Breaking The Silence by T. Stratton

Breaking The Silence
by T. Stratton

Part 1

“That one sure has spirit,” Sloan stated as she continued to watch the black stallion kick and buck around the corral. “It’s going to take a lot to get him to trust us.”

“You’re right,” Donovan replied as he leaned against the wood frame. “You want us to leave him out here tonight?”

“No, give him a little while to stretch his legs here and then put him in a stall. Make sure he doesn’t have any other horse next to him. I don’t want him to get all the others wound up and agitated.”

“No problem,” Donovan smiled up at his dark haired boss.

They stood there for a few quiet minutes just watching the radiant horse prance around. The full moon shining off his coat and his mane blowing in the gentle wind giving him a majestic look.

“Also make it clear that no one is allowed to get in the same stall. He is too high strung and I don’t want anyone hurt.” Sloan ordered. “Just you or me.”

Donovan nodded, “I’ll make sure I let everyone know.”

“Well, I’m going to go on up to the house. Mom and Dad are probably wondering were I’m at.” The tall woman took one last look at the horse. “See you tomorrow.” She patted Donavon on the back and left.

The absolute power and beauty that was before her eyes mesmerize a small figure stood off in the shadow. Never in her life had she seen anything that captured the raw power and grace that this horse has.

“Well, boy, I’m going to go and get your stall ready. You get all that nervous energy out of you before I get back.” Donovan watched the horse prance around and neigh.

The figure watched as the older man walked away from the corral. She waited a few minutes before she looked around making sure no one was around then she stepped out of the shadows. By the light of the moon she walked up next to the wooden fence and carefully climbed over.

The black stallion snorted and kicked at the ground.

The woman slowly made her way over to the horse with her hand held out in front of her.

******************************

Sloan looked up at the house she shared with her parents and sister. The light from the windows gave off a warm presence from the dark night. She stepped up the wooden steps and up to the wrap around porch. Her mother had always said that a great first impression was very important and since the porch was usually what people saw first when they came here. It was decorated with flower baskets and whicker chairs and tables carefully arranged to welcome all visitors.

“Beautiful as always,” Sloan whispered.

“Did you say something dear?” Sloan’s mother asked as she stood on the other side of the screen door.

Sloan jumped, “I didn’t know you were there.”

“Sorry for scaring you. I saw you walking up the steps and I thought I’d come ask you how your new horse was?” Shannon Addams opened the door and brushed her daughter’s hair off her shoulders.

“Oh, mom he is magnificent,” Sloan beamed. “He is very high strung and it will take some time before he will trust me.”

Shannon smiled up at her oldest daughter’s excitement. “That is wonderful. Have you thought of a name yet?”

Sloan shook her head, “not yet.”

“Will you walk me down and show me?” Shannon tugged at Sloan’s sleeve.

Sloan grasped her mother’s hand, “let me go and get Dad.”

“Okay, I’ll wait here,” The salt and peppered haired woman walked over and sat in a chair.

******************************

The young woman reached into her pocket and offered the large stallion a small piece of hard butterscotch candy. “Come on strong boy. I don’t want to hurt you.”

The stallion sniffed the air. The scent of the sweet candy made him neigh and shake his head.

“I know you want it. Just let me get close to show you that I mean you no harm.” Keegan took small baby steps until she was within arm distance. She held the candy in the palm of her hand and held it out for the horse to take.

“What in Sam hell are you doing in there?” Donovan bellowed scaring the stallion and Keegan at the same time.

Keegan snapped her head and glared at Donovan for scaring her. She raised a finger to her mouth and pressed it against her mouth. “Shut up Uncle Donovan.”

“You better get out of there before you get hurt.” Donovan replied in a much quieter voice.

Keegan gestured for him to stop talking; “he is going to ruin this. Damn him.”

******************************

Shannon and Evan walked hand in hand by their daughter. They watched as she excitedly described the new stallion to them.

“He has a coat that is as black as coal with eyes to match. Long flowing mane with a tail that flicks when he is really agitated.” Sloan said as her hands were tucked in her front jean pockets. Her boots kicking small rocks as they went.

“He sounds like a fine horse. I can tell that you are very excited you bought him.” Evan winked at his wife.

“Excited doesn’t even compare to what I’m feeling.” Sloan stopped as she brought her hands out of her pockets. She brushed her hand through her hair holding it back off her face. The electric blue eyes shone with wisdom and a silent strength.

The three resumed their walk until they heard Donavan yell. Sloan took off down the road and came to a sudden halt as she noticed a small woman inside the stall with her new stallion. She ran up next to Donovan. “Who the hell is she and what is she doing with my horse?”

“I’m so sorry. She snuck in while I was getting the stall ready.” Donovan looked over at his boss.

“Who is she?” Sloan asked again as she watched the woman hold her hand out to the horse.

“Remember I asked you if I could have my niece come and start working here?” Donovan asked as he grasped the wooden railing.

Sloan pointed towards the corral, “I take it that is her?”

“Yes,” Donovan shrugged his shoulders.

Sloan glared at him, “get her out of there, now.”

Shannon and Evan stood back. They knew their daughter could be the sweetest person, but also that she had a fiery temper that could go off whenever her orders weren’t carried out.

Evan gently nudged his wife, “look.”

Shannon looked to where her husband was pointing. She was amazed when she saw the stallion take a step towards the woman in the corral. “Is he doing what I think he’s doing?”

“Sure looks that way,” Evan stepped over to get Sloan’s attention off of Donovan so she could see.

Keegan didn’t move. She stood there and waited until the stallion knew that he wasn’t in any danger. She saw it in his eyes when he decided that he wanted the piece of candy and knew that in order it to get it he had to come to her.

“That’s it, I won’t hurt you. I promise.” Keegan smiled as she watched the horse nod his head and move closer. The soft smooth noise tickled her hand when he took the candy off her palm. “Good boy, you aren’t so tough are you?” Keegan slowly raised her hand and patted the strong neck and head.

“Oh my god,” Sloan mumbled in shock. “Did she just do what I think she just did?”

“Yes, she did. I’d forgotten about her being able to do that.” Donovan scratched his three-day-old beard. “Got that from her mama.”

“Got what from her mama?” Shannon asked as she stepped up next to her husband.

“Not sure what you call it, but the animals seem to love her. Her mama was the same way, but for some reason it’s stronger in her.” Donovan answered.

****************************************

The four continued to watch Keegan for several minutes. They watched as she ran her hands up and down his strong legs and up and over his back.

“I cannot believe that is the same horse I bought.” Sloan said as she rested her elbows on the top part of the wooden fence.

Donavan nodded his head, “Want me to see if she can bring him over so we can get a better look?”

“Yes,” Sloan turned to look at her stable manager.

Donovan whistled softly so he wouldn’t disturb the stallion too much. When Keegan glanced over he waved at her to come closer.

“Be good boy. They just want to get a look at you now that you are all calmed down.” Keegan reached inside her pocket and unwrapped another piece of candy and held it out for the animal to smell. “That’s it, good boy.” Keegan stepped backwards with her hand stretched out.

“I have seen some amazing things in my life, but I think this tops them all.” Shannon shook her head slightly.

“I think our daughter thinks the same way,” Evan gestured with his chin to Sloan.

Shannon smiled, “I think so too.”

Keegan walked until her back hit the wooden fence that made up the corral. She looked up into the bluest eyes she had ever seen. She grinned and grasped ahold of Sloan’s hand and placed the hard candy in the center on her palm.

Sloan stood there and watched the small blonde put the treat in her hand. “I guess it’s my turn?”

Keegan nodded and gestured for her to climb over the fence.

Sloan stepped up on the bottom rail and swung her long leg over to the other side. She kicked her other leg over and slid to the ground and started to step closer to the stallion.

Keegan stopped her. She shook her head and motioned for her to stand still with her arm out stretched in front of her.

Sloan understood and stayed where she was. She raised her hand and waited. When the stallion didn’t move closer she looked over at Keegan with a raised eyebrow.

Keegan winked and stepped in front of the tall brunette, “come on. She won’t hurt you.” She said as she petted her chest with her hand.

The big black stallion neighed and shook his head.

“Now don’t be stubborn. I won’t let anything happen to you.” Keegan stepped closer and rubbed the spot in between his eyes. “Trust me.”

The stallion looked deep into Keegan’s soft green eyes and stepped past her to the tall brunette with the candy.

Keegan patted his side as he walked by, “that’s it. You are such a good boy.”

Sloan held her breath as the stallion quietly nibbled the candy off of her hand. “Wow, that is amazing.”

Keegan turned and smiled.

“Do you think you might get him to go to his stall?” Sloan asked as she continued to stare at the horse.

Keegan nodded and scratched the horses neck, “come on boy. I know a nice warm place for you to sleep.” She started to walk towards the gate. She was stopped by Sloan handing her a lariat she picked up off the fence.

“Take this so he won’t take off one you,” Sloan held out the rope to Keegan.

Keegan closed her eyes and shook her head and began to walk.

“If you won’t do it I will. I don’t want him to take off and then have to hunt all night to find him.” Sloan turned to drop the lasso around the horse’s neck.

Keegan quickly stopped and spun around. She grabbed ahold of Sloan’s arm to stop her.

Sloan didn’t think, she just reacted. Her elbow went back and connected with Keegan’s cheek.

The force of Sloan’s elbow knocked Keegan off her feet. She hit the ground so hard it knocked the wind out of her.

“Damn it, why did you grab me?” Sloan flipped around to look at the small woman. “I could have hurt you really bad.”

Keegan narrowed her eyes and slowly stood up. She rubbed her face as she moved closer to Sloan. She grabbed the lariat from her hands and tossed it over the fence.

“What are you doing?” Sloan growled through clenched teeth. “I don’t want my horse to run off. You go and get that lariat now or you will be sorry you ever stepped foot on my property.”

Keegan didn’t budge from her spot. She crossed her arms over her chest and stared daggers into Sloan.

“Do you understand what I’m telling you?” Sloan asked as she glared at Keegan. Not getting an answer she stepped closer and bent over so she was staring directly into pissed off green eyes. “What’s the matter can’t you talk. You think your only good enough to talk to animals?”

Keegan slapped Sloan across the face before she whipped around and climbed over the fence and headed into the darkness.

Donovan and Sloan’s parents watched Keegan disappear into the night.

“I don’t want her working for me. I want her out of here by the time I get here in the morning.” Sloan said as she turned to Donovan and rubbed her face.

“I will be going with her,” Donovan turned and started to walk away before he stopped and turned to Sloan. “She would have answered you if she could, but she hasn’t spoken a word since she watched her family get murdered by a maniac when she was seven.”

“What?” Sloan asked as she reached the fence. The stallion behind her forgotten at what she heard.

“Oh my,” Shannon gasped. “That poor child.”

“When did this happen?” Evan questioned as he put an arm around his wife.

“About seventeen years ago. Her mama hid her under a table as a man barged in. She sat under it hidden by the tablecloth, but it was high enough for her to see her mama and papa get stabbed to death. She hasn’t spoken a word since.” Donovan replied as tears ran down his face. “The mad man might have just killed two people physically, but he killed a third just by watching his actions.”

“I’m so sorry,” Sloan said softly as she climbed over the fence.

Donovan looked into misty blue eyes; “it’s not me you should be apologizing to. Keegan is a special woman and has been hurt enough in her lifetime. A lot of people think she is dumb just because she doesn’t speak but let me tell you. That woman out there is the smartest person I know. In every single one of her classes she has received 4.0. She graduated top of her class, and was valedictorian but wouldn’t accept it because she couldn’t give the speech at graduation.” Donovan turned around when he heard the start of a motor. “Damn it, she’s going to get he self killed if she takes off on that thing.”

The three Addams stood there and listened to the motor of what sounded like a small motorcycle.

“What is she going to do?” Shannon asked as she stepped closer to Donovan.

Donovan started to answer her but the sound of the motor grew louder. He ran off in the direction with Sloan right behind him.

The full moon gave them adequate light to see the small blonde drive off into the dark forest with only the small headlight of the motorcycle to light her way.

“She is going to get herself killed,” Sloan pointed at the now dark forest.

Donovan nodded and ran for his beat up pick up. “You coming with me?”

“Yes,” Sloan ran around to the passenger side and jumped in. “Let’s go” She yelled as she slammed the door shut.

******************************

All her life people had judged her because she couldn’t speak. The names had always been hurtful and mean. Most of the time she would let it roll of her back and walk away, but after so long she would retaliate against her aggressors and fight back.

The kick boxing that she was taught when she was younger made it easy for her protect herself, but also was an easy way for her to hurt those that were at the wrong place at the wrong time and chose to pick on her.

A branch from a tree hit the helmet Keegan had on and snapped her thoughts back to where she was and what she was doing. “Damn it, I have to get myself under control.” She stopped the motorcycle and turned off the engine.

Keegan undid the neck strap and took off her helmet. She looked up through the tree branches at the big moon and bright stars. ” I wish sometimes I had died with my parents. Why did you spare me god?”

The sound of her uncle’s beat up old pickup disturbed Keegan’s train of thought. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Guess it’s time to face the music.” She put her helmet back on and started the engine. She saw a set of headlights off to her left and gunned the engine so she could meet up with the vehicle at the old wooden bridge that was close by.

******************************

Sloan pointed out the window, “there she is.”

Donovan slowed the truck down and looked out into the darkness. He saw a headlight coming towards their location so he stopped and waited.

A few minutes later the small blonde pulled out in front of the truck. She turned the motor off and waited for the explosion from her uncle.

“What in the world do you think you were doing?” A deep voice asked.

Keegan snapped her head in the direction of the passenger side of the truck. Immediately her temper soared as she jumped off the bike and stormed up to Sloan. She wiped her helmet off and tossed it at the tall woman.

“Hey, calm down,” Sloan caught the object and stepped back.

Keegan stopped and put her hands on her hips. She tapped her foot and waited to see what and why Sloan rode out her for.

Sloan sat the helmet in the back of the truck before she lowered her head; “I want to tell you how very sorry I am. I had no clue that you don’t speak.” She looked up into emerald green eyes. “I want you to stay and work for me. I have never seen anything like I did tonight.”

Keegan reached into her pocket. She pulled out a small notebook and pencil.

Sloan watched as Keegan began to write She waited until she was handed a piece of paper. Sloan leaned slightly over so she could use the light from the interior of the truck.

“I’m sorry I hit you. You just made me so mad at the way your were treating me. I am not some stupid mindless idiot. I will work for you on one condition. I don’t use a rope on the stallion. He doesn’t need it. He will follow me because he trusts me.”

Sloan looked up from the paper; “You had every right to hit me. I was a jerk and I promised never to do that again. And as for the rope we will try it your way, but the first time he takes off and we have to go chase him down the rope will then be used no matter what you say.”

Keegan nodded and held out her hand.

Sloan stuffed the paper in her back pocket before she reached for the blonde’s hand, “deal.”

Keegan smile and pointed towards her helmet.

Sloan grabbed it and handed it back, “we’ll follow you back.” She jumped into the cab and waited for Keegan to get the motorcycle started. She heard a soft snort from Donovan and turned toward s him. “Yes?”

“She is a spitfire,” Donovan laughed.

Sloan sighed in agreement as she rubbed her face; “I have a feeling this isn’t going to be our last argument.”

“You got that right,” Donovan replied as he put the truck in reverse.

******************************

Donovan pulled his truck up next to the barn and shut off the engine. He opened the door, but sat there. “I would like to continue working here.”

Sloan looked over at the older man, “I understand why you quit and I would be more than happy to keep you on. You are the best horse wrangler I have ever had here and I don’t want to loose you.”

“I’m not the best any more,” Donovan pointed over to Keegan who was walking into the barn with the stallion trotting behind her.

Sloan nodded, “I think you might be right.”

“Well, I need to go and show Keegan where she will be sleeping.” Donovan closed the truck door and headed over to where he saw his niece enter.

Sloan watched the man slowly walk into the barn and disappear. She grabbed ahold of the door handle but stopped when she saw Keegan step out into the moonlight and go to her motorcycle and tug off a duffel bag and skip back into the barn. “I do believe my life is about to change and it will all center around that little blonde.”

******************************

Keegan pulled herself up the fence and watched Majestic run full out. Sloan had come up with the name after one afternoon watching the black stallion race across the open pasture.

“Hi,” Sloan said as she walked up next to Keegan.

Keegan smiled and gave the tall woman a small wave.

“How’s he doing?” Sloan asked softly as she rested her arms on top of the fence.

Keegan’s smile grew as she gave Sloan a thumbs up.

“Great,” the tall woman sighed. “I want to thank you.”

“Why?” Keegan wrote on her ever-present notebook.

“You have made Majestics’ move here nice and easy. I have never seen anything like it. The way you…how do I put this…talk to him.” Sloan looked into amused green eyes. “What?”

“I do talk to him. In fact I talk to all of them.” Keegan acknowledged with a shrug of her shoulders.

Sloan read the paper a couple of times before she laughed. “I didn’t mean it literally.”

Keegan jumped off the fence and stormed off.

“What?” Sloan followed quickly behind the small blonde. “Would you wait up?”

Keegan stopped and turned around. She stomped up to stand face to face with Sloan. She pointed at the paper and then pointed at herself.

“You expect me to actually believe that you can talk to animals?” Sloan laughed harder.

Keegan’s temper soared. “What an arrogant bitch.” She pushed Sloan out of her way. “I’ll show you.” She went back over to where they were just standing and closed her eyes to calm herself.

“You going call him like a dog?” Sloan giggled. “Kinda hard when you can’t even speak.”

“I will show you.” Keegan ignored Sloan and called out to the black horse. “Majestic, come here boy and show the idiot brunette that I’m serious.”

To Sloan’s surprise Majestic stopped running and looked over at the two women. He then trotted straight to Keegan and nudged her shoulder.

Keegan patted Majestics’ head, “good boy and thank you.”

Sloan opened her mouth to speak, but snapped it shut when she didn’t know what to say.

“This first time I could forgive you because you didn’t know. Now you know and you tease me. Next time I will break your jaw.” Keegan ripped off the paper and shoved it in Sloan’ s face before she headed off to her room.

Sloan read the paper and lowered her head. “Damn it, I need to learn to keep my big mouth shut.”

******************************

Shannon grabbed the paper and her cup of coffee along with her light coat and sat down out on the front porch. She looked up and took a deep breath of the cool fresh air. The mountain range that covered the back part of their property was covered in pure white snow. Soon every ounce of land as far as the eyes could see would be covered in white.

“Hey Mom,” Sloan kissed her mom on her check and sat down by her feet.

Shannon ran her hands through hers daughters’ long dark tresses. “What’s wrong honey?”

Sloan lowered her head and shook it slightly; “I was an ass again.”

“You, an ass? To who?” Shannon asked.

“Keegan,” Sloan rubbed her face with her hands. “I made a comment about her being able to talk to animals and she said she could. I made the crack about how, since she can’t even talk.”

“Oh honey, you need to think before you talk.” Shannon replied softly.

“I know, I know,” Sloan nodded. “She proved me wrong. She called Majestic over and he came over. Right in front of my eyes. Then she threatened to break my jaw if I ever mention the fact that she doesn’t speak again.”

“Good, for her.” Shannon smiled as she thought about the look on Sloan’s face.

“She’d do it too and not think anything of it.” Sloan laughed then quieted down. “Mom?”

“Yes dear,” The older woman sat her paper down on her lap.

Several seconds went by until Sloan took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “No one has ever treated me the way she does. She doesn’t censor what she does or what she says. Keegan thinks of me as a normal person and I really like it.”

“That’s good dear. You have wanted that for sometime know.” Shannon said as her eyes got misty.

“Yes, it’s refreshing. I feel like I can just be me instead of the big money tycoon everyone else knows.” Sloan plucked at her Mom’s pant leg.

Shannon bent over so her mouth was next to Sloan’s ear, “then why do you say stuff to hurt her?” She whispered.

“I have no idea,” Sloan answered as she looked up into her mother’s loving eyes. “I wish I knew.”

“Think about it. Let your mind and your heart show you.” Shannon caressed Sloan’s soft cheek with the back of her hand.

Sloan stood up and held her Mom’s hand, “I will try.” She said and walked into the house.

Shannon watched her daughter disappear into the house. “I hope you do, because I don’t like you being alone and I think a small blonde is just the answer.”

******************************

Keegan slammed her door shut to her room. She kicked at a shirt that she had left on the floor this morning. “I cannot believe the nerve of that woman. Laughing at me and teasing me like that. I don’t care if she is my boss. I will bust her down to size faster than she will know what hit her.”

A loud knock made her jump. She stormed over and flung the door open causing it to slam against the wall.

“Mind if I come in?’ Donovan asked with a smirk.

Keegan stepped back out of the way.

“Thank you,” the older man stepped over the threshold and closed the door. “You want to tell me what happened out there?”

Keegan glared at him. She reached for a yellow notepad that sat at the foot of her bed. She flipped through it until she found a clean sheet. “How can you have stayed with that arrogant bitch for so many years?”

Donovan sighed, “she has her moments of pure stupidity just like everyone else, but she also has the biggest heart and greatest soul I have ever seen.”

“Soul? That woman doesn’t have a soul.” Keegan wrote quickly.

Donovan closed his eyes and shook his head. “Sloan Addams is the richest woman in the world. Not only has she given people jobs and security but she has also given her heart out to the world to help those who cannot help themselves.” He walked over and sat down on the edge of the bed. “I have never seen her react to anyone like she does you.”

“What she never made anyone feel like some sort of mindless idiot because they aren’t like everyone else?” The upset blonde asked on another piece of paper.

“No, for some odd reason she is different with you.” Donovan replied. “Sloan doesn’t seem to guard herself with you. She lets herself go and can be the person I know she really wants to be.”

“If you call lowering her guard against me is to belittle me, no thank you. I get that from enough people out in the real world just fine.” Keegan tossed the notepad next to her uncle and headed for the door.

“Please don’t run.” Donovan begged. “Stay and see what happens. I bet Sloan is sorry.”

Keegan stopped and rested her head on the wooden door. Her shoulders began to shudder.

Donovan rushed to his small niece, “why are you crying?”

Keegan turned and fell into waiting arms. After several minutes of crying she took several deep breaths.

“Want to tell me what all this is about?” Donovan held up some paper to Keegan.

Keegan took the paper and began to write. “I’m tired of being different, but there isn’t anything I can do about it. I just feel like giving up sometimes.”

“Oh, sweetheart, you must never give up.” Donovan cupped his niece’s face in his hands. “I will always be here for you no matter what. I love you.”

Keegan smiled and mouthed I love you back to her uncle.

“Want to go for a ride on your motorcycle?” Donovan watched as the spark entered her green eyes. “Go on. Have fun and please be careful.”

Keegan nodded and kissed his cheek and ran out the door.

Donovan chuckled softly, “to have that kind of energy.”

******************************

Sloan sat back in her chair with her eyes closed just enjoying the silence around her. The soft sound of a small motor broke her concentration. She used her feet to turn her body towards the big floor to ceiling window. She opened her eyes and watched Keegan’s form disappear off into the distance.

“I can’t believe I said that to her.” Sloan mumbled out loud as she remembered the hurt she had caused the small woman. “I need to make it up to her some how. But the question is how?”

“I hear all women love roses.” A voice said behind Sloan.

