Tear of Betrayal

Chapter 1 

Alamogordo, New Mexico 
August 29, 1999

	*Is this tall enough?* she wondered as she stood on the ledge, looking
down from the top of a 20-story building. *Is this high enough for him
to understand my message? *She exhaled, taking a few steps away from the
ledge. *I guess it will have to be. It must be. He must understand what
he did to me. He has to pay somehow. *She took a deep breath and let it
out slowly. *And this is that somehow.* 
	With firm determination in her eyes, she started running towards the
ledge. She bounced off the ledge and into the air, a ribbon-like tail
attached to her midframe. She spread her arms as if she could fly, her
eyes closed so that she wouldn't see the ground rushing toward her at an
incredible speed. She didn't open them until she felt the bounce,
certain that the bungie cord she had strapped around her chest was
preventing her from falling further than ten floors. 
	She looked down, with tired and anguished eyes, at the crowd that had
gathered. *They're wondering what the hell I'm doing. Some of them are
probably expecting me to start climbing up my cord. *She tried to
distinguish between the faces in the crowd. Yet, even though she
couldn't see any of the faces below her, she knew he wasn't there.
*Where is he?* she demanded silently. *He has to be here. He must be
here in person.* His presence was the only way, she felt, she would find
peace - and revenge. 	
	"I guess I'll just have to wait," she told herself, crossing her arms
over her plain navy T-shirt. She closed her eyes and let the wind blow
her brown ponytail, let the sun shine on her deeply-tanned skin, let her
jean-covered legs hang limply against the building's wall. 
	It wasn't long before she heard the sirens coming closer and closer
until they were directly below her. She opened her eyes and looked down
to see that the crowd had grown considerably and was now being urged to
step clear of the building. Police officers, both uniformed and
plain-clothed, were entering the building through the front door below
	*Let them come*, she thought grimly. *They won't stop me from letting
justice be served.*
	She waited again, waited for the assistance she did not want but knew
was necessary to have her revenge. It was not long before that
assistance came.
	A window, about five feet to her right, opened and a woman stuck her
head out, looking at her with concern.
	"Ma'am, my name is Lieutenant Susan Harris." The Lieutenant gave her a
gentle smile. "You have nothing to worry about. We'll get you out of
this as soon as possible."
	But she shook her head firmly at the Lieutenant's assurances, taking a
sharp pair of scissors from the right pocket of her jeans.
	"You make any move to pull me in or up and I'll cut the cord," she
warned the Lieutenant. "I swear I will."
	Lieutenant Harris looked at the woman with shock before she quickly
pulled her head back in the building. "Hold it, guys!" she said as
calmly as she could to the others in the room. "We've got a suicide
attempt on our hands. She's threatened to cut her bungie cord if we try
to bring her up or pull her in." With a calming breath, she relied on
her fellow officers to take the appropriate actions while she put her
head out the window again.
	The woman raised the scissors above her head and around the cord, ready
to snip the cord in half at a moment's notice.
	Harris put out a reassuring hand. "I'm not going to try to pull you in.
I promise. I just want to talk to you. Okay?"
	The woman looked at her with suspicion but didn't move an inch.
	Harris took a breath. "What's your name?"
	The woman didn't answer right away. "It's Angela," she told her.
"Angela Bea Cotton."
	"Why are you doing this, Angela? What do you want?"
	"Justice," Angela told her bluntly. "I want justice. I want him here,
right here. I swear, if anyone makes a move on me before I see him, I'll
cut the rope."
	Harris looked at her carefully. "Who is it you want to see?"
	Angela hesitated a moment before speaking.
	"Albert Calavicci," she finally said. "I want to see Albert Calavicci."
	Harris nodded before looking in the building and then back at Angela.
The latter woman seemed nervous. "Okay, Angela. I'll see what we can
do." She stepped away from the window with a quiet exhale, facing a man
in a plain navy suit as she did so. "Captain," she greeted somberly but
with respect.
	The Captain, a middle-height, middle-aged black man, looked at her with
question. "What's the situation?"
	Harris exhaled. "The woman's name is Angela Cotton, sir. She says she
wants to see someone named Albert Calavicci and he'll cut herself down
if we try to bring her in."
	The Captain took a breath. "So, who is this Calavicci guy? Her
	Harris shook her head. "I don't know. I didn't push the subject. She
seems a little antsy."
	The Captain thought for a moment. "Okay, Lieutenant. We have a
psychiatrist coming right now. Until he gets here, I need you to keep
Angela calm while we track down this Calavicci guy."
	Harris nodded, showing that she understood her instructions. "Will do,
	The Captain turned to another officer in the office they were
occupying. "Peters, find this guy. Find out who he is, find out where he
is, and get him over here ASAP."
