The back door of Jessica Devlin's home opened, then closed silently. Wayne Callison grinned to himself; at long last he would have his revenge. He looked around the house of the most hateful, repulsive woman he'd ever met, and saw the light on in the kitchen. He heard movement and quickly stepped into a convenient shadow just before she moved into his line of site. It was only a little past eight in the evening, but she was already dressed in an inviting set of red silk pajamas. Wayne licked his lips and wondered if there would be time to have a little extra fun with her before he cut her throat.

Slowly he moved closer, taking great care to remain hidden while at the same time never taking his eyes off of her. She padded over to the microwave and took a long, thin blue bag out, which she then draped across her shoulders with a contented sigh. A black kettle on the stove began to whistle, causing her to perk up. She took the kettle off the burner and switched off the stovetop before pouring the contents into a blue mug with humorous sharks on it and the chain of an infuser hanging out. The scent of high-quality green tea filled the air, causing Wayne to pause. He may have been a killer, but he wasn't a barbarian; he wouldn't dream of denying Jessica at least one last taste of such a fine brew. She may be a filthy devil woman, he admitted to himself, but she had excellent taste. He could wait a few minutes more.

His mouth watered when, after an appropriate amount of time, she removed the infuser and emptied the tea leaves (his heart leapt at this; only uncultured troglodytes used bags) into the garbage disposal. This done, she turned back to her tea and took a long, slow sip, and when she moaned in pleasure it was all Wayne could do not to moan along with her.

He decided he'd waited long enough, and resumed his course. When he reached the kitchen's entryway he stopped and waited for her back to turn; after this long there was no way he would risk being seen out of the corner of her eye. At last his moment came when she turned to walk out of the other archway. He quickly tiptoed up behind her and reached forward to grab her, when suddenly the blue shark mug connected solidly with the left side of his head. Hot tea splashed all over his face and body, burning everything it touched. He crumpled gracelessly to the floor and, his vision blurry with blood and pain, looked up into the face of a very angry Jessica Devlin.

"You made me waste my tea," she said icily, and at that moment he was sorrier about that than he had ever been over anything else in his life.

He did not feel that way for long, however, as Jessica reached over to the stove and grabbed something. He didn't even have time to realize what it was before she unceremoniously dropped the still-hot ceramic kettle on his face and his world went dark.

***

Sebastian Stark's blood ran cold as the prison warden on the other end of the phone told him of Wayne Callison's escape. His entire being seemed to go numb, and he was only vaguely aware of thanking her and hanging up, but his focus returned with a vengeance as he punched the most important number on his speed dial. When Julie answered in her normal fashion, he almost sobbed in relief. For once, he was happy to hear that she was with Trevor, and told her to stay with him and to call Isaac over as an extra precaution.

With his daughter's safety assured, he leaned back in his office chair and thought. Claire was in New York, and there was no way Callison would be stupid enough to come after him at the D.A.'s office. Sebastian's heart stopped when he realized that there was only one possible target left. He firmly tamped down the panic rising within him and called the police, praying to any god that would listen that he wasn't too late.

***

Wayne Callison opened his eyes, causing every pain-related cliché to come crashing in on him at once. When the initial burst had faded into a consistent throbbing, he took stock of his predicament: he was lying on a couch with a folded towel under his head, and someone had tied his hands and feet. A sticky sensation on his face and neck, coupled with the strong scent of aloe, suggested that this same person had applied medicine to his burns. He risked turning his head to the side to look around and cringed at the spasms it set off.

"Be careful," warned a familiar female voice, "your nose is still bleeding a bit and you need to let it drain. I'll clean it up after it eases off a bit more."

Wayne opened his mouth to reply, but she cut him off before he got the chance.

"I wouldn't say anything," she said, "it can't possibly end well for you."

He finally recognized the voice as belonging to Jessica Devlin, and was forced to agree with her. Interacting with her had never yielded good results for him, and he wondered how Stark managed to do it every day. The thought gave him pause; maybe he had been outclassed from day one. In any case, he very pointedly closed his mouth, earning a truly disturbing smile from Jessica.

"Well what d'you know, it learns!" she said cheerfully.

It was almost a relief when Wayne heard the approaching sirens.

"Looks like the cavalry has arrived. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to throw on a robe, and then I'll be right back to clean up the blood. Sit tight!" she said, and disappeared around a corner.

She was back within a minute, tissue in hand. Wayne flinched as she leaned over him, and she smiled broadly, clearly relishing his response. Much to his surprise, she gently dabbed up the blood, taking great care not to cause him any additional discomfort. All the same, he was greatly relieved when she stepped away to toss the tissue in the trash, and even more so when he heard the sound of car doors slamming. It would only be a matter of time before he was back in jail, where it was safe.

***

Sebastian's heart thumped painfully as he all but leapt out of his car at Jessica's house. He felt as though he and everyone else were running through molasses; there was no way he could possibly move fast enough. He was ready to push the cops out of the way and kick the door down himself, but they beat him to it. He darted in ahead of them, ignoring their protests, but recoiled in horror when he saw what was on the couch: a tied and disfigured Wayne Callison, gazing at him with a mixture of gratitude and adoration. He shuddered and turned his gaze towards the smiling, silk-clad and completely, blessedly unharmed woman standing next to Callison's head.

He didn't think. At that moment he couldn't have even if he'd wanted to. It was pure instinct that propelled him across the room and caused him to grab a very surprised Jessica Devlin in a nearly rib-crackingly tight hug. If he had possessed the capabilities, Wayne's jaw would have dropped in amazement.

After some time Sebastian reluctantly loosened his hold of the amused woman and reverently kissed her forehead, leading Wayne to believe that he was, in fact, certifiably insane. For her part, Jessica laughed softly, sending cold shivers running down Wayne's spine.

"I'm flattered that you were worried about me and all, but would you mind letting me go?" she asked teasingly.

Sebastian immediately stepped backwards and grinned at her. "Your knight in rusty armor has arrived," he joked.

"Funny, I thought you'd be younger," she replied.

Sebastian rolled his eyes and half chuckled, half groaned in response. Wayne wondered if they'd forgotten all about him, and dearly hoped this would be the case. The policemen came up and cut the ropes binding his feet, then clapped handcuffs on his wrists before cutting those ropes as well. Wayne remained as still as possible through all of this, trying to communicate with his entire body that he was of no threat to anyone.

Fortunately for him, Sebastian, fearing the worst, had called for an ambulance as well. Wayne was loaded onto a stretcher and hustled into the back of the bulky vehicle in short order. Before the doors closed, however, he saw Jessica standing outside holding hands with Stark. She caught his eye and sardonically blew him a kiss.

"See you, Wayne! I'll be sure to come visit you in prison!" she called out cheerfully, earning a laugh and a kiss on the cheek from Stark.

Wayne whimpered softly and shut his eyes tight against the terror.

The End.