"Mom! Dad!" Sixteen-year-old Roark called, as she entered her home. She was puzzled by the lack of welcome and lack of noise. However, Brian was on close terms with her parents, they probably knew before she did.
Roark smiled at the thought of Brian and her family. She wandered into the kitchen and stopped mid-stride. What she saw made her heart break and pound at the same time. She struggled for air. What remained of her little sister was in a bloody mess on the kitchen floor.
"Mom!" Roark shrieked, in panic. No reply. Roark bolted into the living room and called 911.
"Mary, Jesus, and Joseph." The police chief breathed. His green eyes were wide and clearly trying to avoid what the paramedics were putting in a body bag. Only his closest friend would have realized that he was not only repulsed by what he had seen, that he was also trying not to toss his cookies.
"Hey, I take offense to that type of language, Chief,"
"Sorry, it's just I haven't seen anything this bad since the Vanderwelle case in 1963,"
"Just keep in mind Jonathan, you reviewed the case files twenty years later." The balding mayor shot in. "Now where is the girl who called?" Jared Foster, the mayor, was impatient that he had to track down the last living relative to this gruesome case himself and this was transpiring all when he would normally be down at Barry's.
"She's with Jen, in who-knows-where-ville,"
"Great, that shrink will…I thought she was to council the officers not the victims,"
"Congrats on that one Jared, I would like to point out that the woman's family is dead, slaughtered…and she's not up for twenty plus questions from you." Jen said sharply, entering the living room. The techs were doing there various duties, and the home was considered a crime scene.
"What's your take on this Ryan?" The police chief asked quietly as the pair broke off from the foursome.
"You mean, once again you want my opinion to catch an idiot?" Ryan asked amused.
"Something like that."
"Here's the skinny: the culprit is …" Both men where distracted by the approaching female. Her dark eyes darted between the pair of males. Her face was drawn and wary. She did not look happy.
"Ma'am? Can I help you?" Jonathan asked.
"Are you the police chief?"
"I'm afraid so, and you are?"
"Phoenix Lawson," she said, running a hand through her long blond hair.
"You mean…Roark Lawson? Daniel's little girl?"
"I'm sixteen, little and girl where how I described my little sister." She eyed both men critically. "How'd you know my father?" Phoenix asked softly.
"I met him in the Marines, he talked so much about you."
"Yeah…yeah, save the spiel will you? I just want to know what your people have got from the house and the bodies."
"My, my, my… that was unfeeling." Ryan chipped in.
"And you are?"
"This is Lieutenant Ryan Vanaman, he's our top killer profiler."
"Ooo…no modesty to the title this time, he admits you're his pet."
"That was uncalled for, Damien."
"Yah well…you'll have that," Damien said, crossing his arms over his chest. "Who's the hottie?"
"Damien, honestly, if your mother wouldn't kill me I wouldn't claim you as a nephew."
"Um…hottie? Newsflash, that was cool when I was in junior high,"
"And that was how long ago? Two years?" Damien asked.
"Try almost four…" Phoenix replied watching the males.
"That's enough…both of you. First off, Damien what are you doing at a crime scene?" Jonathan asked.
"Looking for you."
"To say what?"
"That I'm gay and I'm going out with my cousin…"
"Somehow that might be something you would do, however it's slightly illegal. Besides I'd have to kill you. Now the truth, Damien," Jonathan demanded.
"Alright, alright. Keep your pants on. She wanted you to know that her and dad are getting a divorce because we found him in bed with another guy,"
"Somehow I don't think I want to know any of this…" Phoenix cut in. "Can we please get back to the case of the murdered family?"
"Chief?" Ryan inquired.
"Damien, go back to your house and tell your mother to call me." the Dallas police chief looked frazzled as he spoke. Damien looked disgruntled but left with an "Iight,"
"In front of…"
"It's as good as time as any Ryan. She needs to know anyway." The police chief interrupted.
"No buts…the mayor won't know if you don't tell him,"
"Fine." Ryan Vanaman took a deep breath, crossed his arms over his massive chest, and began, "You heard about the killings in Austin?" he asked Roark.
"What of them… Austin police said they were random and they caught the guy two and half years ago."
"Yeah, however the perp killed similarly. And since he got fatally wounded in a jail riot, so we know it's not him, so I say we have a copy-cat."
"Can I have a rousing chorus of 'yippee!'?" Falcon Daniels asked dryly as he stepped into the group.
"No, ya can't, Daniels," Vanaman replied just as sarcastically.
"Daniels, what on earth are you doing here, as I recall this is my crime scene not your department's,"
"True, however Vanaman's brother and his brother's best friend were found slaughtered, not half an hour ago."
"What?" Vanaman questioned, flabbergasted that his brother could be gone. He fought done the flare of rage as Jonathan looked at him. Phoenix's eyebrow shot up at the sight of the dark-and dangerous-guy's weakness. The openness quickly was covered by anger. "How?"
"Well I was talking to Jen and…well…"
"Slaughtered, like this family," Ryan concluded from the way his fellow police officer's eyes darted from his gaze.
