Alissa was working in the study, trying to make a list of questions to ask the next guest on her show. Her cellphone rang. She went pale when she saw the name on the caller ID. It was Alex. Maybe he was just calling to see how her pregnancy was going.
“Say it again!”
“Please what, Alissa?”
“Why did you call?”
“I found a place for us to be together. It’s only an hour by plane from Mesa Valley.”
He told her the name of the town.
“Of course, I’m serious. I expect you to be here tonight! It’s been too long!”
“No Alex. I won’t do it!”
“Alex, I know that you can’t possibly still believe that!”
Alex got angry. “Over the years I have always been there for you. I’m the one who picked up the pieces when Dale couldn’t or wouldn’t. I’ve always dropped everything and come running when you needed me. This is the thanks that I get!”
Alex said what he knew would work. “Alissa, don’t you remember our previous conversation. I do hope that nothing happens to Dale. And then too there is our daughter. It would be a shame if everyone found out that she’s mine and not Dale’s. As a matter of fact, I’m not so sure that I want Dale raising my daughter!”
Dale had come home early. He had been notified that day that his re-certification as a surgeon had gone through. He could start building his own practice now, and he wanted to share the good news with Alissa. He heard what she said to Alex and wondered what was going on.
Alex responded. “I’m not forcing you to do anything. You’re doing what you want to do! I’ve booked you a flight. You just need to pick up your ticket at the counter. Tell Dale that you’ve got to go and see a prospective guest for your show! Actually, I don’t care what you tell him.”
Alissa wrote down the information and then they hung up. Her hands were trembling. Dale came into the office as Alissa stood up.
She cut him off before he could ask any more questions. “I’ve got to go!” She quickly left the room.
Dale knew that she was lying to him for the first time, and she was terrible at it! He looked at the notepad that she had used and rubbed a pencil across it to reveal the impressions that her pen had left. He was able to decipher an address and a flight number. It was time to put an end to this once and for all! He rushed out to his car and followed her to the airport. He got a seat in third class on the same flight so that she wouldn’t know that he had followed her.
Sharlee had smiled as she checked her savings balance . She had enough to do what she had planned. She had been saving for a car, but Dale had insisted on he and Alissa paying for it. He said that he had missed giving her a gift for her sixteenth birthday and a car would have been what he had given her. He told her to use her savings for something else and took her to buy her car.
After school, she stopped by the store and picked up supplies. She made one last check to make sure that she hadn’t forgotten to buy anything that she needed.
Sharlee had been horrified by the condition of Noah’s place. He didn’t seem to mind it though. She supposed that living on the streets had made him used to that type of conditions. She had researched and found out that the person who owned the house where Noah lived had died and had no family to inherit the house or land. So it had just deteriorated over the years. The city paid no attention to that part of town.
Sharlee called a repair company and scheduled someone to come out to repair the windows and doors. They were also supposed to pressure clean the walls inside and out. She intended to do the rest of the work as a surprise for Noah. She knew that Ton was still in town and intended to get him to help her work on the house while Noah was at work. She decided that she could miss a day of practice and today was a teacher’s workday. So she only had a short day at school.
She changed clothes and rushed to Noah’s house. She got there just as the workmen arrived to do the repairs. Ton came outside the house.
After she arrived in Avondale, Alissa went directly to the house where Alex was waiting. Dale lost sight of her, but he had the address and gave it to the taxi driver. Alex was watching for her. As soon as she was in the house, he grabbed her and kissed her passionately without speaking a word. Alissa’s lack of enthusiasm didn’t matter to him.
Alex removed his jacket and started unbuttoning his shirt.
Alissa was trembling all over. She suddenly knew that regardless of the consequences she could not do this. She could never again sleep with Alex. She knew that no matter what, Dale would not want her to do this!
“Alex, no! I will never sleep with you again! I can’t do this!”
“Sharlee it’s okay! Ton got rid of the rat!”
After she was sure that it was gone, Sharlee was embarrassed. “I’m sorry but I just have a phobia about rats!”
“I’m sorry you were so scared.”
Noah looked around him at the difference that she had already made in the place.
Alissa knew that she had to get out of there. She didn’t care that she wasn’t dressed. She rushed to the door and threw it open! She was stunned and relieved when she crashed into Dale. He grabbed her to steady her and keep her from falling from the impact.
He saw the terrified expression in her eyes and that she wasn’t dressed.
Alissa didn’t answer. Dale suddenly just knew. Alex had threatened to hurt him.
He entered the house with Alissa behind him. He went over and picked up her dress. Then he handed it to her and she slipped it back on. He said quietly and firmly with his eye on Alex the whole time, “Go home, Alissa.”
Alissa knew that there was nothing else that she could do to prevent this confrontation between Alex and Dale. It had been a long time in coming. She couldn’t bear to remain and see the two brothers fight. Valerie was right. She was responsible for this. Tears flowed down her cheeks as she went outside to call a taxi. She almost collapsed onto the porch steps as she sat down to wait.
After Alex got to his feet again, he didn’t remain up for long! Dale punched Alex in his gut with all his strength. Alex had been trained to endure pain, but Dale’s punch momentarily took his breath away.
Dale was ready to end it. He wanted Alex completely out of Alissa’s life. As he thought about the fear on Alissa’s face and all the pain that Alex had caused her, Dale felt a surge of adrenaline. He forced Alex up against the wall and began to choke the life out of him.
Dale’s father suddenly flashed into his mind and the conversation that he and Alex had with him. Robert had admonished them that Alissa would feel guilty and responsible for any serious confrontation between them. If he killed Alex, then that would seriously damage his relationship with Alissa. They might not overcome it. Alex was a government agent. Dale would be locked away or possibly executed for killing him. He would be lost to his family again.
So instead, he told Alex, “Alex, I could easily finish crushing the life out of you, but I’m not going to for Alissa’s sake and that of my family. However, I’m warning you for the last time! Leave Alissa alone!”
He dropped Alex to the floor. Then he headed toward the door as Alissa opened it. Dale was not really surprised that she hadn’t left. Just as Alissa opened the door, she saw Alex lunge at Dale and pound his fists against the back of Dale’s head with all of his strength! It happened so quickly that she had no chance to warn him.
“Alex, I told you years ago that I could never hate you! I was so wrong! I hate you with every fiber of my being! I hate the part of you that is in this baby that I am carrying! I never want to see your face again!”
Then Alex called a special number and asked for a medical team.
“I’ve changed my mind. I’m ready, but I do have some conditions.”
He spoke with the person for a few more moments and then he ended the call.