Written by: Winnie
(a.k.a. at: Poohbear-29@Home.com)
Captain Lee Crane walked into Admiral Harriman Nelsonís outer office and immediately noticed Angie was not at her desk. In her place was another young woman. His first impression was that of prettiness. However, when as she looked up and spoke he saw she had an exotic beauty about her; auburn hair, sea green eyes, and a beautiful smile.
"Hi, can I help you?" she asked him.
"Lee Crane to see Admiral Nelson, is he in?"
"Yes he is, do you have an appointment?"
"No, but Iím sure he will see me, let him know Iím here."
She looked at first as if she was going to refuse him, but soon smiled, and pressed the voicelink, " Admiral there is a Lee Crane here to see you."
"Send him right in Leah," Nelsonís replied rather mechanically.
"You heard him Mr. Crane, go on in."
"Thank you," Lee opened the Admiralís door, and walked over to his desk, "Good morning sir, whoís the new girl? And whereís Angie?"
"Angie had a family emergency, she will be back next week. When are you leaving?"
"Iím not .ONI cancelled the mission. They just found out the guy had false information and was only looking for some quick moneyÖ so Iím available if you need me."
"There is nothing going on right now; Seaview will be in dry-dock for the next month for repairs. Why donít you take some time off and relax?"
"You know, I think I will do just that. I wonder if Chipís left yet."
"Why donít you check with Leah, Chip must have left word on how to reach him."
"Iíll do that. What are your plans?"
"I have a conference on saving the whales. I think I can finally get someone to take me seriously on how depleted the hunters are making the stock."
"I hope you get them to listen. Well I guess I will ask Leah about Chip. Bye Admiral."
"Bye Lee, have fun," Admiral Nelson watched the captainís retreating back, but actually wanted to stop him. I should make him come with me, he thought, now where did that come from?
Lee walked to Leahís desk, "Hi again, maybe I should introduce myself properly, my name is Lee Crane."
"Hi Mr. Crane. My name is Leah Petroni."
"Please, call me Lee, I hate being called Mr. Makes me feel old. Miss Petroni, did Chip Morton tell you where he could be reached?"
"He said he would be at his parentís cottage for a few days but only wants to be contacted in case of emergency. Is it an emergency Lee?"
"No. I guess I am just going to find something to do on my own."
"I donít want to seem bold LeeÖbut would you like to go out for an after dinner drink later?"
Lee looked at the girl and smiled, "I would like that very much, but it will be my treat."
"I am a liberated woman Lee; my idea, my treat."
"All right you buy the drinks, but I buy dinner. Do you like Italian?"
"You drive a hard bargain. Italian sounds great. What time should I pick you up?"
"Letís say six for dinner at Giovanniís. Drinkís later at Temples."
"Temples? You want to dance as well I take it."
"You do dance donít you?"
"Of course. Where do I pick you up?"
"I have an apartment just outside the institute. Hereís the address. Iíll be waiting outside. See you then."
"Ok Lee," She flashed him a stunning smile as he left.
Lee went to his apartment and thought about Leah; finding he was really looking forward to tonight. Maybe this shore leave wouldnít be boring after all. He was just going to take a shower when there was a knock on the door.
"Julie!" he exclaimed.
"Hi Lee, sorry I dropped by without any notice, can we talk?"
"Sure come on in. Would you like something to drink?"
"I would love a coffee, if itís not to much trouble."
"Not at all. How are Joey and Amy?"
"Joey and I are divorced, he has custody of Amy. "
"Iím sorry Julie, what happened?"
"I guess he realised I still love you Lee, I never stopped and I told him I wanted to come back to you, oh Lee, please tell me itís not to late. Can we start over? I love you so."
"Julie a lot has changed. Weíre not the same people we were in high school. Weíve moved on. You married Joey and I went into the Navy. I will always be here to help but I donít feel the same way I used to," Lee couldnít see the look that came over her face.
She was furious, " How could you Lee? I told you I would always love you. My parents told me I had to marry Joey. I never loved him. I canít believe itís over, please Lee give us another chance?"
Lee pulled away from her embrace and saw the fury reflected there, "Julie we can talk for awhile but I have a date tonight."
Canít you tell her we have to talk, you can go out with her another time. Youíll see that we havenít changed that much, please Lee we have a past..."
"We do have a past and thatís just it Julie, itís in the past. I donít know how much clearer I can be."
"No Lee, I canít go on without you."
"Julie, I think you need help, let me call someone for you."
Julie turned to Lee and said very softly, " I donít want your help Lee, I wanted you. I guess I will go back home and try to pick up my life. Maybe Joey can find it in his heart to forgive me. I will never love him the way I do you but I will try. Good bye Lee."
He watched as she walked quickly to the door and out. There was nothing he could do. She had refused his help; he would wait a few hours and call her at her home and see if she was okay. He called Admiral Nelsonís office to ask for some advice on the situation.
Leah answered on the first ring, "Hi Lee, Admiral Nelson left for Chicago about an hour ago. Is something wrong?"
"Nothing that you can help me with right now, are we still on for tonight?"
"Definitely. I can hardly wait."
Julie stood listening outside the door, I will make you love me again, I will have to get rid of whoever this other woman is; then I will have you to myself and nobody had better get in my way. Iíll stay in my car and watch you. I will have you! Youíll see I am the only one for you. I know what you like, what your weaknesses are. So help me Iíll kill her if I have to! She went down to her car to watch and wait.
Lee went downstairs at five-fifty and Leah was already there. He opened the door and climbed in, "Iím starved. I hope they have Linguini Alfredo tonight. Itís the best in town."
He didnít see the green sedan pull out behind them.
Julie was seething. All she could think about was Leeís betrayal. He should be with her. It was his fault; he should have known she would come back to him. Her parents were out of the way; so was her husband. She had seen to that, no one would be able to prove she had set their little twin engine plane to crash. She had done it for Lee, and he had turned her down .How could he do this to her? And that woman he was with had to be a tramp. Lee must like her for her looks. She would do something about that, maybe she wouldnít kill her, just mess her up.
