After the Curtain Falls

Act Twelve

by Beth Dragon and Kathleen Wolf

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: Any relation the characters within the following story have to other people living, dead or fictional is purely coincidental. All characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the authors.

LOVE/ GRAPHIC SEX DISCLAIMER: This story depicts a love relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something other than this story. Please note there are scenes of a graphic sexual nature at intervals in the story.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE WARNING/DISLAIMER: Later Acts of this story will depict scenes of sexual violence/spousal abuse and its aftermath. This type of depiction may disturb some readers and anyone who is sensitive to this particular issue may wish to read something other than this story.

ILLEGAL DRUG WARNING/DISCLAIMER: Later Acts of this story will include reference to heroin use and the horrors that it causes. If this topic disturbs you, you may wish to read something else.

FEEBACK: All comments are greatly appreciated and can be sent to:

THANKS: To Emma, for her never ending love, support and chocolate. To the Ex-Guards Village for all their feedback and expert advice.

From the white silk-laced banisters of the large central entrance staircase to the fully stocked bar and white tuxedo jackets of the attendants, the reception area at the front of the Theatre was formality from top to tail. Champagne flowed free and heavy as the post-show crowd smoozed and chatted. Damien alone worked his happy jubilant way through the crowd pointing out the more important guests and making sure that their glasses were never empty. Everyone in the crowd impatiently awaited the arrivals of the stars, not caring that after a two and a half hour show that they might need a minute to collect themselves.

It was into this situation that Thea confidently stepped. Wearing a navy blue silk dress that was long and figure hugging. Her hair was swept up off her face and securely fixed back. Her make-
up was flawless, and even her mood was fairly light.


Thea's head snapped round from doing a general scan of the crowd. She knew that voice anywhere.

"Tori?" She looked around trying to see where on earth it had come from. Her calm light mood shattered instantly and she felt a sweat break out across her top lip. She dabbed it lightly with her navy-gloved hand.

"Thea, Thea, Thea!" The small light brown haired girl in the long simple black dress wadded though the stunned crowd waving her hand in the air.

"Tori, baby." She managed to force a smile and batten down her whirling emotions.

"You were amazing!" The girl squealed as she hugged her.

"Thank you." Thea hugged her back lightly. "What are you doing here?" She kissed her sister's cheek.

"Edward brought me!" Tori turned to point at the dark haired man moving slowly towards them in the crowd. "It was a surprise!"

"Edward?" Thea couldn't help breathe the name as her eyes found him instantly.

"Theandra, you were magnificent!" He came toward her with his arms open and the actress made herself move into his embrace.

"Thank you." She was slightly faltered he would mention the play at all. "I can't believe you are here."

"So much talent." He hugged her again briefly before pulling back. "Though one must it expect it from MY wife." His chest puffed up with pride. "We couldn't let your achievement go unnoticed, could we?" He smiled at her. "And it worked out with a meeting I had this morning."

"A meeting here?" She tried not to frown and managed to instead maintain her smile. "In Canada?"

"Yes, the company is courting some advising clients." He laughed. "None of your concern angel."

Thea fought the shiver that threatened to take a hold as her mind registered Edward's patronising tone.

"I can't believe you didn't tell me." She whispered glancing around the room, she desperately tried to place people she knew. Most importantly, she tried to see if Rae had made it to the party yet.

"Edward brought me along so I could see the play." Her sister piped in.

"I wanted to surprise you." He looked at her sadly. "You don't like your surprise. I flew over 5000 miles just to see your smile. I brought your sister with me as well." He shook his head. "Nothing is ever enough for you, is it?"

"On no Edward, of course it's lovely to see you and Tori!" She added catching her sister in another hug.

"That's better Theandra." He nodded approvingly at her.

"Where are you staying?" Thea asked, she stopped looking around, pretty sure that Rae was not yet in the room.

"At the Harbour Castle." He laughed. "Huge place."

"I never been in that one." Thea admitted, her mind calming down a bit. If Edward had arranged his own hotel room she'd at least be spared having to explain why she no longer had a room at the Royal York.

"Well you can see it tonight." He kissed her on the cheek. "Once you've finished your little entertaining duties. Speaking of which, there are very important people here Theandra, you must make your presence known."

"Yes, I must." Thea added hastily, though she was pleased he'd given her a reason to move away.

Edward smiled confidently as he surveyed the room. His gaze found Cleo in the crowd and he smiled slyly as the deal they had struck that morning came to mind again.

"Tori, have you looked around the place yet?" Thea asked wanting to give her sister some attention.

"No, Thea." She smiled looking around wide-eyed. "I wanted to see you first, I miss you." She hugged her again.

"Oh baby, I missed you too. This is going to be a little boring I fear, why don't you take this?" Thea took her pass out of her small purse and passed it to her sister.

"What's this for?" Tori asked looking at it.

"It will give you access to anywhere. Back stage, my dressing room, even the orchestra pit. Anywhere." Thea explained to her. "All the hunky stage crew are still busy at work. If you want a good look at some hot sweaty men."

"Very cool." Tori bubbled. "Hunky stage crew!" She blushed at the idea. "I'll find you in awhile then." She winked and tore off into the crowd. Thea watched her sister go with a smile.

"She is such a handful." Edward grumbled. "Your father spared the rod with her."

"Daddy did just fine." Thea defended slightly harshly as she looked up into the eyes of her husband.

"Your father is a fine man." Edward took a sip of champagne. "You don't need to defend him to me."

"Yes." Thea agreed. She looked back into the crowd and her eyes locked with deep brown. She waved back to the tall blond who waved at her.

"I married one of his daughters remember." He looked her up and down.

"Yes." She answered him distracted. "Edward, I have to mingle. Do you mind having to share me? I mean." She looked up at him. "You could always go back to the hotel. I could join you there later, bring Tori home."

"Not at all." He laughed at her suggestion. "You have your Theatre people now, I enjoy watching you captivate the room. We'll have our time later." He added in a low tone.

"Are you sure?" Thea tried once more, desperate to find a way to mend this. She needed Edward out of here and then she needed to find Rae. She had to get all of this out in the open before the two ran into each other.

"Of course. I might be able to work the room a bit as well." He looked around, grinning greedily. "There must be people with money in here who need a good investor for overseas."

"Perhaps." Thea felt her heart fall.

"Give me a kiss then on be on your way." Edward turned to her. She's already taken half step away. "Theandra!" He called her to a halt. "Kiss please, then off you go." The actress went up on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek softly. "I hope you'll be doing better later." He nodded to her.

Thea said nothing as she moved back off the balls of her feet and turned back to throw herself into the throng and find at least one friendly face.


