Part Two: [Partially] Revealed Truths

Gregory Hughes arises in his bed to the morning sun streaking through his bedroom's ceiling high windows. The bright light makes his eyes cloud, and he has a feeling of disorientation as his pupils quickly adjust themselves. Shaking sleep away from his body, he exits his bedroom to check on Olivia. As is ritual, he walks toward her separate bedroom to dine with her at eight o'clock on the dot.

He is not surprised to see the room empty as he arrives. Olivia has the habit of either not returning until mid-day or getting up early and exiting before he arrives. But for some reason he continues to pursue her in the mornings, for the unlikely, but occasional breakfast. He isn't in love with Olivia, far from it, but he is slightly infatuated with her dashing beauty. Besides, a married man needs to fulfill his desires from time to time, and he relishes the thought of partaking in such activities with Olivia.

Gregory decides that it is one of those mornings that Olivia has not yet returned. He can tell by the unwrinkled sheets, and the tidy room, still so from the maid's afternoon cleaning.

He walks over and caresses the red sheets; they are picked specifically by Gregory to complement Olivia's auburn hair. He loves the rich style, not knowing it is gaudy in Olivia's eyes.

The maid walks in with the usual tray of foods: pancakes stacked high, sizzling bacon, buttered toast, fluffy scrambled eggs, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. All are picked by Gregory, the menu never changing.

He has to again announce that his wife will not be joining him today.

"But Señor Hughes, Señora Hughes is at home. I heard her in the guest room in the east wing. You wish that I fetch her?"

"No, that's quite alright, Lucia, I'll find her." And with that, he starts off toward the east wing of the house.

Lucia grumbles at the thought of her haughty master finding Señora Hughes in her present state. She tries not to think of her role in the impending disaster. Instead, she busies herself organizing the food. Silly jefe, thinks Lucia. She frowns at the monotonous breakfast, realizing that like Gregory's mundane American appearance, it has never been complimented with the fiery chorizos or the delicious pan famous in Spain.

* * *

As Gregory approaches the guest bedroom, he hears no sounds; an eerie silence instead takes its place.

For a moment, he believes his ears to be deceiving him as faint whispers slip through the cracked door. The sounds gently float out of the room to caress his ears. The voice is unmistakable despite the low decibel - Olivia and some foreign guest.

Creeping slowly to the entrance of the bedroom, Gregory readies himself for anything that might await. Images flash in his mind of a promiscuous Olivia, straddling some muscular, tanned Spanish matador, or admired fútbol player. This is how Gregory Hughes' mind works, leaping to stereotypical illustrations of Spain and its inhabitants. It is in this moment that his world and his views are about to be shaken.

* * *

Olivia revels in ecstasy as she traces Rosalind's olive skin with her finger. Her lover still sleeps, and only slightly shifts as Olivia tickles her side.

"I love watching the morning sun creep over your soft skin. You're beautiful." Olivia leans down to gently kiss Rosalind's cheeks. They radiate a just-rained smell and taste of a full-bodied wine.

"I just love waking up with you. Te amo." Rosalind's sultry Spanish makes Olivia melt. To hear those words is strange, but she doesn't question their context.

"I love you, too." She realizes that she has always loved Rosalind, even though they have only just discovered their mutual feelings.

Rosalind again looks at her deploringly, with the same weary eyes of the night before, inciting excitement and worry. "Hold me,"

As her arms wrap around her only love, Olivia promises, "I'll never let go."

* * *

"Let go of my wife!" Gregory's voice shakes with surprising pitch and shock. His hand wavers as he tries to wipe the image from his eyes: Olivia entwined with some Latin beauty, hair tumbled, sheets rumpled, naked skin. Words escape his lips in a rasping breath. "Oh my God! You whore!"

Olivia rolls her eyes. She speaks gently. "Gregory, calm down." She says his name like an admonishing mother. "It's quite alright. Our marriage is not even real." She calmly collects her strewn clothing and dresses. "Now will you please apologize to me and my guest?"

Gregory continues to stand, stunned and as white as a ghost. "Oh - Oh, this is why. This," He points a finger accusingly at Rosalind, "is why!"