Julie smiled and started to hum, very pleased with herself. Her plans were coming together. She pulled into Giovanniís and waited in the car as Crane and the tramp went into the restaurant. Iíll just wait here for a few minutes and then Iíll confront her about trying to take my man.
"Captain Crane how nice of you to join us again! Maria will be so glad, do you wish your favourite table?"
"If itís available Giovanni. I want the best for my lovely companion. This is Leah Petroni."
"Leah. A beautiful name for a beautiful lady. This way if you please."
The couple was taken to a table at the back of the restaurant near a fountain of glass and marble.
"I will bring you a bottle of our best wine, on the house. Will Admiral Nelson and Mr. Morton be joining you?"
"Not tonight Iím happy to say."
"Lee, how can you say that?"
"I just meant I wanted to keep you all to myself. Iím just being selfish."
They laughed as a waiter came over and popped the cork on the wine, poured a small amount into a Crystal goblet and passed it to Lee. Crane swished it around in his glass and swallowed it. " Another excellent vintage Giovanni." As the waiter filled their glasses they heard a commotion from the front of the restaurant.
"You have to let me in! Lee I must talk to you! I love you! I need you!"
Lee rose, and walked over to see Julie Parsons-Radcliff, held back by two of the waiters.
"There you are Lee! Please tell these men to let me go!"
"Julie! What are you doing here? I thought you were going back to your family."
"How can I do that Lee? I want only to be with you."
"Julie, go home, I will call you later."
"No! Send that tramp your with home so we can talk."
This was going nowhere and Lee could see that he would have to get her outside before she upset anymore restaurant patrons. Taking her by the arm, he pulled her forcefully from Giovanniís.
"Where is your car?"
She pointed to her sedan and he put her inside it.
"I am here with someone tonight. If you want to talk tomorrow come by my place and we will go somewhere for coffee. I donít want you coming inside again .Do you understand?"
She nodded and started crying." Will you really take me out for coffee tomorrow? That makes me feel so much better; I guess you have to stay with her since you already brought her. Thank you Lee. I love you so much."
"Julie itís only a coffee."
"Sure Lee, see you tomorrow," she said as she drove off.
Lee turned back to Giovanniís and went back to his table. Leah looked at him questioningly and he explained everything that had happened that day. " I donít know any other way to tell her Iím not interested."
"You did everything you couldÖdo you want to forget about tonight and go home? I understand if you do."
"Are you kidding, I could use a night out. She wonít bother us again tonight."
"How can you be sure?"
"I told her I would talk things over with her tomorrow. I think I can get her to understand if we can sit and talk one on one. Why donít we order?"
"I hope you donít mind but I already did, and here it comes now."
Lee watched as Giovanni, Maria and another waiter came towards them with three heavily loaded trays.
"The lady she has exquisite taste Captain. She has ordered Cesar salad, Linguine Alfredo and garlic bread for two .If you wish anything else please just call."
"I can see I am dealing with a take charge woman. I think I could get used to this." They laughed as Lee offered her the Cesar salad and she served them both.
The rest of the night passed to quickly for them both and she was soon dropping him off at his building.
"Good night Leah, can I come by the office in the morning?"
"Why not, thereís not much else to do until the Admiral gets backÖdonít I get a good night kiss?"
They embraced and as their lips met the fire ignited.
"Iíd better get out of here before we go any further .I may be liberated but even I think you should only kiss on the first date. "
She got back in the car and drove away. Lee turned and went inside, not seeing a sedan pull out of the next street to follow Leah.
Lee Crane arrived at NIMR at 10 A.M. The place seemed busier than normal and when he parked his red sports car in his usual spot, he saw Chief Francis Sharkey coming hurrying towards him.
" Chief, what are you doing here?"
"The police called me when they couldnít reach Admiral Nelson or you and Mr. Morton."
"What are the police doing here?"
"Well sir, I donít know if you knew that the Admiralís secretary was called away on an emergency." Crane nodded and the chief continued, "Her replacement was killed in an accident this morning." Sharkey reached out and caught his captain as he wavered. "Whatís wrong sir, do you need the doctor?"
"Sharkey are you sure it was Leah?"
"Yes sir I didnít know you knew her."
"We went out last night. I was coming here to see if she wanted lunch. Where are the police now?"
"Inside, I guess they would probably want to talk to you .It sure sounds like you were the last one to see her alive." The two men hurried into Nelsonís office. The Chief watched his Captain closely as he introduced himself to the detective.
"Captain Crane, I am detective Frank Bartlette .I would appreciate any information you can give me on Miss Petroni."
Lee sat down and began to tell his story. His hand was shaking when Sharkey pushed a drink into it.
"Here Captain drink this, " he said.
"I canít believe she died on her way home from my place, we had made plans for coffee to...Oh my god, Julie. Detective Bartlette are you sure this was an accident?"
"As a matter of fact Captain Crane we found some evidence of another car being involved, but we werenít going to say anything until we checked a few things out .Is there anything you can tell us that might help us find the person who may have been involved?"
"There is a woman I used to date. She came to my place yesterday and wouldnít believe me when I told her it was over. She was supposed to come to my place for coffee today. Her name is Julie Parsons-RadcliffÖ. I think she may have killed Leah because she I was with her." Lee Crane felt the weight of the world fall on his shoulders as he realised he had caused her death. "I will do everything I can to help you."
"Can you keep your date with Radcliff?"
"Yes, Iíll go back to my place now and wait for her."
"Okay Captain, we will set up outside and wait for her to come to you. What kind of car does she drive?"
"Itís a green sedan."
The waiting was hard. All he could think of was that a woman had lost her life because he had asked her out. He knew he shouldnít blame himself for something done by an obsessed person, but he couldnít help it. Tears slowly ran down his cheeks as he sipped his second brandy of the day. The phone rang and he picked it up on the second ring, "Hello."
