CHAPTER 18 All at once Rosie noticed the windows to the cafeteria darken. The light from the moon casting strange shadows that reflected from the windows of the two storey building. She tried to stand but her legs collapsed beneath her, she had no feeling whatsoever in either her hands or feet. In a vain attempt to move, she began crawling along the gravel towards the entrance. It took a long time, but eventually she reached the entrance. She sat looking through the double glass panes of the door, looking for anyone who might see her. When she decided it was save, she skimmed her security card through the scanner, the heavy external door opened and she slid inside. She could hear whispering and then a giggle echo through the tunnels, not knowing where, she slithered into a corner, waiting, desperately wanting something warm to drink. All went quiet, she started to head for the cafeteria door. Suddenly a crash vibrated through the caverns, she hesitated, a door slammed shut, then all was quiet again. By now the warmth had returned some feeling to her limbs, they felt hot, throbbing and painful, she opened the door and entered the cafeteria. She went into the kitchen area and found a half filled pot of coffee. She placed it onto the burner and waited for it to warm thorough, holding her hands near the fame she rubbed them together. She noticed then her cut and bleeding palms, despite her gloves, the rough gravel had almost ripped them to shreds. She started cleaning herself up when she heard voices outside in the cafeteria, she crouched down. "I can't see anyone." A male voice said, the voice sounded like Al. "I'll go and check the security codes with Ziggy, see who's the last to come through the doors." This was a female voice. 'It must be Beth,' she thought. Rosie heard the door close but she dare not move. Realisation dawned on her, 'her security card, she'd used her security card in the scanner', now she would be found out, Ziggy would tell Beth. 'Better to face them now than in the morning she thought,' Quickly she poured herself a mug of coffee and walked out into the cafeteria. She could see Al through the glass, he was standing guard outside in the corridor. She continued on her way, pretending not to notice him there. A voice in her head telling her to keep calm. "Oh Al!" she feigned surprised, "I couldn't sleep, so I went for a walk. Didn't realise it was so cold, I made a coffee to warm me up, I'm freezing." "That's okay Rosie, you don't have to explain to me. I thought I heard something smash, must be the wind, eh." Al saw her dishevelled clothing, especially the worn patches on the knees of her jeans. He knew where she'd been, no need to question her now, it could wait till morning, he was hurting. All he wanted at this moment was his bed and sleep. "Goodnight Rosie, sleep well." He chucked to himself as Rosie continued down the corridor to her quarters. Beth appeared at the corner, "I know who it was," she said. Al whispered, not wanting Rosie to hear him, "Yeah I know, she feignin' sleeplessness." "No Al, It's Sam," She pulled at Al's bathrobe sleeve, "come here." Al followed Beth into Sam's office. She pointed to the far wall and whispered. "That's Sam's bedroom, right." Al's lowered his voice. "Yeah so?" "I think Bernie's in there too. I heard her laughing and I'd know Sam's laugh anywhere." "Leave em to it, they're young, and besides, he deserves it." Al walked out of the office, Beth following, "She's a good kid and deserves him. I think this is gonna work out just fine. Two of a kind they are, two of a kind." He opened the door to their quarters, Beth followed him inside, smiling, "You know I think it will." * * * * * Sam didn't sleep, he was too absorbed, watching in wonderment at Bernie as she slept. She lay in his arms and he was content, blissfully elated. He breathed in her perfume, the perfume of their love. This was more than he could have ever wished for, ever dreamt of. He'd always had visions of a love like this, but he's always thought of them as being fanciful, illusive, unreachable. He'd always felt awkward around women, even Donna, but not Bernie. She was so easy to talk to, be with. They shared the same feelings, doubts and anxieties. He loved her as no other, and she loved him. Bernie stirred in her sleep. Sam couldn't help but kiss her, he longed for her all over again, his desire was almost unbearable. Her hand moved, slowly, touching him. The tingles she gave him reminded him of when he was leaping, but he was not leaping now, he wasn't going anywhere. He desired nothing more than 'this' moment in 'time'. His passion intensified, she responded with her own yearning, their harmony. * * * * * Sam lay with Bernie in his arms, "I'm sorry about last night." "What do you mean, you're sorry?" "That wasn't me, last night I mean, I'm not usually so....." "Don't be sorry Sam, last night meant more to me than you can imagine. I learned a lot about myself last night, it wasn't your actions I was scared of, it was the man, the wrong man. It's true, actions do speak louder than words, but it also depends on who's actions they are, maybe you did act a little out of the blue, but don't be rueful about it." Bernie sat up, "Blame it on that big, bad lump on your head," she turned, laughing and tickled Sam playfully. Sam wrestled her back for the torture she'd inflicted, he felt like a kid of sixteen, instead of the middle-aged man he was. He didn't feel old, his body ached from the night before but he didn't feel the pain, after all, love was a stronger potion than any pills. They were still fooling around when Al knocked on the door, "Sam, it's nearly nine." He hollered through the door, "Are you getting ready? There's a stack of stuff to do today. Beth says she'll help Bernie with her packing." Bernie stifled a giggle. "I know you're in there, both of you, erm, you made enough noise last night. Oh and don't be embarrassed about it, 'cos we sure aint." Sam hollered back, "Should've known, eagle-eyed Al would know everything. Aint that right Al, see all, hear all and tell all" "Aw that's not fair Sam, I didn't tell a soul, I didn't have to." "We weren't that noisy Al." Sam turned to Bernie and whispered, "Were we?" "Well I just found out what that unearthly crash was in the early hours. Do you know your door frame's all