Disclaimer: I don't own anything except for the characters that I create. Sorry for the extremely long wait. Had a lot of things on my mind these past months. Hope you haven't forgotten about this story. Enjoy!

Jade's Hangout

Cassie enters the small restaurant and bar just as a sad melody begins to fill the room. She waves to Jade behind the bar as she makes her way towards the stage and the person strumming on stage.

The singer's eyes are closed as she strums and nods to the beat she creates.

I hate you

Just thought I let you know

I'm broken because of you

I knew some good men in my life

And even learn to love a few

But the scars that you left

On my skin and my soul

Have left me chasing love away

Cassie sits at a small table. Her focus was not on the gentle strumming of the guitar, but on the pain that seemed to pour out of the song. It held so much anger and sadness at the same time. An anger that was now duplicated in Cassie. She cared about Vanessa like she was her own daughter.

I hate you

The pain you've caused has marked me

I see you on those rainy nights

Taking what's not yours

Hurting me all over again

Vanessa opens her eyes for the first time since she started playing. Seeing Cassie in the room causes Vanessa to stop playing.

"What are you doing here?"

"I was about to ask you the same thing, Vanessa." Cassie walks over to the stage just as Vanessa sets aside the guitar.

"Today's not a good day."

"I guessed that much. New song?"

"Old hurt. Talking to the counselor today made me remember…"

Cassie gives her a sympathetic look.

Flashback

"Tell me about your first husband."

"He was nice…in the beginning." Vanessa stares down at her hands like they were the most interesting things in the world. All to avoid looking at the counselor.

"Please continue."

"Dan was a businessman. An old friend of the family. He was much older than I was at the time. My parents thought I needed protection. Thought he'd make the perfect husband. I considered it. Who wouldn't. He was so handsome and successful. He had the most beautiful set of hazel eyes I'd ever seen."

"It was only after I found out that I was pregnant that I agreed to marry him. He didn't figure it out until after I started to show.

"It was the first time he hit me …first time anyone had ever hit me. After that night he got used to hitting me."

End of Flashback

"Forget about Dan. He can't hurt you anymore."

"You'd think that be true." Vanessa heads for the door.

Jade comes out from behind the bar.

"So that's Vanessa." Jade states glancing at the door.

"Yeah that's her."

Jade softly shakes her head.

"Poor girl," Jade sighs, "Comes in every week around this time and plays the same song. Doesn't say a word…just plays and leaves when she finishes. Never knew the girl's name till now."

"She's had to face so much, so soon in her life."

"It shows. I hope that boy doesn't put his foot in his mouth."

"Knowing Eddie….He already has."

Vanessa's Apartment

She slams the door behind her getting the attention of the newest occupant sitting on the sofa. Apparently all the locks in New York aren't enough to keep Eddie out.

"Getting comfy, I see." She says walking over to Eddie.

"You're running low on food." Eddie comments holding up a bag of chips.

"I have plenty of food."

"You did." Eddie says stressing the last word.

"Great! What do you expect me to eat?" Eddie holds out the bag of chips for her to take some.

"You're not a very good host, Nessie."

Vanessa tosses her purse on the table with enough force to send it flying off the other end of the table.

"Says the annoying guest."

Vanessa turns to the fridge to see if she can salvage anything to eat. The fridge is full.

"Like I would steal food from a pregnant woman."

Alleyway - Afternoon

A small group of women had gathered at the end of cluttered alleyway in anticipation of their self-proclaimed leader. Each woman had appeared one by one to avoid attracting unwanted attention from passers-by.

It was nearing five o'clock in the afternoon when the youngest and most outspoken of the group let out an exasperated sigh. The young woman, Liz, was clearly through waiting. Her torn jeans and faded T-shirt indicated she had hoped for a nice day of quiet relaxation.

"I'm not waiting till 'princess' decides to show up." She says standing up only to be pushed back down by another woman.

"Sit down and shut up."

Just as Liz was about to give the other woman a few choice words, the sound of footsteps alerted them to their leader's presence.

"Well, girls. Glad you could show up." The woman says as she scans the group of women to make sure all were in attendance.

"I called you all here to discuss your 'loyalty' to the group." She saw a couple of them shift uncomfortably. "Its come to my attention that we have a few …stragglers in the group."

She signals someone in the back with a wave of her hand. The member shoves another to the front of the group. The so-called 'straggler' was Jan, a married woman in her early thirties. She stood there utterly terrified and…guilty. Jan was secretly working with the authorities to tie the group to a string of suspicious deaths.

"So what do you have to say for yourself?"

"I..I…"

"Well, speechless for once. Hoped you'd been that way with the police." She pulls out a silver dagger. The group's insignia etched along the dagger's handle.

Crime Scene - Few Hours Later

"Couple of kids took a shortcut through the park and found her like this."

The victim laid sprawled across the freshly cut grass. Cuts and scrapes adorned her arms, but none more noticeable than the large carvings across her chest and stomach. Vast amount of blood pooled around her.

The word "Mole" had been carved into her skin.

"Mole. Good chance its gang-related."

