Every Day

~Sequel to All That I’m Living For~

Live or Die Series Part 2



Chapter 1


It's been four years since he left on that fateful night and she could still hear his harsh words, feeling the pain shrouding her heart, and hadn't seen him since then.  It was like a fairytale happily ever after crashing and burning into flames as she stared out the window of her beach house in some unknown destination.  She left, after he did, wanting to start over, wanting to be completely isolated from everyone and everything.  Her tears poured down her face almost as hard as the rain currently falling outside, pounding her poor house into oblivion. 


No matter how hard she tried, Juliana couldn't forget him and sighed before raking a hand through her short black hair.  Her angles were cut so they covered one of her eyes, depending which style she wanted, and took it day by day.  Her thoughts suddenly turned to her best friend John and wondered how he was doing. She hadn't seen him in the past four years either.




John was thriving so to say.  He missed his best friend, his adopted sister every day and thought about her constantly, but he didn't hold a grudge for her leaving.  She had done what she felt she needed to do. 


Life went on. 


He buried his hands in the pockets of his brown bomber jacket, tilting his head down to keep the rain from falling in his eyes, just a nameless face among the millions in this city.  He glanced up once the rain had subsided, seeing stars peeking through the clouds and smiled, knowing it wouldn't last, city lights and smog would soon obscure them again. 


“Miss ya kid.” He murmured thoughtfully.




In all honesty, Juliana missed John more than she was willing to admit.  He could always make her laugh with just one joke or turn her bad mood into good.  He knew what she liked, what she didn't.  The man knew her better than her own deceased parents, how fucked was that?  Juliana sighed as she walked away from the window, wrapping her arms around herself, and slowly sank down on the bed as the tears flowed down her cheeks.  She remembered the last time she saw John...




They were on their way to 'Taker's ranch in Texas to fix it up, wanting to sell it.  Neither of them didn't really want to live near a graveyard that was sinking into the ground.  It still unnerved them so 'Taker agreed to sell it and they would find somewhere else to live, the three of them. 


“John, will you hold it for TWO seconds longer?” She growled when she heard him whimpering about having to go to the bathroom, and sighed heavily.  “'Taker, pull over.”


“Damn it.” 'Taker had snapped.  “Can't the boy hold it?”


“I really got to go.” John whined, crossing his legs and bouncing in the backseat of the truck.


“You just went, son!”


“I got to go again, I can't help it!  Too much water!  Jules, please???”


'Taker groaned, slapping his face with one hand.


“If you don't want piss covered backseats, I suggest you pull over, sweetheart.” Juliana said sweetly, batting her eyelashes, and giggled when 'Taker growled in response.  Poor John had a bladder problem, it was obvious.  This was the fifth time they had to stop in less than three hours and they weren't even halfway to Texas yet!


'Taker pulled over, sharply, obviously not amused.  “Hurry the hell up.” He ordered in a growl.


John nodded, all but scrambling over him and Juliana to get out.  He let out a moan of relief moments later.


“That little fucker is pissing on my tires!”


“Where do you want me to go?”




“John, stop pissing on his tires before we leave your ass here!” Juliana shouted out the window before giggling more, smirking when he did as told, and ended up pissing the rest of the way on a nearby bush...or was it weeds?  She didn't know and she didn't care as she leaned back against the seat, shaking her head.  “You don't have to go right?” She glanced at 'Taker, biting her bottom lip, the amusement shining in her blue eyes.


“No, I'm good to go.” He replied gruffly, flashing her a quick smile.




“Oh shit!  I'm uh, springing a leak?”




“They're yellow anyways, they need the water.  Fuck.” John tried shaking himself.  “I can't get it to stop!  Hey, put that down!”


“Oh no...” Juliana groaned when she seen an old farmer raising his rake to beat John's ass for pissing on his rose bush, and looked over at 'Taker, wondering what to do now.  “Uh...should we leave him or stop that farmer from shoving the rake up his ass?”


“Nah, let them go.” 'Taker tilted his head bat, adjusting his hat so it rested over his eyes, folding his arms behind his head, apparently settling in for a long wait.


John was doing a jerky sidestep dance, trying to quit pissing and avoid being beaten with the rake at the same time.  “I'm sorry, I'm sorry!  Ouch!”




Juliana shook her head and stepped out of the vehicle, crossing her arms in front of her chest.  “Jonathan, get in this truck right now, pissy pants!” She ordered with a smirk, causing the old farmer to stare at her hardening, but it didn't faze her.  “I'm so sorry about this, usually he's polite.” She apologized while John continued on with his business.  She couldn't believe she was stalling the old farmer and knew his rose bush would probably shrivel up and die.  Not that it wouldn't anyway, Texas was currently in a drought.


'Taker sighed heavily and glanced out the window, watching with an amused smirk as John continued his little dance.  “Shake and tuck already.” He advised, snorting loudly.


John spun around, spraying the truck.




The farmer poked John with the rake.


“Uh...RUN!” Juliana finally shouted as she hopped back into the truck while 'Taker began to slowly roll away. Her eyes widened as he looked in her rearview mirror, seeing John was running with his pants halfway down, hanging out, away from the angry old farmer.  She couldn't help it and started laughing her ass off, holding her stomach, not believing what a moron her best friend could be at times.


John leaped into the bed of the truck, hastily stuffing himself back in his jeans and zipped his pants up.  He leaned back against the window, looking inside. “You're a prick.” He stated heatedly.


“It's not my fault you can't hold it.”


“How bout you do it for me next time?”


Juliana just laughed harder as she shook her head before settling in for what was going to be an interesting and amusing trip to the house.




Her eyes slowly opened and she started laughing, remembering that moment like it was yesterday.  She missed those times with the two arguing and bickering, 'Taker getting the better of John most of it, but John never giving up.  She sighed heavily and raked her hands through her hair, staring down at the floor, remembering the fight her and John had that forced him to leave a few weeks after the house was sold.


John sighed, picking up his tabby cat-Ana-and put her on the countertop, pouring her a small bowl of cream while he unpacked and put away the few groceries he had bought.  For some reason he couldn't get Juliana off his mind, or 'Taker.  Their last night...




“Whoa, this place still creeps me the fuck out.”


“Why don't you go play in the graveyard?”


John shot Jules a pained look.  “He's a psycho, you know that right?”


“Yes, John, I know he is, but I love him regardless.” She replied as if talking to a five year old, sitting down at the table, and raked a hand through her hair.  John hadn't been too keen on the idea of them being together and she didn't understand why.  It was starting to grate on her nerves as she finally glared at him.  “I need some air.” She growled before walking outside on the back patio, trying to calm her anger down.


'Taker looked at John and shook his head.  “Let's just get this place fixed up and get the hell on out of here.” He said finally.


“Do you have any idea how long that is going to take?  This place is shitty.”


“That's it...I KNOW I left my gun here...”


John picked up a hammer and bolted.


“What do you want John?” Juliana demanded when she heard his sneakers squeak against the patio, folding her arms in front of her chest.  “Come to give me another lecture on why I shouldn't be with 'Taker?” She demanded angrily, eyes remaining narrowed.


“Nope.  I'm going to keep my mouth shut and just work on this list.” John replied, pulling out a paper from his back pocket and wrinkled his nose, glancing up at the porch roof then back at the list.  “Juliana, I can't read this.  Does it say repair shingles on PR?” He held it under her nose.  “Cheer up kid.”


“No because you've pissed me off.” She replied, slowly turning around to face him with those cold midnight blue eyes only she could possess.  “Do you have ANY idea how much you hurt me every time you make a crack about how I shouldn't be with him?  Christ John, I fell in love okay?  I'm in love with him and there's nothing you can SAY or DO to change that!  So stop making those cracks and stop hurting me.  You're supposed to be my best friend, but right now all you are is a jackass.”


“Jules, I'm sorry.” John said softly.  “He just creeps me out, he always has.  I never know if I can really trust him or not, even after all he's done.  Do you blame me?”


‘Taker was leaning in the doorway at this point.


“And he's right behind me?  Isn't he?” John paled.


Juliana just shook her head back at him in disappointment, swallowing back tears.  “Just leave me alone.” She whispered heartbrokenly before walking past him and 'Taker and inside the house, needing some space at the moment. 


She was angry because her best friend didn't trust her judgment.  She did blame John for not trusting 'Taker.  Sure, the man did some things they didn't approve of, but he was ALWAYS there to protect them!


“You know, instead of riding her fucking ass all the damn time,” 'Taker snarled, stepping out onto the porch and closed the door shut behind him with an ominous bang.  “You could come bitch at me.  Your problem is with me, not her, leave her the hell alone already.”


“Yeah, well, like you listen to anyone?  No, you don't, thank you now fuck off.”


‘Taker punched him.


John stumbled backwards, eyes narrowing then tackled the bigger man.


Juliana gasped when she heard fighting going on and immediately rushed back outside, having made it halfway up the stairs and backtracked her steps.  She ran outside on the back porch and gaped at what she saw.  John was on top of 'Taker, trying to hit him, but wasn't succeeding while 'Taker was quickly getting the upper hand on things. 


“Stop it you two stop it!!” She shouted, the tears running down her cheeks, and tried to intervene by pulling on John's shoulder.  “John stop it!!”


“Jules!” John grunted, trying to avoid getting hit and not hit her at the same time. He wound up elbowing her in the jaw.  “SHIT!”


'Taker's green eyes shot fire and he literally tossed John off of him, sending the other man flying into the gravel driveway.  He got up quickly, taking her face in his strong hand.  “Let me see it.” He ordered softly.


She pulled away from him, holding her jaw, and quickly got up before running inside the house, not believing her best friend just struck her.




She hadn't spoken to him since then.  He left later on that night, leaving her a small note saying he was sorry and he hoped she forgave him someday.  She sniffled, slowing pulling the note out of her nightstand drawer, and reread his words.  She already did forgive him as she set it on her bed, her mind drifting to her and 'Taker's final fight before he walked out on her…


Chapter 2


“Damn it, Jules, the little punk fucking co-cocked you!” 'Taker snarled, whirling away from the sink, tossing down the towel he had been wrapping ice in.  He’d been hammering something outside to put on the house and instead of hitting the nail, he hit his thumb.  His green eyes blazed with anger.  “If it'd of been me, you'd be cowering right now, or you'd have taken the fuck off.”


“Damn it 'Taker just stop it already!” She shouted back at him, not believing he was still on her about what happened between her and John.  “He left okay?  He's GONE and I can't find him anywhere!  Our friendship is over!” She shouted, looking away from him, and closed her eyes painfully shut.  It'd been six months since that night and Juliana had drug herself deeper and deeper into depression, missing her best friend like crazy.


He turned to stare at her, eyes cold.  “Then go find him, Juliana.  If you miss him so bad, go find him.” He said finally.  “It's been six months, I'm not making you happy, that's more then obvious.  So maybe it's not me you need in your life, maybe it's John.” He shook his head, raking a hand through his black hair before walking out of the kitchen.


She immediately went after him and spun him around by the arm, tears flowing down her cheeks.  “You bastard!  How can you say that to me?!” She shoved him as hard as her tiny form could, blue eyes engulfed with flames of anger.  “You should be lucky to have me after the shit you pulled with Anderson!  Y-You made me believe you were on his side and then turned on him!  John doesn't fucking trust you and he was wondering why I did after what happened!  And he didn't mean to hit me; it was an accident, a fucking accident!  I love you, you son of a bitch!  I've stayed with you even after you tried raping me and then killing me all to play a mind fuck on Anderson!  If that's not true love, then I don't know what the fuck is, 'Taker!”


“A mind fuck?” Instead of getting louder, 'Taker's voice had gone softer, calmer, which was never a good sign.  The only indication he was beginning to get seriously pissed off was the fact that his eyes were starting to spit fire.  “Juliana, you should know, if I had wanted to rape or kill you, I'd of done it.  I did everything I did to SAVE both you AND John.”


She swallowed hard, hating when he got quiet because it meant he was almost as the end of his rope.  The fear shone in her eyes as she raked a hand through her hair, crossing her arms in front of her chest.  For him to say that if he WANTED to rape and kill her, he would've done it so casually scared her to death and wondered if maybe he really was on Anderson's side and changed his mind at the last second. 


“What is this really about, 'Taker?” She finally asked, her own voice growing quiet, and refused to look back into those intense, fire spitting green eyes of his.


“It's about the fact that, no matter what I do, you're not happy and I think you blame me for John leaving.” He said even more quietly, not pleased with the fact that she refused to look at him.  “And I'm guessing you're probably thinking the worst of me right now, wondering if maybe I would rape or kill you, aren't you?”


Juliana gritted her teeth, hating when he could read what she was thinking, and clenched her fists tightly at her sides.  “I'm heartbroken over losing someone who was like a brother to me, 'Taker!” She cried out, both frustrated and hurt at the same time.  “You have no idea what me and John went through with my family, especially my father!” She could feel the tears sting her eyes as she wrapped her arms around herself, turning so her back was now facing him.  “And for you to say things like that it makes me wonder, yes.  Do you honestly blame me after everything that's happened between us?” Her voice grew softer and calmer, just pure pain now in her tone.


“Yes, I do blame you.” He said evenly, in his honest; no shit; just straight forward and blunt way.  “If you doubt me, then why are you with me?  You're just wasting both our time in the end, Juliana.  You miss John and I get that.  But if you don't trust me, then why the Hell are you even here?”


“Because I love you.” She whispered, slowly turning around to face him, the tears cascading down her cheeks as she raked a hand through her hair.  “I love you, but I don't trust you.” She was being honest with him.  “I don't know what you want me to do.” Her voice was cracking now, her heart splitting right down the middle.  “I've been trying to work through it, trying to trust you fully, but I can't...I just can't, and I don't know why...”


He sighed heavily turning his back on her for a minute before facing her again, his face grave and tired looking.  “Then maybe we should just...end this.  I love you Juliana, but I won't be with someone who doesn't trust me.  Everything I've done, I did it for you, to keep you safe.  Without trust, there just isn't love.”


Her heart shattered when he mentioned them ending the relationship and knew she couldn't change his mind even if she wanted too, even if she tried.  “Then what are you waiting for?  If you don't think we can conquer this then...then you need to leave!  Go!  Get the fuck out!” She shouted, her anger rising again along with pulsating heartache.  She was doing everything in her power not to collapse, not to break down, but her resistance wasn't working.


'Taker nodded, staring down at her.  “I'm going too.  Like I said, I do love you, but I won't be with someone who's going to be living in fear that I might hurt them.” He folded his arms over his chest, staring at her for a second, memorizing how she looked at exactly this moment because he'd probably kick his own ass later, then walked out.


The tears poured down her cheeks like two rapid streams after she heard the front door shut and Juliana finally dropped to the floor, heart wrenching sobs tearing through her small frame.  She wanted to go after him, tell him she loved him, but knew it wouldn't make a difference.  She didn't trust him. 


She loved him, but after everything, she couldn't trust him.  He'd been right, without trust there was no love.  It was just two people staying together out of obligation.  She slowly crawled over to the window and looked out just as he rode away on his motorcycle, running her hand down the glass window, and felt her heart shatter again.


“Goodbye 'Taker...”


‘Taker revved the engine, ignoring the warnings for dangerous curves ahead and to slow down, just went faster and faster, taking the curves effortlessly.  He went faster and faster, trying to put distance between him and the woman he had thought loved him, trying to make her nothing more then a distant memory.  He didn't care when it began to rain, it hid the fact that his own face hadn't been dry to begin with.




Juliana slowly opened her eyes as the memory ended, causing a heavy sigh to escape her, and looked down at her trembling hands, squeezing them tightly.  She was wrong.  She'd been wrong the entire time and by the time she realized it, it was too late.  'Taker was gone and nowhere to be found. 


She decided to leave him alone, not wanting to cause him more pain, and raked a hand through her short black hair.  Without another thought, Juliana finally crawled into bed and closed her eyes, letting the sleep overcome her.  At least she could have him in her dreams, where nothing else mattered except her and 'Taker.


“Shit Ana, I feel like I'm eighty years old.  I've spent half the night standing here like a fool daydreaming about the past.” John said, snapping out of his memories and chuckled, looking down at his now cold as hell coffee.  He smiled when she brushed against his legs, stooping down to pick up the cat and stroke her behind the ears.  “Damn I miss her.”




The following morning, Juliana heard her doorbell ring, causing a groan to escape her lips as she slowly sat up in bed.  She was going to kill whoever it was that disturbed her dream with 'Taker and sighed heavily, raking a hand through her tousled hair.  She padded out of her bedroom and down the stairs to her front door, slowly opening it, and frowned when she didn't see anyone there.  This was a very secluded and private place, she had no neighbors.  Juliana slammed her door shut and backed up, eyes widened as the fear started engulfing her.


A few minutes passed by, then a few more, giving her time to relax a little bit.  Maybe consider the possibility that it was just her imagination, or maybe some passing jackass kids.  When an hour had gone by, there was another knock, this time more persistent and loud.  Though when she came to answer it, there was still nothing.


Out of nowhere, a rock was thrown through her window, sounding off the alarm, causing her to shriek out as she jumped back.  “Fuck!” She shouted, pressing a hand to her beating heart, and looked around frantically, holding a baseball bat.  She slowly inched toward the rock, seeing something was taped to it, and felt all the color drain out of her face at what it was.  A single black rose, which meant death was near.  “Oh fuck...”


He smirked, watching from a safe distance.  Wealthy heiress, Juliana Harrison, was terrified.  He could tell by the way she gripped that baseball bat.  He lifted another black rose to his face, inhaling and smiled wickedly. 


“Soon enough, sweetheart.” He crooned to the wind.  “Soon enough.”


‘W-What am I going to do?’ She thought, completely terrified now, and swallowed hard as she refused to touch the black rose or the rock. 


She wasn’t going to call the police either, knowing they wouldn't do jack shit to help her.  Juliana sighed and rushed upstairs, changing into a pair of blue jeans and a black tank top, sliding a pair of black shades over her eyes, her hair down since it was to her shoulders now instead of to her waist.  She grabbed her keys, cell phone, and anything else she would need before getting in her black Jetta and peeled out of there.  She wasn't safe anymore and she knew it.


He started laughing, watching her drive out of there like a bat out of hell.  “You can run, Juliana, but there is no hiding from me.” He murmured, crushing the rose in his fist, the thorns driving into his fleshy palm.  He stared down at the blood seeping from his clenched fist and raised his hand to his mouth, licking it away.  “Mmm.”


Where the hell was she going to go?  She had no way of contacting John or...no she wasn't going to do it.  She refused to go to him, especially after four long years of no contact.  Juliana sighed as she punched the gas, driving further down the highway, trying to put herself as far away from that rose as she possibly could. 


It literally scared the shit out of her and Juliana hadn't felt that way in years.  With a deep sigh, she knew where she had to go and headed to the destination.  Whoever was coming after her was clever and skillful so she'd have to take great precaution.


A blue car zoomed along the curve, appearing in her rearview mirror.  It gained on her easily, the engine revving.  At the last minute, it passed her, honking as it continued on its way.




It was near midnight when Juliana finally arrived, having taken a bunch of back roads, making sure that blue car hadn't followed her, even though it'd zoomed past her.  She was exhausted as she stepped out of her car and looked around, the night air chilling her to the bone.  She stared back at the small shack and smiled, so many fond memories here, at least she'd feel safe until she figured out her next move.  Taking her small bag out of the car, Juliana walked over, taking the key from beneath the mat, and unlocked the door stepping inside.  It was dusty, but nothing she couldn't spruce up and make it feel like home again.


Juliana tried to sleep, but every time her eyes closed, that black rose seemed to haunt her every thought.  So she did the next best thing and that was clean the old hideaway up.  She dusted it from top to bottom, washed all of the dishes, and knew she'd have to go grocery shopping in the morning.  She wasn't feeling hungry, but knew she would be eventually.  It took her nearly until the sun came up before she finally collapsed on the couch, her old sleeping place, and was out like a light in seconds.




John frowned, staring down at the blood in the sink.  He grimaced, wondering exactly how he had managed to cut himself.  He'd been peeling potatoes to fry up and sliced himself.  He had suddenly thought of Juliana and just nicked himself.


“Weird...” He muttered thoughtfully. “Damn.”


He washed away the blood and held his hand in a towel, applying pressure to stop the bleeding.  He looked at the wall, seeing a picture of him and Juliana sitting on the front porch of their hideaway.  The one place they always went too to escape the realities of life that was before her engagement to Ken, before 'Taker, before the world was shattered.


Chapter 3


John frowned when he seen a truck he didn't recognize sitting in the driveway.  Nobody knew about this place so...He approached the shack cautiously, hesitantly unlocking the door with his spare key and walked inside.  His heart stopped when he seen Juliana lying on the couch.  John sat down gently on the side of the couch, just staring down at her, smiling.


Juliana was a light sleeper nowadays and immediately bolted upright on the couch as soon as she felt the dip, her eyes flying open.  A gasp of surprise escaped her as she stared back at her best friend she hadn't seen in four years, tears burning her midnight blue orbs.  So many emotions ran through them, but the one that stood out more than any was relief. 


“John...” She whispered, afraid to reach out, afraid he was nothing more than a mirage or a figment of her imagination.


John beamed down at her, reaching out to cup her chin.  “Hey Jules.” He greeted softly.  It had been a long four years, but he hadn't changed too much.  He wore his hair a little longer, not so baggy on the clothes, and maybe a few lines around his eyes and the crows feet at his mouth from smiling had receded a bit, not too much smiling these days.  He pulled her up into a hug.  “I missed you, girl.”


She clung to him for dear life, wrapping her arms around his neck, and let the tears flow down her cheeks, not believing he was actually here with her.  “H-How did you...” She trailed off, wondering how he knew to come here.  Did he somehow know she was in trouble?  Or was it just a feeling he had?  “How did you know to come here?” She finally managed to ask, her voice cracking with intense emotion.


“I don't know.” John admitted, rubbing the back of his neck, letting her go and shifted on the couch so he could face her.  “I just was slicing some potatoes, sliced my hand cause I had this thought about you.  Then I seen our picture and I felt like I should come here, so here I am.  Is something wrong?” He stared at her intently.  “What's going on Jules?”


“I hate how you can read me.” She muttered, shaking her head, smiling in spite of it all and raked a hand through her short black hair.  “Someone is after me.” She finally admitted, causing his blue eyes to widen, and held her hand up before he could say anything.  “Don't say his name, John please.” She had to turn away as the tears stung her eyes, it still hurt after four long years.  “All you need to know is someone is after me and the proof is currently lying in my hallway at my house around ten or more hours from here.”


“Are you sure?” John asked, not saying HIS name aloud, knowing it was already on both their minds.  “Tell me everything that happened, Jules.  Maybe you're just overreacting or something.” He said reasonably, not about to get his feathers ruffled unless he absolutely had too.  He had a feeling them feathers were going to be ruffled regardless, but he wanted to be sane and rational about all this.  “From the beginning.”


She nodded, there really wasn't much to tell as she took a deep breath, scrubbing a hand down her face.  “A rock was thrown through my window yesterday morning around seven or eight.  Attached to it was...” She swallowed hard and began trembling against him, that item flashing in her mind.  “A black rose.” She finally managed to whisper out, lowering her head, and felt the tears spill down her cheeks once more.  “John, I'm in trouble.”


John frowned, reaching over to pluck a dusty Kleenex out of the dustier box then another, one that wasn't dusty and handed it to her.  “Any idea who it could be?” He asked finally.  “And I'm going to say it, where's 'Taker?  I thought you two were together?” He cocked his head to the side questioningly.  “Okay, so you're not together anymore.  Think it could be him doing it?”


“No...I know it's not him.  He wouldn't be playing these games with me after almost four years.” She lowered her head, not looking at him again, and slowly stood up from his lap as she wrapped her arms around herself.  “I don't know where he is.  I don't want him involved either.  He hates me, John.  I-I hurt him in the worst possible way...” She could feel the tears pouring by now and didn't care as she stared straight ahead.  “The only thing I can think of is it's someone connected to Ken or my mother...or my father.” She sighed, that could be a million people.  “So to put it bluntly, I don't have the slightest clue.”


“Yeah, that’s going to be hard to narrow down.  Well, we don't really know jackshit about your mother except that she faked her own death.” John said after a moment, deciding to not mention 'Taker ever again since it was obvious those wounds still hurt.  Though he was curious about how she had hurt the man.  Honestly, the guy was like bullet-proof in every way!  “Maybe we should start with Ken though?”


“That's what I was thinking.” She turned around to face him, wiping the remainder of her tears away, seeing the questions in his eyes.  “Look…'Taker and I just didn't work out John.  That's all you need to know.” She slowly walked over and sat down beside him, raking a hand through her hair.  “We're going to need to investigate Ken's house...” She trailed off, looking John with a troubled glance in her eyes.  “Yes John, we're going to have to break in again.”


“Again?  Jules, I don't know if you're aware of it, but that place hasn't been touched since all that shit happened.  It's locked up, secure as fuck, basically it's being held by his company as a sort of museum or something.” John protested, staring at her like she'd lost her mind.  “As hot as you looked in your wedding dress, I don't think pretending to be a bride ghost is going to get you in there this time.”


“Then how are we supposed to find out any inside information about Anderson, John?” She demanded softly, the edge out of her voice, and sighed heavily when he just gave her a stern look.  “Then what the fuck do you propose we do?” She gruffly asked, standing up and walking into the kitchen, groaning when she remembered there was no food in the house.  “Damn it!”


“I brought food, it's in my car.” John said, following her.  “Like I'm going to come here without bringing the munchies.  Hey...” He reached onto the top of the refrigerator and pulled down a black bottle with a pink label.  “Tequila rose, damn...think it's still good?” He opened it, sniffing the liquor tentatively.  It was hers, he didn't buy the shit, but he figured she could use a drink after what she’d been through.


“I'm not a big drinker anymore.” She softly murmured and laughed softly at the shocked look that crossed his face, shaking her head.  “Four years is a long time, John.  Once in awhile I'll have a glass of wine, but other than that, I like keeping what little brain cells I have left.” She stood up from the couch and placed the bottle back in its spot before walking outside to help him bring the groceries in.  A chill ran through her as she looked around, hoping and praying nobody knew where she was at the moment.


“Hey chill out, this is our spot, remember?  Nobody but us and 'Taker know where it's at.” John said reassuringly.  “Let me cook something for us to eat, I'm starving.” He began tossing stuff together for a quick fry up, his stomach rumbling loudly as if to emphasize his hunger remark.  “So...tell me what else has been happening, Jules.  Just in general.”


