Misunderstood by MJ

Misunderstood
by MJ

Disclaimer: These characters may bare a resemblance to a certain duo (who don’t belong to me) that we all know and love, but that’s all. This is an uber story and the characters are mine.
Language warning: Well I have been known, so absolutely yes.

Love and sex warning: That also, and it’s between two women as well. You have been warned!

Angst warning: Hurt comfort etc.

Violence Warning: Oh yes, most defiantly though not gratuitous. Just for a sense of justice you understand, oh that and my way for certain characters to get their just deserts. There may also be a mention of sexual violence as well.

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Part 1
Charlie Taylor turned her black Forester jeep right, onto a long shaded, narrow road. Trees lined it evenly on both sides, allowing not a single ray of spring sunlight to penetrate and brighten its eerie ambience. It seemed to her, that the moment she turned onto this road the temperature dropped several degrees, or was that just her overactive imagination?

Following the dusky road, she took a left then right before she began to see light ahead. Putting more pressure on the gas pedal, she accelerated, allowing the welcoming sight of the sun’s rays to hasten her progress. Seconds later, she exited the dreary road, and got her first glimpse at her new place of employment.

Bell Tower Hospital stood large and forbidding. Resembling a medieval castle, more than a medical facility. It stood on three main levels, with many small towers protruding from the top. Looking closely, Charlie could see the windows on the third floor held sturdy metal bars. Charlie presumed that this was where the more violent of patients were housed. Bell Tower Hospital was not a hospital for the physically ill; no, the illnesses of the patients here were far more complex. They were illnesses of the mind.
Pulling closer, she noted the dull charcoal colour of the brickwork gave the building a supernatural appearance. Charlie would swear she had seen this place in a horror movie not too long ago. Or was her imagination working overtime again. Of course, the frightening stories she had heard about this place didn’t help any. At the time, she discounted the horror stories as being the product of overactive imaginations, but the closer she got to this eerie abode, the more likely those stories seemed.

Pulling her car around to the side, she found the road she was told would lead her to where she was to park her vehicle. Rolling the jeep to a halt she pulled on the handbrake and turned off the engine. There must have been about twenty or so other cars in the shaded area. Grabbing her backpack from the passenger seat, she opened the door and swung her long tanned legs out into the fresh air.

Gracefully exiting the car, she pushed the door shut and secured it with the remote control key, it made a slight ‘pweep’ as it locked and activated the alarm. Charlie looked down at herself in the windows reflection and scrutinised her appearance. Her thick dark hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and although she couldn’t see it under her long black trench coat she could imagine the ugly, but neatly pressed nurses uniform below.

Rolling blue eyes upwards, she took a deep breath and walked towards the entrance of her new place of work.

Being a Psychiatric Nurse wasn’t what she had originally wanted to be, but when she didn’t make it as a doctor (an incredibly sore point to her) this was her second choice. She wasn’t sure why, but she just had this intense need to care for and protect people. It had always been there, and she had no cause to question it.

It still hurt her to think back to her med school days. She had been in her penultimate year and was the top of her class. Then from out of nowhere accusations began to fly about her cheating on her studies, and it had gone down hill from there She was sure she knew who created the accusations, but was unable to prove it. And so, after and embarrassing and heated argument with the medical board, fraught with accusations and attempts to invade her private life, she quit and never looked back. She was later cleared of the accusations, but it was too late. Her focus had shifted to nursing, and her course would not be altered again.

Now four years later, here she stood, a qualified Psychologist/Psychiatric Nurse ready to start her new job at Bell Tower Hospital. The thing that shocked everybody, including her mother the most, was the fact that she chose the place herself. There were not many people who chose to work there due to its reputation; still there was an agenda that she had to stick to. Nearing the main entrance, she took another deep breath and walked in.

*******

Betty Mason, a short, rounded woman with loose curly grey hair sat at the front desk looking aimlessly at the magazine that was in front of her. This wasn’t her usual post; she was a nurse on the second floor. But after the secretary at front desk had rushed off to the bathroom, she had found herself covering for her friend. Turning the page she continued to gloss over the advice pages, hoping to find something that would entertain her while she waited.

The sound of the front doors opening drew her from an unfulfilled perusal, to see who was entering the building. Her eyes zeroed in onto one very tall, blue eyed, brunette who was walking confidently towards her. She pushed the magazine away and stood to greet the stranger.

“Well hello there, what can I do for you?”

Charlie directed her most dazzling smile towards the woman as she spoke, “I am Charlie Taylor, I’m starting tod…”

Her words were cut short.

“Oh Miss Taylor, we have been expecting you, I’m so glad I’m the first to meet you!”

The tall woman frowned, “Why’s that?” she asked.

The old woman laughed, “Well, now I have first hand information on the new girl to give the gossips later.” she stated giving a mischievous wink.

Charlie’s shoulders shock as she chuckled at the comment; she was a good judge of character and could tell she was going to like this woman.

“Well what can I say, I am glad to be of service.”

The older woman held out her hand, “Betty Mason, but just call me Betty.”

The younger woman took the offered hand and shook it, noting the difference with the pale hand to her darker one.

“I hear you will be working on the third floor. I must say you are brave, I will not even set foot up there, too many horror stories.” Betty stated seriously as they separated hands.

“Oh…and why is that?” she was asked.

“Well as you know that floor holds the more ‘active’ patients and to be honest I am a little nervous of that part of the hospital. Not that I want to scare you off, but the last guy who left here worked on the third. He is now blind in one eye.”

The woman listened as Betty told her about the man who had just left, recalling a similar tale told to her by Caroline Evans, head of the community health board.

Betty continued, “Would you believe he was stabbed in his eye with one of his own needles? He was only caring out a routine injection, or so I was told. Dear, I don’t want to frighten you, but are you sure you know what you are letting yourself into, only two other women work on the third.” She wasn’t trying to scare the new nurse off, just give her fair warning.

The tall woman smiled, “Don’t worry, I can take care of myself Betty.”

The older woman looked up to the tall beauty, “You know, I can very well believe that young lady.”

Just then a side door opened and a slim mousy woman entered the foyer. She looked at Charlie and her eyes lit up. Betty cleared her throat and walked around to the woman she had been talking to.

“Ah Shirley, you are back, good. This is Charlie Taylor, she is the new nurse on third, we can’t stop, things to do you know, I will see you later.”

And with that, she took the tall woman’s arm and gently pulled her to the elevators.

“What was all that about?” The dark woman whispered

Betty just laughed and shook her head, “Call it my protective instinct, but that woman is a vulture, I would call her head of the gossips. She would have cornered you and drained every last snippet of information out of you. I had to save you. Besides, I had dibs.” She added with an impish chuckle

Charlie feigned offence, “Oh I feel so cheap.” She whined

The elevator doors opened and Betty walked inside, “Oh believe me, I only wanted the good information, Shirley will go for anything and she doesn’t mind spreading it all. Don’t get me wrong she is a good friend, just an over achieving gossip.”

Both women laughed as the doors slid shut, but Charlie made a mental note to politely stay away from that woman.

*******

It was now evening and Charlie sat at her kitchen table holding a glass of wine in both hands. She had not long returned home but still hadn’t changed into more comfortable clothes. Around her, there stood a few boxes that she still had to unpack since moving in.

She had been in her new three-bedroom home now for about two months and had just about finished her settling in but she found the last few junk boxes a chore. Anyway they were in the kitchen, and it was not like she used it an awful lot. With not being terribly adept at cooking, Charlie often resorted to fast food take out.

Picking up her glass she took it into the front room. The walls were still a pale creamy colour and as yet she hadn’t put up any of her pictures. Walking bare foot across the pine floor she made her way to the dark leather couch and sat down. She contemplated putting on the TV, but decided against it, choosing instead to think about her day.

It had been quite interesting, she decided as she recalled her conversation with the hospital director.

*******

Betty had taken her to see Mr Adams as soon as they reached the second floor. She waited in his outer office for about ten minutes before she was finally ushered in and got her first look at her new boss.

Graham Adams was a tall thin man, with a balding head and neatly trimmed moustache. He wore an obviously expensive grey suit, and incredibly shiny black shoes, making Charlie wonder whether he was ever in the army. He sat behind his desk, not even bothering to take her coat, so she left it on.

Looking around the office she tried to form an impression of her new boss. There were many certificates on the wall and because of her A1 eyesight she was able to tell what they were for. She had to laugh; it appeared that the man was a bit of a show off. It seemed to her that every certificate he had ever won, (possibly in his life), was on that wall and she wondered whether she would find any school swimming certificates there. She turned her attention back to the man, who had begun talking to her,

“Well Miss Taylor, I must say you are very different than I imagined.”

She raised an eyebrow at this wondering where the man was leading this comment.

“Not that I am complaining about having such a beautiful woman working under me…I mean for me…”

Busted, well I have your number Mr Adams.

“It is just that the women who usually work on the third are a little more, how can I put this delicately…on the robust side.”

Charlie tried to unclench the fist she was making under the desk. Her sense in character told her she wasn’t going to like this man.

“Well Mr Adams, I do assure you I am very able to take care of myself, if the situation ever arose. Though I really think that it is all in the way you respect the people residing here.”

The Director shook his head, “Miss Taylor,” she could already detect the condescending comment that he was about to make. “What all you new nurses don’t understand is that most of the people on the third are socially dysfunctional. They will never be able to live in normal society and would cause harm to anyone they encountered. It is my job to keep these ‘people’ away from where they can do anybody, even themselves injury.”

Charlie took a calming breath.

“I understand you wanting to think positive, but there is no clemency for the dammed, tomorrow you will see what I am talking about.”

“So what exactly is my job here then Mr Adams, if these people aren’t fit for the outside world?”

“Look we have never had a therapist able to get through to any of them. With the more extreme cases I hold no hope, but the board wanted me to take in a psychologist to help with the patients they feel may have a chance.”

The tall nurse wondered whether counting to one million would be enough to ease the contempt she was already feeling for this man. Surely he wasn’t serious right?

Mr Adams picked up Charlie’s file and thumbed through it. “I want you to know I will not hold your past deeds against you.”

One, two, three, four,

“Your file states that you are a very capable nurse and I see you have experience in martial arts…interesting!”

Interesting?

There was a sudden beeping sound, and Mr Adams pulled a small pager from waistband of his trousers, “Oh…well I have something very important to attend to. It was nice to meet you Miss Taylor, I will see you tomorrow.”

And with that she was ushered back out of his office.

********

Pulling the band out of her hair, she let it fall over her shoulders as she gulped down the last of her wine. First impressions of the day had told her,

(1) Betty would be a good friend,

(2) Watch what information she gives about her self, and

(3) She really didn’t like her new boss.

“I guess I will just have to see what tomorrow holds for me.” She told herself and got up to get another glass of wine.

*******

Charlie awoke as the sun began its ascent into the morning sky. Rubbing her fingers over blurry eyes, she realised she had fallen asleep on the sofa.

Last time I drink a full bottle of wine when I have to work in the morning,

She told her self.

Still, she had plenty of time before she had to be at work, so decided the best way to rejuvenate her body would be a good work out.

She had turned the dinning room into a gym, figuring she would never use it and would probably never entertain. Charlie herself was the first to admit she wasn’t into social occasions much and never, ever at her own home. That was her place of sanctuary and so far only her mother had paid one visit to her daughters new home.

After changing into a pair of shorts and tank top, she did a ten-minute warm up, before commencing on the weight bench. Another twenty minutes later Charlie moved to the centre of the room where she went through the three forms of Wing Chun. She had been practicing the martial art for many years and found it an excellent way to focus her energy. Plus she loved its logic and the strength it gave her legs.

An hour and a half later she was in the shower, contemplating her day and what it had in store for her. Today she was going onto the third. Charlie was looking forward to it greatly and couldn’t wait to start.

Turning the spray of water off, she excited the stall and walked into her bedroom, not even bothering to dry herself. Well Adams, lets see these people that you claim to protect the so-called normal people from shall we.

******

Pulling into the parking lot, Charlie saw Betty walking towards the doors, when she saw the younger woman she decided to wait. Moving a little swifter, the nurse climbed out of her jeep and strode over to the other woman.

“Good morning to you Miss Taylor, lovely day today isn’t it?”

Charlie slung her backpack over her shoulder and fell into stride beside the older woman.

“It sure is, and please call my Charlie, I hate my name sounding so formal.”

“Well as long as you call me ‘B,’ you have a deal.”

“Sounds good to me.”

The women walked into the old building and straight to the elevator. Charlie was to meet the director and she was not one for being late. Fortunately she still had ten minutes.

“So you are going up onto the third today.”

Charlie nodded her head and smiled.

“I hope everything goes alright for you, even though you will be in the presence of the delightful ‘protector’ Adams.”

The younger woman laughed, “Oh I see he gives everybody the ‘I’m protecting the normal people’ speech?”

Betty nodded her head, “Oh yes, sometimes I think he should just record the thing and play it to all new employees, I mean it isn’t like he is interested in what they have to say anyway.”

As the elevator door opened to the second floor, Charlie’s response died on her lips as she came face to face with Adams himself.

“Ah Miss Taylor, on your way to meet me? Well might as well not beat about the bush… lets get going shall we?”

Betty winked at the other woman as she exited the compartment and left her with the thin man.

The first difference the nurse noted was the obvious increased security. The lift opened into a secure room in which two men sat at a desk. They wore security uniforms and around them were many CCTV units, which she presumed held views to each of the occupants’ rooms. She grimaced when she saw the images on the screens and realised these people had hardly any privacy.

Walking fully into the white walled room, Charlie looked at the light weapons scattered around. Cans of mace, hand cuffs, batons, and even dart guns. She looked at the guns with horror and Adams saw her expression.

“Don’t worry Miss Taylor, those are for the more dangerous inmates. Here at Bell Tower we are in possession of two criminally insane prisoners. They were sent here, as they needed to be held in a secure unit, and up here on the third we certainly have that. We have never had to use any of these things on the patients; they are merely a precaution. Now, I must tell you, there are two main corridors; one holds the two prisoners, and the other holds the regular patients. As you know, you will be working only with the patients. Which is, in my opinion, a complete waste of time, as most of them will likely never leave here. Still, you will have to work with them anyway, as commanded by the Mental Health Board,” he sighed. “Here let me introduce you to the two Dales.”

Adams proceeded to do just that. The first Dale was short with ash blond hair; he was probably in his early forties. Dale number two was taller, though not as tall as Charlie who stood at almost six foot. He had grey hair and must have been in his late fifties.

She was informed that the two Dales worked the day shift and two guys called Mike and Nick worked the night shift. Charlie shook hands with the two men who both seemed nice enough, though she thought Dale number one looked a little nervous.

Dale number two walked over to the desk and picked up a small laminated card. He handed it to Charlie,

“This is for you Miss Taylor, it gives you instant access to the third floor, without having to sign in every time. You swipe your card through this,” he pointed to a small scanning device on the wall, “and the door will open for you. It also records your comings and goings up here so you don’t have to bother yourself with all the signing in and out you will have, through out the day. Most of the third floor is monitored this way, including the back stairs and the stairs that lead to the towers and roof.”

Charlie took the card from Dale number two.

“Well you might as well give it a try Miss Taylor, that’s where we are heading after all.” Ushered Adams.

The tall woman walked over to the device and swiped her card through, there was a little bleep, a green light flashed and a door opened. She clipped the card to the lapel of her white uniform and followed Adams inside.

*******

In front of them was a large white corridor. The first thing Charlie noticed was the smell, a heavy aroma of disinfectant. The stench was enough to give her a headache, but she knew she would have to get used to it.

They walked down the corridor as Adams started pointing out the rooms. A communal room, small locked kitchen (that she could open with her card) an observation room with a two-way mirror, and other storage rooms. He also pointed to a door, which led to another part of the building that was still in its original state, though it was soon to be renovated. They came to a crossing and stopped.

“Right Miss Taylor, to the left and right of us are the patients rooms. And straight ahead are other rooms, an access point that leads to the bell tower and attic rooms oh and also your own private office. There you will be able to talk with the patients on a one-to-one basis. Well, those that will be willing to any way. They seem to have co-operative days and non co-operative days.”

Charlie nodded her head taking all the information in, wondering whether this man really thought these people were a waste of time. A man like this shouldn’t hold this kind of position.

“Right, there are usually three nurses on duty at a time, but they are probably in one of the offices at the moment. Anyway, shall we go see the patients?”

“Lead the way” The nurse said.

*******

They turned first to the left and Adams led Charlie to the two secure units. It was completely silent and the only sound came from the hum of the air conditioning. They stopped at the first cell and the director moved the hatch to look inside at the occupant.

“This in here is Angel, but don’t let her name fool you. She murdered her family over the breakfast table one morning, nobody knows why. We’ve had her for about six months now, we don’t get much sense from her most of the time, but I guess that is because of the medication she has been put on. Though she does tend to laugh, sometimes hysterically, she was drugged last night just to shut her up.”

Charlie looked through the hatch to see a young woman, with long hair. Half of it was brown, but the other was blond where her bleached locks were growing out. She looked so pale and peaceful that the nurse couldn’t believe she had murdered her family.

Adams closed the hatch and moved further down the hall to the next door.

“And this is Percy, he to is dead to the world for the moment. Percy went on a killing spree in a shopping centre. When asked why, he just said he didn’t like crowded places and was just trying to clear the place up a bit.”

Charlie looked through the hatch to see a small form of a man, huddled deep under the warmth of his paper sheets.

“Can I ask why the paper looking sheets?” she asked

“Well anybody we consider a threat to them selves gets the paper style sheets. They are thick enough to keep a person warm, yet not strong enough if the decided to try and hang themselves.”

Adams again shut the hatch and turned to walk back to the other side of the corridor on the right.

“Lets meet the others shall we?”

*******

They crossed the main corridor and walked down the right hand side. Charlie noticed definite sounds of distant voices, coming from this area. They walked to the first door and opened it.

“Right this is Jordan.”

Charlie looked bewildered at the naked man and moved to go in but Adams stopped her.

“Jordan is an obsessive compulsive, you walk in his room and he will go crazy. He is obsessed about a lot of things, cleanliness being one of the main. To talk to him you must go through certain procedures, on his terms if you want a peaceful life. He doesn’t wear any clothes because he believes they are dirty so we have to keep a constant heat in here. We also have to provide him with the basic cleaning supplies to keep him happy. He used to clean his room with his spit. He still spit polishes every bottle of cleaning fluid that I allow him to have.” Adams laughed.

The nurse just looked at the man in question. His blue eyes shone back at her with an inner intelligence that made her know there was more to him than Adams or any of the other care workers, (and in this place she wondered whether she would have to use the term loosely) had ever bothered to find out.

His hair was unevenly cut short and he had a tattoo on his left arm, though she could not make out what it was.

She took a quick inventory of the room, knowing each one would be the same. There was a single hospital bed, a bedside unit, small built in wardrobe, sink and toilet.

“Ok next.” Adams shut the door and walked over to the next one. He readied his card to swipe but paused.

“I want you to watch out for this girl, she attacked and blinded a male nurse a while ago. Her name is Sarah she is twenty-four years old and quite a waste of a good room if you ask me.”

The director opened the door and allowed Charlie to take a step inside. The nurse noticed the petite frame of the girl who sat quietly on her metal-framed bed, with her head bowed down. Long golden locks fell forward and covered her face.

“What’s her story?” she asked, noticing a strange feeling twisting in her gut.

Adams rubbed his slight stubble chin. “Well one day she just locked herself up in her room, wouldn’t talk to anybody. After about four days they got a doctor in and she went crazy. They had to sedate her and then brought her straight here. She wasn’t on the thirds straight away though. Her increased violent behaviour towards anyone who tries to get close to her has unfortunately forced us to put her here.”

Charlie heard no sincerity in his voice.

“She has been here now for just over four years, on the thirds for two of them. Her parents gave up on her two years ago, as she never spoke to them or even acknowledged their presence for that matter. She just spends every single minute, of every single day in this room, well that is unless she is given a sedative to calm her violent rages, then we can get her out for a while, but she hardly communicates with anybody. She reads and reads and reads, must kill her eyes because she will never allow the curtains to be fully opened.” He sighed; “Right, on to the next one shall we?” he said and walked away from the room.

Charlie didn’t follow; she took a step closer to the girl and waited. Seconds later she saw the blond head move as Sarah’s curious nature came into play, wanting to know who was still in her room.

The nurse watched as the head lifted and two conscious green eyes gazed up at her. Charlie momentarily lost her bearings as she stared into the green depths that showed so much emotion and so much pain.

She moved her vision wider to take in the cherub like face and soft pink skin. The girl seemed to stare right through her and although she knew she should have felt unnerved, she only felt a deep connection to the petite blond.

Taking a deep breath she decided to speak.

“Hi… my name is Charlie.”

Sarah didn’t respond, but the slight flicker in her eyes told the woman she had at least heard her, though she still didn’t move. Her legs dangled over the bed almost touching the floor and she gripped the sheets under her hands with a gentle pressure.

Suddenly footsteps could be heard and Sarah lowered her head again.

“Miss Taylor, there you are, come on no time to waste there are still four more people to see up here.”

Charlie turned to leave the room, she didn’t turn around until she was ready to shut the door, but the blonde head never moved again.

As the door closed and locked, she felt a cold chill rip through her spine. She stayed by the door for another couple of seconds, until the directors’ voice forced her to make a move.

*******

Charlie and Adams sat in his office, and she wondered how long would seem polite before she could leave.

“Mr Adams I was wondering.”

“Oh please call me Graham.”

“OK, is it really necessary for me to wear this uniform?” she questioned

The man looked confused, “Well…yes I suppose…but then again with your position I am not sure…I guess it is up to you, why do you ask?”

“It is just that every patient I met looked at the uniform first, it feels like I am being judged simply for what I am wearing. I feel that I would be able to relate to them better if I looked a little less like a figure of authority and more like an average everyday person. I mean no disrespect you understand, I would just like to try out a theory I have.”

The director sat and thought for a moment, “Well if you are willing to try, then I am willing to give my consent, not much else I can do with them anyway. You do realise it is more than just the uniform that makes or breaks the person though? If you do manage to get through to them that is”

No shit. Should I admit I just hate the whole nurses uniform anyway?

“Well I would like to give it a try and see what responses I get.”

*******

The rest of Charlie’s day hadn’t gone that bad. She had spent the time meeting the other two nurses whom she would be working the day shift with. There was Abigail, a large looking woman with short brown hair. She took an instant dislike to her basically because the woman spent the entire time manicuring her nails.

The second nurse was Clinton; she liked him. He was average height, with blond hair and blue eyes. She could almost imagine him as the typical surfer, well if it wasn’t for the fact that this was England, and they lived right bang in the middle, at least a hundred miles from the sea in any direction.

She had met up with Betty at her last break, and they had conversed briefly about what would be acceptable dress. Betty stated anything she wanted, if she was able to get away with it, but should work up slowly, as long as she didn’t intend on wearing any leather or PVC.

She did laughed when Charlie stated that it would be easy to clean if there were any ‘accidents’, and wondered why nurses uniforms were not made of such materials. Betty said it was probably because of the sexual fantasy’s some people had with the uniform. And that it was best to stay the way they were, so the sight would not affect patients with heart conditions.

Actually, the tall woman couldn’t wait to get to work, she was anxious to get to know the people she was hoping to help.

At the end of the day she left work, exhilarated about the prospect of coming back tomorrow. If anyone knew that, they would think I had flipped my lid. I heard one nurse say the best part of her job was the clocking off. Charlie chuckled to herself.

*******

Wednesday arrived and Charlie stood checking out her appearance in a full-length mirror. She had chosen a pair of black trousers, boots and a blue shirt. She left her hair down and pinned her ID card to the lapel of the shirt.

Well no point in just standing here might as well get moving.

Picking up her backpack, she pulled on her black leather jacket and left the house. Half an hour later she was accessing the third floor and on her way to her office.

She liked the room she had been given; it was spacious, comfortable and had a nice high view of the gardens and countryside beyond. In the far left and corner stood two brown leather sofas, one by each wall. In the other corner were three filing cabinets. In the near left was a desk and computer and by the right wall was a small fridge, it didn’t contain anything, but water and Charlie was just fine with that.

She walked in, chucking her bag on the nearest sofa. Before she had a chance to even take off her jacket, there was a knock at her door.

“Yo!” she shouted.

A confused blond head pocked its was round the door, “Wasn’t expecting that!” he stated.

“Clinton, what gives me the pleasure of your company so early in the morning?”

The young man blushed, “Well, I thought I better let you know there was a bit of an incident last night. Sarah Austin, had one of her out-bursts and they had to restrain her.”

Charlie’s head shot up at that, “What do you mean restrain her?”

“Well they put her in the leather restraints that hold a patient down onto the bed. I don’t know what happened but I have only just heard, which means she won’t be released until you can evaluate her mental state.”

A chilling look entered Charlie’s eyes, and Clinton believed he had never seen that expression on another human being before in his life.

“I…I swear I have only just found out about…this.” He stuttered.

The angry woman brushed by him, “Don’t worry Clint, I will take care of this.”

Charlie all but ran to Sarah’s room and swiped her card through the locking mechanism, allowing her to enter. What she found broke her heart.

The first thing she noticed was the smell of urine. It wasn’t too strong but all the same it was there. She walked into the room and saw Sarah. She lay only in her underwear, with her back against the bed. Her legs were spread open and her ankles were secured to the metal frame with brown leather restraints. Her arms were crossed over her chest and her wrists were restrained also.

Charlie walked slowly to the bed not wanting to scare the visibly shaking girl. When she reached Sarah, her eyes were closed but large tears managed to spill silently down her cheeks. The woman moved her hand up to brush the tears away, but at first touch the girls eyes squeezed tighter shut and her body visibly shook with silent sobs.

Charlie knelt down at the side of the bed, “Hey shh…shh…Sarah it’s me, it’s Charlie, do you remember me?”

The girl continued to soundlessly weep.

“Come on let me get these off you.”

The nurse rose to her feet and began to unfasten the restraints. When both wrists were loose Charlie was shocked when the young woman suddenly rose to a sitting position and began punching her, screaming.

Charlie was quick to grab her fists as she pulled the distraught woman into her arms and held her tightly, rocking her gently back and forth. Clinton swiftly appeared, but the tall woman quickly told him to leave.

“Shh…it’s ok I have you, it’s going to be alright. Believe me Sarah it is going to be all right…shh.” She whispered.

Sarah listened to the unknown person and wondered why she should believe her; slowly she began to calm down. Charlie continued to hold the young woman until she was silent.

“Hey you ok?” she softly asked

The girl didn’t answer.

“Sarah are you…” Charlie noticed she was still trembling and realised the girl was cold. The window was open, well as much as it could be at a mere two to three inches of give.

Charlie felt a flash of burning anger, but it soon eased when her protective instincts took over. Quickly she shrugged off her jacket and put it around the girl whose head still hadn’t risen more than an inch. Then she stood up and strode to the window and pulled open the curtains and pulled shut the window.

