Ties That Bind
By Peg Keeley


Part 3


 Lonnie and Juliet split a pizza and cokes in the visitors' room while three FBI agents, Ian, and Danny descended on the kidnapper in interrogation. The room was hot and everyone was tired and wet.

"Your name is Joe Peters?" the FBI lead man clarified as the videotape began to run.

"Uh-huh," he replied, wide-eyed. His clothes were torn and filthy, his hair uncut and matted. "I didn't do nothing."

"Did you call Ms. Harven earlier today?"

He shook. "I didn't do nothing."

"I have a recording of the voice on the tape. Computer says there's an 89% chance it's you."

"89%?" Joe looked confused.

"You called her."

"Maybe I did," he murmured looking at the floor. "But I didn't do nothing."

"Did you tell her to bring three hundred thousand dollars to the park?"

"I didn't do nothing," he murmured again.

Danny muttered quietly to Ian, "This guy hasn't got the smarts to tie his shoes let alone pull off a kidnapping."

Ian nodded in agreement. "You got friends, Joe?" he asked of Peters.


"Friends, you know, people who look out for you. People you help do things. Friends. Somebody you might do a favor for, like picking up that bag for them," Ian commented.

Joe stared at the floor. "I got no friends. I wouldn't need the money if I had friends."

The FBI man took over the questioning again. "What money?"

"The money in the bag. I needed the money," he mumbled.

"How did you know there was money in the bag?" the agent asked.

Joe looked confused again. "Because that's where it was. I figured if I had the money I could eat all winter and be warm. You know?"

Danny spoke up. "You called Ms. Harven and told her to bring the money then?"

He nodded. "But I didn't do nothing."

"Where's the girl, Joe?" Ian demanded, leaning forward.

Ian's size was obviously intimidating to the thin street bum. "I don't know nothing about no girl," he whimpered.

"You told Ms. Harven you did."

He looked down at the floor again. "Don't know about no girl."


It was past nine o'clock when Danny and Ian went to the room where Juliet sat staring out the window at the traffic in the street and Lonnie doodled pictures on the pizza box. The both looked up expectantly.

Ian sighed and collapsed onto the couch. Danny peeked, disappointed, into the empty box.

"Sorry, Dad," Lonnie muttered regarding not saving any pizza.

"Juliet," Ian gazed at her, "I'm afraid our telephone friend here didn't know anything about Audrey."

"I don't understand," she whispered. "he said -- he promised..."

Ian nodded. "It's like I tried to explain the other day. He was trying to cash in on the kidnapping. He just wanted to make a quick buck. He didn't take Audrey and really didn't have anything to do with her abduction."

Tears filled Juliet's eyes. "Are you sure?"

Ian shrugged. "Pretty sure. FBI will continue to work on him a bit longer, but it doesn't look hopeful."

"What do we do?"

"More of what we have been. We keep a bulletin posted for a car similar to yours, keeping hoping for leads." He shook his head. "Look, I know this is hard."

Danny gazed quietly at Juliet. Who profits? Is it some nameless kidnapper? Then there should be a ransom request. A random child molester? Then why use a car like the mother's? Who profits. Could it actually be Lincoln Adair himself? That mansion is huge. Plenty of places to hide someone. But Gideon, certainly Gideon would know. How long does Lincoln think he could keep this a secret? Just long enough to get Juliet to submit to his power. God, Lincoln, what have you gotten us into? How could you use an innocent little girl like this just to destroy her mother? Do I confide this to O'Keefe or deal with it myself? And what of the psychiatrist? Yes, go there first. He rose. "Come on, Juliet, let me take you home."

She started to protest. "I can get myself there, Danny, it's okay," but her voice revealed her exhaustion.

Listening to her reminded Danny of how little sleep he'd had himself. "I insist -- besides -- " he broke into a sympathetic, tired smile, "the Mercedes is in your drive."

She flushed. "Of course."


Ice crunched underfoot and the trio made their way across the small parking lot in the darkness to the Beamer. Danny tapped the thin sheet of ice away from the door lock before unlocking the car. Don't ever have to do this in Hawaii.

