Los Angeles Tuesday evening 7 PM local
Andrea stared at the piece of paper her slave Bob had given her. It was the printed out email that Beth had sent back.
“Dearest Wife, I will be coming to take care of you soon enough. Had to go home on business, but will be back to show how much I want you soon. Your loving husband.”
He left! he really left! She was stunned. Things weren’t going the way she expected, and it disturbed her.
Before, her husband would have leapt into action, heedless of the danger, to save those he loved. “He must have gained wisdom since we were last together,” she said with wonder, “and I guess he had to put away his other treasures first.” But what would she do now? She had two of his girls, but the rest were obviously safely away. She had been so sure.
Well, going to Scotland seemed pointless, he wasn’t there anymore. The gate she had entered this world through was located in northwestern New Mexico, and it would be another couple of weeks, when the moon was right, before she could pursue him. She wasn’t too sure about the time space differential between the two worlds either. She hadn’t had an opportunity to carefully research it when she was locked up, and she had not been inclined to return home since she arrived on Earth, not wanting to deal with the annoyance of being hunted. She looked over at the frozen Cindy and Vivian, and began talking to them.
“Well, a few days on Shiron won’t help him too much, about the only thing he could do his bring back some of his friends. I will be ready for that. Chad will keep the FBI looking for him, and that will keep him from using this world’s weapons against me. And I can deal with any magic he dares to use with the Auditors about.” She walked over, and stroked Cindy’s metallic cheek and looked into the blank reflective orbs that marked where her eyes had been. “Don’t worry, my little toy, you will be in my care for a long time to come.”
Stepping over to Vivian, now posed and transformed into a plastic store mannequin, albeit a beautiful and very detailed one, she stroked Vivian’s plastic lips with her fingers. “As for you, my little fashion queen, it is time for you to go to the mall.” Andrea smiled, deciding that her little slave Julianna and her little boutique would be brightened by this new treasure. “There you will always be in the height of fashion. I know how much you will like that.”
Andrea smiled, at least that would make her feel better for a little while Time to think about her husband later. She would decide what to do then.
John Wayne Airport, Orange County Wednesday 7 AM local time
Tina waited at the concourse, looking out the window as the airliner pulled into the gate. She had been very surprised when Paula had called, asking her to meet her and a friend at the airport. It had been months since she had talked to her and now she was dropping out of the blue. It was a surprise, she was flying in from New York, of all places, when the last she heard, Paula was in Morro Bay. She had asked her to get a whole bunch of things too. Weapons, cars, and other things that hadn't made sense. But Paula had sent a lot of money, and told Tina to keep what she didn’t spend. Well, her boss didn’t mind, so here she was. Waiting for her old co-worker and friend.
A few minutes later, she saw her friend, and a rather handsome man was with her. He was tall, had ice blue eyes and blonde hair, excellent shoulders, and a handsome face. In fact, he kind of reminded her of Clint Eastwood from the old spaghetti westerns in an odd way. Maybe it was the eyes, she decided.
She rushed over and hugged Paula, then waited with some eagerness to meet Paula’s friend.
“Tina, this is my friend Eric. He and I will be working together. Eric, this is Tina.”
Grim looked over at the earnest young woman. She was very pretty, and clearly had benefited from the same magic as Paula, to his amusement. Gavin had told him about what happened to her, and about the fight with Paulus, or Jones as he had been known here. Clearly she didn’t remember any of that, which Grim decided was a good thing for her.
“A pleasure, Tina,” he replied, his voice in a perfect California accent, and he shook her hand warmly. Paula looked over at him, amazed that his educated British accent from a few minutes ago was replaced so perfectly by American Californian. She had noticed that about Wes too. After a few hours, his accent always adapted to whatever accent was required in the region they were in. Maybe it was an adaptation to arriving on Earth, or maybe they were just good at accents. She meant to ask about that soon.
After introductions, Paula persuaded the star struck Tina to lead them to their luggage and the waiting car. They had much to do, and only a few days before Wes and the girls got back.
The Gate of Worlds, Kingdom of Shiron, Midday, 21st Day of Springmonth
Gavin stepped through the gate, and then walked to the far side, waiting for his girls to come through one by one. It was always an experience traveling cross dimensionally, and he hoped the girls would be all right. The sudden shift from normality, then a series of steps that took mere moments but seemed to last forever, the feeling of being stretched and the just plain feeling of oddness, well, it was never fun. But it worked.
One by one the girls stepped through. Sarah was first, looking a bit pale, but determined. Cheryl was next, and looked almost green, clearly fighting nausea. Michelle was next, and she looked fine, although she kept looking around like she expected something to jump out from the shadows. Vanessa came next, and she fainted as soon as she cleared the gate. Gavin went over and picked her up, just as Brandi came through, looking frightened. April came behind her, and as Michelle and Brandi helped Gavin move Vanessa, she said “that was so cool! Can we do it again?” her eyes glowing with excitement. Sarah just shook her head, while Cheryl managed to grin weakly. Kim came through next, smiled as well, clearly enjoying the new adventure. Beth was last, and she helped the shaken Jennifer keep her feet. Beth looked grimly determined, while Jennifer looked more than a bit woozy.
