“Yes. It’s not very large but it is a nice town.”, Dale answered.
“How long will we have to stay here?”, she asked.
Alissa was due to be released from the hospital, and Dale did not want her to return to Bridgeview. Sharlee saved him from answering. She had been smuggled in town to join him and Alissa two weeks ago. They were not using their real names. He knew he would have to make a definite decision soon.
“Dad!”, Sharlee called from the other room. Dale joined her. He helped her with her blocks and then returned to Alissa. He had come to a decision.
“Alissa, sweetheart, I know that you want to go home, but it is not safe for you there! We have to think, not only of your safety, but also of your pregnancy. If we return to Bridgeview under the circumstances, that will place you under an extreme amount of stress. That would not be good for you or for the baby.”, Dale told her.
Alissa knew that he was right. Dale wrapped his arms around her.
“Dale, I’ve found the perfect town for you and Alissa. It is a big town on the coast. It’s called Anne Arbor. I’ve spoken with some friends in the FBI, and they are now involved in trying to solve the case. They are also willing to help establish new identities for you and Alissa. Having a high profile father-in-law really pays off sometimes doesn’t it?”, he told him.
A few days later, they were on a plane. They were flying to Anne Arbor. Their appearances were greatly changed. Sharlee slept for a while.
“You make a sexy brunette!”, Dale told Alissa, smiling.
“So do you!”, Alissa responded.
“Yeah, I know you like brunettes!”, Dale said, thinking of Alex.
“What do you mean?”, Alissa asked, puzzled.
“Nothing. I’m just being silly. We should be there soon.”, he told her changing the subject.
Sharlee was excitedly playing in her seat.
As soon as they arrived, they went to find their new house. As they drove along, Alissa looked around her.
“This is a very nice town, isn’t it?”, Alissa asked, smiling. She was feeling hopeful for the first time since she had been shot.
Dale was happy to see that her smile had returned. “Yes, it is nice!”, he agreed.
Before long, they drove up to the house. They stood looking at it for a few moments.
“What do you think?”, Dale asked her.
“Of course, I’ll always miss our first home together, but this looks very nice!”, she told him.
Matthew was arranging for the sell of their home in Bridgeview. Everyone was being told that Dale had decided not to return to live in Bridgeview because of the pain of losing Alissa there.
Dale was still able to work as a doctor at the island hospital using credentials arranged through the FBI. His new name was Jason Davenport. Alissa’s new name was Cynthia Davenport, and Sharlee was still Sharlee. They thought it would be too confusing for her to change her first name.
Meanwhile in Riverview,
Alex opened the door, surprised to see Betty there. “Oh, Betty! Come in!”, he said.
“Mother, Betty Simovitch is here!”, he called.
Valerie came to the door. “Hello, Betty. It’s good to see you. It’s been a while.”, she told her.
Alex looked at her curiously, wondering why she was there.
“I’ve been meaning to come by, ever since I heard about Dale’s wife’s murder. I would like to contact him and offer my condolences personally. Do you have an address where I can reach him?”, she asked.
She wouldn’t truly enjoy her revenge until she personally saw or heard Dale’s suffering. She would never forget that contemptuous look on his face before he left her hotel room.
“ I’m sorry, but we can’t give you that information. Dale wants to be alone right now, and we’re respecting his wishes. We’ll let him know that you came by.”, Valerie told her.
Alex saw it. “Now that reaction is totally inappropriate!”, he thought to himself.
After Betty returned home, she thought about her visit. They didn’t seem to be genuinely sad over Alissa’s death. They acted sad, but the grief didn’t really seem to reach Mrs. Stallworth’s eyes. As close as their family had always been, not feeling genuinely upset over the death of Dale’s “precious” wife was totally out of character for them.
She bought a disposable cellphone and called the man whom she had hired to kill Alissa. She told him about her visit with the Stallworths.
“That does sound odd!”, he told her. “Let me check into some things and I’ll get back with you. I’ll find out where Stallworth went. Oh, and don’t contact me anymore! I’ll contact you! I don’t like complications!”
A shiver of fear passed through Betty at the chilling tone in his words. Maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea after all.
Dale stopped by their post office box to pick up mail from their families. They had decided that this would be the best way to stay in contact. Dale brought the mail in to Alissa.
“There are several for you!”, he told her. You have one from Miki, Matthew, Mom, Leslie…”, then he paused. “There’s one from Alex too.” He handed them to her.
There were letters for him as well, but he didn’t open them yet. He watched to see which letter Alissa opened first. He was relieved to see that it was Matthew’s letter.
“Dale, what would you like for dinner tonight? I feel well enough to cook again!”, she told him.
“Are you sure?”, Dale asked her. “I don’t won’t you to do too much too soon!”
“I’m feeling much stronger. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but to be honest, your cooking is horrible!”, she told him.
He looked at her and laughed. “Thanks for not hurting my feelings.”, he said.
Dale sat down in the livingroom while Alissa cooked dinner. He intended to catch up on reading his medical journals.
Alissa had left her letters, including Alex’s letter on the table, and Dale accidentally knocked it onto the floor. He didn’t mean to read it, but one word caught his eye as he picked up the letter. He saw the word ‘love’. Dale picked it up and read it.
Thinking that you might die is unbearable to me. When I heard that you had been shot, I felt as if all the life had drained from my own body. I remembered the feeling of my lips pressed against yours.
I remembered holding your soft, warm body in my arms, feeling your heart beat against my chest. I saw your beautiful face with your smile that makes my heart skip a beat. I can’t imagine never experiencing those things again.
I love you, Alissa, and I always will. I promise to find the person responsible for harming you so that you will be safe once again.
Yours, with all of my heart,
Dale held the letter in his hands. He was hurt and he was furious. He rushed into the kitchen, and he slammed the letter onto the counter!
“How long has this been going on?”, he shouted at Alissa.
“What are you talking about?”, Alissa asked him.
“You and Alex!”
Alissa had opened the letter, but had not yet read it. Sharlee had started crying and she hadn’t had a chance. She quickly glanced over it, and laid it back down.
“Dale there is nothing going on between Alex and me!”, she told him.
“Do you think that I’m a fool Alissa? Why would he write this if it wasn’t true?”, he demanded.
“I only kissed Alex one time, and I told you about it.”, she said.
“It had to be more than one time, or he wouldn’t have written this!”, he yelled.
“Dale, I still remember the first time that you kissed me, and all the emotions that I felt from that one kiss. That must be what Alex means. He remembers our first kiss.”, Alissa said.
“You said first kiss, that means there were others that followed.”, Dale told her. His eyes narrowed. “Is that Alex’s baby?”, he asked her.
A stricken look came into Alissa’s eyes. Dale was sorry he’d said those words as soon as they were out of his mouth.
“Alissa, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean that!”, he said, moving toward her.
Alissa stretched her hand out to hold him back. “No, Dale. You meant it. A few months ago, you reminded me that I should trust you. Now I find out that you don’t trust me. That you think that I am a liar and a cheater!”, she said. Dale started to speak. “Please don’t say anything else to me!”, she told him. “Right now, I don’t even want to hear the sound of your voice!”
She was too hurt for tears. She called a taxi. Then she went upstairs and packed a bag for herself and for Sharlee. She wasn’t well enough to carry it.
“Please call me and let me know where you’re staying.”, he requested quietly. “I love you, Alissa!”
Alissa got into the taxi with Sharlee and left without speaking a word. Dale sadly watched them leave.