Well folks this is my first attempt at fan fiction. I chose a Uber Xena story. Why? Well why not.

This story is in no way trying to infringe on the rights of MCA/Universal Renaissance pictures. This is just for fun not for profit.

Warning! If the thought of two women in love and the display of that love is offensive to you, then why are you here? If you are under the age of 18 please move on to another page. If this is illegal where you are, find something else.

Warning! This story contains scenes of graphic violence. If you are squeamish or if it will cause you nightmares don’t go any further.

So for those of you who are left, please enjoy the story. Let me know what you think.

Special thanks to all those that cheered me on and to JT for editing and not being overly shocked at content.

badb_catha@hotmail.com

All stories are copyrighted to Kieron Grey 1998.


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Don’t Look Back

Part I

By Kieron Grey

 

Chapter One

Another One

 

The night was pretty chilly for the end of March. As a matter of fact down right bone chilly. Cold and wet. I hate cold and wet! The woman mumbled to herself as she walked toward the cluster of unmarked police cars. Her black loafers padding softly on the pavement. Let alone it being 2:00 am!

Catherine was not one for being out in the dead of night. She was sound asleep when the phone rang. The deep voice of detective Sam Rienhart requesting her to come downtown to check out a body. Quickly throwing on a pair of faded blue jeans, thick sweater, and loafers she hurried for the door. "Coat, I need my coat " turning back toward the living room where she had left her coat lying on the big over stuffed chair. "Got it" still groggy from only three hours of sleep she rummaged through her pockets for her keys and badge. Boy I sure could use some coffee. Why do they always have to find bodies in the middle of the night?

This was her second case. Well actually you could really count this one as her first since she didn’t really get to do anything much on the other one. The first was just too easy; it was over within a week’s time. A boy had been shot with no leads as to who killed him. But after a couple of days of asking around, a friend of the boys broke down with a confession. Cut and dry. But this case was hauntingly different.

Three bodies had been found over a two-month span. All the bodies were left the same way. One was found in Central Park, the other was found in between two dumpsters outside The Tavern on the Green. The third was found in the 42nd St. subway station.

The bodies were left lying on their backs hands folded holding a piece paper with some kind of symbols written on it. But what was so horrific about the corpses was the fact that they had been slit from sternum to groin. Insides completely missing. Also a piece of wire was wrapped around their necks causing the eyeballs to bulge, the tongue to stick out and give them a sickly blue gray shade. So far all were female. They each had long golden hair and blue green eyes.

Catherine made her way toward the flashing lights. She found Detective Rienhart talking with Warner, a weasily man with a pinched nose and beady eyes. This man always made her skin crawl. He was always making some kind of lewd comment to her, about her or women in general every chance he got. Sometimes rubbing himself in some suggestive way with a lecherous smirk. One of these day’s she’s gonna pop him one, she thought to herself.

"Hey Detective Jackson! Glad you could make it. Rienhart said with a grin."

"Aw Rienhart! You know I would never miss a chance of getting up in the middle of the night to come out in the pouring down rain to see you." Catherine said with a smile. Taking an offered cup of coffee Rienhart had waiting for her. She quickly wrapped her hands around the warm cup.

"Warner." Catherine said with a curt nod.

"Catherine. Looking striking as always!"

"Keep it Warner."

"So what do we have here?" Catherine asked while looking over at the covered corpse.

"Well it looks like we have number four." Rienhart said. "This one’s pretty young. I’d say around 18 or 19."

Catherine stepped over to the covered body, bending down and picking up the edge of the plastic cover to take a look. She shivered at the sight of the young woman. She could never get used to this part of the job. Seeing the horror on the victim’s faces. Especially one so young. Suddenly feeling sick. Breaking out into a cold sweat, and feeling the building nausea rise. She dropped the plastic cover quickly before she made a fool of herself by puking in front of everyone. Taking deep breaths to calm herself she turned to Rienhart and asked if he had a cigarette.

"You don’t smoke detective!"

"Just give me one!", she said agitated.

"Okay! Okay! Here."

Catherine took the offered smoke trying to keep her hand from shaking. This didn’t go unnoticed by Rienhart. Her hand trembled so badly that Rienhart gave up on trying to light the cigarette. Taking it back he lit the smoke himself then handed it back to her.

"Thank you." She said shakily bringing it to her lips. She inhaled deeply releasing the smoke with a small sigh.

"Are you okay kid?"

"Yeah! I think so. I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time. I just can’t get used to this stuff."

"I know. It was really hard for me at first. But don’t worry you’ll toughen up, you’ll get there!"

"Yeah sure! So anything new with this one?" She was trying desperately to keep her stomach in check.

