After the Curtain Falls

Act Fourteen

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.

Rae reluctantly slid the lock to the condo open and let the door swing open. The faint smell of scented candles hung in the air from the day before. Stepping inside she closed the door behind her quietly as she always did, even thought she knew Thea wouldn't be here. The actress wouldn't be coming home now as she had her husband to be with. The acidic thought stuck in Rae's throat.

"Just get the clothes and get the hell out of here O'Keefe." Rae spoke to herself as she moved toward the dresser.

The light flashing on the phone caught her attention. Her hand went out automatically, but then hesitated.

"Could be work." Her mind reasoned as she picked up the receiver dialling in the code for the machine.

"You have one new message." The automated voice called back to her and Rae punched in the code to retrieve it.

"Cassie?" The voice was hesitant but clear. "It's Victoria, Thea's sister. I hope you get this." An edge developed in the young English woman's voice. "I need to see you. It's important, really important. I..." She began another sentence but then the phone cut off and the message ended.

Rae listened to the words without breathing.

"Shit!" She swore when the message cut off, her mind reeling. It wasn't Thea calling, it was Thea's sister which had to mean things had gotten crazy. She punched in the caller ID code and waited for the response.

"The last number to call..." A standard computer voice piped back at her. "Was 416-291-2222." She memorised the number and took the phone book out of the drawer.

'You have to be at hotel Victoria now which one?' Rae thought to herself as she found the proper pages and scanned the numbers.

"Harbour Castle!" She muttered as she pulled back on her jacket. "This better be good." She growled as she pulled open the door and raced out.


Rae parked the loud bike in the front entrance and hoped off. She sauntered through the door, held open by the slightly stunned attendant and walked straight up to the counter as she took off her helmet.

"Which room is Victoria Wilcox in?" She barked at the attendant felling very edgy about this. The call had upset her. 'No information and no answers.' The distressing thought went through her head again and again.

"I'm afraid." He looked her up and down. "I cannot give that information out."

"Well how about you phone her room then and get her to come down?" She sighed and put her helmet on the counter, looking him up and down in return.

"Who shall I say is here?" He sighed back and picked up a pen.

"Cassie O'Keefe." Rae said shortly, running her hand through her hair to fix it after the long ride. The attendant patched through to Tori's room and after a moment he turned back to her.

"If you would like to find a seat in the bar, Miss. Wilcox will be down shortly." He motioned to the hotel lounge across the mezzanine.

"Fine, thank you." She took the helmet in one hand and headed for the bar. She found a seat easily in the empty room and impatiently waited.

"Cassie?" Tori spotted the tall Canadian as soon as she stepped out of the elevator and hurried across the lobby to the bar.

"Victoria, what's wrong?" Rae asked right off too wound up for small talk.

"Thea..." Tori suddenly burst into tears unable to stop the emotion that had been building since she had listened to the violence and horror the night before.

"Victoria what?" Rae asked near frantic as she tried to comfort the small woman she barely knew. "What's happened?"

"We have to get her out of here." Tori babbled knowing she was not making sense.

"Tori, I need to know what's going on first." She tried to find clarity.

"I didn't know who to call or what to do. I only know you." Tori sobbed, clinging tightly to the tall woman.

"It's okay Victoria." Rae smiled softly at her realising that she had to be the controlled one. "I'm glad you called me. Now what's going on?"

It was becoming obvious to Rae that this wasn't about her and Thea as she had suspected, but rather something else. That fact hit her quite hard and caused her even more worry.

"Do you think she'll listen to you? If you tell her she has to go?" Victoria asked suddenly.

"Why does she have to go?" Rae pushed not understanding.

"Come and talk to her." The young woman turned and stepped towards the lobby.

"Victoria..." Rae's mind froze.

"Please." The young woman sobbed. Rae nodded her throat dry as she followed the young woman. She had no choice but to follow and find out what was going on. "At least get her to see a doctor." Tori said as she moved through the lobby.

"A doctor?" Rae blurted taken aback as she raced with Tori. "Why does she need to see a doctor?"

Tori slipped into the elevator as the doors were opening she pressed the button before Rae stepped inside just as the door closed.

"Tori, why does she need to see a doctor?" Rae's mind spun violently. What the hell was going on?

"Just to make sure. She says she's okay." Tori brushed at her eyes and ran her hands over her jeans. "But you never really know do you."

"What happened?" The panicked edge in Rae's voice was obvious.

The elevator sounded and the doors opened, Tori slipped out and hurried down the corridor. The technician followed dumbly.

"Cassie, please hurry. He'll be back… I have no idea when." Tori called back.

"I'm coming." Rae moved swiftly with her. "Who's coming back?" The fear in Tori's voice confused her. Who could be coming that she'd be this afraid of?

"Edward." She stopped at a door.

"Why are you afraid of him coming back?" Rae's heart broke again.

"Thea, only me. Can I come in?" She knocked lightly on the door.

"It's open." The strained voice came from inside.

Tori turned to Cassie, just in time to see the soft look on Rae's face as her heart melted at the sound of the actress' voice. She had thought she would never hear it again.

"A doctor that's all. Just try?" She begged in a hushed tone, her eyes watery. "Yes?"

"I'll do my best." Rae confirmed her mind reeled as she tried to narrow down what was going on. Tori turned back to the door pulled the handle and pushed it open.

"Where have you been sis?" Thea looked up to the door as Tori closed it behind Rae.

Rae's whole world fell apart as her eyes registered the bruises and blood that looked back at her. Her hands clenched at her sides without thought, her bottom lip locked as rage welled up inside her.

"Rae?" Thea breathed tears springing to her eyes.

'Who is Rae?' Tori thought as she frowned and looked at her sister but answered herself as she looked at the tall Canadian. 'Just what was going on here?' With a slight shiver Tori reminded herself that this wasn't the issue and nor was it very important as she moved to the bed.

"I had to get someone." She apologised softly.

Rae just stood fixed in her spot and just stared. She didn't know what to say or what to do. Thea glanced at her silent sister before turning her eyes back to Rae.

"Did Edward do this?" Rae's voice was broken.

"Yes." Tori answered quickly.

"I'm going to pull his arms off!" A stronger angry voice answered her question not really needing Tori's answer.

"Rae, No!" Thea spoke finally, her voice soft and pained. "I'm okay." She shook her head gently, the movement sending flares of ache up into her brain.

"We have to get you to a doctor." Rae winced at the pain on her face. "No, you're not okay." She spoke firmly. "It appears that your husband tried to knock your head off last night."