“Nothing much really.  After we split up, I moved far away in the middle of nowhere.  It's a beautiful two story house, white with a wrap around cherry wood porch.” She smiled sadly as she thought about her house, which was probably being vandalized and sighed, raking a hand through her hair.  She smiled when his stomach rumbled again and giggled, this was just like old times.  “I really missed you John.” She said out of nowhere, resting her chin on her knee that was bent while the other one was beneath her butt.


“I missed you too, Jules.” John shot her a smile before looking back at the frying pan.  “Fucked up though how we got back together...I don't know whether to send this asshole a thank you card or a 'go the fuck away' note.” He swatted a spider, wiping his hand off on the edge of the counter.  “No, it didn't have a gun, either.”


“Shut up that's not funny.” Juliana stated with a smirk, crossing her arms in front of her chest, and recalled the last time she seen John with a spider.  He scared the shit out of her while they were under 'Taker's protection and 'Taker ended up making him eat it...literally.  “Just curious, how did the spider taste?” She asked, giggling when he suddenly turned green, wondering if he was still hungry or not.


John sighed a long suffering sigh before facing her.  “It would have been better with some ketchup.” He said finally, shivering from his tip toes to his hair.  “That was sick, he was a sick, sick man.” He looked green again, glancing at the remains of the spider.  “Maybe I should serve him up to you and you can share my pain.” He teased.


“Whatever, you knew you had it coming.” Juliana stated, knowing now why she missed John so much.  She was talking about 'Taker, to an extent, and no pain was registering in her body language.  ‘Happy memories.’ She thought, slowly standing up from the couch, and walked over to stare out in the window in thought. 


Who was after her now?  Why couldn't she be left alone to live out her life in peace?  She sighed and pressed her forehead against the window, trying to make sense of this.


It hadn't taken a genius to locate this shack, this small house.  Nor did it take a genius to figure out the male with her was Jonathan Cena.  He glanced down at the old photo he had taken from the man's house.  So they were in there together, hiding out.  He smirked, walking right by the house and disappeared into the night.


Juliana felt a chill run through her as she slowly opened her eyes, seeing the shadows of the branches on the walls, and swallowed hard as she slowly sat up.  John was in bed in his old bedroom while she opted for the couch, not expecting to fall asleep.  Her eyes glanced at the clock, sighing when she seen it was after midnight, and slowly stood up, wearing a long light blue nightgown.  She tried keeping as quiet as possible and walked through the living room and kitchen until she reached the back door, opening it.  Her eyes instantly looked up at the stars and leaned against the ledge of the porch, closing her eyes, remember the last time she'd been out here...with 'Taker.


This was too easy.  He could have killed her now if he wanted too.  He could just shoot her and no one would be the wiser, she'd fall over dead and he'd go on with his life, with  a cheerful grin and a song in his heart. 


However...shooting her was just to tactless, he wanted her to suffer, watch her friends suffer and beg for death.  THEN maybe, just maybe, he'd give it to her.  Or he'd just keep on tormenting the bitch.


She slowly backed up, feeling that presence again and immediately went back into the shack, dead bolting the door shut.  “JOHN!” She bellowed, already gathering her things, swallowing past the lump that'd formed in her throat.  She wasn't surprised when he rushed out, looking half asleep, and tossed some clothes at him before pulling on a pair of shorts with a t-shirt.  “Come on, we have to go.  It's not safe here.” She didn't know why, but that chilling feeling surrounded her in ways she didn't understand.


John followed her, stuffing his legs into his jeans as he ran, his sneakers dangling by a shoelace from his mouth.  “What the fuck is going on?” He demanded, groaning and slipping into his car.  He heard a very, very bad noise.  It sounded like ticking.  “Oh shit...” He muttered, sliding back out and dived, doing a tuck and roll before the car exploded.


Juliana shrieked out as she was blown back due to the explosion, groaning when her body hit the ground with a sickening thud.  The wind had been knocked out of her, causing her to cough out, her face a mask of black smog.  “J-JOHN!!” She rasped out in a painful cry, coughing more, and slowly got to her knees.  “John, can you hear me?” She called out, wrapping an arm around her stomach, feeling sick from the fumes as she slowly looked up through tear filled eyes, hoping her best friend wasn't dead.


“Yeah, I can hear you.” John groaned.  “This is worse then the time I got shot, remember that shit?” He coughed, crawling towards her voice.  The smoke was overwhelming and he could hear flames cackling, knowing her car was next if those flames spread.  “Jules, we got to get the fuck outta here.  Oh man...I got rocks embedded in places they were never meant to be.”


She coughed more and knew he was right as they crawled slowly to her car, making sure to listen for a ticking sound.  They would have to risk it, they didn't have time or else her car was going to ignite and explode next.  She managed to get in the driver's seat, pulling her keys out of her jean shorts, and pulled John in before peeling out of there.  She didn't care about anything except getting the Hell out of dodge, ignoring the pain that wracked her body from head to toe. 


“You know this is going to be on the news right?”


“Yep.” He groaned, prying gravel and rocks out of his now skinned up knees, blood staining the jeans.  “Are you alright?” He looked at her, blue eyes searching for wounds or broken bones.  “That was a new car too...” He coughed again, pounding his chest, the scent of smoke and a million other deadly things on him.  “Why my car?  Why not yours?”


“Whoever is doing this is skillful and wants to torture me.” She stated, knowing it was the truth, and punched the gas even harder as they got on the expressway, needing to get as far away from this town as possible.  “Fuck...” She coughed more, opening some windows, trying to get the scent out.  “Where are we going to go?” She gripped the steering wheel, not believing this was happening and they were on the run AGAIN.


“No idea.” John banged his head against the dashboard, rubbing his forehead a second later.  “Ouch that hurt.” He groaned, sighing and leaned back in the seat.  “Okay, what's a place you don't have ANY ties too, Jules?  Think outside the box.  Obviously this lunatic knows all your spots, so let's go somewhere you're not attached too.”


There was only one place she could think of and Juliana wasn't going there.  She refused, she'd rather die.  “I don't have any places, John.” She muttered, driving further down the road while the frustration kept building.  “What about you?  Do YOU have any place we could go to hideout until we can find out who's doing this?”


“Oh yeah, pick a state.” John said sarcastically.  “Remember, I'm the kid off the street?  The only place I can think of is my grandmother's old place out in New Hampshire, but I haven't been there since I was like...I don't know...six.” He drummed his fingers on his leg, wincing and immediately stopped.


Chapter 4


They drove for what seemed like hours before Juliana finally pulled into a hotel that looked very secluded.  She didn't feel that chill and cut the ignition before looking over at her sleeping best friend, glad he was by her side.  She slowly reached over and shook him awake. 


“We're taking a break.” She stated before stepping out, stretching her sore limbs in the air, and closed the door seeing the sun was just beginning to rise.  They got a room with no trouble and John went to bed while Juliana stayed up, flipping through the channels.  She stopped and felt her eyes widen, seeing their hideout shack completely burnt down on the news.  “Oh god...”


She wasn't the only one watching.  Two other individuals turned up the volume on their respective televisions and leaned closer, just listening to the reporter, both pairs of eyes locked on the flames.  One of these people smiled wickedly, their teeth gleaming in the darkness.  The other one grunted and cracked his knuckles.


So many memories were now burnt to ashes and Juliana couldn't take it as she rushed into the bathroom, slamming the door shut, and dropped to her knees before hurling in the toilet.  She slowly pulled back after five minutes straight of vomiting, knowing there was nothing left, and just pressed her forehead against the lid as she began to sob violently.  She couldn't believe their hideout, where she'd snuck out to hang out with John, was now gone.


“Jules, is everything okay?” John asked softly through the door, having woken up to the sounds of her being sick.  He knocked lightly, coughing and cleared his throat.  “Honey...stop crying, you'll get sick again.  Come out here and talk to me.” He pleaded. He didn't know what she had seen, or the fact that they were now being pursued by not one man, but two.


A few minutes later, Juliana finally came out of the bathroom, her eyes red and swollen from crying so hard.  She didn't say a word, just pointed shakily at the television, where they were showing their hideout being sprayed down by firemen.  “It's gone, John...” She whispered heartbrokenly and fell to her knees, burying her face in her hands, and shook her head back and forth.  Whoever did this Juliana was certain was after her, it was the only logical explanation.  “I-I'm so sorry...”


“Wait, you mean...our...place…is gone?” John sank down on the bed, staring helplessly at the television.  That shack had been their refuge from anything for years.  There were so many memories attached to that place, he couldn't believe this.  He slid onto the floor, pulling Juliana into his arms and stroked her back, unable to keep a few tears from stinging his own eyes.  “Don't be sorry, Jules, it's not your fault.” He whispered hoarsely.


She clung to John for dear life and squeezed her eyes tightly shut; knowing deep down it was her fault.  Whoever this was knew about the hideout and she probably led them right to it.  She couldn't say anything as she heard his voice crack and rubbed the back of his neck, trying to calm herself down as well.  All their memories, all the nights staying up and drinking, all the peaceful moments…they were now gone and Juliana didn't know if she could recuperate from this. 


If she didn't, she was good as dead.


“Okay...” John said after a while, pulling away from her and wiping his eyes with the back of his hand, smiling crookedly.  “Look, it's not the end of the world.  We still have our memories, right?  That fucker couldn't burn those away.  So first we figure out how we're getting you out of this mess, and then we'll worry about the shack.  Okay?”


“Alright.” She murmured softly and slowly stood up from the bed, walking over to stare out the window, sighing heavily to herself. 


It was moments like these where she wished she'd never been born.  Why had she been put on this wretched earth if practically everyone wanted her dead?  Juliana was getting too old for this and pressed her forehead to the glass, closing her eyes, and hoped they could get through this.


John watched her thoughtfully, having a fairly good idea what was flickering through her mind but didn't say anything.  Juliana tended to get annoyed when he read her too easily.  He rocked back on his heels, pressing his palm to his forehead and rubbed it, eyes closing. 


Why now?  Why all this time later?  WHO WAS IT?


They didn't sleep, just sat there thinking and pondering over all the possibilities of who this could be, which virtually anyone was.  Ken had courted so many young ladies who could have jealousy rages and Cassandra was of noble blood, even if she faked her own death or not.  This was going to be harder than finding a needle in a haystack, more like finding a needle in outer space. 


It wasn't happening.


John woke up with a yelp, hearing someone banging on the door and rolled off the couch he had curled on.  He groaned, rubbing his knees and elbows before sitting up, glancing at the door.  He gestured for Juliana to be quiet when she shot off the bed.




“Oh shit.”


Juliana's eyes widened as she looked up at John, knowing they'd have to sneak out.  She immediately stood up from the bed and pulled on a pair of jeans with a tank top, usual wear, and grabbed what little things they had.  “The bathroom has a window.  Come on, we don't have much time.” She whispered, tugging on John's arm, and closed the door quietly behind them once they were in.  She then walked over to the window, her bag over her shoulder and nodded.  “Think it's too high to jump out of?”


John looked at her like she was out of her mind.  “Jules, we pay the fine and go out the front door.” He said, grabbing her hand to stop her from jumping.  “If we just run off, he'll call the police, wouldn't that attract more attention?  Which we really don't need might I add.” He stared at her expectantly.


She sighed heavily, raking a hand through her hair, not believing how stupid John was at times.  “Don't you think that guy saw our faces on the news?” She asked, wrapping her arms around herself, and knew the police were probably on their way here, if they weren't already there.  “The news stated that the shack belonged to us John or did you forget that?  Now come on and stop bitching.” Not to mention the fact Juliana had already paid for them to stay overnight and she didn't need anymore trouble at the moment with the owner of this nasty hotel.


“Um, besides the whole seeing the shack being PUT out, I didn't catch any of it.” John reminded her, sighing and heaving his bag over his shoulder.  “Who cares if it's too high, just jump.” He pushed her before leaping himself, landing with a grunt.  “You alive, Jules?”


“Can it, Cena.” She grunted out, hitting her knee on the gravel, but other than that she was fine.  Surprisingly, she just had a few cuts on her arms and one on her cheek from the explosion as she got up to her feet, dusting herself off.  “Come on, I parked the car over here.” She stated, running in that direction.  They threw their bags in the backseat and got in, firing her Jetta up, and peeled out of there, spitting gravel everywhere.  “Sorry, but I didn't feel like having a confrontation with the owner back there.”


“No worries, I don't care.” John grunted, slamming against the side of the door as he struggled to put on his seatbelt.  “Okay, Jules, give me a damn second before you wind up killing me!” He shrieked, flying again when she spun down a dirt road.  “Dirt road, dirt road... bad things happen on dirt roads, country roads, any road not around people, remember?”


He was having déjà vou.


A blue car was coming up on them.


“John, will you shut up and let me drive!” She snapped, gripping the steering wheel, and looked in her rearview mirror, arching an eyebrow.  That blue car.  She'd seen it somewhere before and swallowed hard, getting that chilling feeling again that rushed down her spine.  They had to get off of this road and fast as she spun further ahead before doing a sharp U turn.  “Hold on!” She shouted, punching down on the gas pedal, and sped in the opposite direction before turning on the street the hotel was on.


John got his seat belt on, but not before he had to grip the dashboard to prevent from being tossed through the windshield. He grunted, turning in his seat to look behind him, seeing nothing behind them.  “Jules...please tell me what that was about.” He demanded in a patient voice.  “I'm about to piss myself over here, at least give me a reason for it.”


“See that blue car following us?” She asked, causing him to look in the side mirror, keeping her eyes solely focused on the road.  “That blue car followed me from my house.  It's probably responsible for the fire.  It's the same exact car.  We need to find a way to either lose it or stop it from tracking us.” She explained in a deceptively calm voice, knowing if she lost her cool, she could wind up dead on this day and it wasn't even noon yet.  What she wouldn't give for just a break; one little break, that's all she was asking for.


“Oh okay.” He nodded meekly, sliding down in his seat, and then tugged her down to a slouching position.  “Guns.” He explained, still bearing the scar of taking a bullet to his leg.  He had a healthy fear of guns.


Behind the blue car, a motorcycle was approaching, very quickly.


John squinted, peering in the side mirror.


“I'm trying to drive here you moron!” She shouted at him, sitting back up, and yelped when she started hearing gunfire.  “Oh shit!”


She was trying not to lose control of the car, punching down on the gas harder as if that would make it go faster, swallowing hard.  She glanced in the rearview mirror, then looked back at the road, before her head whipped back to the rearview mirror.  A motorcycle? 


Her heart began pounding furiously in her chest as she tried keeping her focus on the road, tears forming in her eyes.  It couldn't be.  It just...was it?


“HOLY SHIT, IT'S ‘TAKER!” John squealed, sitting upright and completely turning around, staring out the back window with wide blue eyes.  “Holy fuck!  And...He’s pulling up alongside that blue car...and...And oh my god, that is a sawed off shotgun, not legal in this state!” John clamped his hands over his ears when a loud thundering sound told them the gun had been fired.  “There goes the blue car and here comes 'Taker, what'd you do to him now?”


Juliana didn't reply as she kept driving, her hands trembling, her entire body breaking out in tremors.  What the Hell was he doing here and how the Hell had he found them?  She felt the tears spill down her cheeks, not even looking back, and kept racing down the road as fast as the car would allow her.  She'd been in this situation before and the last time it nearly cost her life.


“He's signaling for you to pull over Jules.” John said, being the reporter, glancing at her and seeing the tears.  “You're not going too, are you?” He asked quietly.  “Are you afraid of him?”


“I-I don't know...” She managed to gasp out, swallowing past the lump that'd formed in her throat, and closed her eyes before hitting the brake. 


The car lurched violently, the tires squealing until it came to an abrupt halt.  She stared straight ahead, so many thoughts running through her mind, and raked a hand through her short black hair before leaning back against the seat.  Again, all she could ask herself was what the Hell was 'Taker doing here?


John tossed his hands up, flying as far as the seatbelt allowed him, and still wound up hurting, coughing and rubbing his chest.  “You really could give a guy some warning when you're going to do that.” He grumbled.  He paled when he heard another squeal of tires, knowing 'Taker had come to a stop just besides them. He then heard heavy, deliberate boot falls on the pavement.  “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.”


Juliana didn't move, her hands gripping the steering wheel, the car still running.  She hadn't moved, just stared straight ahead at the long stretch of road, so many thoughts running through her mind.  Their last night, her fight with John where he struck her on accident, Ken and her mother, just everything that'd happened between the three of them. 


Now it came to this. 


Someone was after her, wanted her dead just like her mother and Ken did, and 'Taker was there again.  The tears kept falling from her open eyes as she just sat there as hard as a stone, not moving to do anything.  It was almost as if she was in a trance of some sort.


“You going to sit in there all day Juliana or get out and tell me what's going on?”


John moaned, knowing they were about to go on another hellish rollercoaster.  Every time 'Taker entered the picture; things seemed to get even worse.  Come on, the guy just BLEW THAT CAR AWAY.  He squeaked when ‘Taker’s head bent down to stare in the car.


“Hello, Cena.”




She finally blinked, coming out of her trance, her trip down memory lane and moved her hand to cut the ignition.  Her hand slowly moved to the handle and pulled on it before opening her door, causing 'Taker to step back a few feet.  She closed it and leaned against it, crossing her arms in front of her chest, her eyes casted to the road, refusing to look up at this man.  No words came out of her mouth as she simply stood there, the wind blowing through her short black hair that was to her shoulders, honestly not knowing what to say to him after all this time.


Chapter 5


He hadn't changed a bit. 


His hair was still black, maybe a bit longer, but not much.  His intense green eyes were hidden by a pair of black sunglasses, a black bandana wrapped around his head.  He wore a black leather vest and black jeans with heavy boots.  He stared down at her, his expression unreadable. 


“Any idea who's after you this time?” He finally asked.


“Why you?  Why can't god ever send us someone...like...like...the Terminator?”


“I'm better.”


“No idea.” She finally spoke, her voice soft and low, no attitude whatsoever in it.  She was still in too much shock and disarray to really be angry and managed to glance over at her best friend before finally looking back at 'Taker.  She hadn't seen him in four years...four long years...and he hadn't changed.  He still looked the same, like aging had stopped entirely.  If anything, he looked better.  “H-How did you find us?”


“Considering you were all over the news last night...” 'Taker shrugged.  “I have my ways.”


“And normally they involve guns, and knives, and-and-and spiders!”


“Boy, haven't you learned to shut up at all over the years?” There was no malice in his tone, just a touch of amusement.


“Nope.” John grinned.


Now Juliana felt like a fool, this was 'Taker she was dealing with after all!  Of course he would've watched the news and seen their shack burnt to a crisp.  She wanted to ask him why he was there, but decided against it, knowing he probably would blow it off with one of his nonchalant phrases. 


“John, please don't okay?” She asked softly, her blue eyes pleading with him for once to behave, and rubbed her tired eyes.  She hadn't slept in the past three days.


“Fine, but let's clear this up right now, alright?” John looked back and forth between them cautiously, before swallowing and asking in a hard tone of voice, “Who's in charge here?  'Taker or Jules?”


‘Taker made a noise that could have been a snort; it was hard to tell because he placed his hand over his mouth.


“Nobody is in charge.” Juliana answered, hearing 'Taker's snorted, and ignored it. 


This wasn't like last time.  He wasn't her bodyguard and she wasn't his puppet to control.  If he wanted to help, fine, but she was going to do things her way this time around, not his.  They were either going to work together or he could get lost.  This was HER life on the line and apparently her best friend's now, not his.


“Knowing that you both have a tendency to do things that'll get you killed, I figured I'd come see if I could be of service.  Of course, if you think you can outrun this, be my guest.” He snorted turning and walking back towards the car, feeling a bit foolish himself.  He had wanted to make sure Juliana was alright and forgot to check to make sure he HAD killed the son of a bitch targeting her.  ‘Nice one, old man.’ He thought, surveying the wreckage.


When John went to fire back, Juliana stopped him with a gentle hand on his arm, shaking her head sadly.  “Don't please.  Come on, we have to get out of here and get some place safe.” She stated, turning around and opened her car door, before stepping inside.  She leaned against the seat for a few seconds, taking deep breaths to slow her racing heart.  She hated the effect this man had on her, always had, and leaned forward to rest her forehead against the steering wheel just as John got in on the passenger side.


John sighed heavily, reaching out to rub her shoulder reassuringly.  “Maybe we should just see what he says.” He said finally.  “He did save both our asses the last time.” This was a major concession on his part, but if it meant keeping Juliana alive, he'd do it.  And without bitching, too much.


‘Taker was following the bloody trail off-road, pleased to know he had gotten whoever this was, but from the looks of it, he hadn't done anything major. 




Her blue eyes stared back at her best friend before finally letting out a heavy sigh, nodding.  “He doesn't control us though, John.  This is either going to be a team effort, or he can leave.” She stated finally, telling him what she'd been thinking a few moments prior and slowly stepped out.  “Stay here.” She ordered before closing the door and walked over to the wreckage, shaking her head at the carnage.  “What is your suggestion?” She finally asked after staring at the bloody windshield, a flashback of the past rushing through her, but managed to blank it out for the most part.


“Me?  I don't know, ask him.” John jerked his thumb behind him as 'Taker emerged from the woods.  “Well detective?”


“Wounded, on foot, probably cleared to the highway on the other side by now.” ‘Taker grunted, now sorting through what was left of the car, searching for ID, anything.  “And this car is clean.  John, plates?”


“It's a temporary tag, and it's out of date.”


“Grab it.  Car was most likely stolen, but it's something.”


“I wasn't asking you and didn't I tell you to stay in the damn car?” Juliana growled, glaring at her best friend, and sighed heavily before walking away from the wreckage.  She was getting too many flashbacks from that night Ken nearly destroyed her with the car chase.  A shiver ran down her spine at the memory because surprisingly, she did remember everything that happened, including telling 'Taker she loved him.  ‘Damn it, stop it Jules.’ She thought before rubbing her temples with her fingers.


John shrugged absentmindedly.  “You should know me well enough to know that I don't listen for shit.” Though he did retrieve the paper tag like 'Taker had wanted.


“So where are we going?” 'Taker asked, folding the paper and slipping it into the vest pocket, staring down at Juliana.


John had a sneaking suspicion ‘Taker was only showing deference to her for the moment, to keep her from freaking out.  He narrowed his eyes, looking thoughtful.


“I have no idea.” She finally said, turning around to face him, feeling a headache coming on.  “Whoever is after me knew about the shack and followed me from my house.  He nearly killed John by blowing up his car with a bomb.” She explained with a heavy, tired sigh.  She would kill for just a few hours of sleep to recuperate from both the explosion and seeing 'Taker again after all this time.


“John, how bout you drive, let her rest.  She looks dead on her feet.” He said, observing the way she was swaying.


“Okay, but where am I driving too?”


“Just follow me.”


“You heard the man, Jules.  Let's get to going.”


She wasn't in the mood for arguing and simply tossed John the keys before swaying to the car.  She managed to get in the passenger seat and let the seat down, enough to where she couldn't see 'Taker on his motorcycle ahead of them, and let the tears flow.  Within moments, she was dead asleep, her arms crossed over her stomach with a broken heart that would never mend.


John followed 'Taker quietly, not even playing any music.  He was too paranoid.  He kept expecting someone to try to run them off-road, and nobody could blame him for thinking that. 


He kept glancing at Juliana, wishing there was something he could do to make her feel better.  But he knew the only way that would happen would be when this was over and done with.  Not to mention she had resolved whatever issues she and 'Taker had.




Her eyes slowly fluttered open hours later due to John shaking her and growled, slowly coming awake.  She put the seat up and looked around, raking a hand through her hair, and let out a long yawn.  “Where are we?” She finally asked rubbing her tired eyes, seeing the sun was slowly descending on the horizon.  It was becoming night, she'd been out nearly all day and poor John had to drive all that time.


“Um, I think we're in Idaho actually.” John said, not believing how long he had just drove. Juliana probably didn't even know what day it was.  “'Taker is making sure the place is habitable, apparently this is another one of his properties.” He shuddered, remembering all too well the LAST time they holed up in one of 'Taker's safe houses.  That was a trip and a half.  “And to check for spiders.”


She nodded and slowly stepped out of the car, looking around at the huge stretch of land.  Was this man rich and just hiding it or what?  A millionaire would have to own as much land as 'Taker did as Juliana stretched her arms in the air, letting out another yawn.  She sighed when she didn't feel that shiver of dread run down her spine like normal and headed toward the two story house they were parked in front of.


“No graveyards this time.” John said gleefully, watching as 'Taker appeared on the porch, gesturing them inside.  “Whoa, how is this place yours?” He demanded, staring in awe at the lavish surroundings.  “Who'd you fuck to get this place?”


“Your mother, none of your business.”


John flipped him the bird, still goggling.


Juliana had to admit this place was a huge improvement from the last one they stayed at.  She ran her fingers along the walls on her way to what looked like a living room, sighing when she seen John had found the gaming systems, and arched an eyebrow.  “I didn't know you played, 'Taker.” She commented, heading into the kitchen, needing something to drink.  Her throat was suddenly dry.


“I don't.” He said shooting the systems a disdainful glance, and then shrugged.  If it kept the kid's mouth shut, he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.  “Came with the house.”


“How'd you GET this HOUSE?”


“Took it.”


“Does that mean stole?”


“Stolen implies someone owned it, no...I TOOK it.”


“Will you two please stop arguing?” Juliana pleaded as she finished her glass of water, setting it in the sink, and wrapped her arms around herself.  “I realize you two have never gotten along, but for once, please, just act like your ages and not your damn shoe sizes.” Her voice remained calm and soft before walking past both men and upstairs to the bedrooms.  The house reminded her of the old one, but it was done up nicely and more modernized.


“Were we arguing?”


“I didn't think so.  Normally arguing means I'm whooping your ass.”


“Yeah, that's what I thought- HEY!”


‘Taker snorted, disappearing down a hallway.


Juliana finally decided on the room near the stairs and walked in, seeing it was done up in a deep lavender.  She wasn't remotely tired, but she didn't feel like hearing John and 'Taker bicker.  She walked over to the window and stared out of it, wrapping her arms around herself, and touched her cheek as the memory of what happened flashed through her mind.  To think after all these years, they were all finally together because her life was once again in danger.


“Everything alright?” Came 'Taker's voice.  He was leaning in the doorway, having freshly showered and changed, a pair of light blue jeans and a black muscle shirt, his wet hair hanging down his back.  “Look, whoever's doing this; we'll find them and stop them, okay?  I got someone on that tag from the car, we'll know something within a few hours, Juliana, I promise.”


She slowly opened her eyes, watching the sun disappear, and shook her head slowly back and forth.  “Why are you here?” Her voice was soft, filled with confusion, and held herself tighter as the tears began stinging her eyes.  “Why are you helping me?” She let a single tear slide down her cheek and immediately wiped it away, not turning around to face him.  After all this time, Juliana still loved him and it was killing her that she couldn't do anything about the current heartache she was feeling.