"No, just like the others." Rienhart said. "Oh! Except this one is only holding a blank piece of paper."

"Hmm, that’s odd. But everything is odd about this one." Catherine said. Increasingly feeling uneasy about the whole thing.

Rienhart nodded. "You know there’s not much more to do around here, why don’t we head back to the station and go over a few things. Besides you’re still looking a little green around the gills."

"Ha! Funny." She said slapping his arm playfully. A slight smile playing on her lips.

"Now that’s better. Can’t have our little newbie fainting or anything, now can we." Rienhart said smiling back.

Hearing the playfulness from Rienhart’s words and knowing that he was looking out for her put Catherine at ease. Rienhart was a man in his middle 40’s. A big burly man of 6’4" that looked like he could crush you with one of his meaty hands. He had a scar running down his cheek that he got while chasing down a suspect that turned on him and slashed his face. Missing his eye by quarter of an inch. This only added to his intimidating stature. He had a full head of sandy blond hair slightly graying at the temples. This he was quite proud of due to the fact that all the males in his family line were bald by the time they hit their late 40’s.

Catherine met Rienhart her first day on the job. Only by accident. She ran into him, spilling her coffee all over the front of his green & pink striped cotton shirt. She looked up at this towering man with steely gray eyes and a long scar running down his cheek. Hands clenched at his sides. Looking like he was about to pick her up, throw her down the hall and through the door she just came in. "Oh god I’m dead!" she said. He looked down at the front of his shirt then back to her. His lips slightly twitching. Then all of a sudden he gave her the biggest smile and said "Thank you! I really hated this shirt" "Now I have an excuse to get rid of it."

"Rienhart, you really know how to make a girl feel better. Even if it is at my expense." Now fully smiling.

"So I’ll see you back at the Station? Right?"

"Okay! I’ll see you there. Catherine said.

Taking a deep breath Catherine thought about the "now" four victims. Feeling her stomach start to revolt once again, she looked franticly for some semi-private place to lose what ever was left of her dinner. Quickly running for a Dumpster that she saw to her left. Her body racking with spasms. One last dry heave and it was over. "God I hate this." She said to herself. Why am I having such a problem with this? I’ve been trained to handle all this stuff. Why? Slowly straightening back up while wiping her mouth with a trembling hand. She took a few steps toward her car and stopped. Feeling the rain on her body, she leaned back to let it fall on her face. The cold drops cooling her flushed cheeks. Running her hands over her face and bringing them up through her hair to bring it away from her face. Slowly taking in a deep breath, she once more thought of the victims. What is it? She thought. It wasn’t the way the victims were murdered; well okay maybe the gore is it bit much. Okay more than a bit much. But besides that. The victims so far have all been female. Yeah ok! Each woman looked the same. Each woman looked like her. "Oh god they do!" she said out loud. They all had blonde hair. All about 5’7, blue green eyes. All had the same features. This last one was so similar it shocked her. A shiver ran through her body thinking of the terror she saw in that young woman’s face. What if… God get a hold on yourself Cat!

Walking the few feet to her car a shiver ran through her body. Feeling the hairs on the back of her neck rise as if she were being watched, she turned her head. She spotted a woman leaning up against the wall of the building about 20 feet away. The woman just stood there looking at her as if she were studying her. Her arms were folded casually over her chest. Her long dark hair shimmering with drops of rain hanging lose down her back. Her right leg crossed over her left showing well-defined muscles through her tight- fitting black jeans.

The woman was quite beautiful from what Catherine could see. The woman languidly let her eyes flow over Catherine’s body. Finally returning her eyes to Catherine’s face. The penetrating gaze went right to her core, making her feel warm and light headed. Feeling a little unsettled, Catherine blindly tried to open her car door. Remembering the door was locked; she fumble for her keys pulling them out of her coat pocket. Hands trembling she drop them. As she was bending down she looked over at the woman, noticing that she was walking toward her with a slight smile on her face. Catherine could feel herself blush. The woman had an over-powering presence about her. Almost predatory. Her movements were cat-like, full of power and grace, and Catherine felt like she was the mouse. Finally grabbing her keys, she managed to insert the key into the lock opening the car door. She slid in and quickly Breathe! Breathe!closed the door.

Putting the key in the ignition she started the car. Quickly she made her exit, not looking back.