Sloan turned her chair slightly and looked over at a smaller version of herself. “You think that will get her to forgive me for being a heartless bitch, again?”

Stephanie Addams smiled and nodded as she strolled into Sloan’s office and sat in a black leather chair across from her sister. “It will be a start. Then maybe a nice dinner and a movie.”

“I don’t think this is supposed to be romantic in nature. I just want to apologize for being stupid.” Sloan stood up and walked over to her younger sister. She bent over and hugged the slightly smaller woman. “How is your day going?”

“My day is just fine. I went shopping with Brent all afternoon.” Stephanie replied as she hugged her sister back. “Now tell me about who this is you are supposed to be apologizing to, again.” She sat back and waited for her sister to sit back down in her chair.

“Keegan,” Sloan took a deep breath. “I teased her again about not being able to speak.”

Stephanie shook her head, “why?”

Sloan shrugged her shoulders; “I have no idea. It just happened.”

“Open mouth insert foot disease,” Stephanie nodded. “I know the cure for that.”

“Oh, really and what that might be?” Sloan raised a perfectly sculptured eyebrow at her sister.

“A nice long horse back ride.” Stephanie stood and waved for her sister to follow her. “The clean fresh air will clear your mind and set you straight again.” She said before she was out of the room.

“Sounds like just what I need,” Sloan followed Stephanie down the steps and out of the house. She stopped as soon as she was out the door. There tethered to the railing for the step was her horse Rox. “You had this planed didn’t you?”

“No, I did.” Shannon stepped up next to her daughter. “You need to clear the air with Keegan and I knew a horse ride would help you.”

“Right, and I bet you just want me to ride out to the north too?” Sloan asked as she turned to look at her Mom.

“You can go any direction you want.” Shannon patted Sloan on the back. “It’s just prettier going north.”

Sloan shook her head and walked to her horse and untied the reins and without any trouble jumped into the saddle. “I love you both.”

“We love you too,” The two other women responded with smiles.

******************************

Keegan stared out at the vast mountain range. Traces of winter were already visible as the snowcaps on the mountains grew as the days shortened.

“To be that strong to carry the world on its shoulders,” Keegan thought as she remembered what her papa told her once when she asked why mountains were so big.

“I miss you Mama and Papa. I wish I could have done something to save you, but instead I just froze and did nothing.” Keegan lowered her head.

For some reason ever since coming to Winter Escape ranch she has been thinking a lot more of her parents, but more importantly the night they had been murdered. Flashes of that night haunted her dreams and a nagging feeling sat at the bottom of her stomach waiting to erupt at any given moment.

“I wish I could just grasp the pictures and keep them longer so that maybe I could remember more.” Keegan wiped off her face with the back of her hand. “I could than help the police catch that man who stole my entire life away from me.”

Keegan took a deep breath, “soon Mama and Papa.”

******************************

Sloan sat on top of Rox. She let the horse figure out where she wanted to go. “If by some odd chance I run into Keegan along the way then so be it.” She thought.

The sound of a small engine getting closer made Sloan turn toward a turn in the trail.

Keegan gunned the small engine to make the corner and the slight incline. As soon as she rounded the corner she noticed the trail was blocked by Sloan on a horse.

It was either hit the horse or go off the trail. Knowing that the first was not an option Keegan let off of the gas and turned towards the side of the trail. As soon as the motorcycle hit the slippery grass she started to skid and loose control.

“This is going to hurt,” Keegan thought as she saw a large tree lying on the ground in front of her. The front wheel of the motorcycle hit the trunk of the tree and flipped her over the top of it.

Sloan could do nothing but watch. Her heart entered her throat as she watched Keegan fly over the fallen tree and disappear. “Oh God,” she jumped off Rox and ran to where she last saw Keegan.

“Keegan,” she yelled as she looked over the tree and saw the small woman lying still in the bushes. “Can you hear me?”

Sloan quickly climbed over the tree. “Keegan you have to let me know some how if you are okay.” She cautiously stepped around to get a look at Keegan.

The blonde woman’s hair was soaked with blood and her left arm was at an odd angle. Sloan unbuttoned her shirt and took it off, “you have to be okay.” She used it to wrap Keegan’s head in to help stop the blood flow. “I have to go get help, but I don’t want to leave you here by yourself.”

Rox neighed on the other side of the tree as an idea popped into Sloan’s mind. She searched Keegan’s pockets for the notepad she always had with her. “Thank you God,” Sloan groaned when she found it.

Sloan shook her hand to get it to stop shaking and quickly wrote a simple note saying she needed help and that Keegan was hurt bad. Then she climbed back over the tree and used a long piece of grass to tie the note to the saddle.

Sloan wrapped the reins around the saddle horn so they wouldn’t get caught up in anything. “Now listen to me girl. I need you to go get help. Go back to the barn.” She slapped the horse rump and watched her take off in the direction of the ranch. “Hurry, please.”

******************************

Half an hour later Sloan heard the voices calling her name. “We’re over here.” She yelled.

Donovan and Evan were the first to arrive. The stable manager quickly knelt down by his niece. “What happened?”

“I had stopped and I heard her coming, but I didn’t know she was that close. I didn’t have time to move or anything. She was just there and she went off the trail. She purposely avoided hitting me and Rox.” Sloan said as she continued to hold Keegan’s hand her eyes never leaving the unresponsive blonde.

“Honey, why don’t you come here and let Donovan get Keegan ready to move.” Evan gestured to Sloan to stand by him.

“No, Dad I can’t. I promised that I would stay with her. I can’t leave her.” The upset brunette cried.

Donovan looked up at Evan and Evan shrugged his shoulders. He had never seen his daughter act like this. Her emotion so open and a look of being lost. “Okay, you can stay with her until the paramedics get here.”

Sloan nodded her head, but didn’t say anything. She sat there and held Keegan’s hand and caressed the uninjured arm and stared at the dirty face.

Donovan continued to check on Keegan until the paramedics arrived several minutes later. Evan was able to get her daughter to release her hold on Keegan just long enough for them to strap her to a stretcher.

“What hospital will you be taking her too?” Donovan asked as helped carry his niece down the path.

“She’ll go to F and A General.” One of the paramedics replied. “The ambulance is just a little way up ahead.”

“I will be riding with her.” Donovan said.

“That is no problem,” the other paramedic stated. “You will ride up front with me.”

“Okay,” Donovan answered as he looked down at his still unconscious niece.

“I want to come too,” Sloan walked up to Donovan.

Donovan turned to look at his boss. “That’s fine.”

“Thanks,” Sloan whispered as she reached to touch Keegan.

******************************

Sloan sat next to the gurney in the back of the ambulance and watched as Keegan was worked on. The cut on her head was about two inches long and was still bleeding. The paramedic was changing the gauze pad when Sloan noticed Keegan’s eyes flutter.

‘She’s waking up,” Sloan pointed and tried to undo her seatbelt.

The paramedic noticed what she was doing, “please stay belted in.”

“I want her to know I’m still here.” Sloan clicked the belt and knelt down on the floor of the moving ambulance. “Keegan can you hear me?”

Keegan blinked her eyes a few times and tried to focus them on Sloan. She held up three fingers.

“Three? Three what?” Sloan asked.

Keegan pointed at Sloan and held out three fingers again.

“Oh, you see three of me.” Sloan realized.

Keegan nodded her head, but quickly closed her eyes as the world around her began to spin.

“You really whacked your head and you have a broken arm and a nasty cut on your head.” Sloan informed Keegan who still had her eyes closed, but she reached across her body with her hand so she could hold Sloan’s hand.

“Keegan, I’m really sorry for what I said to you. I don’t understand why I said that. It was so wrong and uncalled for. Please forgive me.” Sloan closed her eyes as she felt Keegan tighten her hold on her fingers. The hold began to get tighter and tighter. “Umm, Keegan you’re going to break my fingers.” The tall woman groaned as she opened her eyes.

Keegan didn’t let loose Sloan’s fingers she just slowly tightened her grasp.

“Keegan,” Sloan tried to get her hand free, but it was no use. “Let go.”

Keegan opened her eyes and let Sloan’s finger slip from her hold. She smiled up at the Sloan who was rubbed her finger to get the circulation back into her hand.

“You really need to get back into your seat ma’am.” The paramedic said.

Sloan looked over at him and then down at Keegan. “I don’t think that will be a problem. She doesn’t need me anymore.”

Keegan grinned to herself as she watched Sloan buckle herself back into her seat. “That was kinda fun.”

******************************

Keegan was in her own room resting when the door opened slowly.

“You are going to go in aren’t you?” Shannon asked softly.

Sloan looked from her mom to Keegan’s still body. “You go in and then let me know how she is.”

Shannon giggled then shoved Sloan into the room. “You big baby. With the way you are acting nobody would guess that you run a multimillion dollar company.”

“Running that is a lot easier than being in the same room as her.” Sloan mumbled as she stepped closer to the bed.

‘She’s sleeping and I don’t think she is dangerous. Just look at her all peaceful.” Shannon walked around the other side of the bed.

“It’s all a lie. Looks can be very deceiving. Watch,” Sloan carefully picked up Keegan’s hand. With in a second her hand was grasped in a tight fist. “See,” Sloan moaned as she fought to get her hand free.

Shannon laughed, “Keegan would you kindly let my daughters hand go.”

With one last quick squeeze she let go.

“Thanks,” Sloan stepped back.

Shannon brushed some blonde hair off the bandage that covered Keegan’s entire forehead. “How are you doing dear?”

Keegan opened her eyes and raised her hand and waved it from side to side. She held up two fingers and pointed to the older woman.

“I don’t understand,” Shannon looked over at her daughter.

“She means that she sees two of you. She is improving she saw three of me in the ambulance.” Sloan informed her Mom as she sat down in the chair next to the bed.

“Well that is good. The doctor told us that he wants to keep you here over night.” Shannon told Keegan.

Keegan shook her head and started to rise.

Sloan jumped up out of the chair. “Where do you think you are going?”

Keegan fought her way up to a sitting position. She held her hand out and acted out writing.

“Hold on dear,” Shannon ran out of the room towards the nurses’ desk “I need some paper and a pen.”

“Why?” A snobby nurse asked rudely.

Shannon glared at her, “because the patient in there needs one to write on.”

“I’m sorry I can’t do that.” The nurse answered and went back to her file she was working on.

“Why?” Shannon grabbed the pen the woman was using to write with.

The nurse stood up and grabbed her pen back, “because I said so. That’s why.”

“Do you have any idea who I am?” Shannon asked as she stood straight up.

“I don’t care if you are the Queen of England. If you don’t get away from here I will call security and have you thrown out of here for disturbing the peace.” The nurse leaned over and grabbed the phone.

“Oh really? Well see about that.” Shannon stormed back into Keegan’s room.

Sloan looked at her Mom when she walked into the room. “Did you get a notepad and pen?”

“No, but I will.” Shannon replied.

Sloan could tell her Mom was pissed, “what’s wrong Mom?” She asked as she walked around the bed to talk to her Mom.

Keegan saw her chance and tossed the covers off her legs. Then she pulled the IV out of the back of her hand. She lowered her legs and nearly gasped out when her feet hit the cold floor. Slowly she wobbled next to the bed. She looked over at Sloan and Shannon who had their backs to her. Then with a small push off the bed she stumbled to the door.

“Shit, Keegan get back here.” Sloan yelled.

Keegan quickened her steps and made it out into the hallway. Her progress was stopped as she ran right into the nurse who was rude to Shannon. They both fell to the ground pushing and twisting their bodies to get away from the other.

“Get away from me,” the nurse ordered as she used her one of her feet and kick Keegan’s cast arm.

Keegan grabbed her broken hand and held it against her chest. She gasped in order to catch her breath from the pain she was feeling.

“Are you stupid or something?” The nurse asked as she stood up. “Answer me you crazy weirdo.”

“I suggest you back up and not say another word,” Sloan growled as she stepped in front of the nurse.

The nurse looked up into angry blue eyes, “she ran into me. She should be in bed.”

“That is no excuse to call her names and humiliate her like you just did.” Sloan glared at the blonde nurse.

“I will treat her the way I see fit. This is my floor and I do what I want.” The nurse stated and crossed her arm over her chest.

“You think so,” Sloan glanced down to the nametag, “nurse Hornell.”

“I don’t think, I know.” Nurse Hornell poked Sloan in the chest with her finger.

“Let me introduce myself, Sloan Addams.” Sloan stuck out her hand to shake the nurses’ hand.

“Addams?” The nurse gulped as she gave Sloan’s hand a weak shake. She knew that name, shit everybody knew that name.

“Yes, and the woman that asked for a pen earlier was my mother and the woman you happen to be degrading is a close friend of mine.” Sloan knelt down to Keegan. “You okay?”

Keegan nodded and sat up.

“I had no idea who they were. I’m so sorry.” Nurse Hornell gushed as she went to help Keegan off the floor.

“No,” Sloan pushed the nurses’ hands back. “I will help her. You just make sure you have all your belongings packed.”

“What do you mean,” the nurse asked.

“This is your last day. You are rude and inconsiderate of people’s feelings and I don’t think you need to be working in this kind of environment.” Sloan grabbed Keegan under the arms and pulled her up.

“You can’t come in here and threaten my job like that.” The nurse stepped closer to Sloan.

Sloan gently walked Keegan to the door of her room. Her mom stood there with a big smirk on her face. “Would you help her back into bed and if she decides to make a run for it again sit on her.”

“She won’t try anything,” Shannon winked at her daughter.

Sloan nodded before she turned back towards the nurse. “Now listen and listen good, because I’m only going to say this once. The A on the outside of this building stands for Addams and that would be me. I give more money to this hospital than you will make in three life times. So I think if I want someone gone they will be gone.”

“I’ll sue you and this hospital.” Nurse Hornell yelled as she stormed to the nurses’ desk.

Sloan followed right behind her, “you can try, but I bet I can get several statements from patients on this floor alone saying that you didn’t give a rats ass about them or their care.”

“You are nothing but a fucking rich bitch who likes to ruin the small man.” Nurse Hornell grabbed her coat and purse. “Go ahead and fire me.” She spat and stormed off.

Sloan picked up the phone as she watched the angry nurse stomp down the hallway to the elevators. “This is Sloan Addams and we need a new nurse sent up to the second floor please.” She listened for a second then hung up.

******************************

Sloan walked into the room; “well you don’t have to worry about the nurse from hell anymore.”

“Good,” Shannon stepped away from the bed and kissed her daughter. “Is there a new nurse out there?”

“They are going to be sending up someone.” Sloan smiled down at her Mom. “So how is our little run away?”

“Well, she ripped out her IV and needs to have it put back in. Other than that she is okay.” Shannon shook her finger at Keegan who had the sense to look away. “I’ll go and wait for the new nurse.” She said and walked out the door.

“You want to tell me why you ran for it?” Sloan dropped a notepad and pen she picked up on the blonde’s lap.

Keegan shook her head and sat there picking at her cast.

“Fine don’t tell me I don’t care really.” Sloan sat in the chair next to the bed and propped her feet on the edge of the bed. She leaned her head back and closed her eyes.

Keegan watched Sloan out of the corner of her eye. Slowly she pushed the blankets down and swung her legs over the edge again.

“You move one more inch and I will find some rope somewhere and tie your stubborn ass to that bed.” Sloan growled with one eye open.

Keegan hit the bed with her fist as she swung her legs back on the bed and covered them back up. She crossed her arm over her chest and pouted.

“That lip pokes out any further a bird is going to land on it and make a nest inside your mouth.” Sloan opened her other eye and watched Keegan slowly bit her lower lip. “Much better.”

Keegan glared at Sloan and flipped her off.

“Mature,” Sloan laughed.

******************************

“Hi, honey,” Evan said as he walked down the hall with Donovan.

“Hi dear,” Shannon kissed her husband. “Hello Donovan.”

“Hello ma’am,” Donovan replied. “Is Keegan awake?”

“Yes she is, and already caused some trouble.” Shannon giggled as she rested her head on Evan’s shoulder.

“Oh no, what did she do?” Donovan asked as he stopped walking.

Shannon patted the man on the back, “nothing much. Just tried to make a run for it.”

“Shit,” Donovan glanced up at Shannon. “Sorry. It’s just I should have remembered that she hates hospitals.”

‘I kinda figured that by the way she tried to sneak out of here.” Shannon replied. “What made her so afraid?”

“After her family was killed and she wouldn’t talk they put her into psychiatric ward and locked her in a room by herself.” Donovan rubbed his face and sighed. “I don’t think she will stay. I will have to stay here with her until they discharge her.”

“That poor girl,” Shannon gasped. “How could they do that to her?”

“No place else to put her I guess. She wouldn’t talk and barely acknowledged anyone’s presence.” Donovan shrugged his shoulders. “It took them three day to find me.”

“I don’t blame her one bit for being scared of hospitals.” Evan stated with a frown.

Shannon stepped into the hospital room and a smile crossed her face, “I don’t think you will have to stay”

“Why?” Donovan asked as he looked over at Keegan then over to his boss. Both were sound asleep.

“I don’t think Sloan will let Keegan sneak out. Why don’t we come back in the morning.” Even suggested.

“Sounds like a good plan,” Donovan smiled over at the two women then followed Evan and Shannon out of the room.

******************************

“Good breakfast?” Sloan asked as she watched Keegan scoop up some watery eggs and frown.

Keegan looked at Sloan out of the corner of her eye and lifted up a fork full and pretended like she was going to fling it at the tall brunette.

Sloan crossed her arms over her chest and smiled. “Remember I’ll getcha back if you do.”

Keegan dropped the fork and leaned back.

Sloan took a deep breath; “can I ask you a question?”

Keegan turned and gave her a slight nod.

“Why don’t you learn sign language?” Sloan asked.

Keegan grabbed the notepad and pen that sat next to her tray of food. “I have no need for it. I know someday I will talk again.”

Sloan read the note, “but now you can’t so why not learn too. That way you won’t have to write everything down.”

“It wouldn’t matter anyway. Nobody I know knows signing. I would still have to write everything down.” Keegan wrote back.

“You could teach us. I know I’d learn.” Sloan stated as she handed Keegan back her notepad.

Keegan stared at Sloan for a few seconds before she started to write. “Why would you do that? I am nothing to you but someone who works in your stable. Why do you care?”

Sloan stood up and began to pace. “I know I have put my big foot in my mouth several times since you came to work at Winter Escape. I’m not sure why I said those things. I’m usually very polite and well mannered, but when I get around you, you just drive me crazy and my mouth works faster than my brain.” Sloan stopped and turned to look at smiling green eyes. “You are loving this aren’t you? You want to see how far you can push me and look like a fool?”

Keegan acted like she was thinking and then shook her head. “No need for me to make you look like a fool. You do that so well on your own.”

“Ha ha,” Sloan rested her hands on her hips. “I have never been around anyone who can infuriate me as much as you do.”

Keegan pointed her finer at her chest and mouthed, “me?”

“Yes, you.” Sloan shook her head and closed her eyes. “I’m going for a walk. I’ll be back in a little bit.”

Keegan waved and waited until Sloan was out of the room. She quickly pushed the tray aside that held her uneatable breakfast and tossed the blankets off her leg. She quickly headed towards the small closet and grabbed her jeans and shoes that were there, leaving on the top part of the hospital gown since her shirt was cut off her last night in the emergency room. Not able to get the bottom fastened on her jeans she left it and slipped her shoes on. “Now to get out of here.”

******************************

“Do you think you have enough?” Evan teased Shannon as they stepped out of the elevator.

“You remember what the food here is like?” Shannon raised an eyebrow at her husband.

Evan shivered, “yes, man was it horrid.”

“Now you see why I brought so much.” Shannon walked down the hall.

Evan grinned at his wife’s back. “I married a smart woman.”

He stepped into the room and looked at his wife. “What’s wrong?”

“They’re gone,” Shannon put down the three containers of food on the bed. “I wonder where they went. Keegan wasn’t being discharged was she?”

“Not that I know,” Evan answered as he walked out of the room and headed for the nurses desk. “Excuse me, could you tell us where the young woman is in room 225.”

“She should be in there. Two of her friends just left. One went that way and the other went down in the elevators.” The nurse pointed with her pen.

Evan rubbed his face, “was one a tall dark haired woman?”

The nurse nodded, “she went that way.” She pointed in the opposite direction of the elevators.

“Okay, was the other a small blonde?” Evan smiled when the nurse nodded. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” the nurse replied and went back to her paper work.

******************************

Sloan found a quite corner and sat down next to a big aquarium filled with tropical fish. She watched the orange and white fish swim around their small home. One seemed to be staring at her, as it’s little fins kept it in the same spot. “What are you looking at?” She flicked the glass and watched, as the fish didn’t even flinch.

“Excuse me?” An old man asked as he stopped in front of Sloan.

Sloan sat up, “yes?”

“Have you seen my daughter?” The man asked as he held himself up with the help of a walker.

Sloan smiled as she shook her head, “no, I’m sorry I haven’t seen her.”

“Okay thanks,” the man responded. “Would you mind if I sit with you?”

“Sure,” Sloan sighed.

The man sat down with a grunt; “my name is Elmo.” He held out his to Sloan.

Sloan took the old wrinkled hand into hers and gave it a slight shake, “Sloan.”

“Well Sloan what is a beautiful woman like yourself doing in a crappy place like this?” Elmo asked as he moved his walker off to the side.

“Friend of mine was hurt,” Sloan answered as she stretched out her legs.

Elmo scratched his head, “your friend, is she going to be okay?”

“Yes, she is just fine.” Sloan closed her eyes.

“You know sometimes it is easier to talk to a stranger than it is someone close to you.” Elmo informed Sloan. “I maybe old, but my hearing is as good as it ever was.”

“I appreciate it, but there isn’t anything to talk about.” Sloan looked over at the old man.

Elmo nodded his head and sat back.

Sloan watched Elmo out of the corner of her eye. “Okay, my friend has been driving me crazy. She drives me to the point that makes me want to strangle her.” She brought her hands up and shook them in front of her as she pretended to tighten her hold on someone neck.

“I’ve felt that way about my best friend. With in a minute span I could be smiling and laughing and then the next I want to poke out eyes.” Elmo laughed.

Sloan laughed, “plus for some odd reason I keep doing stuff that I normally don’t do.”

“Like what?” Elmo asked.

“Well, my friend doesn’t talk and I keep putting my foot in my mouth saying inappropriate things.” Sloan rested her elbows on her knees. “It’s just every time I turn around she is right in my face.”

“Do you think that is why you do the things you have been doing?” Elmo questioned with a raised gray eyebrow.

“I don’t understand. Why would that have me saying and doing things I normally don’t do?” Sloan turned slightly in her chair to get a better look at the man.

“Your friend throws you off. You aren’t treated like you normally are and most people don’t like that.” Elmo stated with a shrug.

“Could be,” Sloan looked up at the fish again.

“You know something?” Elmo grabbed his walker. “Even though my best friend drives me crazy I wouldn’t change her one bit.”

“That special to you?” Sloan asked softly as she watched the man stand.

Elmo grinned, “more special to me than anything in this world.”

“Oh, there you are.” An old woman stepped up to Elmo.

“Yep here I am,” Elmo winked at the woman. “Sloan, I would like you to meet my best friend and my wife, Hazel.”

“Hello, it’s nice meeting you.” Sloan stood up and shook the woman’s hand.

