Senator John McDale and his wife, Michele were very tired. They’d been traveling for nearly 24 hours. Still, they were very excited. They would see their youngest daughter for the first time in almost a year. They were in the elite airport lounge in Sidney. The lounge had multiple meeting rooms, a cafeteria style eating line, a bar and multiple televisions.
A young woman with flowing, blonde hair, obviously an Australian approached them. It was Jennifer. “Kat’s nearby. Follow me,“ she whispered and led them to a room. Several men and women discretely monitored the couple.
Kat was waiting, obviously pregnant, and obviously very happy about it. An Afghan couple in traditional Afghan dress stood as they entered. A face scarf in traditional fashion covered the woman’s face. The man’s face was bandaged with evidence of bleeding.
Kat moved awkwardly with her “Baby Bump” as she flew to her mother’s arms. They clung to each other for a moment until the Afghani woman pushed the Senator to join, and then it was a three-way hug.
Originally the plan had been to have Kat meet her parents alone before their trip North. Beth refused. She would accompany her sister and baby. Unfortunately, You Tube had made Beth a very well known figure. Michael would not let them go without him. Hence, they were back in the Afghan dress.
The contrast between their last sight of Kat and this incredibly happy, pregnant young woman staggered the Senator and his wife. Mother and daughter clung to each other and began to cry.
Only then did Beth remove her face scarf, jarring the Senator.
He offered his hand, she moved it gently aside and hugged him.
The lead bodyguard pressed his earpiece. “Copy.”
“Michael, we need to go. Everything’s ready.”
Beth fastened her scarf and she and Michael left first. Several minutes later Kat, a hastily disguised senator and wife were led away using a different route. Finally, Jennifer walked regally through the lounge, followed discretely by her guards.
They were taken to a helicopter at the far end of the airport. They disappeared into the night.
Seating in the helicopter was four wide with a central walkway. Michael sat next to Beth and across from Jennifer and her guard.
Kat sat next to her mother and across from the Senator. The Senator tapped Michael on the shoulder, “Isn’t this a bit much?” indicating the guards and security procedures.
Michael smiled sadly, “You’ll understand when we get to our home.”
The Senator had two stiff drinks and fell asleep on the flight while his wife and daughter chatted excitedly. Beth slept, her head on Michael’s shoulder. After shedding his Afghan disguise, he had a drink of scotch, dreading the next two weeks. Once the Senator learned the truth, Michael feared he would try to get Kat to leave, taking his and Beth’s child with her.
He’d expressed his concerns at dinner before the plan had been finalized. “I will never leave you or Beth, Michael, never!”
Nonetheless, he worried.
As the helicopter set down on the compound helipad, overhead lights snapped on. Light rain fell, driven by the wind. Dressed in nautical gear, their heads covered, the harem, Nita and Michaela stood resolutely against the blade backwash, waiting for their family to return.
The lead guard approached Michael as he deplaned, “No indication of anyone taking notice.”
Michael was relieved. At least no known security problems.
The girls took the Senator and his wife to the guesthouse. One of Tim’s absolute rules was no strangers could stay in the main house.
The spacious guesthouse boasted four bedrooms and three baths. Vetted doctors or other professionals brought in to treat the girls frequently stayed in the house.
They left the Senator, Michele and Kat. Tomorrow, they’d have a real reception for them.
The guesthouse buzzed the next afternoon. The Senator slept in, while Michele and Kat talked for hours in the kitchen.
When the Senator wakened and showered, Kat headed to the main house to bring Michael and the harem.
The weather remained stubbornly lousy. Light rain had fallen for three days and would for at least one more.
The harem began to enter the guest house, shedding their wet raingear. Michele and the Senator waited expectantly in the living room. The Senator held a large tumbler of dark scotch.
Michele sought Kat’s smiling face, oblivious to all else.
“Well it’s been a while, but I thought you’d at least remember me!” Rachael said loudly.
