Ties That Bind
By Peg Keeley
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
"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
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,
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
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
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,
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
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,
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
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
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
"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
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
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!
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
"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
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
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
"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
"And the other guy --- Ray!" Lonnie
"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
"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,"
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
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
"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
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
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
"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
"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!"
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
"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
"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
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
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
End Part 3
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