~ Torn To Pieces ~
by T. Stratton

Disclaimer: See Part 1
Feedback to: Tinstrttn@aol.com

Part 7

Houston opened her eyes and blinked away dark tresses of hair that covered her face and tickled her nose. With a soft breath, she blew away a few strands that were becoming more annoying than the rest.

"You okay?" Cash asked in a sleepy voice as she moved lower to place a kiss on Houston's stomach.

"Yeah." Houston replied as a shiver ran through her body from the contact of the warm, wet lips.

The dark haired woman grinned to herself as she watched goose bumps form over the softness. "Like that do you?" She asked before she ran her tongue over the small bumps that covered the exposed stomach.

"Oh yeah." Houston groaned as she felt a hand run down her thigh to her knee and then back up again. "You're driving me crazy."

"Good." Cash moved down lower. She could smell what she was doing to the smaller woman with just a few touches. "I love how you react to me."

"Mmmmm." Houston shifted as the fingers slid easily through her wetness. "One touch and I'm gonna loose it."

Cash leaned up and watched the expression on Houston's face. When she saw the green eyes flutter until they closed, she sucked on an exposed nipple and after nipping it between her teeth she let it go. "Open your eyes for me?"

It took Houston a few seconds for her to understand what Cash wanted her to do. She blinked several times to clear the haze then her green eyes met soft blue. "God I love you."

"I can tell by how wet you are." Cash's passion filled voice whispered as she moved under the covers and in between the outstretched legs that were soon attempting to wrap themselves around her shoulders. "So very wet." She licked across her partner's swollen lips.

"That's it." Houston grabbed a hand full of hair to make sure her lover didn't move from her clit.

"MOM!" Trent's voice rang out from the other side of the door. "Where's my shirt, the one you wanted me to wear today?"

A small sigh and all movement under the covers stopped.

Houston's tense body stilled, as her brain processed the unwanted child's voice. "Damn." She mumbled out.

"Sorry." Cash said as she tossed the blanket off her head.

Houston waved a hand at her and smiled. "No, don't be." She lifted her head up and gave Cash a loving smile. She reached up and tucked a few strands of hair back behind the woman's ear. "It's a part of having kids."

"Yeah." Cash sat up exposing her bare breasts. "I guess, I'd better go see where that shirt went off too."

Houston only nodded her head as her hands went up to cup each breast. "We will continue this tonight." She twisted each nipple between her thumb and index fingers.

"You bet your sweet ass we will." Houston leaned over the prone body and planted a hard kiss on Houston's lips before she slowly slipped off the still trembling body and headed for the bathroom.

"That woman is gonna kill me." Houston breathed out in shorts breaths as she licked her lips. Her eyes closed as she tasted herself. "I am so, horny."


Carol and Karen walked around the office, double checking to make sure they had everything they needed.

"You ready to head out?" Karen asked as she closed her brief case. "I think we have everything."

"Yeah, I think we do." Carol looked over at her friend. "Let's head out to Houston's and get this thing over with."

The two women grabbed their bags and headed for the door. Taking one last look, they walked through the door and closed it up, making sure it was securely locked behind them. As they walked away, the phone rang and rang, until it was picked up by the answering machine. The message plays, with Carol's recorded voice, "You have reached the Sanctuary, please leave a message after the tone. Unless this is an emergency, then you should call 911, immediately." The tone sounds, there is a pause and then...

"Hello? This is Maxwell, Cash's friend. I work for her Father. I wanted to let you know that I saw him with a gun last night and the look he had in his eyes, he was like some sort of lunatic. Please be careful."

Then all was silent in the office.


Houston made her way down the stairs, but was stopped by the ringing of the door bell. Turning towards the door, she opened it and waved at the two women that stood on the doorstep to come inside. "Morning you two."

"Morning." Carol said as she gave Houston a hug. "How are you this morning?"

"I'm good. Ready to get this started and finished." Houston stepped back and closed the door. "Go on into the kitchen. That's where the others are."

"I guess, that I'm gonna be the babysitter for the day. I don't suppose you have any ideas on what would be good way to keep them occupied while you guys are at court?" Karen raised an eyebrow in question.

"Sure, just pop in a movie, or let them run around the house. Just make sure that they stay in the house. I've let the guard at the front gate know that no one is expected and so, no one should be allowed in." Houston informed her friend with a pat on the back. "If worse comes to worse, install the new game station I bought. It's in the front closet. I was saving it for a present, but if you need it, go ahead and use it."

"Great! Thanks." Karen followed Houston into the kitchen and leaned against the counter. "You ready for today?" She asked Cash with compassion in her voice.

