Patricia Treemont came down the stairs of her parents' luxurious home.
She had moved in the past week or so becuase of her mother's illness. Her
stepfather said that it was nothing to be concerned about. What did he know,
the jerk. Patricia wanted to see for herself.
As she came silently down the stairs, she heard them arguing and then she
heard the slap. As she came into view, her stepfather was shaking her mother
"Fred, stop it!" At the sound of her voice, Fred Wallis turned
to look at her. That little bitch was interfering again. He'd have to get
rid of her once and for all.
Patricia's mom ran off to her room.
"You've interfered once too often, girl!" Fred shot back at
her. But, he didn't touch her. All of these years since the incident she
expected, no feared that his violence would turn to her, but it never did.
Her mother was weaker. He only preyed upon the weak.
The next thing that she knew, he was on the phone. She took this
opportunity to go up and check on her mother.
"Mom. you have to come with me. I'm going to get as far from him as
I can. It's your money. You can go anywhre you want." She tried to
dispel every excuse that her mother might have.
All while she was talking, her mother was sobbing and shaking her head.
"I can't leave him. It's too late. But, you Patty, you go. It's only
worse when you're here." The last part stung her almost as if her
mother had slapped her.
"Okay, I'm outta here." She declared. She went back to her room
and packed. this time, she was the one that was sobbing.
that evening when she returned to her apartment, she was surprised to
find two men there. As soon as they saw her, they grabbed her and put a
chlorophyll_soaked cloth over her mouth. The world slipped away.
Two Months Later
Murdock was sitting out on the grounds of the VA hospital. He had an
easel set up and was wearing a beret and a painter's smock. this week his
thing was painting. He didn't see the ragged looking girl heading toward
him. The two months had been hard on Patty. She had fought them, at first,
but when it seemed hopeless, she relented. She had been pumped full of all
kinds of drugs which they eased up on when they thought that she had given
in. She was now beginning to think that maybe she was crazy.
Her mother was dead; killed by Fred Wallis. He came and delivered the
news personally right after she arrived. He had the authorities to believe
that it was she that had killed her mother.
"She came here and tried to get her mother to go with her. Her
mother had refused. We've known that the girl was crazy for years ever since
that incident when she was fourteen. We thought that she was getting
better...." He looked like a parent concerned for his daughter. the
cops believed him adn she wound up here.
"Whatcha painting?" she asked as she approached. she didn't
know if she were being watched or not. She looked at Murdock's painting
which consisted of stick figures.
She had been watching him for weeks. She had hoped that she weren't
hallucinating, but people seemed to be coming in and getting him and then
bringing him back later. The other residents seemed too out of it to notice.
She only noticed when they eased up on her meds. They always managed to come
and go when the staff was sparce and different people were working. Oh, she
had checked him out well.
She lowered her voice. "Can I ask you a question?" Murdock made
a point of staying away from the other residents. These people were crazy,
and here was one sneaking up on him. Murdock put up his guard.
"I've been watching you."
"That's not a question."
"There are people that come in to get you and then bring you
That wasn't a question either, but Murdock decided to let it go. His ears
did perk up, though. This girl seemed to be aware of his movements whereas
the other residents didn't. He had to be careful, though. She could be one
"What was your question?"
"Can you help me?" She was staring directly at him now and
Murdock felt his heart pounding.
"What's wrong?" Murdock managed to ask.
"I shouldn't be here. I'm not uh. . ." She realized that she
was talking to one of the residents of an insane assylum.
"Crazy?" Murdock looked at her rather sheepishly.
"I'm sorry. You just don't seem to be as gone as some of the people
her." She stopped because she realized that she was digging the hole
deeper. Murdock ignored this statement.
"What do you need help with?"
Patty explained everything looking for signs that he believed her, but
she found none.
"So, can you help me?"
"Well, I don't know. I'll have to check with my staff."
Murdock contacted Hannibal through their pre_arranged system.
"Well, I don't know, Colonel, I think she's legit. She definately
doesn't belong in here." Hannibal didn't know if he completely trusted
Murdock's judgement on who should and shouldn't be in the Hospital.
"Well, that could be because she's one of Decker's plants. We'll
check her out and then get back to you. It's going to be hard getting both
of you out."
