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Too Much To Take

Guest Ashirr-Leigh

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Story Title: Too Much To Take

Story description: Drama

Type of story: S/M fic

Main Characters: Kane, Sutherlands

BTTB rating: A (V,D)

Does story include spoilers: No

Is story being proof read: yes/ no by who?

Any warnings: Violence and death

Summary: The Sutherlands have issues with Kirsty dating someone who attacked a member of their family.

Here's the chapter that would have come after the last one. Please read and review!

Ashirr-Leigh.. xx

The phone rang and Scott jumped for it. He didn't want Rhys to answer it in fear of what he'd say.


"Scott, is that you?"

"Yeah. What's going on?"

"Dani and Kirsty are out, you can come back now. Just be quick, ok?"

"Ok, thanks Mrs Sutherland."

Rhys was gazing down at the ground as if he was in some sort of trance. He'd never really been a violent man but Kane Phillips made his blood boil.

"Hey, let's go, we've not got a lot of time."

They got up and made for the caravan park, hoping not to see Dani and Kirsty on the way.


Flynn was waiting for everything to kick off but no, it never happened. There was a strange calmness in the atmosphere because no one was talking.

Kirsty could only stare at Kane helplessly, unaware of what she'd truly done.

Kane just wanted the ground to swallow him up. He never could deal with emotional situations very well but even if he could, this one would have pushed him to the limits.

Frankie was looking at Flynn, his eyes begging to be told what to do but there was no answer.

The only noise that could be heard was Dani's sobs as she tried to make sense of the situation.

"Sorry for not meeting you.. that's what you said. I.. I don't understand."

Kirsty didn't really have an answer, not one that Dani would want to hear anyway. She feared, however, that her sister would work it out for herself.

"You and.. and him.. together? No.. there's just no way that you would.. would you? Please tell me that this isn't happening, Kirsty, please."

No reply came. Kirsty moved closer to her sister but her gesture was met by nothing but hostility.

"Don't you dare touch me. Don't come near me. Flynn, please can we go now? I really don't want to be here.. please?"

"Of course, come on."

She grabbed onto his arm just as she had before when she was first going into Kane's house. Without his support, she believed that she would fall.. in every way.


"She's gone to see HIM, mum."

"Jade, we can't worry about that now. We just need to hope that your dad and Scott get back here before they do."

"We can't worry about that now? Mum, Kirsty has gone to see Kane. He is a rapist. You know what he could do to her."

When Shelley had come home after Brodie's frantic call on that terrible day, she was shocked to hear her daughter's claims that Kane had raped her. Of course she believed her, there was no reason to doubt her, but she'd really gotten to know Kane over the past months and it had hit her hard. She knew that he had a temper, a bad temper but she never expected that he would lash out and hurt someone.. rape someone. Let alone her own daughter.

Now, she had the same feeling as before. She just didn't think that Kane was going to do anything to Kirsty. Now, more than ever, he would be made to pay and one thing that he wasn't was stupid.

Before Shelley could make an attempt at answering Jade, Rhys and Scott came barging through the door.

"Coast clear?"

"Yeah, they're not home yet."

Jade looked at her father with her mouth open wide. She'd seen him get angry before, she'd seen him hit people before but what had happened with Kane had clearly been much more than that. His once grey top was now almost completely stained with red blood and his blue jeans were covered in brown muck.


"Oh my god, Kane.. I didn't know she was here, I didn't know."

"And I didn't know who you were, or else I wouldn't have let you in."

Kane was speechless. He'd been trying so hard to help Dani and today could really have made a difference but now it was ruined.

"What happened to you?"

"Your dad."


"He found out about us and he flipped."

"How did he find.. Jade. I'll kill her."

Silence fell over the room once more. No one had been prepared for what had just happened. Kirsty hadn't ever even contemplated the fact that Dani would find out about her and Kane. Not yet.

"We've really screwed up, Kirst."

"I know. She'll never forgive me for this. Ever. Why was she here anyway?"

"A letter, I wrote her a letter."

"Flynn gave her it at her session today."

"Yeah.. well she decided that she wanted to talk so they came over here. It could really have helped."

"Maybe.. maybe it's best that it's in the open now. Maybe in time the fact that I've accepted you as a person will help Dani. Show her that she doesn't need to fear you anymore."

"Or it could do the exact opposite."

Kirsty sat down beside Kane and put her arm around him.

"You know what, Kane? Dani said that she didn't understand what was going on here but neither do I. I don't understand why I feel the way I do about you. I shouldn't, I know I shouldn't but I can't help it. Something draws me to you. Something that no one else will ever feel. I can tell."

Tears welled in Kane's eyes. No one had ever been so nice to him before in his life.

"I feel the same. I know that being with you will hurt Dani more but I can't stop myself. I've never felt like this with anybody before. No one understands me quite like you do."

They looked in each other's eyes and saw little bits of themselves in each other. Something unstoppable had brought them together and they weren't about to challenge it. They closed in for a kiss and although the circumstances were entirely wrong, nothing could have felt more right.


She didn't cry, she didn't shout, she didn't scream, she didn't get angry. She didn't do anything. She just sat and stared. There was nothing to stare at, she'd seen these roads many a time but they all looked so different to her now. They were all tainted with the betrayal that was weighing so heavy on her mind.

"Dani.. Dani.. are you ok?"

She ignored his question because she didn't know what to say. No, she wasn't alright, would she ever be again? All she knew was that from this point on, things could never be the same. Everything had changed in the space of a few minutes, how could that be? It was too much for her mind to take in.

"I'll take you home, ok?"

She nodded. A nod that said so little but also said so much. Flynn had hoped that it wouldn't happen like this. Never in his whole career had he come across a situation like this where he truly did not know what to do. He knew how much Kirsty loved her sister so it confused him how she could be with Kane. It also made him realise, however, that it must be something very deep and very strong because otherwise, Kirsty would not do it.


"I just couldn't stop, Shell. He said that he'd kissed Kirsty."

"What? I just thought they'd been meeting up with each other."

"So did I and that was enough but.. kissing? How could he?"

The situation that day had gotten out of everyone's control. Now, it was up in the air and no one knew what to do with it. Everyone was hurt in some way or another. Surely things couldn't get any worse.. but nobody could see how they could get better.


Sorry that this is also short but I'm just trying to find my way with it again!

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"I so don't want to go home."

"Then don't, Kirst, stay here."

Kirsty considered Kane's offer but she knew she couldn't take him up on it. She would have to face her family at some point, it might aswell be sooner rather than later.

"I'm so tempted just to stay here and put off seeing everyone again but I can't.. we've got to try and work this out."

"You'll be back though, right?"

The panic etched in his face made her heart skip a beat, he must really care for her.

"Aww, Kane.. you're so cute when you're scared! Of course I'll be back, you could end up being the only one in the Bay who'll talk to me."

Her comment was made sarcastically but it was tinged with sadness. In the past couple of years, she'd wanted nothing more than to find a boyfriend. Now that she had, her family were never going to accept him.


Rhys had just gotten changed when Flynn dropped Dani off outside the caravan park.