Cash looked up from pouring Tara's milk. "Yes. I am more than ready."

"Great! We should be going in about ten minutes." Carol said as she looked at her watched. "I have no clue what the traffic will be like."

"I'm betting it will be a madhouse." Houston said, while she poured herself a cup of coffee. "We should go in through the back and miss the reporters."

"No." Cash shook her head. "I want to go in the front. I don't care about the reporters." She walked up and wrapped her arms around Houston's shoulders. "Thank you for wanting to protect me from that."

"It's my job." Houston stood taller and placed a soft kiss on the woman's cheek. "But we'll do what you want and go in the front door."

"Okay. Now, with having settled that, let's hit the road." Carol clapped her hands together.

Cash walked around the room to where Trent and Tara sat eating their breakfast. She leaned over and placed a kiss on each of their heads. "You two be extra good for Karen."

"Don't worry Mom. We will be perfect angels." Tara smiled up into her Mom's blue eyes.

Trent nodded his head and smiled as a small trickle of milk slipped out of his mouth.

Houston grabbed her keys off the kitchen counter before she walked over to stand next to Cash. "Bye guys. We'll see you later on tonight."

"Bye Houston." The two said as they gave the blonde woman a wave. "See you tonight."

Houston reached for Cash's hand, guiding her out of the kitchen and to the front door. They stopped just before opening the door.

Cash gave her lover a questioning look and asked. "Did you forget something?"

Houston nodded her head and ran a finger across Cash's cheek. "I love you." Then she lowered her other hand to run down the front of Cash's shirt.

A big smile formed on Cash's face as she grabbed a hold of the smaller hand next to her face. "Love you too. And don't worry, you checked the vest enough times already." As she said that, she patted Houston's chest feeling the hard protective bullet proof vest under the small blonde's own shirt.

"I know it maybe overkill, but I would rather we wear them and have nothing happen, then go in without them if something does." Houston covered Cash's hand with her own to entwine their fingers over her heart.

"You two, ready?" Carol stopped next to the pair.

The two women nodded before the door was opened and they stepped out into the morning sun.


Joseph carefully stepped out of his car as he grabbed his light brown trench coat and looked around. Not spotting anyone, he opened his back seat and uncovered the gun he'd hidden there, when he first went to his car that morning. Slowly running his hands over the cold steel an evil grin formed on his face. "Today is the day I get my life back."

"Mr. Dunn?" Mario Lopez called out from his car, as he pulled it to a stop next to his client. "Are you going to go in, or do you want to wait for me here?"

Joseph quickly turned and hid the gun behind his back. "Go park your car. I'll wait for you here."

Lopez rolled his window up and pulled his car forward until he found a spot. He thought as he'd put the car in park, that he'd seen something resembling a gun in the larger man's hand as he pulled up. He just shook his head at the thought. Joseph wouldn't try anything that stupid in a court room full of people.

Joseph tucked the gun in between his back and the back brace he used to wear after his surgery for having a couple of slipped discs. He grinned evilly as he thought of the great idea that had popped into his head last night about wearing the back brace to conceal his weapon. It was even better that he'd gotten a hold of his doctor and had him fax an excuse that he shouldn't take it off for any reason at all. Joseph shifted his body until the gun rested at the center of his back comfortably before he pulled his coat on over his shoulders. He hoped no one would pay too much attention and that it wasn't too snug against his body. After making sure the gun wouldn't slip he turned and watched Mario walk over to him, with a briefcase in one hand, along with several brown folders in the other.

"Are you ready?" Lopez asked as he drew closer to the unusually quiet man not noticing the brace, or the ramrod straight way, Joseph was standing.

Joseph nodded as he slipped his hands into his pockets. "I'm ready to do what I have to do to get my life back."

Lopez stopped with a curious look on his face. "I'm not sure how to take that."

"Take it however you want." Dunn quickly turned and started walking stiffly towards the courthouse. "Let's go."


Houston stopped the car and turned to look over at Cash. She wasn't sure what kind of reaction the taller woman would have at seeing her father again. It would be the first time she'd seen him, since finding out that she was the reason he was going to spend a long time in jail. "You okay?"

Cash took in a deep breath as she watched her Father make his way up the courthouse steps, not stopping to talk with the reporters that surrounded him like vultures with a fresh kill. "Yeah, just fine."

It took them a few minutes to find a suitable parking space that met Houston's satisfaction. The two waited in the car, until Carol found a place to park and walked over to them.

"Ready Freddy?" Houston opened her door and stepped out. She caught Cash's eyes as the other woman stood up and looked at her over the car. "When this is all over with how about you and me take a nice trip somewhere?"