"Jan!" A man rushes under the tape and towards the victim. "Please no!"

Mac prevents the grieving man from coming any closer as he waves off the oncoming officers.

"Can you tell me your name?"

"Devin...James. My wife…oh no…what happened to her?" the man says clearly distraught at the bloody sight.

"That's what we are trying to figure out. When did you last see your wife?"

"A few nights ago. She was spending… the weekend …with friends." He says between sobs. "The kids! I got to get them from daycare."

"An officer will go with you." The man only nods and follows one of the officers.

"No eye-witnesses." Lindsay says walking up to Mac. "Everyone claims to not have heard anything."

"With these kinds of wounds someone must have heard something."

Mac looks up from the body to see Flack walking towards them being occupied by two men - clearly FBI.

"Mac, this is Agent Rinder and Agent Stuart." Flack says motioning to the men next to him.

"Jan James was one of our informants. She was suppose to give us the name of the leader and where to find her."

"Her?"

"Our sources led us to believe that an elite group of women are in fact behind a string of murders down in Boston. The leader was to show her face today and we would have had her. What we do have is a list of alleged members." the agents says handing Mac the list.

"I knew it wasn't a good idea to have her show up to the meeting." The younger of the two agents says.

"Meeting? What meeting?" Mac asks.

"The group was to have a meeting today about what… it wasn't clear. Till now." The older agent says solemnly. "If there's anything we can do…we'll be in touch, Detective Taylor."

"They were oddly helpful." Lindsay says watching the agents get into a black sedan.

Vanessa's Apartment

Eddie stared in disbelief at the enormous amount of food currently on the small dining table.

"You ain't going to eat all of that …are you?"

Vanessa looks at him with a 'duh' expression on her face.

"Let me get my video camera before you 'dug in'. I want something to show little Eddie when he gets older." Eddie says searching through his things.

"Who told you what name I wanted to give my baby?"

Eddie picks up a small blue book.

"Its an addiction." He waves it in front of her.

"You read my diary!"

Vanessa snatches the book out of his hands. Eddie throws his hands up in mock surrender.

"I didn't read much…just a couple of pages…you know to pass the time waiting for you to show up."

"How much is a couple?" She asks taking several threatening steps towards him. Eddie wastes no time a jumps behind the couch, using the small tattered furniture as a shield between him and Vanessa.

"Don't hurt me…I bruise easily. I don't look quite as hot with dem bruises."

Vanessa bursts into fits of laughter.

"You idiot. You haven't changed." She sets her diary on the small coffee table in front of the couch.

Eddie jumps back over the couch and pats the seat next to him. Forgetting her anger, she takes the seat offered to her.

They sit side by side for several minutes before Eddie decides to break the silence.

"How's little Vanessa." He asks, using his nickname for Lexie.

"She's fine. A college girl now."

"Man, you're old." He receives a jab in the arm for the comment.

"You're just as 'old' as me."

"Seriously though, you must be proud. She's a great kid."

"Look who sounds old now." Vanessa says with a smirk.

"But still hot."

"Sure keep dreaming." Eddie's smile turns into a pout.

Silence once again fills the room.

"So…how much time do you have before you go back to work?"

"A couple of hours…why?"

Eddie grabs his jacket and heads to the door, taking Vanessa along with him.

"Let go see the Botanical Gardens. I bet you haven't gone." Vanessa stopped in her tracks.

"How?"

"Danny told me how much you liked the gardens the last time you were here. So I called in a favor from the new owner of the place."

"I didn't get to enjoy it much with the case and all."

"Yeah kinda figured that." Vanessa continues to look around. "So you like it?" Vanessa turns to him.

"Thank you. It's the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me." Flack smiles.

"Vanessa?"

Eddie's voice brings her out of her thoughts. "You okay there?"

"Yeah fine. I just don't feel like going now."

The look on her face was something Eddie recognized from many years of friendship with the stubborn brunette. He knew right away when something was up with her. Judging by the far away look in her chocolate brown eyes it had to do with a recent memory.

"Can't fool me Nessie. I know you better than anyone. You can…"

The shrill ring of the phone interrupts Eddie's efforts to get anything out of Vanessa. She answers the phone by the third ring. Eddie decides to wait out the phone call on Vanessa's couch.

"Fine I'll be there." Her tone is curt. "I'm not giving you attitude. I'll be there."

"I take it the call was from that lovely sister of yours." Vanessa sends him a glare.

"I have to go in early and fill out some paperwork my darling sister stuck me with."

Eddie leans back folding his arms behind his head.

"That's what happens when you work with family, Ness. You're bound to have your run-ins. Just promise me that when you two duke it out I get a front row seat to the brawl."

Vanessa heaves a small throw pillow at Eddie hitting him hard in the face.

"How is that for a brawl?"

"Ouch I should learn not to mess with a hormonal woman."

"Keep talking, cowboy."

"Shutting up." Eddie says shielding his face from further damage.

That's all for know. And like I said before, sorry about the long wait between updates. Hope to hear from you in the form of reviews. Let me know what you're thing. Look forward to hearing from you. So please review.

Until Next Time,

Ancient85