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A Mother's Treasure Is Her Daughter

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Chapter 20

The sun glistened off the windscreen, blinding Charlie as she pulled into the off road lane way. She slowed down and came to a halt a few meters from the old run down house. She looked at the old rickety boards that covered the windows. The safe guard on the door was hanging from one hinge and the porche looked like it would collapse if any weight was placed on it. Charlie swallowed hard. The place sent a shiver down her spine and the thought of Ruby being held hostage inside ached in her heart.

She leaned across to the passenger seat and opened the glove compartment and pulled out her gun. She clipped the holdster onto her belt buckle behind her back and placed the gun inside, pulling her top down to cover it. She closed the glove compartment and then picked Ruby's insulin kit up off the seat and sat back up in her seat. She removed the keys from the ignition and got out of the car, closing the door gently as not to startle the scumbags trying to ruin her life.

The place was quiet. The only sound coming from Charlie's footsteps. Even the birds swooping around the trees glided with sleek noiseless movements. Almost like they could sense danger. As Charlie rounded the corner to the back of the house she spotted a familiar car parked outside. She stopped in her tracks trying to remember where she had seen that car before. When suddenly it hit her like a blow to the side of the head. John Doe she thought to herself. The man Angelo had let walk free was inside..........with Ruby.

Charlie inhaled a deep breath and exhaled slowly. She walked up to the back door and pushed the back door open.

"Alright, I'm here", Charlie shouted, making her presence known in the house, "now give me my daughter back and we can sort this out right now".

Silence. Then a sudden sound of sniggering and footsteps. Charlie turned startled as she turned toward the old living room. Beams of light shining through the boarded up windows lit up the man's face. Charlie took a step back. Her police senses warning her that this situation was too dangerous for one person. But she couldn't risk Ruby's life. That's if she was still alive.

"What do you want? Where's Ruby?, she demanded.

"Firstly sweetheart, I want you to ditch the gun", Derrick demanded. A sinister look on his face. He looked at Charlie's empty expression and got angry. "Don't play stupid with me I saw you load up in your car...now lose it!!", he yelled.

Charlie jumped slightly at his screeching yells. She knew he wasn't fooling around. With no other choice she removed the holdster from her belt and flung it down the hall. She looked at Derrick as he broke into a grin. How could he be so evil she thought to herself.

"Please just let me see Ruby?" she pleaded. Charlie could feel her emotions as a mother bubbling to the surface, but she couldn't break. If she did, Derrick would prey off her to his advantage. "Look, she's diabetic, she needs medication or she'll die....please?" she begged.

Derrick looked at her. He wasn't convinced of her pleas. How could he trust a cop? If this was some sort of trick his whole plan for immunity from anything to do with the police investigation would be comprimised and it was a risk he was not prepared to take. He couldn't trust her to tell the truth. In the back of his mind he freedom was all he cared about.

"Listen to me, if Ruby doesn't get her insulin she will die and whatever plan you have, it will be worthless. So just please....", Charlie broke off tears beginning to well up in her eyes, "please just let me see her".

He looked at her in the eye. His mind now conflicted. If she was telling the truth his plan would be ruined and this have all been for nothing. He would face more charges than the one's he was already facing. But if she was lying.....then he could still lose out. But the first option was the only one that allowed him the chance to turn things around.

"Fine", Derrick finally conceeded, "Walk ahead of me and don't pull any funny stuff. First door on your left", he said, nodding in the direction of the dark corridor.

Charlie turned around and walked in the direction Derrick nodded at. She walked carefully, afraid Derrick might try something sneaky. She came up to the door and stopped. She looked at Derrick and his face was blank. He just stared at her. Charlie turned her focus back to the door and placed her hand on the door knob and twisted it. She pushed the door open and looked inside. The room was dark and dank. The only light again coming from the beams of light coming from the window.

She stepped inside and out of the corner of her eye she she saw Ruby. She was sitting on a mattress her back nestled into the corner. She had her arms wrapped around her legs and her head was down. Her hands bound together by a rope. Charlie ran for her daughter, climbing onto the matress and stroking her daughters hair.

"Ruby...Ruby", she said.

Ruby began to lift her head, slowly. She squinted at the beams of light shining in through the window in her direction. Her head ached and she felt dizzy and sick. Her mouth was dry and everything around her was spinning.