"With, or without the kids?" Cash smiled at her lover's question.

Houston pretended to think by tapping her finger on her chin. "That depends."

"On what?" Cash closed her door and walked to the back of the car.

Houston copied the woman's actions and met her near the trunk. "If they interrupt us again."

Cash laughed softly as she wrapped her lover in her arms. "Are you feeling a tad bit frustrated?"

Houston stepped back and grinned. "I was, until my shower. Then I took care of it."

The tall brunette slapped Houston on the shoulder. "How can you say that? Do you have any idea what kind of images are running around in my head right now?"

"Ouch that hurt." Houston smiled, while rubbing her shoulder. "And yeah, I do."

"What are you two talking about?" Carol looked from one woman to the other.

"Sex." Her small friend answered quickly.

Carol's face froze in shock. "You're talking about sex? Now?"

Houston glanced over to Carol and then back at Cash. "It took your mind off walking up those stairs and facing those reporters didn't it?" She offered her elbow and waited for it to be accepted.

"Damn, I love you." Cash laughed and gladly accepted the offer of the arm. "Even though you are a lunatic."

"Yeah, but I'm your lunatic." Houston grinned from ear to ear.


As Joseph went through the metal detector the siren went off and everyone around stopped and looked.

"Excuse me sir, could you step over here." A guard said as he pointed to a space next to him.

Joseph huffed and walked over. "It's the brace, I'm wearing. It has metal brackets in it to help my back."

"Okay, but I still need to pat you down and make sure." The guard stated as he started to run his hands up and down Joseph's legs.

"Just watch my back, it hurts enough as it is." Joseph barked as he stood praying to himself that the gun he had wouldn't be found. He closed his eyes and tensed even more as the security guard ran his hand up is back. To try and distract the guard, he reached into his pocket. "Look here, I have a statement from my doctor."

The security guard stopped moving and reached for the note and glanced over it. "If you don't mind waiting, sir. While I call his office, to verify this. It should only take a minute, or two."

"Sure, do what ever you need to do. I need to get to court real quick." Joseph crossed his arms over his chest acting as if he were annoyed. "So hurry up will you. Damn it feels like they are calling my Mother to check up on me." He looked over at Lopez when he walked up.

Lopez watched what was happening and raised his eyebrow at his client. "What's going on? When did your back start hurting you?"

"Just go get ready." Joseph glared at his attorney. "I'll be along in a few minutes. They're checking to make sure I'm not some terrorist and lying about my back. "

Lopez nodded his head after watching his client for a few seconds before walking towards the stairs that would take him to the court rooms.

After several long minutes, the guard stepped back to Joseph. "Everything checks out. Sorry for the delay." He handed the angry man back the piece of paper.

"Whatever." Joseph snatched the paper back from the man's hand, shoved it into his pocket and stormed off towards the bathroom. Pushing the door open he quicky walked to the handicapped stall. Making sure no one was inside he stepped in and locked the door. He took off his coat and hung it on the hook on the door. Stopping his movements when he heard someone entering he waited until the other man was finished and left before he reached behind his back and pulled the gun out.

"I can feel it. Today, everything will be as it should." He brought the gun up to his lips and placed a kiss on the steel barrel. He stared at the gun for a few more seconds before he slipped it into his coat pocket and then put the coat back on over his shoulders. He settled the coat until it laid just right and opened the stall. One hand casually hanging by his side and the other deep inside a pocket caressing the cold steel of a gun.


The sound of the gavel as it hit the block on the judge's platform, stopped all the talking in the court room. "I said quiet Mr. Lopez, I would suggest you keep your client quiet, or I'll cite him with contempt of court and he can cool his heels off in a jail cell over night. Then we can start this whole thing over again tomorrow."

"Sorry. Your Honor, it won't happen again." Lopez sat down and glared at Joseph. "What do you think you are doing? You need to keep your mouth shut and keep quiet."

"I won't sit here and listen to this crap." Joseph growled as he shifted in his chair.

Lopez glared at his client. "Well that's too damn bad. You're going to have to."

"Are we ready to proceed?" The judge asked in a deep voice.

"Yes, your honor." Lopez replied, while trying to keep his cool and not go ballistic on his client.

He nodded at Lopez and turned to the district attorney who happily nodded his head. "Good, lets get on with this then."

District Attorney Buckner stood up and looked around the room. He spotted Houston and Cash sitting close to one another in the front row. He nodded his head slightly to them before he looked at several people behind them. The DA knew if he didn't win this case, they'd be losing a chance to get everything they'd worked all their lives for. Slowly closing his eyes he let out a deep breath before he opened his eyes and started his opening statements.