"Do you want me to come in with you?"

Again she only nodded. She couldn't face her family alone. Doubts were filling her mind about whether or not they'd known about Kirsty and Kane.

On entering her home, Dani was confused to see Scott there but she didn't care. He was just who she needed.. someone who knew enough but didn't know too much. She collapsed into his arms and cried.

"Dani? What's wrong?"

Rhys was so frightened that she might have found out about Kirsty and Kane, or even that she might have found out about him beating up Kane.

Dani couldn't answer him, however. Ever since she'd realised what her sister and her rapist had been doing, she had been left incapable of speaking. The shock had hit her so hard, there was no way that she could express her feelings.

"Dani wanted to speak to Kane and.."

Flynn was cut off by Shelley before he had a chance to finish.

"And you took her? You know what that man did to her, why on earth would you even consider taking her to speak with him?"

"Shelley, it's what Dani wanted and I really thought it could have helped."

"Well, it clearly didn't, look at the state she's in."

"That's what I was trying to tell you. Kirsty showed up looking for Kane."

Shelley was silenced. Exactly what she hadn't wanted to happen had happened. Rhys' worst nightmare had also been realised. Dani had found out about Kirsty and Kane, they were together now, it wouldn't be long before everyone knew what he had done.


"Do you want me to drive you to your house, Kirsty?" asked Frankie.

He felt it was the least he could do after he'd let Kirsty in and caused all this trouble.

"Yeah, please."

She looked at Kane and again, her heart skipped a beat. She didn't know why it did that but it felt good all the same. He looked so beat, physically and mentally, that she couldn't help but feel sorry for him. She could tell that all his hopes had been pinned on making progress with Dani today and he was so depressed that it was now ruined.


Again, sorry that it is so short!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey, I eventually got round to writing another chapter! I think that I might have taken things a bit far in the bits where I've just written about Kane and Dani's feelings but I don't know.. let me know. Thanks!

Kirsty shakily stepped out of Frankie's car and leaned against the side of it.

"Do you want me to come in with you?"

"No, it's ok. I've got to do this on my own."

Frankie smiled at Kirsty one last time before getting back in his car and driving away. He suspected that he might soon be seeing Kirsty again.


"Dani, sweetheart, when Kirsty comes home, we're going to sit down and talk about this. We'll make her see how wrong this is."

She remained in Scott's arms because for some reason she felt safe there. He couldn't betray her like the others could because he wasn't family.

Rhys and Shelley were bewildered at Dani's lack of response. She hadn't yet said a word since coming home. Normally, she would try and explain her feelings to her parents and even if it didn't work, she felt better having tried. Something was different now though.


Still no words. She removed her head from Scott's chest and looked into his eyes for a few moments. He looked back into hers, trying desperately to figure out what was going on inside but failing. A tear slid down her cheek as she walked away and upstairs to her bedroom.


Kane sat on the couch at home, alone, wishing that he had some method of turning back time. He knew that even thinking it was absurd but he could see no other way that the damage he'd caused could be fixed.

Never in his whole life had he been in love. He'd thought he'd been in love with Shauna but then realised that it was just an infatuation because she'd been nice to him. Then there was Dani. She'd paid him some attention and he thought, for a while, that he loved her too. Then it all went so disastrously wrong.

Now there was Kirsty. He didn't feel for her the way that he did for Shauna and Dani. This was different. This was real. He felt warmer inside when he thought about her, he was happier when he saw her. He'd never experienced anything like this before. If it had only been him and Kirsty in the world, things would be going great. But no.

There were other people to think about. There was Dani to think about. He had to face up to his responsibilities, he could blame no one else but himself. He'd been so obsessed with being in control and having power that he'd taken everything away from an innocent girl who had been the only one actually acknowledging his existance. Sure, she had been playing games, flirting when she had a boyfriend and kissing him when she knew it was wrong. She didn't deserve what he did in return, no one deserved that.

Even now when he tried to understand why he did what he did, he couldn't. When he closed his eyes, he could still hear her begging him to stop, still hear her sobs and pleas. He did something unthinkable and unforgivable that day.

He knew that now. If only he could make Dani see that. When Flynn had phoned, he'd thought that he'd finally be able to explain himself to her. Then he'd ruined it again. How selfish was he to think that it was ok to have a relationship with the younger sister of the girl he'd raped?


For a moment, Kirsty considered knocking on the door but then relented. It was still her home, she still had as much right to be there as anyone else.

Max was the first one to see her come in as everyone else was upstairs. He didn't really know what was going on but he knew that everyone was mad at Kirsty.

"Where've you been, Kirsty?"

"Out. Where is everyone?"

"Upstairs trying to get Dani out of her room. She's locked the door and she's really upset. I don't know why though, no one will tell me. They just keep on telling me to go downstairs and watch tv. As if! She's my cousin, I want to help."

"I don't know if anyone can help this time, Maxie."

The look on Kirsty's face was enough to make Max stop talking. He would find out in time what was wrong, there was no point pushing it now. Just as he was walking out into the porch, Flynn appeared in the hallway, having just left Dani's door.

"Flynn! How is she?"

"I don't know, Kirsty. She's not talking to anyone."


"She hasn't said one word to anyone since she got back from Kane's. I think she's in shock."

"Maybe if I go up and try and explain.."

"I don't think that's such a good idea. I think you've done enough damage for one day."

He didn't mean to be so harsh and snappy but he was really disappointed. Everything could have been sorted out if only Kirsty and Kane had kept away from one another.

"Flynn, I can't help it. I admit that my timing was wrong today but I didn't know Dani was there. I had no reason to think that she'd be in Kane's house, of all places!"

"I don't know what to say to you, Kirsty. I really don't know what's going to happen now."

He shook his head at the young teenager standing infront of him and left.


She curled herself up into the smallest ball imaginable and wrapped all her covers around her. She could not stop obsessively rocking backwards and forwards. Concentrating on that made the bangs on her door get quieter and quieter until they paled into insignificance.

All she could hear was the rustling of the trees from outside. It calmed her and finally the tears ceased from rolling down her cheeks. She was all cried out but the reaons for crying still remained. The haunting pictures were still imprinted in her brain, forever to stay.

The way her sister looked at Kane. Her eyes lit up as she saw him, the expression on her face was happier and she smiled. Then there was the look of panic in Kane's eyes as he looked from Kirsty to herself.

His eyes had petrified her from the very day of the rape. They were so bright that day, as if he was possessed. He looked right at her the whole time that he attacked her and his strong grip on her body was telling her to look back at him. She could not look away because his eyes had taken over her, he had taken over her.

Her body wasn't her own that day, he'd taken it and violated it and then callously thrown it back to her. He might not have left any physical marks on her but the psychological ones would never wash away.

Many people said that it was just sex and that she was over-reacting but they didn't know. They would never know unless it had happened to them and she wouldn't wish that on her worst enemy. It was so much more than sex. It wasn't really even about sex. It was about violence and power, control and revenge.

The feelings she harboured would never go away, nothing could ever make them better. She could never be fixed for she was broken forever. The many pieces of her that Kane had ripped apart had been stood on and trampled today and now, they just didn't fit anymore.