"I canít come to you right now Lee, There seems to be a lot of police outside your building. Did you tell them about me? How could you? I only did what needed to be done! I took care of her the same as I took care of the other people who were in the way. Now you and I can go back to the way things were!"
"What do you mean you took care of the others? How many people have you killed?"
"It doesnít matter now. They are all gone and I will come to you when I know itís safe. I love you Lee," the line went dead.
Crane went to the window and signalled the detective in the car to come up .He opened the door before they arrived.
"Iím sorry, she wonít be coming. She must have spotted you and figured out what you were doing here, butÖ she did admit to killing Leah .She also said there were others but she wouldnít say who they were."
"We just got a call from headquarters. We think the people she killed were her parents and her husband. She had a child, but the girl is safe with her grandparents .We will be watching them closely. Will you come down to the station and give us a statement? I will have an officer bring you back when weíre done."
"Of course, Iíll do anything I can to help."
It took almost two hours to give his statement and get back to his apartment .He lay down and closed his eyes but all he could see was Leahís happy smiling face and Julieís angry one.
They seemed to be going in circles. Lee tossed and turned and when someone knocked on the door. He jumped with a start and realised he must have dozed off .He slowly walked to the door and opened it to see Chip Morton and Admiral Harriman Nelson.
"Lee are you all right? Chief Sharkey called me and told me what happened .I called Chip and we came back on the next flight." Nelson was worried about his Captain and friend, "Lad you canít blame yourself for what happened .The woman who caused this is at fault. She needs to be caught before she hurts anyone else."
"I keep telling myself the same thing Admiral, but it keeps coming back to one thing: if I hadnít gone out with Leah, she would still be here. I have to take some of the blame. Julie came to me and wanted to start over, I could have listened to her, maybe she would have let me get her the help she needed."
Chip put his hand on his Captainís shoulder and sat next to him.
" Lee it was already to late when she came to you. Sheíd already caused the death of her parents and her husband. She needs to be in an institution and under medical care."
"I know youíre right Chip. Admiral, Leahís parents are on there way to make funeral arrangements and I told them I would help in any way I can. They should be here soon. I told them I would meet them at the police station. Will you come with me?"
"What are friends for Lee .Why donít you get ready and I will drive you there, " Nelson watched him go into his room and turned to Chip, "I think we had better keep an eye on him .He looks terrible."
"Lee always blames himself for things he canít control; hopefully the police will find that woman before she does any further harm to other people."
"I agree Chip," Crane said as he walked out of his room. "She is dangerous and unstable and the longer she goes without help the worse sheíll get. Letís get to the station. I know youíre worried but I will be okay. Itís Leahís family who is in need of our help; they can use all the support they can get. I have to explain to them why she was killed; they have to know how senseless it was .Why didnít she just come after me? Iím the one who turned her down. " Lee Crane lashed out at the wall with all his anger, leaving a rather large hole in the shape of his hand, and slumped to the couch. " How can I face them knowing I was the cause of their daughters death?" tears streamed down his face.
Chip looked from his friend to Nelson and could see the worry mirrored in the Admiralís eyes. "Lee, why donít I go to the station and meet Leahís family, I think you could really use some rest."
"No Chip, I need to do this and I can handle it. Iím ready to go sir."
"I guess Iíll come as well."
The three friends went downstairs where the Admiral had parked, as they were getting in an old bag lady came up behind Chip, "Can I help you?" he asked.
"Can you spare some change? Iím so hungry."
Chip reached into his pocket and gave her the few dimes and nickels he found there, and watched as she walked away.
Lee Crane watched as the bag lady walked around the corner, turned to his friends and yelled as he started after her, "That was her!" He was around the corner by the time Morton and Nelson realized what he had said and they ran to catch up.
Lee saw her disappear down another street and ran all out to catch her, as he rounded the corner he ran into a police officer walking his beat, the two fell to the sidewalk and both got slowly to their feet, "Whereís the fire?"He asked.
Lee looked up to see his friends, "Officer Iím sorry, I was chasing a bag lady down this way, did you see her?"
"Sorry, if she came this way I never saw her, I was helping a guy get his car going .Did she do something wrong?"
"Iím not sure it was her, but Admiral, it was a feeling I got when she reached out to Chip for the money. I guess she could be anywhere by now, we might as well get to the station."
That was to close, she thought, but this cat and mouse game was so much fun .I have to do something to get him by himself, then I will make him listen. He does love me and I will show him and make him remember.
Lee Crane sat in Nelsonís office and tried to relax. The funeral had been three weeks ago and Leahís family had been great to him, they had made him realize what his friends were trying so hard to do. He was at fault here, Julie was. She was the one with the obsession. He was sorry for what had happened to Leah, he thought they might have been able to have a future together. Even though they had only gone out once he knew she was special and the talk with her parents had made him realize just what a loss of life this was.
"The police still have no idea where she is. I tried to help, but she seems to have disappeared."
"Well Lee maybe theyíll find her while weíre gone. She has to surface sometime. Are you ready to leave?"
"Yes sir. Iíll be at the boat at 0700.Chip will meet me there. What time do you want to leave?"
"We have to pick up Doctor Laus and his wife in Pearle Harbour in two days so there is no real hurry. We can leave at 2100 hours tomorrow night. That way you can do the last minute safety checks and make sure everything works properly. Lee go home and get a good nights rest, I know you havenít been sleeping very well and I need you in top form on this mission. Dr. Laus is going to inspect our Nuclear reactor and see if there is some way he can detect radiation leaks before they even start."
"I heard about his new proto type, I hope it works. It could save allot of lives, things would get repaired before anyone even needed to wear protective clothing."
"Exactly. Now get out of here, Iíll see you tomorrow." Nelson gave his Captain a pat on the back and closed the door behind him.