Sarah instantly whimpered and believing the light was too much for her deprived eyes, Charlie closed the curtains again. She turned and walked back to the girl who sat pulling the leather securely around her.

“Lets get these off your legs as well shall we?”

Charlie pulled off the leg restraints and Sarah instantly pulled her legs to her chest, hugging herself tightly.

The psychologist desperately wanted to hold the young woman again but was afraid her touch wouldn’t be welcome, and to be honest she couldn’t blame her.

Where the hell has my emotional distance gone, and why do I feel the need to hold her until I get to see those green eyes tearless.

Charlie had always been able to hold a good professional detachment but suddenly it eluded her.

Not wanting to give in, she gingerly sat down on the edge of the bed. The young woman was now quiet, so Charlie decided to try again,

“Hey?”

Nothing.

“Sarah, I want to help you, please believe me.”

Still nothing.

“If you don’t want help and are happy the way that things are going then fine, if not let me prove to you I mean what I say.”

There were moments of unsure silence before the golden head slowly lifted and Charlie got another glimpse into the most sensitive green eyes she had ever seen. They held so much pain, yet so much spirit.

When Sarah first spoke the voice was rough and scratchy from lack of use.

“Why?” she whispered,

“Why what, why do I want to help you?” The tall woman’s heart was pounding in her chest.

Sarah shook her head and tried to clear her unused voice a little, “No why do you care?” Her voice was slightly accusing.

Charlie paused for a second before giving her most honest answer, “Because ignorance is an emotion. It fuels fear and hate and drives those who need help away into places like this. I want to help you Sarah, and I can’t help caring. I feel you truly understand what I mean, please believe me.” The psychologist pleaded.

The young woman lowered her head, saying nothing.

Charlie decided on different tactics, “Why don’t you get cleaned up and some clothes on, while I get you bed changed.”

The girl pulled the leather jacket round her, basking in its texture and smell, it seemed so comforting.

“Can I get dressed first…I don’t use the showers, I’ll use the sink in here.”

Charlie got the message and understood that the girl wanted some privacy while she dressed, so she moved to stand.

“Sure I’ll go get a change of sheets for you, and be back in about ten minutes ok?”

Sarah just nodded her head, which was now lowered again.

The nurse got up and started walking towards the door, she looked into the corner of Sarah’s room to see a small camera watching their every move; instantly she hated it.

Quietly she left the room, closing the door behind her.

Clinton was waiting for her not far away with a fresh pile of sheets. He explained that he noticed the aroma when he went in, so thought he would get them ready for her.

Charlie thanked him and took them with her to her office, intent on giving Sarah enough time to get washed and dressed.

Once inside, Charlie sat pondering what had just happened while she waited, giving the young woman enough time to wash and dress. First things first, get Sarah sorted, then go find out what the hell happened that caused her to be restrained all night. Why not just a sedation?

*******

She waited ten minutes before going back. Sarah was dressed in a pair of faded blue jeans and a black sweater. She’d already stripped her bed and had left the soiled sheets in a pile by the door. The room was dull and the smell of urine was still there so Charlie decided to go open the curtains and window.

“NO, please don’t” Sarah asked.

“Why?”

The girl lowered her head looking everywhere but at the woman, “I…the sun, it hurts my eyes.” She stated

Why are you lying to me, Charlie thought.

“Ok, can I open the window though and get some fresh air in?”

The girl visibly blushed, but nodded her head anyway.

Charlie moved her arm through the curtains and pushed her hands through the barred window, opening it to its whole three-inch allowance. The cool spring air instantly flowed through.

The nurse then set about making the bed. She did it in silence, wanting to say something to the young woman but trying to decide what tactics she would use to get the girl to open up.

When the bed was finished she turned to Sarah, who had spent the entire time standing by the far wall watching her.

Charlie smiled, “All done,” she stated.

Sarah looked down, “You didn’t have to do it…I usually have to do it myself anyway.” Her voice was still husky from the lack of use, and she kept trying to quietly clear it.

Charlie moved closer, “Sarah we have our first consultation this afternoon, is there anything you want to talk about?”

The young woman looked at her surprised, but as she was about to respond Adams appeared at the door.

“Miss Taylor, could I speak with you please?”

Charlie turned back round to look at Sarah, but her head was lowered.

“Sure, I will see you later Sarah ok?”

The blond head nodded but didn’t move up in the slightest. The woman left the room.

*******

Adams walked straight into Charlie’s office and sat down on one of the leather sofas. In his right hand he held a thick brown folder that he held balanced upon his knees. The tall nurse sat down on the other seat and wanting to hear what he had to say, but she had some questions first.

“Mr Adams…”

“Graham.”

“Ok Graham, is that the report on what happened last night with Sarah Austin? I would like to know what she did that led to her being put in those restraints?” she hoped she managed to put just the right amount of anger in her voice.

“Well,” Adams opened the file, “It seemed that Miss Austin, was making a commotion in her room last night, and when one of the security guards went in, she attacked him.”

Charlie frowned, “Why did a security guard go in there and not a nurse?”

“Look Charlene, can I call you that?” He didn’t wait for an answer, “The nurses up here are paid to take care of the patients like any other nurse. The guards are there to control any unnecessary behaviour, and watch over our more high profile patients. Most of the time things can be quite peaceful, but occasionally they need to use a bit of muscle.”

“Well why was she restrained and not just sedated?”

“Obviously the guard decided she needed to be punished for her behaviour.”

Charlie felt her nerves bristle as she desperately tried to swallow down her rising anger, “What do you mean they decided she needed to be punished, they hold positions like prison officers do they not, for the secure prisoners. What possible knowledge could they have as to the mental state of a patient?”

The director leaned forward, “Look here Miss Taylor, these men know what they are doing. If it is decided that a patients behaviour was unwarranted, then I have complete confidence in their decision on how to handle the situation.”

The nurse took a long cleansing breath, counting slowly.

“Fine.” She stated. This is not over.

“Good I am glad we have cleared this matter up, and I presume that being as though Miss Austin was released, that her state of mind has improved?”

I don’t think there was anything wrong with her in the first place. Charlie told her self.

Adams headed toward the door, not even bothered on listening to the answer anyway. “Right, well I have work to be getting on with. That folder there,” he pointed to where he had just been sitting, “Is the incident file on Miss Austin, it has the report on what happened last night too.”

As soon as he left, Charlie walked straight over to the folder and sat down to start reading. What did he mean by ‘occasionally they need to use a bit of muscle anyway?

*******

Sarah sat on her freshly made bed with her back against the wall. She was trying to read the latest book that had been sent up by Mel, one of the hospital cooks, but she was having trouble concentrating.

Her mind kept wandering back to the new Psychiatric Nurse with confusion. She had long ago decided to never allow one of those damn people to get into her head and twist her thoughts, but she couldn’t get this woman out of her mind.

She remembered back to just yesterday, when she had looked up at the faceless woman she could hear talking to that bastard Adams. She hated Adams, even though she tried not to, she just couldn’t help it. The man was so ignorant and blind to what really went on in Bell Tower behind the ebony curtain of night. If she was to think even less of him, she would believe that he didn’t even care what happened.

She had heard his comments outside the door, before he entered and was expecting to see hate in the eyes of whomever he was with. Instead what she saw, though only briefly, was compassion and the want to understand.

She shifted on her bed, wincing when she felt a sharp pain lance through her back. The guard last night had hit her hard, and all because he woke her up in the midst of a familiar nightmare, one she thought she was still in.

She had lashed out at him without thinking and he had interpreted that as an act of malicious violence towards him. He would say he had acted accordingly, but she knew it was out of careless judgement.

She sighed, adjusted her book and started to read. The book was an interesting one and she was glad Mel was such a good judge of what she would find exciting. She had met the cook while she was on the second floor, the woman would occasionally bring in her meals. Mel had started talking to her, intent on making her laugh and did just that. She soon found the cook was a trust worthy person, and although she never divulged her problems to the woman, she began to warm to her. Mel would bring her a book in every week and even after she was sent to the thirds for defending herself against another patient; Mel still managed to get a book to her.

Deciding reading was out for the moment, Sarah put down her book and lay herself down on her side. She thought about the woman she was to see later and was filled with a mix of fear and anticipation.

The woman was beautiful, really beautiful. In fact she didn’t think she had ever seen a more striking looking woman. Being where she was, contact with others was minimal, both by her doing and the medical staff.

Since she had been at Bell Tower she had been afraid to tell them what was wrong with her, for fear they would make her face her problems. Now this woman had arrived who would want to do the same, and Sarah didn’t know how much longer she could fight. She was tired of being afraid, and the desire to do anything this woman requested was strong. It confused her and was the main reason for her lack of desire to read.

*******

Soon it was lunchtime, and Charlie realised she hadn’t had anything to eat or drink so far that day. Earlier as she was about to start reading Sarah’s file, Clinton had arrived and informed her that she had an appointment with a patient in less than five minutes. She had been with the patient, Douglas for one and a half hours and now she was ready to eat.

Locking her office, she proceeded down the hall and out of the third floor.

The cafeteria was on the ground floor, and she had as yet to visit that. Charlie decided not to take the lift, so she took a light jog down the back stairs, telling herself she would take them on the way back up, as she hadn’t worked out that morning.

She got to the bottom and opened the door, almost running into Betty in the process. The staff nurse laughed and moved out of the tall woman’s way,

“My, my I would have to presume one is hunting for food, with these antics.”

Charlie laughed, “I’m starved, are you on your way to the cafeteria?”

“I sure am.”

The woman bowed and swept her hand out in a forward gesture, “Then lead the way, ‘B’.”

They walked the short journey, Betty introducing the new girl to passers by as they went. Once they arrived they were confronted by a short cue, so stood in line to wait. Charlie decided to ask the woman a question that had been on her mind since they had met up.

“ ‘B’ do you remember a girl who was moved up to the third about two years ago. Her name was Sa…”

“Sarah Austin, oh yes I remember her.” The woman stated

“What was her behaviour like while she was under your teams care?”

They reached the counter and started choosing their lunch.

“Well she was very shy and quiet. She was obviously afraid of something but would never communicate with anybody. We were never able to find out why. Then the incident with that other patient happened and she was transferred to the third.”

“What incident?” The curious woman asked.

“Well it was never really clear what happened, just that she lost control after she was held up against a window by a patient. Isn’t all this already in your files?”

Charlie nodded, “Probably, I haven’t had time to read them yet, I was hoping to get a look before we have our first session.”

Betty held up her plate indicating her selection to the cook on the other side of the counter, “I still can’t believe they sent her up for something like that, Mr Adams has no idea what is best for these patients.”

They took their food and bee lined to a recently vacated table. Charlie sat first, so Betty moved to sit in front of her. They silently started eating.

“So how is Sarah?” Bettie questioned.

“Ah…well, there was a bit of an incident last night, and I think the outcome was totally unnecessary.”

“No…that was her. We heard a patient was restrained last night.”

“Well, it was as I said, totally unnecessary.”

“I hope your appointment with her goes well then. She is such a beautiful girl, it seems a shame that she is locked away up there.” Betty examined the thoughtful look on her companions face. “Do you have some ideas on how to help her, you seem awfully deep in thought?”

Charlie arched an eyebrow, “Lets just say I prefer to read between the lines, and listen more to what is not said. I have been considering her case though.” Charlie didn’t mention that she hadn’t been able to stop thinking about the girl since they had first made eye contact the day before. She assumed it was just her determined spirit to help.

The rest of their meal was held in polite conversation, and a few more introductions. After she was finished Charlie retreated back to her room, in order to gain some background knowledge of her next patient.

*******

The metal clock on the wall told Sarah it was five minutes to three, which meant Nurse Taylor was soon to arrive. She got up off her bed and started pacing the room.

She was nervous, the young woman always was whenever a new person was to see her, but today she was more so. Her hands were sweating and her stomach ached. She could feel a lump rise in her throat and her breathing escalate; she could see herself visibly tremble.

Sitting back on her bed, Sarah pulled deep breaths of air into her lungs and rubbed sweaty palms upon her jeans. She hated feeling like this, but she knew that she had no control over it, so tried her best to cope until the feelings passed.

She looked again at the clock, one minute to three.

Her heart pounded painfully in her ears and the desire to cry was becoming more over powering. Covering her face with trembling hands, the girl started reciting one of her favourite poems, Light of Stars. After the third line, she looked again at the clock; it was three o’clock.

Please let her forget, or have something else to do, or need…
There was a knock at her door.

Oh no.

“Hello” was her timid reply.

She heard the mechanical lock click and the door swung open. Charlie stood at the entrance and smiled. Sarah felt her stomach flutter and she looked at the toilet nervously.

The tall woman walked in, shutting the door behind her. “Hi Sarah, how are you feeling now?”

The younger woman kept her head down. Charlie walked further into the room and sat on the corner of the bed.

“I hope you don’t mind if I sit here, there isn’t really anywhere else, but I will sit on the floor it you want.” She joked

Sarah looked up surprised by the woman’s comment. “You can sit there.” She stated, and moved to the top of the bed sitting down as well.

Charlie looked at the girl who found the cold green, tiled floor so very interesting. Her hands were slightly trembling and her chest rose with quick short breaths.

“Are you feeling better from this morning?”

The blond head nodded.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

The blond head shook negatively.

“Are you feeling nervous today?”

There was no answer.

“I am here to help you Sarah, and I believe I can, do you believe that.”

Nothing. She wanted to speak but couldn’t.

“Are you not up to talking today?”

Slim shoulders shrugged.

“Maybe later?”

Another shrug.

Charlie inwardly sighed. “Ok I guess I will leave.” She paused, “How about if I just ask one question, then I go?”

Sarah looked up at that; the thought of the woman leaving hurt her inside.

“One question?” Her voice was still a little scratchy.

Charlie nodded.

“Ok”

“Right, just one and you will give me your most honest answer.” She paused, “Sarah, are you happy?”

The young woman felt the question slice through her heart; she was not expecting that.

Charlie nudged forward on the bed until she was sitting beside the young woman, “That is all I want to know right now. You can give me a simple yes or no answer,” Charlie wanted to give the girl something to think about.

Sarah sighed and looked at the sweaty palms resting in her lap. Suddenly she felt two fingers under her chin, as it was lifted to look into a pair of clear blue eyes. A slight tremble shook her body.

“You said you would answer.” The nurse stated.

“No.”

Charlie frowned, “Yes you did, one question.” She felt a little disorientated.

Sarah smiled inwardly at the older woman’s miss understanding, “No I mean the answer is no.”

Charlie pulled her fingers away, but continued to hold the hypnotic gaze of the green eyes woman.

“Do you want to be?”

The younger woman frowned, “That’s two questions.”

Charlie shrugged her shoulders, “Consider this a voluntary answer, you only have to answer if you want me to know the truth.”

Sarah smiled slightly and Charlie felt a tingle run through her. If she had allowed herself the time, she would have wondered what it was.

“Honestly…I can’t remember what being happy feels like, but if it were to mean that the feelings I have would no longer be here,” she placed a hand over her heart, “then the answer would be yes, I do want to be happy.”

Charlie moved her hand to push a piece of hair that fallen over the young woman eyes but pulled back, feeling it was an inappropriate gesture. She smiled and rose to her feet, feeling the need to maintain some professional distance.

“Thank you…ok as promised I will leave now. But while I am gone I want you to think about something for tomorrows session.”

Sarah looked up at the tall woman, not wanting her to leave but knowing she wouldn’t say anything to stop her.

“I want you to think about how I can make you happy. What I could do to help you feel it again and what it would mean if you were to stay like you are at the moment.”

As Charlie expected, the girls’ reply was a simple nod of the head.

She smiled and walked towards the door. Turning around she waited for the girl to life her head, then winked, “See you tomorrow k?” And she was gone.

Sarah looked at the door wondering what had just happened, she felt confused and suddenly alone.

Charlie stood by the door for a couple of seconds before making a swift retreat to her office. She closed the door behind her and sat at her desk, putting an elbow on the top and her chin in her hand, frowning.

I’ll do anything to make that brief smile stay upon her lips. She considered not realising the direction her thoughts.
Part 2
Charlie rose from bed Thursday morning with a feeling of anticipation, so she was confused as to why she felt such high expectancies for the day. It was still early and she hadn’t had a great night sleep, not that she slept more than five hours at a time anyway.

Getting up, she pulled on her sweats and decided to go for half an hours jog before practicing her Kung Fu. It was quite light out for so early in the morning, and she looked forward to watching the sunrise as she ran.

Two hours later she was sitting in her living room, eating a bowl of Honey Pops and watching the TV. Flicking aimlessly she tried to find something mildly entertaining, morning breakfast shows bombarded every channel. Eventually she turned to a program that contained enough humour to keep her interested and sat back to watch. This show made her laugh, but when she looked at the clock and realised the time, she was disappointed that she had to go and get ready for work.

Back in her bedroom she pondered what to wear. Yesterdays more casual dress seemed to go down well with the others, so she decided to keep it up. Besides she hated having to wear uniforms, with a passion.

Opening her wardrobe she pulled out a pair of black jeans, and red t-shirt, deciding they were to be her wears for the day. Absentmindedly she wondered what Sarah would be wearing today. After getting dressed and towel drying her wet hair, she went to grab her jacket. She hated leaving the house with damp hair but it would have taken too long to blow dry it, and she had wasted too much time watching the TV. Walking into her hall she noticed her jacket wasn’t there, then remembered that she hadn’t retrieved back from Sarah the day before. Deciding to go out, sans jacket, she left the house.

*******

Reaching the top step of the third floor, she waved up at the security camera before swiping her card through the machine to let her in. She walked straight to her office but was stopped before she could make it there.

Graham Adams stood at the cross of the corridors.

“Ah Miss Taylor, how was your first day with the patients?”

She smiled politely and walked over to him, not really wanting him to be the first person she would have to speak to in the morning.

“It was fine, Mr Adams.”

“Oh Graham please. I hear your visit with Miss Austin didn’t go too well. I am not surprised I have been keeping an eye on her for a long time. It does appear that her problem is some form of social phobia.”

Charlie frowned, “How do you know the outcome of my visit with Sarah Austin?” she asked.

“Oh one of the guards told me, you know they do have visual access to every room.”

How could I forget, and just exactly how much visual access do they use, she wondered.

“I really wouldn’t hold too much hope with that one Charlene, she has no interest in functioning within the normal world. That young girl seems to be too happy the way she is. I tried to get her to open up for a long time but it was a hopeless case, she is a hopeless case. There are just some people who you will never get through to, my suggestion is that you use your time in helping those who are worth it.” He brushed an imaginary piece of flint from his arm and readjusted his black double-breasted suit jacket.

Charlie felt her anger rise, and holding it back was increasingly difficult to do. She repeated to herself that she had a job to do, before taking a deep breath and speaking.

“Mr Adams with all respect, you are wrong. That woman isn’t happy, she is just too afraid to confront that which is forcing her into the situation that she is presently in. I don’t believe my helping her is a waste of time.”

The director crossed his arms, “So she has told you her problem?”

“No.”

“Then how can you make assumptions about a persons mental state, especially when you haven’t even gotten to know her?”

The tall woman looked disbelievingly at the thin man, “And how can you make assumptions about my ability to help her after just one session? Especially when that session followed so closely on the heels of an extremely traumatic night being strapped to her bed.”

Charlie felt her anger rising rapidly, and made a conscious effort to bring it under control. “Mr. Adams, this is my job. This is what I was hired to do, and it’s what I do best. Sometimes what a person doesn’t say is louder than what they do. I am sure I already have an idea as to what her problem is, all I need is a little time to confirm it.”

Charlie began to back away. “Now, if you will excuse me, I have a patient to see at half past nine, and I need to read over their file first.”

She said her goodbyes and left the director standing in the hallway wondering what he had said that had obviously annoyed the woman. She wasn’t going to be easy to ask out for a drink, if she kept flaring up for no apparent reason.

*******

The morning wasn’t going that bad at all. Charlie had seen two more residents and had arranged her first group meeting with the out patients. She looked at the clock, it had just gone half past twelve. Deciding to eat she left her office for the cafeteria. As she walked down the hall, she saw a nurse pushing the residents lunches to the rooms of those who refused to eat with the rest of the patients. She noticed her stop outside Sarah’s room. Charlie ran up to stop the nurse before she entered; it was Abigail.

“Hey wait.” She called.

Abby turned around to see who was shouting her.

“Oh hi Charlie, what is it?”

“Is she your last stop?” the tall woman asked.

The young nurse frowned, “Err well yes it is, Only Sarah and Jordan eat in their rooms and he had decided not to eat today. Can you believe he said the bread looked like the baker had dirty hands, he refused to take it.”

Charlie looked down at the trolley holding two plates of sandwiches, one glass of milk and two apples. She had an idea.

“Hey tell you what, why don’t I take this into Miss Austin, I can try get her to open up while we share a ‘lovely’ lunch. What is in these sandwiches by the way?”

Abby shrugged her shoulders, “God only knows. Are you sure you want to eat that?” She pointed one short, though heavily polished nail down at the food in question.

“Sure.” Charlie replied taking the trolley off the woman before knocking on the door, she heard a quiet yes and proceeded to let herself in.

Sarah lay on her stomach reading a book of poetry that Clinton had not long brought in for her. Mel had brought it in that morning and had given it to the male nurse in the car park.

She was enjoying the book, as it contained many of the greats, including one of her favourite poets. Hearing the knock at the door she thought it would be Nurse Abby. The woman usually walked in, put her food on the bedside table and left. She didn’t even raise her head when the door opened.

“Do you fancy some company?”

Sarah looked up startled to see the woman she had been thinking about all morning, standing with her arms leaning forward on the lunch trolley.

Charlie observed Sarah’s confused expression; “I just wanted to know whether you wanted to eat with me as I just nabbed the other lunch on here. If you don’t then I will have to go back to my office, alone, and eat it all by myself…alone.” Charlie stressed the word ‘alone’, hoping to play on the young woman’s sympathies.

Sarah rose from the bed, putting her book on the bedside table, “I don’t mind.” She stated quietly.

Charlie smiled and pushed the trolley further into the room, shutting the door behind her. She noticed that the young woman was wearing the same clothes that she had on the day before, and realised she probably didn’t have a huge selection of her own clothes.

“So where do you usually eat?” she asked

Sarah pointed to the bed, “Usually there.”

Charlie picked up one of the plates, placing the apple on it and handed it to her with the glass of milk. She then picked up her own and followed the girl to the bed, both sitting cross-legged at opposite ends.

“It seems I should have brought a drink.” She stated.

The petite woman looked up concerned, “Do you like milk?” she asked

Charlie shrugged her shoulders, “Sure,” she stated.

“Well…you can…have some of mine if you want to.”

The tall woman smiled at the girl, “Thanks that would be great.” She noticed a slight upturn on younger woman’s lips before she lowered her head to eat.

Charlie lifted up her lunch trying to discover what was actually in the sandwich. Sarah watched as the woman brought the plate to her face and lifted the bread up, taking a cautious look inside.

“Thursday means it is cheese spread and salad sandwiches.”

Charlie looked up at the girl and grinned, “Just checking.” She said before taking a healthy bite of her impromptu lunch.

The rest of the meal was held in silence. The nurse sat pondering what the rest of her day entailed and realised it came up pretty empty. She only had one other patient to see and that was Sarah. For the rest of the day she considered, she could do more patient background checks.

The green-eyed blonde was doing her own amount of thinking. She realised it was the first time since she had been on the thirds that she had actually eaten a meal in somebody else’s company. Looking across to the woman in front of her she decided that the red of her t-shirt really brought out the darkness of Charlie’s hair.

Feeling eyes upon her, Charlie looked up to see two green orbs staring at her with wonder. When Sarah realised she had been caught, she blushed and lowered her head. The blue-eyed woman smiled.

“I was thinking about what you said all night.”

Charlie looked at the top of the blonde head, “Which bit?”

Sarah twisted slightly to put her empty plate on the bedside table. She took a drink of her milk then offered her glass to the older woman. It was accepted with a smile of thanks.

“About what you said about me being happy. I want to be happy, I mean it has got to be better than feeling like this, right?”

Charlie took a drink of the milk and handed the glass back, “In my opinion it’s one of the best feelings in the world.” She stated.

Sarah lifted her head, “What feelings make you happy?” She asked, almost in wonder.

“Oh that’s a tough one, there are so many, let me think…well, laughing makes you happy, and err…”

“Doing something for somebody else.” Sarah interjected.

Charlie smiled, “Yep, and love, that brings out a lot of good feelings inside a person.”

The smaller woman nodded her head, “ I know the only way for me be happy is if I tell you what it is that is bothering me. I don’t know whether I can…I…I… it’s almost like the words are afraid to come.”

The nurse nodded, “You’re afraid because you would have to face what it is.”

The girl nodded and shifted her back against the wall. There was a sudden tremor in the bed as she jumped and hissed in pain. Charlie flew over, kneeling in front the young woman with a look of concern clouding her features.

“Hey what was that?”

“Nothing,” was the reply.

“Oh come on Sarah, that was no nothing. Bend forward.”

All Sarah could do was comply, as she moved forward putting her head against the woman’s shoulder. Charlie gently pulled up the back of the girls’ sweater and frowned. On Sarah’s back was a large bruise about the size of her hand. She pushed the garment back down and knelt to look into her eyes.

“Sarah how did this happen?”

Sarah shrugged her shoulders and looked down at the bed, “I…I don’t know, it must had happened in my sleep or something.” She looked back up at the older woman, knowing she wouldn’t believe it, but would not question her at that moment.

Charlie sighed and looked into the green eyes, they seemed so familiar to her. She wondered why she felt the deep-seated need to protect her, and whisk her away from this God-awful place.

Instead she nodded her head in acceptance to the reply she was given. She sensed the body in front of her instantly relax.

Looking at the clock on the wall it was now one o’clock.

“Well the clock tells me this is the time I really was supposed to come in here and bug you.” She joked, “How do you feel, I have some ideas I would like to try out. You don’t have to tell me what your problem is though.”

Charlie looked at the young woman and waited, she received a slight nod in reply.

“Great this is all I want you to do today.”

She got off the bed and walked towards the window, Sarah felt her heart rate increase.

“Come and stand here with me.”

Sarah paused, then rose to her feet but froze. “I can’t.” she replied.

Charlie looked intently at her, “I believe you can Sarah, and I will be here with you all the way.”

The young woman closed her eyes feeling her heart pound and breathing escalate. She wanted the woman to leave; she didn’t want her to see her like this.

Suddenly she felt a warm hand encompass her own. Opening her eyes, she looked up at the woman. Calmness enveloped her but the frantic beating of her heart persisted.

“How do you know?” she questioned.

Charlie arched an eyebrow, “I’m not completely sure, I’m just going by instinct. Do you trust me?”

Something inside told her she was the only one she could trust, she nodded her head faintly.

The nurse grinned, “Good then just walk with me to the window, and together we will open the curtains. I will be with you the whole time.”

She could feel the hand in hers tremble, so she squeezed it with reassuring pressure and led her over to the closed curtains.

Once there, she felt the body tremble and a slight whimper escape soft pink lips. “We will do this together ok?”