Lonnie played around shuffling his feet across a patch of ice. "Look at me, I'm skatin!" he kidded.

Danny gave a scowl. "Knock if off and get into the car."

Lonnie looked across to him, crestfallen. Most of the time his father was also his favorite playmate and the gruff reaction took the boy by surprise. Without a word, he walked around to the other side of the vehicle.

Juliet appeared to understand the short, tense moment and gave Lonnie a quick squeeze. "Why don't you take the front seat with your Dad. I'll sit in back."

He eagerly accepted the offer.

As Danny slid into the driver's seat, guilt caught up with him. "Sorry, Lonnie. I'm kind of tired."

He nodded. "Hungry, too, huh?" A little guilt crossed the boy's face, too. "Sorry I didn't save you any pizza."

Danny gave a small grin. "I'll live."

As Juliet slammed the back door, Danny turned the key and the engine sparked to life instantly. He turned the car out onto the dark, cold street and started northward as a depressing silence closed over them.

"Juliet," Danny said quietly, "don't let this thing get to you. It doesn't change anything for Audrey."

Juliet did not reply. She hugged her arms around herself and stared out the right side of the car at the frozen river beyond the landscape.

"I'd like to follow up with Audrey's doctor in the morning. I need you to call and give permission for me to get information."

Juliet did not reply.

"Juliet?" Danny glanced at her in the rear view mirror. "There is still hope."

She pulled her gaze away from the view and met his eyes in the mirror. "You don't think she was kidnapped, do you?"

He stopped at the stop sign, turning on the left blinker, then proceeded to the on-ramp of the highway. As the Beamer whined up to speed, he commented. "I don't think she was taken for money."

Juliet look away again at the glimpse of the glossy iced river between trees.

Lonnie also watched the landscape from the window, and looked beyond to the brilliant lights near the far shore of the river at the town of Ossining. "Is that Sing Sing?" he asked.

Danny glanced over a nodded. "Who told you that?"

"Kenneth," he replied. "He told me that when he was a boy, his mother said if he wasn't good, a murderer would get out and swim across the river and come and kill him." His eyes were round. "Maybe in winter they could walk over the ice."

Danny smiled in amusement. "No, Lonnie, the ice is too thin."

"Yeah, well, he could still swim, right?"

He chuckled. "Lonnie, this in New York. That water temperature is freezing. He'd only last about ten seconds in that river."

"Wow! What an awful way to go!" Lonnie blurted.

There was a sudden motion from the back seat. Without reason, Juliet was suddenly shrieking unintelligibly, grabbing over the front seat, her long manicured nails digging into Danny's neck.

In astonishment, he tried to stop her attack, shouting her name while trying to controlthe small sports car that hurtled down Route 4W at sixty miles an hour.

Lonnie yelled, turning as his seatbelt would permit, pulling on Juliet's elbow as the woman continued her maniacal attack, scratching, hitting, pounding.

The car skidded on a small patch of ice, swerving sideways as Danny tried blindly to control the wheel, and sought for the brake with his left foot.

The force of the slide threw Juliet against the wall of the car as her nails dug deeply through the flesh of Danny's neck.

He tried to bring the car back under control as the rear end fishtailed out of lane. Out of control, the vehicle struck the metal guardrail with a sparking scream of metal on metal. Still traveling over forty miles an hour, the car flipped over the rail, landing first on the roof, crushing in the back, then rolling down the bank three full flips before being stopped by a tree, passenger side up.