Lee went to his car and got behind the wheel. He smiled as he sped down the highway. He would be on Seaview in the morning, his home on the seas. Nelsonís porch was one of his favourite spots; he could sit and look out at the water, fish, whales or anything else nature threw his way.
He slowed down to take a sharp curve in the road and almost hit a car, which had pulled to the side of the road. I wonder if they need help, better pull over and check. He got out and walked over to the disabled car, "Is there anything I can help you..."he never had a chance to finish the question.
Chip Morton stood on the deck of Seaview, worried as it was a little after
0700 and there was no sign of Lee Crane. Iíd better check with the Admiral. He left the boat and walked hurriedly towards NIMR.
Angie looked up as he walked through the door.
"Is he in?"
"Yes Chip. Go right in."
"Thanks Angie," he called over his shoulder. Nelson was at his desk and looked up as Chip opened the door, "Sir have you seen Lee?"
"Not since last night. Did you check the boat?"
"Yes sir. I just came from there. He said he would be there by 0700.Iím worried."
"Have you called his apartment?" Chip shook his head.
"Let me try, maybe he took something to help him sleep and forgot to alarm the clock. Angie," Nelson spoke into the intercom, " get me Lee Crane, try his apartment."
"Admiral, thereís no answer." Angieís voice sounded tinny over the intercom, "Do you want me to try his motherís?"
"Try all the emergency numbers we have for him and let me know right away if you find out anything. Chip, you donít suppose that woman has anything to do with this?"
"I was just thinking about that. Nobody has seen her, but if she managed to get to him thereís no telling what she would do!"
"Letís not jump the gun here, we have to wait until Angie finishes the emergency numbers. Is everyone else at the boat?"
"Yes sir. I told Chief Sharkey to go ahead and start checking the repairs and make sure everything is okay. I never said anything about Lee."
Angie came in, " nobody has heard from him sir."
"Angie: me Detective Frank Bartlette."
Angie went to the outer office and within minutes she had the detective Bartlette on the line, Nelson picked up the phone, "Detective Bartlette, itís Admiral Nelson from NIMR, I was wondering if there was any news on Julie Parsons-Radcliff?"
"No sir. Weíve had an active BPB out on her for the last month, itís like she dropped off the face of the world. Have you found out anything?"
"Lee Crane is missing. He never showed up at the boat this morning and thatís not like him. We called everyone who knows him and he hasnít been seen since he left here last night. As a matter of fact I seem to be the last one who saw him."
"Admiral let me check a few things and Iíll call you back, will you be at your office?"
"Angie will put you through to me, Thanks detective." He hung up and turned to Chip, "letís get a few of the men and see if we can start a search of our own. Iíll call Admiral Starke and let him no we may be delayed in picking up Doctor Laus. Letís get to the boat."
"Kowalski, Patterson, and Chief Sharkey, I want you three to search Seaview, as well as the grounds surrounding the institute. Mr. Morton and I are going to drive the route Lee would have taken home .If anyone finds anything call the other team right away."
"Kowalski," the chief took over, " you take the lab and talk to the people in there. Patterson, you take the main building, and Iíll take the grounds"
"Chief do you think the Captainís okay?"
"I hope so Ski, but if that crazy lady has him we have to find him fast."
Lee Crane could hear someone talking. It seemed so far away but he thought he recognized the voice. He tried to remain still as he slowly opened his eyes. There were three people in the room. The two men he didnít know, but even with her back turned he knew the woman was Julie. He closed his eyes and tried to pick out what was being said. Julie sounded angry.
"I told you not to hurt him. It was part of the deal. You were supposed to use chloroform not hit him over the head. For all I know he may never wake up .If that happens I will take it out on you two. I pay you good money to carry out my orders."
"Whatís the difference .We got him here didnít we?"
"Yes you got him here, but what if he doesnít wake up?"
"Then weíll have to get rid of him."
Julie looked at him with murder in her eyes, "If anything happens to him I can guarantee he wonít be the only one we will need to get rid of. I will have you both killed or I will do it myself." With that she walked over to Crane, "Please darling open your eyes. I need you to see me. Come on Lee I know you are awake."
Crane groaned and slowly opened his eyes, "What happened?"
"Iím so sorry Lee, these two idiots canít do anything right." She looked into his frightened eyes and said, "Itís okay darling, I wonít let them hurt you."
"How do I know that? Why am I tied up like this? Itís all so confusing. You call me darling yet I donít know who you are."
"Oh no! Look what youíve done. He doesnít even know me! You hit him to hard you fools. Get out of my sight before I kill you."
"What about our money?"
"Youíll get your money when he gets his memory back, not before. Do I make myself clear? GET OUT NOW!" The two men ran out the door and she turned back to Lee Crane. "Iím so sorry darling Iíll take care of you. Let me get you some water." She walked away mumbling about inept fools.
Lee drank the water she offered and groaned again, "Does your head hurt darling?" He nodded and she went to get some aspirin. "Here you go, these should help"
He swallowed the aspirin with the water and smiled, "Thank you. I donít know why you have me tied up like this but thank you for getting rid of those men. Who are they and why did they hit me?"
"You donít have to worry about those two fools. They wonít hurt you again. Now close your eyes and get some rest. Iíll be here when you wake."
Thatís what Iím afraid of. If I can keep up this charade maybe I can get her to undo these ropes. He drifted into a restless sleep filled with dreams of Julie killing Leah all over again.
Nelson and Morton met Detective Bartlette back at the institute. "Angie can you bring us some coffee, and send the Chief in when he gets here. Detective, has there been any word?"
"You guys might as well call me Frank, it looks as if we will be working together for awhile. Thereís nothing else I can tell you. He hasnít been admitted to any hospitals and the good news is I checked the morgue and he isnít there either. I have men checking their sources but no one has seen anything. This lady must have had money stashed all over the place, if it is her. I think it is but I also want to check other options. Has anyone found his car?"
