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Roseann

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Reply with quote  #51 
Karen, great chapters....I am looking forward to the next chapter...did you just give us a major clue as to whose "familiar" voice is also on the island....!!!
Roseann
Purdue0612

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Reply with quote  #52 

Thanks again for this wonderful story. Hope we don't have to wait long for the next update!!!!

kendallandzach

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Reply with quote  #53 

I'm enjoying this more than the show right now! I wish the writers would pick up on this and give the Slaters a mystery to solve.  I love how you have Zach and Kendall covering each others back. The SS storyline was okay, but it could have been so much better.

Ann

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Reply with quote  #54 
(((((((Karen)))))))
I found this update this morning, but only had time to read one chapter.  I just finished the other one, and what can I say???? I love it, as usual and I can't wait for more!

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tkrocks

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Reply with quote  #55 
Great update! I'm thoroughly enjoying this story. Thanks for sharing and hope you don't keep us waiting for the next installment too long.
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Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.--Peter Ustinov
ninekaronas

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Reply with quote  #56 
Thanks everybody. Glad y'all are still with me.

Chapter 11

"What does it mean, Zach?" Kendall said, trying to keep her voice low. Zach just looked at her, but she knew exactly what he was thinking. She shook her head. "No. It can't be. He's dead." The look on Zach's face changed as he tilted his head. It was now piercing - and knowing. "Yeah, okay," Kendall began as she placed her hand on his arm. "So you were dead once, too. But this is different, Zach." "Dixie," Zach said softly. "I know all about Dixie, but..." "My father," Zach continued. "I know. But this is ..." "Ryan." "Stop, Zach. Okay. Just stop it. He's dead. That madman is dead." "Babe." Kendall's shoulders slumped in defeat.

"Is it possible?" she asked weakly as she tightened her grip on his arm. "I mean, maybe we're wrong. Isn't it possible that we're wrong?" "Sure it's possible. Maybe Dr. Frankenstein had a brother," Zach said casually. He stroked the top of her hand until she loosened her grip, then he took her hand in his. "That's not funny," Kendall said. "Sure it is," he returned, bringing her hand to his lips.

"Maybe a little," Kendall conceded before she turned her attention back to the girl still wading in the twilight surf. "The question isn't really who anyway. It's what. What do we do now?"

Zach followed Kendall's gaze and stood silently, weighing his options. His first priority was keeping Kendall safe. Nothing had changed there. And he really thought that finding out who was behind this would make things clearer. But he was more confused than ever. Why would Greg Madden, even if he was still alive, want to bring them here? Or maybe it was just a cruel coincidence. Maybe the pregnant girl meant nothing.

"I don't know. Maybe we should stick with the plan. You stay here, out of sight, and I'll break into the main house and see what I can find." "Or who," Kendall said. "You have a better idea?" he asked, turning to face her. "First of all, that wasn't the plan. We were gonna break in. No way I'm staying here." Zach smiled at his persistent wife. "And now?" he said. Kendall returned his smile and raised her stubborn chin. "And now I think we should go talk to that girl instead. She can probably give us all the information we need and we won't get caught."

"I didn't intend to get caught," he said matter-of-factly. "No, honey. Of course not. I just meant it's easier this way." "Uh-huh. Easier for who? I don't want you going out there. I'll go talk to her." Zach kissed Kendall on the forehead and took two steps away from her before she pulled him back.

"Um ... Zach. Don't you think it would be better if I talked to her?" Zach frowned at Kendall when she rubbed her belly. "So now you two are ganging up on me?" he said. "It's not safe, Kendall. For all we know it's a setup." "Or," she interjected, holding out the word for effect, "we're right about this place and she's one of Dr. McCreepy's patients. Who better to find that out?" she said, once again indicating her swollen belly. "I'm already wearing the uniform. Put me in, Coach," she prodded.

Zach took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He scanned their surroundings and once again weighed his options, all the while aware of Kendall's big green eyes pleading with him. He ran his hand over his bearded face and sighed.

"Okay, you win," he said at last, annoyed by Kendall's enthusiasm. "I'll be right here. Don't go too far, okay. Please," he added when she started to look insulted. She nodded at him and stood on her tiptoes to kiss his forehead. "I won't," she said, grinning. Much to her relief, Zach laughed. "Get outta here," he said, shoving her toward the beach. "And be careful."

Kendall turned back to him. "You know, if it is Dr. Madden, I'll kill him myself. You stood trial for his murder, Zach. And look how much it nearly cost us. I'll have him begging for that damn box," she said furiously. She walked away to the sound of Zach chuckling softly.

------------------------

The young girl looked up when she heard the sound of whistling and saw a woman walking toward her. She was beautiful, but she was a mess. Her clothes were tattered and her hair was a riot of untamed curls. But she carried herself with the dignity of a queen. It didn't make sense. She waited for the woman to reach her before speaking.

"Hi," she said cheerily. "My name's Whitney. You new here?" Kendall looked at the pretty young brunette, a wave of concern washing over her. She remembered her own time with Dr. Madden. She was so scared. So confused. And Dr. Madden had taken advantage of that. Was he taking advantage of this girl, too?

She seemed happy enough, Kendall thought as she extended her hand. "Hi, Whitney. I'm Bianca." Kendall didn't know where that had come from, but she suddenly felt like she shouldn't give the girl her real name. "Nice to meet you, Bianca. So?" she prodded when Kendall didn't answer. "Oh," Kendall said, shaking her head and laughing. "Sorry. Long flight. Yes, I am new here." She ran her hands through her hair self-consciously. "I must look a mess."

"Nah. You look beautiful. Just a little tired is all," Whitney said with a wave of her hand. "I love your accent," Kendall said when the girl released her hand. "Where are you from?" Whitney beamed. "Arkansas. I've been here six months already and I'm real homesick. Not that this place isn't beautiful," she added as she threw her head back and enjoyed the wind on her face. "But it's not home," Kendall finished. "I understand."

"Where you from, Bianca?" Whitney asked when the silence stretched between them. "Florida," Kendall said easily. She didn't even have to lie about that one. She watched as the girl lowered her eyes to her belly. "I see you've got a while yet," she said. "I'm actually past due, but Doctor G doesn't want to rush the baby. He says nature will take its course and we need to respect that."

"Doctor G?" Kendall said, trying to keep her voice light. "Is that what you call him?" "Yeah, it's what all the girls call him," Whitney replied. Kendall noticed that the girl was watching her closely, so she tried to force herself to relax and take it slow. Maybe Whitney was reacting to her own tension. "You'll get used to it." Kendall nodded.

"Maybe we have different doctors," Kendall said with a shrug. "I sure can't picture calling mine Doctor G. What's your doctor's full name?" Whitney looked Kendall over before turning her body and her attention back to the water. "There's only one doctor here, Bianca. Dr. Gregory. Josh Gregory."

Kendall tried not to react. "Yep, that's him," she said lightly. "I still can't picture calling him Doctor G, though." She glanced at Whitney to see if she seemed suspicious, but the girl just smiled at her. "Like I said, you'll get used to it. After living under the same roof with him for a few months, he'll be like family." "I'm sure you're right," Kendall said with a smile.

"Speaking of accents, how do you like Doctor G's? Sexy, huh?" Kendall asked. She walked back to the shoreline and settled herself on the sand, hoping the girl would join her. She wanted to be sure Zach could hear what was being said. Right on cue, Whitney came to sit beside her, although it took a lot longer for her to get situated. She looked at Kendall, confusion written all over her face.

"Accent? Doctor G doesn't have an accent. Are you sure we have the same doctor? Maybe you're at the wrong clinic." Kendall started to backpedal. "Well, it's pretty faint, I guess. I just have an ear for that sort of thing. And I certainly wouldn't call this place a clinic," she added in attempt to change the subject. Now she knew why that voice had sounded so familiar. It was Dr. Madden and he was trying to cover his accent. Kendall wanted to run to Zach. She knew he was thinking the same thing.

"You're right about that, Bianca. This place has everything. But it is also a functioning hospital. Even if all the patients are expectant mothers. Haven't you been given a tour yet?" Kendall sighed and rubbed her lower back. "Not yet. I just got in and decided to take a walk on the beach instead. I thought I needed the exercise, but maybe I overdid it."

Whitney eyed Kendall's hands with envy. "Doesn't that feel good?" she asked dreamily. Kendall found her smile to be contagious. She was once again struck with concern for the girl. She seemed too young and vulnerable here in the clutches of that sick bastard. "My back hurts all the time now. But Doctor G says its just part of the process. He taught me some massage techniques, but he won't give me any pain medicine. Says it could harm the baby."

Kendall moved closer to Whitney so she could rub her back. At first the girl refused in embarrassment, but relented quickly when Kendall began her ministrations. "You've got magic fingers, Bianca," she purred. Kendall shifted to a better position and rubbed this young stranger's back while she gave Kendall the lay of the compound. Kendall wanted to look back at Zach, just to be sure he could hear everything, but she didn't dare. She had to have faith. And having faith in Zach was as easy as breathing.

-------------------------

A few yards away Zach was taking notes. He listened intently to what the girl said to Kendall, then he drew himself a map. He'd heard enough to know that Dr. Greg Madden was behind all of this. Like Kendall, he realized that the voice on the walkie-talkie was Madden, and the reason it sounded strange was because he was trying to disguise his accent. But why? How could he know they were listening? And what did he want with Kendall?

He looked up to see Kendall helping the woman to her feet. He was so impressed with her for rubbing the girl's back. Not because she was trying to get information out of her. No, Zach knew it was nothing more than an act of kindness. His wife had the biggest heart of anybody he had ever met. He knew she was reliving her first pregnancy. Reliving the fear and the uncertainty. And reliving the pain that Dr. Madden inflicted. But he wouldn't hurt her this time around. Zach would make certain of that.

-------------------------

"You go ahead, Whitney. I think I'm gonna hang around here for a little longer," Kendall said to the very pregnant girl standing beside her. "Are you sure you can make it okay?" Whitney gave Kendall another big smile. "Yeah, I'm sure. I'm actually starting to get pretty good at maneuvering this ship around," she said with a laugh. She turned to walk away, but stopped.

"Can I ask you something, Bianca?" she said, almost sheepishly. "Sure," Kendall said easily. "Ask away." The girl hesitated another moment before continuing. Kendall noticed she was having trouble looking her in the eye. "Really, Whitney. Just ask," she said, her voice softening. "I don't mean to be rude. But how old are you?"

Kendall was taken aback. That was the last thing she expected her new friend to ask. And she would swear she could hear Zach laughing somewhere behind her. "Well," Kendall began. "I didn't see that coming. Why do you ask?" Whitney stared at her, obviously wishing the sand would open up and swallow her.

"Oh, Bianca. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to just blurt it out like that. But you just don't seem to fit in with the rest of the girls here. I mean, you're not a girl at all. And I couldn't help but notice that you have on a wedding ring with a huge diamond. So if your husband could afford a ring like that, why are you here? Seems like you'd have a big fancy doctor somewhere in the States. Besides, the girls here usually hand our babies over to women like you. So it doesn't make sense that you're here to give away yours." When Whitney stopped wringing her hands, Kendall grabbed them.

"No. It's okay," Kendall said, surprised at just how closely this girl had been studying her. "I know I look pretty bad right now, but I'm really not that much older than you." Kendall smoothed her hands over her skirt and tried to run her fingers through her wild hair. It was no use. She looked like exactly what she was. A castaway.

She looked down at her hands, still holding Whitney's, and studied her wedding ring. She was trying to figure out what to say about being married when she heard the sound of a car coming. She looked up frantically and saw a Jeep coming toward them on beach. She dropped Whitney's hands and tried to decide what to do. She couldn't run to Zach. They would see her and Zach wasn't strong enough to defend them both. But she couldn't let them take her away from Zach. She glanced over her shoulder, but didn't see him. Still she knew he was there. And if she didn't make a decision soon, he would come out of hiding to sacrifice himself for her.

