Chapter Fourteen

She looked nice. At least she thought she did. She had gone home, showered and changed into a denim skirt and peasant blouse. She wasn't sure what Woody needed to talk to her about exactly, but wanted to at least look good.

At eight, he knocked. She went to the door, undid all the new locks she had put on and let him in. He came in, bearing a large pizza and a six pack of Guinness. He grinned and said, "Hope you haven't eaten yet. I got off about an hour ago…and haven't had a chance to grab dinner yet." She shook her head. She had been too nervous to think about eating. She got the plates down out of the cabinets and set them out.

Several slices of pizza and a beer or two later, she finally asked, "What did you want to know, Wood?"

Woody wiped his mouth, and turned to face her. "I want to know….I need to know, are you okay?"

"I'm fine."

Woody looked at her closely. "I don't think so. You haven't been yourself since Pullman. You're too quiet…you never want to talk about anything that isn't work related….you really haven't talked to me since that night in your office."

Jordan lowered her head. "I thought that was what you wanted. You told me that personally, whatever we had…was over. You didn't want to talk to me."

He signed and reached for her hand. "I said that when I was angry about the Levinson case. Come to find out you were right….there was someone else behind all that. If I would have listened to you…Pullman would have been found earlier and you would have never gotten abducted. Do you know the guilt I've carried around with me since then?"

Jordan pulled her hand away. "There's no need to feel guilty. You didn't know. No one did. It happened, it's over…it's done."

"I don't think it's over, Jo. Not for you. You're scared…I think you're coping, but deep down inside, you're fearful…when you go to your car…to the morgue…I know. I've seen it in your eyes…And I feel responsible for it. If I would have listened to you…"

"No. There was nothing there in the Levinson case to give us a solid lead onto Pullman."

"But if I would have listened to you the day you came to my office about the threatening cards…I might could have done something."

"And if I hadn't of pissed you off so badly, you may have listened."

Woody gazed into her eyes. "So we're back at square one. Maybe…just maybe…we should never make each other that angry again." He ran his hand softly down the side of her face. "What do you think?"

Jordan nodded, the fleeting thought running through her head that she didn't want him to move his hand. If he would just keep it there, on the side of her face, she would feel so much better. Her hand automatically raised and covered his on her cheek, as if to silently tell him what she wanted. If it wasn't over between them…then what was he going to do?

Pull her to him and kiss her.

Slowly, thoroughly, only breaking it to whisper in her ear, "Don't pull away from me this time, Jo, please?"

She couldn't have it she wanted to…not that she did. Her arms went around him and somehow or another, she found herself in his lap on her couch. It was minutes later when he finally broke the kiss long enough to look in her eyes, smooth back her hair, and make sure she was all right. "I've been so worried about you…we all have."

Held in the security of his lap and arms, for the first time Jordan would admit just how scared she had been….how fearful she had become. How she couldn't shake that feeling…how cold she still felt. "I don't know what to do about it. I've talked with Dr. Stiles…I know, at least cognitively, nothing is going to hurt me….but I just feel differently…like it could again."

The vulnerability of victims. Woody had seen it over and over again. They knew nothing was going to happen…but that didn't erase the feeling it might. Funny thing. In all the years he had known Jordan…been witness to her tensile strength, he never had pictured her as a victim. He knew of only one way to get her over those fears.

"You need to go talk to Pullman," Woody said. "There wasn't a trial…he never saw you after he put you in that box. You need to tell him what he did to you."

"Why? That won't do any good…he's in jail…he pleaded out."

"I'm not talking about him. I'm talking about you. Confronting the person…the monster that victimizes you somehow makes him seem smaller…less threatening. And then you can go on with your life, Jo."

She shook her head. "I don't know, Woody. I never really want to see him again."

Woody took both of her hands in his. "I think it would be good for you. You never know until you try…You've backed down governors, mayors, and DA's. I wouldn't let this one guy ruin the rest of my life."

Jordan swallowed hard. He had a point. But to confront Pullman face-to-face again… even though it would be under controlled circumstances…he couldn't get to her…there would be a myriad of police there. There was only one way she could and would go through with this. "Will you go with me, Woody? Will you be there the whole time?"

Tightening his grip on her hands, he replied. "Every step of the way. I won't let go of you for a minute."

Woody managed to arrange the meeting through victim's services, although Pullman's lawyer fought it. "He's paying the price for his crime, why add to the mental distress?" she asked. Woody's response was simply to get a judge that owed him a favor to sign off on the order and set the date.

When the day came, he picked her up at the morgue. She was pale and looked strained, but was determined to see it through. She had to get her life back on track. Since that night at her apartment, Woody had seldom left her side, except to go to work. He had stayed at her apartment that night and every night after…helping her to deal with her fears and get ready for the meeting. He had held her at night and kept her confidence up during the day.

And she needed a lot of that right now…confidence. She tightened her grip on Woody's hand as he walked with her down the halls of the prison. She felt him return the squeeze. She was shown into a small room. Pullman was already there, sitting at a small table. Swallowing her fear, she sat down and looked at her abductor. He was really a tiny man. A small, nondescript man, with brown hair, brown eyes, and a droopy moustache. How could this man hold so much power over her…evoke so much fear?

"I hear you want to talk to me about what happened, sugar…." Pullman drawled out. Jordan tightened her grip on Woody's hand one more time. Sugar? Ten minutes later, she had verbally laid him out. She told him everything – letting loose of all the anger and the fear that was inside of her.

"Yeah. Well. So what?" was his response. "What do you expect? An apology?"

Jordan thought for a minute. "No. No apology is necessary or wanted. This meeting wasn't for you …. It was for me. At least now, I can get up and leave…go home to people that I love and to a job that I love. I have the freedom to come and go as I please. You'll be dead before that happens to you. I seriously doubt you're going to outlive a sentence of 25 to 50 years. And when and if you do come up for parole, I'll be here. Every time. Don't think my feeling about you and what you did to me will ever change." And with that, she got up and left, the bars of the jail clanging behind her and Woody. She finally felt like her fear had been left there, locked up with Pullman.

"How do you feel?" Woody asked, a little concerned about her emotional state after the turn of events.

Giving him what she felt was her first real smile in months, she replied. "Warm. I feel warm, Woody. I'm not cold any longer."