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At Derek Rayne's request, Javier arranged for a picture and fingerprints to be faxed to the Luna Foundation. Making the arrangements, conferring with the anthropologist, kept Javier's mind off his loss...off what he would tell his children. A fresh spasm of grief wrenched his heart, as he thought of his motherless little ones.
"They will survive it, Teniente. It will be difficult, but if they know that you love them, and that their mother's death isn't their fault, then they will survive it," a soft voice at his elbow said. Javier looked up to find Philip Callaghan at his side. The young priest smiled sadly and added, "My parents were killed in a plane crash when I was seven. It took me years t' accept that the accident wasn't my fault...that I didn't kill my parents."
Javier blanched...seven years old? And he blamed himself for his parents' death? Dios mio, what a heavy burden for such small shoulders! However, all he said was, "Thank you, Father Philip. Until now, it never occurred to me that they would blame themselves. Why did you?"
Now there was a matching sadness in the pale eyes, as the priest answered, "Because I pulled a prank a few hours before we...my parents, older brother, and I...left San Francisco for Dublin. It's hard to explain what I did, but it made Derek laugh. He told my mother about it...she was on the phone t' my grandmother. I remember, she started laughin' and told me that I would be the death of her yet. Just a few hours later, she was dead."
Javier caught his breath, not only at the story, but at the anguish in the young priest's voice and eyes. More than twenty years had passed, but the memory still pained the boy. He said gently, "It wasn't your fault. You were just a child, and a small child at that. Who raised you after the deaths of your parents? Derek? Your grandparents? Didn't they tell you that it wasn't your fault?" A mask dropped over the open young face, and Javier realized that he was being shut out. Which led him to another realization.
He was told by an adult that it was his fault, the police lieutenant thought, sickened. That seven year old boy was actually told that he was responsible for the deaths of his parents? What kind of monster does that to a little one? I swear in Cecilia's memory, I will never allow that to happen to one of our children...never!
It took Alex only a few phone calls to prove that the Darien Blume lying in a Mexico City morgue was a fraud. The first was to directory assistance, asking for a phone number for the Chicago police department. The second was to the CPD's main switchboard. The third put her in touch with Dr. Talia Ferguson. From Dr. Ferguson, she learned that Darien Blume had been found dead only hours earlier. The police officer had been murdered, his throat slit from ear to ear.
When Alex was finished with that set of phone calls, she sat back in her chair and said, "I was right. The man lying in the Mexico City morgue isn't Darien Blume...the real Blume is dead in Chicago. Has been for several days." Rachel paled and Alex continued, "Until I get those prints from Derek, I won't be able to figure out his actual identity. Let me know when the fax comes in...I need a break." Rachel nodded and Alex headed to her room.
But it took her only a few minutes to realize that she would find no relaxation here, so she went upstairs to Lissa's room. She flicked on the light, and the first thing she saw was Lissa's jeans and sweatshirt, still lying on the bed. Just the way Lissa had left them that morning. Tears filled Alex's eyes and she sat down on the bed, holding the garments. Be safe, Lis, she thought, please be safe!
After a moment, she put the clothes back on the bed, then walked to the wall. She smiled faintly at the montage of pictures, gently tracing the outline of the 'sisters victorious' picture with one finger. Oh, yes, she thought, still smiling as she carried the montage back to Lissa's bed, yes, I remember that day well!
Lissa had to work fast during the next few minutes. Arkady was still unconscious, but Lissa had no idea how long he would remain that way. She dragged him up the stairs to her former cell, across the room to the cot and lay him on the floor beside the cot. A soft voice from the doorway said, "The fence guarding the compound has been de-activated. Out front is my Jeep. The keys are in the ignition." Lissa looked around sharply and discovered Rafe behind her.
The young cop frowned thoughtfully, trying to decide if she could trust him on this. He tells the truth, little one, her grandfather murmured, your grandmother saw him de- activate the fence. She even kicked up some rock to test it. He does not lie to you. Lissa took heed of her grandfather's information and made a split second decision.
"Thank you, Rafe. Would you happen to know where I can find rope to bind him?" she asked and Rafe nodded, moving quickly and silently toward another room. Lissa shook her head, stunned by his quick movements and by his silence, and lifted Arkady onto the cot. Rafe returned within a few minutes with two satisfactory pieces of rope, and Lissa tied Arkady's wrists to one end of the cot, and his ankles to the other. It only took a few moments, but she was miserably aware of every passing second. Still, she felt it necessary.
"Go, Detective Rayne...more will be arriving shortly. Go now!" Rafe said. Lissa hesitated, then heard shouting. Damn, I have to move! Rafe continued, his tone growing urgent, "I will be all right. But go!" Lissa nodded, touching his shoulder, then raced from the room.
Even those few seconds cost her, however...a man blocked her way to the stairs. Lissa took care of him with a quick kick to the groin. While he was doubled over, she threw him head first into the wall. Lissa jumped over him and raced down the stairs as quickly as she could.
More men were coming and Lissa took a deep breath at the bottom of the stairs, winded by the exertion and frustrated with herself. Dammit, dammit, dammit! I should have left Arkady where he was, she thought as another man rushed her. She threw herself to one side, and a shot ran out. Instinctively, Lissa dropped to the ground, covering her head with her arms. But it was her assailant who dropped to the ground. Astonished, Lissa turned and saw Rafe at the top of the stairs. He held a machine gun in one hand and a pistol in the other. He shouted, "Go!"
Lissa wasted no more time...she headed out the door and down to the Jeep. As Rafe had promised, the keys were in the ignition and Lissa started it. Under normal circumstances, she would have never driven something like this...it was too damn big. But her life was at stake, and Lissa wasn't about to quibble. The engine started on the second attempt, and Lissa headed for the gate.
"Oh, damn," she muttered again. The gate was closed. Only one option, she thought, smash through it! Lissa shifted into third, and then fourth gear, then finally accelerated, hoping that her speed would be enough to get her through the gate without killing her. It was an open Jeep, which provided Lissa a miniumn of protection from flying debris. She pressed down on the accelerator, grimly determined...and cried out in surprise and relief when the gates swung open of their own volition.