Where just a moment before there had been yelling, screaming, grinding metal, was now total silence. Lonnie struggled in his seatbelt to move, but was held fast. "Dad?" he called in the darkness. "Juliet?" He tried to find the seatbelt release, but the bucket seat had been driven to the left four inches and covered the buckle release. He squirmed more, but could not free himself. He smelled something like gasoline. Can a car catch fire and burn in snow? Recalling images from Die Hard II, he thought so. But that's just movies, that's not real. "Dad!!" he yelled again. He strained to reach out with his left hand and could just barely brush the edge of Danny's coat with his fingertips. "Dad, around you okay? Help me," he pleaded. The smell of petroleum was stronger and his heart began to pound. He managed to get his feet up and kicked them against the cracked windshield. The cracks spread, but the tempered glass held firm. "Help me! Help!" he shouted as he noticed the gleam from headlights on the roadway above. Hot tears of fear burned in his eyes as the light faded away. They cannot see us! They cannot hear me! He tried to reach the car horn, but it was too far away. The seatbelt was digging into his neck as he half-dangled in the air. "Dad, please, please wake up!" he begged. He twisted around again, so he could reach the horn with his foot and started kicking it. Short blasts of the horn pierced the cold night air. "Dad, please, Dad, please," he sobbed almost in time with his kicks.

At last there were lights above again. Had they stopped? He kicked the horn faster and faster. "Help me! Help me!"

"Hey kid!" came a husky voice. "Hang on there, it's okay, I'm comin'!"

Lonnie collapsed, thankfully, exhausted against the restraints.

A man's face, large, round, with long hair and a full beard, appeared through the cracked windshield. "Hang on here," he reassured. He looked away. "Ellen!" He bellowed. "Use the phone to call 911. There's a car full of people down here! Bring the blanket!" He looked back at Lonnie. He could also smell the gasoline and knew he needed to act quickly. "Okay, kid. Listen up. What's your name?"

"Lonnie," he answered.

"Okay, Lonnie, I'm Ray. I need to bust this window, see? You cover your face cause I'll have to kick it in and I don't wanna hurt you. Understand?"

"Yeah, go ahead." He placed his hands over his face.

The whole car shook as Ray kicked his large foot against the windshield. A small, foot-sized hole broke through. Then, with repeated kicks, he rapidly enlarged it till most of the windshield lay spattered through the front seat in small pebbles of glass. "Give me your hand, kid."

"I'm stuck in the seatbelt," Lonnie replied.

Ray flashed out what looked like an enormous knife and slit the belt in one swipe. Lonnie crashed down onto the unconscious Danny. Ray grabbed Lonnie by the waist and lifted him out like a doll. Ellen was just sliding down the snowy bank, the blanket in her arm.

"Here." She took Lonnie by the hand. "Sit down over here, honey." She steered him away from the wreck.

"My Dad and Juliet are in there!" He looked back in amazement at the twist hulk of metal that they had been driving in just minutes before.

Ray had already seen Danny and was lifting him out of the car. Ray carried him over to Ellen and Lonnie and laid him down on the snow. "There's a girl in the back seat. I gotta get her," Ray explained to Ellen.

Ellen looked worried. "That gas smell is bad."

Ray had already gone back to the car. He slipped through the windshield and climbed over the front seat. It took precious moments to find Juliet where the rear seat had torn loose and half covered her. The seat was soaked in gasoline. He pulled her over the front seat and stood up with her in his arms. He began to step through the windshield when there was a sudden wooshing sound. The car was suddenly enveloped in a ball of heat and flame, hiding Ray and Juliet from view.

Ellen screamed and ran forward. "Ray! Ray!"

He staggered through the wall of flame and fell to the snow, dropping Juliet. He was crying in agony, rolling in the snow that hissed around him. Ellen began to beat Juliet's flaming body with the blanket.

Lonnie attempted to jump up, slipped and stumbled in the snow to Ray's side and began throwing snow against him. Ray continued to wail with pain. Most of his beard and hair on his head had been singed away. His clothing was no longer burning, but continued to smoke. "Please be okay," Lonnie sobbed, horrified that his rescuer had now become the victim.

With Juliet's flames out, Ellen turned back towards Ray. "Ray! Ray!" She ran towards them.

Lonnie looked up in time to see Juliet's clothing burst back into flame. He pointed. "She's burning again!"

Ellen ran back.

There were sounds of sirens approaching. There'd be no problem locating the accident now that the flaming Beamer lit up the sky. Two more cars had stopped on the highway above. Another man was sliding down the snowy bank towards them.

Ray was no longer screaming, just making little moans with each exhale. Lonnie attempted to blink back tears and tried to put more cold snow on the burns.

