~ Two Words ~
by Hillsys Stalker

Feedback Email: aliceprogram@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: The only thing I don't own in this story is Miss Congeniality. Everything else is mine. If you'd like to use them (I don't know why you would though) just ask. I'll most likely let you borrow them if you promise to return them in good condition.

Violence/Language/Sexual Disclaimer: There is violence in this story but not very much. The language, however, is very naughty. There are a couple F bombs here and there. As for sex, this does feature a girl/girl pairing but it doesn't go any further than kissing and cuddling.

Genre: Original

Author's Note: Yeah, yeah. I should probably be working on Darkening Rays of Light since I haven't updated in a while. I couldn't help it though. This idea popped into my head a couple years ago after a really weird dream involving a subway train and The Hulk. It's just been begging to be written ever since. So for the past year and a half I've been working on this. Looking back, I'm glad I did it. I've fallen in love with the main characters and I hope you'll like them half as much as I do. Enjoy!

Summary: After two weeks of living out of hotels, a brokenhearted Allison Lancaster is taking the subway back to her hometown to live with her mother. Two weeks ago, the love of her life ended their three year relationship and she still can't figure out what went wrong. On the subway ride home, she works up the nerve to call her ex to figure out what happened. The conversation isn't the only thing that starts to go downhill that morning when rival gang members unexpectedly run into each other on the subway train.

Over the years, it has been theorized that humans are the only animals that can not only look towards future events, but that they are also the only creatures that can use reason. With these strange abilities, however, comes a burden. Humans are also the only creatures that are in a constant state of stress. According to psychologists, this is because we are constantly worrying about things that other members of the animal kingdom don't even know exist.

The antelopes that graze on the African savanna don't worry about the IRS or their young going to college. The rats in the tunnels that run under city streets don't think about whether they are going to live or die. In fact, psychologists have proposed that humans are the only creatures that are aware they are going to die. Yet another factor when it comes to stress.

However, it wasn't death that was occupying the thoughts of one human by the name of Allison Lancaster as she leaned her head against the shaking window pane of the subway train. Surprisingly, thoughts of the future weren't dancing through her head either. Rather, it was the memory of two words that had her restlessly drumming her fingers on the plastic armrest of her seat as she absently gazed out her window. While her misty grey eyes, hidden behind a pair of black-rimmed glasses, became entranced by the blur of lights that decorated the subway tunnel walls, two words were on a continuous loop in her mind.

"It's over," constantly repeated itself as the subway train sped through the tunnels beneath the city. In her opinion, it was odd that two little words could continue to play a significant part in one person's life. It seemed that those two words had been predecessors to every major event that unraveled in her history.

When her parents got a divorce, those were the two words her father told her mother before pulling his beat up Jeep Wrangler out of the drive. Those two words marked the day a broken down old man left behind a despondent mother and a heartbroken five-year old girl. Those two words stole the vitality of a middle-aged woman and shattered the fragile self-confidence of a child.

Many years later, when Allison found herself surrounded by a sea of gold and silver at her high school graduation, those words somehow managed to pop up once more. After gold caps had gone flying in the air in celebration, Allison's best friend had run over and given her a flying hug. As thin arms wrapped around her, Allison heard her friend whisper in her ear.

"It's over," she had said, the excitement showing in her smile as she pulled away. After she set her friend back on the ground, Allison had found herself feeling a little depressed. While the words had been said with the brightest smile in the school, their heavy meaning weighed down on Allison's chest. Those two words ended a chapter of her life and she hadn't been ready for her story to move on. Still, just like she did when her father left her, she adapted and she survived.

The most recent milestone those two words marked was yet another moment of heartbreak. Those two words were the reasons why she found herself sitting in a small, uncomfortable seat and heading back to her hometown at a ridiculously early hour of the day. Then again, Allison considered anything before ten o' clock in the morning ridiculously early. It appeared most of the city felt the same as her. Aside from herself, there were only six other people in the subway car. She considered herself lucky that none of them had decided to sit near her. The closest stranger was a suited man with a receding hairline going through his briefcase on one of the bench seats, paying no attention to the auburn haired woman that was restlessly drumming her fingers on the armrest of her seat.

She had never thought that Riley would ever utter those two words. Three years together and it never crossed Allison's mind that Riley could even think about saying them. Yet, just two weeks prior, Riley had said them and sent her world crashing down around her. It was those two words that now had her on a train, speeding in the direction of home.

'I don't have a home,' she reminded herself as she rested her head on the window pane. 'Home is supposed to be where the heart is, but I don't have one of those anymore.' Allison found it cruelly ironic that the person she had trusted to protect her fragile heart had been the one to crush it into little pieces and flatten it with a steamroller. She should have known from the first day they met Riley would leave her heartbroken.

Despite the bitter mood she was in, a smile appeared on Allison's face as she thought about the first day the two of them had met. She leaned her head against the window, her shaggy, auburn hair making a comfortable pillow, and allowed herself to be taken back to one of the best days of her life.


Allison panted as she ran across the college campus as fast as her long legs would carry her. She darted through groups of students on their way to their next class, if they had one, and teachers that were on their way to the lounge. She was late. She was late and Rachel was going to kill her. However, that was only if the run across campus didn't kill her first.

As she ran through the teachers' parking lot, Allison wished she was still in the air conditioned hall, reading the book she had just borrowed from a classmate. Instead, she was dodging cars as she tried to make it to the softball field because she had promised her ex-girlfriend she would bring her stuff to her. Said 'stuff' was on her back in a large, black bag. On the upside, the bag stopped the sun from beating down on her. Plus, she wouldn't have to carry it much longer. She was almost to the softball field.

As soon as she saw the gated field come into sight, Allison pushed herself to run a little faster. The sooner she got to the field, the sooner she could sit down and rest her tired legs. Remaining focused on that thought, Allison quickly covered the distance between herself and the field. She was disappointed to see players already practicing live hitting. She had a sinking feeling she was going to be in trouble for being late.

"Allie!" She was surprised to hear Rachel's familiar voice greet her as she approached the gate that led onto the softball field. She looked in the direction her ex-girlfriend's voice had come from and found the shorter woman jogging towards her, her brunette curls bouncing with every step. Just watching the movement threatened to make Allison's knees buckle from exhaustion. "What took you so long, slow poke?

"Class... Late... Had to run..." Allison panted as she slid the black softball bag off her back and handed it to her friend. Once it was securely in the other woman's hands, Allison bent at the waist and tried to catch her breath.

"Y'know, you're supposed to stand straight with your head up when you're trying to catch your breath."

"Don't... Care... This is working... Just fine," Allison told her, taking long breaths in between words.

"Hey, Stockerman! It looks like your lap dog is a little out of shape!" The strange voice came from one of the girls in the dugout. Allison didn't bother looking up to see which one of the players it came from.

"But she's such a dependable lap dog," Rachel responded before patting Allison on the head. "She's just lucky I'm scheduled to go out with the second group."

"Why? Were you going to beat me with a rolled-up newspaper?" she muttered under her breath before straightening herself up. "So can I go now?"

"You're really not going to try out?"

"For the last time, no, I'm not going to try out," she told the shorter woman. "How many times do I have to tell you that before you understand?"

"Well, maybe if you would tell me why you're willing to just give up on something I know you love, I'd understand," Rachel countered, taking a step closer and coming face to chin with Allison. The taller girl had to resist the urge to shove her out of her personal space.

"That is for me to know and for you to never find out," she told her ex-girlfriend before turning on her heel and heading for the gate. She had planned on sitting on the bleachers and watching her ex try out for the team, but now she just wanted to escape to her dorm room.

"Fine. I should have expected no less from you," Rachel taunted her. "Once a quitter, always a quitter."

Allison felt the muscles in her arms and back tense. It would be so easy to just turn around and punch the smug smirk off Rachel's face. However, Allison had mastered the art of self-control long ago. Instead of punching her ex like she wanted to, she thought of a scathing comment and turned around, prepared to destroy the tenuous friendship she had held onto with the other young woman.

However, when she turned around, she didn't find Rachel. Instead, she got an eyeful of a foul ball coming straight for her head. The last thing she saw before the ball made contact was the horrified expression on the batter's face. Then, it was darkness.

She wasn't sure how long she had been unconscious, but when her eyes fluttered open, she found she didn't care. She was more focused on the sight that greeted her. She had been expecting the coach's haggard face to be first thing she saw, not the beauty that was hovering over her with a worried expression on her face.

The golden color of the young woman's wavy hair and her deep blue eyes almost had Allison convinced the stranger was an angel. She was so entranced by the eyes staring down at her that she barely heard the apology the young woman was making.

"I am so, so sorry! I cannot believe I did that! Are you okay? Do you have a concussion? I didn't give you brain damage, did I? Oh please tell me I didn't just permanently damage someone." Allison listened to the barrage of words spill from the small lips. After all of those words the beautiful woman said, all Allison could do was give her a goofy smile, which earned her an odd look from the stranger. "Uh oh. I think I've really given her brain damage."

"Huh? No! I'm uh... You didn't give me brain damage. Nothing permanent, anyway," Allison assured her as she slowly tried to sit up. For a long moment, the world decided to tilt on its axis. She lifted a hand to her head, wincing at the contact. "Just a really bad headache."

"Davison! Are you just going to stand there blowing hot air or are you going to let her go to the trainer's office?" In her peripheral vision, or what was left of it at the moment, she saw the coach barking at the angelic vision in front of her.

