Carmen Raul sat on the window ledge with her fingers clasped in her lap as she gazed out over the front yard. She knew her husband was right about Dr. Morris, and that if the woman sensed that she was weakening then her life would be forfeit. How could she have let tings get this far? Why couldn't she find the strength she once had to fight the woman? Could she really stand by and watch her ruin Steve Sloan's life?
"Carmen, Dr. Morris called to say she would be late getting back and that you are to give Sloan a shot to knock him out until she gets back," Alex said and moved to take his wife's hands in his. He knew she had been crying and vowed that some day they would be free of Alana Morris and her drugs.
"Alex, we should help him," Carmen said.
"You know we can't do that...she'll kill us."
"He's a cop...he said he could help us."
"And you believe him?"
"Yes, I do," Carmen said and hoped she could convince her husband to do the right thing before it was too late. "You said she won't be back until late, Alex. We could unlock the chains and get him out of here before she gets back."
"Where would we go?"
"Anywhere as long as we get away from her," the woman said and stood up. "Please, Alex, let's get away from her while we can. If we help Steve Sloan, then maybe we can forgive ourselves for everything else we've done. We could call for help."
"The cell phone is dead and if we are to help him we cannot afford to wait for it to charge."
"Then we find a phone when we are far enough away."
"Dr. Morris will not give up looking for us, Carmen...I believe she really loves that cop and wants to be with him."
"But he doesn't love her, Alex, and that is the problem. She is trying to make him something he's not...he could never be what she wants him to be...and that will get him killed."
"Please, Alex, I can't keep doing this," the woman sobbed against his shoulder.
"What about our things? If we leave there won't be time to take much."
"Our things can be replaced...our lives can't," she answered.
"All right, Carmen, but I think we're making a mistake."
"Maybe we are, but I can live with this kind of mistake, Alex," Carmen said and sighed tiredly. "I will go speak to him while you get the car ready."
"You're sure this is what you want?"
"Yes," she answered. Carmen watched her husband's face and felt the love he had for her as he nodded his head once before heading for the door.
Steve continued his efforts to free himself, but the second chain seemed to be stronger than the first and he was making no headway. He lay back against the pillow, sweat beading on his forehead as he strained against abused muscles. He knew time was running out, and that the woman could return any time.
"Dammit!" Steve cursed through tightly clenched teeth, shocked when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"We must hurry, Mr. Sloan," Carmen said and unlocked the cuffs from his wrists and ankles. "Dr. Morris called to say she was running late. We need to leave while we still can."
"I need clothes," Steve told her.
"I brought you some of Alex's...they should fit, but we must hurry," Carmen told him. She helped him sit up, and held him until the dizziness passed.
"Thank you, Carmen," Steve said softly as he took the pants and slowly pulled them on. He ad no idea how long he'd been the woman's captive, but it couldn't have been too long because every bone in his body ached and he felt stiff and uncoordinated. By the time he was dressed he could tell Carmen was nervous as she played with the sleeves of her blouse. His mind was still fuzzy and it suddenly dawned on him that help was just a phone call away. "Carmen, where's the phone?"
"It is useless...we will find one once we are safely away," the woman vowed.
"Carmen, we must go now," Alex hurried into the room as Sloan pulled on a pair of boots and stood up, wavering as if the room was uneven. He moved to the bed and grabbed the man around the waist while grabbing his other arm and placing it around his shoulders. He supported the officer toward the door as Carmen hurried ahead of them.
Steve trembled as the heavy set man half carried him through the outer room of the house. They reached the main door, his head spinning as he tried to focus on putting one foot in front of the other. He hoped they could get far away from this place before Alana Morris returned, not just for his sake, but for the two people who had suddenly become his salvation.
"Get the door open," Alex ordered and waited for his wife to do as he told her. He carefully maneuvered the man inside and watched as Carmen covered him with a blanket.
"You must stay down if you see another car," Carmen ordered and joined her husband in the front.
"What if she comes back before we reach town?" Alex asked.
"Don't go back," Steve said and gave them directions that would take them toward Los Angeles and safety.
"It will take forty minutes to reach the highway. Until then you must do as Carmen says and stay down," Alex told him.
"I will," Steve whispered and tried to get comfortable in the back seat, but his long legs were cramped in the tight space. He closed his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief and hoped they would find a rest stop along the way where he could use the pay phone to call for help. He heard the engine start and closed his eyes, sending a silent prayer of thanks for his rescuers.