Sarah’s breathing was shallow and she looked at the woman with tangible fear.

Feeling the need to reassure her, Charlie moved behind the young woman and put her arms around her, “Together.” She whispered into her ear.

Moving her right hand down she captured the smaller one and moved it up to the curtains. There was slight resistance but she continued and together they pulled open the curtains.

Nothing but the sound of rapid breathing could be heard. Charlie moved her head to look into the face so close to hers, and found the eyes tight shut.

“Open your eyes!” she said gently

“I can’t.”

“You can Sarah, I believe you can, please?”

The smaller woman took a visible deep, shaky breath and held on tighter to the arms around her, slowly she opened her eyes.

“Isn’t it beautiful?”

Sarah felt the warm breath of the voice right beside her ear, and all she could do was nod. The sight was beautiful, she realised. Straight out in front of her were miles of countryside. Different shades of green and yellow.

To her right she could make out the beginnings of the city and to her left she could see what she presumed was the motorway. She focussed her eyes straight ahead, looking at the tiny specs of farm animals in the distant fields.

Slowly her heartbeat began to calm as she relaxed. She took a slow breath and leaned into the woman behind her. Charlie felt the change in the young woman and relaxed, she was almost as nervous as Sarah, but as she felt the body in her arms ease, so did she.

It was the first time is as long as she could remember, that she had looked out of a window. The frightening thoughts of why she stayed away from the outside world tried to make way to present mind, but she fought back; the presence of the woman behind her helping her to do so. The feeling was just too interesting…no she thought; it was more than that it was good.

Realisation flooded her and she became aware of the body pressed up behind her. She could feel Charlie’s breasts push lightly into her back. Her soft arms upon her own and the length of the long body flush against her back. Clearing her mind she sunk into the feeling. It wasn’t that this was the first contact she’d had in a long time (although it was) it was the fact that it felt so right.

The woman behind felt the smaller body soften and she smiled, “Amazing isn’t it?”

Sarah sighed, “It sure is.”

Charlie grinned but it quickly faded. She suddenly became aware of a tingling sensation in her stomach and it was moving southward.

Abruptly she pulled away, knowing she needed to break the contact. The movement jolted Sarah, and when she realised she was no longer in Charlie’s protective arms she jumped away from the window swiftly.

Charlie guiltily looked down at her betraying body then back up at the young woman who stood by the wall, away from the window.

“God I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you like that.” she looked down at her hands. CRAP. “I just thought you should try it yourself. I guess I wasn’t thinking.

Sarah nodded her head, “Ok… I’ve had enough now for today anyway.”

Charlie looked down at her hands again before moving her vision back to the worried looking blonde.

“Right…well I guess I will see you on Saturday unless there is anything else you want to talk about or you want to try this again tomorrow?”

“Saturday is fine.” The blonde stated and watched as the woman made her way to the door. She let her self out, giving the girl a brief smile before shutting it behind her.

Sarah dropped her face into her hands and sighed, slowly she slid down the wall. Great she noticed how my stupid body reacted to the way she held me and she was disgusted. Now she hates me, god maybe I do belong to stay in a place like this.

She dropped her head back against the wall with a thump. No I have to do this, maybe she did really just want to get me to stand there on my own… yea right. Oh who cares I have to do this.

Taking several deep breaths she rose to her feet and edged her way towards the window.

*******

The moon shone through the window of Charlie’ front room. She lay looking aimlessly at the blank screen of the TV. She hadn’t turned it on, and couldn’t even be bothered to do so. Her body was slumped on the sofa, one leg up over the armrest, and her head on the other.

In her hand she still held her backpack that she hadn’t even let go since she entered the house about forty minutes before. There was stillness in the air that the nurse hoped would send her into a dreamless sleep; she was exhausted.

The rest of the day had passed in a haze, the feelings of guilt she held keeping her from concentrating on anything. Finally by the time she was ready to go home, she had convinced herself that she’d overreacted completely to the whole situation, and had built it up into something it wasn’t.

But now she sat at home wondering whether she frightened or offended Sarah with her sudden change in behaviour and expeditious departure. The young woman did look kind of confused. Oh shit, talk about over reacting; I probably imagined the entire thing because it has been so long since I have had that kind of contact with a woman.

Charlie’s last relationship had been in med school, with the woman she was sure accused her of cheating. The nurse believed she had maliciously reported her to the medical board, because she had broke up with the woman to concentrate on her studies. After that incident she had sworn off getting involved with anybody else for life, besides in her line of work, the less private life you had the better. She would admit that occasionally she did miss the physical side and thought maybe that was what her body had reacted to. Deciding that all she need was a cold shower, she drug herself up of the sofa and towards the bathroom.

*******

Mark Stevens sat in a deserted corner of some back street pub, which he’d already forgotten the name of. The atmosphere was quiet and smoky making him feel completely alone, just how he wanted it. His unruly dark hair hung over his face, covering the black patch that hid his still healing eye. The ex-nurse cradled the beer he was drinking in both hands, not even remembering the seven he’d had before that one.

Only one thing was on his mind, and that was retribution. He was going to get back the bitch that had blinded him, and with every drink, he devised his plan in greater detail. Soon he would put it into action and she would pay for what she had one to him, once and for all.

*******

Friday was actually turning out to be quite a decent day. Charlie had woken to the spring sun shining through the window, making her feel an inner peace. Of course it could have also had something to do with the way she had finally managed to release her tension the night before. Her cold shower had left her feeling a little too invigorated, so she had to resort to other methods. Her mind had chosen to block out the image of the person who had finally sent her over the edge, so she had woken feeling calmer, yet none the wiser.

Charlie sat at her desk feeling the afternoon sun on her back, as she read through a file on one of her out patients. Her long dark hair hung over broad shoulders, blending in with the black top and trousers she was wearing.

Leaning back in her chair, she put down the folder and crossed her arms thinking about Bell Tower. The hospital was not supposed to hold the criminally insane and she wondered how it came to be that two, obviously dangerous prisoners had been sent there. Adams, she thought mentally rolling her eyes.

There was a knock at her door and she turned to see the director walk in.

Think of the devil, she mused.

Something immediately caught her eye. In the directors hand was her leather jacket. She had completely forgotten about it, and knowing where she had left it she wondered why he had it.

“Miss Taylor, I believe this is yours?”

Charlie rose from her seat and took the jacket from Adams, “Yes it is, why do you have it?”

“Unbelievable as it may seem, I found it in a patients room last night. I recognised it immediately as yours and retrieved it, this is the first moment I’ve had to return it though I’m afraid. Although stealing isn’t really something that happens here often, I can assure you the culprit will be dealt with accordingly.”

Charlie stared down at the black leather in her hands. She was confused, what was he talking about stealing; it wasn’t stolen?

“Err Mr Adams, I put this jacket around Sarah Austin when I found her restrained to her bed the other day.” She couldn’t keep the anger from leaving her voice; but the director didn’t seem to notice.

Adams rubbed his chin, “And why does she still have it then?”

The tall woman mentally rolled her eyes, “Because I forgot to pick it up again, that’s all. She did not steal it…” pausing she remembered something he had said earlier. “Hold on what do you mean, the culprit will be dealt with accordingly?”

Adams shrugged his shoulders, “Well as you know, if you do wrong you must be punished. When I found the jacket I believed it had been stolen and had to act accordingly.” He appeared so blasé.

The hands holding the jacket, tightened forcefully, “What did you do to her?”

“Well obviously segregation would be the best form of punishment, but being as though she does that willingly herself, I stopped her meals for the day.”

“WHAT…” realising she was shouting, she lowered her vice, “Didn’t she tell you I lent it to her?”

“She didn’t say a thing, and you should know lending patients your own belongings is not allowed Miss Taylor, I would like you to remember that in future. There are rules to maintain after all.”

Charlie knew she was beginning to loose it, “This is a fucking HOSPITAL isn’t it? You know, where we help people get well. Since when is STOPPING a patient’s food become common practice. And I didn’t lend my jacket to her, I covered her with it when I found her almost naked and restrained to her FUCKING BED.”

“Now Miss Taylor, I can understand you getting a little angry, but…”

Their ‘discussion’ was broken when Dale, one of the security guards burst into the room. His face was angry, and he held his baton within his right hand.

“Sir, Angel is causing a commotion, says she wants to see the new Psychologist.”

Now that Charlie’s door was open they could hear the screams coming from the secure patients corridor.

“Great…come on Miss Taylor, follow me.”

Confused, Charlie dropped her jacket on the desk and did as she was asked, following the director to Angle’s room. She didn’t think she was to see the two prisoners on this floor so she wondered why one of them wanted to see her.

The definite sounds of a raised female voice got louder, the closer they got to Angels room. Dale number 1, stood by the open door, baton in hand and his other raised in front of him. They couldn’t hear what he was saying as his appeared to be talking in hushed tones.

Finally they arrived, Charlie behind Dale 2 and the director. She held back purposely wanting more information, before she made her presence known.

Adams moved to stand beside Dale 1, “All right Angel, what is it this time?”

“I heard there was a new psychologist and I want to see her.” The voice demanded.

Adams shook his head, “Angel, why on earth do you want to see her, you have your own little shrink. Stop making a fuss and start behaving. Otherwise you will be punished.”

A cackling laugh sounded, echoing off the walls of the corridor,

“PUNISHED, do you really think I give a fuck what you people do to me. I just want to see what the new…” her words were cut short as Charlie came into view.

A wide toothy smile spread upon the prisoners face, and Adams looked around to see why she was smiling. He frowned disapprovingly upon seeing Charlie; he didn’t want Angel to think she could get her own way.

“Well aren’t you the pretty one.” The prisoner began, “My, my, I wasn’t told the newbie was such a beauty. I think I may have to change my shrinks. Tell me are you into those one to one, touchy feely, patient type bonding sessions?”

Charlie looked deeply into the woman’s wild, brown eyes, but didn’t reply.

“Cat got your tongue…shame I can think of a few things I would like you to do with it.”

“That’s it,” Adams shouted, “You have seen her, now why don’t we all just calm down and get back to normal?” He looked to the two Dales and motioned his head towards the Angel.

Charlie took a few steps back as the guards rushed in, grabbing the prisoner, as a nurse arrived ready to tranquillise her. Angel’s laughs continued as she was restrained and the needle punctured her skin.

The director took Charlie’s elbow and ushered her away and along the corridor.

“Well that was a more pleasant encounter than some we’ve had.” He stated.

The tall nurse frowned, “Is she usually tranquillised?”

The director nodded, “Yes, it seems to be the only way to control her violent outbreaks. That woman is a bad egg, from the day she born. It is probably genetic I would think.”

Charlie didn’t reply but continued to ponder the situation. Suddenly she looked at her watch, it was ten to three. Remembering she had an out patient group meeting in ten minutes she told Adams as much and raced off to get herself together.

She had just enough time to run down to the canteen and pick up some food.

Five minutes later she was back on the third floor and knocking on Sarah’s door. There was no reply, but she let herself in anyway knowing there was no other place the girl could be.

When she walked into the room she found her fast asleep on top of the bed. She lay on her stomach, with her arms up and bent by her head. Walking silently in, she placed the plate of food and glass of water on the bedside table.

Charlie looked at the young woman and couldn’t resist the temptation to move the strands of hair that had fallen over the side of her face. The feel of the strands were so soft between to tips of her fingers, and her skin felt so soft. Charlie didn’t resist the urge to graze her fingers once again over the incredibly smooth skin. The tips of her fingers burned at the touch.

Feeling a tickling sensation, Sarah was roused from her sleep to see a tall figure looming over her. Instantly she jumped up and moved away from the bed, before realising who is was.

Charlie held up her hands, “Easy…easy, it’s just me.”

Sarah took in an audible sigh, “You…sc…scared me.”

Charlie dropped one hand and used the other to push strands of her own hair behind her left ear, “Sorry.”

Sarah wondered why the woman was here, and then looked down at the plate she could see from the corner of her eye. Her stomach rumbled in need.

Charlie smiled, but it soon faded.

“Sarah, I’m sorry about what Mr Adams did, I forgot all about my jacket; this shouldn’t have happened.”

The young woman shrugged her shoulders, “It’s ok, Mr Adams tries to find any excuse to punish me lately.”

“Why?” Charlie asked.

Sarah shrugged her shoulders again and looked down at the food, “Can I?”

Charlie nodded and watched as the girl timidly picked up the plate and started eating. She looked at the clock and realised it was one minute to three.

“Listen I have to go, but I will see you tomorrow alright.”

Sarah nodded her head, mouth too full to speak. Charlie grinned at the girl and realised she wanted nothing more than to stay with her. Mentally scolding herself for her laps in professional detachment, again, she walked out of the room. Shutting the door behind her, she cringed as it mechanically locked itself.

*******

Saturday morning, Sarah always used to love Saturdays. Getting to lie in bed until noon, before her mother would call her down to get her lazy backside into gear. She was joking of course, and thinking back, it always made her smile remembering the times she had with her parents.

That was before her fear and shame made her turn away from them. Before the doctors had sent her to Bell Tower and before they had given up, believing she wanted nothing to do with them.

It hurt her to know that they had turned away from her, even though she knew she had ignored them first. Half of her wanted to cry out to them, letting them know the reasons why, yet the other half of her was afraid. She was ashamed of what happened and didn’t want anybody to know. She felt in the centre of a vicious circle with no way out.

Sarah looked at the clothes she intended on wearing today. Her choice was limited to what she was given and today she had chosen to wear black mid-thigh length shorts and a short, orange tank top. She was proud of her body and didn’t mind showing it off, especially considering a certain psychologist was coming to see her. She tried not to dwell on that thought too much though, knowing it was fruitless. Though she did believe that Charlie’s actions the day before had proved to her that there was no problem about what had happened at the window, and acting like nothing had happened was probably the best idea.

Once she was dressed she commenced the usual work out that she did every morning. She tried to use her body weight as much as possible in her exercise, to increase muscle gain.

Before she was sent to Bell Tower, she had never been much for over exertion, now she loved the adrenalin rush it gave her. Well that and the body. Starting with press-ups she began her usual work out.

*******

Looking up at Bell Tower, Charlie wondered what the castle used to be. She had been told that it was donated to the community when the last owner had died and the people had been less than pleased when they found out what it was to become.

It was old that she was sure of.

She could just see that the very top tower window was stained glass, though she couldn’t tell what the picture was. She could imagine it being occupied by some crazed scientist, working on freaky experiments in the dead of night. Laughing at her own crazed imagination that seemed on overdrive every time she thought about Bell Tower, she shook her head and made her way into the building.

Today was to be an easy, half day. Sarah was the only patient she had to see, so she intended on actually devoting some time to the girl. So far all other sessions had been cut short, and Charlie hoped Sarah was ready to try something longer. As she arose from bed at five, that morning she had come to an immediate decision; Sarah didn’t belong there and she was going to help her, even if they had to fight every step of the way.

Taking the stairs three at a time, her long legs carried Charlie to the third floor in no time. She knew Clinton and Abby were not working this morning but hadn’t been told who would.

Arriving at her office she dropped her backpack and shopping bag on one of the sofas. She had brought her own lunch in today, with hopes that she could lure Sarah out to eat with her. Whatever was holding the young woman back; she was determined to stop it. Realising she had nothing else to do, she left to go and see Sarah.

*******

“Seventy one, seventy two, seventy three, seventy four…”

Sarah paused mid air as she heard a knock on her room door. Thinking it was her breakfast, as it was only half past eight, she yelled for the nurse to enter, (in doing so informing who ever it was that she was decently dressed) and carried on with her
press-ups.

Charlie entered the room and froze.

“Seventy five, seventy six, seventy seven.”

She saw Sarah sprawled above the floor in the midst of her work out. She couldn’t help but notice the fine layer of sweat that covered her body, or the straining muscles in her arms and back. Wordlessly she stood by the door.

“Seventy eight, seventy nine…s…”

Realising somebody was standing at her door she stopped, letting her knees fall to the ground. Lifting her head she spotted a pair of brown boots, followed by a pair of faded blue jeans, in which were tucked a white top. Long black hair fanned around the shoulders and she didn’t have to think twice about who it was.

Lifting to her feet she looked at the woman and gave a sheepish smile, before lowering her head.

Charlie, realising she had yet to breath she decided now might be a good time. Blinking her eyes, she pulled air into her lungs and looked at the suddenly shy girl before her. She had to admit, the young woman had a beautiful body. It was compact and toned, giving her a very athletic appearance. She hadn’t noticed it the last time she had seen Sarah without clothes but then again she had far more important things on her mind.

Charlie cleared her throat,

“Ahem, err…if I am too early I can come back later.”

Sarah looked up at the woman and noticed the odd look in her eyes.

“No that’s all right, I thought it was breakfast, that’s all.”

Just then a butch looking woman with dark red hair and an obvious faux tan, walked into the room.

“Hi Sarah, I have brought your breakfast.” She placed it down and looked over to Charlie, a sudden smile forming on her lips, “And you must be Miss Taylor the new psychologist?” she held out a hand, “I’m Laura, and I am very pleased to finally meet you. I’ve heard so much about you and I have to say, none of it is exaggerated.”

Charlie smiled uncomfortably and looked to Sarah.

“Tell you what, I’ll come back in about half an hour when you have finished eating ok?” and with one last look, she was gone.

Sarah stood silently as she watched both nurses exit with an unusual feeling in her gut. That woman had flirted with Charlie, she noticed it straight away, but what she didn’t understand was why the gnawing anger in her stomach because of it. Confused she sat down to eat her breakfast; well at least Nurse Taylor seemed a little uncomfortable anyway.

Charlie made a swift exit from the woman who was attempting to ask her out, with an excuse about needing to make an urgent phone call. She retired to the safety of her office and closed the door.

Sitting at her desk images of Sarah crept into her mind. Jesus get a grip Charlie, she is a patient for gods sake.

Growling at her lack of control she jumped up and dove into her mail, hoping the time would pass quickly.

Half an hour seemed like an eternity and when if finally did come around she left her office before another second had the opportunity to pass.

She knocked and let herself into Sarah’s room. The girl sat cross-legged on her bed reading the book Mel had sent up to her. She looked up at the nurse and put down the book, a sudden nervous feeling in her stomach. Charlie smiled, closed the door, and walked over to her,

“Mind if I?” she gestured towards the bed.

Sarah nodded, and the tall woman sat down.

They were silent as Charlie watched the girl, look anywhere but at her.

“How are you today Sarah?”

The young woman looked up at the dark nurse and felt tears begin to sting the back of her eyes.

Noticing the look on the young girl’s face, Charlie was quick to act. Moving a little closer, but still trying to keep an acceptable distance, she looked deep into the sentient green eyes, “Hey what’s wrong?”

Sarah looked down but her chin was caught by two strong fingers and lifted.

“I’m afraid…I know I could keep putting this off like I have done so many times over the years, but I can’t. What you said keeps playing over in my mind and I realised that I do want to be happy. I want you to help me but I’m afraid I will have to face it.”

“But you won’t be facing it Sarah.”

The petite blonde looked at the taller woman confused, a tear finally making its way down her cheek.

“Because we are going to face it; together.”

Tears threatened to fall harder now and Sarah fought back the only way she could, with anger.

“Why do you care anyway?” she shouted diving off the bed, “There are other people in here who need your help, go and help them. All you people think you can control my life well you can’t, maybe I am happy to stay like this after all. Why should it bother you how a worthless good for nothing feels? I don’t care what…” realising what she was saying she covered her face with both hands. The tears flowed freely but she spoke anyway, “Oh I’m so sorry.”

Charlie was a little taken aback by the young woman’s outburst but quickly realised it was anger at her own situation. She moved forward and wrapped her arms around the blonde.

Her first instinct was to tell her that she did care, more than she should, but held back and just comforted the sobbing girl in her arms.

Sarah pushed her arms around the woman holding her and buried her head under the strong chin. As her tears lessened, she began to hear the woman’s beating heart. It was a little fast and she wondered whether the tall woman was still cautious because of the way she had acted two days ago.

Abruptly she pulled away and sat back down on the bed. Charlie was startled by the sudden movement, but didn’t react visibly. Instead she followed the girl back to the bed.

They sat side by side in silence both wanting to hear what the other had to say first. Charlie looked at the young woman through the corner of her eye. She knew she had to speak, and realised that maybe just getting to know each other would be a fine way to make them both feel at ease.

“Do you want to hear a funny story?”

Sarah immediately looked up with interest, “Sure.”

Charlie grinned, “Great let me tell you about the time I decided to move away from home at eight years old.”

Sarah sat listening to Charlie’s story smiling slightly. She listened on how a young Charlie had pitched a tent in her mothers garden intent on moving out after she had been told she wasn’t allowed to go the a local football match, with the older boys.

She couldn’t help but laugh as Charlie described how she had stubbornly stayed out all day thinking her mother would be heart broken. By night time she had decided to move back home explaining to her mother that she didn’t want to leave her all alone. But really it was because she was sick of eating blackberries from the garden all day, as she had forgotten to take any other food with her when she left.

Listening to Sarah chuckle Charlie realised that it was the most beautiful sound in the world and she would do anything to hear it every day.

“So you were a bit of a hell raiser as a child?” The young woman asked.

Charlie grinned, “Ha, I was your average tom boy, I used to beat up the bullies and steal their money.”

“Like Robin Hood?”

Charlie laughed at that, “No I’m afraid not, I used to keep the money and spend it on chocolate.”

Sarah dropped her head in her hands laughing, and the tall woman instantly missed the smile that accompanied it.

“Right now it is your turn.”

Sarah looked up suddenly, “What?”

“You know tit for tat, quid pro quo.”

Sarah sighed, “I…don’t have any funny stories, I can’t remember them if there are any.”

Charlie decided to take a leap, “Well is there anything else you want to tell me?”

The young woman pursed her lips, “Like what?”

“I really am not going to push you Sarah, I just want you to trust me, and know that you can tell me anything.”

The girl looked away, “Do you want to see something?” she asked.

“Sure”

Slowly she stood up and walked to the partially open curtains. She hesitated briefly before pulling them all the way open and standing by the window.

Charlie couldn’t contain the smile that spread across her lips.

“I’m so proud of you Sarah, I know that was difficult for you, but just think, if you can do this, what else you could do.”

Feeling self conscious, the girl turned towards the window looking out at the early morning dew, still clinging to the bushes near the hospital.

“I had forgot how beautiful the world was in the morning. Seeing the first rays of sun, light up the sky, and how it creates exquisite looking shapes in the clouds. When I was younger, I used to think that clouds were kingdoms of the Gods. They would move over the land watching over us mere mortals.” She smiled in spite of her self.

“It’s an interesting thought.” Charlie replied. “When I was little I used to think stars were actually holes in the sky, that were there to let water through when it rained.”

Sarah looked back at the woman with a frown, “So did I,” she stated.

Charlie grinned, “Well you know what they say, ‘great minds think alike’”

The blonde smiled, “Maybe so.”

Silence returned again, so Charlie moved to stand behind the girl by the window. Sarah could feel the heat moving off the woman in waves.

“Sarah? …Tell me why.”

The young woman closed her eyes and trembled.

“Please?” Was whispered gently by her right ear. “Let me help make this all go away.”

“Can you?” was the timid response.

“I want to.” Was all Charlie could reply.

Sarah put her arms around her body hugging herself tightly. She knew it was now or never, so with a trembling voice she began.

“ I was always shy at school, but desperately wanted to fit in with the other girls. It never felt right though, they were always interested in clothes and boys and I never saw the big attraction.”

She paused wondering whether Charlie understood what she meant.

“Anyway while at college I became friends with this girl, who introduced me to her friends. They seemed to accept me willingly and so I naturally thought I had found new friends. They were into partying, drugs and things like that. I knew my parents would be annoyed with me for my choice in friends, but I thought I knew best, you know I was nineteen after all.”

She laughed at her own naivety and felt Charlie’s hand rest on her shoulder, giving her the courage to continue.

“I just wanted to fit in as best I could so I got involved with the partying although I promise I never did any drugs, not even I was that stupid. Anyway the girl I was friends with Tanya…she told me that her brother had a crush on me and asked me whether I wanted to go out on a date with him. All the other girls had boyfriends so, naturally just wanting to fit in I agreed.”

She stopped feeling a lump rise in her throat.

Charlie put both her hands on Sarah’s arms and squeezed gently, “Go on.” She coaxed, without though she let both her arms wrap around the younger woman’s small frame.

“He picked me up from home one night and took me out to the cinema. We had a good time, I felt like he would make a decent friend even though I knew he wanted more. Afterwards we went for a walk in the park. He told me that he liked me and tried to kiss me. I pushed him away, telling him I wasn’t interested in him in that way. He decided not to take no for an answer.”

A strong tremor ran through Sarah’s body and Charlie held on tighter, willing her to continue.

“I was so afraid by the sudden change in him that I froze. I let him to what he wanted after it became clear that my pleas for him to stop were fruitless. After he told me never to tell anyone. He said that if he ever saw me around again he would tell everyone that I was a slut, that I was rubbish in…well you know.”

Charlie nodded her head.

“He said that I was a cheap dyke whore, and no one would ever want me. Then he left me there, beside a group of bushes.”

Charlie felt an anger in which she had never felt before, well inside of her. She imagined this guy and what she wanted to do to him, but when Sarah started talking again, her anger left and she continued listening to the girl.

“I was so scared at what he had said, and so ashamed by what had happened that I ran home intent on never leaving again. I locked myself away in my bedroom and didn’t come out for days and when I did come out of my room, I couldn’t wait to get back in. Before long, I couldn’t come out of my room at all. When I did, I felt sick…fearful. I couldn’t even bear to look out my window, so I kept the shades closed. My parents didn’t understand, but I couldn’t tell them what happened; I didn’t want them to think less of me. I hated myself for what happened, and believed it was entirely my fault. Do you know what the strange thing is?”

Charlie rubbed her arms once up and down you girls’ arms and felt Sarah loosen the grip on her self and sigh. “What?” she asked

“That now I feel so angry at him for making me feel all the things I did. I can’t believe it has all lead to this, and that I am the one in this situation. I let him beat me.” She said almost disbelievingly.

Charlie sighed pulling the young woman closer to her. She could feel the tremors start in the body in front of her as tears began to trail down the girls face.

Turning Sarah around, she pulled her into a comforting embrace and held on tightly. She became aware of the feelings bubbling freely to her surface and tried desperately to ignore them. She was beginning to feel more for the girl than she knew she should, but felt deep inside that she was powerless to stop the emotions. All she had to do was control them so she wouldn’t scare the young blonde.

Sarah let go of her arms and held on to the dark woman, never had she felt so safe, and protected before. Taking deep cleansing breaths she tried to calm herself.

“I don’t want to be afraid anymore Charlie, please help me?”

The woman held on to the girl and placed a kiss on her head, “I’ll do everything in my power to help you Sarah.”

Charlie stood holding the girl for as long as she could, but told herself she had to let go as soon as Sarah tried to move. She breathed in deeply the scent of soap from the warm body within her arms.