Victoria slipped into the huge auditorium and could hardly believe the difference. Before it had been so bustling and busy but now the large area was empty. The seats were now abandoned and instead of actor's voices, the sounds of hammering, drills and swearing were the only distractions from silence. The light was brutally harsh but she supposed it had to be. She could hardly believe her luck as she began to wander right down towards the front. Right now was definitely the time to get a real backstage look and if she was lucky run into a few of those hunks her sister had talked about.

"Excuse me." Rae walked down the aisle to intercept her. "The party's back out that way."

"Oh." Tori looked up at her. "It's okay, I'm allowed to be here."

"How so?" Rae smiled at her, the girl's soft exuberance reminded her of Thea. In fact a lot about this girl reminded her of Thea.

"I have a pass." Tori blinked up at the tall Canadian in front of her before looking away briefly and holding up the pass that Thea had given her.

"So you do." Rae smiled. "Can I show you up to the backstage." The tall technician turned to look at the two looming scaffolds. "It's a little dangerous in here and I wouldn't want you to get hurt."

"I don't want to be in the way." Tori enthused, hoping that the tall woman would indeed show her around. Tours were always so much better with a guide.

"It's no trouble." Rae motioned down the side aisle. "Just this way."

"What do you do? In relation to the play?" Tori gabbled as she walked. For the life of her she didn't remember seeing the black haired woman in the cast.

"I am the lighting director." Rae opened the door for her. "And chief electrician or light monkey as the Theatre terms me." She laughed as Tori ducked under her arm and through the door. "I hang out on the big scaffold you saw back there."

"What's it like?" Tori asked, waiting for Rae to enter the backstage with her. "Is it hard work?"

"Its not too bad, just takes time. I'm responsible for everyone seeing the play."

Tori had to admit to herself that she was very struck with this tall woman. She was so very, something.

"Do you go all the way to the top?" Tori asked her eyes wide.

"Yes, do most of my stuff at the top." Rae smiled to herself that the young woman seemed so very impressed by what she did.

"There are some great lighting effects in the play, do I get to see the secrets?" Tori quizzed eagerly.

"No secrets I'm afraid, just me." Rae laughed.

"My sister, she's in the play. She says people like you can make or break a show. Is that true?" Tori asked as Rae led her around pointing out various things.

"Well we are important." Rae couldn't help but agree with her. "Who's your sister?"

"The star!" Tori grinned proudly.

Rae choked on her breath for a moment. Suddenly seeing the shocking similarities between the woman she led through the backstage and the woman she loved.

"Thea's your sister?" She blurted out.

"I thought Thea used a stage name. Estell or something." Tori looked at her and frowned. "Does she not do that here?" Her frown deepened.

"She does." Rae caught her slip. "Sorry, Estell. I've just talked to her a lot and she told me her real name was Thea."

"She must like you a lot then." Tori returned and she stuck out her hand. "I'm Victoria. Tori to most people."

"Nice to meet you Tori." Rae shook the hand offered. " My name is Ra... Cassie."

"It's great to meet you too." Tori gushed.

"You came in from England for the gala then?" Rae questioned leading her past the costume racks.

"Yeah." Tori looked at the costumes, not really paying attention to her tall guide's questions.

"Long trip." Rae noted. "How did you like the show? Was it worth it?'

"Of course. Thea is great, don't you think?" Tori asked absently running her finger over a satin shirt.

"Thea is an amazing actress, she makes the play." Rae added the last bit trying to lower her enthusiasm. "Was she expecting you for the gala?" She tried not to make the enquiry too obvious.

"Not at all, you should have seen her face!" Tori giggled.

"I bet she was very surprised." Rae smiled, knowing now why Thea hadn't mentioned this to her. "That is the shirt that Michael wears in the opening scene." She explained trying to show her interest wasn't totally focused on Tori's sister.

"So do you have any nice chaps on your crew?" Tori asked turning back to look her in the eye.

"Nice chaps?" Rae laughed, realising Tori was just as Thea had described. "A few, but they are busy at work for the next few hours. Can't have you distracting my crew with your beauty."

"I asked Thea but she hasn't mentioned any. Sometimes I think she is blind!" Tori laughed with her.

"Well there are some lovely fellows in the chorus." Rae tried to cover for them both. "She is focused on other things."

"Do you think I am pretty?" She asked suddenly, flicking her hair back with an exaggerated smile.

"You are gorgeous Tori." Rae tried not to laugh at the loaded question. The young woman screwed her nose up in an action that could have come from Thea.

"I am not too sure Victoria Wilcox will ever be a household name!" Tori laughed again.

"Why do you want to be an actress as well?" Rae questioned as the reference to Wilcox registered in her mind.

"No way." Tori shook her head. "Not in my life plan."

"What is in your life plan then?" Rae tried to keep the frown from her face her stomach sank. The name Wilcox repeated over and over in her head

"Lots of money, lots of fun. No ties!" The young woman exclaimed.

"So no husband for you?" Rae saw the opening to ask the question.

"Husband?" Tori blurted out as she laughed.

"Yes, significant life partner?" Rae countered laughing back.

"No, I meant husband as in singular!" Tori kept laughing. "Put a 's' on it and you might have me interested!"

"Oh!" Rae's smile returned as the question of the last name was answered. "Well, sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince." It still struck her as odd that in their long conversations, Thea didn't mention her sister had been married before.

"So far I've only tried out a few tadpoles!" Tori giggled.

"Well keep looking, you'll find your prince one day." Rae winked at her. "Just have to have faith."

"Am I keeping you from a job?" Tori asked suddenly.

"Oh no." Rae waved off her concern. "Actually I have to head into the party for a bit, have to suck up to some of the financiers." She pulled at the silk blouse she wore thankful she'd not had too huge a blow up with Damien when she didn't wear a dress and opted for the slightly dressy velvet business suit.

"Well I didn't like to say that that didn't look like work gear." Tori commented looking her up and down.

"Oh no that would be jeans and a T-shirt." Rae laughed, picturing how hard it would be to get grease and dirt out of velvet.

"Do you mind if I hang around back here?" Tori asked looking around.

"Not a problem." Rae pointed to a small corridor to their left. "Your sister's dressing room is over there if you want to take a look."

"Oh great, bet it's full of flowers from a thousand admirers huh?" Tori took a few steps off towards the corridor. "That's about the only plus I could think of to being an actress."

"I think there's a few flowers." Rae's mind went to the large arrangement of orchids with her very uncryptic message on the card. She also remembered suddenly how prominently Thea had displayed the bouquet. "Actually Tori." Rae tried to intervene in her lover's sister prematurely finding out about their relationship. "Maybe you'd want to come back to the party with me."

"The 'party' is about as much fun as having my teeth checked!" Tori exaggerated painfully.

"I know a gorgeous chorus guy I could introduce you too." Rae baited her to return.