"Mu...mum", she managed. She leaned forward and buried her head into Charlie's chest, sobbing.

Charlie wrapped both her hands around her daughter and gripped her as tightly as she could. She ran her hand through Rubys hair rocked her back and forth.

"Shhhhhhh...it's ok, everything's going to be ok", she released Ruby from her grip and took her insulin kit out of her pocket. She removed the BSL monitor and pricked Ruby's finger for a blood sample. She inserted the sample strip into the monitor and read the level reading. She frowned.

"It's bad isn't it", Ruby said, she could feel herself getting drowsy.

"It could be better but it's not a disaster", Charlie tried to reassure her without hiding sugar coating it. She removed a bottle of insulin from the kit and a syringe. Taking the cap of the needle she inserted it into the bottle and drew out the accurate amount needed. She rolled up Rubys top and injected it in her stomach. Wiping away the speck of blood she looked at her daughter. Using her free hand she wiped away her tears and stroked her cheek. She smiled at her. Trying to make everything feel better.

Charlie packed everything into the kit and placed it back in her pocket. She reached into her other pocket and pulled out a cereal bar.

"Here eat this", she opened the packaging and handed it to Ruby.

She knew it wasn't much but Ruby needed to keep her levels right. If Ruby were to have a hypo, she wasn't sure how she could manage it in the circumstances they were in. Charlie watched as Ruby finished off the cereal bar. Then she turned and looked at Derrick. He stood up from leaning against the door frame and walked away, closing the door behind him.

Charlie turned back around focused on Ruby who was staring back at her with a look of dread and fear. It was then she noticed the blood on her top. Charlie placed her hand on Ruby's chest and when she did Ruby winced in pain.

"Ow! I think the bursted my stitches when they dragged me out of the house. It really hurts.", Ruby said inbetween sobs.

Charlie lowered the neck of Rubys top and peeled back some of the blood stained bandaging. Ruby was right. The stiches had burst and she was bleeding pretty badly. This was not good. If this got infected Charlie wasn't sure what could happen to Ruby. She reattached the bandage and fixed Ruby's top. She removed her jacket and placed it around Ruby's shoulders and then pgently plached her hand back over Ruby's chest applying pressure gradually as not to hurt her. She hoped this would ease the bleeding until they managed to get out of this place.

She sat back against the wall and pulled Ruby into her embrace, keeping her hand firmly in place over the wound. Ruby nestled herself into her mothers embrace and wiped the tears from her face. Even though they were in the middle of nowhere in the pressence of a mad man, somehow Ruby felt safe in her mother's arms. Charlie kissed the top of Ruby's head leaned her chin atop of her head. She wondered how she was going to get her out of there. Sooner rather than later............



Chapter 21

The sunlight was fading fast. It had been hours since she had arrived and Charlie was desperatly trying to figure out how she was going to get them both out of this mess safe and sound. Ruby was in desperate need of medical attention. With no proper food lying around there was nothing to feed her with to keep her levels in check and she couldn't just survive on an insulin injection. Charlie wasn't sure how much longer Ruby could keep going without crashing out.

Sitting on the matress both Buckton women sat in silence. Ruby leaned her head against Charlie's shoulder, fighting the urge she had to close her eyes. She felt light headed but she couldn't bring herself to tell Charlie. It was bad enough they were being held captive in this place, she didn't want to worry Charlie by telling her just how awful she felt. She placed her rope bound hands on her mothers knees and Charlie placed her hand on top of them, stroking them in a comforting manner.

She looked at her daughter. Her wavy hair know a greasy mess. Her once bronze tinted skin faded into pale white. Her face was expressionless and when she looked Ruby in the eyes she saw fear. A fear she had never seen before. It hurt her seeing Ruby this way. Even though Ruby was 16, when Charlie looked at her at that moment, she saw the little 5 year old girl who used to snuggle up to Charlie when she had a nightmare. Just then she was snapped out of her thoughts when she felt the phone in her pocket vibrate. She looked at the screen, 'one new text message'.

Charlie opened her message inbox and read the name of the sender. It was her voicemail. She dialled up the number to her voicemail inbox and listentened to the message. It was Angelo.