"Not yet." Morton answered. "I am pretty certain she had something to do with this. Lee Crane is not the kind of man to just leave and not tell anyone. He would never give up the Seaview. He loves that boat and everyone on her."
"That may be Mr Morton, but wasnít he feeling guilty about the death of Leah Petroni? Is it possible he just decided to get away from it all?"
"You donít know Lee Crane if you can say that, he may feel the guilt but he would face it not run from it." There was a knock on the door and Sharkey came in followed by Doctor Jamison.
"Anything Francis?" Nelson asked.
"No sir .We have men out all over the place. Theyíve been checking everywhere, all the clubs, and restaurants, even the bars. Nothing. Heís just gone."
"Itís getting late, send the men home. Thereís nothing we can do until someone spots something and contacts us. Jamie, I know you never met this woman but can you give us some idea of what we are dealing with?"
"Sheís killed four people and very likely is holding Lee somewhere. I would say sheís psychotic and possessive .I think when we do find her she will do anything to keep the captain with her .Yes even kill him if she has to. She is a woman obsessed and Lee Crane happens to be the one who has captured her attention. We had better find her before he does something to turn her obsession into hatred."
"Do you think she would really hurt him? She told him she still loved him." Nelson said.
"I wish I could say no but I canít. Love is an extreme emotion and so is hatred, sometimes it doesnít take much to change from one extreme to the other. Letís find him fast sir."
He could feel her watching him and slowly opened his eyes.
"Iím glad to see youíre awake. Are you feeling any better."
"My head hurts and my arms are aching."
"I canít untie you Lee .I want to be able to trust you but you have to earn it."
"How do I earn your trust if I donít know who I am and why you donít trust me."
"Lee, if you are faking this amnesia I promise I will find out and you will pay. My love for you is very strong and Iíve done some things that I could go to jail for just so I could prove it to you."
"Can you tell me if I loved you this strongly?"
Here is my chance to see if he is telling the truth or not, "We loved each other very much and if you let me I will try to prove it to you?"
What have I gotten myself in for? Well I better do what she wants. "What do you want me to do?"
She leaned over the bed and kissed him. He tried not to show any emotion and thought heíd succeeded when he didnít push her away .She wanted the kiss to be more than it was and he let her think it was when she finally pulled back. She smiled down at him and spoke very softly, "I see you liked that. Would you like me to go further?"
"You havenít even told me your name."
"I didnít?" he shook his head and she laughed, "I just kissed you like that and you donít even know who I am." She struck out at him in anger "Youíre probably thinking about that tramp you were out with. I donít care if it is amnesia. You should not have let me kiss you until you knew who I am." She hit him over and until her anger was gone and she looked down at the man she loved. There seemed to be blood everywhere on his face and the surrounding pillows," Look what you made me do! Now I will have to clean you up."
Lee Crane couldnít speak through the swelling in his mouth and there seemed to be blood running into his eyes and he couldnít see. It felt like a band of drummers were inside his head and he couldnít hold back the sobs, I have to make her believe I have amnesia itís the only chance I have. Please Admiral find me soon!
Nelson woke with a start; he must have fallen asleep on his couch in his office. He couldnít help feeling Lee was in terrible danger, he picked up the phone before it started to ring, "Chip, we have to find him fast. Can you come down here?"
"On my way sir." Chip didnít even question how Nelson knew it was him calling. There had always been something between them, some kind of link. It had gotten them through hard times before and he hoped it would again.
Chip pulled into his parking spot and ran into Nelsonís office, "Sir, somethingís happened."
"I felt it to Chip. It felt like he was in a lot of pain. Letís round up some of the men and we can start another search. I think he could be in one of the abandoned warehouses along the old strip."
"Iíll call them and have them come here."
He was in so much pain he didnít think it would ever go away. She was washing his face with warm water and she was saying something he could barely hear. "This is all your fault," she said as he grimaced at her touch. "I will not tolerate you thinking of someone else when you are with me. I told you I love you and I do. You will come to love me in good time and we have all the time we need. There now that looks better. I donít have anything to give you for the pain so just close your eyes and try to rest," she kissed him and said good night.
Lee kept his eyes closed, sheís getting worse. I better get her to take these off and make my move before she kills me as well. I know Chip and the Admiral are looking for me, itís almost like I can feel them in my head. Keep coming you guys Iíll try to stay alive. He felt her standing by his side and tried to open his eyes but found they were swollen shut.
"They will heal Lee but it will be painful for awhile." she started to kiss his swollen lids and slowly made her way all around his face. "Have you remembered anything?"
"Would you like something to drink?"
"Are you sulking?"
"Go to hell."
"Only if I can take you with me darling. Now stop talking like this."
"I donít want anything except to stretch my arms and legs. Please Iím so uncomfortable."
"My friend is coming over later and I will untie you for a little while. Right now we need to talk some more about your memories. Do you remember where you worked?"
Have to make this look good. "I seem to remember something about water, an ocean I think and some kind of ship."
"Thatís great. Oh Lee wait till you remember the way things were for us in high school. We went everywhere together; people thought you and I would get married. Then you wanted to join the navy and my father didnít like that, he made me stop seeing you and marry Joey, but I showed them, theyíre all dead and I now have a second chance with you as soon as you remember what we were like." He couldnít see her face but she sounded as giddy as a schoolgirl with her first crush. The pain in his head was becoming intense again and he closed his eyes and slept fitfully. "Lee wake up, come on now my friend is here and he is going to give you something for the pain."
"I donít want anything."
"Donít be silly. He knows what heís doing. Heís a doctor. Guess what Lee? He has something to give you that will make you answer questions honestly. I have to know whether youíre telling me the truth or not. I need to know thereís a chance for us and that canít happen till I am sure of you. Doctor letís get started."
"Can you get me something to drink? Iím so thirsty." Lee asked in a low voice. Her face disappeared from his limited vision and was replaced by a manís.
