Sweet Temptation

Chapter One

"This was all your fault," Elizabeth chastised callously as Chris drove away from Ian's cabin after saving Elizabeth from Ian's attack on her, "If you hadn't been so pigheaded then I never would've been put in that situation to begin with you know."

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but you put yourself in that situation to begin with in your blatantly obvious attempts to make me jealous," Chris grumbled back at her with obvious irritation, "This was your fault."

"My fault," she huffed in response, "You were the one that slashed the tired and almost caused Ian to turn me into a blood sucker once again. This is all your fault because you can't control your hormones, Ramsey. Can I help it if you think I'm a wonderful, irresistible woman?"

"Irresistible?" he repeated with a heavy frown, "More like impossible and irritating. I can't stand you Elizabeth."

"Then why slash the tires," she challenged, "If you can't tolerate being around me, then why make such a fine mess of things unless of course it was your jealous rage?"

"You're living in the land of delusion," he threw back at her simply, "because that's not at all what it was on my end."

"Then what was it?" she demanded glaring in his general direction as she watched him closely.

"It was a case of my not wanting to be played again," Chris answered tightly, his fingers clenching over the steering wheel, "Maybe I'm tired of having things happen the way that they do and when you mentioned Ian's cabin, it pissed me off quite honestly."

"Because you were jealous," her voice raised with eagerness.

"No because I don't like losing and especially not at that place," Chris cut her off abrasively, "I don't want to give Ian the chance to feel superior over me once again."

"Because you were afraid he'd won me over," Elizabeth smiled feeling her impending victory eminent as her thoughts lingered to the way she'd grown fond of Chris over the last few months, "Admit it, you're crazy about me, Chris."

"I think I'm going crazy and yes you're involved, but it's not like you'd imagined it to be," he took a curve down the winding road carefully as the rain began to come down ahead of them, "You're a dangerous, foolish woman Elizabeth and the sooner I get you out of my life, the better I'll be."

"Don't you mean the sooner you have me, the better off we'll both me?" she lifted a perfectly sculpted brow easing her hand across his leg in a seductive fashion, "I mean isn't that what this is really about?"

"This is insane," he looked down to her hand on his lap briefly before focusing on the road ahead as his wipers wiped away the pounding rain clearing up a thin path of vision for him to the road before him.

"Chris, would you stop being so impossible," Elizabeth sighed thinking to her talk with Ian, "You and I both know that there's no point in fighting it because we have a connection with one another--a connection that neither one of us wanted or asked for, but it's still there nonetheless and the only way to really get over it is to well, for lack of a better term purge the fixation if you will."

"Purge the fixation?" he repeated turning his attention to her momentarily before looking to the road ahead.

"That's right," she nodded sliding her hand up his leg in a seductive fashion that she'd known to get her closer to what she'd wanted in a man time and time again. Chris was rich, attractive, rich and funny and not to mention rich and that was all she needed to get herself back into the lifestyle that she'd grown so very accustomed to being married to Malcolm. Sure Chris hadn't been her first choice in Port Charles, but he had enough of what she needed to keep him around for a while.

"And how do you propose we do that," he questioned feeling her fingers fan up over his thigh easing in over his body ever so slowly.

"Well I was thinking that the only way to really get rid of all this obvious sexual tension was to explore it if you will in a one on one setting--you know perhaps even in this car if you'd like."

Chris sucked in a breath as he turned his attention to her fully surprise evident behind his dark eyes, "You want to go for it in my car?"

"Sure," she flashed him her best look of temptation as she reached her target, massaging her palm over his body, "why not?"

"You're serious," Chris blinked back in surprise feeling her fingers settling in over his lap, "Right now?"

"Right here," she nodded eagerly, "We can make love in the car and see where it goes from here," she teased her hand over his body as Chris grabbed her wrist stopping her mid-movement and a laugh spilled over her lips, "Tell me Chris, ever do it in a car before?"

"Actually," he felt a smile tease over his lips as he carefully dislodged her hand from his body giving himself a chance to breath, "I have and in this car as a matter of fact."

"Oh really?" her lip curled into a pout as she sank back into the leather passenger seat, "Well, I'm sure it couldn't possibly have been as good as it's going to be for you tonight if you pull over."