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Thanks for the great comments, it's nice when I'm not sure about a chap and you make me feel better about it!

Flynn slowly walked home, battling with the ever-growing wind. He couldn't get thoughts of the Sutherlands and Kane out of his mind. How the situation had become so messy, he didn't know. It would always have been difficult, dealing with rape always was, but it had become a million times worse in the space of a few weeks.

The lashing rain soon followed the wind and Flynn thought how much the weather suited the mood at the caravan park. He could not imagine what pain each member of that family was going through, he only wished that he could somehow take it all away.


Rhys was becoming increasingly frustrated. How was he expected to help Dani if she wouldn't even come out of her room? He sorely regretted the day that he'd ever allowed her to get a lock on the door.

"Dan! DANI! You have to come out, we have to talk."

His loud, booming voice woke Dani up from her nightmare-ridden sleep. She must only have been asleep for around 10minutes but it had seemed like a lifetime. Everything that involved him did.

Shelley dragged her husband away from the door.

"Rhys, don't shout at her, none of this is her fault."

"I know.. I know but I don't know what else to do, Shell? If I just walk away then how can I call myself her father?"

"I think we should just give her some space right now, she knows she can come to us when she's ready."

Knowing that his wife knew better, Rhys staggered down the stairs, emotionally broken. He'd never felt more useless in his whole life.


Frankie returned home to find Kane crying buckets on the sofa. For a moment he just stood and stared, trying to take in what he was seeing. Phillips' men never cried.. technically, Frankie and Kane had been outcast from the family but still, it was imprinted in their minds that Phillips' men were tough and strong, not tearful and weepy.

"Mate, are you alright?"

"I never heard you come in.. sorry.."

"Don't apologise."

It was extremely awkward. They didn't really know each other that well, it was too early to be thrown into emotional situations together.

"Kane, I don't really know what to say, mate. If you want to talk, I'm here."

"Talk? What good is talking going to do? I've ruined everything."

"You don't know that, mate."

"I don't? Didn't you see the way Dani looked at me? She'll never want to see me again. We'll never work this out now."

"You never know, it could still happen."

"Look, I'm just trying to be realistic here."

"I'm just trying to help, Kane."

Kane immediately felt bad. This wasn't Frankie's fault, it was his. Everything was his fault. Raping Dani, that was him. Putting her through court, that was him. Making her relive it again when he returned to Summer Bay, that was him. Dating Kirsty, that was him too. She was only 17, she was vulnerable and young, just like Dani had been. Why did he have to ruin everything he touched?


"Thanks for telling me, I never realised it would be so bad. So you say it's best to keep everyone together then?"

"Yeah, in a safe building, the Diner will do."

"Right, I'll gather everyone up."

Alf Stewart sighed as he hung up the phone. Summer Bay was prone to storms but only every once in a while did they get so bad that he got a phone call from the local police informing him of the precautions to take.

He had to get in touch with all the residents of the Bay and get them all to the Surf Club. If they were all together, it was easier to make sure that everyone was safe.

He began to ring round all the residents, hoping to get them all at home.


"What the hell do you think you're doing here?"

"This is where I live, dad."

"We'll see about that, you seem like you'd prefer to live with him."

Shelley looked in disgust at her husband. His temper was not going to sort things out.

"Kirsty, you have got to realise the seriousness of what you're doing."

"I do, I'm not doing it on purpose, I can't help it."

"Does someone force you to go see him?"

Kirsty could tell that this wasn't going to work, she was grateful that the phone rang and intervened.


Sorry, had to end it there because I have to go offline, more soon!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, here's the next chapter. Sorry that I'm taking so long to update.. I'm just a bit stressed with exams and other stuff right now!! Please read and review, it's greatly appreciated!

"Alf, is this necessary?"

"Extremely, you know how rough some of these storms can get."

Rhys nodded his head, reluctantly agreeing with Alf.

"Right, ok.. we'll be there as soon as."

Shelley looked at him, confused.

"That was Alf. The whole town has to get themselves down to the Diner. The storm's set to be pretty bad."

"No, we'll be fine here."

"That's what I tried to tell him but he's having none of it. The police want everyone together for safety reasons."

"What about Dani?"

Dani. Shelley's voice quivered as she said her eldest daughter's name because the thought of what she was going through tore her apart inside. Mothers should be able to protect their children, not just cry at their fate.

Kirsty had kept out of the conversation because she had been wondering whether or not Kane would be there. It was things like that which worried her. Her first thought had been of Kane and that should have been unnatural to her but it wasn't, it felt so right.

Like it or not, he was part of the town. She doubted, however, that Dani would be ready to see him yet.



"This Kane?"

"No, it's Frankie."

"Right.. well, I'm phoning to tell you to get yourself down to the Diner. You and Kane. The police want everyone together because of the storm."

Frankie had kept himself to himself during his time in the Bay. He'd grown up not far from it and his family was known to everyone. He'd moved to Summer Bay after the bust-up with his father. No one actually knew him, just of him. Now that Kane was back, however, he found himself at the centre of their gossip sessions.

"Will the Sutherlands be there?"


"I don't think it's such a good idea, Mr Stewart."

"Look, Frankie, I'm only doing what the police have told me. Get yourselves down here and we'll sort out any problems if and when they come up."

Frankie hung up, still unconvinced, after saying goodbye. He knew that Kane would not be pleased to hear what Alf had said.


"Kirsty, go get Max and Jade from upstairs.. and don't think you're off the hoook, we'll talk about this later."

"What about Dani?"

"I'll.. I'll deal with her."

There was no confidence in Shelley's voice because she didn't believe what she was saying. She didn't know how she would get Dani to come out.


The first of the Bay's residents were beginning to arrive at the Diner, each and every one of them soaked through from the lashing rain. They all chattered away excitedly because something was happening in their lives. Each of them had a worse story to tell about how they'd struggled to get to the Diner. They'd all nearly been knocked over by the wind, their houses had all been flooded.

Just as Alf was walking down the stairs from his house to the Diner, he heard the local gossips talking.

"He won't! I'm telling you that he won't have the front to come here."

"Yes he will. He's an evil man, he doesn't care."

No prizes for guessing who they were talking about. Gossiping was not going to make anything any easier for anyone tonight. It would only make things worse.

As he entered the Diner, the voice of Colleen Smart filled the room.

"I don't think he should be allowed in. You should see that poor girl, how upset she is that he's come back into her life. That disgusting man, he.."

"For god's sake, woman! Will you give it a rest? Talking about them isn't going to help matters tonigh!"

It wasn't only the weather that was stormy, the atmosphere in the Diner was too.


The pounding on her door was back, or was it just in her head? It was throbbing so much that her eyes were blurring and every so often she found herself in darkness.

"Dani, it's really important that you come out, the storm's getting closer."

She couldn't give a toss about any storm. Maybe it would come so close that lightning would strike her house and somehow wipe out her existence.

"Please, Dani. I know that you're angry and upset but you have to come out."

