A New Beginning
by Marion D Tuttle
Disclaimers: This is an original work of fiction so the disclaimers aren't really necessary. I know the main characters might bare a bit of a resemblance to a certain bard and warrior princes but it isn't them.
This part picks up with Cassidy trying to help Jordan deal with the aftermath of her attack. While they are talking Cassidy discovers a lot more about her new friend then she had expected too. She also discovers feelings she thought were long buried are closer to the surface than she had thought.
Cassidy quietly watched Jordan from behind lowered lids. What was it about this young woman? She had managed to maintain a safe emotional distance from everyone around her for years now. She had herself convinced that was the way she wanted it. After all if she didn't let anyone too close then she couldn't get hurt. the one thing she wanted to avoid above all else was the searing pain that had threatened to tear her soul apart when Michelle had died. Now here she was again, on the verge of....she couldn't even allow herself to think the words. She tried to convince her self that the only reason she was reacting this way was because Jordan looked so much like Michelle. As hard as she tried she knew in her heart that wasn't it, the fact was there was something else there.
Having finished her coffee Jordan sank back into the warm comfort of the cushions. She tried the meditation techniques she had learned to try and take some of the edge off her nerves. She felt safe here, for some reason Cassidy seemed to have that effect on her. Still the trauma of what she had been through had her feeling shaky. She knew that it wasn't going to be long before Cassidy started to question her again about what had happened and she really didn't want to go there. The truth was she knew that Cassidy wouldn't let this go and at some point she would have to talk to her about it but she wanted to put it off for just a little while longer. She thought of one way to take the focus off of her attack, at least for the moment. "Can I ask you a question?"
Cassidy had been lost in thought and it took a second for her to register that Jordan had spoken to her. "Sure what do you want to know?"
"When you were talking to Captain Harris and you said it's not about working with Jordan. What did you mean by that?"
She had hoped that Jordan had not caught that, she could have kicked herself for it as soon as she said it but once it was out there she could only hope it would go unnoticed. "I didn't mean that the way it came out." She replied. "When I first found out about this I wasn't really keen on the idea..."
"The idea of working with me or just anyone in general?"
The thought of lying crossed her mind, sometimes a little white lie to spare some one's feelings was a good thing wasn't it? After all what was to be gained from coming right out and telling Jordan that the moment she saw her picture she had felt like her heart had stopped beating? If she told her that she would have to tell her everything and Cassidy wasn't ready to let her that close. Still if she lied and the truth came out later wouldn't it be that much worse? She decided to walk a middle line, not exactly lie but not get into a lot of details either. "Jordan, I can honestly say that my reaction had more to do with outward appearances than you. In fact it would have been the same if it had been anyone else in that position." Of course what she meant by that was if anyone else had been a dead ringer for Michelle she would have felt the same way. "It had nothing to do with you personally."
Jordan seemed satisfied with the answer "So it was just your reputation you were worried about. I mean you do have a bit of a rep for not liking to be saddled with a partner."
"You figured me out." That wasn't the exact truth but it was good enough to appease Jordan with out insulting her or making her suspicious enough to be asking more questions that she was not prepared to answer so she just let the assumption stand. "Ok I answered your question, now it's my turn." She noticed the color drain from Jordan's face. She already knew where this was going to lead. "Will you please tell me what happened tonight?"
The look of dread that came over Jordan's features shook her "Cassidy I can't... I can't report this...." She was trying desperately to hold herself together. She was doing fine as long as the subject was not that of her attack but when the came back to that she could feel the fear grip her.
Moving to sit next to her Cassidy put a comforting arm around her. "No reports, nothing formal if that's the way you want it ok? But Jordan you have to talk about this or it's going to tear you apart, please, as a friend let me help you."
'As a friend.' She had to admit she liked the sound of that She couldn't remember the last time she had really had a friend There were people in her life she had thought were friends but when she had needed them to stand by her they had not been there. She had thought Paul was a friend, even after their divorce but she could see she was wrong about that too. Her feelings were tumbling over each other, there was something instinctive that told her she could trust Cassidy. Her heart cried out to her that she needed to trust somebody. She swallowed, all of a sudden her throat felt dry and scratchy. It was the moment of truth and she knew it almost from the moment she had met Cassidy she had felt a connection with her. She had not wanted to feel this way but it was there and she was faced with a choice turn away now and spend the rest of her life regretting a chance she may have missed or risk losing everything. "First you have to make me a promise."
