The next night Cal rolled onto his side of the bed and tried to catch his breath. Sweat dotted the older man's forehead and there was goofy smile on his face. "Well, that was new," muttered Cal mostly to himself.
Ria rolled over so that she was nestled against Cal's side. She rested her head on his chest and lightly drew circles on his abdomen with her fingertips. "I am full of surprises. Besides, I had to find some way to thank you for the night we had."
That evening Cal had taken Ria to a baseball game and then out to dinner. She had thoroughly enjoyed their date. But Ria was no fool. She knew that Lightman was trying to keep her mind off of the fact that tomorrow they'd be getting on a plane and flying back to Washington. It was a fact that she tried to ignore with all of her might.
"You didn't need to thank me, Torres. I wanted to do something nice for you. And I like seeing you get all worked up about sports. You are quite the rowdy fan," said Cal caressing her bare back.
Ria laughed softly. "I can't help it. I have a competitive streak. What time is our flight tomorrow?"
Cal replied, "Our flight is at 11:00, but it would probably be a good idea to get there at 9:30. Getting through security that time of the morning is a pain in the ass."
She nodded slightly and rolled over grabbing her cell phone from the nightstand. The raven haired young woman set the alarm for 7:00 the next morning. Ria had spent the entire evening trying not to think about going home tomorrow. D.C. was the very last place she wanted to be while Daniel Greene was still on the loose.
Ria rolled back over so that she was once again nestled against Cal's side. "I am sort of looking forward to going home. I want to check in with my sister. She sent me a text today saying that she missed me."
"How is Ava doing?" asked Cal.
"She said that she is doing fine but Ava still is prone to lying."
Lightman chuckled heartily. "That is because she is a human and a teenager. People lie as much as they breath. You know that. Do you think something is going on with her that you should be worried about?"
"I mean not school wise. I talked to her foster mother and Ava is doing good in school and hasn't really gotten into any trouble. But before I left D.C. she asked me some weird questions about our father."
He thought that sounded strange. "What did she want to know about your father?"
"Well, not about him specifically. She wanted to know about our dad's family. I told her to steer clear of them. They are as screwed up as he was…if not more. He's got two brothers and they are both low-life prisoners. I am worried because one of them, Lorenzo, was released from Allenwood a couple weeks ago. He got in touch with me through a friend in the old neighborhood and I told him I wanted nothing to do with him. I am just hoping that he didn't reach out to Ava."
Lightman was shocked that he didn't know about this. He was usually on top of everything that was going on with the people that worked for him. "Why didn't you say anything?"
"I was going through a lot to begin with. The last thing I needed was ghosts from my past stirring up trouble. I just didn't want to think about it. It wasn't like I was trying to keep it from you. I just didn't see that it was important," Ria explained.
Cal nodded. "Well, you might want to talk to the foster mother and let her know that a convict might be trying to get in contact with Ava."
"I don't want to betray her trust that way. Not until I find out if my suspicions are right. When I get back home I am going to meet up with Ava and ask her if Lorenzo has been in contact. I'll figure out what to do after I get her answer."
"I am glad that your relationship with her is getting better…"
Ria kissed him softly. "I owe it to you. You helping her out…it helped her trust me again. And it made me realize that maybe I should trust her a little too. I am going to get a shower. We've got to be up way too early tomorrow morning."
She got out of the bed and headed to the bathroom.
Cal watched her figure appreciatively as she left the room. He stretched out and relaxed with his hands behind his head. They'd go home tomorrow and then the real fun would begin. He'd spend hours scouring interrogation footage for the tiniest of tells. The FBI had been interviewing and in some cases interrogating all of Greene's known associates and family members in an effort to locate him.
However, they hadn't come up with anything particularly useful just yet. They were hoping that Cal could help them weed out the liars. There was something that Cal was keeping from Ria. When they returned to D.C. she would be unable to work at the office. The Attorney General had some concerns about a victim and possible witness working around evidence in the case. That was the type of thing that could get evidence kicked by a judge.
Lightman's cell started ringing. He reach over and answered it. "Lightman…"
"Lightman, this is Special Agent Dillon we need to talk. We've had a new development," said Bernard.
"Hold on," said Cal. He looked toward the bathroom before getting up, putting on his boxers, and going out on the balcony.
"Okay, what is going on?"
"I just left Ria Torres' apartment. The neighbors called in a break-in last night. The local police didn't forward that information to us until this evening. I had my people go over her apartment with a fine tooth comb for prints. Doesn't look like anything was stolen. All of the expensive stuff like electronics were still in place. I didn't see any clothes though. Could Greene have taken those?" asked Bernard.
Cal dropped down on the chaise lounge and groaned slightly. Ria was already terrified. This was the very last thing she needed. "No, all of Torres' clothes are at my house. She's pretty much moved in with me. She only left behind things that she didn't really need."
