Chapter Twenty-Seven: the kind of day you ache to forget

Alex woke up to a grey morning with Marissa's legs tangled around her own. Seagulls were outside chattering away and the ripped cloth she had tacked above the window was doing a good job of blocking the hot morning rays from her eyes. The clock blinked red numbers, 6:37, a little bit later then she usually woke up. She stretched and looked down at the gorgeous girl sleeping at her side. She was wrapped up in wrinkled white sheets and curled in a ball beside Alex. Alex smiled softly and turned to the edge of the bed, untangling her legs from the twisted bed covers.

Grabbing half-dirty clothes from the floor, she stumbled into them as she went into the kitchen. Moving quietly, she started to make coffee and heard footsteps following her in.

"Why so early?" Marissa, voice scratchy with sleep and wear, was leaning on the counter rubbing at her eyes. Her hair was a mess and she had a wrinkled sheet wrapped around her. Alex smiled affectionately.

"God back to bed, Riss. I've gotta meet with contractors today and then the whole...thing." She laid the coffee cup on the counter and walked over to the brunette. Cupping her cheek in her hand she kissed her jaw sweetly and smiled. "And you're definitely not a morning person."

"Gee, thanks." Marrisa said sarcastically, but a smirk made it's way onto her face. It was true. She hated mornings. "Call me."

"Of course." Marissa yawned her way back into their bedroom and Alex turned back to the coffee jar sitting on the counter.

IOIOI

Reed's hands were shaking. That was his first sign that things were going downhill and it wasn't possible to ignore. He sat on the dirty matress in a corner of the empty warehouse and watched his fingers dance in the dim, dirty light. He wanted a hit so bad it hurt, it made his stomach clench beneath his thin t-shirt. Carefully, he stood up, his hands still shivering. He shoved them in his pockets and headed toward the door. He looked sane, except for the flicker of madness in his eyes that the white powder always exploded. It grew and grew until it took over his mind, until all he thought and breathed and felt was that next hit. And he hadn't had one in days, his body was shaking for it.

He knew he wasn't supposed to go outside, but the monster, the roaring silence in his head that came from the coke, made him do it. He had to find Theresa and get his stuff. Had to. There wasn't a car in sight for him to steal, so he just started walking. He'd come along one soon enough. He felt out of his head, but he was lucid enough to duck when he saw a cop or someone with some authority. He made it out of the warehouse district and just kept walking. Pretty soon, he came upon an abandoned car on a half-empty street. It took him ten minutes to jack the battery wires up to the spark plugs to give them enough juice. It would run out on him pretty soon, and then probably blow up if he couldn't cool it down fast enough, but he didn't need to get far.

He just needed Theresa for his hit. He wiped his greasy hands on his already stained t-shirt and cranked the car. It made an ugly straining noise he had been expecting, but when he pushed down on the gas it moved a little. Slow and steady. He thought. Does the job.

IOIOI

Theresa bounced Cain on her hip as she walked down the street back to Alex's. Alex still didn't know about the little boy, but she was gonna show-and-tell today. It was still early morning, first light, but she was used to early mornings, as was Cain. She sung softly to him and tried to figure out how to get around bringing Reed his fix. She couldn't afford to, not with the police watching her all the time. She had escaped them the night before by sleeping in her car- it wasn't the first time -because she couldn't stand their ever present eyes, although she knew they kept her safe. They were parked in front of Alex's apartment and she only had a couple blocks to go. She could see the apartment from where she stood.

Shifting baby Cain on her hip, she adjusted her stride to walk quicker. The morning felt imposing, suddenly, dangerous. She kept singing, the grocieries on her arms, and regretted giving her mom the car back. She would have felt safer with it. One more block to go. She heard an engine behind her, but didn't turn around although her heart beat a little faster. It was clunking and chugging along and soudned broken. It came closer and closer until Theresa had to turn around to make sure it wasn't coming straight toward her.

Reed was in the driver's seat.

Her heart beat double-time and she started running. She heard the door open and knew he had ditched the car. She could hear his footsteps coming after her. He was all about the fix now, she hated when he got like this. She had to run, because he was a different man without his white powder. She dropped the groceries. Cain grabbed onto her neck. Three more buildings, god she hoped Alex was home. He was getting closer.

"Reed, stop!" She screamed at him. "Stop!"

"I'm not the one running away!" He called back, much too close to allow her any comfort. She moved faster, almost sprinting, Cain became so heavy. She held him closer.

"Cops! Alex! Alex!" She yelled, but his hand was gripping her arm, bruising. He yanked her, slamming her back into a car.

"You shouldn't have run." He said dangerously. Her eyes grew wide, Cain was cowering into her chest. He opened the back seat of an unfamilair car and shoved her inside. Her head hit the opposite door and she lay, dazed, for a few seconds. He slid into the driver's seat, cutting wires with a knife and stripping them. The engine roared to life. Theresa struggled to sit up, Cain huddled on the floor beside her. Across through street, through a heady daze, she saw Alex leave her apartment.

"Alex!!" She screamed, hoarse, scooping Cain into her arms. She banged on the window and the girl turned, confused. When she saw Theresa, clutching Cain to her chest, banging on the the window and near tears, the blond reacted with that fight instinct that had helped her so many times before. She jumped down her steps as the ignition turned. she was across the street when Reed peeled away from the curb and Theresa could see the fear and the hate in her eyes as she pounded on the window and Cain cried on the floor beside her. Alex was running, yelling but Theresa couldn't hear her. The cop car was starting, Reed was screaming at her, she was still pounding, and then a fist flew back at her face and everything went black.

IOIOI

Alex buried her head in her hands and sighed into them, trying to hold back tears that had been threatening all day. Marissa's hand was warm on the small of her back, but it wasn't enough. She was scared for Theresa and nothing could change that. Her elbows pressed into the hard counter she was leaning against and she stood back up. They had been at the police station all day, talking and waiting and worrying- it wasn't enough.

"Alex, maybe you should take a break. Get a nap or something." Marissa suggested. Alex met her eyes for a moment and then moved herself into the girl's arms. It was a quick descision that tightened the bond between them even closer. Marissa tucked the girl's head under her chin and held her close.

"Excuse me, ma'm. May I talk to Ms. Kelly, please?" A gruff looking police officer who was obviously hiding his discomfort at seeing the two girls so intimately close, interrupted their moment.

"Okay." Marissa agreed quietly, looking down to catch Alex's eyes. The blonde looked back, and Marissa could see slow healing.

"What's up?" Alex asked the guy.

"We've found the subject, miss, but I'm afraid there's bad news." Alex's heart stopped. How could he just walk up and say that like it was nothing, like she hadn't been praying for it all day? They found Reed? They fucking found Reed. She was going to kill him.

"What?" That was all she could manage. She knew she was a few shades of white.

"He's hiding in a warehouse with two hostages and refuses to leave." The man told her. Marissa'a hand gripped her elbow.

"Two hostages? Theresa and that boy?" Alex didn't know who the kid in the backseat was, but she was scared to find out.

"Yes, ma'm."

"Can I go down there?" Alex asked. The officer shot a wary look to Marissa.

"I don't know if that's a good idea, Ms. Kelly." He said, eyeing them both.

"She can handle it." Marissa spoke up. Alex took a breath and pooled her strength.

"Maybe I can help." She told the man. He paused for another moment and then nodded.

"Fine. Follow me."