I know some people may have already read this chapter because I accidentally uploaded it with chapter 15 earlier. This is the full and completed version of chapter 16. Happy reading!
She was blonde, but that was pretty much all he could see from where he stood, happily behind the yellow tape. His car had broken down, and so had he. A good beer and a slice was all he had been after, but a private investigators work was never done, and it seemed that death followed him everywhere.
He showed his badge to the police officers, who let him through reluctantly. They were tired, it was late, and there were more people that they would rather keep out instead of a grizzled old detective. Looking down at the body, he didn't gag. He had seen enough of them not to be affected by them anymore, he didn't know whether that was a good thing or not.
She had been cute, blonde, bubbly. Now she was dead with bruises around her neck and dumped in a river to wash away any evidence that the killer may have left behind. Smooth. Either an experienced man, or one that watches too many crime shows. Either way, he was disgusted. No one should go out like that. Sucking in a breath, he walked away from the scene and his knees gave out. Maybe these bodies had an effect on him after all.
The group had gotten together at Bill's house, minus Laura. She had been kept close to Richard for all of the last week, doing wedding preparations. Even saying that sentence made Bill feel sick. He hadn't talked to her since the masquerade party. Lee had managed to straighten her up before Richard had come over to see his fiancée, and the death glare that she had given him would have made any man take a few steps back. But poor Adar was so deluded in his feelings for Laura, that he had no idea what that look had meant.
"So Ellie, Adar's assistant slash frak buddy was murdered," Helo announced, and Alex shivered. She didn't want him to talk like that. It was bad enough that someone she knew had been murdered, but Alex was sure there had been so much more to Ellie than just Helo's description.
"Are we sure Adar killed her?" Tigh this time.
"No evidence - that all got washed away. All we have is that he was frakking her when we walked in and she died the morning after."
"Pretty big coincidence," Lee stated, looking towards his father.
Bill nodded and took a sip of his water. "We keep this under our hats, make a few discreet enquiries. Either way, Richard Adar just got a hell of a lot more dangerous."
After the meeting, it was only Saul and Bill left. He looked to his old friend and sighed, he looked like crap. Things were going to get worse, he could see that, and Saul didn't know what he could do for his friend. But before that, there was something else he needed to mention.
"Carolanne told Ellen that you were seeing the President's fiancée."
"Yeah…it came up while she was trying to hit on me."
Bill looked up at Tigh who was staring wide-eyed at him. "What part of discreet do you not understand?"
"Bill, Laura is supposed to be the President's fiancée, not your girlfriend. In fact, you are supposed to be with Carolanne and having a blissful second marriage together, not copping off with the redhead Education Secretary!"
"Carolanne won't say anything."
"Are you sure about that? That's not the only thing Bill. I can be pretty sure on the loyalty of most of the former Galactica inmates, but you two have been spending a lot of time together…in public…"
"I can handle it."
"I'll sort it Saul!"
Saul took one look at his friend, bleary eyed and with a heavy stubble, and realised that this wasn't the time to talk to him about it. Resting an apologetic hand on Bill's shoulder, Saul left. Inside the house, Bill sighed and went over to his bookcase to pull out the ambrosia. It was looking at the paper nearby that he realised that there was a Picon game on tonight and he had tickets. He and Laura were supposed to be going together. Maybe we still could, he mused, and put the bottle back on the shelf.
D'Anna watched as Cavil looked through the pictures and sighed. He then gave a loud groan and threw the pictures across the desk.
"When were those taken?"
"About two weeks ago. They were 'furniture shopping'," D'Anna sneered as she sat opposite Cavil. She watched the lead Cylon as a vein pulsed in his head, anger infecting all his circuits. He stood up and looked out the window onto Caprica City.
"How are we supposed to keep Adar from finding out if they keep going 'shopping'? Who goes 'furniture shopping' with a dead woman anyway?" Cavil asked the air before banging both hands on the glass.
D'Anna nodded with his assessment. After Adar had tried to kill Bill Adama and that didn't deter him from seeing Laura Roslin, Cavil decided to take matters into his own hands. Cavil's plan was to use a healthy Roslin as the key to keeping Adar under their control. That wouldn't work if the idiot found out that the redhead politician was having a very ill conceived affair with an ex soldier. So Cavil had employed his Cylons as security guards, had used one of the Three models to make sure the press was subdued and had agents in the government building to make sure any paperwork which said differently than what Cavil wanted was burnt. It was a hard task, but a necessary one. Adar would win the election, and they would need his relationship with Roslin to thrive before burning it to a crisp.