“Same here, now come on Elmo time for you to get some rest.” Hazel guided her husband down the hall.

Elmo stopped and turned slowly, “remember, even though you want to kill them sometimes life is much better with them in it.”

“Thanks and you are right. My life is better with her in it.” Sloan waved and headed off in the direction of Keegan’s room.

******************************

“She’s gone,” Shannon said as soon as she saw her daughter.

Sloan closed her eyes. “Damn it, do we know which way she went?”

“The nurse said she took one of the elevators. From there we have no idea.” Evan informed his daughter.

“Okay, I bet she is heading towards the ranch. So I guess we try there and then if she isn’t there we backtrack.” Sloan headed off towards the elevators.

******************************

“Where ya going sweet thing?” The ugly smelly man asked Keegan as she continued to walk down the road.

Keegan crossed her arms over her chest and walked straight. Her head was beginning to hurt and her fingers had started to throb on her broken arm.

“Come on with me. I can show you a good time. Just hop on up here and we’ll take off.” The man smiled showing off his green and yellow teeth.

Keegan quickened her step as she shook her head. “I think I should have stayed at the hospital.”

The guy in the truck grunted and rolled up the window. He stepped on the gas and raced down the road, but did a U-turn in the middle of the road. He gunned the engine so hard it made the truck rock back and forth.

“Shit,” Keegan sighed and covered her eyes with her hand.

******************************

Sloan slowed her car as she spotted Keegan’s form standing along the side of the road with her head in her hands. “I wonder what she got herself into now?” She asked when she saw the truck stopped in front of the small blonde. “Damn it, of all the people she could of run into it had to be that jerk.”

“What in the hell do you think you are doing?” Sloan asked as she pulled up along side Keegan.

Keegan’s head snapped up and she looked over at Sloan. “Double shit.” She quickly turned around and headed in the opposite direction of both vehicles.

Sloan shifted her car into reverse; “do you really think that you are going to get away from me?”

Keegan stopped and lowered her head, “crap, she’s right. I might as well just get in the damn car.” She reached for the door handle, but jumped out of her skin when a loud horn bellowed.

“Get in the car,” Sloan ordered as she eyed the big truck and its driver.

Keegan quickly opened the door and jumped in.

Sloan didn’t wait until Keegan had the door closed. She slammed on the gas pedal and skidded through the gravel. “Put your seatbelt on. That jerk is a dumb as they come and he might follow us.” She did a quick U-turn right in front of the truck and sped down the road.

Sloan glanced in her review mirror and growled when the truck began to follow them, “asshole.”

Keegan turned in her seat to look out the back window. “Great hillbilly Jo is following us.”

“Why couldn’t you have just stayed in the hospital?” Sloan asked as she guided the car around a tight curve.

Keegan flipped off Sloan and stuck out her tongue.

“You keep doing that and I will cut them both off.” Sloan glanced over at Keegan. “With a very dull knife.”

Keegan slapped her knee and pretended to laugh.

“I am so not kidding. Do you have any idea who that jerk is that is following us is?” Sloan asked as she maneuvered her car around a slow moving tractor.

Keegan shook her head, which she immediately regretted as the pain worsened.

“You okay,” Sloan asked softly as she grabbed a hold of Keegan’s cast covered wrist.

Keegan closed her eyes and reached for Sloan’s hand with her uninjured hand. She gave the driver a slight squeeze before she passed out.

“Keegan?” Sloan gently nudged Keegan’s shoulder.

A loud horn blared from behind her car and her body jerked as the truck bumped into her backend.. “Damn it.” Sloan had, had enough of this game and gunned the engine and sped ahead of the truck and it’s occupant. “You will be hearing from me you dick head.”

******************************

Keegan opened her eyes and looked into pissed off blue.

“Do you have any idea how pissed off I am at you. Do you have any idea what kind of trouble you could be in right now if fuck head Ragy Flint had gotten ahold of you?” Sloan began to pace. “You are lucky I found you. If you had passed out on that road this afternoon God only knows if anyone would ever see you alive again.”

Keegan sat up and glared at Sloan. She gestured to Sloan for a pen and paper.

“What could you possibly say that could make the situation you put yourself into any better?” Sloan asked as she grabbed the items off the other bed in the room.

“I was not going to stay here any longer than necessary. I felt I was fine and ready to leave. So I left.” Keegan wrote.

“Well apparently you were very, very wrong.” Sloan stepped closer to the bed. “You passed out in my car. You need time to heal and you won’t get that running away all the time.”

“I despise hospitals and I don’t want to stay here.” Keegan tossed Sloan the notepad.

Sloan growled, “well, I don’t like hospitals any better than you do, but if I need to stay in one I will until the doctor gives me the okay to leave.”

Keegan quickly wrote, “You weren’t left in one when you were a little girl. People treating you like you were some sort of freak because you didn’t speak. Shit, I just saw my parents killed in front of my eyes. I saw ever lunge of the knife that entered my mother. The way her eyes held the pain even when she was dead staring lifelessly at me.”

“You’re right. I have never lived through anything that horrendous, but you are not alone. I’m right here with you.” Sloan sat on the edge of the bed.

“For how long?” Keegan wiped the tears that fell down her checks with the back of her hand.

Sloan tossed the notepad and pen onto the floor. “I’ll be here for as long as you need me.”

Keegan slumped into Sloan’s arms and cried.

“You just have to stop pissing me off.” Sloan said as she rubbed Keegan’s back.

******************************

Donovan walked into the hospital room and the sight of his niece being held by his boss made him smile. “Hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

“No,” Sloan patted Keegan on the back and guided her to lay back on the bed. “Just making sure she is okay is all.”

“Okay,” Donovan smiled as he walked the rest of the way in the room. “I hear you made an escape.”

Keegan nodded as she lowered her eyes.

Donovan waited a few seconds before he grasped Keegan’s hand. “You shouldn’t have done that. You could have been really hurt.”

“She knows, now.” Sloan stood up. “I think I will run down and get something to drink. Do you two want anything?”

“I’m fine,” Donovan replied.

Keegan gestured that she’d like something to drink.

“Soda okay?’ Sloan asked as she walked back towards the door.

Keegan nodded and smiled. “Thanks,” she mouthed.

Sloan grinned back and winked, “be back in a little bit.”

******************************

Sloan decided that she might as well get something to eat. She picked out a ham and cheese sandwich and some chips.

“Well look who we have here,” a snotty voice said.

Sloan groaned and sat her tray on the closest table, “well if it isn’t nurse Hornell.”

“Don’t you mean ex-nurse. Since it was you that fired me.” The ex-employee snapped.

“You don’t blame yourself for it at all do you?” Sloan asked then shook her head. “Of course you don’t. You think treating patients like shit is the right thing to do. You feel all higher than they are because you have to take care of them.”

“Of course I do and why shouldn’t I? They are the weak ones who got sick, not me.” The blonde nurse stated as she pointed to herself.

Sloan grabbed ahold of the woman’s hand and squeezed, “do you really believe that? Because if you do you are sicker than any patient we have in the psychology department.”

“Let me go you bitch.” The mad woman pulled her hand loose. “I will get you back for firing me.”

“Get out of my hospital now before I have you arrested.” Sloan’s eyes narrowed as she pointed towards the door.

“This will not be the last time you hear from me.” The angry woman shoved past Sloan and headed out the door.

“Can anything else go wrong today?” Sloan mumbled to herself as she grabbed her tray and walked out of the cafeteria.

******************************

“Okay, so you promise not to take off again,” Donovan stood at the foot of Keegan’s bed. “I’ll be by to pick you up tomorrow.”

“You won’t have to. I’ll be here and I’ll bring her home.” Sloan said as she walked into the room. “Here ya go Keegan, one drink.” She handed the small woman a large soda with ice.

“You sure, you have been here since last night.” Donovan asked as he watched his boss sit in the chair she had fallen asleep in last night.

Sloan nodded her head, “I’m sure.”

“Alright then, I will leave you two and get back to the ranch.” Donovan blew his niece a kiss and waved at his boss. “Bye.”

Keegan waved back at her uncle as she took a long drink.

“Bye Donovan,” Sloan unwrapped half of her sandwich and took a healthy bite.

Keegan looked over at Sloan and started to drool. She realized that it had been a long time since she had eaten. She wiggled her fingers at Sloan’s other half of sandwich.

Sloan chewed for a second before she swallowed, “you want this?” She pointed down at the ham and cheese sandwich.

Keegan nodded and sat up a bit.

“No,” Sloan took another bite.

Keegan glared at her and reached for her notepad. “Yes.”

“This is my sandwich and you can’t have any.” The tall brunette stated as she finished off her first half.

Keegan grabbed her drink and took a sip. She never took her eyes off of Sloan.

Sloan slowly unwrapped the rest of her sandwich and smiled as she brought it up to her mouth. A cold piece of ice bounced off her forehead. “You did not just throw ice at me.”

Keegan reached into her cup and tossed a handful right at Sloan’s face and chest.

Sloan picked up a wet slippery piece of ice that was melting on her lap. She glared up at Keegan who smiled at her. “I was just kidding, now I will finish it all.” She raised the sandwich to her mouth and took a big bite.

Keegan growled and tossed her whole soda at the seated woman.

******************************

“I still cannot believe that you did that.” Sloan said as she pulled her car up next to the barn.

Keegan shrugged her shoulders and glared at the driver.

“It’s not my fault you can’t take a joke.” Sloan opened her door and stepped out. “You know I will have to get you back, right.”

Keegan shrugged her shoulders again and opened her own door to get out.

“When you least expect it, WHAMM,” Sloan slammed her door. “You’ll be mine.”

Keegan jumped and looked over the top of the car to meet narrow blue eyes. “I think I am in trouble.”

“So I will talk to you later?” Sloan smiled at Keegan.

Keegan nodded and started towards her room.

Sloan’s smiled turned into a smirk. “WHAMMM,” she slammed her hand on the top of her car.

Keegan jumped and tripped over her feet when she quickly turned towards her boss. “Maybe I can sneak out of here tonight and never come back.”

******************************

For the next several days every time Sloan got within ten feet of Keegan she’d mouth, wham.

“This waiting is killing me. I wish she’d just get it over with.” Keegan sat on a bench and ran her hand through her short blonde hair.

Majestic stuck his head over the stall and blew a shot of hot breath down Keegan’s shirt collar.

“Would you stop it. That feels funny.” The small silent woman stood up and scratched his chin. “You want to go for a walk?”

The black stallion neighed softly and nipped at Keegan’s hair.

“Okay, give me a minute to go tell Uncle Donovan where I’m going.” Keegan walked out of the barn and flipped her sunglasses on as she glanced around for her uncle. “Damn it, he was just out here. I’ll just leave him a note.” She walked back in and taped a note to Majestic’s stall. “Come on boy, lets go.”

The stallion waited until Keegan unlatched his stall before he stepped out.

“You are such a good boy,” Keegan smiled up at the big animal as they walked out into the bright sunny afternoon. “Where do you want to go today?”

Majestic headed towards the forest.

“Okay, a nice long walk in the woods sounds perfect. Maybe we will find some snow.” Keegan thought as she looked up at the snow capped mountains that surrounded most of the ranch. “They sure did name this place right. Soon this will be a winter escape.”

The two friends walked side by side for awhile until they made it to a clearing. The bright afternoon sun disappeared behind soft white clouds. “Looks like the snow is going to find us, boy.” Keegan rubbed her hand down the horses back and over his rump. “Go and run around a bit before we get caught up in it.” She patted him in the rear end before he took off like a bolt of lightening.

Keegan stood there transfixed as she watched the strong black horse race around the clearing. Big wet snow flacks fell all around them, giving an almost serene feeling.

******************************

Sloan stopped just behind Keegan. She had decided to follow the blonde and continue to torment her, but the sight that stood before her stopped her in her tracks. She watched silently as the woman turned her face up towards the sky and closed her eyes. “That is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.” The tall dark haired woman thought.

******************************

The skin on the back of Keegan’s neck tingled. She opened her eyes and looked around to see why she felt someone was watching her. A dark form standing behind her made her jump slightly as she turned all away around.

Sloan smiled and stepped forward, “hi.”

Keegan swallowed as Sloan moved closer to her as snow began to fall faster. She gave a small wave back never breaking eye contact.

“How’s he doing today?” Sloan asked as she stopped in front of Keegan.

Keegan nodded as she watched a snow flake land on Sloan’s face. Without even thinking she reached up and wiped it off.

Sloan closed her eyes and brought her hand up to keep Keegan’s hand where it was. “I have never seen anything as breath taking as you standing here with the snow falling all around you.”

Keegan went to step closer to the warm body in front of her, but she stopped herself. She quickly withdrew her hand and pointed at Sloan.

“What?” Sloan asked as she opened her eyes and watched Keegan shake her head.

Keegan reached into her pocket. “You had me for a few seconds, but I’m on to you. I fall for this and then you pull your, WHAMM.”

“What?” Sloan repeated. “You think that I was joking, just to get you back?”

Keegan nodded as she put her hands on her hips.

Sloan threw her hands up into the air and screamed, “you are a real piece of work. I may want to get you back for what you did in the hospital, but I would never get you like that.” She whipped around and headed back towards the woods.

Keegan felt her heart land in her stomach as she watched Sloan disappear into the forest. “I think I may have made a big mistake.”

******************************

“Boy look at you,” Stephanie said as she saw her sister walking down the stairs. “Where you going all dolled up?”

“I’m just going out.” Sloan replied as she stopped at the bottom of the steps.

Stephanie whistled, “you look like you are on the prowl.”

Sloan smirked, “never know. I could be.”

“Could be?” The small Addams shook her head and ran her finger across her sister’s shoulder. “Yeah right, you are so freaking hot. Silk white shirt under a black suit jacket. Then you have the tight ass blue jeans with the polished snake skin cowboy boots.”

“Never know who I might meet.” Sloan slapped at her sister’s hand that pinched her butt. “Stop that.”

“You going to finally see what the world has to offer in the love department?” Stephanie wiggled her eyebrows as she sat down on the steps.

“I just feel like going out and hopefully I will have a great time.” Sloan sighed as she sat down next to her sister.

Stephanie wrapped her arm around Sloan and rested her head on her shoulder. “You still seem pretty upset about what happened with Keegan?”

“I wish I never told you what happened.” Sloan mumbled as she rested her head against Stephanie’s head.

“Well when you stormed in last week nearly knocking me to the ground I had to find out what crawled up your butt.” Stephanie patted Sloan’s bent knee. “She really effects you doesn’t she?”

“Yes, for some reason she has seemed to have gotten under my skin. I have purposely stayed away from the stables all week, just so I won’t have to face her.” Sloan replied.

“I have never known you to run from anything.” Stephanie turned her head to look into her sister’s eyes. “Why are you doing it now?”

“I’m not running,” Sloan stood up and began to pace the entryway.

Stephanie watched her sister wave her hands around mumbling to herself about how infuriating the small blonde woman made her. She hid a smile behind her hand and tried not to laugh, “You want to know what I think?”

“Not particularly,” Sloan replied.

Stephanie shock her head, “fine figure it out on your own.”

Sloan raised an eyebrow as she stopped. “Figure what out on my own?”

Stephanie sighed, “that you are so in love with Keegan that you can’t see straight.”

******************************

Sloan sat outside the bar watching several patrons walk in. The music playing inside filled the quiet night every time the door was opened.

“I guess they have live music tonight,” Sloan said as she opened her door. “No use sitting here missing it.” She stood up, locked and shut the door. The gravel under her feet crunched as the cold evening wind blew her dark hair up off her shoulders.

******************************

Keegan sat on the stool. Her eyes closed as her fingers went to work. The feeling of peaceful serenity filled as every cord was plucked. The noise around her was unheard in her ears. The only sound she heard was the music her heart gave the crowd.

******************************

Sloan stood memorized by the bar. The sight of Keegan up on stage shocked her. She didn’t have a clue that the small ranch hand could play like she was. The guitar sang out to her with every pluck of the cords.

“She’s good isn’t she?” The bartender asked as she wiped off the top of the bar.

Sloan nodded her head; “she is magnificent.”

“It’s strange though. She usually plays more upbeat and fast music, but for the past several days it’s been this kind of stuff. Not that anyone is complaining.” The curly haired bartender stated. “She could just pluck out Mary had a Little Lamb and she’d bring in the crowd.”

“”How long has she been coming here?” Sloan asked as she took a seat.

“For several weeks now. She just walked in one night and started to play.” Replied the bartender. “What can I get for you?”

“I’ll take a beer,” Sloan grabbed a handful of peanuts that sat in a brown bowl next to her elbow.

“Tap?” The bartender asked.

“No, I’ll take a bottle of Bud light, thanks.” Sloan said before she tossed several peanuts into her mouth.

Sloan slowly chewed the salty bits as Keegan started another song. She never heard this one or in fact the one she played before. “What song is this?” She asked the bartender when she walked up with her drink.

“No clue, she plays her own stuff.” The bartender placed the drink in front of Sloan. “If you need me just yell, my name is, Sharon.”

“Thanks, Sharon I will.” Sloan raised her beer and took a long drink. “Just what I needed.”

******************************

Keegan opened her eyes as she finished her last song. The people on the dance floor clapped and cheered. She smiled and took a small bow.

“You going to come home with me tonight?” A soft velvet voice asked from behind.

Keegan stood up and placed her instrument into its case. She locked the latches and turned to the person and shook her head.

“Come on, you know you want to.” The woman pouted as she crossed her arms over her chest.

Keegan walked up to the woman and rested her guitar at their feet. She grabbed the woman by the shoulders and stuck her tongue out at her.

“Okay fine, Sharon would have a fit with two women in her bed. She’d have no clue what in the world to do.” Francine laughed as she brought her into a hug.

“I would too know what to do,” Sharon swatted Francine on the butt. “It’s just that you are way to much woman for me to handle. If you toss in another it would kill me.”

“You so know what to say.” Francine was about to grab the glass of water Sharon had, but her girlfriend stopped her.

“Sorry, babe,” Sharon handed Keegan the glass. “It’s all hers. From the tall gorgeous woman at the bar.”

Keegan turned to look but nobody was there. She turned back at Sharon with a confused look.

Sharon glanced around the interior of the bar; “she was just there.”

Keegan shrugged her shoulders. It didn’t matter she was thirsty and needed a drink.

“So what did this gorgeous woman look like?” Francine asked as she wiggled her eyebrows.

“Well, she had the darkest long hair and the bluest eyes I have ever seen.” Sharon described.

Keegan new as soon as her friend had said blue eyes who had brought her the drink. She slowly turned to see if she could see Sloan. When she came up with nothing she sighed and hung her head. “She was probably being nice. Not sure why she would be after the way I slammed her in the clearing the other night.”

“Hey kid, what’s the matter?” Sharon asked as she rubbed Keegan’s back.

Keegan took a deep breath and shook her head and smiled.

“You sure?” Francine had noticed how she looked around the bar and the frown that appeared when she didn’t see what she wanted.

Keegan nodded as she grasped Francine’s hand.

“Okay, let’s go get something to eat.” Francine smiled as she wrapped her arm around her girlfriend’s waist. “My treat.”

“Hot damn,” Sharon, yelled.

Keegan followed her two friends. She couldn’t believe that the two women in front of her had been together for seven years. They were like night and day, where Sharon had long curly brown hair and muscles that where hidden by the ever present sweatshirt. Francine was a small as a mouse with bright red hair and the greenest eyes Keegan had ever seen. She had nearly died laughing one night when Sharon had done something to piss off Francine and the small woman had cut into her like there was no tomorrow, the big muscular woman had cowered like a scolded puppy.

******************************

Sloan ducked behind a wooden pillar when she saw Keegan and her friends looking for her. She knew as soon as Sharon described her to Keegan she would know instantly who sent the ice water to her.

“Well look who is slumming,” an annoying voice slurred behind Sloan.

“Don’t you even get near me you fucking slug.” Sloan growled as she turned to look at Ragy Flint.

Ragy downed his rum and coke in one swallow and slammed the glass on the table. “You shouldn’t have interfered with me picking up that cute assed blonde the other day.”

“You’d have a better chance at picking up a rabid dog.” Sloan tried to step away from the drunken man, but he reached out and grabbed the bottom of her coat. “Let me go.” She glared at him as she grasped his hand and twisted it.

“Let me go you fucking bitch,” Ragy grabbed a bottle of beer and tossed it at Sloan’s head.

Shards of glass and foamy beer sprayed Sloan when the bottle shattered against the wooden pillar next to her. “I should break your hand.”

“No, I think you should let him go.” Sharon ordered as she stepped up next to the pair.

“Do what she says; let me go.” Ragy smirked.

Sloan gave Ragy’s wrist one final twist and let it go. She stood up straight waiting to see what the bartender would do. When Sharon stepped closer to her she made a fist ready to punch if she was touched.

“Excuse me,” Sharon grinned. “Asshole will need his coat as he is leaving.”

“What? I wasn’t the one who had someone’s arm twisted just about ready to break.” Ragy yelled as he grabbed his coat that Sharon tossed at him.

“You were the one who started it. I know you were. You need not ever come back in here.” Sharon grabbed him by the collar of his dirty shirt and guided him to the front door. “You understand me?”

“Fine,” Ragy stumbled as Sharon opened the door and shoved him out into the cold night.

Sloan jumped when a wet towel was pressed against the side of her head. She looked down and Keegan was standing next to her showing her that she had blood to whip off.

“Hi,” Sloan said as she got lost in the emerald depth of Keegan’s eyes.

Keegan raised her hand back up to Sloan’s face and smiled.

******************************

“What happened to your face?” Shannon asked her daughter as she walked into the kitchen.

“Ragy tossed a beer bottle at my head,” Sloan replied as she stopped so her mom could get a look at the several small cuts along her cheek.

“Why in the world would you even get within three feet of that man?” Shannon looked into her daughter eyes she saw a spark there she had never seen before. “Oh my,” she gasped.

“What, does it look that bad. I didn’t think it looked that bad this morning.” Sloan raised her hand to her face but her mom stopped her hand.

“Who is the lucky woman?” Shannon whispered softly.

Sloan cocked her head to the side and raised an eyebrow, “lucky woman?”

“Yes,” Shannon brought her other hand to Sloan’s heart. “The woman who has finally stolen your heart.”

Sloan lowered her head and sighed. “How can you tell that?”

“Love can be shown through several different things, but the window to the soul is the eyes and your have a spark there that wasn’t there before.” The older Addams woman stated with a small smile.

Sloan closed her eyes and remembered the caring green eyes that held hers while Keegan wiped blood off her face last night. “She just snuck in and took hold of my heart. I was pretty sure she didn’t feel the same until last night after my encounter with Ragy.”

“It’s Keegan isn’t it?” Shannon kissed Sloan’s forehead.

Sloan nodded, “yes.” She opened her eyes. “What do I do?”

“Oh, baby, follow your heart. It won’t do you wrong.” Shannon guided her daughter over to the kitchen table. “Sit and I will get you your breakfast and we will have a nice heart to heart.”

******************************

Donovan watched his niece stand in the middle of the stall she was cleaning staring off into space. “You won’t get this done any faster if you stand there all day.”

Keegan turned to glared at her uncle.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you,” he raised his hands up and smiled. “You want to tell me what has you so thrown out of sorts lately?”

Keegan shook her head and started back to work.

Donovan walked up behind her and rubbed her back. “Leave that for now and talk.”

