Manny held up a ring. It was a woman’s engagement right and he gave it to Antonio. Antonio studied it and noticed tiny initial engraved on the band. “TD” and “TM”.
“You knew the chick. Téa Delgado.”
Antonio’s face was wracked with confusion. Didn’t Téa leave town last February?
Just then, Sophia and Todd walked into the bar.


Bucket O’ Thirst Bar…

Todd Manning and Sophia Pelligrino walked into the bar and Antonio Vega was completely shocked. He shirked into the corner of his dark booth, slouching, praying they wouldn’t notice him.

“What is wrong with you dude?!” whispered Manny uncomfortable with Antonio’s actions.

“Look, don’t do anything to draw attention to us,” said Antonio, “Because the man who gave Téa this ring just walked into the bar.”

Antonio motioned with his eyes and Manny sharply turned around, doing exactly what Antonio didn’t want him to do it.

Todd and Sophia took a table near the opposite corner of the bar and ordered with the waitress.

“Who’s the chick with him?” questioned Manny as he turned back around and reached for his beer, needing a shot of it’s calming effects.

“Sophia Pelligrino. My…partner at the academy…” muttered Antonio clutching the ring in his hand. Suddenly things were becoming very clear to him. Téa Delgado was missing. And neither RJ nor Todd had a clue as to her whereabouts. That would explain RJ’s weird behavior as of late. He was really hung up on Téa and was deeply wounded when she left town. As for Todd, it didn’t explain quite how he’d gotten involved with Sophia but did explain why he was back in Llanview. He had to be looking for Téa.

Antonio smiled as he realized the cause behind Sophia’s recluse actions as of late. She was protecting him. Manning always did have a way with the ladies, thought Antonio.

“So Manny,” prodded Antonio, “How did your deal go sour and how did you get Téa Delgado’s engagement ring?”

“It wasn’t my idea. I just did what I was told…” muttered Manny.

“What happened?” said Antonio raising his voice above a whisper.

“There’s a big boss. Don’t know his name but Javey took order from him…”

“Javey who?” suddenly Antonio felt the pit of stomach sink.

“Javier Perez,” answered Manny abruptly.

The mention of Javier Perez filled Antonio’s blood with anger. There was bad blood between them. Not only that, Javier knew Téa from Antonio’s trial. Téa dangled carrots in front of Perez and when Téa hadn’t delivered he had attacked her the night of the fashion show. If it wasn’t for him – and Kevin – Téa would have been raped that night. Javier was a bastard and no doubt would relish an opportunity to get back at Téa.

“Go on,” said Antonio. He reached for his beer, wanting a sip, while keeping an ever watchful eye on Todd and Sophia.

“Javier kidnapped her. He was supposed to bring her to the big boss. But something happened and suddenly Javier – he like lost it…” explained Manny. God, was he tense. Kept on twitching his shoulders afraid that beast which haunted him was just around the corner.

“What did Perez do next?” questioned Antonio.

“Javey wanted a ransom. A big one and he had no intention of delivering the girl. No. There was something about him and her…Tonio…he’d fucked with her head bad. Saying no one would pay. No one cared about her. Said stuff like he’d go after her family…people she cared about if she didn’t…”

“Didn’t… what?”

“He beat her Tonio. He taunted her…”

“Where is she now?” said Antonio firmly.

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know?!” Antonio said with steely reserve.

“Last I saw her was in Puerto Rico. Javey, he took her there where no one could find her.”

“How did you get the ring?” asked Antonio finding it hard to keep the disgust out of his voice and his fury from erupting.

“She gave it to me…Jesus…Tonio…Javey…he beat her bad…she had this black eye Tonio – it was swollen shut. And her lip…her arm…He raped her,” said Manny hanging his head, “She thought she was going to die. Told me to give it to her old man.”

“And you didn’t help her?” questioned Antonio sick to his stomach.

Manny looked Antonio straight in the eye, “I was in no position to help her.”

