+ + + + + + +
Where is she? Chris roared as he stormed around the office. It had been three hours since they had gotten back from Burger King and there was still no sign of Sidney.
Maybe she just went for a little walk, JD suggested.
Yeah kid, shes taking a three hour stroll down in the park with her crutches, Buck snorted. JD didnt get the chance to respond. The phone started to ring. Chris picked it up.
Sid? he immediately asked. The others could tell it wasnt the girl by the look on his face.
Hello darling, its been such a long time since weve talked.
I am not in the mood for this right now Ella, Chris said trying to keep his voice strong, but his hands were shaking. The others turned their heads at the mention the womens name.
I do not recall you being so rude Chris Larabee; I would be careful what you say to me, I just might do something that you would regret.
What are you talking about? Sweat was beginning to pour down the agents forehead.
Why dont you have on of your lovely agents turn on the computer? Im going to give you a Website site address that might explain things a little better," she answered.
Ezra turn on the computer, Chris barked... Ezra gave his boss a questioning look, but hit the on button on his monitor. They all hated not knowing what was being said on the other side of the conversation.
Alright the screen is on, Where do you want me to go? Chris asked to women.
The address is www.gaines.com," she said. Chris repeated the address as Ezra quickly typed in the letters.
I need a password, Ezra said. Ella must have heard the undercover agents voice.
Tell him its John Marks," she informed Chris. There was a look of surprise on everyones face when Chris repeated the password. How in the world did she know the name of Sidneys father? Ezra typed in the password and waited for the Website to load. The second it did, his face turned pale.
Holy shit," he whispered. Chairs were thrown on the ground as the men rushed over to the computer screen. Chris dropped the phone without a second thought. The scene on the screen made all their stomachs turn.
A web cam had been placed in a small room with ugly gray walls and a filthy floor. There were large piles of furniture placed in the background, but it seemed that nobody noticed them. In the center of the room, was a large wooden chair. Sidneys arms were bound behind it. There was a bandana tied around her mouth. She was fighting desperately against the ropes.
Chris didnt hesitate. He picked up the phone and growled, I dont know how you got her murdering hands on her, but if you dont let her go now, I swear...
You swear what love, that youll kill me? You dont even know where I am. I believe I have the upper hand now. I wouldnt threaten me again if I were you,
The second I can get my bare hands around your neck..," Chris growled. Ella clicked her tongue.
I warned you not to that Chris, she sighed. She made a motion with her hand A man had appeared on the screen. He slugged Sidney hard in the face; The others winced in pain along with the girl. Sidney instantly kicked up her leg and hit the man right below the waist. He doubled over in pain,
Good girl Sid, Buck whispered.
If that son of a bitch touches a hair on her head..," Chris threatened.
Are you trying to kill her Chris? Vin glared at his boss. That bitch is in charge right now, just listening to what she has to say. Chris looked at the girl on the computer screen. The man who had slugged her was trying her feet to the legs of the chair. She winced in pain as he grabbed her injured ankle. If anybody else was looking at the screen, they would have seen the look of defiance and anger on her face, but Chris looked deeper. He glanced into the girls eyes and saw a terrified nineteen year old pleading with anyone to get her out of this mess. He sighed in defeat.
Alright Ella, what do you want? he asked
I would have thought that would be obvious my dear. I want you with me for all time, she answered in a friendly tone, as if she was asking him for a drink. Chris drew in a deep breath. He glanced at his team and then at the screen. He knew what he had to do.
If I do it, will you promise not to hurt her?
Why would I want to hurt her?
Where do I meet you? he asked. He shot a warning look at Buck who was about to open his mouth in protest.
Ill have a truck waiting across the street in an hour. Youll have to get your men away from the office. I will not have them fouling this up. If any of them are within view of the driver I can promise you that Agent Marks will never get out of that chair.
Chris DONT!!a voice screamed. All eyes had turned from Chris back to the computer screen. Sidney had worked the bandanna off her mouth.
Buck! Dont let him do this, theres a truck coming at two... She never got a chance to finish her sentence. The man had hit the girl hard in the head. She slummed down in the chair, unconscious.
Remember what I said Chris, be here alone or you wont see her again. Ive killed before and I can do it again. The line went dead. Five seconds later, the computer screen went blank and an error message appeared. None of them moved except Chris who had started pacing across the office. The rest stared at the computer screen, praying that it would appear back on the screen. The office was silent for about two minutes when Buck finally broke the silence.
