The Awakening

part 2

by Lena

Disclaimers: See part one

"Where are you?..... I can't find you." She strained to see through the thick fog any landmarks that would point the way home. But, the mist seemed to engulf everything it its wake. Off in the distance she heard the lilting sound of a woman's soft, gentle voice. It comforted her, offering shelter. "I'm here. Come back to me, Rachel. I'm here." She followed it.

"Who are you?" Rachel called into the thick white miasma. She had to move with caution for there were many barriers to her progress, but she kept following the voice she knew would be her haven. She struggled to crawl over the rocks and boulders blocking her path, their sharp edges cutting into the tender flesh of her hands and knees. Her body began to shiver as the cold, moist mist covered her naked form. Still, she valiantly trudged on into the unknown, on towards the woman's beckoning voice.

"A light!" There off in the distance a light was shining through the fog. Rachel ran toward it. She was almost there when SUDDENLY THE GROUND OPENED, the chasm sucking her down, down, down...

"NOOOooooo!" Rachel awoke with a start, yanking on her shoulder and throwing herself into a world of pain.

Tory was asleep in the bedside chair, covered with a blanket, her stockinged feet resting upon the bed. Her friend's distress awoke her instantly.

"Aye, aye, aye!" Rachel writhed in agony as Tory tried to comfort her. Meg had just walked into the room and, quickly assessing the situation, sent Tory for the nurse as she took Rachel's face gently in her hands.

"Rachel, look at me. Breathe deeply. Deep breath in...and out... That's it. Deep breath in...and out... You're ok..... Just don't try to move that shoulder. They had to cut through the muscles and crack one of your ribs. That's why it hurts like hell. Your pain shots coming. Meg leaned down and kissed her friend's forehead. "Better?"

"Yeah." Rachel whispered, as tears of pain slowly slipped down her cheeks.

Meg stroked her friend's forehead until the nurse appeared with 75mg demerol/50mg of phenergan and administered it via her IV line.

The release was nearly instantaneous as Rachel's eyes unfocused and her thoughts went to a petite woman with long blonde hair.

"Meg?" Rachel's eyes scanned the bandages poking out from Meg's shirt collar. "You Ok?"

"Yeah. I'm good. Thanks to you. I've just got a few stitches and some bruised knuckles." She smiled warmly.

Rachel reached for her friend's hand and kissed the swollen digits. "You sure, you're Ok?"

"Sure, I'm sure. Rest now. I'll be right here." Meg squeezed the hand that was gently holding her's as Rachel's eyes closed and she fell into a peaceful sleep.

She felt a weight upon her left ankle and opened bleary eyes to see what it was. Tory was sitting close by with her feet up on the bed, reading Alix Stokes' Mended Hearts, a tear slowly trickling down her cheek. Rachel took advantage of her friend's distraction to test her body parts before causing a replay of the pain she'd experienced earlier. 'Don't want to do that again.' She tentatively wiggled her fingers and toes, then her hands and feet. 'So far so good.' She was able to bend her left arm at the elbow, but realized her right arm was restrained, pulling the covers away with her left hand, she found her right arm in a sling that was strapped to her body with a wide ace wrap, which also served to support her chest tube in place. Rachel rolled her eyes and thought to herself, 'You really did it this time, ace. They must have had to do some serious damage to wrap you up like The Mummy.' The frustrated woman sighed.

"Hey, you're up. I didn't know you were such a cheap drunk. You've been asleep for four hours." Tory put her book down and pushed the chair closer so she could hold her friend's hand.

Rachel tried to talk but her mouth was too dry so she pointed to the water pitcher on the over-bed table.

"Oh, water? Let me get a straw..... There you go. Not too much. It'll make you nauseous." Tory helped her friend drink then sat the water within easy reach of her left hand.

"Where's Meg?" Rachel asked quietly. She was very aware of the sickening feel of the chest tube when she tried to speak.

"She had to see her clients. She should be back any time now. Do you think you could eat something?"

Rachel made a face as her stomach flip flopped. "Oh, man. Tory would you tell that nurse to lower my pain med dosage, I feel like my head is full of cotton."

"Sure. I'll go talk to her. Anything else I can do for you?"

"Yeah, don't worry so much. I'm Ok." Rachel grinned at her best friend.

Tory grinned back and nodded then walked out to the nurse's station. The auburn haired woman met a certain petite blonde who was getting a progress report from the nurse. "Hi, Tory, how's our patient doing?"

"She's feeling lots better after her nap. But, she doesn't want to eat for me. Maybe she will for you."

"I'll get right on it."

"Look I'm going to leave you two alone for an hour or so. I know you'll miss me terribly."

"Every minute you're away we'll think longingly of your return." Meg bowed her head in mock subservience. "See you later, then."


"Golly, I don't blame you. This food's awful." Meg laughed as she made a face over the meatloaf she'd deemed unfit for human consumption.

Rachel chuckled and her eyes widened as pain shot through her chest, her left hand trembled as she grasped the edge of the bedside table.

"Ok, tiger. I think it's time for another pain shot." Meg said as she placed her hand over Rachel's and rubbed it gently until it relaxed. With her other hand she pressed the nurse's call button and requested the pain meds.

After Rachel received her injection, Meg stayed at her side, stroking her arm, until she fell asleep.


"Hi, sleepy head. Boy, you're an exciting woman." Tory laughed at her drowsy friend.

Rachel tried to clear her mind as she searched the room for the object of her affections. "Meg?"

"She had to go to work for a while, she'll be back in time to eat supper with you. The nurse says they're getting you up to a chair for that feast."

At that news Rachel felt her anxiety rising. She reached for the water and drank her fill, aware of the hunger beginning to gnaw at her belly. Tory heard the rumbling of her younger friend's empty digestive tract and suggested they have a snack of cereal and fruit.

As the friends enjoyed their snack, Tory decided she had to tell Rachel about breaking her confidence to Meg.

"Rachel, I need to tell you something and I want you to promise me you will hear me out and try to put yourself in my place. Ok?" Tory asked solemnly.