"It helps to have two ghosts on your side," Lissa's grandfather remarked wryly as he materialized in the seat beside her. Lissa jumped, then composed herself, and Winston continued, "Actually, you have your grandmother to thank for that. I've been keeping an eye on Rafe. He'll be all right, little one. He hasn't had to use that machine gun once. Now, if you'll follow my directions, I can take you to a safe place...and a place your father knows as well."
Lissa nodded, breathing heavily, and replied, "You haven't steered me wrong yet. Thank Grandmother for me, if you wouldn't mind. I take it that she was protecting me when Arkady lunged for me earlier?" Her grandfather just smiled and Lissa continued, drawing more air into her lungs, "That's what I thought. All right, Grandfather, I'm all ears... which way do I go, where do I turn, and when?"
Beyond the veil, Anna could see her husband and granddaughter in the Jeep. A wistful smile touched her face. Winston looked as real and as solid as he had when they first met more than fifty years earlier, during the Nazi occupation of Holland. She had never told him that she had been attracted to him from the first time she saw him...his ego was huge as it was. She wouldn't make it worse.
Oh, goodie...Lissa escaped! I don't like Mr. Arkady, Anna. He's mean, Anna's companion said gleefully, clapping her hands. Anna smiled and Princess Senephra went on, her face growing thoughtful, Anna, do you remember back when Alex told Lissa about finding Philip, and how scared Alex was? Do you think Lissa meant it when she said she would have turned me over her knee if she had been there?
I have no doubt that she would have done just that, 'Nephra. And she just knows about what you did to that poor boy. Do you really want to know what she would do to you if she knew about what you did to Derek? Anna asked, trying to keep her face solemn. Senephra shuddered and shook her head. Anna continued, I don't want to know either.
Anna, I apologized to Philip in his dreams, and I made Derek forget. But I guess Lissa doesn't know about the apology. She's never talked with Philip about that. Anna, how come Philip can't marry? Our priests could, Senephra commented, cocking her head to one side. Anna looked at the child, startled by the question, and wondered if Winston had anything to do with this. Senephra made a face and replied, Of course not! He doesn't like me, and I don't like him.
I'm sorry, little one. Let me see if I can explain to you about celibacy, Anna replied, putting her arm around the child's shoulders. Senephra scooted closer, and for Anna, it was like holding Marina again. Yes, Senephra was older than Marina had been when Anna died, but that mattered little.
At her mother's request, Kat went to find Alex when a sheet of paper came in from Derek. The little girl found her friend upstairs in Lissa's room. Alex was holding a large picture in her hands as she sat on Lissa's bed. As Kat drew closer, she could see that it was actually several pictures.
"That's a nice picture of you and Lissa, Alex. Why are you smiling like that?" Kat asked as she crawled onto Lissa's bed. Alex gave a little jump, then turned to smile at Kat. The child smiled back, but her attention was on the picture.
"Well, when Lissa and I were in college together, we were almost like sisters. She was very, very special to me. One day, about six months before I graduated, we were in the Student Union Building, having lunch, and this really nasty man started giving me a hard time," Alex replied.
"How come?" Kat asked, unable to understand why anyone would want to give Alex a hard time. Her friend's eyes grew sad, and Kat was certain that she saw some anger there as well. However, despite her curiosity, despite her desire to know, Kat didn't ask any more questions.
"Because, baby doll, he didn't like the color of my skin. And he didn't like me talking to, or being friends, with someone who was a different color than I am. Some people are like that. Well, Lissa didn't like that one bit. She stood up and put her hands on her hips, and told him that he wasn't allowed to talk to me like that. He got angry with her, grabbed her shoulders and started to throw her into a wall, but I stopped him," Alex replied.
Kat's eyes went very, very wide, and she said, "He did? That's terrible! Philip told me about people like that. He said that some people don't know better, some people are really silly, and some people are just plain mean. So, what did you do when this man tried to hurt Lissa?"
"I grabbed him and told him if he didn't let go of Lissa...well, I told him that I would hurt him very, very badly," Alex replied, grinning. Her eyes were glittering now. She turned to Kat, asking, "So...did your mom send you up here?" Kat nodded and waved the paper in her hand. Alex took the paper and muttered, "It's about time!"
She slid off the bed and replaced the picture on the wall. Kat said, "Alex, what happened after you threatened to hurt him? Did you get into trouble?" Kat knew, from experience, that fighting in school wasn't allowed. Alex shook her head as she joined Kat in the doorway, and the little girl continued, "So what happened?"
"Well, two of his br...two of his friends told him that if he didn't release Lissa right then and there, they would help me hurt him really badly. He let Lissa go and we left the building. It was the first time anyone had ever stood up for me like that. I knew then that Lissa was more than just a roommate...she was my friend," Alex replied.
"I hope Lissa is okay," Kat said and Alex squeezed her hand as they walked out of Lissa's room. The little girl continued, "But Nick and Philip and Derek will make sure no one hurts her. Alex, why did that man take Lissa? Mom said she didn't really know why."
"Because it's like Philip said, baby doll...some people are really silly, some people don't know better, and some people are just plain mean. The man who took Lissa is just plain mean," Alex replied. They were approaching the library now, and Kat's friend said, "Listen, sweetheart, I have some work to do. Will you be all right?" Kat nodded and Alex smiled, kissing her cheek.
"Bye, Alex," Kat said and wandered out of the library. It didn't feel right without Philip there, anyhow. Kat thought about the hours she had spent with Philip in the library. She missed him so much while he was in Mexico, but at least he was with the Legacy all the time now.
After the necessary information had been sent to San Francisco, Javier went to find Derek again. He found the man in Sandy's room. Maeve sat beside him, her head resting on his shoulder. Javier experienced a moment of blinding pain, as he thought once more of Cecilia.
Not now, he thought, the best thing I can do for Cecilia right now is track down the man who hired her killer. Until I find Victor Arkady, I can't allow myself to think about her. That didn't stop him, however, from thinking about his conversation with Philip Callaghan earlier.