"Coach, she can't go there by herself. She can barely sit up," the young woman told the gruff, balding man, looking up at him with pleading eyes.

"Oh really, Davison? I didn't know that. Thank you so much for informing me that the girl you just nailed in the head cannot sit up without her head spinning," the coach spat at the young woman.

"Maybe she should have some help getting to the trainer's office."

"Are you offering?"

"Well, I was the one that hit her. I should be the one to get her looked at," the blonde reasoned, cocking her head ever so slightly and giving the coach a tiny half-smile. Allison found herself wondering how anyone could say no to that. Obviously, the coach was having the same thoughts as her.

"Fine. Make sure she gets there alright. Be sure to get here tomorrow morning at zero six hundred. You can make up for your absence," he permitted her, giving an absent-minded wave of his hand as he turned his back on them. "The rest of you, get back into your groups before I decide to make you do suicides. The show's over." Once his attention was focused on the group of potential players, the blonde turned back to Allison.

"I guess we should get you to that trainer," she said, holding a small, pale hand out. Allison didn't hesitate to grab hold of the offered limb and allowed herself to be pulled to her feet. Once she was standing, she found that the world had decided to spin and she almost fell to the ground again. Luckily, the young woman was there to keep a hold on her. After they were sure she could walk without falling flat on her face, the pair started towards the parking lot with Allison allowing herself to lean on the small blonde.

"My name's Allison," she finally introduced herself when they reached the teacher's parking lot, breaking the silence that had fallen over them.

"Allison, huh? That's a nice name," the young woman said as she guided her around the parked cars. "My name's Riley aka the assailant of innocent bystanders named Allison," she said, getting Allison to chuckle despite the throbbing pain in her head.

After the giggles from the girls died down, they fell silent again. The quietness that surrounded them lasted until they made it across the parking lot, where Riley broke the silence with a question.

"So Allison, do you think you'd want to have lunch with me some time?" Taken aback by the request, Allison had to take a moment to decide if Riley was really asking to spend more time with her or if she was still unconscious and this was a dream.

"Why would you want me to have lunch with you?"

"I figure it's the least I could do after possibly giving you a concussion," the blonde explained. Her answer made Allison's hope plummet and crash to the ground. She wasn't sure if she wanted to go to lunch with Riley if the blonde was only going because she felt she had to. Then again, Allison would have to be an idiot to turn down the chance to spend time with the gorgeous blonde. "Besides, I think it would be a nice way to get to know you a little more," Riley added on.

"I think I'd like to get to know you a little more, too," Allison responded. "I mean, don't most sane people go to lunch with their assailants?" she added on with a shy smile, earning a laugh from the blonde for her remark.

"Well then, meet me at the fountain in the courtyard around noon tomorrow and I'll take you to the best lunch you've ever had."


Grey eyes fluttered open when Allison felt something wet on the lower part of her cheek and chin. As she pulled away from the window, she realized she had fallen asleep; and whenever Allison slept, she always woke up in a puddle of drool.

She grimaced as she wiped the wetness off her face and looked back out the window. She was surprised to see they had left the tunnels and the train was now speeding along the tracks that cut above ground. When she checked her watch, however, she was disappointed to find only five minutes had gone by.

'This is taking forever,' she thought to herself as she looked around the subway car once more. Sitting across the aisle from her, in one of the other seats that faced forward, was a middle-aged mother with her young son sitting next to her. The little boy had her small nose and dark hair but his skin was a lighter tone than his mother's. He was fast asleep, resting his head against his mother's shoulder with her arm protectively looped around him.

The suited businessman Allison had seen sitting on the bench seat had moved so he was further back, closer to the doors that led to the next car. The leather briefcase he had been sifting through earlier was resting at his feet and he had switched over to his laptop. It seemed he had chosen to shut out the rest of the world. He wasn't the only one that had blocked out the rest of the subway car. In fact, a young couple was doing a very good job of shutting out everyone else.

Sharing a pole was a tan, brunette woman with her long locks tied back in a ponytail and a young, dark-haired man with a slim, muscular physique. She could see a tiny bit of stubble growing on his chin. He either missed a spot shaving or he was trying to grow a goatee. Either way, she thought it was a mistake. Allison raised an eyebrow as the couple leaned against the pole and roughly kissed each other. Allison wasn't sure who was trying harder to get a tongue down the other person's throat. Biting down the urge to gag, Allison directed her gaze elsewhere. It eventually settled on the man rolling his eyes at the couple while he sat on the bench near the pole.

He had the same chiseled face as the young man standing at the pole; only his handsome features were marred by a long, deep scar that ran from the edge of his right eyebrow to the lower part of his jaw. His hair was also darker but not by much. He also had his hair shaved in an easily manageable buzz cut, whereas the other young man had grown his down to his shoulders.

After comparing the two men and coming to the conclusion they had to be related somehow, her attention returned to the scar. She wondered what could have caused it. Soon, she caught herself staring at the mark on his face, tracing it with her eyes. Apparently, he noticed her stare as well because he turned to look at her. Flushing red with embarrassment, Allison turned away and focused her attention on the door that led to the next car. A few moments of indecision went by before Allison adjusted herself and pulled her cell phone out of her pocket.

After she flipped open the phone, she dialed the number of the person that had been on her mind since she had woken up that morning. She didn't need to go to the contacts list. Riley's number was as familiar to her as the back of her hand. She had lost count of how many times she had dialed the number in the last two weeks, only to chicken out before she could hit the call button. This was the last chance she had though. If she didn't call her before she got home, she probably never would.

Taking a deep breath, Allison hit the ominous, green button. When the phone rang three times, Allison was ready to hang up. She was just about to do so when a familiar, sleepy voice answered the phone.

"Allie?" came the groggy greeting from the other end of the phone line. So surprised Riley had answered, Allison didn't say anything. She definitely hadn't planned this idea out. What was she supposed to say? "Allison, if this is going to turn into one of those creepy stalker phone calls where all you do is breathe heavily and don't say anything, I'm just going to hang up now and save us both the minutes."

"No! It's not... It's not one of those calls," Allison assured her, unable to hide the panic in her voice. If Riley hung up on her, she didn't think she'd be able to gather the courage to call her back. "I just didn't think you would answer," she admitted in a shy voice. There was only silence coming from the other end. Allison pulled her phone in front of her and looked at the screen to make sure Riley hadn't hung up on her. Nope. She was still on the line. Allison put the phone back up to her ear just in time to hear Riley start talking to her again.

"Why wouldn't I answer the phone?" the voice asked, sounding genuinely confused. "I told you we could still be friends. Don't tell me you forgot that already."

"And don't tell me you already forgot how much you mean to me," Allison snapped at her ex. It hadn't been intentional but she was frustrated. "Riley, you were everything to me. Hell, you still are. I committed three years of my life to you, trying to make you feel happy and secure, and you just threw it all away like it was nothing," she explained in a calmer voice. "Telling me we can still be friends after all of that is like telling me my dog died but I can still keep the stuffed body."

"I think you're overreacting."

"I am not overreacting! In fact, I don't think I'm reacting enough." Allison tightened her grip on the phone, resisting the urge to throw it across the subway car. On the other end, she could hear blankets shifting. If she knew Riley, the small blonde was probably sitting up and crossing her legs under the blankets. One of her hands was probably resting on a throw pillow, fidgeting with the threads. "How can you throw away three years of your life like this? Didn't they mean anything to you?"

"Of course they meant something to me!" The snappy answer was the first sign of emotion that Allison had heard Riley express, other than indifference, in the last month. "They just didn't mean as much to me as they did to you."

"You... What? You don't mean that."

"Sorry to break it to you, Allie, but what we had was just a phase." The voice on the other end of the line sounded half condescending, half sympathetic. "It was a fun, happy phase, but it was a phase nonetheless."

Allison couldn't believe what she was hearing. Three years together and she had never heard Riley talk like she was now. However, the tone she was using did sound familiar. Allison had heard it used many times during her relationship with the blonde. She was about to ask Riley if she had spoken with her father recently when a flurry of unexpected events transpired.

It started with the innocent act of a bald, muscled man that reminded her of Mr. Clean walking through the doors that separated the train cars. He was laughing with whoever was behind him. Before his unseen companions could get through the doors, however, the man stopped in mid-step. He stood, motionless, as he seemed to lock eyes with the scarred man Allison had been studying minutes earlier. Following his gaze, she saw recognition had dawned on the scarred man's face.

When she looked back to the newcomer, the first thing she saw was the handgun aimed in the direction of the couple on the pole and the man on the bench. She could hear Riley's voice coming from her cell phone, but her focus was fixated on the metal Beretta a few feet away from her head. Without warning, a loud bang echoed throughout the subway car, emanating from the barrel of the smoking gun held in the stranger's hand. Then the screaming began.


Halfway across the city, a young blonde woman clad in a white tank top and a black pair of sweat pants sat with her legs crossed beneath a large, white comforter. Curled up beside her, still sleeping peacefully, was a Great Dane. Riley's hand had traveled from the frayed edges of the small throw pillow to the warm, body of the slumbering beast. The rise and fall of his stomach seemed to calm her own breathing as she spoke with her heartbroken girlfriend.

'Ex-girlfriend,' she reminded herself as she waited for the woman on the other end of the line to respond. When all she heard was silence, she started to feel a little guilty. Perhaps calling their relationship a phase had been going too far.