	"Yes, sir," Peters replied before leaving the room. 

	The person for whom Peters was searching sat at a plain wooden desk in
a plainly decorated office, his eyes firmly focusing through a pair of
purple-rimmed reading glasses. He sat back in his chair and exhaled,
removing the glasses before rubbing the bridge of his nose with his
right index finger. He lowered his hand and closed his eyes with
fatigue.  Sometimes being in charge was a serious pain in the ass, in the opinion
of Rear Admiral Albert Anthony Calavicci. It was tiresome to have to
read consumption reports of every kind all the time - almost as tiresome
as approving or disapproving requests of every kind. Requests for
vacation time, for supplies for every area of the complex, for
appointments, for reviews - the list was seemingly endless. Sometimes Al
just wanted to put all of the paperwork into the trash can and make
someone else do it.
	This was one of those sometimes.
	Al was beginning to feel old and there was more to it than his being
sixty-five years and a few months old. It was more than the fact that he
was becoming increasingly far-sighted, making it necessary for him to
use reading glasses when he worked alone in the office. It was more than
the fact that he tended to tire more easily than he did five years ago.
It was a combination of all of the above and of the job he performed
every day for the past four and a half years. It was also the fact that
everyone had just recently celebrated his best friend's birthday -
without the guest of honor.
	Al felt like a rubber ball, bouncing around the Project Quantum Leap
complex as much as Dr. Samuel Beckett was bouncing around in time. There
were so many things Al had to do - so many responsibilities to which he
had to attend. Sometimes he felt overpowered with all his
responsibilities. However, he never - not once - regretted having them.
	Having rested his tiring eyes briefly, Al reflexively adjusted his pale
blue dress jacket before picking up a sheet of paper and placing his
glasses back over his eyes. Quickly reading the request for approval of
food supplies, he initialed the paper and placed it to the side.
	"Admiral," a silky feminine voice interrupted Al's picking up yet
another report.
	Al looked up at the ceiling, removing the reading glasses as he did so.
He knew his actions were very likely pointless. The owner of the voice
probably already knew Al had the glasses and she was definitely not
located on the ceiling. In fact, she was several floors below Al's
	"Yes, Ziggy," he replied to the beckon. "Has Sam leaped?"
	"Negative, Admiral. Dr. Beckett remains between leaps," the silky voice
told him. "However, I believe I have come across something about which
you should be immediately informed."
	Al frowned with curiosity, placing the glasses on top of his desk as he
leaned slightly forward in his chair.
	"What is it?" he questioned, wondering what Project Quantum Leap's
hybrid computer had found.
	"I have been scanning the police channels throughout the state and I
have come across something very disturbing," Ziggy started. "The
Alamogordo Police Department is searching for you."
	Al's eyes widened in shock. "What? Why?"
	"Your presence is demanded at the sight of an attempted suicide."
	"By whom?"
	"By the woman who is attempting suicide."
	Al was seriously thinking about what he had been told. "Who is the
	"I have as yet been unable to discover her identity, Admiral," Ziggy
told him plainly. "However, I believe it would be wise and prudent if
you and Dr. Beeks were to proceed immediately to the police scene in
Alamogordo. The woman had threatened to kill herself if you do not
arrive before sunset."
	Al exhaled, standing with determination. "Okay, then. Have Beeks meet
me on Level One and see if you can get anything on this woman." He
walked towards his office door. "Contact me the minute you have anything
on this situation and why whoever this woman is wants to see me."
	Exiting the office, he walked down the brightly-lit hallway, thinking
seriously about the turn of events. Who was this woman who demanded his
presence and why him? He was certain that no one he knew would even
think of suicide much less attempt it.
	He stopped at the elevator and waited patiently for the cab to arrive.
The elevator doors opened moments later to reveal a lovely black woman
waiting in the cab. He joined the woman, giving her a nod.
	"You're quick," he commented to her.
	"Obviously, Ziggy informed you of the situation at the same time she
informed me," Verbina Beeks concluded as the cab continued its rise to
the top level of the complex. "So, who is this person? Or do you know?"
	Al shook his head. "No idea. I figure if my presence there will save
her life, I don't care who she is."
	Verbina looked at the Admiral with care. "You're concerned that she
really is someone you know."
	Al returned the look. "Wouldn't you be?"
	Verbina gave him a little smile. "Yes, I would. But there's something
else, isn't there?"
	Al exhaled. "If I don't know her, why did she ask for me?"
	The two remained silent as the elevator door opened. They stepped out
and walked towards a large, well-guarded, metal door.