He stared at her for a long minute, his green eyes blank.  He was a master at controlling his emotions and hiding what he was thinking.  He finally exhaled softly and raked a hand through his hair. 


“Because, Juliana, after all we've been through, I'm not about to let someone kill you, not if I can prevent it.” He shook his head.  “And you can't even look at me.”


She slowly turned around to face him, proving him wrong and walked over to sit on the bed with her hands folded, her elbows resting on her thighs, chewing on her thumbnail.  They'd been through so much; was this fate's fucked up way of telling them something?  “I-I'm trying to get over the initial shock that you're here.” She finally said, raking her hands through her hair, and closed her eyes.


“Did you honestly expect anything less?” He demanded, arching an eyebrow.  “Or did you figure it was me trying to kill you?” ‘Taker stared at her knowingly, his lips curving into a humorless smile.




He shook his head, how was it John managed to interrupt at the absolute worse times?


Juliana sighed, knowing they had to have this conversation, and walked over, promptly slamming the door in John's face.  “Go away John.” She ordered gruffly, walking away from the door, and sat back down on the bed.  “No because you'd never kill me.” She answered his question and bit her bottom lip.  “I thought you hated me to be honest.”


John had no problem in going away; there were way too many cool things around here to get into.


“I never said I hated your honesty, Juliana.  I hated your trust issues.” He said calmly, staring down at her, his eyes meeting hers.  “But let's not beat around the bush, any ideas who wants you dead this time?”


“It could be anyone, 'Taker.” She answered, deciding they were done with this conversation, and he was there to help her, nothing more.  “Ken had a lot of women and my mother was of noble blood.  It could virtually be anyone, but my heart tells me that it's connected to either one or both of them.” She slowly moved so she was laying down on her stomach, staring straight ahead. 


Juliana was afraid she'd be running for the rest of her life.


Chapter 6


“Well...let's disregard the women.  Ten to one they were after his money.  Let's look at the family issue.  Or friends.  Did he have any of those?” 'Taker asked all business now.  “How about your mother?  I know you didn't know too much about her, considering she was supposed to be dead and all, but what do you know?”


“Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.” She answered honestly, hearing the professionalism in his voice.  “I didn't know any of my mother's friends; I didn't even know her and my father is dead.  He didn't have any friends.  And I'm an only child so that cancels the family.  My mom had no siblings and neither did my father.” She sighed heavier and snuggled against the pillow further.  “I'm the only Harrison left alive.  It could be anyone, even a crazed lunatic who wants me to dead just for shits and giggles.”


“Okay, you're the only Harrison left, so you own the property and stuff...but you also faked your own death.” ‘Taker mused, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.  “Could you still get into the mansion?  Maybe your old man left something behind that might be useful.  Course, we're going to have to get into Anderson's place too.”


“I already asked John and he said the place was locked down.  The mansion was torn down two years ago.” She informed him, slowly sitting up as she raked a hand through her hair, standing up to begin pacing.  It helped her think as she chewed on her thumbnail.  “They turned the Anderson mansion into some kind of museum, according to John.” She sighed heavily and finally stopped, feeling her head begin to pound.  ‘I need to vanish off the face of the earth, and then everything can return to normal again.’ She thought solemnly.


“Don't even bother trying to disappear, you did that once and someone still knows you're alive.” He said instantly, reading her face correctly, and then smirked when she scowled.  “Fine, locked down huh?  That's okay, it can be gotten around.” ‘Taker reached out to place his hand on her shoulder.  “We're going to catch him, Jules.”


“I hate it when you do that.” She muttered with a hint of amusement in her tone, not backing away when he touched her, and nodded at what he said as she slowly turned to stare into his green eyes that were no longer covered by the black shades.  “Thank you for coming.” She meant it and knew without him, she would probably already be dead.


“Like I could do anything else?” He murmured, blinking to clear his head and cleared his throat at the same time, stepping away.  “I suppose I should go make sure the kid isn’t doing anything stupid, like jumping on the couch or something.” He said, watching her intently. 


All things considered, this was seriously awkward.


“While you do that, I'm going to make something to eat.” She said softly before walking past him and out of the room. 


She was not surprised to find John jumping up and down on the couch and groaned, knowing 'Taker was going to beat his ass.  She sighed heavily and walked into the kitchen, seeing what he had, and found two jars of spaghetti sauce with noodles.  It would have to do as she started the pot of water before beginning the sauce.


John was mildly surprised when 'Taker didn't beat him to hell and back.  Instead, just asking him politely to stop demolishing the furniture and stumbled into the kitchen, looking awed.  “Jules, did you just give him some?” He demanded, completely bewildered.  “Because he just ASKED me to quit, with a PLEASE and a THANK YOU.  It was...scary.” He shivered, wrapping his arms around himself.


Juliana looked mortified and smacked John upside the head with a wooden spoon she was currently stirring the noodles in.  “You asshole!  No I did not!  Get out of here before I end up beating your ass!” She snapped and started beating him with the spoon until he vacated.  The NERVE of him to ask her something like that!  Number one, it wasn't his business and number two, it lit her on fire at the very thought.  “Goddamn it!” She cursed, going back to cook.


John groaned, stumbling back out to the living room, holding his throbbing head.  “Damn, that hurt and was hot.” He grumbled.


“What'd you say?”


“Asked her if you gave you any and-” John realized what he'd said and paled.  He stumbled right back into the kitchen, holding his jaw.  “I'm sorry.” He said through a mouthful of teeth.


She turned around, holding the spoon, and smirked when she seen John holding his mouth.  “Apology accepted, now get lost.” She ordered before turning back around and shook her head, a smile on her face.  She knew John spilled his guts to 'Taker and paid for it.  She actually started laughing and shook her head, getting out some seasonings he had around, wanting to spice the sauce up a bit.


‘Taker followed his nose into the kitchen, grunting with appreciation when he seen her standing at the stove.  “Mmm...Smells good.” He said, reaching a finger into the sauce, blowing to cool it off and popped the digit in his mouth, moving out of whacking reach of that spoon.  “No thanks, I'm not John.”


“Don't TOUCH my sauce.” She ordered before going to whack him again.  “I don't care if you're King Kong buster, this is MY sauce and you will WAIT until it's finished.” She stated and crossed her arms in front of her chest, arching a challenging eyebrow.  When he went to taste it again to spite her, she whacked his hand promptly, smirking when he cursed.  “Like I said, don't touch my sauce.”


Growling, ‘Taker grabbed the spoon, dipped it in the sauce and licked it clean, holding her pinned against him with his free arm just so she couldn't whack him.  “Delicious.” He purred, staring down at her before retreating.


“Why are you smiling?  When you smile, I get nervous.”


‘Taker started laughing.


Damn him!  Damn him, damn him, damn him to the depths of Hell!  Juliana suddenly felt like she had too many clothes on and put the lid on the sauce, rinsing the spoon under hot water, and set it down before retreating upstairs to get something cooler on.  A few minutes later, she walked down wearing a pair of black cotton shorts with a red and black tank top that was spaghetti strapped.  She smiled at John playing the PS3 and kissed the top of his head. 


“Dinner is almost ready.” She then walked back into the kitchen to finish dinner.


“Mmm food.” John saved his game as soon as possible and went to wash up, knowing she could be picky about that, unless of course she had changed.


‘Taker watched her from the safety of the kitchen doorway, staying out of reach of that spoon incase she whirled around on him.  “Why'd you change?” He asked nonchalantly.


“I was hot.” She answered without hesitation, shrugging and took the pan with the noodles in it, draining them in the strainer that was placed in the sink, setting the pot down, before working on getting the excess water out.  She left it there, rinsing the pan out, placing it in the dishwasher and walked over to grab some plates, pulling the drawer out to grab three forks, setting them on the table.


Watching her do this reminded him of old times, after the whole murder episode that is.  When they had been happy and supposedly in love.  He snorted, rubbing his thumb against the side of his nose, pushing those thoughts far away.  Now wasn't the time.  Once again she had managed to piss someone off and once again he was going to make sure nothing happened to her.  Simple as that. 


‘Or so you keep saying.’ He mentally chided himself.


Juliana sighed as she thought about what happened after the murder of Ken and her mother, remembering all the happy memories.  She honestly missed them; she missed him, but knew he was only there to help her.  She'd have to get used to that fact and move on and live the rest of her life alone.  That's just the way it was and the sooner Juliana came to terms with that, the better off she'd be.  She smiled softly when John entered, already having his plate made, and handed him a napkin. 


“Don't make a mess please.  This isn't your house.” She stated with a knowing look, causing John to grumble as he walked out of the kitchen while she sat down and began to eat.


“Not his house either!” John hollered from the living room, where he was safe, for the moment.  “Remember, he TOOK IT.”


“He hasn't changed a damn bit, has he?” ‘Taker asked conversationally, sitting across from her with his own plate, inhaling before flashing a wink.  “Sauce smells delish.” He said in a sweet tone of voice.


“No, but I wouldn't want him any other way.” Juliana replied honestly as she took a bite of her food, nodding at the sauce.  “Thanks.” She glanced at him before taking another bite, dabbing her face with a napkin and took a sip of her water.  She rarely drank anymore, seeing no need for it.  “So...how've you been?” She finally asked, that question plaguing her ever since the highway, wanting to know what he'd been doing.  More importantly, if he'd found someone else.


He looked a bit shocked by that and shrugged.  “Good, things been quiet for the most part.  Did some work for a politician, should've let the bastard be shot but...” He shrugged again.  “You?” He cocked an eyebrow in her direction, checking her hand for signs of a wedding band or something.  “What have you been keeping yourself busy with?”


She smiled a little and set her fork down, taking a sip of her water.  “I bought a house.  It's beautiful.  Two story, white with a wrap around cherry wood deck.” She frowned, suddenly wondering if whoever was after her had broken in, and sighed heavily.  “'Taker, it has to be a guy.” When his eyebrow rose, she slowly stood up, suddenly not hungry anymore.  “A rock was thrown through my window with a black rose attached to it.” She started pacing back and forth.  “On the highway, did you see any sign, another rose maybe?”


He studied her intently.  “Why does it have to be a guy Juliana?  No offense, but the majority of assassins and hit people out there are female.” He nodded at her facial expression.  “It could have easily been a woman, maybe you have a female admirer you don't know about?” He frowned.  “Did you bring the rose?  Bag it or anything?”


“No, I was so terrified, I just left.” She bit her bottom lip, knowing that was dumb, and sighed heavily as she sat back down.  “I was secluded for so long; I live out in the middle of nowhere.  I'm not even on the map in all honesty.  I just wanted to be alone and live there and die there.” She buried her face in her hands, beginning to tremble.  “Why is this happening to me?” She whispered painfully.


“Because you have something someone wants.” He said matter-of-factly.  “The question is what is it?”


“My life apparently.” She answered softly before standing up, clearing her plate, and rinsed it under the sink. 


Juliana started cleaning up the mess, putting the sauce in a container before placing it in the fridge and the noodles in another.  She hated when it was all mixed together.  Juliana wasn't much of an eater anymore, but she was still toned down.  Her legs were nicely tanned and she didn't look bad, her feminine figure still in place.  The only thing that really changed about her was her hair.


He had already noticed all these things and attributed it to the fact that it was his JOB to notice things about people, like the fact that her ass was a bit curvier now and her legs looked soft to the touch… “Your life isn't up for grabs.” He said, clearing his throat, bringing himself back to reality and decided to store away those other thoughts for a later time.  Such as when he was in the shower.


“It never is when you're around.” She said, a hint of amusement in her tone, and finished before turning around to face him.  There were so many things she wanted to say, to tell him she was sorry for ever doubting and not trusting him.  She was just confused and immature back then, not ready for a full blown relationship.  She was scared, she admitted, and used what she said to him as a cover up.  ‘Forget it, he doesn't care.’ She thought before walking over, taking his empty plate, staring into his eyes.  “I trust you and I know you'll pull through just like you did last time.” She then walked back over to the sink and finished cleaning up.


Taker sat there in stunned silence.  So she trusted him now huh?  ‘Forget it man, she has to trust you, especially since she's not ready to die yet.’ He thought bitterly, just nodding, maintaining his silence.  Her brand of trust he still refused to live with.  He wanted to be trusted full-time, not just when needed as a last resort.  “I'm going to go see if anything's been found out bout that tag yet.” He said finally, standing up.


Juliana just nodded, busy wiping down the counters and stove before finally walking out into the living room.  She sat down next to her best friend and leaned her head against his shoulder, closing her eyes.  She did trust him, she meant what she said, if only 'Taker knew why she said the awful things she did.


‘It doesn't matter, it's over.  Move on.’ She berated herself mentally, wrapping an arm around John's waist, and kept her eyes closed.  She missed this, John had been her rock for so long and now that she had him back, she wasn't letting him go for anything.


“Anything you want to talk about, Jules?” He asked casually, draping an arm around her, ignoring his game.  She was his best friend, regardless of what had happened, and he wasn't going to blow her off for anything.  “I know something is bothering you, and it's not related to the psycho trying to find you either.”


“No, there's nothing to talk about, John.” She murmured softly, trying to keep her tears in, and sighed heavily.  “Not anymore.  I'm just glad to have my best friend back in my life.” She kissed his cheek and hugged him again before standing up.  “I'm gonna go lay down, go back to your game.” She then walked down the hallway, wiping a few tears that fell and headed upstairs to her room she was staying in, closing the door quietly behind her. 


When she was alone, Juliana finally let the tears flow and ended up crying herself to sleep.




That hurt like a son of a bitch.  He couldn't believe he'd been shot.  True, it was just a superficial wound, a graze, but still. 


He hadn't been counting on someone else showing up and who had that jackass on the motorcycle been?  He snarled, the face memorized in his mind and fired up the computer he was using.  The World Wide Web...he loved it.


Chapter 7


John sighed, unable to go back to his game just like that.  Contrary to the image he presented, he wasn't that damn immature.  He walked out onto the porch, staring around the secluded land that surrounded them, knowing "Taker well enough to know that the minute someone tried getting into this place, some kind of alarm would most likely go off. 


This wasn't that ramshackle ranch.  He sighed, scrubbing a hand down his face.  He knew there was tension between Juliana and Taker and he wished they'd get over it; they weren't going to be able to focus if they each kept thinking about the past.




A few hours later, Juliana felt a hand shaking her awake, causing her to groan as she rolled over away from the hand.  She was tired damn it!  She sighed and slowly turned over; opening her eyes, and looked up into the intense green eyes of 'Taker. 


She gasped when his lips suddenly descended on hers, causing her fingers to instantly run through his hair, pressing her body against his.  It felt so good being in his arms again, feeling his kisses, she felt safe with him and only him.  She moaned and arched her neck up further when his lips sealed to it, finding the spot that made her melt, and felt him discard her shorts, helping him by lifting her hips off the bed. 


She reached down to the black jeans he was wearing and unsnapped them with a flick of her wrist, sliding the zipper down.  Just that sound caused her entire body to come alive as she ran her hand up his chest, pushing his jeans down with her feet.  She needed this; she needed him more than anything.  Their heavy breathing was the only sound in the room as she felt his lips and tongue tease her neck, strong hand delving under her tank top she wore, and arched into his touch with a soft moan.  Her hand rubbed the back of his neck before gripping his dark silky tresses, the hunger clear in her eyes. 


His hand traveled down her nicely toned stomach before lifting her up, taking the wretched clothing off so it would stop getting in his way.  He tossed it over his shoulder before unsnapping her bra, pulling it off, and immediately found her lips again, growling softly.  His hand went back to caressing her, gently, tenderly, trying not to make this go fast.  He slowly inched it down further until it arrived at the elastic waistband of her panties, fingering them teasingly, his green eyes glowing in the darkness while the moon pooled through the window.  She was writhing beneath him, begging him to end her torture, and a dark chuckle resonated around the room as he shook his head.


A yelp came from her when she felt his hand slide beneath her panties, his large finger probing at her hot sex, her heart beating furiously against her chest.  It felt like it would fly out at any given moment as she gripped the bed sheets with her hands, her body arched, and her mouth partially open.  She could feel his hand leave her for a moment before her panties were discarded, and looked up at him. 


Her entire body shivered at the sight of him licking his finger clean of her essence before slowly crawling over her naked body with his own.  Juliana hissed when she felt him brush against her, feeling how hard he was, how much he desired her.  It was almost too much for her to take as she felt him wrap her legs around his muscular waist, locking her ankles so neither could escape.


Just before he slid inside of her, Juliana's eyes flew open when she heard him whisper he loved her…




Juliana bolted upright in bed, sweat pouring down her face, coating her body, trembling from head to toe.  She raked her hands through her hair, looking around frantically, and pressed a hand to her heart when she didn't see 'Taker anywhere.  Knowing she wouldn't sleep, Juliana shakily walked to the door and opened it, walking down the stairs, needing a glass of water.


He was leaning in the front door, naked as a jaybird.  John was in a guest room, so he wasn't worried about offending the kid, or getting him off, whichever Cena preferred.  He had come out to survey the landscape, habit making him search for signs of intruders.  He was naked because well...he slept naked.  That and he wasn't used to people being around anymore when he was at one of his homes.


“Oh god...” Juliana groaned as soon as she seen him and immediately turned around, wondering what she did in her lifetime to deserve this. 


First the dream, now she was seeing him naked and she was AWAKE this time! 


Juliana's blood began to singe as she rushed back upstairs and went into the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind her before locking it.  She then turned the faucet on and splashed water on her face, trying to cool down.  She was going to die before this was over with and it wouldn't be due to being murdered either.


'Taker looked over his shoulder, green eyes twinkling with amusement.  He'd heard that 'oh god' and knew instantly who it was.  Playing innocent, he headed upstairs, stretching his arms over his head when she poked her head out of the bathroom. 


“Morning.” He grunted, winking at her before disappearing into his own bedroom.  “Much better...”


Juliana ended up shedding her clothes and taking an hour long cold shower, needing something to cool her body down.  Not to mention she was going to end up doing something drastic, like attacking her ex-boyfriend, if he wasn't careful.  She finally stepped out, wrapping a towel around her body, and walked out of the bathroom to her own room.  She pulled out a matching set of panties and bra along with jean shorts and a baby t-shirt that was white and black before closing her door to dress.


“We need to talk.” He just wasn't giving her the alone time she apparently needed because she jumped.  He was sitting comfortably on her bed in just a pair of shorts.  “I got them tags back, false tags.  Car identical to it went missing round the same time these tags were supposedly bought.  Now, care to chance a guess where at?”


“I'm going to regret asking this, but where?” She asked, her back to him, and tugged the towel closer to her body as if it was apart of her.  She immediately stuffed her clothes back in her bag, raking a hand through her wet hair, not believing she hadn't seen him when she walked in.  Then again, her mind was on something completely different so she wasn't surprised she'd spaced out.


“Texas.” He quirked an eyebrow at her.  “Texas, of all damn places.  Now...John said the tags were expired, expired is an understatement.  This thing expired four years ago...to the date.  Whoever this is tried scrawling a new date over the old one; it'll do if it weren't looked at too closely, John looked, smart of him.  This tag...came off...well; it's off your old car, before we got the plates.” He held it out to her.


Juliana was shaking now as she took the tag, blinking, and actually dropped it like the damned thing scorched her.  “The car Ken nearly killed me with.” It wasn't a question and Juliana could feel her mind beginning to spin as she started pacing back and forth, still gripping the towel, swallowing down her sobs.  Who the Hell would steal this plate off of a car she'd nearly died in?  “This is-” She stopped, shaking her head, feeling the tears stinging her eyes.


“Sicker then shit.” He finished for her, rubbing his goatee thoughtfully.  “Whoever's chasing you Juliana, knows all about what happened with Anderson, your dad, John, me, your mom, all of it.  So...we know this person is in the loop, probably someone who knows at least Anderson, not sure about your mother because we don't have any background information on her.  The best we can do is head to Anderson's old place and break in.”


“No, we're not doing that.” She stated, shaking her head, not wanting to go anywhere near that place.  She held up her hand when 'Taker went to say something, shaking her head emphatically.  “I've already been on the news.  We need to stay here and wait for that son of a bitch to come here.  Then we can nail him and be done with this.” She raked a hand through her hair, thinking rationally unlike 'Taker, which was scary.


He shook his head.  “Juliana, you're not getting it.” He said softly.  “This isn't a rash person.  Whoever it is has had to think about what's he or she is going to do, a very long time it seems.  They know what happened the last time, I can already tell you, they won't come here.  First of all, this place isn't associated with me by any names or means.  Second, even if they did somehow know, they'll torture you by making you wait.  This is a game.”


“You think I don't know that, 'Taker?” She finally snapped, glaring back at him, and let out a growl as she kicked the plate across the floor.  “I know they're fucking with me, but I'm not going back to that mansion!  That's where-” She stopped again and shook her head, flashbacks entering her mind.  Juliana finding out her mother was the real accomplice behind this, 'Taker nearly scaring her to death by making her believe he was on Ken's side only to turn at the last moment, Ken's blood getting on her wedding dress...the memories did not end.  “No, there has to be another way.”


“That's where I almost killed you, yeah, I know.” He said bitterly.  “Fine Juliana, play their game.  It's not my life at stake.  It's yours.” He walked out, slamming the door shut behind him.


“Whoa, where are you going?” John demanded, blinking.


“For a fucking ride.”


She rushed out after him, stopping him before he could get to the stairs.  “That has nothing to do with it!  Yes, I was thinking about it, but that's not ALL that happened in that mansion!  There are bad memories there, my mother was dead and I found out she faked her own death and wanted me dead!  Don't you get it, 'Taker??? She backed away from him, the tears stinging her blue eyes.  “For once, this has nothing to do with you!  This has nothing to do with us!” She then rushed back in her room and slammed her door shut, sliding down it, and felt the tears stream down her cheeks.


He growled angrily, all but pushing his precious Harley over and stormed after her.  He ignored John's pleas to just stay calm and stalked upstairs.  ‘Taker opened the door, grunting when he felt her against it. 


“Move Juliana,” He snarled.  “You got bad memories there?  Well, guess what honey, so what?  You got someone who wants you dead right now, so get with the fucking program.  Either fight to save your life or go shoot yourself, either way, FUCKING OPEN-Yes, John?”


“Screaming at her isn't going to make her open that door.”


“I'm going to go shoot my damn self.”


“Jules?  Honey, he's gone.”


She scrambled from the door and opened the door, wrapping her arms around John as her tears scorched his neck, the sobs rocking her body to its foundation.  “I-I can't go back there, John...” She stuttered out, squeezing her eyes tightly shut, clinging to her best friend.  “I-I just know we won't find what we're looking for there...This isn't connected to Anderson, I don't know how I know, but my heart is telling me so...” She continued to sob against him.


“Then you better ask your heart just what we're going to do because you know as well as I do, hiding here isn't going to work.” John said gently, stroking her back soothingly, rocking her back and forth.  “He's worried, Juliana, he hates this.  He hates waiting.  You know how he is honey...” He trailed off, not believing he was defending 'Taker's actions to her.  What the hell?


“No, he just wants to get away from me and that's fine.  He wants to go to the Anderson mansion?  Fine, we'll go.  I want this over with so I never have to see him again.  I want to go back to my house in the middle of nowhere alone and die in my bed sleeping.” She stated, her voice growing cold to hide her true emotions, and walked over as she yanked out her clothes before dressing.  She didn't care if John saw her naked, not like he hadn't before.  Only this time she chose a pair of black jeans with a black shirt that had a V shaped neckline.


John shook his head, following her and turned Juliana around, staring down into her face.  “Bullshit.  You don't want to do any of that and we both know you'll never forget him.  Whatever happened between you two, fix it.  You can't pretend nothing's wrong, or that you don't care, Jules.  I know you too well.  You know as well as I do that he cares about you and is trying to hide it himself.”


“Why are you defending him so damn much?” She snapped, pulling out of his grasp, not believing this.  It was almost as if Juliana had stepped into a damn twilight zone!  John and 'Taker were getting along and that wasn't normal!  That was...that was surreal, it wasn't right!  “I've changed John and so has he.  Yes I still love him, okay?  There is that what you wanted to hear?  I love him, but I hurt him in the most vicious way.  I said things that cut him apart...” She cleared her throat and shook her head.  “It doesn't matter.  If he thinks the Anderson mansion is holding something, then we're going with that.” She then walked away, but not before turning around to stare at him.  “Besides, if he really wanted me around, he wouldn't be fighting so hard to get rid of me, don’t you think?” She left him with that thought to go downstairs.


John shook his head, staring around the empty room.  He gathered Juliana didn't know ‘Taker was calling in every favor he could, backtracking everything, searching, all of it, just to keep her alive.  “More like keeping you safe.” He muttered knowing better then to continue this, she'd probably bite his head off next, just like Ozzy and a bat.


Chapter 8         


“You'll be thrilled to know...Anderson's place was burnt to ash last night.”


“Great...” She muttered and shook her head, crossing her arms in front of her chest.  They were now back to square one.  ‘I'm going home.’ She thought and walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water before stepping out on the back porch, sitting down, and set the glass down before putting her head in her hands. 


Things were so screwed up! 


They weren't any closer to finding this scumbag and Juliana was honestly starting to wonder if they ever would.  She was starting to give up hope and faith.  Maybe she would be better off dead, at least this could be settled once and for all with her life ending.




This is what he wanted of course.  She had played the game and survived the last time.  She couldn't honestly expect to make it out alive the second time, could she?  No, of course not. 


Everything was going to hell. 


Leads were dropping, every hope they had being destroyed.  All they had to go on was a tag, and even then, that lead straight back to her!  Nothing but circles.  Soon she'd do the only thing she could.  And he'd be ready.




Juliana sat out there for what seemed like forever, thinking about the past, smiling at the good times and crying with the bad.  She finally seen the moon rising and slowly stood up, wiping her eyes of the tears before slowly making her way back inside.  She gently closed the screen door and walked into the living room, starting the CD player, and simply sat in front of the fire place as she let the music take her away.



Bells I heard so

Long ago seem

Crystal hymns and songs I've never heard of

Where ivy grows and stone gives way

A locket lost and a love that faded away

The broken hearts are soon to mend and

Every scar of streets and where I've been



‘Taker had gone on his ride, cursing like a sailor.  All he wanted to do was make sure Juliana got out of this alive.  He'd pretty much ran to her when he'd seen her on the news, seen what had happened, instantly knowing something was wrong. 


No matter what, he hadn't stopped loving her.  It was just the fact that he couldn't live with loving her, not with her not being able to trust him.  Even after all this time, he still loved the stubborn wench.