At the sound of her voice, Michele spun, her mouth open, trying to find the words. They joined in a hug filled with genuine emotion. Even in the hug, Michele searched the faces for Shoshana and Lynne. Finding them, she opened one arm, motioning them over while still holding Rachael.
“You can let go now Misha,” Rachael said softly.
“Not likely, you little bitch!” Misha said laughing.
Michael stared, uncertain and out of control of the situation, something he hated. Beth took pity on him. “Dad, Rachael knew Michele when they were kids. They’re closer than most sisters. Before they came, Kat let her parents know about the harem, but never gave out any names. She told them that if they caused a problem, they would never see her or their grandchild again. Her Dad had a problem, but Misha told him she was coming alone. Finally he promised.”
“Honey, he’s a politician. He promised never to try to find you.”
“We’ve got a plan,” Michael’s head snapped up and she giggled. “No, it’s not a plan to have you “do” Misha. Just go with it. Rachael planned it. If I told you, you’d never react right.” Beth dodged a swat.
The reunion started well. Drinks were served, another large dark glass of scotch being delivered to the Senator.
Shoshana hugged Michele, “It’s so good to see you Aunt Misha,” using Michele’s nickname.
“My God, you’re gorgeous! Honey, I mean you’re really beautiful.” Shoshana beamed.
Lynne bounced into the room, her natural ebullience radiating around the room. She, too, hugged Misha like a long lost relative.
Senator McDale poured a fresh drink, talking with Shoshana, marveling at her soft speech and confident smile, remembering the last time he saw her she lisped badly and had been very shy.
Misha and the Walsh women sat in a circle, Rachael and Misha holding both hands of the other, looking intently at each other.
Maria and Nita, usually inseparable approached the Senator, asking him what it was like being a very important man. John McDale treated the two young girls to a long history lesson about Senator John McDale.
He poured himself another large drink.
Michael noticed, feeling uneasy.
Rafaela touched his arm. Together they strode to the Senator.
Michael introduced Rafaela as Andréa. The Senator held out his hand, “Hello Rafaela, my name is John McDale,” frowning at Michael, “We’ve been looking for you for a long time.” He pointed at her with his nearly empty glass, “She’s a drug cartel queen, wanted by half the police forces in the world.” He seemed proud of himself, forgetting his promises, “You have to know, I’ll have to report this,” taking out his cell phone.
Michael took the phone from the Senator’s hand, nearly crushing bone.
Looking at Michael’s face and hard, cold eyes, McDale knew he had made a bad mistake. He’d become a threat, exposing his own daughter in his alcohol induced haze.
Kat came over, feeling the tension. Rafaela spoke softly, “Michael was introducing us and your father recognized me. He knows who I am, what I was and where I am.”
Blood drained from Kat’s face, “Daddy you promised!” She fled the room. Misha and Rachael followed.
“Excuse me.” Michael turned away and pulled out his satellite phone.
Inside, Michael gladly released the beast that had tormented him for decades. McDale threatened his family. In the blink of an eye, all the walls he had built to keep the animal inside fell. He considered ending McDale’s life instantly, but the girls would see and the family would be destroyed.
Having heard the story from Kat, an angry Misha strode up to the Senator and slapped him hard, his head snapping back! “You’ve just ruined the security of their home, you jackass! And with it, the safety and love of your daughter and grandchild!” She stormed off to be with her daughter who was inconsolable.
Michael returned to collect his harem. As they got their coats, Michael turned to the parchment white Senator. “Please stay in this house. You don’t yet know exactly where we are. We’ll make arrangements tomorrow.” His eyes were cold and hard.
Michael turned and they all left, leaving Misha and the Senator alone.
On the way to the main house, Rachael tried to console Kat who was wracked with sobs.
When they got back to the main house, Beth collapsed in laughter. Rachael was chuckling while Kat giggled uncontrollably. The other girls looked bewildered.
Michael realized he’d been had.
“Look, I just mobilized a lot of people to search for a new home for us. All of it. Now!” He was angry to his core, his eyes aflame with rage. All of them realized they had gone too far.