Olivia looks at him, confused. "Why what?" She surveys her pale husband: frail and boring are the only adjectives to describe him.

Gregory looks as if he's about to faint. Teetering, he sits down on the disheveled bed. "Why we never," He trails off, looking longingly at the passion obviously wrought upon the mattress in front of him. "Did this. Why you never looked twice at me."

Olivia feels a slight hint of pity, but also a faint dislike of the ashen man in front of her. "Gregory, let me say this again, our marriage isn't real! It was a ploy! A concoction of Rhyme's that allowed me access to diplomatic ties! Nothing more." She says this with a finality that makes Gregory whimper. She continues, "You never loved me either. You loved my body, but not me. You loved the thought of having me, but not me."

The reality of this statement settles in Gregory's mind and causes Rosalind to wince. He nods, almost imperceptibly, but in a steady way. "You're right. We're a sham of a marriage, of a couple, of love." He pauses. "Wait. I shouldn't use the word love; it isn't even remotely accurate of our relationship. I know that now, and I won't be able to forget it." He gets up and exits with resentment.

Olivia shrugs. Gregory's power, or rather, his weakness does not worry her.

Rosalind speaks to Olivia as she tucks her shirt in. "You should go after him."


"A slighted person is not quick to forgive the offense, and he has ties with Rhyme."

Olivia shrugs again. "Rhyme will tell him to shut up and move on. My position within the government is more important than Gregory's hurt feelings."

Rosalind frowns. Olivia smoothes her lover's loose hairs affectionately. "I can handle him, Roz."

"Can you handle Rhyme?"

* * *

Gregory Hughes hurries to his office and grabs the phone off his desk viciously. A few numbers are punched and he waits for someone to pick up.

"La Casa de Pizza. Cómo puedo ayudarle?"

Gregory growls into the receiver with ferocity he's never shown before. "Put Pickett on the phone!"

"Sí, señor, pepperoni and mushroom - do you want cheese sticks with that?"

"Forget the fucking cheese sticks! Tell Pickett that Gregory Hughes wants to speak with him!"

A scrambling can be heard in the background, chairs scraping, people whispering.

"Hughes? It's Pickett. Is this urgent?"

"It's about Olivia."

* * *

Olivia and Rosalind cautiously skirt Gregory's office, trying to avoid the glowers of the shaken husband.

As they reach outside, Olivia asks Rosalind if they should return to her house. But Rosalind answers simply. "It's not safe."

Olivia gazes at her partner, searching the depths of her chocolate eyes. "What are you afraid of?"

"Everything." She glances around the surrounding marketplace with suspicion. "I can't even tell you why. Not yet."

Olivia envelopes Rosalind in a warm embrace. "Don't you trust me?"

She nods. "But I need my brother with me when I tell the story. He needs to know."

And so they start off toward el Parque de María Luisa on el Paseo de Cristobal Colón. Larker lives on the west side of the park near the river.

"I don't want to bring attention to my brother's house. I'll go around the east side and we'll split up, with you going from the river side." Rosalind says.

Olivia shakes her head fervidly. "No. We can't split up."

So they travel together, down the path to Larker's riverside row house. Rosalind leads the way through back trails, with Olivia holding her hand.

Sticks crunch underfoot as the two make their way through the park. Birds chirp happily. Fragrant aromas of flowers waft about. Squirrels scurry with acorns across their path. But this picturesque scene is disrupted by a strong zephyr from the west, chillingly cold and bringing with it a new smell - an odor of ash and smoke speeding along and hanging under Olivia and Rosalind's noses.

Olivia is first to wrinkle her nose. "Qué horrible! What is that smell?"

Rosalind extends her hand, almost as if touching the scent. Her eyes tear as she smells the aire libre. "Death, destruction." She doesn't finish her sentence as she rushes off toward the origin of the draft.

Olivia finds her lover standing hunched over the Guadalquivir River. The water seems to be on fire, billowing with flame and scorching smoke. Rosalind looks upon the mirrored image with wracking sobs. Behind them stands the row of houses that Larker once lived, now destroyed.

As Olivia approaches Rosalind, she hears a whispered chant escaping her mouth. "Muerte, muerte, muerte." She holds her devastated lover as she continues to whisper, eyes staring listlessly forward, tears streaking her wan face.