She turned when she felt Whitney's hand on her arm. "Hurry! You don't have much time. Maybe they haven't seen you yet," Whitney screamed over the roar of the suddenly loud surf. "Run, Kendall! Run!" she said as she pushed Kendall away from her. Kendall looked at her, a thousand questions racing through her mind. But there was no time. She had to go. She gave Whitney a quick hug and ran into the jungle. Right into the waiting arms of her husband.

TBC

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issala71

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Reply with quote  #57 

This story is awesome!!! I can't wait for the next chapter, great job!!!


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Purdue0612

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Reply with quote  #58 
You have reeled me in!
This is a great story!
Please continue soon!!!
Roseann

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Reply with quote  #59 
Great Chapter, Karen... I will wait for the next one as patiently as I can!!
Thanks.
Roseann
tkrocks

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Reply with quote  #60 
Thanks 9K! I'm really enjoying this story and anxiously awaiting more of it!!
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Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.--Peter Ustinov
Ann

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Reply with quote  #61 
Are you torturing me on purpose??? LOLOL
I love it......thank you.

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Swtpeadana

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Reply with quote  #62 
This story is great, I am so hooked... More soon please... Keep the chapters coming....  Wish the show would take some of your ideas make it more enjoyable to watch then what we are getting on the tv right now... Thanks for the great story....  

Dana   : )

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zendall44

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Reply with quote  #63 

Really great story Karen!  Can't wait for more!  Thanks.


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kendallandzach

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Reply with quote  #64 

Keep up the great stuff. I love it.

ninekaronas

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Reply with quote  #65 
Chapter 12

Zach didn’t waste a second. He grabbed Kendall’s hand and they ran silently through the jungle trying to put as much distance as possible between them and the shoreline. They knew they were trapped, but at least it gave them a chance to hide and, ultimately, bought them some time. They heard the static humming of walkie-talkies and the sound of running feet behind them, so they quickened their pace. No longer worried about silence, their only concern now was escape.

Kendall didn’t know where they were going, but she knew she would follow him anywhere. That theory was tested minutes later when they came to the edge of a cliff and found themselves staring down into a waterfall. Zach pulled her to an abrupt halt and began cursing loudly. He turned to look behind him, but there was nowhere to run. They could hear dogs barking in the distance, and they were getting closer.

Zach looked at Kendall, placed his hand over their unborn child and kissed her quickly. “Trust me,” he yelled over the noise of the falling water, more of a statement than a question. Kendall looked into his eyes and swallowed. She knew what he was thinking. She nodded and tightened her grip on his hand. “I love you, Zach,” she said softly. Zach couldn’t hear her words over the noise surrounding them, but he knew what she said. And his heart felt them just the same. “Prove it,” he said as he gave her another kiss. “Jump!”

Kendall turned to him, but it was too late. With a prayer on his lips and Kendall wrapped tightly in his arms, Zach jumped into the raging waterfall. Before either of them had a chance to be afraid, they broke through the surface of the water. Zach, who took the brunt of the force, managed to break Kendall’s fall by lifting her at the last minute so she was slightly above him. She sank into his wake, but avoided the sting of impact. As soon as they were submerged underwater, he let her go and grabbed her hand.

They quickly rose to the surface and let the water carry them away from the cliff’s edge. Zach swam against the strong current, pulling Kendall with him, to an outcropping of rocks just around the bend. When they reached it, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her. “Are you okay,” he asked between kisses. “Is the baby okay? Do you hurt anywhere?”

Kendall couldn’t decide if she was laughing or crying. She threw her arms around Zach and held on to him while he kissed her again and again. She held his face in her hands and kissed him back. Then she pulled back and frowned.

“You didn’t let me prove it. I was gonna jump!” Zach looked at his bride - wet, pregnant and angry with him for not letting her jump off a cliff - and roughly pulled her back to him. “You're crazy,” he laughed. “But you love me anyway,” Kendall said as she snuggled against him for warmth. “I do,” he said, rocking her back and forth. “God knows I do.”

Kendall pulled away from him, suddenly remembering his gunshot wound. “Oh, Zach, your shoulder,” she said softly as she pulled his wet shirt off of his shoulder. “Are you in a lot of pain?” “No,” Zach lied. Truth was, it was killing him, throbbing and raw, but he would never tell her that. She didn’t need to worry about him on top of everything else. It was just pain. He could handle it. “There doesn’t seem to be any infection,” Kendall said as she studied the wound. She gingerly touched it and felt him stiffen. “I’m sorry,” she said. She knew he was lying about the pain, but she let it go.

She eased his shirt back over his shoulder and kissed it. Then she stood on her tiptoes and kissed his lips. She wished she could take the pain away, but there was nothing she could do. Zach saw all of this in her eyes and wrapped his arms around her. “It’s better now,” he said as he felt the warmth of her body spread through him.

The sound of barking dogs reminded them of the danger they still faced. Zach pushed Kendall into a crevice in the side of the rocks and knelt down in front of her. “Wait here,” he said. “I have an idea. You rest while I check it out.” Kendall pulled on his arm when he turned to leave. “Wait,” she began, but she didn’t finish. She knew they didn’t have time to argue about it. And she knew she would just slow him down. “We’ll be right here,” she said instead. She placed both hands on her abdomen and smiled at him. “Be careful,” she called as he slipped back into the water.

Kendall tried to keep her head down and her emotions in check while she waited for Zach to return. It was dark now and the moon was mostly obscured by the trees overhead. But she could still hear men yelling and dogs barking all around her. She closed her eyes and prayed that Zach would be back soon, then nearly jumped out of her skin when he touched her knee.

“Come with me, Kendall,” he said, as he reached for her hand. He helped her to her feet then led her back to the water’s edge. “Where are we going?” she asked. “I’m giving you another chance to prove it,” he said over his shoulder. “Hurry,” he added when they heard the squawk of a walkie-talkie.

Kendall stepped into the water and looked back at the rocks. Then she looked at Zach. “Prove it,” he said, the sound lost in the wind. Kendall dove into the water and waited for him to lead. It was a little awkward trying to swim with her new girth, but she managed. Luckily, they didn’t have far to go.

Zach took her to a hole in the side of one of the rocks. They swam into it and came almost immediately to a small grotto carved out of the stone. There wasn’t a lot of room, but there was enough for two people. At least they would be dry. And they would be safe.

“It’s beautiful,” Kendall gushed as Zach carried her from the water. “How did you know it was here?” she asked, craning her neck to take in the whole space. “Well, I saw something like this once at the Playboy mansion,” Zach said with a shrug. Kendall, who had her arms around his neck, pulled his hair and waited for a better explanation.

“Okay,” he said. “So maybe it was just luck.” He set Kendall on her feet and started rubbing her arms to warm her. “I thought I saw the cave earlier, but I couldn’t be sure it was deep enough until I checked.” He pulled Kendall into his arms and began rubbing her back. “My hero,” she sighed.

The sound of the water lapping against the rocks and the feel of Zach’s strong hands warming her body made Kendall feel sleepy. Zach felt her relax against him and smiled. Here they were in the middle of a manhunt, and she wanted to take a nap. She trusted him that much. He found a spot in the farthest part of the cave and sat down with his back against the wall. Then he pulled Kendall down in front of him so she could lay against his chest while she slept. That way, not only could he keep her warm, but he could also see and hear anybody that came near them.

Zach lost track of time as he sat in the eerily silent cave and watched the reflection of the water play across the walls. He hadn't heard the sound of dogs or yelling in quite a while, but he wasn't sure what that meant. Did they think he and Kendall had jumped to their deaths? Had they called the search off? Or maybe they were just waiting for them to pop out of their rabbit hole. There was no way to be sure.

But he was sure of one thing: Kendall and the baby needed food and water. He could keep them warm, but he couldn't keep them alive without something to eat. And everything he and Kendall had managed to save from their tent on the beach was lost in the jump. He absentmindedly stroked Kendall's face when he thought about how mad she was going to be about losing her moisturizer. He smiled in spite of himself.

A short while later, he found himself standing over her sleeping body. He had coaxed her into lying down by stretching out beside her. Once her breathing evened out again, he got up and undressed. He covered her with his shirt, hoping it would keep her warm enough until he got back. With one last glance, he eased himself into the water, trying not to wake her, and swam away.

-------------------------

Kendall heard a splash and was immediately awake. She looked up to see her husband, totally naked and soaking wet, standing in front of her. The glow of the moonlight off the water cast shadows across his body. He looked like a god. "Am I dreaming?" she muttered. She stretched lazily and blinked, expecting the image to disappear. But it didn't. Every time she opened her eyes, he was there. Tall, strong and gorgeous. "Oh, I'm dreaming alright," she said as she moved closer to touch him.

"So this is how you see me in your dreams, Kendall?" Zach asked as he reached for his clothes. When he started getting dressed again, he felt Kendall's breath on his back as her hands gently glided over his shoulders. "As a matter of fact, it is," she said. "And when I'm awake." Zach closed his eyes when he felt her place soft kisses down his spine. He took a deep breath and turned to face her.

"Kendall, this isn't a seduction. I just wanted to keep my clothes dry while I went for food," he said, gesturing to the pile of fruit and berries he's stacked against the wall. "Who says I'm not seducing you?" she asked as she continued to rain kisses across his chest. When she placed a gentle kiss on his wounded shoulder, he shuddered. He pulled her tightly against him and buried his face in her hair.

"Kendall," he groaned. "This isn't what you need. You need food and you need rest. For the baby." Kendall stepped back and looked into his eyes. "I just got some rest. And here," she said as she moved to pick up a handful of berries, "I'm eating. But I know what I need, Zach. I need you." She started taking off her own clothes, but Zach stopped her.

"Kendall," Zach pleaded. "Please, don't tempt me." Kendall rewarded him with a wicked grin. "So I'm tempting you? That's progress. Give me a chance and I'll fulfill your dreams, as long as your dreams include a beached whale," she added with a weak laugh. She lowered her eyes in a move that made her look almost vulnerable. Zach pulled her into his arms. "Look at me," he commanded, his voice soft but firm. Kendall complied.

"You have already fulfilled all of my dreams … my wildest fantasies. You are beautiful, and I love you more than I will ever be able to tell you." He stroked her face with his thumbs as he lowered his head to hers. "Prove it," she said just before their lips met.

Zach pulled back, not sure he'd heard right. The gleam in her eye told him he had. "If you can't tell me how much you love me, then show me." Zach looked at her for a long time, then he picked up a mango and gave it to her as he finished undressing her. "Eat," he said, his voice low and husky. "You're gonna need it. I've got a lot to say."

-------------------------

"She called me Kendall, Zach. How did Whitney know my real name?" The Slaters were lying in each other's arms as the sunrise sent shafts of light into their temporary home. Kendall's head was resting on Zach's good shoulder and his hand was tangled in her hair. His other hand was tracing circles on her arm. "I don't know," he answered. "I don't remember you ever saying any name besides Bianca." Kendall nodded. "That's right. I didn't. But she was looking at me strangely the whole time we were talking. It's like she was trying to decide if she knew me or not. You know what I mean?"

She raised her head so she could see Zach's face. He nodded before placing a kiss on her temple. "Did she seem at all familiar to you? Maybe you've met her somewhere before," he suggested. "With that accent? I would have remembered. Not a lot of those in Pine Valley." "Florida maybe?" Kendall immediately shook her head. "She was too young for that." she said, giving him a look that said he better just leave it at that. He smiled, but wisely said nothing. "It's a mystery," he said innocently when she continued to watch him.

"Yeah, well. This place has too many mysteries. I just want to go home and see my baby," Kendall said wistfully. She raised up on one elbow and leaned over Zach. "Unless you have something better to do," she said suggestively. Zach's eyes narrowed and his hand went instinctively to her hip. "Are you kidding? You need more proof?" Kendall arched one perfectly shaped eyebrow and said somberly, "I guess I'm hard to convince. Or maybe you just need to try harder."

"Harder, huh? I'm gonna need more fruit." Zach jumped up, gave Kendall a quick, hard kiss and dove into the water. "Don't move. I'll be right back," he called over his shoulder just before he went below the surface. He heard Kendall's laughter bouncing off the walls of the cave as he swam away.

