Chapter 2 "It's not your fault, Al." Al stared out the passenger's side window while Verbina drove them back to the complex. The look on his face was frighteningly despaired, almost as if the Admiral was thinking of joining Angela in death. Verbina knew that wasn't the case. However, she was still very concerned for the Admiral's mental and emotional well being. "The hell it isn't," Al finally replied dryly. "You heard her. Somehow, I was the cause of someone's death, someone who named me for something." He paused. "At least, I was in Angela's mind. That makes me just as guilty as if I had cut that cord myself." Verbina exhaled. "You know that isn't true." Al didn't reply for a moment. "It sure as hell feels true." He turned his head and looked at her. "What the hell do you expect me to do, Verbina? Just shrug my shoulders and say 'Oh, well. She was just some crazy nut'? I can't do that, Verbina. It may be cut and dry for the police but it isn't for me." He paused dramatically. "A woman committed suicide, Beeks. She called me to make sure I saw her do it. Why?" She shook her head slowly but didn't answer. Al exhaled, understanding her silence. He rubbed his eyes with the tips of the fingers of his right hand, ending his strokes at the bridge of his nose. "I have to know why, Verbina," he said quietly, looking out the windshield at the stretching highway in front of them. "Why did she do it?" Verbina hesitated as she watched the mountainous horizon come closer and closer - as the mountain surrounded by a blue haze became more and more clear. She wished she had an immediate answer for her troubled friend. All she could give him was the answer she had. "While the police were questioning you, I took the liberty of calling on Ziggy to research on Angela. Hopefully, she'll find something that will explain all this." Al didn't comment to Verbina's reply. The car's passengers now easily saw the mountainous horizon. They could clearly see their destination, the mountain shrouded with the blue haze. "I knew her, Verbina." The statement came as a shock to the psychiatrist. She gave Al a questioning glance. "You told the police - you told me - that you didn't," she pointed out. Al exhaled slowly. "I know I did. I didn't lie." He paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts. "I don't know the name. I'm sure I've never met Angela Cotton until today but I know her face. I've seen her somewhere. Maybe she looks like someone I knew. I'm not sure but there's something familiar about her." The two said nothing as the car sped on through unmarked iron fences and arrived at their destination. Al sat at his desk once again, this time staring into nothingness, deep in thought. It had been almost two hours and, no matter how deeply he thought, he still could not say how he knew the woman who he had mysteriously wronged. He was, therefore, very pleased with the interruption which came as a loud chime. "Come in," he replied to the chime, allowing Verbina Beeks to enter the office, a small stack of papers in her hand. The psychiatrist placed the papers before Al and sat across from him without permission. "Angela Bea Cotton," she told him as he looked through the papers with curiosity. "Born February 21st, 1953 in Charleston, North Carolina. Her mother was unmarried and gave her children up for adoption. Angela was adopted, in August of 1953, by Herbert and Carol Cotton. Graduated in 1977 from the University of Virginia. She spent several years in Charlottesville where she was reunited with her fraternal twin sister. The two live together until the sister's death in 1980." Al got a peculiar look on his face. There was definitely something on his mind and Verbina knew it. She looked at him with questioning. "What is it?" she asked. Al took a slow deep breath. "What was her sister's name?" Verbina tilted her head slightly, her curiosity heightened by Al's question. "Susan, I believe," she replied. "Susan..." She hesitated, searching for the last name. "Chambers," Al finished quietly, closing his eyes as he said the name. Verbina looked at him with surprise. "Yes," she confirmed. "You knew Susan. That's why Angela was so familiar to you." Al nodded slowly. "She had told me she had a twin sister but I had never met Angela. Susan called her Angie. I never made the connection up in that building." He leaned forward, placing his elbows on his desk and his forehead in his hands. "Gawd, if I had made that connection, I would have had at least a chance to save Angela. I would have at least known why she called for me, why she was so angry with me." Verbina was quiet for a moment. "Why was she angry with you?" He took a deep breath. "She believed I killed her sister. But I didn't." He looked into the psychiatrist's eyes. "I couldn't have even if I had wanted to, which I didn't." He lowered his eyes. "I think it bothered her that I had a perfect alibi when she was convinced I killed her." He paused momentarily. "She never realized how much she hurt me with her accusations." "Angela's file says that she had been in a mental hospital for the past eighteen months, only recently released," Verbina told him. He exhaled. "I guess she never got over her sister's death." "Admiral," a voice interrupted. Al rolled his eyes and looked at Verbina, annoyed by the interruption but also thankful for it. She returned the look with a slight shrug. "What is it, Ziggy?" Al finally replied to the interruption. "I thought that you would like to know that we have a guest in the Waiting Room." Al took a breath and slowly exhaled. "Thank you, Ziggy. Dr. Beeks and I will be down shortly." "Very well, Admiral," the computer replied before leaving the two in peace. Al stood up and looked at Verbina. "Shall we go?" She nodded slowly before standing and looking at him with concern. "Are you going to be all right concerning Angela?" He gave her a slight smile. "I'll be all right," he told her before he headed for the door. Verbina watched Al as she followed him, knowing that he had just lied. Soft lips pressed up against his and, for a moment, he forgot he was kissing a stranger. Not only did he let himself be kissed, but also he kissed her in return, relishing in the brief moment and knowing that this woman truly cared for the person she thought she was kissing. The moment broke however when Sam Beckett noticed she was starting to unbutton his shirt. He gently pulled away from her, trying his best not to make the situation more