The man spoke almost in a whisper, "I know who you are and I will try to get you some help. " He saw the relief in Craneís eyes and spoke so she heard him. "Julie, my dear, what happened to him?"
"My helpers were very rough and he tried to get away from them so they beat him." she lied. "How long will it take this stuff to work?"
"Well that depends on whether he fights it or not. This is new and it works with the brain. If he fights it thereís nothing we can do. I donít dare give him too much, not with those head injuries. Now give him his water and we can get started." Lee drank the water greedily, "Ok, lets get started." Lee felt the cold swab of alcohol and then the sharp prick of the needle jab into his upper arm, "I just a few minutes youíre going to feel very drowsy but you wonít fall asleep. Itíll be better if you let yourself relax. Thatís it, just a few more minutes and weíll be ready Julie," Lee heard what the man was saying and realized he had been given a placebo. There was no feeling of drowsiness but he better convince her that he was under the influence. "Can you hear me?"
"Mmm," he mumbled.
"Have you been telling Julie the truth?"
"I donít know what youíre talking about, truth about what!" his voice sounded convincing to him, hopefully it was to her as well.
"Do you remember me?" Julie asked.
"No, please donít hurt me anymore. My head still hurts."
ĎJulie stay quiet and let me ask the questions, he seems to get agitated when he hears your voice, now let me do my job. Can you still hear me?"
"Yes, is she gone She scares me. She beat me .I donít want to be here."
"Is that all you wanted to know?" he asked Julie.
"Yes. Is he telling the truth?"
The fury in her eyes made him jittery, "As far as I can tell he is. Why did you tell me your men did this to him."
"I wanted to see if he would tell you the truth. I guess he did. You can go now."
"Let him sleep now. The drug needs time to wear off and if you want him to get better you better not hit him anymore. Call me if you need me."
"I will." She turned her back on him and he walked out the door.
Dr. William Sanderson went directly to his car and drove towards NIMR, he had told the captain that he knew who he was and he had told the truth. He would tell Nelson where he could find his man. He hoped nothing would happen before they could rescue the captain.
I better see where heís going in such a hurry. She thought, "Lee I have to go out. You probably donít hear me but in case you do I want you to know I will be back." She ran to her car and was just in time to see Sanderson drive away .She followed at a discreet distance and when she was sure he was headed for Santa Barbara .He had to be going there to tell someone about Lee. He had to be stopped and there was only one way to do that. She would wait for her chance and run him off the road just like sheíd done to that tramp that was after Lee.
He struggled against the ropes and found they gave a little each time he tugged. His only hope was to be gone before she returned. The rope fell from his arm and he didnít realize he was free for about thirty seconds, he reached for his feet and with a great deal of trial and error he got those off as well. He could feel what little strength he had quickly leaving his body. No. This canít be happening. I have to get away. God if she found him like this she would kill him. He tried to stand but his legs were numb and he fell to the floor.
She had succeeded, the doctor and his car were at the bottom of a ravine and she had nothing to worry about. She would go back to Lee now and they could work on getting his memory back and get on with their lives, they would be so happy.
Kowalski was listening to the two men in the booth next to him, they were arguing ever since he and Patterson had come in to use the phone. He saw Patterson returning and motioned him to be quiet.
"She wonít give us any money, we did our job."
"Why donít we go over and take it from her."
"Are you kidding, that woman is nuts, did you know she was the one who murdered her family and that woman last month."
Kowalski and Patterson moved as one, both men towered over the men at the next booth, "I think we might be able to help each other," Patterson said.
"Donít you guys know itís impolite to interrupt people when they are having a private conversation. Leave us alone."
"Sorry, canít do that because I think the woman youíre talking about has a friend of ours and we would like to get him back."
"I donít know what youíre talking about. Go back to youíre own table and butt out!"
"Ok, I guess you two donít want the reward." Kowalski stated as he and Patterson went back to their seats, both men knew it wouldnít be long before the greedy guys came over to find out about the reward, it was always a great way to get peoples attention and these guys would hook fast. It wasnít long before the two men joined Kowalski and Patterson at their table and began to tell their tale.
Lee had the door opened and he saw the stairs leading up, I have to make it, he thought. Just take one step at a time. His eyes were still almost swollen shut and he had to squint to see where he was going. I made it. His hand reached for the door and he knew he was in trouble when it was pulled from his grasp. He launched himself at her before she realized he was there and they hit the floor in a tangle. He tried to get up but she grabbed him and pulled him towards the stairs and they went to the bottom together.
He hit hard and lost consciousness.
Patterson went to the phone and called the Admiralís car number, "Sir, we know where she has Captain Crane. Can you meet us at the truck stop just outside of the institute and we can figure out the best way to get him away from her? Thank you sir we are leaving now. Oh have the police there to pick up these two guys, they helped her kidnap the captain." He went back to the table and told the two guys they would have to come with them to pick up the money.
"How do we know we can trust you?"
"You donít but if you donít come with us now you can say good bye to the money." The two men looked at each other and followed Kowalski and Patterson to their car.
He now knew what pain was, he was pretty sure his arm was broken and he screamed in agony as she pulled the ropes tight behind his back. He was pretty sure he had some broken ribs as well and a few new lumps were taking shape on his head, but his right leg felt like it was on fire, there seemed to be something wet running down from his knee, he was sure that wasnít good. He was in agony as she pulled him onto the bed.
He slowly met her eyes.
"So it was all lies, you knew who I was all along .We could have been so good together, why couldnít you just give us a chance."
The pain was too much and he passed out.
"I think we should get a bunch of the men and go in there and take him from her." Chief Sharkey said.
"She would probably kill him before we got through the door, but I do have something in mind. Frank is there any way we can get the district attorneys office to offer
these guys amnesty if they cooperate and help us get Lee out of there."
"Give me a few minutes and Iíll check." He left the Seaview men at the table and went to the payphone.
"Can you trust these guys even if they do get amnesty?" Chip asked Nelson.