Mark Sloan awoke to the sound of the shower running and sat up on the edge of the bed. The hard mattress was wreaking havoc with his back, but it paled compared to the misery he felt when he though of his son. Where was he? Was he alive? Was he lying along some road, a victim of an accident as yet undiscovered?
Deep down, Mark knew Steve would have found a way to contact him if he'd been involved in an accident. He reached for the file on the table beside his bed and stared at the name as cold fingers of fear ran down his spine. Alana Morris stared up at him with the coldest eyes he'd ever seen.
The very thought of his son in her hands scared the hell out of him and he knew it was time to find out if his fears had merit. As soon as Jesse was out of the shower they were going to drive out to her home and find out if Steve was there. He wasn't sure whether he wanted to find him there or somewhere along the road. Either way, he knew Steve needed help and fast.
Alana Morris slammed her open hand on the steering wheel as she turned off the highway onto the road leading to her home. She was angry that she'd been stuck in town while Steve Sloan slept soundly in her bed. She'd managed to cut her meeting with William Rider and knew the man was angry at her resistance to killing the cop. Rain had started falling as soon as she left her office and had turned into a torrential downpour by the time she reached the outskirts.
Alana reached for her cell phone, but the number she'd been calling was still unavailable. "Dammit!" she cursed and threw the phone on the seat beside her. She'd passed several cars on the main highway, but she seldom saw any vehicles on the side road that led to her home. It caught her by surprise when she saw flashes of light between the trees and turned her head as it passed. She recognized the vehicle and frowned as she looked at the driver and the woman in the passenger seat.
Anger surged through her as she gripped the steering wheel and slowed the car down enough to make a U-turn.
"Alex, that was her!" Carmen said and turned to look out the rear window as her husband gripped the steering wheel. "Do you think..."
"She saw us, Carmen...she's turning around!" Alex answered, glancing in the mirror as he stepped on the gas. The road was treacherous in this kind of weather and he silently prayer that he could control the vehicle long enough to reach the highway.
Steve threw back the blanket and turned to look out the window. He felt helpless as the car following them gained ground as Alex did his best to stay on the road. He held onto the back of the seat as the car careened around a sharp bend and slid sideways for a hundred feet before Raul was able to bring the car back in alignment with the road.
"Raul, be careful!" Carmen cried as she was thrown against her door.
"How much further to the highway?" Steve asked as Morris' car hit the back of Raul's vehicle.
"A couple of miles," Alex answered and glanced into the rear-view mirror as he tried to stay ahead of the woman whose anger would kill them all if she caught up to them.
Steve fisted his hands and wished he could change places with Alex Raul. He was trained for this, and it was obvious the other man wasn't. He knew there was nothing he could do and talking to Raul would just distract him from the job he had to do. His body slid to the right as the car tires screeched and he struck his head against the window. He blinked several times to clear his vision and cursed when Morris slammed into the back of the vehicle once more.
Steve felt the car fish-tail and knew Raul was not going to be able to hold it as the other car slammed into the passenger side and pushed them toward the edge of the road. He had no idea what waited for them, but he understood that it wouldn't be good as Carmen's screams reached a sickening crescendo. The screech of the tired on the wet road was enough to turn his stomach as he felt the car go from paved road to gravel, and still it didn't stop.
Steve grabbed the back of the front seat with one hand while grabbing for the door handle, but he knew it was too late as the car twisted with the grinding sound of metal. He hear the sound of breaking glass, mixed with Carmen's screams and Raul's cry of disbelief as the car rolled onto its roof. His head struck the backseat, then the roof as the car tumbled with a sickening lurch toward the bottom of a deep ravine.
Steve knew he wasn't going to escape serious injury when the door flew open and he found himself airborne. He landed hard his right leg bending at an awkward angle as something gave in his ankle. He rolled down the steep hillside, rocks and debris cutting into his clothing and tearing at his skin. He found it strange that he and the car seemed to be taking a parallel course to the bottom, but his trip came to an abrupt stop when his body slammed up against a tree and darkness descended.
The rain continued to fall, hissing when it struck the hot metal of the car while a soft moan escaped form the woman strapped into the front seat. The driver's head was twisted at an awkward angle, his eyes open and lifelessly staring into the darkness.
High above the wreckage Alana Morris' face was clouded with darkness as she stared down at the carnage below.