“Who?” Chance demanded.
“Fucker’s under arrest, it was the Mayor’s assistant,” Lio informed us.
“Oh my god!” I exclaimed. “Why? No never mind I bet I can guess why; he was one of those watching wasn’t he?”
“Yeah, he’s also spilling the name of those involved, the coward has no spine, no fucking guts. Asshole was heading out of town, when an officer pulled him over, two minutes after the APB went out. Mr Carpenter is talking, and there’s no shutting him up, seems he’d heard that Artemis was on the case and close to cracking the ring. Idiot took matters into his own hands. If you died, then the case ended, or so he believed,” Lio said, and my eyes widened.
“It’s over?” I asked excitement rising. Phil Gold ducked his head to the floor, and Lio grew stern-faced.
“No Goddess,” Chance said.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Sam is still out there, and he’s still distributing the shit involving you. Nigel still has his track and hack on it, but Sam is in the wind,” Phil Gold replied.
“So, although there’ll be no further attempts on my life, my shame remains for assholes to download?” I asked as a maelstrom of emotions swept through me.
“No one gets to see anything, the minute they click on the download their computer freezes, and the alert gets sent back to Nigel,” Lio said.
“I’m so tired of this, why can’t I be left alone?” I whined feeling sorry for myself, and then I smacked that aside. There was nothing to feel miserable over, I was extremely lucky, I’d a man who doted on me, a new shop opening, and I hadn’t been raped. That was important, I’d been violated and shamed, but it wasn’t my shame, I hadn’t asked to be violated. That was on Ron, Tommy and Sam, not me, it was embarrassing knowing people were watching what I’d suffered, but the shame and guilt from that was on them.
It was a wicked world we lived in, but I’d discovered light and beauty after a lifetime of not having it. The only period of intense joy had come from living with Staffey, and now Chance and I wouldn’t let those bastards ruin the happiness I was surrounded with. Many people didn’t get the chances I had in front of me, and I needed to put the past where it belonged. Which was firmly behind me, no one could bring me down if I refused to let them. With those who loved and supported me surrounding me, the past couldn’t affect me anymore.
“Clio?” Lio prompted gently disrupting my thoughts.
“Yes, sorry?” I replied, looking up at him.
“Said we’re still seeking Sam, wherever he’s gone to lie low, he can’t hide forever. Too many people are searching for him, and eventually, he’ll pop his nasty head out of the hole he’s hiding in.”
“No problem, as long as he stays far away from me, I don’t care what that asshole does. I just got a family, I don’t want to lose it,” I replied, and I saw sorrow briefly flash across Lio’s face.
“If Chance has anything to do with it Clio, you won’t be losing your new family,” Lio reassured, as he and Phil took their leave.
“Not liking the fact you keep ending in hospital,” Chance muttered stretching his long frame out on the bed.
“Can’t say I’m a huge fan either,” I quipped, and Chance stared down at me.
“Mean it, twice now you’ve ended up in here, I don’t enjoy seeing my girl hurt.”
“I’m okay, as long as you’re by my side, I’ll always be okay, don’t blame yourself for this Chance,” I blurted. Chance gazed into my eyes for a long time, and I saw guilt hidden deep in his.
“If I’d chased you that first day, this shit wouldn’t be happening.”
“I never realised you’re psychic!” I gasped, and Chance’s frown turned to puzzlement. “Damn, all this time and you can tell the future, why didn’t you say so?” Chance’s lips flattened into a pissed off line, and he opened his mouth.
“No Chance, no Clio. Neither of us could have foreseen this happening, but it did happen, and we’re both stronger for surviving this. Life happens, sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s bad. We had the bad at the beginning now we’re looking forward to the good. Sam, Tommy and Ron are just terrible memories and ones I don’t dwell on,” I said firmly, and Chance leaned back, and I saw thoughts race across his face.
“You’ve not had bad dreams,” Chance said.
“Because honey, I go to bed and you’re there. I don’t need anything else or anyone else, I know the minute you lie down beside me, no one will get past you. That’s all I need to sleep soundly, that and the fact you wear me out!” I gave Chance a half-smile, and he quirked his lips in a semblance of a smile.
“That’s all it takes?” Chance asked.