I do not own any rights to the characters in this story. This is a work of fiction and for entertainment purposes only.
Tony’s whole body hurt. He was pretty sure he was sporting a few busted ribs but that wasn’t anything new. Since being held captive he’d survived numerous beatings and injuries. Years worth. He could handle the physical pain, after all he was a Santos. If all the years in “the family” had taught him anything it was that a Santos never quits. No he could handle the physical beatings and torture just fine. It was the mental beatings that were killing his soul. Their cruel laughter while they described how his “replacement” had preyed on his sister-in-law Michelle, how he had destroyed any bit of affection Marah might have felt for him hurt more than anything they could do to him physically.
Marah. Whenever the pain got too severe, when the mental images his captors painted got too much for him to bear, it was her beautiful face he turned to. Her beautiful smile that kept him from breaking. She was his solace, his light in the dark.
Sometimes it felt like she was right there beside him. Locked in this hell right along side him. Sometimes he could even hear her voice urging him to fight, to fight for THEM. Tony had no intention of giving up. He had been planning this night for over six years. Tonight he was going to break free. Then he was going to erase the destruction his “replacement” had caused.
Marah looked up from her drafting table with a sigh. She was finally making a name for herself, finally being offered her first headline show, and she couldn’t come up with a single design. This was getting ridiculous. She threw down her pencil and stood up. Nothing was doing to be accomplished at this rate.
She grabbed a bottled water and plopped down on the couch. Might as well check her email and see what her parents were up to. Marah loved getting her mother’s emails detailing all the adventures they were having. Seeing her parents laughing and so much in love made her smile. Seemed her brother Collin was having the time of his life as well. She clicked on the email and a single photo loaded, Her parents (and Collin) in front of the “Welcome to Springfield” sign. She knew what that meant, they had finally gone home.
She remembered her long ago declaration. That she wouldn’t go back to Springfield until her parents got back together. Marah looked up from her laptop to the Paris skyline. People would kill to have a view like this and she had to admit that is was beautiful. But it wasn’t home despite the fact that she’d lived there for years. Home had always been Springfield. She had friends here and she was finally making a name for herself but there was always something missing.
Marah shook the thought away. He was gone now, had been for years. Even before his death he was lost to her. Didn’t stop his name from popping into her thoughts or his face from haunting her dreams. Maybe it was time to go home. At least for a while. She picked up her phone and dialed.
Tony had no idea where he was all he knew was that after six years of waiting and planning he was finally free.
Such as that was. His side was aching and he could barely see out of his swollen eyes. But he couldn’t stop now. To stop would mean certain death. He could still hear them searching for him. The he spotted a large outcropping of rocks. That’s what he needed, he needed to hide and gather strength. As quickly as his he could manage he wedged himself between two massive boulders and wormed his way through the rocky maze. He finally found a ledge that he hoped would shelter him and worked his way under it. He swallowed the curse when the sudden movement jarred his sore ribs.
“You can run but you can’t hide forever Tony”
That voice. His brain told him that he should know it, that it was familiar to him, but he wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders right now.
“Where you going to go Tony? Everyone you know thinks you are dead and the only woman to ever truly love you despises you. Do you think they’ll welcome you with open arms? No they’ll probably wish you stayed dead!”
Asshole. If only they knew that the taunts were just steeling up his resolve to right the wrongs done in his name. He’d make it and he’d make it right. Not only to Danny but to Michelle also. And Marah. He at least had to clear the air between them, he owed her that much.
He laid his head back. Sleep was unlikely but he could wait. After six years he was good at it.
“Are you sure this is what you want mon cher? After all the years of hard work you were just about to make it to the big leagues. ”
Phillipe’s question pulled Marah from her musings and she chuckled. Phillipe was her best friend, her mentor. He’d taken a starry-eyed young woman’s dreams and made them possible. She owed him more than she could ever repay.
“For the fiftieth time, yes this is what I want. I haven’t been home in years. Never even met my younger brother. And I think it’s time for me to finally lay some ghosts to rest.”
Phillipe looked over at her and raised an eyebrow, “I assume you are talking about Tony, yes?”
“Yeah”, she let out on a sigh. She had dreamt about him again last night. Seems his name was always in her forethought, haunting her waking moments as well.
“He’s been gone a long time chere. You should live in the present not long for the past.”
She knew her friend was right but it was easier said than done. Tony was her first love, her only love. Sure there had been other men she’d dated since but NONE of them effected her like Tony Santos had.
“I know what I’m doing. But thank you for your concern.” She leaned over and kissed his lean cheek. She was going to miss his words of wisdom while she was gone.
Phillipe flawlessly pulled between two cars, despite the horns blaring and fists being raised in his direction, and pulled into Charles de Gaulle airport. He finally pulled in front and stopped the car.
“Here we are! Have a safe flight and keep in touch. I want at least ten designs while you are on your so-called vacation.”
Marah laughed, “Will do and thank you for driving me. Be good while I’m gone, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
“I hope you find what you’re looking for Marah.”
“Me too.” And with that final note she closed the door and headed toward the mad crush of bodies.
“She’s in the air boss. Plane left twenty minutes ago.”
He hated what he was doing but it surely beat the alternative. He had major debts, debts the man on the other line had covered in exchange for keeping his eye on one Marah Lewis. Since the alternative was death he was more than happy to keep the boss man happy.
Tony woke with a start. Every muscle in his body groaned in agony. If he wasn’t hurting before he was now. Sleeping among rocks and trees wasn’t the most comfortable of beds. But after six years locked away from the world he would gladly take the pain. It meant he was free.
He wondered why his captors had kept him alive after his “replacement” had died. But he guessed that was torture in itself. Knowing that he was expendable, that to everyone that mattered he was already dead.
But he was free now. Ready to take back all that had been taken from him. Now all he had to do was figure out where in the hell he was and how he was going to make it back home.