The small woman dropped the pitchfork and turned towards her uncle. Tears started to fall as she stepped into his open arms.

“Oh, honey, what’s the matter?” Donovan asked.

Keegan stayed in her uncle arms for a few more minutes before she took in a deep breath. She stepped back and reached for her notepad. “I’m so confused.”

“Why?” Donovan asked after he read what she wrote.

Keegan kicked at the straw on the floor of the stall as she wrote. “My insides are all twisted and my mind is fuzzy. All I want to do is either play my guitar or walk with Majestic. I can’t keep my mind on anything else…well maybe one other thing and I shouldn’t be thinking about that.”

Donovan scratched his ever-present stubble, “you going to tell me the other thing?”

“Sloan,” was the only word she wrote.

“Okay,” Donovan leaned against the wall. “Does your skin feel like it is on fire if she is near?” He watched Keegan nod. “Does your heart beat ten times faster when you think about or see her?” Keegan continued to nod. “My dear, you sound like you are attracted to her.”

“Are you nuts?” Keegan quickly wrote.

“No,” Donovan laughed.

“You think that I’m in love with her? She drives me nuts, crazy.” Keegan tossed the paper at her uncle and began to pace.

“Stop for a second,” Donovan said a little louder then he wanted. He looked at his niece and sighed, “I never said love.”

Keegan face’s dropped.

“If it is love, don’t run from it. Grab ahold of it and let it be your guide. It will bring you the greatest happiness you have ever known.” Donovan stepped closer to Keegan and cupped her face. “Love is the greatest thing in the world. It can bring down the strongest person or it can make you the strongest person.”

Keegan closed her eyes and tears ran down the already streaked face. She started to shake her head and moved away from her uncle. “I loved once and that was all taken away from me. I won’t do that again no matter what. Sloan could give me the world and it still wouldn’t be enough.” She ran out of the stall after she handed her uncle her declaration of her heart.

“Oh Keegan,” Donovan rubbed his face. “I need to talk to Sloan.”

******************************

Sloan walked down the road that led to the stalls. The chill of the morning did nothing to dampen her mood. The talk she had with her mom gave her the confidence to try and talk to Keegan again. Her mom told her to just put the clearing evening out of her mind and start fresh.

“Hey, Donovan,” Sloan yelled, “do you know where you niece is. I really need to talk to her.”

“Not right at the moment. Do you think I could have a few words with you?” Donovan asked as he stepped in stride with Sloan.

“Sure, what’s on your mind?” Sloan smiled.

“Umm, how do you feel about my niece?” Donovan quickly asked.

Sloan stopped and looked at the man. “Why do you want to know?”

“Shit, she is going to kill me, but damn it I have to know so I can help.” Donovan ran his hands through his hair.

“Help with what?” Sloan rested her hands on her hips.

Donovan took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He looked up into his bosses’ eyes. “Do you love my niece?”

Sloan nodded, “yes I do.”

“Oh, good,” Donovan mumbled.

“Glad you approve,” Sloan started walking but Donovan’s hand stopped her.

“I may approve but Keegan doesn’t. Well she does but she won’t accept it.” Donovan reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out Keegan’s note. “Please read this.

Sloan grabbed the paper, “what is this?”

“It’s how she is feeling.” Donovan answered. “She is very, very scared right now and ..well just read it.”

Sloan opened the folded paper and read what Keegan had written. “She doesn’t want to take a chance?”

“She doesn’t want to get hurt like she did when her family was killed.” Donovan lowered his head. “You are the only one who will change her mind and you know how stubborn she can be.”

“Ohhh, yes I know all about her stubbornness.” Sloan groaned. “Where do you think she might be?”

“For the last several days she has been taking Majestic out to the clearing through the woods.” Donovan pointed.

“I know the spot,” Sloan replied as she remembered the night she watched Keegan.

“All I ask is please don’t hurt her,” Donovan begged.

“That is the furthest thought from my mind.” Sloan honestly replied. “I love her and I will do my best to show her.”

“Thank you,” Donovan grinned.

******************************

Sloan glanced around the clearing. Some snow had stuck from the light snowfall they had a couple of days ago. She noticed Majestic standing around a tree neighing softly. When the big horse stepped back a few feet she saw Keegan sitting on the ground with her knees bent up close to her chest and her head resting on top of her knees.

Sloan looked at the paper in her hand and thought for a minute what she was going to say to the young woman that held her heart. Then she remembered her Mom has always said speak from your heart and you will never go wrong. “Here goes nothing,” she whispered to the wind.

Keegan heard the crunching of leaves that didn’t sound like Majestic. She looked up just in time to see Sloan kneel in front of her.

“I would give you the world if you wanted it, but I what I want you to have is my heart. I think I gave it to you the first night I saw you.” Sloan stared straight into the depth of Keegan’s watery green eyes.

Keegan saw the love in Sloan’s eyes and tears started to fall down her cheeks. The fear of loosing someone she loved was far too great for her to chance that kind of pain again.

Sloan watched as Keegan slowly began to shake her head. “I know you are afraid of loosing me or anyone else you might love, but I promise with every ounce of my being that I will never leave you.”

Keegan shoved Sloan to the ground. Tears continued to fall freely down her checks. She stood up quickly and started to walk off. “No, I will not do that again.”

Sloan pushed herself up off the cold hard ground and followed Keegan. When she reached her she grabbed her by the shoulders and spun her around. “I will not let you run from this. I love you and I want you in my life forever. You have crawled inside my soul and my heart. I ache whenever I’m not around you. Your soul feeds me the life energy I need to live.”

Keegan closed her eyes and willed herself not to follow what her heart and soul cried for. She fought it and nearly won. The softness of Sloan’s lips against hers startled her. She felt the tall woman move closer to her as she cupped her face. The soft lips moved across her cheek and up her face to her closed eyes and down the other side of her face to her lips again. She knew she had lost the fight when Sloan’s tongue asked for entrance and she gladly gave it.
Part two
Sloan broke the kiss, but didn’t move her lips more than an inch from Keegan’s. “I take it you will give me a chance?”

Keegan smiled and nodded her head. She rested her forehead against Sloan’s and sighed.

Sloan tightened her arms around Keegan’s shoulders and hugged. “I love you.”

Keegan squeezed the tall body in her arms. “I can’t fight it. I love her too.”

“How about we go up to the house and get some hot chocolate?” Sloan suggested. “I think I could find something to nibble on.”

Keegan raised her head and grinned. She pointed at herself and wiggled her eyebrows.

“Ha ha, not that it’s not a good idea. In fact it is a great idea, but I want to take things nice and slow.” Sloan caressed Keegan’s cheek with her thumbs. “I want you to trust me completely before things go that far, okay.”

Keegan closed her eyes and nodded. She brought her hands up and entwined her fingers with Sloan’s. She wished like never before that she could speak what her heart and soul craved to tell this tall dark caring woman.

“Come on, lets go.” Sloan smiled as she quickly placed a soft kiss on Keegan’s lips.

******************************

Shannon and Evan sat on the porch snuggling up with a blanket and some hot cider.

“Look over there,” Shannon pointed towards the road.

Evan smiled as he saw his eldest daughter walk hand in hand with Keegan. “Well would you look at that.”

“I think our daughter has finally given her heart to someone.” Shannon grasped Evan’s hand and kissed his palm.

Sloan and Keegan stepped up onto the porch and walked straight to the door and into the house.

The older couple giggled.

“I guess we should get use to not being seen.” Evan wrapped his arm around his wife.

“Guess so,” Shannon rested her head on her husband’s should and sighed.

******************************

“Do you want marshmallows?” Sloan asked as she pulled out a chair and guided Keegan to sit.

Keegan’s smile grew bigger as she nodded her head.

“Okay, give me a few minutes and we will be set.” Sloan bent over and kissed the top of Keegan’s head. “Don’t go anywhere.”

Keegan closed her eyes and let the warmth of Sloan’s touch warm the top of her head all the way down to her feet. “I hope I survive this. I feel like I could explode from need.”

“Hey you two,” Stephanie said as she stepped into the kitchen.

“Hi, sis,” Sloan grinned. “You want a cup of hot chocolate?”

“Sure if you two don’t mind me joining you?” Stephanie replied as she looked from Keegan to Sloan.

“No go ahead and take a seat.” Sloan grabbed the stuff she needed to get the hot chocolate ready.

Stephanie sat down and watched the way Keegan would follow Sloan with her eyes. She elbowed the blonde; “you love my sister don’t you?”

Keegan looked Stephanie straight in the eyes and nodded as she brought her hands up to her chest to cover her heart.

“Great,” Stephanie rubbed Keegan’s back. “Have you kissed her yet?”

The deep red blush started from the top of Keegan’s neck and lowered down her neck. She covered her face with her hands.

“Hey don’t be embarrassed. I think it is cool.” The younger Addams sister whispered when she noticed Sloan heading towards them.

“What’s going on?” Sloan sat down and noticed Keegan’s red face. “What did you say to her?”

“Nothing, I just asked if she kissed you.” Stephanie wiggled her eyebrows.

“Well she didn’t, I kissed her.” Sloan grasped one of Keegan’s hands and held it in hers. “Then she kissed me.”

“That is so awesome,” Stephanie clapped. “It’s about time you finally found someone who can handle you.”

“What? Handle me are you nuts?” Sloan acted surprised. “Don’t you mean it the other way around? I’m not the one who gets into trouble everywhere I go.”

Keegan kicked Sloan’s foot under the table.

“Ouch,” Sloan moaned as she stood up. “You should treat me nicer. Since I am the one who is in control of the marshmallows.”

Stephanie quickly stood up and ran around the table. “I don’t think so.”

Sloan grabbed the woman as she went by and wrapped her arms around her and hugged her. “Gotcha.”

“Yes you do, but you forgot one thing.” Stephanie giggled as Sloan tickled her.

“Oh really and what is that?” Sloan asked as she put her sister on her feet.

Stephanie took a deep breath and straightened her shirt before she put her hands on her hips.

“Are you going to stand there for the rest of the night or are you going to tell me what I forgot?’ Sloan raised one eyebrow and stepped closer.

Stephanie pointed over Sloan’s shoulder, “her.”

Sloan turned her head and as soon as she saw Keegan with the bag of marshmallows and a big smile she groaned. “You two are already ganging up on me.”

“You bet your sweet ass we are.” Stephanie swatted her older sister on the but and skipped to where Keegan was. “Thanks, why don’t you go and make her feel better and I’ll make our drinks.”

Keegan handed the bag over to Stephanie and gave her a high five.

******************************

“We didn’t get much talking done tonight.” Sloan stated as her and Keegan walked down to the stables.

Keegan squeezed the hand she held and nodded.

They walked several more feet before Sloan looked up at the moon and stopped. “This is a first for me too. I have never trusted anyone enough to bare my heart too. I want you to know that I will always be honest and up front with you. I hope you will be the same with me.”

Keegan grabbed Sloan’s other hand and brought both of their entwined hands to her heart. Tears slowly slipped down her cheek.

“I want to help you learn how to sign. I will learn along with you so we can practice together.” Sloan softly kissed Keegan’s forehead. “I want us to be able to communicate better.”

“I have to for her, and for me.” Keegan thought as she agreed with a small smile.

“Great,” Sloan hugged the smaller woman to her. “We will go and check into it tomorrow.”

******************************

“Good morning,” Sloan skipped into the stable.

Donovan looked up and smiled, “I take it that last nights talk went well.”

“It went better than well, it went fantastic.” Sloan grabbed the man and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you for showing me that note she wrote and for giving me a chance to show her that I love her.”

Donovan laughed, “I had nothing to do with it.”

“But my man you did.” Sloan cupped his face. “You brought her here to work and I will never forget that.”

“Just remember that when she pisses you off.” Donovan teased as he hugged Sloan. “I am so happy for you two.”

“Thanks, now where is Keegan at?” Sloan looked around.

Donovan pointed over towards where Keegan’s room was. “Still sleeping. I decided to let her have a day off.”

“Okay, I’ll talk to you later.” Sloan patted Donovan on the back and walked towards Keegan’s door. She knocked softly and when she didn’t receive any answer she twisted the handle and opened the door slightly. The sight of Keegan sound asleep curled up under a Mickey Mouse blanket was the most precious sight she had ever seen.

Quietly she crept into the room and closed the door. She stood there and stared at the small woman that held her heart. The messy blonde hair had a mind of it’s own sticking up everywhere. Small strong hands curled up under a perfect chin. The chin that was under the softest lips Sloan had ever kissed. “I have got to kiss her.” She thought as her body moved closer. She knelt down on the ground and traced her fingers over the pink flesh that beckoned her closer.

Keegan had heard the knocks but decided to stay where she was. The sound of the door opening and closing and Sloan’s feet coming closer to her almost had her smiling, but the gentle caress she now felt on her lips made her happy that she didn’t. She knew that if she waited long enough Sloan would kiss her.

Sloan could tell by the twitch under one of Keegan’s eyes that the small woman was not really asleep like she had first thought. “Sneaky little one.” She lowered her head and placed her tongue where her finger was. Then two small hands grabbed ahold of her coat and brought her down for a passionate kiss.

Sloan moaned when Keegan’s tongue forced into her mouth and caressed her own tongue. She felt small hands loosen it’s hold and began to unzip her brown leather jacket she had on. Not wanting to stop she slipped her own hand under covers that shielded her view of Keegan’s small frame. When she came into contact with skin she stopped and leaned back. “You don’t have anything on.” She gasped.

Keegan grinned evilly and shook her head and tried to get Sloan to kiss her again.

“No, babe, I want us to wait and take thing slow.” Sloan stood up and ran her fingers through her hair. “Remember?”

Keegan pouted as she sat up, making sure her body was all covered. She sighed and tried to get her hormones under control. After a few minutes she gestured for Sloan to turn around so she could get up and dressed.

Sloan had to use all her will power to not turn around when she heard Keegan get up and move around. She wiped her palms on her jeans and repeated in her head. “Nice and slow. Nice and slow.”

******************************

“So what do you think?” Sloan asked as she pulled out of the parking space.

Keegan wiggled her hand in front of her as she bit her bottom lip.

Sloan steered the car out onto the road. “Do you want to go and get something to eat and talk about what’s going on in your head?”

Keegan nodded her head and looked down at the book the doctor had given her. One was for Sloan and the other was for her. They were the beginning books on sign language. “I hope this works and Sloan doesn’t get tired of all of this.”

They pulled up in front a Margo’s Dinner and got out of the car and walked into the restaurant hand in hand.

“Well look what the cat dragged in.” Margo yelled from behind the counter.

Sloan guided Keegan to walk in front of her as she waved over at the old woman with bright orange hair that had so much hair spray that if someone with a cigarette got too close she’d go up in flames. “Hey Margo, what’s shaking?”

“Everything bellow my head,” Margo stood up and shook her body.

Keegan nearly tripped over a chair that was pushed out by a dirty man with greasy long brown hair.

“Hey watch where you are walking. You nearly made me spill my coffee.” The man growled as he sat his cup down on the table.

Keegan’s mind and body froze.

“Back off buddy,” Sloan stepped in front of Keegan. “You were the one who pushed your chair out in front of her.”

“Oh, shut the fuck up bitch.” The man shoved Sloan and walked past her.

Sloan’s body slammed into Keegan’s and they both fell.

“Oh, honey are you okay?” Sloan asked as she turned towards the still blonde. “Keegan?”

Keegan didn’t even realize where she was. The only thing that she saw was the night of her parents’ murder. The way the knife plunged in and out of her mom’s body over and over again. The deranged look in the monster’s eyes and the laugh that still sent shivers through her body and the tattoo that was on the back of the killers’ hand. The dragon with blue fire coming out of its mouth and the sword in it’s clawed hands.

Keegan jumped when she felt something-cold press against her forehead. She shook her head and pushed the hands away from her. The feeling of two arms as they wrapped themselves around her waist and a soft calming voice whispering into her ear got her to calm down.

“That’s it,” Sloan rubbed small circles on Keegan’s stomach with her hand. “Calm down. I won’t let anything hurt you. I’m here to protect you.”

Keegan turned into Sloan’s body and cried. She had no idea why she froze like that when that man started to talk.

Sloan waited a few minutes after Keegan stopped crying before she sat them up. “You want to tell me what happened?”

Keegan shrugged her shoulders.

“Baby you need to talk to me. I don’t want you to hold this, whatever it is, on your shoulders. I’m here for you know and it falls on both of our shoulders.” Sloan explained as she held on to Keegan tighter.

Keegan sighed, “do I want to share this with her? It will only bring hurt and destruction into her life and she doesn’t deserve it.” She leaned back and let go of the woman before her. She tried to stand but two hands grabbed her and forced her to stay right where she was.

“If you think I am going to let you just back off and retreat into your own little world your are so wrong.” Sloan cupped Keegan’s face and made her look right into her eyes. “You and me together in this. No matter what it is. I am not afraid of anything but loosing you and that will not happen, because I won’t let it.”

Keegan lowered her head so it rested right in between Sloan’s breast. She wrapped her arms around Sloan’s trim waist and let the fear exit her body. No more was she alone in her fight to keep her soul from shattering into a million pieces.

“Remember, I love you. From now until forever.” Sloan kissed the blonde head.

******************************

Keegan watched the scenery swish outside her window. Flashes of the night so long ago jumped in and out of her head. The second before her life was forever changed. The way her Mom stood by the stove laughing at some joke her dad had just told. The way her dad held her close as he laughed along with the woman he loved.

Then it all came crashing in around her. The knock on the door followed by the yelling and screaming. The way her mom kissed her on the head before she shoved her under the table. Then the man, the devil himself killing the family she cherished. The love was gone, the security was gone, everything was gone. She had nothing, nothing but the silence.

******************************

“You doing okay?” Sloan asked as she stopped her car and shut off the engine.

Keegan gave Sloan a small smile and nodded. She grasped the large hand closest to her and kissed the palm.

Sloan unbuckled her seatbelt and scooted closer to the small blonde. “I want you to remember I am here for you when ever you feel like talking.”

Keegan grinned and leaned over and kissed Sloan softly. When she pulled back the content look on Sloan’s face filled her heart with Joy. She used her fingers to trace around Sloan’s face from her eyebrows to her chin and back up over her eyes.

“I love the way your hands feel on me.” Sloan whispered.

Keegan was about to kiss her again when her door opened.

“Oh, shit Sloan I didn’t know you had company.” A scratchy annoying voice said.

Sloan’s eyes snapped open as she looked around Keegan’s head. “Fuck,” she mumbled as she squeezed the small hands that she had grasped when Keegan had jumped from surprise.

“Who’s your friend?” Andrea Carpenter asked as she continued to hold the door open.

Sloan looked deep into Keegan’s eyes. “I am so sorry. I had no clue she was going to be here.” She said quietly enough so the annoying woman behind Keegan wouldn’t hear.

Keegan asked with her eyes who in the hell was this woman who had the nerve to barge in on them.
“Come on sweetheart don’t be rude. Introduce us,” The curly haired brunette with red painted fingernails whined.

Keegan tightened her finger and glared at Sloan. “Sweetheart?”

“Andrea, I would like you to meet Keegan, Keegan this Andrea Carpenter,” Sloan wiggled her fingers out of the small angry bloods grip.

Andrea noticed how intimate Sloan was with the small blonde as she walked up to the car and decided to make sure it was known that Sloan was hers and hers alone. “Honey please don’t be so nonchalant about us. We are to be married.”

Sloan grabbed for her door handle. She stormed up out of the car and over to where the woman stood with a smug grin on her face. “Why you fucking…” Her tirade was cut off by a pair of lips taking possession of her mouth.

Keegan lost all sight of reality and pushed her door open. She didn’t care that when she flung the door open it crashed into the two women and made them loose their balance so they ended up in the horse trough. “Maybe that will cool you off. Damn I cannot believe I fell for her lines. Damn her.” Keegan’s mind screamed as she ran to the stable and her room.

Sloan sat up with Andrea covering her body. She spit the water out of her mouth and over Andrea’s face.

“What are you doing,” Andrea yelled. “That was gross.”

“Get your fat ass off of me, now.” Sloan growled as she shoved the arrogant woman over the side into the dirt. “If you so much as ever come that close to me again I will break your new, five thousand dollar, stuck up your ass nose.”

“Why in the world are you getting so bent out of shape. You act like you don’t want me.” Andrea stood up and wiped her now drenched hair out of her eyes.

“Me want you, never in a fucking million years. If you were the last woman on earth, I would go find me a man so fast the dye job you have would go gray.” Sloan yelled as she stood up and stepped out of the water. “Now get off my land and never come back.”

“Oh, sweetheart calm down,” Andrea stepped closer to Sloan and scratched her fingernail along the upset woman’s cheek. “Let go up to house and get dried off. Then I can get you all wet again.”

Sloan shoved Andrea’s finger away from her face. “Are you dense? Don’t you understand English?” Sloan grabbed Andrea by the collar of her shirt and dragged her up the road to the woman’s car. She opened the door and pushed the mad woman into the driver’s seat. “Now get out of here and never come back.”

“You will be sorry,” Andrea yelled as she reached inside her purse that still sat on the passenger side seat. “You will be mine.”

“Not in this life time or a thousand others.” Sloan kicked the door putting a nice size dent in the red mustang.

Andrea glared at Sloan; “you will be getting a bill for that.” She threw the gear into reverse and gunned the engine. The tires spun and tossed gravel and dirt up into the air.

“Whatever,” Sloan flipped off the speeding car. “Now I need to go and try and get Keegan to talk to me.”

******************************

“What a jerk I have been.” Keegan slammed her door shut and locked it. “I will not stay here where I will be mad fun of.” She grabbed her suitcase out from underneath her bed and tossed it on top of her bed.

“I should go and slash all her tires for making be believe that crap she was giving me.” Keegan stomped to her dresser opening her drawers and scooping out her clothes. “Better yet I should smash in all the windows and then slash the tires.” She dumped her armful of clothes into the suitcase.

A knock stopped her movement.

“Keegan would you please let me in,” Sloan said in a pleading voice. “I want to tell you what went on out there I had nothing to do with it.”

“Right,” Keegan stuck her tongue out. “No way in hell am I letting her in here.”

“I’m not leaving here until you open this door. So either way you will have to listen to me and let me explain that Andrea Carpenter is nothing but an opportunistic, money-spending bitch. Who wants my money and nothing more? I have never touched her in my life. She kissed me out there,” Sloan rattled on hoping Keegan would listen and open up the door.

Keegan slouched down on her bed. Her mind and heart were torn. “Should I believe her or just let things end now before I get hurt?”

“Please Keegan, I swear what I have told you is the truth. Andrea is not here and I hope I never see her again.” Sloan rested her forehead against the wooden door that separated her from Keegan. “Please open the door.”

Keegan thought for a moment. “It’s better it ends now.” She let the tears fall as she sat there and listened to Sloan plead and beg to be let in.

******************************

Keegan walked in as the door mysteriously opened for her. She stood there and looked around everything looked the same, just smaller and not as cheerful as she remembered. The sound of laughter and crying drew her attention to the other side of the room. There she saw the monster laughing at the body of her mother as he plunged in and out of her with his knife. He fathers lifeless body lying in the hallway with blood pooling under him.