No, she didn't have to do anything. She'd been forced into too much already and she wasn't going to be forced into anything else. She wanted to stay and just.. be. Be without the thoughts in her head and the tears in her eyes.


"Who was that, Frankie?"

"It was Alf. We've to go to the Diner."

"What? What for?"

"Because of the storm. Everyone's to go."



Kane looked up at Frankie who was standing above him and knew that he was immediately thinking the same thing. Everyone wouldn't want him there. No one would.

"There's no way I'm going."

"Kane, I know what you're thinking but it sounds like the storm's going to be pretty rough. We're not safe here on our own."

"No, Frankie! You do not know what I'm thinking. You've never been looked at in the way that I have. No one's ever been so disgusted by you that they shout abuse at you. And you know what? That's not even the worst part. I don't care so much about those people. It's the other ones. The ones who can't even look at me because I scare them. I scare them! My simple presence in a room is enough to make them grip onto their boyfriends that little bit tighter or cuddle into their parents that little bit more. How do you think that makes me feel?"

Frankie was silent because Kane was right, he didn't know, he would never know.


Her body felt like it had already been battered by a storm but her mind had taken the brunt of it. It had been shattered and the pieces were lost. It was like something inside her had switched off and she couldn't function properly.

"Move out the way, Shelley."

She obeyed her husband, knowing that there was no other way than to kick down the door.

All his rage and anger at Kane and Kirsty came out and the door crashed open.

It startled Dani and she turned around, suddenly afraid of her father.

Rhys, seeing the frightened look on Dani's face, softened and his anger momentarily disappeared.

"I didn't want to have to do that, Dani, but this is important. We have to go to the Diner, the storm is bad."

She could hear him and she could understand him but once again, the ability to speak had been stripped from her. As much as she tried, she couldn't say a word so instead, she shook her head. No. That was her answer. No, she wasn't going to go anywhere.

"Dani, come on. This is serious."

She knew it was serious, she knew but she just didn't care. She wanted so badly to shout this out to her dad but she couldn't. She'd been shocked and scared into silence by what she'd seen earlier in the day and now she couldn't even talk to her own dad.

One of the things she hated Kane for the most was how he'd taken her trust. That day, that cruel, horrible day that was never far from her mind had been the last time that she'd ever trusted anyone. She'd trusted that when she asked him to leave, he would go. He didn't. She trusted that when she said no, he would listen. He didn't. She trusted that when she begged him to stop, he would leave her alone. He didn't.

Since then, she hadn't allowed herself to trust anyone because the consequences of that trust being broken were too hard to take in. That's what she hated him for. He'd made her unable to trust her own father. Her dad! The man that she'd grown up with. She knew that he wasn't ever going to do anything to hurt her but deep down, there was the niggling thought that he could be just like all men.. because all men were frightening to her now.


Listening to her mum and dad try and coax Dani out of her room from the bottom of the stairs made a tear slide down Kirsty's face. She'd just realised something. Something that would make things so much harder.



"I love him, Jade.. I love him."


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I'm really happy when I read people's reviews so please write more!

"You what?"

"I love him, Jade.. I love Kane."

"Please tell me that I am hearing you wrong."

She could only look at her sister and pray that she wouldn't go and tell her parents.

"I can't help it."

"Yes, yes you can. He is the man who raped your sister, don't you understand that?"

Those very words always filled her with an overwhelming sense of guilt. She could not imagine what Dani had went through and she didn't want to feel the way she did about the man who had caused all of her pain, but she did. As simple or unsimple as that.

"Of course I understand that, do you think I want to feel this way?"

Jade opened her mouth to answer but managed to stop herself just as her dad came into view. Dani was walking behind him, her head down, her body covered by a quilt.

"We'll talk about this later, don't you dare say anything to her."

"As if I would, Jade. I don't want to hurt her any more than you do."


Frankie could hear the ever-raging storm outside but Kane seemed oblivious to it. He just sat and stared at nothing in particular, the thoughts going through his head taking all of his attention.

"Kane, look, I know you don't want to go, I don't really either, but listen to it out there."

It seemed that he was also oblivious to Frankie's voice as he didn't reply, either that or he was ignoring him.

"We don't really have much choice.."

Just as Frankie was beginning to get frustrated at Kane's lack of communication, the storm helped him out. Thunder crashed from up above them, shaking the contents of the house. It was quickly followed by a bolt of lightening that lit up the room.

"Ok, ok.. but we're only staying for a while until the storm passes."

The loudness of the thunder and brightness of the lightning had made Kane realise how close the storm was, they really weren't safe out on their own.


"What's wrong, Dani?"

Max looked confused and hurt as she just walked by him, without a word, without even a look in his direction.

"Best just to leave her for a while, Maxie."

They were all talking about her like she wasn't there and that frustrated her but she couldn't blame them, it wasn't like she was talking back. What she wouldn't give to be young like Max again. She was only nineteen but she had so many problems and so much baggage, she felt about forty.

Max nodded his head as if he understood but really, he didn't. Maybe if he acted like one of the grown ups, they'd tell him what was going on.

"Dan, I know you can hear me so just listen, ok?"

Rhys waited for a reply that he knew wouldn't come. If only Dani could see what her silence was doing to him.

"We're going to the Diner because the storm is set to get worse. Now.. Kane will probably be there but don't worry, we'll all be by your side."

As he said this, he glared over at Kirsty but her eyes were already scanning the floor. Dani hadn't looked at her when she'd walked by, she hadn't looked at anyone but the state that she was in was ripping Kirsty up inside. It was her fault and she knew it but she couldn't do anything about it.

"Come on, let's go."

Rhys led the family out the door as Shelley cautiously placed her arm around Dani. Shelley smiled to herself when her daughter didn't reject her and hoped that she was somehow helping.


Like the Sutherland family, Kane and Frankie prepared to brave the storm as they walked outside. The wind hit them like a double decker bus making walking ten times harder than normal.

"I don't think this is such a good idea afterall, Frankie."

Although Frankie was less than two metres away from Kane, it was necessary to shout. The combined noise of the wind, rain and thunder made it almost impossible to hear.

"We'll be there in 10, come on."


Not far away, the Sutherland family were also battling against the powerful storm. Rhys tried to huddle everyone together to make them stronger but Dani refused to allow herself to be touched by him. He was her dad.. but it still hurt, it still triggered when he touched her.


Finally, after just over 10 minutes, Frankie and Kane arrived at the Diner.

"I don't want to go in, I've changed my mind."

"Kane, we're here now and we probably wouldn't make it back, the storm's getting rougher every minute."

Kane knew that Frankie was right but he didn't know how he could face everyone inside. The thought that Kirsty would be in there was making his heart beat faster, the thought that Dani would be in there made him want to cry.

"Go on!"

He breathed deeply and walked in. As he suspected, all eyes turned and stared at him. Hayley moved closer to Noah, as did Sally to Flynn. Colleen's mouth dropped to the floor, partly because of the sight of him, partly because he was bruised and battered. No one spoke for what seemed like hours. They all just stared in disbelief that he'd actually came.

"Did you see anyone else on your travels?"

Frankie shook his head, grateful to Alf for breaking the silence.