The time of my life (4x)

Let it all begin again (2x)


Like the sweetest nectar

The softest breeze

My heart melts with all the beauty it sees



Juliana put the song on repeat and laid on the couch, the tears falling down her face as she let it sweep her away.  She loved him so much and she trusted him completely, but he didn't believe her.  Why should he? 


She'd said awful, terrible things to him all because she was afraid of committing to him.  She was afraid he'd run off on her in the middle of the night or go find another woman to protect.  That was probably her worst fear of all was him finding someone else, telling her she wasn't good enough.  The more Juliana thought about it, the more heartbroken she became as she stared into the fire.



And highway diamonds lead to empty skies

Our fears dissolve in every silent car ride

Where wonder holds are turned so tight

Hearts ablaze our only ray of life



Maybe instead of crying your eyes out you should tell him you DO trust him and explain your fears.’ A little voice whispered in her head.  Instead of being a coward about this, tell him.  What's the worse that can happen?


And then as if on cue, ‘Taker walked in the door.



The time of my life (4x)

Let it all begin again


The time of my life (9x)



I can't...’ She thought, shaking her head, and buried her face in the pillow, the song still playing.  She tried to stop the sobs, but it wasn't happening as she heaved a heavy, shaky breath, the tears falling harder and faster.  ‘I am a coward, I've always been one.’ She berated herself mentally, not moving from the couch, and curled up in a ball as she continued sobbing.  She just wanted this pain, this indescribable pain, to go away.  Was that so much to ask?


He frowned, seeing the shape she was in and sat down on the edge of the couch, reaching out to place his hand on her hip.  “Juliana, what's wrong?” He asked softly, gently rolling her over so he could see her. ‘Taker was shocked to find her crying, reaching out automatically to brush the tears away, his green eyes softening.  “Darlin', what's wrong?  Talk to me, Juliana.”


Instead of talking, Juliana sat up and wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging him, clinging as if he was her lifeline.  She started crying harder, her tears beating down on his neck, entire body shaking from head to toe and racking with heart wrenching sobs.  “I-I d-didn't m-mean it...” She rasped out, beginning to hiccup because of how hard she was sobbing.  “I-I w-was s-scared...I-I n-never m-meant w-what I-I said…” She squeezed her eyes tightly shut and began coughing, trying to breathe.


It took some time to decipher that, he had to sort through her crying, past the sniffles and hiccups before it finally sank in what she was referring too. Taker cradled Juliana against him, rocking back and forth with her on his lap, his arms tightening around her. He didn't know what to say to that, not at the moment anyways.  So instead he just held her and planted kisses over her forehead. 


“It's alright.” He finally murmured.  “It's alright...”


“N-No it's n-not...” She softly sobbed, having calmed down a bit before she ended up having a heart attack.  She simply clung to him, her tears still falling, and the sobs had finally subsided as she closed her eyes.  “I...lied to you...that night...” She sniffled, wiping her eyes, trying to get the tears to stop, but it wasn't working.  “I was scared yes...but I've always trusted you, 'Taker.  I was scared of what we had, I was scared you'd run off and find someone else.  I was scared of the intensity, I wasn't mature enough for a relationship.” She admitted it, she was a child back then inside a woman's body, but over the past four years she'd grown up.  “I-I'm sorry...I-I'm so sorry for everything...”


‘Taker simply stared down at her, his eyebrows drawing together finally, in amusement.  “Find somebody else?” He echoed, tilting his head to the side and regarding her curiously.  “What in the hell would make you think that?  I went above and beyond the call of duty with you, Juliana.  I don't do that for just anyone.  Or didn't you know?”


“That's just it, I didn't know you.  I didn't know if you'd run or not.  I know it sounds crazy, but after everything...” She trailed off, biting her bottom lip, wondering how she could word this without angering him.  “We were moving too fast.” There she said it and she was being brutally honest with him.  “I mean, I was engaged to Ken for at least two years...and I was scared to commit again.  I was just scared in general and used that lie about not trusting you to cover it up.” She raked a hand through her hair and sat up a little more, the tears finally subsiding.  She wondered if she had anymore left after all that crying she did.


He arched an eyebrow.  “It was my understanding your engagement to Ken wasn't wanted.” ‘Taker said sternly.  “So what the fuck does that have to do with anything, Juliana?  I don't get it.  We were moving too fast so you told me you didn’t trust me.  You say you did, but then you just contradicted yourself by saying you didn't know if I'd run or not.  Which is it?”


“It wasn't that I didn't trust you, 'Taker.  It was the fear that you'd leave me, that you'd hurt me.  Yes, Ken was an unwanted engagement, I didn't love him, but I did trust him enough that he wouldn't hurt me.  I was stupid and naive to actually believe that and when I found the note, that's when I realized he would hurt me.” She swallowed hard and closed her eyes, sighing.  “I just wanted you to know that I did trust you and I still do.  It was never a halfway thing.  My trust has always been there, even after what you did at his mansion.” She then stood up and walked over, shutting the CD off.


“Even after?  You make it sound like I betrayed you.” He said, sitting forward, resting his elbows on his knees and stared at her out of piercing green eyes, his tone making it clear if she walked out of the room now, he was finished.  They were going to finish this conversation, no matter what the outcome was.  “I did what I had too, and he would have killed you if he thought I was there to save you.”


“I know that.  I know you did what you did to protect me.  You scared the shit out of me, but I knew it was for my own good.  If I would've known what you were planning, Ken would've caught on.  I get it, I understand.” She walked over and put another log on the fire, knowing they were going to talk this out to the fullest.  Juliana wasn't running anymore, she was tired of running from him.


He seemed to sense that because he relaxed, reclining on the couch and studying her, not so intently, just watching her move around.  It actually soothed him to see her doing normal, every day things and not running for her life or glaring at him.  It was a nice change. 


“Glad we agree on that, finally.” He said after a minute, realizing he'd just been watching her.  “You're not dating anyone right now, are you?”


“No, are you?” She asked with a raised eyebrow, walking over and sitting on her knees on the couch. 


Juliana took one of his hands and began to slowly trace patterns on it, slowly looking up into his eyes, hers searching his intently.  No fear, no hatred, nothing but love shone in her eyes for this man that she let slip through her fingers four years ago.  If she could help it, she wouldn't let it happen again.


“I haven't looked twice at another woman since you.” ‘Taker said honestly.  He hadn't.  He'd been too pissed off with the entire female population in general, then just not interested.  “I think you ruined me actually...” His lips were twitching, as if he was trying not to smile, green eyes twinkling as he leaned back, pulling her with him.  “You dated since me at all?”


“No, I couldn't.” She shook her head, leaning against him, wrapping one arm around his waist and inhaled his intoxicating scent.  “After you left, I shut down completely.  I bought that house I told you about and only went out when I absolutely had too.  I've been alone for the past four years...completely and insufferably alone.” She sighed sadly and stared into the fire, enjoying this moment with him.


‘Taker, for a moment, looked pleased.  Though the look quickly disappeared.  It was reassuring to know he had been the last one with her, that made him...feel...proud actually, and a little cocky.  Though he knew better then to get cocky with Juliana, she'd knock that right out of him.  He pulled her into his side, resting his head on hers. 


“When this is all over, you realize, I'm not letting you get away so easily, right?”


She smiled genuinely for the first time in years and slowly looked up at him, nodding.  “I wasn't letting you go either.  I love you, 'Taker.  I never stopped.”


Reaching up to caress his cheek with the back of her hand, the firelight reflected off her midnight blue eyes as they scorched his soul, not pulling away.  She was done being scared, done running.  She was going to see this through because she knew this was her soul mate, the man she was supposed to be with for the rest of her life.


He caught her hand, bringing it to his mouth and gently kissed it, his mustache tickling her skin.  “I love you too.” He said quietly, not looking away from her intoxicating eyes.  “When I seen you on the news, I panicked.” He admitted, still being quiet, the memory almost causing his heart to begin racing again, almost.  “I was afraid I'd be too late.”


“You weren't though and that's what you need to remember.” She said softly, crawling to where she was now straddling him, her hands resting on his strong shoulders, kneading them gently.  “The car that exploded was John's.  There was a bomb in it.  He barely escaped and I was only flown back.  We got out of there and didn't even realize the shack had a bomb in it until I seen it on the news.” She admitted quietly, not even shivering against him because it didn't surprise her.  She'd been through so much, nothing really surprised her anymore, and whoever was doing this was going to pay with their life.


“Hey, are we eating anytime soon or is it fend for yourself because I got the munchies like a mother-Oh...” John trailed off, then broke into a toothy grin.  He bounded over and hugged them both, kissing them each on the forehead.  “You two are so cute!” He pinched Taker's cheek before hauling ass out of there.


‘Taker let out the breath he'd been holding.


Juliana was giggling uncontrollably in his chest, not able to stop herself, and not believing John just did that.  “Don't kill him, he's a nice kid.” She said in between giggles, knowing she probably would never forget the look on 'Taker's face.  She tried holding it in and ended up snorting, giggling harder, and gripped his shoulders tighter.


John's bellowing laughter floated back in the room.


‘Taker exhaled again, trying to not set her aside, go pound that little prick then come back and get her for laughing.  That wasn't funny!  “He doesn't really mean all that much to you, does he?” He asked casually, green eyes gleaming.


“Baby cheeks...” John warbled from the game rooms.  “Sweet baby cheeks...”


“He's dead.”


Juliana laughed when she was bodily tossed on the couch and started curling her body up in a ball, laughing so hard the tears were pouring down her cheeks.  She knew 'Taker was going to hurt John and honestly didn't blame him.  The boy had stepped over the line and she laughed harder before going to see what was going on and if there was any blood she'd have to clean up.


Chapter 9


There wasn't any blood. 


John, however, needed untied and let down.  He'd been tied to the top of a pinball machine, with the controller cords of one of the systems, a computer mouse jammed in his mouth.  John looked like he was both crying and laughing at the same time, wincing when the cords cut into his wrist.  He looked at Juliana expectantly, his eyes asking her to let him down.


“You know what?  I think I'll leave you there for awhile.”


She started howling with laughter as she walked back into the living room and fell on the couch, curling up in a corner as she shook her head.  Some things just would never change and she didn't want them too in all honesty.  It was nice to have some humor in the house as she finally calmed down, leaning her head against the couch.


“Put the camera down!”


“Just smile pretty.  Feel lucky I took that mouse out of your mouth, son.”


“I mean it sweet cheeks.” John let out a shriek of pain.


“One more sweet cheeks comment and I'm shoving this joystick right up your ass.” ‘Taker threatened.




“I'll rescue you, my love!” Juliana was posing like she was Superman, giggling and rushed past 'Taker, before untying John from the cords, patting his little head.  “Aww, you look so tormented baby.” Her blue eyes gleamed wickedly as she looked over at 'Taker.  “Maybe another spider feast would be good for him, hmm?”




“Don't have any, this house is bug free.  However...we go outside, and I could probably find a snake to slice and dice, how'd that be?”


“I'm going to puke.” John cautioned, glancing at Juliana, beginning to dry heave, walking towards her.


“Puke and you'll be licking it up.”


Juliana watched as John practically bolted out of the game room and she went in the opposite direction, raking a hand through her hair.  “Maybe he'll shut up now.” She stated, sitting back down on the couch, and looked up at 'Taker, wondering what he was thinking.  They'd be disrupted again due to John's hunger issue and were in the middle of a serious conversation.  “'Taker, you alright?”


“Yeah, I'm fine.” ‘Taker grunted, dropping down heavily besides her and snorted.  “That kid has brass balls, not much in the way of brains, but brass balls.”

“No you can’t slurp on them, can I go make something to eat?”

“Go.  Before I do KILL you.”


John smiled sweetly before disappearing.  He liked this new ‘Taker, though he was curious how long it would last.


Juliana simply shook her head and leaned against 'Taker's shoulder, knowing they couldn't be fully together until this ordeal was over with.  She sighed to herself, raking a hand through her hair, and hoped that time soon came.  However, she knew it would take time and patience to achieve what she wanted most, which was a peaceful and safe life with 'Taker.


With John around however, peace was not to be theirs.  He came flying out of the kitchen moments later, looking at Taker and Juliana, his blue eyes wide.  “It was an accident.” He said, wincing when a BANG came from the kitchen, followed by smoke.


“What'd you do now?” ‘Taker snarled, shooting off the couch and headed into the kitchen.  “JULIANA, I’M KILLING HIM!”


“I didn’t mean too!”




Juliana gaped before jumping over the back of the couch and rushed into the kitchen, instantly beginning to cough as the smog entered her lungs.  “J-John!!  W-What happened?” She coughed more, rushing back out, waving her hand as she rushed over to open the back, glass sliding door.  “You better run...fast.” She was breathing heavily as she coughed more, black smoke beginning to filter from the kitchen.  “Christ...”


‘Taker was exercising his right to freedom of speech and cussing violently, the words and phrases he used would have made the most hardened of sailors blush.  “MOTHERFUCKER, CENA!” He roared, fighting down the flames, winning the battle, but he had a few burns that were smarting like a bitch.


“Um... bye.” John was GONE.


“HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!” Juliana shrieked as she seen John peel out of the driveway in HER Jetta, growling before going to make sure 'Taker wasn't singed.  “'Taker?” She called out through the kitchen, coughing heavily, waving the smog, groaning since the taste was getting in her mouth.  She finally found him, grabbing his arm.  “Come on, we need fresh air.”


“Give me a damn second woman...” He snapped, gently nudging her away while he finished with what was left of his oven.  Sighing, he stared at the mess, scorched metal and a lot of foam.  ‘Taker followed her outside, his entire body covered in smoke, the only thing white on him were his eyes at the moment, you couldn't even tell what color his hair was.  “How in the name of God did that little shit blow up...an oven...” He coughed.


“I don't know and I don't care.  I hope he comes back and blows your damn house up!” She snapped back at him before walking down the stairs and to the backyard, coughing more. 


All she was trying to do was get him out of the kitchen before his lungs clogged up and she got snapped on for her troubles.  Juliana was angry at both men at the moment and wanted to be left alone.  She knew she'd end up hurting them if they didn't.


‘Taker blinked, hacking some more and pounded his chest, wondering where the HELL that had come from?  She was pissed off because he'd told her to give him a second?  “CHRIST ALMIGHTY WOMAN, DID YOU WANT THE FUCKING HOUSE TO GO UP IN FLAMES?” He roared, going into another coughing fit, bound and determined to mangle that little prick when he came back.


She ignored him, too angry to care at the moment.  She found a nearby tree and sat down, coughing more, actually spitting up a wad of black spit, groaning.  “Fuck.” She muttered, raking a hand through her soot filled hair, and spit again.  She was going to kill John when she saw him and 'Taker could have the pieces when she was finished.




John was too busy putting miles between him and the pissed off ‘Taker to really give any thought to his best friend.  He knew he had screwed up, like he KNEW how stoves worked?  He knew it wouldn't light so he tried lighting the pilot light...well...he TRIED too. 


“I am so, so, so fucked.” He groaned, then realizing he'd taken Juliana's car and she was going to castrate him too.  “Oh SHIT!”


John sighed, doing a U-turn, knowing it was time to go and face the music.  His blue eyes widened when a blue car rammed right into him head-on.




A few hours later after the kitchen was cleared out of smog, Juliana changed into a pair of shorts with a tank top and got to work, knowing 'Taker went out to get a new stove.  She brought the paint into the house from the garage, turned on some music, and started in, scrubbing and painting, trying to make the kitchen look like it used too.  She wiped the sweat from her forehead as she sat crouched, painting the wall, nodding when she finally got the perfect stroke down.


“Here's the new stove, he breaks it, and I’ll just buy a damn grill.” ‘Taker grunted, having just went out and bought the oven, but he wasn't unloading the damn thing without the kid, it was too heavy.  “Still pissed with me?”


“No, but I am worried about John.  He should've been back by now.” She sighed heavily, raking a hand through her hair, and felt the hairs on her neck stand up as the chill ran down her spine.  She ignored it, knowing she was being paranoid, and set the paint brush in the bucket before turning around to face 'Taker.  “It's a good thing I made a huge pot of spaghetti or else we'd probably starve.”


“Amen for microwaves.” ‘Taker snorted, wrapping his arms around her waist, and pressed his forehead to hers.  “I'm sorry bout snapping at you earlier.” He said softly.  “I was just trying to put that damn fire out.” He seen the worry in her eyes and pressed a kiss to her temple.  “He's probably out running on empty, wondering if it's safe to come home.”


She nodded, holding onto him as she pressed her forehead back against his gently, rolling it back and forth.  “You're right, I'm just worrying for nothing.” She smiled before hugging him, resting her head against his chest, and closed her eyes before inhaling his scent.  He'd taken a shower before leaving so he smelled of him again instead of the smog.  “I'm sorry for snapping at you as well.  I was just trying to help.” She murmured softly, snuggling further against him.




He stared down at the blue eyed man.  John, that was his name and smirked, flipping open the wallet.  He considered just slitting this nuisance's throat but then decided against it.  Instead, he left John where he was. 


Slumped over the driving wheel, shattered glass covering him from the windshield breaking, a bruise forming on his forehead and some minor cuts.  He'd live.  Now...the car however…that was maybe.  Chuckling, he got back into his own dented up vehicle and drove away, whistling softly to himself.




It was after midnight and Juliana was downstairs, wearing a soft blue nightgown that went to her thighs, staring out the window.  Where was John?  She started rubbing her arms up and down, knowing 'Taker was sleeping, and slowly pushed the door open to walk out on the porch.  The moon was shining brightly as she leaned over the banister, sighing heavily as she raked her hands through her hair.  She could feel something was wrong, it had to be because John would've been back by now. 


‘Damn it where are you John?’ She thought worriedly.




John was just now waking up.  “Oh man...my head.” He groaned, slowly raising it up.  He blinked when he heard the tinkling of glass, looking down at himself then at the windshield, or lack of one.  “Oh shit, she'll kill me.” He muttered, shaking his head trying to clear it.  He knew he had done an illegal u-turn and been plowed.  He blinked.  Blue car...could it be the same...no...Not possible.  “Okay baby, please...please...start.” He tentatively turned the key, whooping when the car reluctantly started then groaned.  “My head...”




Headlights could be seen in the distance as Juliana slowly lifted her head, having had it bowed to pray her best friend was alright, and gaped by what she saw.  Her beautiful Jetta, her car, was completely totaled and John was driving the damn thing!  She seen the windshield as the moon shined brightly and immediately took off down the steps, tripping, and scrambled to her feet. 


“JOHN!” She screamed, seeing him stumble out of the car before collapsing in her arms.  Tears ran down her face as she held him, looking around frantically.  “'TAKER!!”


‘Taker came barreling out of the house, a knife in one hand, a gun in the other.  It was pretty obvious what the man slept with these days.  He lowered them both when he seen John, dropping to a knee to survey the damage.


“I had an accident.” John grunted, having not realized how shaky his legs had been until he tried walking on them.  “Jules, I'm sorry...I killed your car...”


“Better the car then you, boy.”


“Oh god, your head...” Juliana sobbed as she seen the mean gash in his forehead, seeing she was getting blood on her nightgown.  “'Taker, he needs medical attention...” She started crying harder, gently trying to guide her best friend into the house.  “Come on John...” She grunted through tears and sighed when 'Taker took his other side as they helped the man in the house.  “How far away is the nearest hospital?”


“Miles.” ‘Taker grunted, flicking on the lights.  In the bright lights he could take better inventory of the damage.  “I can handle that.”


“NO!  Not you!  He pulled the bullet out of my leg, remember?  Oh no....no, no, no!”


“It's just some stitches son...”


“John, please don't argue.  We have to get you taken care of.” Juliana pleaded softly, stroking his soft brown hair, and began shaking when she saw blood on her hand. 


She rushed out of the room and into the kitchen, getting a bowl of water with a rag.  She came back and slowly began cleaning his wounds while 'Taker pulled the glass out of John's body.  Juliana winced every time John cried out, knowing he was a wimp when it came to pain.


“Juliana, I got a first aid kit in the medicine cabinet...with Neosporin.”


“Thank god...” John breathed, remembering the last time.  He'd used Jack Daniels.


“The sewing kit is already in the first aid box.  Could you get it for me?”


“Fuck...Jules, could you at least shoot me first?  It'd be so much kinder.  Or let me bleed to death; I don't mind, really, I don't.”


Just for that comment, Juliana brought out the Jack Daniels bottle that was in 'Taker's liquor cabinet and poured it on John's head, causing him to shriek out in pain.  “Don't ever talk about death again.” She ordered gravely before pouring a pinch more just to prove her point.  She put the cap back on and then went to retrieve the first aid kit.  Maybe John would learn to keep his thoughts to himself when it came to death next time.


John whimpered, holding his head.


“Boo-boo hurt?”


“If it's not you hurting me, it's her.  Haven't I been injured enough?”


‘Taker prodded the gash.






After John's head was bandaged up heavily, he was then forced to help 'Taker bring the new stove in, his punishment for blowing the other one up.  When it was set correctly, Juliana started a pot of soup, knowing John needed it, and knew nobody would be going to sleep that night.  She fed John and 'Taker before walking outside, staring up at the sky, and could feel the tears run down her cheeks.  She knew who attacked John, it was obvious, which meant either this person knew where they were or they were too close for comfort.  Either way, Juliana knew she had to be extremely careful or else her life could end at any given moment.


Chapter 10


“John said he did a u-turn and the car behind him couldn't stop in time.” ‘Taker said, walking out on the porch and moving to stand by her, placing his hands on the railing and stared out into the darkness.  “What are you thinking, Juliana?  That it's him?” He knew she was.  He also figured she'd be ready to go by morning, knowing her.


“Or her.” She corrected, raking a hand through her hair, and dropped her head as the tears fell down her face.  “I was thinking we should head back to my house.  I need to find out what that rose meant, maybe it could bring us closer to whoever's doing this.” She was being rational, knowing it was a little risky, but the worst that could happen was she died.  So all things considered, things weren't that bad, right?


She wanted to go back to her house?  Wait a second, hadn't she told him he was being irrational by wanting to check out Anderson's old place?  Yes, yes she had. 


“Juliana, I don't think that's such a good idea.  Wait until the morning when the kid wakes up and we'll ask him some questions.  He was vague about what happened but that's probably due to him being exhausted.  Let's get all the details and then go from there.  It could be nothing.  Just an accident, they do happen.”


“But this is a SECLUDED place, 'Taker.” Juliana argued and sighed, feeling that chill again, knowing something wasn't right.  She sighed heavily and lowered her head, knowing he was right no matter how much she wanted to deny it.  “Very well, I will do what you want.” She murmured softly, wrapping her arms around herself, and slowly looked back up at the sky that had the full lit moon in it.  She knew this was no accident, she knew it was the person who wanted her dead and they nearly killed her best friend in the process.


“Jules...” He rarely used her nickname, but did, moving to stand directly behind her.  “The reason this place is that secluded is why I say we should wait.  It could have been someone just avoiding the freeways, going too damn fast or not watching the curves because they weren't expecting anyone to be on the roads.  Factor in John being his usual moronic self and doing a u-turn...Understand what I'm saying, honey?” He threaded his fingers through her hair, not wanting her to get all bent out of shape until they knew something for certain.  Then she could panic.


She dropped her head forward and closed her eyes, nodding slowly, even though she didn't believe it.  For his sanity though, she'd go along with it for now as she slowly turned around to stare up into his eyes.  “You're right, 'Taker.  I'm getting bent out of shape when this could be nothing, but a harmless accident.” She slowly reached up, caressing his face tenderly with the back of her hand, hiding the fact that, deep down, she knew this was connected to the person who wanted her dead.  She was hiding that factor very well though.


He smiled, nodding, not voicing his own thoughts.  She'd given too much of the game away already; he could feel her hiding her tension and distress from him.  He pulled her in for a tight embrace, bending down to bury his face in her hair. 


“Nothing's going to happen to you...I promise.  John either, if he stops blowing up stoves and then running off to avoid an ass kicking.”


In spite of everything, Juliana giggled softly against him and closed her eyes, holding him close.  She inhaled his scent, that intoxicating smell, and had to pull away before she ended up attacking him.  She wrapped her arms around herself, clearing her throat, and finally headed to the door. 


“I'm going to lay down.” She announced and didn't wait for him to respond before walking inside the house and headed up the stairs.  John was knocked out and probably would be for the remainder of the night so she wasn't worried.


He was more then tempted to follow her to her bedroom, but restrained himself, staying out a bit longer in the cooling night air to keep himself in check.  Going to bed with Juliana right now would probably be the exact time whoever was fucking with her would probably show up, knowing his luck.  “Damn.” He grunted, gripping the porch railing tightly and closed his eyes.


Juliana closed her door behind her and pressed her back to it, her heart thundering against her chest, and closed her eyes.  Being that close to 'Taker, in his arms, it was almost too much for her to take.  She quickly shed her nightgown, throwing it to the floor, and crawled under the silk sheet of her bed, wearing just her bra and panties. 


Staring at the wall for a long while, the cool night breeze blowing through her window, Juliana sighed as she snuggled into her pillow.  She wouldn't be sleeping tonight, but at least she'd rest her eyes.  She needed all the rest and energy she could get right now.




John could get used to this.  Jules brought him breakfast in bed; he really liked being an invalid.  At least until Taker appeared, looking stern.  Then he sighed, knowing the easy life had just been tossed out the window.  He crammed a forkful of scrambled eggs in his mouth, chewing very slowly.


“Okay, milk it if you want.  I'm a patient man.” ‘Taker leaned in the doorway, crossing his arms over his chest, preparing for a wait.


John swallowed and sighed.


Juliana was downstairs sitting on the couch, reading a book she'd brought with her, and groaned when she couldn't focus.  She tossed it to the side and just leaned her head back; closing her eyes, and shook it back and forth.  She had to trust 'Taker, she had to go along with his judgment and hope for the best, no matter this nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach.


John had finished his plate, after a very long hour.  He had developed a twitch in his right eye and ‘Taker hadn't moved, just stood there looking calm, comfortable and was grinning on top of it.






“Good, time to talk.” ‘Taker pulled up a chair, settling down and propped his boots up on the bed, dangerously close to John.  “Now that you're feeling better, let's discuss how you got into your accident.”


Juliana had made her way upstairs and was overhearing their conversation, standing in the doorway behind 'Taker, and paled when he said it was a blue car.  A blue car.  “No...” She whispered, slowly backing up, her blue eyes widened as she shook her head back and forth frantically.  “NO!” She then rushed down the stairs, completely freaking out, losing her cool like 'Taker feared she would.  She knew NOW more than ever they had to get the hell out of dodge and FAST.


There were a million blue cars in this state, probably more, Christ on a cracker!  ‘Taker hauled ass and chased her, knowing she'd bolt.  She had a bad tendency to bolt, and then it was then that the bad things started happening. 