You got to be one of the stupidest men I know," he said shaking his head.
Why is that? Because I am the only one here who is ready to do anything in my power to save her? I guess I am the only one with enough balls to risk my own life, Chris growled back. He regretted the response right away as he saw everyone hang their heads.
Im sorry none of you deserved that, I know you would all do anything you could to get her out of there its just that..
Chris, theres no need to risk both of your lives needlessly, Josiah answered calmly. He was trying to be a source of comfort for them all, while fighting his own inner fears. Theres no guarantee that once youre in her clutches that shes going to let Sidney go. Besides we would never let you go. Sidney or the rest of us would never forgive ourselves.
What you planning to do? Chris asked.
I might have an idea, JD broke in hesitantly. Its not that good though."
"JD, your last idea saved all of our asses, you have deserved the right to say anything you want," Nathan answered. Vin remembered the bomb that had been attached to his stomach.
:"Well, it's more of a couple of ideas and they all could lead to dead ends...
"Just say what's on your mind kid," Buck broke in.
"Well, it's one o'clock right now, that gives this Ella Women an hour to get here. That's not that much time considering how slow Denver traffic moves, so that means...
"She has to be somewhere close," Vin interrupted. but that doesn't help us that much there's got to be a million different rooms that look like the one on that Website."
"But that room was very different," Ezra broke in, didnt any of you notice the absurd amount of furniture in that room?" he asked
What are you saying Ezra? Josiah asked.
I thought that would be obvious, our young comrade is being held in some kind of chattel warehouse.
You noticed that in the few seconds we saw the room?
Please pardon any rudeness Mr. Tanner, but to a trained eye, it was quite obvious. Ezra shrugged his shoulders.
So what we need to do is a search of any furniture warehouses in the area, Buck said stating the obvious. JD, is there anyway we can trace that Website?
Not legally, the kid answered. Other than that minor technicality, I might be able to find something; Its a long shot though.
Right now thats all we got, Nathan responded. Any other ideas?
I was thinking that we could also do a phone search, I doubt she would be stupid enough to leave a traceable number, but theres always a chance, JD answered. Chris sighed. He didnt like this one bit; every idea was a shot in the dark.
Oh shit, that damn bitch! JD yelled as he typed frantically on the computer. The others turned to JD in surprise. None of them had ever heard that hardness in JDs voice before.
She sent a virus through our computer system, I cant get logged on. The others rushed to their computers to see for themselves. None of them could log on either, except for one.
How did I get on and none of you did? Vin asked. JD smiled sheepishly.
I guess my experiment worked, I was fooling with your computer one night when I was here alone. I opened up a whole new network for it," he answered.
Well worry about that later; the problem now is that fact that we have one computer to track down everything and... Chris glanced at his watch, and forty-five minutes to do it.
I saw a light in Team Threes new office, we might be able to use their computers, Nathan suggested. He glanced at the rest of the team.
What are you waiting for? Get moving! Chris growled. Everyone jumped out of their seats and headed for the door. Vin and Chris stayed. Nobody needed to ask why. Vin would work at his own computer station and Chris would wait for any more incoming phone calls. Josiah stood up and whispered in Vins ear,
Hes not thinking rationally right now Vin, keep an eye on him and make sure he doesnt do anything that we are all going to regret.
Vin nodded his head and watched as Josiah closed the door behind him. He took a deep breath and settled down to work with the dangerously small amount of time he had been given.
Chris paced back and forth for about twenty minutes. He watched at the minutes clicked away.
:What the hell are doing, playing a game? he growled at Vin after a while. Vin sighed and tried to calm his shaking hands. It was hard enough to work with pictures of a Sidney running through his head. Chriss constant yelling was almost too much. He was searching through hundreds of different phone logs for a call made to the Federal building around one o clock. His eyes couldnt believe what they found. He quickly highlighted the number with the mouse than yelled,
Chris, I got the number! We can... Vin slunk into his chair as he slid to the carpet. Chris stood over him gun butt pointing out. He quickly memorized the number and picked up the phone. He dialed the number. He glanced at Vin.
Sorry Pard, this is the way its got to be, He said to the unconscious man.
Ten minutes later...
The door slammed open, JD came rushing in.