Zach returned about fifteen minutes later with as much fruit as he could carry. He'd left a small reserve hidden among the rocks so he wouldn't have to go so far next time. He tossed what he had into the grotto and climbed out of the water. "Sorry, honey. That took longer than I ..." his voice trailed off when he realized he was alone. Completely and totally alone. He searched the small cave frantically, knowing it was impossible for her to be hiding from him.

He hurried to get dressed. When he picked up his shirt, he felt something drop near his feet. He heart stopped when he saw what it was. He reached down and picked up Kendall's engagement ring. As he fell to his knees he saw something written in the shallow wet sand: Prove it.

"Kendall!" Zach cried, loud enough to shake the walls of the cave. "Kendall!" This time is was much softer and full of anguish. He tightened his fist around the ring in the palm of his hand and squeezed it until the stone cut into his flesh. Then he clenched his jaw and pounded his fists against his thighs. When he raised his head, the look on his face was deadly. Murderous. He was now a man on a mission. And that mission was to punish anybody who dared to touch his wife.

He finished dressing quickly and dove back into the water. He knew where Kendall was. And he knew exactly what he had to do. That bastard was giving him a chance to leave her here, to gain his own freedom. Did he really think he would leave her behind? Or was he hoping Zach would come so he could do what he'd wanted to do in Pine Valley ... eliminate him?

-------------------------

Kendall turned at the sound of Zach's scream. He already knew she was gone. She looked at the two men who were flanking her and smirked. "You're in trouble now," she said. "You've given my husband something to prove, and he can be very persuasive." She hated the pain she heard in Zach's voice, but she knew it would fuel him. She knew he would come for her. And he would make these bastards pay for taking her away from him.

As the group passed a checkpoint, Kendall heard one of the men with her giving instructions to the man standing guard. "He'll be coming soon. Boss says shoot to kill." That was the last thing Kendall remembered before her world went black.


TBC

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Roseann

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Reply with quote  #66 
Karen, what a great chapter!!!  Can't wait for the next one..  Thanks for giving us a beautiful love story...

Roseann  
Purdue0612

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Reply with quote  #67 

This story is wonderful! It has me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next great chapter! Please don't take too long to update?

Ann

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Reply with quote  #68 
Now this is really torture.
Thank you.

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tkrocks

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Okay, so how does Whitney know Kendall's name? I'm definitely still intrigued. And I can't wait to see exactly what Zach's "proof" is. These fools won't know what hit them. Thanks for the update--I'm still on the edge of my seat. I look forward to more--soon!
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Yeah another great chapter and I am setting on the edge of my seat as well more soon please this is so cool... You need to write for the show you are great...  Thanks for the great story... 


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Ooohh Karen!  This is such a good story.  Keep it coming!!


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Another two-fer. Enjoy.
 
Chapter 13

Zach watched the guard from the security of his hiding place. He could tell the man was on alert, and he could only assume he was the reason why. Zach silently cursed himself for not taking better care of the guns he'd been carrying. Now they were both gone and all he had was a knife. It wasn't much, but it would have to be enough. Kendall was counting on him, and he had no intention of failing her.

-------------------------

Kendall awoke with a start. She'd been having the worst nightmare. She and Zach were lost on an island in the middle of nowhere and they were actually being hunted by men with guns. Men who wanted to see Zach dead. She reached for Zach, knowing the feel of his arms around her would take the fear away. She could feel the warmth of his body in the darkness and she was drawn to it.

"Zach," she called softly, hating to wake him up but needing him to hold her. "Wake up, honey. Just for a second. I need to talk to you." She shook him, but he didn't stir. "Please wake up, Zach," she said, growing alarmed. When she couldn't rouse him, she turned on the lamp and gasped. Zach was lying in a pool of blood with his eyes wide open. There was a bullet hole in the middle of his forehead.

Her screams woke her up. She sat up in bed, sweaty and panting. She was afraid to look at Zach. Afraid of what she would find. She just wanted to wake up from this nightmare. Tentatively, she ran her hand over the sheets to his side of the bed. She didn't know whether to laugh, or cry. He wasn't there. Suddenly it all came back to her in a rush of images. She buried her face in her hands and sobbed.

-------------------------

Zach knew he would only have one chance to get past the man who was standing between him and his family, so the timing had to be perfect. No room for mistakes. He'd been logging the guy's routine in his head for the last couple of hours. The man checked in with "command" every fifteen minutes. Then he walked the perimeter, 25 paces in each direction. Then it was back to his post.

Zach wondered why the guard was so confident that he would come through at just this point. What was to keep him from going 50 paces in either direction and crossing over there? Curious, he left his position amongst the dense foliage and went to investigate. At exactly 27 paces, he found the answer. An electric fence.

He thought about backtracking and going back to the beach where he and Kendall saw the pregnant girl, but he knew they would be waiting for him there. Besides, this was the road that led to Kendall. He felt it in his gut. So with only one way in, Zach knew what he had to do. He sank back into the ever-present shadows and waited for the guard to come to him.

He didn't have to wait long. Within minutes, Zach saw the man walking toward him, his gaze focused on the jungle behind him. Rookie mistake, Zach thought to himself. Beware the wolf at the door. While the guard was looking to the horizon for danger, it was creeping up on him. At 22 paces, Zach tossed a rock to his left, causing the man to turn with his gun raised. "Who's there?" he shouted, trying to keep the fear from his voice.

Zach took pity on him. It was obvious that the guy was new to the job and probably wouldn't be able to shoot Zach if he found him. But he still had to be eliminated. It was Zach's only chance. He couldn't count on the next shift to be so accommodating. Besides, he couldn't waste anymore time out here. He needed to get inside that hospital and find Kendall.

Zach watched as the anxious young man walked toward the sound. As soon as his back was turned, Zach moved silently and swiftly towards him. Before the guard could cry out for help, Zach had a hand over his mouth and a knife to his throat. He drug him deeper into the jungle and relieved him of his weapon. 

Just as Zach was getting ready to tie him up, the walkie-talkie came to life. The man looked at Zach and then back to the walkie-talkie. Zach pulled him to his feet and pressed him against a tree. Then he shoved the knife against his throat and the walkie-talkie into his hand. "It's up to you," he said, his voice low and menacing. "You can be brave, or smart."

The guard quickly dispatched of the person on the other end, careful not to move his head. He could feel the blade digging into his flesh and he knew Zach meant business. When it was over, Zach demanded that the man take off his uniform. Then he tied him up, hit him over the head with the butt of the gun and left him underneath the tree.

Zach quickly changed into the guard's uniform and hurried back to the gate. He dropped the walkie-talkie near the checkpoint and pulled the cap low on his forehead. Luckily, there was no one around as he moved beyond the gate and disappeared into the shadows.

-------------------------

Fully awake and all cried out, Kendall took in her surroundings. She was in what looked to be a luxury hotel. Only she was lying in a hospital bed and she was dressed in a hospital gown. She realized she must be in the "clinic" Whitney had told her about. She got out of bed and walked over to the window, grunting in frustration when she saw the bars. It may be nice, she thought, but it was still a prison.

She heard someone coming so she ran back to bed and pretended to be asleep. The door creaked open slowly and she could feel somebody watching her. She concentrated on breathing evenly and fought the urge to turn and see who was there.

"Kendall?" she heard over her shoulder. Whoever it was, they were standing right behind her. "Kendall, are you awake?" the voice said in a soft whisper. Her eyes flew open. She recognized the accent. She turned to find Whitney standing beside her bed carrying a tray. Kendall was trying to decide whether she could trust the girl or not, when the contagious smile broke out across her face.

"My God, girl. I thought you got away," Whitney said, wincing when her voice got loud and looking over her shoulder. "We have to be quiet. Dr. G knows I'm in here, but he doesn't know I know who you really are." She held the tray until Kendall got settled, then placed it on her lap. "It's okay. The food's good here. And I didn't spike it," she said with a wink.

Whitney opened her hand to reveal three small pills. "I'm supposed to tell you these are vitamins," she whispered. "But I know better. I used to volunteer here before I got too far along and I never saw anybody taking pills like these. And nobody else has bars on their windows. I don't know why, Kendall, but Dr. G has special plans for you."

Kendall watched the young stranger closely. She couldn't explain it, but she just knew she could trust her. She smiled at Whitney and motioned for her to sit down. "Looks good," she said as she studied her lunch. She felt a pang of guilt knowing Zach must be starving and here she was eating real food. "Tell me something," she said to Whitney as she took a bite of her sandwich, "how do you know my real name?"

"May I?" Whitney asked as she helped herself to the pickle spear on Kendall's plate. When Kendall agreed, she laughed. "I know. It's so cliche. But I do find myself craving pickles all the time." She ate the whole pickle before answering Kendall's question, but Kendall was so lost in her own food rhapsody that she barely noticed. Within minutes, the food was gone and both women were rubbing their swollen bellies."

"That was great," Kendall said with a satisfied sigh. She poured herself a glass of water and took a long drink. "Any way you can get another sandwich in here for my husband? He'll be here soon and I know he must be starving." Kendall felt Whitney stiffen, the smile on her face gone in an instant. "Don't you know, Kendall?" "The shoot-to-kill order?" Kendall asked casually. Whitney nodded. "I'm not worried about that, Whitney. I know my husband. Zach will be here. He's proving something to me." Whitney didn't know what that meant, but she was touched by Kendall's faith in her husband.

"Whatever you say," Whitney said. "He sounds like an amazing man. I can't wait to meet him. Now, about your question." She made herself as comfortable as possible in the chair beside Kendall's bed and took a deep breath.

"Like I already told you, I volunteered here in the clinic a lot when I first arrived. In fact, until a couple of weeks ago, I was here every day. Now Dr. G wants me to take it easy until the baby comes. Anyway, I was in his office one day a couple of months ago doing some filing and I noticed that one of the drawers in the file cabinet was locked. Now I know this would make my mama so ashamed of me, but I just had to know what was in that drawer, Kendall. So I picked the lock."

Whitney laughed when Kendall's eyes grew wider. "It was a piece of cake. I've had bigger challenges on bicycle chains," she giggled. "So I opened the drawer and there was one file inside. I opened it and there was a picture of the most beautiful woman I've ever seen ... you," she said, pointing at Kendall. "It had medical records for you and for a baby you had last summer." Kendall was confused. Why would anybody want her old medical records? Before she could question Whitney, the girl leaned forward and lowered her voice.

"The thing is, Kendall. There were also reports about the baby you are carrying now. Dr. G is keeping track of your pregnancy. Now why would he do that? And don't try to sell me that bogus story about him being your doctor, 'Bianca.' Something is obviously going on here. He's holding you prisoner in this room and he's trying to kill your husband. What gives?"

Kendall opened her mouth to respond, but she couldn't. The room started to spin, so she closed her eyes. Her mouth was dry and her eyelids felt so heavy. She reached out blindly for Whitney and found her sitting on the edge of her bed. "Kendall! What's wrong?" she cried, once again berating herself for the volume. "I thought you weren't gonna drug me," Kendall said, her voice thick and slurred. The last thing she heard before everything went black was Whitney's voice. "I didn't, Kendall. I swear. Oh God, somebody knows."

TBC

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Chapter 14

Zach pulled his cap down low as he entered the hospital. He kept his stride purposeful and made eye contact with no one. He knew Kendall was there, now all he had to do was find her. He made his way past the reception desk and was headed for the elevator when he heard someone yelling behind him.

"Hey! Where are you going? You're supposed to check in here." Zach kept walking. "Hey! I'm talking to you." The last thing he wanted to do was draw attention to himself, so he stopped walking and turned to face the angry woman. Zach sized her up quickly as she hurried to where he waited. She appeared to be in her mid-to-late fifties. Her dark hair was streaked with gray, giving her a very distinguished look. But her fierce frown ruined the effect.

As soon as she got close enough to notice his uniform, she softened. "Well, why didn't you say so?" she asked. "Dr. Gregory is expecting you. You're needed on the third floor." With that she turned and walked away, so she didn't notice the smile that played at the corners of his mouth. "Well, that was easy," he muttered to himself as he stepped into the elevator.