“No!” He caught her before she could even hit the door, wrapping his arms around her waist.  “Calm down, Juliana.  Hear me?  Calm down!”


“No!!” She screamed, trying to break free from his grasp, and shook her head frantically.  “No!  I told you!!  I told you it was them!!  I told you and you didn't want to listen!!” She started sobbing violently before twisting around and buried her face in his chest, the sobs tearing throughout her tiny frame, shuttering at the mere thought that John's life was nearly crushed the night before because of her.  “We have to leave!!  We have to go!!  We can't stay here!!” She was beyond hysterics now; Juliana was officially scared to death.


He did the only thing he could think of.  He slapped her.  Not hard enough to bruise her, but enough to shut her up and make her listen. 


“Juliana, I listened to you.  But I also knew THIS is EXACTLY what you were going to do.  Now stop fucking panicking, sit down and shut up.  You need to calm down.  Don't rush out of here like you're on fire, remember what happened last time?  You wound up in a ditch and John got shot!”


She blinked at him in shock and held her cheek, not believing he just struck her.  He might've not done it hard, but 'Taker was a very large man, so it hurt nonetheless.  “We're finished.” She stated through gritted teeth before brushing past him and stalked upstairs, slamming her bedroom shut. 


Juliana surveyed her cheek and felt the tears sting her eyes, seeing a handprint was already forming followed by the makings of a bruise.  She started packing her things, she didn't need his help.  She didn't need him period!


That woman was always so stubborn.  They were doing exactly the same thing as last time.  Fine.  He was done.  He was sick and tired of her being a bitch every time he tried to stop her from doing something stupid that was either going to get her killed or hurt, along with John.  Juliana needed a reality check; apparently nothing had sunk in yet. 


“John, here.” He walked into John's room, tossing a box of ammo and his shotgun down on the bed.  “There's a gun cabinet in my room, help yourself.”


John stared at the gun until he heard the rev of ‘Taker's Harley and got up, running down the stairs to the door in time to see ‘Taker peeling out of there.  “Oh we are so fucked.”


The revving of a motorcycle flowed through the window as Juliana simply shook her head, knowing 'Taker was gone.  Good.  She didn't need him.  She walked back out and downstairs, seeing John staring out the window, and placed a hand gently on his shoulder. 


“He hit me.” The faint bruise on her cheek was all the proof John needed as Juliana blinked back the tears, staring out the window with her best friend.


John reached out and gently traced the bruise, wincing.  “Why'd he hit you?” He asked softly.  Great, now he'd have to find a way to kill ‘Taker...from a distance of course.  Damn bastard.  He guided her over to the couch and sat down with her, wrapping his arms around Jules.  “Honey?”


“I-I don't know...” She whispered, shrugging his arm off, and looked down at her lap as the tears clung to her eyelashes.  “Maybe it's because I was trying to tell him the feelings I've been having and that your accident wasn't just ANY accident.  I got hysterical because you said it was a blue car.  John, a blue car has been following me all over the damn place!  He wouldn't listen, he never does!  He's just as stubborn as I am and I'm glad he's gone!  Overbearing son of a bitch.” She snapped, standing and began pacing back and forth, raking a hand through her hair as the tears finally spilled down her cheeks.  “It's just you and me now.  This time he won't be there to save the day, so we need to figure out what our next move is.”


John was silent for a long time, staring at her, shifting every now and then uncomfortably.  “Please, don't ask me to figure anything out.  You know me.  I'm just the guy who tags along and gets caught in the crossfire; the guy who dodges bullets aimed at his ass but would jump in front of one for you.” He smiled awkwardly.  “I'm with you one hundred percent, Jules, always am.  Where do YOU want to go next?”


“We're not welcome here anymore, that much is obvious.  My car is totaled so we'll have to take 'Taker's.  He has a black mustang...” She made a face when John's eyes lit up.  “I have no idea why, he's not the mustang type of guy, but...” She shrugged, not really caring at the moment, and raked a hand through her hair.  “We should head to my house and find out if there are any clues there.  It's risky and deadly, but the most I got to lose is what's left of my life.”


She made it sound like she was ready to throw in the towel.  In all honesty, after everything that happened, Juliana wouldn't mind dying.  She wasn't scared anymore and she wouldn't whimper and beg and plead for her life.


John sighed, slapping his face.  “You realize, this is probably suicide right?  But...so long as I can drive?” He grinned pleadingly.  He was more then curious how ‘Taker had come to acquire half of his possessions, wondering if maybe the guy kept the shit of the madmen he killed that would explain a lot.  Or maybe he was a part-time bounty hunter, or...His imagination was starting to wander again.  “Oh yeah, he left guns.”


Chapter 11


Juliana nodded, pulling a 9MM out from her back that was tucked in her pants, clicking the trigger back.  “I know.” She slipped the holster on she'd nabbed from 'Taker's room and buckled it into place before sliding the gun in place.  “This is suicide, you're right, but I don't care anymore.  I'm done running, I'm done waiting.  This is no way to live John.” She sighed, no life or emotion evident in her eyes, just the dark coldness.  “I have nothing left and if this bastard wants me, whoever it is, then they can have me...as long as they're ready for the fight of their lives.  Just like Ken and my mother, this fucker is going down.”


He was tempted to point out that if it hadn't been for ‘Taker intervening, most likely...Ken and crazy Cassandra would have most likely killed them both, but Juliana's icy eyes and the fact that she was packing a gun...well...he kept his mouth shut.  “Hey, no need to be the ice bitch, it's just me.  You could at least pretend to feel scared so I don't look like a jackass when I piss my pants and scream like a six year old girl.” He teased.


The ice bitch?  Juliana shrugged, she'd live with that.  She looked at John and tossed him the keys, knowing she'd have to end up shooting anyone who might've followed them.  She had backup bullets with her, she'd become an expert shooter in the past four years, one of her few hobbies.  Once they were packed up and ready to go, Juliana looked back at the house as they drove down the road and silently said goodbye before staring out the window.  She knew it was over between her and 'Taker and rubbed her cheek absentmindedly, still not believing he actually slapped her.


If it weren't for the fact that their lives were in danger, John would have been in heaven.  Cars were one of his passions.  Not that he had the money to indulge, but still, a guy could dream.  So he was sort of living the dream. 


He could just pretend this was a Bond movie.  He was James Bond of course and Jules was some beautiful woman who he could crack jokes too, but wouldn't sleep with, and they were trying to figure out a crime before the bad guys got to them.  He just hoped this would be a non-action Bond flick; he didn't think he could stand being shot again.


She didn't sleep a wink and they swapped places halfway to her house before stopping for gas.  Juliana did it fast and sped out of there, raking a hand through her hair while John slept.  They arrived two nights later at her house as Juliana pulled in the driveway, putting the car in park, and took her gun out before nudging John. 


“Come on, we're here.  Be alert and ready for anything.” She hissed before slowly opening the door and stepped out, holding the gun close to her.  Her heart was thundering against her chest and her pulse was racing as she silently prayed that if she died, it would be quick and painless.


John was so alert that every little sound made him jump a foot in the air.  He forced himself to take a deep breath, frowning when he seen...nothing.  “Um...Jules...” He tapped her shoulder, pointing down to the dusty front porch.  “I think we're alone.” He didn't lower his own gun however...he was a boy scout at the moment and prepared for anything, except a rainstorm.


John was right, Juliana didn't feel that chill run down her spine, but she wasn't lowering her gun.  She pulled out her key from her pocket and opened the front door, seeing glass was sprayed everywhere.  She sighed heavily after John was inside and closed the front door, immediately clicking the trigger when she heard footsteps.  John had a flashlight and shined it on the person, causing Juliana to glare when she seen it was 'Taker, and slowly lowered her gun. 


“What are you doing here and how the hell did you know where I live?” She demanded angrily, wondering if this man had radar in his mind that tracked her every thought and step.


“I've been here since late last night.” He replied coldly.  “I'm here because I told you from the off, I wanted to examine the rose.” ‘Taker snorted, pushing away from the wall he had been leaning against.  “Finding out where you lived wasn't that hard to do.  I ran your license plate, nice fake ID by the way.  That's probably how you were being tracked, by your car.”


Juliana ignored him and walked down the hallway, looking around her house, and put her gun away as she sighed.  Her beautiful house.  Nothing had been damaged besides her window and she was grateful for that.  She walked into her living room and sat down on the couch, inhaling the scent that surrounded her, and let out a shaky breath before looking straight head.  She was home and missed it like crazy.


John ignored Taker for the moment, afraid he'd try to kill the man and wind up dead himself.  Instead he looked around curiously, studying Juliana's house, taking in the broken window and the rock that lay on the floor.  He knew better then to touch anything, though knowing how anal retentive Taker could be; he'd already done what needed to be done. 


“Fuck it.” John picked up the rock and bounced it right off Taker's head.


Juliana heard the loudest growl resonate in her house and groaned, knowing John must've done something.  She rushed back in the hallway and stopped dead in her tracks, seeing 'Taker was down holding his head while John stood there with a pissed off look on his face.  “You threw it at him didn't you?” She didn't wait for his response and sighed, knowing 'Taker was going to murder her best friend.  “Damn it John, now isn't the fucking time!  Do you have a damn death wish?!”


“Maybe, but he shouldn't have laid his hands on you.” John said, his own normally cheerful voice ice cold, along with his blue eyes.  He pulled out his gun, aiming it at ‘Taker.  “I should shoot you.”


“Go for it.  Next time she's hysterical, do her a favor and shoot her, that way you don't have to slap her.”


John blinked.


“Fuck you asshole!” Juliana snapped, her blue eyes burning with rage as she stood there glaring at him.  “I was hysterical because you REFUSED to listen to me and my life is in danger!!  I'm a woman, not a goddamn robot like your sorry, unemotional ass!  You don't feel a damn thing, 'Taker and you never have!  No emotions, you always hide them; you're always so fucking cold!  Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just MAYBE, I was right all along about this?  I tried telling you and you wouldn't listen!  You still wouldn't listen and you're not listening now!!” She was getting fed up with this shit and looked at John, silently telling him to lower his gun.  “I may have gotten hysterical, but you had NO right to slap me.  You could've held me and told me everything was going to be alright!  You could've shown me an OUNCE, a SHRED of feeling, but you didn't!”


He had done those things though, and it hadn't done any good because after a few hours, she always went back to being hysterical or on the verge of it.  He didn't show emotion?  Fine.  Good.  She showed plenty for everyone.  ‘Taker's green eyes went blank, his voice dropping to that dangerous calm.  He held out a plastic bag with a black rose in it. 


“Had this analyzed this morning.  Local flower shop fifty miles north of here had an order placed for two dozen by someone in a blue car.” He said blankly.  “There's your lead.”


John scratched the back of his head as ‘Taker walked out the door.  So he wasn't going to die?


She rushed out after him, throwing the rose down, and grabbed him by the arm as the tears poured down her cheeks.  “Do not shut me out!  I'm tired of this!  I'm tired of you walking away from me, 'Taker!  I love you goddamn it, don't you get it?  I love you and I'm not giving you up without a fight!  Stop hiding behind your pride and ego, stop trying to be my protector!  Just love me, why can't you just love me damn it?”


By now she was crying, staring back into his emotionless green eyes, not caring if her life was in danger at the moment.  She suddenly brought his face down to hers and passionately kissed him, hoping this would spark some sort of emotion, whether it be good or bad.  Juliana didn't care.  She wasn't going to lose him again; she loved him too damn much and she'd worked too hard to throw it all away now.


He was done though.  They'd been through this; he was too tired for this dance.  “Juliana...” He said gruffly, pulling away from her.  “If I didn't love you, I wouldn't have been protecting you.  If I'd been hiding behind my pride and my ego, I'd of just stepped aside and let you die.  Don't you fucking get it?  Instead of telling me how damn stubborn and egotistical I am, take a damn look at yourself!” He wasn't calm, he was angry, but he wasn't calm, this was a first.  “I never blew you off or wasn't listening, I was trying to keep you calm so you wouldn't do something stupid, because admit it, you do a lot of stupid things when you're scared or panicking.  You're a stubborn, pig headed woman and yes, I'd slap you all over again to keep you from doing something that'd get your fool ass killed.  I'd rather you hate me and be alive then love me and fucking die.  Don't you get it?  Everything I've done, I've done because I love you and I don't want anything happening too you, even if it does mean you're not with me.  I can live with loving you and you not loving me back, but I can't live with you dying!”


“Why can't you love me and protect me at the same time?” She finally asked, letting his words register in her mind, shaking from how intense that kiss was.  “I am a stubborn woman and I do things irrational, but that's a human being for you 'Taker.  I'm not a robot; I can't make all the right moves.  I know I made mistakes, but so has everyone else, including you.  Everyone makes mistakes, but that's fine.  Leave, run again.  But if you go this time, I won't be here.  Hopefully, I'll be six feet under and I'll never have to feel a piece of my heart break again.”


She then walked away from him and inside the house, shoving John out of her way.  Running upstairs to her room, Juliana slammed her door behind her.  She looked down at her gun and swallowed hard, before tossing it against the floor, collapsing on her bed, crying her heart out.


John decided now would be a good time to step in, but before he could get a word out, Taker stopped him.


“She's always right, I'm always wrong or I scare her.  It's been that way from day one; it's never going to change.”


“Dude...go up there and...Say something!”


“John, I just told her everything she needed to know...I told her I loved her, which is WHY I protect her.” ‘Taker shook his head.  “She thinks I can't do both at the same time...I'm not playing anymore games with her, half of the trouble is the person out to kill her.  The other half is drama she creates.”


“She'll die!”


“Just set her damn mouth loose on the bastard, he'll shoot himself.”


John wondered if ‘Taker was feeling suicidal.


Juliana buried herself in her pillow and just shook her head, curling her body up in a tight ball, wishing she was dead.  She loved this man so much that she would rather die than live without him.  She slowly looked up from her pillow and crawled out of her bed just as the lightening struck outside.  Her hand reached for the gun, clicking the trigger back, and just stared down at the weapon. 


A second later, a gunshot rang throughout the room and echoed into the night sky.


Chapter 12


John and ‘Taker both ran into the house, hauling ass up the stairs.  Fear held both their hearts, knowing she was dead...Then they burst into the room and seen it wasn't Juliana who was dead.  John immediately pulled her into his arms while ‘Taker grunted, unable to do anything else but stare at the dead man on the floor.


Juliana was in shock as she felt John hold her, not returning the embrace, just held the gun in her hand.  Here she was about to shoot herself when the guy came out of nowhere and lunged for her.  She got him right in the heart, killing him instantly, probably not the best move but it was all Juliana could think of at the time. 


“I-I'm okay...” She softly whispered, pulling away, and turned around to stare at the man, the lightening flashing outside.


John swallowed hard, looking down at the body and nudged it with his foot.  He swallowed again, glancing at Juliana, not believing she had just shot a man.  “Do you know who he is?” He asked softly, wondering how the bastard had even found them so soon, was this the killer?  He sighed in relief, maybe it was all over. He didn't even notice ‘Taker had left.


“No, and this isn't who wants me dead.  Probably a henchmen.” She stated evenly, no emotion whatsoever in her voice and slowly walked out of her room, not even bothered by the dead body.  She simply blinked and walked into the kitchen, not releasing the gun and got a glass of water, acting as if she didn’t just blow someone away.  Walking over, Juliana sat down on her couch, staring straight ahead in a zombie state.


John followed her, wondering if this was normal after killing someone.  No...he'd seen Taker do it and the big man had just brushed it off.  Though maybe that was the norm for him, Taker wasn't normal. 


“Jules...?” He asked hesitantly, wondering where that fucking Neanderthal had gone off too now; he would've been able to handle this.  “Honey?”


“Leave.” She ordered, not looking at him, and pulled the keys out as she tossed them to him.  “I want to be alone.” Her voice was a monotone, the tears sliding from her emotional eyes and she didn't even move to wipe them away.  It was true.  She just wanted to be left alone in her house with nobody, not even worried about the dead body up in her room.  She'd put these two in enough danger and she'd lost the love of her life.  She had nothing left.  “Leave, don't look back.”


“Not happening, Jules.” John said, trying to put his arms around her.  “You'll have to actually kill me if you don't want me here.  You can shoot and hurt me all you like; I'll crawl after you using my teeth if I got too.  You can't push me away, I'm like a bad penny, and I keep coming back to you no matter how many times you spend me, or toss me.  Got it?”


“Don't you get it John?” She slowly stood up, not snapping, and walked over to stare out the window as she still held the gun in her hands.  “I don't want you here when I...” She swallowed hard and closed her eyes, rubbing the butt of the gun against her forehead.  “I have to end this.  I can't handle this heartache anymore.  I've lived with it for four years.  FOUR YEARS.  I pushed away the only man I ever loved.  I just want to die, do you understand me?  I want to pull the trigger and be done with this life.  So, please, just leave.” She clicked the trigger back, her mind a blank, no emotion, no feeling inside of her.


John lunged for the gun, halting when he seen her finger tighten on the trigger.  “Lower the gun, Jules…” He said softly.  “You told ‘Taker to stop running away from you all the damn time. Have you even looked at things from his perspective?” This was probably the wrong track to take, but...if she killed herself, he'd just kill himself too.  Then he'd annoy the fuck out of her in hell.  “You keep pushing him away when he's been trying to save all our asses.  Then you told him to stop running tonight...so this is your answer?  Killing yourself?  You're being just as chickenshit as him.”


“Pretty speech.  Juliana, put the damn gun down.”


“No, just shoot me instead.” John sank to the floor, burying his head in his hands, and started crying.


“He was right about everything, John.  I am nothing but a pain in the ass.  I can't change who I am, I can't change the person I've become.” She started laughing, the tears falling faster now, and dropped to her knees, not relinquishing the gun.  “What am I supposed to do?  Keep moving forward?  Can I honestly do that after everything?  I've nearly gotten you killed, 'Taker has had it with me, and I just want to be left alone so I can end my misery and pain.  Think what you want.” She sniffled, shaking her head back and forth slowly before putting the gun to her head, clicking the trigger back.  “I don't care anymore.”


John lunged out and knocked the gun out of her hands then slapped her, taking that page from 'Taker's book, blue eyes still crying but also blazing with fury.  “WHY IS IT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU?” He demanded in a shout.  “Can't you think about anyone but yourself Juliana?  You're miserable; you're putting everyone you love in danger, HAVE YOU CONSIDERED WE PUT OURSELVES IN DANGER BECAUSE WE FUCKING LOVE YOU?  Yes, you've had a shitty life so far.  Your fiancé and mother both tried to kill you and now someone else is out to kill you, but so far...you're ahead, you're alive aren't you?  So now because you and ‘Taker had a fall out AGAIN you're done?  That's the last straw on your mountain of burdens?  WOULD YOU TAKE A FUCKING SECOND TO REALIZE THAT YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO'S SCARED AND HURTING?”


“IT ISN'T ALWAYS ABOUT ME!  IT'S NEVER BEEN ABOUT ME, YOU SON OF A BITCH!  I AM NOT THAT SELFISH!  WHO WAS THERE FOR YOU WHEN YOUR GODDAMN PARENTS DESERTED YOU AND BUILT THAT SHACK FOR YOU TO STAY IN HUH?  WHO WAS THERE FOR YOU THOSE NIGHTS YOU NEEDED A SHOULDER TO CRY ON?  I WAS!  I'VE ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR YOU AND I WANTED TO DO THIS ON MY OWN!” Juliana screamed as she shoved John away from her before kicking him square in the jaw, another hobby she'd taken up, self defense.  “Do you honestly believe that I'm THAT selfish after EVERYTHING I've done for you?!  I defended you against everyone, including my goddamn wretched father!!  So don't you DARE tell me I'm fucking selfish John!  I know I'm not the only one hurting, I know I'm not the only one in pain!!” She kicked him again for good measure, sending him flying over her couch.


‘Taker didn't even move, he just watched, arching an eyebrow when John got to his feet, wondering how the kid was still standing.  Those kicks looked pretty damn painful.  He was a bit curious as to how this was going to play out.  This was the first time he'd ever seen them this way with each other.


“Don't tell me you're not selfish, Jules.” John said quietly, wiping blood away from his face.  “You've always wanted to do things on your own, things you couldn't do but you always wanted to prove you could.  You were always there for me; I love you so much for it.  I was there for you though too.  I was the one waiting with my piece of shit car by the side of the road when you couldn't handle your daddy's plans for your future and you needed to run away.  I was the one who cheered you up by acting a fool when you were sad because you weren't in control of your life.  It's always about control.  You have to be in control, you and only you.  You want to do this alone, without anyone?  Fine.  Then do it alone, just like you want.  Kill yourself.  Do whatever.  No matter what you say though, you are selfish.  You are a very selfish person, only you refuse to see it.  You push everyone away because you need to be in control of every aspect of your life.  Same as ‘Taker.  I guess I'm selfish too.  I'm a very selfish person because I ignored you at every turn when you wanted to do things alone, be alone, I was selfish because I wanted to be with you and be your friend, I'm selfish because I wanted my sister, my best friend, and I wanted to be there for you, like you always were for me.” John sighed wearily, not even bothering to try stopping his nose and mouth from gushing blood, talking thickly around it.  “Well fine Jules, I'll do what you want, I'll let you do this alone, whatever you decide to do and wish you the best of luck and all my love.” He nodded at ‘Taker before limping out of the house.


“We're all selfish.” She muttered under her breath and walked over, sitting down on her couch with her head in her hands. 


Juliana loved John so much; he was her brother, her rock, someone she could always rely on.  He'd been there for her and her for him.  They were selfish because they loved each other too damn much to let the other make decisions alone.  Now she'd finally went overboard and taken everyone she ever loved with her, all because of her selfish pride. 


That's what it all boiled down too, really, was her pride.


 She'd always been stubborn, never wanting someone to take control of her life because her father did that to her so many times and nearly forced her into marrying a man who wanted her dead.  Then her mother...that was still something Juliana could not come to terms with to this very day.  She'd been through Hell and back, literally, and now she had no idea what was coming next. 


Did she want to die?  She thought she did, but then she would be giving into this cocksucker and Ken and her mother would win.  It wasn't happening; she WAS going to survive this or fucking die trying.


‘Taker stared down at her, green eyes unreadable, narrowing ever so slightly.  “If you've changed your mind about dying, I suggest you hightail it out of here right now.” He said finally, his voice grave.  “The man you shot wasn't the one who's after you, some kind of thug, and there's more of them, they're probably on their way here right now, Juliana.  Few people, fine, not good odds but fine.  A group, just you or all of us, we're still dead.” Not to mention John was out there walking, oblivious to this information.


She stood up and walked over, picking her gun up, and tucked it in her holster before walking out of the house and toward the mustang.  She slid into the driver's side, pulling her gun out, ready to shoot any mother fuckers who dared to stop her.  She sped out of there seconds later and headed down the road, seeing John walking. 


“Get in or you will die.  There's a gang on their way here right now.” She stated in an even tone of voice, stopping when he hopped in, and sped away down the road.  “I love you John.  No matter what happens, I love you very much.” She told him and shot the first fucker who came at them, already having her seatbelt on.


“Tell that to my broken nose.” John grumbled, wincing when blood got into his eyes.


‘Taker leaned over the smaller man, firmly grabbed John's nose between his thumb and forefinger and snapped it back into place.  “Problem solved.”




“Christ, I didn't know you got in here.” She muttered, but was actually glad to have him here as she shot another son of a bitch, keeping the car in perfect position.  “John, you slapped me so I kicked your ass.  You should know how I am by now.” She slammed her foot down on the gas harder, speeding down the road while gripping the steering wheel with one hand, her gun in the other, and sighed when 'Taker took it from her.  “Do you ALWAYS have to be in control of me?” She didn't even wait for an answer, already knowing it.


“Jules, shut the fuck up already.” John snapped.  “Save your hissy fit for another time.”


‘Taker snorted.  “This isn't even about control.  It's about you doing one thing at a time so we don't die.  You drive; I shoot, unless you want to move your happy ass back here, wonder woman?”


“Shut up assholes!” She snapped back at them, popping John in the back of the head as she kept driving down the road, not even wincing when 'Taker blew all of the bikers away that were after them.  There had to be at least thirty and when they hit the highway, Juliana sighed a breath of relief, knowing they were safe for the moment.  “Where too 'Taker?” She asked, knowing they had to go somewhere to chill the fuck out and try to recuperate before something else happened.


“How should I know?  You're in control, you pick a location.” He snorted, glancing at John and rolled his eyes.  “I wouldn't recommend hitting him again by the way, he passed out.” He leaned forward to pull the other man's head back, holding his bandana over the gash John had gotten from his car accident, that apparently had been torn, seems like John had whacked the dashboard.  “Just...head north.”


Juliana nodded and did as she was told, knowing no matter what these two men were with her until the end.


Chapter 13


The sun rose over the horizon as Juliana's eyes slowly fluttered open, slowly looking around, and let out a yawn before she slowly sat up in bed.  She stretched her arms up in the air before stepping out of her bed, padding over to stare out the window.  It was snowing heavily, a blizzard had just started, and she sighed, knowing they wouldn't be going anywhere.  She pulled her robe on and walked out, nodding at 'Taker, who was walking to the bathroom before heading downstairs. 


It'd been a year since that fateful night at her house and Juliana had changed considerably.  She hardly spoke and when she did, it was only one or two words.  She had gone in a shell and refused to come out, listening to everything 'Taker told her to do along with John.  Things had been peaceful for the most part, at the beginning they were rough, but now they were just mellow.


Quite frankly, John and ‘Taker were getting pretty fucking annoyed with having to tell her everything to do.  She was quite capable of thinking for herself; she needed to find a medium.  First she was a control freak, now she was a mindless shell.  The woman needed to learn how to balance it out, know when to take control and know when to make a joint decision.


John was out in the blizzard, throwing snowballs at a tree.  He was hoping to catch cold.  Then he could stay in bed and ‘Taker could deal with her; he was tired of it.  He missed the real Jules.


Juliana walked over and turned on the coffee maker before starting on the dishes left from the night before, rinsing and putting them in the dishwasher.  This was her morning ritual for the past year.  She knew they were getting fed up with her, but after everything that'd happened, Juliana didn't know how to act. 


It frustrated her, made her cry at night when she was alone.  She wanted to find a balance, but she couldn't because she was afraid she'd anger John or 'Taker.  So she kept to herself, thinking that's what they wanted.


John didn't know how to approach Juliana.  He lay in his bed; arms folded under his head and stared at the ceiling.  The last time he'd talked to her concerning his feelings and her, she'd beaten the shit out of him.  He wasn't keen on another broken nose, or it's remedy.  He rolled onto his side and punched the pillow, frustration threatening to over take him. 