Thirty minutes later Ria walked out of the bathroom in a bathrobe. She had a seat on the bed and started brushing her freshly washed and blow-dried hair.
Cal walked back into the room hearing Ria moving around. "How was your shower?
"Incredibly relaxing. I was surprised that you didn't join me. I am a little disappointed," said Ria. She laughed to let him know that she was joking.
"Sorry, Love. Something came up. I had every intention of joining you," said Cal.
"Earlier when I was getting ready to get in the shower I thought I heard you on the phone. Any news from home?" asked Ria.
Cal walked over so that he was standing in front of her. He hated the hopeful tone of her voice. Indeed there was news from D.C. but it wasn't anything that would lift her spirits. In all honesty it was something that would probably only terrify Ria more. "Very Special Agent Dillon called me with an update."
Ria looked up into Cal's eyes expectantly and asked, "And?"
"Daniel Greene is still on the loose. They have been running down all of his known associates. And he has reached out to a few of those people but the feds have been one step behind him this entire time. He is going to slip up at some point and they are going to catch him," said Cal.
"Trying to convince yourself or me? I am starting to think that this son of a bitch is smarter than all of us."
Cal said, "He's had luck on his skill but it won't continue to be that way."
That was of no comfort to Ria. The idea of going home and knowing that Greene was out there terrified her more than she could put into words. "I hate that we have to go home now."
Cal sat next to Ria on the bed and put an arm around her shoulders. He pressed a gentle kiss to her temple. "If the bureau didn't need my help with the case we could stay here longer. But they need my help interviewing Greene's known associates. Maybe with my help they can put a stop to this. The night that you told me about what happened to you I made myself a promise to see this bastard in jail. Going home and helping out is the only way that I can keep that promise to myself and to you."
Ria nodded slightly. "I know that going home is the right thing. That doesn't mean that it doesn't scare the hell out of me, Cal."
"I am not going to let anything happen to you, Ria. You have my word," Cal promised.
Ria replied sarcastically, "Famous last words?"
Cal smirked a little. "No, it won't just be me looking after you. Although Bernerd tends to be incredibly incompetent at just about everything he does…he was able to convince the deputy director that you are a target. So, when we get home you'll have a security detail looking after you as well. They are going to make sure that Daniel Greene doesn't get near you."
Ria's eyes widened slightly. "A security detail…that sounds serious. They think I am a target because he attacked me or because he broke into the Lightman Group?"
Cal sighed a little. He was hoping to keep this tidbit from her until later. He wanted to spread out the misery if at all possible.
"What's going on, Cal? What aren't you telling me?" asked Ria. She could read him well. Ria knew when Cal was trying to hide something from her.
"When I talked to Agent Dillon earlier…he told me that someone broke into your apartment last night. Local law enforcement didn't forward the information to the feds until this afternoon. The feds investigated the scene and don't believe that anything of value was taken. All of your electronics were still in place."
Ria swallowed visibly. "Greene…"
Cal shook his head. "You don't know that, Ria. It doesn't do you any good to start jumping to conclusions before you have all of the information. A forensic team was dispatched to the apartment. They took prints and found some other evidence. They'll figure out who was there."
Ria snapped, "Don't patronize me. We both know that this was Greene. You knew it from the start…that is why you didn't want to tell me about it. He went there looking for me."
"You don't know what happened so you are building your own narrative in your head. Don't do that. Imagining all of the horrible things will only scare you and make you anxious," said Cal.
"You don't think that I am already scared and anxious? He sent me a package in the mail containing my panties after I was raped. He was telling me that he was coming back for me. You don't think I have a right to be scared and anxious?" asked Ria.
She finger combed her jet black hair away from her face and took a deep breath. She could feel herself barreling toward the deep end. The anxiety that she had been keeping at bay for the last couple of days was steadily building.
"I can't imagine what you are going through right now. The fear, the anger, the helplessness. I know feeling those things drive you crazy. But you have to trust that I am too much of a stubborn prick to let anything bad happen to you, Love."
"I keep thinking about the day that I crossed paths with him at the Lightman Group. It was like looking into the face of the devil. Before I even knew who he was…I felt like he was looking through me. Like he could see everything about me. At the end of the day it doesn't matter if I am here or in D.C. because he is in my head. And I will carry him with me wherever I go. But the idea of going back to D.C. makes me want to run screaming in the other direction."
Cal said, "I know that he hurt you. I know that he took something away from you, but you are strong, Ria. Look at everything else you've been through? You are a survivor and you can make it through this too. If you run away…you are letting him win. He's taking your life, your friends, your career, everything away from you. Don't give him that kind of power."
Ria blinked away tears. "I said that I feel like running away not that I'd actually do it. I fully intend to testify. I want to be in court…I want to tell everyone what sort of sick freak he is. I want to help put him away. But being in D.C. while he is still lurking out there is scary. What if he comes after me again? What if he…rapes me again? I don't think that I could survive that, Cal."
