C.J. didn't notice anything amiss at first. She'd gone into the cabin to retrieve the fishing poles and tackle so she and Marge could try their hand at catching up some dinner.
Then suddenly she saw the other woman lying by the side of the lake.
"Marge," she screamed.
She dropped the poles and tackle box and ran to go help the officer who was soaked by lake water from the waist up. Her head underneath the water, seemingly motionless. C.J. grabbed her and pulled her out, as Marge struggle to move. She coughed out the water and C.J.'s mind worked quickly. Something had happened to her but what?
Suddenly a familiar voice interrupted her.
"Do you believe in the hereafter?"
C.J. looked over and saw Dean standing there where he shouldn't be, just yards away from her and Marge. She kept pulling the woman further on shore, lying her down as she struggled to think of what to do now. She was all alone with the madman who'd stalked her and wrecked violence on those closest to her. If he were here, what had happened to Matt back at her house? Had Dean hurt him too? The thought burned her chest with fear as much as the sight of him in front of her.
He stepped closer to her and she left Marge and backed away, still trying to think, to plan her escape. Sidestepping her way back away from the lake while never taking her eyes off of him…then she took off at a run. Anywhere and anything to get away from him before…before he could even try to reach her, until she reached the poles and tackle box on the ground. She picked up one of the poles to swing like a club if he approached.
But it didn't stop him.
"Now the world is sick…sick with inferior values…sick with inferior people too. I thought you were different but no you're not."
She kept him at bay with the fishing pole while he prattled on with his speech. He stepped towards her again and she swung the pole missing him by inches. But the next time she hit him and he fell sideways into the lake with a splash and a surprised yell. She took that opportunity to run away from him, as far away as she could get until she found someplace safe to hide.
C.J. kept running around trees, underneath their overhanging branches searching for which way to head. If she made it to the cabin, she could barricade herself inside of it but then, all the windows and other doors, she'd never be able to keep him out.
So instead she headed straight to the ridge and sprinted up it, knowing it would lead to a plateau. There she would be surrounded by steep drop-offs but it would give her room to be seen if Matt had taken off in the helicopter to find her.
She sensed that by now he must have known where Dean would be heading if he'd lost him. But when Dean followed her up the ridge she slipped and fell near one edge of it and when she jumped back to her feet, she realized she'd given up her advantage.
And now he had a knife.
"You can't be what you aren't but when you come back you'll be better because you'll be with me. Don't forget one thing though. We're all just passing through."
She watched his every move, every nuance without listening to him as he stood there with the knife in his hand. One step backward and it was 200 feet straight down on the rocks. But if she went forward she'd have to dodge the knife.
God she so wanted to get out of her alive and not give him the satisfaction of him killing her because she hadn't wanted him. Hadn't even remembered him until he crashed back into her life and took away the man she loved.
Then she heard a familiar noise behind her. The rotors of a helicopter approaching from below. She didn't have to look to see that it was Matt flying it.
Dean saw it too and it threw him off balance. He focused his attention at the helicopter kicking up dust all around him, still waving his knife. C.J. took this opportunity to act by bolting towards Dean and pushing him as hard as she could manage. Not just for herself but for Carl, Too Mean and for everything that had been taken from her.
She fell on the ground and didn't watch as he fell screaming and tumbling down the rocky face to certain death below them. She didn't look as she heard the helicopter land nearby and the rotors turn as footsteps came rushing towards her.
She only knew that when she felt his strong arms wrap around her pulling her close to him that she was finally able to let it all go.
Two weeks later…
Matt hadn't taken off with the court reporter to pick up where they left off until days later when life had started settling down and C.J. had returned to work. She'd struggled a lot after the police had arrived to pick up Dean's body and fly Marge back to a hospital to be checked out after her near drowning.
C.J. had to remain behind to be interviewed since she'd killed a man and the police kept at it until they were certain they had enough evidence of justifiable homicide. It helped that Matt had witnessed it all from above in his helicopter. He told the police himself that C.J. had been cornered by a crazed man with a knife who'd already killed her boyfriend and put her bodyguard in the hospital.
The Dean file was closed soon after that and by then, Carl's brother had come forward to claim his body for burial.
Matt had been by her side at the funeral which was well attended as was the burial at Forest Lawn. She'd met his brother, an FBI agent for the first time and found him to be very nice. Carl's parents had died in a plane accident and both of them had been adopted into the same family.
Too Mean recovered and left the hospital and Matt had been paying him off for his troubles by cooking him a steak dinner. But then the court reporter had shown up from the airport because he'd flown her in for a weekend at his beach house.
C.J. shook her head but in a bemused way at his antics with the ladies. That told her that she was on the path towards healing from what had happened.
She came into the office after a weekend spent in Santa Barbara at a friend's villa. It had been just what she needed to relax on the beach and not think about much. Just feel the warm sunlight on her shoulders and smell the salty air.
Matt looked up at her from where he sat in his Jacuzzi. Buck naked of course, the man had no shame. Not that there was really any reason for it.
He smiled at her.
She walked closer to him.
"How was your weekend?"
She smiled back at him.
Matt just smiled.
"It was fun but I'm glad to be back to work again," he said, "We just another case that came in…that is if you're feeling up to it."
She looked at him for a moment and then nodded.
"Yeah another case would sound good about now."
So she sat down on the couch facing him as he provided her with the details. If life hadn't gotten completely back to normal, at least it was a start.