"Tori." Thea turned to her sister. "Could you go down to reception to see when Edward will be back? He will have left a return time."

Tori looked at her sister then the Canadian and moved to the door.

"Tori, pack up your things." Rae put up a hand. "I'm getting you both out of here."

"Okay." Tori took the handle in her hand as Rae walked to the phone sitting on the table she picked it up,

"Tori, no." Thea called to her. "Go to reception."

"Tori pack!" Rae instructed in an authoritative voice as she turned to bark instructions into the phone. Victoria stopped unsure what to do. "I want a limo downstairs in five minutes. Authorisation 12A14 for The Royal and Free Corporation."

"Tori, go to reception." Thea instructed again trying to overrule Rae.

"Victoria, pack." Rae fixed the small young light brown hair woman in a stare as she hung up the phone. "Now."

Tori pulled the door open and slipped out, closing it behind her.

"I'm going to take you and Tori to the condo." The technician spoke in a detached voice. "I'll arrange for a doctor to come there for you."

"Rae, I'm all right." The actress tried to reason with her.

"Thea..." Her voice wavered as she spoke the name. "Angel, you are not all right."

"I'm sorry love." She suddenly started to sob again feeling her lip split as she cried.

"You have nothing to be sorry for." Rae spoke softly wanting to move to comfort her but finding herself unable to move no matter how hard she tried. "This is his fault not yours."

"I meant." She gasped as a pain flared through her abdomen. "For everything."

"That's not important right now." Rae words came blankly. "We have to make sure you're okay." She watched a small blood drop cascade down Thea's chin. "He's going to pay for this Thea." She vowed to her.

"It was my fault." Thea brushed at her lip.

"How?" Rae countered back. "There is nothing in the world that you could do to make this your fault."

"I didn't..." Thea stopped.

"You didn't what?" Rae pushed. "There is nothing you could say, do or think that would make him hitting you your fault." Her voice was adamant. "The bastard did this cause he's got a death wish." She growled at the end.

"No." Thea shook her head. "He did this, because I wouldn't…" She stopped and looked at Rae, pain shadowed her usually bright eyes. She swallowed hard she added the next words in a whisper. "You know what I wouldn't."

"Thea..." The words came out the technician slowly. "Are you telling me he raped you?"

"Can a man rape his wife?" She asked pulling her knees up to her chest causing the pain inside her to increase and she sobbed hard.

"Yes, they can." Rae's answer came instantly. "If you didn't want too and he made you, that is rape."

"Oh." Thea breathed.

"I'm going to fucking kill him!" Rae turned and her hands shook in rage.

"No Rae." Thea snapped in worried tone. "He might hurt you."

"Thea, you don't know me." Rae shook her head, laughing in a low sinister tone. "I can feed him his teeth and he won't even have seen me hit him."

Thea closed her eyes. She had a fair idea of what Rae was capable of and she didn't want to think about what her lover could do any more than she wanted to think about her own predicament.

"Rae." She spoke quietly, relieved when the technician turned back to look at her. "It hurts." Her voice was childlike.

"Where Thea?" Rae moved over to the bed for the first time, very concerned for her injuries.

"Everywhere." She replied honestly. Not sure when her whirling mind had decided it no longer cared about damage control and only wanted the woman she loved to make everything right again.

"We'll make it better Thea." Rae spoke softly as she moved to sit down on the bed.

"How?" Thea asked looking up into Rae's blue eyes.

"I'm going to get you out of here to someplace safe and get a doctor." Her mind raced with plans. "He won't hurt you anymore."

"Rae please..." Thea reached up a hand towards Rae. She wanted only one thing right now and that was to be held. Though this small action seemed to be lost on the technician.

"All packed." Tori came back into the room with her suitcase in such a hurry that she didn't bother to knock. She stared a bit thrown by the two of them on the bed. Rae held Thea's eyes for a second before moving away.

"Let's go, the limo should be downstairs. Tori help Thea, I'll take the luggage." She instructed in a gentle authoritative tone.

"Okay." Tori said hurrying to her sister's side eager to be somewhere safe.


Rae closed the door behind the doctor as he left and went straight back to sit down in the leather armchair. Tori sat patiently and quiet on the couch. In the distance the soft strained sound of Thea's breathing was a disturbing reminder of what had happened.

"Is she going be okay?" Tori asked in a whisper as Rae sat down.

"Yes, the doctor says the bruising should fade in a week or so. Nothing was broken." Her voice was tight. "The cut on her lip should heal fairly quickly with the stitches he put in and her ribs are only bruised. The sedation he gave her should keep her out till the morning."

"Why did he do it?" Tori asked her voice thick as she shook her head.

"I don't know Tori." Rae shook her head back. "Has he done this before?"

"I don't know." The young woman replied honestly.

"He probably has." Rae added blankly.

"She's always been accident prone." Tori continued as she put some thought into it.

"Did her accidents get worse and more damaging after she was with Edward?" It pained Rae to say his name. She rubbed her forehead at the rage and tension that had firmly rooted itself there.

"Sort of." Tori replied as she stood up and looked down at the technician. "Can I get a drink? Do you want one?"

"Help yourself." Rae spoke softly. "This is home." She said the reference without thinking. "A water would be great." She tried to make her words not sound too odd.

"Do you have coffee?" Tori pulled open the fridge when she reached it and took a bottle of water.

"Yeah." Rae stood up. "Let me get if for you."

Rae got up and moved to the high kitchen cupboard. Moving the boxes of Thea's herbal tea she got the coffee. Leaning against the counter, the young English woman watched the tall Canadian's every move. Rae paid no attention to how she was being watched as she set up the coffee maker.

"It'll only take a few minutes." She mumbled as she flipped it on.

"You drink that stuff?" Tori pointed to the tea in the still open cupboard.

"Nope." Rae laughed as she followed to look where the hand pointed.

"I thought Thea was..." Tori stopped as she looked at Rae whose laughter stopped as the other woman words did. The technician looked away, busying herself with getting a cup for the young woman. "Rae?" She tried out the name to see if she got a reaction.

"Yeah Tori?" She turned and questioned without thought. The long silence having dulled her mind as she again thought of what was going on around her.

"What's going on?" Tori asked quietly as she reached out and put her hand on Rae's, which was turning the coffee mug round absently in the air.

"What do you mean?" She questioned taken off guard by the direct and yet open question.

"The tea." Tori listed the points. "That you answer to Rae. That this place smells of Jasmine candles. The fact that the jacket I bought Thea for her birthday last year was hung up on the back of the door when we got here." Tori motioned to the door where her sister's denim jacket hung. "What am I missing out on?"

