Dangerous Liaisons

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Chapter 16

In a world of utter anarchy and strife, there are few moment when one is completely happy. It either comes in the form of blissful ignorance or a flicker of warmth that isn’t blocked by the pain that seems to come so frequently.

Lucy’s visited her very rarely, but as she sat on a circular blanket on the sandy shores of Malibu with her legs folded and her hands balanced on her knees, she was doused in the goodness of the world.

Sun poured down over the author and her dog, both with their eyes closed and their expressions beyond calm. Waves crashed and the tide swarmed in closer as the sun rose ever so higher.

It was utter serenity.

Until Lucy’s phone rang.

One sea shaded eye revealed itself, the familiar ringtone of her mother drawing her attention away from her meditation. She reached over Alex while apologizing for disturbing him, scooping her phone up from the other side of her towel. “Hey Mom, what’s up?”

“Hi sweetheart,” Johanna greeted kindly. “I just wanted to check in on you. How’s everything going in California?”

“It’s good. Al and I are just relaxing out on the beach,” Lucy told her mother as she ran a hand through salt-induced waves.

Johanna gave a light sigh, “You know what I’m asking, Luce.”

“You don’t have to worry about me,” she assured. “It’s definitely not going to be a problem.”

“Planning on elaborating, kiddo?”

“One, I’m twenty-seven, and two, the investigation was called off. There’s nothing to worry about. Stella St. Laurens in completely safe.”

“And the one FBI guy that was giving you slack? What about him?” inquired Johanna. “Are you sure he won’t try to go digging? He seemed pretty insistent.”

Lucy lightly smiled to herself, “I’m sure.”

Johanna’s hesitance was like a fog, radiating all the way from Arizona to California. “How…how did you get him to back off?”

Licking her bottom lip idly as she thought of what she could say, she knew she was running out of time before Johanna would suspect it. And just as she opened her mouth with an excuse on hand, her mom was already two steps ahead.

“You told him, didn’t you?”

Lucy audibly pondered the fact, “Okay, so here’s the thing-”

“Lucy, you can’t just tell people. It’s a family secret. It’s-”

“Mom, listen for a second. I’ll explain everything,” eased Lucy as she leaned back on her elbows. “Vance was best friends with Ty from Quantico.”

Pausing, Johanna’s end of the phone briefly crackled in silence. “Oh.”

“It’s just - he found out about dad, and he was thinking I was a murderer or something and I knew that if Tyler trusted him, I could trust him. I told him all of it; the crash, Jordan, how they pass on. Vance isn’t going to say anything.”

“As long as you’re sure, Lu,” said Johanna mildly.

Lucy ran a hand along her jaw, watching the ocean ahead of her. “I’m sure. In fact, he even offered me a job.”

Surprise was evident in Johanna’s voice, “Oh, really?”

“Phillips is up for it too,” replied Lucy even though she held doubts in her mind. “No less Malcolm would be more than happy.”

“And you’d be helping people, even more than you already do,” Johanna added. “I know you help the spirits, but you could help the living and possibly prevent more crimes.”

Lucy’s eyebrows furrowed immediately, “Wait, you think it’s a good idea?”

Johanna laughed, “Honey, you were always meant for the FBI, whether you like it or not. It’s in your blood.”

“You don’t think they would just, y’know, trick me or something? Take me to Area 51 and poke me with needles?” Hesitancy was evident in every feature, genuinely worried for becoming a science experiment.

“I think that if you were to use your powers for good, the FBI would be able to keep it quiet. Not many people would have to know. And it’s the government, sweetie, it’s their job to keep secrets. If you’re an asset, they’ll keep you safe. They probably already have a bunch of weirdos working for them, anyway.”

“Did you just call me a weirdo?”

“Lovingly, yes. Plus that agent boy was cute,” Johanna said with a warm laugh. “Work perks equal eye candy.”

Lucy tried to hide a disturbed laugh, “I’m going to pretend you didn’t just say that.” Sighing lightly as she shook her head, she unfurled her folded legs and got up from her beach blanket, doing her best not to disturb Alex.

“Whatever helps you sleep at night, Lu.”

A smile was evident on Lucy’s lips, her mother’s tempered humor something she could never get tired of. “I don’t know if I can do it, Mom,” she finally said. “What if I can’t help in real time? And if I get too caught up in it, I won’t have time to write. Then I won’t be helping anybody.”

Johanna softly laughed, “You’re just like your father. You think too much, kiddo.”

“What if I make the wrong choice?” Lucy asked, one arm tucked around her waist as she held the phone to her ear with the other. Her eyes lingered out on the water, calm waves rushing in as the tide drew closer.

“You won’t,” Johanna replied. “You always know what to do.”

The last remaining Hamiltons exchanged brief goodbye, Johanna having to run errands before noon.

Lucy idly held her phone, looking out to the ocean as if it could help her make up her mind. She chewed on her bottom lip as scenarios danced through her head at an alarming speed: Of all the things that could go wrong, and all the ones that could go right.

Her cell phone vibrated in her palm, fate coming in too quickly.

Deveraux:

What’s the verdict?

Her sea shaded eyes rose up to a setting sun that matched their beauty, Lucy at a sheer loss for words.

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