"What was I supposed to say, Levi?" she asked the dog in a whisper as she stroked the faun coat that covered the gentle giant. As if he had heard the question, Levi's big, brown eyes opened slightly and looked at Riley. Seemingly sensing her inner turmoil, the dog stretched himself out and placed his head on Riley's knee, providing as much comfort as he could.

"Allie, are you still there?" she asked, an audible tinge of guilt in her voice. The answer she received was a loud bang, which made her jump, followed by the sound of screaming. "Allison!" she shrieked. All she could hear on the other end of the line was the sound of gunfire mixed with a chorus of screams. A cold fear formed in her chest, gripping her heart and refusing to let go. Questions sped through her mind so fast Riley could barely process them. Why wasn't Allison answering her? Was she okay? Where was she? What the hell was going on?

"Allison Louise Lancaster, you answer me right now! Tell me you're okay! Tell me that everything is fine!" she shouted into the phone, desperately hoping there was still someone on the other end of the line able to answer her. Her shouting made Levi lift his head from her lap and cock his head to the side in curiosity. "Please be okay," she prayed in a whisper, her free hand covering her eyes in an attempt to hide the tears that were welling up in her eyes.

"I'm okay." Riley looked at her phone in amazement as a familiar voice came from the other end of the phone line. She hadn't even noticed that the gunfire and screaming had died down. "Now could you please stop yelling at me?"

"Allie?" she asked tentatively, a little afraid she had imagined the voice.

"The one and only," came the cocky response from the other end, although the delivery was a little shaky. Riley let out a breath she hadn't remembered holding.

"What the hell just happened?" Riley was surprised by how shaky her voice sounded and how fast her heart was beating. She could feel the organ pumping in her chest, trying to escape. She could only imagine how terrified Allison was.

"I'm... I really don't know," her ex-girlfriend quietly replied. "It all happened so fast. A guy came in and just started shooting," she continued. "Wait, no... He recognized someone," she amended herself. Riley could just imagine her brow furrowing in concentration as she tried to remember what had happened. "Then he started shooting. I think he was aiming for the man he knew. Then the other man started shooting and... The rest is kind of a blur. Whatever happened, they're not in here anymore. They moved to another car."

"Are you sure you're okay?" Riley asked, able to hear the strain in the other woman's voice. She really hoped Allison was alright. She had just managed to slow her heartbeat to a manageable level and she wasn't sure she could handle it if it sped up again.

"I'm sure," was the quiet reply from the other end of the line. "I took cover under one of the seats," she added on. "I guess I picked a bad day to start using the subway again."

Riley heard the other woman chuckle, yet she could only remain focused on what she had said last. The only time Allison used the subway was when she needed to get to her mother's house. It didn't happen very often. She usually only went there when her mother called, claiming to need her help. To the best of Riley's knowledge though, Allison's mother hadn't called recently. Then realization dawned on her.

'Oh Allie... Why would you go back to that woman?' Riley thought with a sigh. 'You could have stayed here until you found somewhere else to go.'

"Are you still there?"

"Of course I am, honey," Riley quickly replied. She could hear the slight tremor in the other woman's voice.

"Then I need you to do something very important," Allison said, her voice calmer than it had been just seconds before. Riley nodded her head, forgetting that the other woman couldn't see her. "I need you to call the police. You need to tell them what's going on and get them to the next stop as soon as possible."

"What if they don't believe me?" she asked, doubt clouding her mind. "What if I tell them and they think it's a prank call?"

"Then make them believe you," Allison replied. "After all, isn't that what you do best? Make people believe things, even if they aren't true?" Even over the phone, Riley could feel the sting from the words. Still, she could have said something worse. It wasn't like Riley had been very kind the day she broke Allison's heart.

"Alright," she finally said with a sigh. She was just about to hang up and call the police when she heard Allison speak up again.

"Please don't hang up." Riley stopped herself from hitting the end call button just in time when she heard the plea. "I just... I need you to stay on the phone with me. I don't know when they're going to come back and I want to talk to you as long... as long as I can." Riley heard the tiny break in Allison's voice and felt yet another stab of guilt. If she hadn't broken up with her, Allison wouldn't be there. "Riley?"

"I'm still here. I'll stay on the line with you," she assured the scared woman on the other end of the phone line. "I'm going to go grab the house phone so I can stay on the phone with you," she told her, trying to keep her voice steady so Allison couldn't hear how terrified she was.

"Thank you."

"It's no problem," she said as she swung her legs over her side of the bed. Skipping her usual morning routine, Riley left the bedroom and walked down the hallway, heading straight for the kitchen. As she walked, her eyes wandered over the bare walls that were once adorned with memories. So intent on ridding herself of her feelings for Allison, Riley had given all of the pictures of them together to her ex. She wondered where the other woman would put them when she moved into her mother's house. Riley was brought out of her musings when her bare feet connected with cold tile. Her attention was brought to the kitchen that held so many memories of Allison and herself.

Saying Riley had let the room go was an understatement. Dishes were piled in the sink; a half empty pizza box had a permanent resting spot on the black marble countertop of the island; dog food littered the ceramic tile; and frankly, Riley had stopped caring about it. She had been told breaking it off with Allison was the best decision she ever made. Yet here she was, barely able to walk across the kitchen without being assaulted by a profound loneliness caused by the traces of memories left in the room. Ever since Allison left, loneliness seemed to be the only thing the blonde ever felt.

Shaking those feelings away, Riley grabbed the wireless house phone off its cradle next to the pizza box and hurried to the living room. She dialed the number for the police as she walked and by the time she got to the couch, she was explaining the situation to the answering officer. After a couple minutes of trying to convince the officer she wasn't pulling a prank, she was finally able to hang up.

"You know, you didn't have to threaten him," said the voice coming from the other end of the line on her cell phone.

"Sometimes you need to be a little aggressive to be persuasive," Riley explained with a shrug as she pulled her feet under herself. Levi chose that moment to enter the living room and lay next to the couch. The blonde was thankful for the comforting presence and showed her gratitude by rubbing the dog's ears.

"I think you could've left out the part about shoving your foot up his ass," countered the other woman. Riley could hear the smile in her words and she was forced to return one despite the fact she knew Allison couldn't see it.

"How are you holding up?" she asked in a timid voice. She was a little afraid of what the answer would be.

"I'm alright. They haven't come back yet but I can still hear gunfire coming from the other cars," was the quiet response. "Thanks for caring."

"That's what I'm here for," she replied with a smirk. She could hear the slightly muffled laughter coming from the other end of the line and felt a surge of pride for her ex. She was sure if she was in the same situation as Allison, she wouldn't have retained her sense of humor.

"Riley, do you remember the day we moved into the house?" Riley blinked in surprise. The sudden change of topic had caught the blonde off guard and she had to take a moment to recall the day Allison was talking about. "Riley?"

"I'm still here," she assured the woman. "Yes, I remember the day we moved into the house. If I remember correctly, I beat you in a tickle fight," she reminisced with a smile on her face. She heard the other woman grunt in disbelief and her smile grew wider. She could picture Allison's grey eyes narrowed in annoyance at the claim.

"I'm pretty sure I was the winner."

"I don't think you and I are remembering the same day," Riley insisted as she grabbed one of the couch pillows with her free hand and wrapped her arm around it. It wasn't Allison, but her ex had picked it out so it would have to do. Then she remembered she wasn't supposed to miss the other woman. She thought about putting it back on the couch but decided against it. Just because she had been the one to break things off didn't mean she couldn't miss the other woman.

"Really? Then why don't you tell me how you remember it happening and I'll tell you if it's the same day or not," Allison challenged her.

"Fine, but don't whine to me when you realize I was right and you were wrong," Riley accepted. "I remember someone, who shall remain nameless, was being a big baby that day," she started. The words tumbled from her lips and soon, both women were taken back to a time when they had been truly happy.


"It's too hot," complained the woman in the driver's seat of the used pick-up truck. "And it's too early. Who in their right mind wakes up this early? And why would you agree to their insanity and force me to do work this early?" The woman sitting in the passenger seat rolled her eyes. It was just her luck she would end up with the whiniest girlfriend in the world.

"Plenty of sane people wake up this early. It's only nine," she teased. She was rewarded with an adorable pout from the other woman. Riley laughed at the expression and leaned over, placing a quick, chaste kiss on the lower lip that was sticking out. "Besides, it's only supposed to get hotter as it gets later and, as much as I'd love to see you covered in sweat, I know how much you hate working in the heat," she reminded her girlfriend. Allison groaned in response and rested her forehead on the steering wheel. Ignoring the guttural sound, Riley opened the passenger door and hopped out of the old truck. She knew it would take some coaxing to get Allison to leave the safety of the vehicle so she quickly went over to the driver's side and opened the door.

"You're really going to make me do this, aren't you?" Allison asked with a defeated expression on her face. She sighed when Riley nodded in response. "Fine, but if I die from exhaustion or heat stroke, I'm going to haunt you for the rest of your life," she conceded as she stepped out of the truck and stood in front of the blonde.

"Don't worry, honey. You're not going to die," Riley assured her. "Just think about it this way. The sooner we get our furniture moved in, the sooner we can test it out," she added on with a sultry smile as she wrapped her arms around the taller woman's neck. She could practically see the wheels turning in Allison's head as her words sank in.

