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I'm Ok

Guest KirstyEkua

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Story Title: I'm Ok.

Type of story: Medium Fic

Main Characters: Rachel, Leah, Dan, Tony, Charlie, Angelo. Others not H&A.

BTTB rating: A

Genre: Drama, Romance, Angst.

Spoilers: None

Is this story being proof read: No

Warnings: Some domestic violence, language.

This is set in the present day, although some things that are going on in the show just now never happened. Dan and Jack are still alive, and Beth didn't die. Tony and her simply broke up and she left the Bay. Rachel has never lived in the bay until now, therefor her and Kim didn't exist. Rachel and her boyfriend have just moved to Summer Bay and she strikes up a friendship with Tony. But Rachel is hiding a terrible secret that could cost her everything, even her life. How far is Leah willing to go for love? And who is the mysterious Emily and does she hold the key to Rachel's survival?

She knew she should have tidied up before she went to bed. But she'd been so exhausted after her shift she'd just wanted to crawl under her duvet and close her eyes, hiding herself from the world. The sound of the front door slamming startled her. She sat up, hugging her knees close to her chest. Her breathing became heavier as the footsteps got louder. She cursed and dug her nails deep into the palms of her hands, praying he’d had a good day at work. It was wistful thinking. In the past she’d pretend to be asleep, thinking it could be her saving grace – but he wasn’t that stupid. Now she found it easier to just accept it. She found if she closed her eyes and concentrated realty hard she could block it out. Anyways she should have known. It was all her fault.

Summer Bay

She breathed in the sea air and smiled, enjoying the feeling of the sun on her face. She loved the smell of the ocean. It reminded her of being a little girl, playing on the beach with her brother, building sand castles and eating ice-cream like she didn’t have a care in the world.

‘It’s beautiful, right?’ She smiled up at him hopefully, slipping her arm around his middle.

‘It’s certainly got something,’ he muttered. ‘Come on we need to get to the house. I’d like it organised before we have dinner.’ He pulled her up the beach and walked quickly, striding ahead so she practically had to run to keep up with him.

‘Mark slow down, watch out,’ she called as he practically ran into a dark haired woman walking towards the beach.

‘Leah!’ Rachel shirked and she threw herself at her, wrapping her arms tightly around her. ‘I’ve missed you so much,’ she practically sobbed as she held her friend in a tight embrace.

‘Hey, hey, Rach, I can’t believe you’re here! She untangled herself from her arms and stared at her, holding her hands. ‘I’m so excited you’ve moved here. Both of you! It’s going to be so wonderful. Hey why don’t you come over for drinks tonight, like a kind of celebration moving thing? Dan would love to see you again.’ She beamed at Rachel, trying to shrug off Mark’s stare that was making her a little uncomfortable.

‘We’ve love t’

‘No, no we can’t.’ Mark interrupted. ‘We have other plans tonight sorry. Come on Rachel we need to go.’ He walked away quickly.

‘Oh well okay, if you’re sure.’ Leah paused, noticing the way Rachel’s face fell.

‘Yeah sorry what was I thinking? We just moved and have so much to do,’ Rachel said, a little too convincingly. ‘Sorry,’ she called behind her shoulder as she struggled to keep up with Mark. ‘I’ll call you.’


Rachel closed her eyes and sighed, wrapping her hands around her coffee mug. She was exhausted. Most of the previous night had been spent tidying up the house, finding appropriate homes for everything and getting organised. She’d barely slept three hours despite having her first shift at the hospital that day. She was nervous, unsure what to expect but also excited.

‘Oh my God I’m so sorry,’ she cried and his take away coffee cup fell to the floor and hot brown liquid splashed down his shirt. ‘I’m such an idiot, I’m so clumsy!’ She grabbed some napkins and started rubbing his shirt.

‘Hey, hey, don’t worry it’s fine.’ He pushed away her hands gently. ‘No harm done. It happens.’

‘But if I’d just watched where I was going,’ she said tearfully. Her lip quivered and her hands shook.

‘Are you ok?’ he asked alarmed. ‘Come on sit down.’ He took hold of her arm and gently guided her into a chair. ‘It’s only coffee,’ he grinned at her. ‘Please don’t feel bad. Things can only get better from now on right.’ He smiled at her, noticing how pretty her eyes were. ‘You just moved here? Not seen you around.’

‘Thanks,’ she sighed with relief. ‘Yea I just moved her yesterday. Start work today, I’m a Doctor, I guess I’m just a little nervous, first shift and all. Sorry.’

‘Please don’t apologise again. Or I might have to make you stay and have a coffee with me. Tony Holden,’ he held out his hand.

‘Rachel,’ she said shyly. ‘Rachel Armstrong.’


She opened the door cautiously. Her day had been amazing and she prayed his had too. She’d been exhilarated driving home from the hospital. His job in PR was stressful, she understood that. A client of his getting bad press was enough to ruin his mood for days. And if he lost one because of it, it was enough to break him. After the last time she’d learned it was best to stay away. She smiled brightly as she walked into the living room, her heart almost stopping when she saw the candles on the table.

‘Rach, baby,’ he came over to her and held her close, kissing her. ‘I’m sorry for the way I acted yesterday. I was such a jerk. I promise it won’t happen again.’ He stared deep into her eyes. ‘I mean it this time. This is a fresh start for you and me. Things are going to be different. I love you.’

For a second her heart leapt, and she allowed herself to fall into his embrace. She closed her eyes tight and allowed herself to think that maybe things would be different. Perhaps a fresh start was all they needed. She relaxed her body against his but was careful not to completely let herself go. Because that too was just too much to hope for.


Leah handed a glass of red wine to Dan and sighed. 'He's just no good for her. Honestly, since they've been together she's changed. And not for the better. I despise him.'

She sat down heavily on the sofa and gulped back her wine. 'I used to see her 2, 3 times a week. Then he arrives and suddenly she's busy, unavailable, whatever that means.' She rolled her eyes. 'Remember that time we has dinner with them and he got furious with that waitress because she messed the order up? Way over the top.'

Leah, be careful. You can't go around insinuating things like that.’

Dan squeezed her shoulder. 'It's lovely you looking out for her but right now that's all you can do. Rach is a big girl, she'll come to you if need be. And yes Mark can be awful sometimes but so is everyone. Remember he took her to Thailand for her birthday, and all the little romantic things he does to her you moan to be about! Moving is stressful. Give them a few days and we'll have a dinner party and it'll be great, you'll see.'

'I guess,' Leah made an effort to smile at Dan, a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.


'I have an appointment with a new Doctor tomorrow,’ Emily smiled, barely looking up from the magazine she was flicking through.

‘Yeah?’ That’s great.’ Michael jumped into the bed and laid beside her, brushing her strawberry blonde hair out of her eyes. ‘You want me to come,’ he asked, trying to hide the concern in his voice, for her sake more than anything. He didn’t want her to know how worried he was. He lived in fear of her finding out that he spent hours browsing the internet to find a cure.

‘No, no,’ she shook her head firmly. ‘I’ll be fine. She sounds really nice, this Doctor. Just moved here from the city. Rachel something.’ She kissed him quickly on the lips. ‘Thanks though, you’re adorable.’ She turned her attention back to the magazine, mindlessly skimming the pages, humming her favourite song and playfully rubbing her toes on Michael’s hairy bare legs. He allowed himself to get lost in the moment, staring at her beautiful, albeit too pale face as she gazed at clothes she desperately wanted but couldn’t afford. He’d already decided to buy her something special once she was better, maybe a Chanel handbag, or a pair of Jimmy Choo’s. Just as he was trying to decide between shoes and a bag, he watched as her face stiffened and heard her gasp. She tried to turn the page but he put his hand on top of her’s firmly.

‘What’s the matter? What is it?’

She didn’t say anything. She didn’t have too. There, smiling up at him from the corner of the magazine was Mark Carlton.

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Thank you for the comments everyone! I really apperciate it. This fic is a little darker than what i normally write but i hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

Please keep the comments coming :P Be honest, if you don't like anything say and i'll try and adapt. This chapter is pretty long but i couldn't stop once i started. Hope you all like it, thank you again everyone :)

She felt awful. Her head throbbed and she felt so weak she could barely make it to the bathroom and back. She pulled the covers over her head and snuggled, closing her eyes. The flu was the worst thing. It had been almost a week now and didn’t feel any better. At least he’d been looking after her. Every morning he’d bring her warm drinks, cool flannels when she was burning up and hot water bottles when she was shivering, despite the heat being on full. Her heart leapt when she heard the bedroom door open and she poked her head out from the covers. He smiled and came over, crawling onto to bed beside her. ‘Hey,’ he whispered, as he bent down and started kissing her shoulder.

‘Hi,’ she attempted to giggle as little as his hands wandered over her body. ‘I’m sick,’ she groaned, ‘come on, get off, you don’t want to sleep with a sick woman do you?’ she looked at him and smiled, fully expecting him to comply. He didn’t say anything. And he didn’t stop. She squeezed her eyes shut and prayed it wouldn’t last long. He probably hadn’t heard her protests. Her head ached. Finally, he collapsed beside her, tangling his fingers in her hair. ‘I love you baby,’ he whispered.


‘Hey Julie could you send these results upstairs please?’ Rachel smiled contentedly as she flopped down into her chair and leaned back. She’d only been at the hospital a few days but she felt like she’d always been there. The buzz she got from work kept her going for hours after her shifts ended. Being in charge of a few doctors who were technically no less qualified that she was gave her such a feeling of achievement. She’d spent all morning in theatre and was grateful for the positive outcome she’d delivered to the family. Undoubtedly the hardest part of her job was having to break bad news to families. It was something she never got used too and it broke her heart every time – usually she didn’t even have to say anything before parents sank to the floor in shock and siblings and friends collapsed in tears. She still remembered the name of every patient who had died. She usually had a little cry in secret a couple of hours after when it hit her. But then the other side, the pleasure she got from telling people she’d been part of saving a life, well it just didn’t get any better than that for her.

She stood up slowly, running her hands over her unflattering blue scrubs and pulled her hair net off - causing the pins that were holding it in place to fall to the floor. ‘Crap,’ she muttered in annoyance as she bent down to pick them up, her chocolate coloured curls falling around her face.

‘Whoa,’ sorry! ‘Didn’t see you there.’ She jumped up with a jolt as someone tripped over her feet, steadying themselves on the worktop, almost casing the computer to topple over.

‘Rachel, hey,’ he smiled at her warmly.

‘Tony,’ she said with a hint of uncertainty as she stared up at him, desperately trying to avoid embarrassment. ‘Tony,’ she repeated, more confidently this time, ‘Hey, what are you doing here? I hope it’s nothing too serious. Not that you need to tell me of course, I’m only asking because well this is the ER and you don’t look sick but. Oh God I need to shut up. I’m sorry,’ she blabbed. She felt her face flush and wished she had the power to go back in time. She couldn’t understand why she felt so nervous. Usually she was so confident in the hospital, so sure of herself. But now she could barely get the words out. She felt his gaze on her.

He chuckled. ‘No I’m not sick, touch wood,’ he grinned at her. ‘Just getting stitches removed. Footie accident a few weeks back,’ he explained. ‘Don’t know why I got sent down here but it’s all good. Busy morning?’ he enquired.

At the mention of football her she found herself inexplicably drawn the lower half of his body, unable to avert her gaze.

‘You’re wondering where the stitches were right? He gentled touched her shoulder. ‘I guess it pretty much takes over your mind when you’re in here,’ he stated, gazed around the corridor.

‘Yes, sure,’ she smiled, relieved that he’d let her off the hook. ‘Sorry, it’s a doctor thing I guess.’

‘Hey, any chance you have time for a coffee? You do kinda owe me one from the other day. And you look like you’re due a break.’

‘Well, umm.’ She stood rooted to the spot. She was surprised at how much she wanted to sit with him. There was just something, she couldn’t put her finger on it. But she had a boyfriend. One that definitely would not like her spending time with other men. Even if it was only for coffee. He stood at her, smiling, his twinkling blue eyes making her heart flutter. There was something about his hopefulness that endeared her and made all rational thought go out of the window. ‘Sure,’ she said quietly. ‘I’d, I’d,’ she swallowed, rubbing her clammy hands on her trousers. She looked up at him and beamed. ‘That would be lovely.’