Thinking that it wasn’t right for her to be holding on to the nurse, Sarah reluctantly moved away from the embrace.

“I haven’t been out in four years, but I want to now. I just don’t think I am ready to go out there.” She pointed out to the front of the hospital.

Charlie thought for a while, “I have an idea… do you trust me?”

Sarah nodded her head, “I think you are the only one I do.” She stated emphatically.

Charlie paused and let the impact of those words sink though her. “Ok…let me go and ask permission to do something then I will be right back, that all right?”

The blonde frowned, wondering what the tall woman had in mind, but nodded her head.

“Great see you in one minute.”

Charlie turned and swiped her card through the mechanism allowing her to exit the room. She turned and ran to the guards’ room.

Dale 1, had noticed the nurse sprint towards his room, and stood up wondering what was going on. He had been watching her in Sarah Austin’s room but they had moved out of view when they stood at the window.

Charlie entered the room to find the guard waiting for her,

“What can I do for you Miss Taylor?”

Charlie paused to look at the CCTV screens before speaking; she could see Sarah sitting on her bed, with a nervous look on her face.

“Dale, this card allows me access to any part of the building right?” She held up her ID card.

The guard nodded.

“So if I wanted to take a patient anywhere around here I could?”

Again the guard nodded, “Are you going to take Miss Austin out?” He asked almost disbelievingly.

Charlie smiled, “Sort of. Thanks Dale.” And with that she was gone.

The security guard watched her run back up the corridor on the monitor.

Sarah heard the door click open and Charlie walk in. The expression on the woman’s face was a mix of excitement and trepidation.

“You ready to come with me?” She asked.

“Where are we going?”

The nurse smiled and took the young woman’s hand, “Trust me.” She stated.
Part 3
Sarah held her breath and followed Charlie out of her room; it had been a long time since she had done this. Holding onto the hand within hers she stepped across the thresh hold and out into the corridor. Instantly her breathing escalated and her heart pounded, she looked back into her room.

“Charlie, I can’t do this.”

The tall woman turned to the frightened blonde, “Yes you can Sarah, I know you can you have to believe me. Just let the feelings wash over you, feel the fear yet do it anyway. It is the only way to beat it, and I will be with you the entire time.”

Sarah closed her eyes feeling the tears come, taking a strained deep breath she started to walk again. Every step felt like a further mile away from the sanctuary of her room, yet she continued. I can do this; I can do this.

She looked around the corridor trying to find something to focus her mind on, in the end it turned to the dark woman holding her hand. I’ve known her five days and look at what she’s done to me, she thought stunned.

Nervous enough for the both of them, Charlie gently led the young woman towards her office. She opened the door and walked inside. Sarah followed wondering where she was. Noticing the jacket on the sofa she hazarded a guess.

“This is your room?”

Picking up the plastic shopping bag, and her jacket, Charlie turned around and smiled.

“Yep, I know it’s not very comfortable looking but, well I have only just got it after all.”

Sarah walked around the room, “So you have got to fill it with your own personal knick knacks and bits of junk?”

The older woman laughed, “No it will probably be just a picture of my mum and I and a little Zen garden, I tend to fiddle around with.”

“Oh.” Sarah answered and filed away the little bit of information she was given.

She stopped her perusal of the office when she reached the window and looked out. The view was different to her room, giving her a closer look at the city, though it was still distant.

Charlie, sensing the stillness of the room, looked to Sarah. The girl seemed lost in her own thoughts. Cursing her own thoughtlessness, she walked over to the blonde silently.

“Sarah if this is too much for you today I understand. You’ve had quite and emotional morning, if you want to wait until next week I will understand.”

The young woman turned to Charlie, “No I am ready, I have spent years trying to put this off, besides I feel kind of freed, and you know the proverbial weight off the shoulders quote.”

The older woman still noticed the glistening of unshed tears in the younger ones eyes.

“Well if you are sure?”

“As long as you will be with me, I know I can do this.”

Charlie felt warmth inside at the trust so obviously placed in her by the girl. Reaching out she placed a hand on a surprisingly muscular arm and rubbed it gently.

“Ready then?”

Sarah nodded, she looked down at the bag in Charlie’s other hand, “Can I ask what’s in the bag?”

Charlie winked, “Ah, you will have to wait and see.”

Sarah arched her eyebrows and let a tiny smile grace her lips. The taller woman watched the blonds features change, as her eyes slightly glistened and came alive with wonder. She decided she would happily dedicate all her life to seeing that smile grow bigger, if she was the cause.

“Ready?” she asked.

Sarah nodded, and cautiously moved to re-grasp the older woman hand. Charlie smiled inside and took the offered appendage willingly and together they walked out the office.

They took a small hallway that led off to the right at the end of the corridor. Sarah desperately trying to calm her nervously beating heart, took constant deep breaths. Charlie had never actually been to this part of the building before and was just guessing which way to go. They followed the narrow hallway to its end; there they found a dark brown door. Charlie swiped her ID card through the lock and the door clicked open.

“Well surprise, surprise.” She stated in wonder.

“Where are we going?” The blonde whispered.

Charlie winked, “Wait and see, I am a little unsure my self, I have never been in this part of the building. I am new here myself remember.”

“Not that I want to keep questioning you, but how do you know where you are going then?”

Charlie pushed the door open, “Trust me…I have many skills,” she replied with a mischievous grin, earning an eye roll and a smirk from the blonde.

The contrast on the other side of the door was huge. Before them they found a narrow winding staircase. It was grey stone as were the walls, so unlike the bleached whiteness of the main hospital. The temperature change was noticeable too, as a cold blanket of air swept over them. Sarah visibly shivered and the dark woman released the jacket from under her arm, pulling it around the girl’s shoulders. The protest the young woman was about to make, died on her lips due to the no nonsense look on the taller woman’s face.

“You still ok?”

Sarah nodded, “I’m feeling alright…well a little nervous…alright a lot nervous, but I will be fine just let’s not stop now.”

“Well assuming that I am on the right path…follow me.”

Charlie took the lead and began a slow trek up the steps. She had never actually gone up a spiral staircase before. Behind her Sarah was enjoying it.

“I love these types of stairs, when I was younger my mum and dad took me to Warwick Castle. There are loads of spiral staircases there, and once you get on them you can’t turn back, because there are lots of people behind you. My mum hated it though, she felt a little claustrophobic and she wasn’t too pleased when she found out you had to go up and down a couple of these things just to get out.”

Sarah smiled in the to herself thinking about her parents. “She wouldn’t go down the dungeons either, my dad had to take me. It was really spooky down there, so I didn’t blame her.”

“I’ve never been there.” The woman in front stated.

“Oh I will have to take you some time.” The young woman joked.

Charlie looked around as she continued up the steps, “Ok, it’s a date.”

Once the word passed from her lips, the older woman flinched. She hadn’t meant to say that, but she was sure the implications of her words meant more to her than they did to the younger woman. She chastised herself for her unprofessional thoughts.

I have got to stop this, how am I supposed to help her when I am attracted to her…hold on did I just say that…oh god it’s true I am attracted to her. What the hell am I supposed to do now?

She was interrupted from her thoughts as she realised they had come to the top of the stairs. Another door stood on the very last step, but this one didn’t hold a mechanical lock. With a sense of wonder she tried the handle and to her surprise, it opened. Looking back at Sarah in astonishment, she walked through the door, the younger woman closely behind.

They entered a small tower room at the top of the building. It was round and about seven foot wide in circumference. Charlie realised there must be other staircases leading up to the rest of the towers in other areas of the third floor.

There were two windows, both stained glass and held pictures of what Sarah thought looked like religious icons. The air was cold and damp and the tiny room was laden with dusty cobwebs.

Sarah shivered, feeling the need to tie her hair back, in order to make sure no unwanted eight legged creatures, made their way into her locks.

Charlie realised the room was completely empty, except for a small door that she noticed lead to the rooftop. She looked over at Sarah, who was busy running her hand though her hair to make sure there were no unwelcome visitors.

“You ready to go out?”

Sarah frowned, “Where?”

“There.” Sarah looked to where Charlie was pointing though a clear part of the multicoloured window. She could see a wide space of surface area in which to walk upon. She looked back a Charlie nervously.

“Think of it as your first step into the outside world without having to leave the building. How long has it been since you last went outside?”

Sarah looked down at her feet, “Since that night.”

“Sarah if you are not ready to do this I will understand, but I want you to know it will just be you and me up here.”

The young woman could feel her body begin to tremble. Her breathing increase and her throat constrict. Tears threatened to overwhelm her, but she was adamant they would not fall any more today. Repeatedly clenching and unclenching her fists, she looked to Charlie.

“I’m afraid, I won’t be able to do it. What if I never do it and I spend the rest of my life in here?”

A tear managed to work its was down her cheek and she wiped it away angrily.

Charlie walked up to the girl and took her face in both hands.

“You will be able to do it, I believe in you. I will be here with you the entire time…right here…always.”

The last whispered word felt like home to the young woman who stood looking into the clearest blue eyes she had ever seen. They stood looking at each other, unwilling to break the contact they both secretly relished.

Charlie’s heartbeat increased as she luxuriated in the soft skin beneath her palms. Something inside both women seemed to be searching the others eyes, and the green eyes found what they were looking for.

Charlie felt a pull as she took in the welcoming sight of the heart shaped lips in front of her. She was so close, all she had to do was lean forward and,

“NO!”

Sarah jerked as Charlie pulled back and away from the girl. The older woman could not believe she was just about to kiss her. Anger and self-hatred ensued and she looked away from Sarah disgusted with her self.

“We should get back, I have things to do.” The nurse stated angrily.

Walking back towards the door, Sarah could do nothing but follow, as the woman began to make her way back down the spiral staircase. Once they were at the bottom, Charlie activated the lock and they walked thought the door and into the hallway.

The young woman walked aimlessly behind, holding back her emotions as the now stoic nurse walked though the corridors back to Sarah’s room.

Once there she opened the door and Sarah walked quietly inside. Knowing she couldn’t leave like this Charlie thought of something to say, but her mind came up blank. She had never been good with words and now they eluded her more than ever, still she had to say something, anything,

“I am sorry…I…”

The look of revulsion on the younger woman’s face told her all she needed to know; never realising that Sarah was thinking the exact same thoughts as her.

Oh god now what do I say, look at her she hates the sight of me; she probably thinks I am sick. She had to have known what I wanted to do.

Charlie put her hand on the door, trying to think of some way to ease the situation.

“I will see you on Monday…ok?”

She could see Sarah’s bottom lip tremble and couldn’t take it any more. With one final look she closed the door behind her and walked away.

*******

Charlie had left the hospital in a haze, and spent the rest of the weekend wondering what she had done. She had almost kissed Sarah; almost, at least she hadn’t gone and actually done it. She lay in her bed for hours on end, wondering whether she had irrevocably ruined her chances of helping the young woman who had begun to trust her.

Damn it, she was the first person that Sarah had ever opened up to and this was how she had acted.

I’ve ruined it, whatever faith she has in me has gone. After all she went through telling me about her past, this is how I repay her trust.

Charlie lay in her bed, feeling like the lowest person in the world,

How can she ever trust me now? How am I ever going to face her?

She was startled out of her self-loathing by the ringing of her phone. It took her a while before she decided to answer it, and being as though the caller hadn’t given up, there was only one person it could be.

She picked up the receiver.

“Hello mother.”

“Alright dear, what’s wrong?”

Charlie sighed, “Mother how do you know something is wrong?”

Cecilia chuckled, “Because little one, the only time you don’t dive to answer the phone in three seconds flat is when you are upset, or angry. So which is it? You know you can tell me anything, sweet.”

Cecilia waited knowing her daughter would open up to her. They had always had a close relationship, well apart from the time she went through her rebellious teenage period. With only the two of them living together while Charlie grew up, they had become incredibly close. Cecilia’s husband had left before Charlie was born, but they managed just fine alone, and would not have wanted it any other way.

Charlie rolled onto her back, holding the phone with one hand and covering her face with the other. She didn’t feel ready for this, but knew her mother wouldn’t stop until she knew what was wrong with her daughter.

“It’s nothing really mother, I’ve just jeopardised a relationship with my patient and probably my career also.”

“Oh sweet heart what happened?”

Charlie forced air through her lips, “I really don’t want to talk about it now mother, and I’m a little tired.”

Cecilia clicked her tongue, “Look I know you Charlene, and you are probably lying in bed right now thinking that the world is about to end.”

Charlie scowled at the phone, “Am not!” she quickly got off her bed and sat on the floor.

“Ok, then you have just dived off your bed, and are probably sitting on the floor now making faces down the phone.”

The tall woman shook her head and grinned despite her self.

“Tell me what has bothered you so and maybe I can help you.”

Charlie sighed, “I…I have fallen for a patient.”

Silence.

“I almost kissed her yesterday and now I don’t know what to do.”

There was still silence.

“Mother please say something.

“Tell me about her case, sweetheart.”

Charlie began relating the story of how she had met Sarah and gave her a slight background into her case. She explained how she thought the young woman was merely misunderstood and a victim of her own fear. Cecilia listened carefully to everything her daughter had to say. The utter feeling of worthlessness came through in her voice.

“And that was yesterday, when you almost kissed her?”

Charlie nodded her head before realising she could not be seen, so answered yes.

“And what makes you think you have jeopardised your medical relationship and job?”

“Because, she probably feels as though I abused her trust.”

“Did you?”

“What?”

“Abuse her trust?”

“No, mother I can’t believe you would ask me that. From the moment I saw her I felt something deep inside. It was like I had looked into my future and saw her face. I hate to think of her locked away in that place.”

Cecilia smiled down the phone, “And how does she feel, sweetheart.”

The dark woman hung her head in defeat, “She won’t feel anything for me; she has way too much on her own plate to contend with. But I don’t care about my feelings, I want to get her out of there, I just wish I didn’t almost do, what I almost did.”

“Look sweet heart, remember it was in your mind you wanted to kiss her, you never told her. Your main problem is how you are going to explain your sudden departure. Because, unless she is a mind reader, she is probably feeling more hurt due to your sudden exodus than anything else.”

“Thanks mum.”

“Was that a sarcastic tone in your voice?” Cecile chuckled, “Listen little one, you have just got to go back and try again. If you need to rebuild her trust again then do it, you obviously think she is worth it. Don’t give in; remember you must practice what you preach. And when she is out of that place you can tell her I would like very much to meet her.”

Charlie smiled, “Ok mum, I love you.”

“Love you too sweet, see you soon.”

Charlie hung up the phone, feeling a little better.

*******

Sarah sat staring at yet another plate of food she didn’t want to eat. Her appetite had left her and she hadn’t eaten a single thing since Saturday morning. Every time her plate was collected the nurse would give her a worried look and she would explain that she was feeling a little under the weather and wasn’t very hungry. Luckily three different nurses had delivered her four meals, so she managed to get away with it, without being sent to the doctor.

Sitting wrapped in the jacket Charlie had left with her once again, she clung to the feeling of awareness. It comforted her every time she caught scent of the leather; it seemed so right for the woman to smell like that.

Putting her untouched plate on the side, she laid her back against the bed. Sarah was sure she would never see the woman again, and was just waiting for the moment a nurse would come and collect the jacket, telling her she was to get yet another psychologist.

How could I have been so stupid and allow myself to feel for her?

Yet she knew she felt powerless to stop it. From the first moment she had looked up into those clear blue eyes, she felt complete. Rolling over onto her stomach she buried her head into the pillow and sighed. She knew she should be feeling so proud of herself for what she had accomplished yesterday, but could not. The happiness was not there, and she knew only one person could bring it to her.

Maybe I will never know how it feels. She must really hate me; I could see it in her eyes. They were cold and full of loathing; all she did was try to help me for Gods sake.

Rising up suddenly, she pulled the leather from her body and slung it into the corner of the room.

“I hate you for making me feel like this.” She spat.

*******

If it were at all possible for Charlie to be anymore nervous than she already was, she knew it would soon come. She had woken up Monday morning feeling great for all of one second. Then as her memory kicked in and she remembered the recent happenings she began to feel her stomach flutter, and not in the good way.

Talking to her mother always helped, even though she didn’t always like the outcome. She was supposed to see Sarah in the afternoon and hoped the time arrived as slowly as possible. The confused woman still had no idea what to say and had tried rehearsing speeches in her mind, but to no avail.

Standing by the doors to the elevator, she hoped it would take forever to arrive.

“Why such a long face?”

Charlie turned to see a joyful looking Betty.

“Hey B, nothing just didn’t have such a good weekend is all.”

“Oh dear, why what happened?”

The younger woman shrugged her shoulders, “Oh not a lot really.”

“I see you are more a woman of action, well you’re back on the thirds today, you can certainly get action there.”

“Oh I’m sure this will be a day to remember.” She stated.

Just then the elevator arrived, they both got in and Betty tried to lighten the mood a little with a story about her weekend at the local health spar. She was glad that she managed to get at least a tiny grin out of the depressed looking woman.

*******

Clinton sat in the file room going over the reports from the other nurses who worked the weekend. He was reading up on how each patient on the third had been when something caught his eye. He scanned back to something he had read a moment ago, then further along the reports of the rest of the weekend.

“Sarah Austin hasn’t been eating? That’s strange the girl lives for her meal times.”

He pushed his large hands through his blond hair and leaned back in his chair.

Looks like I am going to have to talk to Charlie about this.

*******

The only way Charlie had managed to get through meetings with other patients was to clear her mind of anything else. Because of this she forgotten she was supposed to meet Betty for lunch, and had to apologise three times before she was forgiven.

The woman understood anyway, but admitted that she had enjoyed watching the tall nurse squirm. It was the first time she had been able to make Charlie chuckle that day.

When the nurse had finally made her way back to the third, Clinton was waiting for her by her door.

“Clinton what can I do for you?”

The blonde nurse noted the miserable expression on the dark woman’s face and realised it was very similar to one he had seen it on somebody else earlier.

“Can I talk to you for a moment?”

Charlie opened her door and they walked inside, she wondered what he wanted her for, he seemed a little concerned.

“I want to talk to you about Sarah Austin.”

Upon hearing the girls’ name, Charlie felt a heavy weight in her chest and her stomach churn.

“Wha…” she cleared her throat, “What’s wrong.” She asked trying to maintain a neutral expression.

Clinton however noticed, “She hasn’t been eating over the weekend. I went in to see her and take her lunch, but when I returned she hadn’t eaten that either. I am a little worried, she has never missed a meal before, and the girl loves to eat.”

Charlie felt guilt wash over her, believing she was the cause of Sarah’s lack of desire to eat.

She must hate me; she probably feels I tried to take advantage of her like that bastard four years ago. Fuck how am I supposed to face her now?

Clinton waited for Charlie’s response, “Are you going to see her?” He asked a little concerned by the way the psychologist was acting herself.

“Oh sure, she is next for me to see today anyway.”

The blonde nurse nodded his head and left, the other not even realising that he had gone.

I haven’t even thought about what I am going to say, nothing seems appropriate.

She took a deep breath, what do I have to loose?

She headed out of her office, “Everything.”

*******

Listening closely, there wasn’t a sound coming from the other side of the door. Hesitantly she knocked, but still nothing.

Dare I just walk in?

She knocked again and after waiting for thirty seconds with still no word, she let herself into Sarah’s room.

It was dull, as both curtains were fully closed. She could make out Sarah’s figure on bed lying on her back, but she couldn’t tell whether the girl was awake or not.

Anxiously she slowly walked over to her. She could hear deep breathing and knew the young woman was sleeping. Charlie debated whether or not to leave, but she felt she had gone this far; she might as well stay. Still she had to decide whether she should wake her and if so how.

The dark woman couldn’t help but get drawn to the complete look of peaceful innocence on Sarah’s face. She had to admit it even if it was to herself; the young woman was beautiful. Even though it was pretty dull in the room, to Charlie her hair shone with golden purity. She felt drawn and soon found herself sitting on the edge of the bed beside the vision before her.

Even if she wanted to, she could not pull away. The petite blonde lured her and she felt powerless to resist, like this was where she was supposed to be, by this innocent beauty’s side.

Taking a deep breath to calm her pounding heart, she traced long fingers once again over the softest skin and sweetest lips. Her heart ached for the touch, and without it she would surely perish.

Sarah was pulled to a semi conscious state by the feeling of intense warmth within her. She could feel her face being stroked, then the touch was gone, but a moment later it appeared again, only this time on the hand she had resting on her stomach. She basked in the contact, feeling safe and secure.

Charlie let her fingers roam over the small appendage, noticing for the first time a small ring on the pinkie finger of her left hand. Looking up to Sarah’s face once again, she waited for her eyes to focus in the dullness.

Suddenly her breath hitched.

Two green eyes were watching her closely.

She attempted to pull away her hand, but two smaller ones caught it. Charlie looked at her hand then back at the girl holding it. A thousand thoughts swirled around in her mind, but she couldn’t seem to speak. Insistent green eyes continued to look into her, and the terrified woman suddenly calmed.

“I’m sorry Sarah.”

“For?” The confused young woman asked, looking straight at Charlie.

“For…for running out on you the way I did, I realise how it must have looked and I am sorry. It was all my fault and I can understand if you want to change therapists.”

“Why would I want to change therapists?”

Charlie looked a little confused, “Sarah, I…what I did…it was so wrong…I”

She looked closely at the girl, “Even though it is dark, that isn’t the look of hatred that I was expecting to see.”

Sarah lowered her eyes, “I thought you hated me Charlie.”

The older woman closed her eyes wondering how Sarah had come to think such a thing.

She looked earnestly at the young blond, “Sarah look at me,” she waited till the green eyes were back on her, “Just so you know, I could never hate you, ever.”

She could see a single tear fall from the girl’s eye. Using her other hand she wiped it away.

“Sarah I think I…” she paused knowing she was about to cross a very dangerous boundary.

“What?” the young woman whispered.

“I…my…the feeling I have…for you…are more…” She finished

“More?”

Charlie sighed, this is so difficult and I know I should not be doing this but I have to tell her,

“More than a friend should feel for another friend.”

Please understand.

Sarah felt her heart burst with joy, never would she have dared to dream that the beautiful woman sitting beside her, would be saying these words.

Charlie tensed wondering whether she had just ruined everything. She watched a slow smile emerge on Sarah’s face, and a glimmer of hope sparked inside her.

“I feel it too.”

Charlie gulped audibly, “Say that again?”

Sarah squeezed the hand in hers, “I said I feel it too, I know what you are risking telling me this, but I do feel the same way.”

Charlie let the smile grace her lips as she listened to the words she wanted to hear. Then her smile left, to be replaced with a frown.

“Sarah, you know we can’t do anything about this, not while you are here. We would be breaking a million and one rules, and although I would happily risk my job for you, I don’t want to jeopardise…”

Sarah interrupted the older woman, “I understand what you are saying Charlie, and I would never allow you to risk your job for me, ok.”

The older woman smiled sheepishly, “I don’t know where we go from here.”

Sarah released the woman’s hand, “Like we have been, you helping me to get out of this place, for now anyway.”

Charlie took in a deep breath and let it out; she took one last look at the young woman before rising to her feet.

“Right, I am going to get you some food, while you open these curtains and see just what a beautiful spring day it is out there.”

Sarah got off her bed. “Great, I’m suddenly starving.”

They looked at each other, both communicating a silent desire, before turning away to do as Charlie had decided.

*******

Clinton was walking down the corridor when Charlie exited Sarah’s room. The young man jogged over to her, noticing the now totally different look the woman held.

“How is she?” He asked.

Charlie grinned, “She is fine, she just had a few things worrying her, I am going to get some food down her now. She seems to have her appetite back”

Clinton nodded his head, “That’s great, I’m glad. I was worried about her.

When I went to see her earlier, she looked like she had just lost a puppy or something. Wouldn’t speak, just sat looking like the world was about to end. I hated seeing her like that, she has a lovely smile when she uses it”

Charlie nodded her head wondering how lovely he thought Sarah’s smile actually was.

“Well I better get to the kitchen and see what culinary delights they have on offer today.” She smiled and walked towards the security room, intent on using the elevator.

Clinton noticed the slight spring in her step and let his mind wander.

Charlie was back in five minutes with three dinners, one for her and two for the hungry blonde. They sat and ate together before the nurse had to see her next patient. The tall woman left with the promise that they would finish the journey they started Saturday morning.

That left Sarah with a nervous feeling in her stomach, one she knew would be there for the rest of the day.

*******

The only sound in the darkened office was a persistent ticking. Graham Adams looked at the clock wondering why he had agreed to put it in his room. It was dam annoying sometimes, and if it were not for that fact that his wife had brought it for him, he would have gotten rid of it months ago. Not that the clock managed to do its job. He was given it so he would return home at a respectable time, yet here he sat two hours late, and still in his office.

He leaned further over the file he was reading, taking in every single fact, right down to the punctuation and grammar.

Charlene Taylor was turning out to be an interesting read. Since meeting the woman he had tried to find out whatever he could about her. He had read the report made at the boards hearing; that one of the accusations risen apart from the original cheating was that she was a promiscuous lesbian, seducing other female students to help her own career. She had denied that and he was glad, but not surprised. There was no way a beautiful woman like her, could be one of those sort.

Leaning back in his chair, he pulled out an attached photo of her. He couldn’t deny it; he wanted the woman. Married or not he was going to make sure he got what he wanted. All he had to do was wait.

Adams had heard Charlie had gotten a little attached to one of the patients, and if things worked out right, when Mark Stevens got his revenge on that certain person, she would need a shoulder to cry on. He definitely was getting more out of Mark’s offer than just the money. For that reason he was happy for the tall woman to believe she would be helping Sarah Austin, she would be out of the way soon enough. Then with the patients tragic, and sudden death, he would be there to offer a helping hand of emotional support.

Leaning back in his chair, he decided to make a call to one of his favourite patients.

*******

Angel sat on her bed, legs crossed and elbows resting on her knees. Her hands were on her face and she used her fingers to push the features around. Taking her index finger, she snapped her lip repeatedly, hearing the pop echo through the room.

Hearing the lock activate, she grinned, knowing only one person would visit her at this time of night.

“What gives me the pleasure of this visit?” She asked before the director even entered the room.

Adams walked in, shutting the door behind him.

“Wanted a chat, that’s all and you know how I love our little midnight tête-à-tête.”

Angel made a bored looking face.

“You bore me…go away. Say, is nursey here, I’m sure she could give me some ‘entertainment’”

Adams bristled, “No, she is not. So does this mean you don’t want to talk tonight?”

Angle rolled her eyes; “All you ever want to talk about is what I did to get me a first class room in The Bell Tower Hilton.”

“I find you interesting Angel.”

The young woman sighed dramatically, “Yeah, well like I said…you bore me so sod off.”

“Angel…”

“Ah, ah, ah…go on now, like the little worm you really are. I’m not in the mood tonight…headache you know…now go away.”

Adams shrugged, “Fine…see you tomorrow.”

“Can…not…wait. Bugger off, you are distracting me from my reminiscing.”

The director opened the door, and walked swiftly out of the room. She wanted him to leave…fine…but he would be back again tomorrow.