He wished ‘Taker would…no, wrong answer.  It wasn't ‘Taker's job to fix everything, even though the man tried.  ‘Taker pretty much kept to himself these days, disappearing to do whatever it was he did.  Who knew, but always came back, always going straight for Juliana, only to walk away with an unreadable expression on his face. 


“Okay, maybe I'll just have to get my ass kicked, but this shit is getting old.”


After the kitchen was finished, Juliana took her cup of coffee into the living room and sat down, curling up into the corner, and set it down on the table beside her.  She then stared blankly ahead, no life, no fire, nothing but two emotionless pools for eyes.  She lifted her coffee and robotically began to sip, her hair down.  She didn't flinch or blink when the couch dipped beside her, just continued staring straight ahead, setting her coffee down again.


“Jules, can you talk or do I have to order you to talk?” John asked jokingly, trying to hide his nervousness, though he was poised for flight in case she broke his nose again.  “Cause, I'd kinda like to talk to you...without the violence...if you don't mind that is.” He coughed, shifting so he was looking at her.


“What about?” She softly said, her voice quiet as she turned to face him, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. 


Juliana hadn't been violent with him since that night and it would never happen again.  Neither would she ever reveal her feelings to anyone because all it did was get her in trouble.  She seen the troubled look in his eyes and gently touched his arm, sighing when he flinched, and pulled back, lowering her head.


“Never mind.” John muttered, standing up. He started walking away and then spun back around.  “You're impossible you know that?  You go from one extreme to the fucking other, why can't you just find some middle ground, Jules?  Are you acting this way because you think it's what we want?  Is that it?”


Juliana blinked back at him, not believing he was actually going off on her, and sighed as her eyes casted before nodding.  “Yes.  I don't want to hurt you or 'Taker again.” She softly replied, feeling her bottom lip begin to quiver as she shakily reached over to take another sip of her coffee.


“So you're going to continue acting like a mindless zombie?” John demanded next, staring down at her intently, his face suddenly very hard to read, which wasn't the normal for John. 


When he was mad, it showed.  Happy, he beamed.  Sad, he'd cry with the best of them.  He was a very expressive man and didn't care who knew it.


“I don't want to fight John.” She softly whispered, clasping her hands in her lap, and blinked back the tears that formed in her eyes.  “I'm just trying to make things easier.  I can do things on my own; I just figured if I did everything you two said it'd make you happy.  I-I don't know how to act around you two anymore.” She leaned her head back against the couch, sniffling a bit as she closed her eyes.  “I'm sorry.”


“All that fighting months ago, everything said and you reached the conclusion we'd be happier if you just did whatever we said?” John could not believe this.  Juliana wasn't stupid, so why was she acting like it?  “Act like yourself, anything is better then this!” He tossed her a box of Kleenex, sighing and leaned against the fireplace, careful to avoid setting his ass on fire.  “Don't they have Midol for this?  This is like PMS, right?  Or maybe...menopause?” He knew if that didn't get a rise out of her, he'd have to leave.


Juliana slowly looked up at him and narrowed her eyes, the first emotion flashing through her eyes ever since she came here a year ago, and crossed her arms in front of her chest.  “They do yes, but they don't have a fuckin' drug for MALE PMS or menopause!” She shot back defensively, blinking, and waited for the explosion to happen.


“They don't make one?” John blinked, looking surprised.  “Jules, you're a trip, you know that?  I should become a druggie, then I might understand you better.” He ducked the flying box of tissues, roaring in laughter when they exploded with a small pop in the fireplace.  “Midol!  We need Midol!”


“What is wrong with you?  I haven't done a damn thing to you and here you are attacking me!”


She stared at him like he'd gone insane and stood up, taking her coffee cup, and put it in the sink in the kitchen, blinking again.  Damn it, she wasn't supposed to show emotion, she was supposed to be quiet and meek!  But John had gotten under her skin and she was getting to the breaking point where she might just kick his teeth down his throat.


“Hey Jules, pull that stick outta your ass and remember that you're alive and a person, not some dummy robot who needs...PAMPRIN!” He taunted, knowing she was probably fixing to kick his ass, but that was alright, so long as it was HIS Juliana and not this Juliana who did it, he'd be just fine and dandy, regardless of the pain.


“That's IT!” She shrieked, finally throwing the meek and quiet shit out the window, and tackled him to the floor.  “I do not need Pamprin!!”


She started beating him with her fists, showing her true colors, showing John the real Juliana after all this time.  She finally stopped, breathing heavily and buried her face in his chest, closing her eyes as the tears threatened to spill down her cheeks.  John was laughing so hard he was crying, he didn't even feel her blows hitting him, he was too happy.  Finally he just wrapped his arms around her, resting his head on top of hers, the angle sending a crick through his neck, but he didn't care; it was all worth it. 


“Good to have you back, Jules.” He whispered against her hair.


“What the fuck?”


Juliana started laughing along with him through her tears, hugging her best friend tightly, a bright smile on her face that hadn't been there in the past year.  “You are a cocksucker, but I love you anyway John.” She stated, slowly getting off of him, and extended her hand with a shake of her head.  The light was back in her eyes, the fire, not those shallow pools of any emotion.  “I didn't bust your nose again, did I?”


“Nope, not this time, thanks by the way.  If you had, I'd of busted out the Pamprin and chocolate.”


‘Taker sat down on the couch, wondering what the hell he had missed, just staring at Juliana, unable to keep the slight smile off his own face.  It was so damn good seeing her this way!  It felt like a burden had just been lifted off of the house.


“If you keep up with that Pamprin shit, I'm gonna shove my current box up your ass to where you're spitting the pills out, boy.” She threatened playfully, crossing her arms in front of her chest, and walked back inside the living room as she plopped down on the couch. 


It felt good to break out of her shell again, she'd been holed up for so long, consequences be damned!  This was who she was.  She had the attitude and fight of a lion.  This was Juliana Harrison, a bad ass bitch with a take no prisoners attitude, and stubborn than an ox.


“Okay, but just one thing though?  Could you please, please, pretty, pretty please with a cherry on top not be so...touchy and standoffish like before?  I don't want any shell of you, but could you try to find the middle ground, Jules?  Please?”


‘Taker was gone at 'pretty, pretty, pretty please', laughing so hard he was crying too.


Juliana started laughing as she leaned against 'Taker, tears streaming down her cheeks and managed to reach out since John was right in front of her, pinching his cheek.  “Yes I promise, my wittle one.” She giggled and sat up more, shoving him away playfully with her foot when he went to touch her.  “Uh-uh, you ain't gettin' any of this, boy.”


“Wait-was that a sexual comment?  Jules, yuck!  You know I'm a tried and true hermit, I don't believe in sex, never have, never will.” John said, crossing his heart, then leered.  “Unless, of course, your ass looks as good naked as it does in a pair of jeans.” He rolled away before she could get him, laughing again.


“It does look pretty good.” ‘Taker murmured in her ear, holding her against him, trying to remember the last he'd held her.


Juliana shivered against him, before her cheek tinged red, touching them with her hands as she kicked John in the leg gently.  “I'm surrounded by horn dogs.” She giggled, shaking her head, and snuggled against 'Taker more while John lay on the floor staring up at her.  “I promise no more suicide attempts, no more freaking out, no more irrational thinking, no more whatever the Hell I did.  Does that make you happy my lover?” She asked John with a smirk, crossing her arms in front of her chest.


“Very.” He purred, getting on his knees in front of her, pinning her between him and ‘Taker.  “Now...onto this lover bit...”


“This isn’t a threesome, son.”


John pouted, blue eyes sparkling teasingly.  “Afraid I'd show you up?” He challenged smugly.


“Nah, just afraid you wouldn't like me seeing you show up and your dick disappear from humiliation.”


“Oh my god...” Juliana groaned as she covered her ears with her hands and stood up, shaking her head and giggling.  “Horn dogs!  We've been cooped up here for far too long.  We need to get you a woman Johnny boy cause it just ain't happening between us.  You're my brother, uh-uh, not happening.”


John blinked, wondering if she thought he was serious.  He had a seriously bad habit of bouncing from woman to woman.  None of them could handle how hyper he was. 


“Hey, just kidding Jules, you're too much like my sister to even consider getting wood.” He looked down, pointing.  “See, you sent John Junior into hiding!”


“Now I'm going to be sick.”


Juliana started laughing as she shook her head and patted his head gently.  “I know you're only kidding, John.  Relax.  Chill out.  Do you need a pill now?” She giggled when he scowled and sat back down on the couch, curling her feet beneath her light blue nightgown, having discarded her robe when she attacked John.


“If it comes with chocolate, I'll take one.” John said finally, dropping down on the floor, sprawling out by the fire, sighing happily.  “It's so nice having my best bitch back.” He said, snorting when he got kicked.  “I meant that as a compliment!”


‘Taker was shaking his head back and forth, trying not to laugh, he wasn't feeling up to crying again.


“I still can’t believe ‘Taker was crying...I really wish I had a camera...”




“Yes...sweet cheeks?”


“Don't make him beat your ass again for the umpteenth time, honey.” Juliana stated with a smile, her eyes sparkling with amusement.  “Though I did enjoy when he tied you up with the controllers at the other place...” She laughed when John paled and bolted, shaking her head, leaving her and 'Taker alone.


“You notice there are no gaming systems or computers in the house?” ‘Taker chuckled, moving so he was sitting with his back against the armrest, legs stretched out, positioning Juliana between them and pulled her back so she was leaning against him, wrapping his arms around her waist.  “He also tied all the cords together wherever he could, he's a bit paranoid.”


“I would be too.” She replied with a soft laugh and sighed as she leaned back against him, closing her eyes.  This felt nice as she began trailing her finger around his chest, since it was bare, and let out a contented sigh.  “I'm sorry for everything and I'm going to try to find that balance.” She softly said as her eyes opened before slowly looking up to stare into his green eyes.


“I hope so.” ‘Taker said softly, having pretty much found his own balance over the months.  That or maybe it was just him keeping his mouth shut, time would have to tell.  “Nice to have you talking, really talking, not that mumbling with your head down.” He pressed a kiss to her forehead, staring down at her.  “I'm guessing John is the reason for you coming out of it?  What'd he do?”


Chapter 14


“He attacked me...verbally.  Said this was PMS and that I needed Midol and shit.  I HATE it when he says those stereotypic things and he knew it.  He finally crossed the line and I attacked him and we just started laughing.” She softly laughed, shaking her head, and raked a hand through her hair.  “I honestly thought that's what you two wanted from me was to be that quiet meek girl, but I was wrong.  I was wrong about everything, 'Taker.” She slowly looked up to stare at him again.  “The only thing I'm not wrong about is my feelings for you.  They will never change, no matter what.”


He nodded, grunting in satisfaction and kissed her.  When she arched an eyebrow, he chuckled.  “You already know I love you Juliana.  You should know by now, if I didn't, I wouldn't have stayed here with you acting like a vegetable.  Doesn't mean you can break my nose or kick me in the nuts.” He teased, something he rarely did, and then kissed her softly.  “I love you.”


“I love you too.” She softly replied, kissing him again, wrapping her arms around his neck as a contented sigh escaped her lips. 


Maybe things could finally get better, maybe they could finally start to heal and be a real family.  She slowly pulled back to stare into his green eyes, stroking his cheek tenderly with the back of her hand.  Pressing her forehead against his, Juliana rubbed the back of his neck, while sucking on her lower lip.


He smirked, watching, and looked at her quizzically.  “Ever get the feeling we're the parents and John's our kid?” He asked suddenly, bending down to kiss her, laughing softly.  “You look cute when you suck on your lower lip.” He had another thought too but didn't voice it; he wasn't about to get slapped.


“I've had that feeling ever since you first started helping us all those years ago.” She admitted with a giggle and kissed him back before hugging him tightly to her, inhaling his intoxicating scent, closing her eyes. 


She just wanted him to hold her, to protect her and to love her.  She now realized he could do all three, if she wouldn't be so stubborn about it.  Juliana was going to do everything in her power to make sure she didn't lose him again.


“Hmmm...Me too.  I think next time junior calls me sweet cheeks I'm going to take his ass out to the woodshed and bend him over my knee.”


“I heard that you pervert!  You're a sexual predator who likes young men, stay away!”




“Yes, sir.” John said meekly, running upstairs with his snack.


“Where were we?”


“I think right...about...here...” She purred in his ear, before her lips attached to his strong neck, having started nuzzling it while he was holding her and began running her fingers through his black silky tresses. 


She was just going to let what happen, happen.  She wanted 'Taker for the rest of her life, she loved him and nothing would ever change her mind.  Nothing.


He was a bit startled, but wasn't bitching; just let her do what she was doing.  He'd been living the celibate life for a very long time now so...it all came down to what she was going to do.  If he stopped her, his dick would probably pack up and go find a new place to hang from.  His hands moved to her sides, gently rubbing her through the material of her nightgown.


Juliana continued the assault on his neck before trailing down to nibble gently on his Adam's apple, looking up at him through sparkling midnight blue eyes as she traveled as low as she could.  She slowly pulled back and stared deep into his eyes, hers nearly black with desire as she pressed her forehead against his again.  “I want you.” She whispered, not hiding it any longer.  She wanted him so bad and knew if her body was deprived of his attention; it was probably going to end up giving out on her.  “I need you, 'Taker...”


Now he knew he couldn't stop, his body was tense and threatening rebellion if he even contemplated it.  “I want you too.” He whispered, brushing his lips against hers.  “But...in a bed...or...” He looked down at the fire, a smile curving his lips and lifted her up, setting her on the couch.  He stoked the fire, then gently took her hand, guiding her down to the floor and pulling her into his arms for a passionate kiss.


Juliana instantly melted against him as he guided her down on the black soft bear rug, running her fingers through his hair, large body pressed against her.  The crackling fire beside them only heightened her own raging fire that was going on inside her body.  She felt his lips leave hers before trailing down her jaw line, arching her neck instantly, letting a soft moan escape her as her eyes drifted closed.  She just hoped and prayed this wasn't another wretched dream and that it was really happening.  Her heart would break if she woke up to a cold, empty bed again.


He was on fire; he wasn't sure if it was before of Juliana or just being too close to the fireplace.  A quick glance over his shoulder reassured 'Taker it was her.  His hands explored her beautiful body through the material of her nightgown, getting reacquainted with curves he hadn't felt in years, marveling that he had almost forgotten them.


She felt him slowly move her strap down her shoulder, exposing the tender flesh, and bit her bottom lip as she ran her hands up and down his massive arms.  It'd been so long, years, and Juliana couldn't deny her body any longer.  It felt too good, the sensations coursing through her body almost too much for her to handle, and they had barely begun.


“'Taker...” She breathed out in a whispered gasp, eyes remaining closed. 


Her ragged whisper of his name stirred his blood even more.  His lips curled into a slight smile, feathering kisses over her goose bump covered skin, knowing he was torturing her just as much as her mere presence tortured him.  “You're delicious.” He rumbled, finally removing the nightgown completely, leaving her open to his smoldering eyes.


She was now clad in just a pair of matching light blue bra and panties that went with the nightgown, the firelight glowing on her tanned skin.  Even though she'd been sheltered for a year, Juliana's skin remained tanned as she smiled up at him.  She slowly reached out and unsnapped his black jeans, the only clothing he wore, before pushing them down and off.  She kissed him again and pushed him back on his haunches, straddling his lap, not even flinching when he ripped her panties right off of her.  This was who 'Taker was, he liked being in control and she was going to let him this time.


He growled against her skin, nipping Juliana's neck gently, his tongue flicking out to taste her.  He pulled her legs around his waist, his own arms around her, roaming her body eagerly.  His palms were rough and soft at the same time, just touching her igniting the fire in his soul even more. 


“You ready?” He murmured in her ear, tracing his tongue around the curve of her lobe.


“Yes, I've been ready.” She answered softly, running her fingers down his broad, muscular back, brushing her wet sex against him, and smirked when he shivered against her. 


He was torturing her on purpose and she knew it, so she was going to reciprocate the actions.  Her hips slowly began to roll, grinding against him, while her lips captured his lobe before nipping at his neck.  Her hands slid up and down his smooth chest, feeling his muscles rippling beneath her touch.


He smirked, catching her hands in his and holding them over her head, shaking his head back and forth gently, green eyes glimmering in the firelight.  He bent down to kiss the hollow of her throat, freeing one hand and holding her wrists in the other.  He trailed that free hand between their bodies, positioning himself against her, rubbing the head of his cock up and down her slit.


Juliana whimpered as she was again on her back on the bear rug, writhing beneath him as her eyes stared into his own pleadingly.  He was killing her, literally killing her with this teasing!  Juliana knew if he didn't take her soon, she would end up going insane and gasped when his tip brushed against her swollen bud, her body doing a full shiver. 


“'Taker please...” She wasn't beyond pleading, but was getting close as she started squirming, trying to get him to slide inside of her.


“Please what?” He murmured, watching her through narrowed eyes. 


It was killing him to tease her like this.  He wasn't sure if he'd even make it past the first thrust when they did finally get around to making love, but at the same time, he'd waited for years to have her again.  A few more moments weren’t going to make much of a difference in the scheme of things.


“You know what I want...” She murmured, her voice filled with passion…deep unbridled passion.


Arching her body against him, Juliana tried freeing her wrists, but that was impossible.  They were in an iron grip and she gasped when his mouth found her chest, her left breast, and finally her nipple, letting out a soft cry of pleasure.  She hoped John couldn't hear any of this going on and if he could, then he needed to learn to invest in a walkman or something to detain the noise.


‘Taker didn't care if John heard them or not, maybe the boy would learn a lesson or two.  He slid the tip of his cock into her more then receptive body, hearing her trying to muffle her moans and pulled out.  “No...I want to hear you.” He whispered huskily, pressing against her again.  “Every whimper...” He pushed harder, inching past her folds.  “Every sigh...” He slid inside of her again.  “Every gasp...” He murmured, rocking his hips ever so gently.  “Every scream.”


Juliana cried out again, gripping his arms for dear life as he finally inched all the way inside of her, feeling him pulsating with the need to release.  Her walls tightened, after no attention for so many years, trying to adjust to this enormous size 'Taker possessed.  He was the biggest man she'd ever been with, the only man really.  She never slept with Ken and was glad for that.  Her fingers dug into his hair, gripping it, her body trembling from how much intensity was rippling through her at the moment. 


“Oh fuck!” She cried out, her body coming closer to the edge.


His eyes closed of their own accord, feeling how tight she was around his pulsating cock and had to take a minute to still his body, holding her just as still.  If Juliana so much as twitched, she would end him; he simply knew it.  He kissed her temple, finally shifting so he was hovering over her.  Their bodies barely touched, except where they were joined and began to move finally.  Taking his time, ‘Taker filled her then pulled back, yearning for him only to do it all over again.


Her moans echoed throughout the room as she felt him rock her body, wrapping her arms around his neck to pull him closer to her.  Their lips met as Juliana cupped his face in her hands before running them down his shoulders.  She arched her body, her feet planting firmly on the rug below, and cried out when he drove even deeper inside of her.  She squeezed her knees against his waist, running her hands through her black hair, panting and feeling her heart feel like it'd explode out of her chest.


He almost hissed, feeling what he was doing to her, what she was doing to him and kneeled back, resting on his calves.  She felt like heaven, or what he imagined heaven to feel like anyway.  ‘Taker pushed her knees as far down as they would go without hurting her, a curse of his own escaping his lips as he plunged into her, tilting her hips so he could angle his strokes to hit her g-spot. 


“Juliana...” He moaned huskily, trailing his fingertips down through the valley of her breasts.


“'Taker...” She moaned out sharply, gripping the back of his neck to keep from falling back as she felt his strong hands grip her hips, meeting him thrust for thrust.  With every roll of her hips, Juliana created a new wave of warmth and satisfaction that coursed through her entire body, the forest fire becoming out of control.  “Oh yes, harder 'Taker!” She begged, her cries becoming louder as she felt her release slowly build within her, knowing she was close.


A fine sheen of sweat was beading on his forehead, chest and across his shoulders, feeling how close she was and felt his own body trembling, knowing he was just as close.  “Come on, Jules.” He whispered raggedly, his voice catching in his throat.  “Cum for me, I wanna feel you cumming, come on...” He slammed against her, giving her what she wanted, beginning to lose his steady control as both their orgasms began to approach.


Her own body was sweaty from what he was doing to her and the crackling fire they were making love beside.  She heard his words and nodded, gritting her teeth as she pulled him down on top of her again, holding him close.  “Oh-Oh yes, I'm there!  'Taker!!” She shrieked out his name before shattering beneath him, her orgasm rippling through her body faster than an F-5 tornado, harder than a tsunami wave.  It crashed over her, rocking her body down to it's very foundation, causing her body to break out in tremors against him, clinging for dear life, gasping for breath she could not muster up at the time.


‘Taker's eyes rolled back into his head, her name escaping his lips in a snarl, feeling her wrapping around him almost violently.  He thrust into her one last time, burying himself as deep as he could and came, filling Juliana with his cum.  His muscles tensed and bulged as he thrust his hips a few more times, milking his orgasm out, trying to prolong hers. 


“Christ!” He grunted breathlessly.


His release triggered a second one from her as she screamed out his name, raking her nails down his back, holding onto for dear life.  She collapsed back against the bear rug, feeling his body weight cover her, and sighed in contentment while trying to regain her breathing.  “I-I love you...” She whispered raggedly in his ear, still trembling, never wanting to let him go again.  She slowly calmed down and just held him, head resting on her chest, hearing his beating heart, and ran her fingers through his hair, eyes closing. 


It was a peaceful, beautiful moment and they came rare between the two. 


Juliana didn't want it to end.


Chapter 15


He had adjusted himself so he wouldn't crush her with his weight, just content to lie there, feeling her beating heart and knowing his was pounding just as furiously.  ‘Taker closed his eyes, a slight smile on his face.  “I love you too.” He murmured, ready to go back to bed even though it was morning, and take Juliana with him. 


Maybe just keep her up there all day, and night.  The fact that they were just able to lie there like this, just be together, was so peaceful.  He'd give everything he had to make it last forever.


So many memories flowed through Juliana's mind as she slowly opened her eyes, staring up at the ceiling, hearing the soft crackling fire beside them that kept them warm.  She remembered when she first met ‘Taker and remembered how intimidated, how scared she was.  She'd acted like a meek mouse, like she had been for the past year, but that was an act played on her father.  This past year was real; she'd really been in a shell, scared to come out after nearly ending her life. 


She was stupid, knowing she could never do it, knowing she wanted to live.  And she nearly lost the love of her life that just made passionate love to her and was hopefully giving her another chance.  Maybe third time was the charm.  Maybe they could finally have their happily ever after.


They'd have their happily ever after when they got things settled with whoever was after Juliana.  All things considered it had been a very peaceful, uneventful year.  Which was definitely a nice change of pace, but he also knew whoever this psychopath was, he was a patient person. 


That much was obvious.  So far luck had been on their side and they hadn't been found.  ‘Taker pushed those thoughts out of mind for now; all he wanted to do was enjoy their time together right now, here in the present and forget the foggy, uncertain future.


“'Taker, what are we doing to do about what's going on?” Juliana finally asked, breaking the silence between them, and closed her eyes as the tears threatened to sting her eyes. 


She hated bringing it up, but she wanted whoever was after her to be gone so she could live the rest of her life with 'Taker.  She loved him and if he asked her to marry him, she'd say yes in a heartbeat.  If he wanted children, she'd try giving him as many as she could.  She wanted to make him happy and would do practically anything to make it happen.


He sighed, having that thought on his mind as well, though was it so wrong to want to put it off for a few more minutes?  They had had so very few moments like this in the time they had known each other.  Was it wrong to want to step out of time and take a second just for themselves?  He knew better, he knew they didn't have time for that moment and like always, it would have to wait. 


“At this precise minute, I don't know.  You're distracting.” He admitted, rolling off her to think and flashed a reassuring smile.


She sighed heavily and stood up, pulling her panties, bra and nightgown back on, raking a hand through her tousled hair.  “I didn't mean to bring it up, but the sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can finally settle down.” She rationalized, walking over and slowly turning him around to face her.  “I want to live my life freely with you, going anywhere we want, doing anything we want without some psycho wanting me killed.” She caressed his cheek with the back of her hand, a sad smile on her lips.


‘Taker nodded, reaching for his own jeans, staring down at the bear skin rug for a moment.  “I know Juliana; we'll catch him and end this.” He promised, wanting that as well.


“Hey, can I make some breakfast now?” John asked, walking in.  He didn't notice anything out of place for a minute, just looked confused when they both stared at him like he was blind.  “What?  I- oh, OH!  PUT ON YOUR PANTS!”


“As soon as you stop looking at my balls.”


Juliana started laughing and shook her head, walking into the kitchen.  “You are not going anywhere NEAR the stove.  I will make breakfast.” She stated sweetly before beginning to pull out pans, a smile on her face.  She knew 'Taker was upset with her for ruining their moment of peace, but also thinking that the sooner this was over with, the sooner they could have a lot more of those moments.


‘Taker wasn't upset with her at all; he had just been...he didn't know, not upset, just sad that even their few moments like that were still over-shadowed.  If it wasn't one thing, it was another.  He stared at John, cocking an eyebrow. 


“You just going to stand there and stare at me all day son?”


John snapped out of the horrified zone he had gone in and blinked, looking disgusted again.  “You're sick!” He shrieked, whirling and heading to the kitchen.


‘Taker's laughter followed him.  “I'm not the one who was standing there gawking!”


“He has a point, John.  I didn't realize you swung that way.” Juliana quipped as she cracked eggs into a bowl and slowly began stirring them, her mind on other things.  ‘Damn it why did I open my mouth?  Why didn't I just wait for him to bring it up?’ She berated herself mentally and sighed, putting the eggs in the buttered pan, and started the bacon.  For once, Juliana had to put 'Taker first and she wasn't doing it.  ‘I just want us to be happy, but that won't happen unless this asshole is caught for good.’ She reasoned, doing all of this mentally while she cooked.


‘Taker walked into the kitchen, fastening the button on his jeans, a smirk on his face.  “John, you're a good kid and all...but I like women.”


John grumbled, setting down at the table and sighed, burying his face in his hands.  “Why is it always me?” He moaned.


“Well son, if you eyeball every man like you just did me, I could tell you.”


“Jules, tell him I am NOT gay!”


“I'm not saying a word.  This is between you two.  I'm busy cooking.” She stated with amusement shining in her tone of voice, hair pulled back with a holder, and walked over to pop some toast in.  She then began the gravy and stuck the biscuits in the oven, deciding a big breakfast wouldn't hurt them, while humming softly under her breath.


John and ‘Taker went back and forth good-naturedly while she cooked, ‘Taker's mind more on the problem at hand then besting John in a verbal battle, which cost ‘Taker.