Chris! We got everything! We got the phone number, a location, Hell, we know what room Sidneys in! JD fell silent when he saw Vin lying on the floor. Someone had slipped a pillow off of the lounge couch under his head. Buck had to turn on the brakes fast to avoid running straight in to his roommate The older agent took one look at Vin on the ground and the phone off the hook. It didnt take a genius to figure out what happened.
That stupid son-of-a- bitch," he groaned.
+ + + + + + +
Three-year-old Sidney was running across a snow covered field. She tripped on a rock. She looked behind her and started to cry. Before she knew it, she was being lifted up into the air by two strong arms.
Where does it hurt? her father asked. The little girl snuggled against her fathers warm chest.
It doesnt hurt," she whispered. I stepped on a bird! The tears started to pour down even harder.
Dont worry darling, we can fix him up, Sidney looked to where she had fallen and watched as a beautiful women scooped up the bird in her hands.
Ate you sure? she asked.
Have I ever lied to you before? her mom asked. Her father held her closer. Sidney finally smiled. Everything was perfect in the little girls eyes, she had no idea how much her life would be torn apart. She started to feel sleepy as her father carried her back to the house. Her parents voices were slowly getting more and more distant.
Sidneys eyes started to open and the voices were slowly becoming clearer.
You promised you would let her go! a familiar voice pleaded.
I promised I wouldnt hurt her, I do not intend to go back on that promise. Do not insult me like that. I never said I would let her go." That voice also rang a distant bell in the girls memory, but the owner of the first voice came to her head first.
Chris? she moaned. Her head was throbbing and she didnt know why.
Sidney? Ella let me go to her please! Sidney had never heard that desperate tone in Chriss voice before. She didnt know why but she felt a jolt of fear make her body tremble. Chris must have gotten his wish, because she felt strong arms, not that different than the ones in her dream, lift her head and shoulders up and place them gently on his legs. A cool hand started stroking her forehead. She tried to sit up, but the burns on her hands were starting to hurt again.
Easy honey, youve got quite a bump on your head. We dont need you to black out on us again," he comforted. All of a sudden the memories of what had happened over the last couple of hours came pouring back into Sidneys mind. It exhausted her even more than her head injury.
Im sorry, she whispered.
Sorry for what? Chris asked.
Sorry that the woman I called my mother is the same monster that murdered Adam and Sarah, she answered quietly.
Dont listen to that Sidney, You were just part of her sick twisted plot to get to me," he told her.
Thats not true Chris." The tone in Ellas voice made him turns around and stares at his captor.
I may be guilty of many things, but lying to my daughter is not one of them.
+ + + + + + +
The rest of Team Seven walked around the empty storage room aimlessly. They had been too late. They had left two seconds after they had arisen Vin, but it hadnt mattered. There was no sign of Sidney or Chris in the room and no trace of where Ella could have taken them.
What do we do now? JD asked. Nobody had an answer fir him. They were at a dead end and nobody knew a way to get out of it.
This is all my fault, Vin groaned as he leaned against the wall, If I had been paying better attention...
Dont even start Vin, We all know what a hothead Chris can be at times? He made up his mind that he was going after that woman. He gets these crazy ideas in his head and he turns into a wild animal. None of us could have stopped him," Buck said sadly. They all jumped when Ezras cell phone started to ring.
This is Agent Standish speaking, how can I be of service? the undercover agent asked.
I might be able to help you find your friends, a quiet voice answered.
May I ask who is calling?
I cant tell you that, but if you wont be able to find them if you dont listen to me, the voice answered in a thick accent that Ezra couldnt place.
How do I know that I can trust you? Ezra had been guilty of walking into traps before; he wasnt going to do it again.
I dont think you have any other option Senior Standish. The caller was right. Ezra sighed.
Alright, I am all ears.
She is planning on taking them out of the country to some place where you will never be able to find them,
And what would that location be?
If I told you that she would hurt my...
Listen my dear, if you or anyone you know is in danger, we can protect you, Ezras voice took on a pleading tone, Please our friends lives rely on it,
She isnt planning on killing them, far from it actually. The only person she ever wanted to kill was you. She wanted to scare Mr. Larabee. It took a second for the words to sink in.
You mean Ella Gaines was the one who burned my home down?
She planned it yes, but my papa was the one who set fire your home, she paused. Please dont blame him Mr. Standish; she said she would kill my mother if he didnt.
Thats the last thing on my mind miss; I just want to find my friends.
She is coming to my home soon; she has her own airplane... The line went dead
:Hello? Hello? Damn! Ezra was about to chuck his phone on the ground when a large hand grabbed his arm.