*******

Charlie had wanted to ring her mum that night. To tell her what had happened and ask for advice. She would have never imagined her feelings would be reciprocated, but it did leave her with something of a problem.

How were they supposed to interact with each other now?

Sarah had said they must go on as before, her helping the young woman out of Bell Tower, but obviously something had changed. Through the short time Charlie had known the girl, she had come to hold profound feelings for her, greater than she dared to admit even to herself.

Although her ethics and commonsense told her, she should not see the young woman as a patient, she knew it was a fruitless attempt. Sarah has somehow gotten in between her carefully constructed barriers and made her want again.

More than just want though, she had made her need the girl, and that was the worst part. How was she supposed to carry on, knowing all she wanted to do was take the girl in her arms and make her see just how much she was affecting her.

Charlie lay in her long, hot bath trying to put her feelings in order. One thing she knew for certain, she was not going to give the blonde up to another therapist. She would continue working with her, but she would have to keep tighter control on her feelings, and, more importantly, the expression of those feelings. That was going to be a hard one, but the last thing she wanted was for people to find out and accuse her of taking advantage.

Am I taking advantage? No she said she feels the same for me. What if she was just saying that to defuse the situation? No again… I saw it in her eyes. Those beautiful green eyes…

“Oh get a grip, Charlie.”

Sliding down the tub, she immersed her self fully in the water, allowing a little bubble to surface every so often. Eventually she resurfaced, pulling vast amounts of air back into her lungs.

“Sarah…damn it…I wish you were here now.”

*******

Sarah lay in bed, watching the darkness around her. Her room was peaceful, but not silent. She could hear talking from outside. Probably between two nurses and there was the distant sound of an awful shouting. She knew there were two prisoners on the third and had a feeling, that the woman shouting and occasionally screaming was one of them. The young blonde couldn’t hear what was said, but she felt pain in her voice.

The peacefulness of her room was suddenly shattered by the sound of the mechanical locking device activating. She was temporarily blinded when the light came on and she had to shield her eyes until they adjusted to the sudden brightness.

Once so, she removed her hand to see Director Adams standing about six foot from her bed.

“Hello Sarah.”

Her eyes nervously searched the room, hoping he wasn’t alone; no such luck.

“It is polite to speak when you are spoken to, little girl.”

She swallowed, “Mr Adams?”

“I hear you have been getting out a bit, you went for a walk on Saturday.”

Sarah nodded her head, “Yes.”

“And how do you feel?”

Her eyes scanned the small room again, “Good.”

“Well that’s all fine, but should a person like you be feeling like that?”

The blond woman looked at him confused.

“You are not a very nice person are you Sarah?”

“I don’t…”

“YOU are not a very nice person. Nice people don’t go around attacking innocent people with needles and permanently blinding them, do they?”

She felt her heart rate increase, “I didn’t…”

“You didn’t attack him, blind him for life? That is the reason people like you are in placed like this, so you don’t go hurting innocent people.”

Sarah didn’t want this, “But he was trying to…”

“Nothing…I don’t want to hear your lies, and I don’t want you telling them to anybody else either, understand?”

Sarah frowned unsure of what he meant; she was getting frightened.

“Don’t go spreading your lies with any of the other nurses. I have already told them all you are a liar and shouldn’t be trusted. And don’t you go trying to worm you way into Miss Taylor’s affections either. You leave her affections with me…understand?”

He walked over to her till his nose was a mere inch away from Sarah’s.

“Sorry I didn’t hear you, do…you…understand girl?”

She nodded her head hesitantly.

“Good, now if you will excuse me, I am sure Miss Taylor will be waiting for me by now. We have a long evening planned…goodnight.”

Spinning around on his heels, he turned out the light and left the room, silently closing the door behind him.

Sarah sat in bed, heart pounding, and chest moving rapidly. Her head fell forward and long golden hair slipped over her shoulders, tickling her face. Charlie and Mr Adams…has she lied to me the whole time?

*******

Charlie rose from bed the next morning after a fitful sleep She hadn’t been able to rest, or calm her mind at all. She had been filled with tremendous anxiety all night; and not knowing the source, it troubled her deeply.

Realising it was still quite early; she decided a good long run was on the agenda. That was one of the good points about living by the countryside she decided…plenty of open space.

When she was younger, she had lived in the city and didn’t really care for the peace and tranquillity of pastoral England, now she loved it. The tall woman had developed a great appreciation for solitude and enjoyed the freedom it gave her.

By the time Charlie was ready for work, she was dressed in her favourite pair of black cargo trousers and top. She went into her study and picked up her brief case and backpack and got ready to leave the house. She realised once again that she hadn’t retrieved her jacket for the second time, so once more, left the house without the comfort of her leather.

*******

Still in the shorts and t-shirt she wore for bed, Sarah lay on top of the covers staring up at the ceiling. Both hands were under her head and her legs were crossed at the ankles. She didn’t move a muscle, didn’t want to.

The blonde hated the camera in her room just as much as the first time she had to use the toilet, with it there. She soon realised that its field of vision didn’t reach the whole room, missing out the window and the bathroom area; but just the same she hated it.

Right now she wanted to shout and scream in frustration. She wanted to pace the floor and throw something, but she couldn’t. Sarah knew that what ever Adam’s was up to, he was sure to be watching her, or getting one of his lackeys to keep an eye on her.

I don’t get it, what did I ever do to him? Bastard, I don’t know why he hates me so much. Why does he want me to think he and Charlie are involved, he knows that I trust her and he wants me to be angry at her for liking somebody like him, but why? What does he have planned?

*******

Adams stood in the security room, looking silently at the monitors. He had heard that Sarah Austin hadn’t made a sound all night, and still she just lay on her bed. This was not what he had planned; he wanted her to be angry. The director was counting on the girl to be incensed at the tall woman for dating him.

He was counting on her feeling as though she would no longer be able to trust the tall woman, and regret telling her whatever secret he was sure they had shared. He needed her to have an emotional episode, so that all his plans would fall into place.

The director was no fool; he knew the girl didn’t like him. Hell, he had made damn sure of that, and if she thought her new trusted friend was attached to him, all the better.

She had a temper on her, that he knew, but if he didn’t make her angry, he would have to rethink a few details and there really wasn’t much time for that. Mark Stevens was waiting and Graham Adams wanted his money.

Seeing the elevator doors open, he turned to see Charlie walking into the room. He didn’t like her state of dress at all, she looked far too scruffy, but he decided now was not the right time to bring it up.

The thin man smiled at the woman walking towards him,

“Good morning Miss Taylor, and how are you today?”

Charlie looked at the overly friendly man with veiled suspicion, he seemed too nice this morning.

“Tell me, how are things going with your patients? I heard you actually managed to speak to Jordan, and got Sarah Austin out of her room without medication.”

“Yes I am getting some positive responses from them.” She answered politely.

“Well that is excellent, I must say you have far exceeded my expectations. Actually I have a few ideas I would like to talk over with you on how to improve certain aspects of the patients’ progress. I was wondering whether you would be able to meet with me and discuss them?”

“Oh…sure…I am free just after lunch.”

Adams frowned, “No that is no good, I am very busy today, but I would like to discuss them with you A.S.A.P. How about after working hours?”

Charlie tried to think of an excuse, unfortunately she came up short, “Well I guess that would be ok, you just let me know when and where and I shall see whether that would be convenient.”

“No problem, I shall just go check on a few things and get back to you later, ok, and I sure hope it will be convenient I have though long and hard about these improvements.”

Charlie smiled politely and nodded her head, already turning away and swiping her ID card though the lock. She was granted instant access and disappeared through the door.

The director grinned, unseen in the security room; things appeared to be going his way. Still there was one thing left to do.

*******

Charlie had spent the first part of the morning with Clinton, though her thoughts were with a certain patient that she desperately wanted to see. Still she had to wait, the nurse couldn’t just start constantly going in there. She needed to restrain her desire to see the young woman.

The second part of her morning was spent with a patient that had just been admitted onto the third. Her name was Dora and she was a paranoid schizophrenic; Charlie saw a lot of hope in the woman.

After lunch the psychologist decided to go and see Sarah a little earlier, she reasoned that she had waited long enough.

Sarah had only just got dressed and stood by the window looking out over the countryside. It was a beautiful day made even more so by the light spring rain in the far distance that had created a rainbow in the sky.

She was jousted from her admiration by the door unlocking. Turning around she saw Charlie standing at the entrance. A smile formed on both of their lips and the desire to move into each other’s arms was written plainly on their faces. The older woman took a step in, but was halted by her name being called.

She turned to see Adams swiftly walking towards her. He stopped by the entrance to Sarah’s room and turned to the woman, ignoring the younger one completely.

“Is half seven ok for tonight?”

Charlie shrugged, “Sure. Where shall we meet?”

The director took a quick look at Sarah before continuing.

“There is a small pub about five minutes into the village…you have probably seen it on your way in. We can meet there, they do good food as well, I shall see you there ok.”

He turned and looked briefly again at Sarah, giving her a cold smile before turning and walking away.

Charlie shut the door behind him. I certainly wont be staying long enough to eat, she thought.

Behind her Sarah was in turmoil. Feelings of confusion, anger, hurt and disbelief flooded though her, and she felt herself falling to her usual motto:

‘When confronted with emotions get angry.’

Charlie turned around to see Sarah’s head bent, fists hanging by her side. Instinctively she moved beside the young woman, putting an arm around her in comfort. What ever had upset her, she would make the blonde feel better.

Sarah moved from her side, lashing out with her fist, knocking the arm away from her.

“Get your fucking hands of me.” She shouted.

The tall woman looked at her evenly, “What?”

“DON’T you ever touch me again.”

Charlie tried not to get angry at her sudden out burst, “What are you talking about?” she asked evenly.

Sarah moved away from her, anger clouding her senses.

“Don’t act innocent with me. I don’t know what you two are up to but it isn’t going to happen.”

Charlie’s eyes took on an incredibly icy look, but she still tried to remain calm. Something was amiss and she knew it.

“What do you mean ‘you two are up to’ who two Sarah?”

The young woman clenched and unclenched her fists, “You and Adams.” She spat, “Don’t think he didn’t tell me about the two of you. What do you think I was just something to use, or was I something for you both to amuse yourselves with. How could I have been so fucking stupid?”

Tell her about us, what us?

Charlie walked up to the young woman and grabbed her firmly by the arms. Sarah tried to struggle but to no avail. The older woman was incredibly strong, she could not move.

“LET ME GO.”

Charlie held on firm, waiting until the girl realised it was a futile attempt. Eventually she stopped struggling, her eyes shining with unshed tears.

“Sarah,” Charlie’s voice was deep and warm, “I don’t know what you are talking about, but look me in the eyes and tell me you truly believe what you are accusing me of.”

The young woman looked away, but her chin was pulled back, so she looked straight into the pale blue orbs. She looked and she looked, seeing more in those eyes than had ever been allowed to show before. The world seemed to evaporate into nothingness, leaving only the two of them, silently communicating that which words were failing to do. Charlie noticed the change in Sarah and confusion set into her grass green eyes.

“I don’t understand.” The young woman stated.

“Neither do I, but I think you can fill me in.”

Still feeling a little uncomfortable, she pulled her arms easily out of the tall woman’s grasp and took a step away from her. Charlie stood still, waiting patiently. This whole sudden outburst leaving her confused, angry and hurt by the way Sarah had reacted. She regarded the blonde girl closely; she sure seemed more troubled by whatever it was that was bothering her, than she would care to admit.

Well her actions had proved that.

“Speak to me sweetheart.”

Sarah looked up at the sudden endearment. Spurred on she spoke, “Mr Adams… he came in here last night, and said a few things.”

The woman felt a burning spark, “What things?” It was said through clenched teeth.

“He said that…well he said…I was erm…” The blond looked down, still confused as to what was going on. A movement caught her eye and she looked up to see Charlie walk towards the window. The tall woman jerked her head, looking at the girl informing her that she wanted her to follow. Taking a deep breath she obeyed, keeping her eyes trained on the floor.

Once they were out of the cameras view, Charlie cupped both her hands around the young woman’s face drawing her up so she could look into her eyes. She resisted what she wanted so badly, in order to speak.

“Do you want to get away from this room for a while?”

Sarah looked up, her face a mix of hope and trepidation.

“We can go up to the roof again, if you want to?”

Hesitantly she nodded her head. Charlie grinned and walked towards the door.

“Follow me.”

*******

Sarah found herself, once again in the small circular tower. She watched hesitantly as Charlie walked towards the door leading to the open roof.

“No, can we just stay in here for a while.”

The woman nodded her head, “Sure.” Still standing away from the girl she asked her once again to tell her what was going on.

Sarah sighed, “Last night Mr Adams came into my room. He said some really nasty things to me…”

“What things?”

“It doesn’t matter now, the thing is he made me believe that you thought I was a hateful liar and that you and him were…you know…together.”

“Are you sure?” she questioned.

“YES, I was there. He made arrangements with you to meet in front of me earlier. He is up to something, I tried not to believe him, but after I saw him with you I guess I kind of lost it.”

“Why would he say those things to you, Sarah?”

The young woman let out an exasperated sigh, “I don’t know, he wants to make me angry, he know my reaction to things is through violence. I know it shouldn’t be but I just get scared and lash out.”

Charlie turned around, looking through the stain glass window. She could just make out a distant rainbow, through a clear pain of glass. The woman was angry.

What the fuck is he playing at, why would he want her to lash out? If he is up to something I am going to find out.

Sarah looked at the stiff woman, staring out of the window. Her hands were clasped firmly behind her back, knuckles white with tension. She began to get the feeling that Mr Adams was right on one thing; Charlie did believe she was just a hateful liar.

Feeling her eyes sting with unshed tears, she hung her head, waiting for the inevitable.

Hearing the girls’ breath hitch behind her, Charlie turned around to look at the silent blonde, “Come here.” The request sounded neutral.

Without even bothering to look up the young woman edged her way towards the psychologist. When in reach, Charlie enfolded the girl in her arms and pulled her into a protective embrace. It felt so right, and Sarah could do nothing but respond, putting her arms around the woman and laying her head underneath a strong chin.

Charlie held on tight, trying to let the young woman understand just how much she meant to her. She was also beginning to realise just how much the girl had embedded herself into her own heart.

Feeling the body so close to her own, the tall woman could no longer resist the deep seated urge that had called to her from the day she had first looked into Sarah’s eyes.

Pulling away slightly, Charlie looked down to the blonde head resting against her chest. She ran her fingers through the soft honey blonde locks, causing the young woman to look up.

“You know Sarah, though everything tells me we shouldn’t do this, my heart aches for you. From the moment I saw you sitting in that room, I felt something stir within me.”

Sarah looked deep into Aegean blue eyes, hanging on to every word that passed from the woman’s lips.

Charlie placed a hand on an incredibly soft cheek, “Nobody will ever hurt you again.” She whispered.

Sarah closed her eyes, anticipating the feeling of Charlie’s lips upon her own. She wasn’t disappointed as an encompassing softness engulfed her.

Charlie let her lips linger briefly then pulled away, but they were captured again as Sarah moved forward. The second touch was stronger, sending shockwaves throughout both of their bodies. Sarah pulled back startled by the reaction. Although she had never really kissed anybody before, she would never have expected such an intense reaction.

Charlie was feeling similar emotions. Never had a kiss left her with such profound feelings and burning desire. Leaning forward once again, she placed her lips onto the waiting blondes. The gentle responding moan urged her on, as she traced her tongue over Sarah’s full lips.

The young woman hesitated only briefly before opening up to allow the older woman inside. Their tongues met sending a surging fire through out both of their bodies. Sarah pushed herself closer to the older woman, feeling the heat radiate in waves around them both. She had never expected to feel like this in her life, and although she had no experience in her actions, she moved purely by instinct.

Their kiss continuing, she moved her right hand down to the woman’s behind, lightly squeezing the firm flesh. Charlie finally released the moan that held back in her throat. She knew she had to stop. Electrifying warmth throughout her body was spreading south at the feeling of Sarah’s breasts firmly pressed just under her own. A gentle throb began, causing her to pull away.

She opened her eyes and looked at the green ones, finding only a hit of colour around the fully dilated pupils. Sarah’s skin was flushed a deep pink and her breathing was ragged and shallow.

“We have to stop.”

Sarah ran her hand from the firm behind to just under Charlie’s breast. She could feel the rapid heart beat underneath.

“Do we?” I don’t want this to end; you make me feel things I never dreamed possible.

Charlie felt the magnetic pull, drawing her back down to waiting lips. They connected again, this time Sarah hesitantly pressing her tongue against swollen lips. She was instantly granted access.

The dark woman moaned long and deep, feeling the intense pulse creating fire through out her body. Bending slightly, she lifted the smaller woman off the ground and turned around depositing her on the window ledge.

Sarah instinctively wrapped her legs around Charlie, bringing them into intimate contact. The psychologist released Sarah’s lips and worked her own along the delicate jaw line, leaving a trail of moist, hot kisses in its wake. They started a slow grind as her lips found Sarah’s rapid pulse and sucked it gently, so not to leave a mark.

Suddenly realising why she shouldn’t leave a mark, Charlie pulled away.

Sarah’s legs fell away from her body as she took a step back.

“We…we have to stop this.”

Sarah closed her eyes feeling her body burn with waiting release. She was kind of unsure what she needed but knew only the tall, flushed woman in front of her could provide it. She opened her eyes, looking once again at Charlie.

“God…please don’t look at me like that. This is hard enough, without having to cope with the way you are looking at me.”

Sarah raised a coy eyebrow; “Hard?” her eyes travelled down to Charlie’s breasts, and more prominently the pert nipples standing out against the fabric of her black shirt.

Charlie looked down at herself, then at Sarah, who wore a tight red tank top. She made a show of looking at the young woman’s chest until she got the hint. The blonde looked down to see her own body in much the same state as the nurses. She smiled shyly, and a blush worked its way from her neck to her already flushed cheeks.

“We have to calm down, I want the first time I make love to you to be away from this place. In a soft clean bed, with everything you deserve.”

Sarah looked surprised into pale blue eyes, “Is that what you want?”

Charlie frowned.

“I mean to make love to me?”

Charlie beamed, “More than anything.”

Sarah smiled and Charlie realised it was the first real smile that had ever graced the girls lips. She noted the way her eyes sparkled and the ridges of her nose crinkled. At that moment she realised that her ambition in life was to make the beautiful woman before her, happy.

Moving forward she pulled Sarah from the window ledge and pushed her arms around her. The blonde smiled wrapping her arms around the dark woman firmly. They stayed like that for some time, basking in each other’s closeness until a thought occurred to the older woman.

“I have to find out what is going on Sarah. Tonight I will go and meet Adams and see if I can feel him out.”

Sarah’s head shot up, “Do you have to, I don’t trust him.”

Charlie ran a hand across the girls cheek, “Trust me, I will be fine. Something is going on I can feel it, if I am to find out what, I will need to get a little intimate with him.”

“Intimate!!!”

Charlie chuckled, “Not like that, I just mean I will have to get into his mind a bit, see if I can read between the lines.”

“Oh…well be careful.”

The nurse nodded her head in thought, “Could you do something though?”

“Sure.”

“When we get back down there, can you put on the attitude?”

Sarah looked confused, “Attitude?”

Charlie arched an expressive eyebrow, “Like you were acting after he left your room, you know all mean and moody. I have a theory that I would like you to help out with.”

“O…k…what is it?”

The dark woman smiled smugly, “Not telling yet, just trust me.”
Part 4
Graham Adams stood in the hallway talking to Clinton about the noise Angel had been creating the past few nights, when he spotted a familiar duo walking down the other part of the corridor. He couldn’t help but notice the distance between the two of them, and that it seemed Miss Austin herself was creating it.

She walked a couple of steps behind, her head held slightly lowered with an angry expression on her features. Her hands were pushed firmly into the pockets of her worn light blue worn jeans, and her feet moved with indignant purpose.

He watched as Charlie opened the door to Sarah’s room and the young woman walk in, without so much as a glimpse of recognition to the woman she passed. The nurses’ face was set in a neutral mask.

“Are you sure you don’t want to talk about it?” she asked.

He heard no answer and watched as the woman closed the door. If he had have been closer, he would have been able to see the wink Charlie gave Sarah, before the door shut and locked.

The tall woman turned and seemed to notice the two spectators for the first time. She walked towards them, giving her most sincere, yet concerned smile.

“Is something wrong Miss Taylor?” Adams asked.

Charlie shrugged her shoulders, “I don’t know Sarah Austin has closed up on me. I haven’t been able to get more than a couple of words out of her. I’m wondering whether I have done something to upset her, she seems troubled.”

The director nodded his head with faux sincerity, “Sometimes it is best just to let a patient stew a little while. What ever is bothering her will probably be gone tomorrow and she will speak again. My suggestion…leave her for today and let her work though what ever is on her mind. When she is ready she will talk.”

Charlie noticed the surprised look on Clinton’s face, “Perhaps you are right, I will leave her for today and speak with her again tomorrow.”

Clinton moved forward, “Do you want me to speak to her, you know…see if she will open up a little and let me in on what is wrong.”

Damn, “No…well you can try Clint, but I would really prefer Grahams approach and give her till tomorrow to cool down.”

They both noticed the smug expression on the directors’ face, and wondered what was going on.

“Well if you will excuse me gentlemen, I have work to do…Graham, I will see you tonight.” And with that, she left.

Two sets of eyes watched her leave, one with surprised, and the other with lascivious intent.

*******

The feel of Charlie’s lips and skin, burned in Sarah’s mind. The memory of the dark woman’s touch had persistently invaded her thoughts since they had parted company hours before, now she was left with a constant aching that craved attention.

She knew what the ache was, but had always resisted before, being in a monitored room kind of helped to quash that feeling. But now it was back with a vengeance. She sat on her bed feeling the intense pulse in her centre, and tingling on her flesh. It was like everywhere that Charlie had touched her, was alive with feeling.

A tingling, burning sensation coursed though her body leaving goose bumps in its wake. Sarah closed her eyes and counted to ten, but the images of desire filled eyes, moist swollen lips and hot breath upon her skin intensified.

Oh…this is so not good, she thought as she stood up and began to pace the room. Unfortunately the move seemed to brush upon certain swollen areas of her body that begged for attention. She needed to take care of this but wasn’t sure how. Well she was sure on the basics, but she was in a monitored room and was damned sure she wasn’t about to give the watching guards a show.

Sarah looked over to the window, and then to the bathroom area, these were the two areas that were not in the camera’s view. Could she? She hadn’t touched herself intimately since she lived at home, but was damn sure she wouldn’t survive if she didn’t take care of this; now.

Feeling a little self-conscious, she walked over to the wall beside the sink and stood against it. The cool surface did nothing to ease her heated skin.

Running a shaky hand over her face, she let it trail down her body until it came to the edge of her jeans. Sarah took a shaky breath as she undid the button and pulled down the zipper. Her breathing increased and just as she was about to move her hand lower she stopped. She realised she couldn’t do it. Although it was what she needed it was not what she wanted.

Releasing a frustrated sight, she re-assembled herself and moved away from the wall. She had survived this long; she could wait. However painful it was at that moment, she realised Charlie was worth it.

*******

Mark Stevens sat in the kitchen of his dingy little flat. The once pale-carpeted floor tiles were dark with soiled in dirt. Clutter covered every fake marble surface and the smell of overly used cooking fat filled the air.

Upon the table in front of him, sat certain objects. His old nurses uniform, ID card, cloth and chloroform. In his hands he held a disposable razor, which he worked at extracting the blade from. It was the kind of razor that the hospital issued the patients for shaving, though they always took them back as soon as they were done. High-risk patients were never given the razors but he knew that Sarah Austin was allowed to use one. Once he had taken out the blade, he wrapped it in a piece of paper and placed it with the rest of items.

He had received a call from Graham Adams and was told tonight would be his perfect opportunity. Not wanting to waste it, he got everything ready for his retribution.

*******

Charlie looked at her digital watch; it had just gone seven o’clock. Sighing she realised she ought to get ready to leave. The desire to see Sarah again was intense, yet she knew she could not. Everything had to appear as though the young woman was not talking to her. It meant she would hopefully only have to wait until tomorrow, if all went well.

Forcing out an irritated breath, she shut down her computer and rose from the desk. She hated exiting the hospital knowing she was leaving the blonde behind. It hurt her inside, and she just wished she could take the girl with her.

The tall woman’s thoughts were in turmoil. Her little voice of reason should be screaming at her; telling her that this was all wrong. But the voice was strangely silent. Everything inside her felt so right. Images of Sarah, and the precious moments they shared earlier, crept unbidden into her mind. The firm, young body in her arms felt right. The soft, sweet lips pressed against her own felt right. The small hands that touched her in all the right places felt…so…right. Charlie groaned and shook her head. It was no good having these thoughts right now, she had to leave and it only hurt more, knowing that she could not take the girl with her.

With an exasperated huff, she pushed her chair under the desk, picked up her things and left the room. She walked down the corridor trying not to look at the door that separated them, but it was useless. With one final stare, she turned passed it and solemnly walked towards the security room.

Once inside she saw the three nurses who took over the night shift. Nodding politely towards them she swiped her card through the device and entered the elevator.

Her progress was stopped on the second floor, as the door opened and Betty walked in.

“Well hello stranger…please tell me the rumours about you are not true?”

Charlie frowned, “Rumours?”

“Yes, that you have a date with a certain Hospital director this evening?” She looked accusingly at the taller woman.

The nurse sighed, “And how did that ‘rumour’ get started?”

Betty folded her arms, “Why are you answering my questions with a question?”

“Why are you?” Charlie challenged

The shorter nurse grinned, “Oh ok, I heard it from Andrew, the porter. He said he heard it straight from the warthogs mouth, and I swear, just in case you really do like the guy, they were his words and not mine.”

The dark woman arched an eyebrow, “ ‘B’ can you keep a secret, if I ask you a personal question?”

The woman sidled closer, “Of course dear, why what is it?”

Charlie leaned in, “Do you trust Adams?”

Betty pulled a sour face, “Ha, as much as I trust my dog with the Christmas Turkey.”

“Well there you go.”

Betty frowned, “Huh?”

“Lets just say I feel the same way and am working on a hunch.”

The portly nurse’s face beamed, “Really? ooh, sounds all cloak and dagger what…?”

Her words were cut short when the doors opened and they had to leave the compartment. Charlie looked at Betty and winked, placing a finger over her lips. She knew she could trust the woman, she may be a gossip, but the tall nurse knew how far the woman would take things. Betty was actually a good friend to have, especially when she was in need of some information. If it were in circulation, she would know it.

*******

It was still reasonably light out, when she exited the building. Charlie walked over to her jeep, and used the remote to unlock it. It was a quarter past seven and she thought she might as well get things over with and go meet Adams. Besides, she was never late if she could help it.

Her drive to meet the director was quiet; the village was like any other twenty-first century English village. When she first entered she arrived on a new estate, a large area of just built houses.

