DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, Fox does. I'm only taking them out for a test drive.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story contains some adult situations, so be forewarned.
SPOILERS: Strap-on, Ryde or Die

After the Fall
By Sam

Part 11

Baby let me set you down
You look so troubled and I think I know
Just when you think you've got it down
There you go

The beat of the music pulsated softly, and Billie slipped her arm around Ally's waist, gently coaxing the young woman closer while her hips began to sway to the rhythm. As the blonde's cheek touched her own, she took a deep breath and closed her eyes, content to allow her other senses the chance to indulge themselves.

Now I know the business of the heart
And it'll get you anyway it can
You need someone to walk with in the dark, well
I'm your man

Donning her hospital robe, Sara took a deep breath and pulled the door open, poking her head out and speaking to one of the officers in the hallway. She was pleasantly surprised to find only one on duty. The late hour had apparently prodded his partner to head off in search of a coffee machine, and the blonde smiled at her good fortune as she coaxed the lone patrolman into her room.

I go to the trouble like a magnet
That's where I'll be
Trouble is just a place to sing
It's what you need

A hand came to rest against the back of Billie's neck, while another slipped beneath her hair, slowly lifting it up and over her shoulder. Her breath quickened as a pair of soft lips pressed against her exposed throat, and she involuntarily tilted her head to allow more access. She moved her hands forward and clasped her fingers together, holding the young woman in a casual embrace. As the music played on, a soft voice began to whisper in her ear.

I swear you look like you're in jail
And all at once you're halfway out the door
One foot dancing, one foot nailed
To the floor

With a single, brutal jab of her elbow, the officer dropped to the floor like a stone. Sara winced as she watched his head hit the floor, and quickly knelt down to check his condition. Satisfied that she hadn't done any permanent damage, she got to her feet and pulled off her robe, tossing it aside as she headed out the door.

Chasing those circles in the ground
The same old shit is still the same old lie
Just when you think you've got it down
Watch it fly

The two dozen or so people in the bar took little notice as the young women continued to dance in the corner, save one pair of hazel eyes that followed their movements with a mix of fascination and want. Billie looked over Ally's shoulder, her ice blue gaze fixing on the woman behind the bar.

I go to the trouble like a light
Or like a dare
Trouble is just a friend to me, I know
It'll always be there

The nurse's station was seemingly deserted when Sara slipped behind the counter, her eyes scanning the shelves underneath in a desperate search as she pushed aside stacks of files to reveal whatever was tucked behind them. Her persistence was rewarded as she found not one, but two different purses hiding in the back of the cabinet. She opened each one in turn, taking whatever cash was inside, along with both of the owner's car keys. Clutching them tightly in her hand, she glanced over the desktop for signs of any activity, and finding none, she immediately headed for the elevator.

It's really hard to make your peace
So give me some credit for the hell I've paid
This world's a blessing and a beast
Every day

Two bodies collapsed to the bed, hands roaming frantically as they each worked to remove the other's clothing. Their mouths pressed together in a bruising kiss, while tongues danced wildly, savoring each other's taste. Billie shifted her body, desperate to feel the other woman's heat pressing against her own as she reached up, her fingers coursing a trail through long strands of silky, black hair.

So come on baby let me show you how
The less you know the more I comprehend
You don't have to drag me down
I descend

The parking area was almost deserted, given the late hour, except for the area sectioned off for employees. Sara approached the first row of vehicles, holding both sets of keys out in front of her as she pressed the buttons of each remote lock in tandem, waiting to hear that telling chirp when she found a match. She was moving along the third row when a pair of headlights flashed at her in response to her actions. She grinned, broadly, and tossed a set of keys aside as she ran for the vehicle.

I go to the trouble and I like it
That's where I'll be
Trouble is just like love, if it's half the way
It's all I can see
And it's just what you need

The silver Mercedes raced along the freeway, oblivious to the traffic as it weaved its way along at breakneck speed. Billie turned the wheel as she reached the desired exit, her cars tires screeching in protest as she downshifted, barely missing a construction barrier blocking the bottom half of the roadway. Within minutes, she found herself back at the hospital, walking with purpose as she headed directly for Sara's room. When she reached the end of the corridor, she immediately noticed the absence of any guard outside the door. Her heart began to beat wildly as she picked up her pace and she was running at full tilt by the time she got to the door. She quickly brandished her gun and pushed the door open, aiming it straight ahead as she stepped inside. The first thing she noticed was the officer lying on the floor at the foot of the bed. The second was that he was the only one in the room.