Antonio was feeling a lot of things right now. Anger. Disgust. Revulsion. And no matter how he detested Todd Manning, the right thing to do was tell him. Give him back his ring.

“Go…” hissed Antonio, “I’ll take care of the rest.”

Manny said nothing as he finished off his beer. He stood up, kept his head down and walked out.


Todd leaned back in his chair and tilted the bottle upwards on his lips allowing the cool, refreshing liquid to slide down his throat. It felt good to be out. It felt good to enjoy a beer.

Sophia Pelligrino said nothing while sipping on her glass. She had ordered beer on tap.

“So how do you know about this place?” asked Todd finally wiping his lips with the back of his hand. The more he looked at her, the more he found her appealing.

“Grew up around here,” said Sophia quickly. Too quickly.

“Why Sophia,” thought Todd, “Got your own secrets…?”

“This is a shitty neighborhood Sophia,” he said staring at her. In the dim lights of the bar their was something about her eyes that stood out…they glowed, almost as if stars in the dark night’s sky and suddenly he realized they were attractive.

“So…maybe I’ve had a shitty life,” she said noticing the usual way he was looking at her.

“You too?” he said lightly with a mischievous grin, “Got any family?”

Suddenly he was feeling very interested in her. The loud music from the jukebox played on in the background.

“Nope. Had a brother named Freddie but he died while up at Statesville,” said Sophia finding it easy to confide in him.

Todd kept quiet. While he was willing to talk about himself with her he discovered he was fighting other urges. Sexual urges.

“What about you?”

“What about me?”

“Is it just you, Viki and your daughter?” asked Sophia.

“I have another sister named Tina. Lives in Maryland,” he said. His pulse quickened and he took another long swallow of his beer, “You got a boyfriend Sophia?”

Was it the atmosphere? A seedy, dive bar with hazy smoke that wafted through the air? Her eyes? Her attitude? Raw? Gritty? Bold?

“Nah…don’t have time in my life to fall in love right now…” said Sophia mesmerized by the way he was looking at her.

Sophia knew from the first moment she’d seen him he was hot. His body was very masculine, defined, his lips full, his eyes sad but sexy. His presence drained by his ordeal appeared to be getting stronger every day. She knew, without a doubt if the sexy, egmatic, dangerous man in front of her, kissed her, she’d kiss him back but she had no desire to make the first move – no he’d have too. And the way he was looking at her, he would.

“Smart, I suppose. Love…it bites Sophia. Especially when…you have it, then lose it and don’t know why,” he remarked.

“Philosophy from Todd?” she said with a devious grin.

“No. Reality,” he muttered before finishing off his beer.

Why did looking at her in this shithole of a bar make her incredibly attractive? The last thing he need to do was fuck her but he realized that was preciously what his body was telling him to do. Fuck her. She wants it. Why else would she hand around when she barely knows you? He narrowed his eyes and pinched his lips together as he turned to face her, saying nothing, studying her.

Before Téa disappeared, before she was kidnapped they had sex. A lot of sex. Urges he’d buried down deep inside him had come raging out of his body as Téa had reawakened his sex drive. Initially afraid of hurting Téa with his sex, he’d been awkward in their first attempts but once he discovered how incredibly satisfying it was to fuck a woman he’d made love to her often. He missed having it. Missed the relief it gave his tension filled body. And this Sophia chick – she was a hot little number – the way she looked, acted – attitude to spar – if they fucked it wouldn’t go to her head and he needed to be released. Physically. Yeah. If he fucked Sophia it wouldn’t mean a thing to her. And she needed it too. He could tell. Yeah. Sure his heart was with Téa but right now she couldn’t give him what he needed.

“I’m gonna go to the restroom,” muttered Sophia gesturing toward the ladies. She needed to splash water on her face. Something – anything to cool her body’s arousal down.