‘Bali?’ Dan looked up in surprise as Leah thrust the travel brochure into his hands.

‘Yes, it looks totally amazing. Look,’ she pointed excitedly. ‘Jacuzzis, spa’s, 3 swimming pools, and the beach right by your room,’ her voice trailed off as she gazed around the kitchen, a far away look in her dark eyes.

‘Because you don’t have that right here,’ he said sarcastically. Dan sighed. ‘Look,’ he said gently, noticing the look she was giving him. ‘It’s a lovely idea, but I really don’t think we can afford it right now.’

Leah rolled her eyes. ‘We can’t afford anything these days. Honestly Dan, I don’t get it. We’re both working full time jobs.’ She shrugged. ‘I’m going to pick up VJ. We’re going into town after to get him a new footie kit so try and get something prepared for dinner please.’ She didn’t look at him as she grabbed her keys and fled out of the door, slamming it shut so the pile of bills fell to the floor in a flutter.


‘Emily,’ Rachel said as she approached the girl in the waiting room. ‘I’m so sorry I’m late,’ she apologised sincerely as she shook her hand and led her into the small consultation room. ‘Emergency came in,’ Rachel said, hoping Emily wouldn’t detect that she was lying. Her quick coffee with Tony had turned into something which had lasted well over an hour, even though it had felt like 5 minutes. She couldn’t even remember what they’d talked about – but she’d loved every second of his company. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt so relaxed with another man, other than Mark she’d quickly reminded herself – but Tony was just so, she couldn’t even explain it to herself. He seemed genuinely interested in her, which amused her and thrilled her at the same time.

‘Now, let’s see,’ she scanned Emily’s chart, her heart sinking as ‘cancer’ leapt out at her more than once. She looked at the pale figure before her, dressed in a little pink cotton sundress and white flip-flops that made her look like she was in the middle of High School, not a 28 year old woman.

‘I’m willing to try anything,’ Emily stated before Rachel had a chance to speak. ‘Anything,’ she said firmly. ‘Drugs, chemo, radiotherapy,’ she waved her hand in the air. ‘Whatever. I’m willing. I have to try right,’ she said, more to herself than to Rachel.

Rachel smiled tightly. ‘Good. It’s great to have such a positive attitude. Why don’t we just talk first, so I get to know your history a little better. Your notes don’t really tell me about you, it’s just facts and figures. Then we can decide what is best.’

Emily felt hopeful. Sometimes just talking about it made her feel better. Michael, God knew she loved him, tried, but all he did was tell her she was going to be fine, but what did he really know. It angered her sometimes. She wanted to talk about the possibility she might not be.

‘I’m glad to have a new doctor. Not that my old one was bad – it’s just you know sometimes it’s good to try something, someone new, right? Did you just move here? I don’t think I’ve seen you around before. It’s a small place,’ Emily laughed. ‘Sorry for being nosy.’

‘No, it’s fine, you’re my last patient for today so I have time,’ she smiled. ‘Yeah I just moved with my boyfriend actually. We lived in the city but we thought it might be nice to live somewhere a bit quieter, less stress. His job is pretty demanding.’

‘More than being a doctor?’ Emily asked in surprise. ‘What does he do?’

‘Apparently so.’ Rachel shrugged. ‘But I thrive on stress. I love it. He doesn’t. Oh he’s in PR. Celebrity stuff. Has a lot of high class clients.’ Rachel shifted in her chair, closing the file in front of her.

Emily froze. Her brain started to go into overdrive. She felt her throat tightening up. It couldn’t be, could it? She gripped the chair tightly, and breathed deeply, trying to get rid of the nausea.

‘Emily, are you okay?’ Rachel looked up in alarm and pushed her chair back.

She saw it then. The tiny cut in the corner of her head, the fading bruise on her wrist. The blue plaster over her middle finger. She stood up quickly.

‘Sorry, I just remembered I have to be somewhere. I totally forgot. I’m so sorry. I’ll make another appointment.’ Emily spun around and ran out of the room, crashing into a trolley as she flew out of the hospital doors. She ran to the gardens, knelt beside a bush and vomited.


‘Working late tonight,’ Leah commented as she stuck her head around the door to the gym, watching as Tony folded towels and put them back on the rack behind the counter.

Yeah,’ he turned around. ‘Been hectic recently, which I’m not going to complain about. What are you doing here so late anyways?’

‘Oh just had a drink with one of VJ’s friends mum’s. Apparently her son and VJ have issues that need to be sorted. Leah rolled her eyes. Of course her kid is the brat in all of this,’ she laughed. ‘You want a lift home?’

‘Nah, I’m going to walk I think. Nice and peaceful this time of night.’

‘Ok, if you’re sure. Oh I’m having a little drinks thing on Saturday for my best friend Rachel; you know she just moved here. Juts a little welcome to the Bay thing. You should come.’

‘Sounds great,’ he grinned. ‘I actually bumped into her the other day and today at the hospital. Had coffee. What’s her boyfriend like?’

Leah laughed. ‘Why do you care?’

Tony shrugged. ‘I’m just being polite,’ he winked at her. ‘And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find her attractive. I’m a man after all.’

‘Ohh,’ Leah felt giddy with delight. ‘Well, Mark, the boyfriend,’ she shook her head, ‘total jerk. Honestly, she deserves a million times better. Someone,’ she looked up at him and playfully punched his chest, ‘like you.’

‘Well I love that you think I’m good enough for your best friend, but as far as I’m concerned she’s off limits, well romantically anyways. Anyways I’d better lock up. See you tomorrow, and oh, Sunday I’ll be there.’

‘Great, see you,’ Leah watched him as she left, smiling to herself as a plan hatched in her mind.


Rachel swung her legs in front of her and she sat on the pier, gripping the wet wood with her hands, squeezing so hard it hurt. Tears fell down her face tears streamed down her face. She struggled for breath, desperately trying to calm herself down. She blinked as her hair blew gently across her face and gazed out at the ocean. There was hardly any moon out. Nothing could be seen but a vast, empty darkness and she liked that. It comforted her, knowing she could just disappear if she wanted too. She closed her eyes and swallowed. The taste of blood still lingered in her mouth. She spat, feeling a little disgusted at herself. It was something she despised in other people. It would probably be okay to go home in a few hours, she decided. So lost in thought was she that she didn’t hear the quiet padding behind her until it was right beside her. She looked up, relief washing over her.

‘Tony!’ It came out in a gasp as she failed to mask her tearful state from him.

‘Rachel,’ he said concerned as she crouched down and sat next to her, dangling his legs over the edge. ‘What are you doing out here? Hey, you’re crying,’ he looked at her, his face creased with worry. That made her feel worse. That someone who, up until two days ago had been a complete stranger to her, could show so much concern and empathy, well, it broke her a little bit.

‘I just, I just,’ her voice wobbled and before she could stop herself she broke down in loud sobs, covering her face with her hands to hide her embarrassment.

‘Hey, hey, Rachel,’ he leaned over and pulled her to him, wrapping his arms around her back. ‘Please. What’s the matter. Are you hurt? Is it work, your family?’ He was seriously worried now and couldn’t stop himself caring for the woman he held in his arms. ‘Please, you’re scaring me.’ He gently prised her hands from her face and looked into her eyes, noticing the sparkle that he’d been so immersed with just a few hours before was gone. He gently pushed her hair back and ran his thumb over her face, stopping when he felt the small bump under her cheek.

‘Accident at work,’ she murmured as she jerked her face up. ‘Had a patient who we had to restrain.’ She didn’t explain any further.

She looked at him and smiled feebly. ‘Thanks though, for being so worried. It’s just been a difficult day.’ She paused. ‘I lost a patient today,’ she spoke in a rush. ‘Someone young, someone who shouldn’t have died, I know it shouldn’t affect me every time but it does. You must think I’m pathetic huh?’

‘No, no, not in the least. I think you’re pretty amazing. I mean, to do what you do.’

She bit her lip. She hated herself for lying to him. He was so wonderful and lovely and didn’t deserve her deception. She shook her head. ‘I’m not really.’

‘Won’t your boyfriend worry about you?’

She gazed at him in surprise. ‘How did you know?’ Her heart tightened and it began to pound against her chest.

‘Small town Rach,’ he smiled at her. ‘And you didn’t mention it so it wasn’t really my place to bring it up. Besides, you only met me a few days ago,’ he winked at her, attempting to lighten the mood. ‘I didn’t expect to get intimate details from you.’

‘Oh,’ she sniffed, glad that her tears had finally dried up. She shrugged. ‘He has a stressful job you know. I don’t like to bother him with things. I guess I should have mentioned it during coffee today.’

‘Right.’ He nodded straight ahead, squinting to try and make out the boats harboured nearby. He didn’t want to get into talks about her boyfriend. He knew it was dangerous but he couldn’t help himself. There was just something about her. He couldn’t stop himself from caring, try as he might. It was insane – he barely knew her but he found himself desperate to comfort her. And it did bother him that she’d failed to mention she had a live in boyfriend – part of him thought it strange she failed to even talk about him during their chat earlier that day, another part of him hoped she hadn’t mentioned him for different reasons.

He gazed at her from the corner of his eye. God she was beautiful. She turned as she felt his eyes on her and smiled at him.

Before he knew what was happening, he felt his lips on hers, his hands cupping her face and her hands gently pressing against his sides. He moved closer towards her, moving his right hand over her shoulder. He couldn’t stop himself. Suddenly, she broke away, a look of immense horror splashed across her face. Even in the darkness he could see the colour drain from her face. ‘I have to go,’ she said breathlessly. ‘I’m sorry, this shouldn’t have happened.’ She stood up quickly, pulling her jumped tightly around her body as she ran along the pier.

‘Rachel, wait!’ He called. But it was already too late.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you so much everyone! Sorry this update has been a long time coming! But hope you enjoy it. :)

Michael opened the door cautiously; hovering in the doorway as he quietly placed his bag at the bottom of the stairs. He had never known a day to go so slowly. He’d been desperate to call her. He wanted too – he needed to – know that she was going to be okay. The alternative was just too painful to bear. He forced himself to smile and wandered into the kitchen where he heard The Killers on the radio, praying his face didn’t give away how terrified he was. It took him a few seconds to realise the body slumped over the table was Emily’s and that the music drowned out her cries. His heart raced. He ran to her, pulling her to him tightly and stroking her soft hair. ‘Em, he muttered, oh Em,’ he rested his head on her shoulder. She looked at him, her eyes glossed over with tears. ‘He’s here,’ she whispered, her voice wobbling. He didn’t need to ask who she meant. He stared at her, his body paralysed with shock.


Rachel stared into the mirror critically. She ran her hands over her body, sighing and shaking her head. It was Leah’s drinks thing in an hour and as shallow as it was, she wanted to look amazing, although without people thinking she was trying too hard. She’d chosen a simple but figure hugging red sundress with spaghetti straps teamed with flip-flops. She figured since it was the middle of summer, she’d get away with it. She was excited to see Leah again. The past weeks she’d be so busy working and doing stuff with Mark she’d barely seen her. Sighing she pulled her hair out of its clasp and let it fall down her back.

‘Much better,’ Mark came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her, kissing her neck. ‘You look fabulous.’

‘How long have you been standing there?’ she enquired, turning round to kiss him on the lips.

He shrugged. ‘Long enough. A few hours and we’re outta there ok?’ He didn’t look up as he fiddled with the buttons on his shirt.

‘Mark,’ she pushed him back with frustration. ‘Leah is my friend, my best friend and she organised this for us, we can’t just turn up, say hello and disappear.’

‘I don’t really want to spend my only day off with a bunch of small town hicks,’ he walked over to the mirror, smoothing down his dark hair with his hands.

‘You’re the one who wanted to move here,’ she was getting angry now. ‘Stop being such an arrogant dick.’