Morgan watched the young woman walking away from the all-too-familiar hubbub of flashing lights up the street. She was only there because she owed a friend a favor. She was waiting for the young woman to leave so she could meet up with him at the prearranged place. Which was at the all-night coffeehouse down the street. She had just parked her motorcycle and was heading in that direction when she spotted the woman making a beeline for the Dumpster. Not wanting to come up on her while she was losing the contents of her stomach, she decided to wait where she was. She didn’t have much respect for the force any more, not since that one case went bad. A rush of torrent memories came flooding to her mind. Stop it! I’m not going there! I’m just here to see an old friend. Leaning up against the wall she waited for the woman to finish. Well, this should be fun! She thought to herself. As the young woman turned and started toward her, again stopping to let the rain fall on her face, running her hands back through her hair, her heart stopped. She was transfixed by the woman’s movements. The way her hands gracefully moved over her face. Slowly running them through her hair bringing it back away from her face. The woman was beautiful. Her long blonde hair slicked back. Her lips slightly parted running her tongue over them. The exposed neck when she tipped her head back. Morgan’s pulse started to race. Something about this woman was familiar. She slowly ran her eyes over her body taking in her shapely figure. When her eyes returned to her face, she saw the young woman looking back. It felt like a bolt of lighting had hit her deep in her soul. Thank god the woman turned back to her car. She thought for sure that her legs would give out. Trying desperately to regain her composure, she started to head to the coffeehouse. Coffee nothing, I really could use a stiff drink.

Walking around the corner Morgan came to the coffeehouse. Opening the door and

Stepping in she spied her friend sitting at table with his back to her. Coming up behind him she slapped him on the back "Rienhart, it’s been along time" giving him a pearly white smile.

 

Chapter Two

The Watcher

Catherine began to go over what evidence they had. Sam hadn’t arrived yet. Pulling out the file, rummaging, she found the three scribbled notes. Turning one, trying to get a different angle, hoping to spark some recognition from scribbled writing. She had put a call through to her friend Jesse at the University. Jesse had a degree in Archaeology and was right now in the middle of translating some ancient Egyptian scroll for the Metropolitan Museum. Putting the note down Catherine turned her attention to morgue photos, a shudder running through her body. Why did I take up this profession? I should have just become a reporter. But NO! I had to go see "Silence of the Lambs". The glamour of the chase and satisfaction of the final catch. Looking back over the files, Catherine made a few more notes. Stifling a yawn pushing her note pad away. Sam still hadn’t showed up and she was exhausted. Stretching to get the tension out of her exhausted limbs, her mind flashing to the woman she saw at the scene earlier. Her tall frame leaning against the building. The little smile she had when Catherine met her eyes. The feline grace when she came toward her. The feeling of being devoured in that one look. Suddenly feeling flushed and like she needed some air, she grabbed her coat and headed for the door. Only to have Warner stop her with a sweaty hand.

"Hey you wanna go have some coffee. Then maybe we could go to my place."

"I don’t think so!" Catherine said jerking her arm away from Warner’s restraining hand.

"It could be so fun. I know you want to. Don’t you want to know what a real man feels like. I could take you places you’ve only dreamed of. "

"No! I really don’t think so… You just don’t do it for me. As a matter of fact…."

"Warner get out of here!" Rienhart said coming up behind him. "Watch yourself Warner, you’re hanging by a loose thread, my man."

"I was just having a little fun."

"Not here you’re not," Rienhart said while taking hold of Catherine’s arm and heading out the door.

"Thanks! I really wasn’t in the mood, not that I’m ever in the mood for that sleaze. What is up with him anyway? Do I have scum welcome here written on my forehead or something?"

Rienhart let out a soft chuckle. "No I’m afraid he’s just a asshole my dear. Unfortunately we have a few of them around here."

"Hey would you like to go get some chow? I would like to talk to you."

"Uh… well I’m really tired. I was just heading home… but I guess I could eat something." And to answer, her stomach let out a loud growl. They both looked at each other and laughed.

"I guess you could!" Rienhart said with a toothy grin. "Come on let’s get out of here!"

The City was just waking up. Garbage trucks making the rounds. Some people just starting out for the office. The day was looking like it might be rather nice. No hint of the rain that had been pouring down earlier. Making their way up the block to the diner, a place Catherine actually liked. Even though it was a dive, they did have the best breakfast and burgers in town. As they made their way to a booth, the waitress came up ready to take their order.

"Hey Tammy! How are you today?" Catherine asked.

"Pretty good I guess. But we’ll just have to see how the day goes!" she said wiggling her eyebrows and smiling.

"So what ‘ya have, your usual?"

"Yeah! That would be great!"

Sam looked a bit nervous. Hands fiddling with his spoon.

"So what’s up, Sam? You said you wanted to talk."

"Well, yes I do. I’m getting a little edgy about this case. I think we need to bring in someone else to help. I have the perfect person…. She’s an old friend of mine. We use to work together until she went on her own. Her name is Morgan Grayson. I think she could really help. She can bring a new look to the case."