"Shh, Roz. Shhh." She rubs her back gently, clutching her tighter. Olivia wishes she can say everything will be alright, but she isn't sure.

Awakening from her shuddering emotion, Rosalind turns to her embracer. "I know who did this." Pain shoots through her eyes as she remembers. "I just saw him yesterday. I - I should have told him - told him to be careful."

Olivia brushes away the falling tears on Rosalind's cheeks. "It's not your fault."

Rosalind kisses Olivia chastely on the lips. "It is my fault, and now I'm going to fix it." She smiles, but her eyes do not light up. "I need to go."

"Go where?"

"Away." She sees Olivia motion to follow her. "Alone."

Olivia struggles not to move. "Why?"

"Revenge." As Rosalind hears Olivia's trailing steps, she halts. "Please. I'll come back to you - I promise. Una promesa. But first, I must fulfill my promise of revenge."

* * *

John Pickett is once again satisfied as he sits leisurely in his plush leather office chair. He has just spoken to Gregory Hughes and has taken action. A single phone call is all it took.

Pickett leans back, pleased at his work. A nap is in order, yet again.

And once more, it is disrupted by Gillian Knisely.

The oak office door slams loudly behind her as she enters. "What the fuck are you doing Pickett?" She snarls at him, her cherry lips curving sinisterly. "This is my project, and I'll give the orders! You had no right!"

Pickett, although subordinate to Gillian, smiles condescendingly. "Someone had to take action. Their liaison could have been damaging to Rhyme. It had to be stopped."

She sweeps long manicured fingers through her wavy red mane. "All you've done is made the situation worse! You fucking killed her brother, not her! Just exactly what were you solving? If anything, there'll be whiplash, and Rosalind James will go directly after us!"

Pickett's hands clasp together. "Exactly. She's coming directly into the line of fire."

Gillian's glowering green eyes glaze over in recognition. "My, my, Pickett. You're a bit more quick than I gave you credit for."

Pickett seems to enjoy the compliment, and leans back in his chair, eyes closing with approval. Their argument has aroused him, and it is painfully obvious, as his erection creates a tent in his pants.

Gillian steps over to stand next to the recumbent Pickett and grasps his phallus in her right hand. She wants to yank the rod, ripping it completely off his body and then see the smirk wiped off his face. Instead, she cradles the pulsing member until he groans.

* * *

Olivia sits stoically at the riverside. The burning remnant of the building behind her stirs no emotions. Firemen frantically try to extinguish the fire, but they know survivors are unlikely. The blaze has spread across the majority of the row along the riverside, causing the Guadalquivir to look molten.

As the orange river reflects upon Olivia's face, lighting her unseeing green eyes, a man exclaims in dismay.

"Dios mío!"

She doesn't turn, even as the voice approaches her. "Perdóname, señora. Tú vives aquí?"

She waves the tenor voice away with a hand swipe. "No, I don't live here."

"You look familiar." The voice speaks English perfectly, with only a slight lilt, much like Rosalind. Like Rosalind.

Olivia spins around quickly to stare at the young man behind her. His tall and lanky body penetrates her view; she can't see his shadowed face.

He backs away at her startling beauty; he does recognize her. Those piercing emerald eyes, the flowing russet locks, the small scar that mars her strong jaw line: it's Olivia.

She in turn surveys the lean man in front of her. His skin tone is the same creamy bronze as Rosalind's and his hair is pitch-black. If it isn't for his deep blue eyes, Olivia could see the identical resemblance to Rosalind.

"Olivia, right." He smiles awkwardly, forgetting about the disaster behind him.

She hesitates, shielding her eyes from the fiery light surrounding him. "Larker." Almost a question, it escapes her lips slowly, he imagines provocatively.

She bolts upright and grabs his arm. "We must find Rosalind!"

* * *

Part 2.1: Fully Revealed Truths

Coming Soon

* * *

[an]: Obviously, there is more to write, but I am tired. Sorry for the delay in updates, writer's block. But anyways, I started this up again after a recent review. Thanks, Neko and Mandie. Hopefully, this can hold my two readers over until next time. Thanks again.