The next day, Templeton Peck arrived at the V.A. He had paperwork giving
him orders to take out H.M. Murdock and Patricia Treemont who were going to
be married at St. Mark's Cathedral later on that day. The nurse, who had
known Mr. Murdock for a long time, thought that it was so sweet that Mr.
Murdock and the new girl were getting married.
"Alright, Ms. Treemont, tell us why your stepfather had you put in a
V.A. hospital." Murdock hadn't told them anything else because he
wanted them to hear it from her.
"Well, my mom was very rich. Fred Wallis married her for her money,
but mom left it to me in her will. He killed her and blamed it on me. the
only way he could get at that money was to declare me insane by telling the
cops that I killed my mother."
"I fail to see what we can do to help." Patty didn't know
"Look, just getting me out of that place was a start. But, unless
you get proof of what he did, he'll get away with it."
"Give us a minute will you please?" Hannibal motioned the team
into the next room of Templeton Peck's procured condominium.
"Colonel, if we don't help her, her stepfather's gonna have her
killed." None of the guys wanted to see anything happen to the girl.
"Well, Murdock, what do you want us to do?" The others could
tell that Murdock was not being his usual manic self. He was unusually
"Why don't we hide her out like we hide out until we get some proof
on her stepfather." He could tell that they didn't like that idea.
"Come on, Hannibal." Peck said. "She'd just be a
liability." Hannibal just chomped on his cigar.
"No more of a liability than Amy was." They considered this.
"But this will be different. She'd be hiding out. We'd have to keep
her safe." Hannibal still had not spoken.
"We could leave her in the V.A. with Murdock." B.A. snickered.
He had meant it as a joke. Everyone feared when Face's _ uh _face lit up
with an idea.
"Well you know, that's the ploy we used to get them out of there.
Why not just continue that ploy." Hannibal was still silent.
"Yo man, that girl ain't gonna wanta live in no crazy house with no
crazy man." They all pretty much agreed on this.
"Why don't we ask the little lady what she thinks." Hannibal
Patty had been pacing the whole time that they were gone. She owed her
life to these men and wondered what would be in store next for her.
"Ms. Treemont, we have a unique proposition to make." Hannibal
then explained whay they had been discussing. When he finished, they waited
for her reaction. She was shocked at first, and thought, surely there must
be another way. But, then she thought about Fred Wallis. He would find her
almost immediately unless she was right where he had left her.
"I'll do it." Hannibal looked pleased.
B.A. still didn't look happy. "You realize you're going to have to
live with that fool 24/7?" Patty had realized and blushed a little as
she thought about it.
"We'll have to give you a real A_Team name if you're going to be one
of us. I vote for Pepper." Patty was waiting for it. It was a name kids
called her when she was little. She was named after Peppermint Patty.
"Alright, but if anyone calls me Sgt. Pepper or Dr. Pepper I'm gonna
kick you butt."
So, it was decided that Murdock and Pepper would return to the V.A.
hospital as husband and wife. Because of the scam to get them out, the staff
was already rearranging the accomodations for the couple.
"So, my little Pepperpot. . ." Pepper rolled her eyes. Would
she actually be able to do this?
"Yes, my little maniac." Murdock smiled at ther creative
"Are you going to be okay with this little arrangement?" She
noticeed that Murdock was now somewhat serious.
"I'll be okay. It can't be any worse than being on the run from my
stepfather. Besides, you are kinda cute." She said this as a joke, but
she also felt that it was true.
"You know, sugar dumpling, we will have to convince everyone that
we're married." Wink. Wink. Nod. Nod.
"How much convincing will we have to do? We're crazy!"
"How could you let her run off and get married without the
permission of her guadian." Nurse Dixon was being called to the carpet
for letting Murdock and Pepper get married.
"I'm sorry sir, it seemed to be all arranged. I didn't know. .
Fred Wallis didn't like for anything to be out of his control, but this
might just be a blessing in disguise. Hmmm, if she's married then she's
content and if she's contenet then she won't fight being here, he thought.
"Okay, fine, fine. Can I see her at least. I want to make sure she
hasn't made a mistake." Oh, how sweet, thought Nurse Dixon, a loving
father caring about his poor, deranged daughter.