When Riley saw the blush slowly creep up the lightly tanned neck and onto Allison's face, she stood up on her tip-toes and planted a kiss on the slightly parted lips. It was much deeper than the last kiss and Riley could have sworn she heard a moan coming from Allison. Satisfied, the blonde broke the kiss and pulled away. She smiled triumphantly at the glazed over grey eyes hiding behind her girlfriend's glasses. Despite the fact they had been dating for a little over a year, Riley never tired of kissing Allison. It was mainly because she enjoyed making the taller woman flustered. A smaller, hidden part of her enjoyed the way Allison made her feel special every time she kissed back.

"Just think of that as a preview of what's to come after we finish moving in the furniture," she purred, trailing a finger along Allison's neck as she spoke. She felt the other woman swallow. Deciding that was enough teasing for the morning, Riley pulled away from her girlfriend.

"Come on. We better get this stuff inside before you start to drool all over the street," she said with a wink before heading for the trailer hitched to the back of the truck while a flustered Allison followed.

Four hours and several round trips later, the exhausted couple finally found themselves testing out the furniture. Specifically, it was the couch they were testing. Allison was relaxing on the side closest to the end table while Riley sprawled herself across the rest of the couch. Allison's hand rested on the side of Riley's head and she was gently running her fingers through long locks of soft, blonde hair. She watched as a small smile appeared on Riley's face as the blonde snuggled closer to her.

"You know, this isn't what I had in mind when you promised we'd be testing out the furniture," Allison admitted with a sigh as she gazed at the woman resting her head on her thigh.

"I'm not complaining," a muffled voice remarked.

"You don't have a reason to," Allison said with a smirk as she leaned down and placed a quick kiss on the blonde's temple. "You're not the one getting drooled on."

"I do not drool!" the blonde objected as she lifted her head up and looked at the area her head had been, trying to see if her girlfriend was telling the truth. Not finding anything, she glared at the woman she had been using as a pillow.

"Okay, so you don't drool," Allison admitted before a teasing smile appeared, "but you do snore."

"You are such a liar," Riley said as she grabbed one of the couch pillows and hit Allison with it. "You know, you shouldn't tease me like that. I might just get mad at you and you wouldn't want that, would you?"

"That depends. What do I get if I keep you happy?"

"I'm sure I could think of a reward you would like," the blonde replied with a smirk as she leaned her head against the taller woman's arm. In her opinion, it was the comfiest spot in the house.

"Like the reward I got for unloading the furniture?" she heard Allison ask. "I guess a sleeping blonde drooling all over me isn't such a bad reward."

"Hey! What did I just say about teasing me?" she asked as she pulled away and glared at Allison again. She was a little angry her girlfriend was having so much fun at her expense. "Excuse me for not having as much stamina as you just because I'm not fucking Superman."

"Fucking Superman? I think you have me confused with someone else," Allison replied in a playful tone. "You see, Superman has all the wrong parts for my taste so there's no way I'd be fucking him," her girlfriend reminded her. "Superwoman, on the other hand... She sounds pretty hot."

"I'd better be the only woman, super or otherwise, you're fucking," Riley warned her in a low growl before pushing her lips against Allison's in a forceful kiss. Allison returned the kiss with just as much force. Small, slender hands found their way into silky smooth locks of shaggy, auburn hair as Riley pulled herself over onto Allison's lap and straddled her hips. She moaned as she felt smooth hands travel under her black tank top and trace a fiery trail up her back. Riley was just about to nip at Allison's lower lip when her girlfriend's hand found a particularly ticklish spot on her side. As hard as she tried to contain it, she jerked away from the contact with a giggle.

"Hey... I was enjoying that," Allison objected, a little breathless, as Riley rolled away from her. "Why'd you stop?"

"You know why!" Riley snapped at her. She was fairly certain her girlfriend had tickled her on purpose, successfully breaking the mood and leaving Riley a frustrated pile of nerves. "You know my sides are ticklish, you big brat!"

"Oh they are, are they?" Allison asked with a mischievous smile as she leaned closer to the blonde. Riley eyed the other woman's hands suspiciously as they inched closer and closer to her sides. "For some reason, I don't believe you. I think I'm going to have to test this for myself."

"You wouldn't," the blonde said as she scooted towards the other end of the couch. The answer she received was a feral grin before the other woman pounced on her. Pesky fingers found their way to every ticklish part of Riley's sides and the blonde found herself laughing so hard she could hardly breathe. Desperate for relief from the assault, she rolled over and landed on the floor with a thud. Wasting no time at all, Riley got to her feet and ran for the hallway that led to their bedroom, Allison close on her heels.

Riley ran into the bedroom and tried to shut the door on the other woman, but Allison had caught up to her and she was refusing to let the blonde shut the door. Realizing Allison was too strong for her, Riley took a step back from the door. The action left Allison pushing too hard against a barrier that suddenly no longer offered any resistance. The result was the woman tumbling into the bedroom and landing face first on the hardwood floor.

"Oh, Honey! Are you okay?" Riley asked as she kneeled next to her fallen girlfriend. She received a groan in response. "I guess that's a no," she said as she bit back her laughter. As horrible as she felt about Allison hurting herself, it had still been a funny sight to see her topple over. "Is there anything I can do to make it better?"

"Kiss it?" Allison suggested, lifting her head from the floor and directing a pout at the blonde. Riley chuckled at the sight of the pout combined with her girlfriend's crooked glasses. She reached over with slender hands and fixed the crooked frame. Once she was sure the glasses were straight, Riley leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on Allison's forehead.

"It hurts here, too," her girlfriend insisted, pointing to her cheek. The blonde planted a kiss on the cheek. "And here," she said, pointing to the tip of her nose. Once again, Riley kissed the indicated body part.

"Anywhere else?" the blonde asked, thoroughly enjoying the game they were playing.

"Nope! I'm all better! Thanks, Doc," Allison said as she got to her feet. She was about to head for the bed when Riley grabbed hold of her wrist and gently turned her back around.

"I think you need a second opinion," the blonde insisted as she stood up. "You see, I think it hurts here," she explained as she gently nipped at Allison's earlobe. "And here." There was a kiss to Allison's lips. "And here." The kiss traveled down to the hollow of Allison's neck, making the taller woman's knees buckle slightly. "And you can't forget about here." Allison turned to mush when Riley planted a kiss in the middle of her chest.

"This is starting to look serious, Allie," the blonde mumbled, looking up into stormy grey eyes. "I think we need to move this to the examination bed," she suggested. Allison nodded her approval and allowed Riley to lead her over to the queen sized bed. "Now I think we need to start with an upper body examination and we'll see where things go from there," she decided. Allison simply smiled her response.

Several hours later, the two women were curled up in the bed with each other. Riley was laying on her side, nestled in the crook of Allison's arm, and Allison was laying on her back and had her cheek resting on the crown of Riley's head. Both were fast asleep, worn out from an exhausting day of moving in and testing out the furniture. The two women had decided the bed earned outstanding marks in all categories.


"I guess we both won," Allison said with a sigh when Riley finished reminiscing. She had hoped by goading the other woman into telling the story, she'd be able to take her own mind off of the gunshots she could hear coming from the train cars somewhere behind the one she was in. The story had been successful at stealing her attention, but now Allison was left with a painful ache in her chest. By reliving the good times, she was being reminded that she could no longer be with the most important person in her life.

"Yeah, I guess we did," was the quiet response that broke her out of her melancholy mind. Allison thought it might have just been wishful thinking, but she could have sworn Riley's tone was indicating she missed her, too. Allison didn't bother thinking about that for very long. She didn't want to get her hopes up. She was, however, curious.

"If you were so happy, why did you want out of our relationship?" she asked in a timid voice. As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she wished she could take them back. She was terrified of the answer.

"Allie, I can't answer that," Riley told her with a hint of sadness in her voice. The answer caused an ember of anger to flare up in Allison's chest. The other woman had broken her heart. She deserved to know why.

"Sure you can. It's simple," she insisted, trying to keep the anger out of her voice. She was pretty sure she wasn't doing a very good job. "Just think back to the day two weeks ago. Remember? It was the day you suddenly decided you didn't want me anymore."

"There's more to it than that."

"I know there's more to it than that!" Allison snapped at her as tears started to gather in her stormy eyes. "I just don't understand why you won't tell me what it is!"

"Don't you think there are more important things to be thinking about right now?" Riley asked in an agitated voice. "I can't believe this. There's a shoot out going on and you're sitting there worrying about why I broke up with you instead of concentrating on getting out of there alive."

"Why don't you understand? There's no point in getting through this if I can't be with you ever again!" Allison choked back a sob as the words uncontrollably tumbled out. She used her free hand to angrily wipe away the tears in her eyes. She felt like a baby. She was a grown woman curled up under a row of seats on a subway train, her life most likely in jeopardy, and she was crying over a broken heart. She hated that Riley could infuriate her so much and then turn her into a puddle of tears with just a few words.

"Miss?" Allison moved her hand from her eyes and found herself looking into the brown eyes of the little boy she had seen with his mother earlier that morning. She looked behind him and caught a glimpse of the woman. She was cradling her forearm and Allison could see blood escaping between the stranger's dark fingers. She gagged at the sight but the boy's voice made her draw her eyesight back to him before she could do anything worse. "Lady?"

"Yes?" she replied in a shaky voice as she tried to rein in her emotions. She was more than happy to break her attention away from the voice on the other end of the phone that seemed to know just how to hurt her.

