DISCLAIMER: I do not own the characters of Wilhemina Chambers of Sara Matthews; they are the property of FOX television. This story may contain graphic depictions of sexual acts; please use disrection.
SPOILERS: Strap-on.

Different Ends of the Law
By Stacia Braver

Part 5

"Okay, let's get this started," Billie said, in full cop mode. "Get some things packed. I'll help you."

"Alright," Sara said, then headed to her closet to retrieve a duffel bag.

As Billie looked through Sara's dresser drawers, her mind was racing. Just a few hours ago, she was on her way to Sara's house, wary of the response she'd get from her. Now, she was here, they'd made up, they'd made love, and expressed their love for each other, verbally. Now, she was helping her pack, and helping her hide out. Billie was terrified for Sara's well being; Lt. Matt Kistler was nearly as bad as you could get. Billie was not only a cop, but she was human as well, and a woman, with with emotions. She had built up this persona among her colleagues as being professional, and well, she was often perceived as being a bitch. That never bothered Billie, because it seemed to get things done. But, here she was, NOT being very professional, putting her career on the line, as well as the Candy Store, and falling in love with a woman she had to arrest just a month ago. Sure, the DA let Sara walk because of Billie's ability to coax Sara into accepting a deal, but that didnt change what Sara had been a part of. But, most of all, Billie thought of how she would give anything to remain by Sara's side, and protect her; but, she couldn't. She had to leave that in the boy's hands. Not that she didn't trust their ability, but she felt in her heart that Sara was HER responsibility.

"Okay, that's all I need," Sara said returning to the room. Billie was so deep in thought that she didn't even notice she had left the room. "Gotta have these," Sara said holding up her toothbrush and a hair brush. "So, do you know where we're going yet?"

"Uh...yeah, I actually do," Billie said matter-of-factly. "Is that it? Is this all you'll need?"

"Yup, that'll do me," Sara answered.

"Okay, turn off all your lights, and let's hit it," Billie said. She picked up the dark gray duffel back, and headed towards the door, Sara right behind her. "Stay inside until I pull up and flash my lights," ordered Billie.


Billie went outside with the duffel bag, and began to walk towards the large concrete slab between the houses where she parked the 'Vette. She kept her eyes and ears open, looking for anyone walking, or any cars on the quiet street; there was no one around. She chirped the alarm, and hopped in the maroon car, throwing the duffel bag behind her seat, it barely fit in the two-seater. She turned the ignition on, and backed out, then pulled into Sara's driveway, and flashing the lights on the Corvette. Sara walked out the door, and turned around to lock it. "SHIT!" whispered Sara, aggravated. When she turned around, she had been met by Billie. "God damn it, Billie!"

"I'm sorry!" Billie said. "I know you're jumpy right now...I shouldn't have snuck up on you. Come on. Let's go."

"I swear to God Billie, if Kistler doesn't kill me, YOU will!"

Billie smiled as she accompanied Sara to her car, and opened the door for her. "Ready?" she asked.

"Yeah, let's do this. Where are we going, anyway?"

"Well, I'm putting you up in the Four Seasons...downtown."

"Um....are you for real?"

"As serious as the heart condition I just gave you," chuckled Billie.

"Wow, cool," Sara said bobbing her head.

Billie got on the Intersate, taking the fastest route back to Los Angeles. "Hey..." she said placing her hand on Sara's thigh, caressing it, "I'll take care of Kistler, okay? I just want you to relax and hang out. Everything will work out," she ended with reassuring glance at Sara.

"Yeah..." Sara said plainly. "But...I just want you to know, just in case--"

"There are NO 'just in cases,'" Billie interrupted.

"Listen to me, please," Sara pleaded as Billie sighed. "Okay, well, without saying 'just in case,' I just want you to know that I love you, Billie."

"Well, you just SAID 'just in case!'" roared Billie.

"Oh...." said Sara grimacing, "I guess I did."

Billie laughed. "You are so silly! But...seriously, Sara...I love you too. Very, very much." She pulled Sara's hand to her mouth and kissed it. A little while later, they reached the Four Seasons Hotel, and Billie parked on the side of the immense hotel, where it was darker. "Okay, let's go get you a room."