"How gorgeous?" The young woman fell for the bait.

"Blonde hair, blue eyes." Rae thought of details. "Big muscles, wash board abs." She grinned and Tori grinned back. "I thought that might interest a princess like you." Thea's sister jogged back to Rae and slipped her arm through the tall technician's. "We can go around to the main exit." She smiled at the move.

"Are you this nice to everyone?" Tori's question caused Rae to laugh again.

"Just special people." She winked at her and opened the door. The clamour of the party hit them immediately.

"I warn you now." Tori spoke very quietly. "If this gets deadly boring, I am going to hunt you down and make your life hell!" Her giggling ruined her attempt at intimidation.

"Duly warned." Rae laughed as she guided the young woman through the door. "Let's find Marcus now for you." She scanned the crowd.

"Okay." Tori felt happy to let Rae work for her.

"He's right over there." She pointed him out for Tori's appraisal as she scanned the crowd for Thea. "What do you think?"

"Very nice." Tori breathed as she tucked her hair behind her ears. "How do I look?"

"You look gorgeous Tori, Marcus is a lucky man to get your attention." She replied still searching for Thea. "Now, do you want to know a secret?"

"Yeah, I love secrets." Tori whispered.

"Canadian guys love when girls come up out of nowhere and pick them up." Rae whispered back. "They have this whole ego thing."

"They do? Can I ask you a question now?" Tori asked as she fixed Marcus firmly in her sights.


"Who are you looking for?" Tori asked with a smirk in her eye.

"Me?" Rae was taken off guard.

"Yes, you." Tori kept her voice low.

"I have someone very special already, no more looking for me." Rae answered knowingly.

"I know that." Tori nodded. "What I meant was who is it? They are obviously here. You've done nothing but scan since we stepped through the door."

"Caught me eh?" Rae tried to stay relaxed. She was quite sure that telling Tori it was her sister was not the way for the girl to find out Thea's preference.

"So who?" Tori pressed pleased to have been right.

"Let's just say, I'm sure you'll get the chance to talk to my special someone before the night is over." Rae tried to side step answering. "Deal?"

"Okay, next question." She prodded cheekily. "Can I take some one else back stage with this pass?" She raised an eyebrow.

"Of course." Rae winked at her. "You have the run of the place and if anyone does hassle you say you're with me."

"Cool." She grinned. "Gotta go kiss a tadpole." Impulsively Tori kissed Rae's cheek and darted off into the crowd.

"Go get them girl!" Rae laughed and turned to scan the room again.

She took a few steps further into the crowd and grabbed a flute of champagne from a passing waiter. Taking a sip she finally found who she was looking for.

Thea sat perched on a stool by the bar with a large entourage hanging on her every word. Rae made her way over, hanging at the back for a moment she waited for an appropriate break in the conversation. Once the crowd had momentarily dwindled she stepped forward.

"Miss. Winters." She smiled warmly. "Could I talk shop with you for a moment?" She hoped the comment would drive the last few onlookers away. When Thea glanced at her, she couldn't help but smile a bit brighter.

"Of course." She turned to the rest of the crowd. "I'm sorry, I have just one or too business things to cover." The few nodded and dispersed.

"First thing is." Rae leaned on the bar and moved as close as publicly acceptable.

"Yes?" She breathed as she put her glass down.

"I so want to just grab you and kiss you as you look so gorgeous." Rae's words came in a soft growl that no one but Thea could hear.

"Consider that comment returned to you." Thea's voice was only slightly louder.

"This old thing." Rae smiled. "I thought you'd like the velvet."

"Is fabulous." Thea purred though her eyes were not settled on Rae, they flickered around the room trying to keep an eye on where Edward was.

"Should I wear it to the cabin then?" Rae turned to look at the crowd as well though her eyes scanned aimless.

"You could, though love it might be a little formal?" Her mind sparked on an idea. "Do you want to nip back to the condo to get changed?"

"I don't think so, the jeep is all packed and ready to go." Rae spoke softly. "All it needs is you and me."

"You sure? If you need to go and change it's okay." Thea tried again, desperate to separate her lover and her husband.

"Well we do have to swing by for Mac but that's on the way." Rae took a sip of champagne before abandoning the glass on the bar.

"Are you sure? Wouldn't it be better to get her now?" Thea asked hopeful that the situation could be remedied.

"She'd be crazy if we left her in the car that long." Rae looked at her funny. "You know how she gets when she's in the jeep."

"Oh yes." Thea apologised.

"Theandra, darling!" Edward came up in Thea's blind spot suddenly and the sound of his voice made her heart sink into her stomach

"Edward." She breathed. Rae looked at the newcomer ready to put him in his place when she saw Thea's face whiten. The actress looked up at Rae scared what her lover's response would be to his intrusion.

"Just wanted to check up on you." He smiled at her and motioned to the bartender for another drink. Thea's vision began to darken at the edges.

"Edward Jones." He stuck his hand out towards Rae suddenly smiling.

'The name. The name.' It ran through Rae's mind a thousand times as she first looked at his hand and then at Thea's closed eyes. 'Edward Jones!' Repeating in Rae's head next.

"Cassie O'Keefe." She took his hand and spoke though her mind had long shut down.

Thea felt herself paling even further, she felt sick and she swore her heart had stopped.

"The lighting director?" Edward remembered the name on playbill. "You do amazing work, I have never seen my Theandra lit so beautifully."

The pale actress looked at Rae and then Edward. The single word 'my' caught in Rae's head and caused her to swallow hard.

"Edward." Thea finally found a voice. "Miss. O'Keefe and I were just talking theatre things."

"Well Theandra one must compliment her." He winked at his wife. "She has obvious talent."

"I am sure you are having too much fun to be bored by our conversation." She pushed, trying to get him to leave them.

"Without you my love? Never." He moved closer to her. "I need you by my side to have any fun." He bent and kissed her cheek. Thea felt the lips on her cheek sting as if she had been slapped.

Rae exhaled the slight breath she'd been holding as for the first time she moved her eyes so that Thea was in her vision permanently. Thea looked up, her eyes filling with tears as they met with blue.

"You should invite her back to the hotel." Edward hung for a second and whispered in her ear. "She's got more than obvious talent!" Thea could feel her lungs tighten as the darkness crept further into her vision.

"I think we're about finished." Rae whispered trying to find some volume in her voice. "With the shop talk." She looked to meet Edward's eyes again her voice going back to normal.

"Are you sure you understand the situation?" Thea pleaded looking at Rae, desperately wording her question in the only way she could. Her eyes begged the technician to stay.

"I'm sure you have a lot to catch up on with your husband." Rae looked at her and answered in a empty voice. "And I think the situation has been properly brought into the light now."