-------------------------

Kendall awoke slowly, her mind clouded and confused. There were so many questions. At least she wasn't disoriented this time. She knew exactly where she was. She looked at the bedside table, hoping to find a clock. But what she found instead was another lunch plate, this one with two pickles. She smiled, grateful that Whitney remembered.

"Oh God, Whitney!" she cried out, suddenly remembering the way their conversation ended. She bolted out of bed and ran for the door, only to stop in her tracks when she heard a voice behind her.

"Whitney is fine, Kendall. I sent her to lie down." Kendall's heart sank. It had been awhile, but she still recognized that voice. It belonged to a man she once considered a friend. But she was wrong. Very wrong. She turned to face him, begging her emotions not to betray her. The last thing she wanted was for that monster to know how scared she really was.

"Dr. Madden?" she said, pretending to be surprised. She walked slowly back to the bed and sat down on the side facing him. "Now Kendall, let's not play games. We've been through too much together for that. Tell me, my dear. How are you feeling?" He took a step toward Kendall and she shrank back. He gave her a warm smile and it chilled her blood.

"You should know," Kendall said coldly. "You're the one who drugged me. Did you put that in your secret file?" She stood up, hoping he would see it as a sign of confidence, when in fact it was just so she could make a faster getaway if she needed to. "What do you want with me?" she demanded. She hated the way he was looking at her and her anger gave her boldness. "Answer me, damn you!" she screamed.

"It's important for you to remain calm, Kendall. Stress is not good for the baby." He motioned for her to get back into bed, but she stood firm. "This isn't stress," Kendall said. "It's hatred. How dare you bring me here and hold me hostage. Where's Whitney? What have you done to her?"

"I already told you. Whitney is fine. She happens to be in the early stages of labor, so I've restricted her to complete bed rest." He arched an eyebrow when he saw that she didn't believe him. "I'm not here to hurt women, Kendall. I only want to help them." "Except for me," she snapped as she folded her arms across her chest in a move she'd seen Zach perfect. She hoped it made her look as bored and unaffected as it did him.

"Including you," Dr. Madden said calmly. Why would I want to harm you? I only want to insure that you have a smooth delivery and a healthy child." "Is that why I'm here?" Kendall asked incredulously. "Well then, let me put your mind at ease. I will have a smooth delivery and I will have a healthy baby. But I will have them as far away from here as possible."

"There's that stress again," Madden said. His smooth, condescending tone was infuriating to Kendall. "Have you already forgotten that you passed out on the way here, my dear? You are malnourished and exhausted. Now please, get back into bed and let me help you." He moved closer to her, so she climbed into bed to get away from him.

"Where is my husband? Is he here yet?" she asked when she'd settled the covers over her. "Mr. Slater? Well I imagine he's halfway to Pine Valley by now," Madden said with thinly-veiled malice. He reached for Kendall's hand when he noticed her chin come up. She snatched it away, but he would not be deterred. He sat down on the side of the bed and looked at her with pity.

"Kendall, you don't really think your husband will come for you, do you?" He watched her closely, then started shaking his head. "Tell me you haven't fallen for his lies. Zach Slater is a very dangerous man. A man who cannot be trusted. Dixie trusted him, and look where it got her."

Kendall slapped him. "Don't you dare throw Dixie in my face. Zach didn't fail Dixie, you did. You stole her daughter just like you tried to steal my son. But it didn't work, did it? And do you know why? Zach. That's right. Zach saved me and he saved Spike. And he will come for me ... for us," she added as she rubbed her stomach. "You just better hope you're nowhere around when he does. In fact, you might want to get as much of a head start as you can. Because when he finds you - and he will find you - he'll kill you. And he'll enjoy it."

Dr. Madden laughed. "If believing that keeps you calm, then I won't try to persuade you otherwise. But please understand this, Mrs. Slater, nobody is leaving this island until I say so." The look in his eyes sent a chill up Kendall's spine. But it was quickly replaced with the fake smile that he thought was charming. "Get some rest," he said as he walked to the door.

Kendall threw the vase of flowers that sat on the bedside table at the doctor's retreating back, but he was gone before they could reach their target. As the door swung open, she noticed a guard standing just outside her room. She yelled in frustration. Within seconds, the door swung open and the guard was standing in the doorway. It was Zach!

Kendall rushed into his arms and nearly knocked him off his feet. "What took you so long?" she said. "Didn't I tell you not to move?" he teased as he held her close. He tried to pull away so he could look at her, but she wouldn't release him. "Does this mean you missed me?" he said. Kendall laughed and took a step back. She looked him over from head to toe before saying, "I always did love a man in uniform." "Please, don't tell me," Zach said as he leaned in to kiss her. "You okay?" he whispered. "I am now," she said.

He pulled her back into his arms and hugged her again. He just needed to hold her, to know that she was really okay. Kendall  knew the second he saw it. He dropped his arms and practically ran to the bed, pulling the lunch tray off of the table. "Is this for me?" he asked between bites. "Of course. But don't drink the water. And eat fast, Zach. We were right. It is Dr. Madden. He was just here and he's even creepier than before."

Zach nodded as he wolfed down the sandwich and the chips. He offered Kendall one of the pickles and they ate them quickly as well. "Thank you," he said as he gave her a quick kiss. "You knew I was coming, huh?" Kendall had been in the process of checking his gunshot wound, but stopped when she heard his question. "Of course I knew you were coming? What kind of question is that? Do you really have so little faith in me that you think I don't have faith in you? Of course I have faith in you?"

Zach's head was spinning in circles to keep up with her tirade. When she slowed to catch her breath, he kissed her again. "My mistake," he said. "I have complete faith in your ability to have complete faith in me. Now can we go before the Mad Doctor returns?" "In this?" Kendall said, indicating the over-sized hospital gown she was wearing. "Unless you want to take it off. That could be fun, too," Zach said as he eyes ran the length of her body. Kendall glared at him. "Okay. We'll find you something else. Let's go."

Kendall grabbed his outstretched hand and followed him out the door. At least that was her intention. But she ran into Zach's back before they made it out into the hallway. Zach had stopped and was now backing up. Kendall peeked around him to see what the hindrance was and saw Dr. Madden standing right in front of them. He was flanked by two armed guards, both of whom had their weapons drawn and pointed right at Zach.

TBC


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Fabulous chapters, 9K! Can't wait to see how Zach gets them out of this one! More soon please. Oh yeah, thanks for the update.
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((((((((Karen)))))))))))
This just gets better and better....Thank you.

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Hi Karen!!  You sure know how to make my night...another great chapter...can't wait for the next one...
Thanks...
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Thanks for the update
More soon please!
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Chapter 15

Zach tried to grab Kendall as she moved past him, but he wasn't fast enough. Before he could blink, she was standing between him and two armed men. He tried to shove her back behind him, but she refused.

"No. Wait, Zach," she said as she struggled to get away from him. When he let her go, she turned to Dr. Madden. "There's no way that my old friend 'Dr. G' is gonna shoot you. After all, he only wants to insure that I have a smooth delivery and a healthy child. Isn't that right, doctor?" she said sarcastically. "Why would you harm me? Your words, not mine. Or do you think killing my husband will not harm me or our unborn child?"

Zach had heard enough. Kendall was too vulnerable, standing out in the middle of the hallway, taunting the man who held their fate in his hands. He watched as Dr. Madden fought to maintain control of the situation. Zach could see the wheels of indecision spinning in the man's fevered brain.

It had become obvious to Zach that Madden wanted the child Kendall was carrying. What was less clear was why. But that would have to wait. Right now Zach could see that their captor was trying to decide if killing him would, in fact, put Kendall and the baby at risk. He had to move quickly, before Madden made up his mind.

Zach reached for the gun he had taken from the guard at the gate. "I wouldn't do that, sir," one of the men said as he trained his own weapon on Kendall. "Slide it over here. Unless you want me to shoot your wife instead." Zach cursed fluently, but placed the semi-automatic rifle on the floor and kicked it over to where the men stood.

Kendall turned to face Zach. "Don't worry, honey," she said calmly. "The good doctor is a coward. Remember? He won't shoot us. He'd ruin everything if he did." She tried to keep her voice light, hoping to diffuse the situation, or at least take Dr. Madden off guard. She knew he wouldn't shoot Zach right there in the middle of the hospital, but she also knew he wasn't just going to let them walk away.

Kendall put her hand on Zach's chest, and he automatically covered it with his own. She looked at him, sending a silent message, then suddenly doubled over, holding her stomach and moaning in pain. Dr. Madden immediately moved forward, but Zach held him off. "Stay away from her," he said, his voice low and angry. He picked Kendall up and backed into the room they had just vacated. He kicked the door closed and leaned against it. Then he lowered his head and kissed Kendall.

"What a ham," he said as he lowered her to the floor. "You nearly had me going there." Kendall gave him a brilliant smile and a deep bow. Well, as deep as her protruding belly would allow. "When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being an actress," she said wistfully. "I always knew I had talent." "Oh, you've got talent alright," Zach muttered as he pulled her closer and leaned down to kiss her again.

The door behind them suddenly moved and Dr. Madden's voice could be heard shouting orders. "That was some kiss," Kendall sighed, refusing to relinquish the moment. When the door moved again, Zach sprang into action.

"Showtime," he said as he gently pushed Kendall away from him. He waited for her to climb  into bed, moaning and wailing, before he moved away from the door and ran to her side. Dr. Madden nearly beat him there, so great was his concern for Kendall's condition.

"I said stay the hell away from her," Zach barked, positioning himself between Dr. Madden and the bed. "I won't let you get near her." "But Mr. Slater," Madden began, "Kendall needs help. And I am a doctor. Don't be a fool." Zach took a step to the right as Madden tried to go around him. Kendall was putting on the performance of her life behind them and the doctor was nearly beside himself.

"Let me help her!" he screamed when Zach refused to step aside. Zach reached back and offered Kendall his hand as he shook his head. "If you want to help her, then get another doctor in here. Somebody we can trust." Madden backed away from him at last. "There is no other doctor on the island," he said with agitation. "And there's no time to get one.  Do you want to lose your son?" he exclaimed when Zach still refused to move.

Madden heard Kendall gasp and smiled at the shock that was evident on Zach's face. "Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Slater. It's a boy," he said, clearly pleased with himself. Zach was clearly furious. "And how the hell would you know that?" he said through clenched teeth. "I just know. Please, Zach, we must stop wasting time." Kendall noticed the muscle in Zach's jaw twitching and she knew he was fighting the urge to pound Greg Madden into the floor. She squeezed his hand and let out a scream, just to torture the doctor.

"A nurse!" Madden said excitedly. "How about if I get one of the nurses to examine her?" he offered. Zach nodded and watched him scramble from the room. As soon as the door closed, Zach pushed a large bureau in front of it. "I don't suppose you have a key?" he said over his shoulder. "I have better than that." He turned just in time to see Kendall raise her hospital gown to reveal a knife strapped to her thigh.

He tilted his head and stared at her while she brought him the knife and waited for him to secure the door with it. "What else have you got underneath that gown?" he asked as he pulled at the neckline and peeked inside. Kendall slapped his hand away and laughed. "You should know," she teased as she stood on her tiptoes and kissed him.

"Uh huh," Zach growled. He picked Kendall up and carried her back to bed, then laughed as he unceremoniously dumped her in the middle of the mattress and walked away. "So where did you get the knife?" he asked as he surveyed the room. He was frustrated, but not surprised, to find bars on the windows and no other way in or out of the room. Unlike Greg Madden, he never underestimated his opponent. It was obvious the doctor had been planning this for quite a while, and he'd left no stone unturned. Or had he? Zach was savvy enough to know that even the best plans had a flaw. There was always a mistake, and he would have to find Madden's. It was the only way he would be able to get his family off this godforsaken island.

"It was on the lunch tray Whitney brought for you," Kendall said, answering the question he'd forgotten he had asked. "I'm sure it was so we could cut the sandwich in half," she added with a grin. Zach opened his mouth to respond, but was interrupted by the howling of Dr. Madden at the door. Zach wondered how long they would be able to keep him out. And then what?