Wwehen Wallis came to the door, which was open, he found Pepper standing
alone in the room unpacking.
"So, what the hell are you up to?'" At the sound of his voice,
she immediately backed up. Maybe she was crazy, she thought. I never used to
be afraid of him before.
"What do you want, Fred?" an evil sneer spread across his face
as he said, "I already got everything that I wanted. Everything."
He was almost to her when ther was a slight movement at the doorway.
"If there's some business you have with my wife, you might want to
see me first." Remind me to kiss you later, Murdock, Pepper thought as
she sighed with relief.
"Oh, so this must be your new husband. You know your mother and I
always disapproved of the many men you brought home." Fred looked
Murdock up and down and surmised that he was just some poor, crazy bum
Pepper had felt sorry for. And yet, deep down, Fred envied him. Pepper
immediately slipped around Fred and ran over to Murdock's side. Murdock
couldn't miss the look of total fear on Pepper's face. A look he had not
seen since he met her.
"Well, I can see that I'm not wanted here, but remember, I'll be
checking on you often, Peaches." Her mother's pet name for her. From
him, it sounded disgusting. She was almost in tears as she remembered that
this ogre had killed her mother. He walked by not missing an opportunity to
brush his fingertips along her cheekbone. this sent her over the edge; as he
knew it would. Murdock hastened his retreat by slamming the door shut almost
before he was out. As soon as the door was shut, Pepper burst into
"It's alright. I'm here. I won't let anybody hurt you again. I
promise." He wondered if he could keep that promise as he whispered
words of endearment. He held her for a long time. He could tell that
something bad had happened between the two of them and he didn't want to
guess what it might be.
After hearing about the incident at the V.A., Hannibal was ticked.
"So, what do we know about this scumbag Wallis?" Peck took out
his notebook and began ticking off several pieces of information that he had
"Well, everything that Pepper told us is true. He married her mother
twenty years ago; obviously for her money. He was quite a bit younger. He
immediately sent pepper away to boarding school and camp in the summer. He
always kept her away from home. She's a smart girl and probably would have
figured things out. She knew anyway. There was a scandal when she was
fourteen. She told the teacher that her stepfather had been touching her _
uh_ inappropriately when she ws home for a brief visit."
Murdock looked sick to his stomach and walked away.
"I'm gonna smash that sucka if I ever see him!" B.A. exclaimed.
"Well, no charges were ever filed. Pepper's mom didn't back her on
it. They all said that she was lying _ or crazy. That probably helped with
the insanity plea for her mom's murder later on." Hannibal had decided
to play 'devil's advocate'.
"Do you think she was lying?" He asked to no one in particular.
Murdock whipped around with a rage his friends rarely saw.
"If you had seen them together _ the way Pepper cringed every time
he moved. He did it alright. I'm sure of it." that was enough for the
They had been sitting at a picnic bench on the grounds. Pepper was asleep
"We've got to get something on this guy and put him away
When Murdock returned, he found Pepper in the gym working out with a
punching bag. She probably could kick his butt! She knew that he was
standing there. She was beginning to know and sense his presence. Was this
the way it was with real married people?
"I took it up to defend myself against him." She answered his
unasked question. He held the bag for her as she punched. He could tell that
she was secretly pretending that the bag was Fred Wallis. She was crying now
as she continued to punch. She needed to get everything out, Murdock
thought, and he would be there for her when it was done.
"Come on Murdock. You don't have to give up the bed on my account.
Why can't we just share it. Face it, we knew that this would happen."
She could tell that Murdock didn't think that it was such a good idea.
"We'll do like they did in some movie. We put this partition of
rolled up towels down the middle of the bed." Murdock allowed her to
have her fantasy. The good thing about this whole thing, from Murdock's
point of view, was that he was no longer alone. He had someone to talk to
and she was goo company.
After about a week or so, they had worked out a routine for their life at
the V.A. They had worked out the sleeping, shower, and changing
arrangements. Murdock had shown her how to ditch the medication, and
everyone, including the staff thought that they were happily married.