"What is it Tory. Whatever it is can't be that bad." Rachel looked into her best friends eyes.

"I had a long talk with Meg while you were in surgery. You really frightened her. She said that you beat that man's head against the wall with such rage that if she hadn't been able to physically reach you when she did, you'd have beaten him to death."

Rachel straightened as much as she could and glared at her friend. "If you're expecting me to apologize for protecting my friend, then you'll have one hell of a wait..... For Christ's sake, Tory, he had a knife and was going to rape her. What should I have done, slapped his hand. I should have killed the bastard so he couldn't hurt any one else. I won't apologize for that. Not now, not ever."

"Rachel, you chased an armed assailant, who was no longer a threat to you or Meg. That was foolish and nearly got you killed." Tory stomped around the bed in frustration. She took several deep breaths, knowing that she hadn't even touched upon what she wanted to discuss.

"Meg was upset about something else...., something you said as she held you waiting for the ambulance."

Rachel racked her brain trying to remember, but it was all a blur. She felt fearful of this revelation. "What did I say?"

"Well, when Meg asked you why you couldn't just let the bastard that attacked her go, you said it was because you didn't want her to hurt the way you do......" Tory looked down and appeared to be studying her shoes for a long moment, then she looked up into the soft brown eyes of her best friend. "She said that your voice developed a childlike tone and you said. "He hurt me, Meggie, I don't want to hurt anymore."

Rachel looked away as if she'd been slapped.

"Oh, baby..... I'm not telling you this to hurt you. Believe me. I wouldn't purposely hurt you for anything. You are my best friend, my family. But, you need help dealing with this. I know you've had counseling now and then, when things got really bad. I know you've learned how to channel most of your anger through working out at the gym. But, here you have the chance to have real love. Meg loves you, baby. She asked me what was going on and I felt it was time to....."

"You told her about Joey!?!"

"Yes. I did." Tory looked at her feet.

"Everything?" The dark haired beauty felt sick to her stomach and thought she might lose the sparse contents thereof.

"Yes. Everything. She understands, Rach. She is a therapist and deals with victims of sexual abuse all the time. If anyone can help you, it's Meg."

Rachel just stared at the weave of her, typically thin, hospital blanket, trying hard to cover herself with a hard outer shell for protection from the barrage of soul searing revelations her friend was hitting her with. She felt her hopes and dreams dashed. She knew the kind of happiness she'd allowed herself since Meg came into her life was too good to last. She'd held such hope for their love. But that was before. Before she became just another client, an interesting case history. The raven haired beauty couldn't halt the tremors in her chin as the tears rolled down her cheeks.

"I want you to leave, Tory..... And..... please don't come back for a while, huh. Tell Meg, I'd rather deal with all this when I am feeling better if she wants to contact me at that time." Rachel's voice was cold as she turned off her heart.

"Oh, baby, please don't do this. She loves you and only wants to understand. Don't shut her out. I know you feel angry and betrayed. But, for the love of God, you nearly killed a man Rachel. Can't you see how important it is that you ....."

"I loved her. I have never felt quite what I feel for Meg. I really thought we could..... That she'd understand and be able to adjust..... But now..... Just go away, Tory. Please...."

"Ok. I'll be back to help them transfer you to the chair for dinner."

"No..... Don't come back." Rachel said adamantly as she closed her sad brown eyes, dismissing her old friend. Tory nodded her head and slowly walked away.


"Tory's Gym. May I help you." Tory answered the phone anxiously as she hadn't heard from Rachel for over twenty four hours.

"May I speak to Victoria Boyce, please. Charity Hospital Intensive Care Unit calling."

"This is she. What's wrong with Rachel?"

"Ms. Boyce, this is Nurse Willis. I am calling because we have been having difficulties with Ms. Vincenti. She is noncompliant with her treatment and has been refusing to eat. I'm afraid her condition is becoming quite serious. She cries most of the time and refuses to speak with the Doctor. She yells at anyone who dares approach her. Dr. Marino suggested we contact you. Is there a family member who can talk with her or perhaps her Parish Priest? She simply must eat and accept our care or we cannot be responsible for her condition."

"Yes. I understand. Someone will be there within the hour. Thank you for calling." Tory hung up the phone, her heart in her throat. She looked up in her address book and called Meg's office. Maybe Rachel would listen to her.


"Good afternoon, Dr. Poche's office." The receptionist answered.

"May I speak with the doctor, please? It is rather important." Tory said.

"I'm sorry. The doctor is with a client at the moment. May I take a message and have her return your call?" The receptionist was pleasant and efficient.

"Ok. Just please make sure she gets the message as soon as possible. Have her call Tory Boyce at....."

"Oh, Ms. Boyce, I do apologize. Dr. Poche' said that I was to interrupt her if you called. Can you hold on just a moment, please?"

"Sure." Tory breathed a sigh of relief.

"Hello, Tory? How is she?" Meg asked anxiously. Ever since Tory told her about Rachel's reaction to the knowledge that Meg knew all her secrets, she was concerned about the repercussions.

"The hospital called me. She's not eating, Meg. Nor is she complying with her treatment. They want someone to come fix the situation and the way Rachel feels about me right now, I thought it might be counterproductive for me to go....."

"So, you want me to?"

"Yeah. I think you might be able to get through to her. Will you try?" Tory asked.

"Of course, I will. Give me a moment to rearrange my schedule and I'm there."

"Meg, will you call me as soon as you can with a status report. I am worried sick here." "Sure. As soon as I know anything solid, I'll contact you." Meg hung up the phone and instructed her secretary to rearrange her schedule, there was a family emergency and she'd be gone for the rest of the day.

Rachel's nightmare had returned. It was always the same. The horror of being totally powerless against Joey's physical and psychological abuse of a defenseless little girl. She wondered at the little life that ended on a cold bathroom floor. She knew part of her had died that day too. The memories now haunted her every waking and sleeping moment as she wondered, in her dazed existence, if life was worth the struggle and pain. She cried in desolation.