He said softly, "Who was it that told Father Philip that his parents' death was his fault, Dr. Rayne?" The question startled the older man, and Javier realized for the first time that the anthropologist had been on the verge of falling asleep. Javier repeated, "Who did that to him?"
"His maternal grandmother," Rayne said heavily. He gently eased the sleeping Maeve's head from his shoulder, then left the room, followed by Javier. Rayne continued, "Maeve was Nuala's only child, and from the moment Philip was born, he could do no right where Nuala was concerned. It was a difficult delivery, you see, and none of us were certain that either Maeve or Philip would survive. Nuala never forgave Philip for that, I'm afraid."
"Did Senora Callaghan know about her mother's attitude toward Father Philip?" Javier inquired, dropping his voice as they approached the two young men from the Luna Foundation. Rayne hesitated slightly, and Javier said, "She was aware, but tried to protect him as much as possible."
"Yes. She was very proud of both of her sons... Philip had an older brother, Michael...but Maeve was always very careful to mention only Philip's accomplishments, not his...pranks," Rayne answered, after searching for the proper word. Javier understood what he meant.
"But it wasn't enough, was it? So, when Senora Callaghan told Father Philip, laughingly, that he would be the death of her yet...her mother used it against him," the police lieutenant remarked and Rayne nodded, looking exhausted. Javier shook his head and muttered, "Dios! My men are contacting the Peruvian government...I need to see to my children. Will you...?"
"We'll be fine, Teniente. Go to your children. Reassure them that their mother's death isn't their fault, even if they did have an argument with her recently or didn't do exactly as they were told," Rayne answered with a tired smile. Escobar smiled at the older man gratefully, then strode from the hospital. There was much to do.
A chill zapped down Lissa's spine as she drove. It seemed to her that she had been here before, but Lissa knew that she had never been south of the California/Mexico line. She asked aloud, "But am I still south? We could have gone north, after Blume took me from the police station."
"You're in Peru, child...I should have thought of that earlier. I'm taking you to a place where you'll be safe, the last place Arkady would expect to find you. And, as I said, your father knows this place as well. At least, he should," her grandfather replied. He paused, then said, "And we're here. Take one of the torches and light it."
Lissa regarded her sanctuary dubiously. It was an old mine, which looked like it had been abandoned for years. However, her grandfather hadn't let her down yet. She turned off the ignition and slipped the keys inside her pocket. Lissa found a torch and lit it, then made her way inside.
As soon as she crossed the threshold, as soon as she entered the cave, the Vision hit and Lissa gasped. It was like a repeat of seeing her aunt Alicia die so many years earlier, but it was even stronger. Lissa saw her grandfather, kneeling on the floor in front of a sepulchre. But she wasn't in her own body. That was the strange part.
Lissa's Vision self ran forward, but was knocked across the cave when she tried to stop her grandfather from opening the sepulchre, landing with a thud. For the first time, Lissa heard her voice, but it wasn't her own. It seemed to belong to a young boy...perhaps Maeve's age.
Her grandfather approached now, holding out his hand to her...'take my hand. Let's get out of here.' A demon rose up behind him and grasped his shoulders, throwing him backward. Lissa jumped to her feet with a cry, and ran to the sepulchre. She turned the key and the demon was sucked back into the box. Lissa ran to the badly injured Winston Rayne, who gasped, 'Derek. I'm so sorry.'
The boy replied, 'I can get you out of here.' Tears streamed down his face, as his father pulled the Legacy ring from his finger, the ring which all precepts wore, with the words...'the burden is yours now.' With a sigh, Winston's eyes rolled up in his head and he died...leaving fifteen year old Derek Rayne an orphan in this cold Peruvian cave.
Lissa was returned to her own body. She was on her knees, shaking. Winston stared at her sadly and Lissa whispered, "Oh, Derek...oh, God, how could you have done that to him? He was fifteen years old, Grandfather, he was just a boy!" Lissa's voice cracked, and she buried her face in her hands. She had felt her father's pain, his grief at losing his father. She had felt it all!
"I told you, little one...there is much I did wrong as a father. One of the worst things I did to your father was to bring him here. To this place of death. But it won't be a place of death for you, Elizabeth...this will be your sanctuary from evil," Winston replied. Lissa merely stared at him, still rocking herself back and forth.
"He was only fifteen," she repeated, shivering. Not even her experience as a five year old seeing her aunt's death had been this intense. It was more than a little frightening...the guilt, the shame, the resentment.
"I should have warned you, child...given the connection forged when you touched Derek's hand so long ago, I should have realized that you would experience what he did. Please, rest now. You'll be safe here, and there's nothing else to do, but rest," Winston answered. Still glaring at her grandfather, Lissa sat down and closed her eyes.
Using the Luna Foundation's uplink to the FBI records, Alex ran the bogus Darien Blume's fingerprints through the computer. As she worked, she explained her encounter with the bigot years earlier to Rachel. The older woman asked, smiling faintly, "So, what did you threaten him with? What would you have done if he hadn't released Lissa?"
"Castrated the s.o.b. with a kitchen knife...and don't think I wouldn't have done it, Rachel. I've been dealing with bigots my entire life, but he made a big mistake in attacking Lissa. A really big mistake!" Alex replied. She recalled the warmth she had felt when Lissa defended her.
"I don't doubt that you would have done it, Alex. But I do doubt that you told Kat what you would have done to that man, if he had hurt Lissa," Rachel answered, her brown eyes twinkling with laughter. Alex paused from her work just long enough to smile and shake her head.
"No...no, I just told Kat that I threatened to hurt the moron really, really badly. Didn't particularly feel like explaining castration to her, especially since she's only eight years old," the younger woman replied. She returned her attention to the computer and grinned, exclaiming, "Paydirt! Did Derek leave a number?"
"He said that he could be reached via the cell phone. Good God, the man had a record as long as...whew!" Rachel exclaimed, shaking her head. Alex smiled grimly as she reached for the secure Legacy phone. Oh, yes, she thought, Derek will be very interested in finding out Mr. Darien Blume's real name...as well as his actual background!