"I'll tell you...everything. If you promise that what I say stays between us no matter what."
At first Cassidy seemed a little hesitant to make such a promise but she knew it was the only way to get Jordan to open up and for reasons she couldn't even explain to herself she desperately wanted to help this woman. "You have my word that whatever you say here stays here."
She hadn't known Cassidy long but one thing she knew is that this woman was as good as her word. She took a breath wondering just how far she should go back and how much she should reveal. Looking into Cassidy's eyes she knew that she had to tell her everything. "You may want to settle in this could be a long story."
"Let me do just one thing first." Jordan watched as Cassidy moved to her desk she turned the ringer on the phone off and turned the volume on the answering machine all the way down. Then she took her cell phone out and turned it off. "Better if we don't have any interruptions." She smiled. The truth was she had an idea of how hard this was going to be for Jordan and once she got talking Cassidy didn't want to take the chance of something breaking in and having Jordan close off emotionally again. She sat back down next to Jordan, she said nothing. She just took Jordan's hand in her own. In that gesture she conveyed a sense of safety.
Steeling herself to tell the story she had never told anyone else she started. "I know this is going to sound strange but this all started many years ago, not just with Paul...I was always a little bit different I guess. I tried to be what was expected of me but I never really measured up."
Cassidy felt a pull on her emotions at these words. She could more than relate to what Jordan was saying so far. She had felt in her teen years that she didn't quite fit in with her peers. Fortunately for her she had been blessed with a very supportive family. When she had finally admitted to her Parents the reasons she had felt so out of place they had been a little taken aback but they had assured her that their main concern was for her happiness and well being. Michelle had been the compelling reason for her to even tell her family, she had said she knew she loved Cassidy and wanted to spend her life with her and did not want to hide that. Cassidy had wanted to wait but Michelle had been insistent that they tell their families the truth it had turned out for the best and she had counted her blessings knowing in her heart that most people in her position where not that lucky. Now she got the very distinct impression that Jordan was going to tell her that she had the experience o f having to tell her fam ily she was gay as well. She had suspected that from the start but then when she had heard Jordan had been married she figured her gaydar was off on this one. She found herself wondering if she hadn't been right in the first place. One thing was clear, there was a lot more to Jordan Walker than she had initially thought.
Jordan's voice brought her back from her musings. "I was raised in what appeared from the outside to be a very strict Catholic family. To the world we looked like a Norman Rockwell painting but on the inside...." She paused the memories that she was recalling were obviously painful and Cassidy wasn't sure what this had to do with Jordan's rape but she told herself to just hold on and listen. Apparently Jordan felt this information was important. "My Father was a pillar of the community, active in the Church the man every one in town looked up to as an example of what they wanted their sons to grow up like and he was a roaring drunk. He beat my Mother into submission both physically and emotionally. But he was so good at covering his tracks no one ever suspected anything was wrong. He never drank to excess in public and of course never raised a hand against my Mother when anyone outside the family was around so when I told my teachers about the things that were happening at home I was labeled as a 'proble m child'. Everyone thought I was just a spoiled little brat trying to make trouble after all Gerald Walker was a great man the things I was saying couldn't possibly be true. The one time a counselor did come to the house to ask questions my Mother made excuses saying that I was going through a hard time adjusting to they idea that there was going to be a new baby in the house. My Father had her so terrified she would lie to cover things up. She told Mrs... Phelps that I was upset about having to share my Father's attention with a new child.."
"I thought you were an only child."
" I am, after the counselor left he was so angry that any one would dare to come into his home and accuse him of being less then perfect he started drinking, he got drunk that night and beat my Mother so badly she lost the little boy she was carrying. She called her Sister to take her to the hospital she told everyone that she had been in an accident. He died when I was in the third grade and I didn't shed a tear I was actually glad. I know that sounds horrible but I never felt any love for him. Is that terrible? When I looked at other kids with their Fathers I never could think of mine that way he was a monster, but no one knew..."