‘Ok,’ he laughed. ‘Baby I’m sorry. But just because I live here doesn’t mean I have to make friends. I have plenty as it is. No more room in my life. Although that gym dude you split coffee over doesn’t seem like such a bad guy. I just gotta make a few work calls then we can go,’ he grinned as he sauntered over and kissed her forehead before leaving the bedroom.

At the mention of Tony Rachel got butterflies in her stomach and her palms started to sweat. It had been a few weeks since their kiss and since then she’d tried everything to get it out of her head but had failed miserably. She could still taste his lips and every time she closed her eyes she could feel his hands on her body, caressing her neck. It drove her crazy. Avoiding him was the only way she felt she could cope. She’d thrown herself into work, taking on as many shifts as possible and had accompanied Mark to endless dinners and promotional events. But he was always there, niggling at her mind and refusing to go away. She didn’t know if she wanted him to be there or not.


Leah dumped the wine and beer bottles on the table. ‘Think that’ll be enough,’ she mused as her eyes wandered over the alcohol which took up most of the kitchen table.

‘Um, Leah, how much did all this cost?’ Dan looked at her worriedly. ‘And how many people are we expecting? Seriously.’ He swallowed and stood back, shaking his head.

Leah shrugged, not looking up. ‘Just the usual. Angelo and Charlie, Alf, Coleen, Martha and Luke, I think that’s her latest,’ Leah laughed, ‘Irene, Miles and Kirsty, Yelena, Laura, I think Tom said he’d try and be here. Should be good. And im ignoring your first comment. This is for my best friend and it’s not like I went crazy.’ Leah made a face at him. ‘Honestly Dan, what’s gotten into you lately?’

‘Nothing Leah, I just think we need to be careful what we spend okay? Look I just need to nip out for a bit okay,’ he spoke quickly, edging his way out before his wife could stop him. ‘I just gotta see someone about something.’

‘What, wait, Dan!’ she called as he disappeared out of the door.


Rachel necked back another glass of champagne and leaned against the sink, smiling to herself. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had such a fun afternoon. Everyone was so lovely and welcoming, and she’d already arranged a girls’ night with Leah, Kirsty and Charlie. Mark had turned on the charm and had everyone enthralled. Although who knew how long it would be before he decided he was bored and dragged her away without a second thought.

She reached to pour another glass.


Startled, she jumping, causing the glass to shatter to the floor. ‘Oh gosh!’ she shirked and quickly bent down to the floor.

‘Sorry, hey, be careful,’ Tony gently pushed her hands away as he leant down to pick the bits of broken glass off the floor. He started into her eyes and tried to fight the desire to kiss her. It overpowered him. For a moment they both stayed frozen, gazing at each other, their hand reaching for the mess on the floor.

‘Sorry,’ Tony blushed and quickly began picking up the remains of the glass, tearing his gaze away from her.

‘It’s okay,’ she smiled weakly as she stood up, smoothing down her dress.

‘Look Rach,’ Tony said as he stood up. ‘About what happened between us, I think, -’

‘Can we please just forget it? I think that’s for the best,’ Rachel said as she cut him off, swallowing loudly. She couldn’t look him in the eye.

‘Yeah.’ Tony nodded. ‘Just what I was going to say,’ he practically whispered as he stared at the table, his hands in his pockets.

‘Good.’ Rachel forced herself to smile. She felt terrible. He was clearly expecting more, but right now she just felt she couldn’t give him that, no matter how much she wanted too. It was insane – she barely knew him yet she couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt so comfortable in the presence of a man.

‘Rachel!’ She jumped as Mark staggered into the kitchen, an empty bottle of beer in his hand. He put his arm around his neck, kissing her temple. ‘Hey, Rach baby what you doing?’’ he slurred.

‘Talking to Tony,’ she said pointedly, shrugging him off. ‘How much have you had to drink?’

‘Just having a good time, like you said too. Women eh?’ he directed at Tony. ‘You’re the guy that runs the gym yeah?’

‘I own it actually.’ Tony stood up straight, a small part of him enjoying that he was at least a full head taller.

‘Oh that’s great, good for you mate. Although I can’t imagine you’d get much business in this small place. No offence but think I’m more suited to a gym in the city, top equipment and all that,’ he winked at Tony.

‘Mark!’ Rachel glared at him.

Mark shrugged. ‘It’s the truth baby. Just because I live in a small town doesn’t mean I have to become a small town guy,’ he laughed as Rachel rolled her eyes.

‘Actually I do pretty well for myself,’ Tony smiled. ‘Certainly enough to keep me busy.’

‘You’re a personal trainer too right?’ Rachel asked. ‘Do you have a slot for me? Mark’s always saying I should work out more. And I don’t have time to travel to the city. Someone to motivate me would be good. Right?’ she looked at Mark and raised her eyebrows, knowing she’d trapped him. She quickly glanced at Tony from the corner of her eye and prayed he’d go with her on this.

‘Oh ummm, baby,’ he laughed nervously, stumbling forward and steadying himself by leaning on the back of a chair. He cleared his throat and smiled, regaining his composure. ‘That’s a great idea. Got lots of fancy work dinner’s coming up and need her to look her best,’ he grinned at Tony.

‘Sure that’s not a problem. How does tomorrow sound?’ Tony smiled at her shyly.



‘Oh you’re a slave driver.’ Rachel teased, as she gasped for breath and fell onto the sand, lying flat out on her back with her knees up. It had been 3 weeks since she’d started her personal training with him, and already she’d had over 10 sessions.

Tony laughed as he knelt down beside her. ‘This was all your idea, remember,’ he winked at her and playfully pushed her knee. ‘Anyways, think you’re good for today.’ He smiled down at her, patting her stomach. She held his gaze for a second, trying to fight all her urges to just pull him down on top of her. He felt it too. Before he could stop himself, he slipped his hand under her top, his fingers gently lacing her stomach.

‘Tony,’ she whispered, ‘not here.’ She struggled to sit up, her head spinning. ‘We can’t. I can’t. Oh God.’

‘Sorry, Rach,’ he stood up abruptly and sighed, gazing out to the ocean.

‘No, it’s okay, I’m sorry. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea.’

‘Maybe not,’ Tony didn’t look at her.

‘Right.’ Rachel gazed at the sand, picking it up and letting it fall through her fingers. ‘I really should be going. Got a charity dinner tonight with Mark at LuLu’s restaurant in the city.’

He shrugged, his back still to her. ‘Right. See you around then I guess.’ He walked off quickly. She stood and stared until she could no longer make him out. He didn’t look back.


‘It wasn’t that bad,’ she smiled reassuringly as they climbed into the car.

‘It was a f**king disaster and you know it,’ he yelled as he slammed the door behind him. ‘Move up for God’s sake,’ he hissed, pushing her roughly to the other side of the car.

She glanced out the window, determined not to let him see her cry. If only he could understand that she was on his side. She knew how important it was for him to succeed. He’d spent his childhood being abused by his alcoholic father and a mother who never let him forget he had deprived her of the daughter she so badly wished for. For him, anything short of the best was deemed as a failure, and he’d punish himself for it. No matter how many times she told him how proud she was of him, it was never enough. The rain beat against the windows and the silence that filled the car caused a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. She felt like she was drowning.


‘Rachel,’ Tony cleared his throat and apprehensively stood in the living room. He felt terrible about how he had acted the previous day and wanted too – needed to – apologise. He couldn’t stand her being angry with him.

‘Tony, hey,’ she hobbled into the living room, smiling as she saw him standing there, looking all sheepish.

‘Look Rachel, I just want to –.’ He stopped as he noticed the cast on her foot, and winced as he saw how her hand was protectively wrapped around her middle. ‘What happened? Are you ok?’ He rushed towards her, then stopping as he approached. He blushed.

‘Oh, I’m such a klutz,’ she laughed. ‘You’re not going to believe this. It was so wet last night and you know I was wearing stupid shoes, I slipped and fell down the steps outside the restaurant.’

‘You really did some damage. Broken ribs? Foot?’

‘4 ribs and 3 toes,’ she laughed nervously.

‘God Rach, I’m sorry. Actually that’s why I came. To apologise for yesterday. I.’

‘Tony, please, don’t worry about it. It’s all fine. Honestly. Friends?’ She looked at him expectantly.

‘Sure, friends it is,’ he smiled. ‘Hey, friends can have coffee together right?’

‘Yes,’ she laughed. ‘Oh oww, you shouldn’t make me do that,’ she grabbed at her ribs and slowly sat down on the sofa.

‘Oh gosh I’m sorry. You stay put and I’ll make the coffee.’

‘Ok, thanks,’ she smiled at him warmly, watching as he walked to her kitchen. ‘There,’ she pointed at the right cupboard. She closed her eyes for a moment, wondering what she was getting into.

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Thanks again everyone. I really apperciate all your comments and love you've all taken time to write something constructive. That maeans a lot to me. Hope you enjoy this :)

She wasn’t prepared. Usually she could sense it coming but this time she was caught off guard. The strength of the first punch caused her to stumble backwards, where she tripped over her feet and fell to the kitchen floor. She immediately brought her knees to her chest and tucked her head into her chest. Tears of humiliation slid down her cheeks and she tried desperately not to let him know how much he was hurting her. ‘You’re useless,’ he spat, as he repeatedly kicked her stomach, barely stopping between each blow. He grabbed hold of a handful of her hair and dragged her across the floor before yanking her up on her feet. She stared into his eyes as she stood shaking in their living room, her arms wrapped around her chest. They were so cold and lifeless it frightened her. He didn’t speak. She quietly walked to the bathroom, running the taps to drown out her cries. It would only be a matter of time before he’d come to her, full of remorse and tears, whispering how sorry he was as she held her and told her how much he loved her and needed her. She ran her hand under the tap, watching as the hot water turner her fingers bright red. Her body ached as she gently removed her dress and lowered herself into the water. Closing her eyes, she slowly submerged herself, wondering what it would feel like to drown.


‘Really?’ Rachel laughed as Tony told her another story. One coffee had turned into two, and had progressed to lunch. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d laughed so much. She’d be shocked to learn he had two sons at University, one in Perth and the other in Melbourne. For some reason she had assumed he didn’t have children. She smiled as she gazed at him sitting on the couch next to her, talking animatedly with his hands.

‘So how old are you then?’ she gazed at him inquisitively, cocking her right eyebrow.

He laughed, slapping his thigh. ‘Oh we’re getting personal now? He grinned at her teasingly.

She shrugged. ‘Just wondering. You don’t look old enough to have two grown up sons.’

‘And you don’t look old enough to be in charge of that A&E department.’ He winked at her.

‘I’m not in charge,’ she laughed as she playfully hit him on the shoulder. ‘I’m just a regular emergency doctor. It’s no biggie.’ She shrugged and smiled, looking down at her lap.

‘Hey, don’t put yourself down. I think you’re pretty amazing to do what you do.’ He gently reached over and placed his right thumb and finger under her chin, lifting her face up so it was inline with his.

‘Thanks,’ she could feel her heart starting to beat faster and her face flush. Without thinking she took his face in her hands and kissed him gently – ignoring the niggling voice in her head that was screaming at her to pull away. ‘Rachel,’ he muttered, attempting to push her away. ‘Rachel, stop,’ he said firmly, jerking his face away from her and removing her hands from his neck.

‘I’m sorr, sorry,’ she stammered, shrinking away from him. She stood up quickly and winced with pain, clutching her ribs. Turning her back to him she took a deep breath. ‘I think you should go,’ she said with embarrassment. ‘Please.’

‘Rach,’ he crept up behind her. She could feel his breath on her neck and her body tingled as he placed his hand on the back of her neck. ‘You have nothing to be sorry for, it’s okay. Hey, come on,’ he turned her to face him. ‘No guy likes a women who cries on him,’ he joked, rubbing her arms.

‘It’s been a rough couple of days,’ she admitted. ‘These pain killers really mess with my emotions, she let out a small laugh. I can’t believe I’ve cried on you twice. You must find me pretty pathetic,’ she smiled at him weakly.

He shook his head. ‘Not in the slightest.’ He looked at her seriously, staring into her eyes. He gently tucked her hair behind her ears and stroked her face with his thumb. He found her so beautiful. He knew what he was doing was wrong, and ordinarily he wouldn’t have dreamt of getting involved with someone unavailable – but he was drawn to her like a moth to a flame.

