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Topic Title: Consequences

Topic Description: Peter, Cassie. Rated T(VD)

Type of story: Oneshot

Rating: T

Main Characters: Peter, Cassie

Genre: Drama

Warnings: Domestic violence

Is Story being proof read: Yes

Summary: Peter rescues Cassie from a troubled relationship, but who will rescue him?


(A request from Tainted Muse)

Peter’s fingers splayed across Amanda’s front door. He could almost feel the tense energy coming from the room behind it. She hadn’t come to the door when he knocked. She hadn’t called back to him when he’d called out her name. Something was wrong.

“Amanda,” he said more urgently. He tried the handle, but the lock jarred his wrist.

He peered in through the window. The thin white curtain veiled the scene. He could make out two grey figures: a man standing over Amanda’s couch, while the woman’s slight form cowered beneath him.

Hurrying around to the back of the house, Peter entered through the kitchen, ready to confront Amanda’s attacker… but when he walked into the lounge room, they were not his girlfriend’s eyes, wide with fear, that were pleading for his help. They were Cassie’s.

“Get away from her!” ordered Peter. He didn’t recognize the man from his back, but when Macca turned around and stepped away from Cassie, everything became clear. Peter could see the welt that Cassie was trying to cover on the side of her face, and the flush in Macca’s own cheeks – the rapid way in which he was breathing – that told Peter he was the one who gave it to her.

“Get away from her,” he repeated. His voice was lower now, void of panic; he was taking control of the situation.

“Pete, mate, this is not what it looks like…”

Peter’s eyes flicked to Cassie to check her reaction. She made no attempt to back Macca up. She just kept sniveling, kept staring up at him helplessly.

Macca was smiling now, trying to keep up the appearance that this was all a misunderstanding. “She tripped over,” he said. “She hit her eye on the coffee table. She’s lucky she didn’t do herself any serious damage.”

Cassie almost glared at him, but couldn’t quite force it out past her tears.

“She’s just a bit shaken up.”

“I can see that,” said Peter; Cassie was obviously terrified. “Why don’t you get out of here?” he said to Macca, and it was not a suggestion. “I’ll take care of Cassie.”

Peter didn’t like the idea of letting him go so easily, but he had not come here prepared for an arrest. He didn’t even have a pair of cuffs on him, let alone anything to subdue Macca with if things took a turn. Besides which, Cassie had already been through enough. Seeing her boyfriend hauled away – leaving her there on her own – wouldn’t help.

“I can take care of my own girlfriend,” said Macca, dropping his carefree act.

“Yes,” quipped Peter, “You’ve done a great job of that so far.” He stared pointedly at the red mark painted across the back of Macca’s hand. “She tripped, huh?”

“It was an accident!” Macca protested.

“One that’s not going to happen again!” said Pete, raising his voice to match Macca’s.

Cassie’s eyes darted silently between the pair of them, watching to see how this yelling match would play out, not sure who she wanted to back down first. Macca was her boyfriend, but Peter, at that moment, was her savior.

Macca stayed defiant in the face of interference. “This is my house,” he said. “I’m not leaving.”

Peter reached into his pocket, making his opponent flinch. Macca lifted his hands from his sides to remind the detective that he was unarmed – as if his hands themselves were not deadly weapons.

Peter withdrew his mobile from his pocket and held it up to show Macca that the threat he was about to make was not idle. “This is not your house,” said Peter. “This is Amanda’s house. You just live here, and you won’t even be doing that when she finds out what you’ve done.”

“You’re gonna call her?” asked Macca.

“No. If you don’t leave now, I’m going to call for backup and have you arrested for assault where you stand. So I suggest you get going.”

“You don’t have any proof,” Macca challenged him. He was confident that his girlfriend wouldn’t say a word against him.

“Cassie’s bruises are the proof.”

Macca looked across to Cassie on the lounge, as if he was just realizing the state of her. She was curled up tightly against the cushions, staining the expensive fabric with her tears.

“Cass…” he sighed apologetically. He took a step towards her, but Peter cut across the floor to block his path.

Peter didn’t need to say it again; the message was sent loud and clear through his steel-blue eyes that Macca was no longer welcome here.

Macca nodded and backed off. “I’ll talk to you later,” he said to Cassie as if nothing had changed between them.

He unlocked the front door and made a casual exit. Apparently he didn’t grasp the severity of what had happened.

What had happened? Cassie didn’t know. She sat on Peter’s modest two-seater lounge (which matched the sparse decor of his rented apartment perfectly) trying to work it out.

Was it an accident, like Macca said? Maybe he didn’t mean to hurt her – maybe he just forgot his own strength… Maybe she deserved it.

“Thanks for letting me come here,” she said, changing the subject of her own thoughts. “I don’t think I could have handled going back to Irene’s right now. Or to Sal’s…”

Her already black eyes darkened as she thought of all the ‘I told you so’s that she would be hearing in the coming days. Not that she had anyone to blame for that but herself.

“This isn’t your fault,” said Peter, reading her instantly. He sat down beside her and handed her a washcloth full of ice. Cassie took it from him reluctantly and held the cold wet bundle to her swollen skin.

“Yes it is,” she said, staring down at her knees. “I went back to him. Sally tried to warn me, but I didn’t listen… Mattie, Ric – everyone.”

“You can’t help who you fall in love with.”