"Why? I don’t see why we need someone else." Catherine said a little defensively. The idea that Sam wanted someone else on the case was making her a little insecure in her abilities. Didn’t he have faith in her to solve it herself?

"I don’t understand!" Trying not to show her hurt feelings. "We’ve just started, it’s not like we have had a lot of help from the killer you know!"

"Look Cat, I’m a little concerned about you, about the case. Something’s not right. I’m not saying you can’t handle this, I just think we need some fresh views on it. I see how you act around the bodies…."

"I know I’m a little squeamish but I’ll get over it! You said it would come in time, Sam."

"Cat I’ve noticed the bodies too. I’ve seen the similarities between the victims and you. I know what’s going through your head! I see how shaken you are by it. There’s more to this case than random killings here."

" Sam I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. What else could it be?… And why do you say there’s much more to this case? Is there something you know that I haven’t been enlightened about?"

Sam couldn’t make eye contact, instead finding the chipped Formica table more interesting. Taking out his pack of smokes from his breast pocket, a folded piece of paper fell to the table. Catherine reached out to pick it up. Seeing where her hand was headed he quickly grabbed the folded paper, putting it back into his pocket. Catherine, a little surprised by his actions looking at him with raised brow.

"Hiding something there Sam?"

"Haha!… No just a list of things I need… You know it’s kinda of personal." He wasn’t sure what to say. Oh nothing but a note saying how you’re going to die. He really didn’t want to scare her. It was best to wait until tonight when Morgan was there.

"Look I really want to wait until you meet Morgan. She asked me not to say anything more than necessary. I’m afraid that I have to go with her wishes. Look it will…."

Before he could finish his sentence the waitress arrived with their plates of food.

"Okay, two specials as ordered." Tammy said while placing the plates in front of them. Turning to her left, she picked up two coffee cups off the table across from them, setting them down on their own table. Going over to the counter, she grabbed the coffeepot, bringing it back to fill their cups. "Coffee’s good today, it’s a new brand. I think you’ll like it."

Sam was thankful for the interruption. Putting down his unlit cigarette in the ashtray, he rubbed his hands together in anticipation of his soon-to-be-devoured food.

"Thanks very much!" Sam said giving Tammy wink.

"Oh no… the pleasure is all mine! Just give a yell if you need anything else."

"We will Tammy. Thanks!"

"Boy I’m starved. Looks great doesn’t it?" Sam dug into his breakfast, trying to avoid continuing their conversation. Grabbing a piece of buttered toast, dunking it into his over- easy eggs. "Umm just great!", he said through a mouthful of toast.

Catherine on the other hand, just sat there looking at her plate. Not really hungry any more. Instead she just sipped on her coffee.

"So Sam, are you going to fill me in or what?"

Sam stopped in mid chew. Putting his fork down then wiping his mouth with his napkin he reached over and took Cat’s hand. " Look it will be okay. I know I’m not making things easy for you or making really any sense. But you have to trust me. It has to be this way until later on tonight. Okay?"

Obviously she wasn’t going to get anywhere with Sam. Whether he was having concerns about her or the case she wasn’t quite clear about, but she’d be damned if she let it go for too long. So the only thing she could do at the moment was wait until tonight. "Okay. Okay, I give. So at least tell me why I have to wait until tonight?"

"Well tonight I’m coming over to your apartment with a guest." We’ll be there at 7:00pm.

"What? My place! That’s nice of you to invite yourself over. I suppose I get to make dinner too."

Sam chuckled at Cat’s mock indignation. "Ah, but you make the best pasta Cat!" He said while giving her a playful smile. "But lucky you I will be bringing the dinner. So don’t worry."

"You’re bringing dinner? You know I hate to break it to you Sam, but I’ve tasted your cooking, let alone seen what the kitchen looks like when you’re done! I really don’t think my kitchen can put up with it."

"What! I’m hurt, crushed. You mean you don’t like my charbroiled pot roast. Or my flying, flaming roasted chicken?!" Sam was giving her his best "I’m so hurt look" with quivering lower lip and all. Unable to keep a straight face, Catherine burst out laughing, Sam joining in. His deep laugh rumbling in his chest.

Trying to catch his breath Sam finally managed to say "Besides….. I said.. I’m bringing dinner… not cooking it!

"Wow great! That’s a first. How did I get so lucky? Cat said with a mischievous grin.

Catherine’s mood lighted from the shared joke; her mind momentarily off the case and off the previous conversation, she realized that food was a great idea. She took a last sip of her coffee and put the cup down. " You know this coffee is pretty good." Picking up her fork, she joined Sam in eating their meal.