He walked over to sit next to Kendall on the bed. Reaching into his pocket, he held out his closed hand to her, opening it when she tapped it to reveal her engagement ring. "I believe this belongs to you," he whispered. Kendall fought back tears as he slid the ring back onto her finger. Then he kissed it and brought her hand to his face.

"I have to go, Kendall," he said solemnly. He caught the first tear as it slid down her face, but he couldn't stem the tide. She knew he was right, but it didn't make it hurt any less. "We're sitting ducks in here," he said. As if on cue, Dr. Madden was back, again shouting orders to break down the door if necessary. "Madden won't hurt you. It's me he wants. You're safe, at least until it's time for the baby to come."

Kendall started at the mention of the baby. "Do you think he's right about it being a boy?" she asked. "Will Spike have a brother?" Zach smiled at the thought before returning his attention to Kendall. "We'll see. Doesn't matter, as long as he ... she ...they ... are healthy." Kendall glared at him. "They!" she said. "I'm not ready for a they, Zach. Just one at a time, if you don't mind." He smiled weakly, then pulled her against him. "I promise to come back for you," he said as his lips met hers.

Kendall cried as she held onto him. She hated Greg Madden for all the pain he had caused them. And she hated that her association with him was still hurting the people she loved. She was tired of being a victim and she was tired of saying goodbye to her husband. She just wanted to go home.

She clung to Zach as they listened to the sounds of Dr. Madden breaking through the barricaded door. Kendall broke away just long enough to retrieve the knife for Zach, then she returned to the safety of his arms and waited for the inevitable.

Within seconds, Dr. Madden was standing in front of them, accompanied by two nurses. Kendall held up her hand to ward him off. "Don't you come near me," she said coldly. "I'm fine. No more pain. Well, not physical anyway," she added with a longing look at Zach. She visibly stiffened when a guard entered the room. She looked at Dr. Madden, and then at the guard.

"If you hurt him, you'll regret it. I'll make sure of it," she said in a voice filled with bitterness and pain. When the man sneered at her, her anger boiled over. She slapped him once and had drawn back to hit him again when he grabbed her arm. Zach was on him in a flash. He had the man pinned to the wall before he even had time to let go of Kendall's arm. She jerked away from him and turned to Dr. Madden.

"That goes for you, too. If you hurt him, you'll be sorry." She suddenly felt the weight of the world on her shoulders and she buckled under the load, crumpling to the floor at Madden's feet. When he reached down to help her, he felt himself being tossed aside. He watched as Zach gently lifted Kendall and held her close. Instead of carrying her to the bed, he just stood in the middle of the room and rocked her back and forth. He could see Zach's lips moving as he spoke softly to Kendall, but he couldn't hear what he was saying.

"I won't hurt him, Kendall. You have my word," Madden said. He was finally starting to realize that he'd underestimated Zach. And he knew he was running out of time. He would either have to kill Zach, at great risk to the baby, or he would have to secure the baby first. He turned to the guard and gave him new orders. "Take him downstairs and lock him in. I'll be down to deal with him when I'm finished here."

Zach laid Kendall on the bed and gave her a soft kiss. "I'll be back, Kendall. I promise. I won't let anything happen to you." She nodded and pulled him to her one last time. "Stay safe, Zach. Please stay safe." He stood up and started to walk away, then turned back to her. He hated to leave her, but he really thought it was the only way to protect her. He had to get out of that room if he wanted to find a way to get off the island. There was no other way. He had to let Madden think he had won.

He smiled at her. Kendall smiled back, knowing everybody in the room could see her and not wanting to let them intrude on their moment. She ran to him and whispered in his ear, "I love you." He nodded and blew her a kiss as he was led away in handcuffs.

When Zach was gone, Madden dismissed one of the nurses and called the other one into the hallway. "I think it's time to schedule that procedure. Mrs. Slater will not be able to carry this baby to term. We need to do what's best for her and for the fetus."

-------------------------

Kendall cried herself to sleep that night, having refused to let anyone come near her. She hadn't seen Dr. Madden since Zach left, and she was scared out of her mind. He had given her his word that he wouldn't hurt Zach, but there was no comfort in that. What was his word worth? "Nothing!" she spat as she threw the water they kept trying to force on her at the door. She needed to be alert, which meant she couldn't eat or drink anything they brought her. She couldn't trust anybody. Her mind immediately went to Whitney and she prayed the girl was safe.

She remembered that Dr. Madden had said she was in labor. But that was hours ago. Had she had the baby already? Was she in one of these rooms? Kendall decided to go look for her, just to be sure she was okay. Just as she reached the door of her room, she heard the sound of voices. One of the nurses was talking to the guard who was posted outside the door. "She'll be going into surgery tomorrow. Dr. Gregory says the baby is at risk and needs to be delivered early. Looks like she'll be out of here a lot sooner than most of the girls."

Kendall ran from the room, only to be brought back by the team of guards posted on her floor. She flung herself on the bed and let the tears flow. She needed to get out of there, but how? She needed Zach. But because of her, Zach was probably being tortured - or worse - right that very minute. She fell asleep praying for wisdom, begging God to keep her family safe.

-------------------------

Zach lost track of time as he waited for Madden. He knew the doctor had lied to Kendall about not hurting him. The only way he could get what he wanted was to kill Zach. That realization should have scared him, but it only made him angry. Angry at Madden for putting them through this, and angry at himself for not being a better protector. He'd failed Kendall, and it was eating him up inside.

He paced around the room, which was nothing more than a glorified jail cell. There were no bars, just concrete and locked doors. But he was a prisoner just the same. He looked up when he heard the key turn in the door. He swallowed as he watched the knob turn slowly and prayed he wasn't out of time.

"My God. Where the hell have you been?"


TBC


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OMG Karen, please tell me that was Josh to the rescue?
I swear if I didn't love you I would kill you for this torture....LOLOL

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Great update, 9K! And I agree with Ann, that better be Josh that Zach was "greeting." I'm ready for these to leave this crazy island in the dust. But I'm loving this story.
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  I wish the writers could write a s/l like this for Zack and Kendall heck for any on the actors on the show!!.  Can't wait for the next chapter.  Thanks!

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Thanks, Karen...What a great chapter!  Looking forward to the next one!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roseann
Thanks, Karen...What a great chapter!  Looking forward to the next one!
Roseann

(Ann, I love your "Hottest Couple"  banner!!)

Thanks Roseann, I am so lucky to have such a talented friend.  I have no idea how to make a banner, but I love the ones she makes for me.

(Of course she does have so much hotness to work with.)


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Thanks Karen!  This is such a good story!  Looking forward...


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Chapter 16

"My God. Where the hell have you been?"

"Where have I been?" Josh repeated incredulously. "Well, let's see. I spent a couple of days in Barbados, where I met this really hot blonde. After that, we did a little island hopping, you know, just to see the sights. You do realize that a major hurricane destroyed the island you were supposed to be on, Zach?" he said with his hands on his hips. "No, of course you don't. Sorry," he added in response to Zach's silent glare.

"Look, I've been all over the Caribbean looking for you two. Your plane just disappeared. It's a miracle I found you at all. Thanks for the message on the tree, by the way. You have no idea how many uninhabited islands there are out there. I've scoured more than I can count." Zach continued to stare at him, saying nothing.

"What?" Josh shouted. "You look like hell," Zach said at last. "But I'm sure glad to see you, man." He walked over and gave Josh a hug. "You couldn't have picked a better time. We've gotta get Kendall out of here." He was on the verge of explaining the whole thing when he remembered who he was talking to ... Greg Madden's son. At least that's what he thought for his entire life. How could he tell him the man was still alive, and still determined to steal Kendall's baby?

"What?" Josh said, this time much softer. "Something's wrong. That's obvious. You're locked up in here and Kendall is nowhere to be found. Tell me what's going on. Zach?" he prodded when his brother-in-law remained silent. "Tell me," he pleaded.

Zach weighed his options. A small wave of uncertainty washed over him. Could he really trust Josh? How much did he know about Madden's existence? How exactly did he find them? He studied Josh carefully. "Please, Zach. Where's Kendall?" Josh asked, his voice breaking on the last word. Zach decided to trust his instincts and tell him everything. Truth was, he needed Josh's help. He had to trust him.

"Sit down, son," he said quietly. "It's a long story, but we don't have much time." He watched Josh's face cloud with disbelief and then horror as he spelled out what he and Kendall had been through on the island. Only when he mentioned Dr. Madden's name did something else register on the younger man's face ... guilt. Zach was immediately suspicious, but it was obvious that Josh was surprised. So why would he feel guilty?

He brushed it aside when Josh lowered his head into his hands and sat motionless, staring at a spot on the floor. "Pop?" he said after a long minute, his voice thick with a myriad of emotions. "He's here?" He shook his head as if to clear his thoughts, then looked up at Zach. His shock was slowly being replaced by anger. "That bastard is responsible for all of this? How, Zach? Why?"

Now it was Zach's turn to shake his head. "I don't know. Maybe he's insane. Or maybe he's a bad loser. Hell, maybe this is his way of staying connected to Erica. I just don't know. But we have to stop him, Josh. No matter what it takes." Josh nodded slightly before standing up to face Zach. Only then did Zach realize he was also wearing a guard's uniform.

"Where did you get that?" he said, lifting his chin to indicate he meant the uniform. "It was shoved at me the second I showed my face on the island. Apparently they're short a couple of guards and they just assumed I was here for the job. I went with it," he said with a shrug. "But right about now I'm thinking a lab coat might be a better disguise."

"How did you find me?" Zach asked, still trying to figure out how they were going to rescue Kendall. "Well, actually, you found me," Josh said. "I was told to come guard the prisoner while the doctor takes care of his wife. Doesn't take a genius to figure out something's not right. So I played along and here I am." "Here you are," Zach echoed with a slight smile and a heavy sigh. "Now how do we get Kendall away from Madden?"

That was a tougher question. Josh rubbed his chin as he considered it. "Do you know where she is?" he asked. "I mean exactly where she is?" "She was in a room on the third floor when I left her. She's not hurt, at least she wasn't then. But I don't trust that crazy sonofa-" He glanced at Josh. "Sorry," he muttered. "Don't be," Josh shot back. "He is crazy. And we need to get Kendall away from him right now. Wait here a second, while I do a little fishing." When Zach started to protest, he added, "I won't be long. I promise."

Zach reluctantly watched him go. He was tired of all the waiting. He needed to get out of this damn room and get back to Kendall. He roughly rubbed his hands over his face as he dropped into the only chair in the room. Within seconds he was back on his feet and pacing.

True to his word, Josh returned quickly. This time he was wearing a lab coat. "It's bad, Zach. There are guards all over the third floor, which means Kendall is still there." "But," Zach prodded when Josh looked hesitant. "But, I saw Kendall's chart. She's scheduled for an emergency c-section in less than an hour. They're gonna take the baby, Zach. We have to move."

Zach was more scared than he'd ever been in his life. And he was more angry than he was scared. "Like hell they are!" he said as he hurried to the door. "Wait!" Josh called. "I've got a plan."

------------------------

Kendall awoke to find a nurse standing next to her bed. She screamed and pulled away when she realized the woman was about to give her a shot. "No!" Kendall cried. "You can't do this. I won't let you. You can't take my baby." The nurse tried to soothe Kendall, but it was an impossible task. The patient was becoming hysterical. She called for the guard to hold Kendall down so she could give her the sedative. "It's okay, Mrs. Slater," she said calmly. "We're not going to let anything happen to your son. Everything will be just fine, you'll see." The last thing Kendall remembered before sliding into blackness was the sound of Zach's name on her lips.

-------------------------

"Thanks," the guard said as he took the coffee offered to him by the young doctor. "So where are the donuts?" he teased. "Actually, they're on their way," the stranger said as he looked over his shoulder. "I just thought you might need a little pick-me-up after a long shift." He held out his hand and the guard shook it. "I'm Dr. Kane," he offered. The guard was taken by the man's infectious smile and piercing eyes. He watched as he passed out coffee to each of the men on duty. "Nice guy," he said to the guard standing beside him. "That prick Gregory never brought us coffee." "I'll drink to that," the second guard added as he took another long sip of the hot coffee. "Does this taste kinda funny to you?" he asked, just before he slid down the wall into a heap, right next to his partner.