Rachael led him to a recliner while Beth got him a drink. She realized that something like this could trigger his nightmares. She looked at him and saw that haunted look. Damn! They had not considered that. ‘Damn, Damn, Damn.’
She motioned Alice over to her.
“He’s going to have nightmares tonight. I can see it in his eyes.”
Alice looked over and saw the same look. “Shit!”
Michael functioned superbly when under stress, but he paid for it later. When stress released, his subconscious took over, flooding him with memories. Only this time, he had intentionally embraced that past. The beast was in control.
One by one, each of his women realized something was very, very wrong.
Rachael responded to Michael’s question, “As you know, John was looking for Kat. And Tim said he was getting close. We had to stop him, so we had to agree for Kat to see him.” Michael nodded, his eyes empty sending a pain through her dark eyes, “Misha and I have known each other a long time. She knew John would keep looking until he saw with his own eyes that she was happy. He was using some pretty sophisticated stuff, not knowing the real danger he was putting us in. So we had to show him the real danger he was causing. We knew he’d recognize me and the girls. We didn’t know he’d recognize Rafaela, but that was a good thing since now he knows drug people may also be looking.”
“He also has a drinking problem. He’s more than 20 years older than Misha and his health isn’t good. So we figured if we could get them to stay, Jennifer could check him out.”
“Misha wants to stay for the birth, too. She is added incentive for him to stop.” Rachael said, a bit proud of herself.
Michael turned to Kat, “Honey, how much does your dad drink?” his voice flat and cold.
“He won’t tell, honest Michael,” she said knowing where Michael was going.
“How much, Honey?” Michael persisted in a flat, frighteningly soft voice.
“Sometimes too much,” she admitted fearfully.
“So what do we do when he tells a buddy that he’s seen you and you’re learning to speak Australian? Or his grandkid will have an Aussie accent?” He continued in that same, frightening flat voice.
Ten frightened women looked at him.
“You’ve put all our lives in his hands, but you know that. So you used me as a weapon to conquer his alcoholism.” His voice was flat and deadly.
He suddenly understood and felt dirty and used. Attuned to him, Shoshana moved to him to try to get him to understand.
As she reached for him, he shook his head no, a sad no.
He stood and grabbed a coat.
“Dad, I’m coming.”
He turned to her with dead eyes, “Not tonight Baby. Tonight I won’t be good company.”
He headed out alone, not even noticing the cold rain on his face.
He walked along the cliffs wondering how long he had to get them safe. STUPID! His mind ran through a thousand possible solutions, discarding each as either impracticable, too uncertain or just plain stupid. He knew he needed rest and sleep, but he feared that even more. He heard the screams of dying men just behind a thin door that sleep would open. He tried to cage the beast, but he failed. The memories flooded him.
The sun was up when he returned to the main house. His women had slept in the main room in hopes he would return. They greeted him fearfully.
“I’m going to get cleaned up and go talk to your father, Kat,” in that same horrible flat voice, “You win. I’ll do what I can,” and walked away.
He knocked softly. Misha, with dancing eyes met him, looking for the girls.
“They’ll be along in a few minutes. We had a rough night.” He hesitated, “May I see your husband?” Misha heard the threat in his flat tone.
John was sitting in the kitchen, sipping a large cup of coffee. His bloodshot eyes showed fear. Misha sat beside him, her legs tucked under.
“John, right now you’re the most dangerous person in the world to my family. If you say one word about finding your daughter speaking with an Australian accent, she will die and your grandchild with her. Rachael and her girls will be slaughtered. Rafaela, Michaela, Maria, Nita, Jennifer, Alice, all dead because you blurted something when you’re drunk.” Michael said, his voice deadly.
“My best friend, Rafaela’s father, killed himself to prevent people from finding her. Could you do that? Last night I came close to killing you to protect them. If I let you live, you’ll have to guard every word you say and you can’t do that drunk.”
John feared few things, but the fiery eyes boring into him were now at the top of that short list.