"Elizabeth, can I ask you a question," Chris glanced over at her seeing her finger teasing over the top of her blouse casually popping open a button, "How many men have decided not to ravish you after that kind of come on?"

"Shouldn't you be asking how many man have taken me up on the offer after this kind of come on because given that I've had a hundred percent rate of seduction, that might be an easier answer."

"Actually," Chris shook his head thinking about the ways in which he'd always managed to find himself caught up in the crazy schemes Elizabeth had put him into over the last few months. Had life become that pathetic for him?

"Chris, I don't know what you're worried about," she began with a hint of a smile, "I'm trying to make this as easy as possible for you considering how you were ready to take Ian on and be my hero."

"Believe it or not that had nothing to do with you," Chris admitted after a moment's hesitation, "It had more to do with something else."

"Chris, you don't have to pretend," Elizabeth began leaning over to kiss the side of his neck with a low moan, "I already know how you feel for me…"

"Elizabeth, knock it off," he spoke her name sharply feeling himself jump a bit at the contact as the car hit a puddle and began to skid on the winding road. He struggled to get control of the wheel as Elizabeth flew back into her seat and a tiny scream fell from her lips.

"Chris, watch out," she screamed seeing a figure before them as Chris's eyes fell upon the woman in the middle of the road. Seeing her before him in the darkness, he steered the car away from her hoping to avoid disaster as his car crashed into the embankment.

A dull hiss began to roar over the silence that filled his car as Chris looked to Elizabeth seeing that she'd been shaken in the crash, but still she looked alright for the most part as he reached out to touch her arm.

"Elizabeth," he spoke her name as her angry eyes darted towards him.

"You imbecile. I told you to keep your eyes on the road considering the weather," she hissed in response pulling at her seatbelt before plucking it open, "Honestly, if you wouldn't have let your hormones get the best of you, then we wouldn't be in this position right now lost in the middle of nowhere with no one around us."

"I can see your fine," he grumbled moving away from her as he looked out into the stormy night beyond his car, "so I think I'll go check on the person in the road."

"Wait a second," she tugged on his arm urging him towards her once again, "Chris, you can't just leave me. Don't go out there."

"Elizabeth, I have to check on the person. They might be hurt."

"But I might be hurting and I need you," she threw out desperately, "Don't go."

"Elizabeth," he untangled himself from her reach, "I have to check this one out."

"Chris, please don't go," she begged as he opened the door and stepped out into the night feeling the icy sleet and rain pour down upon him. A frown touched over his lips as he realized that this kind of storm wasn't typical for a New York night like this. Sure, the autumn had brought with it a sense of chill and the feel of change, but not like this one seemed.

Hanging over the night was a feeling, a strong, eerie thing that hung over the pit of his stomach as Chris noticed the remains of a car across the road. It seemed to be teetering on the edge of the bridge that Chris had maneuvered himself over and it seemed on the verge falling into the river beneath the bridge. He quickly rushed over to the car wondering if it's occupant had been trying to flag someone down when he'd lost control of his own car. While he'd been too distracted by Elizabeth at the time, he'd struggled to keep from having a collision with the woman he'd seen--at least he'd thought it was a woman, he realized suddenly seeing that nothing was as clear as it should've been. He hadn't thought he'd hit anyone, but given the degree of the rain and the winds, he couldn't be sure.

"Chris, get back in here," Elizabeth's voice echoed through the darkness, "It's cold in the car."

"Call 911," Chris ordered back as he waved in her direction.

"What?"

"Call for help," he threw out again realizing that she'd be completely useless as he looked to the car before him. Moving forward he could see that the driver's side door was thrown open completely as the car teetered on the edge of the bridge. He couldn't see much more than darkness from within it's simple interior as he reached out wondering if there was someone still inside. He made one more step forward as the car spilled off the edge plummeting into the water below with a resounding thud.