"Alright, well go and sit down, wherever you can find a seat."

Kane looked around, ashamed to see the looks on everyone's faces as they prayed that he wouldn't sit down next to them. He spotted a seat in the far right corner, away from everyone else and sat down. The Sutherlands weren't yet there.


As they arrived outside the Diner, they stopped just as Kane and Frankie had.

"Before we go in, I just want to say, we're here as a family, all 6 of us. We're together and it's going to stay like that for now, ok?"

They all nodded, even Kirsty, apart from Dani. Her head still remained firmly down and she didn't want to bring it up, she didn't want her family to see the hurt in her eyes.

Shelley guided her into the Diner and only then did she lift her head up, scanning the room for Kane. She could see many pairs of eyes that were locked on her but she grabbed for her mother's hand as her gaze met with Kane's. For seconds they looked at each other until she could take it no more.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry for long time between updates, I'll try be more regular now, I promise!

She felt like a child attempting to deal with adult issues. The reality was, however, that she was no longer a child and the issues had to be dealt with. The fact that she was nineteen and gripping onto her mother's hand in fear made this clear to her.

"It's alright, sweetheart, just ignore him, just pretend he's not here."

Although Shelley knew that this was impossible, she had nothing else to say. The way that she could not comfort her daughter left a gaping hole inside her as if she was somehow failing her as a mother.

Next to Shelley, Rhys sat glaring at Kane. He didn't want to say anything in fear of causing a scene but he was silently warning Kane to stay away. Dani didn't want him near her and if Kirsty did, there was no way that he would allow it.


After a few more minutes and a couple of other residents had arrived, Alf closed the doors and bolted them shut.

"That's everyone here, folks. This building is strong enough to withstand the storm so as long as we all stay here, we should be alright."

Everyone said their thanks to Alf and then were left to their own devices. Food and drinks had been laid out by Alf and Irene but apart from that, they were left to amuse themselves. Some had brought cards, others pen and paper but most people were looking from the Sutherlands to Kane, waiting for something to erupt.


Jade had dragged Kirsty into a corner of the Diner, making sure that neither Kane nor the rest of their family could see them. This was strictly private.

"What you said earlier on, you didn't mean it, did you?"

"I don't want to mean it.."

"That's not what I asked you."

"I'm sorry, ok? I'm sorry, I don't know what else to say."

"You're saying that to the wrong person. Look at Dani.. go on, look at her."

Kirsty turned her head to the direction of her older sister and was shocked to find a tear slipping down her cheek. Dani was a pathetic site. She was snuck into a corner of one of the table cabins with a blanket shielding her from everyone else. Despite her best efforts to control it, her whole body was trembling.

"She's like that just because she saw the two of you together. How do you think she's going to feel when she finds out that you love him?"

Kirsty couldn't answer. There was no answer to that question, not one that she liked to voice anyway.


"Did you see the way she looked at me when she came in? She's terrified."

"Kane, you've got to show her that there's nothing to be terrified of."

"How? How can I show her? Just as we were getting somewhere, I ruined it again by going out with her sister. She'll never trust me now."

As he spoke about Kirsty, he found himself searching the room for her and then smiling when his eyes set on her. He looked so unhappy and he knew that was because of him but he couldn't wipe the smile from his face. To him, despite her sadness, she glowed in every way.


If she could do anything, she thought, to help the situation sort itself out, she would do it. She was racking her brains for a solution although she knew there wasn't one. She loved Kane, those feelings couldn't be switched off because she didn't control the machine.

"Kirsty, are you alright?"

"I'm fine, Max."

"Why does he keep smiling at you?"



Max pointed over at Kane and Kirsty, like him, grinned when their eyes met. It was unintentional but she couldn't help it, just like she couldn't help her feelings for him.


"Flynn, please can you come and talk to her, we need your help."

"Has she still not said anything?"

"Not a word."

Flynn was genuinely worried for the Sutherland family. They were normally such a tightly woven unit, now the threads were coming undone.

He gently placed his hand on Dani's shoulder as he sat down next to her but even this simple action made her jump. He still ruled every part of her, he still controlled her.

"It's ok, Dani, it's me, it's Flynn."

She wasn't stupid, she knew who he was. She just couldn't tell him that. If only she could shout and scream and tell everyone to leave her alone, to leave her alone forever.

"I know that being so close to Kane is scaring you but it's ok, no-one's going to hurt you."

"Flynn's right, Dan. We're all here for you."

Not everyone, she thought. Not one of the people who meant the most, not Kirsty.


A few people had now cottoned on to the way that Kane and Kirsty were looking at each other. As much as they tried to disguise their happiness at seeing each other, they couldn't stop themselves from smiling. It was inappropriate, they knew that but they also knew that it was right.

"Mr Sutherland, I just thought I should let you know.. your Kirsty and that Phillips boy are looking right at each other.."

Colleen didn't have to say anymore. Rhys stormed over to Kane and blocked his view of Kirsty.

"Stay away from my daughters!"

"I'm not anywhere near them!"

"Stop looking at her, leave us alone, you dirty piece of scum."

Alf, hearing the shouting from upstairs, came down to intervene.

"Come on, guys, we've all got to stay here together for the night, let's at least try and be civil."

"Civil? Kane? They don't go together, rapists don't do civil."

"Rhys, just calm down. Fighting won't solve anything."

"Yeah? Well maybe it will make him feel just a little bit of the pain that my daughter's going through. He raped her, Alf, and now he's starting on another one.."

Before he could continue, Dani stood up. She couldn't take their arguing anymore.

"Stop it! Just stop it, all of you!"


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  • 3 weeks later...

She still couldn't look in his direction, couldn't look directly at him but she felt like she had somehow regained even a little bit of control. Hearing them talk about her as if she was still his victim had made something snap inside her head. That's not how she wanted to be anymore.


"Stop all the shouting.. everything.. I can't stand it anymore."

The entire Diner was silent, anxiously anticipating what would happen next.

Rhys approached his daughter and gently put his arms around her.

"It's ok, sweetheart, it's alright."

"Get off me, don't touch me. It's not alright, it's not ok, I want to go home, I just want to go home."

The storm was still raging outside, plain for all to hear.

"It's not possible, Dani. The storm's going strong out there, you'll get blown away if you go outside."

For a moment, she considered just sitting back down in her corner and curling up, away from the world but she couldn't. Not now. Her breathing was deep and heavy, her heart beating faster than she thought possible but she turned round to face her sister.


To many, it didn't mean anything. They didn't know of Kirsty's liaisons with Kane, they only knew what they'd seen that night. Kirsty understood though, she understood perfectly.

"I don't know."

"That's not good enough."

Dani was right and Kirsty knew it but she really didn't have a clue how she'd fallen for Kane. It seemed like one minute she'd despised him, hated him like the rest of her family and the next, she was loving him.

"He's changed."

"Why does everyone keep saying that? It's not true, it can't be true."

Kane stepped forward, it wasn't fair to let Kirsty fight this battle on her own.

"It is true, I have changed."

She quickly squeezed her eyes shut, desperately trying to block out the images that the solitary sound of his voice had pushed back into her mind.