“Ladies, welcome to my home. Sorry if that was a little strange. At least this time the Auditors weren’t in the mood to ask questions,” Gavin said. The girls nodded, and looked around.
The Well was a doorway that led from an immense black pyramid the size and shape of the Pyramid of Giza. It was of a strange black stone, darker than coal, but shiny like obsidian. The pyramid was on a little island, about a mile in diameter, a flat island covered in knee high green grass and flowers. Seabirds were everywhere, and looking out they could see what looked like a castle made of marble a few hundred yards away. Sailing ships where everywhere, and across the water, they could see a city of towers and walls, shining in the warm sun. The air smelled of the sea and of green grass, and was rich and a bit heady.
They were enchanted by the beauty of the scene, and the smell of the clean air. “Umm, we didn’t die or anything did we?” asked Jennifer.
“No darling, you just aren’t used to what really clean air smells like. No pollution here, ladies.”
Looking toward the castle, Gavin announced, “Well, that will be the welcoming committee. You will make an excellent impression I think ladies.”
A squadron of cavalry rode up, led by a tall man who looked very much like Gavin. In fact, the girls began to see, very much like a family resemblance.
“Uncle!” the young captain shouted, and leapt from his horse to embrace Gavin. “It’s good to see you.”
“And you Colin.” Gavin said, a broad smile on his face. This was unexpected luck, and would help move things along quickly. They embraced warmly, and then Gavin introduced his girls to his nephew Colin.
Colin was dazzled by the beautiful young women in front of him; they were almost as beautiful as his step mother, especially for full-blooded humans. He was especially impressed by the busty young woman with flashing green eyes and blonde hair, the one with a shy smile named April. She seemed so sweet.
Jennifer, feeling a little better, nudged her friend. “Hey April,” she whispered, “you have a new fan.”
April blushed a little, and smiled back at the handsome young man. He looked a lot like Gavin, and he was even better built, with a dark tan and warm eyes. She wanted to find out more about this one.
Within a couple of hours, the group was on their way on a small sloop across the bay, with Colin filling in his Uncle on some of the things that had happened at home the last 10 years (on this world) since he left. The displacement effect was working oddly. It had been 10 years since he left Shiron, while he had been on Earth 5 years subjectively. This time, however, because of the alignment of the gate he came through, 3 days on Earth would be over 6 months here this time.
Gavin chuckled to himself as he thought about the difficulties Andrea would have remembering that. The gates always worked differently, and you had to really know the lore of them to get the time frames you wanted. Andrea had never really much been an academic type. Brilliant, but not always ready to study more esoteric things. She probably wouldn’t figure it out until he got back.
Shiron 4th Day of Rainmonth
Gavin sat in the library at the headquarters of the Royal Shironin Scouts, taking a moment to stretch. In front of him, on a large table, were several tomes and scrolls. The room was lit by the glow of magical light, providing a rich warm glow to the room from several wall sconces. He got up and walked to a window, deciding he wanted a smoke.
He had been a busy man the last couple of weeks. First was a meeting with Prince Hans and his friend Riley, not to mention the reunion with his nephew Colin and step-daughter Gabrielle. Then he had to find a long term place for his girls and himself, as his nephew was using his home, and had for several months. He placed Vanessa there, along with April and Jennifer to care for her. Vanessa was still weak, but she had completely healed thankfully.
Michelle, Sarah, Cheryl, Brandi, Kim, and Beth were staying with him in an inn he had rented near the university and military headquarters complex. They were studying, trying to improve their skills in magic, and he had found some tutors from the Nursing Sisters and Scout Academy to help them. He was busily researching, and Prince Hans and Riley, along with the Reverend Mother of the Nursing Order, in finding ways to overcome Andrea and heal her. Or at least prevent her from harming anyone else.
He smiled a bittersweet smile as he stood at the window. It seemed he would be losing April soon though. Colin had fallen head over heels for her, and she, much to her surprise it appeared, had fallen for him. Well, she was a sweet, beautiful, loving girl, and his nephew would be lucky to have her.
Gavin sighed a little, “I will miss you April.” He loved all of his girls, granted, some more than others, but he loved them all. But he knew that she would be happy, and Gavin decided as he finished his cigar that it would be enough for him.
Los Angeles Wednesday 3 PM local time
Grim and Paula drove on the busy LA freeway, with Paula behind the wheel and Grim talking on the phone. It had been a busy day. Her friends at the detective agency, and a friend of hers from LAPD had given her lots of interesting information. A number of prostitutes and strippers had mysteriously disappeared in the Beverly Hills and Hollywood area over the last few months. After looking at pictures and their backgrounds, and the lack of substantial ties any of the missing girls had to family, Grim and Paula agreed that they fit they profile of who Andrea might look for.
Grim and Gavin had agreed in Scotland that Andrea probably had a collection of her own now. It fit what she had done before she had been locked away, and it fit her need to steal his girls now.