Thea could not find a voice to reply, just as she could not stop a tear from slipping onto her cheek.

"I wish I'd realised before how the shadows were hindering your acting." Rae added shaking her head, desperately trying to keep the overwhelming hurt inside her from bubbling over.

"Cassie." Thea blurted suddenly, the name stinging her lips.

"Yes Estell?" Rae kept herself from turning away just yet.

"I tried to tell you." She forced a little power into her voice.

"Not hard enough." Rae shook her head.

"I could come in tomorrow and we could talk through it." The actress tried to find a way to get them alone.

"Now Theandra, no Theatre tomorrow." Edward laughed. "You have a day off and a date with me. This little situation will wait till Monday."

"No need." Rae took a deep breath and found her strength. "This clears up the situation completely Edward. You two have a nice weekend." She turned on her heel and pushed her way through the crowd away from the bar.

"Cass..." Thea began standing up from her stool, but it was too late. The crowd had already swallowed her lover.

"Fiery one she is." Edward moved to take her place. "You sure you can't persuade her to come back to the hotel for a nightcap?"

"Stop it." Thea hissed at him sharply. "You know nothing about anything."

"Theandra, what has gotten into you?" He questioned back in a harsh voice. "You are making a scene. Sit down and calm down before you ruin your makeup." He chastised her as a child.

"Sorry." Thea heard her self apologise and sat down automatically as her learned behaviour kicked in.

"Much better." He took a drink as he spoke down to her. "One must always remember the public Theandra, and the public is always watching."

"Of course." She dabbed at her eye with a tissue from her purse.

"No matter what is going on with that woman at work, you can't let it interfere with the play's public image."

"No Edward." Thea agreed her voice dull and empty.

"Or mine, I have made some very important contacts at this party." He added pompously. "And I do not care to have your theatrics ruin them. Are we calm now?"

"Yes dear." She heard herself say she was, though she knew for a fact nothing was further from the truth. Her life had left with Rae and what was left was just a shell. A shell left to exist on automatic pilot, one that had one role and one role alone.

"Good." He nodded at her, his voice lifting. "Much better. Now put on that stellar smile of yours and let's work this crowd."

"Yes dear." She responded blankly.

"Good girl." He moved his hand behind her and patted her butt out of view. "Come, introduce me to your director." He offered his hand to help her off the stool. Thea's 'stellar' smile returned as she let Edward help her to stand and then she led him through the crowd to Damien.

"With all of this success I think your contract needs to be re-negotiated." Edward commented as they walked. Thea didn't hear a word, she just continued to lead the way. Her mind curled up tight in her head crying and the pieces of her broken heart cutting through her chest like glass.


The jeep jumped the curb and went onto the crowded street without hesitation. Behind the wheel Rae could barely see the road in front of her. Various emotions paraded past her eyes in turn all at a blazing intensity. The slow blocked traffic made her escape difficult and she made a blind turn into an alley. She travelled some distance down the dark, garbage filled alley before in a sudden move the jeep skipped to a quick stop on the wet pavement. Her foot down hard on the brake, she slammed her palm into the steering wheel again and again.

"Why Thea why!" She screamed loudly, the muffled sound of it enough to send the cats in the alley running for cover. "I loved you, God I loved you with everything I was." The strength of her voice dropped as she bent forward slowly and let her forehead rest on the steering wheel.

"You could have told me, explained this." She slammed her hand into the wheel again as her mind replayed her memory of that first day.

Crouched beside the car, she'd asked the actress. Asked her flat out if there was anyone. She'd even joked that there could be many. Thea had said no to both questions.

"She'd lied to me." Rae whispered to herself as the realisation hit her and the first of her tears fell. "Right from the beginning she lied to me." She pulled herself up to sit straight again and wiped her cheeks. Annoyed by the formal velvet coat she pulled it off roughly and threw it into the crowded back seat. The sight of all their camping gear waiting ready made her cringe.

"You'll never know what I got you." She thought of the presents hidden amongst the gear. "You never deserved them in the first place." She turned and threw the jeep into gear. A loud long squeal coming out of the vehicles thick tires as she made her way through the tight back streets.

"Oh it all makes sense now." She mumbled to herself angrily as she made her way back onto a main road. No longer seeing the thick traffic that moved around her as a hindrance. Her mind was going fast enough to compensate. "No wonder she had no real problem dealing with all of your past. She was just in it for a good time and she just said whatever she needed to in order to string you along."

Her hand slammed into the wheel again as she undid the collar of the silk shirt. Opening it so it hung open and loose to just above her chest.

"So understanding, so committed, so loving." She barked the qualities she'd once loved in Thea but now believed were fabricated. "All a fucking act!" She slammed her hand again. "I had a Goddamn test for that girl. Went around feeling like I was the bad person for what I'd done, while the entire time she was lying and pretending."

"I want to spend my life with you Rae." She mocked the remembered words in a high voice. "I want to have a home with you, Rae. I love you Rae." She wiped at a new lot of angry tears. "Fucking lies, that's all it was. You must have been so happy when you found out I had money."

A sudden quick left through traffic and the jeep emerged on another darker street. The city's surroundings slowly became less lit and the walls of the looming buildings were littered in graffiti.

"Then you didn't have to feel like you were slumming I bet, best of both worlds. Girl who gets her hands dirty but can buy you anything in the world. I was so stupid!" She stopped at the red light, tempted to run it but her ranting kept her in place. She pushed the button to roll down her window. The cold night air struck her hard and reminded her that all of this was indeed real.

"So fucking stupid." She mumbled to herself again as the light turned and she raced through it. Just missing a slow car that had turned onto the road in front of her. In a quick move she was up on the sidewalk, garbage flying in all directions in her wake as she passed the car. Her strung nerves didn't even register the close call as the vehicle came back on the pavement of the road and tore off.

The stunned passenger of the small car slowed down even more as he watched the shiny black jeep's dangerous manoeuvre.

"How could I fall for this?" She questioned herself. "She's a world class fucking actress for sure." She laughed sadly. "Had the mighty Cassie O'Keefe jumping through Goddamned hoops for her. That's it!" She slowed the car down as her mind slowed. "We're through."

The words of her own decision registered in her head and she stopped the jeep on a dime.

"You are such a loser!" She snapped at herself. "You don't have this choice, Thea already made it. This was never to last, there was no future, no home, no permanent you and her." The reality slapped her hard. "You were being strung along till whenever she was finished with you. Only problem was her hubby decided to show up early and she didn't get to use you up as she'd wanted."

She stared at the road in front of her blankly. It wasn't until the loud horn sounded behind her that she came back to the here and now. With shaking hands she pulled the jeep out of the road and turned it off.

"I shouldn't be driving." Some soft voice in her head begged for attention. "Take a walk, clear your head."