"Alrighty," Sara responded. Billie got out, lifted her seat forward to get the duffel bag, and walked to Sara's side to open the door for her. They walked around the corner to the hotel, Billie's arm firmly around Sara's waist, looking around. She caught a glance at Sara eyeing her.

"What?" Billie said jerking her neck back.

"Well...you just look so serious!" Sara said, nestled in Billie's one-armed embrace.

"I can't help it. Do you not think this is serious?"

"Fuck yeah, of course I do, uh--HELLO! But it's just---you're making me nervous, ya know? I mean, here I am trying my best to remain calm, then I look at you, and you just have this---this FACE."

"Well, I don't know what to tell you on that one," Billie said, opening the front door and nudging Sara inside with her hand. She looked behind them, then in front. The hotel lobby was pretty empty, but then again, it was getting late. Billie looked at her Rolex; it was 12:39 a.m. She rested her hand across the small of Sara's back, guiding her to the immense front desk.

"Hello, may I help you?" said pretty girl in a dark blue uniform standing behind the counter.

"Uh, yeah...we're gonna need a room. Do you have any available?"

"We sure do, ma'am, several. How many beds would you like?"

"Um...one is fine," Billie answered, as the girl gave her a smug look.

"Okay, smoking or non?"

"Definitely smoking," Sara answered for Billie. The girl's eyes moved from Sara's to Billie's seeking approval.

"That's fine," Billie finally said.

"Okay, and, you'll need the room for how long?"

Billie thought for a moment. "Um...we're actually here for a medical convention, and we don't go back home until the 22nd. I'll need it until then," she said reaching into her purse for her wallet.

Sara looked at her watch, more particularly, at the date, it was only the 10th. She rolled her eyes and sighed. Billie shot her a look.

"We'll be happy to accomodate you," said the girl, accepting Billie's credit card. "Oh, I'm sorry, may I see your I.D. as well?" she asked politely.

"Uh....yeah," Billie said fumbling though her wallet. She found a plastic card, and handed it to the girl.

"Thank you. I'll be right back," the girl said, proceeding to one of the Macs on the desk.

"Twelve fucking days?" Sara said under her breath. "I have to stay here for twelve fucking days?!"

"Shhh! Look, you may have to stay even longer, okay? Sara, you have to stop being so stubborn. Don't you know I'm trying to help you here?!" Billie said through clinched teeth. The girl behind the counter looked back at them, curiously. Billie and Sara turned to her and smiled quickly in unison. Billie turned back to Sara, "please, just trust me. This is to protect you...you're not always gonna be doing things that you like, okay?"

"Okay, okay. But...let me ask you something...why the 22nd?"

Billie smirked, "it's my lucky number," Billie answered in her deep, sexy voice.

Sara rolled her eyes again. "Oh my God."

"Okay, you'll all set, Dr. Simon. Here's the card to your room, number 710. We hope you enjoy your stay with us. Oh, and here's your credit card and driver's license."

"Thank you very much," Billie said sliding the cards back across the counter, taking them.

"Let me see those!" Sara said, snatching the cards out of Billie's hand as the walked to the elevator. "Colorado State Driver's License? Dr. April Simon?!" She focused on the credit card now, "oh, and an American Express owned by...well look at that...Dr. April Simon. How the hell---?"

"Hey, we need this kinda stuff sometimes for the police work I do, okay? I don't work in your standard police unit!" Billie said, pressing the "seven" button in the elevator.

"Holy shit," was all Sara could muster. They proceeded down the hallway with cream colored walls and tan carpet.

"Don't look so shocked," said Billie as she swiped the card to open the door to the room.

They walked inside and Sara gasped at the view. "This is awesome! She said, her nose to the huge window, admiring the flickering lights of downtown Los Angeles. "Okay...maybe I could stay longer than twelve days."

"Okay, Sara," Billie said putting the duffel bag beside the queen sized bed. "I want to go over a few things with you, okay?"