"Charlie it's Angelo. I found the note at Leah's and I'm sending police back up to help you. I know it says not to but this is too dangerous for you to sort out by youself. Please don't do anything stupid!"

The message ended and Charlie hung up. A sense of dread taking hold of her. What was she going to do? Angelo read the note yet he still sent back up. Although she fought the urge she found herself contemplating all the possible scenarios of what could happen when Derrick realised the police were closing in on him. Charlie looked down, Ruby was drifting in and out of consiousness. She gently shook her.

"Ruby...Ruby!", she said, gently tapping the side of her face to get her to open her eyes.

Ruby opened her eyes and looked up at Charlie, a look of confusion on her face. She was sweating profusely and her head was still spinning.

"Whhhhhat is it.....", Ruby's speech was slurred and she saw the worried look on Charlie's face.

"You were dropping out on me", she said stroking Ruby's cheek. "I need you to stay awake. I know it's hard but I need you to try".

Blue and Red lights flickered through the gaps in the boarded up windows. Charlie looked up, her heart pounding out of her chest. "oh no" she thought to herself. It was too late. The police were outside.

"Derrick, come out with your hands up", a voice rang out from outside.

Footsteps sounded like thunder coming towards Charlie and Ruby from down the hallway. Derrick kicked in the door and it flung open, smacking off the wall causing the two girls to jump. Charlie's grip on her daughter intensified as she saw the menacing look on Derricks face. She knew that something terrible was going to happen and she couldn't keep her eyes off the gun that Derrick was wielding in his hands.

"I told you no cops", he shouted into Charlie's face.

"I didn't call them", Charlie replied, the fear evident in her voice.

"Then why the hell are they here?" he asked.

Derrick stepped up to the boarded window and peered through the gaps. Three cop cars were outside. There were four regular duty cops and two marine command officers. He scratched the top of his head with his gun. He turned and looked at the two girls. Charlie was comforting a distraught Ruby, whispering words of encouragement. Derrick bounded towards them. He tore them apart and lifted Ruby up, flinging her over his shoulder.

"NO!!!", Charlie shouted trying to stop Derrick as he made his way towards the door.

As she clung to his arm, Derrick flung Charlie sending her crashing against the wall.

"I warned you, if you called the coppers your daughter would pay for it", he roared with rage building in his voice.

He stormed out of the room and made his way for the back door. Charlie got up off the ground and raced after them. As she got outside she found Derrick flinging Ruby into the back of his get away car. Charlie lunged for him to free Ruby. But he struck out and sent her crashing to the ground. Derrick ran to the far side of the car and jumped into the drivers seat. He put the key in the ignition and started up the engine. He pressed the door lock button on the side panal and locked the back doors and began to accelerate. Charlie pulled herself up off the ground and and raced along side the car trying to open the back door to get to Ruby but she couldn't.

Derrick stepped it up a gear and sped off past the cop cars parked and at the front of the house. Charlie running after it as fast as she could. When she looked at the police officers she spotted Angelo with his marine command partner jumping into their squad car and speeding after them. She panicked. On one hand she wanted Ruby back safe and sound. But on the other hand she feared that if Derrick found himself being chased, it would put Ruby in a dangerous situation. She watched on as both cars sped off until they were out of sight. With that she ran for her own car and jumped in.

"Charlie don't....", Watson called after her as she saw Charlie get in her car, but before she could finish Charlie was already speeding off after Derrick and Angelo. She hopped into her squad car and the other poloce officers followed suit.

Charlie wiped a tear from her cheek as she gripped the steering wheel. Ruby had been through so much, she didn't know how much more she could take. And Charlie didn't know how she would survive if anything happened to her. Her daughter was the most prcious thing in her life. As she rounded the corner she spotted Angelo's squad car stopped on the side of the road, the doors opened and the lights flashing. She pulled over and hopped out of the car running towards the squad car. Then she looked ahead and her heart sank.

Derricks car lay in an upside down heap in the enbankment on the side of the road. Charlie looked down and saw Angelo pulling Ruby out from the wreckage and laying her on the ground just a few feet away from the wreckage. She ran down towards the enbankment and her heart broke as she heard Ruby scream in pain. She knelt to the ground beside her daughter and grabbed her hand.

"Shhhhh, it's ok, everything's going to be ok", she said trying to ease her daughters pain.