-------------------------

Kendall awoke to find two orderlies in her room. She was too weak from the sedative to move, but she was still able to scream. But they weren't paying any attention to her. She tried to raise her hand to get their attention, but she couldn't. She screamed Zach's name, but there was no response. Sadly, she realized that they couldn't hear her. The screams were only in her head. Both men were wearing blue scrubs and masks. Even their heads were covered. She knew then that they were there to take her to surgery. Oh, God! she thought. This can't be happening. How will I ever be able to face Zach? What will I tell him? Will he hate me?

With a rush of determination, she grabbed the arm of one of the men and screamed, "Zach!" The man turned sharply, placing his hand over hers. Kendall fought to remain conscious, but it was useless. She thought she saw something, but the blackness overtook her again before she could make sense of it all.

-------------------------

"Zach, this isn't very smart. We need to get out of this hospital." Josh continued to plead with his stubborn brother-in-law, but he was having no affect. "I'm not leaving here without Kendall's medical records," Zach said for the third time. He was tearing apart Madden's office, trying to find the file Whitney had told Kendall about. "Dammit! Where is it?" he growled. He had pulled everything out of the desk and was making his way through a wall of file cabinets. Finally he pulled on one that wouldn't budge. He grunted, then glanced at Josh.

"Don't tell me you need the key," Josh said, smiling broadly. "Resourceful guy like you? No lock-picking kit?" "In my other pants," Zach muttered absentmindedly as he studied the drawer. "Well, there's got to be a key here somewhere." Josh began sifting through the contents of the desk that where strewn all over the floor. "Don't need one," Zach said as he grabbed the handle and jerked it toward him. The lock gave way with a loud pop and the drawer flew open.

Zach opened the files to be sure they were what he was looking for. His eyes narrowed and he swore under his breath. "What is it?" Josh asked, noticing Zach's reaction. "Take a look at this, Josh," Zach said, ignoring the question. "This can't be what it looks like." "It's not Kendall's file?" Josh went to stand next to Zach, trying to get a better look at the contents of the file.

Both men jumped when they each felt a hand on their shoulder. Zach was the first to recover. He pulled Kendall into his arms while Josh stared at the empty gurney across the room. "You're awake," he said, stating the obvious, as he gave his sister a hug. "You're here," she returned. Both seemed too dazed to comprehend the situation. There was so much to say - so many questions - but so little time. Every second they spent there came at great risk. Zach pulled Kendall away from Josh and brought her back to him. "Are you okay? Can you walk?" She nodded before throwing herself back into his arms.

"Oh Zach, I thought he ... he was going to ... our baby ... " she rambled, trying to get her thoughts into some semblance of order. "The men came, and I tried to call you, but there was no sound. And then ... was that you?" He held her and rubbed her back while she put it all together. She pulled away from him so she could see his face. "You came back," she said softly, tears filling her eyes. He nodded. "I knew you would." "I'll always come for you, Kendall," he said. They both turned when Josh cleared his throat.

"Sorry to interrupt, but we really need to get out of here before they realize you're gone." Wait," Kendall said. "I want you to look at Zach's shoulder first." Josh looked up at Zach, who was already shaking his head. "I'm fine Kendall, we have to go." She wouldn't budge. Zach sighed while Josh looked back and forth between them. "He was shot," Kendall explained. "And I want to be sure it's okay. Zach," she added when he started to protest, "you might need treatment. We are in a hospital." "Just do it," Josh said. "You know she's gonna win." Zach rolled his eyes and opened his shirt. Kendall clapped her hands together in victory and waited patiently for Josh's diagnosis.

"It's healing fine. No sign of infection. Does this hurt?" he asked as he poked around the edges of the wound. Zach just glared at him. "Okay. I guess we're done here. You missed your calling, Kendall. You should have been a nurse." Kendall looked at Zach out of the corner of her eye. "Well, I do have a nurse's uniform at home ..." she began. "I don't want to know," Josh said quickly. Zach winked at Kendall and growled when she stood on her tiptoes to kiss him. Josh shoved a pile of blue material at her and told her to get dressed. "And don't forget the mask," he added as he motioned for Zach to put his own mask back on. Josh turned his back so Kendall could change into the scrubs, then laughed while Zach tried to force her unruly hair into one of the caps.

"What's in the files," Kendall asked when she saw Zach reach for them. "Motive," he answered. "I'll explain it as soon as we're safe." Kendall wanted him to tell her now, but she didn't argue. She did, however, pout. Zach smiled and kissed her softly. He never could resist the pout. Then he picked up the files and stuffed them under his shirt. "Let's go."

The threesome headed for the door, only to find it locked ... from the outside.

TBC


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Ooh Karen, how did you know this was just what I needed on a cold rainy afternoon?
Thank you for reading my mind.

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Thanks, Karen.  You always know how to keep us on the edge of our seats!! I'm ready for the next chapter.
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Chapter 17

"Dammit!" the trio said in unison. Then they all started talking at once. Zach threw up his hands as Josh and Kendall continued to bicker about who was to blame. "Why weren't you watching the door, Kendall?" Josh accused. "You were closest to it." "I was unconscious!" she exclaimed. "Whatever!" he spat back.

"Before the hair pulling begins, can we just find another way out," Zach asked. He moved to stand between them, glaring at Josh. "Are you gonna help me, or not?" he said. Josh glanced at Kendall before nodding. "Sorry," he muttered. "Yeah, whatever. Me too," she replied. "Great, now shake hands and be friends," Zach said sarcastically, "and help me find a way out!"

His raised voice had the desired effect. The siblings sprang into action. Josh tried to figure out a way to pick the lock while Kendall went in search of a spare key. Zach's first thought was to remove the hinges from the door, but a quick inspection showed how impossible that would be. The hinges were on the other side of the door. So he went to Plan B. He walked over to the only window in the office and pulled back the curtains, hoping he wouldn't find bars. What he did find was just as daunting. The window was nailed shut.

"What the hell?" He turned to find both Kendall and Josh staring at him, waiting to see what he would do. "Don't just stand there, get something to break the glass," he demanded. Kendall picked up a large, expensive-looking vase and threw it against the window. It bounced off the glass and shattered at Zach's feet. Josh picked up a straight-backed chair that was sitting against the wall and handed it to Zach, who swung it with all his might at the window. It, too, came apart and landed in a pile at his feet.

"Dammit!" they repeated in unison. "Okay, so we can't go out the window. There has to be another way," Zach said as he went to the bookcase and started looking for a trap door. Following his lead, Josh went to the other side of the room and started knocking on the walls, listening for a hollow spot. Kendall sat on the desk and watched. The effects of the anesthesia she'd been given were still evident. She hated being weak, but she had to do what was best for the baby. So she rested. Then the questions came.

"Josh, how does it feel to know your father is still alive?" she asked. "Ask your husband," he said over his shoulder. "And he's not my father," he added vehemently. His apparent hostility toward Madden peaked Zach's interest. "You cared enough about him to help him escape," he accused. "What changed?" Josh stared at him a long minute. He considered denying Zach's claim, but he knew it was useless. "How did you know?" he asked instead. "I didn't. Just a hunch ... until now," Zach said, tilting his head.

Josh took exception to the way his brother-in-law was looking at him. "What? You think you're the only one who can fake a death? Yes, I helped him escape from Pine Valley. But I didn't know he was doing this. He told me he had some old friends in Port Charles and he was going to retire there quietly." When Zach looked skeptical, he continued. "How could I know, Zach? He was my father. Was I supposed to just turn my back on him?" He realized the irony of that statement as soon as he said it. He waited for Zach to explode, but the explosion came from somewhere else.

"You let Zach stand trial for that monster's murder, and you knew he was alive the whole time?" Kendall lunged at him, only to be pulled back into her husband's chest. "How dare you! How could you do that to me, Josh. To your own flesh and blood?" Her anger was turning to pain as the reality of it sunk in. Her own brother stood by while her world came apart. And he did nothing to stop it. She wanted desperately to fall into Zach's arms and cry. First, she wanted to knock Josh's teeth down his throat. Then she wanted to cry. But he disarmed her before she could even make a fist.

"That's just it, Kendall," Josh began, his voice pleading. "You weren't my sister then. Biologically, sure. But not here," he said as he placed his hand over his heart. "I hated Erica and I hated the idea that my whole life had been a lie. I was angry and confused. And I couldn't let the man who raised me suffer anymore." He looked into her eyes and saw that she was listening, so he continued.

"I didn't believe that he was a monster. Not then. I found him in the park after the earthquake. It was obvious somebody wanted him dead. He barely had a pulse, so I told him to just lie still. I didn't even know if he could hear me, but I told him I would take care of everything. Hell, even the cop thought he was really dead. All I had to do was say his body was cremated and it was over. Everybody bought it. I thought I was doing the right thing. I mean, my God, Tad buried him alive! Who does that?" Kendall glanced at Zach before speaking.

"But the trial, Josh. How could you let Zach be charged when you knew there was no crime?" "There was a crime, Kendall. Somebody put him in the box. I didn't know it was Tad. It could have been anybody," he said, gesturing toward Zach. "I wanted somebody to pay for what was done. If it had to be Zach and Dixie, so be it. Maybe they were guilty anyway. I didn't know, Kendall. I didn't know." Josh finally looked at Zach. "I'm sorry, man. I know that sounds weak, but it's all I've got."

"It's done," Zach said gruffly. "Let's just keep it in the past where it belongs. Right now, we need to get out of this office." With a quick nod to Josh and a kiss for his wife, Zach resumed his study of the bookcase. Josh waited to see if Kendall was going to be as forgiving. She walked up to him with a frown on her face, but it quickly gave way to a smile. She wrapped her arms around him and felt him relax. When she stepped back, she was greeted with a sad smile. "Thanks," he whispered, his voice deserting him. She thought she saw him wipe a tear as he turned away from her, but she couldn't be sure.

"So, I do have another question," she said as she reclaimed her spot on the desk. "Anybody wanna hear it?" "Oh God, another question," Zach muttered. Josh was silent, but the look he gave her said he wasn't interested in anymore questions either. But she wasn't deterred by their lack of enthusiasm. She asked the question anyway.

"No. This is a good one," she promised. "I just want to know what's in the files Zach won't let out of his sight." Josh immediately stopped knocking on the walls and turned to look at Zach, who was pretending he hadn't heard the question. "Zach?" Kendall prodded. Nothing. He just kept poking around the bookcase, trying to find the trigger that he knew was there. Kendall slid off the desk and walked over to her husband, snaking her hands over his shoulders. He froze, but still offered her nothing.

"Come on, Zach. You know you'll tell her. Why put us all through this ... um, display?" Josh said, sounding annoyed. "I like the display," Zach said, still ignoring Kendall. When she folded her arms across her chest and stuck out her lip, Zach relented. He sighed dramatically and shot a dagger at Josh. "You ruined the display," he said just before he unfolded Kendall's arms and led her back to the desk.

"Of course I'm gonna tell you," he said as he opened one of the files. "This one is your medical history. And it is very current. Even has a report from your last visit to the doctor. Wow, you really weigh that much?" he said, trying to make her laugh. The horror of the situation was becoming too much to deal with. Kendall elbowed him and mumbled something about a "baby as big as his daddy" before turning back to the file.

"Somebody has been leaking this stuff to Madden," he said, suddenly serious. He looked at her as he closed the file. "I promise you I'll find out who it is, and I'll make them very sorry." She wrapped herself around his arm and smiled. She loved dark, threatening Zach. He was so sexy. He shook his head as if he could read her thoughts, then he opened the other file.

"Now this one scares the hell out of me." Kendall moved to stand in front of him so she could read what he held, and so she could borrow his strength when she did. Zach was only scared by one thing: threats to his family. She dreaded what she would find, but she knew she had to know. If Zach was scared, she was terrified. Zach knew she'd read the name when he heard her gasp.