Sometimes Murdock let himself think about what it would be like to actually
be married. He knew that Pepper was only participating in the plan in order
to stay safe. He knew that she couldn't possibly have any real feelings for
Murdock was looking at her strangely again. She wondered what he was
thinking. She wondered why he had agreed with this plan. She felt like she
was intruding in his space. But, he never complained and he was always
smiling. Could he actually like living with her?
Face had broken them out a couple of times for training. Pepper showed
off her kick_boxing finesse by beating up Face.
"Aw, look, I slipped. She wouldn't have won if I hadn't
slipped." Murdock remembered her telling him why she had started taking
kickboxing. Face decided to sneak up on her and grabbed her from behind.
Murdock almost warned the Lieutenant not to do that, but it wsa too late.
Pepper fell into a rage and flipped him over her back. Murdock stepped
forward and held her back whispering calming words to her.
"Hannibal, she almost killed me." HAnnibal and B.A. just
Hannibal had been contacted about another mission, so Face was sent to
retrieve Murdock and Pepper. they all met at Face's condo to discuss the
"There's a little town in Washington state that is being terrorized
by a land developer. Kent Peterson and his family own a small fishing resort
up there. This developer wants the resort and all of the other property up
there. The others have sold out, but the Petersons aren't selling."
They all nodded that this was the usual profile. Pepper was excited because
this would be her first mission.
"We leave for Washington tonight." Hannibal announced. they all
seemed pumped as they did before every mission _ except for Murdock.
"Colonel, can I talk to you?" Hannibal had a feeling what it
"Sure, Captain,." The others were busy getting the supplies
ready for the mission.
"It's about Pepper. . ."
"What's the matter? Is the Honeymoon over?" Hannibal was having
too much fun.
"No _ I mean. . .I just don't think that she should go on the
mission. That's all." Hannibal could tell that Murdock was serious.
"Look Murdock, we told her that she can be part of the team. We
can't welch on the deal now. Besides, you said that she could take care of
herself." He had. He remembered her beating up Face and smiled.
"Don't worry, we'll bring your wife back in one piece." Murdock
resigned himself to the fact that Pepper would go .
"Oh, Colonel, don't tell Pepper that we talked." Hannibal
laughed as they both realized that she would kick his butt!
As they arrived in the beautiful town of Spring Valley, none of them
could imagine anything bad could be happening here. Murdock and Pepper
hardly spoke on the ride up thre. Pepper wondered if he were mad at her or
maybe this was just part of the Murdock she hadn't seen yet.
They had elected to drive so that they wouldn't have to mess with
sedating B.A. they met the Petersons at the lake and were beginning to work
out their strategy.
We'll come in and run the place as your new hired help" Hannibal was
beginning to explain. When Hannibal saw that Kent Peterson was about to
object to this, he said,
"You want them to stop coming after you and your family don't you?
This way, they'll come after us." Kent realized this as he looked at
his young family.
"We need to let that windbag at Weinberg Developers know that you
have some new emplyees." Hannibal was already on the Jazz.
Face and B.A. were busy checking the weapons, so Pepper had a chance to
talk to Murdock alone.
"Okay, what's up? Why the silent treatment?" Murdock hadn't
expected to get into this right now.
"I'm sorry. It's just. . . " He looked at her now in a
different way than he had ever looked at her. the look was there and then it
was just as quickly gone.
"What do you think, Ralph?" Murdock had pulled out a rubber
fish and was talking to it. Pepper took this as a sign that he didn't want
to discuss it.
"Alright, but why don't you just say that you don't want to talk
about it?" She turned and walked away.
"Trouble in paradise?" face asked. Murdock just gave him a
As expected, when the A Team took over the running of the Petersons
fishing excursions, Weinberg's men paid them a visit.
"Hello, would you like to go fishing?" Hannibal was dressed
like the Gorton fisherman and was in rare form.
"No we're not here to go fishing, old man. Are you the jerk running
"Well, I might be. then again, I might be your mama." Hannibal
was deliberately saying things to tick them off.
As the men started tearing up the joint, the rest of the A Team came in.
Everyone was fighting including Pepper. She was fighting two guys at the
same time and Murdock was getting distracted trying to make sure that she
"Would you stop!" She yelled at him when she realized what he
was doing. He couldn't help it.
After they had thoroughly defeated Weinberg's men, they went running out
presumably to tell their boss.