Before either of them knew what was happening, they were kissing passionately, their hands exploring each others bodies as they stumbled backwards to the couch. She shivered as his hands crept under her top and caressed her back. He pulled her closer to him, pressing his body against hers. ‘Ohh, oww,’ she gasped as she doubled over in pain and struggled to catch her breath. ‘Stop, oh God.’

‘Are you ok? S**t I’m sorry,’ he immediately pulled away and gazed at her with concern. ‘Sit down, here,’ he fluffed up the pillows on the couch and helped her sit. ‘I’m such an idiot,’ he sighed.

‘No, no you’re not.’ She grabbed his hand and pulled her down next to him. ‘You’re amazing.’ She sighed and looked at the carpet. ‘We need to stop it from happening,’ she whispered, still gripping his hand.

‘I know,’ he didn’t sound convinced. ‘I’d better be off then. If you need anything,’ his voice trailed off as he stood up and walked towards the door.

‘Sure, thanks,’ she gulped back tears as he left, shutting the door quietly behind him.


Emily pulled the hat over her hair and zipped her jacket up, hating the fact that, despite the heat outside she always felt cold.

‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ Michael looked at her, a pained expression on his face. ‘Em, I hate that scumbag and you know I think he deserves to rot in hell, but, with everything that’s going on with you right now – do you really want to put yourself through it?’

‘Yes.’ She nodded firmly. ‘I have to, I just.’ She shook her head. ‘If anything happened to that doctor, I’d feel responsible. I can’t let him get away with it any longer. I know you’re worried,’ she smiled at him. ‘And I love you for that. But this is something I need to do; otherwise I’ll never be able to sleep with a clear conscience.’

‘I know,’ he took her hands in his and squeezed them. ‘I’m here for you, always. But aren’t you seeing Dr. Armstrong again next week? How will you explain it to her?’

‘Don’t worry; it’s all going to be anonymous,’ she stood on her tip toes and kissed his cheek. ‘I’ll see you later, wish me luck.’

‘Good luck,’ he echoed, as she ran out of the door. His heart sank.


‘Where’s the strangest place you’ve had sex?’ Kirsty smirked from behind her wine glass.

‘Kirsty,’ Charlie shrieked and threw a pillow at her.

‘What?’ It’s just us girls. She shrugged and smiled slyly.

‘Ohh, don’t make me laugh too much,’ Rachel spoke from her position curled up on the sofa in Leah’s living room. ‘It hurts my ribs,’ she giggled in spite of herself, taking another gulp of wine. ‘Although maybe more alcohol is the answer.’ Rachel grinned. She was thoroughly enjoying spending time with the girls and after the events of the previous week she was all too grateful for some female company and light hearted banter. It has been a few days since Tony had had coffee at her house and again he was all she could think about. It had been hard after the first kiss but now it consumed her every second of the day. Sometimes it thrilled her and she allowed herself to relive it – but at times it terrified her so much she struggled to


‘Earth to Rachel, hello,’ Leah swatted her with a cushion. ‘You were a million miles away.’

‘Sorry, I’m not supposed to drink much because of the painkillers, my bad,’ she joked, sitting up and crossing her legs. ‘I’m listening,’ she gazed intently at Charlie. ‘So you were saying?’

‘Okay, well, Angelo and I once did it in the holding cell in the police station,’ she blurted out, covering her eyes with her hands and laughing.’

‘Ohh kinky, did you use handcuffs?’ Leah giggled as she winked at Rachel.

‘That’s for me to know,’ Charlie said suggestively, as she turned to face Rachel. ‘Your turn,’ she clapped her hands gleefully.

‘Umm,’ Rachel sighed and pressed her lips together. ‘I guess it would be in the back of a limo, on the way back from a party Mark and I attended.’

‘What,’ Kirsty leaned forward. ‘You mean while someone was driving it?’ She toppled off the chair and fell to the floor with a thud, the wine almost tipping out of her class. ‘****, sorry,’ she laughed. ‘Think I need to stop drinking. ‘But, Rach, I’m shocked. I didn’t think you were the wild type.’

‘I’m not really,’ Rachel laughed nervously, twisting her hands around her glass. ‘But Mark likes to have fun, and you know sometimes you just get carried away.’

‘Right,’ the concern in Leah’s voice was palpable. ‘So, Kirsty, you didn’t say,’ she smiled brightly, desperate to relieve the sudden tension in the room.

‘Well,’ Kirsty giggled loudly, as she lay sprawled on the floor. ‘I don’t even remember the question. But Miles and have lots of good sex believe you me. Like, some things we do,’ she turned over on her stomach, resting her head in her hands, ‘I didn’t even know about until I got with him,’ she whispered excitedly, ‘like,’

‘Oh, I think you can stop right there,’ Charlie pushed Kirsty’s shoulder causing her to roll over on her side where she starting laughing hysterically.

‘Leah?’ Charlie questioned.

‘Right,’ Leah moved closer to Rachel on the couch and linked arms with her, giving her a reassuring smile. ‘Dan and I did it in the diner kitchen once, while Coleen was wiping down the tables.’

‘Oh my God you didn’t,’ Rachel gasped as she gazed in Leah in shock. ‘You crazy girl!’

Leah shrugged. ‘What can I say?’

‘God, I’d have loved to have seen Coleen’s face if she’d walked in on you guys. She’d probably have had a heart attack.’ Charlie wiped tears of laughter from her eyes. ‘Anyways, on that note I’d best be off. I’ll take this one home too,’ she indicated at Kirsty who was now lying lifelessly on the floor.

‘That was so fun,’ Rachel said to Leah after they’d eventually managed to wake Kirsty up and get her in a cab with Charlie who’d promised to get her home safely.

‘Yeah,’ Leah smiled. ‘I’m glad you had fun honey, after what you’ve been through recently you deserve it.’ She kissed her forehead. ‘Is everything okay? Because you know you can tell me anything right?’

‘Sure. I’m fine. Just a bit tired, and sore,’ she joked. ‘That’ll teach me to leave my shoes lying at the top of the stairs.’

‘What?’ Leah looked at her in confusion. ‘I thought you fell outside the restaurant? That’s what I got from Tony.’

Rachel paused. ‘Oh, I guess he got mixed up,’ she waved her hand dismissively. ‘You know what men are like. So how are things with Dan? You mentioned last time you thought he was worried about money?’ she said, desperately trying to sound light hearted.

‘Rachel.’ Leah stared at her seriously. ‘Don’t change the subject. Tony wouldn’t get mixed up about something like that. Please Rachel, if there’s something you want to tell me, you know you can. Please.’

To Rachel’s alarm, Leah’s voice started to wobble and tears started to fall from her eyes. ‘I love you so much and I can’t stand to see you like this,’ she whispered. ‘You’ve changed since being with him. It’s like he has some kind of power over you.’

‘I’m fine.’ Rachel insisted, chocking back her own tears. She struggled free from Leah’s grasp and started walking towards the door. ‘I need to go home.’

‘Rachel, don’t,’ Leah begged. ‘Just talk to me.’

‘Bye,’ Rachel walked out slowly. ‘I’ll call you tomorrow.’

With shaking hands Leah picked up the phone and quickly punched in the numbers. She didn’t know who else to call. Dan and VJ were away on a boys camping trip and she couldn’t wait until he got home. She’d noticed the spark between them, the way her eyes light up and then clouded over whenever his name was mentioned and how he practically beamed every time he mentioned her name.

‘Tony,’ she said anxiously. ‘I’m so sorry to call you this late but I really need to talk to you. Can you come over?’

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you so much for your comments everyone. :) Sorry this is a kind of short update. I just wanted to get something posted so you wouldn't loose interest! Next chapters longer though :) Thanks again for all your reading and reviewing.

‘Leah what’s going on?’ Tony asked anxiously as he burst into her kitchen. He’d rushed over as soon as he’d realised how scared she sounded on the phone.

‘Oh Tony thanks for coming so late,’ Leah said, as she ushered him into the living room. ‘I just didn’t know who else to talk too. And sorry it’s so late but,’ she paused, shaking her head. ‘I just couldn’t wait any longer. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep.

‘Ok Leah. You’re not really making much sense. You said something about Rachel on the phone but,’ he looked around the room, as if he was expecting her to appear from one of the rooms. ‘I don’t really understand.’ He was starting to sound worried. He knew Leah wouldn’t have phoned him so urgently if wasn’t serious. And he knew how close she was to her.

‘I know what I’m about to say could be completely wrong and totally off track but I honestly believe I’m right. Please just hear me out.’

He nodded, encouraging her to continue.

‘I think Mark is abusing Rachel,’ she blurted out, not stopping for breath. She looked at Tony anxiously, crossing her legs and digging her nails into a cushion. She was desperate for him to believe her.

‘Woah, that’s a pretty serious accusation you’re making there,’ he said, sounding sceptical. ‘I know you don’t like the guy much but do you really think he’d abuse her?’ He shuddered, feeling sick at the thought someone would hurt Rachel like that.

‘Yes.’ She was firm. ‘Tony, you don’t know Rach like I do. She’s changed so much since she started dating him and it kills me. It’s like he’s sucked all the passion out of her. She was always so strong and independent and bubbly but when he’s around she hangs onto his every word and does everything he says.’ Leah was crying now and hugging the pillow close to her chest. ‘And look at all the accidents she has. I can’t believe she just falls over all the time. You don’t break rib tripping over shoes and falling down a few stairs. She barely has any in her house,’ Leah gasped as her sobs grew louder and she wiped her mascara streaked eyes.

‘Hey, come here.’ Tony pulled her to him and wrapped his arms around her. ‘I know your worried Leah but she seems like a pretty together person. I don’t think she’d let a guy knock her around.’ He gently rubbed her back. ‘Wait,’ he said suddenly, pushing her back. ‘You said falling down in her house? She told me it was outside LuLu’s restaurant where her and Mark had a party.’

‘Rach told me you must have gotten mixed up,’ Leah whispered. ‘Oh God Tony.’ She bit down hard on her bottom lip, a feeling of nausea washing over her. ‘Lulu’s?’ Her brown wrinkled in confusion. ‘That’s inside the Hilton Hotel on the waterfront, on the ground floor.’

Tony held his head in her hands. ‘I can’t believe it,’ he whimpered. ‘If this is true, I’ll, I’ll kill the b***ard, he cried out in anger. ‘Jesus. Rachel.’

‘I know,’ Leah gazed at him, her eyes still filled with tears. ‘And I’ve seen the way you look at her. I know you like her Tony, she said tentatively. I just didn’t know who else to call.’

‘What. I.’ He looked down, feeling his face flush. His head was spinning.

‘It’s okay,’ Leah said gently, placing her hand on his shoulder. ‘She likes you too, every time you walk into a room she’s in her whole face lights up. She relaxes around you.’ She smiled sadly. ‘I can’t just sit back and do nothing. Tony, please.’


Rachel curled herself up into a ball and rammed her fist into her mouth to muffle the sound of her crying. She heard him breathing deeply as he lay next to her in their bed, the sheet loosely draped around his chest. Thankfully he’d been asleep when she’d arrived home. She’d never felt so ashamed and pathetic. Fear plagued through her body every time someone got suspicious of Mark. Seeing her best friend cry like that had terrified her and broke heart at the same time. The niggling voice in her head that told her she had to stop covering for him had started to consume her more and more. But how could she face people if the truth got out? She didn’t want to be a victim. The thought of people taking pity on her made her want to vomit. The worst thing was, she despised women who let men beat them around, and here she was, trapped in her own nightmare. The most ridiculous thing was, aside from Leah, the person she didn’t want to take pity on her was Tony. And she barely knew him. Not really. But her heart beat faster every time she was near him and she could still taste his lips on her – she craved it.

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Thank you so much everyone :) Your comments were lovely, as always!

Here's the next part. I have no idea how long this is going to end up, but i'm enjoying writing it for now and hope you'll want me to continue. Constructive criticism is welcome :wink:

'I brought breakfast,’ Leah grinned as she stood in the doorway, holding the bag of croissants up for Rachel to see.