'What am I supposed to say?' Rae's mind questioned itself as she looked at her a bit dumbfounded.

"She left her jacket last time she came over to watch a movie." The tall woman babbled in an attempt to cover the truth. "And the tea..."

"Shall I tell you what I think?" Tori shook her head, not interested in a list of reasons or excuses.

"What do you think?" Rae stopped and asked her holding the cup tightly in her hand.

"I think my sister lives here." She spoke slowly as the facts cleared in her minds and the technician swallowed hard. "With you." She <!-- (20:51:56)-->added fixing Rae with hazel eyes. Rae released the breath she was holding.

"Our schedules at the Theatre are opposite and your sister was sick of the hotel." She tried to salvage some damage control. This was not hers to be telling, this was Thea's and besides, with all that had happened there didn't seem much to tell.

"With one bed?" Tori asked, smiling when she heard Rae laugh lightly. She leaned back against the counter and folded her arms over her chest.

"You're not going to buy that another one is on its way are you?" Rae smiled softly at her.

"No." She shook her head. Her heart slightly saddened that Thea hadn't told her so many things it seemed. A suddenly sickening thought suddenly gripped Tori by the throat. "Is that why?" She glanced to where her sister slept. "Why he raped her?"

"I don't know Tori." Rae shook her head, suddenly very horrified by that idea. "I didn't know she was married, I don't imagine Edward had a clue about me."

"Oh." Tori breathed quietly, realising she wasn't the only person who had been in the dark about aspects of her sister's life.

"Why he did it doesn't really matter Victoria." Rae frowned. "Whatever the reason he had no right, and now we have to concentrate on helping her though this."

"What about Edward? What are we doing to do about him?" The young woman asked worried.

"I'm going to take care of him Tori." Rae tried to keep the rage out of her voice. "You concentrate on your sister. Deal?"

"But we go back to England tomorrow." Tori looked a Rae in a panic. "Edward and I."

"I was hoping you'd stay." Rae smiled at her.

"I can't." Tori's voice wavered. "The ticket isn't flexible."

"Victoria, the ticket is not a worry." Rae laughed at the simplicity of her worry.

"It is, I haven't got the money to buy another." Tori argued, not appreciating her laugher.

"I'll buy you a new one whenever you need to go home." She clarified the dilemma easily.

"You can't do that." Tori began to argue. "It's expensive to fly to England."

"Victoria, you don't need any money." Rae repeated and shook her head. "Thea didn't tell you at all about me did she?" She questioned. Tori sadly shook her head, again reminded about how much her sister hadn't said. "Let's just say I'm very well off." She smiled softly at her. "I could buy you a plane to go back on if you wanted."

"Oh." The noise came out of her quietly.

"Tori…" Rae looked at the time. "I have to go meet someone."

"What?" Tori's voice was tiny.

"Order yourself in dinner and such." Rae dropped a stack of bills on the counter.

"You're going to leave?" Tori looked at her, panic again flooding her eyes. "But Thea needs you." She glanced at her sister.

"Tori, Thea needs you more than me right now." The technician backed away hurt.

"Don't be silly." Tori replied. "It's you that lives with her. Do you love her?" She looked at the Canadian trying to figure out what else was going on that she didn't get.

"Victoria it's not that simple." Rae shook her head.

"Why?" She questioned not understanding until her mind started to do some calculations and creative thinking. "Oh no, wait a minute." Tori looked at Rae with eyes tinged with anger. "I get it." She took a step away from Rae.

"Whoa!" Rae questioned seeing the look. "What do you get? I'm not sure you have the right idea."

"Thea's not you problem, didn't expect this complication did you? It was great to be involved with the star, great for your ego, but this!" She moved her hand to her face where her sister's bruises would be. "This is trouble."

"No Tori!" Rae shook her head adamantly though her voice was almost non-existent. "That is not it."

"It's okay, I understand perfectly." Tori backed out of the kitchen area, looking to the door. "Perhaps you should go." She glared at the other woman.

"Fine." Rae shrugged in defeat. "I'll phone in an hour to make sure everything is okay." She moved heavily towards the door.

"Why bother?" Tori growled.

"Victoria, there is a hell of a lot going on here that you don't understand!" Rae snapped.

"Then make me." Tori snapped back. "Because all I can see is my sister. Beaten, raped and sedated, and her lover leaving to go and meet someone else. You have to admit Rae, that doesn't look great."

Rae rubbed at her face, Tori's words making sense.

"No, it doesn't." Rae said softly. "Your sister broke my heart last night." She didn't know how she was saying this. "We were supposed to be building a life together and then suddenly I'm being introduced to her husband." Tori stopped glaring and her gaze turned softer. "It came as a bit more than a shock."

"That makes it okay for her to beaten and raped?" Tori's voice held no malice just disillusionment. "She broke your heart so she can be broken too?"

"God NO!" Rae's voice was adamant and firm. "Tori, no matter how mad I was last night, how hurt I am…" Her voice was sad and hurt. "I never wanted this to happen. I wish I could erase it. I wish I could have stopped it."

"Then why are you leaving? Rae, what is more important than this?" Tori knew she may be being unreasonable, but she was thousands of miles from anything familiar and her world was in tatters. Rae was the only thing she had that was anything like stable.

"Okay, okay." Rae conceded defeated. "I'm not going anywhere". She couldn't bear to say she was going to Cleo. The horror of it threaten to close in her vision as she tried to stay focused and not let Tori catch on.

"Cassie, are you okay?" Tori took a step forward a little concerned at the other woman's expression. Had she pushed too hard in her desperation?

"Yeah I'm fine." Rae shook off her thoughts.

"I'm sorry." Tori added. "What I said then, it wasn't fair."

"No need to be sorry Victoria, you've been in the dark about this."

"Rae. If you need to go, of course you should go." The young girl backed away.

Rae's heart crumpled again as Tori apologised to her.

"It'll only be for a short time I'll come right back." Rae didn't want to sound like she was pleading but she needed to get away for this if just for a moment and make sense of what was going on.. "It's partially to take care of Edward."

"Whatever." Tori's voice was soft and yet so sad.

The word broke Rae's reserve. She couldn't leave them, either of them.

"No Tori, I'm not going anywhere." The resolution stuck in Rae's head. "I need to be here in case either of you needs anything."

"Sure?" Tori asked quietly.

"Positive." Rae walked over and picked up the phone. "What would you like for dinner? The skies the limit." She smiled at her remembering just how hard all of this must be on the young woman.

"Pizza?" Tori replied watching Rae's every move.

