Temporary Insanity. Law students learn the concept in law school. It is a defense. Usually it is a Defense Attorney’s “go to” button, if a client commits an unusually emotionally charged crime. The strategy is goes something like, throw that explanation of the client’s actions against the wall and hope it sticks. Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure were a little too “Johnny Cochran” for Malcolm, Johnny was probably one of the best defense attorney in the business, but he was effectively over the top. If, “over the top” got them off, then “The Maestro’s” clients were surely smart enough not to complain. Mal always liked the clean lines of corporate transactions. In business, you map out your strategy, review several possible scenarios and make informed decisions with an eye towards your bottom line, and your responsibilities to your stakeholders. Nothing in the practice of corporate law requires anyone to make up catchy little rhymes or resort to requiring your client to wear blood soaked, stiff, gloves in front of an audience. Corporate was civilized, it was clean-cut. Well, at least that is what Malcolm thought before he actually started working for a multi-national conglomerate. 

At that particular moment, Mal felt a million miles away from civilized. He was covered with Camille’s blood and everything in him was willing her to live. As they flew through the air he hugged her close to his heart and held on tightly to her hand while murmuring in her ear at regular intervals, “Breathe deep, breathe deep, breathe deep.” He was irrationally convinced that the shallow response of her chest was her reaction to his command. He wasn’t going to quibble about finer points of his instructions, at least she was alive. 

For the few moments that Malcolm believed that Camille was dead, he had an almost out of body experience. Mal saw himself hand Camille’s lifeless body to Carrick, then light a match. An apparition that was vaguely similar to him would set about sending everything within its reach into flames. Finally, the facsimile of himself would calmly walk up to the main residence and follow the same procedure throughout the house, until everything on the damned little island looked like an inferno.

     Intent to kill? Yep. Reckless disregard for human life? Sure.

If Camille’s thready pulse hadn’t tattooed its rhythm against his fingertips all of his natural impulses toward compassion and decency would have been deleted, as simple as pressing the button on a keyboard. He wouldn’t have cared about all the people who had nothing to do her being found behind a stateroom door like someone’s trash. He would have just have acted on the overwhelming need to exterminate. 

     “Temporary Insanity.” Gotta love American Jurisprudence. 

Mal looked up and saw Carrick sitting, still, across from him. The only clue that Carr wasn’t some magnificent, golden statute, was the white knuckled, death grip, he had on the lightweight stretcher that held Camille, and was currently balanced across their legs while they whizzed through the air in a helicopter. Pieces of Mal’s rational mind finally seemed to slowly surface once again. He was finally able to ease the insane loop of the replay of them finding her in that crimson soaked luxury cell. Looking at Carr, he was able to register the anger and concern, tined with a hint of fear etched along the lines of Carrick’s face. He knew he owed Camille’s life to his Partner’s efforts.

Earlier, right after they found Camille, without missing a beat, Carrick was on the phone, arranging for the boat to be readied and making sure that a helicopter rendezvous with them at sea. Now, Mal thought about how difficult it must have been for Carrick to get a pilot to a make the difficult landing that allowed them to make the dangerous transfer from the boat to helicopter. Everything happened with careful orchestration and Malcolm was grateful. He knew he hadn’t been in any shape to make the most basic of decisions. Right then, his sole rationale for being was to keep the fragile life in his arms breathing. He was terrified that if he didn’t watch for every rhythmic exhalation she would just give up.

Luckily, Car employed a crewmember who had once been a navy medic. He did his best to evaluate Camille and stabilize her condition. While the former medic began his examination, Malcolm and Carrick had been so far up the crew member’s ass, he ordered them out of the room. In tacit agreement both men moved outside, toward the aft of the boat. Though granted, the ship was moving as fast as its design allowed; Mal would bet his life that he saw Lucien and his minions standing at the dock. That bastard, Lucien, was watching them as they pulled out to sea.

Again, his rage flared to life. The only thing between the thin line of some irrational act of brutality and restraint, was Carrick’s voice.

“I promise you, they will pay dearly, but we must take care of her first.” Carrick was also looking out across the widening gap into each man’s face who stared back at them. Then Carrick turned and looked for a moment deep into Mal’s eyes, as if he was burning deep into Mal’s pupils the brand of his promise. For a brief second, their mirroring rage acknowledged the other. Born was another emotional tie, which drew them as close as all the others fueled from their love. Lucien had been judged, the carrying out of his sentence was just a matter of time. Malcolm exhaled.