Meg stood in the doorway, watching the woman she loved. Rachel was not yet aware of her presence as she still had her eyes closed with tears running down her cheeks. 'She's in so much pain. Why won't she let me help her? I know I can if she'd just let me in.'

"Hey, Rach, you awake?"

Rachel's sad dark eyes flew open at the sound of Meg's soft voice.

"I hear you've been giving the nurses around here a rough time. Wanna talk about it?" The petite blonde slowly approached the bed and pulled a chair close so she could touch her friend's left side.

"I'm not your patient, Dr. Poche'." Rachel stated, her voice full of ice.

"Of course, you're not my patient. You are my very dear friend, the woman I hope will soon be my lover. But that's not gonna happen if you die in this place..... Why are you doing this? I hate seeing you suffer. Don't you know that?" Meg took Rachel's hand and kissed it, then pressed the palm against her cheek. She couldn't help the tears that leaked from her sad sea-green eyes.

Rachel felt the dampness against her hand and finally looked over at the woman who held her heart. She felt her very soul twist into a painful knot at the sight before her. She gently rubbed her palm against Meg's soft cheek. "I loved much. It hurts to lose that dream. Please....."

"Why do we have to lose that dream, Rachel? I love you. I want to be with you. Why can't we have that?"

Rachel looked away again. "Isn't it considered bad form to sleep with your clients. I'm surprised at you, Meg. I would have thought better of you." Her words dripping venom.

Meg stood suddenly and began pacing the room. "Let's get a few things straight, shall we. YOU ARE NOT MY PATIENT!!! I AM NOT YOUR DOCTOR!!!"

Rachel's eyes widened at the unexpected vehemence in her friend's voice.

"Do I think you need help dealing with what Joey did to you.....? Yes, I do."

"Stop." Rachel begged softly. Meg didn't seem to hear her.

"And, I know just the therapist to do it. She's an older colleague of mine, with a great deal of experience and success in treating childhood sexual abuse and violence cases."

"Stop....., please." Rachel felt like she was being whipped with the buckle of her father's leather belt. Her head tossed back and forth on its pillow. Each word from her love's mouth another lash against the tender flesh of her soul. Meg still didn't hear her as she paced the room spouting the virtues of Dr. Erica Morgan PhD.

"She also deals with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. After you get discharged and get your strength back, I'd like us to go see her and get started on a treatment program....."

"Stop it....., Stop it....., JUST.....STOP IT!!! You don't get it, do you? I don't want to try therapy again. You don't know what you're asking of me. I just can't live in that nightmare, 24 hours a day for the off chance that I might be able to accept being on MY BACK FOR YOU." The tears streamed down her face, physical and emotional pain contorting her features.

Meg grimaced at her words.

"I CAN'T LIVE LIKE THAT..... I won't." Rachel's outburst had caused the pain in her chest and shoulder to flare up and that combined with her psychic agony was overwhelming her. She looked away and squeezed her eyes shut as she pulled desperately on the mattress with her left hand and pushed down on it with her feet. She wanted nothing more than to be able to jump from her bed and run away.

Meg pressed the nurse's call button. The nurse had been eavesdropping a bit on their rather loud visit, and quickly responded with the pain shot her patiently sorely needed.

Rachel's body was becoming accustomed to the pain meds so the shot didn't knock her out, but took the edge off of the pain and helped calm her racing mind.

Meg returned to the bedside chair and gently stroked her friends forehead and hair. 'I did this to her. Good Lord, how selfish am I to do this to her. She's so loving. She risked her life for me because she didn't want me to suffer this agony that she is reliving right before my eyes.' "Forgive me."

Rachel was trying to breathe through the pain as it slowly left her body.

"Please, forgive me, Rachel. I'm so sorry. I'm such a selfish woman. I thought I was thinking about what's best for you, when I was really only thinking about what I want. I can't bear to see you suffer like this. I don't want to be the cause of it. I'm not going anywhere, Rachel. Whether you do or don't eventually decide to pursue therapy again. I'll be right here by your side....., if you'll have me. And, I certainly don't mean as your therapist. I just want to be your lover....., your friend." Meg's own tears spilled down her face.

Rachel felt a ray of hope lite upon her soul as she reached her left hand behind a golden head and pulled it onto her shoulder, allowing her to rub the stricken woman's back, offering comfort and returning her love. "I love you too, my Meg. But, I need you to accept me as I am, at least for a good while, then we'll see what happens. You never know what the future will bring. So, let's start over, shall we."

Meg nodded her head, not wanting Rachel to relinquish her hug.


Rachel improved quickly over the next two days. She'd forgiven Tory and it was mutually agreed upon that the subject was not to be broached again. Her appetite had returned and it was her friends' job to sneak in her favorite treats. She started physical therapy to increase the range of motion of her right shoulder and the strength of her arm. It wasn't fun and Rachel always needed a short nap to recuperate afterwards. The chest tube was removed, to Rachel's great relief, allowing her much more freedom of movement around the room. Dr. Marino kept her in ICU, instead of transferring her to the med/surg floor. He saw no reason to have her moved twice since he'd decided she could go home as long as she was in Tory's care. After all, she had her own personal nurse under the same roof. He ordered PT to come to her home as well as home health, to help with her activities of daily living, for two weeks. Her pain meds were switched to pill form and he kept her on oral prophylactic antibiotics. Meg was instructed on her wound care and her med schedule for when Tory was at work. Confident that he'd covered all the bases, Dr. Marino discharged his patient into her friends' capable hands.

Rachel was worn out by the drive back to her cottage and the climb up her front stoop left her very short of breath and a little dizzy. Meg and Tory each had one side of her to help support as they slowly maneuvered her into bed. Meg immediately retrieved one of the new pain pills and a glass of water for her friend, who was in obvious need of one.

"What else can I do to make you more comfortable, Rach?" Meg asked as she removed her friend's Reeboks and slipped her long legs under the blankets.