A lone figure sat in the back of the diner, watching the two intently. She wasn’t so interested in the man as she was in the young woman. The young woman seemed upset, the man trying to calm her. Maybe she got my little note. A smile crept to the woman’s face. Giving her deep brown eyes a wicked look. Oh this is going to be so much fun! Playing with a strand of her bleached blonde hair, she cocked her head, narrowed her eyes, then giggled. Knowing that soon the young woman would be writhing in such physical torment. The woman closed her eyes and moaned at the picture this brought to her mind. It gave her such a rush of pleasure that she moaned louder, bringing the attention of the waitress standing at the counter a few feet away. Coming over, the waitress leaned her hands on top of the table’s surface. Bending her head down she asked if everything was all right. Coming out of her musing, the woman grabbed the waitress’ hand, squeezing it in a steel like grip. She turned her head up to the one who interrupted her thoughts. Fixing her with a deadly look. The expression the waitress saw on her face was enough to make her blood go cold. Her eyes had a crazed wildness to them, her lips turned up into a menacing smile a small twitch at the left corner. The grip on her hand was really starting to hurt. The waitress tried to pull her hand away but the blonde woman would only tighten her grip. Holding the waitress’ gaze a little longer she said in a sickly sweet voice "Everything is just fine." Releasing her hand she gave the waitress an innocent smile "Oh did I hurt you?" The waitress slowly backed away then turned and disappeared through the door to the kitchen. Raising an eyebrow at the retreating form, the blonde woman let out a giggle "She didn’t even ask me if I wanted to order!" Shrugging her shoulders with a sigh, she stood. Making her way to the door she glanced back at the young woman she had been watching for the last 20 minutes catching her gaze. Stopping she turned to face the seated woman. Still holding her gaze, she titled her head to the side and smiled. The young woman gave a small puzzled smile back. Giving her a little wave she turned and walked through the door. Laughing as she went.

 

 

Chapter Three

Discovery

 

Morgan sat in her well-worn leather chair. With her feet kicked up on her cluttered desk looking through the file that Rienhart had given her the night before. Her office was sparsely furnished. Consisting of a teak desk with a laptop computer amongst the clutter of papers and manilla case files. A two-drawer file cabinet was against the far wall. On the other wall was a floor-to-ceiling bookcase. A few books graced the shelves. Like a dictionary, The Illustrated Computer Dictionary for Dummies, and a medicinal herbal book. A window was to the right of her desk. The desk was facing the door so she would always have a perfect view of anyone that walked in.

Looking through the file, she came across the photos of the victims. She had all four, thanks to Rienhart who snapped a Polaroid at the scene last night. The first victim was found in Central Park near the Zoo. Named Sara Hammond. Age 25. College student at MIT. Parent’s died two years ago in a plane crash. No other relatives living. Second victim was found behind The Tavern on the Green. Her name was Rita Simons. Age 28. Worked at Macys in Designer-ware. Lived with a roommate in Gramercy Park. Father living. The third found in the Subway station at the 42nd Street stop. Claire Hunt was her name. Age 24. Lived in Brooklyn. Worked at hair salon doing nails. Mother still living.

Coming to the picture of the fourth victim, she paused. Looking closely at the picture she couldn’t help think of the woman she saw last night on her way to the coffeehouse. The resemblance was uncanny. The victim was much younger in age but they could have been twins. Scanning the other pictures she noticed how they all resembled each other. Okay, so we have a killer that is really into blondes. Loves to disembowel them and has a choking fetish! And he or she is now setting their sights on this Catherine woman. Now knowing that Catherine was the woman from last night, the thought of someone wanting to kill her was giving her a strange reaction. Something about the woman, as fleeting as the encounter was, made Morgan protective. Somehow this woman struck something in her that lay dormant for years. Through all the protective walls a little crack was forming. Only one other person got through those walls and the memory was something that she tried to forget, locking it away in the deepest recesses of her mind. When she looked into Catherine’s eyes that night the connection was intense, like an electric bolt running through her whole body.

Throwing the case file onto desk she looked out the window. Watching a cab go by, her thoughts still on Catherine. Why is this woman getting under my skin? Taking a sharp intake of breath then letting it hiss through her teeth. Closing her eyes trying to get hold of her much too active imagination. She began rubbing her temples in a circular motion as if the motion could clear her away all the turbulent thoughts and emotions crashing through her head. I don’t have time for this kind of shit, she said to herself. I don’t even want it! Now rubbing more vigorously. Letting her hands fall to her lap, she took a deep breath, holding it for a few seconds then exhaling to let the growing tension out. Calmer, she took a quick look at her watch noting that she had two hours until it was time to meet up with Rienhart at his loft uptown. Plenty of time to get cleaned up. She thought to herself. A hot shower will do me a lot of good, or maybe I should take a cold shower. Chuckling wryly to herself.