Stepping out into the dark street, she locked the jeep and just began walking. She had no destination, as she knew, the one thing she wanted to leave behind couldn't be and the one thing she wanted to run too wasn't there anymore.


Cleo wandered around the party with a hidden purpose. She kept close to the play's lead but not too close as to arouse suspicion. Her only annoyance to her task was the play's director, who insisted on checking up on her every few minutes. Yes, she was well aware she was by far the richest possible backer at the party but still.

"Do you want more champagne?" Damien came into her line of sight holding up a freshly filled crystal flute.

"Thank you." She laughed and handed him the one in her hand even though it was over half full. "Damien, if I didn't know better I'd say you're expecting some sort of commitment from me this evening."

"Well Miss. Eaton." Damien put on his best charm. The checkbooks of several of the other possible backers rested on this one woman signing onto the deal even in a small way. "I would never expect, but I am hoping beyond belief." He tried the honest approach with her. He knew from previous dealings with the woman that any other approach failed immediately.

"I am impressed." She looked around, spotting Thea doing press with one of the local papers. "But I have a few questions before I could even think of committing."

"Like?" He discarded her glass with a nearby waiter and moved closer.

"Well first off, are you able to guarantee this cast for at least an eight month run?" She took a sip of her drink.

"Most definitely!" Damien nodded adamantly.

"Good, good." She looked off thinking. "Have you signed on any other backers yet?" She turned back to fix him with sharp brown eyes.

"Only New Technologies." He swallowed hard. "They've come on to rewire the building and supply the tech budget. I'm sure their involvement could only sweeten the involvement of The Royal and Free Corporation."

"Fabulous!" Cleo's eyes lit up. Having the tech budget be separate from her investment would make life tremendously easy. "I have an offer for you Damien." She lowered her voice and moved close.

"Yes, Miss. Eaton?" He tried to keep himself calm. This moment could make or break the show.

"I will invest, but only..." She let the words hang for a moment.

"Only?" He prompted when the silence began to hurt.

"Only if I get 100% rights." She filled in the gap finally with a sly grin. "Other than New Technologies portion of course."

"R and F will be the sole backer?" Damien couldn't believe what he'd heard.

"No, not R and F." She shook her head. "I want to run this through a subsidiary I've set up and I want to keep my personal involvement on a low key basis for a bit."

"I have to ask Miss. Eaton, how much is this subsidiary willing to go in for?" He salivated at the idea. No more galas, no more bringing drinks to snotty people he didn't like.

"Let's say my vision is to run this to a frenzy here in Toronto and then move to New York in time for the 2001 Tony cut offs." She lowered her voice to show her seriousness. "My lawyers will draw up all the necessary paperwork for our end."

"You have yourself a deal." Damien held out his hand and smiled as she shook it lightly.

"Fabulous!" Cleo grinned. "Absolutely Fabulous!"


Her arms folded across her chest, Rae walked down the relatively empty streets without destination or purpose. Passing an elderly man walking his dog, she held her tongue. The monologue continuing on in her head unimpeded.

'So she tried to tell you.' The idea stung at her insides like acid. 'How dare she imply that not knowing was your fault? She had a million chances to tell you, she just chose not to take them. Were you that unapproachable?' Her thoughts went back to blaming herself as she couldn't hold her anger for the actress very long. It just hurt too much to blame Thea, hurt too much to admit that the small strawberry blonde had meant this all to turn out so maliciously. 'Why Thea Why?' She asked the question again and again.

"What did you expect O'Keefe?" She asked herself in a harsh voice as she came to a fenced walkway that ran between the buildings and turned down it. The poorly lit corridor emerged a short time later in a small downtown park. "She's class, your trash, it could never work. Way to live in denial."

She laughed lightly as she boots scratched against the frozen winter grass.

"I'm carrying the cure for those blues pretty lady." A small wiry man in a leather jacket stepped out from behind one of the trees.

"Pardon?" Having been too caught up in her own words Rae hadn't realised that he was there let alone heard his words.

"Whatever it is that's bringing you down, I got the cure if you got the cash." He hovered in the shadows. "I got the fine stuff for a fine lady like you."

Rae did a slow three sixty as she turned to take in her surroundings. The familiarity of the looming buildings, the tall chain fences and even this park suddenly came to her. How had she gotten here? This was old territory, this was drug territory and this was not where she wanted to be.

"Look lady, it's okay I won't tell anybody." He laughed lightly and sparked up a cigarette. "And if you don't have the cash we might be able to reach a mutually satisfying deal." He mistook her confusion as junkie desperation.

"No, I'm not looking for anything just walking." She mumbled as she turned on her heel and walked back the way she had come.

"Suit yourself baby." He sneered at her. "But if you come back looking later the price doubles."

Rae's rational mind screamed. She couldn't stay here, couldn't be here. She didn't want any of his poison, she really didn't. Even if her subconscious had led her here this was not what she wanted. But as Lillian would ask her, if you came then part of you must want to be here? That is what you must figure out and address.

"I have enough pain already." She whispered to herself as she retraced her steps through the walkway. "She's not worth losing my mind over." She made the vow to herself as she emerged back onto the main street.

"Oh God I wish you were here Lillian." She wrapped her arms around herself tighter. "You could make sense of this." Her mind raced. Getting to this part of town wasn't the easiest endeavour from the theatre. She looked at the silver watch on her wrist, surprised by the late hour that the glowing hands pointed to. "What have I been doing all this time?" She questioned herself quietly. The hours of tears, screaming and walking registered in her mind suddenly.

"I came here out of habit." She took a deep breath and tried to focus. "But it is an old habit and not one that I am going to indulge." She took another breath trying to centre herself. Whether she centred on the angry, the jealously or the hurt she had to focus on something.

"I let you in and I let you hurt me Thea." She whispered the soft pained words into the night sky. "You hid the truth even when you knew it would hurt me and I had the right to hear it. For that I don't think I can ever forgive you."


"Estell, you were magnificent!" Cleo announced with a slight clap as she moved into the busy crowd that had converged around the actress. Everyone parted at her arrival, her reputation sending them all whispering into the background as she took centre stage.

"Thank you." Thea smiled brightly though her stomach turned. The sight of the tall blonde reminded her of one person who wasn't at the party. The one person who she desperately needed to explain things too, if things could be explained. "I'm glad you enjoyed the show."

"Kiss, kiss now." Cleo laughed and kissed both her cheeks as the camera's snapped off pictures. "Must give them all what they want to see." She whispered in the actress' ear.

"Of course." Thea nodded her agreement. "You enjoyed the show then?" She asked the question without thinking as they both stood to allow the photographers the most optimal shots of them together.