"I just want to sleep right now, Meggie." Rachel was able to respond through clenched teeth at the throbbing pain in her shoulder and side.

"Ok. I got you a bell. If you need anything, it's right here on the night stand, just give it a ring and I'll come a runnin." Meg smoothed back damp bangs from her friend's forehead, where she placed a chaste kiss. "Sleep now. I love you, Rachel." But her friend was already out.

Rachel awoke three hours later happy to be in her own bed, but missing her best canine friend. She looked over to her night stand and picked up the phone, she lay the headset down upon her belly so she could dial Dr. Marino's home phone number.

"Hello. Marino residence." Rachel recognized the voice as her friend and her doctor's lover.

"Darren?" Rachel was shocked at how weak and strange her voice sounded to her.

"Yes." He wasn't sure he recognized the rasping voice at the other end of the line.

"Darren, It's me, Rachel."

"Rachel? How are you feeling, darling? Sandy and I have been so worried about you."

"I'm getting there. How's my baby girl? Has she missed me?"

"She's been an angel." Darren reached down to pet the head of a very attentive sandy yellow dog with one blue eye and one soft amber and a pink stripe up her nose, looking much like what she was, half Siberian husky and half yellow Labrador retriever. "Haven't you girl. It's your mama. You want to say Hi to your little girl here?"

"Oh, yeah." Rachel waited for a sign that the phone was close to her dog's ear. "Hey, Sandy. I missed you. You're my good girl." The dog's ears perked up as she whined in her excitement.

"Boy, she knows who her mama is." Darren chuckled. "Are you ready for her to come home? Or would you like Robbie and I to keep her a few more days. She's no trouble. We've enjoyed having her."

"How about bringing her home tomorrow. I'm a little out of it today. I really appreciate everything you guys have done for me. I don't know how to thank you." Rachel felt the sting of tears behind her eyes.

"What are friends for, girl? Don't you worry about anything. We'll keep Sandy for you. I'll call tomorrow and see if you are ready for her to come home. Ok?"

"You're great. Thanks, Darren and thank Robbie for me. I'll talk to you tomorrow." Rachel hung up the phone just as Tory walked in to check on her.

"Who was that?"

"Darren. He's gonna bring Sandy home tomorrow if I'm up to it." Rachel's entire face lit up with joyous anticipation.

"I wonder if Meg knows she has some stiff canine competition for your affections. Has she met Sandy yet?"

"Nope. Not yet. But I've always thought of Sandy as a keen judge of character. So, I'm sure they'll get along famously." Rachel thought about that for a moment. "I hope."

Tory sat on the bed next to her best friend and brushed the bangs out of her eyes. "You need a hair cut." Tory grinned.

"I need a hair scrubbing!" Rachel made a disgusted look.

"Hold on. I'll be right back." Tory hopped off the bed and ran into the bathroom.

"Yeah. Like I can go anywhere."

Tory returned with a water glass, comb, towel and a pair of scissors. "Alrighty. Now, lets get those bangs out of your eyes, then I want you to eat some supper for me. Ok?" Tory proceeded to play barber.

"That's a deal..... Meg at work?" Rachel asked, flinching at the feel of a few eyebrows being sacrificed with her bangs.

"Yep. She said to tell you she'll be back first thing in the morning. She's going to go visit her house and do laundry. That poor kid's exhausted. I hope she gets to bed early tonight and quits worrying about you for a while."

"Tory will you hand me the phone please?"


Rachel dialed her friend's number and smiled when she heard the voice she loved on the answering machine. She waited for the beep, then spoke her message. "Hi, Meggie. Rachel here. I want you to eat a healthy dinner while you do the laundry, then go to bed early and sleep sweet so I can work you unmercifully tomorrow. Love you. Bye Bye."


"There's gotta be a way. Come on, Meggie, please, please, please! My hair hasn't been washed in nearly a week. It's grossing me out. Look, I could sit on the floor next to the tub and just lean over it and you could use the water pitcher from the kitchen to rinse the shampoo out."

"Rachel, Dr. Marino was very specific about not getting your stitches wet."

"We won't get the stitches wet that way and we can double up a towel and set it over my shoulder for extra protection. Whatta ya say, Meg? Please." Rachel gave the reticent little blonde her best puppy dog face and finally got her way.

"Ok. We'll give it a try. Just let me put some towels on the floor for you to sit on. We don't need you catching a chill. I'm going to get the supplies to change your bandages while we're at it. Might as well kill two birds with one stone." Meg turned on her heel and went to retrieve said items. She didn't see the look of panic on Rachel's face.

Rachel sat comfortably on her bed of towels as her friend shampooed her long lustrous locks, then rinsed and shampooed it again, gently massaging her scalp. Rachel was in heaven. She could have sat there all day and enjoyed this semi erotic, totally sensuous experience. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. The smaller woman squeezed the water from Rachel's hair and then dried it some more with a towel.

"Come on, lady, hold on to the tub and I'll help you back up on your feet." Having successfully maneuvered her tall friend to sit on the side of the tub, she proceeded to use the hair dryer to remove the rest of the moisture from the now clean dark mane.

Meg placed a towel on the toilet seat so that Rachel could have some comfort as her wound care was performed. After directing the raven haired beauty to sit, she reached for the hem of the oversized t-shirt that covered her friend's upper body and pulled it gently over her head, leaving her in only boxer shorts. Then she reached for the clasps of the extra wide ace wrap that held her right arm firmly in place and covered her chest completely. Rachel flinched and Meg noticed she no longer gave her eye contact and her posture had become stiff.

"Rachel? Honey, what's wrong?" Meg took her friend's chin in her hand and gently turned her head until they were looking warm brown into sea-green. "Would you feel better if I gave you a towel to cover your chest with?" Meg reached for a towel and handed it to her friend. "You know I will have to expose you. I'll be as quick as I can, then you can cover yourself with the towel. Ok?"