Fear and adrenaline flooded over his senses as Chris began to tear away at his jacket wondering if there was someone inside the car before him. The crashing waves began to tear at the car, causing a screeching hiss to rise above the angry waters below. In it's decent, the car had caused an uproar in the river as the storm took no prisoners as it brought forth the end of the automobile tearing and ripping it apart before Chris. He looked back to his own car wondering if Elizabeth would follow simple direction before he fully shed his coat as the doctor in him took over and he prepared to risk it all as he thought of reaching out for the car's occupants. Just as he was about to go over the edge, he watched a hand rise above the darkness clenching onto the earth beneath the fingers that hung on so desperately.

"Help me," a pinched voice cried out as Chris turned his attention to the pale hand before him. Rushing towards the sound, he knelt down on the ground straining to see the face behind the hand that beckoned him. Suddenly none of that mattered as saving this person before him was top priority. He pulled her towards him, hearing the sounds of her heart pounding as he hoisted her up into his arms, or was it his own as the trembling woman sank into him. He could feel the chill that flooded over her as her arms wrapped around his strong shoulders allowing him to pull her to safety.

"You're going to be okay," he promised feeling the ground crumble beneath him as he fell back taking her down with him as the sounds of the car being torn apart below carried over them.

Feeling her weight shift over him as he collapsed he realized she must've passed out as fear flooded over him. Chris quickly turned her in his arms, carefully placing her beneath him on the ground as he tried to shield her from the storm. Looking over at his car, he strained to see if Elizabeth had made some attempt to get help, but all he could make out was the blinding haze his headlights had created and that was suddenly secondary to the woman beneath him. His eyes fell upon her scantly clad form as he noted the flimsy, frail looking black silken slip she'd been donned in as he hung over her soft, shapely curves. Her legs were scraped and bruised with obvious abused evident in her as he wondered if he had in fact hit her in the crash. Fear consumed him as he noted the needle marks running up her arms, causing her otherwise flawless skin to be tainted by the redness that was revealed to him. Feeling a worry rush over him, he began to wonder just what this woman was doing out on a night like this as he reached out to collect the jacket he'd discarded in a haste.

"How did you get out here," he questioned aloud covering her up to the best of his ability as he lifted his fingers to her neck seeking out a pulse as her dark hair cascaded around her face hiding it from him. A breath of relief rushed over him as she seemed to have a pulse--a weak, unsteady one, but it was there none the less. As he reached for her arm, he realized that the track marks he'd noticed were seemingly something that had been around long before the accident. Wondering if she was some kind of junkie, he'd thought that perhaps she'd gotten behind the wheel of her car and stumbled out before him in a haze, unaware of how things were, but given her appearance, he had his doubts. She was thin--too thin to be considered healthy and as he looked at what she'd been wearing on top of the position her car was in, another thought occurred to him--one with much more sinister intent. Reaching forward, his fingers pressed through her dark hair as he heard the sound of footsteps approaching from behind him.

"Chris, I called for help," Elizabeth explained simply rubbing her arms as the rain poured down upon her, "They think they'll be able to find us and there's an ambulance on the way."

"I don't know if they'll make it in time," Chris began as he tried to see if the woman before him was breathing.

"Chris, it's not safe out here," she watched as he repositioned himself over the body before him, "Chris, what are you doing? Did you hit her?"

"I don't know Elizabeth," Chris answered reaching out for her hair once again in an attempt to sweep it from her face.

"Well don't touch her if you did. If she's hurt and it's because of us…"

"Elizabeth, enough," he glared up at her as he ignored her protests and he turned his attention to the woman before him. Sweeping her hair from her face, he felt a gasp fall from his lips as the sound of sirens could be heard in the distance, "No, it can't be."

"What?" Elizabeth's eyes widened in surprise, "Is she dead?"

"I thought so," Chris breathed as Elizabeth stepped forward.

"What?"

"She can't die on me," Chris leaned forward administering mouth to mouth as his fears poured down upon him deeper and harder than the rain that surrounded them. He felt her chest rise and fall with his breath flooding life into hers as he prayed that this wasn't just a dream--some kind of nightmare come to life. If this was what he believed it to be, then he had a chance to save the very thing that had slipped out of his life once before.

"Chris, what's happening," Elizabeth turned towards the sound of the sirens, "Thank God someone's coming."