Sara was gone.

Part 12

Carry me through
And bury all my doubts of you
Clothe my desire with spell or prayer
I'll shroud every sign of need I swear.
        - k.d. lang

Billie pulled her car into the driveway, idling at the top of the hill for a moment before finally rolling down to a stop in front of the garage. She turned off the ignition and set the brake as she leaned forward and rested her head against the steering wheel. She couldn't remember the last time she felt so tired. It was nearly five in the morning, and her body was threatening to shut down if she didn't get moving.

As she got out of the car, a warm, gentle gust of ocean wind caught her hair, tossing it about wildly as she fixed her eyes on the front of the house. Despite the fact that Billie was now the owner, she would always think of it as Alexa's. She hadn't changed a single thing in the house since her friend's death, preferring to leave it as it had always been, filled with her furniture, her pictures, and her presence. It probably wasn't healthy. Billie knew that part of the process of letting go was in moving on, but she wasn't quite ready to do that just yet.

She went inside, walking through the quiet darkness with the practiced ease of someone who knew the interior very well. As she approached the kitchen, she could see the subtle beginning of daylight filtering through the glass doors leading to the back deck. The entire house was silent, and even though Billie had been entertaining the thought that Sara might come here, she didn't honestly believe it.

After finding one of her officers' unconscious when she'd arrived back at the hospital, she instinctively knew that Sara had been the one responsible. And once he came to and confirmed what she'd suspected, it seemed certain that the young woman was long gone.

For Billie, that meant there were procedures to follow. And like the dutiful cop she was, Lieutenant Chambers put the word out on Sara Matthews, and before long, cops all over the city were looking for her.

They were checking out all of the places she might have gone, including her apartment, the homes of a few friends, even Jill was being questioned about her possible whereabouts. Patrol cars were on the lookout for the stolen car she was driving. But, for reasons even she herself didn't fully comprehend, Billie held back from telling anyone about the beach house.

Her decision to drive all the way out here alone, considering she was nearly dead on her feet, had been a combination of curiosity, hope, and even a little bit of desperation. There was a part of her that wanted to believe Sara would change her mind, maybe even come to realize that she cared too much to leave.

Of course, Billie chided herself for being so sappy and emotional. The night's events had been weighing heavily on her, and coupled with her strung out nerves and exhausted mind, she knew she was probably just grasping at straws.

So it was with some surprise when she stepped outside and saw the familiar silhouette, sitting on the stairs that lead down to the shore. A fleeting moment of anger was immediately quelled by an overwhelming sense of relief at seeing her lover safe and sound.

"I wanted a picture."

Billie approached Sara from behind, her hand reaching out to touch the blonde's head, but she pulled back, deciding instead to sit down next to her. She glanced over at the photograph Sara held between her fingers and smiled, ruefully. "I can't believe I allowed myself to be photographed with Goofy."

Sara fixed her tired eyes on the brunette's captured image. "You make quite a pair," she joked, a tiny smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.

"So do we," Billie commented.

Sara turned to look at her. "I tried to leave," she admitted, taking a hold of Billie's hand and entwining their fingers together. "I'm sorry. I just felt like everything was closing in on me. Jill's trial, the attack, being afraid." The blonde looked away for a moment as she said, "I don't like feeling like a victim."

Billie reached over with her other hand, gently coaxing Sara to look at her. "I know."

"No, you don't." She turned back to the brunette. "This isn't me, Billie. I'm not some shrinking violet that sits around waiting for the other shoe to drop. I can take care of myself. I've been on my own since I was fifteen, and I've never needed anyone before." She bit her lip gently before continuing. "But, since the day I met you, it's like I don't even know which end is up." Sara knew she was beginning to ramble, but she couldn't seem to stop herself.