A few feet away, Danny moved, blinked and tried to wipe the confusion from his mind. "Lonnie?"

Lonnie looked over to see Danny trying to get up. "Oh Dad!" he gasped in relief scrambling to his side. "Are you okay?"

"It's okay," he said quietly, in spite of his own confusion. "It'll be okay." He gazed at the scene of horror. There were now red lights blinking on the roadway above and firemen and paramedics climbing down the slope.

"Dad," Lonnie said, tears flowing unashamedly, "he saved our lives. He can't die!"


Lonnie sat on the plastic chair in the emergency room, knees drawn up under his chin, a pink hospital blanket wrapped around him. He wanted to block it all out. Every time he closed his eyes he saw Ray. A nurse had been with him for a while, but had gotten too busy to stay. A paper cup of cocoa was getting cold on the floor beside him. He hurt all over. There were big bruises on his left ribs and shoulder, but the doctor told him he was okay. Where's Dad? Why did they take him away? He promised he'd come back, but he hasn't. Where is he? Did something happen to him? He understood that the hospital people were all very busy -- too busy to stop and talk, but he really wished someone would take him to his dad. No one would talk to him about Juliet or Ray. He could not even find Ellen. Three times he'd left the chair only to have the lady at the desk gruffly tell him to sit down. He felt very alone, sleepy, and frightened.

The double doors hissed open from the parking lot and a man burst in at a full march of power. Clad in a black cape that swirled around him revealing the red satin inner lining every other step, something about him reminded Lonnie of Darth Vader. The man took off his black top hat, disclosing aged features and a head of white hair. When he stopped at the front desk, he spoke quietly to the nurse and Lonnie could tell by the girl's flushed cheeks that the man must be someone important.

He looks like an undertaker, Lonnie thought. Who died? He gulped in fear and pulled the blanket tighter.

The man turned from the front desk as the nurse gestured in Lonnie's direction and came down the corridor. Lonnie prayed the man would not come to him. He prayed his dad would appear. He closed his eyes and hoped the man would keep going and not stop by him. Dad was fine. He said he was fine. Why has the funeral man come now?

The voice was deep, but soft. "You must be Lonnie Williams."

He opened his eyes in terror.

"It's all right, son." The man sat down beside Lonnie.

"Are you here to get a body?" Lonnie whispered.

"What?" He glared at him. "See here, I may be old, but I'm not dead yet."

Lonnie just stared at him.

"I am Lincoln Adair," he said in explanation. "Your father has not seen fit to introduce us as of yet, so we must take care of these things ourselves."

"Mr. Adair?" he murmured in relief.

"Are you all right, boy?"

"Yes, sir," he replied.

A doctor exited the exam room two doors down, spotted Lincoln and Lonnie and came over. "Lonnie, your Dad will be right out. Mr. Adair, I'm Dr. Martin."

"Doctor, what about Juliet?" Lincoln asked, concern in his voice.

"I'm getting an update now, I'll be right back."

"And the other guy --- Ray!" Lonnie called.

"Sure." Martin walked away.

Danny appeared in the doorway Martin had just come from. "Lonnie."

"Dad!" He burst into a smile, jumped to his feet and ran to him. They embraced. "I was scared. Why didn't you come?"

"The doctor wanted to be sure I was okay since I got knocked out. They did an x-ray of my head." He tried to lighten the boy's serious look. "They didn't find anything there," he whispered.

Lonnie tried to giggle at the joke, but everything that had happened was too much. "Look, I got these bruises." He pulled up his sweatshirt revealing the purple marks on his shoulder.

Danny gave a low whistle. "Looks like first class bruises to me." He gave Lonnie another hug.

Lincoln had risen to his feet. "Dan, I am glad to see you are all right." He spoke kindly but his features were tense.

Dr. Martin returned. "Mr. Adair, Mr. Williams, I've spoken with the doctor handling Ray Smith and Juliet Harven." He looked at Lonnie. "Ray Smith has some burns on his head and arms. He'll be in a burn unit for awhile, but he'll be all right."

"Can I see him?" Lonnie asked.