Then as she drove further in, she got to the older part. These houses were more mature, and definitely had better character. Unlike the sparkling new red brick ones, these were a darker brick, and their details were a lot more aesthetically pleasing. They looked more like somebody had taken their time and built every house with a careful hand.

The pub was not hard to find, being only one in this village. But apart from that, it was painted a bright pink on the outside. Charlie smirked when she saw it, wondering how many of the locals had protested about its rather, eye catching colour. She pulled her jeep into the car park and got out. There weren’t many other cars there, so either the locals had walked, which sounded logical, or it would be pretty quiet inside.

She entered through the side door and was immediately hit by a strong smoky scent. It was rather strong, making her wince as she walked further inside. The place was quite cosy. By the far wall stood a large bar counter, with rows of spirits behind it. The walls were all an embossed maroon colour, with dark wooden beams going across the ceiling. It was your typical country pub, and Charlie wondered whether there was some kind of law, which stated all rural pubs had to have this similar appearance.

Scanning the area she spotted fifteen or so tables, half of them were occupied, but no Adams. Walking over to the bar, she asked for a coke, before taking a seat at one of the unoccupied tables. She looked at the clock it was just half seven and she watched the door expectedly, waiting for the director to arrive. The sooner she got this meeting out of the way, the better.

*******

Sarah lay upon her bed watching every second go by on the analogue clock.

Charlie should be with Mr Adams by now she thought.

She wondered what Charlie had in mind, wanting her to pretend to be angry? But she trusted the woman and knew what ever it was, she would find out soon enough.

The clock continued its persistent ticking and she watched as the hour hand moved its way to five to eight. Somebody would be in soon for the last check up of the evening before she was supposed to get to bed. God she hated having to go to bed so early. She was twenty-four damn it; she wanted to be treated as such.

Since she had met Charlie, she had realised that she could confront her own demons and live a happy life. She looked forward to the day when she would be able to get out of Bell Tower. With the dark woman helping her she knew she could do it.

What will happen to me when I do get out? Where will I go? My parents don’t want to see me. Surely they would have at least tried to stay in contact, or send some kind of word to me if they did?

*******

Charlie was on her second coke when the director made his appearance. It was twenty past eight and she was beginning to loose her patience. She didn’t want to be in this smoke filled bar in the first place, but having to wait almost an hour, was more than her patience was willing to accept.

Adams walked straight over to the woman and sat opposite her, pulling of his expensive black suit jacket.

“Please accept my apologies, I was detained and couldn’t leave until I had dealt with the situation. I tried to send word but the phone line for this place was constantly engaged.”

Charlie noted the true sincerity in his voice so decided to let him off the hook.

“That’s ok. Right so let’s get down to business shall we, what do you want to talk about?”

Adams looked surprised; he hadn’t wanted to talk shop so soon. He was more interested in talking about this gorgeous woman sitting in front of him; he wanted to know more about her.

“Oh that can wait for a while, I would like to get a drink first. Do you want to get some food? I hear it is rather good here. I’m famished could you pass me that menu?” He said pointing behind Charlie.

She turned around and picked the item up, handing it over to him. Food was the last thing she wanted; that would mean having to spend longer in this mans company. There was somebody more important that she wished she could be with right now.

“No thanks, I’m not hungry.”

Adams looked a little annoyed but said nothing, instead looking down to see what was on the menu.

*******

Mark Stevens looked at his watch, it was half eight and the patients would have been left alone for the night by now. Pushing a trembling hand through his unkempt hair he followed the back stairs of Bell Tower to the third floor. Once there, he stood by the door and listened carefully, there were sounds of two (presumably nurses) talking, so he waited quietly.

He thought back to Graham Adams’ slimy face as the man had accepted the money from him. Ten thousand pounds was a lot of money, especially to obtain in cash, but it would be worth it and he did have a huge compensation payment after he’d left Bell Tower.

He remembered how the director had complained after taking the money, saying that he had a woman waiting. He had then assured the ex nurse that he had put Sarah Austin in a bad enough mood to revert her back to her stoic, and sometimes violent ways. This he was glad about, if the girl were going to ‘commit suicide’ she would need to have been seen in an emotional state.

Running his now calmer hands over his uniform, he felt the weight of the chloroform, cloth and razor in his pocket. It gave him a sense of calm to know what he was about to do.

That bitch deserved every thing I am going to give her, just a damn shame I wont get to touch her though, this has to look like a suicide.

The only things he had left to worry about now were the cameras. Mark knew he would get away with the main ones, as he blended in with the rest of the staff on the floor. His problem was the one in Sarah Austin’s room its self. He had come up with the perfect solution though. Unfortunately he was no electrician but he knew that on the side of the camera was a night vision switch.

All he had to do was turn it off when he got in the room. He knew the guards in the security room wouldn’t be paying any attention; they hardly ever did to any other than the two secure patients. It was just a case of walking into her room and reaching up to turn of the switch first. It was so simple and as long as the change in the viewing screen wasn’t noticed it would be ok. Besides they would probably think it was a malfunction or something and that problem would have to be fixed the next day.

*******

Adams had been talking none stop for nearly an hour now. He had tried to ask Charlie questions, but the woman would give
one-word answers and turn the conversation back towards him. He didn’t mind though, thinking he could impress her with tales of himself, whether true or not.

Charlie looked at her watch and sighed, “Look Graham, I would really like to talk about what you originally asked me down here for. I am tired and would like to get to bed.”

Adams heard the word bed and thought his luck was about to increase.

“Well to be honest Charlene,”

The nurse held up her hand, “Charlie please, only my mother can get away with calling me ‘Charlene’.”

Adams grinned, “Well Charlie, to be honest with you, there really wasn’t any work related reason for me to ask you out tonight. I just thought it would be a perfect chance for us to get to know each other.”

Charlie felt the first sparks of anger shoot through her. Taking a deep breath she tried to calm down, she was there for ulterior motives as well, after all.

“So why didn’t you just say that?” she questioned, letting go of her glass for fear it might shatter in her hand.

To make sure I got you here, He thought. “I don’t know, I guess it was nerves.”

His clasped hands and lack of eye contact told Charlie he was lying.

Come on Charlie keep calm and think.

“Well there is no harm in getting to know one another, we are work colleagues after all.” She was determined to make sure he got the message in a non-plus, kind of way. “It’s actually a pity you couldn’t bring your wife along, I would have loved to have met her.”

Ha, take that!

Adams first thought was to ask how did she know he was married, but it was not a secret at work. He knew he would have to try a different tactic now.

“So did you try to talk to Sarah Austin again or are you still going to try tomorrow?”

At the mention of Sarah’s name, Charlie felt an intense feeling of dread slice through her. It was kind of like a cold knife ripping through her heart; it was strange, sudden and bothered her immensely.

Rubbing her chest, Charlie answered him.

“Like you said, I think it would be wise to wait until tomorrow. I just don’t know what suddenly happened to cause such a change in her.”

The pain increased.

“What can I say, she has always been a bad seed that one, attacking anyone who tried to help her. I hoped she would calm down given time, but she doesn’t appear to be changing. She doesn’t want to change, some of the patients feel safer where they are.”

Charlie still sat with her hand over her chest, something was not right and she knew it. She was feeling it deep inside, increasing in its intensity, surpassing dread, and bordering on outright panic. It coiled itself around her heart and painfully squeezed.

Realising Adams had stopped talking; she lowered her hand and focused her eyes on the balding man. The director looked at her strangely.

“Are you ok, you look a little pale all of a sudden?”

Charlie sucked in a deep breath, “Actually I am feeling a little faint, would you mind if we ended this discussion for this evening, I think I need to get home and rest for a while.”

Adams looked visibly disappointed, “Would you like me to give you a lift home?”

The tall woman rose from her seat, “No, no I will be fine. I will see you tomorrow.” Distractedly she left the building and headed straight for her car.

The air had turned cool and a strong wind whipped her hair savagely. With the mounting feeling still in her chest, she got into her jeep and pulled it out of the parking lot. With a single destination in mind, she directed her vehicle towards Bell Tower…. towards her heart. I’m coming, Sarah.

*******

Sarah couldn’t sleep. The howling wind had picked up forcing a light rain against her window. She loved the different changes in the weather. The blonde girl felt it was like the world showing its emotions, and at the moment if sounded determined and annoyed.

Lying on her back, she folded her arms under her head and closed her eyes. It had been so long, she had forgotten what the rain against her skin felt like. It was not like she was the kind of person to go running out in the rain, especially when she was younger; she just missed the freedom to feel such emotions.

An unexpected sound pulled her from her contemplations, as the mechanical lock echoed through her room. Closing her eyes she pretended to be asleep as the door opened and she waited for the light to come on; a definite feeling of dread enveloped her.

She waited two, three, four seconds but the light never came on, and when she heard the door close she felt a sigh of relief leave her as she opened her eyes.

The moment was short lived however as she saw movement in her room. Due to slight light shining from outside she could see it was a nurse by the illuminated whiteness of the clothing. She watched, her heart increasing its tempo, as the figure moved over to the corner of the room and reached up to the camera.

A sudden fear ripped through her and she tried to stifle her heavy breath. She looked across the room as the figure stood in the corner a couple more seconds, before moving towards her. She couldn’t stop the whimper of fear or the trembling that engulfed her body.

“Oh look, the BITCH is awake!” The figure spat.

Instantly she knew that voice and a greater fear rose within her.

“Asleep or awake, it makes no difference to me, you are still going to pay. I just wish I could see the fear in your eyes.”

Sarah sat up in her bed and moved into the corner, she could feel her body begin a violent tremble.

“What do you want, you don’t work here anymore?”

“And who’s fucking fault is that, BITCH”

Sarah flinched at his hateful words. Realising she was in a vulnerable corner she tried to edge her way out.

“Don’t fucking move, I like you just where you are.”

Sarah froze, feeling the bed dip as Mark knelt on top. It was still too dark in the room, so she couldn’t see his face clearly, but she could make out that he was holding something in his left hand.

“Do you know how long I have waited for this?” he moved his head closer, “How long I have fantasized about getting my revenge on you for what you have done to me?”

The young blondes breath hitched as she tried unsuccessfully to contain her sobs of fear.

“Oh…I like that. This is how I imagined it to be, FUCK I feel so good right now.” He started to laugh, long and deep.

Suddenly he lunged forward, clasping Sarah around the waist and pulling her swiftly towards him. She writhed violently to gain her freedom but to no avail. The young woman’s struggling had caused her to end up lying on her side, with Mark securely wrapped behind; restraining her with his arms and legs.

“Well this just gets better and better.” He commented; pulling the hand that was underneath her around so he could hold her arm on top.

Once he had freed his top hand he groped around for the chloroform soaked cloth, which he had readied just after he entered her room. Sarah felt his weakened embrace and took a chance.

Unexpectedly she thrust her head back; hitting the crazed ex-nurse, square in the nose. Reeling back from the sudden pain, Mark let go of the blonde and she was able to scramble off the bed. Her victory was short lived though as he dived after her, catching her off guard and pulling her down to the ground. They fell together with an almighty THUD, and Sarah found herself once again in his evil clutches.

Marks blood fell freely from his nose, dripping persistently onto the girl beneath him.

“THAT” he clasped a hand around her throat, “Was a very stupid move.” He roared.

“Funny I was just thinking the same thing of you.”

They both looked up at the unexpected voice, one with relief and the other shock. Before either could react however, the
ex-nurse felt his body fly off the ground as he was savagely kicked away

Sarah scrambled up of the ground and into the arms of her saviour. She wrapped both arms around the tall dark woman and sobbed into her chest.

Trying to shake off the effects of the kick, Mark looked up to see the blonde in the arms of a woman he had never seen before. Her tall form highlighted by the hallway light that filtered through the open door, looking both stunning and menacing at the same time. Determined to finish what he came here for, he rose to his feet.

Charlie saw his move and pulled Sarah away from her, pushing the young woman’s body behind her own.

“If you have any sense, you will stay down.” Charlie ordered, her eyes blazing with barely controllable rage.

“Fuck you.” Mark shouted and charged the taller woman.

He lifted his fist in order to throw a punch but it was efficiently deflected.

He tried again but Charlie’s swift movements deflected that one as well.

His anger mounting with each punch that failed to meet its target, he lunged forward, attempting to grab the woman. His lunge ended abruptly as one solid fist impacted with his stomach, and another hand grabbed his outstretched arm, slamming it down on an upraised knee with a sickening crack. Any scream he might have uttered was cut short by a final strike to his throat that left him gasping for air as he crumpled to the floor.

At that moment the night guards rushed blindly into the room to see what was going on. They found the psychologist standing over the now unconscious ex-nurse.

Charlie turned at the sound of the two men and spotted Sarah in the corner. Completely ignoring the questions that erupted from the guards’ mouths, she headed towards the shocked young woman and engulfed her in a comforting embrace.

*******

The ambulance and police arrived within ten minutes after the call was made, and the paramedics had taken a still unconscious Mark Stevens to the hospital. Both women had been interviewed about what had happened, and the policeman, Officer Saunders, had left them twenty minutes later to interview the guards.

Now, three hours after the hellish confrontation with Stevens, Charlie sat on the couch in her office with Sarah securely wrapped in her arms. The young woman was physically and emotionally exhausted, literally passing out in Charlie’s arms only moments ago. Charlie tightened a protective arm around the girl and closed her eyes, thinking.

Officer Saunders had informed Charlie that Mr Adams had been notified as to what had happened, but as yet he had not arrived at Bell Tower. Obviously the tall woman found that instantly suspicious but hadn’t voiced her concerns.

Charlie jumped out of her thoughts as she felt the young blonde wrap her arm tighter around the tall woman’s torso. The psychologist sincerely hoped that this would not cause a lapse in Sarah’s progress.

She leaned her back into the couch and laid her hand upon the golden head that was securely tucked under the older woman’s chin. That had been a close one, but what had caused her the most confusion was the feeling of dread she had got before the event. She didn’t understand what had caused her to get such strong feelings that the young blonde was in trouble, it was like something out of some weird paranormal program, she thought.

Sighing Charlie looked at her watch; it was gone midnight. She knew that what ever official the medical board would be sending, would not be here in until the morning, so she wondered what to do. The feeling of leaving Sarah alone tonight was painful. She knew they couldn’t really stay, as they were, however comfortable it was. But she was unsure what to do.

I suppose I could just decide to stay with a patient who needs me!

Just then she was pulled from the musings by the door to her office opening. Saunders walked in and sat in Charlie’s desk Chair.

“Well Miss Taylor, I have spoken to everyone involved and gotten all accounts on what has happened. Everything seems in order so unless there is anything else you want to know, I shall be on my way.” The officer ran a hand through his red hair, and took in the protective way in which Charlie was holding the young blonde.

The tall woman nodded her head, “Yeah, I was wondering whether Mr Adams has arrived yet?”

The officer shook his head, “Actually no, we rang him at home and he said he would be straight in, but as yet there is no sight of him.”

Charlie frowned.

“Has Mark Stevens come around?”

Charlie looked down, surprised that she hadn’t been aware Sarah had awoken.

“As far as I am aware Miss Austin, he has not come around yet. Seems he took a few good hits.” Saunders looked over at Charlie with mirth.

“Anyway I have to get going over to the hospital.”

He rose from the chair, as Sarah let go of Charlie allowing her to stand also. She walked over to the man and shook his hand.

“Thanks officer Saunders.”

He nodded his head and walked out the door, shutting it behind him.

Charlie turned around and looked at the petite blonde, sitting on the couch. Neither of them knew what to say at that moment, both still feeling the effects of what had happened. Sarah wrapped her arms around her self and rocked forward, looking at the floor.

“I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t have turned up.”

Charlie took that opportunity to rush to the young woman. She knelt down in front of her and cupped her face within her warm grasp.

“Sarah, look at me?”

The young woman raised her head, and Charlie smiled.

“Don’t even think that, because if I am honest with you there was no way I would not have been there.”

Sarah frowned and looked on, confused.

Charlie wondered how to explain, “I…I had a feeling, I didn’t know what it was at first but the stronger it got the more I felt the need to get to you.”

Sarah pulled away from the woman’s touch, “Are you trying to say that you knew what was going to happen?”

Charlie shook her head, “Oh no…I just got the feeling that you needed me and I knew I had to get to you as soon as I could.”

Sarah looked deep into the pale blue eyes in front of her, it sounded unbelievable, yet she so desperately hoped it was true.

“What is going to happen now?” She asked needing to change the subject.

Charlie shrugged her shoulders, “About what?”

“Everything.” She stated lowering her voice to a whisper, “I don’t think I can take much more of this place Charlie. I want to get out, I want to be with…with…”

“With me?” The hopeful nurse questioned.

Sarah nodded her head, letting it fall forward. Her long golden locks shrouding her face.

Charlie moved forward and pulled the young woman into a hug, “I want you with me too.” She stated seriously.

Sarah raised her head, “Yeah?”

Charlie grinned, looking into two light green eyes, “Yeah…Sarah I…I’m in love with you.”

The blonde opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted by the knocking on Charlie’s office door.

The dark woman sighed, annoyed and a little apprehensive that she never got to hear whatever the girl was about to say in response to her declaration.

“Yeah?” she shouted.

Nick, one of the night guards opened the door.

“Miss Taylor, Miss Austin’s room has been locked for evidence. One of the nurses had readied another room for her, when ever she is ready.”

Charlie nodded her head and the man closed the door.

Sarah who had listened to the short statement rose up from the seat.

“Charlie I don’t want to be alone tonight.” The fear was evident in her voice.

The psychologist nodded her head, “I know, wait here.” And with that she was gone.

Sarah stood alone in Charlie’s office and waited. She wondered what the dark woman had in mind. As her thoughts continued, her mind replayed the words she had not long ago heard.

Did she say she loves me, or was I just hearing what I wanted to hear?

“Well I have just talked to the nurse who readied your room.”

Sarah jumped at the unexpected voice.

Charlie looked at her apologetically realising her had scared her, “I told him that I was going to stay with you tonight, to make sure you are ok. He is fine with it, so are you ready?”

Sarah looked blankly at the woman.

Charlie fidgeted, “Well only if you want me to stay with you, that is.”

The blonde blinked and shook her head, “Sorry…you mean you are going to spend the night with me?”

Charlie nodded her head cautiously, until she saw the smile grace the younger woman’s face, then she grinned back.

Putting a warm hand on Sarah’s back she lead her out the room.

*******

Like Sarah’s usual room, this one was very similar. Everything was in the same positions, bed, bedside table, camera etc; the only difference being that it was a slightly different colour and facing another direction of the hospital. Charlie knew the car park was outside of the window and in the morning she would be able to see her haphazardly parked jeep.

Sarah stood by the still open door, but jumped forward as a small, folding bed was pushed in by two other nurses.

Charlie smiled and thanked them, as they left the room, shutting the door behind them.

Sarah looked at the bed feeling a little disappointed but tried not to show it. Charlie on the other hand noticed and smiled inside.

“You know,” She started “For obvious purposes that bed had to be brought in, but if you don’t want me to use it I won’t.”

Sarah sheepishly looked at the woman walking slowly towards her, “What about the camera?”

“Look closely.”

Sarah did as requested; “There is no light on it.” She stated.

Charlie grinned, “Well spotted Watson, this room hasn’t been used in a while, and the camera isn’t in use. They were going to activate it, but I said it would be ok tonight because I was going to be in here, so it isn’t on.”

Sarah smiled, “Wow I can’t remember a night since being up here when there hasn’t been a monitor running.”

Charlie stood in front of the blonde, “How are you feeling Sarah?”

The girl looked thoughtfully up at the nurse, “Kind of numb I think. I feel empty and drained I guess.”

Charlie guided her over to the bed motioning for her to get in, “Then I guess it’s bed time.”

Sarah lay on her back and looked up to the older woman, “Are you joining me?” she asked shyly.

Charlie bent down and pulled off her boots, placing each one by the side of the bed. “Scoot over.” She stated, climbing in beside the other woman. She lay on her side facing the blonde.

“I will be up in the morning before anyone comes in ok?”

Sarah nodded her head and rolled onto her side, backing up until she was spooned up against the dark woman. Charlie smiled and buried her faced into the fragrant blonde locks.

“Charlie?”

“Hmm?”

Silence.

The woman lifted her head, “What is it Sarah.”

“Nothing.” She stated.

Charlie lowered her head and closed her eyes, putting her arm around the girl in front.

“Charlie?” Sarah whispered.

“Yeah?” The woman whispered back.

“I love you too”

Charlie grinned and pulled the younger woman into her, “good.” She whispered and kissed the blonde head in front of her.

Sarah smiled and reached for the other woman’s hand, “Good night.”

“Good night sweet heart.”

*******

The sun had yet to rise, but Graham Adams didn’t even notice. He had been walking the night streets since receiving the phone call hours earlier.

How could this have happened? He thought, picking up another stone and throwing it into the road.

He had returned home after Charlie’s departure and had just gotten to bed with his still angry wife when the phone had rung. He could not believe it as he heard of how somebody had gone into the hospital and tried to kill one of the patients. Well what he couldn’t believe was the Charlie had turned up and stopped Mark Stevens.

He knew the man was unconscious, which meant it wouldn’t be long before he awoke and more than likely tell the police every thing. Including the part about paying Adams to help him.

He had to think quickly and act, as there would not be much time left and he had to decide what to do, while he was still in control of his life.

*******

The morning sun had already completed its assent by the time Charlie had started to come around. She came to a semi conscious state with a tickling sensation on her head and a loud beat in her ear.

She opened her eyes and tried to focus her sleep filled mind. After a couple of seconds she realised where she was and knew she had to move.

Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, she found her self on her side, with her head on Sarah’s chest and one of the young woman’s arms wrapped around her. The beating she could hear was Sarah’s heart, directly under her ear. Charlie relished the feel of lying with the girl decided she wanted to spend the rest of her life waking up in this same manner.

The sound of footsteps roused her, and she delicately shifted her self from the bed. She sat down on the edge and pulled on her boots, tying the laces as she heard Sarah rouse behind her.

Once her boots were done, she stood up as the door opened and Clinton walked in. He looked at Sarah, then at Charlie and motioned her to follow him with a jerk of his head. Once he had backed out of the room the tall woman turned and looked briefly at the young blonde, before leaving the room. Clinton waited for her out side.

“I heard what happened.”

Charlie just nodded her head.

“You know, I can’t believe it. I never thought Mark Stevens would ever try anything like that.”

Charlie frowned, thinking for a while. “Did you know the guy?” she asked.

Clinton shook his head, “Well no, not really but I did briefly talk to him when we swapped over shifts.”

“So he worked the night shift.” Charlie stated, and Clinton nodded his head.

Charlie sighed at that, there were some questions she was going to have to ask Sarah. The official report and how the ex-nurse had gotten injured stated that the patient he’d been treating had gotten violent, but knowing Sarah like she did, Charlie knew the girl only reacted violently when she was afraid. She realised that Sarah hadn’t even been questioned over the incident, which just happened to have been investigated by Adams. That brought a thought to mind.

“Say Clint, has Mr Adams arrived yet?”

Clinton frowned, “No he hasn’t been seen since yesterday when he left work. He is supposed to be here but well obviously he isn’t.”

The blonde man shrugged his shoulders trying not to think the worst of his boss.

Charlie on the other hand was having nothing but the worst of thoughts.

“Well I guess I better go back in there and see how Sarah is.”

Clinton nodded his head, “It was a good job you were there last night, hey.”

The psychologist nodded, “Very lucky.”

The blonde man looked thoughtful, “It is obvious she likes you, you know!”

Charlie felt her guard go up, “What do you mean, of course she does it’s my job to show the patients they can trust me so I can help them.” Even to the dark nurse, her words sounded a little too brisk.

Clinton backed up a step, “Hey I was just making an observation.” He held up his hands in a defensive manner.

Charlie sighed, “I’m sorry it sounded like you were…”

“Look” Clint began, “I don’t know you that well, but I know you enough to know you are a good person. And I have known Sarah in there for two years now. It was obvious to anybody who cared to take notice that she just needed somebody to connect with…she has finally found that somebody. I am glad for her, I know she can get out of this place, and you will help her all the way.”

Charlie looked at the young man in a new light, “You know what Clint, I’m glad I have you as a colleague. Have you ever thought about doing counselling or psychology?”

The blonde man blushed, “Well no, I’m happy with what I have, but thank you for saying that.”

Charlie grinned and patted the young mans arm.

“I’m going to get the breakfasts, you want some?”

“Sure” Charlie said and turned to go back in the room.

*******

Sarah was sitting on the side of the bed, waiting for the psychologist return. When the dark woman entered she looked up and smiled cautiously, knowing she would have more questions to answer.

While Charlie had been of the room, the blonde had lay on her bed and thought about the past night. It was weird, but although she was very frightened, she had this inner feeling that she knew Charlie would come for her. Just like it was the most natural thing in the world for it to be so.

“How are you feeling this morning?”

Sarah shrugged her shoulders, “I don’t know, how should I feel?”

Charlie smiled, “I can’t answer that for you, tell me what you thought when you awoke this morning.”

Sarah smiled, “That I had the most beautiful woman in my arms, but the next time I came around she was gone.”

The tall woman rolled her eyes, “I mean when reality hit you…but thank you.”

The petite blonde shrugged again, “That’s it I don’t know. It is like a dream, I still can’t believe it happened, all I know is that because of you I am still here.” The slight quiver in her voice was evident.

Charlie walked forward and sat on the bed next to Sarah, close but not touching.

“I will always be here for you, but I have to tell you something.”

Sarah looked on, trustingly.

“From now on we must not give in to the way we feel about each other ok? I’m worried people might get the wrong idea, and think the worst, I know one person who already may suspect.”

She noticed the look on the blonde girls face.

“Please don’t doubt my feelings for you, but we have to concentrate on getting you out of here.”

She lifted a hand to touch the inviting pale cheeks, but pulled back.

“Sarah, what I did, not being able to keep my feelings under control was wrong. For a start I know I should not have these type of feelings for a patient…”

“Charlie…”

The older woman covered Sarah’s lips, “Please let me finish…but I can not help the way I feel for you, from the moment I looked at you, it was like I had just found the missing part of myself. You know I love you, and when you are away from this place I want to show you…if that is what you want also…I mean you have to…”

“Charlie!”

The woman stopped babbling.

“I trust you and what ever you think is best I will go along with…ok?”

Charlie nodded.

Just then Clinton arrived, “Charlie there is somebody to see you in your office. A woman she never told me her name.”

Charlie stood up, having a good idea who it might be, “Right I will go see her.”

*******

Doctor Caroline Evans was a typically average person. Average looks, average height, average hair colour. A painfully plain exterior that concealed a caring and warm-hearted personality.

Charlie walked through the door wearing a stern, no-nonsense look. Stopping a mere few inches from the woman, she rumbled, “You’ve got a nerve showing your face around here.”

Caroline smiled sweetly, “Believe me, it pains me being here just as much as it does you, I am sure.”

The tall woman folded her arms and arched an eyebrow. “What makes you so sure it pains me?”