She might call back, Josiah informed him. Ezra nodded his head and placed his cell phone back into his pocket.
Did you get any idea where the plane might be heading Ezra? Nathan asked.
She spoke in some form of Spanish, but I couldnt trace the accent, came the answer. Buck looked around the room.
I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I suggest we head to the airport," He said.
+ + + + + + +
Sidney watched as her male captor redid the bandages on her hand. Chris had told her that the man had been on the plane when they had been brought aboard. Ella had taken her friend to a different compartment in the plane. The man was taking extra care to avoid causing her any pain. His face was much kinder than the man who had tied her to the chair. She realized that h wasnt happy with what was going on. He slowly patted down the last bandage and stood up.
Thank you, she said trying to smile. The man smiled back and answered,
Your welcome senorita. He got up and was about to walk away.
Why? she asked. The man looked at her in surprise.
Why are you doing this, Ive been watching you. You dont want to be here, to be a part of this.
Juan! Ellas voice called from the back of the plane. Please bring my daughter to me; we have many things we need to discuss.
The man reached down and undid the cuffs that were holding Sidney to the seat. Sidney noticed how he avoiding hitting her ankle. Sidney looked around for her crutches, but they werent in sight.
Here." The man held out a well-carved crutch made out of hickory wood. I made it for you when you were not awake. Sidney smiled and placed it under her arm and followed Juan to the back of the plane.
Sidney saw her mother sitting next to Chris. His hands and legs were cuffed to the seat. Chris looked so helpless that she wanted to turn her head. When Chris saw the girl, he tried to put a brave look on his face.
Why dont you have a seat next to us Sidney, Ella smiled cheerfully. Sidney limped over to the isle seat next to Chris. She sat down. Juan cuffed her to the seat. He did not look happy about doing it.
That will be all Juan, go and see if Brett needs your help in the cockpit, I noticed the turbulence is getting worse, Juan nodded his head and left.
Can I get you anything Sidney? Something to eat or maybe something to drink. I have some of my homemade cider that you liked so much," Ella offered.
No thank you, Sidney answered not looking the women in the face.
Have it your way, Ella glared at the girl as she got up to pour herself a glass.
You look better, Chris commented.
I feel a lot better, thanks to that Juan guy," she answered.
I knew I liked that guy, well despite that fact that he works for Ella and walks around with a shotgun. Even though the joke was poor, Sidney appreciated Chriss effort to lighten up the mood.
Ella had gotten her class of cider and had sat back down.
Well I suppose I ought to explain myself now," she said. She sighed when she didnt receive a response. She started to talk anyway.
I was a broken woman when you had your friend send me away Chris. I though I would never recover. I thought about committing suicide at least a hundred times.
Apparently you didnt, otherwise Chris and I would be riding horses at his ranch right now, Sidney said with ice in her voice.
I thought your father would have taught you better manners Sidney, he was always so paranoid about you growing up right.
Dont talk about him. You lied about knowing what happened to him to kidnap me!
Have I ever lied to you before my dear? I do know what happened to your father Sidney, there was never the time to tell you what happened. Now will you kindly let me tell what has happened? Sidney closed her mouth and leaned her head on Chriss shoulder.
Anyway, after I got over the initial shock of our breakup. I decided that it was time to move on with my life. Maybe I could find someone else to love, I kept moving across the country trying to find someone new. I finally ended up settling in the small town of Westbridge, Wisconsin. That is where I met your father, Sidney. He was young, attractive, and very smart. He reminded me so much of you, Chris. Eventually I married John Marks and our daughter was born a year and a half later.
I was happy for a couple of years, but then thoughts of you, Chris, kept coming to my mind. I realized that I would never truly be happy unless I was spending my life with you. I just got up and left one night, leaving my husband and daughter. Did he miss me Sidney?
Every single day of his life, the poor fool, the girl shot back. I did too, till I got older and realized that it was your loss, not ours. Ella chose to ignore the comment and kept on telling her story.
I came back to Denver to search for you. I almost went crazy when I found out that you were married.
No, murdering his family was the act of a perfectly sane person, Sidney grumbled.
"Shh Sidney, Chris scolded. Sidney looked at him in surprise. It was if all the life in the agent had been sucked out of him.
I can put that bandanna back in your mouth darling. I dont want too, but if you keep interrupting me with your rude comments, I will have no choice. Sidney shut up fast.