"Maybe we should concentrate on Zarek. If we expose them, then that should give the Presidency to him," said an Eight in the corner, reviewing the Adama/Roslin paperwork.
"Well that wouldn't work, because we don't have anything on him apart from the obvious! Leave me be, all of you." Cavil scrunched up his nose, and the Eight left the room, shortly followed by D'Anna who gave her a scathing glance.
"Maybe you could do something useful. Check on Leoben and the Pilot will you? Make sure everything is going well for Sharon's birth?" D'Anna swept away with that statement, leaving the Eight by herself and feeling useless.
Laura looked in the mirror, the plain white dress hanging around her frame. Somewhere along the line she had lost weight, and the dress that she had thought would fit perfectly now didn't. It was a shame; it was a beautiful if simple dress that would have looked lovely with the right smile. Now all it had as accessories were empty eyes and a hollow face.
"Are you alright Ms Roslin?" asked one of her guards. She thought she had left that part of Adar's scheme when she took him back, but now that the date had been set, apparently they were a requirement.
"Thank you Mr Doral, I'm fine." He was a nice man, a little odd but at least he smiled, unlike her other two bodyguards.
She had always dreamed about her wedding day, the white dress and the veil, the flowers and the feasts. When she was a child she had wanted to marry a handsome man who would whisk her off her feet. Her mother would be crying next to her, her father would hand her over to her husband. Her sisters would be bridesmaids and she would share every step of the journey with them. Now, all that she had was an empty mirror, an empty face and an empty side of the guest list. The only friends she had were Bill's, and they were most certainly not invited.
"I'm fine. I'm coming." She turned away from the mirror, not wanting to look in her eyes and see the disappointment, hatred and disgust for herself and for Richard reflected back at her.
It only took a moment, but really that was all they needed. His hands were deep in that luscious hair of hers, dragging her mouth closer and closer until they were one body, one person. She would be leaving soon, leaving to see him. He didn't want her to go, didn't know what would happen if she went but knew that she had to.
Her kiss drove him insane, the taste of her on his tongue reminded him what it was like to be truly alive and he thanked the Gods that he had a chance to experience that. He loved her, he knew that. He hadn't told her yet, he knew that her emotions would be clouded, that she didn't need his feelings to cram in another box.
When this was all over, when the Mayor was behind bars and the woman in front of him was all his, he would kiss her and whisk her away to some beach resort where they could make love in the sand, and enjoy the sunshine. Yeah, that's what he would do. And right there and then he would tell her the truth about who he was. She would hate him initially, slap him probably, and if she tried to leave he would fight for them. But she would know the truth, and she would know his feelings, and that would be life and it would be love.
They just needed to get through the next twenty-four hours in one piece, and they would be together.
The sound of the crowd enveloped them, and Laura felt happy. She could feel the presence of Bill's hand in hers and enjoyed the sound and the atmosphere. It was just what she needed to cheer herself up after the past week and a half, a Pyramid game. Laura had been so happy to get Bill's call, and with a little help from Lee to escape her guards, she was by Bill's side like it should be.
"Glad you came?" he asked as they found their seats, and she nodded. She was wearing one of his jackets over her shirt, and he looked pretty dashing in his own collared shirt. He cleaned up well, they both had for tonight. With the wedding only a few days away, it would most likely be the last time they would ever see each other. But they didn't dwell on that, not at that moment. Later, in a rush of tears and a movement of bodies they would have their last night together. But not before. They were determined to enjoy tonight.
Which is why they came with an entourage. Lee and Kara stood hooting on one side of them, while Helo and Saul also joined in with the cries. Paula and Ellen had politely rebuffed their invitations. It was Picon Panthers against the Caprican Buccaneers, which meant that between the group of them there were some strong-minded opinions.
"You idiot! Throw the damn ball!"
"Come on Panthers!"
"Buccaneers, where's your frakking game?" Kara yelled to the team, and was responded with a yell from one of the players.