"All I wanted was to find out where this was going," she went on. "I wasn't sure we even had a chance. The idea of you and me is crazy on so many levels. I mean.you're a good person, Billie. You've got courage, convictions.a purpose. And me? Well, I don't know what I am exactly, but I guarantee you, if someone were keeping a list of my character traits, those things wouldn't even make the top ten."

"I think you're selling yourself a bit short," Billie interjected.

The blonde shook her head slowly in disagreement. "No, I'm not. You know that everything I'm saying is true. I can see it in your eyes, sometimes. The way you look at me whenever we talk about the shooting. I see the anger there, and the doubt. Your instincts are telling you this is wrong, Billie.just like mine." She held the lieutenant's gaze. "But, we just can't bring ourselves to walk away from trouble, can we?" Her gaze drifted from blue eyes to red lips. "No matter how much we know we should." She closed the small distance between them and placed a soft kiss on Billie's mouth.

The lieutenant felt her body flush at the delicate contact, but soon found herself pulling back a bit, still aware of the scent of someone else's body on her skin. "Sara, there's something I need to tell you. before we go any further."

Sara's eyes darkened as she looked at Billie closely. There was something different about her, and it was not the somber mood she slipped into when she was here. It took her a moment to realize what it was, because she'd only seen that look once before.

She looked guilty.

For a split second, Sara's brain tried to convince her that she could smell an unfamiliar perfume on her lover, but then quickly dismissed the thought as paranoia. When she finally found her voice, however, she couldn't keep the note of accusation from creeping into it. "Where were you tonight?"

Billie could feel Sara's grip on her hand getting tighter. She let out a soft sigh. "Out chasing my past, I guess," she replied cryptically. What could she possibly say that would make any sense? Her emotions were as much of a mystery to her as anybody else, and if she didn't understand her own actions, how could she explain them to Sara?

"Did you-" Sara stood up abruptly, releasing her lover's hand as she pinned the young woman with an angry stare. She felt a momentary sense of déjà vu, as though the two of them were right back where they'd started: Billie being deceitful, and Sara feeling betrayed. But, after everything that had happened in the last forty-eight hours, it almost felt worse than before. "Were you with someone?"

Billie looked up, returning Sara's hostile gaze. She could see the blonde was angry, even though she had no reason to be. And given what Billie had been put through tonight because of her, the last thing she was in the mood for was some jealous nonsense. But, instead of saying something to ease Sara's mind, she shot back, "I seem to recall that you gave me my walking papers earlier this evening." The blow took the lieutenant completely by surprise as it knocked her sideways, causing her to smack her head against the wooden railing.

"How the fuck could you do that?" Sara shouted at her.

Billie sat up and gave her head a quick shake to clear her jumbled senses. Upon regaining her focus, she was treated to a view of Sara's back as the young woman retreated down the stairs. Her exhaustion was now completely forgotten as she rode the adrenaline boost she'd just been given, and the brunette quickly got to her feet as she called out, "Where the hell do you think you're going?"

Sara spun around to offer an angry retort, but the air was driven from her lungs as Billie's body slammed into her and they landed in a heap on the sand. The blonde swung a fist wildly, which Billie dogged before maneuvering Sara onto her stomach.

"Stay still." The lieutenant jammed her knee into the small of Sara's back as she held the young woman's arms out behind her, pressing her wrists down onto the top of her thigh. She deftly removed a pair of handcuffs from her pocket and snapped them on within seconds. The blonde continued to struggle, despite Billie's continuing admonishments, and the brunette finally turned her over.

"Get the fuck off me!" Sara raged as she twisted her body, trying to dislodge the young woman now straddling her hips.

"Calm down!" Billie ordered. She noticed a spot of blood seeping through the bandage on Sara's forehead and cursed softly. "What the hell is the matter with you?"

Sara settled down a bit, closing her eyes, briefly, before opening them again and pinning Billie with an impatient glare. "Would you get off of me?"

"If you promise to calm down."

The blonde took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. "I promise," she replied through gritted teeth. Billie lifted her leg, and dropped to the sand beside Sara, who sat up too quickly, and immediately regretted it.