“Well, that sour look on your face, for starters. You look like you’ve been chomping on whole lemons.”

“I do not!” Charlie protested.

“Oh Charlie, Charlie, Charlie, when are you going to learn that you will never beat me at this, I always win. I can read you like a book, my dear.”

Charlie grinned, “oh really? Then why have you never been able to ‘win’ at getting me into your bed? It seems that this is one ‘book’ you’ve never been able to open the cover on.”

Caroline stood there, her mouth opening and closing in a futile attempt at a comeback. But for once, the spunky woman was at a loss.

Charlie mentally pumped her fist in the air. She shoots…she SCORES!

Finally, the smaller woman shook her head and chuckled, “ah, Charlie, such a cocky little shit. I knew there was something I loved about you. You were the only one that could ever leave me flummoxed.”

Charlie responded with a wry smile, “as much as I’d love to savour this little victory, we need to discuss your presence here which, I imagine, is due to last night’s events.”

Caroline folded her arms and leaned against the desk. “Yes, I have to gather reports on what happened from all involved, though, I must say I wasn’t surprised to hear that you kicked some butt last night.”

Charlie shrugged, “I just did what I had to do. I take it Graham Adams still hasn’t made an appearance?”

The Doctor narrowed her eyes. “Why do I get the feeling that you know more about this than you are letting on?”

Charlie leaned on the desk next to her friend. “Probably because we’ve known each other since med school eight years ago, and this is likely something you were hoping to hear.”

“Ok…so, care to share?”

“Let’s just say I did as requested, and you were right to suspect Adams as being a less than virtuous administrator.”

Caroline sighed, “Part of me was kind of hoping this would not be the case. When I first heard the board wanted to monitor
Mr Adams, I thought it was just procedure. But then when I read an old employees report and knew what I would be dealing with, I still hoped it wasn’t true, I mean who would just turn a blind eye to things that went on here, for money as well. How could anybody allow such treatments to go on? It makes one wonder just how many people are in this with him.”

Charlie shook her head. “I am not sure about the nurses, but I definitely have my suspicions about at least two of the guards. You know, when you asked me to do this, I honestly thought it would be just another job. I didn’t really think there would be any suspicious activities going on.

Caroline walked to the window and looked out. “I hoped there wouldn’t be. But I chose you to come out here because I knew that if there were something shady going on, you would know what to do about it.” The smaller woman turned and smirked at the tall woman. “You’re good at what you do, Charlie, and you can take care of yourself.”

Charlie crossed her arms and returned the smirk. “Well, I’m glad I managed to live up to your expectations. So, what now, you gather your reports and take them back to your bosses?”

The Doctor nodded her head; “yes…I will start with the guards that were on duty last night. I requested they remain here until I could speak to them. Then I’ll speak to the patient involved and then you.

Charlie felt a stirring at the mention of Sarah, “Her name is Sarah Austin, I will ask her whether she is ok with talking about everything.”

Caroline noticed how the dark woman’s eyes sparkled at the mention of the patient, “Right, I am going to talk to the guards.” With that she picked up her brief case and left the room.

Charlie was about to do the same when the phone rang,

“Hello, Charlie Taylor.”

An uncertain voice spoke on the other end, “Oh…hello…I ah…am calling about my daughter. I was directed to this line from the switch board…I was supposed to speak to…a Mr Adams but he was not answering…I’m not sure…”

Charlie frowned butting in, “Hold on Mrs…?”

“Austin…I am calling about my daughter Sarah?”

There was silence for a moment, “You’re Sarah Austin’s mother?”

Charlie heard the older woman on the other end of the phone sigh, “Yes…I know she doesn’t want to see me, but the police contacted me about what happened and I had to ring. I would have come down, but I knew my presence would not be wanted. I just want to know that my child is alright”

The tall nurse listened on the other end of the phone, trying to make sense of what the woman was saying.

“Erm, Mrs Austin, what do you mean not wanted here? I was under the impression that you had given up on your daughter?”

“WHAT?!,” the response was immediate, “She is my daughter, why on earth would I do that? It was her that said she didn’t want to see me, Mr Adams told me every time I rang, said he would pass on my messages, but she didn’t want to see me. She didn’t even ring when her father died.”

Charlie could not believe what she was hearing, she knew damn well Sarah missed her parents, and the way she spoke about them lead her to believe that the young woman didn’t even know that her father had passed away.

Her father’s dead?? Oh, Sarah.

“Mrs Austin…first of all I would like to tell you that your daughter is fine, and secondly I will tell her that you called and I am sure she will definitely want to talk to you.”

“Oh I don’t think…”

“NO, Mrs Austin.” Charlie didn’t mean to sound angry, “I’m sorry, it is just that there seems to be a misunderstanding concerning you and your daughter”

Misunderstanding my ass, this is fucking Adams again.

I know for sure she will want to talk to you and when I am able I will tell her, she is to talk to the hospital board soon about what happened.”

“Oh dear, I don’t like the sound of her having to go through what happened on her own, I…”

Charlie butted in again, “Don’t worry Mrs Adams, I will be there with her, she will do fine, I’ll take care of her.”

The other woman could here the sincerity in the nurses voice, “Well in that case thank you, I am glad she isn’t alone in there.”

Charlie grinned, “Your daughter is making excellent progress, and I am sure she will tell you all about it next time you see each other.”

For the first time, Mrs Austin felt a sense of hope, “Oh I do hope so, Thank you so much.”

The psychologist grinned, “My pleasure, now I hate to go but I have to see your daughter now, so I will tell her you called as soon as the interview has finished.”

Charlie finished the conversation with Sarah’s mother and went to see the young woman in question.

*******

He had used the back stairs; in fact he had used the back entrances to get into the building as well, not wanting to be seen.

Still wearing the clothes that he’d had on the day before, he kept his head down and continued on to the third floor. The (what he presumed he would soon be) ‘ex director’ kept as quiet and non descript as possible, not wanting to draw any unwanted attention to him self.

The events of the night before had lead him to this and he still could not believe it, still he knew it was down to that fucking
Sarah Austin and Charlie Taylor, he wondered what he had ever seen in that woman, she was obviously against him as well.

Graham Adams knew the only person he could trust was himself now. Not even his own wife understood him, always asking him to see somebody about his strange behaviours, well he gave her something to think about, if she still could anyway. He laughed silently to him self.

Once reaching the third floor, he activated the locking mechanism and opened the back stairs door. Adams could hear the odd sound, but apart from that all was quiet. Now all he had to do was put his plan into action, first he would go and dismiss the guards then see Angel.
Part 5
The two Dales both sat in the secure room. Mike and Nick the night guards were still on the third but, off in one of the side rooms with Caroline Evans. They had been talking with the woman for about ten minutes so far, and the other officers were getting more than a little nervous.

They knew first hand that Adams wasn’t a very just man, but he was their boss and when ever he said jump, they asked how high? They never questioned him for fear of loosing the well-paid positions they had and the director was completely in control of their futures at Bell Tower.

Adams walked into the room quietly, startling both guards when they saw him.

“Mr Adams,” Dale 1 started, “We weren’t sure whether you would be in today…there has been talk…”

The soon to be ex-director silenced them with a raise of his right hand.

“Listen to me carefully, everything is fine I have had to play things a little close to my chest if you know what I mean. Now listen to me, Mike and Nick are staying so you may as well go home for today.”

The two Dales looked at him strangely.

“Don’t worry everything is fine, you should be pleased I am giving you the day off, you don’t get that often. Now I suggest you go home and enjoy this lovely spring morning before I change my mind.”

The guards knew when not to argue, so within five minutes they had collected their things and left for home.

Adams sat in the now empty office and looked at the monitors. He could not see which room Sarah Austin was in, and presumed the guards would still be talking with whom ever the medical board had sent. With a malicious gleam in his eye, he began turning off all the monitors, flicking each button one after the other. Then the locking mechanisms to each door on the third, and finally he turned off the mechanical lock to Angel’s room.

*******

Angel lay on the floor, looking up at the ceiling counting each bump and imperfection she could see again. She didn’t know how many times she had done it and didn’t particularly care anyway; she lived in her head and preferred it to the reality that she existed in.

She heard her door open and didn’t even have to turn her head to know who it was.

“Well if it isn’t All High and Mighty Director, I heard nurses talking bout you, said you’d done a runner. So whatcha doing here with little ole me?”

Adams grinned and nodded his head, “Now you know not to believe everything you hear, Angel. Thought I would come and see how you are, you know like our occasional evening conversations, maybe offer you a little taste of freedom.”

Slowly the thin woman turned her head, and looked at the man with cold dark eyes.

“It’s not nice to tease.”

Adams shrugged.

“Why would you do that?” She asked rising to her knees.

The balding man tilted his head, “Lets just say I’m in the mood to have a little fun, and I thought you might want to share it with me. Come on Angel you must get board out of your tinny little brain sometimes,” He pouted, “Don’t you want any fun?”

Angel grinned and rose to her feet.

“I have never been one for sharing, but what the hell, there is a certain person that I would love to share myself with at the moment. Hell…what can I say…sure I’m up for some fun.”

The ex-director opened the door and swung his arm out in an inviting gesture.

“Ladies first.”

*******

Charlie sat in Sarah’s room, on the make shift bed, and Sarah on the one they had recently shared. They faced each other but had hardly spoken since the dark woman had returned; she was trying to decide what to tell Sarah about her mothers call.

“I have been thinking.” The blonde girl started, “About what you said about getting out of here. I don’t want to wait any longer; I want to have a go now, back up on the roof like before.”

Charlie looked at the young woman, surely not now.

But she considered that if Sarah was ready to do it, then she had to be there for her one hundred percent, no matter how inconvenient the time.

“You sure you are ready for this right now Sarah?” She asked.

The blonde nodded her head, “I have been gearing my self up for this since what you said this morning, and I need to do this.”

Charlie rose and held out her hand for the younger woman, “Lets go then, shall we?”

*******

Adams and Angel stood by a corner watching quietly. They observed with interest as Charlie and Sarah exited the open door of the young blondes impromptu room. A twisted smile spread across Angels face.

“I want her.” She stated, looking over at the tall dark woman.

“You know it’s pretty obvious she has a soft spot for that blonde.” Adams stated thoughtfully.

Angle snapped her head in his direction, “So.”

The thin man shook his head, “Just stating a point. My guess if you want her? Get the blonde first.”

Angel shrugged, “Suppose I could play around a little first. You distract tall, dark and sexy first, ok?”

Adams pursed his lips, “Anything for a little fun…sure.”

Charlie and Sarah walked side by side to the exit at the end of the corridor, that lead to one of the towers. The tall woman stopped and pulled out her card, swiping it though the lock, nothing happened. She tried it again, still nothing. Frowning she took a hold of the handle and pulled…it opened easily.

“That isn’t supposed to happen, is it?” The blonde asked.

Charlie shook her head, “No it isn’t, and my instinct is telling me that something is wrong here.”

Then, the sound of footsteps made them both look up, and Charlie instantly recognised Adams. He walked a few steps up the corridor, seemed to notice them both at the other end, then turned and disappeared into one of the side doors.

Charlie’s heart picked up, “Adams.”

She turned to Sarah, “Listen you wait here, I’ll try and get Clint to stay with you while I go and check this out. No better yet, go back to the room ok?”

Sarah nodded as Charlie leaned forward, placing a gentle kiss on the girls’ forehead, before taking off, the blonde right behind her.

They split at the junction of the corridor as Sarah headed for her room and the dark woman went off in search of the ex-director. As she was nearing the security room she spotted Caroline opening the door to the room in which she was interviewing the two night guards. Charlie pulled to a halt by the door. Gently pulling the woman out of hearing distance of the two men, she spoke quietly in her ear.

“Adams is here,” she whispered, “Some thing is wrong, will you stay in there with those two and keep them occupied while I go check him out?”

Caroline frowned, “The interview has finished, how am I supposed to keep them in there?”

Charlie shrugged, “No time to think, improvise. I have to go, please stay in there though ok?”

The mousy woman nodded and disappeared back into the interview room.

The psychologist took off again heading towards the security room. Once there she opened the door and stepped in. It was empty, all the screens were shut off and the room held of eerie silence, Charlie’s breathing seemed louder in the vacated room.

Rubbing her arms as if to ward off an eerie chill she scanned the area and noticed one of the tonfas was missing. Feeling an overpowering dread, she ran out of the room and back into the corridor, heading for the door she had last seen Adams enter.

*******

Sarah sat in the room confused. She felt like she wasn’t supposed to be there, like it was wrong and she should be with Charlie, helping her any way she could. The blonde realised for the first time that she had found somewhere to belong, but it was more than that. It was more like she had finally found where she was meant to be. All her life she had felt an outcast, not fitting in with society as though she hadn’t found her niche in life. Now she had discovered it, she was not about to risk loosing the first good thing to enter her life in as long as she could remember.

With that decision, she stood up and headed towards the door, but stopped when she noticed someone stood in the way. She looked up slightly to a mass of wild brown and blond hair, and dark vacant eyes.

“Hello” Angel said, smiling as innocently as possible, though it looked nothing but malevolent.

Sarah took a step back, fully comprehending the intent on the wild woman’s face.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“An angel.” Was the thin woman’s response.

“What do you want?” Sarah asked, feeling a tight ball of fear unravel in her stomach.

Angle shrugged and looked up thoughtfully, “Oh there is only one thing I want at the moment, and to get to it I have to go through you. Nothing personal you understand…just fun.”

She moved further forward into the room, causing Sarah to back up, as she pulled the tonfa out from behind her back. The young woman recognised the item as one of the weapons that the guards occasionally carried. She frantically started searching the room for means of escape.

“Oh, I have missed that look. To see such fear on a persons face, how it warms my heart. Tell me, how does it feel to know what my intentions are towards you?”

Sarah backup up silently.

“Don’t want to talk? Fine, this will be over quicker then I suppose.” She ran forward, swinging the wooden weapon towards the blonde, who ducked and managed to swerve out of the way. Sarah took the opportunity of the crazed woman’s forward momentum to run behind her. She ran out of the door, frantically looking for Charlie.

*******

Further down the corridor, the psychologist had followed Adams through the door she had last seen him enter. It led to a small, dark hallway, about six feet long with another door at the end.

She stopped by the small wooden entrance and listened carefully but hearing nothing, gently opened it. She found herself in another corridor, only larger with a large clear window at the other end. This one was very old looking, like it hadn’t been renovated since the building was converted into a hospital.

The walls were a dirty grey, but broken up by wooden, dark oak beams. It still had an old smell of wood, mildew and cold stone. Lying on the ground were ladders and other renovation equipment, and it was obvious some work was to be done here.

Walking slowly down the hall, her footsteps echoed loudly announcing her presence to the shadowed figure hiding in a carved out alcove.

“I can hear your breathing.” Charlie stated, stopping all movement.

Adams stepped out into the light and faced the tall woman.

“Can you hear my heart beating just for you, as well?” He asked sarcastically.

Charlie smiled but didn’t move a muscle, “The only thing my heart does when you are around is go cold.”

Adams laughed, “Oh and there’s me thinking there was something special between us.”

“Why did you do it?” The nurse asked, trying to gain his attention.

“Do what?” Adams asked, “I do a lot of things.”

“Why help Mark Stevens?”

The ex-director smirked and shrugged, “Why does anybody do what they do, because they can basically. I have such a boring job, but one with such avenues of entertainment. Anybody would be a fool not to pick up on that. Oh and of course he paid me very well, but what is money, it can’t by one happiness now can it?” The man sighed, feigning disappointment.

“So your job is nothing more than mere entertainment to you?”

The man looked at his hands, then back at Charlie, “What can I say, we all are looking for that special something aren’t we. Fortunately I get to have a lot of fun, like with the patients in here…and more so, the kind of patients we have in here.”

Charlie thought for a moment.

“Like the two secured prisoners.”

Adams nodded, “Like the secure prisoners, though Angel is my favourite I must say, she is a girl who really knows how to have a good time.”

“You call mass murder fun?”

“It’s not to everybody’s tastes of course.”

A instinctual cold awareness sliced though Charlie, “Where is she now?”

The ex-director laughed, “Who knows, but I did see her heading of in the direction of a certain sweet little blonde.”

Charlie’s face fell as she turned and ran back the way she came, listening to the deep sounds of laughter coming from Adams. She stopped when she almost collided into a solid form in front of her and she instantly recognised it as Clinton.

“What the hell is going on?” He asked shakily.

“No time to speak, Adams is behind me. Grab him and keep an eye on him, I have to go find Sarah.”

Then she was away and back towards the main corridor.

*******

Angel had followed the blonde back out of the room and was chasing her along the corridor. They were nearing the end and her laughter got all the more wild as the pursuit continued.

Sarah ran hard, hopefully looking for some means of escape. Instantly she remembered the door leading one of the Bell Towers and headed straight for it. Knowing it was open she pulled on the door and charged up the steps, still hearing the maniacal woman behind her. Once she reached the top, she pulled the second door open and ran into the tower. Not even registering where she was or what she was doing as she pulled open the third door and ran outside onto the roof.

She instantly found herself within a maze of low walls and circular towers and looked for a place to hide herself. Spotting a two-foot high wall by a tower to the right, she made a beeline for it and dived to her new place of concealment. Her back hit the wall hard, as she dropped to the ground.

Closing her eyes, she tried to calm her erratic breathing.

Angel appeared a few seconds later, a wide grin spread across her face.

“Oh a game of Hide and Seek, I haven’t played this since I was little.”

The woman sung, slowly weaving her way around the roof in search of Sarah.

The young blonde shrunk down against the wall. Chilly gusts of wind flowed over her, causing her to shiver. It didn’t help that she was only wearing a thin T-shirt and shorts.

*******

Charlie ran through the corridor, she had gone to Sarah’s room and, finding it empty, had set off on a frenzied search to find her. As she neared the end of the hall she noticed the door leading to the tower was open, so with desperation, headed straight for it.

*******

Sarah knelt by the wall shivering violently, both through fear and the blistering cold. The realisation that she was actually outside was only a dull perception, more over powered by the notion of the crazed woman after her. She pushed her back against the cold wall and tried to silence her breathing. Inwardly chanting for Charlie to come and find her.

“Thought you could hide from me did you?”

Sarah looked up to see Angel above and behind her. The crazed woman bent down grabbing Sarah around the waist and pulling her up to a standing position.

“Gotcha!” she whispered savagely in the girl’s ear.

Sarah whimpered feeling the ground move beneath her, as Angel pulled her along, grazing her legs against whatever obstacle was in their way.

The wild woman pulled the young woman roughly, until they reached the end of the roof, and they could see down onto the car park below.

“Oh would you look at that.” Angel stated, “You know I haven’t seen the outside world for along time, and this really is an interesting view.”

Sarah tried to calm her terrified mind; she needed to distract the woman.

“This is the first time I have been outside in over four years as well.” She stated, her voice sounding strange to her own ears.

Angel looked down, “Really, well in that case I am honoured it was me that got you out here.”

She squeezed her arm tighter around the blonde slightly crushing her chest.

“You know I saw the way she looked at you. That stupid fuck Mr Adams wouldn’t have noticed it, as it takes a woman to see something like that and I saw it.”

“What do you mean?” Sarah asked, feeling it slightly difficult to speak as the pressure on her chest increased. She tried bending her knees in order to push herself away from the roof edge.

“The look in her eyes, it was more than she should be having for a patient, that is for sure. Still if she does go for patients then she will love me. I’m about as sick and twisted as they come.”

The crazed woman began pushing Sarah back towards the edge, causing the blonde to struggle harder.

“Oh come now, that will do no good, stop annoying me Blondie and keep still.”

“ANGEL”

The woman turned at the sound of her name, pulling Sarah with her until she found herself face to face with a tall, dark, enraged looking woman. The psychologist stood about five feet away from them.

Angle smiled, “Well, well Charlie, seems Mr high and mighty director was right about you.”

Charlie remained expressionless.

“Oh and what was he right about.”

Angel moved the tonfa around, placing it along Sarah’s throat.

“Is this really what you want to talk about now?” She asked, her eyes sparkling with mirth.

“What do you want Angel.” The voice was deep and menacing.

“Oh I love the way you say my name.”

Charlie took a step closer, “What do you want?”

“Ah, ah, ah, not another step or else blondie here gets it.” She stated pulling Sarah closer to the edge once again.

Charlie lifted her hands, “Ok, fine. Now tell me what you want.”

“You.” Angel stated simply.

Charlie looked at Sarah; the young woman was uncomfortable but seemed to be managing to hold it together, though her fear was tangible.

The psychologist held her arms out in an inviting manor, getting the woman away from Sarah was her biggest concern.

“You got me.” Was her only response.

Angel laughed and pulled Sarah slightly away from her, swinging the wooden baton until it connected with her head, knocking the girl out cold. She fell to the woman’s feet with a heavy thud.

Charlie watched feeling her heart explode as Sarah’s body hit the ground. She knew she had to keep calm and stay in control though, so she remained quiet and stood as still as possible.

Angle looked up and smiled.

“Watch out baby, here I come.” She sung and walked slowly towards Charlie swinging the tonfa by her side.

Once the woman was in reach, Charlie lashed out landing a series of rapid blows on Angel. The surprised woman didn’t even have time to wonder what was happening, as she was assaulted with an assortment of swift blows, until she too lay unconscious on the ground.

“That was too easy.” Charlie said to herself.

She looked down at the cataleptic form for all of one second, before turning her attention to Sarah. She was about to move to the young woman’s side when she heard an echoing click.

She froze, and then slowly turned around, finding Adams standing by the tower entrance holding a gun in her direction.

“If I was you I would be wise enough not to move a single muscle.”

Charlie shivered, “It is over Graham, why do you continue doing this, there is no way out you know that.”

The psychologist was unsure what type of gun it was. She did believe it to be one of the tranquillisers but was not willing to take any chances.

The thin mans lips twitched as though he was trying to hold back a smile.

“You know what they say, ‘if you are going out, might as well do it with a bang’ no pun intended of course.”

“Where’s Clinton?” She asked.

The man laughed, “Oh please…did you really think that guy could hold me.

Don’t worry though he isn’t dead…just a little out for the count.”

Behind her Charlie heard the sound of somebody come around. Knowing it could only be Sarah she tried desperately to defuse the situation.

“Just put the gun down Graham,”

Adams grinned, “What’s the point.” He asked, before diverting his attention to the movement he saw from the corner of his eye. Sarah was beginning to come around, and she had one hell of an aching head.

“Well, look at this, looks like I get the pleasure of both of your company.”

At Grahams words, Charlie leapt forward, jumping over the three-foot wall and landing square in front him. She efficiently pulled the weapon from his grasp, throwing it cleanly out of the way.

Once he realised he was no longer in control of the situation he lunged forward, knocking them the tall woman backwards and over the small wall.

Charlie landed on her back and managed to push her foot into Adams’ chest, catapulting him into the air. She expected him to land directly behind her, but her pumping adrenalin had resulted in an increased spurt of strength and she had pushed him straight over the edge of the building.

He fell three stories to his death, landing onto of a row of neatly parked cars.

********

The first thing Sarah became aware of was a persistent throbbing ache in her head. It was increasingly painful and, as she tried to open her eyes it only grew stronger.

A familiar voice, close to her ear spoke softly, “Hey sweet heart.” It whispered, “Get some rest I will be here when you wake…always.”

At those comforting words, she drifted off to sleep.

The second time she awoke the pain was almost gone. Gently testing the waters, she squinted slightly and opened one eye. Her vision blurred, she tried opening both eyes to see whether it was any better, after a couple of seconds, her sight began to clear.

Slowly focussing on the room she tried to make out where she was. Turning her head in a slow sweeping movement she took in the sights and realised she was in a hospital. As she finally looked to the right, she saw a crown of dark hair, resting on the side of the bed.

“Charlie?” She whispered.

At the mention of her name the waiting woman lifted her head, looking directly into Sarah’s blurry green eyes.

“Hey,” she smiled softly.

The blonde lifted her hand and stroked the face of the woman in front of her, or more so the large black and blue bruise on the left side of her cheek.

“What happened?” she asked groggily, motioning towards the contusion.

Charlie shook her head, brushing of the concern, “It is nothing, just landed funny when I fell.”

Sarah accepted the explanation, “Ok…where am I?”

“The infirmary on the first floor.”

The young woman frowned, “I didn’t know there was an infirmary on the first floor.”

“Well you learn something new every day.”

Charlie smiled and took Sarah’s had gently.

“So how are you feeling?”

“Better than the last time I woke up.” She answered, “What happened to Mr Adams and that woman?”

The dark woman sighed, “Angel is back in her secured room, locks activated. And the director…well lets just say he didn’t make it.”

Sarah frowned, her still foggy mind a little slow in comprehending what she was being told.

Charlie pursed her lips, “He tried to kill us Sarah, I did what I could to stop him…he is dead.”

The young blonde nodded her head, “Oh…I…ok”

“Are you alright sweet heart?”

Sarah nodded, “Yeah I guess, just a little taken aback by all that has happened. Kind of numb…again…”

Charlie nodded and kissed a warm hand, “Listen Sarah…there is somebody who is waiting to see you. She has been here for five hours now.”

The blonde frowned, “Who…how long have I been out?”

Charlie got to her feet, “You were unconscious for about seven hours. Listen I will go and get her, she is dying to see you.”

Sarah felt a little nervous, as Charlie left the room. She wondered who would want to see her, and presumed it was probably Mel the cook.

Hearing the door creak open slightly she turned her head, looking at her visitor. Instantly a choked up sob left her throat as she spotted her mother walking through the door.

Mrs Austin walked towards her daughter, eyes filling with tears. She had changed the older woman thought. Sarah’s hair was longer and a little blonder. She difinately looked a little more grown up. The childlike features had been replaced with the looks of a striking young woman.

“Mum?” Sarah asked, looking up to the woman before her eyes. Yes she knew it was her; but she too had changed. The woman looked thinner, and her hair was a little greyer.

“Yes baby.” Her mother whispered and moved to the side of the bed.

Sarah lifted herself to a sitting position, “I can’t believe it.”

Mrs Austin moved to sit on the edge of the bed. She leaned forward and took her daughter in a tight embrace, unable to hold the long buried emotions back anymore. She thought she had lost her daughter along with her husband for good, yet here they sat together again. The older woman couldn’t stop the tears whether she wanted to or not.

Sarah held her mother close, still not believing she was there.

“I never though I would see you again.” She stated.

Her mother pulled away to look into her daughters green eyes, a carbon copy of her own.

“Lets not discuss this now sweet, I’m just so happy to be seeing you again.”

Charlie had discussed briefly with the woman about the situation with Adams, and she knew there was still a lot that her daughter didn’t know.

Sarah pulled her mother back into a hug, “Where’s dad?” she asked.

*******

Bell Tower had four single rooms for their patients, medical needs, and they were each connected to a single corridor. Charlie sat in that corridor, on an uncomfortable orange plastic chair. She leaned her head back against the whitewash wall and closed her eyes. She could just hear the muted sounds of Caroline Evans, who was in one of the deserted rooms, talking on her mobile. She sighed and lifted her hand, lightly stroking the contusion on the side of her face, it was beginning to throb. Still her dark features did a good job of hiding the worst of the bruise.