"If you give me your phone number I'll play better!" hooted one of the team, a strong built brown haired man with plenty of energy. Helo reminded Starbuck of his name, Samuel T Anders, one of the better players of the Buccaneers. She crowed back at him, enjoying the seemingly jealous look on Lee's face when she did.
However, it didn't do them any good, because the Panthers won the game. Laura was clapping along with the crowd when she was brought into Bill's happy embrace. Spurred on by his team winning and the energy of the crowd, Bill kissed her. It was a deep and passionate kiss, and Laura felt herself drown it.
"Panthers fans are damn happy with the result. Check out that couple, obviously they didn't eat before the game!"
Bill and Laura were still entwined in each other, the energy of the game and something else adding to the fire. It was only when Adama was shoved in the back by Tigh that he paid attention to something other than Laura. Looking to the big screen, Bill realised that he and Laura were there for the entire crowd to see.
"But hey, we've got a couple of guests of honour here tonight. Both presidential candidates: Richard Adar and Tom Zarek!"
Laura felt like she was going to faint. Looking to the screen she saw Tom Zarek smiling and waving to the crowd like he had already won the Presidency, and maybe he had. She also saw Richard, his knuckles white as he gripped his legs and tried to smile.
They were frakked. Absolutely one hundred percent frakked.
She couldn't deal with this, couldn't take this in. She needed to breathe. Laura took one look at Bill and realised that she couldn't concentrate, her boxes were failing and things were blending and she couldn't keep it together. So she ran. Ran out of the crowd, ran out of the arena, ran as far as she could.
Outside the stadium, Laura started crying against the wall. Gods, what was she going to do now? She could hear some commotion, and turning towards it, she could see Richard Adar coming out of the stadium doors flanked by press and his bodyguards. Seeing Laura, he walked straight over to her and swept her up in his arms, holding her tight.
"Its okay Laura, its over now." He whispered to her, and held her tight. Addressing the press, he adopted an official tone while still holding onto his love. "The man inside was an ex partner of Laura's. He hasn't dealt with our engagement very well, and as you can see, is determined to spoil our special day. But, I can assure the public and my fiancée that nothing will. Nothing."
He then turned to Laura and kissed her in front of the cameras, gently and delicately. Adar then hugged her, turning her head to his right so he could face the cameras and keep her face hidden. "I got a call from his ex wife today. He seems to think that the two of you are still some sort of item. Gods, will that man ever let you go?"
Laura felt it was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Inside the stadium, Bill watched on the large screen as the live footage from outside came on. He watched Richard Adar kiss Laura, and denounce him as some sort of stalker.
"Son of a bitch."
Bill moved to go outside and kick ten shades out of the President in retaliation for a hell of a lot of things, but thankfully Tigh and his son managed to hold him back before he could do anything that would land him in prison. As his friends stopped him, Tom Zarek walked past and gave Adama a smirk.
"Nice try. But these things you have to do with class." He straightened his tie and winked at Bill as he walked past, and Starbuck and Helo had to get involved to prevent the former Commander from beating on the other Presidential candidate.
When he got home the first thing Bill did was find a bottle.
He kneeled down to the ground, the earth still freshly dug beneath his fingertips. Her grave, how he had hoped never to see it in his right mind but here it was. He should have protected her more, kept her safe and out of harms way. But in the end it wasn't the bastard that he had been hunting that had taken her away from him, but the disease that had been eating away at her body, but never her spirit.
He remembered the feel of her, the touch of her, the taste of her. He begged the Gods to bring her back, even if it was just for an hour, a day, a minute so he could just say goodbye to her properly. So he could kiss her goodbye and tell her that he would come to her soon. But first he had to take down that bastard that they called a Mayor. Once that was done he could stop, he could return to her, but he had to finish that first. For the blonde girl in the gutter, for the redhead in the hospital bed and for all those that would come after.
He would pay, and he would pay dearly for what he did to her, more than any disease ever could have.
Two Days Later
She liked the park; it was a refreshing place to be. Alex calmed her thoughts and listened to the breeze. When she had been a child, she so had wanted to be a leaf in the breeze, blowing in her wind like her father.
Not going to be long soon, kid.