Rachel nodded. "I feel pretty silly." Rachel looked away in thought, then returned her gaze to Meg's. "I just kinda pictured the first time you saw me....." Rachel raised her left hand in a sweeping motion over her body. "It would be under more romantic circumstances. You know, a little moonlight and roses. Not stripped from the waist up because I need you to do my wound care."

"Rach, if I had your body, I'd be parading it all over Tory's Gym, just to watch the women swoon." Meg laughed then leaned down to place a chaste kiss upon her friend's soft lips. "Now, the sooner we get this unwrapped, the sooner we'll be done." Meg completed Rachel's wound care, trying hard not to ogle her full firm breasts. Rachel had an impressive figure for a woman of any age, but for a woman nearly 45, it was gorgeous. 'She's really taken excellent care of herself. It's a shame, she's going to have this huge scar now. All because of me.' Meg sighed, which didn't go unnoticed.

"What's wrong, Meggie?" Rachel pulled her attention away from the floor tiles she'd been counting, to inquire about her friend.

"It's just. If you hadn't been trying to protect me, none of this would have happened. I'm so sorry, Rachel. This is all my fault." Meg pulled her friend's right arm into place between her tempting breasts and wrapped the restraining ace bandage around her chest, tying not to brush the nipples that had hardened to the cool air. Once the clasps were in place, she slipped a clean t-shirt over Rachel's head.

"None of this is your fault, Meg. You and I were victims of an evil man. Don't you dare take the blame for this. You understand me?" Rachel spoke adamantly.

Meg nodded and looked down with sad eyes. "Now, help me up. I could do with a pain pill and a short nap. Ok?"

Rachel awoke and immediately called Darren to arrange for the return of her canine buddy. Then she carefully got out of bed and went to use the toilet.

After emptying her bladder, she tried to pull up her boxer shorts. She tried and tried and tried until finally calling out for Meg to help her.

Meg came running through the bathroom door, expecting to see Rachel sprawled out on the tile floor in agony, but instead saw a red faced, dark haired beauty cursing under her breath, her boxers half way over her right hip.

"I couldn't pull my pants up by myself. Shit! This is so embarrassing." Her face showing her frustration.

Meg breathed a sigh of relief and chuckled. "I don't mind helping you pull your pants up, Rachel. It's not a big deal."

"But, what am I gonna do if no one is here, walk around with my hiney hanging out?"

Meg paused and smiled, thinking how much she'd enjoy that sight. "Don't you have any night gowns long enough to cover your bottom? Then you wouldn't need to wear any under pants."

Rachel thought about that as she allowed Meg to soap up a cloth and wash her hand.

"Yeah, I do. I got it as a gift a long time ago but never wore it. If you'll look in the bottom drawer of my high boy, it may be under all those slips and stockings." Rachel pointed.

Meg pulled out a long black gown and held it up for Rachel to see. "Is this the one?"

"Yeah, that's it. It's prettier than I remembered it." Rachel took the garment and draped it over the chair in her bedroom for later use.

Meg and Tory took turns being with their friend, Tory taking days and Meg the nights. Tory still found it painful to sleep in her own home. Although she stayed for the first two nights, the rest she handed over to Meg. Rachel was home alone most afternoons, which was becoming a time she looked forward to spending with Sandy in peace and quiet, her canine buddy the only one around to admire the long black night gown which was her uniform when there was no one around to help her get her jockies off and on.

Meg and Sandy became fast friends, reinforcing Rachel's faith in Sandy as a good judge of character.

The physical therapy was going well and soon Rachel's right arm would not need to be restrained. She was looking forward to being able to do more for herself, like pull her own shorts up and bathing without depending upon her home health aide. She developed a whole new respect for the indignities her patient's had to suffer.

She felt the cold tile against her bare skin. Fighting to push Joey's much larger muscular body off of her, she screamed in pain and fear as his penis ripped through her hymen, semen leaking down between her buttocks.

'What.....? What was that?' Meg knew something had jolted her awake. She listened in the darkness...... 'There!' Rachel's screams reached her friend's ears and she bolted out of bed and ran to help her.

The dark haired beauty was writhing on her bed, covered in sweat, a look of misery on her lovely face. She'd kicked the covers off in her struggle to remove her phantom rapist from her body.

"Oh, no." Meg had never seen her friend in the throws of one of her nightmares and she was appalled at the vision before her. She bent over her friend, both hands on thrashing shoulders, calling her name.

Rachel felt the pressure on her shoulders and in her dream, Joey had her pinned down as he lay upon her. The terrified woman pulled her long legs to her chest and kicked out, throwing Meg's much smaller body across the room and heavily into the mahogany dresser. The action brought a jolt of pain to Rachel's already irritated shoulder, awakening her.

She was disoriented. Something was different. She heard sniffling and a groan coming from near the foot of her bed. She pulled herself to the edge to see what it was and felt her heart wrench in her chest at the sight of her friend curled into a tight ball, crying.

"Meg? Shit!" Rachel slid off the foot of the bed to her friend's side. "Meg, honey. Are you alright? What happened?" Meg nodded as she tried to collect herself. Her physical pain was not nearly as bad as the emotional pain of being attacked by this woman she loved so much. She shook uncontrollably and found herself unable to move.

Rachel pulled herself back up on the bed and got to her feet, quickly turning on the lights, then returning to her friend's side. "Meg, what happened?" Rachel asked as she assessed the trembling woman's body for injuries. "Meg, can you tell me where you're hurt? I need to know, honey."

Meg took a deep breath and was able to calm her nerves enough to communicate. She leaned back on her knees and looked up into her friend's worried eyes. "I'm Ok. I just tripped and bumped my head and my shoulder on your dresser." Meg reached back to touch the bump on her head and cringed at the stickiness that attached to her fingers.

"You're bleeding, Meg. Let's go into the bathroom so I can get a better look at it. What were you doing in my room at this time of night?" Rachel pulled herself up by the bed and then reached down to help her friend to her feet. She was still shaky and had the strangest look on her face. They walked into the bathroom in silence and Meg sat on the toilet seat so Rachel could tend to her wound.

