The Miami-Dade Cemetery was surprisingly busy when Lauren arrived. Looking around she noticed a few people pass Speedle's freshly dug grave. Seeing it, Lauren felt a deep sharp pain in her heart; her best friend was gone; her husband was gone; the love of her life was gone, forever.
Lauren breathed in and out sharply and said as she sat down on the grass, "God, why did you have to take him away from me, and the people who loved him?" She put her head in her hands and began to cry. "No one is doing well. Calleigh tries to be strong for me, but I can see she's about to break. Eric is just confused, hurt, angry, and sad. He really doesn't know what to do. It worries me sometimes… like I have room to talk. Everyone thinks I'm going to go off the deep end, and start drinking like my father. I'm not going to lie, I've thought about it. Horatio just looks lost. I don't think I've ever seen him like this before. It breaks my heart even more. I know he thinks this whole thing is his fault, but it's not. He's just taking the blame like he's always done."
Lauren couldn't bear to say the word, death. "Virginia came down. She said she was sorry she missed the ceremony. She had a lot going on with work and stuff. I'm hoping she might help Horatio heal. I'm hoping she can help me too. Alexx is being Alexx, you know how she is. Our mother hen, but I can tell she's hurting inside like all of us. You two were really close… I miss you, Speed. I miss you so much it hurts like hell. I cried myself to sleep last night on our bedroom floor." Her body started to tremble.
"I don't know how Megan does it. I don't know how she wakes up every day with a smile on her face. I don't know how she came back to work… even if it was for just a short period. I don't even know if I can go back there. I don't even know if I can stay in our apartment… it doesn't feel like our place anymore. It just feels like a place where I sleep and maybe eat." She began to heavily sob.
Lauren jumped when she felt a hand touch her shoulder. "Oh! I'm so sorry, Lauren. I didn't mean to scare you honey," Speed's mother, Barbara Speedle said. Her husband and Speed's father, Richard Speedle stood behind her.
"No, no it's okay. For a minute there I thought I was Tim," Lauren said frowning. "You two have the same soft touch." Both Barbara and Richard frowned. "How long have you two been standing there?"
"About a few minutes. We caught the end of your conversation," Richard said somberly.
"I don't know if that was a conversation. I was kinda just talking to myself…"
"Of course it was honey. You were talking to Tim," Barbara said caressing the back of Lauren's head.
"He can't talk back," was all Lauren could say as she began to cry again.
"Come here honey. I know it's hard losing someone you cared about so much. I've been through it before. Going through it again isn't much easier especially when it's my son." All Lauren could do was hold onto her mother-in-law. She and Richard were the last living connection she had to Speed. His younger brother, Harry, who was thirteen years younger than him, never had a good relationship with Speed. In fact, he often got in trouble with the law every now and then.
Lauren pulled back and said, "Are you guys going to stay down here a little while or do you have to leave for, New York?" Speed's parents lived in New York, where they were from.
"We're leaving honey. I'm sorry. I want to stay and Richard wants to stay, but we can't. Harry has a court date tomorrow night, and we have to be there."
Richard looked at his wife then Lauren then back to Barbara. "Barb, why don't you stay here? I can go home and take care of everything. My cousin Sergio can run the restaurant for a while, and I can take Harry to court. You don't need to see any of that. Stay here with, Lauren. She needs you and you need her," Richard said.
Barbara stood there and thought a moment, and the more she did the more she realized Richard was right. "Yeah, that sounds good, honey." Richard hugged his wife then Lauren; he loved his daughter-in-law so very much. She was the perfect match for her son.
After the three stood and talked about their memories of Speed, they decided it was time to head out. Richard had a plane to catch and Lauren and Barbara were going to head back to her apartment.
Lauren and Barbara said their goodbyes to Richard and watched him drive off to the airport. "Well, I guess we should head back to my place," Lauren said sighing. Lauren bent down next to Speed's freshly dug grave and wrote in the dirt with her finger, 'I miss you and will always love you.'
Her car wasn't far from Speed's grave. It only took a minute to reach it. Lauren unlocked her door then unlocked the rest. Barbara got in and immediately saw her son's wedding ring, which was on a necklace chain, resting in one of the three cup holders; her heart broke into a million pieces.
Lauren got in and saw what Barbara was staring at, and she felt fresh tears sting her eyes. She grabbed it and put it around her neck. "I thought I could go a moment without it on, but I guess I can't." She wiped away the tears that had fallen down her cheek.
Lauren's hands began to shake as she attempted to put her key in the car starter. "Damnit!" she shouted.
Barbara reached out and grabbed her hand gently. "Lauren, honey just relax and breathe, okay. You want me to drive?"
Gathering herself together Lauren said, "No… I'm fine, but thank you."
Taking a calming breath Lauren steadied herself, and was able to start the car. She reached in her back pocket and pulled out her phone; she checked for any messages. There was a missed call from a number she didn't know. 'Why didn't I hear this ring?' she asked herself the saw that her phone was on silent. She quickly turned the ringer on and set it in one of the cup holders.
Just as she was about to put her car in driver her cell phone rang. Lauren debated on whether or not to answer it. Something inside her told her she should. Lauren picked up her phone and her stomach jumped up into her throat; her face went white. The caller ID read: Speed.
Barbara took notice of Lauren's expression and loss of color. "Lauren, what's wrong?"
"My caller ID says Speed on it." She quickly showed it to Barbara then decided to answer it. "I swear if someone is playing a joke on me it's not funny." Silence. "Hello?" This time she could hear footsteps and the sound of wood creaking. At first it was strong then it quickly faded out. "Hello?" she asked again.
"Lauren…" the man said on the other line, his voice was raspy and soft. Lauren recognized it immediately; the voice was, Speed's.
"Tim? Baby is that you?" Lauren waited a moment, but he didn't speak again. Barbara's face went white at Lauren's words. "Speed… Tim, is that you? Please talk to me."
"Help me Lauren," he said. He began to cough violently.
Lauren put her free hand to her forehead trying to think. "Okay, Tim where are you?" Nothing. "Baby where are you. I'll come help you. You just need to tell me where you are," she choked out. Nothing but silence then some more noises came. It sounded to Lauren, almost like change clinking together or some type of machines making a noise. She couldn't put her finger on it.
"You're going to have to give me something other than sounds, baby." The footsteps came back again and her heart started to race. She worried this would be the end of the call and she was right. "No! No, Speed! Baby, can you hear me… Tim!" Lauren called out. The noise that sounded when a call ended beeped. "Shit! Shit! Shit!"
"Lauren, what's going on?" Barbara asked worried and unsure.
Lauren leaned back against her seat and closed her eyes. She took in a few deep breaths and exhaled them. "That was Tim on the other end. I swear Barbara. I'm not crazy. It was him. Someone has taken him." Lauren looked at her phone. She decided to dial Speed's number again. All it did was ring until the voicemail came. "No one's answering now. Whoever has him must have caught him… God please don't let anything happen to him." She quickly dialed Horatio's number; he picked up on the second ring.
"Lauren, where are you? We're getting worried," Horatio answered.
"Horatio, please don't think I'm crazy, but I just got a phone call and it was, Speed. Meet me at the lab please… and hurry." She shut her phone giving her boss no time to answer. Lauren handed Barbara her cell phone. "If anyone calls, answer it." With that she put her seat belt on and put her Grand Am in drive and drove off in the direction of the Miami-Dade Crime Lab.