Peter knew that all too well. His recent relationship with Amanda – both his brother and his son’s ex – had hurt the people closest to him, more than he could have imagined. Even his sister-in-law, Leah, had been so offended by it that he was no longer welcome in her house. That’s why he had come back here, to the apartment block that used to be his home, and that of the serial killer who destroyed his life; All their lives.

It was the last place in the world he wanted to be (besides face to face with Dan or Drew) but for some strange reason, it was the only one with enough vacancies to take him in at such short notice…

Amanda had offered her bedroom to him, but Peter had declined for his nephew’s sake. The rest of the family already hated him… he couldn’t bear for Ryan to see that whenever they came to visit.

So yes, Peter knew a thing or two about forbidden love, and how it could all blow up in your face. Knew well enough to know that sometimes, it just couldn’t be helped.

“I should have listened to them,” said Cassie, snapping him back to reality. “Sally and Ric are my family. They love me. How could I just ignore their feelings like that?”

Peter felt a twinge of guilt for his own situation.

“I’m sorry,” said Cassie, misjudging his discomfort. “You don’t want to hear this.” She wiped away an embarrassing tear, looking utterly ashamed of herself.

“Don’t be sorry,” he told her; it was okay for her to cry. He rested a gentle hand on her shoulder and took the makeshift icepack away from her.

In spite of Peter’s understanding, Cassie still felt stupid, and it showed. She turned her face away, trying to hide the result of her romantic folly.

Peter touched her chin, turning her face back towards his. The red mark on her right cheek was darkening into a crimson bruise.

“Maybe I should take you to the hospital,” he said.

Cassie shook her head against his fingers. “No… it doesn’t hurt that much.”

He brushed it lightly with the backs of his fingers. Cassie winced.


“Peter, please. They’ll just ask how it happened, and I don’t want to…” She trailed off. She didn’t want to think about it.

“You’ll have to make a statement when we arrest him anyway,” said Peter.

“No… I don’t want to press charges. It was just a stupid mistake. He shouldn’t have his whole life ruined because of…”

“Because of you?”

Cassie nodded.

“Cassie, you’re not the one responsible for Macca’s actions, Macca is. He chose to hit you, so now he’s going to have to deal with the consequences.”

“But if he’s charged he’ll go to jail! He only got off last time because he promised to get help – and he did! It was working…”

“So what changed?”

“I…I don’t know…”

“Well, Cassie, you know this isn’t your fault, but something must have triggered him. What made him turn on you like that? What happened?”

Cassie rolled her eyes. Did he not hear her before?

“Cassie, I know you don’t want to talk about it, but it might help us both to understand why Macca did what he did.”

“It doesn’t matter why he did it,” Cassie sulked.

“Doesn’t it?”

Despite what Cassie said, and what Peter was trying to make her believe, it was clear that she still felt at fault. Peter was certain that she needed to work through her misguided guilt before she had any chance of accepting her own innocence.

“He was just… angry, I guess,” Cassie concluded.

“What was he angry about?”

“I told him that I didn’t want to move to the city with him. But this job is really important to him. He’s been working really long hours again, and he’s tired, but with this job, he wouldn’t have to do that anymore…” Cassie couldn’t imagine why she would want to do anything to wreck that for him. She was supposed to love him… “He really wanted me to go with him…”

“So why did you say no?”

“I don’t know… my friends, my family… school… Sal didn’t want me to go…” Cassie hesitated, swallowing back more involuntary tears. They somehow seemed to be mocking her regret, trying to fool her into thinking that she had a right to feel sorry for herself.

“Why’s that?”

“She…” Cassie sniffed – she was so stupid… “She didn’t trust him. But I told her…” She sobbed, making the sentence hard to follow. “I yelled at her…” She sobbed again. “I loved him… I trusted him!” She cried harder, unable to control herself. Still hating herself for being so weak and self-absorbed.

“Hey,” said Peter, afraid that he had broken her; what little Macca had left for him to break. “It’s okay…” He hugged her, and she wept on his shoulder, not caring anymore if it was her right to do so.

Peter carried Cassie into the bedroom and laid her down. She was already asleep – exhausted. He covered her with the warm blankets, patting her hair in a sympathetic way before leaving to make a few phone calls.

“Irene,” he said quietly. “Cassie’s with me. She’s fine.”

He dialed again. “Macca McKenzie,” he gave the perpetrator’s name to a colleague. “Assault… Cassie Turner… The sooner you can bring him in the better,” he said darkly. “Thanks mate.”

He hung up and peered back into the bedroom. She was still sleeping through it. He was glad that she was able to rest.

Peter sat back on the two-seater lounge and sighed. The course of true love never did run smoothly, but he was pretty sure that it wasn’t meant to tear families apart and leave young girls battered and bruised either.

He took out his wallet, barely visible in the dull lamplight. He opened it and plucked out a crumpled photo from the back pocket. Peter looked down at his son, who smiled back at him. Something he hadn’t seen in real life for a very long time.

Peter looked around the apartment and remembered Zoe. He never would have come back to Summer Bay if not for her. Drew never would have come here and fallen for Amanda… He never would have fallen for Amanda all over again and betrayed his brother and son…

As he stared into Drew’s black eyes, Peter remembered a piece of his own wisdom:

“You’re not the one responsible for my actions,” he whispered, “I am. I chose this…so now I’m going to have to deal with the consequences.”

He folded the photo back into his wallet and set it down beside the lamp. He turned the light off and curled up on the lounge, resigning himself to the darkness.



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