Letting her legs drop to the floor, she moved her chair back away from the desk. Opening the bottom left drawer she pulled out a pair of black leather gloves, dark lens sunglasses, cell phone, and a large black leather body pack. Standing she reached behind her and grabbed her black leather jacket shrugging into it. Zipping the jacket part way up. She grabbed her cell phone putting it in the left inside pocket, running her hands down her sides feeling the smooth leather. The image of the fourth victim flashed in her mind. The look of horror bringing painful memories of another place and time. Okay Morgan let’s not play that game right now. Shaking her head to get rid of the tormenting thoughts. Picking up the body pack she brought it around her tapered waist; pulling the strap in front of her she clasped the brass buckle together, leaving the body pack fitting snugly against her lower back. Images still racing through her mind. Bodies covered in blood, screams, her screams. The images so intense causing her body to tremble.

Kicking the bottom drawer closed in disgust, she moved to the front of the desk grabbing the file Rienhart had given her. Moving to the file cabinet placing the file within. Sliding the drawer closed, Morgan reached into her coat pocket pulling out her keys, locking the cabinet with a twist of her hand. Moving back to the desk she grabbed her shades and gloves. Turning and walking toward the door, stopping to pick up her helmet on the way.

Catherine walked into her apartment feeling like something the cat dragged in. She thought she was doing pretty well for someone who only had three hours of sleep but it was taking its toll. Holding a bag of groceries, she looked down at her answering machine that was sitting on a small wood table that she picked up at flea market in the Village. Seeing that no one had called, she headed for what someone might call a "kitchen". To her, it was more of an oversized closet with running water. Putting down the bag of groceries on the counter she turned on the water to let it run wanting to make a pot of coffee, which was a priority at the moment. Opening the fridge she grabbed the container of coffee. Popping the lid, she scooped five heaping spoonfuls into the gold filter cone of the automatic coffee maker. The smell of the ground coffee filling her senses. Adding water, replacing the pot flipping the switch to start. After putting the groceries away, she went into the living room, straightening up the causally thrown magazines that cluttered the top of the coffee table. Glancing at the clock on the wall, Catherine saw she had about an hour to get ready. A quick shower would do me wonders, she thought. Walking to the bathroom flipping on the light, she quickly disrobed. Turning on the shower letting the water run over her fingers until the temperature was hot enough. Stepping in she let the soothing water run over her body, letting out a contented sigh. Feeling the beating water on her shoulders she moved her head from side to side to release the day’s tension. Picking up the scented soap, she washed her body. Running the soap over firm breasts and tight stomach down over muscled thighs and calves. The bathroom filling with the scent of lavender.

Once done she stepped in front of the mirror wiping away the moisture. God I look tired. Seeing the slightly dark circles under her eyes, making her face look tense and drawn. With a sigh she dried her hair. Once dried, she pulled it back into a French braid, letting it hang down the middle of her back. Getting dressed, Catherine decided on a silk green blouse and faded Levi’s. The silk blouse feeling sensual against her skin. Walking back into the kitchen she poured herself a cup of coffee. "Yeow! That’ll get them barking" Catherine said, taking another sip. It now being 6:45 she went back to the living room to wait for Rienhart. Wondering what tonight’s conversation would bring.

Rienhart and Morgan arrived outside of Catherine’s apartment. After several tries to find a parking space and several muttered curses by Rienhart, he finally managed to fit his beat up Chrysler in-between two cars outside the building.

"You know if you had a motorcycle you wouldn’t have this problem," Morgan said with a mischievous grin.

"Yeah! Well, let me tell you I happen to like driving my car… I can get her in any parking spot."

"Uh huh! I see you can. No wonder your car is so dented, you play crash derby with all the other parked cars!" Have you thought about doing it for a living?

"Funny! It’s okay baby, don’t you listen to the big bad lady." Running his hand with an affectionate caress over the dash.

"Oh brother!" Morgan said rolling her eyes for emphasis. "Come on let’s go. This Chinese food is driving me crazy!"

Getting out of the car, they walked up the stairs to the entrance of the building. Both standing on the stoop, Rienhart pushed the buzzer to Catherine’s apartment. Morgan noted the apartment number. Hearing a crackle then the soft voice of a woman coming over the speaker. The voice was smooth and soothing to Morgan’s ears. " Hey Catherine! Let us up." Rienhart said. After the annoying sound of the buzzer finished, the door clicked allowing entry.

Morgan scanned the hallway noting the fresh paint. The building was having a make over from what Morgan could see. The new moulding and fresh paint was a dead give- away. For that matter, so were tarps draped over the rail of the staircase, ladders up against the wall at the end of the hall.

"She’s on the second floor." Rienhart said.