Turning again to the water, Mal asked a simple question, while watching the men on the dock become small dots, “Authorities?”

Carr turned completely away from the island and leaned against the railing with his arms crossed. Anyone who didn’t know him would have that his pose suspiciously nonchalant, but Malcolm knew that Carrick was working hard to restrain himself. “If this was a different situation, I would have called them, but I think that would let Michel off too easy. Anyway, we are not sure how far into, whatever is going on, Camille is. Calling in the police could put Camille in a more precarious situation. We are going to take her to “The Pride”. I can assure her protection there. Now, she requires specialized medical assistance.”

Malcolm blinked. Carrick’s family seat, known the world over as, “The Lion’s Pride,” was as ostentatious as its name; still, it was a fortress of the Robber Baron days in American history. The house alone was at least as long as three New York City blocks, and the grounds were breathtaking. Carrick and Mal had been there together a handful of times. While the other estates around it were transformed into museums, giving silent testimony to an era long past, The Pride was still a private residence, the place that Carr’s mother called home. Mal wasn’t really prone to self-esteem issues, but being in that edifice of elegance and grace made him feel all the degrees that Carrick was really out of his league. Still, the largest consideration now, was that there Camille would be safe there. No one entered those grounds without a invitation.

While Mal digested the fact that they were ultimately headed to “The Pride”, he asked his final question, “Hospital?”

Carrick still stared at the doors that enclosed the interior of the craft, and tightly gripping the railing behind him. “She is not safe at a hospital. I have made other arrangements. You should really get some rest; this is going to be one hell of a long day.” advised Carrick as he moved away, purposefully walking towards the entrance of the interior doors. It seemed to Mal that Carrick made particular pains to not so much as, brush against him. Since those brief moments outside on the boat then, they had been met by the helicopter and had transferred Camille, thenthemselves, into the lightweight craft.


Now, while sitting in the diminutive aircraft, Mal saw it all at once, in his mind’s eye. Finally, in his clearer replay of events he could see Carr’s face when he pushed him away from Camille, after they found her. Certainly, in that particular moment, he was not the usual picture of rational objectivity, but the inference that Carrick’s protectiveness of their life together paralleled anything close to the savagery shown in that room was so out of line, it was in another stratosphere. Mal knew better than most Carrick’s capacity for safeguarding those who were important to him. Carr’s behavior over the last few weeks has been an aberration, Carrick Caudwell was always in control. Yet, Carrick’s code of conduct hasn’t been the only one to suffer a direct hit; Mal knew that he was suffering with some strange behavior of his own. If someone would have told him that he would be caught kissing another person, let alone a woman, on a balcony, no less that twenty-four hours before, and realizing that he was falling helplessly in love wither her…

Wait! Was he in love with her? Malcolm fought the urge to brush non-existent hair from his face. Quickly, Mal cut his eyes toward Carrick again. No, his love for Carr had not lessened or softened. His attraction to Carr still burned brightly. Even with the stress of the morning, he knew it lurked just under the surface, ready to flare up and prove its strength and tenacity. No, all he felt for Carrick had not diminished, yet Mal’s heart had metamorphosed. His heart had grown to accommodate the love, or maybe just something more than attraction for another. He didn’t know if what he felt for Camille was as enduring and stable as his love for Carrick, but walking away was no longer an option. He just prayed his feelings did not result in him losing them both.

He now had to contend with his most recent thoughtless act. Everything that he knew about the man sitting beside him proved that Carrick would never touch a woman in anger. What the hell made him push Carrick away? It was simple. He had briefly lost his mind. Mal let he head fall back with his own selfdisgust, he just hoped that Carrick would accept his reasoning. Again, Mal roamed over the carved angles making up Carrick face, this time trying to catch his eye, but Carr was studiously avoiding his gaze, staring straight ahead, while carefully holding his end of Camille’s stretcher.

Malcolm was interrupted from reaching out, alongside Camille, to catch Carrick’s attention, “Gentlemen, we will begin our decent.” The pilot instructed.