Cal's heart broke for Ria. He could see that she was struggling inside of herself. There was part of her that wanted to be strong. She wanted to face her rapist and make sure he spent the rest of his life in prison. But there was another part of Ria that wanted to pretend like this rape never happened.
"He will not lay a hand on you, Ria."
The statement was simple but the sincerity of his words were not lost on Ria. She knew at that moment that Cal was willing to go above and beyond to make sure that she was safe. "If you help the FBI it won't have to come to that. If anyone can find truth…it is you."
Cal kissed her softly. "You are going to get through this. There will come a day when this won't hurt as bad and you won't be scared anymore. You just have to keep fighting to get to that point. Don't give up…don't run."
Ria shook her head. "I am not going to run. That was just a moment of panic. I am oing to go home and I am going to fight until he is behind bars for the rest of his life."
Cal smiled. "That's my girl."
Ria chuckled softly. "I am actually feeling rather tired. I set the alarm for 7 so I should probably try to get some sleep. You don't want to know what I look like sleep deprived."
She stood up and took off her robe. Ria climbed into bed and slipped under the covers.
Cal nodded in understanding. She was tired and this conversation had been more emotionally than she was ready to deal with. He decided now was as good a time as any to lay the news on her. "There is one more thing."
"What?" asked Ria.
Cal said, "Until this investigation is over…you can't be in the office. The AUSA is concerned that the defense will be able to use your presence is a way to impeach the evidence."
Ria was just silent. She really didn't know what to say. Now she couldn't even do her job because of this sick freak. "Fine…"
She turned onto her side and turned out her lamp.
Cal sighed. He walked around to his side of the bed and climbed in. Lightman reached over turning out the lamp. "Goodnight, Love."
Cal wrapped an arm around Ria and kissed the back of her head. He knew that she was angry but he also knew that she was rational enough to know this was the right move for her and every other victim in the case.
A few hours later Ria's cell phone started ringing. She groaned tiredly and reached over grabbing for the phone in the dark. Her hand accidentally slapped the phone off of the nightstand. "Seriously?" asked Ria in exasperation.
She got out of the bed and by the time she made it to her phone the ringing stopped.
Ria picked up the phone and walked back over to the bed tiredly. She glanced at the screen to see who the missed call was from. Ria frowned wondering why Loker would be calling her in the middle of the night.
She looked at Cal sound asleep in the bed and decided to go out on the balcony to return Loker's call without disturbing Lightman.
Ria pulled on her bathrobe and went outside. She had a seat on the chaise lounge and got ready to call Loker when her cell phone started ringing again. She looked at the screen and saw that it was Loker calling again.
She smiled and answered the phone. "Hi, Eli. I was just about to call you back. Is everything okay?"
It was late in Chicago but it was even later in D.C. right now. But in truth she was glad to hear from Loker. She hadn't spoken to him since their argument at the Lightman Group. Ria knew how hurt he'd been by her decision to be with Cal.
The line was silent for a moment but just when she was going to say something she heard heavy breathing on the other end of the line. Ria listened closely trying to make out what she was hearing.
"Loker?" asked Ria in a concerned voice.
The heavy breathing continued against a backdrop of near errie silence.
"Eli, is that you?" asked Ria.
A man's voice chuckled on the other end of the phone. "No…"
Ria froze hearing the voice. She knew that voice. It was one that she would never forget in a million years. A cold chill shot down her back. Ria flashed back to the night of her attack. She could vividly remember hearing the attackers voice. Threatening her…telling her that he liked a challenge…he liked when his victims fought him. "What did you do to Loker? You bastard! If you hurt him…"
The man chuckled louder. "If I hurt him what? You couldn't save yourself. What makes you think you can do anything to help your boyfriend? He is your boyfriend isn't he? When I was stalking you…deciding if you were the right target...deciding if you were worthy enough. I saw him leaving your apartment early in the morning. That was how I knew you were a slut."
Ria's heart was nearly beating out of her chest. She was starting to feel lightheaded. "What have you done to Loker?"
"Nothing much…I just needed to borrow his phone so that I could get in touch with you. I've missed you and I am going to see you again real soon. I tried to visit you last night. Imagine my surprise when I realized that you weren't home. Looks like you haven't been living there in awhile. So, I figured you must be staying here with your boyfriend…but you weren't here either," said Greene.
"You aren't going to get away with this. The FBI is going to find you and you are going to spend the rest of your worthless life behind bars where you belong," said Ria.
Greene chuckled. "So brave…you were brave that night too. Never have I had one of my victims fight me as hard as you fought me. I think that is why you are my favorite. Goodbye…Ria."
The call ended.
Ria sat there nearly hyperventilating. She felt like she was having a heart attack. Ria got up to walk back into the room. She needed Cal. She needed to know what to do. Her mind was racing thinking of the possibilities. Ria knew what that monster was capable of.
As she walked she started to feel light headed. Ria collapsed in the middle of the room hitting the floor with a thud.