"I um... I know you're using it... but do you think that um... You see, Mama's hurt and I think she wants to hear Daddy's voice and our phone is dead." Allison watched as shy eyes strayed to the phone in her hand. She found herself staring at the object as well. While the voice on the other end had the power to hurt her, it also had the power to keep her calm. It was her tie to safety. Yet, after she looked back at the little boy's pleading eyes, she realized it was time for her to stop clinging to the safety line and let someone else feel secure for a little while.

"I understand. Just let me say goodbye," she answered, almost choking over the last word. The little boy nodded in understanding and Allison brought the cell phone back to her ear. "Riley, I have to let you go," she said in a whisper. She was afraid if she spoke any louder, her voice would crack.

"What? Allie, no! Don't you dare hang up the phone!" The voice on the other end of the line sounded frantic. "Allison Louise Lancaster, if you hang up this phone just because you're pissed at me I will never speak to you again!"

"Will you just listen to me? I know it's not your strong point, but just try for one fucking minute," Allison said, ignoring the threat. "I'm not pissed. I'm upset, but you already knew that. I'm not hanging up because I'm angry, but because someone else needs the phone more than I do," she explained. Silence greeted her explanation and encouraged her to say what else was on her mind.

"Riley, I just want you to know the three years we've been together have been the best years of my life and they went by too fast. The day we met changed my life for the better and I'll never regret falling in love with you," she admitted. "I just wish you could tell me you loved me back."

"Allison, I-"

"I really do have to let you go now, Riley. I love you," Allison interrupted her and then quickly hit the disconnect button. She no longer wanted to know what prevented Riley from saying the words she so desperately needed to hear. She ran a shaky hand through her bangs in an attempt to regain her composure and then looked over at the little boy. She gave him a weak smile and held out the phone to him. He hesitated before taking it into his small hand.

"Thank you," he told her before he scurried back over to his wounded mother. Her smile grew when she saw what she hoped were tears of relief or happiness falling down the woman's face when the little boy showed her the phone. She felt a little lighter knowing she was giving the two of them the chance to temporarily escape reality.

Allowing the mother and son some privacy for their conversation, Allison looked around the rest of the subway car. She regretted it as soon as her eyes fell on the body of the business man that had been sitting a few seats behind her earlier that morning. He appeared to be sitting against the wall of the subway car with the upper half of his body hunched over. Allison would have thought he was just trying to sleep if it weren't for the blood staining the front of his tan suit, just above where the hem of his white dress shirt met the top of his pants.

"Oh God," she whispered before turning her head away from the scene. She regretted not eating anything that morning when her stomach clenched and a painful bout of dry heaving wracked her body. Once her stomach relaxed, Allison squeezed her eyes shut and tried to get the image of the blood soaked fabric out of her head.

As hard as she tried, the picture would not leave her mind. All she could think was someone had been killed no more than five feet away from her. That thought threatened to send her into another round of dry heaving but she managed to maintain control over her stomach. She did, however, lie down on her side and tuck her knees against her chest. Curled up on the hard floor of the subway train, Allison finally allowed her tears to fall as the reality of her situation started to sink in.


Miles away from the distressed woman, Riley sat on the couch in her living room and stared at the cell phone in her hand. Allison had hung up on her. The woman had bared her soul to Riley and then had the nerve to hang up on the blonde. She didn't even give Riley a chance to say anything to stop her.

"She didn't even give me the chance to say goodbye," she whispered to herself. Sensing her distress, Levi got up from his spot on the floor and clambered onto the couch. He insisted on pushing his large head under his master's small hand in an attempt to comfort the blonde. Riley didn't acknowledge the action; she just kept staring at the object in her hand that had betrayed her, willing it to ring. Surprisingly, the phone did just that.

"Allison?" she asked hopefully as soon as she flipped open the phone. She was disappointed by the distinctly masculine voice on the other end of the line.

"Sorry to disappoint you, sweetie." The sound of her father's voice made the blonde's spirits drop. After her phone call with her ex, he was the last person she wanted to talk to. Allison and her father had never gotten along with one another and their discussions usually turned into arguments; yet Allison insisted Riley stay in touch with the man. Riley thought her insistence had something to do with Allison being abandoned by her own father.

"Oh. Hi," she said with a sigh as she nervously tucked a strand of stray hair behind her ear. "Was there something you needed?"

"Try not to sound so enthusiastic about talking to your old man, eh? People might start to think you're happy to hear from me or something," he admonished in a teasing voice.

"Sorry, Dad. I've just got a lot on my mind right now," she admitted as she glanced over at the grandfather clock set against the far wall of the living room, next to the fireplace. She wondered how long it would take to get her father off the phone and out of her hair.

"Why don't you tell me about it, huh kiddo? I've been told I'm a great listener," he suggested. Riley hesitated. Would telling her dad about what was going on really serve as some sort of catharsis for her? She highly doubted it.

"It's about that Allison woman, isn't it? She called and now you can't stop thinking about her," he guessed. She could picture the disappointed look on his face when she answered him with silence. She heard an aggravated sigh come from the other end of the line and, if she knew her father, he was probably pinching the bridge of his nose in an attempt to fight off the headache she was sure to be causing. "Sweetie, you finally did the smart thing and broke it off with her. One phone call shouldn't change your mind about the decision."

"But she's in trouble," she told him in a small voice. For some reason, whenever she talked to her dad she felt like a little girl all over again.

"Riley, that girl is trouble," he argued. "I told you that the first time you introduced her to me," he reminded her. "Don't let that... deviant... talk you into worrying about her. She isn't worth the time and effort."

"Dad, that deviant, as you so kindly put it, gave every part of herself to me for three years and was my best friend the year before we started dating," she reminded him. Her hand tightened its hold on the cell phone. She knew her dad didn't like Allison but she never thought he would tell her Allison wasn't worth her time. "That's more than I can say for you."

"Excuse me? I gave you the world."

"No, you gave me an inferiority complex!" she snapped. "From the day I was born, I was never good enough for you. I was a disappointment to you as soon as you found out you didn't have a son."

"That isn't even close to the truth."

"Isn't it?" she asked, cutting him off. "Face it, Dad. You could put a boy's name on the birth certificate, but you couldn't change the fact I was born a girl. No matter how many football games you dragged me to or teams you forced me to try out for, I was still a girl and you hated it. You hated that I reminded you of mom and the fact you weren't man enough to make a son."

"Riley, you're upset. You don't know what you're talking about," her father insisted. "I do love you. I couldn't possibly love you more."

"I know that, Dad, and that's what hurts so much," she admitted, her voice lowering back to a whisper as she closed her eyes. "I suffered bone fractures and dislocated joints trying to be the son you always wanted, but you never seemed to be able to love me more. It seemed like no matter how many shots I made or runs I scored, I was never good enough for you." Riley stopped for a moment so her father would have the chance to deny what she had just said. He didn't.

"At least Allison loves me for who I am, not who she tries to make me. She never forced me to be someone I'm not. For that, she's worth more than you'll ever be," she said when she was sure he wasn't going to say anything. "I don't think I'll ever be able to forgive you for talking me into letting her go; or myself for being stupid enough to listen to you." She didn't think twice about her actions as she hung up the phone. It was the smartest thing she had done in the last two weeks.

Once the connection with her father was severed, Riley could only stare at her reflection in the black television screen. She felt some of the immense weight she had been carrying since she was a little girl leave her shoulders. She wished she could have stood up to him before Allison's life was put in jeopardy. Then again, if Allison hadn't been in danger, the blonde would probably be worrying more about the relationship with her father rather than her ex.

Riley finally noticed Levi's presence when she felt the dog's hot breath on the bare skin of her leg. She looked down at the comforting animal and gave him a reluctant smile. She stroked his head in thanks before getting to her feet and heading back through the kitchen and down the hallway. Her mind was worlds away as she stepped into her room and headed for the closet. Her thoughts whirred in her head as she picked out the first articles of clothing that she found in her closet. After she changed out of her pajamas and into a pair of blue jeans and a simple black t-shirt, Riley went back out into the living room.

"I'll be back later, Levi. I just... I need to be there when the train pulls into its next stop. I need to make sure she's okay," she explained to the dog as she headed over to the closet near the front door. The door creaked as she pulled it open and grabbed her brown hoodie off its hanger. She pulled it over her head as she opened the front door and walked outside, closing the door behind her. Levi stared at the door his owner had just walked through, only to see it open a few seconds later.

"I forgot my keys," Riley muttered as she hurried to the kitchen. She began to panic when she didn't find her keys next to the pizza box on the island or under the stack of grocery ads on the table. She started to get frustrated when she couldn't find them on top of the fridge or the dishwasher. Fear started to creep into her mind when she finally found the elusive key ring hanging on the key peg on the wall, exactly where it was supposed to be.

"That's a first," she muttered to herself as she pulled her keys off the wooden peg and went outside once again.


"Are you okay?" Allison had crawled over to the mother and son soon after the woman ended her phone call. She was now trying to comfort her by resting a hand on the stranger's shoulder. Allison could feel the heat radiating from her skin through the blouse's material. She could also see sweat plastering her bangs to her forehead.

"Do I look okay?" Allison winced at the harsh tone, although she could see why the lady snapped at her. She wouldn't be the happiest camper either if she was in the same position. "Sorry. I didn't mean to get snippy with you. My arm just really hurts."