Caroline finished her conversation and walked back into the wide corridor to find Charlie. She sat next to her on another of the less than inviting, plastic chairs.

“That was an Officer Saunders on the Phone. He said that all the guards have been taken in for questioning, just to see what they know.”

Charlie lifted her head from the wall, and opened her eyes.

“The police still want to speak to you about Graham Adams death, what are you going to tell them?”

Charlie frowned, “The truth of course. It was not like I killed him on purpose, Caroline, I was just trying to save Sarah and me.”

“Ok…ok I was just asking…” she paused wondering how she was to broach the next subject she knew needed addressing.

“Charlie…we have been friends for a long time right?”

The dark woman turned her head looking at the mousy woman curiously.

“Why do I have the feeling I am about to hear something I am not going to like, hmm?”

Caroline shook her head, “I don’t know…but I witnessed something earlier that I have to draw attention to. Look Charlie, I was at the door, when Sarah Austin came round…I heard the way you spoke to each other.”

Charlie took in a sharp breath, “Yeah?”

“It is kind of obvious that there is something going on between you two.”

Charlie stood up, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” She stated and moved to stand on the other side of the corridor.

Caroline followed, speaking in hushed, angry tones, “Charlie I know you too well, don’t try and deny this, especially with me.”

She stood toe to toe with the taller woman. “What’s going on? Off the record, please…you know you can trust me.”

Charlie sighed and folded her arms, “I don’t know, it all happened so suddenly, but from the moment I laid eyes on her, I felt something.”

“Something?”

The psychologist closed her eyes briefly to calm her racing heart, “THE something…the something you feel when you find that one special person.”

Caroline looked at her quizzically, “You’re in love with her?”

“Yes.”

The doctors’ head fell into her hands.

“Oh God…Charlie how could you allow this to happen?”

The woman felt her defences rise.

“I didn’t allow this to happen, it just did. I tried to fight it but there was no use. I can’t help the way I feel, I’m in love with her.”

The doctor raised her head.

“Ok…and…how does she feel about you?”

“She says she feels the same way.”

“What do you mean ‘she says’ how can you be sure of her feelings towards you?”

The woman sounded more concerned than sceptical.

“I just am, I see it in the way she looks at me, the way she speaks to me, I just know alright.”

Caroline held up her hands, “Alright, I believe you. But listen Charlie you do realise you have to quit your job here.”

Charlie instantly shook her head, “Absolutely not, no way.”

The mousy woman grabbed hold of her arm, tightly.

“Listen to me Charlie. With everything that has happened this couldn’t have come at a worse time,” She whispered. “If you want to continue a relationship with this girl, the best way to help her is for you to step down as her therapist and let another take over. I read over her case earlier, I know she has been making progress, and if you seriously want Sarah…you know that it will best thing for her.”

Charlie sighed in a defeated tone.

“You know I hate it when you’re right.”

Caroline let go of her arm.

“Good because I am and you know it. Listen…I have never had to deal with this kind of thing before, but I promise to keep it off the record. It would probably be best if you were not to see her for about a month as well…”

She lifted her hand, stopping the protest that was about to leave the taller woman’s mouth.

“There will be an inquest into the directors death and an investigation into the way in which he ran this place. It would be best if you didn’t add anymore fuel to the fire by starting any suspicions about you misusing the patients’ trusts.”

“I would never…”

“I know that…Sarah would know that…but there will be an investigation and it would be best if just left quietly like you were supposed to after you finished this job. Remember although you were sent here as a psychologist your main aim was to watch over Adams, even though that information will not become common knowledge.”

The defeated psychologist sat back down on the orange chair, Caroline was right and she knew it. Now all she had to do was explain this all to Sarah.

This is not going to be easy, she thought.

*******

For a summers day it was cold and windy, but that didn’t really surprise Charlie. The British weather was anything if not unreliable, and she was glad she had chosen to wear jeans and a jumper.

She was sitting on a deserted wooden bench in an equally deserted city park. The only life that surrounded her were the birds in the trees and the ducks on the near by lake.

Charlie sighed pulling her leather jacket tighter around herself. It was a little breezy and she was starting to feel its icy gusts invade her cooling body.

Straightening her back on the bench, her thoughts once again turned to Sarah. It had been almost two months since she had seen the young blonde and she realised that absence really did make the heart grow fonder.

Though she would more call it, ache uncontrollably.

Charlie thought back to the last day they had been together. It was in the evening when she had told her that she had to leave. There had been tears on both their parts, but Sarah understood why Charlie had to do it, and begrudgingly accepted the decision. Not that it was easy for the young woman, but at least she had her mother now.

It had been hard on them both. Only having two brief telephone conversations since that day, had really taken its toll. Every day Charlie realised with increasing certainty that Sarah was the only one she could, and would, ever want again.

The inquest into the directors’ death and subsequent investigation had taken six, arduous weeks, not a stone had been left
un-turned.

What had shocked people the most was the news that the police had found Mrs Adams. Her unconscious body was discovered the evening her husband had died. She had been badly beaten by Graham, and had subsequently died in hospital.

Though six weeks may have been short for the investigation, it was what the board had wanted, a swift but ultimately thorough enquiry. To Charlie though it was the longest time of her life. Three of the four security guards had been charged, as they had been aware of the actions Adams took. And one of the night nurses was fired too.

The psychologist stayed out of as much of the investigation as she could, only helping out when she was requested, but thankfully now, it was all over.

Charlie lifted her hands, blowing warm air into them. Though the breeze was calming a little, it was still cold. Looking towards the road, she tried to see whether Caroline’s car was on its way. Still not catching any glimpse of her friend, she went back to her thoughts.

Dr Evans had been a great help for Sarah. At Charlie’s request she had journeyed to Bell Tower, twice and some times three times a week to check up on her. She had even taken the young woman out for short walks on the hospital ground. Sarah had not yet ventured that far away from the hospital and today was the day she was to do so with Caroline.

The doctor had told Sarah she would take her out in the car for a little drive. What she didn’t tell the girl was that she intended on taking her to the local city park where Charlie was waiting patiently for her.

She was nervous. It felt like so long since she had seen the blonde, that in some self-conscious way, she was afraid the girls’ feelings might have changed. Even though it was impossible, Caroline herself had told the nervous woman that Sarah asked about her constantly. For Charlie those two months had felt like a short eternity, and she felt she had waited her whole life for this moment.

The sound of a car pulled her from her thoughts. Looking up hopefully she spotted Caroline’s black B.M.W; pull in by the side of her jeep. She grinned excitedly, all doubt leaving her mind, and jogged silently behind the car.

The woman didn’t want to be spotted just yet.

*******

Sarah sat in the passenger seat of the large vehicle, hands tightly clasped together and head down. She tried to open her eyes and look out the window, but nerves had gotten the better of her.

“Hey, Sarah you sure you’re ready for this?” Caroline asked.

The blonde lifted her head and stared at the row of trees they were facing.

“Yeah, I’m just feeling nervous…you know.”

The Doctor smiled, “Hey…you’ll be fine…I just know it.”

Sarah smiled at the woman and looked down, brushing the ripples out of her black trousers.

Caroline looked out the front window of her car and spotted a familiar person, she smiled at her friend, and discreetly winked.

“We better get going then.” The young woman stated, still fiddling with her clothing.

“Oh I’m not going with you” Caroline proclaimed.

Sarah looked up alarmed.

“What…but you said…what…why?”

Caroline smiled and pointed her finger towards the window.

“Because she is instead.”

Sarah looked in the direction the Doctor was pointing and saw the figure she was referring to. There in-between two large oak trees stood Charlie, standing with her hands in her pockets, smiling.

The blondes’ breath caught, “Charlie.” She whispered.

Without a second thought for the woman in the car beside her, Sarah pushed open the door and ran towards the welcome sight. The psychologist was almost knocked backwards, as she accepted the girl into her arms, securing her in a tight embrace.

They stood silently together for long minutes, allowing the reality of whom they were holding to sink in. Sarah breathed in deep breaths, taking in the scent of warm leather, it was a smell that she now only associated with the woman. Even whey they were apart, it seemed to remain in her senses, and resided as a constant reminder to the person she desperately wanted to be with.

Charlie buried her face in the honey blonde locks, taking in the unique scent of the young woman in her arms. She had dreamed this very moment every night since they had parted, and now they were together, she knew she only wanted to settle for the real thing.

Caroline watched them both with a gentle smile. Any doubt she may have had about the validity of their feelings for each other was quashed in an instant. Respectfully she looked away.

“Oh…how I have missed you.” Charlie whispered.

Sarah looked up into the clear blue eyes she had waited to see again for so long.

“Please tell me this is the last time I have to be apart from you.”

Charlie looked away briefly.

“Well not quite. The hospital has to say you are ready to leave, but as soon as they have given the affirmative you are a free woman, sweet heart.”

The blonde laid her head back against the older woman’s chest, listening intently to the rapid heartbeat.

Charlie took a deep breath; there was something she had been thinking about asking Sarah for a while now, and she knew if she didn’t ask now, she might loose her nerve.

“Erm…Sarah…when you do leave Bell Tower, where are you going?”

Sarah looked back up at the brunette.

“Back home I guess…why?” she asked hopefully.

“Well it was just…I was wondering whether you wanted to come…I mean only if you wanted to…come and stay with me?” The last part was spoken quietly.

“Is that what you want?” Sarah held her breath.

Charlie blushed, “I erm…well I mean…yes?”

Sarah smiled and pulled the woman down into an overpowering hug.

The nervous woman smiled into the blonde hair.

“I take it that means it’s a yes?”

Sarah nodded her head into the warn chest.

“You know it does.”

Charlie kissed the golden head, “Good…Sarah…I…erm…Oh God, I’ve waited so long for this…please kiss m…”

She didn’t have time to finish her plea, as her lips were covered by two, just as willing ones. Charlie fell into the kiss, pulling her hands from around the young woman’s back to tangle in her long hair. Gently she pushed her tongue through the warm lips and Sarah willingly allowed her entrance.

Weeks of not seeing the blonde had given her an unquenchable thirst to feed upon as much of Sarah as she could.

The reality of where they were didn’t seem to matter to the young woman as she pushed Charlie up against the nearest tree and deepened the kiss further. Pushing her tongue into warm recesses of the taller woman’s mouth, that was slowly making her forget whom or where she was.

The cold wind no longer had an interfering chance. The heat building between them both was consuming.

Reluctantly…very reluctantly, Charlie pulled away; she had something to say. “Hey,”

She whispered out of breath, “You do realise where we are?”

“I don’t care” Sarah stated.

Charlie grinned.

“No I mean, you and me together. You outside…you did it you know, and you haven’t even realised.”

Sarah looked around, as if comprehending where she was for the first time.

“Jesus…your right.” She looked back at Charlie, “I guess all I needed was the right kind of motivation.”

“Then I’m glad I was what you needed.”

The petite blonde smiled, caressing one dark tanned cheek, “You are all I will ever need. Now stop talking and kiss me, I have to get back s…”

This time Sarah never got to finish her speech, but she smiled inside.

And they say interruptions are impolite. If this is the way I am interrupted, I may never want to finish a sentence again.

*******

It had taken another three weeks for Sarah to be told she was fit to leave Bell Tower. During that time she had managed to see Charlie once a week, during her trips out with Caroline. The three of them went different places and the young blonde got to hear all the embarrassing med school tales Caroline told about the dark woman. Charlie didn’t mind though, she would sacrifice the odd blush just to hear the melodious sounds of the young woman’s laughs.

Still they had yet to be alone together and secretly, it constantly played on both of their minds.

Sarah’s mother was a little disappointed when her daughter informed her that she was not coming to live back at home, but all she wanted for the girl was to be happy. The old woman was very much aware of her daughters’ feelings towards the psychologist even though Sarah had yet to admit it.

Mrs Austin also noticed the distance they had put between each other during the investigation, and was glad. It meant that the dark woman’s intentions towards her daughter were worthy, and she respected the woman for that. What mattered most were the facts that one: she had her daughter back and two: emotionally, Sarah was a lot better.

*******

It was a Saturday morning when Sarah was to be released. She had awoken to a beautiful warm day, with the sun shining persistently into her room. Since that first day out in the park, she had taken to sleeping with the curtains open. Now the outside world was much more appealing to her.

The plan for the day had been set. She was to be collected by her mother in the morning. They would spend most of the day together, before Charlie would come and pick her up in the evening.

Her mother arrived on time, and after a short farewell to the few nurses she had come to know, she left. The feeling of walking out of Bell Tower with her possessions, though meagre, was one of the greatest feelings Sarah had ever experienced.

*******

It was early evening. Sarah sat at the kitchen table in the home she had not seen for over four years. It was just as she had remembered it, and even the smell seemed comforting to her. It was like nothing had changed, well almost nothing. Her father was gone and she hadn’t even been told when it had happened. Still her mother took her to visit his grave that morning, and she told him she would come to see him whenever she could, feeling the need to make her past deeds up to him in some way.

Now she sat waiting for Charlie to come for her, nerves bristling furiously.

Barbara had noticed her daughter’s behaviour.

“Hey are you ok?”

Sarah looked up to her mother, standing by the table.

She smiled, “Yeah, just a little nervous about seeing Charlie…”

Sarah froze realising how her remark must have sounded. She looked at her mother warily.

“I mean…”

Barbara shook her head, “It’s alright sugar, and I know what you mean. Did you really think you could hide something like that away from me? No matter what has happened or how long we may have been apart. I am your mother and always will be. Us mothers have a secret insight into things like this you know.”

She smiled, yet a deep sadness showed on her features.

Sarah noticed the look and instantly knew what it was about. She had yet to tell her mother the full story about what had happened to her. She did intend on doing so, but was waiting for the right moment, and now wasn’t it. Though really, she would admit, if only to herself, that she was very anxious about doing so.

“Are you ok with it mum? I mean ethically there would be a lot to be said about what has happened between Charlie and myself. But there was nothing we could do though, it just happened. She is like my Knight in shining armour that came to that place and rescued me from the rut I had placed my self in. I love her very much.” She said almost wistfully.

Barbara smiled down at her daughter.

“How could I possibly argue with a statement like that? Your happiness is all that matters to me, and if she gives it to you then I am happy too.”

Sarah got to her feet, capturing the woman in a warm hug.

“Thank you mother.”

They stood together for a few seconds, until a knock echoed from the door. Barbara pulled away and looked at her daughter.

“Do you think she will be wearing the shining armour tonight?” The woman questioned.

Sarah blushed and watched as the woman went to answer the door.

Charlie smiled cautiously as she came face to face with Sarah’s mother.

“Mrs Austin.”

She wasn’t sure whether Sarah had told her mother about their relationship or how she would react when she did.

The old woman looked at the psychologist, as if noticing her for the first time. She took in the long dark hair, stunning features, and olive skin. The blue eyes that were regarding her with caution suddenly moved behind her, and took on a warm loving expression. Barbara smiled inside knowing her daughter had caused that look.

Charlie smiled as she continued to look at the adorable blushing blonde standing behind her mother. They hadn’t seen each other for six days and were both beginning to feel the strain of absence.

Barbara decided to break the silence.

“Well Miss Taylor, no sense in you staying out there, might as well come in for a while.”

The dark woman smiled at the entered the house.

*******

The drive to Charlie house was quiet. Both women were lost deep in thought about the future ahead. A certain amount of uncertainty hung between them, and until they voice their concerns that little bit of tension would keep them in an uneasy silence.

Charlie knew that when they arrived home, she would have to seriously talk with Sarah.

Home, the word held meaning now. Before it was just another place to lay her head. The woman more or less lived out of cardboard boxes. But where Sarah was concerned, she saw significance, for the first time in that simple little word.

It took forty-five minutes of un-comfortable silence, before they got home. Charlie pulled into the drive and Sarah got a first look at the place.

“Wow Charlie, this is beautiful…so open yet…private…you know what I mean?”

She gazed at the small, red brick country house.

Charlie turned and looked at the blonde, relieved to hear her voice.

“Well obviously, I am very glad you like it. It’s your home to now remember that.” She watched the young woman closely.

Sarah smiled excitedly and un-clipped her seatbelt, in a hurry to explore her surroundings, “Well let’s not sit here, I am dying to see inside.”

The older woman smiled at the blondes’ obvious enthusiasm. Releasing her seatbelt, she opened the door and got out into the cool evening air. It was still light out and Sarah took full advantage of the fact by doing a quick inspection of the outer grounds.

She disappeared around the side, and Charlie jumped when she heard a sudden shriek.

Dropping the bags that she was presently pulling from the boot, she ran in the direction Sarah had just taken.

“SARAH…what’s wrong?”

Her frantic dash came to a halt when she spotted the blonde. Sarah stood looking out onto the over grown garden.

“Would you look at that?” She exclaimed.

Charlie frowned, “Yeah I know it’s a right mess. I was thinking of getting it all slabbed…would look much neater.”

The young woman looked at the nurse shocked, “Charlene Taylor, don’t you dare. Don’t you know what these are?”

The woman shook her head and shrugged, chuckling at the tone in the younger woman’s voice.

Sarah started pointing.

“Strawberries, blackberries, gooseberries…oh and look over there in the corner, an apple tree.”

Charlie strained her neck looking, “I don’t see anything.”

The blonde rolled her eyes, “Well won’t really see them yet, but give it time for everything to ripen. I can’t believe it; I used to love picking strawberries and making jam when I was younger. This garden is amazing.”

Charlie grinned, “Oh I can think of other uses for strawberries.”

As soon as she had made the comment, she regretted saying it and looked worriedly at Sarah. The girl noticed the look and sighed. Knowing she needed to have a talk with the woman.

With a new reigning silence, they went back to the jeep and retrieved Sarah’s luggage. Quietly they walked into the house and Charlie dropped the baggage onto the floor.

“Right lets get these up stairs shall we?”

Quickly she re-claimed the bags and started up the stairs, Sarah close behind. At the top of the stairs Charlie stopped on the landing, between two rooms facing each other.

She pointed to the larger room, “Erm…this is my room,” then she pointed to the other bedroom, “And this is the spare. Look Sarah I don’t know where you want to sleep…I don’t want you to feel pressured, or anything…”

Sarah sighed, “Charlie, please don’t.”

The tall woman stopped talking, slightly afraid that her concerns may have been warranted.

“I know what you are thinking and I want you to stop it ok. God I was hoping this wouldn’t be an issue.”

Charlie stepped closer, “Its not an issue, I just don’t want you to feel I am pressuring you in to anything. I love you Sarah, more than I ever thought I was capable of…I just want you to know I will never push or rush you into anything.”

Sarah took hold of one dark tanned hand.

“Charlie, please listen to me. My past is just that…the past. You make everything that once scared me, pale in to comparison to you. I don’t need time and I definitely don’t feel rushed, I want this with you, to be with you.”

She kissed the delicately scarred knuckles on the woman’s hand. “Let’s just look forward shall we? All I want is to be with you.”

Charlie leant down and captured soft inviting lips. She couldn’t find the words to express how Sarah had just affected her, so hoped her actions would better convey.

Moving in until their bodies fit perfectly, the older woman pushed her hands through Sarah’s hair, feeling it’s silky texture run through her fingers. Sarah moaned relishing the contact, and lifted her hands to cup Charlie’s face with a worshipping tenderness.

She pulled away gently, but placed tiny kisses on the older woman’s cheeks, eyes and nose.

“Thank you” She whispered.

Charlie smiled and bent down picking up Sarah’s bags, “So do I have to even ask what room you want?”

Sarah blushed and shook her head, then watched as the woman took the bags into their room.

*******

Charlie had a spur of the moment idea, deciding she wanted to make this first night for Sarah in her new home, special. Well as special as she could given the time. So while the blonde was in their bedroom, finding places for her belongings, to which she was told ‘move what ever she wanted. Charlie was frantically dashing around, trying to organise a romantic evening.

She looked down the phone book for the nearest Chinese restaurant and ordered a wide variety of dishes. Then she had set to work on the kitchen, since they didn’t have a dining room.

She removed the last of the boxes, set the table after a hectic search for candles, and looked through her music collection for some appropriate tunes.

Every time Sarah tried to make her way down the stairs, the woman would usher her back up, asking her to do little jobs. Sarah did as requested willingly, but joked good-naturedly with the woman.

“I didn’t realise all you wanted me for was to be your own personal lackey!” She stated.

*******

Sarah was in the middle of clearing out one of Charlie’s junk drawers when the woman appeared at the door. She leant beside the frame and waited until she was spotted.

“Come with me.” she simply stated.

Sarah frowned, “I can’t just drop all this.” She said pointing to the pile of old clothes in front of her. It seemed the tall woman had a tendency for hoarding old junk, and that wasn’t good in Sarah’s eyes.

Charlie grinned, “Yes you can, it is junk, just chuck it out later…look…I have a surprise for you.”

The girls head shot up at that, and she pushed her self to her feet with a mischievous look.

“Oh now you have me intrigued.”

The taller woman walked towards Sarah and pulled out a black silk scarf from behind her back. She stood behind the younger woman.

“Do you trust me?” She asked in a deep whisper, sending a violent shiver through the smaller woman.

All Sarah could do was nod.

Slowly Charlie brought her hands around the petite frame and placed the scarf around her eyes, tying is securely behind her head. Then she took the blondes hand and led her out the bedroom towards the stairs. Quickly deciding she didn’t want to risk Sarah walking down the stairs blind, she pick her up in one swift motion and carried her to the bottom.

The girl was pleasantly surprised by the other woman’s strength and smiled inwardly.

Once they had reached the bottom, Sarah was disappointed as she was deposited back onto the ground and lead into the kitchen.

“Oh…I haven’t smelt that in a long time.” The young woman exclaimed, taking in the Chinese aroma.

Charlie smiled and pulled off the scarf, “Welcome home.”

The speechless girl looked on in awe, taking in the sight. The kitchen was bathed in a soft candle lit glow. The table was set with a large amount of dishes covering the area and in the background; she could hear soft music coming from the living room.

“Charlie this is beautiful…now I know why you kept me up stairs for two hours.” Sarah’s eyes misted over.

Charlie bent down and placed a soft kiss on the golden head, then lead her to the table. Pulling out a chair, she sat the girl down, before taking her own seat opposite.

Looking up she noticed Sarah was just looking at her with an amazed expression.

“I can’t believe you did all of this for me.”

Charlie bent her head, “Sarah in my eyes this is nothing compared to all you do deserve, and I will spend the rest of my life trying to show just how much you mean to me.”

She reached over the table taking a small, pale hand, and kissed it softly.

“Now lets eat before it gets cold, shall we?”

With glazed eyes, Sarah nodded her head and started on the feast before her.

*******

Just over half the food was gone before both women declared defeat. Sarah sat back in her chair and looked over at Charlie, a sly smile graced her lips. The other woman noticed this and arched an eyebrow in question.

With seductive slowness, the blonde rose from her chair and walked over to the brunette. She smiled and bent down until their faces were inches apart and with a lascivious grin pushed her tongue over waiting lips. Charlie felt her heart pound double speed, and then sighed as the girl pulled back.

“Why did you stop?” She asked breathlessly.

“You had some sauce on your lips”

Charlie breath hitched, “And you couldn’t just tell me?”

The blonde gave a little smile, “I could have, but I thought you may like me to remove it this way instead, I know I certainly did.”

“Good thought.”

The still breathless woman concluded. She moved her hands forward taking Sarah’s soft cheeks in a gentle grasp.

“I wanna make love to you.”

This time it was Sarah’s turn to gasp, she felt herself blush and her heart beat triple time within her chest.

“But…”

“Don’t,” Sarah started, “Don’t you dare ask whether I am ready or am I sure.”

She pulled Charlie to her feet, “Because I am.” She whispered.

Charlie moved forward placing her lips on the girl’s forehead and kissing it tenderly. She moved down until she had tasted every bit of skin of Sarah’s face, ending with her lips. Cupping the soft cheeks in strong hands she moved her lips over the blondes with mounting pressure. Sarah sighed, relishing the feel of the taller woman against her, it was almost overwhelming. Charlie allowed the kiss to continue a little longer until finally she placed one last chaste kiss on the warm mouth. Smiling, she pulled away, taking Sarah’s warm right hand in her own.

They walked through the house and up the stairs until the found themselves in their bedroom. Charlie stopped in front of the bed and pulled Sarah into an encompassing embrace as their lips met solidly. Together they fell into the welcome bed.

Charlie rolled until she was lying on top of the petite woman, bracing her weight on either side of the small frame. She looked down into dark green eyes.

With a trembling hand she pulled Sarah’s t-shirt out the waist of her jeans and pushed it over her head. Looking down at the softness before her she felt a surge of overwhelming desire.

“No-body has ever made me feel the way you do Sarah.” She breathed

The blonde pulled Charlie down to her waiting lips, running her dainty hands through the thick black tresses.

“Charlie, you know when you were talking about being happy and the different ways it could be achieved?”

The psychologist nodded, not even aware that she was holding her breath.

“Well you’re right, Love does make you feel happy, loving you makes me feel happy.”

The older woman smiled and breathed again, “I love you too, Sarah.” She leaned forward and closed the distance, sealing together swollen lips.

Slowly unwanted clothes were removed, until bare flesh touched bare flesh for the first time. Uncertain and tentative touches became bolder, as whimpers of desire left swollen lips. Moving against one another, their sweat soaked bodies slid together in perfect tandem, pushing their desires higher. Determined hands wandered, touching desperately aching places, stoking an uncontrollable fire within them both, until their bodies exploded with relentless waves of passion.

*******

In the comforting moonlight, they lay wrapped within each other’s arms. Sarah adjusted her head, upon the soft breast it was perched upon. She turned her head up, to look at the dark woman’s blue eyes that captured the moonlight perfectly.

“Charlie?”

“Hmm?”

“Can I ask you a question?”

The tall woman smirked, “Anything.”

“How old are you…I just realised that I don’t even know.”

Charlie paused for a second, “I’m thirty two.”

Sarah just nodded her head.

“Why…I mean…does it bother you…that I am older?”

“No, of course not it’s only eight years…but still…”

Charlie arched an eyebrow, “‘But still’ what?”

“Nothing” Sarah said, “Don’t you worry I’ll go easy on you.”

“What do you mean easy on me?”

Sarah laughed, “Well you are getting on…but like I said don’t worry, I’ll still love you, wrinkles and all.”

“I don’t have any…why you little.” Charlie twisted the young woman over until she was lying beneath her, and started a mass tickling attack. “I’ll show you,” she stated digging delicately into ticklish ribs.

Sarah shrieked in delight as Charlie’s hands spread a seemingly relentless attack upon her body. But soon the touches turned softer, and lips found waiting lips. Sarah melted into the touch as the two women moulded together once again. Their desire to prove just how much they loved each other reasserted its self, in the first of many long nights to come.

She was worth the wait. Was Sarah’s final coherent thought, before she was swept again into a world that consisted of only the older woman’s touch.

 

THE END

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