"Make sure they see us," Chris began desperately as Elizabeth headed towards the sound. He looked down to the woman before him ready to do anything and everything in his power as he realized he wouldn't have forgotten her face--the face that had haunted his dreams each and every night since he'd thought he'd lost her. She was his angel, his heaven and now she was before him, cold and clammy on the ground as the rain surrounded them, but as he offered up his breath of life into her praying for a miracle, a gasp spilled out from her lungs and she began to cough as he pulled away from her. Her dark eyelashes fluttered up at him in a haze as she continued to cough, water spilling over her lips as Chris reached out to her turning her so she wouldn't choke as she coughed.

"You're going to be okay," he promised as she took in a breath, her pulse racing wildly as Chris heard the sounds of the paramedics just beyond the place they'd wound up in with one another.

"Wh-what happened," she questioned weakly as she turned her eyes up towards him, confusion evident in her tone as she blinked in surprise, "Chris?"

"It's okay," he tried to assure her as he too blinked a few times wondering if this was all just a dream, "Eve, everything's going to be okay…" he offered once more.

"I know that now," she whispered hoarsely as her head fell back and she collapsed in his arms just in time for the paramedics to join the scene as Chris realized his life was about to change forever from this moment on.
Chapter Two

Chris paced the darkened hallway at the hospital feeling the stickiness of his shirt cling to his every contour as his heart thudded in his chest. He'd tried to convince the paramedics that he was in fact a doctor and that he was best equipped to deal with the situation at hand, but they'd been adamant about not letting him treat Eve. Just thinking about the way she looked when he'd found her, the way her body was battered and bruised, it caused an ache to swell up inside of him as he thought to that time they'd spent in the ambulance on the way over.

"Everything's going to be okay," he could still hear himself saying to her as he realized that he had far too many questions and not enough answers as he'd seen her in such a state. It brought a pain to his heart as he realized that there was so much that he didn't know, so much that he couldn't quite understand, and yet here she was plain as day before him and alive--barely alive at best, but still here on this earth.

"Chris," a voice beckoned him as he turned around to find Elizabeth standing in the hallway underneath one of the fluorescent lights that shone dimly above her. Her blonde hair was tangled as she clung to the blanket that the paramedics had provided her with. She rushed over to him, her eyes smeared to a black shade as her makeup had lost the war the winds and the rain had waged upon her, "Thank God I found you."

"Elizabeth," he spoke her name realizing that he'd forgotten completely about the woman he'd been driving with before all of this began. Sure, he'd known she was there, but he hadn't given her a second thought from the moment he'd found Eve. Even now, he couldn't stop thinking about the woman he'd been hoping to hear word on as Elizabeth reached out to touch his arm gently.

"I was so afraid they were going to keep us in here for hours after that accident," she explained with a scowl as she shook her head allowing the droplets of water in her hair to splash all over as she shuddered at the thought, "and quite frankly this is the last place I want to be at a time like this, so let's get out of here."

"I can't," Chris argued with her snapping back into the moment as her urgent tug on his arm pulled him from his thoughts of Eve.

"What do you mean you can't? Did the police say that they wanted to talk to you about something else? I mean it's not like we hit that woman because you and I both know that wasn't the case," she began discontent washing over her as she shifted on her toes, "Chris, you told them we didn't hit her, right?"

"Elizabeth, that's not it," he shook his head dismissively turning towards the ER once again, "I can't leave."

"If the police don't want you to stick around for more questioning and they know that we had nothing to do with this accident, then as far as I can see we're free to go. The woman is in good hands now and we did our charity work for the day, so now it's time to get home. I'm wet and I'm tired and I'm a bit cranky after this disaster of a night--not to mention that my bee sting from earlier still has my head a bit hazy so I would really like to slip into something more comfortable and dry preferably and well I'd also like to maybe take on one of those killer martinis of yours."

"I'm not going anywhere," Chris answered firmly as he glanced back at her seeing her eagerness to split from the scene they'd found themselves in as her main concern had returned to her top priority--herself.

"Of course you are," she started to slink her arm in his, "Crhis, I know I'd promised you a night full of passion and maybe once we get out of this place and away from the smells of the blood and the disinfectant, well perhaps it could perk me up a bit and we could return back to that seduction scenario we'd talked about."