Thats much better. She turned her eyes to Chris. I am sorry about what happened to Sarah and Adam Chris, but they werent really your family. It was written in the stars that we were meant to be together. I tried to get rid of them in the most humane way possible. Chris closed his eyes as all the color washed out of his face. His body started to shake. She had never seen her beloved leader like this before. That was all Sidney could take.
You bitch! What the hell are you talking about the most humane way possible? They were blown away in a freaking explosion! You were trying to cover your tracks, hoping you wouldnt get caught. But good old Buck was too smart for you! she yelled.
Apparently, he wasnt smart enough, because I was never accused of the murder, Ella answered calmly enjoying the control she was having over Chris.
You still went to jail!
You would never be here if I created a whole new person for myself Sidney. Your father went to his grave thinking I was Kari Rosen from Louisiana. Wait a second thats not right, I do believe Brett told him the whole story before shot him.
What are you talking about? Sidney asked.
A person can have many contacts while in jail, is she plays her cards right. Brett was an old friend that I kept in close contact with. I spent all of my time plotting what my future life would be once I was back in the world. You should be proud that you played a major part in it. I had Brett follow you once you moved to Denver. He told me that your father would turn out to be a problem and... Sidney closed her eyes and gritted her teeth. She knew where this was going.
You killed Dad to get him out of your way," she answered. She felt Chriss hand reach for her own, but she pulled it away.
Of course, Ella answered as if there was nothing wrong with killing her husband. Anyway, you couldnt believe my excitement when I found out that Chris had hired you for his team. Everything was working out perfectly. Dont you see, It was destiny that we all should end up together?
+ + + + + + +
God dammit, Dont you idiots keep records of anything that goes on around here! Buck hollered at the airport manager. He was a small, balding man in his late fifties who shook with fear at Bucks glare.
I think it is a good idea if we try and keep God on our side, Buck, Josiah said. Take a deep breath and calm down, yelling isnt going to get us anywhere.
Its gotten me lots of places, Buck grumbled, but he shut up.
Im sorry but hundreds of privet planes come through here everyday. We cant keep track of every single detail about every one of them," the manager answered. There is no flight registered under an Ella Gaines.
What about Chris Larabee? Ezra suggested. The manager started to type in the name.
L-A-R-A-B-E-E," the undercover agent spelled out. The manager hit a button on the computer screen and sighed.
There is a Larkinson and a Larson, but no Larabee.
What about Sidney Marks? JD asked. The manager typed out the names.
There is no Sidney registered, but I do have a Kari Marks on an privet airliner let left at three o clock this afternoon. The manager felt himself shoved out of his sear, as Buck sat down and quickly glanced at the flight record.
Pack you sunglasses and cigar lighters boys," he whooped, Were heading to Cuba.
+ + + + + + +
Sidney glanced out of the airplane window at the blue sky. Ella had left Chris and her alone. She had come back only once to tell them that they would be landing in twenty minutes.
Sidney I..," Chris tried to say.
I dont want to talk about it," she said firmly. Hes dead and there is nothing I can do about it.
Sidney you have to talk about it sometime.
Why do I have too, you held inside most of your life. She was trying hard to fight back tears.
Yeah and it nearly killed me. I wont let the same thing happen to you.
I wish I could just get through this alone, Sidney whispered. She couldnt keep the tears from pouring out. Chris felt relieved and heartbroken at the same time. He was afraid Sidney would keep all her emotions inside of her, but he hated seeing the pain in her eyes. He wished he could take the girl in his arms and hold her close, but there was no way the cuffs were going to break.
Youre not alone Sidney, You are not going to become hard like me. I wont let you. That devil is not going to ruin your life like she did mine.
How can you even talk to me? I am her god damn daughter. I am the child of the person who destroyed your family. I dont deserve your help. She turned her head. Chris paused for a second. The thought had never crossed his mind.
Sidney, look at me! Chris said firmly. Sidney turned her head. Chris looked her square in the eyes. Sidney noticed that all the desperation and pain was gone. They were full of the sheer determination.
Your mother abandoned you when you were four years old and you have never heard from her again. You were and always will be the daughter of John Marks. Your family and mine were the victims of the psychopath, Ella Gains. She will pay for the pain that she caused all of us.
Are you saying that we are going to get out of here? she asked.
Yup, or we die trying, he answered. What do you say partner?