He frowned. "Maybe in a few days if it's all right with your Dad, but not right now." He paused and glanced back to the adults. "I'm afraid the word on Ms. Harven isn't as good. She sustained second and third degree burns over 80% of her body and inside her lungs. If we can stabilize her, we will send her to Mount Sanai burn unit in the city. She is ventilator supported right now. Frankly, I doubt she will survive the night."

Lincoln stared at him. "That is absurd, of course she will live."

Martin glanced at the floor, then back at Adair. "Sir, I know she means a lot to you, but I need to be honest. She is very critically injured."

Lincoln turned to Danny. "How could you let this happen?!" he demanded.

"What?" Danny asked.

"I bring you here to save Audrey and instead you wreck a car and destroy Juliet! You should not have been driving! You are inexperienced in winter driving! This is all your fault!"

"Now wait a minute--" Danny started.

"I want to see her!" Lincoln ignored Danny and turned back to Martin.

"That's not possible right now," he answered.

"Anything is possible. I will see her!" he shouted.

Martin hesitated. "I'll check. Why don't you wait here." He hurried away, but Lincoln followed right behind.

"Tell him, Dad," Lonnie insisted. "That's not what happened."

Danny shook his head. "What's the use? Lincoln will believe what he wants to."

"But he's wrong," Lonnie implored.

Danny put an arm on Lonnie's shoulder. "Yeah, and it's not the first time or the last."

"What do we do now?" Lonnie asked, dropping his pink blanket. I hate that blanket; girls like pink not guys. Why did a hospital have to have a stupid pink blanket? He turned his attention away from the blanket back to his Dad. Danny had not replied and Lonnie wondered if he'd been heard. "Dad? Can we go home now?"

Danny blinked and looked at him. "Home?" Yeah, home like back to Hawaii, but I wonder if that is what Lonnie means.

Lonnie rubbed his tired eyes. "I'm really tired."

"Let me sign us out. I'll bet Kenneth is in the parking lot with the limo. I'll tell him we're catching a cab," Danny offered. He glanced at his watch -- after midnight. As he turned towards the nurse's desk, the sliding doors opened to admit Ian O'Keefe.

Spotting Danny instantly, O'Keefe hurried towards them. "Thank God, Williams. I got a call from the FBI at Juliet's. Thank goodness you're both okay." He tosseled Lonnie's dark curls. "Can you tell me what happened? All the highway patrol said was 'one car accident. Lost control on a patch of ice.'"

They sat back down on the plastic chairs, Lonnie taking time to pick up the pink blanket that he distastefully shoved under the chair.

"We were headed back to her place," Danny started. "She suddenly flipped out. Complete manic episode. I can't recall any exact cause. Something triggered her."

"She was yellin' and grabbin' at my Dad," Lonnie interjected, anxious for someone to hear the truth. He made a face and imitated a claw-like stance with his hands before him. "She made us crash -- not my Dad."

"Is she going to be all right?" Ian asked.

Danny shook his head. "Doc says she won't make it the night."

"Damned shame," Ian said with a sigh. "Can we try to talk to her now? We still have a lot of unanswered stuff about Audrey."

"She's in a coma, vent supported," Danny answered sadly. "There won't be any talking to her." He allowed his mind to wander to his brief conversation with his cousin earlier in the day. There were things to work on, things to dig more deeply into. I thought Lincoln might know something. There was the psychiatrist. A revelation suddenly stopped his professional analysis. Juliet and Audrey were my last living relatives. I never knew them. I let Lincoln Adair rob me of the only extended family I had. A slow anger and resentment began to bubble within him coupled with regret at not having kept closer touch with Juliet. Now it was too late.

Ian had permitted the brief silence, understanding that Williams seemed to be working through his own feelings on the impending death of Juliet. He empathized with the man he'd only met this morning. Sometimes life is a bitch. "Can I do anything?" he asked sympathetically.

There was activity in the hallway; Lincoln came around the corner and approached them.

Ian rose and extended a hand.

Adair ignored him. Sadness and pain were etched upon his face as he gazed down at Danny sitting on the chair. "She is going to die," he announced.