"I understand," Allison assured her, doing her best not to look at the mentioned limb. She wasn't in the mood for another bout of dry heaves. "My name's Allison," she introduced herself as she started to take her jacket off.

"Anna," the injured woman replied. "That's my son Daniel. We were on our way to his baseball tryouts today. Ouch!" Anna yelped when Allison pressed a now folded up jacket against her wound.


"Are you a doctor?"

"Yeah, but not the kind you need. I'm a psychologist so I'm a little better at figuring out what makes people tick than knowing what heals bullet wounds," she explained, not taking her eyes off the jacket she had pressed against the arm. "Don't worry. I saw this in a movie once so I'm sure it's legit."

"Thanks. That makes me feel so much better," Anna said. Allison didn't have to look up to know she was rolling her eyes.

"I'm joking," she assured her, flashing a smile and then looking over at Daniel. "So you were going to baseball tryouts, huh? What position are you going to tryout for?"

"I wanna be the catcher!"

"Then you better have a strong arm to make all those throw-downs," she advised him.

"I have the strongest arm on my street. I can throw across my whole lawn," he stated with a proud smile.

"All the way across your lawn?" Daniel's head bobbed up and down so fast Allison was reminded of a bobblehead. "Wow. You'll have to show me some time. That is, if it's okay with your mom."

"Can I?" The boy looked at his mother and the expression on his face made Allison want Anna to say yes, too. It was the look that children had mastery over until they hit puberty; the look that would get them almost anything they wanted from their parents.

"We'll see, Sweetie," Anna replied and Daniel's smile grew. In parent speak, that usually meant yes. After a few seconds though, his grin faded.

"We're going to be okay, right?"

"Of course, Honey. Everything is going to be fine." Allison took one look at the mother's face and knew why she would never make a good parent. She could never sound so certain while telling someone everything was going to be alright in a scary situation. For all she knew, they were screwed.

The sound of the door opening snapped Allison out of her thoughts. She looked over and a shiver went down her spine. The bald man that had started the whole fiasco was standing in the doorway and gesturing for another to follow him.

"Will you just get in here?" Allison couldn't hear what the response was, but whatever the other person said made the features of the man's face contort into a scowl. "Don't make me come in there and force you out. You've already got one bullet wound. Do you want another? I'm sure a bullet in your knee will feel really nice."

"Just shut the fuck up, man. I'm comin'!" Allison watched as the young man that had been standing by the pole walked through the doorway. His left hand was clutching his right shoulder while the other dangled uselessly at his side. Allison's gaze was drawn to the limp hand. She quickly looked away when she saw red droplets falling from his fingertips and staining the subway car's floor.

"Are you sure you're old enough to be using that kind of language?" The bald man smirked before he shoved the younger man forward and ignored the gasp of pain he elicited. "Bring the others in."

At Mr. Clean's orders, the scarred man and the girl the other young man had been playing tonsil hockey with were ushered through the door. Neither one of them looked happy. The woman's hands kept curling themselves into fists and Scarface's eyebrow kept twitching. A trail of transient passengers followed behind them.

"So Sergei has fallen so low he has to send his children after me," Mr. Clean mused once they were standing near their wounded companion. He was joined by a mountain of a man with a tattoo of flames creeping up his neck. Allison thought it looked a little cheesy but she decided it was best not to say anything about it. Then again, it seemed like the five shooters had forgotten about them anyway.

"Don't you think if we knew you would be here we would have tried blend in a little more?" Scarface asked with a quirked eyebrow. Allison thought his calm demeanor in such a tense situation was a little unnerving although his question did seem to make Mr. Clean think about his previous accusation for a few seconds.

"You have a point," he admitted with a sigh. He was smart enough to keep his gun out though, just in case. "I suppose if you knew I'd be here, Romeo and his little whore wouldn't have been putting on such a show," he remarked before he glanced over at the young man and woman. Allison could see his eyes trailing up and down the woman's body from where she was sitting. "Bravo, by the way. I should have you perform an encore later on."

"Shut your fuckin' mouth, old man!" 'Romeo' spat at Mr. Clean. His outburst was rewarded with a meaty fist punching him in the stomach. The blow made him double over and gasp for breath.

"You really need to teach your brother some manners." Mr. Clean tsked as he walked over to the young man and bent to his level. "Tell me: Did you kiss your mother with that mouth before she died?"

"You son of a bitch! I'll kill you!" Romeo made a wild effort to lunge at the man taunting him but Tattoo Guy grabbed hold of him before he could get far. While Mr. Clean's thug was occupied, however, the woman was using the distraction to her advantage.

Allison watched as she crept behind Mr. Clean. For a moment, she wondered if she should say something, anything to warn the man that had been mocking Romeo. Before she could come to a decision, the brunette's hands were positioned around Mr. Clean's head and neck and, before he could struggle, she twisted.

As soon as the sickening sound of bones cracking filled the stale air of the train car, the woman reached forward and grabbed the gun from the dead man's hand and fired a shot at Tattoo Guy. Allison heard a scream when the bullet found its mark in between the man's eyes. She realized it was coming from her when the brunette pointed the firearm in her direction. The sound died almost immediately when the cold, brown eyes met hers.

"Good girl," Scarface said as he placed a hand on the woman's shoulder. "Now, go take care of the others," he ordered her. She nodded and headed into the other subway car. "You okay, Bobby?"

"Aside from my fuckin' shoulder? Yeah, I'm just peachy," the younger man replied in a low growl. Without warning, he kicked the dead man's head and the resulting thud echoed throughout the car. "Stupid Motherfucker! We shouldn't have surrendered, Lucky. I wanted to kill the bastard myself."

"And you were doing such a fine job of that with a bullet in your shoulder," Scarface, apparently known as Lucky, retorted before turning his attention to the other passengers. It seemed they hadn't been forgotten after all.

"Okay people, this is what is going to happen," he addressed them. His voice echoed through the car, giving him an even more powerful presence. He was obviously a man that was used to giving orders. "You are all going to go on with your lives like this never happened. You'll get off at your regular stop, go off to your regular jobs, and go home to your regular families. You will not remember our faces or anything that happened on this ride.

"If one day you do suddenly get your memory back and you choose to go to the police, there will be consequences. Those consequences will affect more than just you. They will affect your friends, your family, everybody else that was riding this train, and their friends and families. Remember that if you ever get the urge to play the good Samaritan."

"Um, sir." Allison felt every pair of eyes in the car turn to face her after she spoke up. Suddenly self-conscious, she resisted the urge to duck her head. She took a moment to swallow her fear and then held Lucky's gaze as she spoke. "What do you want the ones that were injured in the crossfire to tell people?" She got the words out in a rush and, fearing the worst, she shut her eyes and waited for a response. She just prayed it wouldn't come in the form of a bullet.

"Tell them the truth." Allison opened her eyes and she was surprised when she saw Lucky smirking. "They were caught in the crossfire of a gang war. Just don't tell people the real location or what any of us looked like. Good question, by the way. Are there any others?"

Allison released the breath she had been holding and looked down at the wounded woman laying on the floor. She was looking back at her like she had grown a third head.

"What? Do I have something on my face?"

"You... You're crazy," Anna answered in a quiet hiss.

"Only during crazy situations. Any other time and I'm as sane as any other person here," Allison said with a shrug.

"What were you thinking, talking to him? He could have had you looking like Mountain Man over there just for opening your mouth!"

"It was a legitimate question!" Allison pointed out. "Besides, everything turned out fine. They're going to let us go. So, once we get of here, I can call us a cab. Then I can get you and Daniel to a ..." Allison trailed off as she started to remember something. Riley. "Shit!"

Allison closed her eyes and took a deep breath to calm herself. Maybe the cops hadn't believed Riley. When she opened her eyes though, she was reminded she wasn't the only one on the train. She probably wasn't the only one with a cell phone either.

"Damn it," she whispered as she felt the train slow down. Soon, they were going to stop at the station and their captors were going to figure out they weren't as home free as they thought they were. She had a feeling they would make the passengers pay, too. She was never going to see Riley again. It would seem it just wasn't her day.

"What's wrong? Is there something you're not telling me?" Allison looked down at her patient. Anna's caramel skin had paled considerably and her brown eyes were unfocused. She hadn't gone to medical school but words like 'shock' and 'blood loss' kept running through her head.

"Nothing's wrong. I'm just anxious to get you out of here," she half-lied as she looked back up. She hoped she didn't look as worried as everyone else in the car.

"If nothing's wrong then why are you crying?" Allison blinked at Anna's words. She lifted one of her hands and touched her cheek. She was surprised to find it wet with tears. She didn't think she had any left after she said goodbye to Riley.

"Anna, when I was on the phone," she started while wiping the tears away from her eyes, "I had my friend call the police. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I'm not so sure. What if it was a mistake and they kill us because of it? What if we all die because of something I did?"

"Now that takes talent." Allison somehow managed to give Anna a perplexed look while sniffling. "How many people here would try to take credit for all the bad shit that went on today? I'm also pretty sure the real criminals are going to get pretty pissed off when they find out you're trying to steal their glory."

"What do you know? You're out of your mind with a fever," Allison joked with a smile and sniffled again before turning to the little boy that was busying himself by playing with his shoe strings. "Daniel, can you do me a favor and keep this pressed against your mom's arm?"

