A chill ran down Baila's spine. She quickly asked, "Know what?"
Mitch told Baila that he had seen her leave in the black limousine. He has known since before Cephei was born. He had hoped that she would willingly tell him her secret but she never did. With Cephei almost a toddler, the air had to be cleared. He would not let their daughter be put in unnecessary danger. He knew she was a criminal mastermind. He knew she had a secret bank account. He knew she was lying to him and had been lying to him since before they were married. What he didn't know was why.
Baila's heart was aching. She had prayed that this conversation would never happen. She would lose everything. She would lose Mitch. She would lose her family. She might even lose her life. How could she have been so careless as to let him find out?
Baila didn't know how to answer. What do you say when caught in a lie? Another lie? She couldn't do that to Mitch. She had already lost him. She just knew it. He would never forgive her for this. So she told him the truth. All of it. She told him that they were blackmailing her. She told him that they had threatened the lives of everyone she loves if she didn't do what they wanted. Her mother had taken a lot of cash from them. They never collected it from Nancy but they were bound and determined that they would collect it from her daughter. There was no way out. She had a large family. Accidents would start happening. People she loved would die. She feel silent but the look she gave Mitch let him know that he was what they held over her. He was the one they had threatened to kill.
Mitch could see the fear in Baila's eyes. As calmly as possible he stated that there was always a way out. All they had to do was find it...together.
Baila was stunned. He wasn't screaming at her. He didn't seem that upset. She knew he was hurt but she had expected a much worse reaction than this. He was so calm. How could he not hate her?
Mitch started asking Baila for details. Though she feared Mitch knowing to much, she told him anyway. She couldn't see a solution. She didn't see any way to out at all. Mitch, however, saw an easy solution. They would do to the criminals what the criminals would have done to them. They would kill them. All of them. The bosses anyway. Baila had said that only the core group of criminal masterminds knew her true identity so they were the only real threat. Eliminate them and they were home free.
Baila was floored. Mitch...her Mitch...just suggested that they commit murder. She was worried that he would run screaming to the police or just take their daughter and leave. She had never considered this. How could he suggest this? She wasn't a murderer.
Mitch told his wife to let go of her emotions. Look at this scientifically. If they did nothing, everyone they loved was in danger. If they removed a handful of criminals from the world then their family would be safe. So would the families of many more people. This is the elimination of a variable to obtain a specific result. That's all.
While Mitch fine tuned his plans, Baila spent more time with Cephei. She hated to admit it but she had been avoiding her. She was scared to love anyone else. Scared to give them another victim. Scared to have her own child with Mitch for fear of what THEY might do. She had been living in fear so long. Was it possible she might some day live a normal life again?
Mitch had completed "THE PLAN". Baila would soon be going to meet with the criminal masterminds who pulled her strings. When she did, she would take with her a little present for them. Mitch and Baila would create a virus that would infect the inhabitants of an enclosed area. If wouldn't be contagious. Only those initially exposed to it would be at risk. It would dissipate quickly so not to contaminate innocent victims. It would kill over a period of time and resemble a natural death. If they could create this virus, they could effectively eliminate the source of their problems. Yes the criminal organization in the desert would still exist, but no one would know about Baila. There was no documentation anywhere. They couldn't risk the authorities or their rivals finding out their secrets. All the information was in the minds of those core criminals. Kills them and the information is no more.
Mitch tried to comfort his wife. It would all be ok. He could make this work. He knew he could. It would only take time.
Since time wasn't something they had that much of, Mitch and Baila went to work creating their virus. They used blueprints from the research of others and modified it to meet their needs. Hopefully, it would work like a charm. Of course there were no guarantees. They could only do so much testing. There was a chance it wouldn't work. There was a chance it would work to well. There was a chance that innocent people could be killed. In the end, Mitch and Baila agreed that it these chances were small enough and the payoff was large enough to warrant trying.
After weeks of research and hard work, finally SUCCESS. The deadly virus had been created. Now their plan could truly move forward.
On the day of the meet, Baila dressed the part and headed off to work. Hopefully, it would be her final time. She had the virus contained on her person. She kissed Cephei. She kissed Mitch. She told him that he is the only man she has ever loved. If anything happened...
Mitch wouldn't let her finish her goodbye. She would be ok. She had to be. They shared a passionate kiss. Baila quickly turned and left as the tears threatened to fall.
Once she was gone Mitch began to worry. So much could go wrong. Baila would be infected. He had created an antidote but it was to dangerous for her to take it with her. She would have to return home before Mitch could treat her. If she didn't return in time....
Time passed. Mitch knew not to expect his wife for at least 48 hours. As the clock approached 72 hours Mitch suddenly began to panic. She should be back by now. If she didn't get the antidote soon....
Baila finally made it home only to collapse just inside the front door.
She was infected. She was sick. She felt like her insides were dissolving into one large puddle of pain.
She tried to call for Mitch but the words wouldn't come.
She was so close. So close to being free.
I love you.
Mitch felt a cold shiver run down his spine. He ran out of the nursery and found Baila laying on the ground. DEATH was already there. He was to late. He had failed her. He had killed his own wife.
Not knowing what else to do Mitch begged DEATH to spare Baila. He offered his life in exchange for hers.
DEATH was willing to strike a deal of sorts.
A simple game of chance. Guess which hand your lovely wife's soul is in and she gets to live. Guess wrong and you BOTH come with me.
Mitch closed his eyes and blindly chose a hand. DEATH slowly opened his palms to reveal...
Baila's soul. Mitch had won. He defeated DEATH.
Baila's soul was returned to her body. Suddenly her motionless body took a breath.
She was alive. How could that be possible?
And then she knew. Mitch had saved her. He had saved her from a life of crime. He had saved her from the deadly disease. He had saved her from DEATH. He had saved her from herself.
She had been truly blessed the day Mitch Byall fell in love with her. She had no idea what she could have done to deserve such a wonderful man.
Mitch carried his wife into the bedroom. There was a certain outfit that he never wanted to see her wear again. With great pleasure, he removed it from her body.