It's been two years.

Two years since Liz has worn the FBI badge. Two years since she's held a gun. Two years since Tom has been carted off, two years since Liz has seen his face.

It's taken two years, and it's finally become a bit easier for Liz to go through her day without the memories flooding in, paralyzing her emotions, filling her with grief beyond measure. How could she have not known? How could she have been so blind for so long? Her five year marriage to a man who took her for a fool, a victim. It was a sham of a marriage, conveniently used as a front, a safety. And she fell for it. She was the fool. Tom reduced her to an utter fool.

When not pushing out the memories, they came naturally to her, and she hated how even her mind was marred by this man. Liz still shudders at the memories of that day, the day that FBI arrested Tom. How they staked him out, meeting Gina at the corner café, in broad daylight. She was shocked at the audacity, like a harsh and arrogant slap to her face. They laughed giddily, and kissed between sips of coffee. Red had warned her, but she didn't listen to him. Liz needed to see it with her own eyes. Ressler was angry that she was there, but he knew that there's nothing he can do to remove her. But he kept a watchful eye over Liz, reading her face, ready to do whatever he needed to do.

The FBI swarmed in after an exchange of papers between Tom and Gina. When Liz walked into the scene, all she could see was Tom, in handcuffs. His face was all she cared to see. And Liz will never forget what she saw. When their eyes locked, she knew this was not the man she thought she knew, whom she thought she loved. There was a smirk, of harsh resistance. His eyes laughed at her, mocked her. Tom's eyes did not invite her in, wanting to explain away this grave misunderstanding. His eyes told a different tale, of haughtiness, indifference, and arrogance. It was at that moment that Tom spoke, "There she is, my loving wife. And the world's best detective." Then Ressler punched him, squarely on his face, powerfully knocking him off his feet. Tom sneered, "You know, they're gonna have to review that one." It was then that Ressler held Liz's shoulder and led her out of the café.

After the investigation and the trial, Liz had to retreat from the world she knew. She submitted her resignation papers at the bureau. She left all of her belongings in New York, and moved to a small apartment in Chicago. She didn't want to know anyone, or know anything. It was here that she had spent the last two years, her world consisting of a small market down the street, a daily jog to the town square, and weekly jaunt to the library. Somehow Red knew where she was, and he checked in almost every week. As much as she was initially irritated, she came to rather enjoy the weekly phone conversations with Red, who was characteristically careful and sensitive to her emotions. She thought her relationship with Red would cease once she's out of the bureau, but he had become quite a fatherly figure in her life.

. . . . .

Liz woke up from the bright sunlight seeping into her bedroom. 9:05 A.M. The brightness was a welcomed sight as the week has been blistering cold as Chicago was getting ready for a windy winter. Liz got up gingerly, and headed to the kitchen to make some coffee. It was then when the kitchen phone went off. It startled Liz as she has never received a phone call so early in the day. She mused, "Red is up before noon. Can't be." She gave a muted chuckle as she picked up the phone.


"Elizabeth? Liz Keen?"

The voice was familiar. Can it be?

"Yes, this is Liz."

"Hello, Liz. This is Donald, umm, Donald Ressler."

The familiarity of this voice and this person overwhelmed Liz. She felt her knees buckling, her breath shortening. She put her hand over her heart to somehow quell its wild beating.

"Agent Ressler, how did you find me?"