“No, no, no, no, no,” Keegan mumbled to herself as she backed up. Hoping the killer didn’t see her. Then she was under the table where she hid as a child. Her mother’s cold dead eyes staring at her.

“Why didn’t you stop him? You could have hit him with something, anything to get him to stop stabbing me over and over again. You should have saved me. I’m your mother.”

Keegan shook her head; “I was a small child. What could I do?”

“Anything, anything would have been better than hiding like a baby.” Her mom coldly stated.

“But you put me under the table, to protect me.” Keegan screamed. “”What could I have done?”

The evil eyes of the killer turned to her as he brought the knife up. “Nothing.”

Keegan’s eyes saw the tattoo on the man’s hand. The dragon and the sword growling and blowing blue flames at her. Then she was at Margo’s dinner standing next to the man who almost tripped her. She watched in slow motion the hand that slammed down the cup of coffee on the table. Then the tattoo on the man’s hand started to glow and growl.

“Oh, my god. It’s him.” Keegan’s mind screamed as she froze.

“Hehe, you I missed, but not this time. I’m coming for you to finish off what I started that night.” The tattoo stated as it brightened and pulsated with life. “You are next, you are next.”

“No, get away,” Keegan yelled in her sleep as she kicked out from under the blankets. Her arms flying everywhere hitting the wall next to the bed and knocking off the small lamp that sat on the nightstand.

******************************
Sloan jumped up off the bale of hay she was sitting on and ran to the door. She pounded and pounded, but Keegan didn’t answer. She finally had enough and stepped back and with one kick to the middle of the door she was in. “Keegan!” She yelled as she ran to the small woman who was thrashing around. “Keegan calm down. Sh, sh, sh, I’m here.” She said as she fought to get her arms around the still sleeping woman.

Sloan felt the body start to relax after several minutes of whispering into the small woman’s ear and rubbing her hands up and down Keegan’s arms and back. ” I won’t let anything hurt you. I promise.” After she sat there for a few seconds she started to hum a song her mom use to hum to her when she was a little girl.

Keegan slowly woke when her mind registered someone humming to her and holding her in a soft warm cocoon. She turned her head and saw Sloan with her eyes closed.

Sloan opened her eyes and looked down at Keegan. She gave the blonde a small grin. “How are you?”

Keegan nodded her head as she snuggled back into the comforts of her protector.

“You know you screamed out?” Sloan asked softly.

Keegan closed her eyes and nodded.

“Do you think that maybe if I went with you, you’d go see someone and talk about everything that happened?” Sloan questioned as she continued to caress Keegan’s arm.

Keegan took in a big breath of air and let it out slowly. “Maybe it will help this time.” She thought as she sat up and pointed at Sloan.

“Yes I will come with you. Forever remember?” Sloan grasped the finger and brought it up to her mouth. “I will always be here for you.”

Keegan reached her free hand up behind Sloan’s head and directed her down for a kiss. The kiss was a promise of what was to come. The love, the life, the passion they each held for one another.

******************************

“Hi mom,” Sloan said as she stepped into the kitchen the next morning looking for a hot cup of coffee.

Shannon waved a spatula. “Hold on a second dear. This pancake is just about ready to flip.” Shannon said as she stared at the bubbling mixture on the hot griddle.

“All I want is coffee,” Sloan slid past her mom to where the coffee maker sat.

“Oh come on, I’m getting so much better at this.” Shannon responded as she waved at the stovetop.

“Yes, I know you are mom. I’m just not real hungry at the moment.” Sloan reached up and grabbed her favorite cup and poured herself some coffee. “Keegan spoke last night.” She said in between sips of her coffee.

“What?” Shannon gasped just as she flipped the pancake.

Sloan sighed, “she was having a nightmare. She screamed out while she was thrashing and kicking. Flinging her arms around. I never been so scared in my life.”

“What was she dreaming about?” Shannon asked as she looked over at her daughter.

“Well it all started yesterday. We went to get some books on sign language and went to Margo’s for something to eat. Some guy was there and nearly tripped her with his chair. Then he shoved me into her and knocked us down. She kinda froze,” Sloan replied as she started to walk to the table. “She didn’t blink or anything. All the way home she was quiet and when we pulled up and we were talking Andrea Carpenter interrupted us. She kissed me and said we were to get married.”

Shannon groaned, “I bet Keegan loved that.”

“Well when I went around the car to confront the witch she attached to my mouth like a leach to a bleeding man.” Sloan said with pure disgust in her voice.

“Now there is an image to have first thing in the morning.” Evan remarked as he walked into the kitchen. “Hello sweetheart,” he kissed his wife before he grabbed a cup and poured himself some coffee. “Now want to explain to me why we are talking about such lovely stuff this morning?”

******************************

“I got a few names from my parents. This first one is their top choice.” Sloan handed Keegan the small card with the name of the doctor they had recommended.

Keegan looked at the name on the card. “Dr. Debra Lancer.” She nodded her head and handed it back to Sloan. She gestured for Sloan to call and set up an appointment.

“When?” Sloan asked as she reached for her cell phone.

Keegan showed Sloan her watch and pointed at the two.

Sloan smiled as she dialed the number and waited for it to be picked up on the other end. “Hello, I would like to make an appointment for this afternoon if it is possible.”

Keegan watched the tall dark haired beauty that had changed her life in such a short amount of time. “This is the beginning of the rest of my life and I am tired of being scared. This running and hiding stops now and I live for me, no I live for us.”

******************************

“You ladies lucked out that I had an appointment open this afternoon.” Dr. Lancer said as she closed the door after Sloan and Keegan entered and sat down. “Would you like anything to drink?”

“No thank you,” Sloan answered after she looked at Keegan to make sure she didn’t want anything. She watched the Doctor grab herself a cup of water. The middle-aged woman was a little taller than Keegan with some gray scattered around shoulder length black wavy hair.

“Okay then, lets get down to business,” the Doctor smiled as she sat down in her chair behind her desk. “Who wants to start?”

“Well this is Keegan’s story, but she is unable to speak.” Sloan took Keegan’s hand so she would stop picking at the cast that would be removed in a week.

“Keegan, why don’t you write down what is going on?” Dr. Lancer asked as she opened a side drawer and pulled out a yellow legal pad and a pen.

Keegan looked over at the soft brown eyes that held intelligence and warmth. She gave the doctor a small grin as she reached for the paper.

For the next couple of hours Keegan wrote and answered questions as Sloan sat back and waited. The doctor asked once if Sloan would leave the room for a few moments and Keegan refused to do anything if she left. The doctor finally relented after realizing Keegan was very serious with the, she goes I go, attitude. By the end the doctor was pretty sure that Keegan had PostTraumatic Stress Syndrome and that she would see the two three times a week until they beat it.

******************************

“I was wondering since I sorta kinda broke your door down last night would you like to move up to the house?” Sloan asked as she drove down the road to the ranch. “That way if you have another nightmare or if you just want to talk I’d be right there. Because I don’t know how many nights I could handle sleeping on hard bales of hay.”

Keegan looked amused when she thought of Sloan sitting outside her door last night waiting for her to open it so she could explain about what happened and who Andrea Carpenter was.

“What’s that look for?” Sloan nudged Keegan with her elbow.

Keegan winked and pointed at Sloan.

“What did I do?” Sloan laid her hand on Keegan’s leg giving it a slight squeeze.

Keegan just shook her head and entwined her fingers with Sloan’s.

After a few minutes Sloan asked, “so will you consider moving up to the house?”

Keegan nodded her head.

“Yes you will consider it?” Sloan waited a second. “Or, yes you will move in?”

Keegan nodded faster with the second question.

“Super,” Sloan brought their entwined hands to her mouth and kissed the back of Keegan’s hand.

******************************

“I wonder what she would do if I knocked on her door?” Sloan asked as she paced back and forth in her bedroom. The light from the moon shone through the window and onto the floor. “I could just say I was making sure she was all settled.”

Sloan stopped when a crash and a scream filled the night. She ran out of her room and down the hall to where Keegan’s room was. She threw open the door and saw the frightened woman squirming and crying as she fought her ghosts.

“Damn,” Sloan cursed as she stormed across the room. She scooped Keegan up and cradled her in her arms. She held on tight as the still sleeping woman fought her. “Come on Keegan, it’s me.”

Keegan could not get away from the knife that kept coming after her. She could feel the sharp edge slice through her skin and twist as it exited her body. “Please God, make it stop. It hurts so much.”

“Listen to my voice. Come back to me. I won’t let anyone come near you or hurt you.” Sloan whispered calmly into Keegan’s ear.

“Is there anything I can do?” Shannon asked as her and Evan stepped into the room.

Sloan shook her head, “no, just close the door please. I’ve got it.”

“Okay, if you are sure?” Shannon waited until she saw a slight nod from her daughter. “Just let us know if you need me.”

“Thanks,’ Sloan whispered as she wiped damp hair off of Keegan’s forehead.

Shannon watched her daughter for a few seconds before she closed the door. She gave her husband and youngest daughter a small smile as she leaned up against the closed door.

“Is Keegan going to be okay?” Stephanie asked as she shoved her hands in her robe pockets.

Shannon smiled over at Stephanie, “I think as long as Sloan is near she will be.”

Stephanie nodded her head and turned to walk down the hall to her room. “I think Sloan will be okay too with Keegan by her side.”

“I agree,” Evan wrapped his arm around his wife’s shoulder and guided her to their room. “Let’s get to bed.”

“I have a feeling that it’s going to get worse before it gets better.’ Shannon stated as she rested her head on Evan’s strong broad shoulders.

“I think you are right. We will just have to be there for those two and hope for the best.” Evan let Shannon enter their room first and then closed the door after him. “I know they will make it. They have the kind of love that people write about.”

“What kind of love is that dear?” Shannon asked as she slipped of her blue silk robe.

Even grinned, “the kind of love that stops the world around them when they look into each others eyes.” He stepped closer to the woman that was his world stopper. “The kind of love we have.”

“If they have what we have nothing will break them apart.” Shannon ran her fingers through Evans slightly thinning hair. “Love you dear.”

“Love you too,” Evan leaned down and kissed Shannon softly. “Come on lets go to bed.”

“Lets,” Shannon agreed.

******************************

Keegan woke to find herself wrapped up in a warm nest of blankets and strong arms. She brought the hand that had entwined itself with hers up to her lips and placed soft kisses over it.

“That tickles,” Sloan whispered.

Keegan placed one last kiss on the back of the hand before she turned over and kissed Sloan.

Sloan closed her eyes and lost herself in the feeling of Keegan’s soft lips. The slight touch of Keegan’s tongue encouraged her to open her mouth to deepen the kiss.

Keegan slowly slipped a hand down Sloan’s chest to cup a breast but Sloan’s larger hand stopped her.

Sloan broke the kiss; “if you do that I won’t be able to stop.”

Keegan closed her eyes and sighed.

“Do you remember any of the nightmare you had?” Sloan asked as she positioned herself so Keegan could rest her head on her shoulder.

Keegan shivered as she remembered the knife coming after her. Slicing through her skin, spraying blood everywhere.

Sloan instinctively tightened her hold on the woman in her arm. She kissed the top of the blonde head; “do you still have that notebook.” It was the notebook Dr. Lancer had given Keegan to write in and it was to be saved so they could go over it during their next session.

Keegan nodded her head and reached behind her to the bedside table for her paper and pen. She sat up and started to write.

Sloan sat up and moved behind Keegan so she could read as Keegan wrote. Tears started to fall down her face as she read the intense fear and emotion Keegan was describing. She wrapped her arm around Keegan’s waist and held her tight as she continued to write. The last sentence that she read sent a massive amount of fear into her heart. “What do you mean you feel him close?”

“I just feel him watching me. In my dreams and even when I am awake.” Keegan answered with shaky hands.

“How long have you felt like this?” Sloan questioned.

Keegan took a deep breath, “for the past couple of days. It’s like the evil is coming to finish what it didn’t get done that night when my parents were killed.”

“You have nothing to worry about. I am not going to let anyone hurt you.” Sloan kissed the back of Keegan’s head.

“He was able to get to my parents. What’s to stop him from getting to you?” Keegan turned to look at Sloan.

“I know he is coming. I won’t be surprised and I will stop him to keep him away from you.” Sloan stated matter of fact.

Keegan saw determination and love inside the caring blue eyes that looked back at her. “Please don’t get yourself hurt if what I’m feeling is true.”

“If getting hurt means that you are safe and sound then so be it. You have been hurt enough for one life time.” Sloan acknowledged softly.

“I don’t want you to put my life above yours. It’s not right and I won’t let you.” Keegan argued and tossed the notepad on the bed. She started to get up but a strong hand stopped her.

“It’s not your choice. I choose to do this because I love you and want to protect you.” Sloan guided Keegan to lay back down on the bed. “I will promise that I will not purposely put myself in danger, but if it comes down to me or you I will always choose me to get hurt than you. I would die if something happened to you.”

Keegan let the tears fall as she patted her chest and then Sloan’s.

“I know you feel the same way.” Sloan leaned down and kissed Keegan. She put in all the love she felt for the small woman into it.

A knock on the door broke them apart.

“Yes,” Sloan called out not breaking eye contact with Keegan.

“Mom wanted me to let you two know that breakfast was just about ready.” Stephanie said as she opened the door. “Oh, sorry didn’t know I was interrupting anything.”

“You’re not,” Sloan smiled. “Tell Mom that we will be down in a few minutes.”

“Okay,” Stephanie winked and walked out leaving the door open. “You better get your hands out of Keegan’s shirt if you want me to believe that I wasn’t interrupting anything, big sister.”

Sloan looked down at her hand and wondered how it got where it was. “Sorry.”

Keegan smirked and laid her hand on top of Sloan’s hand as the brunette tried to move her hand.

“Breakfast is waiting,” Sloan tugged a little harder but Keegan had a strong hold.

Keegan cupped the back of Sloan’s head and guided her down for one more soul-searing kiss. Then she pushed the stunned woman on top off her over onto her back and crawled on top of her.

Sloan closed her eyes as she tried to calm her raging body. The effects of having Keegan straddling her was almost her undoing. The thing that stopped her from grabbing ahold of Keegan’s ass was her father’s presence at the door.

“Oh shit,” Evans face turned several shades of red. “That is something a father should not see.”

******************************

“Good morning you two,” Donovan waved at Sloan and Keegan as they walked into the barn.

Keegan waved as she let go of Sloan’s hand and walked around to one of the stall’s door. Majestic came up and nuzzled the small woman’s blonde hair. “How are you this morning big guy?”

Majestic nipped her hair and blew a shot of warm air in her face.

“I see that you are in a playful mood.” Keegan patted the soft spot in between the horse’s eyes. “You want to go play in the clearing?”

The big stallion pawed at the door and nodded his head up and down.

Over in the corner Sloan stood and watched the interaction of Majestic and the woman who held her heart. “They make a good pair don’t they?” She said as Donovan stepped next to her.

“Yes, they do. Just like you two do.” Donovan smiled. “Thanks for making her happy. I haven’t seen that light in her eyes in a very, very long time.”

“Believe me it’s my pleasure and my privilege.” Sloan blushed a bit. She cleared her throat as she remembered what Keegan had said about feeling like she was being watched. “Have you noticed anything odd or different around the ranch lately?”

“Like what?” Donovan asked as he scratched his chin.

“Keegan says she feels like she is being watched.” Sloan looked around the stable to see if she could see anything out of place.

“I did see some tracks yesterday out in the back field. I thought is was odd because nobody usually walks out there but me and I stick to the same path.” Donovan replied as he looked up to his boss. “Who do you think Keegan feels is watching her?”

“She has been having nightmares about the night her parents were killed. She feels like it is him.” Sloan sighed, “I have no idea what to do. I feel so helpless when she screams out and fights off what ever is in her dream.”

“She screams out,” Donovan gasped with surprise.

Sloan nodded, “yes.’

The two stopped talking when Keegan walked over with Majestic following her. She looked from one face to the other. She could tell something was up. She gestured with her hands for one of them to spill it.
“Donovan spotted strange tracks yesterday.” Sloan said. “I think I am going to go and see where they lead.”

Keegan stepped up in front of Sloan and shook her head.

“Yes,” Sloan grabbed Keegan by the shoulders. “I want to see where they go. Maybe it’s nothing but somebody snooping around.”

Keegan grasped Sloan’s shirt in her hands and shook her head. “Please don’t go, please.”

“How about I call the police and have them come with me?” Sloan asked as she gently broke Keegan’s grip on her shirt. ” I promise I will be careful.”

Keegan nodded as she rested her head on Sloan’s chest. She wrapped her arms arm the taller woman’s waist and squeezed.

“I love you and want to protect you, and if the danger you feel is the person who left those tracks then I want to catch him before he tries anything.” Sloan kissed the top of Keegan’s head. “Why don’t you stay here with Majestic while I run up to the house and call the police.”

Keegan nodded her head and stepped back.

“I’ll be right back.” Sloan winked and quickly left.

Donovan wrapped an arm over his niece’s shoulder. “You are one lucky lady.”

Keegan smiled as she watched Sloan’s form disappear around the small curve in the road.

“Well I need to go and get some more things done. I’ll talk to you later.” Donovan kissed Keegan on the cheek and went back to work.

Majestic neighed and nudged Keegan’s shoulder.

“You are just like a kid. You want to go and play don’t you?” Keegan scratched the tall back of the horse. “How about we go to the clearing and wait for Sloan there?”

Keegan started to walk out the stable but she noticed that Majestic wasn’t following her. She turned around and looked at the horse that just stood there. “What’s the matter big boy?”

Majestic neighed softly and pawed at the ground.

“I know I shouldn’t go out there alone, but I’m not alone. You are with me.” Keegan stated to the horse. “Plus if I can stop Sloan from getting hurt then I will. So if you come with me or not I am going to go.” She waited a few seconds and turned to walk away.

******************************

“Who was that on the phone?” Shannon asked her daughter after she watched Sloan hang the phone up.

“I called the police. Seems Donovan found some foot prints out in the back pasture.” Sloan explained to her mom. “I don’t want to take any chances.”

“You think that something is going to happen?” Shannon scooped up Sloan’s hand and held it.

Sloan lowered her head and rested it on her free hand. “Not sure, but I trust Keegan’s instincts.”

“Well then that’s all I need to hear. What do you want your Dad and I to do?” Shannon asked as she ran her thumb across the back of Sloan’s hand.

Sloan turned her head and looked at her Mom, “I have no clue. Lets wait and see what we find out about those prints first.”

“Okay, you’re the boss,” Shannon stood up and walked to the coffeepot. “You want a cup?”

“No thanks, I’m going to go down and see Keegan.” Sloan said and pushed herself up. “I’ll let ya know what we find out.”

“Okay, dear,” Shannon watched her daughter walk out of the room. “Keep them safe.” She said to an empty room as she crossed herself.

******************************

“Come on, I know you are there.” Keegan said as she crunched through the snow. “You know that doesn’t work with me.” She stopped and looked behind her. “Come on, big guy.”

Majestic snorted and moved closer to Keegan.

“You know better than trying to sneak up on me.” Keegan hugged the stallion that nipped at the end of her coat collar. “You can feel it too.” She thought as a shiver ran down her spine. “He’s out here and he is watching us.”

Majestic nodded his head and snorted.

“Lets keep going. I’m tired of being afraid all the time.” Keegan started to walk. The feeling of being watched grew as they got closer and closer to the clearing. “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea?” She thought as she stopped before she moved from the cover of the woods.

A crunching sound could be heard somewhere across the open field. Deep down inside Keegan knew that it wasn’t some animal that was scurrying around looking for food. It was the evil from her past that killed her chance of ever being a normal person.

Majestic started to fidget around. He pawed at the ground and snorted loudly.

“Calm down,” Keegan patted the horses rump as he pranced around her.

The sound of someone laughing at her made her blood go cold. It was the same cold laugh she remembered hearing as her parents were killed. The flash of knife filled her mind as it descended down into her mother’s body. The glowing tattoo coming to life breathing fire out at her.

Keegan’s muscles froze. Her breathing came in quick gasps as she tried to fight her mind and the feeling that this man had over her. “I can’t do it, he owns me.”

Majestic reared up and kicking snow everywhere.

******************************

Sloan walked into the stables and looked around. The silence she found didn’t sit well in her chest as she felt something was wrong. She started to walk a little faster until she was running around looking everywhere she could think Keegan could be. Then it hit her, “the clearing.”

She ran out of the stable and down the path that led to the trail into the woods where the clearing was. She could see Keegan and Majestic’s prints in the hard crunchy snow. She pushed herself harder as the tightness in her chest grew.

******************************

“You know, I was very surprised to see you the other day. I thought for sure what you saw would keep you locked in some nut house.” The dark voice said from off in the distance. “I guess I should have known though that you were like your parents. Always going on no matter what. Well they couldn’t go on after I killed them could they and now it’s your turn. You will have the same fate as they did, because they ruined me and since you are their little precious darling then you have to die.”

Keegan stopped breathing. Her eyes darted around trying to find the spot where the man was hidden, but there was no way to know. He could be anywhere. He could be right behind me and I wouldn’t know.

Majestic continued to rear and kick his hind legs out. He could feel the fear in his favorite human, but what drove him crazy was the evil sadistic feeling he was getting from somewhere in the woods. The evil laugh filled his head and made him want to run off, but he wouldn’t leave the small blonde.

******************************

Sloan moved swiftly through the tree. Through the trees she could see the big black stallion kicking and rearing up. The sound of someone laughing stopped her as she looked around to see if she could place where the sound was coming from. Then it stopped and the only sound she could hear was Majestic’s heavy breathing.

Slowly she made her way over to where Keegan stood. Carefully she walked in front of her, but she didn’t touch her because she could see that Keegan didn’t even know she was there.

“Keegan,” Sloan said softly. “Baby, come on. You have to come back to me.”

Keegan could hear Sloan’s voice from the deep recesses of her mind. The monster’s laugh was being replaced by the smooth voice of the woman who she loved. She blinked her eyes and saw caring blue looking at her. She gave her a small smile.

“Are you okay?” Sloan asked as she rubbed her hands up and down Keegan’s arms.

Keegan nodded.

“Good,” Sloan replied. She waited a few seconds as the anger of what Keegan had done finally crept into her brain. “What in the hell do you think you were doing? You could have been hurt, or even worse, killed.”

Keegan twisted out of Sloan’s grasp. She shoved Sloan back when the tall woman reached for her.

“I want you to answer me. What were you going to do if that manic came after you. You didn’t look like you could protect yourself. You were so freaking scared you couldn’t move.” Sloan slapped her hands on her thighs. “I don’t want you to ever do anything like this again. Do you hear me? You need to be with someone at all times.”

Keegan pointed at Sloan as her own anger flared up.

“What?” Sloan waved her arms in the air. “What can you say that will make me understand what you were doing out here all alone, and don’t you say that you weren’t alone. That you had Majestic with you.”

Keegan balled her hands into tight fists and punched the air around her.

Sloan watched Keegan for a few seconds before she quickly wrapped her up in a bone-crushing hug. “Oh baby I’m so sorry. You just had me so scared and then I heard that laugh and you were out here without anyone to protect you.” Sloan kissed Keegan all over her face. “I don’t know what I would do if I lost you.”

The emotions of the past few minutes came crashing down on Keegan. Her legs went out from under her and her and they both slumped to the ground. She cried into Sloan chest as she hung on for dear life.