‘Thanks,’ Rachel smiled. ‘What’s the occasion?’ she asked, glancing at Leah with surprise.

‘Can’t I surprise my best friend with a delicious breakfast,’ Leah teased as she made her way to the kitchen. ‘I don’t have to be in work until this afternoon so thought it would be nice for us to hang out.’ She rummaged in the cupboards and picked out various jars, humming as she did so. As much as she wanted to confront Rachel about Mark she knew she couldn’t just jump in and ask her straight out. As angry as Tony had been the previous night, he too had admitted they couldn’t just barge in and throw accusations around. They’d decided the best thing was to just be there for her – and hope that Rachel herself would be the one to make the first move.

‘Of course you can,’ Rachel sat down at the table. ‘And your best friend is very grateful,’ she said, winking at Leah. ‘These look fantastic.’

‘Mark working today,’ Leah asked.

‘Yes, he’s away for the day. Some big hotel launch in the city he’s handling. Lots of celebrities attending, tabloid journalists, that kind of thing,’ she said quickly, shrugging her shoulders and picking at the pastry on her plate.

‘How are things between you two?’ Leah questioned, spreading jam thickly over her breakfast.

‘Fine,’ Rachel forced herself to smile. ‘So have you seen Tony lately?’

Why are you asking?’ Leah said delightedly, rubbing her hands together.

‘No reason,’ Rachel looked at her nonplussed. ‘I just haven’t seen him around much, since my stupid injury stopped my training sessions.’

‘Right,’ nodded Leah. ‘And that’s the only reason?’

‘Ye, yes.’ Rachel sat back in her chair and frowned at Leah. ‘What’s gotten into you?’

‘Oh nothing,’ Leah sang, brushing the crumbs off her hands. ‘I just think it’s nice you two get along so well that’s all. And he really likes you Rach.’

‘Really?’ she blushed furiously, happiness washing over her.

‘Don’t tell me you didn’t know,’ Leah accused, smiling. ‘I’ve seen the way you look at him when you’re together. Don’t try and hide it. I think you’d make a great couple.’

‘How dare you?’ Rachel said suddenly, her eyes flashing with anger. ‘I have a boyfriend and you come here and accuse me of liking another man. I know you don’t like Mark but to go as far as saying I want to be with another man is ridiculous.’ She stood up furiously, gathering the plates up and throwing them in the sink. ‘I think you should go,’ she said, bracing herself against the counter.

‘That’s not what I meant at all. Rach,’ Leah said gently. ‘I’m just worried about you. I see you with Tony and see how happy you are, that’s all. I didn’t mean anything by it, honestly. Rach.’ Leah stood behind her and gently placed her hand on her back.

‘Just leave,’ she said irately. ‘I just want to be alone right now.’

‘Right,’ Leah turned and walked away sadly. ‘I’m always here Rach if you want to talk. Promise.’ She shut the door quietly, not even trying to hide her tears.

Rachel buried her feet into the sand and closed her eyes, sighing heavily. God she was such a cow. Leah was her best friend and all she’d succeeded in doing was pushing her away. Deep down she knew she couldn’t go on much longer. It was getting harder. She loved him and perhaps it was all her fault and she just needed to be more understanding. But at times she honestly felt like she could no longer go on.


‘Beautiful day huh?’

Startled, Rachel glanced behind her and blinked, the sun blinding her. ‘Tony?’

‘The one and only,’ he laughed as he sat down next to her, pulling his knees up. ‘You okay?’ He smiled, staring into her eyes.


‘You sure?’

‘Yes. I’m fine,’ she said firmly, annoyed by the concern in his voice. ‘Have you and Leah been talking about me? A little lets feel sorry for Rachel pity party?’ She shook her head and fixed her gaze on the ocean.

‘No, Rachel. It’s not like that.’ He sighed, running his hands through his hair. ‘She’s just worried about you. As am I,’ he whispered, turning to face her.

‘Well you don’t have to be. Honestly,’ she said, turning her head as she felt his gaze on her. ‘I’m a big girl.’ She smiled. ‘But it’s nice to know. Thanks.’

She stared into his eyes, feeling her heart beat faster and the familiar tingling in her stomach. He moved closer to her and gently rubbed the top of her arm. A shiver ran through her body.

‘Rach,’ he muttered, as he slid his other hand behind her back. She could feel his breath on her neck.

‘It’s okay,’ she whispered, wrapping her arms around his neck.

‘Someone could see,’ he warned, resting his forehead against hers.

‘I don’t care,’ she said as she closed her eyes and kissed him, pulling him tightly towards her.

‘Are you sure,’ he mumbled between kisses, each one longer than the previous.

‘Uh hu,’ she moaned incoherently. And she really didn’t give a damm.


Emily started at the piece of paper in her hands, gripping it tightly, blinking at the numbers nearly written on it. She felt sick. The journalist had only shown interest when she’d explained that one of Mark’s ex girlfriends was currently staring in an up and coming television show that critics were calling the hit of the year. Up until that point she’d merely smiled patronisingly and told Emily although she was sorry, ‘lots of women get abused by their partners, what makes your story any different?’ Apparently getting beat up by your lover when you were suffering from cancer was not as interesting as getting beat up by your lover when you pose for top shelf magazines, suddenly accept God into your life and then land a hit TV role. With trembling hands, she picked up the telephone and took a deep breath, forcing herself to concentrate.

‘Hey Em,’ Mark called as he bounced into the room. ‘How you doing? Doctors go okay today?’ He sat down next to her and gently rubbed her hand, smiling seriously.

‘Yes, fine.’ She cleared her throat. ‘I just got to make some phone calls.’ She ran out of the room quickly, clutching the phone. She didn’t have the heart to tell him she’d not been back to the doctors in months, not since she’d ran out of Dr Armstrong’s office. Lying awake at night, she’d spent hours wondering how to tell the man she loved more than anything in the world that she was dying.


‘Rach,’ Tony pulled awake reluctantly. ‘We need to stop. We can’t. Not here anyways,’ he glanced at her and stroked her face. ‘Do you want to come back to my place?’ He paused, aware of the consequences that her answer would bring.

‘Yes,’ she whispered without hesitation. ‘Yes.’

Later That Day

‘I’d better go,’ Rachel said unenthusiastically, lifting her head up from Tony’s chest. The hours since leaving the beach had passed in a blur of pure pleasure. She couldn't remember that last time she'd been touched and kissed so tenderly, that she'd felt so free and had let go of her inhibitions. With Mark it was just, well, nothing like she'd just experienced.

‘Right,’ he said, not opening his eyes. He toyed with her hair, twisting it around his fingers. ‘Just stay a bit longer,’ he requested, wrapping his arm around her back and pulling her back on top of him.

‘You know I can’t,’ she apologised, untangling herself from him and sitting up, wrapping the sheet around her naked body.

‘Right. Go back to him.’ He turned away from her.

‘Tony please. Don’t be like this,’ she begged, reaching down and stroking his arm. ‘It was amazing,’ she whispered. ‘I wish things could be different you know.’

‘They can be,’ he sat up and turned to face her. ‘Rach, if you’re not happy you don’t have to stay with him. You know that.’

She shook her head. ‘You don’t understand.’

‘Well let me,’ he placed his hands on her shoulders and squeezed them. ‘I’m here for you Rach. I can promise you that. I don’t know what this is, what is between us, but,’ he paused, clearing his throat. ‘I really really like you, and I think you feel the same. Just let yourself.’

She bit down on her lip as her eyes welled up. ‘I’m sorry. I have to go. I’ll call you later,’ she pulled away from him, refusing to look into his eyes. Scrambling out of the bed, she gathered her clothes quickly and ran out of the room, not once looking back.


‘Just got a call from a woman complaining about a disturbance at the house next door. Thinks the couple are having a bit of a domestic. It’s on the way home, fancy checking it out with me?’ Angelo asked, glancing at the address he’d quickly scribbled down.

‘Sure,’ Charlie sighed. ‘Just what I need, some couple arguing over whose turn it was to cook dinner.’

Angelo laughed. ‘Come on you know you love them.’

‘Yeah, obviously.’ She rolled her eyes sarcastically. ‘Where we going?’ She stared at the piece of paper in Angelo’s hand. ‘Wait,’ she paused. ‘That’s Rachel’s house.’

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you so much everyone for your lovely comments :wub: And sorry im so crappy at updating!! I'm lucky you're all so patient!!! Really glad you're enjoying this. Hope you like this chapter. I've brought Charlie/Angelo in now, so hope it works okay!

‘God you’re useless,’ he spat as he pushed her into the table, pressing the whole weight of his body against hers.

‘I’m sorry,’ she whimpered. ‘I forgot, that’s all. Please listen.’

‘Yeah right,’ he spat in her face. He was so close she could see his pupils enlarge and his eyes bulge. She closed her eyes and braced herself for the inevitable. Usually, she tried to pretend it wasn’t happening to her and she was free from her own body. But as pain shot through her she begged herself not to cry. Showing weakness only spurred him on even more.

‘You stupid bitch, he sniggered, as he knocked her to the floor. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying not to react to the onslaught of kicks and punches. She drowned out his words, terrified that they might be true. ‘No one else will want you,’ he whispered in her ear. ‘Always remember that.’

‘Why don’t you just leave him?’ was the usual horrified response, followed by bewilderment upon hearing her reluctance to do the very thing that terrified her most. She wasn’t a failure. Walking away would only make things worse. He couldn’t help acting the way he did. He loved her, didn’t he – that’s why she knew he never meant to hurt her. Sometimes things just got out of control.

And she loved him. A part of her thought that should be enough. Besides, she was lucky to have him, he constantly reminded her of that. Really, no one would love her like he did.


‘You think he’s hitting her?’ Angelo looked straight ahead as he drove, grateful that after this he could go home. It had been a hell of a day.

‘Yes,’ Charlie answered without hesitation. ‘He’s a jerk,’ she shook her head.

‘That doesn’t make him a wife beater,’ he replied. ‘Look I know she’s a friend, but, go easy okay? Don’t make assumptions. It could be perfectly innocent.’

‘Yeah right,’ she muttered, turning to glance at him. ‘How many of these are?’ She gazed out of the window.

Sighing loudly, Angelo drummed his fingers on the wheel and glanced at her. ‘And you know how hard it is to get a conviction. Look,’ he paused. ‘I know you’re friends and all that, but all I’m saying is don’t let it cloud your judgement.’

‘I won’t,’ she reassured, as Angelo pulled up outside the driveway. ‘But at the same time, I won’t hesitate to question him if I think there’s the slightest possibility he’s hurting her.’

‘Fine,’ Angelo slammed the door and followed Charlie to the front door. He was tired and just wanted to curl up in bed - preferably with Charlie next to him – and forgot about work. ‘Let’s just make this quick,’ he mumbled as Charlie rapped on the door.

‘You’re unbelievable,’ she shook her head in disgust before quickly changing to a smile when the door opened slightly and Rachel’s face appeared before her.

‘Hi, Charlie,’ Rachel stared at her in puzzlement. ‘What are you doing here?’ She stood ridged behind the door, her hand gripping the handle tightly. ‘And Angelo,’ she cocked her head in confusion.

‘Actually Rachel we’re here on official business. A neighbour of yours complained of loud noises and shouting coming from house; so we have to follow it up. Can we come in?’ She gently placed her hand on the door, sensing Rachel’s reluctance to let them any further.

‘Rachel, what the hell?’ Mark yelled as he quickly approached her. He stood behind her, his hands firmly on her waist. Charlie couldn’t help but notice her eyes clouding over before she regained her composure and smiled brightly at him.

‘Apparently one of our neighbours complained about noise coming from the house,’ she explained nervously, clasping her hands together, quickly turning to Charlie.

‘What? For f**k sake.’ Mark rolled his eyes towards Charlie and Angelo. ‘Interfering old cow from next door probably. Well as you can see there’s nothing going on here, so,’ he winked as he leaned forward to close the door.