"Pizza it is." Rae laughed at her choice. "What do you like on it?"

"Pepperoni." She smiled again.

"Pepperoni and cheese it is." Rae moved off toward the bathroom. "I'll order it while I make my other calls, won't be a minute."

"Okay." Tori nodded and re-took her seat on the couch. Rae nodded back and closed the bathroom door silently.

Rae leant against the hard wood for a second trying to get her bearings, trying to get control back. In less than twenty-four hours her world had done a three sixty degree twist and then another three sixty in a whole different direction. What the hell was she going to do about all this?

She had Cleo waiting to go to dinner, Thea sedated and Tori badgering her for answers and guidance. She knew whatever was going on she had to get hold of Cleo as soon as possible She punched the numbers into the phone and waited.

"Eaton." Cleo answered briefly.

"Cleo, it's Rae." She spoke in a strained voice.

"Blackbird!" Cleo was both excited and surprised to hear Rae's voice.

"Cleo..." Rae didn't know where to start.

"What is it Blackbird?" Cleo asked her voice falling a notch. She knew Raven's tones well enough to know instantly that something was wrong.

"Something horrible has happened Cleo." She began softly.

"My God, what?" Cleo's mind whirled. The bike, was her Raven injured? "Are you all right?"

"Yeah I'm fine." Rae shrugged. "Cleo, I got a call from Thea's sister." She just blurted it out not knowing what else to say. "Thea's husband, he raped her and beat the crap out of her last night."

"What?" Cleo's voice was horrified her mind flared and everything lost its place. "Where is she? How is she?"

"The Doctor has her sedated. I took them both out of the hotel and back to the condo." Her voice was small, she waited for the woman's anger to flare.

"Blackbird, take them to the estate." Cleo spoke without thinking, unable to even remotely believe what she was being told.

"Are you sure?" Rae questioned the move.

"There is help there and security. Where is he?" She asked trying to get her bearings.

"I don't know Cleo." Rae's voice gained an edge. "I'm going to fucking kill him! You don't do this, not to anyone." The line in her head blared bright and screamed for vengeance, this was one act that could not go unpunished.

"You're right of course Blackbird but our first thought must be getting Thea and her sister somewhere safe." Cleo's mind raced to catch up with the situation. Edward Jones had left her office about five minutes earlier. She knew he'd be long out of the building so she had no hope it intercepting him and taking care of this herself right now.

"There's only the doorman here." Rae's mind suddenly came aware of the security issue. "Though I'm sure one on one I can take him without even breaking a sweat."

"Raven, get a limo, take them to the estate. I'll leave the office now." She piled up papers on her desk getting ready to leave.

"Okay." Rae conceded. "I'm sorry Cleo, it's just..." She didn't know how to explain this.

"Blackbird, don't be sorry. Did you get Potterly to check her out? Or did you use another doctor?"

"No, I couldn't reach Potterly." Rae's voice was raw. "I tracked someone down through the hospital."

"Shall I contact Potterly anyway?" Cleo picked up her coat from her chair and put it on.

"Maybe, her lips split, the other Doctor thinks her ribs are bruised. Her face should probably be x-rayed at some point." Rae listed the grim facts in a numb voice. "This guy sorta just took care of the worse stuff."

"Forgive me Blackbird I was thinking about other things." Cleo admitted wondering if Rae had even thought about that portion of the trauma.

"Oh Christ." The weight of it came down on her. "She wouldn't let the Doctor examine her for that. I have no idea how bad it is."

"I'll get Potterly." Cleo stated taking the choice away.

"Thank you Cleo." She spoke softly.

"Blackbird." The blonde's voice went soft and tender. "Are you all right?" She stressed the word 'you'.

"I don't know what I am." Rae strained to answer. "I can't believe this has happened, I feel responsible. I hate myself for thinking about how much she hurt me."

"Come home." Cleo cooed softly. "We'll sort this together. It's all right blackbird, just get everyone back to the estate."

"Okay, I'll call for a limo." Rae felt a bit more in control.

"I'll go now and I will get Potterly. Raven…" Cleo reluctantly readied herself to hang up.


"This is not your fault." Cleo spoke slowly and forcefully.

"I know." Rae knew deep down it wasn't her fault. Edward had done this. He had made the choice but she couldn't help thinking how she'd had some role in all of this.

"Hurry home." Cleo placed down the office phone as her mind spun. "Fucking idiot!" She hissed throwing the agreement that Edward Jones had just signed sealing their business across the room. She grabbed her cell phone and stalked to the door as the papers settled behind her.


Cleo wrapped an arm around her waist as she watched the long black car pull through the security at the far end of the drive. The electronic gates swung shut and Cleo turned to the young woman stood next to her. The woman waited on her every instruction

"Go and see if you can find Graham. We may need help getting Miss. Winters inside."

"Yes ma'am." The young maid moved back into the house to look for the head of security.

Cleo watched with a slight shiver as the car drew to a halt a few feet from her. The driver raced around to get the door. Tori climbed out first, slightly wide eyed at the house and the tall well-dressed woman on the stairs. It was Rae who came out next, as Cleo walked down the stairs to her.

"She's still out cold." Rae frowned at Cleo as she approached. "I'm going to have to carry her in."

"I've called for Graham." The blonde spoke softly.

"I should take her." Rae spoke softly back. "She's not heavy."

"Of course." Cleo kept her voice controlled as she watched Rae turn back to the car and gently lift Thea into her arms. The sight of the limp woman made her weak.

"What room?" Rae questioned as she turned back, Thea draped lifeless in her arms.

"The blue." Cleo moved over to collect Tori as Rae began to slowly climb the stairs. "You must be Victoria."

"Yes, hello." Tori smiled at her. "Thank you Miss. Eaton."

"No need Victoria." Cleo replied waving off the thanks. "I have put you in the green room. It is beside your sister's with a connecting door." Tori smiled again happy she wouldn't be segregated form her sister in this strange house. "This way." She motioned to the young woman to follow Rae.

"Take the limousine and get it cleaned. Upholstery and paint work." Cleo turned once everyone had entered the house and spoke to the driver in a low voice. She didn't want any residual of this barbarians horror left within the car.

"Yes Miss." He nodded to her taken aback by the strange request, but more than willing to fulfil it for his employer.

"Well go." Cleo snapped stepping in the house and closing the door behind her.


Rae took the unconscious actress straight to the blue room, putting her under the covers and tucking her in. Only then did she come back into the hall to find the others.

"I'm in the green room." Tori looked at her a little lost.

"That door right there." Rae smiled at her and pointed. "Why don't you go in and settle in, you look tired. I'll make sure that pizza you wanted is ordered."