"N.. no.."

Stupid wasn't the word to describe how she felt, perhaps humiliated was more well-suited. Many of the residents of the Bay were there and they could all see just how weak she was. Flynn, seeing this, decided to do something.

"Alf, can't you take everyone upstairs? I think there's some things to sort out here."

Alf mentally counted the number of people and decided that, although it would be a squeeze, they would all fit upstairs.

"Alright, Flynn's right, everyone upstairs, you heard him."

"What if something kicks off?"

"Nothing's going to kick off, now go."

They'd all rather hoped that they'd find out what was going on, be witnesses to the volcano that was no doubt about to erupt.

"Mum, dad, go."


"Just go, please. Flynn's here, I'll be ok."

Shelley hung her head as she walked away from her daughter, upset that she didn't want her help.

"I'm not leaving you."

"Dad, please."

"I'm not leaving you here with them."

"Flynn's here, dad."

"Rhys, Dani's right. I'm here, I'm not going to leave her."

Flynn's presence only minutely reassured him but he had to respect his daughter's wishes. If she wanted him away, then he would go away. Finally, only Kane, Kirsty, Flynn and Dani remained. Kirsty and Kane made sure to stand away from each other, not wanting to further complicate the situation. Dani was as far away from Kane as was possible in the Diner, Flynn by her side.

"Look, I know this is hard for all of you but something has to be worked out. You can't go on like this, avoiding each other, not talking to each other, it won't work."

"I'm trying."

Dani's voice was barely a whisper but they all heard it.

"I know you're trying, Dani, and I'm so sorry for putting you through this."

"Sorry? What does sorry mean when you're.. when you're with him?"

"It means that I don't know how it happened but it's not meant to hurt you."

"You just thought I'd be ok with you going out with him? I don't understand, I really don't understand. It's like my mind can't take it in, I can't.. I don't.."

"Me neither."

Something in Kirsty's voice touched her, made her believe that she was telling the truth. All the same, it hurt just as bad.


"What do you think's happening down there?"

"I don't know, Rhys, we just have to leave them to it."

"Leave them to it? Shell, our daughter is down there with the man who raped her. How can we just leave them to it?"

"If she wants us, she'll call for us."

In the next room, Colleen was doing the rounds, trying to find out what everyone knew. Were Kane and Kirsty an item? How long for? Even at a time like this, she couldn't stop herself from gossiping.

"You're his cousin, aren't you?"

Frankie tried to ignore Colleen, he wasn't prepared to share the details of Kane's life with her.

"You are. I saw you come in with him. What's going on?"

"I don't know."

"How can you not know? He's hardly been out the house since he got here, you must know what's going on if you live with him."

"I think that's Kane and Kirsty's business."

"So there is a Kane and Kirsty?"

"Will you just leave it?"

"No, I certainly will not. I'm like family to those Sutherlands, I have a right to know what's going on."

Frankie was beginning to get frustrated with her. If he'd known that having Kane stay with him had meant so much agro, he might not have invited him.

"For god's sake, Colleen, will you just leave the poor boy alone? He's probably as much in the dark as the rest of us."

"Alf Stewart, I would have expected you to be on my side."

"Colleen, there are no sides. If they want us to know what's going on, I'm sure they'll tell us."



"It wasn't one certain time, Dani. Like Kirsty said, it just sort of happened."

"I'm not asking you. When, Kirsty?"

When she spoke to him, she didn't look at him. She didn't want to see his face.

"He's right, Dan."

She sat down, feeling that her legs would probably give way if she didn't.

"Dani, I just want you to know that I'm sorry. For everything."

As he spoke, he walked towards her, hoping to get through to her.

"Don't come any closer to me. I mean it, get away."

"Kane, give her some space."

He obeyed Flynn and took a few steps back. He didn't wan to scare her but practically everything he did seemed to do that anyway.

"Look, I know I've been stupid but.."

"Stupid? You think what you did is stupid?"

"Ok, sorry, wrong word.. I mean that I've made alot of mistakes and I can't change them but I'm trying to put them right."

"By dating my sister?"

"That wasn't meant to happen."

"So, why is it? Why are you here?"

"I had nowhere else to go, Summer Bay's my home."

"Yeah? Well it used to be mine too."

Kane looked at Kirsty and Flynn, confused. Of course it was still her home.

"Don't worry, I don't expect any of you two to get it. Summer Bay doesn't feel like home to me anymore because everywhere I go.. it's.. it's ruined. Like, like here, I remember being here with Brodie and you.. you came in. S.. so your face is here. Then there's the surf club. You're there because you used to go in all the time after.. after the attack and.. threaten me.. frighten me. I still have to work there everyday, seeing your face, knowing that it will always be there. And then there's my house. You even have that, you have everything. Everytime I see the couch, I think of you and what you.. what you did to me there and I have to get over that before I sit down, before I act like everything's ok."

She was crying now, something that she hadn't wanted to do infront of him. It made her feel like he'd won, yet again.

Kane, however, felt nothing like that. He felt disgusted with himself, ashamed and horrified at what he'd done. He'd hoped that she'd be able to forgive him, he knew that wouldn't happen now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

They'd all been silent for several minutes, none of them knowing what to say. Dani had just poured her heart out and now she felt exposed. Everything she felt was out in the open, all her cards were on the table.

Kane felt sick, at himself, at his behaviour, at everything. He'd never felt more ashamed than he did at that moment. In prison, he'd had time to think about his actions and their consequences but he'd never heard from Dani what it had truly done to her. Now he knew, he wished that he didn't.


"I can't hear anything."

"For God's sake, Colleen, will you take your ear away from the door?"

She turned around and screwed her face up at Alf.

"For all you know, Alf Stewart, something really bad could have happened down there."

"If they need help, they know we're all up here. Keep your nose out where it's not wanted."

Collee stomped her way into the next room, looking for someone else to gossip to.

"Sorry about her, Rhys."

"What if she's right?"

"What do you mean?"

Rhys turned to face Shelley who was sitting on the sofa with her head in her hands. She knew that tonight wouldn't be a barrel of laughs but she hadn't expected this.

"What if he's done something to our daughters?"

"Rhys, don't make this worse."

"I'm not, I'm looking out for our children, Shell. He's down there with our kids."

"That's the thing, Rhys, they're not kids anymore. Dani's 19, Kirsty's 17. And anyways, Flynn's with them."

"He's dangerous, Shell. We know that."

Frankie stood unnoticed in the corner, listening to what was being said about his cousin. He wanted to jump to his defence, tell them all that Kane wasn't the bad guy they assumed he was. He couldn't though because he knew that if it was his sister, his mum, his friend that had been raped, he'd feel the same way. It was just hard for him to take in that his cousin was the one to cause all this pain.


"Dani.. I want to help you, I just don't know how."

If she hadn't been so upset, she would have laughed at his stupidity.

"Help me? You want to help me?"

"Of course I do. I'm not proud of what I did."

"So you think if you spout a few words about being sorry and wanting to help then it makes it ok? You don't understand, you'll never understand, none of you ever will."