"Elizabeth, what part of no don't you understand," he frowned deeply rubbing the back of his neck as the tension in his head mounted and he felt as though he was going to burst from the inside out, "I'm not going anywhere."

"Then how the hell do you expect me to get home," she placed her hands on her hips defiantly, "You were the one who slashed my tires so you're the one who is responsible for getting me back home you know. Clearly we wouldn't be in this position if it wasn't for you…"

"Elizabeth, not now," he raised his hand to silence her as his voice grew tight with anxiety, "I'm not in the mood for this."

"Whether you're in the mood for it or not, this is your reality check there Chris and you put us in this situation and I demand you take us out of it starting now."

"Fine," he reached into his pocket feeling the damp material cling against him as he withdrew his wallet. Quickly he fumbled within it's leather contents and he pulled out a couple hundred dollar bills and handed them over to her, "Here you are."

"Excuse me?" she blinked back at him insulted, "What the hell is this?"

"It's money for a cab," he answered flatly before turning towards the ER once again, "so go home."

"Now just wait one damned minute here," she marched up behind him, "I'm not going anywhere in a cab when you are clearly capable of taking me home and I expect you to do just that. I mean it's not like you have any obligations here," she paused contemplating her words as she stepped towards him placing her hand on his shoulder, "Chris, I know that the doctor in you is wanting us to say, but the man in you should be thinking about what's waiting for us back home in Port Charles. It's been a long day and I'd just as soon have it end now if we're going to be stuck here at this hospital."

"I gave you money for a cab," he answered simply with a shrug of his shoulders as he stepped out of her touch, "so why don't you just call it a night and head on home as I'm sure you'll have more than enough money there for the ride."

"Chris, that's not what this is about and you know it," she stomped her foot finding him increasingly difficult as she felt the faint buzzing coming from inside her purse. With a huff, she fished inside pulling out her phone and bringing it up to her ear despite the many signs hanging in front of her about not using a cell phone in this particular area of the hospital. "Hello…" she began hearing the voice on the other end of the line as her mood perked up, "Alison, oh hi darling," she walked away from Chris as he felt a breath of relief escape his lips.

Suddenly without Elizabeth around, Chris felt some peace and quiet despite his raging emotions about what he'd encountered during the crash. Even now as he replayed the events in his head over and over again, he struggled to find a way to make sense of what had happened with Eve. How was it she came to be on that bridge? On that road so near death when she'd been taken from him so very long ago? Could it be that she'd never truly left, but if that had been the case then where had she been? He knew now that there was no easy explanation to things, but the sooner he heard word on her, the better off he'd be as he had a sinking sensation that at any moment he would awaken and it would all be nothing more than a dream--much like the ones that had haunted him all these months without her.

"Chris, that was Alison," Elizabeth's voice pierced through his questioning mind like nails on a chalkboard as she tugged on his arm, "She's getting married right away and we have to get out of here like now."

"Elizabeth, I'm not leaving," he snapped turning to face her.

"Of course you are," she ignored his angry eyes, "because I refuse to miss the most important day of my daughter's life because you're having a temper tantrum. She and Rafe aren't far from here and if we hurry I'm sure we'll find time to…"

"You can find time, but I'm not going," Chris answered flatly, "Not now and not with you."

"Chris, what has gotten into you," she curled her lip in a pout, "You're not acting like yourself and I'm starting to worry about you. Did you hit your head in the crash?"

"Elizabeth," he began finding himself at his wit's end as the door opened before him and the doctor on duty stepped out into the waiting room. Immediately all thoughts of arguing with Elizabeth took a back seat as he rushed over to the doctor before him.

"Dr. Ramsey," the man questioned as Chris nodded eagerly.

"Tell me she's alright," Chris pleaded with him, "that there wasn't more damage than I'd imagined."

"Other than having been subjected to some pretty potent narcotics and a severely sprained wrist, not to mention the nasty bump she took on the head, well I think our patient is going to pull through this as long as we can run her through the course of detoxing her," he answered simply as a breath of relief flooded over Chris's lips.

"Then I can see her, yes?" Chris questioned eagerly.