Billie reached out and caught Sara by the shoulders as she began to pitch back toward the ground. She slowly sat her up, keeping an arm around the young woman to support her. "Are you alright?"

Sara nodded. "Just a little dizzy. I guess I'm not in fighting shape yet."

"I don't know about that."

Sara looked at the lieutenant's face, seeing the beginning of an angry bruise on her right cheek. She sighed, dropping her gaze to the ground. "Sorry about that."

"I'm kind of getting used to it," Billie smirked.

The blonde looked up, the promise of a smile on her lips. "Me too," she remarked, indicating the handcuffs still fastened to her wrists.

Billie got to her knees and fished a key from her jeans. She moved behind the blond and released her with a flick of her wrist, slipping the cuffs off and returning them to her pocket. She sat back on her heels and ran a hand through her hair as she said softly, "Nothing happened." She watched Sara rub at her wrists, slowly getting to her knees as she turned to face her. "I stopped things before they went too far."

"Why'd you do it in the first place?" Sara questioned.

"I don't know," the brunette answered honestly. "Maybe I felt things closing in on me, too." She shook her head in a gesture of impatience. "Everything has gotten so fucked up, Sara. And after what you pulled tonight? You're only making all of this harder for me, you know that?"

Sara finally managed a smile. "Isn't that part of my charm?"


"And at least you're never bored, right?"

Billie couldn't help but laugh. "Right."

"So," Sara mused as she inched toward the brunette on her knees, reaching over to run a hand along Billie's thigh. "You want me to. what? Change my ways? Be an upstanding citizen? Become the kind of woman you want?"

Billie's expression looked almost desperate as she locked eyes with the blonde, feeling the familiar pang of want as those smoldering blue eyes drew her in, and turned her inside out. Her voice was barely audible over the sound of crashing waves. "You are the woman I want."

Sara lifted her hand up and tucked a lock of hair behind Billie's ear, sliding her fingers down to the back of her lover's neck as she leaned in close and placed a soft kiss on her bruised cheek. The blonde's lips hovered there for a single, breathless moment as she whispered, "Then show me."

"Mornin' guys." Van looked over at his boss as she breezed by, his arms still holding the basketball aloft while his partner stood nearby. He glanced over at Deaq with a look of curiosity, and the man could only shrug his shoulders in response. "Hey, sir."

Deaq walked off the court and followed Billie into her office, leaving Van alone as he tossed the ball straight into the hoop.

"Oh, man. Now that was a thing of beauty." He watched the ball bounce away and turned to catch up with his partner.

Deaq took a seat across from the lieutenant and said, "Don't you mean `good afternoon'?"

Billie glanced at her watch. "Huh.Yeah, I guess I do." She turned her attention to her computer and began to type. "So, what's going on?"

Van strolled in and perched himself on the corner of Billie's desk. "That's what we'd like to know."

The brunette tore her gaze away from the screen and looked between them. "What?"

"You took off from the hospital over six hours ago," Deaq commented. "Care to share?"

"No, I don't," she replied dismissively. "And I also don't need the two of you checking up on me, either."

"Come on, Billie," Van piped up. "She knocked out a cop and stole a car. You disappear for awhile and come back with a little swagger in your walk." He glanced over at his partner, casting him a sly grin. Deaq covertly touched his right cheek with the tip of his index finger. Van turned back to Billie. "Not to mention that little shiner you've got there." He pointed his finger at the barely concealed bruise on her cheek. "Now, why don't you tell us where you stashed her?"

The brunette eyed them coolly. "I didn't `stash' her anywhere."

"But, you know where she is, right?"

"Look, Deaq, Sara shouldn't have involved you in this." She regarded both men. "Either of you. This is my problem, okay? And I'll take care of it." She turned back to her computer, hoping they would get the message and leave.

Van moved to take the empty seat beside his partner. "You need help."

Billie sighed. "I do not need help."

"Dude," Van said to Deaq. "Don't you think she needs help?"

"I think this whole situation is getting' way outta hand," he replied, keeping his focus on their boss. It was obvious she was trying to ignore them.

"See? You need help."

