked to the patio door behind the table . . . and the pea-sized hole in the screen that, moments before, was not there.

"Get down!" Denise screamed as she took her own advice.


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