Cassidy couldn't help the tear that slipped down her cheek at the suffering Jordan went through as a child although she hadn't said her Father ever did anything directly to her she still was left scarred by what she watched her Mother go through. "Did things get better for your Mother...after he died?"
"Yes and no. At first my Mother seemed to come out from under the cloud she had been living under. Of course at the time I was still too young to really know too much but I could defiantly tell there was a difference in the way she acted. We didn't have to worry about money, my Father had been a successful attorney and did leave a fair amount of money."
A thought occurred to Cassidy and she wasn't sure if she should ask or not, but the detective in her won out. "You didn't say, how did your Father die?"
"He was shot." Was the cold reply
A slow feeling of dread crept over Cassidy. Jordan had only been about 9 years old it couldn't have been her, could it?
Before Cassidy could ask Jordan answered the question. "I didn't do it although I can't say I might not have if I had thought of it, I hated him. No he was shot during a robbery at the liquor store, divine justice in a way." The flood gates were open now and Jordan felt all sorts of old emotions pouring out she would have been powerless to stop at this point even if she wanted to. "After his death things seemed to get better for a while like I said I actually started to think my Mother and I could have a normal life. Then she started dating Ralph, my Father's partner. Things were good at first, in fact I thought that we were going to finally be the family I had always dreamed of having but that didn't last. Ralph didn't drink but he was control freak once he and my Mother married he controlled everything she did down to when she went grocery shopping to who was allowed in the house. But the worst came about four years after they got married. Ralph started to notice me a lot more i t started out innocently enough just a few hugs here and there to show me he loved me he said."
Cassidy felt the bile rise in her throat "Did he?"
"Rape me? Eventually yes many times although he never called it rape he said my Mother wasn't giving him the things he needed so it was my duty as a 'good little girl' to help him with what he needed." Jordan stopped for a moment to collect her thoughts and calm down. It was clear that bring up all these old wounds from the past were taking a toll on her. "I told my Mother what was happening after the first time. She told me I must be mistaken I couldn't believe it looking back I know she was scared to do anything, in a way Ralph was worse than my Father he never laid a hand on me and when he beat my Mother he was drunk. On the rare occasion he was sober he always felt sorry for what he had done, or so he said. But Ralph was stone cold sober when he committed his crimes against us. He never beat my Mother physically but he made her suffer emotional abuse that was far worse. to the day she died he had her under his thumb. When I was offered the chance for a scholarship to an all gi rls boarding school just before my freshman year I jumped at the chance. I left that house and never went back."
"You never saw you Mother again?"
"Oh I saw her but at school and later on campus at college I couldn't bring myself to go back there. I settled into a routine at Burke Academy and actually started to feel for the first time in my life like I could have a normal life. Of course I kept up the appearances of coming from one of the best families in town. More for myself then anyone else. I guess I figured if I kept the illusion alive I wouldn't have to answer any questions. At first my classmates thought it was a little odd that I never went home for school breaks but I told them all it was just easier for me to stay at school because of my parents schedule. My Mother would come up to visit and after a while people just accepted it as normal. That's when I first met Paul."
Ok so there is a tie in here Cassidy thought to herself.
"He was a good friend and he was so sweet to me, something I had never really had. He wanted me to be his girlfriend but I didn't feel comfortable with that. I had noticed while I was at school that I didn't have the interest in boys that the rest of the girls seemed to have. Sometimes it seemed like all they ever wanted to talk about was who was the cutest guy and whose boyfriend was the most attentive all the normal teenage girl stuff. I found myself looking at some of my classmates and thinking about what it would be like to be closer to them but I told myself I couldn't be like that, it was wrong....That's when I told Paul I would go out with him at least I could make it look like I was like everyone else. He went to the boys school across town, the schools had the same board of directors and we had a lot of joint events so we got a chance to spend a good deal of time together all through high school. Paul never spent a lot of time at home during school breaks either. His dad was the local chief of p olice and spent a lot of time on the job his Mother never was all that interested in having kids around she was quite the social butterfly anyway we got close. I worked really hard to convince myself that I was falling in love with Paul I thought he was everything I should want. Things progressed and Paul started wanting a more intimate relationship, I was terrified I told him I wasn't ready for that and begged him to understand he said he loved me and was willing to wait."