The doctor nodded, "We'd like to keep her under observation and work on flushing her system a bit more, but I'm sure I can find a way to get you in to see her as you are family, right?"

Chris nodded in response, "That's right, I'm her husband."

"Her what," Elizabeth's eyes widened in response to him as she pulled on his arm tearing him away from the doctor before them, "Why the hell did you say that? Chris, you and I know nothing about this woman other than she was some junkie on the streets and now you're taking up with her pretending to be her husband. Chris, what's going on?"

"Elizabeth, I don't have time to explain," Chris started to pull away from her.

"Make time," she demanded harshly, "because I have to get to my daughter's wedding and I won't let something as ridiculous as this keep me from getting there."

"Then go," Chris shot back simply as his eyes penetrated hers, "I'm not leaving her."

"You're making a mistake," Elizabeth's lip curled into a pout as she watched him closely, "You do realize that, don't you because if I walk out this door without you, this isn't going to be one of those situations where I come back wanting you to be a part of my life and share things with me. I'm not going to be in a giving mood if you don't change your mind."

"Elizabeth, I've made a lot of mistakes up until this point, but I'm not going to do that again," he stated simply before turning to the doctor before him, "I'd like to see my wife now."

"Of course," the man nodded in response leading Chris away from the waiting room as Elizabeth watched his retreat wondering what in the world had possessed Chris to behave so impulsively and so stubbornly about a woman neither of them had known before the accident. Still as she thought to Alison's special day, she realized that Chris would have to wait as her daughter was now her top priority. With that thought in mind, she left the hospital realizing that one way or another Chris would be back. It would only be a matter of time before he started groveling to her and when he did, oh would she ever make him beg, but now, well now was all about Alison.

********************

Silently Chris made his way into the dimly lit recovery room Eve was laying in. His breath caught in his throat as he realized that the fluorescent lighting overhead did nothing to hide the bruises that ran up along the inside of her arm. Her pale features were enough to cause his heart to shudder as her cheekbones seemed so hollow, so lost in the misery that she'd somehow been subjected to all this time as he pulled up a seat beside her. Now as he listened to the sounds of the machine's she was hooked up to, his heart pounded in his chest, blood racing through his veins as he realized that despite the time and torture she'd somehow been subjected to, she was still radiant as ever--as beautiful as the day he'd first fallen in love with her and in this instant in being near her again, he realized he never wanted to let go of her again.

Slowly Chris eased his finger tips up over her hand, brushing the pad of his thumb tenderly against her palm as she twitched ever so slightly, clearly a sign of the drugs working through her system as his heart ached. He lifted her hand up to his lips kissing it tenderly as tears pooled in his eyes, "What happened to you," he questioned in a tight whisper as he tried to make sense of what was taking place.

Chris thought to the last time he'd seen her, to the day he'd been unable to share his feelings with her. He'd wanted so many times to seize the moment and reclaim that day again and again as it would've kept her from the horrible twist of fate that had ripped her from his life, but now as she lay before him hanging onto the life that had pressed through her lungs carrying forth a breath with each passing moment, he saw that she was real. She wasn't just a figment of his imagination and as he leaned in beside her holding her hand to his face, he felt the tears blurring his vision as he'd somehow been granted a miracle--somewhere out there destiny had offered him a second chance at happiness that he'd believed was gone from his life forever.

"You're safe now," he promised kissing her hand tenderly as he vowed to himself that he would do anything in his power to keep her from harm's way as he was given the gift of a lifetime in her return. Nothing would ever keep him from her again as in holding her like this, feeling the warmth of her hand against his cheek as his tears overcame him, he promised himself that this time there would be no more mistakes--no more empty promises and secrets. From this moment on he was going to allow his heart to lead him to the love he'd missed out on before with the only woman he'd ever truly felt this kind of connection to. From here on out it was about keeping Eve Lambert in his life and he realized that he'd do it at any cost as she was worth everything to him.