"Ambulance is on it's way", Angelo's partner shouted down to them.

Ruby lay in the ground crying out in agony, tears streaming down her face. She gripped Charlie's hand tightly and looked at her.

"Mum....I can't...I can't feel my legs", Ruby said through her tears.

Charlie looked up at Angelo and she could see his face turn to concern. She turned back to her daughter and kissed her on the forehead and a tear slid down her cheek...........................


Preview: Will Ruby be alright??

How will Charlie cope??

Is their trouble ahead for Angelo and Charlie's relationship?

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Oh I really hope Ruby is going to be okay! :(

And I expect there is going to be trouble for Charlie and Angelo now....Although Angelo was only trying to help he really did make the situation worse for Ruby. Charlie is not going to be very pleased with him. :(

Update soon :)

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Chapter 22

The paramedics wheeled Ruby through the emergency entrance doors, the lound sound of a bang from the doors clattering off the end of the bed as they moved. Rachel looked up from her file and was shocked to see what was coming towards her. She closed up the file and made a beeline straight for the trolley, away from the patient she was checking on.

"Oh my God. Ruby...Ruby sweetheart it's Rachel", she said in a soothing manner as she drew Ruby's attention towards her.

Ruby's eyes were flushed with tears. Blood from the cut above her brow covered the left side of her face. Her chest was still bleedong from the burst stitches and the piercing screams made it evident to Rachel that Ruby was in a servere amount of pain. She looked past the paramedics and could see Charlie pacing behind them with Angelo in pursuit. She could see the terror in Charlie's face and the concern of a mother for her daughter. The medics pushed the trolley into the empty ER bay and stepped away to allow Rachel to proceed.

"Ruby, sweetie, it's alright were going to do everythong we can to ease your pain", Rachel said as she Ruby tighten her grip on the blanket covering her.

"I can't feel my legs...I can't...", Ruby trailed off as she felt another sharp pain jut through her back.

Charlie edged away from the archway into the room and moved up to the opposite side of the bed, taking hold of her daughters hand for support and comfort. She winced when Ruby's grip intensified. The shock of her tight grasp sent a realistation through Charlie that her daughter was in more pain than she dared to think about.

One of the medics picked up the medical clipboard he brought in with Ruby and started giving a brief description of the injuries they could pick up on from the accident site.

"Laceration to the forehead, blood sugar levels are low. A serious trauma to the lower back, deep laceration from a stray shard of glass from the windscreen", he said looking down at his notes.

Rachel padded down the support barrier that was keeping Ruby on her side and looked at the wound on her lower back. She gasped in horror at what she was seeing. The glass was lodged so far into Ruby's back it could barely be seen through the blood. She looked up at Charlie who was keeping a brave face for her daughter and then turned to the nurse who was checking Ruby's blood sugar levels.

"We need to get her into an operating theatre now. Page Dr. Marsden, tell him it's an emergency and we don't have time to wait", she ordered, watching the brunette nurse race out of the room and towards the reception desk.

Charlie stood silent at the side of the bed, trying to take in what was being said and also trying to comfort Ruby and sooth her through the pain. But to no avail. It seemed like every ten seconds a strong wave of pain would hit Ruby and the tears and screams were more than she could take. For a quick moment, Ruby's gaze locked with Charlie's and the look of despair was heart wrenching. Charlie held her grip of Ruby's hand and stroked her hair with the other. Ruby nudged her head ever so slightly into Charlie's comforting hand movements and let out a piercing squeal as another pain wave hit her.

"Ruby take a deep breath, I'm going to give you some pain relief to settle you down, ok", Rachel daid as she administered a morphine injection into the drip.

Within a matter of seconds the pain started to ease to a bearable level and Ruby began to loosen her grip on Charlie's hand. The nurse came back and informed Rachel of the deals of her phone call with Dr. Marsden. Charlie looked up and saw Rachel gesture for her to walk outside to talk in private. Angelo was sitting on one of the chairs outside waiting for her. Rachel stopped in front of Charlie and put a comforting hand on her arm.