The more of the story Cassidy heard the stronger her feelings of wanting to protect this young woman became. She couldn't believe that Jordan had come through all of this and still seemed to be a warm loving person that wanted to help people. Most of the people she knew couldn't have withstood the horrors Jordan had lived through. She had so many questions she wanted to ask but she was determined to let Jordan get everything out. There would be plenty of time for questions later.
"We dated all through high school and into Collage I think I stayed with him because it was safe. As long as I was with Paul I didn't have to worry about any uncomfortable questions. I still felt attractions to women but I denied it then there was Beth..." She went on to tell Cassidy what had happened with her friend and the disaster that had followed. "I leaned even more heavily on Paul after that, the truth never got out although there were rumors but nothing was ever confirmed. Paul became my rock, he told me he didn't believe any of the rumors and I like a coward denied everything. Everyone started telling Paul that he should leave me that with all the talk I wasn't the right woman for him but he stood by me. One thing that I thought was strange at the time was the way Paul reacted to the rumors. He never acted this way towards me but I heard him say on more than one occasion when someone would bring it up that I would never do anything that disgusting. He had a real problem w ith gays but I guess I j ust didn't want to see it or admit that it bothered me that he felt that way. I felt trapped if I tried to tell him that he shouldn't be so harsh I was afraid he would start believing what was in fact the truth. I know it was wrong to try and hide the truth and deny what had happened but I was scared I told myself that if I could just be like everyone else my life would settle into some since of normalcy. Paul asked me to marry him,at first I said no. There was something holding me back. As much as I wanted to be normal I knew that Paul had a temper I told him I wouldn't even think about marrying him unless he got some anger management counseling, I wasn't going to run the risk of ending up like my Mother, he agreed. I never did understand what it was that made him go off some times but after counseling he seemed to get things under control. We married and I knew I didn't love him, not the way a wife would love a husband but I convinced myself I would learn to love him. I should have known better."
"How long were you married?"
"Just over three years. I really did want it to work but as hard as I tried to deny it I couldn't hide the truth from myself any longer. I couldn't be the kind of wife I thought Paul deserved. When I told him I wanted a divorce he thought I was just going through some kind of faze. He kept telling me I would come to my senses he has spent the last year and a half trying to convince me to give out marriage another chance. When he came to my apartment last night he wanted to talk, yet again about getting back together. When I got home he was inside waiting for me."
"He was inside your house?"
"Yes I had forgotten he still had a key. When he moved out he said he should hang on to it just in case of an emergency. I didn't see a problem with that in fact I had forgotten he still had a key so I was a little surprised to see him there. I guess I got a little shook up and told him off. He got really upset with me, I haven't seen him get angry like that in years and never at me. Any way it was like he became a completely different person he asked me if the rumors that he had heard in collage were true."
Cassidy had a good idea where this was leading. "What did you tell him?"
"I didn't confirm it but I didn't deny it either The truth is I just didn't know what to say. I told him that I never meant to hurt him but that didn't seem to calm him down much he left, I thought that was going to be the end of it.....But it wasn't he came back later with a friend. Cassidy he said horrible things to me, things I never thought I would hear from him. He told me I was an abomination that I didn't deserve to live with normal people his friend held me down and he....He said he was going to teach me a lesson, that if I was going to be a man hater he was going to give me a good reason for it. When he was done he told me if I said anything he would make sure of it that I came off looking bad. I already had the reputation he said for crying wolf when no one believed the things I had said when I was younger and he is after all the son of a very respected police official in our home town. Who would take my word over his? That's why I can't report this Cassidy...I can't go through that again..." H er emotions took over and she felt herself crumbling into Cassidy's arms. seeking out the comfort and strength she knew she would find there.
Cassidy found herself with her arms full of a very distraught woman. At least now she had a clearer understanding of why Jordan was so reluctant to report what had happened. At first she thought it was just the normal hesitance that some rape victims had in pursuing charges against their attackers. But Jordan had a lifetime of conditioning working against her. Cassidy was no fool she knew the sad truth was many times when rape occurred women were made to feel is if they were at fault in some way. There had been more than one occasion in Jordan's life when she had reported abuse and it had come back on her either in simply not being believed or it having her accusations turned around on her to where she was the one that looked like she was doing something wrong or attempting to cause trouble. As a police officer it could be a career ending move if Jordan accused her ex husband and he managed to turn things back on her. It wasn't fair but it was a cold hard fact. Trying to comf ort Jordan she rocked he r slowly back and forth waiting for her to calm down. Shhh, it's ok. Maybe you should think about talking to the rape counselor at the precinct."