Chapter Three

The cool hospital air hung over Chris as he tried to make himself comfortable beside Eve on the small bed. Earlier in the evening he'd been at a chair by her side, but when she'd started to tremble a bit--lost in some kind of nightmare, he took it upon himself to ease in beside her, keeping her warm as her fears haunted her dreams. Now she was still in his arms and looking so very lost as he held on to her realizing that despite the discomfort the hospital bed provided, he was content to be sharing this moment with her. Gently he eased a piece of her long, dark hair from her face as he focused on her beautiful features. She was still so very breathtaking, he thought to himself as his thumb skimmed over the side of her face gently. A slow breath carried over her as his eyes traced over her features thinking of how long he'd envisioned a moment like this--how he'd longed for some kind of reunion between them in his heart while he was fully aware of the reality that surrounded his wishes. However, things had come full circle as she was here in his arms, surrounding him with the life he'd felt slipped away in her passing.

"Mmmm…" a slow murmur rose from her lips as her eyelashes began to flutter and seconds later he found himself gazing down into the deep chocolate pools before him. Another sigh escaped her lips as she turned her cheek into his hand more completely, "Chris…"

"Shhh…" he ordered trying to keep her calm as her lips curled in a soft, shallow sound.

"Wh-where am I?" she questioned faintly as she felt his strong hold surrounding her.

"You're safe now," he promised leaning forward to kiss the top of her forehead, "I'm with you."

She closed her eyes and smiled at his words before snuggling in closer to him, "I hoped I'd find you," she confessed taking in a slow, soothing breath as her eyelashes fluttered open once again, "I was so afraid I'd never see you again, but here you are…"

"Here I am right where I was meant to be," Chris promised easing his finger tips over the side of her face gently as she inhaled a slow, tired breath. He could feel her exhaustion still overtaking her as the after effects of the battle her body had begun the previous evening was taking it's toll on her, but now as he felt the warmth of her beside him, he realized that his dreams about forever were seemingly coming true as the only woman who'd ever really mattered in his life was right beside him.

"What time is it," she asked breaking through his thoughts as her voice sounded weak, broken by the hoarseness in her throat.

"It's early still," he answered softening his tone as he leaned in closer to her, "probably no later than six at best as the sun hasn't been out too long."

"That's pretty early," she sighed as her eyelids fluttered open and she turned her head towards him, a hint of a smile teasing over her lips, "but it's still martini time somewhere else in the world right about now, huh?"

Chris smiled at her attempt at humor as her pale features still remained colorless. The pad of his thumb skimmed over her cheekbone as he inched in towards her, "That's right Lambert. It's always martini time."

"I could use one of those right about now," she whispered as a breath caught in her throat. She curled her lips as if she was waiting to say something--ready to open up a line of communication that had been broken between them for so very long, but before she could get the words out a sound filled the room and she nearly leapt out of the bed despite her condition.

"I'm sorry about that," the woman before them apologized as she'd held a tray of hospital food before her. She'd seemingly stumbled into the

"How's the patient this morning," the young girl smiled as her blonde hair tickled over her pug like features.

"We're doing fine," Chris quickly eased himself out of bed noting the way that Eve seemed upset by the new arrival. He could still see her shaking out of the corner of his eyes and his concerns doubled as he pondered what kind of hell she'd been through since he'd last seen her. "I can take that."

"Thanks…" the young girl smiled as she threw out a hint of a flirty tone, "it's my first week and I'm still getting the hang of things you see and well I'm kind of a klutz."

"You did just fine," Chris offered a quick smile before adding dismissively, "but we've got it all covered in here."

"Okay great," she chuckled before following up with a tiny snort as Chris turned his attention to Eve once again as she held the blanket up over her body despite her weakened condition. She looked as though she was ready to crawl out of her skin as the new arrival had set her on full alert.

Chris tried to play down the situation remembering how Eve had been unwilling to be vulnerable to her fears in the past and he offered up a tiny smile before winking at Eve, "I think she likes me."

"You think every woman likes you, Ramsey," she teased weakly as she began to shift into a more comfortable position on the bed.

"Even so, what can I say? I'm just charming," Chris added with a hint of flirtation in his voice, "and you can't help but love me, can you?"

"You'd like to think that, wouldn't you," she teased back a hint of sarcasm in her voice before her tone tapered off into something a bit more fragile. "You must think I'm pathetic for responding the way I did just now, don't you?"