"Your father?" she asked, her voice a faraway whisper. "Dear God, not again." Zach put his arms around her and pulled her up against him while he read over her shoulder. "Keep reading," he said. Kendall scanned the document, unaware that Josh had moved to stand beside her. "It's a release form from the mental hospital your father is in." "Was in," Josh corrected. Kendall turned to look at him and he saw the confusion, and fear, in her eyes.

"How is that possible?" she asked, turning to look at Zach. "Look at the signature," he prodded. "Dr. Joshua Gregory," she read. Zach felt her knees buckle and he helped her over to the couch. Josh continued to read the contents of the file. "I don't understand, Zach," Kendall said. "Why would Greg Madden want to help your father get out of the hospital?" Zach shook his head. "I don't know. But if my father was released, wouldn't I have been notified?" "You've been kind of hard to reach lately, " Josh said from across the room. "And check out the date," he added, holding up the sheet of paper. "You were here when your father walked out of Oak Haven."

The three of them sat in silence as they tried to figure out what it all meant. What was the connection between Alexander Cambias, Sr., and Greg Madden? What did they have in common besides psychopathic tendencies? It just didn't make any sense.

"Enough!" Zach said loudly. "My father will have to wait. Our only priority right now is getting out of this room." He resumed his investigation of the bookcase with renewed vigor. Josh and Kendall watched him, feeling helpless to do anything else. "Ah," Zach whispered as he found the trigger and felt the bookcase begin to move. They all watched as a narrow hallway opened up in front of them. At the end of the hallway was a door.

"Wait here," Zach said as he stepped through the entryway. "Like hell," Josh and Kendall said at the same time. Zach sighed, shook his head and stared at the ceiling. Then he held out his hand to Kendall and waited for them to join him. "Why do I even try?" he muttered. "I was just asking myself the same question," Kendall said when she reached his side. She took his hand and waited for him to lead the way.

With a quick glance over his shoulder, Josh followed them. When they reached the doorway, Zach pushed Kendall behind him, ignoring her protests. He turned the knob and found the door unlocked. With Josh at his side, he slowly pushed the door open. Both men froze, causing Kendall to squeeze between them to see what was inside.

"Well, looks who's here. So Alex, what took you so long?"

TBC

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OK, it's official......you are trying to kill me.  LOL
Here I thought the story was about over when Josh showed up.
I love it!!! Thank you.

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Thank you Karen!  You are just too good.  More please!!!


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Chapter 18

Josh and Kendall both turned to look at Zach, but he never took his eyes off of his father. He instinctively reached for Kendall's hand. While he should have had a million questions, all he could hear was the rush of white noise mixed with the sound of his own pulse pounding in his ears. He opened his mouth to speak, but the words didn't come.

Kendall didn't have the same problem. "Of course it would be you?" she said. "I mean, who else would it be? Who's your roommate, Jimmy Hoffa?" She started laughing, but the sound was eerie and hollow. She took a step toward Alexander, but Zach pulled her back. "Stay away from him," he demanded.

"How can I? He's everywhere. And you know what? I'm not afraid of him anymore. I'm tired of running from this powerless old man. He can't hurt us, Zach. You are the head of Cambias now. You have all the power." She looked over at the old man sitting in front of her and spit in his face. Zach moved to stand between her and his father.

"You should listen to your wife, Alex. She is right, isn't she?" he said. His voice was typically lyrical, but his eyes were cold and dead. "What can an old man like me do to a strong, powerful young man like yourself?" Zach grunted, causing his father to laugh.

"I see we understand each other," Alexander said. He stood up and spread his arms wide. "Behold the goodly king," he said with a bow. "Cambias will be mine until the day I leave this earth. Never forget that, son. You are merely fulfilling my lifelong wish of running it in my absence. Surely you know that's all I've ever wanted?"

Zach motioned for Josh to take Kendall out of there, then he turned to his father. In a flash he was on him. He had him pinned to the wall with his hands around the old man's neck. "You listen to me," he said, his voice low and lethal. "You are through taking things from me, old man. You took my mom. You turned my brother into a monster. You killed all those women just to make me suffer, and you took my son from me. I won't surrender another thing to you. Not one more thing. I'll kill you right here, right now."

Alexander looked into Zach's eyes and knew he meant it. He clawed at Zach's arm, desperate to take a breath. When Zach eased the pressure, his father took advantage of the opportunity. "Ethan was not your son, Alex."

Zach pushed him against the wall and stepped back, afraid of what he might do. He watched as Alexander took in large gulps of air. He tried to determine whether he was lying or not, but he couldn't get a read on him. His father was too prolific a liar. Alexander looked up at him and smirked. Zach's fingers itched to grab him by the throat again.

"That's right, Alex. Ethan was never your son. He's your nephew. Michael is his father." Zach laughed, but it was a joyless laugh. "You really are crazy!" he said. "Michael was only a child himself, or have you forgotten?" "I forget nothing. You should know that by now. I know exactly how old Michael was. And I knew that your little slut, Hannah, was happy to offer her services to all the Cambias men. Even those who weren't men yet. Of course, you were the one she wanted. She was going to trap you with Michael's child."

"The baby still would have been your grandchild," Zach said. He knew he couldn't trust a word his father said, but he couldn't deny his own suspicions. He'd always known there was a possibility that Hannah's child wasn't his. He knew he wasn't her first lover. But in the back of his mind, he always suspected his father. Never Michael. "Ah, you don't seem surprised, Alex. Could it be you already knew that Ethan wasn't your son? Don't tell me you didn't see it. The sad mixture of ruthlessness and self-pity. The weakness. Does that sound like you? No. That's Michael. And that was Ethan. He wasn't worthy of you, Alex. Not worthy of the Cambias name."

"Answer me!" Zach yelled, his voice echoing off the walls. He felt Kendall's hand on his back and closed his eyes. He wanted her to get as far away from him as she could get, but at the same time he needed her near. She made him feel human, where his father made him feel dead inside. He reached back his hand and felt the sting of tears behind his eyes when she took it.

Her touch served as a reminder of all that he had to lose, but it also reminded him what he was fighting for. The life he had with her and their boys was not the one he'd dreamed of. His dreams were never that good. No, their life together exceeded anything he'd ever thought possible. She'd rescued him from a life of coldness and loneliness. And she'd given him the one thing he never thought he would ever have again ... family. He hadn't even known how badly he wanted it until he met her.

"Okay, okay. No need to shout. You seem tense, Alex." Zach took a deep breath in an effort to keep his temper in check. He wanted to hear what his father had to say about Ethan, but he wouldn't let him know how much. "You see, my boy, I knew from the very beginning that Michael had made Hannah pregnant. He bragged to me about sleeping with her. When I confronted her, she admitted it, but said it would be my word against hers. And, of course, you would believe her. Foolish girl," he added with a dismissive wave of his arm. "You always were easy prey for any woman with a sad story. Am I right, Kendall?" Zach glared at him. "Talk to me, old man," he demanded.

"Of course," Alexander agreed amiably, but he couldn't resist one last glance at Kendall, just to make Zach crazy. "Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Ethan. I knew where that boy was every second of his life from the time he was born. Did you really think I could be outsmarted by a maid who was barely out of high school? I got rid of her ... got rid of the problem. Don't get me wrong, she and I have had our fun over the years. But I always took precautions to avoid another pregnancy." Zach resisted the urge to gag. He knew his father was telling the truth this time, and it made him feel physically sick.

Kendall started rubbing small circles on the back of his hand with her thumb. She could see how upset he was, even if Alexander couldn't. She hated that he had to hear the truth like this. And she blamed it all on Hannah. She vowed to deal with her as soon as they got back to Pine Valley.

"But why not let Michael keep his son?" Zach asked. "Good God, Alex. You said it yourself. Michael was just a boy. And he was a screw-up. You know that's true. I wanted your child, Alex. A true Cambias heir. So I waited. And you certainly made me wait a long time, didn't you, son? I was prepared to accept Ryan Lavery's son. But now look what you've given me at last," he said as he indicated Kendall's swollen belly, "the grandson I've always wanted."

Josh watched all of this from the doorway. He felt both repulsed and angered by the exchange. But mostly he felt admiration for the man who recognized evil when he saw it and walked away from it. By refusing to give in to the lure of the Cambias power, Zach had altered all of their lives. Josh couldn't help but draw parallels with his relationship with Greg Madden. Would he have had the courage to walk away from all of that wealth and power? Could he have walked away from Greg Madden if he had known what he was capable of? He wanted to think so, but in his heart, he couldn't be sure. But Zach had done it. And he was still paying the price.

Josh wanted to kill Alexander Cambias Sr. and present his dead body to Zach as a gift. He wanted to thank his brother-in-law for breaking out of the mold and giving hope to all of the sons who were trapped by greedy, ambitious fathers. But he also wanted to grab Kendall and get her far away from this war. She had become the prize. She and her baby. And he knew Zach's father would never leave them alone. For a brief moment, he actually admired the ruthlessness of the old man. He knew if he had half of Alexander's will to succeed, he would be able to drive a stake through the man's black heart and free them all.

Zach's thoughts were running along those same lines. He was trying to figure out just how he could kill his father and get away with it. He wasn't ready to spend the rest of his life in a prison cell, but he wasn't willing to be held captive by his father's twisted fantasies any longer either. He wanted to be free of the name, the legacy, and the curse. He wanted to kill Alex Cambias Jr. all over again and go back to being Zach Slater. Casino owner. Husband. Father. Zach Slater was a lot of things, but there was one thing he wasn't. A son.

Kendall felt Zach squeezing her hand and knew he was trying to keep his emotions in check. The last thing he would ever do is let his father know just how much he was getting to him. Her husband had spent years perfecting his poker face, and nobody could read him. Nobody but her. She moved to stand beside him in an attempt to show his father that he couldn't hurt them anymore. They were stronger than he was.

When she looked up at Zach, she saw the fury in his eyes. But she also saw the sadness. She knew he was grieving for Ethan, but also for Michael. And she knew he was grieving the loss of his father so many years ago. Becoming a dad himself had shown Zach what that bond was supposed to be like. He understood, now more than ever, just how much damage his father had caused. He had broken a sacred trust. And now, all these years later, he was still trying to hurt his son. His beloved son.

"What? No more attempts on my life?" Alexander said smugly. "Such control. I know you want to kill me, Alex." "If I wanted you dead, you would be," Zach said softly. So softly his father had to move closer to hear him. He wasn't fooled by his son's mild manner. He knew just what buttons to push to get him riled up, and he had pushed them all. Well, all of them except one.

"Tell the truth, Kendall. Any chance this son isn't Alex's either? I mean, I know you and Ryan Lavery have a history. And of course, there was the time you spent with Michael. In fact, you have a reputation for being-" The old man's accusation was cut short when he once again found himself pinned to the wall struggling for his next breath.

Zach pulled Josh off of his father. "Don't do it," he said. "He's not worth it. Leave him to me." Josh let go reluctantly and looked at Zach. He took a deep breath and nodded. Zach could see the fury in Josh's eyes and he appreciated it. He wanted to protect his sister, that much was obvious. But he also wanted to protect his brother-in-law from the pain his father took such joy in delivering. Zach put his hand on Josh's shoulder as he passed. Then he turned to look at Kendall. He was again struck by a strong sense of family, and it empowered him.

He turned to his father and stood watching him for a long time. He wanted to hit him, to hurt him the way he hurt others. But in the end, he realized that his indifference caused his father more pain than any physical beating ever could. He would never give his father the satisfaction of losing his temper again. So he did the last thing any of them expected. He smiled. And it wasn't a sinister, cold smile. It was genuine. Even joyful. Because he finally realized that his father couldn't hurt him anymore. And he would never let him hurt Kendall or their boys. That's why the old man resorted to vicious verbal attacks. They were all he had left, and they were now impotent weapons.

"When I said I wouldn't surrender another thing to you, I meant it. Not another moment lost to worry. Not another ounce of energy wasted on fighting you. Not another second of anger or guilt or shame. No more regrets. No more fears. You can't hurt me, old man. And you'll never hurt us." Zach took Kendall's hand and headed for the door. He walked back to his father and said, his voice deep and menacing, "If you ever threaten my family again, I will kill you. Go back to hell, where you belong." Then he started humming as he turned back to his family.