“John, you’ve got a problem with alcohol. You have to choose. The booze or your daughter’s life; the booze or your grandchild’s life.”
As he went to continue, Misha blurted, “The booze or my life.”
Michael paid no attention to her. “If you choose the booze, you’ll never see them again. I swear to God. I know you’ll say all the things you think I want to hear, but that’s not the deal. You’ve lied to us before. If you choose your family, I’ll help you. It starts today. Not another drink. Not ever. If you choose the booze, you’ll be on your way to a safe house tonight and you’ll never see us again.”
“That goes for me too, John.”
McDale knew he had a drinking problem. His Senate seat was not only in jeopardy. He faced almost certain defeat. His body had thickened badly and he no longer could maintain an erection.
Michael’s flat voice frightened him. “What if I try and fail?”
John McDale had known fear, but looking into Michael’s eyes terrified him.
Michael rose and left as Misha began to cry. Their plan had worked, but at the cost of a tormented soul.
When he walked into the kitchen of the main house, he nodded to Kat. “I think they need you now, Honey.” In that same flat voice.
Alice tried to talk to him, but Michael had not only closed off to his women, he was descending into a place they could not comprehend. Michael had a gentle soul and extraordinary killing skills. The Navy honed his skills and ignored his soul. Thirty four men and women had died directly at his hands, more by explosives. He remembered each one. They screamed their pain at him from behind a gossamer thing door in his consciousness. They came out to play with his soul at night. Even Beth could not reach him. He was alone in a place of his own making, his own private hell.
It was a day of pain and terror in the compound.
Michael struggled to hold the door closed on madness. Only now did his women understand. They felt helpless. They were. They had unleashed the beast inside him to frighten a man to confront alcoholism, trusting that Michael could control the beast. Too late, they realized the beast was an integral part of him.
John confronted his alcoholism.
Misha, Rachael and Kat sought to reconcile the good their plan had done with the devastation it caused.
For the first time in her life, Beth could not reach her father.
Alice tried to balance their needs and failed. Too much pain, too little time. It all hinged on one tortured man.
In the lap pool, he swam through the pain and exhaustion. He swam in solitude. A free stroke some called beautifully languid.
He felt her enter the water, angry at the intrusion.
She swam past him. He was tired, but he gave chase, burning the fury inside his soul in physical exertion.
Finally, she stopped. He did as well.
He grabbed her hard, pulling her to him, his lips crushing hers. For a moment, she was afraid she had miscalculated and the beast would devour her. They ripped the bathing suits off each other.
He needed to be in her inner depths and she desperately needed him inside her. It was anything but gentle. He dragged her from the pool and lay on his back on the cushioned pool deck. She squatted over him and guided his throbbing cock into her steaming pussy. Within three strokes he had reached her depths. They fucked. Primal need drew them together. She screamed in orgasm. He shot his cum deep into her. They descended into well of need and passion unlike either had ever experienced.
She collapsed on him, her knees raw. She was panting. So was he.
After a moment, she levered herself above him to look into his eyes. The beast had been caged for the moment, but it was straining to get out.
“Daddy, I’m sorry.”
Though the beast was caged for now, it came out each of the next three nights. Alice, pregnant and tired, couldn’t help. Beth, Rafaela and Rachael were lost in a pit of guilt.
Rachael, Kat, Lynne, Jennifer and Misha were helping John through the hell of withdrawal.
Maria and Shoshana slept with Michael, unafraid of his nightmares. Maria’s soft voice and gentle laughter could somehow reach Michael when he was lost in pain. So too did Shoshana, offering herself to whatever Michael wanted or needed. Intuitively she knew Michael would never hurt her, though that trust had been put to the test on the second night.
By the morning of the fourth day, they were desperate. Michael had shuddered and sweated through the night, moaning in agony. He’d cried while Shoshana and Maria tried to comfort him.
They pieced together the operation he relived from snippets of his mumbled words. A couple of young lovers had been on a beach during insertion of Michael’s team. He’d killed them to prevent an alarm. Collateral damage was the report. Michael pleaded with God to give their souls the love he had ripped from them 20 years before.