During the last few hours, Derek had kept himself busy in any way he could, to keep from worrying about Lissa. He tried to avoid even thinking her name, to avoid the spasm of pain that always wrenched his heart. But it was no use... there was no way he could not think of her.
Philip had been in and out of Sandy's hospital room, at Maeve's request. It seemed that he was most able to comfort the teenager, and Derek understood that. Philip wasn't just a member of the Legacy, not just a friend of Maeve's sister, he was also Maeve's parish priest. And aside from her sister, that was whom she needed most now.
The younger man was now leaving Sandy's hospital room and he said wearily to Derek's unspoken question, "She's doin' all right...both of them. Sandy blames herself for not protectin' Lissa, Maeve tells her that it's not her fault. Sandy insists that there was somethin' she could have done t' stop Blume. I just don't have the energy t' argue with her any more. The doctor is sedatin' her."
"Are you all right, Philip? I know you're worried for Lissa, but I think something else is on your mind. Is it Alex?" Derek asked and his godson shook his head with a deep sigh. He looked incredibly tired.
"No, nothin' t' do wi' the current situation. I just keep thinkin' about what you told us in the helicopter... about your father's reaction when I was born. Derek, why do you s'pose he was upset when Mum asked you t' be my godfather, rather than him?" Philip asked.
The question startled Derek, who replied, "I don't know, Philip. I've wondered that a thousand times myself. And are you sure that's the only thing which is weighing on your mind? I've known you since you were a few minutes old, Philip, I know when something is troubling you."
Philip gave a harsh little laugh and replied, "Oh, I just wonder if I'm doin' all I can, under the circumstances. I wonder if there is somethin' more I can do t' help find Lissa. I mean, I'm a priest, not a soldier or a cop...what good am I t' Lissa, other than t' comfort Maeve?"
The quiet pain in the younger man's voice went straight to Derek's heart, and the anthropologist thought he knew why Philip was troubled. His sensitive godson already felt guilty for being unable to protect Lissa, and Nick's frustration over the situation couldn't be helping matters. Derek laid a gentle hand on Philip's shoulder, wanting to comfort his young friend, but his cell phone rang. Derek made a face and flicked it open, saying, "Derek Rayne..."
For the next several moments, there was silence as Derek listened intently. It didn't take a psychic to realize that he was talking to Alex, and Philip wondered if he should find Nick. A slow smile spread across Derek's face as he replied, "Well done, Alex! This will help enormously!"
There was several more moments of silence, then Derek continued, "Yes, I agree. I will call Teniente Escobar and tell him what you've just told me. Well done, Alex, very well done. I'll call you when I know something more." He hung up the phone with a satisfied click, then turned to Philip, saying, "Alex has a positive ID on our John Doe. His real name was Matthias Castner."
"Matthias Castner? That sounds German," Philip murmured thoughtfully and Derek nodded. The young priest continued, "What else did she say? Any ideas about the connection between Arkady and Castner?" Philip paused, recognizing Derek's smile. This should be interesting!
"Castner's grandfather fled Germany after the Second World War," Derek explained, "and briefly settled in Peru. When he immigrated to the United States, he retained his residence in Peru. Alex is trying to find out more about the Castners Peruvian residence...but she thinks that's where Lissa was taken. And the pieces do fit."
"Yes, they do," Philip replied, "the only question is, where is the connection between Arkady and Castner? I mean, certainly, there are other questions t' be answered, but Teniente Escobar will deal wi' those. Will she call us back?" Derek nodded and the two men settled in to wait.
It had been an hour and a half since Winston and Lissa's arrival at the mine, and Lissa hadn't spoke in the half hour since waking up. Winston was starting to get a little annoyed, but Anna told him, You should have expected this! You know she's protective of Derek, Winston!
Derek is a grown man, and there's nothing I can do for him now, Winston answered, why can't she appreciate what I'm trying to do for her? From just beyond the veil, Winston heard childish laughter and he gritted his teeth. And would you tell that brat to be silent!
I will not...and she's not a brat. She apologized to Philip, and she will apologize to Derek when his defenses are down far enough. Besides, she's not the issue here. Don't you understand what happened? Lissa received all of her father's memories and emotions, at the time of your death. She knows about the argument, she knows everything! And the trauma of seeing her grandfather's death, through her father's then-fifteen year old eyes, is even more devastating that seeing Alicia's death, Anna replied.
Winston would have answered, but Lissa said quietly, "You said earlier that Derek will know to come here. How will he know that? I didn't even know where we were going, until we got here and you told me about this place." Winston reluctantly turned his attention to his granddaughter.
"I will inform him the same way I did earlier...oh, I forgot that you don't know about that. I used Philip as a medium for lack of a better word, and sent a warning to your father that the danger to you came not from Hitchcock. I'll use Philip again, once they get to the compound," he replied.
Lissa nodded and dropped her head back onto her knees. After a moment, she asked slowly, "How could you have done that to him, Grandfather? All my father ever wanted was your love...why couldn't you just give it to him? Why did he always have to prove himself to you, to earn your love?"
There was no recrimination in her voice, just sadness. However, Winston had been torturing himself over his treatment of his son for longer than Lissa had been alive. He did not need some young girl telling him that he had been a terrible parent! Anna said warningly, Winston, leave this alone. You'll only make matters worse!
As usual, he ignored her warning and retorted, "As if you have any room to talk about my parenting skills, Elizabeth? At least when I abandoned my child, it was because of death...not because I found it inconvenient!" The second the words were out, he regretted them.
Not, however, as much as he did when Lissa jumped to her feet, her dark eyes blazing. She spat, "Leave my daughter out of this! I didn't abandon her, I gave her to a woman who could love her the way she deserves to be loved!" Oh, Winston, Anna sighed, you can be such a fool at times!
Lissa glared at her grandfather for several moments, trembling with rage. Damn him, how does he know about Cassie? Forgetting that her grandfather could read her mind, she was startled when he replied, "I know everything about you, child. You named my great-granddaughter 'Fiona Cassandra.' I know the reason for the 'Fiona,' of course. That was your mother's name."