"That's quite a bump, but the cut is tiny. It's just that the scalp bleeds so much. It's scary. So what were you doing in my room?" Rachel feared she wouldn't like the answer. She reached for the wound care kit on the toilet tank and handed it to Meg to open and told her what to hand her as she first wiped the blood out of her hair with a wet wash rag, then cleaned and disinfected the wound. "Let me look at your shoulder."

Meg pulled her t-shirt off over her head, grimacing at the pain. Rachel looked away from the exposed breasts of her friend. Meg saw her discomfort and held the t-shirt in front of her, which instantly seemed to comfort Rachel. "You're gonna have a hell of a bruise there. If it swells up more, we might need to ask Robbie to look at it. How'd you hit your shoulder so hard by just tripping?" Meg looked away and racked her brain for what to say.

Rachel kneeled in front of her love, placing her large hand upon the other woman's knee. "Come on, Meg. Tell me what really happened."

Meg let out a long sigh and looked into soft worried brown eyes. "I heard something and it woke me up. I listened for a minute and heard you screaming and ran in to help. You were having a nightmare. I never realized what one of those does to you. You were in agony. I placed my hands on your shoulders to keep you from thrashing anymore then called to you, trying to wake you up but you must have thought I was Joey and drew back your legs, kicking me into the dresser." Meg watched as her friend's gentle features turned to stone.

She reached out and rubbed Rachel's arm, offering comfort. "I did this to you?" Rachel asked, her voice low, barely a whisper.

"Yes..... But, you didn't know what you were doing. I shouldn't have touched you while you were so frightened. I should have known better. I'm sorry Rachel." Meg continued to stroke her friend's arm.

Rachel stood up and looked directly into the bathroom mirror over Meg's head. "I want to see that therapist friend of yours. Please call her in the morning and set it up for tomorrow or as soon as possible. You should go back to bed now and get some rest."

Meg was concerned by the total lack of emotion in Rachel's voice. "Rachel, are you sure you want to do this now. We can wait....."

"WE CAN'T WAIT!!!" Rachel exploded as she pulled her arm away from Meg's touch and stomped into the bedroom. "I hurt you. For God's sake, Meg, I could have killed you and not even known it. I can't let that bastard run my life anymore. He's not just hurting me now. He's making me hurt you..... I love you, Meg. I won't take chances with your safety..... That's if, of course, you still want to do this with me. If you don't, I'll understand." Rachel looked down at her feet, afraid of being rejected by the woman she loved.

"You listen to me Rachel Vincenti. I'm with you all the way. You're never getting rid of me. Got that." Meg pronounced as she walked up to the distraught woman and hugged her tightly.

Rachel kissed the golden head, being careful not to touch her wound and whispered. "Got it..... Maybe we should let Sandy in to sleep with me tonight. I know Robbie said it wasn't a good idea with such a large wound, but I think the emotional comfort is more important at the moment, don't you?"

"Yeah. I think you're right. I'll go let her out of the kitchen. She's probably missing you too." Meg kissed the taller woman's collar bone as she rubbed her strong back with her small hands. 'I wish it was me you wanted to have in your bed tonight.' Meg sighed as she released her love and went to free Sandy.

Rachel crawled into bed with her canine buddy, stroking Sandy's soft fur and proceeded to pour her heart out to the one soul she trusted implicitly. After a good cry and endless cuddling, the raven haired beauty fell into a peaceful sleep.


"Can she meet us in City Park?" Rachel was anxious about her first session with the therapist.

"I don't know. But, I can call and ask her." Meg said.

"Good. Thanks." Rachel pushed her food around her plate with her fork. Breakfast was her favorite meal of the day, but this morning it held no appeal for her. "And, I want you to be there. I want you in on this from the start. And....., I want your word that when I say I've had enough, then that's enough. Ok?" The tall beauty looked into her friend's eyes with apprehension.

"Ok." Meg gave her a reassuring smile as she reached across the table to clasp her hand.


The women met in front of the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art.

"I want to thank you for agreeing to meeting us out here, Dr. Morgan. I just feel more comfortable talking about this stuff where I can move around and not feel trapped."

"Well it's a bit unorthodox, but it's a good excuse for me to get out of my office. It's a treat really, getting a chance to enjoy the great outdoors. Let me tell you a little bit about me. I find most of my patients want to know my qualifications for treating them. I have a PhD in Psychology. I have specialized in childhood sexual abuse and violence cases for the last twenty some odd years. I also have an undergrad degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling. I have done a good bit of work with Gestaltists and behavior modification. I'm a native New Orleanian and am a lesbian. I've been in a committed relationship for eighteen years. My partner works with children who've been victims of sexual and physical abuse. They are the lucky ones in a sense. I deal mostly with adults. Those children who slipped through the cracks. Any questions?"

Rachel and Meg looked at each other and then at Dr. Morgan. Both women shook their heads in the negative.

"So, let's get started. I want you to tell me how your sexual abuse is effecting your life right now. Later, we'll go into all the gory details of your childhood." The therapist smiled with a glint of humor in her blue eyes.

Rachel was surprised. It wasn't what she'd expected. All her other therapists had started out wanting to know the story of her life from her first memory. She thought she liked this approach much better.

"Shall we walk ladies?" Rachel gave a forward motion with her left hand and started off away from the other visitors to the park.

The tall beauty looked at Meg and Dr. Morgan, took in a deep breath and began. "I have nightmares. It use to be only once in a great while. But, since I met Meg, its been more often and last night....., I hurt Meg." Rachel's eyes filled as she looked over at her love. "I didn't mean to..... She heard me screaming in my sleep and came to help me. I lashed out and kicked her across the room."

"That was not your fault, Rach. I'm a therapist. I should have known not to touch you until you were awake." Meg jumped in, wanting to ease the distraught woman's pain.

Rachel vehemently shook her head. "You were just trying to help me and I....."

"Ok. How else does it effect your life today?" The therapist interjected before they got off in the wrong direction.