Unseen by the two women two green eyes that watched the scene unfold. “Soon dear Keegan, real soon.”

******************************

“You’re not going to do anything?” Sloan yelled at the police officer.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but we don’t have enough men to stay out here and wait to see if anything will happen.” The young police officer stated as he backed away from the irate woman.

“Fine,” Sloan stormed up the steps to the porch where Keegan stood with her parents. “They don’t have enough men to have someone stay. So I want everyone to be extra careful. Make sure you always have someone with you when you are going somewhere.” She looked at Keegan when the last part was said.
Keegan nodded knowing Sloan was trying to protect her.

“Good, now lets go have some lunch. I’m starved.” Sloan held out her hand for Keegan to take and Keegan quickly grasped it and squeezed in softly.

“You going to get extra security out here?” Evan asked as he followed the two women into the house.

“I’m going to call around this afternoon and see who is the best out there. Plus I’m going to call the people who put in the security system and get a better one and have it extended to the stables and other buildings.” Sloan guided Keegan to sit at the table while she went to the refrigerator and grabbed some lunch meat, cheese and miracle whip out. “Dad can you grab the bread please?”

“Sure,” Evan pulled out the drawer that they kept the bread in and pulled out a loaf of wheat and a loaf of white. He also grabbed some paper plates.

“What does everyone want to drink?” Shannon asked as she moved to the refrigerator when Sloan was out of the way.

“I’ll take milk,” Sloan said then looked at Keegan who nodded in agreement. “Keegan will too.”

“Okay, I guess it’s milk all around.” Shannon grabbed the gallon of milk and walked it over to the table then went and grabbed cups.

The four quietly made their own sandwich and sat down to eat. Each were lost in their thoughts.

“Hey guys, was that a police car I passed on my way here?” Stephanie asked as she walked into the kitchen.

“Yes,” Shannon informed her daughter. “We have someone who is stalking around the ranch. We are pretty certain that the person is here to cause trouble.”
“Really? Wow, what makes you think that?” Stephanie questioned as she grabbed some bread and a plate to make her own sandwich.

“There are foot prints out in the back pasture where none should be and today while Keegan was out in the clearing with Majestic she could tell someone was watching her.” Sloan replied as she popped the last bite of her sandwich into her mouth.

Stephanie looked over at Keegan, “you sure it wasn’t just your imagination?”

Keegan looked up into blue eyes that were a close match to Sloan. She shook her head slowly.

“Okay, what are we going to do to get this guy out of here?” Questioned Stephanie as she grabbed a knife so she could spread the Miracle Whip on her bread.

“I’m getting more security and maybe some extra staff around here.” Sloan stood up and tossed her plate away. “Anyone need anything while I’m up?”

“Napkins, “Stephanie said as she licked her fingers. “Any idea who this guy is?”

Keegan swallowed and looked from one person’s face to another. She couldn’t believe how calm and cool they were taking this. A mad man was invading their privacy and they are acting like it was no big deal. “Why aren’t they running around accusing me of bringing a murdering lunatic this close to their family?”

“What’s wrong?” Evan whispered as he glanced at Keegan.

Keegan looked at Sloan’s dad.

Evan saw the confusion and uncertainty in the watery green eyes. “Honey, what’s the matter?”

Sloan looked over at her dad then over at Keegan. “Keegan? What’s wrong?”

Keegan shook her head and tried to stand up, but Evan’s strong hand on her shoulder kept her in place.

“We are in this together. So you need to tell us what is going on in that pretty little head of yours.” Evan stated with concern and love.

Sloan grabbed a note pad and pen that sat by the phone. “Tell us what you are thinking, please. We are here to help.”

Keegan grabbed a napkin and wiped her face. “I have brought the devil himself on your doorstep and you are all acting like it’s nothing new.”

“The reason we aren’t getting all upset is because what good would it do?” Shannon responded after she read the note. “You are now part of our family and we protect what is ours.”

Keegan lowered her head and cried.

Shannon waved Sloan away as she stood up and knelt next to Keegan, wrapping her in a mother’s hug. “We aren’t going to let that man near you. He will have to come through each and everyone of us first.”

Keegan wrapped her arms around Shannon and held on. She had forgotten what it was like to be surrounded by the kind of love that only a woman who was a mother could give.

Sloan stood back and watched as Keegan was accepted into her family. She smiled to herself. “One more barrier torn down.”

******************************

“Comfortable?” Sloan asked Keegan who had her head resting on her shoulder.

Keegan kissed the t-shirt cover shoulder and nodded.

“Good,” Sloan scratched her fingers down Keegan’s spine. “Just remember that I am here and I won’t let him get you in your dreams or in real life. Just reach out for me and I will be there.”

Keegan snuggled closer to Sloan and closed her eyes. She knew what Sloan said was true. She was safe and nobody would hurt her with her protector next to her.

Sloan looked out the window at the starry night. She closed her eyes and sent a silent prayer that she could keep Keegan safe.

******************************

“You are mine,” The man growled as he grasped a handful of hair. “I should have killed you a long time ago.”

Keegan twisted her body around and looked deep into the monster’s eyes.

“Don’t act like I don’t scare you. I know I do. I can hear your heart beating from here.” The maniac glared. “You are mine as you should have been long ago.” He held up a bloody knife. “Mine forever.” He swiped the knife down her arm making a long deep gash.

Keegan watched in total shock as blood oozed out of the deep cut and dripped on the ground by her feet. A surge of pure rage filled her soul as she looked up into green crazed eyes.

“I own you and what I own will be mine forever.” The man laughed as he tried to cut Keegan again.

“Reach out to me and I will always be there,” Keegan thought as she stuck out her hand and felt it being captured by a strong loving hand.

“You are so wrong. Keegan is not yours now or was she ever.” Sloan stepped in front of Keegan and grabbed the man by the throat with her free hand. “I will not let you hurt her any more.” She growled and tossed the man to the ground.

“You bitch,” the man spat. “Look at that blood that is dripping from her arm. I did that and you were unable to protect her.”

“Wrong,” Sloan brought up the injured arm and ran her hand over the cut. Everything disappeared, the blood, the deep ragged cut, and the pain. “See, nothing will ever hurt her again, not you, not anything.”

“That is a promise you cannot keep.” The man stood up and started towards the two women.

Sloan wrapped an arm over Keegan’s shoulder; “you want to bet on that.” She tightened her hold on the smaller woman and watched as the man faded into nothing. “Together we can face him, and show him that he is nothing.”

******************************
Keegan’s eyes snapped open at the same time Sloan’s did. They both smiled and held on tight to the other.

“Together you and me.” Sloan stated before she leaned down and kissed Keegan. Then they snuggled back down into the covers and fell back asleep.

******************************

“So, have you been writing down what you have been dreaming?” Dr. Lancer asked as she sat behind her desk drinking a cup of coffee.

Keegan nodded and reached into her backpack and handed the notebook over.

“That’s great, when do you get the cast off?” The doctor asked as she started to read what Keegan had written down.

“She has an appointment this afternoon.” Sloan answered for Keegan. “She is hoping that her arm is healed enough that they won’t have to recast it.”

“That’s great,” Dr. Lancer sat the notebook down and rested her entwined fingers on top of it. “Okay, today I think we should get into what happened the night of your parents murder.”

Keegan sat up straight in her chair and shook her head.

“Calm down. I just want you to tell me what you feel comfortable telling me. If you just say they were killed then fine, but I will ask questions and I hope you will answer them.” The doctor smiled in hopes of reassuring her patient.

“You can do it, you have told me about that night.” Sloan said as she reached over and held Keegan’s hand.

Dr. Lancer looked over at Sloan. “She has told you about that night?”

“Yes,” Sloan answered softly.

“How about you tell me what you know and Keegan I want you to tell me in your own words.” Dr. Lancer said as she handed Keegan a new notebook. “I want you to also tell me how you felt.”

Keegan sat there for a few seconds before she reached for the paper. ” I can do this. I can beat this monster and put him where he belongs.” She took a deep breath and began to write. She blocked out Sloan as she began to tell the doctor her worst living nightmare.

******************************

“Well everything looks great. I want you to be careful and wear the split for the next couple of weeks.” The doctor ordered.

Keegan nodded and smiled.

“Okay then, I will see you in a few weeks. If you have any swelling or any discomfort come in and we will check it out.” The doctor smiled as he patted Keegan’s leg. “Now get out of here and enjoy the day. I hear we are supposed to get a big snow fall tonight.”

“How much they talking?” Sloan asked as she stepped out of the corner.

The doctor turned to look at Sloan. “I last I heard it was about twelve to fourteen inches.”

“Awesome, nothing better than a snow storm.” Sloan clapped her hands together. “Come on Keegan we have to run to the store and get some supplies.”

Keegan grinned as she watched Sloan act like a kid on Christmas morning. She shook her head and lowered herself to the floor. “My big kid.”

“See ya doc,” Sloan grabbed Keegan’s hand and guided her out of the room and out of the hospital to where the car was parked.

******************************

Keegan slowly pushed the shopping cart behind Sloan who ever few seconds tossed something into the open basket.

“Which is your favorite?” Sloan held up a pack of double stuffed Oreo’s and a regular package of Oreo’s.

Keegan pointed to the double stuffed.

“Cool, me too.” Sloan smiled. “Now we need some milk.”

“She is so adorable.” Keegan thought as Sloan walked ahead of her to the dairy isle. A bottle of Heresy’s chocolate syrup caught the small blonde’s eye. “I wonder if I can get her to let me pour this all over her?”

“Hey watch it,” a lady snapped as Keegan rounded the corner. “Well if it isn’t the stupid mute.”

Keegan glared at the nurse who had humiliated her when she tried to make a run for it the first night she was in the hospital.

Ex-hospital nurse Amy Hornell glared at Keegan. “It’s all your fault that I am now working at the old geezer home.”

Keegan put her hands on her hips and shook her head. “I feel so sorry for those elderly people.”

“Come on, stupid move.” Hornell pushed her cart into Keegan’s casing a loud crashing noise.

“Leave her alone,” Sloan grabbed ahold of the metal cart and shoved it away. “Go now before I do something I have wanted to do to you since I last saw you.”

“Bring it one,” Amy beckoned Sloan with a wiggle of her fingers. “You aren’t so tough.”

“You are going to regret every single word you have ever said to her.” Sloan gestured to Keegan. “You know I will let you have the first punch.”

“That’s all I need.” Amy stalked up to Sloan and threw out her fist that she aimed at Sloan’s chin.

Sloan easily stepped out of the path of the fist. “Now it’s my turn.” She grinned as she brought back her own fist. “This is going to hurt you way more than it will me.”

The sound of the woman’s nose breaking filled the store. People stopped to look at the now out cold woman who lay in the middle of the floor. Keegan walked over to her and opened up the bottle of chocolate syrup and doused the woman from head to toe.

“What a waste of good chocolate.” Sloan laughed. “I could think of something better to pour that over.”
Keegan dropped the bottle she held and walked over and grabbed two jugs of it and, tossed them into the cart and made her way over to the check out counter.

“I think I maybe in trouble.” Sloan mumbled as she slowly followed Keegan.

A teenage boy about seventeen grinned, “I wish I had that kind of trouble.”

Sloan stopped in front of the young man and slapped him on the back; “you couldn’t handle her.”

“I know, but I would sure love to try.” He stated with a sigh.

Sloan shook her head and laughed. A candy bar hit her on the head and she looked up. Keegan was standing in the line by the cash register waiting for Sloan.

“I guess you better go.” The teenager said.

“Yep, I better.” Sloan gave the boy a small wave and headed towards Keegan.

******************************

Sloan looked around her to make sure everything was perfect. In front of the fire was a large thick comforter and several pillows so Keegan and her could lounge on the floor in comfort. A table was set off to the side with cookies and milk.

“Perfect,” Sloan looked out the window. “Snow is falling and the wind is howling. A splendid night to get cozy with the one you love.”

The noise of the door opening made Sloan turn around. A small smile graced her face when her soft blue eyes met loving green.

“Hi, you want to get comfy in front of a nice fire with me?” Sloan asked as she walked over to Keegan.

Keegan blushed as she took the strong hand that was held out to her. She let Sloan guide her to the romantic setting.

“I know I said that we should wait, but I have never felt this close to anyone before. I want to show you how much you mean to me, by giving myself to you completely.” Sloan said as she stopped to look into the eyes that held her soul.

Keegan felt her eyes start to tear up. No one had ever treated her better than the way Sloan had treated her in the past several weeks. She knew that the tall sexy woman who stood before her in silk black boxers and t-shirt would be the person she would love forever and ever.

Sloan looked deep into Keegan’s eyes and saw her soul. It connected with hers on a stronger level than it had yet to do. “I love you, Keegan. You were always meant to be with me and I was always meant to be with you. Our souls are entwined together as one.”

Keegan didn’t even try to stop the tears now. She let them fall as they may. She closed her eyes when Sloan cupped her face to wipe the small drops away.

Sloan lowered her head and placed a soft kiss on Keegan’s trembling lips. She felt Keegan wrap her arms around her waist bringing their bodies closer together. She traced her tongue along Keegan’s soft pink lips.

Keegan opened her mouth to accept Sloan’s tongue as she caressed her tongue against her soon to be lovers.

Sloan ran her hands through Keegan’s hair holding the back of her head to increase the contact. She felt the smaller woman run her hands up her back and grasp her shirt.

Keegan’s heart soared as she felt the love and desire Sloan was showing her with just a kiss.

“Let’s lay down,” Sloan whispered after she broke the kiss. She felt the small woman in her arms nod. With all the care in the world she lowered Keegan to the soft comforter.

Keegan smiled slightly when she felt Sloan lower her body on top of her. The weight of the body was a glorious feeling. She slipped her hands under the white t-shirt and began to pull up. Soon the shirt was somewhere across the floor, forgotten.

Sloan arched her back when she felt Keegan drag her blunt fingernails across her skin. She hissed when Keegan raised her head and sucked onto her nipple. “Oh, baby that feels good.”

Keegan smiled to herself as she continued to explore the nipple in her mouth. She scratched her way down until she reached the waistband of the silk boxers Sloan had on. With sure fingers she slipped under the elastic band and grabbed the well-muscled butt as she raised her knee to put pressure against the tall woman’s center.

Sloan trembled with desire. Her whole body was on fire and the only extinguisher was the small spitfire of a woman under her. “I want to see you, all of you.” She muttered in a soft whisper as she lowered her head to kiss Keegan as she worked her hands under the shirt she had on. “Let’s get this off you.”

Keegan released Sloan’s backside and raised her arms over her head so Sloan could slip the shirt up over her head. Just as her head was about to slip out of the material she felt a warm mouth and wet tongue wrap around one of her nipples. Her other nipple was pinched in between two fingers.

Never in her silent life did Keegan wish she could speak. She wanted to yell at the top of her lungs with the intense feeling of joy that had taken over her body. She pulled the shirt the rest of the way off and watched Sloan feast upon her breasts.

Sloan felt Keegan watching her and looked up. Passionate blue eyes met lustful green. She let go of the nipple in her mouth and raised her body up so they were eye to eye. “Promise me forever and I will give you what your heart desires.”

Keegan let the tears fall again as she nodded. She was where she will always be. In the arms of the person she loved more than anything in this world. “This is my hearts greatest desire.”

Sloan kissed the tears away as she used one hand to unbutton the buttons that held Keegan’s jeans on. When she was done she sat up and ran her hands down Keegan’s chest until she met the now open jeans. She tugged off the barrier in one swift movement. Her breath caught as she saw the beautiful naked woman lying in front of her.

“You are even more stunning than I pictured in my head.” Sloan moaned as she ran a hand up Keegan’s thigh to her glistening center. She traced her finger along the outer lips before she slipped slowly in between the slick skin. “You feel so exquisite.”

Keegan closed her eyes has her body began to tremble with need. She grasped a hold of her own breasts and squeezed them as she spread her legs further apart so Sloan would have access to all she offered.

Sloan took a big breath in through her nose. Her senses filled with the smell of Keegan’s arousal. She moaned when Keegan spread her legs. She couldn’t wait any longer she lowered her mouth and replaced her finger with her tongue and mouth. The sweet taste increased her own arousal and she knew what she wanted Keegan to do.

Keegan’s hand caressed the long tan legs that were next to her. The feeling of Sloan loving her the way she was brought a deep need to do the same to Sloan. She moved just enough so she could get Sloan to maneuver around so she could slip off the boxers. Then she guided the long legs to be placed one on each side of her head.

Keegan’s view of Sloan’s center drove her with such a need that she dove in wanting to be part of this woman above her. The taste was beyond anything Keegan had tasted before.

Sloan nearly collapsed on top of Keegan when she felt the first contact of Keegan’s mouth on her. Her body was ready to explode and she didn’t know how long she could control it.

Keegan was in heaven. Her body was like a volcano ready to erupt. She felt Sloan circle her opening with her finger and slowly enter her. Then slowly slide out only to be filled two fingers instead of one. She bucked as Sloan sucked her clit into her mouth.

Sloan couldn’t hold back any longer. She wanted Keegan to soar. She increased her movements of both her fingers and mouth. She could feel and taste Keegan’s growing excitement.

Keegan felt her body react to the touches. Her entire core flashed out with thousands of intense balls shooting the glorious feeling of her orgasm. Her breath caught in her throat and her eyes closed as her head was thrown back in pure ecstasy.

Sloan carefully removed her fingers from Keegan, but she continued to lick until she was sure she had gotten every last drop. She gasped out when Keegan placed her fingers at her opening. Her body started to move with every thrust. It didn’t take much more and she screamed out. “OH GOD, KEEGAN.”

Keegan smiled to herself when Sloan’s legs couldn’t hold her anymore and she sunk down to the floor next to her. She turned around so she could kiss her way up Sloan’s subdued body. She left little marks here and there until she reached Sloan’s waiting mouth.

“Do you have any idea what you just did to me?” Sloan asked as she wrapped her arms around the small naked woman at her side.

Keegan grinned and nodded. Then she reached up above her head to a bag she had hidden there after they got back from the store. She pulled out a jug of chocolate sauce and waved it in front of Sloan’s face.

“Damn, you’re going to kill me.” Sloan groaned as a big smile formed. “But, hot damn what a way to go.”

******************************

“What?” Sloan yelled after a loud knock woke her and Keegan up.

“Sloan, I need you and Keegan to get up. We’ve had some problems last night that I think you two should see.” Sloan’s dad yelled from the other side of the door.

“We’ll be right there,” Sloan answered back as she stretched. “How are you this morning?”

Keegan smiled as she snuggled up next to Sloan as she ran her hand down her stomach.

Sloan grasped Keegan’s wondering hand. “Now, now, we have to get up and see what Dad is talking about.”

Keegan pouted, but pulled back.

Sloan leaned down and gave Keegan a tender kiss. “We can always come back after.”

******************************

“What in the hell happened?” Sloan yelled as she paced back and forth. “How could that guy get this close and not set off any alarms?” She glared at the security personnel she just hired. “If this is the best you guys can do I think you should leave now.”

“It wasn’t our fault. The storm took out the electricity. We did walk around until we couldn’t see anything.”

“Well apparently he could see in the storm just fine.” Sloan stated as she pointed to the side of the barn that had “SOON LITTLE KEEGAN YOU WILL BE MINE” painted across it.

“I don’t know what to say. We did everything we could under the circumstances.” The security guard replied.

“I want you to get your boss here now.” Sloan glared at the men that flinched back.

“Yes, ma’am.” One mumbled as he reached for his cell phone.

Sloan stormed over to where Keegan sat on a stack of hay with Evan standing next to her rubbing her back. “Honey are you okay?”

Keegan looked up with teary eyes and nodded.

“Come on lets get out of here,” Sloan shoved open the stable doors. She looked around the winter wonderland that was her ranch. It looked so peaceful, but she knew that out there somewhere was a dark, vicious enemy that needed to be stopped before Keegan could ever be the person she was suppose to be.

Keegan walked up next to Sloan and gabbed a hold of her hand. They both took a deep breath at the same time and watched as the white breath escaped from their mouths as the exhaled.

Sloan looked down at Keegan and nodded, “he’s watching right now.”

Keegan nodded as she tightened her hold on the woman she loves hand.

“He won’t win,” Sloan stated.

Keegan gave her a slight smile. “I hope so, my love.”
******************************

“I suggest you get out there and find the trail that he had to leave through the snow.” Sloan stood on the porch pointing towards the woods.

“Ms. Addams, I will personally look, but my men have already looked and have been unable to find anything. The storm last night covered everything up.” Mr. Turner stated. “I will call more men and have them here tomorrow.”

“I suggest you get them here before tomorrow.” Sloan replied before she turned around and slammed the door. “Stupid jerk.”

“Love you to sis,” Stephanie said as she walked down the stairs.

Sloan looked up and smiled, “hey squirt.”

“Don’t even start that.” Stephanie pointed at Sloan with a glare. “You know I hate that.”

“I do, and that is why I say it.” Sloan wrapped her arm around her sister’s shoulders and guided her into the kitchen where everyone else was.

“How did things go?” Evan asked when he saw his daughters enter the kitchen.

Sloan shrugged her shoulders. “He said that he will get more men out here.”

“That will help,” Shannon handed the two women each a cup of hot chocolate.

“I hope so,” Sloan mumbled as she slumped into a chair next to Keegan. “I’m just so pissed that he was that close and he slipped through our fingers.”

“Not to worry, he will get caught.” Evan patted Sloan’s arm.

“I cannot help but worry. This madman has invaded our lives and is trying to hurt the woman I love.” Sloan stood up quickly nearly knocking over the chair. “I cannot sit much longer before I crack and go after him myself.”

Keegan jumped up and shook her head. She poked her finger in the tall woman’s chest. “No, no, no.” She turned around and grabbed the paper and pen she was just using to talk to Evan and Shannon. “You promised me that you wouldn’t do that. I will hold you to that and if you break that promise I will hunt you down until my last breath.”

“I know I promised, but I feel like I am lost just sitting here doing nothing.” Sloan confessed as she waved her hands out in front of her. “I want to protect you and keep you safe and all I am doing is hiring people to do that while I wait and wait and wait.”

“Welcome to my life. All my life I have had this guy following me around every corner. Why he chose now to attack me I have no idea. He has had plenty of opportunities that were a hell of a lot easier than this.” Keegan wrote.

“I don’t know why either, but I will be damned if I am just going to sit here and let him run our lives.” Sloan walked over to a window and pointed out tapping her finger on the cold glass. “He is out there just waiting. Waiting for us to let him strike. I want to stop him before he gets the chance. I want him to know that he cannot ruin peoples lives like he did yours.”

“He will be stopped, but let him be stopped by the authorities. It’s their job, not yours.” Keegan looked over at Sloan with pleading eyes.

“It’s my job to keep you safe.” Sloan stated with her heart.

“Then keep me safe right here. Not out there where he is at.” Keegan begged.

Sloan lowered her head. She knew that it was no use arguing anything right now. “Okay, for now.”

Keegan nodded, she knew that she won this battle, but not the war.

******************************

A couple of weeks went by and nothing more happened and it was starting to get on Keegan’s and Sloan’s nerves.

“Why didn’t you tell Dr. Lancer about the dream you had last night?” Sloan questioned Keegan as she drove down the highway. “I thought you said you were.”

Keegan closed her eyes and shrugged her shoulders.