"Thank you Rae." She tried to swallow a gentle yawn as she moved passed the tall women and slipped into her room.

"No worries Tori." Rae looked to see Cleo hovering in the front hall. She jogged down the stairs toward the blonde.

"Is everything all right?" Rae questioned worried as the estate's security chief walked away with her departure.

"Yes, I have changed the code on the front gate." Cleo handed Rae a slip of paper. "That's the new one." The technician memorised the number and slipped it in her pocket. "And I have asked Graham to keep four men here at all times rather than two."

"I doubt there will be trouble, he shouldn't have any idea to look here." Rae massaged her forehead. "But Tori's supposed to be going home with him tomorrow so God knows what he's going to do."

"I know blackbird, but I want us all to rest easy." Cleo reached forward and touched Rae's arm.

"Four is good." She agreed.

"Do you want me to put a man on him?" Cleo asked her voice tight.

"Cleo, I so want to say yes." Her voice was low. "I also want to say no I'll do this myself." She tried to relax. "But I think we need time for this to settle and ultimately Thea has to decide right?" She looked for confirmation that this was the right thought. It was so hard for her to fight the instinct to find him and kill him.

"I am just talking following, nothing heavy, just so we are informed. After all…" She paused. "He may report her missing." She tried to meet Rae's gaze.

"Oh shit!' Rae cursed. "I never thought of that. Followed is a must I think." She finally met Cleo's eyes.

"Thank you." The blonde stroked the technician's arm. "Potterly is due within the hour."

"Thank you for what?" Rae questioned.

"For trusting me enough to involve me." Cleo explained softly.

"Of course I trust you." Rae looked at her. "I'm the one who should be thanking you."

"Why?" She asked confused..

"For understanding this isn't about me and Thea, it's about helping her cause of what he did." Rae whispered hurt.

"It would have been in human of me not to help my blackbird." She closed her eyes letting the words echo in her head.

"I know you would always help." Rae tried to clarify.

"Of course Raven." Cleo replied stepping away from her. "Now you must need rest yourself. Why not sit in the living room? At least until Potterly gets here."

"I don't think I can sit, I'm too edgy." She conceded. "And I promised Tori I'd order her pizza."

"Rae, we don't order in here. I'll get cook to make one." Cleo laughed lightly at the idea of a delivery car pulling up to the house. It was a surreal idea really. "Why not go out to the gym? I could come with you."

"That's good." She smiled at the idea of burning off some of her excess anger.

"Let me get changed." Cleo moved towards the stairs. "You'll find your sweat gear in are old wardrobe."

"I should eh?" Rae looked down at her jeans and moved to follow Cleo to the blonde's bedroom.

As they entered she moved off to the left to the large mahogany wardrobe. Opening it was almost eerie to see her things sat in little neatly folded stacks and on hangers just like she'd left them.

Cleo unfastened her tight skirt and let it fall to the floor as she pulled out a short pair of sweat shorts from the drawer. She pulled them on and then removed her blouse and pulled on a grey v-neck.

Rae paid little attention to the oddity as she peeled off her jeans and top, replacing them with shorts and a tight T-shirt.

"I'm sorry that the plans I kinda suggested earlier didn't work out." Rae smiled awkwardly.

"It is of no matter." The woman finished with her hair.

"It is Cleo." Rae moved across the room to stand near her. "I can't even believe I rang you about this."

"I assure you that under the circumstances I understand. Any plans would seem a little farcical now at any rate, even two friends having dinner. Thank you for calling me Raven. Thank you for letting me help." She leaned forward and placed a controlled kissed on Rae's cheek.

Rae moved impulsively to hug her suddenly overwhelmed at how easy Cleo was making this.

"When everything calms down, perhaps even tonight after Potterly has been. We can share part of Tori's pizza."

"Yes…" Cleo answered trying to figure her reaction to the embrace. A part of her wanted to melt into Rae's arms, the other fought hard against it.

"That is if she will share." Rae released the other woman.

"Come Raven." She pulled away. "I wonder if I can still beat you on the cycles."

"Hummm." Rae laughed. "Are we having a race?"

"If you are up to it." The blonde moved to the door.

"Most definitely." Rae followed her out into the hall.

"Rae?" Tori stood in the hallway waiting for them.

"Yes Tori?" She asked as she closed the bedroom door. "What's wrong?"

"Would it be all right to call my mother?" The young woman looked at her nervous to ask the simple question.

"Of course, you should tell her you're staying with Thea for awhile." Rae looked to Cleo as her mind stuck on whether to instruct the girl about what not to mention or mention regarding Thea.

"Oh, I hadn't thought what I might say." The young woman began to cry.

Cleo watched for an uncomfortable moment, before nodding at Tori slightly and slipping down the stairs.

"Ssssh Victoria." The technician moved to hug her awkwardly and tried to guide her back towards her room.

"Oh Rae I… am… sorry." Tori's voice was broken through her sobs.

"No need to be sorry." Rae reassured her. "It's been hard go the last day."

"It's just..." Tori sobbed again.

"Just what?" Holding onto her tightly, the tall woman led her into the bedroom. "You need to talk about this." She pushed her in a soft voice.

"I've just realised." Her voice broke.

"Realised what Tori?" Rae kept prompting her to go on.

"Really realised what he did." She admitted, sobbing again even heavier.

"I know it's hard to get your head around." Rae whispered softly, doubting at this moment if any of them could ever really understand, really realise what Thea had gone through.

"Rae." Tori sat down on the bed. She reached behind her and took hold of her stuffed bear. The tattered black bear was one of the few things she'd brought from the hotel.

"What Tori?" The technician watched her sadly. "Do you need something?"

"I could have stopped it." Tori gripped her bear tightly and sobbed harder.

"No Victoria." Rae sat on the bed and put a gentle arm around her. "This wasn't in your control."

"I could have, I could have." She sobbed rocking gently in her grief.

"How Tori?" Rae questioned not understanding the girl's guilt.

"Last night. I heard. I heard everything that happened. Thea was crying, all night." Tori's voice was punctuated by deep sobs. Rae's heart stopped as she realised what the girl had gone through.

"Victoria…" She regained herself quickly. "You couldn't have stopped this."

"I should have called security. I should have helped her. She's my sister." Tori held her stomach tightly and gripped the bear desperately.

"You did help her." She whispered. "You called me remember. We got her out of there and we got her somewhere safe now. It was a very brave thing you did Victoria."

"It's not enough." The short broken words were whispered back.