"I hope so it seems to be our only option. Chief will you get Jamie and bring him back here?" Sharkey nodded and left. "Here comes Frank, well what did they say?"
"I had to call in a few favours and I used your name a lot and I got them to agree to plea bargain these guys down to aggravated assault and they dropped the kidnapping charges. They will probably get probation, and that means no jail time. I think those two will jump at the chance. Lets go talk to them, theyíre in a patrol car outside." Bartlette led the way out to the car and the offer was made and accepted by the men.
She was going to kill him and then herself. There was no way she would ever let anyone have Lee Crane. She loved him so much; tears of sadness ran down her cheeks. At least he wouldnít have to suffer through the pain of recovering from his wounds. She would give them a slow acting poison and lie down beside him and wait. There would be no pain just peace. She wished she had more time with him but all things had to end. She brushed his lips with hers and cried, "I will always love you and now we can be together forever."
He heard what she was saying but it sounded as if she were far away. The pain was excruciating. He knew he wouldnít last much longer. He felt himself growing cold and unattached .Iím sorry Admiral.
Nelson felt it again but Leeís presence seemed further away. "When you get in there, keep her occupied, weíll be right behind you. The further away from Captain Crane you can get her the better. Remember if she kills him the deal with the D.A. is off." They pulled into an abandoned parking lot and everyone got out. There were twenty men here besides these two and himself, Detective Bartlette had brought eight men with him and the rest were from Seaview. He could have had more but he had chosen the ones he thought were the best for the job.
They went down the stairs slowly and knocked loudly, "Julie itís us, open up we want our money or we go to the police." They could hear her swearing angrily from behind her door.
It didnít take her long to fling the door open and they saw the gun n her hand, "I told you before you donít get the money till he gets his memory back and guess what itís not going to happen." They saw how terrible she looked but didnít have time to ask her what had happened, Nelson, Bartlette and the rest of the men rushed her from the sides of the door," NO! Youíre to late heís dead and I want to go with him."
"The only place youíre going is jail. Hopefully for a long, long time. Get her out of here and send Dr. Jamison down here right away. Send down a stretcher as well."
Admiral Nelson cut the ropes from his friendís wrists and gently pulled them from behind his back, "Lee, can you hear me, come on son I know youíre hurting but you have to fight. Here comes Jamie. Iím going to stand aside and let him fix you up. I need you to fight son. We all need you."
Jamison began to assess the captainís injuries, she had only had him as her captive for a short time but the damage was extensive. He looked as two men carrying a stretcher and a policewoman entered. "Dr. Jamison can I help with anything, I have two years of med school in my background."
"Iíll take all the help I can get. Do you know how to start an IV?" she nodded and he pointed to his kit. He watched as she prepared the IV line and was happy to see she wouldnít need his supervision and he turned his attention back to the injured man. "I canít do much here, letís finish with the IV and transport him back to the instituteís medical facility." Nelson, Chip, Kowalski and Jamison carefully lifted their captain onto the stretcher and carefully carried him up to the waiting ambulance. "Iíll meet you there." He told the others as he climbed in. "Full Sirens." He told the driver and they pulled out on the street and disappeared.
"Iím sorry I didnít get your name," Nelson said to the policewoman.
"Shirley Phillips. I know who you are Admiral and I was glad I could help. I have to go back to the station .I hope heís okay."
"Letís go Chip. Frank weíll see you at the institute" He shook the detectiveís hand and got into the passenger side of Mortonís car.
The remainder of the crew followed in their cars. So began a silent vigil. The Seaview Ďs crew lined the hallways and jammed the waiting rooms. Nelson paced the halls waiting for word from Jamie. It seemed like it had been hours since they arrived and the waiting began but it had been only forty-five minutes since their arrival. Someone placed a coffee in his hand and he didnít even realize he had it till it was half gone.
"Admiral why donít you take a seat and try to relax."
"Chip if you will, I will." Nelson said with half a smile on his face. "Jamie should know something by now. I wish heíd come tell us."
"Admiral," he saw Bartlette coming his way, "I was just down at emergency. They brought in a man last night; he was in a car accident. He was on his way here to tell you where to find Captain Crane when he was forced off the road .I think we can add another victim to her list."
"Is he okay?"
"He was lucky. Aside from a broken leg and some bruises heís fine. Any word on Crane?"
"Not yet."He saw Jamie coming towards him, "Jamie how is he?"
"Not good admiral. His right shoulder was dislocated, his left knee shattered, and they are taking him up to surgery as we speak to try and fit the bones back together, Admiral it seems like every time the captain is injured I tell you the same thing. I donít know if he can make it through this. Let me finish the list if injuries. Three cracked ribs, broken middle finger on his right hand, badly sprained right ankle. I donít know how many times he hit his head but there seems to be at least two sets of bruises from different instruments. Now that Iíve said that let me remind you all that we have a captain here who seems to fight harder the more injuries he has. He has been through a lot and if I were a betting man I would put all my money on Lee Crane. I know I canít convince any of you to go home so try to rest as best you can, I have to get to surgery .It may be quite some time so like I said get some rest. Lee Crane is a fighter. Remember that." He turned and left the men of Seaview hoping he was right.
Jamison walked slowly towards Admiral, "Well I told you who to bet on." Loud cheers went up from the group of waiting men, "Hey this is still a hospital, keep the celebration for later. I donít want to think heís completely out of danger, heís not. I only meant he came through surgery and is being put in a room in ICU. His condition is still listed as critical."
ĎCan I see him Jamie?"
"Only for a minute and let me warn you itís not a pretty sight. He has two IV lines, his face is badly swollen and bruised, and he has a cast on his leg and finger, and his armís in a sling. The rest of you go home. Mr. Morton you can come with us and wait for the Admiral. I am going to turn you over to each other to make sure you both go home and rest. Thatís my standing orders and I expect to be obeyed."