‘Actually,’ Charlie cleared her throat and pushed the door open. ‘We’d like to come in,’ she added firmly, staring Mark directly in the eye. ‘We need to follow up on everything, you do understand?’ She shrugged unapologetically and pushed her way into the front room with Angelo meekly following.

‘What the hell do you think you’re doing?’ Mark suddenly lunged at Charlie and attempted to shove her back towards the door. ‘You can’t just walk into my house.’

‘Actually, we can,’ Angelo announced angrily as he stepped in-between them. ‘Be careful mate,’ he warned. ‘Just keep your hands to yourself and we’ll be out of your hair in no time, understand?’

‘You’re superior will be hearing about this,’ Mark hissed, before turning his attention to Rachel, who stood by the door, twisting her hands behind her back. She felt like she was going to throw up. Her head was starting to pound and she could feel beads of sweet forming on her brow.

‘Come over here baby and tell them what happened,’ he said as he held out his hand. ‘The whole f**king interesting story,’ he added sarcastically as he glanced at Charlie.

Rachel hobbled over, grimacing as pain shot through her body.

‘Oh God Rachel, what happened?’ Charlie gasped in horror as she saw her up close under the bright lights of the room. There was an angry red cut above her right eye and the whole side of her face was already beginning to bruise. ‘Are you okay?’ She rushed towards her and placed her hand on her shoulder, causing Rachel to shudder as a searing pain shot through her body.

‘I’m fine,’ Rachel forced out a laugh and hung her head in embarrassment. Shame filled her as she explained how she’d been changing a light bulb in the kitchen and tumbled off the chair onto the hard tiled floor. On the way down she’d knocked over some glasses that were on the table – and the shouting? Well they’d had a row about something she couldn’t even remember and perhaps it had gotten a little heated. She reeled out the entire monologue without looking up once, Mark’s hand gripping her tightly.

‘Satisfied?’ Mark glared at Angelo then Charlie; the disgust on his face was palpable.

Nodding, Angelo made his way to the door. ‘Sorry to trouble you,’ he added, trying to sound as sincere as possible. He didn’t want another local on his case, especially a guy as bad tempered as this one. ‘Charlie?’ he stood by the open door, waiting.

‘Just a sec,’ she muttered towards him, wishing for once he would wake up and see what she did. ‘Rach, are you sure that’s what happened. Because if you want to come down to the station you can. Talk to me, in private,’ she emphasised.

‘That won’t be necessary,’ Mark spat out. ‘And you’re way out of line,’ he warned. ‘How dare you accuse me, in my own home?’

‘What would I be accusing you of?’ Charlie asked smoothly, never taking the tight smile off her face. ‘As far as I can recollect, no one has accused anyone of anything. But if there’s anything you – or Rachel – ’ she stared at her, praying she’d look up and make eye contact – ‘would wish to add then please, now is the time.’

Rachel shook her head. ‘No, that’s all, sorry to have to drag you out here.’ She finally looked up and smiled weakly. She felt so humiliated. All she wanted to do was disappear. Her body ached. Seeing the pity on Charlie’s face was so mortifying. She was a doctor for God’s sake. Her days were spent saving lives and practically running the emergency department. But in her own home this is what it had come too, she thought, blinking back tears. And her affair with Tony, well; she didn’t know how much longer she was going to be able to hide it. She knew sleeping with him was wrong on so many levels, not least because of her emotional state – she was a wreck - but it just felt so right.

‘Well, if you’re sure,’ Charlie persisted.

‘Yes,’ she nodded forcefully as she limped towards the door, desperately trying not to react to the pain that made her wince with every step.

‘Let’s get together soon Rach, maybe have another girlie night with Leah?’ Charlie grinned in an attempt to mask the emotions that were running through her body. She desperately wanted to envelope Rachel in a hug but she knew she couldn’t be unprofessional.

‘Sure,’ Rachel smiled, a little too enthusiastically. ‘That would be wonderful,’ she gushed as she ushered Charlie and Angelo out of the door.

‘I’ll call you,’ Charlie replied, looking behind her as she walked down the path towards the car. But the door was already firmly shut.


‘She’s lying,’ Charlie announced as ran towards the car.

‘Charlie,’ he sighed and rubbed his hand over his face. ‘Don’t start. It’s been a long day, let’s just get home.’

‘He stood there and forced her to make up some stupid story,’ she shook her head and stopped as she reached the car, her hand frozen as she reached for the handle. ‘And you just let him. You didn’t even have the audacity to stand up to him,’ she was practically yelling now, looking at Angelo with repulsion.

‘What the hell was I supposed to do?’ he exploded. ‘You know as well as I do we can’t do anything unless Rachel gives us reason too, and she didn’t. We can’t arrest someone just because you are suspicious.’

Charlie looked away, blinking back tears. She hated feeling powerless.

‘Look,’ Angelo said gently. ‘Right now all you can do is be there for her, and maybe she’ll open up or maybe not.’ He shrugged. ‘Come on, let’s go home.’

‘Give me the keys,’ she demanded, blatantly ignoring him. ‘I’m driving.’

‘Charlie I really don’t think –’

‘I said give me the keys,’ she interrupted. She started at him long and hard and held out her hands. ‘Now,’ she said sternly.

‘Alright, alright,’ he fumbled for them in his pocket before tossing them to her. Anything for a quiet life he thought, as he wearily climbed into the passenger seat.

‘Where are we going?’ he enquired, his voice raising with alarm as the car screeched down the road in the opposite direction. ‘This is not the way home.’

‘The station,’ she announced, as she pressed down hard on the accelerator and gripped the wheel tightly. ‘I’m going to find something on this Mark guy even if I have to stay there all night.’


‘Another?’ Alf enquired as he noticed the empty beer bottle Tony was twirling in his hands.

‘Sure, why the hell not?’ he responded bitterly, banging his elbows down on the table.

‘Rough day mate?’ Alf asked, as he handed him a Budweiser.

‘Something like that yeah,’ he said flatly, making it clear he wasn’t in the mood for conversation.

‘Well, don’t drink too much,’ Alf laughed as he moved on to serve someone else.

‘Tony, hey,’ Leah sang as she rushed into the bar, ‘what you doing here?’ Her smile faded as she got closer and saw the state he was in.

‘Drinking. What does it look like?’ He glared at her before taking a swing.

‘Sorry, it’s just a little unlike you that’s all. Everything ok?’ She sat down next to him and gazed at him. ‘I guess not,’ she said ruefully when he failed to respond. 'So did you see Rachel today?’ She hadn’t talked to him since the previous night and was desperate to update him on what happened earlier that morning. Taking his lack of communication as a hint, she continued. ‘I actually went round with breakfast and Tony she –’ She jumped as Tony banged the bottle onto the table and let out a hollow laugh.

‘Oh yeah I saw her today. Actually I had sex with her today,’ he looked at Leah as she gasped with shock. ‘Yup. Then she runs off back to him,’ he added, shaking his head with disgust. ‘When it’s pretty clear to me how unhappy she is and how something is really wrong there.’ He stared at the table as he tore at the label on his beer, suddenly ashamed and embarrassed. It had just slipped out.

‘Oh God, Tony, you and Rach. Wow, I just, she didn’t tell me,’ she whispered sadly.

‘It was only this afternoon,’ he shrugged. ‘She’s probably mortified.’

‘Oh Tony no,’ Leah responded in horror. ‘I do know how much she likes you. And I’m not just saying that,’ she added hastily. ‘When she talks about you her face lights up and she’s just, well, happy. I just wish she could confine in me.’ Leah blinked away tears.

Glancing at Leah’s stricken face he immediately softened. ‘She loves you a lot; you know she’s probably just scared of him finding out.’ Tony let out a sob as he realised how far things had gone.

‘I can’t just walk away from this Leah.’ He looked up and stared at her, his eyes wet with tears. ‘I think I’m falling in love with her.’

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks so much everyone for your comments. Again i apperciate them so much :) Hope you like where i am going with this. Any suggestions very welcome :)

Rachel stood frozen as she watched the car speed away, blinking away salty tears. She wrapped her arms around her body and braced herself for the inevitable. He’d cry and beg and plead, swear to her that he’d never do it again, promise to get help, tell her how much he loved her and eventually she’d crack; too ashamed and exhausted to carry on with the endless charade. After the first time she’d believed him. He’d seemed so distraught at what he had done she genuinely believed it was a one off. She’d quickly realised how naive she’d been. Deep down she knew she was kidding herself. She wanted to help him. She didn’t want to give up. But his promises never succumbed. And then it was too late to walk away.

She stared out of the window, her mind swirling as she tried to comprehend what had just happened. She could tell from Charlie’s face she knew something was wrong. It terrified her. The consequences, well, they were too much for her to bear. She bit down hard on her lip; the taste of blood filling her mouth.

‘Baby,’ he whispered, as he crept up behind her and wrapped his arms around her middle. ‘Come here.’

‘Don’t touch me,’ she whispered, keeping her back to him. His touch sent involuntary trembles through her body. She could feel his breath on her neck and she struggled to stop the vomit she could feel rising in her stomach.

‘Rach darling I’m sorry,’ he cried, ‘you know that. God what have I done to you?’ He grabbed her elbow and turned her to face him. ‘You’re beautiful face,’ he whispered as he ran his thumb over her swollen cheek. ‘Rachel I didn’t mean any of this, you know that right?’ He gazed at her as he hung his head, his eyes filling with tears.

‘I said don’t touch me,’ she noted firmly, stepping back from his body. Her voice trembled. ‘I’ve heard it all before, all your fake promises and sweet nothings,’ she shook her head and stared at him. ‘But they’re just words. She gestured widely with her hands. ‘Meaningless words.’

‘No baby this time I swear,’ he insisted as he got down on his knees and grabbed her waist. ‘Please, oh God please. I’ll get counselling, anything baby; just tell me, I hate myself for doing this to you.’ He was sobbing now, his shoulders heaving and his hands digging into her sides.

‘No, get off me,’ she demanded as she pried his fingers away. He looked pathetic as he begged by her feet. Shaking, she hobbled towards the kitchen, her mind in a spin. She had no idea where the courage to stand up to him had come from. But seeing him get down on his hands and knees and plead with her stirred something inside her. For once she felt like she had the upper hand. He was scared. She’d witnessed the fear in his eyes the moment Charlie had started to question him. It had lasted seconds, a flickering moment - but it was enough to convince her he had been, for a few fleeting seconds, trapped.

‘Rachel,’ he called as he stood up and quickly followed her. ‘Rachel,’ he called again, this time more sternly. ‘What are you doing?’ He stared at her as she leaned against the worktop.

‘I’m going to go stay with Leah.’ The words tumbled out of her mouth before she could stop them.

He laughed. ‘Don’t be so f**king stupid.’ In those few minutes his face had changed and he looked at her, his eyes cold and menacing.

Fear ran through her as the severity of what she’d just said hit her. ‘I’m going,’ she mumbled, desperately trying to look him in the eye. ‘I’m going,’ she said a little more confidently.

‘And what exactly are you going to tell her huh?’ He laughed nastily. ‘Come on baby no one is going to believe you. Get real.’ He rolled his eyes and winked at her. ‘Who is going to want you, look at you?’

She stared at the floor as tears began to fall down her face. Maybe he was right she though. But then she remembered Tony and she knew there had been something there, even if it had only been for a few hours. She attempted to move forward but he lunged at her, pushing her back into the counter.

‘Don’t think you’re going anywhere,’ he spat, twisting her arm up behind her back.

‘Oww,’ she cried out. ‘Stop it,’ she begged. Reaching behind her frantically with her spare hand she managed to grab hold of a knife that was on the draining board. Gripping it as tightly as she could she swung her arm around and pointed it in his face.

‘Let me go,’ she demanded. Her voice quivered. ‘I’ll use it, I will.’

He laughed loudly as he leaned into her face. ‘You crazy b**ch. Put it down. Give it to me,’ he grabbed it from her shaking hand. ‘Lucky I’m in a forgiving mood or you’d really regret what you just did. What you playing at?’ He grinned at her. ‘I’m going to bed. I’ll see you there soon once you’ve calmed down and realised how mad you acted just now. Maybe we should see about you getting help. Love you sweetheart,’ he added as he made his way out of the kitchen.