Ella Gaines is going to wish she was back in prison, by the time we are done with her.
+ + + + + + +
So whats the plan once we land in Havana guys? Nathan asked. Thanks to some very good persuasion skills and a little intimidation. The six men had gotten on a flight five minutes after they discovered where the plane was headed.
Im sick of running the show, someone else has got to have an idea, Buck said. Of course everyone looked at JD.
Dont look at me. Im all ideaed out, JD answered. Ezras cell phone started to ring. The agent placed it to his ear and listened.
Who is it, Ezra? Vin asked.
The voice of an angel, Ezra answered quietly. Go ahead my dear, Im listening.
If I tell you where your friends are, will you promise to take care of my family," the girl said.
I will try my hardest...
Thats not good enough," she cut off immediately. I wont tell you how to get to them unless you will help my family.
Ezra knew that he didnt have any other choice. Alright, I will do everything in my power to assist you. It would be nice if I could call you by your name. The girl on the other line hesitated.
My name is Gabriella.
It is my pleasure to talk to you Gabriella, Tell me everything that you can.
The men onboard the plane all watched Ezra in awe. He knew exactly what to say to keep their informant at ease. After about fifteen minutes, Ezra hung up the phone,
So? Buck asked. Ezra sighed.
I suggest we ask the pilot if he can get there faster.
+ + + + + + +
Sidney memorized the trail through the jungle-like plants. The trail would be important if she and Chris were going to successfully escape. She had started off walking, but Ella had grown impatient with her slow pace. In fact, Ella hadnt said one word to her since the plane landed. Her mother now seemed very distant and cold. Not the she cared or anything. Now she was riding on Juans back. Sidney wondered if the man knew what she was doing. He was very willing to answer her questions about what trail led where. She looked behind her and caught Chriss eye. He smiled confidently, but she could see he was sweating.
Their destination was slowly coming into view. The huge white mansion reminded Sidney of the ones that she had seen in the westerns she had watched. As she got closer, her heart began to sink. A ten-foot fence surrounded the mansion. The Security system reminded the girl of the one she had seen at the Denver prison. The chances of escape were getting harder by the moment.
The group stopped in front of a large steel door. Brett walked to a black box hanging on the door; he punched in a code slowly. Sidney wished Vin was with them, he might have been able to see what the code was. Her mind strayed to what Team Seven was doing. She had no doubt that they were searching frantically for her and Chris. There was no way Vin and the others would ever think of Cuba. Ella had covered her path to well. The door swung open for a few seconds as they all walked through then swung closed with a loud bang. Sidney now had some sense about what the prisoners at the prison felt like. She watched Ella walk ahead to the gigantic house and opened the door.
Welcome to your new home! Ella smiled glancing at Chris. She turned to Brett and Juan.
Alright gentleman, we have already discussed what our plan is. Juan turned suddenly with a look of dread on his face. Brett started to walk towards Sidney.
No, you can not go through with this! She is your daughter! he gasped. Sidney felt his grip on her legs tighten. She and Chris exchanged looks of surprise.
Yes she is, and if you plan on saving your own, you will go through with this plan, Ellas voice was as cold as ice.
Juan hung his head and loosened his grip on the girls legs. Brett grabbed her around the waist. Sidney started to squirm, but her captor slapped her across the face.
Whats going on? Chris stepped forward ready to protect Sidney.
Oh nothing my dear, Chris is just gong to show Sidney her new room.
My ass he is! Youre going to... The sudden realization of what was going on hit Chris like a boulder, but before he could finish his sentence. Something hard hit him in the back of the head. He fell to the ground and didnt get up. Juan was standing over him with the butt of his gun in hand. He looked at Sidney with pain in his eyes,
I am sorry senorita.
Sidney could only stare in disbelief as Brett dragged her down the corridor.
+ + + + + + +
As Chris regained consciousness, he realized his hands where tied to the posts of a huge king-sized bed. His only thoughts were to get to Sidney. He tied desperately to break the ropes, but they wouldnt budge. A gunshot echoed throughout the house. For a few seconds, he laid there in shock. Then Chris Larabee turned his head and started to cry.
+ + + + + + +
JD had never run this fast in life. Not even on his high school track team. He followed Ezra who was staying on or as close as he could to the trail. It wasnt easy in the jungle. He heard the panting on his friends behind him. They all needed time to rest, but time was not something they had. Sidney and Chriss life depended on how fast they could get to them.