"If you know everything about me, then you also heard my conversation with Xan about imaginary friends...hers was named 'Cassandra.' I didn't think Xan would mind if I borrowed the name for my daughter," Lissa answered, sitting down once more. She buried her face in her hands and whispered, "God, what's happening to me? I blast Philip for not telling me about those damn dreams, and I'm keeping something far worse from him and my father. When Derek finds out, he'll never forgive me."
"You wrong him, child. Derek loves you, very much. And for this, he will forgive you. As will Philip. You know that. You never answered my other question, however...why have you never told Derek about your telekinetic abilities?" Winston asked and Lissa sighed.
"I've just never seen the need to tell him. I mean, if I used those abilities often, I would tell him. I just use them enough so they don't get rusty," she replied with a shrug. Winston nodded and Lissa continued, "I'm not ready to tell Derek, or any of the others, about Cassie."
"I know. I saw the way you bit your tongue when Rachel Corrigan made the remark about your not being a mother. How do you tolerate that woman? If I were running the Legacy, she would be gone!" her grandfather exclaimed. Lissa couldn't help herself...she burst out laughing.
"Grandfather," Lissa chortled, "you're the reason she's in the Legacy! Come on...if you hadn't killed her mother by mistake, then there would be no need for her to be in the Legacy." She was still smiling, but also totally serious.
"Don't remind me...I've heard about Ruth Cantwell's death every day for the last twenty-seven mortal years, Elizabeth! And as for Rachel Corrigan, the only reason I tolerate her presence in the Legacy is what I did to her mother. Well, that and her daughter. Otherwise..." Winston replied. Lissa burst out laughing again.
"What exactly do you have against Rachel? I mean, yeah, she's a skeptic, but she hasn't been dealing with this for a long time. Derek and I have...well, sort of. But, we can't all believe the way you, and my father, and I do," she said, pushing Cassie to the back of her mind for the moment.
"It isn't just that...it makes me ill, the way she fawns over Nicholas. I like the boy, don't get me wrong, but it's nauseating the way she fawns over Nicholas, and ignores Philip. Do you know what that witch said when the Legacy tribunal was called, and Nick made reference to Philip's absence? 'We're all here.' Totally ignoring all the times when Philip put his own welfare in jeopardy to protect her daughter!" Winston retorted. Lissa frowned.
"Whoa, wait a minute, back up...you lost me! What Legacy tribunal? And just because you, and I, and Alex, and Kat, and Derek all love Philip, doesn't mean Rachel has to. C'mon, Grandfather, you aren't being fair to her," the young woman replied. Winston made a strangled noise in his throat.
"I tolerate her. That's being fair enough! And in answer to your first question...several months ago, a tribunal was called after a member of the San Francisco House brought charges against Derek for conspiring to destroy the House and kill its members. It caused great trouble among Rachel, Nick, Philip, and Alex," he replied. Lissa frowned at this news. No one had said anything to her about it!
"A member of the San Francisco Legacy House? Was it Hitchcock? Or maybe Julia sent it before she was killed?" Lissa asked. She dismissed the idea that any of the current members of the Legacy had brought up those charges.
"No, child...your father brought the charges against himself," Winston replied with a faint smile. Lissa could feel her jaw drop to the ground. My father? Did he lose his mind? Winston laughed aloud and said, "No, Lissa, Derek was quite sane. He did it to...oh, what's the word you use? Smoke?" Lissa nodded, understanding at once, and Winston went on, "He did it to smoke out a vampire precept."
"Oh boy," Lissa muttered, settling herself more comfortably, "that's a bit extreme, but it is typical of my father. And a vampire precept...I could see how Derek would need to take extreme measures. I know that there's some...tension...remaining between Philip and Nick over the Ellen situation. I can't imagine that this little drama helped that." Winston shook his head with a sigh.
"I'm afraid not. There was a moment when I was worried that Nicholas would physically attack Philip. It was a dark time for all of them...each suspecting the other. But once they realized that none of them had betrayed your father, all four of them stood together as one," he replied.
Lissa nodded...yes, that she could see. After a moment, she said softly, "Grandfather, tell me truthfully. Why don't you like Rachel? And don't tell me it's because of the way she mothers Nick, or the way she ignores Philip. Tell me the real reason why you don't like her."
Winston was silent for a long time, and Lissa used that time to lean back and rest. Despite eating earlier, she really didn't feel at one hundred percent. And blasting Winston for bringing her daughter into the conversation hadn't helped much. At last, her grandfather replied, "You're right. Nick accepts her mothering, for the most part, and Philip accepts her attitude toward him."
"Rachel just doesn't know Philip very well. And obviously, Kat's opinion of him matters a lot more to Philip. He loves her very much...and she loves him, just as much," Lissa commented and Winston nodded.
"Yes, she does. Elizabeth, I committed an unforgiveable sin many years ago. When I killed Joshua Cantwell, I learned that he had two daughters...one of whom practiced dark magic. But I killed the wrong daughter. Instead of killing Rebecca, who had followed her father onto the dark path, I killed her sister Ruth. Rachel's mother," Winston replied.
"I know, Grandfather...Derek told me about this. We were discussing Philip's return from Northern Ireland after his older brother was killed. Why are you telling me this, though?" Lissa asked with a thoughtful frown. Her grandfather was silent once more. Something was troubling him deeply...something about the Cantwell family.
"What Derek didn't tell you, child, was that when Rachel learned of the truth...she turned on him. She blamed him for what I had done. Elizabeth, Derek was just a child himself when I killed Ruth...until Philip took my confession to him, he had no idea of what I had done. She told him that she would never forgive me, or the Legacy... or him," Winston replied at last.
Lissa stared at her grandfather in shocked disbelief. After a moment, she asked in a strangled voice, "She blamed my father for her mother's death? But...that would be like...I don't know! But that's not right!" Lissa heard the rising note in her own voice and winced. She said more quietly, "I'm sorry. I'm whining again."