“Whatever,” he said watching her walk away. Then suddenly, abruptly he got up and walked in the direction of the restrooms. As he headed for the guys john, he observed the restrooms were down a dimly lit hallway . The “guys” was first, then the “girls” then a third door. He walked down to the third door, opened it, breathing deeply. Perfect! A supply closet. He checked the knob. It locked. A sly, seductive smile crossed his face. The girls door opened and Sophia walked out surprised to Todd lurking in the hallway.


He confidently walked up to her, pinned her against the wall of the hallway with his hard body and took her mouth with his, giving her a long, sensual kiss which quickly expanded into a full, opened mouth tongue kiss. And his tongue deeply explored her hungrily, running over every inch of her wet, hot mouth.

“I want to fuck you,” he said breaking away form her mouth, placing his hands on her arms, holding her close, looking into her face for her reaction, “I want to fuck you bad.”

“I thought you were hung up on miss goodie two-shoes,” quipped a defensive Sophia realizing she was all too willing to let him screw her. She just had to know where she stood.needed and only Sophia could give it to him – right now.

“Right now? Here? You serious?” questioned a surprised Sophia.

Todd grabbed her arm, escorted her to the broom closet, and locked the door once they were inside to ensure their privacy. Starlight and music filtered in from the small window near the top of the back wall of the closet. He turned to her, again pinning her against the wall. The starlight made Sophia’s eyes glow in the dark. It really turned Todd on. Like a cat. Slick. Sexy. Such a small, taunt firm body. Just how he liked a woman’s body.

Again, he kissed her, parting her mouth with his hard tongue. He took his hands, slid them up under her shirt, under her bra and began to squeeze her breasts, feeling her nipples harden between his fingers. His sudden pleasurable touch deeply aroused her own sexual urges and she moaned into him between their deep kisses.

He couldn’t believe how hot she was!

“You want it bad, don’t you…?” he murmured into her ear. She said nothing as they parted, nuzzled, and bit her lip.


He stepped away and pulled his shirt over his head revealing his taunt, hard pecs and his ribbed abs. She did the same practically tearing off her own shirt and unsnapping her bra.

“God, Todd, Miss goodie two-shoes had it good. You are one incredibly hot dude…” said Sophia. She reached out and began rubbing his nipples between her fingers. It excited him even that much more.

Todd pressed into her and unsnapped her pants as he began to feel his blood boil under the sensitive tweaking of his own body. He slid his hand into her panties and began to finger her. Wet. Hot. Juicy.

“Tell me you need it…” he whispered into her ear.

“Oh, I need it…” confirmed Sophia.

He flashed her a toothy, greedy grin.

“So wet. All right, I’ll give it to. Oh Yeah, I’ll give it to you,” confirmed Todd. He quickly pulled his fingers away from her, leaving her aching to be filled by him. He reached down and undid his own pants sliding them down to his ankles. Sophia did the same, sliding her own pants off her body so she was naked before him.

“Your eyes…” he muttered totally enthralled by how the moonlight danced off them. That didn’t stop him though. He took her thigh in his hand, lifting it up and thrusting himself deep into her waiting, warm juices. God! She was hot, tight number!

She gasped and Todd his other hand and covered her mouth, not wanting her orgasmic screams to filter into the night. Her heart pounded at the gesture and he could see she was skittish. He lifted his hand and put his mouth over hers, letting her come into his mouth, as he felt his own powerful orgasm release itself deep inside of her. Breathlessly they parted. She looked up into his face. Satisfied. He appeared physically satisfied.

“You okay?” he mumbled.

“I’m fine.”

“Good. Get your clothes on. We should go. It’s late,” he added.


Silently, they got dressed, each other drinking in their sexual experience in their own way. They walked out of the closet, each disguising their satisfaction with even faces. They walked into the main bar together but before they reached the door Antonio Vega stepped out of the smoky shadows and approached them. Sophia turned to Todd. Todd didn’t know what to think but he couldn’t believe Sophia would have betrayed him!


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