Ezra had finally gotten his informant to reveal the whole truth. Ella Gaines had been planning this kidnapping for over a year. She had chosen her partners well. Brett Sanders was just as sinister and evil as she was, but Juan Moreno was a different story.
Juan, his wife Maria and their daughter Gabriella were on the brink of starvation when Ella had found them. Gabriella was starting to resort to prostitution in order to get some food. Ella Gaines had seemed like an angel at the time. She had offered the family a place to stay, food, and an income for Juan that he had never thought possible. That was before he realized what Ellas real plan was. When he about the plans of arson, kidnapping and eventual murder of her own daughter, he had tried to back out. Thats when the angel of mercy had revealed her true form. She threatened to kill Maria and Gabriella if Juan did not finish the plan. Juan had no choice, but to follow her to America.
Gabriella had seen the perfect opportunity, as soon as Ella had left; she found all of Ellas information on Team Seven. Ezras cell phone number had been the first one listed
Now here they were, running through the lust vegetation as fast as their legs could carry them. Each offering their own silent prayer that they werent too late.
JD stopped suddenly. He just avoided running into Ezra who had stopped dead in his tracks. He soon realized why Ezra had stopped. There was a man, women and teenage girl standing to the side of the path.
Senior Standish? the girl asked. JD took looked into the mans eyes and felt his heart sink. It took Nathan to state the obvious.
Were to late arent we? None of them answered.
A familiar voice answered, You better believe youre late, I expected a rescue two hours ago!
Sidney stepped out from around a large banana tree. Before she knew it, she was engulfed in a pair of large arms.
God am I glad to see you squirt, I really thought we had lost you for a while there. Sidney could see the tears in Bucks eyes. She had to wipe away her own.
Im glad to see you too," she answered.
Hey Buck, quit hogging her. We didnt run five miles in this heat to let you suffocate her with that bear hug of yours, Vin laughed as he stepped up to hug the girl. His hug was just as hard as Bucks. Sidney had never been happier to be hugged in her life.
:I am relieved you managed to get out of the monsters clutches, Ezra said when he finally let her go, and he didnt take his arm off her shoulder.
I wouldnt have been able to do it alone, Sidney smiled turning her head to Juan and his family. Ellas guard dragged me out to the terrace. He pulled out his gun and I heard a shot. I waited for the pain, but it never came. I opened my eyes to see that Brett was lying on the ground with a bullet in his head and Juan standing in the doorway.
We all owe you our extreme gratitude, Mr. Moreno, Josiah said firmly
I will accept your gratitude when your other friend is rescued, Juan answered.
Reality finally hit. The men had all been so excited to see Sidney, they had forgotten about Chris.
I am ready to help in anyway I can, Juan said instantly.
Ezra shook his head. Your family has already done enough to help. There is no reason you need to risk anymore. Ezra reached into his wallet and pulled out on of his credit cards. He handed it to Gabriella.
We can not accept that senior," she said firmly.
I promised I would take care of your family Ms. Moreno. This should help you get on your feet. I have a feeling nobody here will mind accepting an American MasterCard. If you need anything else, you know how to contact me." He smiled. Gabriella took the card hesitantly.
How can we ever thank you? Maria asked.
We should be the ones thanking you, Vin answered, But if you will excuse us, We have some business to attend too.
Sidney hugged Juan. Thank you, she answered.
Are you ready Sidney? Nathan asked to give her arm if she needed. He could see that sheet will was keeping her on her feet, She nodded her head.
I am okay," she said. Sidney felt the adrenaline building through her muscles. Nothing was going to stop her now,
The password for the gate is John Marks, Juan called after them.
How fitting, Sidney answered. She was totally prepared to kill Ella Gaines once and for all. So this is what revenge feels like, she thought
+ + + + + + +
Chris didnt even realize Ella had walked into the room. He jumped when she lay down beside him. She started to stroke his cheek. He turned his head.
Dont be mad at me Chris; this was the only way to get what we wanted.
We? he croaked. I really wanted to kill an innocent girl so I could be a slave the rest of my life.
Please dont look at it that way darling, I know this will take some getting used too, but as soon as youre here long enough...
The door to the bedroom swung open.
Thankfully he wont be here that long. Sidney was standing in the doorway. Her gun was pointing straight at Ellas head. Both Chris and Ella seemed too surprised to talk.
But how did you..," Ella started to say.