"Enjoyed, oh my no!" Cleo laughed and snatched a glass of champagne from a nearby waiter. "I was completely enthralled. Especially the beginning of the last act."

"The last act?" Thea choked out the words, frantically searching the tall woman's face for any hint she'd talked to Rae.

"Oh yes!" She took a sip of her drink. "That scene when your lover comes in on you and your husband. It was so believable, moved me to tears." She wiped a stray-gloved hand by her eye.

"Is Brittany with you?" The actress' voice was tight as she tried to move the subject away from the play. Too many blaring parallel's loomed to rip her soul to shreds.

"Oh yes Brit is here somewhere." Cleo looked around absently. "She's been good and let me do the business thing while she makes friends."

"Business?" She questioned. "I thought you were here for pleasure alone tonight Angelina."

"Oh well you know how it is." The tall woman laughed. "In my circles you're always mixing both." She waited for the actress to ask the obvious question, disappointed when the silence hung between them. "You're director is hopeful I'm here for business. Though as Raven has probably told you, she hates me meddling in the Theatre scene. Her territory so to speak."

"No..." Thea swallowed hard as she tried to find the strength to say her lover's name. A bright, hard flash of pain split through her heart. "Rae never mentioned that."

"Oh yes. Raven is always afraid her hidden interest in the corporation would come out and then she'd be thrust from the background into the middle of one of these." Cleo waved around at the party. "She prefers her secret only be know by a very special few." She winked at Thea. "Where is my little Blackbird anyway?" She looked around with more intent.

"You haven't seen her?" The actress strained to say the words.

"No, not yet." Cleo turned back to the actress. "I'm sure she's around here somewhere. She'll make at least a brief appearance as she is the lighting director." She smiled. "Well Estell I won't take up any more of your time, but I'll find you before I leave."

"Yes, please do." Thea smiled at her, happy when Cleo turned away. The actress threw herself into the questions of the hounding press.


It wasn't long before Rae arrived back at the jeep. Huddled in the cold vehicle, she started the engine and waited for it to warm up. As the dry heat began to pour out of the vents, she held her chilled hands in the air. Turning on the radio, she tried to calm her nerves before she attempted driving again. Her main goal now was getting herself out of this part of town.

"I've got no where to go." She whispered desperately. She couldn't go to the condo, as she knew it was littered with Thea's things. She couldn't go back to the townhouse, as it was the same. Being in the jeep with all this stuff was hard enough. The light scent of the actress' perfume hanging off of her overnight bag was already filling the car with nothing but Thea. Everything in her life had been altered in the short time they'd spent together. Everything had been labelled with bold 'ours' and was no longer just the technician's alone. She knew that was mostly her fault. She'd opened her heart, her houses to the actress. She's insisted on everything in her life being shared between them. She knew now what a farce all of that had been.

The soft love song playing in the background grated on her nerves instead of calming them and she turned the radio off again. The soft hum of the motor filled her ears.

"I don't have a friend in the world." She ran her hands through her hair and brushed at her wet cheeks.

The flashing memory of a tall blonde came into her mind suddenly. No, she didn't even have Cleo to turn to anymore. Did she?

Strapping on her seat belt, she pulled the jeep slowly away from the curb. Right now it really didn't matter where she went as long as she got far away from here.


Edward's comments about the hotel had been accurate. It was indeed huge. By the time they'd emerged from the limo and Edward had led Thea though the lobby and up to his room, the actress was truly shattered.

The room itself was very large and clearly set out into three areas. The bedroom off to the left held a large fireplace while the main door entered into a large entertainment area. Off to the right was a office room to cater to the hotel's business clientele. A door led off to the bedroom and off of it was the bathroom. Both were neatly decorated in green and cream with co-ordinated furnishings. Edward closed the door and locked it behind them. Pulling off his shoes he padded across the think carpet and slipped off his jacket. Thea walked numbly over to an armchair and sat down in it placing her purse on the coffee table.

"So Theandra what do you think?" Edward motioned around as he loosened his tie and walked over towards her.

"Very nice." She glanced around. The honest truth was that she didn't find it nice and it was definitely not the place she wanted to be. She wanted to be at the condo waiting for Rae. She had so much to explain and so much to apologise for.

"A very productive gala." He pulled the tie off and tossed it aside onto the large couch.

"Yes." Thea agreed not sure where to look. She settled at looking to the carpet, anything to avoid her husband's soulless eyes.

"I noticed you were talking to that tall blonde woman." He eyed her up and down as he braced his hands to lean against the back of the couch across from her. "Who was she?"

"Tall blonde?" Thea looked at him unsure what he was talking about. She hadn't expected questions from him.

"Tall blonde, thin black dress, she looked like big money." He stared into her. "Don't tell me you didn't get her name?"

"Oh, That's Angelina." She brushed it off remembering the brief moments she'd managed to spend talking to Cleo.

"Angelina who?" He asked his voice slightly stern, as he rounded the couch and sat down on it.

"Edward is this important?" She massaged her forehead as she squinted up at him her head was thumping.

"Theandra!" His hand shot out and grabbed her wrist. "I am attempting to make pleasant conversation, why are you trying me so since I arrived?" He pulled her slightly forward in the chair with a jolt. Thea gasped and tried to twist her wrist away. "Has being away stripped you of your manners?" He held her wrist firmly, his fingers biting into her arm.

"Edward!" Thea hissed through the pain. "That hurts!"

"Does it?" He held her for a second longer before he let go. "Well Theandra, I bet having your wife talk back to you hurts even more." He stood up and walked away to the cabinet, opening it to reveal a fully stocked bar.

"I'm sorry." She called quietly as she heard him pouring himself a drink. She pulled her wrist close to her and rubbed it gently.

"Of course you are." He moved back with the drink and kissed her on top of the head. "Now tell me about Angelina."

"She's thinking of sponsoring the play. She's a very big name here and all over the world." Thea babbled as she stared at the large scotch he carried back with him.

"Last name?" He fell into the couch across from her downing his drink. He held the empty glass out to her. Thea took the glass and walked to the cabinet refilling it automatically. She returned to Edward and held it out for him to take.

"Last name? Angelina?" He took a healthy sip as he paused to wait for a response. When one didn't come right away he sighed. "Well apparently you aren't in the mood for chatting." He took the rest of the drink in one large swallow. "You must be in the mood for other things." He watched her with a sly grin.

"Eaton." Thea blurted out as she cowered under his stare. "Her surname is Eaton."

"Oh you are in the mood to chat." Edward's voice was heavy with sarcasm.

"I was just thinking, you know me." Thea tried to bluff her way through the pause. Anything was better than what Edward obviously had in mind.

"And who is Angelina Eaton's husband?" He questioned.

"She hasn't got one." Thea replied quickly and honestly.