Once Daniel had a secure grip on the folded up jacket, Allison stood up. Shakily, she made her way over to the door the gangsters had disappeared through. She stopped when she reached it and looked back at the other passengers. Most of them were too busy dealing with their own fears to notice she had moved. She gave the ones that were watching, which included Anna and Daniel, a quick smile before she walked through the door.

The first cars she walked through were completely empty of any life. There were a few bodies but none of them were breathing. Allison shivered at the sight but kept moving through the train cars. It wasn't until she reached the front car that she ran into the gangsters. Unfortunately, she also ran into the butt of the brunette woman's gun.

Allison wasn't sure, but she thought she may have blacked out for a few seconds. It certainly felt like the time she was knocked out in college. Either way, when the stars cleared from her vision, she found herself staring into face of the man that was running the small gang. She tried to jerk away from him but she discovered the brunette woman was now holding her arms back so she couldn't move.

"You are a very interesting young woman," Lucky remarked with a crooked smile. "First, you speak up in the other car. Now you come in here looking for trouble." The man's smile disappeared as he straightened himself. "You must have a death wish."

"I didn't come here looking for- Ah!" Allison yelped when the woman behind her jerked her arms back. She hoped she had only imagined the popping noise that followed her yelp.

"That's enough, Roxy." Allison breathed through clenched teeth when the woman loosened her hold. "Sorry about that. She's a little enthusiastic when it comes to her work," he apologized with a wink. "Now then," he started as he took a step back, "if you didn't come looking for trouble, what did you want?"

"Um..." Allison was a little afraid to answer, especially if that Roxy woman was as enthusiastic with her gun as she was with her body. "I don't think things are uh... That is, your plan to get out of here isn't going to work."

Before she could prepare herself, her legs were kicked out from under her and she was flat on the ground. She gasped in pain when Roxy stepped on the middle of her back and yanked her arms back further. She knew for a fact the popping noise she heard this time wasn't her imagination. Before she could focus on the pain though, Lucky crouched down in front of her and grabbed her by the chin, forcing her to stare into his angry eyes.

"What makes you so sure our plan won't work?" Lucky asked, his voice suddenly venomous. "Do you really think anyone in that little train car is going to go to the police? They'll all be too busy thinking about their own skins to turn us in. After all, nobody wants to be harassed by a gang."

"Y-you were too late with your threat," Allison stammered as she tried to forget about the painful throbbing in her shoulder. "While you a-and those other guys were busy shooting at each other, p-people made phone calls. When you walk out that door, you're going to find a bunch of cops waiting to greet you."

Judging by the look in his eyes, Lucky wasn't going to believe her. Allison squeezed her eyes shut and braced herself for the pain. When it didn't come though, she opened one eye and saw the leader of her captors pacing in the train car. She saw his brother, Bobby, laying on one of the bench seats. His skin was considerably paler than Anna's and she wondered how much blood he had lost.

"Okay," Lucky's voice made her look up. He had stopped pacing but his nose was still flaring as he tried to control his anger. "Since they already know we're here, we might as well just keep all the passengers in the same car so we can keep an eye on them. Then, when the train stops in," he glanced down at his watch, "about five minutes, we'll uh... Shit! Motherfucking God damn shit!"

"Bro, what's the matter?" Both Allison and Lucky looked over at the young man lying on the seats.

"Nothing, Bobby. Everything's going to be fine. Trust me," Lucky told him before looking back at Roxy. "Okay, we can still get out of this. We may have been dealt a shitty hand but at least we still have two Aces in the hole: guns and hostages."

The word 'hostages' didn't settle well with Allison. Her mind immediately went to little Daniel kneeling at his mother's side. She doubted her new 'friends' had any qualms about putting children in danger. In fact, Daniel was probably their best bet in getting out of there alive. No cop would feel right shooting at someone using a kid as a human shield.

"You only need one hostage," she spoke up, despite the knot that had formed in her stomach. A knot that only got tighter when Lucky's eyes focused on her. "You don't want to make any demands, right? You just need to get out of here alive. Now, you can sit here all day trying to make negotiations with the police. While you're busy doing that, your brother can bleed to death. Or, you can just take me with you and force them to let you through."

"Don't listen to her, Bro! Multiple lives are worth more than one," Bobby objected. "I don't care if we have to wait here all day before we can leave. I'm not getting off this train with just one fucking hostage."

"Shut up!" Lucky yelled and glared at his brother before looking back at Allison. "What makes you so sure it would work?"

"They're cops. They're supposed to save lives, not take them. Do you think they would shoot at you, even if they had a clear shot, if it meant an innocent bystander got killed in the end? And if that isn't enough, I'm sure they wouldn't want to look bad in front of the press," Allison assured him, hoping to the high heavens she was right. "Better decide fast. Time's running out."

A flicker of uncertainty crossed Lucky's face before he nodded and Roxy released Allison's arms. Her relief was only temporary though. As soon as she was free, Lucky yanked her up by the back of her t-shirt and made her stare him in the eyes again. The desperate look she found staring back at her scared the daylights out of her.

"You better pray this works," he threatened her before spinning her around and putting his arm around her neck. Beside them stood Roxy and Bobby. Bobby was leaning heavily on the silent brunette woman but she still managed to keep her gun fixed on Allison.

'What do you think I've been doing the whole time I've been in here,' she thought to herself as the train came to a halt and the doors opened.


"Shit!" The tires of the used, black pick-up truck squealed as Riley slammed on the brakes. A mini-van had pulled in front of her from a gas station and she had not noticed until the last second. She was beginning to see why she was always told not to drive while emotional. It was the second time she had nearly crashed.

"Calm down, Riley. You don't want to get into a wreck ten minutes away from the subway station," she told herself as she ran a shaky hand through her bangs. She had to admit she almost hoped she would get into a car accident. Maybe if she did, she would wake up to find the last two weeks had been a nightmare and she hadn't broken up with the sweetest person she had ever met. If she were dreaming, that very same person's life wouldn't be in danger.

Riley jerked out of her wishful thoughts when a car horn blared behind her. She realized she had come to a stop at a traffic light. The only problem was the light was green. She really needed to get off the road. She drove a couple hundred feet further and pulled into the parking lot of a super market.

Once the truck was in park, Riley closed her eyes and rested her forehead against the steering wheel. Her chest heaved as she took in ragged breaths and her hands gripped the wheel so tightly they had turned white from the exertion. She took a few minutes to regain her composure before sitting back in the seat and unbuckling herself. When she opened her eyes, she had to wipe away the tears of frustration threatening to fall before she could see what time it was on the truck's digital clock. According to the man she had talked to on the phone, she had about fifteen more minutes before the train made its next stop.

"I hate driving anyway," she muttered as she turned the truck's engine off. She took one more deep breath and put the keys in her pocket. She hurried out of the truck and, after making sure she remembered to lock the doors, took off in the direction of the subway station.

Riley was actually grateful driving had become too dangerous for her. While she didn't get enjoyment out of running, it did help her block out any thoughts that were clouding her mind. All she had to do was focus on the sidewalk in front of her and all her worries about Allison were temporarily gone.

Riley was surprised by the sight that greeted her when she finally reached the street she was looking for. There was a mob of people crowding several local news station crews that were lining the street. She slowed to a walk and eventually came to a stop behind the large crowd. Standing on her tippy toes, Riley could just make out a group of officers blocking the entrance to the subway station.

"They actually believed me," she said as she lowered herself. Wanting a closer look, she began to push through the crowd. Several dozen apologies later, Riley found herself near the front.

She was far away enough to be safe from the cops that were shoving the public back but she was close enough to see four people walk through the subway station doors. She could also see that none of them were cops. One didn't even look like a criminal. She actually looked a little like...

"Allison!" Riley's heart skipped a beat when she realized her girlfriend was walking along the street with the criminals. Judging by the arm around her neck and the gun aimed at her, the criminals hadn't suddenly decided to let her join their gang. 'Today just keeps getting better and better,' she thought as she tried to get even closer to the front of the crowd.

"I can't believe this is actually working. Things seem to finally be looking up for us today." Allison grimaced at the feel of Lucky's hot breath whispering into her ear as they slowly made their way down the street. It made unpleasant shivers run up and down her back. "How did you know they would just let us go? Are you a cop or something?"

"Oh, sure. Now you ask if I'm a cop," she replied with a roll of her eyes. "You're not very good at being bad guys, are you?"

"You better watch your mouth!" Lucky hissed into her ear. Allison winced when his arm applied more pressure to her dislocated shoulder.

"Or what? You'll kill me?" she asked through gritted teeth. She knew it wasn't a good idea to antagonize her captor but she couldn't help it. She was having a really crappy morning. "I know you're not that stupid. If you kill me now then you die, too."

"Who said I'd do anything now? When we get out of this mess, I'll have the rest of my life to make yours miserable," he reminded her. "Now tell me how you knew this would work."

"Um... Lots of cop movies."

"What?! Are you saying you gave me a plan you only saw work in movies?!"

"Well it's working now, isn't it?" she hissed back only to have him apply more pressure to her injured shoulder. "You know, that's getting really annoying."

"Yeah? Well, so are you. Next time I take a hostage I'm going to make sure he's mute."

"I'm glad you're already looking towards the future," Allison remarked, rolling her eyes again, "and such a bright one, too, if you plan on needing a hostage again."

"Did you learn all this witty banter from movies, too?" Lucky asked in a low growl.

"No," she replied as another idea started to form in her head, "but they did teach me how to sing."