"We're taking Ruby straight down to the operating theatre now. With the pain she's in it's the only way to see how much damage has been done and it will allow us to repair as much of it as we can", she said looing at Charlie's concerned expression. "Hey, don't worry. Ruby's a fighter. She's not going to give up that easily",

Rachel looked at Charlie with an encouraging smile and Charlie tried to acknowledge it. But she couldn't. This was the second time Ruby had been in a life threatening situation and it was the second time she had ended up in hospital because of it. She turned and looked back into the room at Ruby's bed. She was laid on her side, back to the door, the nurse prepping her for surgery. Charlie looked down at the blood stain bandaging wrapped around the wound in her lower back and grimaced. Although she wanted to believe everything would be alright, her gut feeling was telling her differently.

"Can I see her before she goes?" Charlie asked.

"Yes, of course", Rachel replied gesturing her hand back into the ER bay.

Charlie walked over to the far side of the bed and placed a comforting hand on the side of her daughters cheek. Ruby looked up at her and nestled her face into Charlie's hand and let out a small smile. Charlie pushed a few strands of Ruby's hair behind her ear. She leaned down and gave Ruby a long lingering kiss on the forehead and looked up to the surgical team enter to take Ruby.

"I'll be right here waiting for you, ok. I love you so much", with one last kiss on the cheek, Charlie stood up and stepped back.

She watched as they wheeled her out of the room and she followed them into the corridor. She stopped outside the room and watched as they wheeled Ruby down towards the elevator to bring her up to craddled her hands in her chest and let out a silen sob. Angelo stood up and walked over to her and placed his arms around her waist. Charlie flinched and tore his arms off her. Angelo stood back in shock at the rejection and looked at his girlfriend.

"Don't touch me", Charlie said trying not to raise her voice in a public place.

"What Charlie I just want to...." Angelo was cut off by a clearly angry Charlie.

"This is your fault. If you hadn't called for police back or chased after Derrick none of this would have happened", she said fighting back tears.

"Charlie you don't mean that. I was just trying to help", Angelo replied sounding sincere. But Charlie was having none of it.

"Yeah well we both know your track record of trying to make things better usually gets someone else hurt", Charlie snapped back.

Angelo stood back in disbelief at what she had just said. He knew she was hurting but he never thought Charlie could be so cold. He felt himself getting emotional at the rejection from Charlie and knowing too well from her comments that she didn't want him there, he left.

Charlie stood in the corridor and watched him leave, her heart pounding out of her chest. The anger started to subside once he was out of sight and with that she dropped to the chair behind her let out a sigh. She reached into her jeans pocket. She pulled out her locket, the one she carried for protection. In one way it did what she expected it to do but to Charlie, she wished it had have been Ruby who was safe. She opened it up and stared at the pictures in side. Praying tings would be alright.



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Chapter 23

Charlie sat in silence in the exact spot she had been in for the last three hours. Leah had arrived shortly after Ruby was brought to the operating theater and had been closely followed by an anxious Geoff. Nicole came soon after hearing with Aden in tow. All of them remained quiet the whole time. Nicole sat next to Aden, who had a comforting arm around her. Geoff paced the floor up and down so many times he was making everyone dizzy and Leah just sat beside Charlie. Hoping her presence was comforting.

"Do you think she'll be alright?", Nicole asked Aden looking up at him with a worried expression.

"Well Leah said when they brought Ruby in she was conscious so that's a good sign", he said trying to boost her spirits.

"I just feel so hopeless. She's my best friend and there is nothing I can do except sit here", she replied in a quivering tone.

Adend placed his hand under her chin and lifted her head until her gaze was directly in line with his.

"And that's the important. Your here supporting her like a best friend should", he told her giving her kiss upon the top of her head and pulling her into his embrace.

Across the corridor Charlie stared blankly into space. Blocking out all noise and ignoring those around her. She didn't want to seem ungrateful to them for being here to support Ruby, but she just couldn't focus on anything. She had to be strong. If there was a bad outcome for Ruby she would need to be able to be a pillar of strength for her. As she thought the worst, she began to hear the piercing screams running through her mind as she replayed the events of the last twenty four hours.

"What the hell is taking so long?", Geoff asked impatiently as he smacked the wall with his hand.

"Hey mate take it easy. You losing your head isn't gonna help Ruby", Aden told him from his seat, trying to calm Geoff before he lost the plot altogether.