Winston laughed harshly and replied, "No, child, you aren't! Rachel Corrigan whines...you are indignant. There's a difference. She whined because her schoolmistress took her childhood...but thousands of children lose their innocence every damn day. You...Nick...Philip...by the time all of you were twelve, you were no longer innocents."
"Grandfather," Lissa began, trying to defend Rachel, but Winston just looked at her. Lissa sighed, then said, "Look, we all have our moments. None of us are perfect...not you, not me, not my father, not Nick, not Alex, not Philip."
Lissa gave a bitter laugh and added, "Yeah, I'm definitely not perfect. I have a six year old daughter who calls another woman 'mommy,' and whom my father and best friend don't know about. I'm in love with my parish priest, although I would cut my tongue out before admitting that to him. Or anyone else. I'm no better than Ellen!"
"Elizabeth Marie Anne Rayne, that is a damn lie! You are nothing like that woman! And I know how much you love Cassie. Even a fool could see your love for your daughter," Winston said gently. Lissa turned away, trying to blink back tears. Her grandfather continued, "And your love for Philip is not sinful. You are in love with your childhood friend, with the boy who held your hand when you were frightened and comforted you when you were hurt."
"He's also my parish priest, Grandfather," Lissa pointed out wearily, "and could we drop this subject? I know, I brought it up, but I don't want to talk about it anymore. Talking about it only hurts. If we're gonna talk about something like that, I'd rather talk about Cassie."
"I'm sorry, little one...hurting you was the last thing I wanted. And we've talked enough...you're exhausted. Get some sleep, and I'll keep watch," Winston replied. Lissa nodded and lay down on her side.
During the last few hours, Philip had become ever more aware of Nick's frustration. He felt helpless...they all felt helpless. And when Nick felt helpless, it was just a matter of time before he blew his stack. But, Philip wasn't sure if he could deal with the fallout this time.
His own emotions were running rampant...he went from impotent rage to anxiety for Lissa's safety in a matter of seconds. And while Nick had a short fuse...blowing up quickly and calming down just as quickly...Philip's temper was a frightening thing. He hadn't lost his temper very often in twenty-eight years...but when he did, it generally scared the hell out of him, and everyone else around him.
But there's no time for that, Philip thought as he walked to Sandy Horowitz's room, I don't have time t' be losin' m' temper. We have other troubles t' concern us. Sandy was awake, he discovered, and resolved to turn his mind toward something he could do...like help Sandy and Maeve.
However, Maeve wasn't in the room and Sandy was asleep. At least, he thought she was until she asked softly, "Are you all right, Philip?" He smiled at her a bit guiltily...he hadn't meant to wake her. However, her eyes were clear and alert, and Philip realized that he hadn't awakened her. The detective continued, her eyes narrowing, "Philip, there's something that's bothering you, I can tell. Is it Lissa?"
She sees too much, Philip thought as he sat down in the chair beside Sandy's, but she's a police detective. She's s'posed t' see beyond the surface. And according to Lissa, Sandy is very good at her job. The young priest was silent for several moments, as he debated his response, then replied, "It's several things. How much has Lissa told you about...well, about when we were younger?" He wondered if Sandy's husband had been contacted. . .he was sure Javier Escobar had seen to that, but it would be wise to check.
"Enough to wonder if you two weren't actually twins separated at birth. Enough to know that the two of you forged a bond which nothing can break...her step-father's abuse didn't break it, Father Time didn't break it. Yeah, you both shut out the memories of that time, but it was a matter of self-preservation. Deep in your hearts, you carried each other with you," Sandy replied and Philip smiled in spite of himself at her response.
"Yeah, I s'pose I did. You know, I've never t'tally forgiven myself for not rememberin' her sooner. I went int' her room while she was still in a coma, and went through her CD' collection, the one Maeve brought wi' her. I happened t' turn and saw the teddy bear lyin' beside her. And that's when I remembered everythin' about her," he replied.
He paused, then continued, "Nick once asked me what would have happened if Lissa had remained in my life...he wanted t' know if I still would have become a priest. I said yes, because...well, I don't think I have t' explain my reasonin' t' you. But...I wonder what exactly would have happened, Sandy, if Lissa hadn't been taken from us by her step-father. It does no good, I know...but still, I find myself wonderin' how my life would be different."
"Of course you do, Philip, you're only human. Listen, I know this still hurts, but I've never believed in pussy- footing around difficult subjects. If Lissa had remained in your life...and Derek's, of course...Ellen would have never even gotten near you! I can guarante that, Philip. Lissa would have taken one look at that silly bitch, realized she was trouble, and sent her packing!" Sandy said bluntly.
"It wasn't Ellen's fault, Sandy, it was mine! If I had been stronger, she would be alive t'day! I knew what I was doin' was wrong, and I did it anyway. Because of my weakness, because of my sinfulness, a woman is dead!" Philip replied, the wound once more ripped open. He didn't ask how Sandy knew about Ellen...he was certain that he didn't want to know. He was equally certain that Lissa hadn't told her.
The pretty detective stared at him in utter astonishment and said, "My God in Heaven. You really believe that, don't you? You honestly believe that Ellen's suicide is your fault. My God, she really did a number on you! Listen to me, Philip Callaghan...and listen good! Also be grateful that I don't know your middle name, because I would use it. Ellen's...death...was...not...your...fault! Is it necessary for me to make that any plainer?"
"My second name is 'Joseph.' I'm surprised Lissa didn't tell you. It was my understandin' that you knew just about everythin' about my relationship with Lissa, past and present," Philip murmured and Sandy rolled her eyes. The young priest continued softly, "If you don't mind, I'd like t' change the subject. Does your husband know that you've been shot? Does he know about the current situation?"
Sandy responded with a reproving look and replied, "Honestly, Father Philip, I never had you figured for a coward. But yes, my husband does know that I've been shot and he's currently trying to get a flight down here. Now that we've got that question answered...Lissa only talks about the past, not the present, where you're concerned. And before you ask, it was Maeve who told me about Ellen."