smashed in?" Sam whispered, "I did that?" suppressing a hearty laugh. "Yeah you did." "Ahm, wont be long Al, just a few minutes." "Okay pal, don't be too long though, I don't think Rosie will be in the mood for keeping food warm." Al's footsteps faded down the corridor. "Better get some of your things packed, I don't think Beth will be long." Sam looked around, as he dressed himself, "Where's my clothes from last night? They're not in the cafeteria are they?" "No, Beth and I took them to the laundry, they should be dry by now." "Nah, it's okay, just wondered if they were still lying about." "Don't worry we did tidy up everything." "Look if you see Rosie, I want you to go along with everything she says, as if you don't know anything about any of this. Can you do that for me? You won't come to any harm, Ziggy's watching and listening for anything she's doing. Be wary of her though, we don't know what she's capable of." "Ziggy can see us too?" "Well no, not really, but her sensors can pick up everyone's proximity. Just be careful." "I will, I promise." Sam kissed her and left for the cafeteria. Bernie dressed in her nightgown and bathrobe, went to her quarters. Beth was already waiting outside for her, she smiled at Bernie as she approached. * * * * * Sam joined Al at the table. He wasn't really hungry and neither was Al, he could tell by the way Al was holding his fork, poking and prodding the food on his plate. "How are you this morning?" Sam asked. "Ah, not too bad I suppose, didn't sleep much." "Hurting, huh?" "Didn't know where to put myself half the time. How's your head?" "Throbbing, but I'll be okay. I didn't sleep either." "Didn't think you would, ha-ha. Ahm" Rosie carried a tray over to the table, she smiled pleasantly as she approached. She placed Sam's usual breakfast in front of him, she hesitated. "Was there something you wanted Rosie?" Sam's brow creased as he looked at her. "I-I wondered if I could have a word with you later," she bent closer to Sam. "In private?" "Yeah, I've time after breakfast, I'll see you then, in my office." "Thanks Sam." She smiled again. "Would you like tea or coffee this morning Sam?" Rosie was surprisingly pleasant. "and you Al?" Al looked at Sam his eyebrows raised, "Coffee for me." He twiddled his fork above his plate. "Me too, thanks Rosie." Sam was equally surprised. Rosie smiled, turning she walked away. "Gawd Sam, that's a turn up for the books. Did we miss some of that conversation last night?" Al's eyes followed Rosie back to the counter. "Well you were goin' on about that damned gun, I wouldn't be at all surprised if we did." Sam bit on his muffin. "Astonishing what a stroll in the desert can do." "Yer know, she didn't get back till five thirty." "What!" Sam nearly choked. "Five thirty." He swallowed, "What was she doin' till then? We didn't pass her on the way, did we? I can't remember seein' her." "Neither did I, and here's the weird part, when I was lookin' to see who was makin' all the racket," Al grinned, "she just came strolling outta here as if nothin' happened, and Sam she was filthy. I mean the knees on her jeans were all scuffed, her face red from the cold. Looked to me like she'd bin crawlin' around out there." "What's she up to Al? What's goin' round that head of hers?" "Your guess is as good as mine pal, we've got a good idea, but the way she's gonna go about it is anyone's guess." Sam pushed his plate to one side. "I think Sammi should go too, with us when we leave later, just to be safe." "Why's that? Do you think she could be......." "I-I don't know if she's in any danger. How can anyone know, h-how a criminal brain works?" "Beats me pal, you got me stumped on that one." Sam stood up, "Al, I've got Ziggy monitoring everything Rosie does, so I'll see you later." he turned to Rosie, she was watching him. "When you're ready Rosie." "Okay Sam, I'll only be a few minutes, I'll just finish up here." She walked over to the table. As Sam left, she cleared the table, "You two must have had a good night. You both look a little worse for wear. Have a hangover do you? Neither of you have eaten much." "Nah, neither of us drink much." "You didn't get into a drunken brawl then?" "Nope, just a little accident with the truck." "That why you didn't get back till late?" Al's eye twitched as he thought, 'she could give herself away here.......' "Erm, no that was early evening, we didn't go out later." "But I saw you both in the car....." she hesitated, realising what she'd just said, "....park." 'Ha-ha!' he laughed to himself, 'I knew I could trick her.' "I saw you in the corridor last night, remember, Sam wasn't with me though." "Oh yes, sorry Al, I remember." She hurriedly picked up the tray of dishes she'd collected, and scrambled into the kitchen. A few minutes later she reappeared, she smiled awkwardly at Al as she passed him, on her way to see Sam. Sam sat behind the desk in his office, his bandaged hands resting casually on its surface. Rosie knocked on the door. "Come in." Sam said in an authoritative voice. Rosie entered. "Sit down." He indicated to the chair facing him. Rosie did not sit, instead she moved round the desk to Sam's left side, touching the desk with her finger tips provocatively. She stood close to him, her fingers trailed from the desk to Sam's left hand, she leaned over and traced them to the other hand. Sam swallowed hard not knowing what to expect. She then trailed her fingers up his arm. When she reached his shoulder she grabbed him with both hands and pushed him backwards. The wheels on his chair skidded on the thick pile of the carpet, crashing into the filing cabinet behind. Facing him, she straddled him. Sam tried to stand but he was off balance and she pushed him back down, banging his head into the metal handle, blackness taking over for a second. Her full weight pressed on his legs. He tried to push away, but his shoes just slipped on the carpet, the cabinet behind blocking the way. She tore at his shirt, ripping it open. Her fingers tightened around his pectorals, she squeezed, hurting him. She leaned forward biting his neck, her hands moved to his abdomen then lower, her teeth still gripping his neck, her fingers were swift, she found what she wanted. "Ziggy! Do something!" Sam shouted in desperation, fighting against the dizziness and darkness subduing him.