Kirsty felt like she was out of her depth. At 17 years old, she wasn't mentally able to handle situations like this. She hadn't been prepared for how much she would hurt people, for what she was up against.

"I'm sorry, Dani, I'm so sorry.."

As she said this, she broke down. Her feelings for Kane were stronger than she'd ever felt before but now she felt dirty, wrong, like she shouldn't be feeling like this.

Dani fought the overwhelming urge that she had to go and comfort Kirsty. She couldn't bring herself to go and hug her. Touching her would be like touching him.

"I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't want to feel like this, I still don't.."


"Yeah, I.."

"You have feelings for him?"

Kane was just as shocked as Dani. He knew that his feelings for Kirsty had been growing but he never suspected that hers for him would be too.


"Don't say it. Please.."

Hundreds of thoughts were racing around in Dani's head but not one of them made sense to her. She loved him? How could she love him? She'd known him for a matter of weeks.

Even Flynn was shocked. He thought that Kirsty and Kane were just messing around, but love?

"You can't."


"You can't love him. You're too young to love someone."

"No I'm not, I'm 17."

"That's too young."

"What about Will? You loved him when you were my age."

"It's not the same."

"Why not?"

"Because Will wasn't a rapist. That's why, ok? You can't love him.. you just, you can't."

Flynn sat beside Dani, him too now feeling out of his depth.

"Don't work yourself up, try and calm down."

"Calm down? Calm down? How can I calm down? My little sister has just told me that she's in love with a rapist."

"I'm not anymore."

"You think you can just change? Not be the same person anymore? It doesn't work like that. Who's to say that you won't do it again? Who'll be your next victim? I'm sure as hell not going to let it be my little sister."

"He wouldn't do that to me."

"Why not? I didn't think he would do it to me but he did."

Kane took a seat. He could tell that they were going to be here for a while. How he'd gotten himself into this situation, he did not know, but he wasn't prepared to leave until it was sorted out.


"If he so much as touches a hair on one of their heads.."

"Rhys, threats aren't going to get anyone anywhere."

In his frustration, he picked up the glass next to his hand and threw it against the wall. Everyone stopped talking as the tiny shards of glass rained down onto the floor.


Colleen rushed in from the other room, followed by Leah and Sally.

"What's going on here?"

"Sorry, Alf.. I'm just so angry."

"Rhys, you've got to control your temper, you can't go around throwing glasses at walls. Someone will get hurt."

"That's what makes me angry. The way that he can get under my skin, make me feel like I'm the one who's hurt my daughters, I'm the one that's failed them."

"You've never done anything but try and protect them."

"I've tried to protect them but it hasn't worked. He took her away from us, Shell. I'm her dad, I should have been able to look after her."

"Rhys, no. There's nothing we could have done. She was 17 years old, what were we to do? Keep her under lock and key?"

Deep down, Rhys knew that Shelley was right, he just couldn't face up to it. His job was to look after his wife and kids. The fact that his kids were all girls made it even harder still.


Sat in the next room, Jade began to cry. Everyone else had ran through to the living room after hearing the glass smash but she knew straight away that it would have been her dad. He'd changed so much over the past two years, her whole family had.

"Jade, what's wrong?"

Sally had gone back through to the bedroom, not enjoying what Rhys and Shelley were going through. She felt like she shouldn't be watching it.

"Don't be scared about your dad, Jade, he's just having a bit of a rough time at the moment. I suppose everyone is."

"I don't understand, Sally. A few years ago, we were a normal family, now look what's happened to us."

"I know.. I'm sure you'll all get through it though, you're tough people."

"No, we used to be. Dad's always had a temper on him but he's never done stuff like this before. Then there's mum. Normally she's always there for us but it's like she's just frozen over now. She doesn't want to talk, she doesn't want to listen. Sometimes I just see her sitting and staring. Staring at nothing. I don't understand what's happening to my family."

Sally hugged Jade, hoping that it would provide some much needed comfort.

"What happened to Dani has had effects on everyone. On Dani, Kirsty, your parents, even you. Everyone's dealing with it in their own way."

"I don't know how to deal with it. Am I suppose to take sides? Because I don't think I can. I love Dani and Kirsty, I can't choose between them. It makes me cry to think what he did to Dani and I think it's disgusting that Kirsty can even touch him but then again, Kirsty's the person that I'm closest to in the whole world, how can I abandon her?"

"Jade, sweetie, you don't have to choose. What they're doing downstairs, they're trying to sort this out. That's why we've just got to wait here patiently and see what happens."


"Prison changed me alot."

"Don't give me your sob story, Kane, because I don't want to hear it. You deserved to go to prison and you deserved to stay there for alot longer."

"I'm not trying to get you to feel sorry for me, I'm just trying to explain. I was so confident that I would get away with it, I didn't care what I'd done. I told myself that you wanted it so many times that in the end I started to believe it."

"Stop it!"


"I don't want to talk about this, not now, not when Kirsty's here, I can't."

Kirsty then, too, took a seat. That comment hurt her. Before, Dani had always been able to tell Kirsty how she was feeling. She'd always been able to cry on her shoulder and Kirsty liked to think that she'd been able to make her feel better. That was all ruined now.

"I wish you could still talk to me."

"How can I? How can I say anything about him to you when I know what you feel about him?"

Flynn's head was hurting, they were going round in cirles. They'd been talking for over an hour now and yet they still hadn't made any progress. He had to sort this, once and for all.

"Ok, guys, we're not getting anywhere."

"I don't know what they expect me to do."

"This has to be sorted. Kane, Kirsty, you two must understand how hard your relationship is for Dani to understand. She's hurt, you have to be appreciative of that. And Dani, you have to let them speak. I know that you're upset but if you don't listen to them, this won't be sorted out."

Dani looked down at the floor, knowing that she probably didn't come into this with the right attitude. But what was the right attitude to have when you'd just found out what she had?

"Kirsty, talk to Dani."

She took a deep breath, not really sure of what she was going to say. It's not the sort of thing you could prepare.

"I don't want our relationship to be affected by this."

"Come on, Kirsty, you know that's unrealistic."

"Dani, let her speak."


"Ok.. but if anything, I want it to be stronger. I want to be there for you. Everything you're going through, let me go through it with you. Trust me, this is the last thing that I wanted to happen. Sitting up with you every night, I learned alot. You are my big sister and I used to cry myself to sleep thinking of how Kane had destroyed you. I miss the old Dani, the Dani who's fun and happy. You used to always tell me that he'd taken you away but he hasn't, Dan. Please, believe me when I say that we didn't set out to hurt you. I know that we've done that anyway but, as stupid as it sounds, I can't help the way I feel. I really don't know what else to say. I've always looked up to you, Dani, I still do. When Kane.. when he raped you, I didn't know what to do because you then needed my help. Before, I'd always come to you. When you needed me, I hope I was there for you, I hope I helped you. I need you now, I need my sister."

Dani took a moment to let it all sink in.

"I.. I don't want anything to come between us, Kirsty. I'm scared, I'm so scared."

"Don't be scared, you don't have to be scared of anything."