Rachel looked away from her companions. "When I have sex, which is none too often. I have to really want some one, I mean really want them. I have to be the instigator and I have to have total control. Gosh, this is hard....."

"Take your time, Rachel." The therapist said.

"I have to be dominant..... On top." Rachel shook her head and blew a frustrated breath through pursed lips. "I can't let them touch me..... down there..... I can only come by humping my partner's thigh, if I can come at all. Usually, I get really excited by making them have an orgasm and then after they're gone, I pleasure myself." Her face was scarlet with humiliation. Rachel spotted a bench nearby and quickly walked over and sat down heavily. She held herself tightly with her good arm as tears leaked from her eyes that she squeezed shut. "I don't wanna be that way with Meg. I want to let her love me..... I love her. GOD!!! I hate feeling so weak and helpless." Rachel jumped up from the bench and walked away from Meg, fearing she'd try to touch her and she couldn't bear that right now.

"What happens when your partner lies you on your back?" The therapist asked, showing no reaction to what Rachel said.

"I feel vulnerable, like a victim. My heart beats fast and I want to run away."

"A panic attack - would you say?" Dr. Morgan inquired.

"Yeah. I guess so." Rachel had never named it before.

"Any other areas of your life that are affected?"

"Not that I'm aware of."

"Let's start walking back, shall we." Dr. Morgan suggested.

"Rachel, I think you should tell her about when I was attacked." Meg said.

"Oh yeah. Well you'll have to help me with that. I don't remember things too clearly."

"Why don't you try to tell me and Meg can fill in the blanks."


The two friends related the events in detail to the therapist as they walked back to the Museum and planned their next session.


Rachel was exhausted both emotionally and physically when they got back to the cottage. She laid down and tried to sleep but her mind wouldn't turn off. Meg stayed in the kitchen, fixing lunch for them and giving her friend the space she needed. The therapist had suggested that they do some intimacy exercises. It should be as nonthreatening as possible. Rachel might accept a frontal massage while lying on her back or whatever would put her in a position to accept Meg's dominance for a short period of time. Even allowing Meg to walk her through the house blindfolded. The decision was up to them. Deep in thought, she hadn't heard Rachel enter the kitchen and jumped when she felt a hand land litely upon her shoulder.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you." Rachel pulled her hand away as if she'd done something wrong. Meg turned and grabbed the retreating appendage and pulled it around her shoulder as she slid her arms around Rachel's waist and held her tightly, careful not to cause her any pain.

"I like it when you touch me. And, I love holding you." Meg purred into Rachel's neck.

"Robbie's coming over this afternoon to check on my progress and see if I can leave my arm free..... So, I don't see any reason why we can't start trying those exercises the therapist gave us tomorrow. If that's Ok with you?" Rachel looked sheepishly at her love.

"Sure. But, how do you feel about it?" Meg looked into her soft brown eyes.

"Scared......" Rachel took a deep breath. "But if it will help, I'm all for it." Rachel leaned her upper body back away from Meg's and kissed her on the forehead. "I love you, Meg. I want so much to be able ....."

"I know. Me too."


"You have the most amazing recuperative powers I've ever seen." Doctor Marino said as he removed the last of the staples from Rachel's shoulder. "I see no reason to continue restraining your arm as long as you keep up with your physical therapy and don't hyper-extend or lift anything over 6lbs. for the next two weeks. I think you'll be able to work the ER in about a month. Why don't you discuss that with your physical therapist. Of course, you can teach your classes again in a few days. Just give yourself the chance to get your energy level up."

"Thanks Robbie. I never realized what a handicap losing the use of a limb is."

"Just don't over do it. Meg, I'm leaving her in your capable hands."

"I'll do what I can. Thanks for everything. I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't been there to help her....." Meg's sea green eyes filled with tears as she pondered life without her love.

Robbie pulled the petite blonde into his arms for a friendly, comforting hug. "That, my friend, was my great pleasure. I'm rather fond of our hero here." The new friends smiled at each other.

"Hey Robbie, can I take Cherry for a spin?" Rachel's eyes sparkled with anticipation.

"I don't see why not. If you experience any pain or lack of coordination in you right arm or shoulder, give me a call and DON'T SPEED! The NOPD have a pin up of you in Traffic Court."

"Do not!" Rachel whined petulantly.


The two friends spent a relaxing evening playing chess and enjoying a couple of cool Mimosas that Rachel made with fresh squeezed orange juice. They laughed and shared anecdotes of their college days and the dreams that they'd made come true and those yet to be achieved. Meg was careful to avoid the subject of Rachel's abuse. She was loving this quality time together and didn't want anything to spoil it.

After agreeing to continue their game at a later date, they cleaned up and washed the dishes together then bid each other sweet dreams, reluctantly retiring to their own sleeping quarters, Meg alone with her patient files and Rachel with her four legged companion at her side.


After her physical therapy, Rachel took her first hot shower since the night of the attack on her friend. 'This is heaven.' She thought as she felt the shampoo rinse down her back. She had some difficulty washing her hair but managed to tolerate the stiffness in her still sore shoulder. After drying off, she wrapped her tall frame in a terry cloth robe. She headed for the kitchen where she was certain Meg would be fixing them a hearty breakfast

Meg was setting the plates on the kitchen table and stopped to admire the vision before her. 'How can she look so sexy even with her hair dripping wet in an old robe?' "Morning." Meg gave her friend a lascivious grin.

"Morning." 'Is that lust I see in those gorgeous eyes? Oooh yeah.' Rachel walked around the table and wrapped her arms around her love's waist from behind, crushing her breasts against a well muscled back. The thrill of this simple contact went right through her belly and awakened her arousal. "Mmmmm, you feel so good to me, Meggie." Rachel nuzzled Meg's neck, burying her nose is her fragrant hair, causing her love to shiver.

"You ARE feeling better this morning." Meg purred as she leaned back further into Rachel's body.

The feel of Meg's back rubbing against her tender breasts increased Rachel's arousal and she lifted her hand to tilt Meg's face, capturing her lips. She licked them gently until Meg opened to her and her tongue entered the warmth of her mouth in exploration.