For the next three hours, Buckner stated the case against Joseph Dunn and his company. He started by saying they had documents upon documents of proof that showed the defendant knew not only what was going on, but he was the main conspirator of the crime. Buckner also stated, that he had evidence that the materials he had, were ordered to be destroyed, but someone within the companies' ranks didn't follow those orders and kept the information safe from harm. He went on to say that the person who had the documents was too frightened to come forward sooner. And would only be willing to do so, if they were promised anonymity, so no harm could come to them, or their family.

Then he went on about how he also had a witness that has given a sworn statement. This wittness was going to testify that she'd overheard, Joseph Dunn and some of his cronies talking about what they were doing with the employee funds. And that the testimony would be so damaging by this person because of her relationship with the defendant.

He looked over at Cash and then over to Joseph to see the reaction. It wasn't the kind he had hoped for, since the older man just leaned back in his chair and smiled. Buckner turned back around as a shiver ran up his spine, this man showed no remorse, whatsoever. He kind of wished that Lopez had asked for a jury trail, since he knew that most of the time the jurors looked at the defendant to see the reaction they would get. Instead, the judge was leaning back in his chair watching him pace back and forth in front of the tables.


Houston and Cash sat in the front row watching the DA walk back and forth stating Joseph's alleged illegal activities. They listened as he stated he had proof that Dunn had swindled his employee's out of both their savings and retirement funds.

Both women would occasionally glance over to where Dunn was sitting to see what kind of reaction they would see, but each time they were saddened that he only looked smug and uncaring. Houston didn't expect much from him, but perhaps it would be better for Cash, if he'd have at least made an attempt to look somewhat sorry for what he'd done.

At one o'clock, the judge called a recess for lunch and stated that court would reconvene in one hour.

Houston put her hand on the small of Cash's back and guided her out of the court room. "You hungry?"

"Not really, but I should eat something." Cash answered without any emotion.

The realization of what her Father had really done hit Cash right in her core. The same man, who she had looked up to when she was just a child, really did swindle hundreds of people out of their hard earned money. Sure he became a controlling overbearing son of a bitch to her when she was an adult, but deep in her heart, the man was still her Father. She looked over at the man who was supposed to love and cherish her talking with his lawyer. This was not the same man who used to color and play games with her. Long ago that man had disappeared and turned into an unknown being. Cash took a deep breath and turned to Houston. "Let's go."

Joseph stepped out into the hallway and stopped when he spotted his daughter. He ignored his lawyer's questions and comments as he started to walk towards the tall women, when his eyes caught Houston moving her away from him. "You fucking bitch!" He moved around the people that blocked his path. "You took her away from me for the last time!" He yelled out, as he tightened the grip he had on the gun.

Houston turned to look at the screaming man. It took her mind several long seconds to realize he was pulling something out of his pocket. When it finally hit her what it was she pushed Cash aside and screamed out. "He's got a gun!"

Cash felt herself falling to the floor and heard people yelling in fear. Quickly moving to the side of the hallway, she watched as Houston fought her Father's quickly moving arms. She saw the glint of the gun from the sunlight that shown through the windows of the building. "Houston!" She screamed in fear as she stood up and fought her way through the crowd of terrified people.

It was like watching a movie in slow motion as she watched her lover fight for the gun. She flinched when Joseph struck Houston with an elbow to the side of her face. But all it did was fuel the furious blonde to fight harder to gain control. She covered her mouth with her shaking hands as Houston got her footing just right to trip Joseph up and they both crashed to the floor. Not thinking, she started to move towards the thrashing bodies on the ground.

Carol tried to get to Cash, but the stampede of people kept pushing her further away. "Cash, stay away! Don't go near him! Let Houston handle him!" She screamed out when she noticed Cash trying to move closer to the two fighting on the floor.

Suddenly the earth shattering sound of two gunshots filled the hallway. Cash stopped and watched in fear, as the movement between Houston and her Father ceased. Her heart pounded in total and absolute fear. "Oh, God. No!" She whispered as tears slipped from her eyes to trail down her cheeks. "Houston?"

Carol quickly dodged the last person in her way and ran towards Cash. She stepped in front of the tall brunette and brought trembling hands up to her friends shoulders to stop the crying woman from moving. "Stay here. You need to stay here." She looked over at Houston's body. "Please Cash. Stay right here. I'll go check on her, but promise me you'll stay right here." She looked up into the unfocused eyes hoping for a response. She patted Cash on the shoulders when she received a small nod. Taking a deep breath Carol turned around and blinked her own eyes to stay focused from unshed tears.