"What the hell was that all about?" Face, B.A. and Hannibal
took off in another direction as they guessed what was going to happen next.
Murdock looked at her sheepishly. He started to hold up Ralph.
"And don't give me any of that Ralph crap. this is between me and
you." She snatched the fish from him and threw it down.
"Talk to me." She pleaded. He wanted to. God knew he wanted to,
but he couldn't.
"I can't. Not yet. Please." She saw the pain in his eyes and
felt sorry that she had pushed him into doing something that he wasn't ready
to do. She reached up and touched his cheek.
"I'm sorry," she said barely above a whisper. She had only
meant it as a gesture of friendship, but they both felt the spark of
electricity between them.
"I should go and help the guys. . ." they both knew that the
conversation was ended _ for now.
The next day, the team knew that more trouble would come from Weinberg's
guys. They might even meet Weinberg himself today.
Pepper was out playing with the Peterson's kids and the rest of the team
was restless _ waiting for Weinberg to strike.
They didn't have to wait long. More of Weinberg's goons approached and
they were armed to the teeth. They shot off a few rounds to get everyone's
Pepper had gatheredd the children and run for cover. Murdock was trying
his best to see where she had gone. then he chided himself and tried to
think of her as just another member of the team.
"Mr. Weinberg sends his regards." the leader of the group
shouted. Then, they started shooting up the place again. No one noticed when
one of the gunmen ran behind the shed that Pepper and the children were
hiding in. A few minutes later the goon came out with a gun pointed at
Pepper's head. He also had the kids.
"Okay everybody cool it or they get it." Murdock was about to
Pepper hated to think that she would be the cause for a ruined mission.
She had to do something. So, she decided to make her move.
Using her elbow, she rammed as hard as she could into the man's ribcage.
"Run!" she shouted to the kids.
they ran back to the shed and she tried to folllow. The man regained his
composure and was about to shoot Pepper.
What happened next was a blur. Murdock yelled, "No!" as he dove
in front of Pepper. Almost simultaneously, Pepper yelled, "Murdock,
It was too late. Murdock lay unconscious on the ground and he was
bleeding profusely. He landed right in front of Pepper.
Hannibal shot the guy who had shot Murdock and Pepper pulled Murdock to
the safety of the shed. When the gunfire had seized, the rest of the thugs
had been run of again.
"Let's get him inside quickly." Pepper was sobbing but trying
"Face we need to get a doctor. You and B.A. go into town and see if
you can round up one." They left immediately.
When face and B.A. reached town, they went straight to the General Store
because it was a local hang out.
"Excuse me, we're looking for the doctor's office." There were
several townspeople in the store and they didn't look friendly.
"You're the folks up there helping the Peterson's aren't you?"
thinking that this was a good thing, Face smiled and said, "Yes, we're
here helping the Petersons." The people's faces got angrier.
"Why won't they sell? Our town would benefit from this deal."
"Look, we're in kind of a hurry. If you could just poit us to the
doctor's office, we'll be on our way." None of them moved or said a
word. Seeing that they would get no help there, Face and B.A. left to look
for the doctor's office themselves.
they had put Murdock in one of the guest rooms where he would be more
comfortable. Pepper was by his side secretly blaming herself for his being
shot. She was applying a cold compress to his fevered brow. She could tell
that his temperature was rising and he was losing a lot of blood. He was
also entering into a state of delirium. He started calling her name which
embarrassed her, a little, at first.
"I'm here. It's okay," she said trying to calm him.
"I have to tell you how I feel. Have to. . . " She tried to
quiet him. She didn't know if this was because she wasn't ready to hear what
he had to say. Either way, she did manage to get him to go to slepp.
Face and B.A. finally returned with Dr. Witherspoon who was coming under
"How's he doing Pepper?" Face asked. He could tell that she had
been there the whole time.
"He's resting. His temp is really high, though."
"Why don't you go and get some rest. the doctor's here." She
reluctantly went but made them promise that they would come and get her if
there was any change.
When she returned two hours later, Murdock's fever seemed to be going
down, but he was still asleep. What had he been trying to tell her, she
wanted to know. How did he feel? She thought about her own feelings. She was
getting used to being married to Murdock. He was very sweet. But, was that
Then he stirred again and seemed to be delirious. Pepper felt his
forehead. His temperature seemed to be going up again.