"Tori, your sister wouldn't have wanted you charging in their last night. Edward is a dangerous man, she'd never forgive herself if he hurt you too."

"I should have stayed with her." Tori continued her crying now causing her pain.

"You couldn't have known what he planned to do." Rae rocked her slightly. "Edward is the only one to blame here Victoria. Not you or Thea, only him."

"He's always made her unhappy." Tori wailed.

"Has he?" She questioned before she realised.

"Forgive me, I shouldn't have said that." Tori stopped weeping suddenly as she realised what she had said. She brushed at her cheeks and put down the bear.

"There is nothing to forgive." Rae hugged her tight for a second. "I'm sure more than anyone you know when your sister is happy or not."

"Yes." The answer came quietly.

"And if he's always made her unhappy its okay for you to say so." Rae added in a gentle tone.

"But we are not supposed to speak of it. Any of it." She looked down and picked her bear up once more to fiddle with his ear.

"Why not?" The technician asked surprised. "Tori, you can talk about anything."

"My Father says we should not." The answer was almost inaudible.

"Victoria, do you agree with that? Not talking about how sad he makes her?" Rae asked quietly trying not to sound like she was questioning the man's authority. Though in her heart she staunchly disagreed with it.

"I never understood it." Tori admitted softly.

"Tori, it's okay to talk about these things with certain people." Rae tried to find some common ground. "Not to the whole world sometimes but to some people it's okay to talk. You can't keep it all bottled up."

"One must keep it secret." She said quietly, not really believing her own words.

"You can't keep all of this in Victoria, you are allowed to talk about it to me okay?" The technician spoke in a low authoritative voice, hoping it would sway the young woman a little.

"When Thea was seventeen…" Tori began looking at Rae for reassurance that this was really okay, happy to see a nod that it was. "We had a big party, I was thirteen. It was an amazing affair." A soft smile gave her the strength to continue, as she played with the tartan bow tied around her teddy's neck.

"What happened at the party Tori?" She spoke only after some silence.

"Daddy announced that Thea and Edward were engaged." The young woman looked at Rae.

"You sound surprised by that?" Rae questioned the look she was getting. "Nobody mentioned it to you?"

"Rae…" She took a breath as she tried to figure out how to explain. "Edward Jones was twenty seven when Thea was seventeen. No body knew about it. Nobody!"

"Did Thea?" Rae asked struck by the age difference between them and Tori's body language.

"No." She whispered holding the bear in a tighter grip.

"But..." Rae was at a loss. "Your father arranged the marriage without her knowing?"

"It was a family thing." The short answer came in a clipped voice.

"Tori, I'm not familiar with that, what is a family thing?" She asked suddenly very lost.

"The Jones' family and the Wilcox's have been associated for years." Tori explained briefly. "Daddy only had girls, Thea and I. So he needed a man to keep the estate. Edward was the ideal husband."

"This was all about money and title?" She questioned horrified by the idea.

"Thea was always going to go into Theatre." Tori hurried to qualify. "If she became a big star she would never have to be at home."

"And never have to be with Edward?" Rae's throat was dry.

"Not if she didn't want to. Mother said she should be a good girl and try it. I remembering hearing her say that to Thea in the library after Daddy announced it."

"So Thea never wanted this?" The question came slowly.

"Thea said she hated the idea and hated Edward. She ran out crying." Tori looked up at Rae with tears in her eyes, her mind clouded by the memory.

"Tori…" She hesitated to ask but she had to know. "Is this when..." She couldn't find the words.

"Three hours later." Tori answered without really hearing Rae's question. "They took her away in an ambulance."

"Oh Christ!" Rae gasped and whispered to herself. "That's what she calls teen angst." Tori gripped the teddy close and rocked again slightly. "It's okay Victoria." The motion of the rocking called her back. "Thea had already told me that she tried, she just never told me why."

"I didn't see her for a month." Victoria's voice was small.

"They made her marry him even after that?" She asked the hard question having to know.

"There was never a question of them not marrying." Tori whispered. "Thea was the perfect business wife."

"Huh?" Rae found herself lost again. "Why perfect?"

"I shouldn't talk about this." Tori was suddenly unsure of what she was doing and she brushed at the tears on her cheeks.

"Victoria, it's okay to talk about it." Rae moved a hand to sit on the bear's head and spoke confidently. "You can't keep this all in. From now on I'm going to take care of you and Thea, so no one can hurt you like this again."

"What?" She looked up at her in disbelief. "Why would you do that?"

"Because I want to..." She gave the simple answer softly. "No strings attached." She added afraid the young women would think this was another business deal.

"But what do you get out of it?" Tori asked slightly confused.

"I get to know you and her are happy." She smiled. "And safe and doing what you want in life. I don't believe in forcing anyone to do anything they don't want Victoria."

"TORI!" Thea's petrified scream broke through the moment's silence that fell between them.

Rae was up and running before she knew what she was doing. She beat Tori to the door that connected their rooms.

"Thea, it's okay." She said softly as she entered expecting the young woman to be right behind.

"Where's Tori?" The actress looked wild eyed around the room.

"Right here." Rae moved out of the door to let the young woman through. Tori dropped the bear and ran to the door after Rae, squeezing past the tall Canadian to hurry to her sister's bedside.

"Tori." Thea sobbed holding out her arms.

"It's okay Thea." She hopped on the bed and moved to hold her. "Rae took us somewhere safe."

"Where?" Thea looked around unable to see anything familiar. She'd thought they'd gone to the condo.

"The Eaton Estate." Rae clarified quietly. "It's got better security then the condo."

"Where?" Thea looked at Rae, not quite understanding.

"Cleo's house." She clarified.

"Cleo's?" Thea gasped horrified as she let go of her sister. "I have to go back to the hotel." She brushed her hair back from her face, ignoring the dull pain that invaded her body and mind.

"No Thea, you can't!" Tori begged her. "He'll hurt you again."

"I can't stay here." She looked at her sister lovingly. "It's okay Tori. He didn't mean this."

"Miss. Eaton says we can stay as long as we need too and Rae says she's going to take care of us from now on." Victoria tried to reason with her.

"Thea, don't be naïve." Rae couldn't help the comment, though she kept her voice soft. "He did it, he meant it."

"Can you give Rae and I a minute?" Thea looked at her sister hoping she had enough strength to do this. "Please."

"Okay, I'm just in there. It's my room." Tori smiled softly and moved reluctantly away. She pulled the door closed as she exited.

"Thea, you can't go back to him." Rae went right too it. "Next time he's likely to kill you."

"I would be obliged if you did take care of Tori." Thea used all her effort to control her voice.