"Humm." He dropped his glass on the table. "What were you and her chatting about?"

"The play, she wanted to know if I was interested in moving it South." Thea leaned forward to take the glass again, maybe if she got him drunk enough.

"To New York?" He questioned. "No more." He waved off her move and Thea sat back defeated. "Though it is a fine scotch."

"Yes, New York was mentioned." Thea looked off.

"Interesting." He ran his hand though his hair and unbuttoned his tuxedo shirt.

"You must have had an exhausting day. Shall I run you a bath?" Her mind was in overdrive trying to think of ways of distracting him.

"No bath." He shook his head. "You haven't seen me for months and your trying to get rid of me Theandra." He raised a hand out towards her. "Come sit by me."

"No, no." Thea stood up and walked slowly forward. "I was just thinking of you! You must be tired."

"No, not tired." He shook his head, motioning with his fingers for her too keep coming closer. "I miss my wife." His words came in a low thick tone.

"How is Daddy?" She asked as she inched a little closer nearly reaching his hand.

"Your father is good, he finally beat Adams' at darts the other night at the club." He moved his fingers again more forcefully, tiring of her hesitation. "He's concerned I'm giving you too much freedom traipsing all over the world and such. He thinks maybe you've forgotten your station in life."

"My station?" She stopped and looked at him confused as some part of her mind rebelled and she couldn't stop it.

"As my wife Theandra!" He snapped up to grab her hand and dragged her towards him. "MY WIFE! Or did you forget your vows as you forget to wear your ring?" He slammed her down next to him on the couch and held her hand in a vice like grip. Thea made a small sound of protest when she found herself moving without consent.

"I... I..." She stammered. "I wouldn't want to lose it." She frowned and tried not to show how much the grip hurt.

"I think you don't want to wear it." He threw her hand back at her. "After all I give you, all I do for you." He moved his hand up to her face holding her chin firmly.

"I... I am grateful." She mumbled.

"Grateful? And you repay me by not even having the decency to wear my ring?" His voice was loud and forceful.

"It's only a symbol." A brave voice argued while the rest of her cowered away.

"A SYMBOL!" He boomed at her releasing her face and moving his hand down to her throat. He didn't squeeze but held his hand there firmly just enough to scare her. "Well then..." He loosened his hand and dragged it down the front of her dress as the actress sat immobilised. "Maybe I'd like a little symbolic show of what it means to you to be my wife." He snarled at her.

"Edward I..." Thea put her hand out in front of her resting it on Edward's chest, desperate to keep some distance between them.

"What Theandra?" He wrapped his fingers in the material of the neckline.

"I have a headache and the play is quite exhausting." She mumbled in a feeble voice.

"You have a headache!" His voice boomed again as he pulled at the front of the material dragging her too him. The move caused the material to tear slightly at the seams. Thea's mind raced as she tried to think of ways to damage control.

"Edward." She kept her voice even. "Edward." She repeated this time her voice softer as she moved her hand on his chest gently in a small motion.

"Theandra, I have flown over half the world to see my wife." He calmed a bit with the motion of her hand. "I just want to know that I haven't been forgotten. That I am still important to her."

"I know." She tried to soothe him with her voice.

"That I am still her world, her one and only." Edward rambled.

"Look why don't you get out of those things and get into bed." She calmed trying to keep her voice even, though inside her stomach churned. "I am sure I can think of ways to bring you release, to calm and pamper you." She hoped she might be lucky enough to get away with just touching and kissing.

"Bed, now there is suggestion." He moved against her hand, leaning in to kiss her. Thea leaned in and brushed her lips onto Edward's cheek fighting the jolt of revulsion that well up in her. "Oh no Theandra!" He chastised her in a stern voice. "No side stepping tonight." His hand pulled downwards on the dress straining it at her shoulders and at the seams further.

"Sssside stepping?" Thea stammered she pulled back a little.

"You are my wife and I will have what is rightfully mine." He looked at her with icy eyes, hearing as well as feeling the silk tear. "Don't make this harder than it has to be Theandra."

One of Thea's legs kicked forward as she pulled back out of his grasp and caught on the table, knocking the glass to the floor. It made a dull thud as it landed. Falling off the couch, she landed heavily on her backside and lower back, her dress tearing more as she fell. Edward followed her downwards.

"Wait!" He stopped and leaned back. "You don't want this to happen this way do you?"

"No." Thea breathed heavily. "I don't want it to happen Edward." She looked at him and pulled at the ruined silk trying to fix it back in place.

"Then how about a compromise." He leaned back in his seat. "Finish taking the dress off yourself for me." He sneered at her as he settled into his seat.

Thea looked at him aware that she had seen this look many times before. With a swift movement she slipped the zipper at the back of the blue silk dress down. Getting to her feet somewhat unsteadily, she took the dress off completely.

"Now was that so hard?" He questioned as he watched her hungrily.

"No." She swallowed hard forcing the bile and tears back. Her wrist stung, as did her back.

"How about you get me that drink now?" He motioned to the glass on the floor.

She could only nod, as she bent down to retrieve the glass from the floor. She felt so exposed in the black lace bra and panties that she'd worn especially for... the thought of the name stuck in her throat... especially for Rae.

"Very nice." He watched her go down for the glass, studying her as she stood up again and walked over to the cabinet. "A double and make it neat." He ordered her with a grin.

She poured the double scotch, walked back and held it out to him. Her hand shook slightly.

"Come here." He patted his lap. "Please." The last word slid of his tongue in a hiss.

Thea lowered herself gingerly onto his lap trying to place herself somewhere else. Trying to make her mind lose itself. It stubbornly refused to do so and she found herself firmly rooted in the horrible moment.

"So Theandra." He drank a large swallow of the drink. "When did we get this little ensemble?" He ran his free hand roughly over the lace over her chest.

"A few weeks ago." Thea brushed the mater aside, trying to ignore how horrible it felt to have Edward touch her.

"For who?" His voice was acid as his hand went over her again and he kept drinking.

"For me." Her voice was quiet as she lied to him. "You know how I like pretty things."

"Humm." He took a swallow and moved his hand under the material coarsely. "You didn't buy these for me?"

"Well obviously you would see them when I came home..." Thea's mind whirled as she tried to figure out what she should do. Should she fight him, which might result in her getting hurt or should she give in, like she had a thousand times. It wasn't as if the only person in the world she wanted to care even wanted to know she existed right now.

No matter how she tried she could not commit her mind to giving into him this time. She couldn't willingly commit to taking this further and having him touch her and kiss her. Perhaps if she resisted just enough maybe he would back down. It had been along flight and an even longer night at the theatre.

"For who Thea?" He pawed at her without care finishing the last of his drink.

"For you." She replied wondering if that was what he wanted to hear.