The two women didn't hear the running footsteps of the police officers, who were coming closer to see what was going on. They were too intent on the two forms lying on the floor.

Carol moved as fast as her brain would allow her. She was in shock that Dunn had enough balls to bring a gun into the courthouse and then pull it out to use against his daughter.

When she got close enough, she could see a pool of blood growing under the crumpled bodies. Not caring for her own safety, she pulled at Houston's shoulders to get her off the evil madman below her.

A cough caught her attention and she looked up into Joseph Dunn's wild eyes. Blood dripped from his mouth to make a trail down his cheek to the floor below his head. "I did it." He held up the gun in his hand and grinned.

"Bastard." Carol's hand moved before she could think and grabbed the still smoking gun out of the dying man's hands. "Hope you go to hell."
Carol knelt over Houston's body and pulled open her shirt and fought with the restraints of the protective vest to try and get a look at the wound. She gasped at the site where the bullet had entered. It was right next to her left breast. "Houston? Can you hear me?"

Four police officers dashed past Cash, with their guns drawn.

"What happened?" One stopped and looked at Cash. "Ma'am, I need to know what happened." He said again to the silent woman. "Are you hurt?" He stepped in Cash's line of view, but was quickly shoved away.
"Get out of my way." Cash growled before she took her first uneasy steps. She couldn't take being so close, yet, so far away from the woman she loved.

The police officer tried to stop her. "Ma'am, I can't let you get any closer." He tried to stop her from moving.

"Bullshit." She grabbed the man's hand that had landed on her arm. "I'll talk after I know how my partner is. Not before."

The police officer followed behind Cash as he watched the scene before him. One of his fellow officers was talking into his walkie-talkie, demanding ambulances and any medical personal in the building to get there quick.

The two others were each next to one of the fallen victims. He could see an older man, well dressed and bleeding profusely from a gun shot wound to the neck. The other was a small blonde woman with blood covering the upper half of her body. What he noticed most about both of them was that their skin was a pale shade of white.

Carol took off her top shirt and used it as a bandage to try and stop the bleeding. She couldn't help the tears that had begun to fall. "Come on Houston. You can't die! Cash needs you! Your kids need you! Hell, Karen and I need you!"

"Ca.. Carol?" Cash dropped to her knees next to her friend and lover. "Is she..." The distraught woman couldn't finish the sentence after seeing the blood soaked shirt being held by blood covered hands.

"She's still with us, but where she was hit isn't good." Carol stated honestly. "See if you can get her to wake up. Try to get the vest off her if you can. It isn't doing any good now."

Cash ran her shaky hands through her hair before she dropped them to Houston's face. With a tender touch, she ran them over Houston's closed eyes and slightly parted lips. "Baby, can you hear me? I need you to open your eyes for me." When nothing happened, she leaned over and placed a soft kiss against the quiet woman's pale cheek. "Come on sweetheart. I need to see those gorgeous green eyes of yours." She grabbed a hold of the black vest and with tender care she pulled it over Houston's head. Her finger went to the small hole where the bullet had entered. "How could this happen? It was supposed to protect her."

Carol looked to where Cash's finger were. "She was too close to the gun when it fired." She shook her head hoping Cash didn't want any more explanations. It was too hard to go into detail on what would have happened if Houston wasn't wearing the vest.

"Ma'am, we have medical personnel coming." A police officer said as he walked up. "Do you think one of you could tell me what happened?"

Before Carol, or Cash could say anything a groan and a cough, brought their attention back to the woman on the floor.

"Baby?" Cash cried as she watched the eyelids flutter and open.

"It hurts." Houston groaned out when she tried to take in a deep breath.

Carol gripped the woman's shoulders. "Don't move. You've been shot."

"Joseph?" Houston turned her head and looked around. "He's got a gun. Have to protect Cash."

"Oh Baby, you did." Cash wept bring her hands around to cup Houston's face. "You stopped him from hurting me."

Houston calmed down and looked into watery blue eyes. "I stopped him?"

Cash and Carol both nodded.

"Good." Houston breathed out and closed her eyes.

Cash immediately leaned closer, so her face was hovering right over Houston's. "Don't leave me. Stay awake."

"I'm so tired." Houston didn't open her eyes. "And cold." She just laid there and let the darkness reclaim her.


Continued in part Eight...

I want to apologize for the long wait between updates. It took me a while to get back in the groove of the story after being away from it for two weeks.
Part eight is all done and ready for posting.. So you won't have to wait for it.. Well you will have to wait a tiny wee bit, but not over a month.. Maybe a week.. Since this one ends with a cliffhanger..

So enjoy and don't forget to feed the bard!!


� T. Stratton All rights reserved 2006

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