Nelson, Morton and Jamison walked in ICU and stood looking at Lee through the glass window. A nurse was just checking his vital signs and she wrote them on his chart. Jamie went in first and asked, "How is he?"
"No change sir."
"Thank you nurse. Can you send those two men in here."
"Yes doctor." She left the room and Jamie waited for the other men to join him.
"Nelson walked in and came over to the bed, "Lee Iím here and so is Chip. Jamie wonít let us stay long but I wanted you to know we are with you. Get better Lee." He walked away from the bed with tears in his eyes.
Chip came over to Craneís side and spoke softly. "Donít stop fighting Lee. Thatís what you tell everyone else and you donít have to worry about that crazy woman sheís in jail. We better let you get the rest you need. Iíll be here if you need me. Good night Lee." They left the room quietly and Jamie sent them home.
Lee Crane heard what they were saying but couldnít open his eyes. The pain told him he was still alive and the medicinal smell told him he was in the hospital. How could that be? The last thing he remembered was Julie putting him back on the bed where he had passed out in pain. Where is she? Please keep her away from me.
Joan Harris had been night nurse here for so long she knew instinctively when something was wrong with one of her patients. Lee Crane seemed agitated, something was making his heart beat faster, "Dr. Jamison to ICU please. Dr. Jamison to ICU." She put down the pa and went to his side. "Captain can you hear me. Iím Nurse Harris. I put in a call for your doctor he should be here soon, can you hear me, squeeze my hand if you do." Jamison ran into the room, "Dr. Jamison, his heart beat and respirations increased and Iím trying to get him to calm down."
"How long ago did this start?" he asked while he was checking all the monitors.
"Five minutes ago."
"Maybe I can calm him down. Lee listen to me, I am holding your hand and if you can hear me just squeeze, thatís the way, are you in pain? If you are squeeze twice and Iíll get you something. Okay, Nurse Harris is gone for the medication. Youíre going to feel a prick on the hip now .All done. That should help. Do you want me to tell you what happened," Two squeezes, "Lets see this will be the condensed version because you need to rest. Kowalski and Patterson found the two men who helped Julie kidnap you. Detective Barrette made them an offer they couldnít refuse and they helped us get you away from her. Sheís in jail Lee, sheíll probably go to a Sanitarium where sheíll get the help she needs and you donít have to worry about her anymore. Do you understand?" Two more squeezes. "Ok now you have nothing to do but get better .I want you to sleep now and tomorrow we may take that torture device as you call it out and you can talk. Get some rest Captain thatís an order." he walked out of the room and dimmed the lights again.
"Iím going to get some rest call me if you need me Iíll be in the doctorís lounge."
Jamison strode into the ICU at six am. "Any changes Nurse Harris?"
"He slept quietly. I think heís waking up."
"Letís see if your right," he said and walked into Leeís room, "I think youíre right Nurse." Craneís eyes were slightly open and he could tell he wanted to say something. "Donít fight the tubes, I will take them out shortly. First I want to check your injuries. Are you in pain," a slight nod and Jamison ordered another injection. " Lee do you remember what I told you last night, she really canít hurt you anymore. Ok letís get this thing out, Nurse Harris can you help me here? Lee this may feel uncomfortable but remember Iím taking it out not putting it in."
Crane tried to smile and Jamie slowly pulled the tube out of the captainís throat and held him as he lost whatever was in his stomach. "Donít try to talk yet. These tubes are hard on the throat, here take a sip of water, thatís enough for now .Is the pain any better?" Crane nodded and closed his eyes and slept.
Nelson and Morton were surprised and pleased to see the tube gone from the captainís throat. "Jamie how is he?"
"Why donít you go in and ask him yourself."
The two men went into the ICU room and saw Leeís eyes partially open. " Hi guys." He said in a scratchy voice.
"Thank god. Lee we thought we would never find you."
"I know, I... didnít.... think I would...see any...friendly faces.... ever again...Howís the...boat?"
"Lee Crane you are not to concern yourself with anything but getting better. I also want you to lie there quietly. You have a long way to go."
"Will ...everything be okay...Will...I...still be...able to do the things...I used to?"
"Your face is already healing, your arm and finger are not serious, your ribs are going to take time more if you try to get up, the ankle will heal as well."
"That will take some time. The bones had to be surgically reattached and youíll need physical therapy. Like I said it will take time."
"Weíll help you Lee." Chip said.
"Thanks Chip, Admiral...what happened...with .the. mission?"
"We just put it off for awhile, Dr. Laus was very understanding. Seaview will be here when you get out Lee. Relax and donít worry so much. The men wanted to come see you but I told them Jamie would have a fit. I have to bring them a report when we leave here."
Lee yawned and Jamison took it as a sign to kick Nelson and Morton out. "You can come back later."
"One more thing" his voice was coming back "There was a man, she said he was a doctor, he was going to tell you where I was."
"She forced him off the road but heís fine." Crane sighed with relief and closed his eyes and slept.
He stood on the deck of his boat for the first time in nearly three months. He was coming home. Seaview seemed to know he was there, she really was his boat. Chip Morton and Admiral Nelson watched as the emotions spread across the captainís face and a single tear rolled down his cheek, "so much sorrow and death it was such a waste."
"I know Lee but you have your life ahead of you now. She wonít be getting out of the sanitarium, the doctors said she is catatonic and may never come out of it. Why donít we get inside?"
Lee Crane smiled and said, "Letís go," he put his cane under his arm and carefully descended into the heart of his boat .He was promptly piped aboard with a chorus of "welcome home sir." And the smiles on their faces told him thatís just where he was.
She would get out. The stupid doctors. She had them all fooled and it was just a matter if time before she was back with Lee Crane, Of course she would have to get rid of Nelson and Morton. That could be arranged. No one was in the room to see the evil grin and it was gone before anyone checked on her. She knew what she was doing.
I LOVE YOU LEE CRANE!!!!!!!!!!
The End...for now.