"Why would I think that," Chris questioned carefully manuvering the table along side of the hospital bed closer to her so that he could set the tray down in front of her, "Eve, you know I'd never feel that way about you."

"Well you should because that's what I am you know," she sighed looking to the food before her before placing her hand over her stomach and groaning, "I can't eat that."

"Of course you can," Chris pulled the lid off one of the plate seeing the congealed slimy looking piece of Salisbury steak before him as his nose wrinkled in response to what he saw. Immediately he returned the lid to the plate and pushed the tray out of the way, "Okay maybe not…"

"That looked really bad, but really," Eve turned her attention to her toes, watching the blanket as though it was the most interesting thing in the world, "I can't eat that. I can't eat anything here and Chris," she looked up at him once again with pleading eyes, "I can't stay here."

"Eve, you're going to get help here," he began to explain seeing the traces of fear shining in her eyes, "You still have a long road to recovery and while you're feeling good now…"

"No, you don't understand," Eve shook her head in refusal, "I can't be here. He'll find me here."

"Who'll find you?" Chris questioned noting the panic that overtook her.

"It's not safe here," she insisted her voice raising in volume as her eyes scanned the room, "Chris, I can't be here. You have to get me out of this place…away from him because if he finds me," she threw the blanket off of her as she began to stumble out of bed, her knees giving out on her as Chris reached out across the bed to curl his arm around her waist catching her before she fell.

"Eve," he spoke her name as he pulled her further into his arms.

"Chris, I can't stay here," she sobbed into his chest holding on to him as her tears overcame her, "I can't be here now not while he's still out there…not while…" she turned her teary brown eyes up in his general direction, "Chris, I need to get out of here. We need to go somewhere safe before it's too late…"

"Eve, you're not making sense," Chris gave her a strange look, "I don't know what happened to you, but I swear to you that no one is going to hurt you again. Whoever did this to you is going to be punished for hurting you and…"

"Chris, you can't stop him," Eve explained her voice growing more desperate by the moment, "As soon as he discovers I'm gone, he'll come after me and then…then…then there won't be anything we can do to stop him. Chris, he wants me dead. He's not going to stop until he has me--until he destroyed me completely…"

"Eve, who? Who did this to you? Who is he?"

"Chris, I can't," she began to tremble in his arms as she looked to the door, "I just have to get out of here. He can't find me again…"

"Tell me who did this to you and I swear to you that I'll protect you…" Chris begged of her.

"You can't protect me unless we keep moving. We have to get out of here before he finds out I'm here…" Eve explained again.

"Who? Eve, please tell me who did this to you so that I can find him and take care of him once and for all. Let me help you…" he pleaded with her frightened eyes, "Eve, tell me who hurt you."

"Chris," she bit on her lower lip as tears spilled down her cheeks and she choked up on her words before finally blurting out the horrible truth, "Your father."

"What?" he blinked back at her in confusion, "what did you just say?"

"Your father--Henry Ramsey did this to me," she explained further as her tears overtook her, "and if he finds me again, Chris he'll kill me this time for sure. I can't stay here," she broke down in his arms as Chris found himself holding onto her as if he'd never let go. Suddenly his fears compiled as the very thought of his father being involved in her abuse caused his blood to boil.

"But how…how did he…" he felt the questioned spinning around in his mind take over as he held her, "Eve, how did my father…"

"Chris, we have to get out of here…" she ignored his questions, "Please tell me that you'll get me out of this place…that we can go somewhere else…somewhere safe…"

Chris looked down at her for a long moment knowing that there was far more to this story that he needed to know, but as he saw the terror building behind her dark eyes, he pulled her into his arms squeezing her close to him as he wanted to spare her anymore misery, "I promise I'll get you out of here. You'll be safe with me Eve. I'll find a way to make you feel safe again," he swore to her hoping that somehow he could uncover the truth about what happened to her and find a way to help her out of the madness that had overtaken her life. One way or another he would find a way to make her safe again and when he did, he'd also make sure the man responsible for her pain was put in his place--even if it meant taking down the man he'd grown to despite over the years as if Henry Ramsey had played a part in any of Eve's misery, he was as good as dead. That much Chris was sure of.

….to be continued…