"Guys!" Billie held her hand up. "I appreciate your concern, but don't you have a meeting this afternoon?"

Deaq nodded slowly. "Nothing we can't change, boss."

"Absolutely," Van agreed. "That's the great thing about bad guys, they'll always be there waiting for us."

"No," the lieutenant stated firmly. "We've been poking this guy with a stick long enough. I want to know who he's buying from, and I want to shut them down. If there's any chance you can get next to him, I want it done today." Her phone rang and Billie snatched it up, infinitely grateful to whomever was on the other end. "Chambers."

Deaq and Van exchanged a look as their boss talked on the phone. They knew better than to push too hard where Billie was concerned, but they were also worried about her recent behavior. When she got it in her mind to start playing maverick, it usually meant one thing.

"Trouble?" Van asked as she hung up the phone.

"I certainly hope so," she responded glibly as she got to her feet.

"What's up?" Deaq questioned.

Billie headed toward the door. "I called in a favor, and now I'm going to collect." She walked briskly down the stairs, slightly annoyed at the sound of additional footsteps hot on her trail.

"Hey, wait a second," Van called after her. "What about the meeting?"

She immediately halted her exit and turned around, causing both men to stop in their tracks. "I'll be back. Just find out what you can and we'll kick it around later." The brunette noted their expressions, but she didn't have time for this. Her boys would just have to take a back seat for the time being. "Look, if I need you, I'll call." She looked between them. "I promise. Okay?"

"Okay," Van answered begrudgingly.

"Billie," Deaq spoke up. "What are you up to?"

The lieutenant shot him a predatory grin. "I'm going to see a woman about a painting."

Felicia sat in her office rummaging through some documents as she balanced the phone between her chin and shoulder, waiting impatiently for the person on the other end who had already kept her holding entirely too long. There was a knock at the door and she called out irritably, "What is it?"

The warehouse foreman pushed the door open and stepped inside. "Um, Felicia, I need you out here.now."

She glared daggers at him as she grabbed a fistful of papers from atop her desk. "I am still trying to straighten out this mess, Don. I don't have time for any-"

"Maybe you'd better make some time, Mrs. Ralston," A familiar voice sounded as someone followed the foreman into the room.

Felicia felt her heart skip a beat. "Lieutenant Chambers." She rose from her chair, clearly unnerved by the young woman's arrival. "This is a surprise."

"I'm sure," Billie responded as she stepped aside and allowed another person to enter behind her. She had to resist the urge to smile as she saw the blonde visibly stiffen at the man's unexpected appearance. "Mrs. Ralston, this is Officer Walsh.with U.S. Customs."

The tall blonde dutifully extended a hand as she dropped the phone she'd been holding back into its cradle. "Well, you have impeccable timing."

The man's gaze was somewhat suspicious as he stepped forward and gave her hand a brief shake. "I'm here about some imported art works that arrived yesterday from Elliott Distributors."

Don shifted uncomfortably under the weight of his employer's stare. "This is about the shipment from Florence." He gave the woman a look of concern, which she completely ignored.

"I've been on the phone with my Custom's Broker in an attempt to straighten this out, Mr. Walsh. Unfortunately they have been less than helpful." She deliberately kept her gaze fixed on the officer, attempting to convey to Billie that she deemed her presence unimportant, although nothing could have been further from the truth. "We were unaware that the bonded warehouse released them prematurely, but when the forms were turned in to me, I noticed the proper signatures were missing." She grabbed some paperwork from her desk and handed them over to the inspector.

He scrutinized them carefully before looking up at the blonde again. "I'd like to see the items."

The blonde hesitated. "I'm afraid that's not possible. But, I'd be happy to provide you with the names and addresses of the galleries they went to-"

"You shipped them?" Walsh interrupted. "Even though you were aware that there was a problem?"

Felicia could feel Billie's eyes on her as she attempted to keep her composure. "This isn't the first time someone has forgotten to sign in the right place, Mr. Walsh."

"The bonded warehouse did not release this stuff, Mrs. Ralston," the man pointed out as he held the documents up to her. "The forms aren't signed because they haven't been cleared yet."