uncomfortable. "Baby, what's wrong?" the woman asked as Sam buttoned his shirt, not looking at her. "Nothing's wrong," Sam assured, trying to keep his voice from saying otherwise. The woman frowned at him, placing his hands on her hips. "You're worried about him, aren't you? I told you, we broke up over a year ago. He dumped ME remember?" Sam hadn't looked at her yet. He laughed weakly, nervously. "Well," he started with an embarrassed smile. He finally looked at the woman he had kissed and his smile faded to a look of pure shock. "Oh, my gawd!" he whispered. "Beth?" She glared at him before taking a step forward and slapping him hard across the face. "That's not funny, Dick!" she growled at him. "She's not Beth, Sam," Al told the scientist as Sam rubbed his cheek. "I know that," Sam whispered back to the Observer, not knowing that his assailant heard him as well. "Then why the hell did you say it?" she said angrily. Sam looked to Al for help to see the Admiral looking at her with haunted eyes. "Gawd, she looks so much like her!" Al said mostly to himself. She was still waiting for a reply. "Well?" she demanded. Sam looked at her, again startled by the resemblance. "I..." he started with hesitation. She frowned at him. "You know, Dick? Sometimes, you can he a real asshole." With those words, she quickly exited through a door, slamming it as she left. Sam and Al stared at the door through which she had left, each with their own unique expression. Al whistled quietly. "Still was fiery as ever, I see." Sam looked at his partner with confusion. "You know her?" Al turned away and walked a short ways with a huff of a laugh. "You kiddin'? I dated her once upon a time." Sam blinked, trying to absorb the latest bit of information he was given. Al looked at his friend and raised his eyebrows at the look of confused shock on Sam's face. "Don't look so shocked about it, Sam." He pointed towards the door. "I mean, it's pretty obvious why I dated her." "She looks like Beth," Sam reasoned. Al nodded slightly. "A hell of a lot like her and she knew it. I told her so. So, it's no wonder that she blew her top with your reaction." Sam exhaled, looking at his surroundings. The apartment was definitely the kind that the upper middle class, or the lower upper class, would keep. The living room was very spacious with leather sofas and chairs, oak tables, and brass lamps. There was a well-applianced kitchen to the right of the front door and there were a couple of doors to the left, presumably the bedrooms of the apartment. Just across from the front door was a large bay window, which overlooked a city. To the right of the door was two other doors which, Sam presumed, were a closet and a bathroom. All this Sam gathered with a quick glance before sitting on a leather couch and facing Al. "Al, what is going on here? Who is she? How did you meet?" Al took a breath before raising the handlink. His eyes squinted ever so slightly as he read the information Ziggy was providing to him. "Today's April 22, 1980, and your name is Dick Anderson-Kemp. You're a thirty-three year old accountant with an ego that almost surpasses Ziggy's." He looked at Sam pointedly. "The guy in the Waiting Room? He's driving Beeks nuts! He thinks he's God's gift to women. Anyway, you work for a big time accounting firm in Charlottesville, Virginia, and you make a whopping thirty thousand dollars a year, rounded to the nearest thousandth." He raised his eyebrows. "And you're due for a promotion. Makes me wonder why this guy lives in Virginia." Sam nodded at the information. "What about her?" Al raised his head upon Sam's question, lowering the handlink as he did so. "Susan Chambers," he told him. "Twenty-seven year old business woman. Runs and owns her own shop near her alma mater, the University of Virginia. She loved the Beatles, chocolate, really good lasagna, horror movies, and sleeping naked in satin sheets." He smiled at the embarrassed flush in Sam's face. "You asked," he reminded. Sam cleared his throat with discomfort. "So you did more than just date her." A gentle smile crossed Al's face. "We had our moments." He exhaled. "I was going to marry her but it just didn't work out." That caught Sam's attention. "Let me guess. She left you." Al shook his head. "No. I left her." Sam raised his eyebrows in surprise. Al shrugged slightly, almost nonchalantly. "We were... engaged... for a short while but one day I realized that I was going to marry her because she looked like Beth, not because she was Susan Chambers." "And that angered her," Sam concluded. "Infuriated her is more like it," Al replied, beginning a well remembered eight step pace. "She had fallen head over heels for the war hero who barely survived eight years in a Vietnamese POW camp. And me? Every time I looked at her, all I could see was the wife who wasn't there waiting for me when I returned a year before." He hesitated. "Plus she was only a kid - twenty-three years old - and I was forty-two. We weren't really made for each other." He looked towards the door again. "Looks like she never really forgave me for unintentionally leading her on." He exhaled and rubbed his face. Sam thought for a moment. "What else did you see in her? I mean, it had to be more than the fact that she looks like Beth. Did she act like her?" Al laughed sadly. "There was nothing else, Sam. She and Beth were nothing alike other than appearance. Susan had one hell of a temper and like things a little on the kinky side. Beth was almost made of patience and was more interested in the emotion of love rather than the act, if you know what I mean." He took a breath. "When I met Susan, I was still hoping that Beth would find out that I was alive and that she would come running into my arms. I'd just gotten out of the hospital and, subconsciously, I thought that Susan would be the closest I would get to having Beth back in my life." Sam took a breath, placing what Al told him to a corner in his mind. "So, why have I leaped into your ex-girlfriend's boyfriend?" "My ex-fiancée's fiancé," Al corrected. "They get married?" Sam questioned. "Well, that was the intention." Sam frowned. "Let me guess. He dumps her too." Al blinked a couple of times, a sad look on his face. "No. She dies." His words shocked Sam. The latter closed his eyes sadly. "She died young." Al hesitated. "She died on April 23rd, 1980." Sam quickly opened his eyes and looked at Al with surprise. "The 23rd? But that's..." Al nodded. "She dies tomorrow."