Because they had their backs to the door, Josh and Kendall didn't see what Zach and Alexander saw. Zach froze as his father laughed behind him. When they heard Zach cursing under his breath, Josh and Kendall turned to see what had upset him.

"Ah. I see you've uncovered my little surprise," Greg Madden said from the doorway.

TBC

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Excellent Karen!  You have me on the edge of my seat, wanting to strangle you!!!!
Thank you....you know I love you, right?  That's the only reason I haven't hunted you down and ripped the rest of this story from your brain....LOLOL

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9K, thanks for the update! I'm loving this story. All of your character's are perfectly written--I can practically see them on my screen. Thanks for sharing and update soon, please.
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Thanks Karen for the new chapter!  This story just keeps getting better and better.


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Karen....haven't thank you for sometimes...a huge THANK YOU....and looking forward for the next chapter.

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Karen, fantastic chapter!!  Can't wait for the next one... 

Bonnie, great banner!!!

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Chapter 19

"Well, well, well. The gang's all here," Alex sang out from his place in the corner. Nobody paid any attention to him. All eyes were on Greg Madden. All eyes except for Zach's. He was watching Josh. He saw the pain that registered on his face, but only for an instant. It was quickly replaced by anger.

"You, Pop? You really are behind all of this? Why?" Josh stared at the man he thought he knew. The man who had raised him into adulthood. The man who had instilled in him values and ethics that he saw no evidence of in the man himself. What happened to him? Where had it all gone wrong?

The anguish was evident in Josh's voice and it broke Kendall's heart. She turned to look at her brother, then reached out and touched his arm. He covered her hand with his, but only spared her a brief glance. She couldn't help but smile. He was becoming so much like her husband. So strong and tough on the outside, never letting the enemy know when they hit their mark. She could see the pain in his eyes, but she doubted his own father could. Her smile faded as the sadness of that reality hit her. It made her appreciate her mother even more. For all that she and Erica had been through together, she knew her mother loved her. And, just as important, she understood her. It was a powerful combination. One that two of the most important men in her life had been cheated out of.

"Josh! How good it is to see you again." Madden held open his arms and waited for Josh to come to him. It was a long wait. Josh did take a step closer, but the way his hands were balled into fists at his side indicated hugging his father was the last thing on his mind. "Is it?" Josh spat. "Are you really happy to see me? I'm sure not doing somersaults over here. I thought we had a deal, Pop. Remember?" He backed up when Dr. Madden moved closer, then realized what he was doing and held his ground. He winced when his father hugged him, but he didn't pull away.

"Answer me," Josh said through gritted teeth when his father remained silent. "Don't I at least deserve that much? I only put my career on the line for you? And for what? Lies, Greg. Nothing but lies!" He jerked away from him and started pacing around the room. His eyes lit on Alexander, who was still cowering in the corner. "Do you know?" Josh asked.

Alexander underwent an immediate metamorphosis. He suddenly regained the air of arrogance and self-importance that usually permeated him. He once again felt powerful, just because he had information somebody else wanted. But before he could speak, that power was ripped away from him.

"Don't bother with him, Josh. I'll tell you anything you want to know," Greg said from the doorway. "Yes, we did have a deal. And I did go back to Port Charles. But it's not the same place I left. I didn't belong there anymore. I began to feel useless, and I couldn't stand it anymore. I've spent my life helping families. Why should I stop?"

"Okay, if I was to buy that, it would explain these other women. But what about Kendall? Why her?" Madden looked at Kendall for a long time, only breaking his stare when Zach moved to her side. He glanced at Zach, and then Josh, but ultimately returned his gaze to Kendall. She felt both Zach and Josh move closer to her, which made her feel protected and loved.

"Kendall is special, Josh. Surely you know what she means to me. She is my link to Erica." His voice was mild, but his eyes were cold and angry. "She is my best hope for revenge. Her mother took the thing I valued most from me ... you," he said, turning to look at Josh as he uttered the last word. "And I'm going to return the favor. I'm going to take something she holds dear. It's my right."

Josh resisted the urge to yell at his father, choosing instead to get the rest of the story. He looked at Zach, who appeared ready to rip the good doctor's head off, and pleaded with him silently for a little more time. Zach folded his arms across his chest and stared at Madden. Josh guessed that was as much permission as he was gonna get and pressed his father further. "Okay, now tell me why him?" he said, indicating Alexander.

"Ah, well. Why don't you let me answer that one?" Alexander said as he settled himself back in the only chair in the room. "You see, Dr. Madden likes to think of himself as a healer, only out to help people. He feigns himself incapable of doing any harm. In other words, he needed someone to do the dirty work."

"What dirty work?" Zach asked. He stuffed his hands in his pockets in an effort to keep them from his father's throat. "Oh, there was much to be done, Alex. You don't think you and your lovely wife are here by accident, do you?" He let his eyes travel over Kendall's body, resting on her swollen belly. He laughed when his eyes met hers. She had schooled her features into a completely bored expression, but the way she wrapped her arms around her stomach gave her away. She was afraid, and he fed off of it. Then his eyes went to his son's, but he saw no fear there. Only anger and fierce determination. And raw hatred. He fed off of it as well. "GPS is a wonderful thing, son. A few well-timed minor explosions and you're right where I want you ... just that simple."

"You would risk killing me, Kendall and the baby? Just for your pitiful attempt at revenge? What would you have done if we hadn't made it? Whose baby would you have stolen then?" Alex narrowed his eyes and raised his chin. "Not so pitiful of an attempt. You're here, aren't you? You forget, my boy, that I know all of your secrets ... all about your past lives. That's right," he added when Zach started to protest. "I am well aware of the fact that you are an excellent pilot. I knew you would handle the situation just as you did. You are a worthy Cambias heir, Alex. There's no use in denying it."

"How does it feel, Josh?" Madden interjected. "Your own mother, Erica, didn't want you. You either, Kendall. I wonder what made Bianca so special? What made her worthy to be a Kane?" Before Zach could stop her, Kendall walked over to stand directly in front of Dr. Madden. He smiled down at her as if there was genuine affection, but Kendall knew better. She saw the monster for what he really was. Cold and calculating. She wondered how she had ever trusted him. She once again found herself thanking God for sending Zach into her life. How different things might have been. She almost made the same mistake Dr. Madden was taunting Erica for. She almost gave her baby away.

Her intention had been to slap Dr. Madden, but she changed her mind. Instead she reached for his hand and shook it. "Thank you, Dr. Madden," she said forcefully. "Thank you for not only showing me how easily a young woman can be manipulated into making the wrong decision by unscrupulous doctors, but also for being so incompetent that Zach was able to find me before it was too late." Madden jerked his hand from hers and drew his arm back, but found himself in the vice grip of an angry husband before he could bring it around. Zach shoved him backward, away from Kendall.

"You!" Madden said, his voice filled with hatred as he glared at Zach. "You kept Spike from me. I was so close to having what we wanted, until you got in the way. But it all worked out in the end," Madden added with a sudden smile. "This way is much better, in fact. A true Kane/Cambias baby. Everybody wins."

"Spike was going to be the heir," Alexander said from across the room. Suddenly everybody turned to face him. Everybody but Kendall. She was the only one who saw the person standing in the hallway behind Dr. Madden. She slowly made her way to the door, taking advantage of the fact that everybody was focused on Zach's father. "But then you came back, son. Back to Cambias. So we needed a new heir. A true Cambias golden child. A Cambias/Kane child. Of course little Miranda is a Cambias/Kane baby, but she's only a girl. We needed a male child, and now we have him. Alexander Cambias, III."

"We already discussed this Alexander," Dr. Madden interjected. "We agreed the child's name will be Kane Cambias. It's only fair." "Fair? Who cares about fair?" Alexander blustered. "My grandson, and the heir to the fortune that I built, will bear my name, just as his father did before him. It is not up for negotiation." Zach and Josh watched incredulously as their fathers continued to argue about what they would name Kendall's unborn baby. It would have been comical if they weren't both so deranged.

Zach suddenly realized Kendall wasn't beside him anymore. He looked around the room and found her standing just inside the door, behind Greg Madden. He held out his hand to her, but she didn't come. Instead she held out her hand to him. He tilted his head and looked into her eyes. Then he went to her. She immediately turned her back to the room, forcing him to come around and face her. She threw her arms around him. "I just want to go home, Zach," she said as she clung to him. He could feel her trembling, but he also felt something else. Kendall had stuck a gun into the waistband of his pants. Then she stepped back and looked into his eyes. After a brief silent exchange, he moved Kendall to stand beside him and gave a quick nod to Josh before turning his attention back to the bickering men.

"Enough! This is how it's gonna be," Zach began, shifting his gaze between Alexander and Dr. Madden. "My wife is ready to go home now, so that's what were going to do." He waited for Josh to come and stand next to him before continuing. "Now you two crazy bastards are going to wait right here for the authorities to come. Oh, don't laugh," he said when his father began to cackle. "I can still kill you if I want to. But I don't think a prison stint plays into the future my wife has in mind. So I'll just leave you two to torture each other. Don't follow us. And don't ever let me see your face again."

"Or what?" Alexander said smugly. Zach leveled his gaze and lowered his voice to a rough growl. "Or I'll break every bone in your body." The look on his face told the old man that it wasn't a threat, it was a promise. "So that's how you plan to end things? By beating me to death? That's how a son treats his father?" Zach smiled. "This son treats his father exactly the way he deserves to be treated. And you know what? From this moment on, I don't have a father. I'm an orphan. What I do have is a beautiful wife who has given me the family I never dared to hope for. I have a successful company that I can use to clean up the name of Cambias. And I have this," he said, pointing the gun at his father.

Zach motioned for Dr. Madden to go stand next to Alexander, then shoved him when he didn't move fast enough. "This is it, gentlemen. We're leaving now. Try not to kill each other before the police arrive." Josh went into the hallway first and waited for Kendall to join him. Zach was the last to turn away, which left him vulnerable to the crazed men with nothing left to lose. Both men lunged at Zach simultaneously, forcing him up against the wall. While Dr. Madden applied pressure to Zach's wounded shoulder, Alexander tried to wrestle the gun from him. Josh entered the room and pulled his father away, leaving Zach to deal with his own father. As the foursome struggled, Kendall doubled over, holding her abdomen.

The sounds of her screams brought instant silence to the room. It was just the break Zach needed. He fired twice, hitting both men in the leg. As they stumbled back in silent shock, he pushed them to the ground. Then, as he towered over both men, he put his foot on Madden's bleeding wound and applied pressure. The doctor howled, causing Zach to smile. "It comes around," he said. He turned to his father, who begged him to stay away, then went to see about his wife.

Zach lifted a still-moaning Kendall into his arms and carried her out of the room. Josh trailed behind them without giving his father a second glance. The trio walked through the office, locking it behind them, and out of the hospital, stopping only long enough for Kendall to thank Whitney for the gun. Zach refused to put Kendall down, but waited patiently while the two women exchanged animated whispers.

"He is hot," Whitney said, trying to keep her voice low. She glanced up at Zach, who wasn't paying any attention. "I know," Kendall replied proudly. "He's the best! And so are you, Whitney. I've lost count of how many times you've rescued me. How can I ever repay you?" "By being happy," Whitney answered. "And by giving birth to a healthy baby, when it's time," she added knowingly. "I will. I promise," Kendall said as she looked up at Zach.

"I'm ready, Zach," she said softly. Zach shifted Kendall in his arms and extended his hand to Whitney. "Thank you," he said warmly. "For everything." Whitney blushed when he bent and placed a kiss on her forehead. Then he straightened, pulled Kendall closer against him and headed for the door. "So I'm hot, am I?" he muttered as they disappeared into the sunlight.

TBC


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Great stuff, Karen!  I am having a lot of fun catching up.  Thanks for the good reading on Zachless weekend


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((((((Karen)))))))
How did you know this was just what I needed tonight?
Thank you so much.

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Thank you, Karen...perfect reading....You really should be writing for AMC!!
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