"As I said," The blonde's voice contained a hint of irritation. "I'll give you the information on the galleries they went to, but I think we can both agree that the likelihood of there being any problem is practically non-existent. I have no doubt that everything will have been cleared by Monday morning."

"So, that just leaves the question of what to do in the meantime?" Billie offered in her most reasonable tone. She crossed her arms and asked casually, "It's not like you were planning on selling them over the weekend, right Mrs. Ralston?"

The woman stared daggers at the lieutenant. "Several of my galleries have shows this weekend. Of course, there is always a chance that one of the paintings could-"

"I don't think so," Walsh replied.

"Excuse me?"

"I want every single one of these items shipped back here immediately."

Felicia stared at him. "You must be joking."

Walsh narrowed his eyes. "Do I look like I'm joking?" He lifted his finger and pointed it at her. "You are in direct violation of Section 592 of the Tariff Act of 1930. And not only are you looking at considerable civil penalties, but I'm also recommending a full investigation into your importing practices."

Felicia looked incensed. "I have a valid export permit from Italy, and my Custom's Broker assures me that this problem, while somewhat bothersome, is also relatively common." She pinned the shorter man with an angry look. "I have several buyers that have already expressed interest in some of those paintings. Your actions could damage my professional reputation."

"Contact the Director of Trade Relations if you're unhappy," he replied curtly. "In the meantime," Walsh turned his attention to Don. "I want to see where those items went."

The foreman glanced at his boss, who nodded briefly. "Sure. Just follow me." He passed by Billie and walked out the door with Officer Walsh close at his heels.

Felicia came around from behind her desk and walked over to the door, closing it gently as she turned to face the lieutenant. "This was your doing," she replied calmly.

"Actually, it was yours," Billie noted. "I'm just here performing my duties as a civil servant."

"Are you enjoying yourself, Lieutenant?"

The brunette could swear she saw the beginning of a smile forming on the other woman's face. "No.I'm really not. In fact, I'd say this whole situation is becoming less and less enjoyable by the minute."

"I understand Sara Matthews has disappeared." Felicia held Billie's gaze. "That certainly doesn't bode well for your case."

Billie strolled over to the desk and turned around, leaning against it as she folded her arms across her chest. "I think you should be more worried about your own troubles, right now, Felicia."

"Always concerned with my well being, aren't you.Billie?" the woman's lips turned up in a tight smile. "You don't mind if I call you Billie, do you?"

The brunette shook her head. "Considering the fact that we're fucking around with each other, I think it's completely appropriate to be on a first name basis."

Felicia chuckled, softly. "You certainly do have a way with words." She pressed her long frame against the back of the door, unconsciously mirroring the brunette's pose. "So, what now?" she sighed. "More verbal sparring? Or perhaps we could compare notes on how we both got involved with the wrong women."

Billie momentarily toyed with the idea of marching over there and knocking the taller woman flat on her ass, but she shoved that thought aside quickly. Despite the pleasure it would give her to do so, it wasn't going to solve her problem.

Unfortunately, she knew that Walsh wasn't going to do much either, except maybe piss Felicia off.and cost her a few dollars. And although she would have liked to do more, Billie had to admit that it felt good to at least see the woman thrown off balance for a few moments. For the time being, if she couldn't prove that Felicia was responsible for Sara's attack, she could still learn to enjoy the whole immediate gratification thing.

"Brooding?" Felicia queried, interrupting the lieutenant's musings. "That doesn't seem like you."

"And you know me so well, do you?"

The blonde considered the question. "I know a few things. Enough to know that we're very much alike, in some ways."

"Enlighten me," Billie challenged.

Felicia gave some careful thought before responding. By rights she should have been completely furious with the woman, given what she'd done, but in truth she found her admiration for the young lieutenant growing with each passing moment. It had been quite awhile since anyone had been able to get under her considerably thick skin, and admittedly, Billie Chambers had become quite the expert at it, in a very short period of time. For that reason alone, the young woman deserved a second look.

A lingering sense of excitement always had Felicia wishing their encounters lasted a bit longer. She could readily admit that there was something about the young cop that lit a fire within her, and it was far removed from the attraction she had initially felt for Jill.