"Yeah," Sara said moving over to Billie, standing directly in front of her.

"Okay," Billie said, admring Sara, her voice nearly breaking down. She cleared her throat; she had to get back into cop mode. "do not answer your phone, let voicemail get it, and then get your messages. Just as a precaution. I know the room is in a phony name, but you wouldn't believe how resourceful people can be." She looked at Sara, remembering her criminal past, "well, of COURSE you know that!" She said as Sara joined her in a quick laugh. "I will call you and leave you a message, and the moment you get my message, hit me back."

"Gotcha. Anything else?" Sara inquired.

"Yeah. Do NOT leave the hotel for any reason." Billie looked around. "Um...I think that's it."

"Awww, man!" Sara said, sounding like a child who had just been grounded. She looked at Billie, who was not amused. "That's it? That's all you have to say to me?" Sara said with disappointment in her voice.

"Noooo," Billie said taking Sara by the waist, pulling her closer, "I love you," she said smiling.

"That's what I'm talkin' about!" Sara squealed.

"Okay, I'll be in touch...soon." Billie sighed sharply, and the women shared one more kiss before they would end their day and night together.

"I love you, April," quipped Sara.

"Ha ha, very funny," Billie said, eyebrow raised. "Okay, wait to hear from me. And, be good," she cautioned.

"Oh yeah, that's me, the queen of good!" She hugged Billie, meshing their bodies into one. "Bye."

"See ya later," Billie said as she exited the room.

"Yeah....okay..." Sara said looking at the door as she closed it behind Billie. She didn't want to show it too much to Billie, but she was scared to death. She didn't think Billie had any idea of Matt Kistler's history, but she knew she'd find out. She hated the idea of staying at the hotel, as nice as it was. She wanted her life back, things had been going so well for her. She still beat herself up for her betrayal of Jill; Jill had been a friend for many years, and always looked after Sara and protected her--well, until she totally bailed when Van and Deaq showed up to protect Billie from her. But, she knew that Jill had to do what she had to do. Jill always said that she'd never go to prison, and Sara was actually happy when she thought Jill had eluded the cops that day. She rubbed her injured arm gently, then searched her bag for her pain medication. She opened the bottle, shook two pills into her hand, and went to the kitchenette to find a glass for water. She swallowed the pills, and finished the rest of the water. Exhausted, she looked at the clock--it was 1:30 a.m. She dragged her thin frame to the bed, and collapsed onto it, jiggling with the bed a little until the mattress settled. Her lids closed over her baby blues. "I have to call Milton in the morning and tell him I won't be back to work for a while," she sighed. Not soon after saying that to herself, sleep came over her.

Billie arrived at the Candy Store, completely exhausted, and tired as hell from driving. She walked in, feeling haggard, and to her amazement, Van and Deaq were both there. Deaq was in her office clicking away intently on the computer, and Van was tuning up the Aston Martin. "Hellooooo," Billie said, getting their attention.

"Hey, Billie," Deaq said from her office.

"Hiya," Billie said. She was passing Van on her way to her office to see what Deaq was doing. "Hey, Van, how are ya?"

"Billie," Van said very flatly, not even making eye contact.

Billie stopped right there, and focused on Van. "So...that's your way of saying hello to me now?"

"Yup," Van said in the same tone.

"Ay, Billie, can I talk to you? Now?" Deaq interrupted. He could feel the tension all the way from the office.

Billie gave Deaq a quick nod, "Just a sec." She turned back to Van. "Van, do you have a problem?"

Van finally looked at her, holding a greasy wrench in his right hand. "Yeah," he scoffed.

"Well?" said Billie expectantly, her ice blue eyes open wide, arms folded.

"Shit," Deaq said under his breath. He got up from the desk, and joined the two on the floor.

Van crossed his arms, looking squarely at Billie. "Deaq told me everything, Lieutenant," he said brazenly. "He told me how you're going against direct violation of "Police Code 9254--Contact with Persons of Closed Case Files." What the hell is that about, Billie?"