"Of course I will." She replied honestly. There was no question to whether or not she would take care of the young woman. "But Thea, be reasonable. You can't go back to him."

"But I have to get back." Her voice wavered. "I especially can't stay here."

"Why? So he can smack you some more?" Rae came a bit closer, unable to believe what she was hearing. "Thea, I know this is not ideal but the estate has tight security. If he tries something stupid you'll be safe here."

"You don't understand." The actress shook her head.

"Then make me understand!" Rae pleaded with her as she watched the injured woman struggle to move back the bedclothes. "Thea you need to rest and heal."

"Cleo is a very important business women. Edward is here making business contacts." Her breathing became hard as she struggled to get up.

"What does that have to do with this?" Rae shot back.

"What if by some crazy chance he tried to contact her and she knew about this? His chances of a deal would be ruined." Thea finished moving the heavy duvet aside.

"What?" Rae was shocked. "That's what you're worried about? His fucking business! You're kidding me, you have to be kidding." She paced back and forth.

"Business is his life." Thea managed to move the sheets back. "As his wife I am supposed to assist that not mess it up."

"Thea, R&F is not just Cleo's it is my corporation too." She stood firm and tall in her commitment. "It will not do business now or for the rest of time with any company the bastard ever even talked to."

Thea half listened to Rae's rant and half concentrated on pushing herself to the edge of the bed. She wondered why her vision was dipping as she struggled to move.

"And trust me Cleo agrees. He's done in Toronto." She stated finally.

Thea barely heard her words as her head swam.

"Thea, be careful." She moved when she saw the actress' eyes roll, her voice dropping away from its once angry tone. "You need to rest angel, you're injured."

"If I don't go back..." Thea tried to stand but toppled forward towards the floor. Rae moved quickly to catch her in mid fall. Thankful when it was her hand and not Thea's head that struck the post of the bed.

"Back to bed angel." Rae lifted her and moved the actress back to lie down.

"He'll look for me." Thea whispered letting her head loll back on the pillow.

"Cleo's arranged to have him watched." Rae whispered as she arranged the blankets. "We'll know his every move before he makes it." She watched Thea's eyes flutter closed before she could speak again. "Rest love." She brushed the hair back off the woman's face. "You don't have to worry, let me do that for now."

"I love you Rae." Thea breathed the words out slowly before she let the pain swallow her again.

"Rest Thea, rest." Rae kissed her softly on the forehead, as the words cut into her like the sharpness knife. No matter how her heart screamed, she couldn't say them back.

'I'll take care of you and Tori forever.' Her thoughts ran fast as she watched the unconscious woman for a moment. 'Hell, I'll even take care of your parents and every other member of your family if need be but I can't say the words Thea. Not after last night, because no matter how I try to justify it angel. You still lied to me.'


Rae leaned against the doorway to the gym and watched the tall blonde with an element of wonder. The heavy bag before her bounced back and forth from her stinging punches and kicks. The leather of the bag had long been beaten soft from Cleo's expert hand.

"You're dropping your elbow." Rae smiled trying to be funny, as they would both know Cleo was doing no such thing.

"Left or right?" She took one last swing before stepping away from the bag. Her breathing heavy she forced a smile.

"Right." Rae walked into the gym.

"It's usually my left." Cleo stepped further back and began to undo her hand wraps.

"Well I didn't want to say both." Rae grinned at her. "You want to skip the bag and work on your hook?"

"Is everything all right?" Cleo deliberately didn't answer. "With Thea and her sister?"

"No, not really." She shook her head. "Thea woke up for a bit. She's got some silly notion that you can't find out about Edward cause he'd loose business. I explained our corporation doesn't do business with rapists." She frowned as she stretched out her arms. "Tori is taking it hard."

"How old is Tori?" Cleo turned from Rae and walked over to the pull down bar, her mind thinking quickly about the business situation she'd be forced into.

"Um." Rae tried to remember what Thea had told her. "Twenty three. Why?"

"Young." Cleo said thoughtfully as she appraised the situation.

"Yeah." Rae agreed starting some leg stretches.

"To have found Thea in that state must have thrown her." Cleo reasoned crouching down checking the weight settings.

"Very much." Rae agreed. "She told me she heard most of it through the walls. She didn't realise what it was though."

"She'll need to talk about it. " The blonde suggested as she began the exercise.

"I think so." Rae thought about it as she began a series of karate motions. "Anyone you can suggest? Lillian would have been perfect." She added the last part softly.

"Potterly may have some suggestions." Cleo offered helpfully, while snarling to the floor at the mention of Lillian's name.

"I'll have to ask." Her words finished a heartbeat before she executed a complicated back flip.

"Didn't you say earlier that Victoria was due to go back to England tomorrow?" Cleo asked as she finished her set.

"Yes, but she's not going now." Rae was adamant as she continued with the complicated series of flips.

"Of course not Blackbird. I was just thinking." Cleo moved over to sit on one of the benches.

"What?" Rae stopped the tone the blonde has used demanded her full attention.

"Do you think Tori would be up to talking to him, Edward I mean?" Cleo leaned against the mirrored wall behind the bench thinking.

"Why would she do that?" Rae questioned trying not to react to adversely just yet.

"I am trying to think of a way to keep Edward's suspicions down about where his wife is. If this were the last time Thea and her sister were to be together for some time, it would be logical to think that they would want to spend time together." She spoke softly. "They are very close as far as sisters go."

"He's got to be suspicious by now. They're there both missing and Tori's stuff is gone." The technician cringed. "And knowing his kind he'd want Thea back tonight."

"And it would rely on Tori being up to talking." Cleo shook her head. "Which by the sounds of it, she isn't."

"I don't think so." Rae shrugged feeling very trapped and very out of control. "Unless it was really important. Then maybe we could coach her, but I don't want to pressure her."

Cleo moved to run through another set of weights, the silence looming between them.

"We might have to let her go back Raven." She stopped her actions and spoke slowly.

"What?" Rae stopped her series again abruptly. "You're kidding right? How can we let her go back to that?"

"One night, we're only talking one night." Cleo stressed the point. "And we'll have the place watched. I am thinking damage control Blackbird."

"You mean tonight?" She tried to keep herself controlled. "Cleo, she tried to stand up and she passed out!"

"Raven, listen to me." The blonde moved slowly closer. "The last thing we want is Edward hanging around here in Toronto. Think about it Raven. Is he going to pack up and go home if his wife has gone missing?"

"He will when I get done with him." Rae jumped suddenly and hit the heavy bag with a shocking kick. "He's going to be happy to get out alive!" She punched the bag again and again frantically.