"For me?" He looked up and let the glass drop out of his hand. "Lying bitch!" He backhanded her and sent her flying out of his lap.

She knew nothing until she hit the ground and even then she wasn't sure what had happened.

"I... I..." Thea stammered in shock, her hand going to her face wondering how much damage he'd done.

"You don't..." He stood up and moved to hover over her. "Lie to your husband..." He moved to take off his shirt. "And tell him that you bought lacy little things for him..." She couldn't move as she watched him undo his belt. "When he knows damn well you didn't!"

"I'm sorry." Thea tried to appease him.

"Now Theandra." He stood over her his voice booming. "I think you have a few things to make up for. Get up." He backed away from her.

She blinked up at him as he stepped back and waved at her to move. She stayed still on the floor, too shocked to move.

"Get up!" He barked at her with more force. Something inside her stirred at his order and propelled her to her feet. "Good girl." He moved back to sit on the couch and patted his lap again. "Come here." Silently she moved back over to sit in his lap. "You've missed your Edward while you have been away haven't you?" He held her firmly around the waist and kissed her neck messily.

She nodded, still mute and stunned by pain.

"You want to show your Edward how much you missed him don't you?" He pushed one hand under her bra again. A tear escaped from her eye and she nodded again.

"You haven't been cheating on your husband have you?" He grabbed her in a brutal grip and hissed the question in her ear. "Giving away what is mine to some pitiful slack jawed Canadian?"

"What?" Thea heard her voice question him but did not seem to control it.

"YOU DON'T BUY LACY BRA'S THEANDRA!" He barked at her again as the hand at her waist dug into her side.

"I..." She began to protest but instead burst into hysterical sobs as she felt the increase of pressure at her waist.

"Tell me who it is?" He let it go a bit pulling the bra down off her breasts to sit uncomfortably beneath them.

"No one." She whimpered afraid to admit that there was someone.

"You're going to prove that too me." He pulled his fingers into her hair and grabbing a handful held her face to meet his.

"How?" Her voice was small as she forced herself to look at him.

"How do you think Theandra?" He growled at her. "I want to make sure no ones been touching my property."

Swallowing hard a part of her clicked in and she moved her hands to rest on the button of Edward's trousers. Moving one hand slightly lower than the waistband she pressed gently.

"They haven't." She tried to control the waiver in her voice. No matter how much Rae hated her right now, she couldn't risk him running off in a rage to find her lover.

"I have to be sure of that." He kissed her roughly, driving his tongue into her mouth without invitation. She tried hard to block out the screaming in her head.

"You are my wife Theandra, I will not share you!" He pulled back relaxing into her hand.

"Of course not." She pressed harder and tried to focus on something, anything. But all the good things, all the light had gone from her life the second that Rae had walked away from her.

"So how have you been filling your nights?" He asked absently moving his hands over her breasts at his leisure, digging them into her ribs with his motion.

"Sleeping." She tried to ignore the pain that his hands were causing. She hoped the bruising would be light enough to cover with makeup.

"What else?" He opened his eyes and stared at her.

"Rehearsing." She met his eyes trying not to waiver in her fabrication.

"What else?" He leaned back up to her. Thea increased the pressure of her rubbing action as his hands moved around her ribcage, pressing the breath out of her when she exhaled

"Thinking of you." She choked out. She knew that this was true though not in the way Edward would have wanted it to be.

"About me how?" He relaxed a little, letting her ribs expand again.

"Wondering how you were." She continued as Edward watched her through half closed eyes. She worked her hand under his pants but still remained over his shorts. "What you were doing." She forced her voice down a notch. 'Act Thea!' She told herself. 'You do this for a living, how hard can it be?'

"Why didn't you call me Theandra?" He asked in a low dark tone. "Fax, write, email. Not one communication."

"I was so very busy." She kept her voice soothing

"Too busy for your husband!" His voice went steely again as he opened his eyes.

"To busy for anything." She kept her timbre constant as she leaned forward to brush her lips on his neck.

"Not too busy now are you?" He leaned back and let her kiss him.

"No." She kissed around his jaw line, trying to lower the bile that rose in her throat.

"Good, I want to go to bed now." He growled at her in an order. Thea's hand maintained its rhythm lower for a moment before stopping.

"Okay." She pulled back moving her hand free and slipped off her husband's knee. She breathed a momentary sigh of relief.

"Come with me." He stood up and offered his hand to her. She just looked at him and then the chair.

"I wondered if I could sit for a while." She asked before she could stop herself. Some part of her brain made a last attempt to get out of the inevitable.

"SIT!" He barked as he moved his hand back ready to hit her again.

"Edward." She knew she was failing at keeping the fear out of her voice. She raised a hand to protect her face, when his hand struck out it ricocheted off her forearms and sent her sprawling again to the ground.

"So we don't go to bed." He moved down next to her on his knees. "I'm just as happy here."

Thea was slightly dazed by the abruptness of her landing. She had narrowly missed the chair and the table. Her mind still hadn't cleared as Edward pinned her legs down with one of his knees and moved his hands to her hips.

"Need to get rid of these." He mumbled gruffly as he worked to yank the panties off of her.

"Edward..." She gasped but her voice had no volume as she realised what he was doing. She moved her hips into the ground in an attempt to hinder him. Any moment of pause might make this stop, might make him realise just what he was doing.

"Theandra, stop fighting me." His voice was condescending as he pulled the panties off of her, ripping the side in the movement.

Working one hand free, Thea mustered all the strength she could and before she could stop herself she raised her hand and slapped him hard across the face. His head snapped sideways from the unexpected blow.

Turning back to her, he licked his lips as a small trickle of blood spilled down his chin. His teeth had ripped across his lip and her hand. He didn't speak and Thea froze without lowering her arm.

Edward met Thea's eyes as he pulled his fist back and hit her hard in the centre of the stomach. A small sound came out of the actress as she pulled herself into a ball trying to nurse the pain.

"You shouldn't have done that Theandra!" He spoke to her softly as he used her stunned state to part her knees and pull her closer to him. Pushing her down with one hand on her shoulder, he rested his hovering weight on her to lever her down.

Thea registered her back hitting the floor for the forth time. She raised her other hand and tried to vainly push at Edward's chest to get him off of her, but she hadn't the energy or the position to even think about fighting.

"Don't make this any harder than it has to be Theandra." He cooed at her as he moved to brace her arms in one of his hands over her head.

As soon as she felt Edward find a secure grip on both her wrists and pin them above her head she knew that she had been beaten. This was now all just about damage control and praying for him to finish fast.

"After all." He smiled down at her as he pulled the bra off her. "You might enjoy it if you give me a chance." He kissed her roughly and moved his hand to push his pants further down.

Continued in Act Thirteen

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