Billie bit her tongue, but she was too stubborn to let a subordinate question her like that. "Van, I'm very shocked that you even KNOW the code number, your mother would be proud," she said with a steely glare.

"Fuck you, Billie," Van said walking away, angrily throwing the wrench on the cement floor.

"Van! Chill out, man," Deaq pleaded.

"Excuse me?" said Billie, offended and surprised.

Van had had enough. He turned back around, and walked back towards Billie. "Look, I don't know about you, but I'll be damned if a stupid-ass mistake that YOU made gets ME killed, or gets US closed down! You know as well as anyone that we are NOT the cream of the crop here, Billie! We're the 'outcasts' of the L.A.P.D. Do you know how many of them would love to see our asses out on the street? And, for what? For some skirt that you HAD to check up on how she's doing?! Come on, Billie, what the hell were you thinking? And, who the fuck told you were Matthews was, anyway?"

Billie moved to Van, pointing a finger at him. "Look, Van, we are COPS. That means that our first priority is to protect people! Had I not found Sara and went to her, we may never have known that she was in danger! What, are you afraid of going up against Kistler? You're turning into a pussy on me now?!"

"No! Fuck that, I'm a cop, okay, I'm not afraid of Kistler's punk ass. I'm saying YOU broke the rules. When you had NO reason at all to see Sara. Now, she knows about Kistler possibly coming after her. How the hell can D and I get protection for her without saying HOW we know she may need protection?! What--tell them that we 'had a fucking preminition?!' None of US can protect her without her case being opened again, 'cause that'd have to be handled by cop outside the Candy Store--but, what shit story to we give to THEM? You handled this all wrong, Billie. Ya know? I mean, did you even think about D and I for one second? I mean, what about us?!"

"You know, what, Van, go get your fucking bottle from the fridge, and have Deaq feed you. I am so tired of your bullshit! I'm so, SO very tired of your fucking bitching and moaning!"

Van got right into Billie's face, "that's because you know everything- -everything I just said is true. If we get shut down, it's your fault. I'll have nothing to do with this." He looked over at Deaq, "I'm outta here." Van stormed out, leaving both Billie and Deaq shocked.

Billie walked to the couch in a daze and plopped down. Deaq followed, and sat next to her. "God, what have I done? What am I doing?" Billie said, her voice strained. She could be strong no longer; she broke down in tears, holding her face in her hands.

Deaq looked around uncomfortably. He had never seen Billie cry. He had deep respect for Billie, he admired her strength, and her skill as a cop. He had never seen this vulnerable side to her, and it gave him a new respect for her. He felt that he could talk to her now as friend, and not just an employee. He draped his arm around her shoulder, and to his surprise, Billie rested her head against his broad shoulder, still sobbing. "Ay, ay...now, you know that Van is a high-strung dude. He's just worried about our operation, that's all."

Billie regained a little of herself, and lifted her head up to look Deaq in the eyes, wiping her own. "He WAS right, Deaq. We can't go about this without it getting out that I broke the rules here. But, what pisses me off is that this shit happens all the time! I mean, the Resolved Cases Department is ALWAYS doing this shit--always giving out info to cops."

"But, you know with us, it's different, cause we're the black sheep of the L.A.P.D.," Deaq countered. "They're always looking for anything to shut us the hell down." He shook his head, "you know, it never seems to be enough here in the Candy Store. Whatever we do here never seems to be enough. They always nitpickin'--'this was wrong,' 'you shoulda done this instead,'--it really wears on me, man," he said, shaking his head.

"I know. But, I guess we wouldn't be here if someone didn't believe in us," Billie said, trying to encourage both of them. "So....did you find out anything on Kistler? Connections he may have here in the city?" she asked, sniffling.

"No, no, not yet. But, you right about this dude, Billie. He ain't no joke." He paused for a moment. "So, where IS Sara? Did you find a safe place for her?"

"Huh, yeah. She's at the Four Seasons--indefinitely."

"For the real? Damn, you hooked her up?"

"Well, kinda...Dr. April Simon did."

