Chapter Forty-One

Tom is in Felicia's apartment and it's clear that she's set the scene for seduction. The lights are out, and scented candles flicker all around. The furniture is pushed out of the way, and a mat has been laid out on the floor. A beach mat. The sound of surf fills the air, punctuated by the shrill cries of gulls, courtesy of a CD playing. Next to the mat is a table with drinks. Felicia is wearing a tropical sarong, something she's fashioned herself that's held together with a single fastener. She smiles at him, her eyes gleaming in the candle light.

"Hi, Tom. Come on in. You've seemed distant lately, tired, and I've decided that you need a vacation. So, we're going to the Bahamas."

She takes his hand, and leads him to the center of the room where she's moved aside the furniture. Easing him down onto the mat with a gentle kiss, she says, "Now, you start on this while I get the fruit." She holds the glass of the specially concocted punch to his lips, saying, "Drink up! This is my latest invention-Felicia's fruit fantasy."

Tom, still preoccupied and slightly mesmerized by the sound of distant drums (another CD which Felicia privately thought sounded more African than Bahamian) drinks up, while Felicia makes quick work of his jacket, shirt and shoes. Then, she takes a strawberry, dips it into the chocolate, and says, "Open your mouth."

Tom obeys, and takes a bite, then another.

"Now, some more punch." This goes on for a few more minutes, with Tom drinking more and more of the punch, which is having a decidedly uncomfortable effect on him.

Suddenly, he pushes her aside, "Stop, Felicia," he says, as she begins more amorous pursuits.

"What's the matter?" she asks. "Got a headache?"

"No, yes, that's......damn, Felicia.. What's wrong with you?"

"With me? She asks, indignantly. Sensing a weakness, she continues. "What's wrong with Mr. Anywhere up to and including the kitchen sink?"

"I don't have time," Tom says, "They're after me."

"They who?" Felicia asks, intrigued.

Tom is very upset, shaking with nerves and the effects of the drug. He shoves her to one side, and takes his cellular phone, quickly punching in a series of numbers, and hitting send. Felicia grabs the phone from him, saying, "I'll tell them a thing or two."

Before Tom can wrest the phone back from her, the person on the other end of the phone answers, and Felicia turns stark white. She looks at Tom who, seeing her expression, realizes that things have taken a dangerous turn. He grabs his clothes, and as he hears a knock at the front door, beats a hasty retreat out the back, leaving the cellular phone in Felicia's trembling hands. Hmmmmmm

"Felicia, open up!" Lucy shouts, finally, her impatience forcing her to pound on the door.

A very shaken Felicia opens the door, and stares at Lucy, who breezes in. "Hello, Felicia. You look really weird. Come to think of it, you should, considering that you are wearing a tropical sarong while it's below freezing outside. And, what is this?? Candles everywhere, and a beach mat?? Oh, dear, have I interrupted something??? Felicia, what's wrong?? There's nobody else here-I know, you're expecting someone, aren't you?? Well, I won't.....Felicia, what's wrong with you? You look like you've seen a ghost."

"Heard one is more like it," Felicia says, taking the telephone and calling Mac's cellular number. "Mac? You need to come over right now......No, we're both fine.....Look, something has come up.....Okay, I'll be waiting."

Lucy, listening in, asks, "What's going on?"

Felicia looks at her, and says, "You'd better sit down."

Lucy obeys, and says, "Now, what's going on?"

"He's alive," Felicia says. "I thought he was dead, that the nightmare was finally over, but he's alive."

"He who?"

"Ryan," Felicia answers. "I just spoke to him over the phone."

Lucy, a sinking sensation in her stomach, says, "It was probably Kevin."

"No," Felicia says, "it's definitely not Kevin."

"How can you tell the difference between their voices? I stood right next to him, and they're identical."

"Because she knows where I am."

Kevin walks into the room, and Lucy leaps into his arms. "Doc!" Then, after a welcoming kiss, she demands, "What are you doing here? I mean, I knew you were here, where's the wiener dog?"

At that, Maverick bounds into the room, wagging his tail, and whining for attention from Lucy, whom he instantly adores. "TC is in the basement."

At that moment, Mac knocks and enters the apartment. "Felicia-I came as soon as possible. Hi Lucy-Kevin-what's going on?"

"Ryan's alive," Felicia says, simply. "I just heard his voice." Hmmmmmm

Tom is running, terrified. Deep in his heart, he knows he has one chance and that's to kill Felicia before she can reveal what she know, but he realizes that it's already too late. She heard the voice, and made the connection-unless she could be persuaded that she'd heard Kevin's voice, and that Tom had been helping him.

The icy night air is rapidly clearing his head, and he vaguely recalls babbling something like "They're after me." Unaware that he's being followed, Tom hurries along, quickly pulling on his shirt and jacket against the cold. He pauses to slip on his shoes, and continues thinking about his problem. How could he get out of this? He was as rattled as he had been coming back from Africa-wait!! That was it!! He'd blame it all on his African experiences and the bloodsucking lawyers that had his career on hold. And, the voice-he could just blame that on a wrong number. That might work better than having Felicia think that he was involved with Kevin.

Feeling somewhat better, Tom quickly steps up his pace, still unaware that his follower has done the same. A last minute decision takes him around another corner and to the Outback where he is determined to work on his story. Straightening his clothes, he saunters in Hmmmmm

Stay tuned!! Who is following Tom and why?? Was that really Ryan on the phone?? Didn't he die in the fire?? How will Lucy take Maverick and TC? And vice versa? Where will Siggy fit into the newly extended family? Will Tom be able to make a full recovery in his own eyes?? Will Mac, Kevin and Lucy believe Felicia?? Hmmmmm