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!


“Vega,” hissed Todd glaring at the man in front of him.

“Manning,” said Antonio crossing his arms.

“What the hell?!” exclaimed Sophia raising her voice, “What are you doing here Antonio? Did you follow me?”

Antonio flashed Sophia a cocky smile, “Believe it or not, meeting you two in this bar was a big coincidence.”

Todd was confused. He didn’t want to believe Sophia had finked him out. Certainly Viki would keep her mouth shut. Was Vega’s appearance in the bar a coincidence? Todd grabbed Sophia’s arm and turned her into him.

“What did you tell him?” demanded Todd. He knew Antonio was her partner at the police academy.

“Nothing!” protested Sophia.

Antonio shoved Todd, pushing him away from Sophia and Todd lunged at Antonio. Sophia got between them preventing them from becoming more physical with each other.

“Let me at him!” yelled Todd.

“No!” said Sophia firmly. Then she turned to Antonio, “What the hell are you doing here?!”

Antonio dug into his pocket and threw a ring at Todd, “It’s yours.”

Todd grabbed the ring, instantly recognizing it to be Téa’s. A flood of emotions overcame him and Sophia didn’t quite understand what was happening.

“It’s Téa’s!” exclaimed Todd. His heart sank. She had promised him she’d never take it off…swearing to him the only way she would give it back to him was in death.

“I know,” heaved Antonio.

“how did you get Téa’s ring?” demanded Todd. Was his…lover…truly dead?

“From one of her kidnappers,” said Antonio.

“What?!” exclaimed Sophia.

“You deserved to know even though I hate your guts,” said Antonio. His tone of voice was arrogant, cocky, and condescending, “Javier Perez kidnapped Téa. Held her hostage. Beat her. Raped her. Took her to Puerto Rico.”

“Raped…?” muttered Todd, swallowing bitter tears at the sound of that hideous word.

“So I’ve been told,” said Antonio.

“So, his woman is in Puerto Rico?!” spat Sophia trying to make sense of Antonio’s sudden knowledge.

“If she’s still alive, I’d look there,” said Antonio.

Todd clung to the ring in his hand, “Who is Javier Perez?”

“Someone hates Téa with a passion,” said Antonio.

Todd sneered at Antonio. He had no idea who this Perez was.

“Look Antonio…you can’t tell anyone Todd is back in town!” said Sophia protectively.

“Why not?” quizzed Antonio.

“Because you’ll put my sister and daughter in danger,” confirmed Todd.

“Then I won’t tell anyone,” said Antonio realizing that obviously going after Téa’s family included Todd…and his daughter…Téa’s step-daughter, and Antonio had no desire to put a little girl in danger. He turned to leave.

“Where are you going Vega?! I still have questions for you!!” hissed Todd.

“I’ve given you all your answers,” said Antonio heading for the door.

Sophia ran after Antonio and managed to stop him before he walked out the door, “You haven’t told us everything you know…” she whispered.

“I’ve told you all you need to know for now. And if you’ve got any smarts Sophia, you’ll stay away from Todd Manning. He’s nothing but trouble,” said Antonio threw gritted teeth.

“I can’t do that,” said Sophia.

“Then you’ve got a decision to make…Manning or your career,” said Antonio and with that he walked out. Sophia was incensed at Antonio’s holier than thou attitude. As she turned around to join Todd at his side, he was gone.

“Damn him!” hissed Sophia. Todd couldn’t have gone far though. She ran through the bar, suspecting Todd had used a back exit, to look for him.


Todd didn’t get far as he ran out of the back door of the bar. Emotionally distraught, he stumbled and finally collapsed next to the side of the bar facing away form the road. He stared at the ring in his hand remembering Téa’s words never to take it off…to return his pledge of love and fidelity only in death. He began to openly sob, thinking she was dead, not believing it.

Sophia found him openly crying. She knelt down beside him, unsure of what to do. Honestly, she felt pretty shitty. Not more than seconds after they had hot sex does he find out the woman he’s really in love with is dead.

“Look, Todd…” began Sophia.

Todd looked up at Sophia, “I’m not in the mood to play games with you Sophia.”

“Oh?! Like I’m in the mood to play games with you!! Like I don’t understand what you’ve been going through? Your chick gets kidnapped, her kidnappers come after you – threatens to go after your family so you gotta’ stay low and now you find out she’s dead…” began Sophia.

“Téa’s not dead!!” yelled Todd in denial.

“She’s not here with you,” pointed out Sophia.

“I’m going to Puerto Rico to find her,” said Todd full of conviction.

“And where in Puerto Rico are you going to look for her?” pointed out Sophia.

“Shut up!” yelled Todd, “You don’t want me to find her!!”

“My Ass!” spat Sophia, “Look, I care about you and yes we just had sex but I’m not in love with you. I know how you feel about this chick. Look, I know Antonio and if he knew where in Puerto Rico she was, he would have told you!”

“Damn it Sophia!” I want answers!” yelled Todd.

“And I’ll help you get them but you just can’t go running off half cocked you know!” said Sophia trying to think rationally.

“So far you haven’t done shit for me!” spat a hurt and angry Todd looking up into Sophia’s incredible hypnotic eyes.

Sophia was hurt. She stood up and crossed her arms.

“I haven’t done shit for you?! I helped you get your place…took care of you when you were sick…helped you see your kid and sister and even helped you bug RJ’s apartment. And let me remind you how I helped you when you needed some physical…release. So screw you Todd! Do what you want!” and with that Sophia stormed off leaving him alone to bask in his misery and hating himself even more for alienating her.


“He” approached the apartment pausing at the door to listen. He was tall. Dressed all in black and blended into the dark shadows of the night. Satisfied the apartment was empty, he jimmied the lock and went inside. Slowly, he walked inside.

Where the hell was his prey? Where was RJ Gannon? Using a flashlight he began to examine the empty apartment. Neat. Too neat for a guy. He noticed the bonsai plant on a bookshelf and next to it a picture. A black woman…Rachel, perhaps? Then he noticed a few pictures face down. He picked up one. Her. Her and RJ. Damn Bitch. He picked up the other one. It was two girls. The bitch and a younger girl…possibly related? A sister, perhaps?

Suddenly the door flung open and a light turned on. He turned around and found himself face to face with Antonio Vega.

“Javier Perez…” hissed Antonio striking a defensive posture towards his old foe.

Javier Perez just smiled.


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