"I'm sorry Ryan," Falcon said softly. Ryan's jaw visibly clenched as he inwardly cried. A plan-lacking idea popped into both Phoenix's and Ryan's heads at about the same time.
"Perhaps we should leave the Lieutenant alone for a few moments," Jonathan suggested, nudging Daniels away. As the pair left, Ryan held Phoenix's gaze captive.
"Somehow I think I shouldn't be doing this." Vanaman said softly.
"Good, at least you know that before hand. Let's see if you remember it. Come on, Lieutenant,"
Phoenix Lawson led Ryan to the edge of her family's lake. For a few moments they walked along the lake's edge in silence.
"Was that mockery?"
"It might have been."
"Do you ever give a straight answer?"
"Not to females,"
"So you're prejudiced."
"Did I say that?"
"You might of,"
"Okay, now that we are past being fourteen-year-olds, who is your brother?"
"Nosy are you?"
"I've been called worse."
"My brother is…was…Ian Vanaman,"
"Oh dear God…" Phoenix whispered, then she spoke as softly as they had been speaking, "And his friend?"
"Brian Newman," Ryan answered, wondering how Phoenix might of known his little brother.
"There went that idea." Phoenix murmured as tears formed in her eyes.
"What idea?" Silence. Ryan paused in thought. The pair slowed to a stop. Ryan watched Phoenix's form in the darkness. Her tears shone in the moonlight and her breath caught as she watched his tears glitter as well.
Time seemed to stop for the pair. The world seemed to stop in the strangers same anguish. Neither had any idea how much time had passed, all they knew was the other. And in that shared time their pain seemed to reach out between the distances of their age, their bodies, and ultimately their minds.
Ryan's arm slipped around her waist, and he drew her close to him. As they slowly recovered their composure, Phoenix realized a crucial factor: she was only sixteen. For the next part of a year she would have to be with another family or otherwise she would have to prove to the courts that she was responsible enough to provide for herself. And then there was her twin, who was not found.
"Dear sweet Jesus," she murmured as Ryan's lips met hers. She jerked back in shock and stared at the first person in the entire world that had ever kissed her. Taking a step back, "I'll say it again, dear sweet Jesus,"
"Please tell me I hallucinated kissing a sixteen year old…" Ryan breathed.
"Huh, and you're the cop." She muttered, crossing her arms over her chest. "Now what are we supposed to do?"
"As I recall kissing someone is not life altering," Ryan murmured watching the female in his arms.
"Unless someone saw, or one or the other kissing participants feels anti-kiss-y,"
"Kiss-y? Did you just make that up?"
"Yes, write a book about it,"
"Prickly, ain't cha?" Ryan taunted.
"You get what you give," Roark replied.
"Ouch, that's it vengeance is mine," Ryan hissed just before he kissed her, yet again. Roark swatted at him gently.
"Could you knock that off sometime soon?" Roark asked impatiently.
"Oh but why?" Ryan asked silkily as Phoenix settled against him.
"Because one of us is trying to think," she murmured as she slid her arms up around his neck.
"How did you know Brian and Ian?"
"Brian was my boyfriend, and Ian kind of came with the territory," Roark said softly. "The question remains: why?"
"I thought the question still was who,"
"Motive then perpetrator,"
"My mistake I always did it the other way around," Ryan murmured.
"Well, we have a connection between victims,"
"Wait are you a seventeen-year-old female or are you police detective?"
"Dad was CIA, I helped and watched him work a lot. Yes I do know that cops hate mini-cops, but…"
"When you have a point, you have a point,"
"So you where saying?"
"Did you guys find my twin?"
"There's another one of you running around?"
"Accidents happen," Roark muttered, "Ryan?"
"You do realize that I am seventeen…"
"My sentiments exactly,"
"No, dammit Daniels," Ryan said letting her go and moving slowly away, Phoenix's hands dropped to her sides.
"Nice work, Lieutenant, did you learn something?" Falcon asked stepping away from the trees.
"Mr. Daniels, may I inquire as to what your business was behind those trees?"
"I was consulting a tree, then you guys came along, I simply couldn't resist,"
"Consulting? Is that like 'peeing on'?"
"It might be."
"If you where about a foot closer I would have to smack you," Roark chipped in.
"Ryan, I didn't know you liked 'em this young," Damien said moving closer.
"What is this the Twilight Zone? All males are suddenly interested in my personal life?" Roark asked just before she sulked off.
"You think she's pissed?"
"I know she's pissed, genius, and so does anybody else that has a brain bigger than a peanut," Falcon said to Damien, then to Ryan he spoke, "Wasn't that the point?"
Four years later…Roark sat on a stool in the kitchen across from her twin's boyfriend.
"Okay, tell me again,"
"We got in a fight, we broke up, and then I found her murdered not two hours ago." Stephen said.
"But you didn't call the cops?"
"They showed how helpful they can be four years ago," Stephen said sharply.
"Their so gonna think you did it,"
"I didn't, I'm not capable of slaughtering my ex-girlfriend."