Before Lucky could ask what she was talking about, Allison rammed her elbow into his torso, right beneath his breast bone. He released his grip on her and doubled over, trying to catch the breath she had knocked out of him. Deciding she didn't need to finish the 'song', Allison dropped to the ground and tried to crawl away to the safety of the cops. She didn't get far.

Lucky had managed to regain some of his breath and he wasted no time in coming after her. She screamed when she felt him grab hold of the back of her shirt. She had a feeling if he got away from the police with her in tow she wouldn't live very long. Just as this thought was running through her head, she heard several gunshots and felt the grip on her shirt loosen. She barely registered the sound of Bobby screaming his brother's name or the blue uniforms that rushed passed her to apprehend the other two criminals. All she knew was she had gotten away. She was safe.

"Allison!" The sound of a familiar voice calling her name pulled Allison out of the stupor she was in. When she looked in the direction her name had come from though, she thought she was seeing things. That was the only way she could explain seeing Riley running towards her.

"Honey, I'm here. Everything's going to be okay," Riley said as she knelt down next to Allison and hugged the younger woman against her chest. She didn't care that the cement was going to leave painful imprints on her knees or that the woman she was holding was covered in someone else's blood. All that mattered was making sure Allison was really safe in her arms.

"I'm crazy. You're not here. You're at home with Levi," Allison mumbled into the blonde woman's chest. Riley frowned when she managed to decipher the words and pulled away from her. When she looked into Allison's eyes, they just stared right through her like she wasn't even there.

"Allison, I'm right here. I promise."

"No you're not. I'm in an extremely stressful situation that I can't handle so my mind is creating images that aren't really here," Allison rationalized while she stared at Riley with a blank expression.

"Will you quit with the psycho-babble already? I'm not a damn hallucination," Riley assured her before she grabbed her hand and put it against her cheek. Allison was shocked to feel warm, wet skin against her hand.

"You're really here?"

"If I weren't, could I do this?" Before she had a chance to speak, Riley leaned forward and pressed her lips against Allison's. It wasn't a tender kiss. It was filled with a desperate need to show Allison she was real and to prove to herself that Allison was alive. Both were breathless when they broke apart.

"You really are here," Allison breathed before pulling Riley back to her with her good arm. "And you're crying. You never cry."

"I do when I think I've lost the best thing that ever happened to me," the blonde woman told her as she brought her hand up and started running it through Allison's hair. "You scared me when you dropped to the ground. What happened?"

"I used about the only thing I could remember from that Miss Congeniality movie you made me watch," she replied with a smirk. "You know... S.I.N.G?"

"You're a cruel woman, Allie Lancaster."

"Well, I only got to the first letter. I didn't have time to go through the whole thing," Allison pointed out.

"Miss," Riley looked up and found an EMT standing beside her, "we need to take your friend to the ambulance and get her checked out. It looks like she may have a minor concussion."

"Alright," Riley said and looked back at Allison. "Honey, this nice man is going to take you to the ambulance so you can get yourself looked over. Can you get up?"

Allison seemed to think about it for a minute before she nodded her head. She started to get to her feet but her vision blurred and she almost fell back to the gorund. Luckily, Riley and the EMT man were nice enough to catch her. Unfortunately, the shoulder the medic grabbed to steady her was the dislocated one.

"Shit!" she hissed as the squeezed her eyes shut against the pain that ran through her entire arm.

"Sorry about that," the man apologized as he led them over to the ambulance. "Wait here and someone will be over soon to take a look at you," he ordered them before taking off to gather more patients.

An awkward silence filled the air between the two women as they waited for a free medic. Both had heavy thoughts filling their heads. One was wondering how she could salvage the relationship she had ruined two weeks ago and the other was wondering if it would be out of line to lean over and kiss the other again. For someone with a possible concussion, that was a pretty heavy thought. It was Riley who broke the silence.

"Allison, about what happened two weeks ago-"

"I really don't want to talk about that right now," Allison cut her off. "In fact, I don't even want to think about that right now. Or ever. All I want to think about is you in my arms. Actually, I want to do more than just think about that."

Reaching out with her good arm, Allison pulled Riley in front of her and pulled her close to her body. To any casual onlooker, Riley would appear to be resting against her. In reality, Allison was leaning heavily against the blonde.

"As sweet as this is, I really do want to tell you what happened," Riley persisted as she rested a hand on top of the arm Allison had across her stomach. "I hurt you for no good reason and I think you need to know what made me do it and that I feel horrible about it."

"Fine," Allison gave in with a sigh.

"Hey, all you wanted earlier was to know why I broke up with you," Riley reminded her, slightly annoyed Allison didn't want to listen to her now.

"I didn't have a massive headache and an upset stomach earlier. I just know this story is going to make everything worse, too."

"That's a good point but I'm still going to tell you what happened," Riley told her as she leaned her head back. "About a month ago, we went to your mom's house to help her move in her new furniture. Do you remember?"

"I think so. You had been sick, so I took you back home and went back to my mom's to help her by myself," Allison recalled while resting her chin on the top of Riley's head.

"Yeah. Well, a couple hours after you left, my dad dropped by. He was acting like the man I grew up with. The one that always looked so proud of me whenever I would do something great in sports," Riley said with a wistful sigh. Allison could hear the familiar longing in her voice that she got whenever she talked about the way her dad used to be. "Anyway, he stayed to keep me company and look out for me. We started talking and eventually you became the main topic.

"He started saying how disappointed my mother would be to see me with you and that he blamed himself for me turning out the way I did. I don't know if it was because he had been acting like his old self or if it was because I was so sick, but his words seemed to make sense to me. And for some reason, I couldn't get them out of my head after I got better." Riley pulled away from Allison's grip and turned around to look her in the eyes. "That's why I was acting so distant the month before I broke up with you. I couldn't help wondering if what I was doing would make my mom proud if she were alive. I know it's not a good excuse but-"

"I think we both know that I understand what it's like to want your mother to be proud of you," Allison interrupted her. "I imagine it's harder to know if you've reached that goal when you never knew the woman you're trying to impress," she mused. "But Riley, I can't compete with a dead woman. If you're going to be wondering if what you're doing is making your mom happy while we're together, I don't know if I can deal with that. I don't want you to second guess yourself."

"Don't worry, Honey. I won't wonder about that ever again," Riley told her with a smile. "If my mom doesn't like how I've turned out, she can yell at me when I'm dead."

"Um... can we stop using the word 'dead' for today? Especially if it pertains to you?" Allison requested. Her answer was a quick peck on the lips right before a medic showed up.

Without warning, he shined a light in Allison's eyes and made her think she was going to be blind for a few seconds. He made a few tsking noises before telling her to follow his finger with her eyes. She almost made a comment about not being able to follow it because he had blinded her, but she held her tongue.

"It looks like you have a mild concussion. I suggest a few days of bed rest and lots of pampering," he told them after a few more tests. "I was told you also have a dislocated shoulder?" Allison nodded and the doctor gently took the injured arm into his hands. "This is going to hurt a lot more going back in than it did coming out."

"Will you stay with me?" she asked, looking over at Riley. The blonde woman nodded and moved closer.

"Always," Riley replied as she took Allison's free hand into her own smaller ones. Allison gave her a crooked smile before she looked back over at the medic and nodded that she was ready.


Later that day, after a difficult trip back to the truck and an interesting drive back home, the two women were resting in their bedroom. Levi was curled up on the pet bed on the floor. He had tried to lie on the bed multiple times but his blonde master kept pushing him off until he got the message. Apparently it was cuddle time and he wasn't invited. So, he would just make due with what he had, even if he couldn't sprawl out.

On the bed, an emotionally exhausted Riley was trying to get as close as she could to Allison without making the other woman uncomfortable. She was lying on her side with her head resting on Allison's good shoulder and one of her legs hooked around one of Allison's under the blanket. At some point during the day she had also managed to bury her face into a cozy spot under shaggy, auburn locks of hair.

Beside her, a slightly dopey Allison was laying on her back and staring up at the ceiling. As comfortable as she was with her arm wrapped securely around her partner, she couldn't fall asleep. She had tried, but every time she closed her eyes she either saw Lucky staring back at her or she heard the sound of gunfire. Logically, she knew it was highly probable she was going to suffer from PTSD, but she really didn't want to ruin her day any more than it had been by thinking about that possibility.

Instead, she focused her attention on the precious gift that had been returned to her. While she hated that she had been forced to endure so much violence in such a short span of time, she couldn't be happier if her reward for going through it was all the riches in the world. She had Riley with her again and that was all she needed. Well, maybe that and a few more painkillers. Her head was killing her. Just as that thought ran through her head, Riley mumbled a few incoherent words.

"What was that, Sweetie?" Allison asked, smiling at the thought of her girlfriend talking in her sleep. It would be something else to tease her about in the morning.

"Love you." The unexpected reply made the younger woman's mind stop for a few seconds. While it wasn't the first time Riley had told her that while they were together, it was the first time in a month that Allison had heard her say those words. She hadn't realized how much she missed hearing them.

"I love you, too," she said before she kissed the top of Riley's head and closed her eyes. Before she fell asleep, she thought again about the major events in her life and the familiar words that always seemed to accompany them. Perhaps it wasn't such a bad thing that two words could hold so much meaning. As long as they were the right two words anyway. In Allison's opinion, 'Love you' beat 'It's over' every time.

Hillsys Stalker's Scrolls
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