She took a deep breath, flinching. She put her hand up to the right side of her chest, and Philip said quietly, "You're talkin' too much, Sandy. I'll leave now, and let you get some rest." The young woman nodded, closing her eyes, and Philip gently squeezed her hand. Then he left the room.
Back t' the waitin' room t' play the waitin' game, Philip thought as he walked away from Sandy's hospital room. He tried not to think about the conversation with her... just thinking Ellen's name laid open a wound in his heart. And Philip wasn't certain if that wound would ever heal. He shook his head, thinking, Enough of that...Lissa is alive. I can still help her. He was unaware that he had spoke aloud, until Nick snorted, "Oh, and what can you do to help Lissa? All you've done since we got here is hold Maeve's hand. You haven't done a damn thing to find Lissa!"
Philip thought briefly about pointing out to Nick that Alex was the one doing all the research, but the young priest knew that would be the wrong tact to take. So he remained silent, and Nick continued tauntingly, "You know, I really don't understand why you don't just take Maeve back to the States. God knows you're of no use to us here. What good is a priest on a rescue mission?"
What Philip had feared most finally happened...his patience with Nick snapped. It didn't matter that he had been thinking the same thing for the last few hours, it didn't matter that he believed it to be true. Philip was worried sick about Lissa, he was still smarting from the conversation with Sandy about Ellen...the last thing he needed was Nick's smart remarks about his usefulness.
His action wasn't even conscious...it was like somemone else was controlling his body. Philip spun around and grasped Nick's shirt, propelling him back into the wall. The young priest was trembling with rage, and he said in a low voice, "I am not leavin' until we find Lissa, Nick. There's not a bloody thin' any of us can do right now, so just keep your bloody mouth shut! I'll not be your verbal punchin' bag any more, Nick...is that clear?"
Nick just nodded, his eyes very wide with shock. Philip released him, then backed away, his hands clenching and unclenching at his sides as the rage drained from him. The young priest was trembling so badly, he could barely stand. He couldn't look at Derek or at Nick...he was nearly sick to his stomach with shame. A gentle arm went around his shoulders and Javier Escobar said, "Come, Father Philip... my children would like to meet you." Philip nodded numbly and allowed himself to be led downstairs.
There was silence in the waiting room for several moments after Philip and Escobar's departure. Derek had never seen his godson so angry before...he hoped he never would again. Lissa would say that's a long time coming, Derek thought, But I'm still glad that she didn't see that.
Derek turned his attention to Nick, who was still very pale, and the precept asked, "Are you all right?" Once Nick nodded, Derek exclaimed, "What were you thinking? In case you haven't noticed, we are all playing a waiting game, Nick! And until Alex calls back, that's all we can do!"
"I wasn't thinking, Derek," Nick admitted miserably, "I feel so damn helpless, and took it out on Philip. I didn't realize how close to the edge he was as well." Derek shook his head, and a motion caught his eye. Maeve had collapsed into a chair, trembling. He went to her.
"Are you all right?" Derek asked gently, putting his hand on her shoulder, and Maeve nodded. However, her trembling didn't ease at all. Derek drew her into his arms, stroking the brown hair. If he closed his eyes, he could almost pretend that he was holding his daughter in his arms. Almost. The teenager rested her head on his shoulder and Derek continued, "It will be all right, Maeve...Philip will be fine, and so will Lissa."
"I know," Maeve answered softly, "it's just that I never saw Philip so angry. I...I guess I thought that he never lost his temper, but he's only human. Maybe I should apologize to him once he gets back." Derek's only answer was to tighten his arms around the girl.
"Glory be, how could I have done that t' Nick?" Philip asked softly as he and Javier Escobar rode down in the lift car. He was still trembling, though not as badly as he had been earlier, and the police lieutenant rested his hand gently on Philip's shoulder.
"There's no need for you to be ashamed of yourself, Father Philip...you're a priest, yes, but you're also a man. Men get angry with each other...they lose patience. They care more for a woman than someone else thinks they should," Escobar replied. Philip sighed and the police lieutenant said, "I do not mean Lissa...I know you also care for Alex and for Maeve."
"Well, it seems that my bishop does think that I care too much for Lissa. Maybe I do. When we were small, we were the very best of friends...I made the mistake of thinkin' that nothin' could ever separate us. We met again as a adults...I won't lie t' you, Teniente. Lissa is a lovely woman, though she doesn't believe that. But in her heart, she is still the ten year old girl I once knew. I don't know if that makes any sense," Philip said, shaking his head.
"Of course it makes sense. You see the woman, of course...and yes, Lissa is attractive...but you also see the child she was once. It was very easy to become friends with her again, wasn't it? Before you quite realized what you were doing, you were telling her things which you wouldn't even tell Alex...wouldn't even tell Derek! Who, by the way, loves you very much. It isn't a macho thing to say, but I would be proud to have you as my son," Escobar replied. Philip allowed himself a half-smile.
"I should have never lost my temper," he said softly, "I must have frightened poor Maeve terribly. You know, in nearly thirty years, I've only lost my temper once or twice. It scares me when I do, Teniente...gettin' angry, losin' my temper...it frightens me somethin' terrible."
"I don't doubt it. And perhaps you did frighten Maeve. But don't you think it's time she realized that her parish priest is just a human, fallible young man who isn't always calm? Felipe," Escobar said and Philip noted the change in address, "Felipe, you cannot be all things to all people. I have seen you try, and you make a good attempt, but that is all it can ever be. An attempt."
"I know that, Teniente...but for some reason, I can't help tryin' t' succeed. I know that I'll fail, but I always have t' try," Philip replied. The police lieutenant just smiled and the priest continued, "Well, it looks like we're here...would you care t' point out your youngsters t' me?" The older man beamed proudly as they departed from the lift.
"You're quite fond of Philip, aren't you?" Lissa asked quietly. Winston looked at his granddaughter, startled. She had been silent for the last several moments, and her question came out of the clear blue. Lissa sat up straight and repeated, "You're very fond of him."