"After you! By all means." Morgan said, giving Sam a small bow extending her arm toward the stairs.

They both climbed the stairs to the second landing. Catherine’s apartment was the last door at the end of the hall. Another set of stairs was directly across from her apartment, presumably to the basement and roof.

"Well here we are! Rienhart said turning to his companion. With a worried look he said, "Be nice. I don’t want you to scare her. You know… try to be talkative."

"What?! I’m talkative! I’m nice! Whatever do you mean?" Morgan said with total innocence. Then flashing him a pearly white smile. "Look this is business, but I’ll do my best, okay?"

"This is both social and business. You will be working with her remember? You need to get to know her. She’s really a very smart wonderful woman. I know you’ll get along fine."

"I never said that I would work with her. I said we would see."

"Oh, I think you will. The case is just too tempting for you to give up." Rienhart said. Turning his head back to the door giving it a knock, missing the raised brow she bestowed on him.

Catherine heard the knock and headed for the door. Pausing, she ran a cool hand down the front of her deep green silk shirt, to smooth out any last wrinkles. Opening the door, Rienhart greeted her with a big grin. Behind him stood the woman she saw last night. Seeing her close up she was lost in the most amazing blue eyes looking back at her. A slight flush came to her cheeks, which was not missed by the tall dark haired woman. Rienhart interrupted the visual interchange by clearing his throat.

"Um! Can we come in?"

"Oh! Sorry! Yes please come in."

"Catherine, this is Morgan Grayson, my friend I mentioned earlier."

"Hello Morgan! Nice to meet you." Extending her hand.

Morgan took her hand in a firm shake. Feeling a slight tingly sensation from the contact. "Oh the pleasure is all mine." She said with a purr.

Catherine was feeling a little nervous by the closeness of this woman. The contact from their hands was surprising to her. That one gesture sent waves of heat through her body. Feeling shaky, she let go of her hand. Trying to focus on keeping herself calm.

"Hey you okay?" Rienhart said noticing her flushed cheeks.

"Yeah! I’m fine. So what’s in the bag?" She said nodding her head toward the bag still held in Morgan’s hand.

"Take out! I said I would bring dinner. So I got Chinese." Rienhart said while taking the bag from Morgan’s grasp.

"Oh great I’m starved! Here I’ll take that, you guys go have a seat in the living room." Catherine said taking the bag and heading for the kitchen.

Rienhart and Morgan made their way to the living room. Rienhart sitting in an overstuffed chair that could fit two comfortably. Morgan sitting on the matching sofa. Removing her leather jacket she placed it over the arm of the sofa. Looking around, Morgan made note of the room. It was not an overly big room. But she could tell that a lot of thought was put into the arrangement as to not make it overly cluttered. The couch was up against the left wall with the matching chair to the right of it, with a low square coffee table in the middle. A beautiful Oriental rug graced the hardwood floor. On the wall above the sofa was a large picture of a landscape, the colors rich with purple and greens. A fireplace was on the right wall. A small fire burning within giving the room a warm glow. The mantel was of rich mahogany ornately carved. Candles sat on top of the mantel along with two statues, one of an Egyptian cat, the other of some Grecian figure. She wasn’t sure. A mirror hung on the wall over the fireplace framed in a dark wood. A window was on the far wall, hanging plants and potted plants making a semi-screen from the outside world.

"Nice place" Morgan said.

"Yeah, Catherine likes to go to the flea market. Can you believe that she got this rug for only 20 bucks? You should see her in action. She can talk anyone down."

Catherine came in with plates and the cartons of food. "I thought we could just dish ourselves. What can I get you all to drink? I have beer, coffee, coke, hard stuff if you want it. So what will it be?"

"Beer sounds good." Rienhart said with a sheepish grin.

"And you?" she said to Morgan.

"Hmm. Beer will do! Here, let me help you." Morgan said getting up and following her to the kitchen.

Catherine grabbed three beers out of the fridge. Setting them on the counter, she opened the drawer, taking out the bottle opener. "Here, let me do that while you get the napkins." Morgan said, taking the opener out of Catherine’s hand.

Catherine watched as Morgan popped the caps off. The fingers wrapped around the neck of the bottle were long and tapered, muscles in her forearms flexing from the movement of her hand. Taking a deep breath, she looked up to see that Morgan was looking at her with a bemused smile on her face. Quickly averting her eyes, she opened another drawer, taking out the napkins.

"Well I think that should do us. Unless you want a fork instead of chopsticks."

"I think I can handle chopsticks." Morgan said still smiling.

The dinner was soon greedily devoured. Idle chitchat was made, but nothing about the case. Pushing her plate away Catherine sat back on the couch. " Oh I can’t eat another bite!"