This brought a very strong reaction. "No I told you I can't do that! You promised me that anything I said would stay between us..."
"And it will, it's your choice Jordan it was just a suggestion that's all. If you don't feel like you can do it I won't push it, it's your choice."
For the first time since she had started telling Cassidy her story Jordan smiled. "Thank you, I appreciate that. Just so you know I do understand what your saying....I just can't do that right now." She straightened and looked at Cassidy "I want to thank you for listening too. I can't explain it but I feel better than I have in a long time just getting all that out. I guess I never realized what it was doing to me just carrying it around. I must admit I'm a little surprised..."
"You frankly, you really are a wonderful person Cassidy."
She felt herself blush under the compliment "Call me Cass please, I told you that's what my friends call me and after this morning I would like to think we are friends."
"Cass it is then."
Picking up the remnants of their breakfast Cassidy noticed the light flashing on her answering machine. "Guess a few calls came in while we were talking." She turned the volume back up and hit the button. Her memo played first. "This is Cassidy, you know what to do."
"No frills huh?" Jordan remarked at the straight to the point message
"Hey that's just me." She shrugged
There were three messages. the first one was from Captain Harris. "Cass it's Jim, listen I talked to the commissioner and the Governor their willing to give you a week more if you need it but they really would like some details. I need to hear from you."
The second call had come in about a half hour later "It's me again Cass, I'm getting a lot of heat here I need to get some information from you as to why your putting things off. Call me."
The third was barely 15 minutes after "Damn it Cass don't leave me hanging here I put my ass on the line for you."
She was about to pick up the phone to return the calls when it rang. "What to take bets on who that is?" She asked Jordan. She saw the color drain from Jordan's face. "Don't worry, I'll handle him." She picked up the phone "Windsor."
"Thank God! I was beginning to think you had skipped out on me. Cass you have got to tell me what in Hell is going on. I'm getting a lot of pressure for an explanation as to why we want to postpone this project."
"We talked about this already Jim I asked you to trust me on this."
She could hear the frustration in his voice. "I do trust you and if it were up to me I wouldn't push you for an answer but it's not my call Cass. Give me something, anything to tell the big boys that will settle them down."
Looking over at Jordan she knew she had to find a way to give Jim an answer without betraying her new friend's confidence. She knew she was going out on a limb by doing this and part of her didn't even know why she was. It all came back to the feeling she had that she wanted to protect Jordan. "Just tell them I need the time, I can't explain it right now but if they want me on this project then they'll have to accept it or I walk."
Jordan couldn't believe what she was hearing, Captain Harris was pressing for an answer as to why all of a sudden Cassidy wanted to put off a project that was so important and that she apparently hadn't been thrilled about from the start and she was acting like it was her idea.
Silence was all that greeted Cassidy on the other end of the phone for a minute. finally Jim answered "Alright Cass, but this had better be good."
She hung up the phone and turned to Jordan. "Why did you do that?"
"You took the heat for me. I'm the reason we weren't there today and the reason you postponed the start date..." There was no anger in the question just confusion as to why this woman would put her self on the line like this for her.
"Hey I made you a promise and I keep my promises. I couldn't very well say you had a problem and then refuse to say what the problem was. Your the new kid on the block, I on the other hand have a reputation for being a bit of a pain in the ass." She laughed at the shocked look on Jordan's face. "What's the matter? You think I don't know what the higher ups think of me sometimes? It doesn't bother me, I never really cared to much for other people's opinions and they know it. They keep me around though because I'm tops in my field."
The more time Jordan spent with Cassidy the more of a mystery she seemed to become. She had learned quickly that the older woman was not as cold and unfeeling as some of the stories she had heard about her. In fact she seemed to be quite caring, still there was something there. It lurked just under the surface. Cassidy Windsor defiantly had some secrets of her own and Jordan found herself wanting to find out what they were.
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