"Yes, I am. I'm not sure if your father has ever told you this, but I drove Maeve Callaghan to the hospital when Philip was born," Winston answered and Lissa shook her head. Winston continued, "I thought not. So, he also didn't tell you that he had a rather strong infatuation with Philip's mother." Lissa smiled and shook her head.
"No, I didn't know that! I found a picture of Maeve in Mama's journal...she was very beautiful. And I know Philip adored her. Tell me more," the young woman said, her smile broadening. Well, Winston thought, it would seem she's forgiven me for my stupid blunder concerning Cassandra!
"You're right...Maeve was very beautiful. She knew that Derek was infatuated with her, though he did his very best to make sure she didn't know. So she never spoke of it, and I could never bring myself to tell him that she was quite aware of it. It would have mortified your father," Winston replied, conscious of his wife's silence.
"Of that, I have no doubt!" Lissa replied with a wry smile, no doubt recalling her own teenage crushes. Winston did as well...since she had gone to an all-girl high school, she had no contact with young boys until she reached college. Most of her crushes were on young actors, though Winston couldn't recall any of their names.
Lissa asked quietly, startling Winston back into the present, "Grandfather, is there another reason why Philip is so dear to you? I mean, I know that you were there when he was born, and that you drove Maeve to the hospital...but is there something more? You're not exactly sentimental."
Winston roared with laughter and answered, "My dear girl, haven't you learned yet that men are among those most sentimental creatures on the face of the planet? I would suppose not...we just work very hard at suppressing it. However, you are quite right. My affection for the boy goes far beyond my presence at his birth...and technically, I was not there when he was born."
Lissa rolled her eyes heavenward, and Winston continued, "Perhaps you think that Nick is more like me, and I would say you are probably right. But Philip...I have never met anyone as gentle, yet so strong, as Philip. He gets it from his mother...Maeve was much the same."
"That's the impression I've received from reading Mama's diaries," Lissa admitted, shaking her dark hair back from her eyes. Winston merely looked at her, and the young woman continued thoughtfully, "Mama often spoke of Maeve as an older sister...not unlike my relationship with Xan."
"Ah, yes," Winston replied, nodding, "Alexandra. A lioness when someone dear to her is threatened...and when my son pushes her too far. But that's not my story to tell. The truth is, dear granddaughter, I am as proud of my grandson as I am of my son...and you, for that matter. Any man would be proud to have such a loyal, compassionate man like Philip Callaghan as his grandson."
Lissa eyed him, then asked, "You mean that metaphorically, don't you? I mean, Philip isn't really my brother or my cousin, blood-wise? Not that it matters, of course, but I'm already committing one sin with my feelings for Philip...should I be concern about another?"
Winston stared at the girl, then replied, "No, child, and I told you before...your love for Philip is far from a sin. The sin which both of you commit is that of self- hatred. It seriously irritates Those beyond the veil, so please stop doing it. If the two of you continue to insult yourselves, then you'll be called into account."
He saw Lissa frown, and chose not to respond to the thoughts he heard rushing through her head. No, he decided, no, it's best to say no more. This will give her something to consider for a while. After a moment, Lissa said, "You're right, of course. I'll be more careful in the future. I don't know what I can do about Philip, though." This was said with a sigh, and Winston tried not to smile. However, she was quite right...what could be done?
For the last half hour, Alex had tracked down every last bit of information she could find about Matthias Castner's family, particularly their residence in Peru. She was on the verge of calling it quits for a few minutes to take a break, when she came across a newspaper clipping.
Alex's eyes narrowed...she wasn't entirely certain how this particular news article found its way into the Legacy computer, then she smiled. Of course, she thought, Lissa is a vice cop...this would fall under her territory!
Buoyed by the discovery, Alex searched the database for similar articles, until she finally found what she was looking for. Jackpot, she thought, and called over her shoulder, "Rachel!" The psychiatrist re-entered the control room from checking on Kat, and Alex continued, "Get a hold of Derek. I have something he'll find very interesting!"
Philip and Teniente Escobar returned a half hour after departing, with three small children. The younger man looked calmer, much to Derek's relief...he was even smiling at the youngest of the three children. His smile died as he approached Derek, saying, "I'm so sorry...I..."
Derek shook his head and replied, "Consider it forgiven and forgotten. We're all under a great deal of stress right now. Do you feel a little better?" Philip nodded with a rueful smile, and Derek continued, "Then nothing more will be said. Still nothing from Alex."
Philip closed his eyes, murmuring, "God forgive me, but every hour that passes, I find m'self fearin' for Lissa even more. All I can do is wait, and try t' ease the burdens for Maeve and Sandy. Maeve." This was said as the young priest turned toward the teenager. Maeve managed a weak smile and Philip walked to the girl's side, kneeling beside her chair
"I'm sorry, Philip...I've just been so scared," Maeve admitted in a wobbly voice. Philip brushed a lock of hair back from her eyes, and Maeve continued, "I should have never leaned on you so hard...I should have realized that you're just as scared for Lissa as I am." Derek watched in silent fascination as Philip gently shushed the girl.
"I'll be hearin' no more of that from you, Maeve Philippa Jeanne! You've done nothin' t' be ashamed of! Is that understood? There is no reason for you t' apologize t' me...if anythin', acushla, I should be apologizin' t' you. I must have frightened you terribly when I got angry earlier," Philip replied. Maeve cocked her head to one side.
"Yes, you did...but it's okay. Philip, what does 'acushla' mean?" she asked. Derek saw his godson smile, and felt more than a little relieved to see that smile again. Nick, who had been in talking with Sandy, emerged from the police detective's room. He started to speak, but Derek shook his head. He didn't want the spell broken.
However, there was no help for that. Derek's cell phone rang in his jacket pocket, and all three of the younger people jumped. Derek rolled his eyes and flicked it open. He was greeted with Alex saying, her voice tense but excited, "Derek, listen to this. I think I've found what we were looking for, and if I'm right, then you have your daughter to thank. She's the one who insisted on the law enforcement angle. Listen to this, Derek!" The precept's heart rate quickened as Alex outlined what she had learned.
Continued on the next page.
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