Meg groaned as the feel of Rachel's kiss and her warm body pressed against her's ignited her passion. She longed to touch her, but was afraid to push too far. She turned in Rachel's embrace, needing more contact. She deepened their kiss, tongues dueling for dominance. Rachel hungered for Meg's touch, to touch her soft skin and to hear her moan in pleasure.

"Let's take this to my bedroom." Rachel growled into Meg's ear as she gently took her hand and led the way. They stopped beside her bed and again Rachel kissed her deeply, moving large hands over firm soft buttocks, pulling her pelvis against her own, desire shooting between them. Meg's hands seem to move of their own accord to separate Rachel's robe then cup the weight of each breast, gently rubbing her palms over the aroused nipples. Rachel took a ragged breath as her knees became weak. She gently maneuvered the object of her desire to lay upon the bed as she carefully settled her length over her, resting her forearms on either side of a Meg's head. Meg spread her thighs to accept the slim hips of her partner, groaning in pleasure at the feel of Rachel's dark hair rubbing against her golden curls.

"Awe, shit!" Rachel rolled off of the object of her desires and sat up holding her shoulder, rocking herself back and forth as she groaned in pain.

"Rach, you alright?" Meg sat up on her knees next to Rachel, afraid to touch her and make her misery worse.

"Put too much weight on my shoulder. Damnation, but that hurts." Rachel was aware of small gentle hands pulling her rob down to her waist and palpating the area around her incision, which was now a bit puffy and very sore. "Any bleeding?"

"No. No bleeding. But it is getting a little swollen. I think we'd better ice it and get you a pain pill. We can continue this when you're healed up a bit. Don't want to do any permanent damage do that gorgeous body of yours." Meg kissed Rachel's shoulder as she scooted off of the bed and slipped into one of Rachel's oversized t-shirts as she went into the bathroom to retrieve a pain pill and some water.

"God, I'm sorry Meg." Rachel said as she rearranged her robe and took the proffered medicine. "That didn't go exactly as I'd hoped." She gave a shy grin.

"It's Ok, Rach. Really, it is. Don't beat up on yourself. I can wait." Meg said over her shoulder as she went to the kitchen to get the ice pack from the freezer and wrapped it in a towel.

"Here, now lay down while I apply this to your back..... Well, take the robe off. I can't ice down your shoulder through all that material." Meg helped Rachel pull her arms through the sleeves of her robe and couldn't help admiring the long muscles and luscious breasts of the woman she loved.

Rachel watched Meg looking at her and found she enjoyed it. It rekindled her passion. She reached out with her left hand and gently pulled on her t-shirt until she was able to rest her head on Meg's breasts. She breathed deeply of her scent and purred. "I still want you, Meg. I want you so much."

Meg pulled the t-shirt off over her head and with both hands pulled Rachel's face into her heaving breasts. "I want you too, my love, but you're hurt."

"We'll work around that. I can't wait anymore. I don't want to wait" Rachel stated as she gently took Meg's pink nipple into her mouth and suckled as her left hand rubbed and squeezed a firm soft buttocks. Meg groaned out her arousal as she straddled Rachel's thigh, pushing her own into the older woman's sex. Rachel responded by taking more of the breast into her warm mouth and sliding her hand around the back of Meg's buttocks and into the wetness of her lover's desire.

Meg's breath hitched at the intimate contact. She gently pushed her lover away from her breast. "I need to kiss you Rachel." Meg stated as she used her two hands to tilt Rachel's face up to accept her homage. As the smaller woman explored her lover's mouth, her thigh continually stroked the dark woman's silken sex, making her tremble with need.

Rachel's head was filled with the scent of her lover's sex. She had to taste her. She needed it now. Separating their lips, Rachel let her body slide down the side of the bed till she was kneeling on the floor between Meg's legs. She briefly rested her head against golden curls as she used her left hand to stroke between swollen lips then she used the same hand to lift and separate Meg's labia, revealing her very engorged and throbbing clitoris, all pink and hard. She took a deep breath of her musk, which shot daggers of desire through her own sex then ever so gently took the engorged member into her mouth, lathing it with her tongue.

"Oh, God....., Rachel....., Uh..........uummmm..........uh...........ah............AAAAHHHH!!!!!" Meg lost the ability to form words as she pumped her sex into her lover's mouth and exploded in ecstacy.

Rachel lapped up as much of Meg's juices as she could before her lover lost the ability to stand and slid down her body and onto her own knees in front of her. To Rachel's surprise, Meg claimed her lips in a deep passionate kiss, then broke away briefly. "Spread your legs and straddle my thigh, Rachel." Rachel did as she'd been begged and pumped as her lover leaned back to admire her body. Small hands cupped her breasts and stroked the aroused nipples with her palms. She then lifted one to her waiting warm mouth and suckled it as if for sustenance.

Rachel's eyes closed as the suckling sensation pulled at her very depths. Her passion was soaring to greater heights and she needed Meg's sweet deep kiss NOW. Her left hand on Meg's firm buttocks increased the contact between her sex and Meg's well muscled thigh. "Kiss me..... Oh, God!!..... Meg!!!...... I'm gonna come!!!!"

Meg looked up into the eyes she loved, the pupils dilated, nearly obliterating the soft brown with her passion. She quickly lifted herself to capture Rachel's sweet lips, her hands replacing her mouth pulling on the erect nipples. Rachel began to buck erratically as her orgasm over took her. Meg wrapped her arms around her lover's back to support her, allowing her to ride the waves of her climax to fruition. Once Rachel appeared to be sated, Meg stood up and leaned down to help her lover onto the bed and under the blanket. The combination of her orgasm and the pain med exhausted her.

"Sleep now, my love. I'll wake you when supper is ready." Meg kissed the dark head. "I love you, Rachel."

"Love you too, Meggie." Rachel whispered as sleep swept her away.

To be continued in Part 3 of The Awakening

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