"I don't want to be scared. I want to be free again, free of everything but I can't be. I'm scared for you. What if he does it to you?"

Kane fought back the urge to butt in. He wanted to scream and shout that he wasn't going to do that, he wouldn't hurt anyone anymore but he couldn't. This was time for Dani and Kirsty to talk.

"Dani, please, don't worry about me."

"You're only 17. I know what it feels like to be that age. You think you're so grown up but really you're not. I learnt the hard way. What happened with Kane.. it taught me that, at 17, I wasn't an adult. I may have thought I was one but I wasn't. I was a stupid kid who didn't know what she was doing."

"I'm not a kid and I'm not stupid. I'm not being pressured into this, he's not taking advantage. We both want this to happen."

"Have you..?"


"Have you slept with him?"

"No! Of course not. I couldn't, not yet."

"You remember when I went on that weekend with Scott?"


"I was so happy then. I told him about what had happened and he was so supportive, so amazing. I was able to.. to be with him and not feel.. vulnerable. I thought I was finally over what had happened, that I'd finally been able to move on."

"You have moved on, Dan. You've overcome alot."

"No.. because it's all gone now. I can't deal with this."

"You don't have to deal with anything on your own. I'm here for you, we all are."

"I don't understand how you can be here for me but then still be with him. You've got to realise that, in my mind, he's like.. the enemy. I just don't want you to get hurt. You saw what I went through. You were the only one that I could talk to about it. I could tell you more than I could tell mum or dad. I knew that you weren't going to analyse what I was saying, you were just going to listen. That's what hurts so much. We were so close."

"We still are! I'm still your sister, I'm still Kirsty!"

"No, you're Kirsty and Kane."


As they passed the two hour mark, it seemed that still no real progress had been made. Would they ever sort it out?

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  • 1 month later...

"Do you remember when we were kids? When that boy kicked you? The one from your class?"

Kirsty nodded, wondering where this story was going.

"You were so scared of him."

"But you sorted him out for me!"

Kane and Flynn watched the two sisters, talking like they hadn't in weeks. Their relationship had always been a stormy one, both of them with huge personalities that often clashed because of Dani's selfishness or Kirsty's refusal to think things through. However, their bond was one that could never be broken. All three Sutherland sisters were extremely close, it was clear for anyone to see.

"What did you do?"

Dani thrust her head over to Kane's direction, having forgotten that he was in the room. She'd been so caught up in her conversation with Kirsty, he'd almost disappeared from her mind.

"I told him I'd force him to wear my make up if he touched my sister again."

Forgetting the seriousness of the situation that they were in, Kane laughed. It sounded just like something Dani would do.

"He never came near me again after that."

"I hated seeing you upset and scared.. I still do, Kirst."

"Dani, I'm not 9 years old anymore. I'm 17."

Deep down, Dani knew that Kirsty no longer needed her to look out for her. She was more than capable of doing that for herself. Something inside her, though, would never stop worrying about her sisters. From the very day they were born, she'd been terrified that something would happen to them. They were premature, so premature that their lives hung in the balance. Since then, she'd always felt like she should be the one to look after them, to stop them getting hurt.


"I'm going to go down there."


Shelley was becoming more and more frustrated at Rhys' behaviour. He wasn't the only one hurting, why couldn't he realise that?

"I don't trust him."

"No one's asking you to, but Flynn is down there. He's our friend. He's Dani's counsellor. He'll make sure they're ok."

"It's not enough."

"You gave Kane a good enough beating today to make sure that he can hardly even walk, nevermind attack anyone!"

She hadn't realised how loud she'd been shouting, not being able to control her anger at Rhys. The whole room turned round to look at Rhys, some tutting and others simply staring in disbelief. They'd all known that Rhys had a temper on him, it was no surprise to anyone, but the bruises on Kane's face, his new found limp that they'd thought had come from one of his dodgy dealings, had infact come from Rhys. This shocked them. Rhys - the family man - beating up a man so bad that one side of his face had swollen up to almost twice the size.

Again, the room was plunged into silence. No one dared say anything to Rhys, not even Colleen, knowing that it wasn't their place.




He could hear the frustration in her voice, see the anger in her face.

"Please, just listen."

She didn't have the energy to fight anymore, choosing to simply nod her head instead.

"With Kirsty, things are different. I'm older now, I'm not the stupid teenager that I was before. I love her, Dani. I wouldn't hurt her, ever, I couldn't."

Part of her knew it was true, could see the way he felt about her sister just by looking at him. This part of her wanted to give in, wanted to say it was ok and was angry at herself for not being able to. The other part of her, however, could only see his bad points. Could only see what he'd done to her. Could only feel the pain.

"Flynn, I don't know what to do."

He'd remained silent for a while, preferring to let Dani, Kirsty and Kane work out their problems on their own. No one could do it for them.

"What do you mean?"

"I want Kirsty to be happy, I do.. I really do, Kirst.. but I just.. I can't. I can't watch them together, see them.."

"You won't have to."

"Kane, we live in Summer Bay. Everyone sees everything here."

He knew she was right but he was desperately trying to make things better. He knew that he was the root of all the problems here, he wanted to be the one to solve them.

"Dani, we can work through all that. Just the fact that you're able to talk to Kane is major progress. You couldn't do that a few hours ago."

This momentarily contented her, made her feel like she'd achieved something. Her mind could never let her be happy, though. Images of that day constantly replayed themselves in her mind and there was nothing that she could do about it, nothing at all.


Having heard the shouting from before, Sally had come into the main room, leaving Jade alone. Jade, too, had heard it. Now everyone was going to think she had a villain for a father. It always seemed to be one thing or another for her family. They never got a chance to just be happy together. Something or someone always seemed to stop that.

I can't do this anymore...

As she whispered those words, a tear spilled down her cheek. After she'd finally gotten free of her eating disorder, she'd always forced herself to look on the bright side of life. Now, however, she struggled to find what that was. Her dad was turning into a criminal who used his fists to sort things out. Her mother, despiter her best attempts to hide it, was falling apart. Her elder sister was going through a fierce breakdown, one that she couldn't see her recovering from anytime soon. And then there was Kirsty. Kirsty, who she had been so close to only months before. They'd always relished being twins, the bond that it inevitably brought with it.

It's gone, it's all gone now..

She was losing them all. Without them, she was nobody. She'd never had the confidence that Dani and Kirsty so boldly displayed. She'd always been the quiet one, the one who needed the support of her family even for the tiniest of problems. Without them, she couldn't go on.

I can't do this anymore...

She slipped to the bathroom without anyone noticing her, them all still reeling over Shelley's accusations. Once there, she locked the door and tearfully whispered her goodbyes to her family.

They'll understand, they don't need me here..

Picking up the razor sitting on the sink, she gently grazed it across her wrist. The trickle of blood running down her palm felt like a release, like it was taking part of her problems away. She did it again, this time more viciously, to the other wrist. She could hardly even feel the pain. All she felt was relief. Relief that she would no longer have to deal with her family's many problems. She kept going until her vision blurred and she felt lightheaded..

I love you...


Little did she know that downstairs, her sisters were finally beginning to make some progress.

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