“Oh come on, you can come up with something better than that.” Sloan tightened her fingers around the steering wheel. Keegan’s ‘I don’t give a shit attitude’ was getting on her last nerve. “Why are we even bothering if you aren’t going to try?”

Keegan turned to look out the window and felt her heart breaking. “Well I have done it now. I should have known it was to good to be true.”

When Sloan didn’t get any kind of response from Keegan she continued to drive without saying anything. “What is the point of going to the doctors if she won’t talk to the doctor and tell her what is going on. I’m the only one giving any information.”

As soon as the car stopped by the house Keegan jumped out. She didn’t want to be around Sloan since things had obviously not worked out. She headed up the stairs and into the house and to her room. She locked the door and flung herself on the bed and cried.

Sloan watched Keegan run to the house, “lovely.” She mumbled as she walked up to the porch.

“Oh, I thought I heard someone come in.” Shannon said as she walked down the hall from the kitchen. “Someone from your office called. It sounded important. I left the name and number on your desk.”

“Okay, thanks, mom.” Sloan kissed her mom’s cheek and headed up to her office.

******************************

“Hey, honey,” Evan walked into Sloan’s office and sat down in one of the chairs. “Your Mom said that you had a call from the office.”

“Hi, Dad,” Sloan looked up from some paperwork her office in New York had sent her. “I have to fly out tonight. Looks like someone screwed up and I have to go fix it.”

“That stinks,” Evan smiled.

“Yes, it does.” Sloan sat back in her chair and groaned. “Plus Keegan and I aren’t talking. We had a little disagreement in the car.”

“I was wondering when all this would come up to the surface.” Evan nodded his head as he scratched his chin.

“What do you mean?” Sloan questioned as she grabbed her briefcase next to her desk and shoved the papers she was working on inside of it.

“It’s been a few weeks since anything has happened. We are no closer to catching this crazy SOB then we were in the beginning.” Evan replied. “It’s getting to you and Keegan. You always take it out on the one who is closest to you.”

“But we haven’t been at each others throats or anything. We just had a small argument, in fact it wasn’t even an argument.” Sloan stood up and walked around her desk to sit in the chair next to her dad. “She didn’t do anything like she usually does when we argue.”

“Maybe she needs more time?” Evan suggested.

“Well she will have some time since I will more than likely be gone for three days.” Sloan stood up and walked around her desk to lean against it. “Will you make sure she doesn’t go anywhere alone.”

“Yes,” Evan rested his hand on Sloan’s leg. “You can count on us.”

“Thanks, Dad.” Sloan smiled. “Well, I really should go pack.”

“And try to talk to Keegan before you go.” Evan stood up in front of his daughter.

Sloan nodded as she hugged her dad, “and try to talk to her.”

“Have a safe trip,” Evan kissed Sloan on the cheek.

******************************

Sloan knocked softly on the closed door as she placed her suitcase on the floor. When she didn’t get an answer she tried the doorknob. When it wouldn’t budge she sighed and rested her head on the wooden door. “Keegan, please don’t shut me out.” She whispered before she grabbed her bag and headed down the hall.

******************************

Keegan sat up sweating and breathing hard. “Damn another dream.” She thought as she ran her hands through her hair. She looked around and noticed that it was dark. “Wonder what time it is?” She looked over at the clock sitting on the bedside table. “Wow, nine o’clock, no wonder I am so hungry.”

Keegan then thought of what happened in the car earlier in the afternoon and wasn’t so hungry any more. “I guess I should get my things and get out of here.” She slowly stood up and reached under the bed for her small suitcase. Then walked over to the dresser and pulled out what clothes she had. “I cannot stay here. I need to go somewhere far away, but where?”

For the next half an hour Keegan tried to think where she could go. All she had was her motorcycle and with it being freezing cold out she wasn’t looking forward to traveling. “Cannot stay here. I will just have to make sure that I bundle up and cover my face with a scarf.” She opened the bedroom door and looked down the hall. Sloan’s bedroom door was closed with a sliver of light sneaking out from underneath it.

“Good bye Sloan,” Keegan blew a kiss towards the door and walked down the stairs and out the door.

******************************

“Good morning, Ashley,” Sloan said to the receptionist as she walked in the lobby of her building. “Is Gordon in yet?”

“Well long time no see, Sloan.” Ashley smiled up at her favorite boss. “And yes, Gordon came in about thirty minutes ago.”

Sloan grinned when she saw the round belly as the receptionist stood up to walk around the desk to give Sloan a hug. “Well look at you. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Wanted it to be a surprise.” Ashley rubbed her swollen stomach.

Sloan placed her hand next to Ashley’s and felt the baby kick. “And what a surprise it is. How much longer?”

Ashley waddled back around her desk to slowly sit back down, “only one more month.”

“What are you doing still working?” Sloan sat her briefcase on top of the desk.

Ashley laughed, “calm down boss. I wanted to work until I absolutely couldn’t. This is my last week.”

“Well I am so happy for you. You make sure you let me know if you need anything.” Sloan said as she flipped open her briefcase and handed some papers to the pregnant woman. “Could you get these sent over to the bank for me?”

“Sure thing,” Ashley opened a drawer and pulled out a big brown envelope. “So what’s new in your life?”

“Well, I met someone.” Sloan blushed slightly.

“You met someone? Hot damn,” Ashley slapped the top of her desk with excitement. “Who is she? What’s here name? Did you bring her along?”

Sloan laughed out loud at the questions being tossed at her. “She works on my ranch and her name is Keegan and no she didn’t come with me.” When she said the last part a frown formed on her face. “I wish she did, but we got into a small disagreement and I haven’t talked to her.”

“Well call her up and tell her you love her and make it right, because if she can get you to blush like you did a few seconds ago she must be one hell of a woman.” Ashley stated as she held out the phone to her boss. “No time like the present.”

Sloan sighed, “one problem. She doesn’t speak.”

“Well, that does make a phone call kinda hard.” Ashley ran her fingers through her long brown hair. “How about Internet messaging?”

“Ashley, you just got yourself a raise.” Sloan ran behind the desk and hugged the startled woman. “You are a genius.”

“I knew that,” Ashley beamed. “Now call your parents and get everything set up. The business can wait, love cannot.”

******************************

“Honey can you get the phone?” Shannon asked Stephanie as she got a pot of coffee ready.

“Sure thing Mom,” Stephanie walked over to the phone. “Hello.”

“Well you sound awfully cheerful this morning.” Sloan said with a little laugh.

“Hey, Sloan. Did you make it alright to New York?” Stephanie grabbed a piece of bacon off of a plate that sat on the counter next to her.

“Yes, sister dear I did. Is Keegan around? I would like to see if she will talk to me on the Internet messaging.” Sloan leaned up against Ashley’s desk and crossed her legs out in front of her.

“She isn’t up yet, but let me run up and ask her.” Stephanie sat the phone down even before Sloan could stop her. She ran up the stairs and knocked on the closed door. “Keegan, Sloan is on the phone she wants to talk with you.”

Stephanie waited a few more seconds before she knocked again, but a little harder. “Keegan?” She tried the doorknob and slowly opened the door. She spotted a note on the dresser and picked it up. “Shit.” Stephanie ran out of the room and down the stairs. She grabbed the phone; “she left.”

“What do you mean she left?” Sloan stood up straight grasping the phone tighter in her hand.

“She left a note. It says that she is sorry that she didn’t try hard enough for you to make things work.” Stephanie informed her sister. “What is she talking about?”

“I have no idea.” Sloan closed her eyes. The thoughts of Keegan out there with a maniac after her sent shivers down her spine. Then she remembered what she said in the car after their appointment with Dr. Lancer. “Oh God, I screwed up big time.”

“What are you talking about?” Stephanie covered her eyes as she tried not to scream when Sloan told her what she said in the car and how she meant it and how Keegan must have taken it.

Shannon stepped up next to her daughter, “what’s going on?”

“Keegan took off, she misunderstood something Sloan said yesterday.” Stephanie whispered to her mom as she tried to listen to Sloan rattle on and on that she would be on the next flight out of New York.

“We will get things started on this end.” Shannon said after she grabbed the phone from her youngest daughter. “Do you want someone to pick you up?”

“No, I left my car there. Bye,” Sloan hung up the phone and looked over at Ashley. “Will you call Gordon and let him know that I had to leave. Family emergency, he will have to fix the problem himself.”

“Okay, boss. Here is your flight information.” Ashley handed Sloan a piece of paper. “Now get and get your girl.”

“How?” Sloan asked stunned.

“I have my ways, now get going.” Ashley shoved Sloan towards the door and picked up the phone to call Gordon.

******************************

“Damn I am tired and I feel like popsicle.” Keegan pulled her new motorcycle over to the side of the road so a semi truck could pass by her. Her whole body fought the cold blast of air that hit when the big truck passed her sending small droplets of snow and mud all over her body.

“This just sucks,” Keegan groaned as she wiped her face with the back of her gloved hand. “Next town I am stopping and getting a room.” She kicked started the motorcycle and headed down the road. She never saw the car that pulled over when she stopped or started back up when she went down the road.

“My time has come and you dear Keegan are going to get what you should have gotten so many years ago.” The man laughed as he drove slowly behind his target.

******************************

“Well her motorcycle is gone. It looks like she left sometime during the night, because the light snow fall we had this morning covered some of her tracks. I will call around and see if she might be staying at some motel around here. I seriously doubt it though.” Donovan sighed as he scratched his scruffy chin. “When will Sloan be here?”

“She called right before she got on the plane. Her plane lands in four hours.” Even replied as he patted Donovan on the back. “Don’t worry we will find her.”

“I know we will, but I’m just praying that we find her before someone else does.” Donovan stated with a frown on his face. “She is all the family I have left. I don’t want to loss her too.”

“You won’t loss her, and you have more family than you realize.” Evan gestured over to where Shannon and Stephanie walked down the road all bundled up ready to help search for Keegan. “We are your family too, even before Keegan came, you were a part of it.”

“Thanks,” Donovan wiped a hand across his face. “Where are the security men?”

“I have them walking the grounds.” Evan replied. “If the killer is out there they could better protect themselves than us. I want us to take our cars and drive around and see if we can spot anything.”

“That sure is a long shot,” Stephanie responded as she stepped next to Evan.

“I know it is, but I cannot sit here and wait for someone else to do anything. I promised Sloan that we would watch out for Keegan.” Evan pinched the end of his nose. “If we don’t find Keegan Sloan will be lost with out her.”

“Let’s go, I will get out there as soon as I make those calls.” Donovan turned around and headed for his room.

“I want you and your Mom to take your car and I will take ours. Lets all meet up here in a couple of hours.” Evan guided the two Addams women over to where the cars were parked. “Call if you have anything.”

“Okay, and be careful.” Shannon kissed her husbands cheek before she got into the car. “Lets go Stephanie.”

******************************

Keegan pulled up to a run down Motel. She wasn’t sure if it was even open, because it looked like a tornado hit it and nobody cared to clean it up. “Oh well, if nobody is here I will break into a room and see what I can do about getting some sleep.” She parked her motorcycle in front of a window that said Manager’s Office. Keegan pulled off her wet glove and knocked hard on the steel door. She shook her hand when sharp pain shot through her fingers. “That was smart.”

When the door jerked open Keegan nearly had a heart attack.

“What do you want?” A skinny woman asked.

Keegan looked at the woman who had a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. Her teeth were yellow and brown. “Oh my. Haven’t you ever heard of a toothbrush and toothpaste?”

“Well I don’t want to stand out here in the fucking cold all night. What do you want?” The women asked again as she pulled her cigarette out of her mouth and tossed it in a mud puddle.

Keegan grabbed her small notepaper out of her back pocket. “I need a room for the night. Maybe two.”

“Does it look like I am open for business?” The old woman spat. “I haven’t had any customers for years.”

“I’ll pay you,” Keegan wrote quickly. Her whole body was starting to shake from being cold for so long.

The woman looked at Keegan and scratched under one of her saggy tits. “Okay, but I don’t do room service and I sure in the hell don’t clean. So you are on your own.”

“How much?” Keegan hoped the woman wouldn’t charge her too much. She had only six hundred dollars on hand.

“One hundred should be good. Let me get ya a key.” The woman walked back into her room and walked out a few seconds later with a key. “Number nine. It’s just down that way.” She pointed.

Keegan followed the bony old finger to what looked like a blue, pink, red, and purple door. “I guess I get the rainbow room.” She reached in her pocket and counted out one hundred dollars.

“Make sure you return the key before you leave.” The woman said before she went back to her room and closed the door.

“Oh yes, we wouldn’t want anyone to steal anything.” Keegan shook her head and stepped over to her motorcycle and pushed it over closer to her rooms’ door. “Not like anyone is crazy enough to ride this during winter. Just me that is.” She laughed to herself. “Yep, just crazy old me.” Keegan felt the tears start to fall before she had her motorcycle parked. “Why am I even here? I have only caused people pain and misery when I am around.”

Keegan grabbed her bag as she wiped the tears away. She stuck the key into the lock and fought top to turn the deadbolt. When it finally clicked back and let her in the smell of mildew and dust filled her senses. She started to sneeze and cough. An old bed that was made, but the bedspread looked like the last good day it saw was in 1950. Keegan tried the light switch and she was pleasantly surprised when a fluorescent light flickered and hummed over the bed.

“Damn now this sucks,” Keegan tossed her bag on the bed. The dust that flew up irritated her eyes. “Can this get any worse?”

The car that was following Keegan pulled up behind the motel. The occupant looked in the review mirror at himself. “It’s time.”
Part three
“Any sign of her?” Sloan asked when she ran into the house.

Even shook his head, “no.”

“No? Why not?” Sloan questioned her dad.

“We called every motel within one hundred miles. Your Mom and sister are still driving around and asking anyone they come into contact with if they have seen Keegan or her motorcycle.” Evan walked Sloan back out the door.

Sloan let her Dad guide her outside and down the steps to the porch. “I just came back to get you. I figure we could check things out further than what we are looking.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Sloan opened the door and sat down. She looked over at her dad when he opened the driver’s side door. “I will not come home without her.”

“We won’t stop looking until she is home where she belongs.” Evan started the car and headed down the road praying they find her soon. “What way do you think you want to try first?”

Sloan looked one way and then the other. She closed her eyes and waited for a sign on which way to go. She heard a neigh and opened her eyes. Majestic was standing by the fence to her right. He reared up on his hindquarters and pawed at the sky. “That way.”

Evan nodded and turned down the road knowing they had their first clue to where Keegan was.

******************************

Keegan walked out of the bathroom drying her hair. “I am so glad I thought to grab a towel and soap.” She tossed the wet towel over the old brown chair that sat in the corner. She grabbed the clothes she had set out before and quickly dressed. The sweatpants and flannel shirt were very welcome, as the room was still pretty cold even though she had gotten the old heater to work.

As she slipped on a pair of old gray wool socks she couldn’t help but think of Sloan. “Why didn’t I try harder? She is the most thoughtful person that I have ever met and yet I screw it up.”

Keegan grabbed her shoes and tugged them on. Then pulled her coat on and walked out the door locking the deadbolt before she walked to the old woman’s room to ask if there was a place to get something to eat.

The sound of snow and ice crunching under her boots were the only sounds she heard. The peacefulness of this place was something she wasn’t sure she liked. It almost felt too quiet; like something was lurking behind the scene, waiting.

Keegan stopped right before she knocked on the old door when she noticed it was slightly ajar. Slowly she pushed it open and looked in. The smell of cigarettes and stale alcohol invaded her senses and made her eyes water. She walked in letting the light from the fading sun guide her forward into the room. Hearing a gurgle, she moved toward the other side of the unmade bed.
“Oh god,” Keegan knelt down next to the woman to turn her over. When she caught sight of the blood oozing out of a large cut on the woman’s throat she fell back on her butt. She looked into frightened eyes that were draining of life.

“Hello Keegan.” A dark voice said from behind Keegan.

Keegan stood up and looked over into the corner. There, sitting in a chair was the devil himself.

“It’s been a long time.” He said as he leaned forward resting his elbows on his knees. “You sure have grown into a beautiful woman.”

Keegan quickly jumped over the bed and ran for the door. As soon as she hit the sidewalk she lost her footing and landed on her side. “Fuck!”

“You can run but you can’t hide.” The man laughed with glee. “Your Mother and Father couldn’t stop me. What makes you think you could?”

Keegan stood up and brushed off her pants. ‘I will not run from him, anymore. I will have my life back and he will be punished for what he did to my parents.”

The man stood in the doorway glaring at Keegan. “Do you know it’s really all your fault. If you hadn’t been born then I wouldn’t have had to resort to killing my sister and her husband.”

“What?” Keegan’s mind screamed. The she noticed that they shared the same color eyes and facial features. “Oh my God.”

“That’s right your mother was my sister. They used to give me what ever I wanted, but that all stopped when you were born. Oh, sure they would do little things for me, but after awhile…nothing.” He spat as he stepped outside. “They just pushed me aside as if I didn’t matter.”

Keegan took a step back whenever her uncle took a step forward. She noticed something shiny as he stepped out into the late evening sunshine.

He raised his hand up and gave Keegan a good look. “This is the same knife I used to kill your parents as they screamed my name. Edward, please stop. Please don’t.” He mimicked with a snort. “It’s been with me waiting until the time came for when I would have you.”

Keegan stopped walking. She looked at the man, who should have loved her, not hate her to the point of killing. She clenched her hands into fists. Her mind filled with pictures of her mom and dad laughing and playing with her. Then it flipped to them dead and covered in blood. She shook her head to clear the images away.

“What’s the matter? You remembering that fun filled family night of so long ago?” Edward asked as he cleaned his fingernails with his knife. “I tell you, it started me on the road that I was meant to live. The power of deciding who dies.” He pointed towards the motel. “I could have let that hag in there live, but I wanted you to see what will happen to you. Only one difference.”

Keegan felt a deadly shiver run up her spine as her uncle took a step closer.

“You my dear niece will die very, very slowly.” Edward lunged at Keegan.

Keegan jumped back just missing her uncle’s hands. She turned around and ran towards her motorcycle. She jumped on and started it with a push of a button. She flipped the kickstand up and twisted the throttle making the back tire spin in the snow and ice.

“I don’t think so,” Edward picked himself off the ground and ran at Keegan. He was able to grab her arm and stop her from giving the motorcycle any more gas. He pulled her off and let the machine fall to the ground still running. “You are mine and we are gonna finish what I started so long ago.”

Keegan tried to fight him, but he was too strong. So she stopped and let him lead her toward her room and her future. What that held she wasn’t sure, but she knew that only one person would be coming out of that room alive.

******************************

“Look there is Donovan’s truck.” Sloan pointed to a gas station they were about to pass. “Lets go see if he has found out anything.”

Evan turned the car into the drive and stopped next to the gas pump. “I’m gonna fill up the car. You go in and talk with Donovan.”

“Okay, want anything to drink?” Sloan opened her door and stepped out letting the cold hit her face.

Evan started to put gas in, “Ya. I’ll take a coffee and maybe something to eat.”

“I’ll be right back.” Sloan replied as she walked to the front entrance of the store.

Evan watched her daughter trudge through the snow. He noticed the slight slump in her shoulders and the way she dragged her feet as she walked. “We will find her.” He vowed out loud to himself. “We have to, or I will not only lose one daughter I will lose two.”

******************************

“Now you are sure that you saw a motorcycle drive by?” Donovan asked to make sure he wasn’t just hearing things.

The young cashier nodded his head, “yes. I was outside changing the window cleaner when it went by. I thought to myself that it was odd, because it was so cold.”

“Thanks,” Donovan smiled for the first time that day. “You have no idea how much that helps.”

They both looked up as the chimes rang when the door opened.

“Sloan,” Donovan stepped over to her. “He saw a motorcycle go past about three hours ago.”

“Was it Keegan?” Sloan asked with excitement that they might be close.

“Not totally sure, but who else would be nuts enough to travel in the middle of winter on a motorcycle?” Donovan stated.

“You’re right, she is the only one who would.” Sloan lifted her shoulders a little higher. “Which way was she heading?” She walked over to the coffeepot and poured two large cups full. Then grabbed a couple of hot dog buns out of the warmer and made herself and her dad something to eat.

“Heading south,” the cashier pointed.

“What’s out that way?” Sloan asked as she shoved the hot dogs in a bag.

The cashier thought for a second. “Well, there is this old motel about twenty-five miles down the road, but it hasn’t been open for years. Mrs. Tucker still lives there in one of the rooms, but she doesn’t rent them out any more.”

“Do you think she would if someone just stopped by?” Donovan asked as he helped Sloan carry her purchases to the checkout counter.

“She might if the price was right. She isn’t really rolling in the cash if you know what I mean?” The cashier rang up Sloan’s order. “Just keep on this road and you cannot miss it.”

“Thanks, did you get the gas for the car out there?” Sloan asked as she took a sip of her coffee.

“Yep, got it all.” The cashier nodded. “I hope you find who ever you are looking for.”

“With your help we just might. Thanks,” Sloan stuck her hand out to shake his hand. Then grabbed her stuff and left with Donovan on her heels

The cashier nearly fell off his stool when he looked in his hand and a one hundred-dollar bill stared up at him. “Wow.”

******************************

“What did you find out?” Evan asked when he saw Sloan and Donovan emerge from the inside of the store.

“She went that way.” Sloan gestured with her head. “We are hoping that she stopped at run down motel about twenty-five miles down the road.”

“Well lets go. You want to come with us Donovan?” Evan asked as he opened his door.

“No, I will take my truck. Just in case she decides to make a run for it we will have a better chance of following her.” Donovan hurried to his truck and started it up.

“Lets go Dad.” Sloan ran around the car to the passenger side door and jumped in.

******************************

“Have a seat. You aren’t going anywhere.” Edward pushed Keegan onto the bed.

Keegan landed on the bed next to her bag, never taking her eyes off the madman as he slowly closed the door. The fading sun vanished on the horizon bringing in the night and the demon of her nightmare.

“How about we get to know one another before I kill you.” Edward stood in the corner by the heater.

“Like I want to know anything about you.” Keegan thought with disgust as she rolled her eyes.

“I have no clue what you are thinking but you better stop it right now.” Edward spat. “You should never have been born. Your mother and father tried for years and nothing. Then they took me in when our parents died. They treated me like the baby they always wanted. I got everything I wanted. All I had to do was ask and there it was.” He turned to look right in Keegan’s eyes. “Then you were born and everything stopped.”

Keegan shrugged her shoulders. She wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of seeing how scared she was.

“Don’t act like you don’t care. I know you do.” Edward stormed over to her and grabbed the back of her head. Bringing her to a standing position. “You will miss out on time with your precious girlfriend.”

Keegan closed her eyes as she tried to stop the tears from falling from the pain of his hand grasping her hair.

“You know, I won’t have as much fun killing you as I had hoped. You can’t scream out like everyone else.” Edward slowly let her hair loose. “That is such a shame too. As I love to hear the last scream die on my victims lips.”

Keegan shoved the man up against the wall. Her anger soared hearing him mention killing innocent people. She grabbed the chair that was next to the table and smashed it over his back. She began to kick any body part she could reach.

Edward grabbed her foot as it made contact with his body and forced Keegan off her feet. She landed next to the bed with Edward straddling her body. “Damn he moves fast.”