What disturbed both of them was the kidnapping of Cindy. Emily had told them about the FBI agent, and Paula wondered if maybe he was dirty. Grim had thought about it and said it was more likely he had been enslaved by Andrea. Either way, he had known about Emily, and that could have led Andrea straight to Cindy. It was just lucky that Emily had been out of town, or she too would have been transformed into who knows what by the psychotic woman.
Paula waited until Grim hung up from his call, then looked over at him.
“So we need to visit him, don’t we?” Paula said.
“Yes. A nighttime visit I think. Are you ok with snatching him? We will have to be careful, we can’t rock the boat too much. But we need to find out if she is controlling him.” Grim replied.
“Well, I never really liked the FBI all that much anyway, always so sure of themselves. And its not as if FBI agents haven’t spied for the bad guys before,” she replied, referring to several FBI agents who had spied for the Russians over the years.
“Yes, well, he probably didn’t have much choice, Paula. Andrea can be very persuasive.”
Paula thought about it, and then nodded. “No, probably not. We aren’t going to give him one either.”
“We will snatch him when he gets home.” Grim decided. Paula looked over, smiled at him, and nodded.
“Well, that gives us a few hours to lie in bed for a while. I might even let you rest some too.” She said, her eyes sparkling and a wicked grin on her face.
Grim smiled at her, she really did seem to be melting his heart, he realized with amazement. “You’re the boss,” he replied. Thinking about, he wondered if Gavin had really needed to leave her here, or was he matchmaking? After thinking a moment, he decided he didn’t really care. She was beautiful, smart, sexy, tough and he would have been honored to serve with her in the Scouts. She reminded him so much of Surina, and he knew he was falling in love.
Los Angeles 5 PM
Andrea sat at her desk, brooding. She had slept restlessly throughout the day, dreams and memories flooding through her thoughts.
“I know what to do now,” she said. She walked over to Cindy, still staring out into the room, her expression blank and her body rigid, waiting for someone to rewind her so that she could serve again. Looking into her eyes, Andrea talked to her. “Yes, I know what to do. I well simply have to arrange for some spies to watch for him to come back. You have to stay here though, my pretty little toy. No time for fun while I am working I am afraid. You won’t mind will you?”
Looking around the room, where the still forms of Holli, Misti and several others stood posed on their stands, “None of you can come this time. But I promise, I will spend lots of time with you when I come back.” Andrea walked to each one, and caressed them lovingly. She loved her pretty toys. She would have to make time when she was finished to sort through her toys and her slaves. After all, she liked variety too, and the ones currently awake and at work needed a chance to be displayed, just like these.
But to work for now, she decided. Andrea walked back to her office, and picked up the phone. She would fly to Britain tonight.
Los Angeles 6 PM
Paula lay on the bed next to Grim, listening to his light snores. They were both nude, and after an intense and passionate lovemaking session, had both dropped off to sleep. She had awoken a few minutes ago, and she lay in bed, thinking and remembering.
It had been two years since she had come to stay with Wes, or Gavin as she now knew him to be called. He and the girls had healed her heart and her soul after what Jones had done to her. Unlike her friends, she had carried the memory of the entire affair with her, and it had tortured her dreams. But Cheryl and Wes had healed her, and the friendship and love from them and the other girls had been wondrous.
She thought about Wes. She didn’t love him, at least the way some of the others did. But she treasured him, and all of the rest. Grim was different. She had fallen for this man, she knew, and she realized with happiness and gratitude, that Wes and the girls had made it possible for her to trust again. And to love.
When this was over, she wanted this man. Even if they left for his home. But she would miss her sisters, her friends, and Wes. “Thank you,” she whispered, “thank you all.” A tear of happiness rolled down her cheek as she smiled.
Getting out of bed, she walked to the bathroom and showered. A few minutes later, she was on the phone to room service and some well earned dinner. She grinned, and then teased Grim awake, and then laughed as he pulled her down to him. They had time before dinner got here, she thought to herself.
Los Angeles 8 PM
Andrea sat in the first class cabin of the 747, watching the city recede as the plane climbed. She was traveling alone, and while still stunning, she had adjusted her appearance so that she appeared human, with her Elven ears and unearthly beauty was toned down to only the beauty of your average beauty contest winner instead of something out of myth. Naturally, she still drew looks, flirtations and stares where ever she went, but she enjoyed those as her due.
Off to New York, and then London and Edinburgh. She would rent a car there, and then scout out the gate before finding and recruiting someone to spy for her. Andrea went over her plan in her head, staring out the window still. “A day in Scotland, another in Ireland, then back to California, hmm, that should get me to San Francisco in time for Saturday I think.”
“I would hate to miss the wedding, after all.”
She smiled wolfishly, and the man next to her, who had been fighting desperately the urge to stare since she got on the plane, shuddered. “How could someone so beautiful look so frightening?” he thought. She suddenly reminded him of a tiger or lioness, so beautiful and yet so dangerous.
Los Angeles 10 PM
Paula and Grim checked each other carefully, making sure everything was ready for their little jaunt to Venice Beach. Another hour, and it would be time to discuss things with a certain FBI agent. He would be very surprised to see them, Paula decided.