She sank to her knees and wept.


‘Charlie calm down, please,’ Angelo said as she rushed into the station and threw herself in front of a computer.

‘Charlie,’ he repeated, this time a little more forcefully. ‘What are you doing?’ He gazed at her and gently rubbed her shoulder. ‘I know you’re worried about Rachel but what good is going to come from any of this? Yes you could find something on him but if it’s already on his record then he’s been charged and there’s nothing more you can do about it. Where you just going to run around to Rachel’s after and tell her all the awful stuff her boyfriend may or may not have done?’

Charlie stared at the screen, her fingers hovering above the keyboard. ‘God I hate it when you’re right,’ she whispered. ‘I just feel so useless,’ she sobbed as she held her face in her hands.

‘Hey, come here,’ Angelo said, wrapping his arms around her shaking shoulders. ‘I’ll keep an eye on him,’ he offered. ‘And I promise if Rachel gives the slightest hint that he’s hurting her I’ll be all over him. But right now,’ he said as he kissing her head, ‘all you can do it sit tight and be the best friend you can be to her.’


‘Emily!’ Michael screamed as he thundered up the stairs to their bedroom. ‘Emily,’ he panted as he frantically shoved the door open and skidded to a halt when he saw her sitting on the bed surrounded by pieces of paper, her mobile in her lap.

‘Michael what on earth is the matter?’ she asked perplexed. ‘You, Emily, I, I, can’t..believe…tha…’ he stuttered as he struggled to catch his breath. She looked at him, frightened. He’d been in such a good mood that morning, making her breakfast and singing in the shower. As he left, he’d kissed her passionately and told her how much he loved her. Now he was standing in their bedroom looking so full of rage.

‘You haven’t been going to the doctor,’ he cried out, gasping as he fell onto the chair by the dressing table. ‘All this time, I thought you were getting better but it was all a lie. Now I know why you so desperately didn’t want me to come to your appointments, it had nothing to do with your doctor saying it was best you went alone, God how stupid was I to believe such rubbish,’ he laughed bitterly. ‘But I loved you so much I just let it go. Why Emily?’ He finally looked at her, his eyes bloodshot and his face puffy with crying.

‘You phoned the hospital?’ she asked faintly, struggling to comprehend what was going on.

‘Yes I phoned the flipping hospital,’ he yelled.

‘Why?’ she asked quietly as she scrunched the paper into little balls.

‘Why? Is that all you have to say?’ He stood up and paced the room, grabbing at his hair with his hands. ‘I wanted to take you on holiday,’ he said as he stopped by the window and stared outside into the darkness. ‘And I was checking to see if you would be up for it,’ he choked the words out as he struggled to compose himself. ‘But they told me you hadn’t been back in months, not since your very first appointment. And that Dr Armstrong has tried to get back in touch but you ignored her calls.’ He paused and gripped the window sill. He took a big breath and turned to face her, tears streaming down his face. ‘Just tell me what’s going on,’ he insisted. ‘It’s the least I deserve.’


Tony sighed as he slammed the door shut and threw his keys on the table. He’d just left the diner after talking to Leah and felt so embarrassed. He winced as he remembered he’d told her about him and Rachel. You idiot he mumbled to himself as he rubbed his aching head and slumped down on the sofa. Everything was such a mess. More than anything he wanted too see her, he needed to see her – but he wasn’t sure she’d welcome that and the last thing he wanted was to upset her even more. He refused to believe it was just about sex; all those weeks they’d spent together working out, having coffee, talking – had all been initiated by her. He missed her already. Her smile, her coffee coloured eyes that always said more than words could express, her hair that fell across her face and her laugh that made something inside of him stir. He banged on the table with his fist as anger seethed through him. He knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep until he’d spoken to her. He had to know, for his own peace of mind, where he stood. Without any real idea of what he was going to say, he grabbed the phone and punched in the numbers, his heart thumping against his chest, it got louder every time his fingers pressed the buttons. He could smell the alcohol on himself and in the back of his mind he knew calling her whilst drunk was probably not the best idea. Just when he was thinking of hanging up and waiting until the morning, when he was sober and thinking a lot more clearly, she answered.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you so much everything for your comments. :)

Again they mean a lot and i'm thankful to those of you who take your time to read and comment. This is quite hard to write so please give me any feedback you think is necessary. Thank you muchos again, you're support is lovely. :wub:

She shouldn’t have answered the phone. Rachel was unsure was possessed her too – she assumed it was instinct. Dragging herself off the floor, she positioned herself on the couch, her head lowered as she cradled the phone between her ear and shoulder.

‘Hello,’ she said tentatively, desperately wishing it was a wrong number or a telemarketer trying to sell her something she had no use for.

‘Rachel,’ he breathed down the line, causing the hairs on the back of her neck to stick up.

‘Tony,’ she whispered, confused.

‘Are you okay?’ The urgency in his voice frightened her. She felt awful for how she’d left things between them; it hadn’t been her intention to hurt him so badly.

‘Yes, I’m fine,’ she laughed, attempting to sound as cheerful as she possibly could. ‘Why are you calling so late?’ she asked breezily, trying to delay the inevitable. Rachel knew this was not a social call.

‘You don’t sound fine,’ he said blatantly. ‘Are you crying, are you, are you,’ he paused, unable to get the words out, ‘hurt,’ he was almost afraid to hear her answer.

‘No,’ she said without hesitation. Tony, it’s almost 1am,’ she giggled nervously. ‘I was in bed,’ she lied.

‘You answered the phone pretty quick,’ he retorted. ‘I want to see you. And I know you want to see me too,’ he said quickly, surprised at how confident he sounded. Perhaps calling when drunk hadn’t been such a bad idea he mused, as he paced the living room, trying to remember why he had even phoned her in the first place. He realised how crazy he must sound to her.

‘Now? Are you insane? You can’t come over,’ she cried as bubbles of panic rose in her throat. ‘Mark,’ she whispered, knowing she didn’t need to explain any further.

‘You don’t have to ask his permission to have friends over Rachel,’ he stated. ‘Besides, he’s in bed right? I just want to talk,’ he said defensively before she’d had time to respond. ‘Please,’ he whispered. ‘Come on you know Mark doesn’t see me as a threat,’ he laughed, desperately trying to fill the silence that engulfed them.

‘Oh Tony,’ she said sadly. He was right. In Mark’s eyes, Tony was a middle aged small town hick. She knew he’d never suspect there’d be anything other than a platonic friendship between them. His arrogance filled her with so much hatred. Sometimes she found it hard to believe she’d be in love with him.

‘I’m on my way,’ he said, hanging up before she had a chance to answer.


‘Hi,’ Dan muttered as Leah wearily climbed into bed, pulling the sheet tightly around her body. She mumbled back incoherently, in no mood to make small talk. Things hadn’t been good between them for a while now, ever since their argument over the holiday. Now Leah just felt pathetic for the way she’d acted over the whole thing. Admitting she was wrong was not something she relished. Right now though, all she could think about was Rachel. It broke her heart suspecting – knowing – what she was going through. Tony’s revelation had shocked her to her very core. Although on some level she realised she knew. It hurt her, more than it should, that Rachel hadn’t confided in her. Blinking back tears, she buried her head into the pillow and rolled onto her side, slipping away from her husband.


Rachel splashed water on her face, determined to erase any traces of what had taken place a mere few hours beforehand. It was all in vain. She stared at her reflection in the bathroom mirror, wincing at what stared back at her. No amount of make up would disguise the bruising and swelling on her check. Closing her eyes she sighed heavily, hating the thought of having to lie to Tony. He would see right through her, she knew that. Her heart lurched as she heard a soft knock on the door and she felt forever grateful that Mark was such a heavy sleeper. They used to joke that not even an earthquake would wake him up.

She practically ran to the living room, almost ashamed at her desperation to see him. At the same time, fear and embarrassment plagued her. Tony seeing her like this was the last thing she wanted; but her craving to have him hold her again was just too strong.

‘Rach,’ he said walking towards her. ‘Oh God,’ he whispered as he gently ran his thumb over her face.

‘Don’t,’ she shook her head and stared at the floor, refusing to meet his eye. As she opened her mouth to make up excuses and tell more lies she suddenly realised there was no point. They wouldn’t wash with him. Instead she buried her head in his chest as he wrapped his arms around her back and pulled her close.

‘Shh, it’s ok,’ he said gently as giant sobs escaped from her body, causing her shoulders to shake. She pressed her face against him tightly in an attempt to muffle her cries.

They stood like that for what seemed like hours; with no words being exchanged between them.

‘I’m sorry,’ she eventually said as she untangled herself from his grasp.

‘You have nothing to be sorry for,’ he stated firmly as he locked eyes with her. ‘Come home with me,’ he said impulsively, the thought just occurring to him. As soon as the words left his mouth he knew how much he wanted it. She looked for fragile as stood before him, her arms by her sides, her face stained with tears. He’d be shocked when he had first seen her, hurrying towards him from the hallway. Knowing that he had done this to her angered him more than he thought was humanly possible. It had been enough to sober him up, to make him realise he couldn’t pretend any longer.

‘What?’ She stared at him in disbelief.

‘Come with me,’ he repeated. ‘I’m serious Rachel. Look at you, you can’t stay here, you can’t stay with him,’ he spat the last word out, his disgust palpable.

Shaking her head furiously, she backed slowly away from him. ‘I can’t,’ she said unconvincingly. ‘How can I just walk out of her and leave, just like that?’ She laughed miserably and lowered herself on to a chair in the kitchen. ‘You don’t understand.’

‘Rachel, please. I don’t know what’s going to happen or how this will work but I do know this makes sense,’ he emphasised the last few words as he quickly approached her and pulled a chair up beside her. Grabbing her hand, he kissed it softly and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her hair. ‘Let me help you,’ he pleaded, gazing at her with such intensity her stomach did involuntary flip flops.

‘I don’t need your help,’ she cried out, pulling her hands away from him. ‘I’m not some pathetic woman that needs saving.’

‘Rach I didn’t mean it in that way,’ he explained, shocked by her anger. ‘You know I think you’re amazing, incredible, beautiful,’ he paused, ‘sexy, talented. The point is you don’t deserve this. What he is doing to you, it’s not right and you know it.’

‘You don’t understand,’ she said as she turned and looked the other way.

‘Will you stop saying that!,’ he yelled, banging down hard on the table with his fist.

She flinched, surprised by his sudden outburst. ‘Well stop trying to make me explain,’ she replied, her voice wobbling. Biting her lips in a pathetic attempt to stop the tears that had began to fall once again, she stood up and shakily turned around and faced him. ‘I want you to leave,’ she whispered, hating herself. She so badly wished she could just go with him. To wrap her arm around him and disappear from her old life – it was like a fantasy to her. As soon as he’d uttered the words her heart had leapt for a split second, only for it to break when she realised it could never happen. The thought of dragging him even deeper into the mess that was her life filled her with despair. No, she decided, she had to be cruel to be kind. In the long term, he’d understand, she was sure of that. Now he was looking at her; his eyes filled with warmth and kindness. The urge to throw herself at him overwhelmed her. Rachel gripped the table with her hand, watching as he knuckles turned red with the pressure. He hadn’t moved. He sat with his head in his hands, lifting it up every few seconds to watch her. It sounded like he was crying, although she wasn’t a hundred percent sure. Noises from the hallway abruptly interrupted her thoughts. Panic seized her and she felt nauseas.

‘Rach, what’s the matter,’ Tony said, his brow lined with worry. The colour had drained from her face and she was starting at him with a look of utter terror. ‘Get out,’ she hissed and she lurched towards him.

‘What,’ he jumped up in shock and stumbled backwards as she pushed her hands against his chest.

‘Mark,’ she explained, her eyes darting towards the hall. ‘He usually sleeps through everything but, oh you have to get out. Please,’ she urged as she frantically glanced to her right, praying he’d just gone to the bathroom and would too lost in the lull of sleep to realise what was going on.

‘Rachel,’ he stood firm and grabbed her wrists. ‘Stop this. We’re not doing anything wrong. Just calm now,’ he added gently. ‘It’s all going to be fine.