“There is no way I am gonna let you leave. You can beat me all you want, I enjoy it as a matter of fact.” He brought his hand up to a small cut on his face and wiped the blood off with a finger. Then with an evil smile licked it off. “Yummy.”

Keegan had to force herself not to be sick. She tried to push the evil man off her stomach, but he just laughed.

“You’re strong for such a small woman. Must be all the time you spend mucking up those stalls.” Edward looked around the floor for the knife he dropped when he was hit with the chair. He spotted it about three feet away. “Family get together is done.”

Keegan took a deep breath and pushed up when Edward reached for his knife. He lost his balance and fell backwards. She quickly stood up and reached for the door. She tried to open it but it was locked. “Damn it.” Keegan cursed as she tried to open the deadbolt. A searing pain shot up her arm as Edward slashed a deep cut across her forearm.

“You have more fight in ya then you parents did.” Edward backhanded Keegan across the face.

Keegan let the tears fall now as her arm and her face hurt. “I should have stayed at the ranch. I may have been unhappy with Sloan so near, but I wouldn’t be dead.”

******************************

“There is the place.” Sloan said when she spotted the old building. “Look there is Keegan’s motorcycle.”

“I don’t know if I like the way it’s lying on the ground like that.” Evan stated as he put the car in park.

“Me either,” Sloan opened the door and looked around. She could hear the soft sound of the motorcycle’s engine as she stood up. “She is in trouble. It’s still running.”

“Lets go,” Evan left the car running and stepped out.

The two in the car didn’t bother closing their doors as they slowly made their way to the side of the run down establishment. They waited until Donovan pulled up next to the car and got out and walked over to them.

“What’s going on?” Donovan asked when he reached Sloan and Evan.

“Keegan is here, but something is wrong. Her motorcycle is lying in the ground with it’s motor running.” Evan answered as he watched his daughter look around the corner to get a better view.

“Okay, do you have any idea where she is at?” Donovan walked over to stand next to Sloan. “What do you see?”

“I see a door that is wide open.” Sloan pointed.

“You think she is in there?” Donovan looked.

Sloan shook her head. “No, he has her somewhere else close by.”

Donovan was about to step around Sloan and go take a look when Sloan stopped him and pointed down a few doors. “Look. Those curtains moved.”

“Where? Are you sure? It’s getting dark out.” Evan asked as he looked.

“In room nine.” Sloan turned to look at Donovan and her dad. “I want you two to stay here. I am going to go check things out.”

“No you’re not,” Evan grabbed Sloan’s coat sleeve. “Let’s call the police.”

“No, it’s now or never. He has got Keegan and no telling what he has done to her already. I will not sit back and wait until some backwaters country lackey with dreams of making it big gets here.” Sloan pulled her arm free. “It is my fault that she took off. So it is my responsibility to get her safe again.”

“No, it’s nobodies fault, but that rat bastard who started all this so many years ago.” Donovan stated with emotion. “You have to get her away from him.”

“I will,” Sloan slipped quickly and quietly around the corner. The only sound the two men heard was the crunching of Sloan’s shoes in the snow slowly fade as she got further away from them.

******************************

Keegan kicked out one of her legs and connected with Edwards’s groin. “How does that feel you asshole.”

He fell face first into the bed spread moaning. “You fucking bitch.” He rolled over and grabbed hold of one leg as Keegan tried to scoot away. He brought up the knife and imbedded it deep into Keegan’s thigh.

Keegan closed her eyes as pain shot over her body. She quickly reached down to extract the knife out of her leg, but Edward just pushed it deeper into her.

“You are so much fun.” Edward teased as he moved closer to Keegan. “I love the way that your life is slowly becoming mine.” He lay next to Keegan.

Keegan fought to keep her mind from shutting down. She knew that the fight wasn’t even close to being done and she wasn’t about to let him win. She brought her elbow down on his face and she smiled when she heard a crunch. She tossed his arm off of her as she tumbled to the floor. She dragged herself to the door and pushed herself up. With a shaky hand she pulled the knife out of her thigh and tossed it to the ground. She glanced over to her uncle and quickly tried the deadbolt. Her hands were slippery from the blood that covered her hands. She finally heard the click of the door being unlocked. “Thank god.” She flung the door open only to be grabbed by the back of the hair and pulled back into the room.

“Oh, no you don’t. I am so not done with you yet.” Edward yelled. He spit a mouth full of blood onto the carpet. “No more playing around, you will die and you will die now.” He stalked closer to the bed picking up his knife as he got closer.

******************************

Sloan heard voices as she snuck closer to the open door, but they weren’t coming from that room. They were coming from a few doors down. She moved faster along the wall hoping the crunching sound of her boots didn’t alert the wrong person someone was near.

She peeked through the door and saw Keegan on the bed with blood covering her hands and legs. Then she saw a man with a knife in his hands walking closer to the woman she loved.

“I think you better stop right there.” Sloan growled as she stood in the door. “Take another step and I will kill you.”

Edward stopped and gave Keegan a lecherous grin. “Looks like I get to take out more of your family than I thought.” He turned to look at Sloan. “I guess I’ll kill you first. Then continue my little fun with my niece.”

Sloan’s heart stopped. “Are you serious?”

“Yes, she is my little darling niece. Her mother was my sister.” Edward grinned. “To bad you won’t get to hear the whole story.”

Sloan crossed her arms across her chest. “Why is that?”

“Cause I’m gonna kill you.” Edward charged quickly at the tall brunette who stumbled backwards when she hit a patch of ice.

Keegan didn’t know what happened next. All she knew was that the monster was going after someone else that she loved. “NO,” she screamed and jumped off the bed on top off Edwards’s back. She grabbed hold of the knife with one hand not caring that it cut deep into her palm. “No more will you kill the people I love.”

Donovan and Evan heard the screams and ran towards where they saw Sloan lying on the ground trying to stand and Keegan on the back of some man struggling.

Sloan got her footing and jumped up to help Keegan. She grasped the hand that held the knife so Keegan could let go. Then she brought her knee up hard against the man’s stomach making him lose his balance.

Keegan jumped off and staggered until her back hit the building. She slid down still staring at the action in front of her.

“Get back up you fucktard. I want you to feel the kind of pain that you have put Keegan through all her life.” Sloan grabbed ahold of the back of Edward’s shirt forcing him to stand up. “This is for Keegan’s Mom.” Bringing her fist up into a quick right hook she shattered his jaw. “And this is for Keegan’s Dad.” She stepped back and delivered a roundhouse kick to the groin rendering the man unconscious.

Evan grabbed Sloan in a bear hug to stop her from doing any more damage to the man he himself wanted to pummel. “You have to stop.” He whispered in her ear. “Let the authorities handle him.”

“No, I want to kill him.” Sloan growled through clenched teeth.

Evan tightened his hold on his daughter. “Baby, you need to calm down. Go to Keegan she needs you now more than ever.”

Sloan stopped and sought out Keegan. Her heart broke when they landed on the small bloody body. “Oh God.” She gasped.

Evan let his hand loose. He watched as Sloan jumped over the fallen man and skidded to a stop in front of Keegan. He walked over to Donovan who stood about a foot away from the downed man. “I’ll call the police.”

“Okay, I’ll keep my eye on Edward.” Donovan replied coldly.

“Edward?” Evan asked as he pulled out his cell phone.

“Keegan’s mom’s brother.” Donovan answered softly.

Evan looked from Keegan to Edward. “Oh my, he killed his own sister and brother in law.”

“Always knew he wasn’t right.” Donovan kicked Edward over so he lay on his back.

******************************

Sloan reached out a shaky hand to wipe off a drop of blood on Keegan’s white face. She nearly started to cry when Keegan flinched at the contact. “It’s me Keegan, Sloan.”

Keegan looked into Sloan’s eyes and didn’t find what she had expected. Instead she found concern, fear and most importantly love. She let the suffering and anguish out as tears fell.

“Oh, sweetheart,” Sloan scooted closer to Keegan and scooped her up into her arms. She held on tight as Keegan lost herself in her grief.

******************************

“Over there,” Shannon pointed when Stephanie and her ran into the emergency rooms waiting area.

The two Addams women ran up to the three people sitting in the corner patiently waiting for any news about Keegan.

“Sloan, what happened?” Shannon asked as she hurried to her daughter. “That isn’t your is it?” She gestured to Sloan’s bloody clothes.

Sloan shook her head as she hugged her mom. “No.”

“Keegan?” Shannon held Sloan tighter when she felt her daughter’s head nod slightly.

Stephanie sat next to her dad and grabbed his hand. “What happened?”

Evan softly told his youngest daughter the events of the past several hours as he watched his oldest cry out her pain for her lover.

******************************

“Sloan,” Dr. Lancer called out as she stepped out into the chilly night air.

Sloan didn’t take her eyes off the sparkling stars above. “Hello, Dr. Lancer. What are you doing here?”

“Keegan asked for me. So I came.” Dr. Lancer stepped up next to the tall woman. “She is one lucky lady.”

“Well if you call having her Uncle being the one who killed her family and so terrorized her nights with dreams that she would wake up screaming.” Sloan spat out with anger. “You know that the only time I have ever heard her voice has been when she is caught up in a nightmare. Not while I make love to her as she releases her body to me. I have never her heard her say I love you. I knew that when I fell in love with her that I might never hear that, but damn it I want it.”

Dr. Lancer nodded her head. “I know all that and I understand what you are saying.”

“In all fairness I don’t think you do.” Sloan replied.

“Okay, you’re right,” Dr. Lancer agreed. “But, I think now that she has closure to all this it will make a big difference.”

Sloan closed her eyes and let the tears fall. “No matter if she ever talks again or if she starts talking a mile a minute I love her, and will do so until I die.”

“No one has ever questioned your love for Keegan.” Dr. Lancer stated softly.

Sloan looked down at the smaller woman next to her. “Keegan did.”

“That is something you will have to talk with Keegan about.” Dr. Lancer patted Sloan on the back. “I’m gonna head in. They have taken Keegan to her own room. You can go and see her anytime.”

“Okay, I will go in, in a few minutes.” Sloan turned to look at the night sky.

Dr. Lancer watched Sloan for a few seconds before she turned to go in. Then she stopped, “Sloan, remember half of peoples problems can be solved by talking them out. It’s just that it takes a very strong person to start the conversation.”

Sloan took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Thanks, Doc.”

******************************

Keegan sat in the darkness of the room. She let her mind grasp exactly what had happened the past day. “My Uncle killed my family. He is now in jail and hurting bad with the broken nose and jaw he received from me and Sloan.” She sighed when she thought of the tall dark haired woman coming to her rescue. “I screwed up big time. I have been in my room for awhile and she hasn’t even shown up yet.”

Keegan rolled over on her side and curled up onto a ball and cried. She didn’t hear the door open or the soft sound of someone walking closer to the bed. She jumped up when a hand brushed away the tears as they fell.

“Hi,” Sloan whispered. “I love you.”

Keegan looked deep into Sloan’s eyes as she breathed out slowly, “I…lo..love you.”

Sloan’s heart stopped her soul soared. “You spoke.”

Keegan nodded and waved her hand in front of her.

“When? How?” Sloan muttered as she tightened her grasp on Keegan’s hand.

Keegan used her free hand and grabbed the notepad that sat next to the bed. “I talked with Dr. Lancer. I told her about how I yelled out at Edward when he came after you. So I know I have it in me now not to be scared I have to get myself to talk. I will get better as time goes on, but I wanted you to hear me say I love you. Writing it down is not the same. Having you hear it will make you understand that I made a big mistake leaving.”

“No, what I said and the way you took it was a big misunderstanding. I shouldn’t have said it in the first place. I realize now that we were both under a great amount of pressure.” Sloan stood up and started to pace. “Here you were with a freaking madman after you. After you from the very moment you were born and all I could think of was my own selfishness.”

Keegan watched Sloan berate herself. “NO.” She forced out through clenched teeth.

Sloan stopped and turned to look at the small figure on the hospital bed.

Keegan smiled and patted the bed next to her leg. “Let the blame fall away please. It is over and we can start new. Please.”

Sloan leaned over and placed a soft kiss on Keegan’s mouth. “For now we will stop, but we will talk about it. Maybe in our next session with Dr. Lancer.”

Keegan nodded as she entwined her fingers in Sloan’s long hair to bring her closer for another kiss. “I am home.”

******************************

“Sorry I haven’t been around a lot. I kinda needed to get some things taken care of. I went up to where my parents are buried and said good bye.” Keegan opened the stall door and walked in gently pushing Majestic back so she could get all the way in.

Majestic nudged her coat pocket then nipped at the soft brown leather.

“What do you want?” Keegan laughed as she patted along the stallion’s strong neck. “You think I have something in there for you?”

Majestic pawed at the straw covered ground and nudged at Keegan’s side.

Keegan reached into her pocket and brought out three pieces of peppermint candies. She opened one and popped it into her mouth. She nearly swallowed it whole when Majestic snorted in her face.

“Okay, okay here ya go. You are so spoiled.” Keegan opened the clear wrapping and held out her hand so the big black stallion could get his treat. “Thank you for being around when I needed someone to talk to. You were the only thing in a long time that actually listened to me. You never judged me or cared that I couldn’t speak. Not like you could understand me if I did. You only understand me now, when it is just you and me talking like this.”

Majestic nodded and grunted as he sniffed for the last piece of peppermint.

“Keegan you in here?” Keegan heard Sloan call out.

“In here,” Keegan replied back.

Sloan stepped up to the stall and smiled. “How’s he doing?”

“He is alright. Just missed me is all.” Keegan stated as she looked over Majestic’s back. “You want to come with us and go for a walk?”

“Wouldn’t miss it for anything.” Sloan grinned as she opened the stall door. “Where do you want to take a walk?”

Keegan waited until she was outside of the stall with Majestic on one side of her and Sloan on the other. “I’m thinking the clearing.”

“Some how I knew you were gonna say that.” Sloan draped an arm around Keegan’s shoulders and bumped her with her hip. “Let go, before it gets dark.”

“Why? I love walking in the dark with the stars blinking at you.” Keegan bumped Sloan back as she wrapped her arm around Sloan’s trim waist. ‘It’s peaceful and so romantic.”

“You are right it is romantic, but damn cold when the sun goes down.” Sloan pretended to shiver. “During the summer we will have to go camping. That way you can stare at the sky all night long.”

“I think I can think of doing something much more fun than stare up at the sky if you will be with me.” Keegan wiggled her eyes brows.

“Where you go I go.” Sloan kissed the top of the blonde head.

******************************

Keegan and Sloan watched Majestic run around. He was happiest when he was here running free.

“I think I am gonna let him run loose.” Sloan whispered into Keegan’s ear.

Keegan tilted her head up so she could look into Sloan’s eyes. “What do you mean?”

“We have hundreds of acres used as a wildlife refuge. Along with two herds of wild horses. I think he would love to be free again.” Sloan tightened her hold on Keegan. She knew how much Majestic meant to her.

Keegan watched as the stallion pranced around and nodded her head. “Great idea. Do you want me to tell him?”

“Go ahead,” Sloan replied.

Keegan gave Sloan a slight squeeze before she walked up to the stallion. “Hey boy, how would you like to be free?”

Majestic reared high and neighed.

“I figured you’d like that. Sloan has a lovely place for you to go” Keegan wiped the tear that fell down her cheek. “You deserve to run and I hope you have a great life. I will be able to check on you and make sure you are behaving.”

Majestic snorted and bumped his head softly against her chest. He didn’t move it away as she rested her head against his forehead.

“You will always be my friend.” Keegan wrapped her arms around the horse’s head before she walked back to Sloan. “He would love to be set free.”

“I thought as much. We’ll take him up tomorrow.” Sloan wrapped Keegan up in a hug and held her. “Come on lets head back. I’m getting cold.”

“Okay,” Keegan agreed but didn’t move.

Sloan waited for a few seconds before she rested her cheek against the top of Keegan’s head. “What are you thinking about?”

Keegan smiled to herself as she lowered her hands to cup Sloan’s butt. She gave each cheek a slight squeeze. “You and me in that big bed of yours.”

“You mean that big bed of ours,” Sloan cupped Keegan’s face and leaned down and placed a soft kiss on the waiting lips. “What is mine is yours and what is yours is mine.”

“Some how I think I made out better in that deal than you.” Keegan looked deep into the blue eyes that held her soul.

Sloan caressed Keegan’s cheeks with her thumb. “I think you are totally wrong.” She kissed Keegan again. “I got you and nothing beats that.”

“I love you,” Keegan stood on her tiptoes and kissed Sloan.

“Those are the sweetest words I have ever heard.” Sloan stepped back from Keegan and knelt down on one knee. “I want you to be in my life forever and always. Will you join with me and become my wife.”

Keegan sucked in a deep breath and started to sway a little.

Sloan jumped up and steadied her love. “Are you okay?”

Keegan grabbed hold of Sloan’s jacket and pulled her into a strong hug. “You have made me the happiest person in the world.”

“Is that a yes?” Sloan mumbled from Keegan’s neck.

Keegan loosened her hold. “It’s a yes.”

******************************

Sloan and Keegan walked out of the stable hand in hand. When they reached a rather big mud puddle Sloan stopped.

“I think I owe you something.” Sloan put her hands on her hip and looked at Keegan.

Keegan looked around as she tilted her head up. “What are you talking about? What do you owe me?”

“This,” Sloan pushed against the smaller woman’s shoulders and watched as she waved her hands out and landed in the cold puddle.

Keegan glared up at Sloan as she slapped the water around her. “What in the hell do you think you are doing?” Drops of water and mud clung to her hair.

Sloan bent over and slapped her hands together. “WHAMM!”

******************************

“I cannot believe you did that.” Keegan walked into their bedroom wrapped in a plush white towel. “Do you know that I had mud in places mud was never meant to be?”

Sloan lifted her head up and wiggled her eyebrows. “Bet I’ve seen those places before.”

Keegan unwrapped herself from the towel and tossed it at the tall figure on the bed. “You are such a bonehead.”

“I know, but you love me anyway.” Sloan moved the towel off her face so she could watch her naked lover walk around the room. “Whatcha doing?”

“I’m getting ready for bed. What do you think I am doing?” Keegan open the top drawer of her dresser and pulled out a long nightgown.

“Why don’t you forget that for now and crawl in with me and I keep you warm.” Sloan started to unbutton her shirt as she sat up. “You always did say I could keep you warm if it was thirty below.”

“True, I have said that, but after you pushing me into a puddle of freezing cold water. You think you are gonna get any?” Keegan dropped the nightgown over her shoulders blocking Sloan’s view of her naked body. “I don’t think so.”

Sloan stood up from the bed and stalked over to Keegan. As she went she slowly stripped her clothes off. “I think that maybe I should inspect your lovely body to make sure that you got all the mud off.” She ran her fingers over the top of the smaller woman’s flannel covered breasts.

Keegan’s body immediately responded to the light caress, but she wasn’t going to let Sloan off that easy. She slapped the hand away and walked over to the bed. “I’m not in the mood.” She flipped back the blankets and slid into bed.

Sloan grinned to herself she had noticed Keegan’s nipples react to her touch. “Oh really?” She turned her naked body towards the reclined woman in the bed. “You are not in the mood? What if I kissed you along your neck down to your beautiful breasts and sucked one of your nipple into my mouth?” She took a few steps closer to the bed never breaking eye contact. “What if I slid my fingers deep inside of you and ran my tongue along your center? Tasting all of your essence.”

Keegan’s heart started to beat faster and her body reacted to the sultry voice talking to her. She closed her eyes and swallowed. “Not gonna work.” She croaked.

Sloan knelt on the edge of the bed on one knee. “I think your body disagrees with you. I can smell you from here.”

Keegan opened her eyes and stared into lustful blue. “God I love you.”

“Good, because I love you too.” Sloan smiled as she crawled up and straddled Keegan’s thighs and placed a hand on either side of the smaller woman’s head. “Now I want to make love to you.” She leaned down and placed a tender kiss on soft lips. “Please.”

Keegan brought her hands up to Sloan’s neck and brought her back down for a deeper kiss. They broke apart gasping for air. “You never have to say please. I am yours body and soul.”

“You are mine and I am yours. Together forever and forever together.” Sloan kissed a path down Keegan’s slender neck. “Let’s get you out of your night gown.”

“Good idea.” Keegan wiggled around until she had the ends of the nightgown and pulled it up over her head.

“What an exquisite sight.” Sloan whispered when Keegan’s whole body was uncovered. “You take my breath away.”

Keegan’s whole body flushed with arousal. “Like you are a goddess.”

“Not compared to you.” Sloan rested her body in between Keegan’s slightly bent legs. She lowered her head so she could run her tongue around Keegan’s pert nipple of her right breast. With her other hand she cupped the left and pinched the nipple between her fingers.

“Oh yes, that feels so good.” Keegan moaned as she arched her back.

Sloan let the nipple go and wrapped her arms around the smaller body under her she flipped them over in one swift motion. She captured the left nipple in her mouth and brought her hand down Keegan’s side and in between their bodies. She slipped her fingers into slick wetness and into Keegan’s opening.

Keegan’s body moved on it’s own when Sloan entered her with her fingers. Her body loved the feeling of being filled and caressed to the point that heaven was the next plane of existence.

“You feel so good inside me.” Keegan stated as she moved her hips faster.

Sloan watched Keegan through half-closed eyelids. She could tell that Keegan was getting close to release. “Come for me baby.”

Keegan heard the words and her body shuddered. “OH GOD YES.”

Sloan continued her movements even though Keegan’s body stopped. When she was sure that Keegan could not take any more she slowed her hand and removed her fingers. She brought her hand up to her mouth and licked off all the juices. “Best snack I have had all night.”

Keegan rested her head on Sloan’s shoulder as she waited for her body to stop shaking. “You leave my whole body like Jell-O.”

“Watch it wiggle see it jiggle.” Sloan sang out with a little laugh.

Keegan slapped at Sloan’s arm. “Smart ass.”

Sloan giggled, “yep that be me.”

Keegan started to kiss her way down past Sloan’s breast only stopping to lightly nip each nipple. “My turn to turn you into a bowl of wiggley jiggley Jell-O.” She mumbled as she continued her trek across Sloan’s stomach down to her curly moist center.

Sloan growled when she felt Keegan’s tongue come into contact with her clit. “Love that.”

“Love what?” Keegan asked softly.

Sloan moaned, “when you are down there making love to me with your mouth.”

“I love it too,” Keegan smiled before she sucked the enlarged clit into her mouth.

Sloan’s whole body came off the bed as she grabbed hold of Keegan’s head. “Oh damn.”

Keegan entered Sloan with two fingers. She moved them in a fast motion wanting her lover to feel what she felt a few minutes ago. She felt Sloan’s muscles contract against her fingers.

Sloan lost all thought of everything but that her body was being well loved and she was about to be sent into outer space. She could feel it growing and growing. Then like a flash of lightening she was off. “KEEGAN OHHH YES YES.”

Keegan waited until the last quake left Sloan’s body before she removed her fingers. She crawled up next to the now quiet woman and pulled the blankets up over their naked bodies. “Love you.”

Sloan nodded and mumbled. “Love you too.”

Several minutes went by with the only sound of two hearts connected for life beating as one and two people breathing softly.

“Night my sweet,” Sloan whispered into the night.

Keegan cuddled up next to Sloan’s body. “Night, my love.”

 

THE END!!

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