"Well I’m not surprised -- you only had three helpings." Sam said. "I’m just glad that we were able to get a few meager scraps for ourselves." Chuckling at the glare Catherine gave him.

"Haha. Funny, very funny."

Morgan just sat back and watched the exchange, trying her best to keep a straight face. She was amazed that this woman could pack away all that food. Where did she put it all? Glancing over at her, she ran her eyes over Catherine’s lithe frame. The silk green shirt flowing over her torso to a tapered waist. Catherine bent forward, gesturing with her arm making the muscles in her back flex from the movement. Sitting back once again, bringing her hand up to her wispy bangs giving them a tousle. She casually crossed her legs, bringing her hand to rest on a firm thigh.

Realizing that the conversation had ended, Morgan looked up to see Rienhart looking at her with a puzzled expression.

"What?"

"I asked if you were ready to talk shop."

"Oh right." Morgan said, glancing back at Catherine then back to Rienhart and giving him a nod to begin.

"Cat, the reason why I asked Morgan to help on the case is because you may be in danger."

"What do you mean I may be in danger. In danger of what?"

"Well it seems…. I mean a… well it…."

" What Sam is trying to say is, is that you have been threatened. A note was delivered to the station last night after you left. It’s pretty sick. Sam had been toying with the idea to solicit my help. Receiving the note made the decision for him. "

"May I see the note?" Catherine asked, looking from Morgan to Sam.

Morgan nodded to Sam. Reaching into his shirt pocket he pulled out the folded note. Looking a little uneasy, he hesitated. Morgan reached over, taking the note from his hand, handing it to Catherine.

Catherine unfolded the note and began to read.

 

Catherine. Such a beautiful name. A name that I will always keep close to

my heart. A name that I will whisper in your ear while you lay screaming in

pain under my hand. Such sweet tormenting pain. Maybe I won’t kill you

like the others. But then again maybe I will.

 

Catherine’s face had lost all color by the time she finished. Hands visibly shaking, she turned to Morgan.

"Why?" Eyes brimming with tears she threw the note on the table. Quickly standing, she walked to the fireplace bracing her hands against the mantel.

"I don’t understand. Why would someone come after me? I don’t know anyone that hates me enough to kill me!"

Sam was about to get out of his chair and go comfort Catherine when Morgan motioned to him to stay put. Standing she walked over to Catherine, putting her hand on her shoulder.

"Look, I know it’s upsetting. But you need to be strong. I need you to be strong. I’m here to help. That’s why Sam asked me here. We’ll get through this, I promise."

"You! I don’t even know you or anything about you! How can you help?"

"Cat. Morgan is a Profiler agent. Top in her field. She hires out to the agencies. She’s the one they call on when they can’t crack a case. I trust her with my life, and she saved my butt many a time. " Rienhart said trying, to soothe his friend’s trepidation.

Morgan looked over her shoulder giving Rienhart an appreciative smile. Turning back to Catherine, she was met with sea-green eyes.

"A Profiler?" Catherine was studying her now, eyes searching for an answer.

"Well I’m a little more than just a Profiler. But we’ll talk about that later. Right now I think it would be best if you didn’t stay here. You’re not safe here. So, you’re going to pack a few things and stay with me. Do you understand? I don’t want you out of my sight. Whether you like it or not, I think you’re now the key to this case. There’s no way in hell that I’m going to let anything happen to you. Got that?"

Catherine was too stunned to protest, nodding her head in compliance. Morgan moved her hand down Catherine’s back, slowly guiding her toward the hall that lead to Catherine’s bedroom. All the while speaking to her in soothing tones to calm and relax her. Once they reached the bedroom Morgan gave Catherine a little nudge.

"Pack two bags. One that you can throw over your shoulder like a backpack or a bag with a long strap. The other can be a suitcase. Sam can drop it by my place later. So make sure you have what you need in the bag, because it will be all you have for now. Okay?"

"Okay. But why do I need two? Why can’t I just do the suitcase?"

"Well you can’t ride a motorcycle too well when you have to hold onto a suitcase!" Morgan said with a puckish grin. And if anyone is watching…….

"Oh!" Was all Catherine managed to say.

Morgan left her to her packing, returning to the living room. Sam was standing by the window looking down at the street below. Without looking from the window he called Morgan over.

"We seem to have a guest."

Looking over his shoulder Morgan spotted a lone figure standing in shadows across the street, looking up in the direction of Catherine’s apartment. It was too dark to make out any distinguishing characteristics about the figure. All you could see was someone dressed dark, huddled in the shadows of the entrance to the building across the street.

"Well we may have to pay ‘em a visit. Up for a little cat and mouse?" Morgan said with a roguish grin.

 

To be continued

 

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Part II