"Whoa, shit!" Deaq said rolling in laughter. "Well, you gotta bring out the good Dr. sometimes, right?"

"Yeah," Billie said with a quick chuckle. "Sara thought that was pretty damn funny, too."

Deaq turned serious. He still had his arm around Billie, and he pulled her closer to him, clutching her shoulder with his hand, and shaking her reassuringly, "I'm here for you Billie, ai-ight? Everythang'll be okay. Looks like you're gonna be my secret partner in this since Van has made up his mind where HE stands. You have my word that I'll do whatever I can to protect your....friend," he said a little uneasily. "Ay, you need to get some sleep, okay? I'll hang out here with ya tonight, if you want."

"Thanks, Deaq," Billie said patting his hand, "but, you have a home to go to, and your own life. I'll be okay, really."

"You sure?"

"Yes, yes, I'm sure. Thank you. For everything. I won't forget it."

"Okay," he said rising from the couch, pulling his car keys from his pocket. "I'll see you--" he looked at his watch "damn, later today!"

"Okay," said Billie, half-smiling. After Deaq left, Billie stretched out on the couch, and let out a huge groan. Everything that Van said replayed in her head over and over. Even once she fell asleep, she dreamt of his words.

Part 6

"Mmmmm," Sara moaned, gliding her left hand across the bed. One eye opened, squinting. She thought she wasn't alone, but she was; Billie was no where to be found. Realizing that she'd been dreaming about Billie being there, both eyes opened, and she lay there in bed, staring at the ceiling. "This sucks," she said plainly. "I probably was dreaming about you because I can still smell you all over me." And, indeed she could; The scent of Billie's perfume lingered on Sara's tank top. "I gotta take a shower." She glanced over at the clock--it read 9:07 a.m. Sara felt like she had slept much longer than 8 hours, beacause she was very rested. She arose from the bed, stretching and grunting. She strolled over to her bag, searching for her cigarettes. "Ah, you and some coffee? The breakfast of champions!" She said, amusing herself. She walked to the kitchenette, and found the coffee, poured some water in the machine, and turned it on. There was a knock at the door, and it startled Sara. She stood there, frozen, not sure of what to do.

"Housekeeping," said the woman behind the door.

Sara sighed with relief, and went to the door, and put an eye up to the peephole. She opened the door and poked her head out. "Hi there," she said cheerfully.

"Yes, hello, ma'am," said an older woman, wearing a beige dress with white apron in the front. "Will you need me to clean your room today?" she asked, smiling.

Sara returned her warm smile, "no, but thank you. I uh..." she laughed, "I just got up."

"Oh! I see. Well, the 'Do not Disturb' sign would have helped us both out on that one, honey!" the maid said, laughing hysterically.

Sara looked at her as if to say, "it wasn't THAT funny," but woman's laugh was a contagious one, and Sara couldn't help but to laugh with her.

"Okay, honey, well you have a good day, and I'll visit you tomorrow-- unless that sign is up."

"Okay, I won't forget the sign, if I need it. Buh-bye," Sara said, closing the door. She shook her head and smiled, and headed back for her coffee, which had just about finished brewing. She retreived a white mug from the cabinet, and took two small packets of creamer, and artificial sweetener from a basket on the counter. The phone rang. Sara hurried over to it. "Hello?"

"Sara!" Billie yelled.

"Oops," was all Sara could say, slapping her forehead. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I know I wasn't supposed to answer that. It's just...I woke up this morning, and you weren't here, and I got sad, then I started some coffee, then the maid came and scared the hell outta me, then the phone rang, and I didn't think, so I'm sorry, please don't read me the riot act," she rambled, barely taking a breath.

Billie couldn't help but to laugh, "What?! Was that in English? Okay, I won't read you the riot act. Just...be more alert next time." There was a silence between them. "That's all I have to say," Billie said at last.

"Oh!" Sara said, relieved. "So...how are you, baby? I miss you sooo much."

"Awww, I miss you too. A lot."

"Yeah...I wish you could come see me," whined Sara.

"Babe, don't make this any harder than it already is. We both know it's something I just can't do, as much as I'd like to."