"Raven, no one can condone what he has done. But as you said this has got to be dealt with Thea's way." Cleo moved towards her but held far enough back. She knew when her Blackbird needed to vent and this was one of those times. "I can get Potterly to give her something to help her through and even some high sedatives she can take as soon as she gets there." She revealed her reasoning slow and logically.

"Fine, we do it Thea's way." Rae locked her jaw and went full out at the bag. "But I can't suggest this to her, I can't!" Her attack grew vicious and the bag bounced on its chains.

"Raven!" Cleo shouted at her to stop her assault.

"Yes?" Her breathing was low and deep.

"What choice is there?" Cleo breathed the question slow and controlled.

"I don't know." She smacked the bag one last time. "This is all so fucked up!"

"Miss. Eaton, Miss O'Keefe?" Loraine stood by the door to the gym. "Dr. Potterly is here."

"Cleo, I can't ask her to see him again." Rae's voice was broken.

"I know. I'll do it." Cleo walked calmly past her and brushed a hand over Rae's arm.

"We should go see the Doctor and explain." She nodded her defeat.

"Yes, we should." Cleo agreed as she reached the doorway. "Come on. Thank you Loraine." She dismissed the young woman who still lurked there. Rae sighed and moved to follow upstairs.

"Raven?" Cleo called her attention in a soft voice. "Perhaps you should talk to Dr Potterly too."

"Why?" The technician questioned.

"Just to get something to calm you down a little maybe." She made the suggestion gently. "Something to help you sleep even."

"Maybe." Rae shrugged not really interested. "We'll see."

"Okay." Cleo let the issue drop and went to find the Doctor.


"Miss. Winters, Miss. Winters?" Dr. Potterly kept his voice soft as he tried to coax Thea awake. He didn't like starting an examination if she might wake up mid way and be terrified.

Thea forced her eyes open. The details were blurring and things moved in her field of vision.

"What?" She slurred the question, blinking hard a few times.

"Miss. Winters, my name is Dr. Potterly." He explained gently. "I need to ask you a few questions."

"Dr. Potter?" She managed to focus her eyes and mind though both stayed a little hazy.

"Potterly." He smiled at her. "How about we make this simple and you call me James."

"James." Thea chose the easier option.

"Yes." He nodded. "Is it okay if I do a bit of an examination? I want to make sure you don't need x-rays."

"I… I'm all right." She raised her hand and gently rubbed her eye.

"You're sleepy from the sedative the other physician gave you." His soothing fatherly tone was kind. "I'm afraid you've been hurt fairly badly Miss. Winters."

"Just a little fall." She added without thought, years of training bred into her.

"Miss. Winters, I am your physician now so you can be honest with me. I am bound by confidentiality not to say anything to anyone. Not even if they take me to court." He spoke honestly as he examined her head.

"Oh." Thea's head cleared enough for her to know this man wasn't going to need flimsy excuses from her.

"Was it just with his hand or did he use any objects?" He questioned softly.

"Hand, on my head." Thea replied.

"How many times?" He asked assessing the spreading of the bruise.

"Two. No, three." She tried to remember.

"The stitches on your lip will need to be redone." He smiled at her softly. "I'm told you're a stage actress."

"Yes." Thea felt her bottom lip tremble as her mind flooded with thoughts of the play.

"I have a good man at my office. I'll get him to come by tomorrow and redo them so there won't be a scar." He went from injury to injury in an orderly professional manner. "What play are you in?" He tried to make small talk as he finished up with her face and turned his attention to her arms and wrists. After checking them carefully he moved back from her a little.

"Tragedy's Dance." Thea's very quiet reply came after some hesitation.

"May I?" He motioned to the blankets. "I need to look at your ribs." She nodded her consent and he moved back the blanket. "Oh really." He smiled at her. "I have tickets for that next month. It has fine reviews." He moved the blanket only enough to examine her ribs.

"Nothing broke but they are badly bruised." He assessed. "Miss. Winters…" His voice went soft. "Under the circumstance I don't think it's best for me to continue the rest of the examination. A colleague of mine, Dr. Leslie Montaro came with me." He waited to see her response to the idea.

"It's all right, I'm fine." Thea made a grab for the blankets.

"Please Miss. Winters." He kept his voice soft. "It would be dangerous if you are injured internally. Leslie's examine will be as short and painless as possible."

"Okay." Thea began protesting but gave up before she really started.

"Good." He confirmed as he stood up. "I'm going to call to get some prescriptions delivered for you, just some painkillers and something to help you sleep. Nothing too strong." He smiled softly at her. "I'll tell Leslie to come in."

"James. My sister, Victoria, have you seen her?" Thea called as he reached the door.

"Only briefly in the hall, I was going to have a look in on her. Is that all right?"

"Please do." Thea nodded gratefully.

"I will, I'll have something ordered to help her sleep as well."

Thea tried to smile as he moved his hand to the door handle.

"This might not mean much Miss. Winters." He spoke sadly to her. "But as a man I'm sorry your husband did this, he had no right."

"Thank you." Thea responded though her words were empty. "Dr Potterly?"

"Yes?" He stopped again halfway out the door.

"If I said I had to go back, to him, to the man who did this. What would you say?" She knew this was possibly an unreasonable question but she had to try and sort out her own mind.

"I'd say that would be a very dangerous choice Miss. Winters." His voice was sad. "Men like him do not stop and they usually only get more violent. That is my medical opinion as I have seen a lot in my years of practice I'm afraid."

"Could you get me in a fit state to go back?" She asked directly understanding his answer, but needing ones of her own.

"Miss. Winters, I can bandage you up and re-stitch now if you like." He shook his head at the idea. "The ribs can't take another blow, and your right eye is liable to close by the morning."

"I need twenty four hours James. That's all I need." She outlined it for him.

"We'll have to walk the line with the painkillers to get you mobile." He came back in the room. "Miss. Winters why do you need this time?" He asked knowing it was outside of protocol but something about this woman's plight moved him.

"Because if I give him that time he'll be gone again for a while." She gave him the honest answer. "Sounds like a fair trade doesn't it?"

"We can do it, but you're going to have to be very careful. Of course, we'll need to see what Dr. Montaro finds as well."

"Of course." She agreed having no other choice.

"Okay, let me order in the things I need while Dr. Montaro does her examine and we'll see."

"Thank you." Thea whispered trying to express just how important this was to her.

The doctor shook his head gently as he walked out and closed the door behind him. He didn't want thanks, not for what he had agreed to do.

Continued in Act Fifteen...

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