“Face it, you only wish I was gay so you'd be able to tell the truth about why you're really here.”




John shrieked and leapt up from the table.


“Breakfast is ready children.” She announced, turning around and setting the food on the table. 


She ignored their bantering, knowing better, and pulled out the plates and silverware.  She sat down and served each of them before herself, a smile on her face, and ate.  Juliana pushed the thoughts of her stalker aside, just wanting to enjoy what little peace with her family.  John and 'Taker was her family and that would never change, no matter what happened.


‘Taker scowled and speared a biscuit on his fork, ignoring the look John kept shooting him.  Finally he grunted out, “What?”


“I was just thinking how pretty you are.” John said sweetly, batting his eyelashes.


He choked on his mouthful and had to pound his chest, then swallowed down orange juice and water.  “Juliana...” He grumbled.  “He's YOUR brother.”


John just licked the back of his fork.


“I'm not getting involved.  This is between you two.  I find it rather amusing.” She stated sweetly before taking another bite of her biscuits and gravy before taking a sip of her orange juice.  John was being a moron and 'Taker wanted to kill him, this was bliss to Juliana.


‘Taker wanted to take that fork and stab John's eyeballs out and then cook them in boiling water, season them and then use them to feed the little cocksucker.  He snarled when John batted his eyelashes.  “Stop it.” He ordered.


“Your eyes...they're sooo beautiful.”




“Yes m' love?”


He snapped his fork in half.


John was pushing it as Juliana stood up; her plate cleared and walked over to rinse her plate off.  She then began cleaning up the mess, still not getting involved.  She couldn't save her brother forever. 


He was digging his own grave and when 'Taker finally snapped, she wouldn't be there to save John.  The man was an antagonist, always getting beneath 'Taker's skin.  Juliana was surprised John wasn't dead already.


John knew he was pushing Taker but in all honesty, he hadn't harassed the man since Juliana had gone into her shell.  This was sort of fun.  “You're mad?”


“I am pissed.”


“Why?  I thought we had something here?”


‘Taker slowly stood up, clenching his fists tightly.


John did too, looking hurt.  “I thought you might...you know, love me...”


Juliana snorted when she heard that, trying so hard to contain the giggles that were threatening to erupt from her.  Her head was down as she cleaned off the stove, her entire form shaking from holding in the undying laughter she wanted to let loose.  John was going to die and she knew it, but at least he'd go with dignity and knowing he'd pushed 'Taker over the edge.


John burst into outright laughter when ‘Taker shot across the room, was still laughing when the bigger and stronger man pinned him to the wall by his shirt collar.  He couldn't stop himself.  Tears were rolling down his face he was laughing so hard. 


“Does this mean we're over?” He gasped out.


“Yes, we're over.” He growled menacingly.


“Okay.  Can I have my DVDs back?”


‘Taker dropped him, beginning to laugh his own ass off.


That was all Juliana could take as she burst out in laughter, rolling on the floor laughing so hard tears were streaming down her cheeks.  “I didn't think you two were together.  Damn If I'd known...” She couldn’t finish and started howling, holding her stomach, curling up in a ball because it both hurt and felt good at the same time to laugh this hard.


“He learned all his tricks from me.” John gasped, laughing still.


“Don't you wish...?" ‘Taker grunted, wiping his face, trying to stop laughing.


“You know you like it to be hit like this.” John mimed slapping a backside while thrusting his hips forward.  “AND your hair pulled.”




John smirked.  “See?”


“You're going to die.”


Juliana bolted up and rushed down the hall to the bathroom, sweet laughter floating through the house as she slammed the door shut behind her.  She barely made it to the toilet and continued laughing, the tears not stopping.  So 'Taker liked his hair pulled eh? 


“Damn John, why didn't you tell me about the kinky shit?  I could've done it while we fucked!” She shouted through the door, howling harder and louder.


“Because you told me to get lost!” John hollered back, letting out a yelp as he was slammed back into the wall.  “NOT NOW ‘TAKER!  You just fucked Jules!  At least go shower!”


“I'm going to pop your head like a fucking tick!”


“Which one?”


Juliana heard that and completely lost it, crying out because of how much pain she was in from laughing.  She finally had to turn the shower on and stripped out of her clothes, flushing the toilet, and stepped in, sighing when she could hear no more.  She knew she probably lost twenty pounds from laughing just now and it felt great as she poured some shampoo in her hand and started lathering her hair.  She sighed and closed her eyes, enjoying the peacefulness.  Visions of what her and 'Taker did earlier flew through her mind and Juliana suddenly turned the shower water from hot to cold.


The door opened then closed, followed by the curtain being ripped back.  ‘Taker's green eyes were still blazing.  “You find that funny?” He growled, slipping out of his jeans and stepped in with her, wincing at the cold water.  He stared at her for a second then smirked, turning the water to warm.  “What's the cold shower for Juliana?” He asked sensually.


“I had to find someway to calm down.” She retorted swiftly, hiding the fact she'd been thinking about their love making, and rinsed the shampoo out of her hair.  She smirked when he went to grab her and shook her finger along with her head.  “You belong to John now sweetie, remember?  You like having your hair pulled and your ass slapped.” She started laughing again, not able to help herself.  “By the way, did you give him his DVDs back yet?” She batted her eyelashes innocently.


He growled, lifting Juliana up and pressed her against the wet shower wall, wrapping her legs around his muscular waist.  “Don't start with me, wench.” He grumbled beginning to kiss her neck, his body pressing against hers as the hot water beat down on them.  “You should know...the only one I'm interested in ANY manner is you.”


“I know, but you have to admit John got you good.” She giggled and kissed him passionately, wrapping her arms around his muscular neck, gasping when he brushed against her.  “Mmm ready for round two?” She whispered in his ear, gripping his strong arms with her tiny hands, loving the feeling of his muscles rippling as the water completely coated them.


“Mmm...Always ready.” He murmured, ignoring her crack about John and rocked against her, letting her feel how ready he was.  Then he stepped away, letting her slide down and smirked.  “But since you think I'm gay...” He shrugged, turning the water back on cold.


Juliana blinked as she watched him walk out of the bathroom, fighting very hard not to go after him and beat the living hell out of him!  She finished her shower and stepped out, wrapping a towel around her body, and brushed her teeth and hair before stepping out.  “Hey John,” She called out, smirking when he poked his head from the living room.  “'Taker just informed me he's gay.  Enjoy!” She giggled before racing up the stairs and shut her bedroom door, dressing in a pair of blue jeans and a red tank top since she was still boiling over 'Taker's teasing.


John blinked, looking at the TV and then to ‘Taker who was busy on the computer in the corner.  “Hey buddy, that's not gay porn you're looking at, is it?” He asked finally.


‘Taker slowly turned around.


John yelped and ducked when the keyboard came flying at him.  “Okay, okay!”


Chapter 16


After taking ten minutes to fully calm her body down, Juliana finally headed downstairs, seeing the keyboard shattered on the floor and sighed.  She didn't even want to know what that was about and walked over, sitting down next to her best friend.  “What're you watching?” She asked leaning her head against his arm, glad he'd brought her back to life.


“I am watching football, a manly sport.” John said, wanting to make it perfectly clear he wasn't gay, he'd just been joking.


“This is why you constantly see them pulling a ball from between another man’s legs.”


John changed it to figure skating.


Juliana giggled before snatching the remote from John, flipping through the channels until she found a Disney movie.  “Oh yes!” She squealed with delight and curled up on the couch, leaning her head on her hand while it rested on the arm of the couch.  She snarled when John tried taking the remote from her and narrowed her eyes to slits.  “Don't fuck with Disney.”


‘Taker shook his head, dropping down in the chair, glancing at them before looking at the television, blinking.  “What...is…this?” He asked, looking disgusted.


“Chick movie.” John grunted.  “Don't fuck with it or she'll have your balls.”


He had to smirk at that one.


“Damn straight!” Juliana quipped and turned up the volume, loving Disney movies.  “This movie is called Mulan.” She informed 'Taker with a smile, before snuggling further on the couch, placing her legs over John's and stretched out comfortably.  This was nice, just spending time with her boys without any chaos in their lives.


“What's it about?”


“This woman who cross dresses and talks to lizards and shit.”




“Gay, I know.”


He bit his lip.


Juliana scowled when she heard that and smacked John upside the head, sitting up more now.  “You lying fucker!  It's not about a chick that cross dresses!  This movie is about a Chinese daughter who goes to war pretending to be a man so her father doesn't die.  Her guardians send Mushu, a lizard, after her to help her gain honor for her family.  It's funny and really good if you'd give it a CHANCE, Jonathan.” She shot him a glare before going back to her movie.


John was quiet, rubbing the back of his head.


‘Taker covered his mouth with his hand, trying to watch the movie, also trying not to snort anymore.


John blinked.


He groaned, seeing the look in John’s eyes.  The kid was going to do it, wasn't he?


“But she...CROSS DRESSES.”


Yes he did.


Sighing resignedly, Juliana hauled off and popped John in the back of the head with the remote, shaking her head.  “She simply dresses in a pair of pants and a shirt.  I do the same thing, does that make ME a cross dresser?” When he snorted, she popped him again, this time in his knee and sighed before turning the TV off.  “Fine, we won't watch it then.”


John winced, knowing this was a trap if he answered.  “Jules, she dressed like a man and tried to act like a man...cross dresser.” He picked up the remote and turned it back on.  “I was just picking on you, honeybunches.  I like this movie, Eddie Murphy does the lizard things voice.” He grinned at her.


Personally, ‘Taker was wondering how John was still alive at this point.


“Excuse me while I go find a tool to castrate you with.” She said sweetly before standing up and walking out of the living room, deciding to clean up a little bit. 


That and if she didn't get away from John at that moment, she was going to end up killing him.  He knew better than to make fun of her Disney movies, but he did it anyway.  Instead of losing her cool, Juliana was going to let her anger out by cleaning.


John paled at the castration bit, wondering if she'd really do it. “You know...I think I'm going to go tinker around in the yard.” He said in a shrill voice, holding his jewels and got up, heading for the door, backwards, obviously watching for the woman, genuinely afraid for the family gems.


‘Taker burst out in a roar of laughter the minute the screen door banged shut.  “Juliana, you put the fear of God in that boy...” He howled.


She started giggling uncontrollably and shook her head, walking back into the living room, and plopped down on the couch.  “Good, he knows better than to make fun of my Disney movies.” She looked over at him and stood up, walking over, and wrapped her arms around his neck since they were eye level when he sat...almost.  “Found that funny did you?” She smirked, her blue eyes gleaming wickedly.


“Of course I did.  I always find your temper amusing, when it's not directed at me.” He replied, his own eyes twinkling.  “Not mad at me now, are you?” ‘Taker arched an eyebrow, wondering if she'd castrate him yet for that shower incident, glad she was on him, protected his own jewels that way.  Just to be on the safe side...he grabbed her hips, holding her in place.


“No, I'm not mad and I'm not going to castrate you or John.  I was just scaring him.” She assured him before kissing his lips softly and hugged him tightly around the neck. 


She leaned her cheek on his shoulder and closed her eyes, feeling the tears prick her eyes, afraid her temper would make her lose 'Taker again.  She never wanted to lose him again; two times had been more than she could take.  Juliana wanted to spend the rest of her life making up for all the time they'd lost together all because of her selfishness and childish behavior.  It was her fault, all of it, and she regretted acting the way she had.


He blinked, feeling something hot hit his bare shoulder and pulled Juliana's head up, seeing the tears swimming in her eyes.  His face mirrored his confusion as he gently wiped one away.  “Why are you crying?” He asked softly, wondering what had so suddenly changed her mood.  A very horrible thought crossed his mind and he wondered if John's whole 'Midol' bit might not have been far off.


“I'm sorry...” She whispered, wiping her tears away as she lowered her head, sniffling a bit.  “I was just thinking about all the horrible things I've done and...I just don't want to lose you again.” She slowly looked up at him, feeling a few more tears fall from her eyes and sighed heavily, knowing he probably thought she was a lunatic.  “I made a lot of mistakes; I acted completely irrational when all you were trying to do was protect and love me.  I was completely foolish and I don't deserve this.  I don't deserve either of you.” She meant what she said and wrapped her arms around herself, clearing her throat.


“It's in the past, Juliana.” He rumbled, wrapping his arms around her, leaning forward to press his head to hers.  “It can't be changed, all we can do is move on and try not to do it again, you know?”


“Yes I know.  I'm sorry; I don't mean to get so emotional.  I just held it all in for so long and it had to come out you know?” She sniffled, holding him close and shut her eyes, calming down as she wiped her tears away.  “I think too much, that's one of my problems.” She chuckled watery and sighed before rubbing her eyes.


“Nothing wrong with thinking, just a matter of what you think about.” He said calmly, reasonably.  “Don't be worrying about screwing things up or pushing anyone away, Juliana.  You'll wind up walking around on pins and needles, trying not to piss anyone off and then you wouldn't be yourself.  You see where I'm heading with this?” He asked, resting his head on top of hers.


“Yes and I will try to get back to the old me...only a lot more mature and rational.” She smiled, holding him closer, and inhaled his scent with a content sigh.  “You know what I want to do?” She asked suddenly, slowly pulling back to look up into his beautiful emerald green eyes, deciding she was going to put him first.


He arched an eyebrow, a million thoughts flying through his mind, each one more graphic and tantalizing then the last one.  ‘Taker cleared his throat, pushing them all aside and focused on her, not his dirty mind.  “No, what?” He asked, his voice coming out a bit more husky then intended.


Juliana smirked when she heard his voice and shifted on his lap so she was pressing against him, staring up into those eyes of his that always hypnotized her.  “I want to go for a ride...” She seductively said, running her fingers up and down his arms, her eyes never leaving his.  “With you...” She trailed off again before snaking her arms around his neck, pressing her forehead to his.  “On your bike.”


That was instant hard-on.  His motorcycle and Juliana...oh the possibilities!  ‘Taker had to close his eyes, tilting his head back so it rested on the edge of the chair, a groan escaping his throat. 


“Woman...” He growled unable to keep himself from picturing her...splayed back, gripping the handlebars and wondered if he was going to hell for these kinds of thoughts, this often.  “You're killing me, you do know that?”


“I have no idea what you're talking about.” Juliana innocently replied, though her eyes held nothing but innocence.  If anything, the halo around her head was rusted; crumbling and devil horns were holding it up.  “I just want to go for one...little...ride with you, is that so terrible?” She batted her eyelashes, knowing damn well what this was doing to him, and bit her bottom lip to keep from giggling again.  “We never did go for a ride on your bike.  I was just wondering what it'd be like, that's all.”


“The way it's going, if you keep batting them eyelashes at me,” He began through gritted teeth.  “We're never going to go on that ride...that BIKE ride at least.” ‘Taker had to physically pick her up and put her on the floor, away from him.  “If you want to go, go change; it'll be windy.” He instructed, knowing he couldn't go in just a pair of jeans, also knowing he required a second for a quick readjust.


“Uh 'Taker?” She called out behind him with a smile, pointing out the window, where another blizzard was rocking the house.  “I don't think we'll be going for that ride unless we're out of here permanently.”


She giggled at the strained look on his face and stood up, sitting on the couch with one leg crossed in front of the other.  This was her payback for what he did to her in the shower earlier on.  Payback was a bitch.


He shook his head and sighed, seeing that smirk and rolled his eyes, slapping his face.  “You're a tease, you know that?  I know, I know turnabout is fair.” He groaned, standing up.  “I think I'm going to go get a shower...” He said finally, staring down at her.  “If you want a real ride, honey...” He bent down to nip her earlobe.  “You're more then welcome to join me.” He disappeared up the stairs.


Juliana waited for about five minutes before getting up and walking up the stairs to take him up on that offer, to join him for that shower, letting him take her to the heavens and back again. 


Chapter 17


Juliana sighed as she sat on the couch three months later, knitting a sweater, having taken up the hobby to get her mind off of things.  'Taker had refused to let them leave the cabin, saying they had to be patient and let the stalker come to them.  Juliana knew they were in the middle of nowhere and she was getting tired of being cooped up in this place. 


Granted, she loved the sex with 'Taker, but that was only a distraction and preventing the inevitable.  Right now, 'Taker and John were outback chopping wood and she was in here alone, going over her thoughts again.  She wanted this ended and she wanted to back to her house.


“Okay old man, we've chopped enough wood to last three winters.” John grunted his cheeks and the tip of his nose a rosy red color from both the cold and the work.  “What's on your mind?”


“Too much time has passed.” ‘Taker grunted, neatly splitting another log right now the center.


“We all know that.  Haven't you had any new leads?”


“How?  All the lines are down with these fucking blizzards.  Can't get anything out, computers are no good, cells won't pick up signal.”


Juliana sighed heavily as she stood up from the couch, throwing her knitting set down, and went into the kitchen for a glass of water.  She stared out the window, seeing 'Taker and John talking before slowly turning around, letting out a scream as her glass dropped, shattering to the floor.  “W-Who are you?!” She demanded shakily, cursing silently that she didn't have a gun on her, staring into midnight blue orbs that matched her own.


“I'm your shadow.” He said calmly, an easy smile on his relatively handsome face, holding a gun of his own, aimed directly at her.  His cold blue eyes glanced outside the window, arching an eyebrow.  “Too easy.” He snorted.  “Would you care to watch them die?” He waved for her to turn around.  “Go on, Juliana, look.”


The tears pricked her eyes and clung to her eyelashes as she slowly walked toward the back door, shaking from head to toe, stomach clenching violently, never taking her eyes off of him.  She slowly turned around and felt her eyes widen in horror at the sight before her, beginning to pound on the glass.  “'TAKER!  JOHN!  TURN AROUND!!” She screeched, pounding harder on the glass and went to open the door, but it was locked and only 'Taker knew how to unlock it.  He did it to prevent her from running.


‘Taker and John couldn't hear a damn thing though, the wind had picked up, whistling, making it hard for them to even hear each other through the heavy winter hats they wore.


“I don't think they can hear you, Juliana.” The man said conversationally from just behind her.  “Please, don't try anything stupid either; I don't want to shoot you.  Yet.” He was so cordial about all this, as if discussing the weather with a friend.


The tears cascaded down her cheeks, knowing this was her stalker, the person who wanted her dead, and swallowed hard as she continued watching her family outside.  “'Taker!!  John!!” She screamed harder, her nails scrapping down the glass as two men in pure black suits approached them, holding guns.  “NO!!!”


‘Taker tensed, the hairs on the back of his neck rising and spun around, slashing the axe forward.  But not in time.  A shot rang out and his mouth fell open, looking down.


John glanced towards the house, one word coming out of his mouth before he too was shot.  “JULES!” Then he joined ‘Taker on the cold snow.


“Your turn.”


Juliana screamed as she dropped to her knees, burying her face in her hands, shaking it back and forth knowing her family was dead.  They were gone because of her!  She slowly looked back at this man, this psycho who'd been after her for the past year, and shot daggers at him. 


“Go ahead, shoot me.  I want you to kill me.” She stated her voice a soft and low monotone, slowly standing up and pressed her back to the glass window.  Nothing but pain and misery shone in her eyes as she stared back at this man, wondering who he was, and then disregarded that.  She didn't care.


“I will, but not just yet.  I'd rather wring all the misery I possibly can out of this.” He replied in a sickly sweet voice.  He nodded when his cronies appeared.  “Grab her.  I'd rather do this elsewhere; she shouldn't be allowed to die in a place that I'm sure holds many warm memories for her.” He said coldly, staring at Juliana, hate radiating from his eyes.  “For all the pain you've caused me, my dear, I'm going to pay it back tenfold before I let you die.” He whispered in a soothing, demonic tone.


Juliana stared back into his cold, unforgiving blue eyes before she was dragged out of the cabin and to one of those damn blue cars.  Was this fucker obsessed with blue or what?  Juliana looked back at the house, a tear sliding down her cheeks, knowing her family was dead and she had nothing left as she was shoved in the car.  A few seconds later, it drove away in the snow and toward an unknown destination.  Juliana was going to die and she knew it as she simply looked down and prayed she could be with 'Taker and John soon.


He studied her from his seat, tapping the gun idly against his knee.  “You look like your father.” He said finally, decisively, as if just reaching that decision and was both pleased and disgusted with it.  “Except your eyes.” He mused, leaning back and just stared at her.  He seen the look on her face and smiled sweetly, holding out a black rose.  “For you.”


Juliana's head whipped up when she heard that, the tears falling down her face, and stared back at the black rose before shakily reaching out to take it.  “H-How do you know my father?  Who are you?” She whispered heartbrokenly, the confusion swimming in her eyes that mirrored his.  What the Hell was going on?  Juliana stared down at the black rose and let two tears fall on it, before tossing it out the window in the cold snow, her way of saying goodbye to her family.


“I'll answer everything you want to know, in time.  Be patient.” He said, never losing that sweet, soothing tone of voice though his eyes weren't as kind.  “We've waited some time for this, haven't we Juliana?  The game is almost over, dearest, you can be patient a while longer yet.” Her action with the rose hadn't been missed but this seemed to only amuse him even further.  “Only a few more minutes...”


Juliana suddenly saw stars when she was clocked in the back of the head with the butt of a gun, head falling forward, the darkness immediately overtaking her body.




A groan escaped her lips as Juliana's eyes slowly fluttered open, causing her hand too instantly to the back of her head, and blinked repeatedly.  “'Taker...?” She whispered trying to adjust her eyesight to the darkness, and finally did, the tears stinging her eyes as the events of what transpired flew through her mind.  “John...” She looked around and slowly stood up, wondering where she was at, who she was with.


“They are dead, remember?  I had them shot.  Don't worry, my boys have excellent aim, your friend and lover didn't suffer too much.”


It was the cold voice of her captor, the man who had obsessed with her for years and then finally executed a flawless plan.  He was feeling smug at the moment, but didn't allow it to go to his head.  He wasn't about to die the way the others had...not likely.


Juliana shut her eyes and looked away, letting a few mournful tears slide down her cheeks, still not able to grasp the fact that 'Taker and John were gone.  Nobody would be there to save her this time, it was all up to Juliana and she knew what she had to do.  She had to survive this, to prove that she really wanted to live, knowing that's what her family would've wanted. 


“Why did you bring me here?” She finally asked, slowly turning back around to face the dark figure in the corner, the room pitch black so she couldn't see two feet in front of her.


“To kill you of course.  You didn't think I would do it back at that cabin did you?” He sounded amused.  “Not likely my dear, something a bit special for you.” The lights flickered on, revealing a lot of pictures of Juliana, all blown up poster sized, and pictures of....Cassandra.  “Something more intimate, more personal...after all, we're family.”


Her eyebrows drew together as she looked around, seeing all the pictures of her from magazines and newspapers and then her mother before the bitch went nuts.  “Who the hell are you?” She demanded softly, slowly walking around as she stared at the pictures while keeping a keen eye on this man, the confusion swimming in her blue orbs.


He didn't answer, just studied the pictures.  “You hardly look like her.” He commented thoughtfully.  “Except for your eyes, you have her eyes.  But then, we both do.” His gaze slowly moved onto Juliana.  “You have no idea who I am, do you?” He smirked, chuckling a mirthless laugh.  “Of course not...after all, it's your world, isn't it?”


Juliana was becoming lightheaded, slowly backing up from this man, wondering what he was talking about.  “W-What do you mean we both do?” She couldn't help, but ask questions, this man was confusing her to no avail.  Her head was throbbing from the blow she'd taken after getting in the car.


“Well, you get a ten for beauty, no doubt about that, but you're not even a five when it comes to brains, are you?” He sneered, moving so he was standing by a poster of Cassandra.  “I'm Cassandra's son, thank god no relation to your moron, deceased father.” He bowed ever so slightly, mocking her wealth and position.


Tears of shock and disbelief filled her eyes as Juliana stared back at him, beginning to tremble from head to toe, not believing she was standing in front of the sibling she never knew existed.  “I don't believe you.” She finally said after a few moments of silence, glaring when he bowed, and crossed her arms in front of her chest.  “I don't believe one word that comes out of your mouth.  How can...” She stared directly into his eyes again; ones that mirrored her own to perfection, and felt the tears cascade down her cheeks.  “No it can't be!  I never knew about you!” She shook her head, the denial setting in.  “You're just a crazed lunatic who's obsessed over me and my family for years!”


“Obsessed lunatic, yes, I am.” He admitted openly.  “You can also call me by my name, Juliana.  We're family, no need to be so formal.” He leered.  “My name is Alan; go ahead, you can say it.  As for the stalker, no, I don't give a goddamn about YOUR family.  I care about MINE and YOU destroyed it.”


“No, correction.  Cassandra destroyed MY life!  She's the one who wanted me dead and came after me along with my fiancé.  I didn't kill either of them, my bodyguard did.” Juliana informed him coldly, refusing to call him by his name, and raked a hand through her hair.  “So this is all about revenge for your precious psychotic mother?” She scoffed, shaking her head.  “Why am I NOT surprised?”


“Because if you were surprised, then I'd be worried that are you as stupid as your father was.” Alan sneered, not amused with the way she was being so nonchalant.  “You had your bodyguard kill my mother.  And for what?  Because she wanted what was rightfully hers?  She suffered a loveless marriage and faked her own death.  YOUR FATHER drove her MAD!”


“It’s not my fault my father was a son of a bitch!” She shouted defensively back at him, the tears burning in her eyes with a vengeance, clenching her fists tightly at her sides.  “She left us and supposedly died in a car accident when I was little!  My father lied to me just like that psycho bitch lied to you!  He never drove her mad, she drove HERSELF mad!  Get it right, Alan!  I am not her and I am not him!” She wasn't backing down from this man, ready to snap his puny neck in half, not believing he was wanting her dead over their nut job of a mother.


Alan obviously wasn't buying that and was definitely as psychotic and mad as his mother was.  He snarled at Juliana waving the gun in her direction.  “I'm going to shoot you.” He said coldly.  “Just like I had your lover and friend shot.”


“Then do it!  Stop standing there and taunting me with your sob stories about your psychotic bitch of a mother and how I destroyed your life!” She shouted, sick and tired of these games he was playing on her. 


From the rose, to blowing up her and John's shack and John's car, nearly killing him, to nearly running her off the road, only to have 'Taker save her ass again.  All of it.  She was sick and tired of waiting.  The waiting was over, the games were over.


“You don't even care that your lover is dead?  That poor John is dead?” Alan mocked, pressing the gun against her forehead before taking a step backwards.  “Everything you loved, I've destroyed....and I've seen your tears, and relished them all.  Your precious little hideaway, that's gone, and I roasted marsh mellows in the flames.” He smirked.  “Every place you've been with a happy memory attached is gone, every person, dead.”