"Yeah," Sara sighed, "I know that. So...have you found anything out on Kistler yet?" she inquired.

"Hey...I don't want you to worry about him, okay? It's my job to see what's going on with him. I just...I just want you to hang out there and relax. Let me worry about Kistler."

"Fine," Sara said, slightly annoyed. "So, you really think I'll be safe here?"

"Yeah, I do. I wouldn't have put you there if I didn't, right?"

"I know, I know. This is just...I hate this shit, ya know? But, I trust you, and I'll do whatever you want me to do."

Billie's eyebrow picqued, "WHATEVER I want you to do?"

"Oh my God, don't do this shit to me NOW, Billie!" Sara groaned.

"Okay, okay," Billie said, laughing. "Okay, well, I was just checking in with you to see how you were. I'll call you later. In other words, I'll call you and leave you a MESSAGE which you will listen to, and call me back...right?"

"Uh...right! Well, have a good day, and...I guess I'll talk to you later. I love you."

"And, I love you," Billie gleamed. "Bye now."

"Ciao," she said, haning up. She went to the counter, and grabbed the coffee mug. On her way out to the patio, she grabbed her cigarettes and lighter from the table. Finally able to enjoy her "breakfast of champions," she stood outside, marveling at the view of downtown Los Angeles. It was a beautiful Autum day; in the 70's, a little bit muggy, with a slight breeze. "I wonder where you are, Billie," Sara said looking out onto the horizon.

Billie was still at the Candy Store that morning. As exhausted as she was, she didn't move one muscle after she fell asleep on the couch the night before. When she arose, she was there alone. She decided to release some tension courtesy of the boxing bag. Then, she took a long shower, and had her normal breakfast, a protein shake. She now was in her office, clicking away on the computer, wearing brown jeans and a tan, sleeveless turtleneck. Another thing she had done that morning was read Deaq's notes from his research on Kistler; Deaq had called the CPD, and they confirmed that Kistler was out of town. However, their reason was so that he could be with his ailing mother in Rhode Island. Billie knew it was just a fabrication- -he needed SOME reason to take a small leave of absence. She was busy looking through some files when Van walked in. He came in cautiously, alternating his glance between the floor and Billie. Billie looked over at him as he reached her office, and walked up the steps.

"Hey," he said.

"Hey," she said. There was a lump in Billie's throat; she wasn't used to apologizing. "Van...I...I'm really sorry...about last night. I really am," she said nearly forcing those words out, even thought she meant them.

"Hey," Van said, moving next to her, putting his hand on her shoulder, "I'm sorry too."

Billie looked up at him, "Sorry for what? You didn't do anything wrong. Ya know, I was so angry with you because you WERE right." She threw her hands up, then they slapped against her legs. "I mean, you know how I am."

Van chuckled, "Yeah, yeah, I sure do." He kneeled over Billie slightly to look at the computer screen. "So, what are you finding out about him?"

"Well," Billie groaned, "Not much, really. All we really know right now is that he's NOT in Chicago. I mean--Sara's friend said she saw him here in town, and Deaq verified with the CPD that he wasn't in Chicago right now..."

"So, what about this friend of Sara's? Is is someone she thinks she can trust?"

"Well, she didn't mention anything like that. She did say that this informant was Jill's ex. That's really all she said about her."

Van got on one knee to be eye-level with Billie. He looked uncomfortable, not really able to make eye contact with her. "Um...." he said, clearly nervous.


"I guess...I mean...why were you over there yesterday, boss? And, I mean, whatever reason you tell me-eh-er-you know, I won't freak out or anything."

Billie was amused at how nervous Van was. Then, suddenly, she became nervous as well. "Van, can we talk about this another time?" She said, shooting a look to the compter screen, then back at him. "I'm not blowing you off or anything, but I have a lot of stuff to do."

Van smiled, "Correction--WE have a lot of stuff to do."

Billie returned his smile.

"So, should we shake hands or hug, or somethin'?" Van asked, joking.

"Uh-no," Billie said quickly, then released a small giggle.