	"We won't know the answer to that until we get there," Verbina finally
answered as they approached the door and exited the complex.
	The moment Al and Verbina arrived at the twenty-story building, Al
introduced both of them to the nearest police officer. Hearing Al's
name, the officer raised his eyebrows. He lifted his radio and informed
his captain of the new arrivals. A moment later, he escorted Al and
Verbina past the police line.
	The Captain stepped out of the building a moment later and looked at
the two arrivals with firm eyes.
	"Al Calavicci?" he questioned.
	Al nodded firmly.
	The Captain extended his hand. "Captain Joe Reese."
	Al shook his head and released it. "Dr. Verbina Beeks, psychiatrist,"
he introduced his companion.
	Reese and Verbina shook hands.
	"So," Reese started. "What's between you and this woman?"
	Al looked up at the woman hanging ten floors above him. "I've never
seen her before."
	"Are you sure about that?"
	Al turned his eyes to him. "Positive."
	Reese looked at him carefully. "You know, that's funny because she
asked for you by name and here you came walking right into our hands."
	Al lowered his eyelids slightly. "I have my resources," he told him.
"Look, Captain, we could stand here all day and argue why she called for
me or we can go up and get that woman out of danger. Personally, I
prefer the latter. Don't you?"	
	Reese took a breath before escorting Al and Verbina into the building.
A few minutes later, the three entered the office, which had been set up
as a temporary center of operations.
	"What's her name? What does she want?" Al asked, looking towards the
open window and the man who was leaning slightly out of it to talk to
the woman.
	"She says her name is Angela Bea Cotton," the Captain told him. "Our
psychiatrist has been talking to her but so far all she had demanded was
you. She won't say anything else."
	As the Captain finished his sentence, the psychiatrist came back into
the room and turned towards him. The psychiatrist shook his head.
	"All she does is keep demanding for Al Calavicci," he told Reese.
	Reese nodded. "Well, her demands have been answered. Dr. Anson, Dr.
Calavicci," he introduced.
	Al and Anson shook hands.
	"Are you sure you've never heard of Angela Bea Cotton," Reese repeated
	Al exhaled slowly. "Captain, if I knew this woman, I promise you that I
would have told you by now. But I don't and I have no idea why she would
ask for me." He turned to Anson. "How is she?"
	Anson took a breath. "Very emotional. Very angry."
	"Angry?" Verbina questioned. "About what?"
	Anson shook his head. "I don't know but it definitely has something to
do with you, Mr. Calavicci."
	"Admiral," Al corrected gently. He exhaled. "If she's angry with me for
whatever reason, then I'm the last person she should see."
	"You might be the only person who can talk her into coming in," Verbina
told him gently.
	Al rubbed the bottom of his face gently, thinking seriously about the
situation. "Well, then, I'd better get to work. Don't you think?" he
commented to Verbina before slowly heading for the window.
	"I'll guide you through it," Verbina informed him, following him to the
	Reese and Anson watched as Al and Verbina reached the window.
	"You sure this is a good idea?" Reese questioned.
	Anson paused. "I don't think anyone else would be acceptable to her.
He's probably the last hop we have in bringing her back in."
	Reese frowned slightly at the statement but accepted the truth of it.
	Al took a deep breath before slowly sticking his head and shoulders out
of the window while Verbina positioned herself so that she could assist
as best as possible.
	"Angela," he said gently.
	Angela quickly looked towards the voice and glared at the source.
"There you are, you son of a bitch," she commented angrily.
	This is getting off to a great start, Al thought sadly but didn't allow
any signs of despair show on his face.
	"Angela, I understand you asked to see me," he started. "I'm here now,
Angela, just like you wanted. So why don't you come on in and discuss
your grievances with me."
	Angela huffed. "Grievances," she repeated quietly. "Do you know the
etymology of that word, Al Calavicci? It comes from the Old French verb
"grever", which means "to grieve". Therefore, a grievance is something
that causes one to grieve." She looked at Al with deep hatred. "That
means you are my grievance, Al Calavicci. You destroyed my life, you
bastard! She named you! You killed her!" She raised her scissors and put
the cord between the blades.
	"Wait a minute, Angela!" Al said firmly but quietly. "Let's talk about
	Angela glared at him. "You think I asked for you just so you could pull
me in? I don't think so." She closed the blades quickly together.
	"No!" Al screamed, reaching out for her.
	But it was too late. Angela tumbled down at a dizzying rate as
spectators watched from the ground with terrifying curiosity. 
	Al dropped to his knees in anguish, unable to bear what he was
witnessing. He closed his eyes to block out the sight. Little did he
know that he would still be able to hear Angela hit the sidewalk, even
when he was eleven stories up.