Danny looked up, then stood up, struggling to contain his loathing of the man before him. "I know that."

Lincoln passed a hand over his eyes. "She looks -- oh -- it is unimaginable."

"We were with her, Adair. We've already seen," Danny said expressing no emotion.

Adair looked at Lonnie, contemplating the horrors the young boy had experienced that night.

Danny took Lonnie's hand, hoping that Adair would not say any more. "We're tired. We're going home."

Adair looked alarmed and angry. He also was mentally questioning the interpretation of 'home,' but before he could speak, or Danny could walk away, Ian spoke up. "Mr. Adair, may I ask you a question?"

Adair turned his fiery gaze on the officer. "Ask away."

"Did Juliet ever see a psychiatrist?"

Danny blinked in surprise.

Fury blazed in Lincoln's eyes. "No, of course not."

"Yes, she did," Danny countered.

Adair spun to face him. "What?!'

"She told me Audrey was so messed up when they moved out she began her in counseling, but she never told me the doctor's name," Danny stated boldly.

Adair sneered. "Audrey was just fine, it was her mother who was mentally unbalanced."

"Tell me more about that," Ian interjected.

"What?" Adair snapped.

"You said she was unbalanced."

"Just a manner of speaking." He clamped his mouth shut.

"Do you know the doctor's name?" Ian shot back.

"She went to great lengths to keep me uninformed," Adair retorted.

"Why was that, Mr. Adair?"

He did not answer. He turned his back on them and started up the hall.

"Adair," Ian shouted. "Tell me now or tell me later. You are obstructing justice here!"

Adair did not turn.

"Are you forgetting about Audrey!" O'Keefe persisted.

Danny spoke up. "Juliet went psychotic tonight and attacked me in the car. That's why we wrecked. Now that doctor may be the only clue left to Audrey's disappearance!"

Lincoln spun around, fist raised. "That's a lie! You are just trying to cover your own incompetence and blame!"

"And I suppose this was self-inflicted!" Danny yanked back his shirt collar revealing the deep gashes and bruises on his neck.

Lincoln walked slowly towards them, the anger melting into wonder. "Not Juliet. She couldn't."

"The doctor's name, Adair?" Ian asked.

"I don't know," he answered sharply.

"You do," Ian insisted. "You've had a PI on retainer for the last twenty years reporting on any moved Juliet or Dan ever made. I've talk to the man but he's claiming it's privileged information."

"Wait a minute here." Danny scowled gesturing towards Adair. "He's done what?"

O'Keefe, knowing he had Adair in a corner, said, "You gonna admit it or shall I give him the name of the PI?"

Lincoln, furious, but knowing he was trapped, crossed his arms. "There's nothing illegal about private detectives. I've had an agency on retainer a very long time. They are very helpful when I am considering business matters."

"I don't believe this," Danny muttered. He remembered the lifetime of photos on the galley wall and the horrific 8 x 10 glossy. How much does Lincoln know about me? Does he know about Lani? Mali? Does he know about my life before Lonnie changed it all?

Adair seemed to sense the confused emotions surging through Danny. The tone of his statement was a drastic change from the fury of moments earlier as he commented in a fatherly tone: "How else would I know how you were doing?"

Danny's anger bloomed. "You could have written a letter."

"Would you have answered?"

Danny jammed his hands into his pockets. Probably not. But he said caustically: "Why would you care?"

Lincoln's expression had lost the anger and a searching for something -- approval -- seemed to emerge. "I do care. You and Juliet are all I have."

"Then you've got nothing, pal," Danny snapped hotly before he could silence himself.

Ian winced. I wouldn't slam an outhouse door that hard.

Danny grabbed Lonnie hand so hard, the child yelped. "Come on, Lonnie, we're out of here." He stormed away.

Lincoln stared after them, his mouth hanging open.

Ian cleared his throat. "Mr. Adair, I really do need the name of the doctor."

Adair, still trying to recover from the verbal blow looked at Ian like he'd forgotten the officer was there. "Michelle Ford, in New City."

Ian hurried away to catch up with Danny

  End Part 3

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