Her father was getting worse, and it wouldn't be long before he would end up being just what he always wanted to be, a leaf in the breeze, floating along with no body to hold you down. Alex fingered the wings that her father had given her; it was becoming a habit that she wanted to break.
It was Billy, just the person she needed. He sat next to her and she leant her head against his shoulder, the tears starting to fall. All he did was hold her, kissing her head and stroking her hair to comfort her. He was her rock and she needed him so badly.
"Its okay, it's going to be okay."
It wouldn't be, her father was her world and without him things would be a tiny bit dimmer in her universe. But then there was Billy, and he would be there, he would be her light. There was light, real light from something shiny.
"Not exactly how I imagined proposing, but I thought maybe it was time that your family got a bit bigger."
Alex looked up at Billy, sweet Billy who loved her more than anything and she couldn't imagine anything more than him and her. He was holding out a simple engagement ring, his job didn't pay that much, and he had probably spent most of his wages buying that for her.
"I love you Alex. Marry me?" It was simple, and it was beautiful. Alex kissed him gently, letting her lips linger to savour the moment. "Was that a yes or a no?"
"Yes. A most definite yes." He held her again then, and placed the ring on her finger. They continued to stay like that, holding on in the sunshine in bright happiness and on the outskirts of the grief that was threatening to invade. Whatever happened, Alex knew that she would have Billy, and that was enough.
Bill was getting his post, noting the way that the planet seemed to be constantly moving. He grabbed a couple of letters, but had gotten mixed about his directions, because he bumped into Emma. She still looked pretty, she still looked happy, and she still didn't look like Laura.
"Sorry Emma," Bill slurred as he tried to look like he was in one piece. It was three in the afternoon and he was drunk.
"Its fine. Are you okay?"
"Oh I'm great. Frakking great."
Bill started to turn around and head back to his house when Emma's words stopped him cold. "Is it about her? Laura?"
They ended up in her house, a flannel over Bill's head to try and sober him up, although he was sure that when he went back home he would find the first bottle he could find and drink it. There was a glass of water with some alka seltzer in it, but he didn't want to drink it. Emma was sitting on the edge of her chair, looking down at the floor. Bill felt sorry for her, there had been the chance of a relationship between them and in the end he had ignored her for Laura.
"When did you figure it out?"
"You two haven't exactly been keeping things secret, now have you?"
"Frak. I just…I've never felt that way about anyone before."
"Anyway, it was none of my business, I didn't know if it was Laura exactly, I only saw her from a distance at the beginning. But the night that you two kissed outside the house, I knew it was her. Laura's my friend, I didn't want to hurt her, and I knew that if I did anything stupid like going to the press then it would. Her business is her business."
Bill nodded and squeezed Emma's hand in thanks. "Doesn't matter now anyway. She's marrying the son of a bitch."
"From what I know of Laura Roslin, she won't be forced into anything that she doesn't want to do."
The huge hotel ballroom was decorated in white and black, tasteful and elegant but so monochrome. Would a bit of colour kill that man, Laura thought to herself, sighing as she watched her fiancé sort out the last of the little details before their wedding. It had been so quick that she could barely think, and she was glad of that fact. The feast day had been yesterday, but thankfully Laura had excused herself for most of that. She had been feeling worse and worse since the damn ball, and she had slept for twelve hours straight, even though she had woken up feeling even worse. The Pyramid Game hadn't helped, and the loss of Bill by her side made her feel terrible.
"Its not too late to back out," said a voice in her ear, and Laura was pleased to see that it was Billy. He looked at her with such pity, Laura felt like she would throw up.
"It's complicated Billy."
"You don't love him, you love Adama. What part of that makes marrying the President right?" Billy asked her in his unfailing logic and his nature to see the world in black and white.
"Have you proposed yet?"
"Yes. She said yes." Laura hugged Billy and congratulated him on being newly engaged. He left her alone with her thoughts, and his, as she looked on the scene with the same disgust as before.
Bill sat at his desk, thinking about what was going to happen in a few hours. The woman he loved, the woman he had tried so hard to keep safe without sacrificing their relationship, would be marrying Richard Adar. Bill cursed whatever Gods he could think of and banged the glass of ambrosia down on the table.
"Frakking Adar. Frakking Zarek."
He tossed some more of the green liquid back and howled. He had been such a fool, such a stupid fool. He should have done something, enacted the plan sooner, done anything. Maybe he should have killed Adar.