Mal looked out the window and saw Miami’s, business district’s, skyline. Almost directly below them, there was a helipad on one of the taller buildings. The last twenty-four hours seemed so insane. This time yesterday they were flying into Miami, looking forward to spending some time alone and mixing a little business with a whole lot of pleasure. Yesterday seemed like a lifetime ago; finding her at the party, kissing her on the balcony, then attempting to carve some semblance of order out of the chaos of the evening later on the boat with Carrick. Yesterday he had decided to walk away; today, Malcolm wouldn’t abandon Camille on a bet.

Carrick was also lost in his own thoughts. He remembered that his father used to say to him, “honesty was the first chapter of wisdom.” As a young man, the shock of finding out that the quote was truly attributable to Thomas Jefferson was almost comical. Carrick remembered that every time he was found doing anything particularly egregious, his nanny would drag him to his father. All discussions regarding his behavior could be relied upon as beginning with that little primer on honesty. His father would sit across from him in the study and would calmly preside over the mechanics of correcting his behavior. The interaction was always, calm, controlled and most definitely detached. No matter how Carrick tried to raise the older man’s hackles, his father could never be drawn into losing his composure. The only real times that Carrick could feel the faint pull of their familial ties was when his father was teaching him how to run the business.

Now was the time for him to be painfully honest with himself. Did his jealousy, his lack of restraint lead them to this moment? Was he as responsible, as anybody else, for the condition of this woman who lay battered and unconscious between Malcolm and himself? He knew something was off last evening, but he pursued her. He was so angered with her interaction with Malcolm that he inflamed the situation. Still, he never meant for anything like this to happen.

Carrick couldn’t force himself to look down. All the evidence of his own need to control and conquer, and its disastrous results, were resting on his knees and grasped in his hands. A woman almost died because he had to mark his territory. He was no better that a dog pissing in the grass. He could only hope he would get the chance to make it up to her and to Malcolm.


Carrick then realized that the engine was no longer running and they had landed. His mind seemed slow to follow the voice that called him. Sluggishly, he realized that everyone was looking at him. The door of the helicopter was open and a man with lightly bronzed skin was studying his face with a concerned frown. Gently, the tanned man tugged at the stretcher. “Carrick you’ve got to let her go.” It was only then that he realized that he still held the metal contraption so firmly in his hands that he was only now aware that his fingers were cramping. Slowly, he relaxed his muscles. “Sorry.” Quickly, medial personnel swarmed the immediate area, calling out instructions and pulling Camille out of the helicopter.

“Carrick, I am going inside with my team. I will thoroughly check her out and let you know where everything stands. Follow Jennifer,” the man dipped his head toward a woman, standing to his left, she had her hair held back in a pink ponytail holder and was wearing fuchsia, flowered scrubs, “she will show you where you can wait for me. I will be out as soon as I can.” The man seemed compelled to offer Carrick more reassurance. He clasped Carrick’s arm and looked closely at the seated man. “We will do everything in our power to bring her through this.” With that, the man turned and followed his team, they seemed to scurry to finish transferring Camille to the waiting medical bed, and rolled her toward the open door on the roof.

“Wait!” Malcolm called out to the team. Mal was torn between the need to stay with Carr and being with Camille. He made a snap decision. No matter what, their focus had to be on her. “I need to be with her, she needs me with her.” Mal looked back at Carrick, his eyes begging for understanding.

The doctor swiftly looked to Carrick for confirmation and received a slight nod, “Ok, Mr….”

Instinctively polite, Mal could help but respond. “Chambers, please call me Malcolm.” Mal rushed across the roof to catch up with the team. “I promise to stay out of your way. I just need to make sure that she keeps taking one breath after the other. Mal managed to grab hold of Camille’s and will matching the break-neck pace set by the Dr. Bonner’s medical assistants.

Carrick was again startled when the pink nurse spoke, ”Sir, if you would just follow me, Dr. Bonner instructed me to show you to his office to wait. “ He must have lost in himself in his thoughts again, because it seemed to take only a moment before she opened the door to a well appointed office. It was truly apparent that Dr. Jacob Bonner, one of the most successful plastic surgeons in the country, if not the world, had done well for himself. Carrick was drawn to the window on the far side of the office. Carr absently studied the scenes of people going about their everyday lives.