Jennifer drugged him into a near coma.
The terrified harem convened in the main living room, fearing they had destroyed the man they all loved.
“What do we do?” Beth asked softly.
“We may have to get him to a hospital that specializes in PTSD. It’s way beyond me. I don’t think any of us knew what he had walled off inside. What’s amazing is that he didn’t snap when you were raped.” Alice said carefully.
“He knew I needed him. He was my father first. I think that’s what kept the beast caged.” Beth said, sobbing.
The girls talked about their guilt and anguish, trying to comfort each other. They had meant good to come of this.
Nita sat quietly in an overstuffed chair, listening to the discussion. She had just turned 17 and was coming to realize the difference between a man and boys. She had an idea.
“Do you think the father in him could cage the beast again?”
“I tried, but it wasn’t the same. I’m more his wife and lover now than his daughter.”
“What if I tried to reach him?” Nita said slowly.
Nita looked at Alice who nodded slightly.
“When Miguel raped me, he made it as painful as he could,” she looked down, composing herself, “he made me do things,” she remembered and shuddered, unable to put those things into words. “Anyway, I can’t respond to boys. I mean I’ve gone out a lot, but when they touch me, I freeze. I’ve talked to Alice about this a lot. I think Michael could help.”
Alice looked unhappy. “I’m not sure if Michael is the same person we’ve known, Honey.”
Beth ignored Alice, the spark of hope in her eyes. She thought for a moment and stopped herself, saying instead, “Honey, you don’t have to do this. We’ll find another way.”
Nita looked at her, shaking her head adamantly. “I don’t know if I want to be part of his harem, but I want to feel like a woman, not a dirty, violated victim! I think Michael can help me. And maybe I can help him.”
“We’ve tried everything else,” Alice said slowly.
Michael awoke slowly from his drug induced sleep. His head hurt and his mouth tasted foul. He was sandwiched between Shoshana and Maria.
Shoshana hopped off the bed and brought him aspirin and water.
He looked into the eyes of his adoring women and the image of the teenage lovers he’d killed came instantly to mind. He squeezed his eyes as if to crush the image.
Maria stroked his arm, “Michael, we need your help.”
Keeping his eyes shut, “What do you need, Honey?” He said softly in the same, flat, dead voice they had come to dread.
“I think we should let Nita tell you. She’s the one that needs you.”
Shoshana and Maria went to get Nita.
She came in slowly, a little girl with sad eyes. Alice told her to be honest, but only tell as much as she felt comfortable with.
“Come here Honey” He patted the bed beside him.
“Dad, I need to tell you something, something I think may make you no longer love me.” She was looking down, her long dark hair hiding her face from him.
He brushed her hair behind her shoulder.
“Look at me, Honey,” he said in a familiar voice, “There is nothing you could say that would make me stop loving you. Nothing.”
He took her into his arms as she sobbed quietly, all his attention on this young woman.
“Dad, I’ll tell you, but let me do it my way. Okay?”
“When Miguel raped me, it hurt so bad. I bled a lot too. When he stuck his thing in my ass, I hurt even worse. I didn’t know there was that much pain in the whole world. He did other things…” she was crying in earnest now, “I want you to know what he made me do, before I ask you something.”
He stroked her arm protectively.
“He made me suck him after he took it out of my ass. When I didn’t do it good, he made me practice…on his dog.” She said it in a whisper.
“Jesus,” Michael blurted softly.
“Then, when he kept coming to me, it always ended with the dog,” she was wailing now.
He held her trembling body, amazed that she had kept the secret so long. The beast knew he could not take revenge, the father in him knew his little girl needed him.
She quieted after a while.
“Dad, I’m frigid. Any time a guy touches me, I remember the pain and my body shuts down. Besides, I don’t think any man would want me after he finds out I’ve sucked and fucked a dog.”
He raised her head so she could see his eyes. The madness had been replaced by love.