Juliana started laughing, catching her brother off guard as she shook her head, crossing her arms in front of her chest.  “They're all dead.  Every single one of them.  My father, my psycho bitch of a mother, my TRUE brother, the love of my life.  Gone.” She laughed harder and looked around the room, refusing to show her tears to him one moment longer.  “This, all of this...the dynasty is GONE!  The fortune GONE!  Everything and everyone I've ever loved his GONE!” She then stopped laughing and glared back at him with such hatred in her eyes that if looks could kill, Alan would be the one dead.  “So what are you waiting for?  Pull the damn trigger, asshole.”


“Gone?  Hardly.  I'm left, you twit.  I'm the sole survivor of this family, or didn't you know?  Cassandra inherited if you died, I inherit if Cassandra dies, and how you might ask?  Well...money buys everything.  But the wealth wasn't exactly my goal here; it's more like a side perk.  My whole intention was always you so now...kindly move away from my pictures, I don't want your filthy blood splattering my mother.”


Chapter 18


“You'll have to force me to move, prick.” Juliana spat back at him hatefully, her blue eyes narrowed to slits.  When he made a move to shove her, Juliana hauled off and kicked him square in his face, knocking the gun out of his hand as it slid beneath the couch.  She smirked, hearing the sickening bone crunching sound echoing throughout the room they were in, and knew his nose was broken.  “You're not the only one who's alive, Alan.  Your sister is and I'm going to make you wish YOU were never born!” She snarled before kicking him in the face again when he stood up, knocking him on his ass. “That was for 'Taker!”


Alan let out a not so manly squeal of pain, his hands flying to his face, feeling his broken nose and the blood.  “You bitch!” He shrieked.  “You know how much this face is worth?” He looked around for the gun, not about to get into a physical confrontation with her, not after that.  She'd beat his ass hands down and he was smart enough to know it.


“Aww what's the matter Alan, can't take a little beating from your big SISTER?” She growled that last word out before stomping on his hand that reached under the couch, snapping one bone in his hand before doing it again, causing him to squeal out in more pain.  She was glad she was wearing steel toed boots; the fucker was stupid enough to actually leave them on her.  “That was for my REAL brother John!” Her blue eyes flashed as she walked over, took a candle that was burning, and smirked sadistically.  “You wanna know what I think about your precious, psychotic whore of a mother?”


“Don't you dare insult my mother!! He rasped, blood spurting from his nose and mouth, holding his hand against his chest.  “You know nothing about her, not a thing!  You lived a sheltered existence with your daddy, everything provided for you, you mealy mouthed little BITCH!” He did lunge for her this time, though it didn't do anything; he wasn't a fighter, unless he had a weapon anyway.


Juliana sidestepped him and watched as his body crashed against a shrine of his mother, smirking coldly, still holding the candle.  “This is what I think of her.” She purred out before taking one of Cassandra's pictures and burned it right before Alan's eyes, laughing sadistically.  “Oh look, the psycho bitch is burning right now just like she’s burning in hell as we speak!”


His blue eyes widened, seeing his beloved mother being murdered for a second time and let out a roar of rage, charging Juliana.  He grabbed her arms, trying to wrestle the candle from her.  “You whore!” He spat, blood spraying from his mouth as he spoke, getting her with it.  “You little slut!” He ignored everything around them, the fire leaping from poster to poster in this dry house, catching everything it caught.


“Fuck you!” She shouted back at him and kicked him in the balls, before throwing the scolding hot wax in his face, watching as it started searing and smoking, looking around at how fast the fire had caught.  The smoke was slowly overtaking everything as Juliana coughed, kneeing him in the head, and got on her back as her hand reached under the couch for the gun.


Alan let out another roar of pain, lunging for her and grabbed her ankle.  “We'll go together, sister.” He snarled angrily, his face badly burned, his left eye shut with wax, wax hardening on his seared and scorched face. His other eye was a wild, vivid blue, flaming with madness.  “For Cassandra!”


She closed her eyes and reached as far as she could, touching the handle of the gun, and nodded when she got it.  She took the safety off and pulled it out, holding it to his forehead, eyes looking pure murderous.  “For John and ‘Taker.” She whispered venomously before pulling the trigger, the bullet lodging directly in the middle of his forehead as his body fell back, his blood splattering on her as she coughed more.  She stumbled up, holding her head, and looked down at Alan, her brother, the only one left of her blood relatives now dead.  She clicked the trigger back and held it to his chest, knowing he was already dead, but wanted to make absolutely sure.  “For me.” She then shot him twice before dropping the gun on his chest.


Alan's face was contorted in disbelief, fury and something almost sad, though it was definitely not for Juliana.  It froze like that when she shot him, falling over.  When he died, that was the expression that would remain, not that anyone would ever know.  His body was already catching fire.


The smog was becoming thicker as Juliana looked over at the window, knowing that was her only chance.  She grabbed a chair and hurled it through the window, glass shattering everywhere, and looked back at the room that was quickly engulfing in flames.  It was two floors up so Juliana knew she'd end up having to tuck and roll. 


She took a deep breath and closed her eyes before dropping out the window, groaning when she landed on her knees, thanking the stars above she'd put pants on that morning.  She didn't know what day it was and didn't care, all she had to do was get away from this house.  Her feet ran as fast as they could, knowing the house was going to explode, and got in the first car she saw, thankful the keys were in it.  Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she put the car in reverse and hauled ass out of there just as the house exploded with a loud bang.


Cassandra.  Her father.  Ken.  ‘Taker.  John.  Alan.  All were blurs, circling around her mind.  Faces flickering in and out of vision, each face connected a memory, each memory something painful now. 


Everyone she had loved, dead.  Her refuges, gone.  All she had were her memories and they weren't so happy anymore, now even the best ones were tinged with bittersweet happiness. 


Never again would she see John's smiling face, or hear him crack one of his stupid jokes.  She'd never feel Taker's arms wrapped around him, his strong body pressed against hers.  All her hopes, for the future, dashed.


Before Juliana headed back to her house, there was one more thing she had to do, for her own peace of mind.  She drove through the snow as far as the car would allow her before running up the rest of the hill, her tears falling and freezing on her face.  She got to the backyard of the cabin she'd been shacked up in for the past year and sniffled, slowly walking over to the spot where she seen 'Taker and John shot and killed.  Dropping to her knees in the snow, Juliana looked around, not seeing their bodies anywhere, and figured her brother disposed of them.  She began sobbing violently, covering her face in her hands, her shoulders shaking, and clutched her stomach with her arm. 


After an hour of staying out there and feeling her hands go numb, Juliana picked up four sticks and made crosses out of them, taking out her two ponytail holders one from her hair and one from her wrist, and tied them together before slamming them into the ground.  She wiped her tears away and slowly stood up, her legs soaking wet, shivering, and knew she had to say goodbye.  “I love you both so much.  I will never forget you and neither will my unborn son or daughter.” She rubbed her stomach and closed her eyes, the tears falling freely, and knew it was the reason why she'd fought her brother for her life, for their life. 


“Goodbye my boys.” She whispered before turning and walking away.


“UNBORN SON?” John's voice rang out, followed by a cough.  “Oh damn, that hurt...” He rubbed his chest, limping through the snow, looking battered and bruised, but very much alive.  He seen her and ran to her as fast as he could, pulling her into his arms.  “I thought you were dead.” He whispered, crushing her against him.  He seen her eyes flare with hope and sadly shook his head.  “‘Taker's...not with me, Jules.”


“John!” She cried out against him, holding on for dear life, the tears pouring forth like two rapid streams as she buried her face in his chest, glad at least one of her boys was alive.  Her entire body was trembling from head to toe, the sobs tearing throughout down to the depths of her soul.  “I-I saw you...I saw them shoot you!  I saw them kill you!!” She dropped to her knees in the snow, him following, not believing this as he cradled her against him, clinging for dear life.  “Please god tell me this isn't a dream, tell me you're really here my brother...”


“I'm here, I'm here.” John whispered, rubbing her back.  His chest hurt like a mother fucker but it was alright, simply knowing Juliana was alive.  “‘Taker gave me his bullet proof vest to wear, he felt like something was up, but he couldn't pinpoint anything, just a feeling.” He stared down at her, sorrow in his blue eyes.  “I don't know if he was wearing one, I blacked out.  But at the range they shot him...it wouldn't have done any good, Jules.  I'm sorry.”


“It's all my fault...It's my fault he's gone!” She wailed, beginning to hit his chest with her fists, shaking her head back and forth before screaming out in pure agony, the sobs tearing through her harder than a tornado.  “If I would've stayed away from the shack...if I wouldn't have been damn stubborn...if I would've put him first for ONCE in my life, he'd still be here!!” Her sobs turned into vicious cries, the tears pouring down her cheeks like two rapid rivers, shaking her head back and forth.


“Honey, honey...there was nothing you could do.  You know the man would have tracked you down anywhere, he loved you that much.” John said softly, telling her the truth.  “‘Taker would have died for you, he did die for you which is probably the way he wanted to go, Jules.” John felt her stomach gently.  “Are you really...pregnant?”


“Yes...” She whispered, closing her eyes, and leaned her head against his shoulder.  “I-I found out a few days ago...I was going to tell him after this ordeal was settled.” She looked up into his blue eyes as more tears fell from her own.  “It's over John.  I killed him.  I want to go home now.” She slowly stood up, helping him, wrapping one arm around his waist while his arm was over her neck as they walked back to the car together.  She got him in the front seat before getting in the driver's, looking up the hill at the house and pressed a kiss to her hand before blowing it at it.  “Goodbye 'Taker.  I love you.” She whispered before peeling out of there and headed back to her house with John.




John spent a week recovering, from the close range being shot.  The bullet had been driven through the vest and bruised his chest, bad enough to make him wince when he breathed.  He spent that time mostly just being around Juliana, not saying much, just being with her. 


He knew losing ‘Taker was hard on her, he was still in shock over it.  ‘Taker had seemed like a permanent fixture, like he would always be around, no matter what.  But now...he was gone.


Juliana spent most of her time locked up in her room, only letting John in when he begged and pleaded with her, just wanting to be alone.  She hardly ate, feeling too sick from the pregnancy nausea, and hardly slept due to every time she closed her eyes, she could see emerald green orbs staring back at her.  The tears continued to fall down her face as she mourned the death of the only man she ever gave her whole heart too. 


True, they had a rocky start, a rocky beginning, but Juliana really hoped they could finally settle down and be with each other.  When she found out she was pregnant, she wanted to tell him and now regretted doing so.  He died without even knowing he was a father.  That made her cry harder.


John was outside, trying to do some yard work, some outside house repairs, but he wasn't much good at it.  He tried though, trying to step up and be the man of the house since Juliana was sort of...well, in a state of shock, sorrow, she was grieving.  He wasn't trying to be the man in her life, but he was trying to make things easier on her. 


“Damn it…” He groaned when he hammered his thumb.


Chapter 19


Later on that night, Juliana decided to go for a walk, knowing her life was no longer in danger.  She slipped out of her bed, wearing a long midnight blue gown that went to her knees and was spaghetti strapped.  John was in bed and she wasn't going to wake him as she slipped out of her room and went downstairs before walking out of her front door, leaving it open. 


She sighed as the night air blew through her hair and closed her eyes, just letting this peaceful moment sweep her away.  She slowly stepped down the stairs, her hand protectively on her stomach, and headed out to the shore since she lived right on an ocean.  She just wanted a few moments of tranquility where she wasn't thinking about the past.


He walked up behind her, looking tired but very much alive, green eyes flickering with life when he seen her.  He had been shot, and he'd even thought he'd been dead, but then he'd woken up.  He'd given John his one and only bullet proof vest, knowing Juliana probably wouldn't wear it, and had constructed himself a vest of sorts.  It had done it’s job, barely. 


“What are you thinking?” He finally asked.


Her body whipped around when she heard that voice and felt her eyes fill with tears, a shaky hand going up to cover her mouth, the other one firmly on her stomach.  It couldn't be.  No, he was dead! 


He wasn't alive!  He was dead!  Her entire body started trembling from head to toe, thinking he was a ghost that would forever haunt her, and felt the tears cascade down her cheeks.  Finally, the shock overtook her as Juliana collapsed, fainting.


“Oh damn.” ‘Taker grunted, scooping her into his arms.  He hadn't meant for that to happen.  “Juliana...” He breathed, inhaling her scent and started towards the house.  When he'd come too, he had seen the two crosses and knew she was alive, and thought they were both dead.  He only hoped John was alive as well as he entered the house, kicking the door closed behind him, green eyes fastened on Juliana's stomach.


Her eyes slowly fluttered open about an hour later, feeling a cool rag against her forehead, and groaned as her hand immediately pressed against her stomach.  She slowly looked up at the person who was doing this and let out a blood curdling scream, her eyes flying open.  “NO!  NO GET AWAY!” She shrieked, throwing a pillow at the ghost, and scrambled from the bed as she landed on the floor, tears streaming down her face. “John!  JOHN!!”


‘Taker blinked, catching the pillow before it hit him and stared at her like she'd lost her mind.  “Juliana, it's me.” He said, holding out his hands.


John came FLYING down the steps with a baseball bat.  He just attacked.  He stopped when the big man dropped and blinked. 


“Oh shit!  I killed ‘Taker!” He yelped, dropping the bat and looking at Juliana.  “Oh shit, oh shit...I thought he was dead?!?”


“I-I t-thought s-so t-too...” She shuttered out, her entire body shaking from head to toe, and slowly stood up as she walked over to 'Taker.  “Please tell me you're alive, that you're real.  Please tell me I won't wake up to another dream with you still gone.”


She started sobbing uncontrollably and reached out, closing her eyes, and felt a jolt rush up her arm when she touched him.  In the dream she never touched him, but this time she did, and dropped to her knees, clinging to him for dear life.  She couldn't say anything as she buried her face in his chest, her entire body shaking from head to toe, coughing harshly because she was sobbing so hard.


“Jules...let's get the man up and running again before you smother him.” John said, still not believing ‘Taker was right there.  RIGHT THERE.  And he had about taken his head off with a baseball bat.  “Oh shit, I hope he's okay.” He muttered, gently prying her off the unconscious man before grabbing ‘Taker under the arms and started dragging him.  “He's a heavy bastard, where do I put him?”


“Upstairs in my room.” She answered softly, still not believing 'Taker was there, and immediately rushed to get the first aid kit.  She brought the entire thing with her and went upstairs, seeing John barely lay 'Taker on the bed before collapsing to his knees.  “John go rest.  You are still recovering.  I got it from here.” She softly instructed, kissing his forehead, and crawled on the bed as the tears started falling again. 


He was here.  He was alive.  He wasn't dead and buried deep within the ground.  Juliana slowly and carefully looked at his head and nodded, it wasn't cracked so that was good.  She dabbed it with peroxide before wrapping gauze around his forehead, clipping it. 


She then slowly undressed his upper body and felt her heart lunge in her throat at the bullet wound, seeing it was still inside of him after she took off the tape he put over it.  She took out some tweezers and sterilized them before slowly beginning to pull it out.  It was a good thing 'Taker was out cold or he probably would've taken her head off.


“Christ woman, you trying to kill me?” He muttered, the pain bringing him around and hissed.  “Again?” His green eyes slowly opened, focusing on her after a second.  “That boy has one helluva swing on him.” ‘Taker said softly, not moving so he didn’t wind up with her digging them tweezers in anything that wasn't injured.  He made a face.  “Got it yet?”


She nodded and slowly pulled it out, dropping it in some gauze and immediately stemmed the blood flow as she pressed a bunch of gauze to the open wound, the tears still falling.  His voice, the voice she thought she'd never hear again.  Juliana started sobbing as she sniffled, dabbing the wound with peroxide before bandaging it, swallowing hard. 


“I-I thought you were g-gone?” She shakily whispered out, lowering her head, having been mourning for this man for an entire week.


“Makes two of us.” He said gruffly, voice thick with both emotion and pain.  That hadn't felt the best.  He reached up to wipe away the tears that threatened to overspill from her eyes.  “Hey now, I'm here.  I'm alright.  Sorry it took me so damn long, I didn't wake up for a few days.”


‘Taker was secretly surprised he was alive.  His home-made, improvised vest had slowed down the bullet, but not stopped it from entering.  Apparently, God liked him.


“W-Where were you?” She quietly asked, scooting closer to him as she was on her knees, one hand on her stomach again while staring into his green eyes.  “I-I went back there, 'Taker.  I didn't see you anywhere.  John said you were dead…” She started crying harder and buried her face in his stomach, her emotions along with the hormones from her pregnancy going over the edge and toward the breaking point.


“I was in recovery actually. I must've been out for two, two and a half days.” He frowned, gingerly sitting up and leaned back against the headboard, reaching out to pull her into his arms, holding her close.  “I'm not sure where I was, place in the woods.  They must've dragged me and John out there after shooting us, apparently they didn't have time to bury us or anything.  I woke up, started looking for you.”


“I'm so glad you're alive.” She whispered, wrapping her arm around his waist, and closed her eyes as more tears fell.  “I-I thought I'd have to raise this child alone...without you.” She whispered, looking up at him into his green eyes, a heart breaking smile on her face.  “I-I thought you were gone and I didn't even get the chance to tell you that you were going to be a father.” She started crying again, burying her face in his side, sobs tearing through her that were full of relief.


Taker blinked, staring at her like he might have misheard that.  ‘Father? Child?’ He echoed, mouthing the words again, then pulled Juliana up, forcing her to look at him.  “Repeat that.” He ordered, his arms shaking slightly, voice hoarse.  “We're having a baby?”


Juliana swallowed hard before slowly nodding, her eyes casting to the bed, afraid he might be angry with her.  “I-I wanted to tell you.” She whispered heartbrokenly, her voice cracking as the tears fell one by one from her eyes.  “I-I was going to do it, but decided to wait until after this whole ordeal was through.  I-I'm sorry, 'Taker.  Please don't hate me.” She buried her face in her hands, sitting on her knees, and began sobbing again, not able to stop herself from doing so.


He blinked, a bit overwhelmed by that and ignored her for a minute, just needing a second to digest all that information.  Finally, ‘Taker cleared his throat, staring down at her.  “I'm not mad, Juliana.” He said gravely.  “I just...I'm surprised...all that could have happened...” He hugged her tightly against him.  “Thank god you’re both okay.”


She hugged him back, trembling and closed her eyes, not even wanting to think about what could've happened in that house with Alan.  He wasn't her brother and Juliana refused to call him that.  John was her brother as far as she was concerned and that's the way it was going to stay. 


“I-I was going to tell you after you and John got back from chopping wood, but...” She swallowed hard and closed her eyes tightly shut, slowly pulling away from him and stood up from the bed, wrapping her arms around herself.  She could still see in her mind him being shot, his body falling to the snow along with John's, and couldn't believe he was here with her.


He sighed, watching her from his place on the bed.  “Juliana, I'm fine, everyone is fine.  Now you tell me, what happened?  After John and I were shot?”


She wrapped her arms around herself and slowly looked up to stare out at the ocean, raking a hand through her hair, and knew she had to relive it.  All of it.  'Taker wouldn't rest until he knew everything, that's just the type of man he was. 


“It was my…” She swallowed hard again and started trembling.  “Brother...a brother I never knew I had...Alan...same eyes...” She had to stop, placing her knuckle over her mouth.


He frowned, wondering how Cassandra had had another kid and it got by him.  That wasn't a comforting thought.  He wondered if anything else had and sighed, moving to get off the bed and pull Juliana into his arms, stroking her. 


“Honey, calm down.” He whispered in a low rumble.  “Don't make yourself sick.”


“H-How could I not know about him, 'Taker?” She sniffled, burying her face in his chest, and wrapped her arms around his waist.  “He told me...she had him with someone else, not my father.  So she was probably pregnant with him after she left my father.” She explained softly and slowly pulled away to turn around, his arms still around her, her back pressed against him.


“Juliana, how were you supposed to know?” He reasoned gently, stroking her back.  “If Cassandra had this thing with someone besides your father, you wouldn't be expected to know. It's not your fault.” He bent down to kiss the top of her head.


She knew he was right as she allowed him to stroke her back, sighing heavily as she wiped her tears away before beginning the entire story.  She didn't leave anything out, including every word that was said, every action that was done, her beating Alan's ass and scorching him with a candle before burning Cassandra's picture and igniting the entire house on fire. 


“After I knew he was dead, I dropped the gun on his chest and busted the window out and jumped out of it.” She finished and swallowed hard, her hands still had tiny cuts on them from the glass she had to grip in order to jump.


‘Taker flipped her hands over after hearing that, staring down at the tiny cuts that covered them.  Sighing regretfully that he wasn't there to help her, he raised her hands, palms upwards, to his mouth, trailing gentle kisses over them.  “You were very brave, Juliana.” He whispered, his intense emerald orbs meeting her midnight blue eyes.  “I'm sorry you had to face that on your own.”


“You didn't know he would attack...you just had a gut instinct.  John told me you gave him your only bullet proof vest.  You saved my true brother, 'Taker.” She reached her hand up and stroked his cheek gently with the back of her hand, tears filling her eyes.  “You will never know how much that means to me that you saved his life, protected him.” She sighed and looked at her hands along with him, the memory of making the crosses and shoving them in the snow running through her mind.  “I knew no matter what, even if you and John were gone, I had to live because of our baby...”


He had seen those crosses, the image of them would probably haunt him to his dying day.  The fact that Juliana had thought they were dead.  He had thought both she and John were dead, until seeing those crosses, then he knew she'd survived whatever had happened. 


“Well...it's John...” He shrugged.  “Anybody's going to kill that boy, it'll be me.” He joked, clearing his throat.


She wished she could laugh, but no sound was coming from her as Juliana continued staring straight ahead.  One week.  For one week she'd mourned over this man, thinking he was gone, thinking she'd never see him again.  The shock hadn't worn off yet, which was why she wasn't pouncing on him with hugs and kisses.  She was still trying to get over the initial shock that 'Taker survived and was very much alive. 


“I'm so glad you're here with me.” She finally whispered, meaning it, though her body was emotionally and physically spent due to all the crying and sobbing she'd done along with her pregnancy.


He stared at her, seeing the way she carried herself and wondered briefly if Juliana even realized he was actually there and not a dream or a vision.  Just to be on the safe side...’Taker pulled her into his arms and kissed her, showing her the best way he knew how that he was there.  He was flesh and blood and very much alive, not a ghostly apparition come to haunt her.


Juliana instantly curled her arms around his neck, holding him as tight as she could as she kissed him back, trembling as she moved her head from side to side, deepening the kiss even more, not wanting to break it.  She never wanted to be away from him again, never wanted to even ordain the thought of him leaving her.  He promised to protect her and did it, now it was her turn to protect him.


Eventually the kiss had to be broken though, they both needed air and actually began to worry about depriving the baby oxygen.  ‘Taker had protected politicians, famous people and just plain rich people.  Knew about guns, was up to date on his technology even if he didn't care for it, and knew tons about cars and motorcycles.  He could kill a man with his thumbs in less then five seconds and knew dozens of other ways.  But he didn't know a damn thing about a baby.


“I-I love you...I love you so much...” She managed to gasp out, breathing raggedly, staring deep into his emerald green eyes, smiling at the awe in them.  “What is it?” She asked softly, taking his hand as their fingers entwined, finally believing he was actually there because they never kissed in any of her dreams and it felt too real not to be.


“I'm still having a hard time believing we're having a baby.” ‘Taker admitted, gently caressing her stomach with a tender hand.  He took Juliana and guided her down onto the bed, laying on his side and continued to rub her stomach, cocking an eyebrow.  “How far along are you?” He asked curiously.


“A little over three months.  I conceived the morning we made love by the fire.” She explained with a smile, having held on to that memory and cherished it when she thought he was dead.  Now he was here and she was lying in his arms, snuggling against his arms, inhaling his scent.  “Are you...happy about the baby, 'Taker?” She hesitantly asked, grabbing his hand and pressing it over her heart, their fingers entwined again.


Taker had already done the math and couldn't keep the cocky, arrogant grin off his face.  “First time was all it took, huh?” He grunted, bringing her hand to his mouth and placing a kiss to it.  “I'm thrilled about the baby.” He admitted, truly was, bit overwhelmed, but happy.  He had just come back from the dead after all.


She slowly turned on her side to face him, running her hand up and down his chest, being careful of his injury.  “I'm glad.  When I found out, I admit, I freaked because I never thought I'd be a mother.” She softly spoke, scooting up so her eyes were looking into his instead of at his chest, stroking his face tenderly.  “I'm still a little scared, but not as much anymore.”


‘Taker smiled, kissing the tip of her nose.  “You'll be a great mother.” He said softly, his eyes beginning to grow lidded.  “Juliana, please don't take this the wrong way honey, but I'm tired.” He said gently.  “It wasn't easy getting here.” That and he needed to sleep and recharge his batteries.


“Sleep my love.” She murmured, running her fingers through his hair, not able to sleep as she stared at him, still not believing he was there with her again.  She kissed his neck and snuggled against him, whispering soothing words into his ear to help lull him to sleep.  “Every day from now on I’m fully yours.”



You could’ve bowed out gracefully
But you didn’t

You knew enough to know
To leave well enough alone

But you wouldn’t

I drive myself crazy

Tryin’ to stay out of my own way

The messes that I make

But my secrets are so safe

The only one who gets me

Yeah, you get me

It’s amazing to me


How every day

Every day, every day

You save my life


I come around all broken down and

Crowded out

And you’re comfort

Sometimes the place I go

Is so deep and dark and desperate

I don’t know, I don’t know


How every day

Every day, every day

You save my life


Sometimes I swear, I don’t know if

I’m comin’ or goin’

But you always say something

Without even knowin’

That I’m hangin’ on to your words

With all of my might and it’s alright

Yeah, I’m alright for one more night-

Every day

Every day, every day, every day

Every day, every day

You save me, you save me, oh, oh, oh!

Every day

Every, every, every day-


Every day you safe my life



Every day since he met Juliana had been a new adventure, some good times and some bad times.  No matter what though, through it all, ‘Taker never once stopped loving her.  Every day being away from her seemed like an eternity, every day not being able to stare in her beautiful blue eyes or hear her laughter…every day from now on, ‘Taker would cherish those moments forever.  He already knew they were meant to be or else he wouldn’t have survived through this ordeal with her.  He stroked her hair, feeling her soft body against his, hearing her steady breathing and knew she was asleep.


“Every day, Jules.  I love you.” ‘Taker murmured sleepily, pulling her into his arms, spooning up against her and began rubbing her stomach with his hand. 


He smiled when their fingers entwined together, resting on their unborn child, their future.  With that on his mind, ‘Taker finally succumbed to sleep and knew they could finally live a peaceful and safe life. They could finally be together every day and night for the rest of their lives and that’s all he ever wanted.


The End.