"Pepper. . . Don't leave me. Everyone I care about always leaves me.
Please. . ." She didn't know what to say, so she just said, "I'm
here. . . I'm here, Murdock."
She thought that he just wanted her there, but there was a deeper meaning
behind what he said.
She thought back to their time in the V.A. hospital.
I think I'll take a shower, she had told him. She went into the bathroom.
She was beautiful, he thought. Just the thought of her in the shower with
water and soap sliding over her body and he would have to take a shower. A
A few minutes later, Pepper came out in only a towel.
"Sorry, I forgot my clothes. I'm not used to this arrangement
yet." Murdock almost fell out of his chair. She didn't seem to notice
this as she went back into the bathroom.
"Oh sweet Lord, I don't know if I'll be able to keep doing
Boy, that was a close one. I almost came out without the towel! I wonder
what that wouldhave done to Murdock. She smiled as she thought about this.
Later, at dinner, Murdock again found himself watching her. She had a
beautiful body. He remembered that from the shower incident. He swallowed
"Is it that good?" Pepper asked.
Oh, yeah. It's good." He smile. He wasn't talking about the
That night, they were going to have to deal with the sleeping
"Can I trust you, Murdock?" she asked. He thought about it.
"Yeah. You can trust me." It took a lot for him to say that.
When she emerged from the bathroom, Murdock thanked God that she wasn't
wearing a skimpy, little nightgown. She had on a long New York Yankees
sleepshirt, her hair was in ponytails and she was wearing thick, white socks
on her feet. Murdock still thought that she looked sexy.
"Ready for bed?" she called cheerfully not paying attention to
the other implications.
Murdock slept uneasily that night.
In the meantime, Hannibal was wondering why Weinberg was buying up all of
the property. He decided to send Face into Weinberg's offices to find out
what they were up to.
Face broke into the office safe and found Weinberg's personal papers.
"Ah, so that's what our little birdie is up to." he said as he
busily took pictures.
When he returned to the resort, he shared his news with the rest.
"it seems Weinberg is telling everyone tht it is going to be a big
resort. the town is dying. the young people are moving away. this would
bring jobs and, hopefully keep the young people there. This is what
apparently sold the others. Want to know what he's really doing?" Face
flashed a big grin as he tried to buid up thsuspense.
"Aw come on Faceman, Stop trying to be so mysterious." Face
smiled as he got what he wanted.
"Alright. It seems that there's a lot of money in landfills. He
plans to turn the whole thing into a giant dump." Peterson was furious.
He knew that something was going on.
"We have the proof, though, don't we?" Peterson asked.
Face held up his little camera. "Except for one little thing. He
hasn't done anything illegal, yet. We'd have to wait until he actually built
the thing. Unless... What if we sent this information to a T.V. station or a
newspaper and have them do a story on how wonderful the new resort will
be?" Hannibal saw where Face was going.
"Yeah, and if he backed out, he would be guilty of fraud. Nice,
Murdock was sitting up now. He had been shot in the shoulder, but the
doctor got the bullet out. Pepper was all smiles as she saw him now.
"i was so worried." She felt the tears coming. She couldn't
"Everything's alright now. . . " He hesitated slightly as he
took her into his arms. After a while, she pulled out of his arms and asked,
"Murdock, I need you to talk to me. You said some things when you had
your fever. I don't know what you meant." She could see the pain coming
across his face. She wished that she didn't have to do this, but she had to
"And you don't want to hear from Ralph?" She shook her head. He
took her face in his hands, reluctantly it seemed, and looked into her eyes.
She was beautiful; he had to admit it. He noticed how she closed her eyes as
he stroked her cheek. He swallowed hard as he thought about what he wanted
to do with her.
His eyes looked like burning coals. She wondered what he was thinking.
She had no doubt that he was thinking about her.
"I want to. . . " He couldn't finish. She moved closer until
they were face to face.
"You want to what?" Her voice was barely above a whisper and he
could feel her breath caress his face. His lips came down on hers.
He was unsure; she could tell. So, she tried to reassure him by putting
her arms around him and pulling him to her. She then deepened the kiss and
he thought that he would faint.