Lets just say I have my own guardian angel. Unfortunately, I think yours flew away the second you were born. Chris had never seen Sidney like this before. It was scaring him.
Youve destroyed too many peoples lives. Give me one good reason why I shouldnt kill you now." Her voice was cold and emotionless.
Sidney no matter what you say, I am still your mother. Are you going to feel any better after you kill me? Sidneys answer surprised even her.
You better believe it, Sidney was about to pull the trigger, but a voice stopped her.
Sidney, dont do this, Chriss voice pleaded. She isnt worth it. You are too good of a person for this.
Its not just for me anymore Chris! What about my Dad? What about Sarah and Adam? There were tears of frustration in the girls eyes.
Killing her isnt going to bring them back honey. If anything, you will feel worse.
Sidneys hands started to shake. Slowly she dropped the gun to the floor. Ella smiled evilly as she reached across the bed to her nightstand. She quickly opened the drawer and pulled out a gun.
You are just like your father Sidney. So predictable. That was his downfall. She aimed the gun and fired. There was a scream of pain.
Sidney felt herself knocked to the ground. For the second time that day, a gunshot echoed throughout the house. She looked up to see Ezra getting up.
Thanks, she said. Thats the second time today I was shot at. I cant say I enjoy the feeling. Ezra smiled and was about to say something when he was interrupted by howls of pain. Both the agents turned to see Ella on the floor clutching her hand. Vin was cutting Chriss ropes. Chris stood up rubbing hid wrists.
Are you okay? Vin asked.
I will be. How come you aimed for her hand?
Who says I was aiming for her hand? How do you know I just didnt miss? Chris gave the sharpshooter a look.
I figured you should be the one to decide how to handle this. Chris gave his friend a look of gratitude. He looked at Ella rolling around on the ground.
Buck? JD? he asked.
Yeah? Buck asked.
Lock her up and bring her in, he said sternly.
Sure thing boss, JD answered with a smile. Chris walked over to the others where Sidney was getting a reprimand.
I thought we told you to stay downstairs! Nathan scolded. You could have gotten yourself killed.
Ill handle this from here Nathan, Chris said. Nathan looked at Chris and nodded his head. He went over to attend to Ellas hand.
You want to explain how you ended up in the doorway? Chris asked.
Can I sit down first? I feel like Im going to pass out. Sidney felt the adrenaline that had kept her going for so long was finally wearing down.
Well be downstairs guys," Josiah said, knowing the two of them needed to be alone. Holler if you need anything. They others slowly filed out. Buck dragging a screaming Ella Chris led Sidney over to the bed where they both sat down.
So? Chris asked. Sidney filled him in ion everything that had been happening in the last few hours. Turned out that she never should have found Chris. She had been given strict instructions to stay in the living room while the others found Chris. She stopped when she got to the part about almost shooting her mother.
I didnt like feeling that way Chris," she said. Its like I wasnt me anymore. I wasnt any better than my mother. The tears started flowing again. Chris wrapped his arms around the girl.
You didnt shoot her Sidney. Thats the important thing, You did the right thing. I am so proud of you honey. Not many nineteen year olds could handle the things that you just went through.
I dont think most people could, Vin said from the doorway. They turned to look at him.
The Havana Police are downstairs. They want to talk to you both. Chris kissed Sidney on the top of her head.
Are you okay now." She nodded her head, as Chris let her go. Sidney stood up, but she was unable to stay on her feet. She was just too exhausted. Chris caught her before she fell. The three started to walk down the hall and to the steps.
You are going to have to wait a while for a statement gentleman," Chris said when he reached the bottom of the steps. He smiled down Sidney. She had already fallen asleep
+ + + + + + +
It had been almost a month since Team Seven had gotten back from Cuba. Once again Team seven had gone through the gates of Hell and back without receiving any lasting damage.
It was a Friday afternoon. The Team minus Chris and Buck were hard at work finishing up their reports for the long weekend.
The door to the office sprang open.
Shes gone Sidney, Buck whopped. A life sentence without parole! Chris walked in behind him with a huge smile on his face. Sidney beamed. She didnt get the chance to answer, because her phone started to ring.
She picked up the receiver.
Hello Agent Marks Hi Cody Yeah I just heard from Buck I dont know, Ive had a long day Alright Sure Ill be ready by seven.
Sidney hung up the phone to see the smiles on her teammates faces.
What? she asked.
I think Kenny Chesney is out of the picture boys, Buck laughed.