Just then Rachel appeared at the end of the corridor. Leah nudged Charlie to snap her out of her trance and pointed in Rachels direction. She stood up and placed a hand over her stomach. Trying to settle the knot that had formed after they took Ruby to surgery. She looked on at a tired Rachel who was making her up to them slowly. Too slowly for everyone's liking. After a couple more seconds Charlie couldn't restrain herself and found she was speed walking towards Rachel to meet her.

"Rach, how's Ruby? Is she alright?", she asked before Rachel had time to catch her breath.

"We managed to remove the glass and any other fragments and stop the bleeding. We also repaired the stitching in her chest...", Rachel was cut off by a rlieved Charlie who was now joined by the rest of Ruby's support group.

"Oh Rach that's great", Charlie said letting out a sigh of relief and smiling at the others.

Rachel looked at them with a cold stare and lowered her head. She scratched her forehead and then removed the surgical scrub cap and let out a large breath. She looked up at the group who were now looking at her with puzzled expressions on their faces. Rachel turned her attention back to Charlie an gestured for her to sit down on the chairs they were standing beside which she did. Taking hold of Leah's hand for support.

"We managed to remove the glass. But there was some serious scare tissue and damaged and severed nerves in Ruby's lower back were the glass entered", Rachel explained to confuced stares.

"Rach, what does that mean, what are you trying to tell us?", asked Leah, hoping Rachel would cut to the point.

"Ruby has, what's simply called a spinal cord injury. She's paralysed from the waist down", she finished.

Charlie's eyes welled up and she could feel herself shaking at what she had just heard. Her beautiful daughter was paralysed. A million thoughts started racing through her mind. How would Ruby cope? How would she cope? This wasn't a hurdle they could face like the last time. This was like a climb to the top of Mount Everes. To try and make things as normal as possible would be an uphill struggle.

"Is this permanent?", Charlie asked afraid of what the answer would be.

"From the damage we saw when we were operating, yes, it looks like it could be permanent", Rachel told her.

"Could be permanent...so there's a chance it might not be?", Nicole asked with a hopeful look in her eyes.

"Well with injuries like this it's hard to tell whether or not the person will walk again. In most cases they don't. But sometimes when they begin to recover and the injuries start to repair themselves a pataient can show signs that walking again could be possible. But that's in a minority of cases and I don't want you to cling to false hope", she replied.

Charlie sat there processing the information. Her head hurt form all the thinking and worrying. All she wanted to do was see her daughter.

"Can I see Ruby?", she asked stopping the conversation from continuing.

"Of course, she's been asking for you since we talked to her about her condition", Rachel said.

With that both women stood up and walked down towards the ICU. The place was all too familiar to Charlie and she felt sick as she got to the double doors. She pushed one open and entered. Ruby lay on her side, a pillow propped up behind her back and all the same wiring she had the last time she was confined to the ICU. Ruby turned her towards the door and spotted Charlie looking at her.

"Mum....", she said.

Charlie smiled and walked over to the side of Ruby's bed. She caressed her daughters hair looked her up and down. She couldn't help but notice the wheelchair in the corner of the room. A tear slid down her cheek as she realised that it was probably going to be her daughters future.

"Mum, I can't spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair....I can't do it", Ruby siad through tears.

Charlie looked down and tried to choke back the tears. It was bad enough Ruby had to go through this, she didn't want her to have to depend on a mother who couldn't even cope with the situation.

"Look at me, you are going to be fine. We're going to get you through this one way or another, alright? We'll adjust, do whatever it takes", Charlie reassured her daughter.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out her locket. She took hold of Ruby's hand and placed it in it and closed Ruby's hand over.

"This has gotten me through some really tough times. I think it's time you feel it's healing power", Charlie said.

Ruby looked down at her hand and opened it up to find Charlie's beloved locket staring back at her. She opened it up and looked at the pictures and then closed it back over. She gave it a rub, almost as if for good luck and then took a firm hold of it. Ruby turned her attention back towards Charlie. She began to sob. Ruby placed her arm around Charlie's neck, bringing her down to her level and pulled her close to hug her. Charlie hunched down and engulfed Ruby in a hug, placing one arm under her side and the other around her shoulders.

"Thanks Mum", Ruby said through her tears.

"I love you baby", Charlie replied.


How will Ruby take it when the reality of her injuries becomes too real?

Can those close to her give her the support she needs?

Will Charlie continue to push Angelo away?

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