There were definitely some similarities there, given that both women had a dangerous air about them. But, where Jill seemed angry at the world, interested only in what she could get out of it, Billie appeared to be completely at ease, confident in her abilities, and impassioned in her efforts to do good.

Of course, there was a great deal of turmoil lurking underneath that cool veneer, and shades of darkness, as well. The lieutenant hadn't walked an easy path to get where she was, and that was one of the things that made her so intriguing.

Felicia had always been drawn to people who walked the razor's edge, probably because she had a similar compulsion. Jill Kistler was one of those people. She chose to live her life outside the laws that governed most of those around her. If she wanted something, she took it, and to hell with anyone who got in her way. It was that ruthless streak that had first attracted the wealthy widow to her.

Since her arrest, however, it seemed as though everything had changed. Of course, Jill had been angry at first, fixating on the reason behind her downfall. And that thirst for revenge had been like a breath of fresh air to Felicia. It gave Jill her edge, once again, and the blonde was only too happy to stoke the fire that was burning within her.

But after walking in on Billie and Jill at the police station, something was different. Jill seemed distant, as though she were slowly becoming resigned to her fate. There was no more talk of revenge. In fact, there was no more talk of anything. Felicia had certainly thought Jill would broach the subject of Sara's attack, knowing full well she'd had something to do with it, but the young woman still hadn't even brought it up. Not once. And Felicia was becoming concerned with her increasingly passive behavior.

She knew that Jill had no intention of staying in L.A., despite Felicia's attempts to ensure her acquittal for the shooting, and at this point, she wasn't even sure she cared anymore. The heat and excitement that had made their affair so passionate from the start had been steadily declining over the last couple of days.

But now, she had stumbled upon something that was infinitely more alluring. And like the proverbial apple, the fact that Billie Chambers seemed wholly unattainable only made Felicia want her all the more.

It was one of the reasons why she enjoyed being at odds with the young woman. The attack on Sara Matthews, although a calculated move she'd made on Jill's behalf, had been an opportunity to see just how far she could push Billie. Knowing more of the young woman's past only added to her growing sense of excitement, their increasingly heated exchanges serving to give Felicia what Jill no longer could. Seeing that potent mix of danger and passion raging behind those ice blue eyes, she realized that perhaps she had pushed the brunette a bit more than she had intended. And now, to her complete delight, the brash young lieutenant was pushing back.

"Well, we're both strong-willed, intelligent." She pushed off from the door and took a step toward the brunette as she continued her assessment. "Wealthy."

Billie raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.

"Fearless." Another step.

The brunette shifted slightly, the sound of creaking leather punctuating the relative quiet.

"Beautiful." Felicia was now standing directly in front of Billie, her stance slightly open as she positioned her legs on either side of the brunette's, which were stretched out before her and crossed at the ankle.

Cool blue met dark brown as the blonde slowly leaned down and placed the tip of her finger under Billie's chin, tilting the young woman's head up as she moved in to capture that enticing mouth.

"Felicia." Billie could feel the woman's breath against her lips.

"Yes, Billie?" The woman's eyes were closed.

"You know what else we have in common?"

Felicia merely shook her head in response. A hand wrapped around the blonde's wrist and pulled her arm down as she opened her eyes, giving Billie her full attention.

"We both often want things we can't have."

As the lieutenant's words sank in, Felicia straightened up, her frosty demeanor sliding immediately into place as she fixed the young brunette with a steely gaze. "You think quite highly of yourself."

Billie tilted her head, slightly. "Funny, I was just thinking the same thing about you."

"I think it's time for you to leave, Lieutenant."

"And here I thought we were on a first name basis." Billie got to her feet, her stance giving the taller woman an unspoken warning and the blonde took a step back, allowing her to pass. As she grasped the doorknob, the lieutenant turned back and said, "You know I'll find out the truth about Sara's attack. And when I do, there won't be enough lawyers in the world to save you from me." With a quick tug, she pulled the door open and left the room, leaving the statuesque blonde to ponder her threatening words.

A knowing smile crossed Felicia's pale features. "Spoken like a woman in love."

Part 13

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