Adding Up to Zero

by Beth

There was blood everywhere.

She was used to seeing blood, used to seeing gunshots, stab wounds. But it was different tonight, so different when it was someone you loved.

She was there in time to see it happen, all of it.

He didn't expect her for another hour, she was on duty in the ER until midnight, but she had gotten someone to cover for her, wanting only to surprise him. The bouncer at the door was amenable once she slipped the folded hundred into his hand. She was just starting across the dance floor when it happened.

She saw Mandy Mouse, saw her run down the steps, everyone chasing after her, just like always, the little bitch. The bald brat she remembered from a year ago; remembered him, wasted and puking on her shoes at the end of a horrible shift, one full of people with real problems, before he came with his self-indulgent alcohol poisoning. Then Jude followed them.

Why was he following them? He was going to dump the mouse, he had promised. She knew, though, that the male ego wouldn't take well to being thrown over, even if he was getting ready to call it all off himself.

Her Jude had a fiery temper, it was that had been part of his attraction, so smooth, until you got him riled, got him hot. The mouse couldn't deal with it, but she could, enjoying the way a good fight made the sex so much better, so much hotter. And then he'd hold her close, telling her about how he was going to break off the engagement. He could come with her to Rwanda after he broke the engagement, give things in the city time to settle down before they announced their engagement.

She had almost reached them by the time Jude grabbed the Luthor's arm, turning him around, and she saw Jude's knife. He must be angry to threaten the boy; she hurried her pace, but a couple danced in front of her, oblivious to what was going on.

The gunshot was almost lost in the loud music, but the acrid stench of gunpowder, the metallic tang of blood...

... those she knew.

The champagne tickled her nose.

Lex gave her a questioning look as she lifted the glass to her lips, but she gave him a slow smile, trying to put all of her confidence into her eyes. She'd been having second thoughts about this, but she'd come to far, it meant too much. Lex had proven what he was yesterday, a thief.

He'd taken her lover four years ago, taken the life she'd wanted. And he still stole from her.

Hate burned in her, he thought it would be okay if he just apologized.

Just like that mousy bitch had thought, as they shared cup of tea after cup of tea. The drugs had been quick to act on the mouse, and Helen didn't even know if she'd known she was dying when she fell into the coma. Mandy had apologized for Jude, said she'd never meant to pull the trigger.

Of course not. Just like Lex hadn't meant to steal that sample of blood. She'd given Lionel enough tantalizing hints; he was so hot to go after the secrets wrapped up in the Kent boy.

Lex's little friend would be on a dissection slab soon enough if her darling father-in-law had his way. Death in Armani, the environmentalists liked to call him, and they were right.

Like father like son, the image of Jude's body on the morgue slab encroached on her memory. They were dealers of death and destruction.

She was justice.

Helen thought of that ... room. It had steeled her resolve, the room. And she knew that she'd have to have Paul be a little bit more convincing, for Lex was one who liked his mysteries.

"Helen?" Lex repeated as he finished off his champagne. She'd seen enough of his healing to know to double the dosage.

She knew his eyelids were feeling heavy as he leaned back against the leather captain's seat, knew he was starting to fall under.

"I'm just so happy, Lex."

"We're going to have a wonderful life, Helen."

"I know, darling. You look sleepy, take a nap." He nodded and she crossed to the seat beside his, letting him lean his smooth head against her shoulder. "Just sleep, Lex. It will all be over soon enough."

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