"Right, right. I knew that," he said, rising up from his knee.

"Van?" Billie said, her blue eyes meeting his, "I'll do everything in my power to make sure that this doesn't end up being a mess with our unit. I promise."

"I know you will. That's why you're the boss, right?"

Her eyebrows lowered, "Yeah. Yeah, that's right," she said with a quick nod. Right then, the computer beeped. "Oh, incoming," Billie said, interlocking her hands, focused on the screen. "I ran a search of anyone having dealings with Kistler, who are from Chicago, but now living in California."

"Damn!" Van said, hunching over to look at the screen, "It'll take all day to go through those. This dude has some serious friends." His eyes wandered across the names, "Oh...wait a minute...Zeke Walsh."

"You know of him?" Billie inquired.

"Yeah, I do. He has a rep of being a hit man. Notorious in Chi- town, and he's supposedly out here now." He looked at Billie, "He has ties to the Mafia."

Billie sighed, frustrated. "Look at all the bullet points by the names, Van. Half of these pricks are tied to the Mafia. And, a third of them are hits for hire. It just pisses me off--as well as blows me away--that there are so many fucking crooked cops and departments who let these people get away with the shit they do. Or that the GOOD cops can't catch their asses! I mean, don't you ever wonder why you do this, Van? I mean, God. Do we really even make a ounce of difference?"

"Billie, of course we do--and you know we do. Look, I don't like it any more than you do, okay? It sucks big time. As long as there are the lures of drugs, sex, money and power, you will ALWAYS have crooked cops. It's just the way it is. And, you know what? I'll take an ounce of making a difference over not making one at all any day of the week."

Too frustrated to even go on with this conversation, Billie angrily began writing down some names. "Here," she said, giving Van the piece of paper, "Let's start with them."

"You got it, Lieutenant," Van said, accepting the paper.

"Oh shit!" Sara said to herself on the patio. She quickly snuffed out her third cigarette, grabbed her empty mug, and ran inside to the phone. She paused. "Um...Billie didn't say anything about USING the phone," she said to herself, dailing.

"Greek Garden Supplies," said an older male voice on the other end of the line.

"Hello, Milty?"

"Sara! Sara, where are you? I was very worried!" he said.

"God, I am SO sorry, Milty. I know I was supposed to be there at 9 today."

"Yeah...you were. So, are you sick or something? It's that arm of yours, isn't it? Ya know, you should sue that 'friend' a yours for shooting you with that damn crossbow. A crossbow, for pete's sake! Who da heck owns a crossbow nowadays?!" he said, with a thick Greek accent.

"Milton! Don't go on the rampage, okay?" Sara said giggling. "My arm is fine. Hey, um...I...I won't be back to work...for a while, but I'm not sure how long."

"Hey, kiddo, is everything okay with you?"

"Uh...no. No, it's not. But, I can't tell you why, Milty. But, I'll be okay, ya know? I'm a survivor. Don't worry about me."

"I don't like how this sounds," he said, concerned. "Do you need some help? Do you need money or something?"

"No, no, I'm fine," she said, knowing she only had $8 with her. "Oh, today is payday, isn't it?"

"Yup, it's Friday, andI have your check right here. Is there somewhere you want me to send it?"

"Um, no, you don't have to do that."

"Listen, kiddo. I like you. You're like a daughter to me. Let me help you. It's settled, I'm sending your check to you, along with little...present, from me."

Sara smiled, "Milty, you are just the sweetest."

"Ay, I'll be going over to do some deliveries at my flower shop in about 15 minutes. Why don't I just run this over to ya?"

"Yeah, that'd be great," Sara beamed. I'm staying at the Four Seasons downtown."

"What?!" Milton said, letting out a robust laugh. "And, you're in TROUBLE?!" he said, still tickled.

Sara laughed with him, "Yes, it's strange, but true. So, hey, I'm in suite 710."

"Okay, sweetness. I will see you soon," Milton said in his gravelly voice.

"M'kay, see ya soon," Sara smiled, then hung up the phone.

Part 7

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