‘No, no, you have to leave. Honestly Tony, I don’t know what he’ll do,’ she whimpered.

‘Rach, you haven’t done anything,’ he insisted. ‘Look at me. Look,’ he repeated, placing his hands on her shoulders and steadying her.

‘What the hell is going on here?’ She heard him first, his voice sending ripples of fear through her.

‘No, nothing,’ she stuttered, turning to smile brightly at him as he walked purposely into the living him, his eyes blazing with anger. ‘Tony was just leaving,’ she explained. ‘He came by on his way home, just to, well,’ she paused, her mind suddenly a blank.

‘To see if she’d be up for working out again tomorrow,’ Tony said, placing his hands in his pockets. ‘Sorry it’s late, I noticed the light was on when I was on my way home so thought I’d pop in and see how my favourite client was doing.’

Rachel turned and smiled at him weakly, hoping he could see the gratitude on her face. Humiliation and shame swept through her as she realised he’d willingly lied for her and he was standing there now, protecting her from a man who laughed at him.

‘Right,’ Mark nodded and walked over to Rachel, putting his arm firmly around her waist. ‘Still a bit late for you to call around,’ he said his voice steady. ‘Be sure it doesn’t happen again. Some of us have real jobs to do in the morning,’ he said mockingly.

‘Mark,’ Rachel blushed with embarrassment.

‘Oh baby I’m just having a laugh, I’m sure he doesn’t take it personally, right?’ He winked at Tony.

Tony shrugged. ‘No offence taken,’ he said flatly.

‘We should hang out more,’ Mark suggested as he walked towards the front door, Rachel glued to his side. ‘I’m sure Rachel has some older nurse friends at the hospital she could set you up with, right baby? Then we could double date.’

Rachel cringed. ‘I’m sure Tony doesn’t need me butting into his personal life,’ she muttered, rage building up inside at Mark’s obvious attempts to belittle Tony. He stood by the door, his hands bow glued to his sides.

‘Maybe it’s not such a bad idea,’ he laughed half-heartedly.

Rachel stared at the floor, wishing the ground would open and swallow her up.

‘Well I’ll be off then,’ Tony stared at Rachel intently. She knew all she had to do was say the words and he’d stay. She could see it in his eyes. Fighting all her instincts she forced herself to smile. ‘Bye,’ she said, a little too shrilly. ‘Thanks for coming,’ she quickly said, hoping Mark hadn’t noticed her previous tone. ‘Maybe see you tomorrow if I’m feeling up to it. Maybe a work out would do me good,’ she laughed as she followed Tony to the door.

Before he left, he looked at her one last time, almost pleadingly. But she just gazed at him sadly and shut the door firmly behind him.


‘Mum,’ VJ yelled as milk spilled over the side of the bowl and dripped to the floor.

‘Ohh,’ Leah shirked, cursing under her breath and jumping backwards as the cold liquid splashed around her feet. She couldn’t concentrate on anything. That morning she’d woken up - after a few hours of restless sleep – and had a terrible gut feeling something was terribly wrong.

‘Here,’ she said, shoving a banana at VJ. ‘That’ll have to do for your breakfast, there’s no more milk.’

‘I don’t want a banana,’ he looked at her in disgust.

‘Well take it or leave it, I don’t really care VJ. Look I have to be somewhere, Dan will take you to school today,’ she added, glancing up at him at he wandered into the kitchen, yawning and rubbing sleep from his eyes.

‘What?’ Dan asked, confused.

But she’d already left.


Rachel slowly opened her eyes and tried to focus. Her head was pounding and she felt like she’d be hit by a bus. Jolts of pain fired through her body as she attempted to push herself up and she cried out, such was her confusion as to how she’d become to be in so much agony. Closing her eyes, she rested her head on the fluffy pillow, realising the stiller she was, the less intense the crippling pain. Slowly, hazy memoires of the previous night flooded back to her. Mark’s hand on her neck, squeezing tighter, the knife, blood trickling down her leg, her head hitting the table in the hall, the lamp breaking into a million pieces as she tripped over it – oddly that stuck in her mind more than anything – long strands of hair being yanked out, her own violent screams that had haunted her into the early hours of the morning. Rachel opened her eyes again, noticing how wet the pillow her become. She’d been crying. Bracing herself, she again attempted to heave herself from the bed, but simply lifting her arm to slide the quilt off made her retch. Panic engulfed her. Never before had she felt so trapped and alone. Her heart broke when she thought of Tony. She saw him now, walking down the path, slowly slipped away from her when seconds earlier she could have changed everything. Now what do I do? she thought desperately, trying to reach for her phone on the bedside table. But it was too much and she howled in agony - then everything went black.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you so much everyone for your comments. :) I really apperciate it. You keep me going so thank you for that :) I'm off on holiday for a week so here's something while i'm gone. Hope you enjoy.

‘Rach,’ Leah called out as she pushed the front door open and stepped cautiously into the living room. Now she was here she felt ridiculous. How on earth was she going to explain to Rachel what had possessed her to come storming to her house at 7.30 am? All because of a gut feeling. The only thing that was keeping her nerves at bay was the fact that Mark’s car wasn’t in the drive, She assumed, well hoped, that he was at work. It was so quiet. Standing in the middle of the living room she called Rachel’s name again; praying she’d gotten up early for work. The ticking of the clock seemed to get louder with every second. Just when she was about to leave and pretend the whole incident had never happened, something on the carpet caught her eye. Her heart stared to pound as she bent down and goose bumps prickled her skin. It was blood. She was sure of it. A million thoughts flashed through her brain at once, causing her to stumble as she tried to stand up. Keep calm she urged herself. She suddenly started to notice other things; broken glass in the hall, specks of blood dotted around the living room and heading into the bedroom, what looked like a tea towel stained with red stuffed into the corner. Oh God, she whispered, hugging herself, wondering why the room suddenly seemed freezing.

‘Rach,’ she called, her heart thudding so loudly so thought she’d pass out. ‘Rach, Rach,’ Leah ran into the bedroom, no longer caring what the consequences might be if it turned out she’d made a terrible mistake. ‘Oh my God,’ Rachel, Leah gasped as she saw her friend lying in a heap on the bed, one arm hanging over the edge.

‘Rachel!’ she screamed, flinging herself down beside her and grabbing her hand. ‘Open your eyes,’ she begged. ‘Rach please,’ Leah sobbed and squeezed Rachel’s hand, shuddering at how clammy it was. Rubbing her hand across her forehead she brushed her hair away from her face. It only looked like one at first. But then reality hit and she ran her thumb over the dozens of tiny cuts that scarred Rachel’s face. ‘Oh,’ Leah cried, not caring that her tears were dripping onto her best friends face. ‘Your face, your beautiful face, what has that monster done to you?’ Fear gripped her then. She stood frozen, as the horror of what had happened hit her. She felt sick.

‘Leah?’ Rachel’s mumble brought Leah back to reality. ‘What you,’ she tried to sit up, letting out a horrendous cry of pain that would haunted Leah.

‘Don’t move, sweetie please,’ she begged, as she ran her hand through Rachel’s hair. ‘Just stay still, I’m going to call an ambulance.’

Rachel’s eyes widened with horror but she was too weak to protest. Everything was so fuzzy. She blinked hard, desperate to get rid of the black dots that were appearing before her. Urging herself to stay awake; she forced herself to focus on Leah, watching as she held the phone to her ear, her voice wobbling as she talked to the operator.

‘Yes, please…. come quick,’ Leah spoke frantically, throwing the phone down when she’d finished.

‘Rachel,’ she whispered. ‘You’re going to be okay, I promise,’ she smiled despite the lump in her throat. ‘Are you in pain?’ she asked, realising the stupidity of what she’d just said seconds after the words left her mouth. ‘I’m sorry,’ she sobbed as she held Rachel’s hand, watching as she struggled to keep her eyes open. ‘What is it Rach?’ Leah stared at her she noticed her lips moving but no sound was coming out. ‘Don’t,’ she shook her head noticing the pain that flashed across Rachel’s eyes. ‘Just hold tight a few more minutes and we’ll get you to hospital ok,’ Leah blinked back tears, surprised at the strength in her voice. She felt Rachel’s hand feebly squeezing hers and then she could no longer hold in the tears that she had been so desperately trying too.

‘Where is this ambulance,’ she cried as she jumped up abruptly and began frantically pacing the floor. She couldn’t cope with this on her own. Her head was pounding and she was sweating with fear and panic. Instinctively she grabbed her phone and punched in the numbers, her heart racing. He answered immediately, his cherry hello sending shivers down her spine. ‘I’m at Rachel’s; how quick can you get here?’ She spoke without stopping, her breathing getting heavier with every word.

‘I’m on my way,’ he replied, grabbing his keys before he’d even answered. She didn’t need to explain.

‘Leah,’ he hollered as he stormed into the house. He had no idea what to expect. About a million thoughts were running through his mind and he’d barely been able to concentrate on the drive over.

‘I’m in here,’ she called out, not taking her eyes off Rachel, who was breathing heavily and trying to smile despite the obvious pain that was engulfing her. Upon hearting Tony’s voice Rachel’s heart sank. He was the last person she wanted to see, especially when she lying in such a pathetic state. Gripping Leah’s arm tighter in an attempt to get her to understand she willed her friend to tell him to leave, not realising she’s called him in the first place. ‘It’s ok,’ Leah assured, instantly realising what Rachel was thinking. ‘Tony is a good man,’ she whispered. ‘He cares about you so much.’

‘What the,’ he stood in the doorway, his voice trailing off as he saw Rachel. It took him a few seconds before it sank in. And the he was by her side, holding her hand and near crying into her hair. ‘How could this happen?’ he glanced at Leah crouched beside him, her shoulders shaking as she shook her head.

‘I don’t know,’ she echoed. ‘I had a feeling this morning that something was wrong, I don’t know what it was but, I came over here and,’ she paused as she took a deep breath and wiped her tears away with her sleeve. ‘It was him,’ she stared at Tony. ‘He did this to her and we let it happen,’ Leah lashed out, her eyes blazing. ‘We should have made her listen.’

‘Leah,’ Tony breathed deeply. As much as he wanted to throw things around and scream he knew he couldn’t do that. Not when Rachel was like this. But just seeing her so helpless and vulnerable made his blood boil and he was terrified as to what he might do if he let himself think about what had happened. ‘Right now we need to get Rachel help, that’s the most important thing right?’

‘Right,’ Leah responded. ‘Right.’

‘Rach,’ Tony kissed her temple and tenderly ran his thumb over her face. ‘Can you hear me?’ A slight moan escaped her lips and her eyes fluttered open.

‘I’m okay,’ she croaked. ‘Thank you,’ she managed to smile half-heartedly up at him before closing her eyes again.

‘It’s okay, hey, we’re here for you,’ he smiled and lightly pulled the duvet down, worried she was too hot.

They didn’t notice at first. Leah paced the bedroom, anxiously awaiting the ambulance and clenching her fists in an attempt to suppress her anger. Her mind whirled with thoughts of blame and hating herself for allowing things to get this far. Tony kept his eyes firmly on Rachel as he gently mopped her brow with a wet cloth and ran his hand through her hair, stopping every so often to kiss her face and tell her everything was going to be okay. He wasn’t sure how much of that he believed but he knew he couldn’t let her down again; he’d already failed her in the worst possible way. It was only when he took his eyes off her for a second, when his heart lifted as the sound of sirens flew by the window, that he realised the enormity of her injuries. Colour drained from his face as he noticed the open wound across the left side of her stomach, the ugly jagged scar that was caked with dried blood. ‘Oh God,’ he whispered to himself, desperate to hold the tears back.

‘The ambulance is here,’ Leah screeched, interrupting his focus. She ran to the door as Tony quickly covered Rachel’s scar with her pyjama top and kissed her head. ‘It’s going to be okay now,’ he whispered. ‘I promise.’


He gripped the wheel tightly, sweat pouring from his brow. His heart hammered in his chest and he struggled to control to nausea that had been building up inside him. Running away had been a mistake. He didn’t even know if she was alive. He had gone too far this time. And for once, he knew it.

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