In the end it wouldn't have mattered, Laura was dying and he would still lose her. Bill hurled the bottle of ambrosia at the wall and stared at it running down to the floor. Right next to the green puddle was his typewriter.
His manuscript. The manuscript that he had tried to write to keep himself busy, to keep everything in his head about Richard Adar. Bill didn't know he had been closer to the truth; the little frakker was capable of murder. Going over to it, Bill grabbed the manuscript and dumped it into the bin. Tipping the remnants of his glass of ambrosia in with it, Bill felt tears fall as he managed to fumble with his father's old lighter.
Suddenly the phone rang. He didn't want to answer it, didn't feel he could answer it. He had to go through with it, the last little bit of the Adar scheme finished with. He couldn't get the scent of her out of his pillow, the feel of her out of his skin, the sight of her out of his head. This would help. Burning the last shred of anything that had her name to it in his house. Until the furniture came. Until he read in the paper she died.
He picked up the phone, staving off his own execution because he realised that without her that was what it would be.
She was wearing her white dress, sitting out in the garden. Everyone was inside, preparing for the ceremony that was about to take place. Laura was by herself, her red hair draped over her gown, and tears running down her face. She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up to see Richard.
Laura choked back a laugh. Nerves were the last thing she felt. She wanted to cry, to beg him to let her go. She didn't want the last few weeks, for that was all she had, to be with the man, the monster in front of her. He sat down beside her and tried to hold her hand. It took everything in Laura not to pull away, but in the end that still wasn't enough.
She couldn't take it anymore. She couldn't waste the last few moments of her life with Richard Adar. She owed what had come before it that.
"Richard I can't do this anymore. I can't marry you."
He had the decency in him to look shocked. Maybe he was, but then Laura had a theory that he didn't feel anything anyway. He tried to touch her but she couldn't bear it.
"Haven't you figured it out Richard? I don't love you."
"Yes you do. You love me, you came back to me…" his words were shaking now, he couldn't get them out. If you had asked her two years ago if she could ever hurt Richard Adar, Laura would say that it was impossible. But looking at him, Laura realised that she had.
"No. I've been sleeping with Bill Adama. I love Bill Adama. Not you. Never you."
Richard jerked and stood up. "But I had…Ellen Tigh…"
"We knew she worked for you. Bill bought her off."
He turned around to look at her, his face screwed up in anger and hate. Laura couldn't bear to look at it, but she knew that she had to stomach it out. "I can't marry you Richard."
She stood up and made her way to leave. Richard reached for her and grabbed her arm, ripping her back into him. "You're not leaving!"
Laura had had enough. She turned around and punched Richard, smacking his jaw as hard as she could. No man would ever touch her like that again, especially not the man in front of her. While he was too stunned from the fact that she had hit him, Laura stumbled out of the hotel and into the nearest taxi. She needed to think, she needed to get her head together. She needed…
He turned to the Caprica City river walk, and he spotted her. She was wearing a white dress, what he thought to be her wedding dress. She was nursing her arm, and her feet were sunk into the water. She looked happy, pleased with herself. Rushing over to her, Bill ignored the stench of ambrosia on his shirt, the grotty feeling he felt. All that mattered was her.
Laura looked up and saw Bill. He looked even worse than she did, but that didn't matter. He was here, and everything was going to be all right.
She was encased in his arms, and he was holding her so tight that she felt like crying. Everything was going to be okay, her and Bill were going to be together at last.
"I told Richard that it was over, that you and me were together."
"Helo and Starbuck…"
"If he tries anything again we'll show him what we've got on him. We're free Bill, we're finally free." Then she kissed him, a deep and passionate kiss like she was struggling to find a lifeline. He gave her one, the taste of ambrosia and him mixed in together. Things were going to be okay, they were going to be okay. Things were going black, but she had her eyes closed. She couldn't feel Bill anymore.
Bill held Laura close to him, but he stiffened when she felt her go limp in his arms. He knew she must be tired, but this wasn't right. Turning to her, he realised that she had passed out. Moving her down to the floor, he splashed some water on her, hoping that she would wake up. Bill checked her pulse and found that it was weak and unsteady.
She was cold to touch.
This story is based on real and true events