I loved the episode "Intruded," but I thought it ended a ended a bit too tidily. Such are the limitations of a one-hour episode, but I wanted to explore the issue a little bit more.
Violence against women is a very important issue. I'm far from an expert on the subject, but I've tried to do some research, and I hope I've handled it in a truthful and non-exploitative way.
I'm really a much more cheerful person than my fanfic might suggest! Honestly!
She opened her eyes one at a time and stretched. A slow, hopeful smile spread across her face. She looked around her apartment, brightened by the sunlight streaming in through the windows and the overhead light that had remained on all night.
It had been a month since...since her apartment had been broken into. For the first time, her sleep had not been broken by the images. The glint of the knife, the hiss of his voice, the feel of his hands...
No dreams, she repeated to herself silently. It was over. Sometimes when you ignore things, they really do go away. No need for countless hours with some shrink with an Ivy League diploma, tossing around a bunch of big words from the DSM-IV.
Time and a nice chat with Stiles had done the trick. She found herself singing in the shower as she got ready for work, and the light mood carried her through as she dressed and drove into work.
It was finally over.
And then there was the elevator ride up to her office.
She took a deep breath and looked over her shoulder. The hallway behind her was empty. She was alone.
She lifted her chin, squared her shoulders, and pressed the UP button.
Come on come on come on...she whispered under her breath. The elevator doors opened with a "ping." She exhaled with relief and stepped inside the empty car.
She slumped against the wall and leaned her head back, eyes closed. Safe. She was safe. It had become kind of a morning ritual for her. Her throat would close and her heart would begin to pound as she walked from the parking structure into the building toward the elevator.
The doors began to shut.
"Wait! Hold the elevator!" Her eyes snapped open. She stretched forward and jabbed frantically at the "Close Door" button with her knuckle. He's not going to make it, she thought hopefully.
Then a hand slipped inside the car and pushed the door open. A man stepped inside. A stranger. He was 30, maybe. Wearing a pair of worker's coveralls and some kind of photo ID. That didn't mean anything. Anyone could get a fake ID like that.
Jordan retreated into the corner. The man nodded at her and turned his back. He reached his hand up to the control panel and seemed to hesitate.
Jordan felt her throat begin to close. He's going to hit the "Emergency Stop" button. I know it. Then I'll be stuck inside here with him.
Finally, he pressed one of the buttons. Jordan's hands drew up into fists. She meant to make a run for it before the doors closed, but her feet had turned to cement. The elevator doors slid shut and began to make an agonizingly slow trip upwards.
He turned once during the climb, just a glance over his shoulder. He looked at her blankly for a moment and faced front again with his hands clasped in front of him and his eyes straight ahead.
Jordan's eyes flew up to the display panel above the elevator doors, watching as each floor number became illuminated in turn...2...3...4. Her eyes fell onto the man's back.
He's not looking at the display. Everyone looks at the display. What's wrong with him? There's something wrong.
Her heart began to pound.
Finally, the elevator jerked to a halt and the doors slid open again. The man stood for a moment, then turned as he stepped out into the hall.
"Have a good day," he muttered blandly.
She blinked once or twice then raised a limp hand. The doors closed then, and she crumpled to the floor, her face buried in her open palms.
When the doors opened again, she stood in the center of the car, whistling the song that had been running through her head since her morning shower.
Lily was there leafing through a file.
"Morning, Lily," Jordan said brightly and strode down the hallway to her office.
"Hey, Jordan," Lily looked up from her file. "You're in a good mood."
"It's a good day, Lily," she called over her shoulder. "A great day."
No dreams. It's over. It's over. It's over.
So what if she were still a little...jumpy? So what if she still couldn't quite look Woody in the eye? So what?
And of course, the thing with the elevator. So what? It was irrational, this new fear of elevators and parking structures and her own darkened apartment. But so what? Wasn't everyone entitled to their own eccentricities and weird phobias?
"Hey, Jordan!" It was Woody's voice coming from behind her. Her shoulders stiffened. She pretended not to hear.
"Jordan, wait up!" She quickened her steps, but it was too late. She could hear him jogging down the hallway towards her. She had no choice but to stop.
"Woody. Hi." She flashed him what she hoped was a convincing smile. Her eyes fell onto the tile floor.
"Hey, how are you? I haven't talked to you since I gave you your mother's locket back. Everything okay?"
"Yeah, sure." She shrugged. "Why wouldn't it be?"
"No reason. Just asking," he said. "I know what you went through can be really hard."
"What do you mean? What I went through?" She snapped.
"You know. Getting your apartment broken into like that. Having your mother's locket stolen. Thank God you were at work when it happened, right?"
She swallowed hard. "Yeah. Thank God." She began to walk again, and he followed after her.
"Hey, you want to get together this weekend? Maybe go dancing again?"
"I don't think so, Woody. I gotta take a pass this time." She escaped into her office. He was still there though, standing in the doorway, sipping nonchalantly at his coffee.
"Well, if you change your mind..." he said lightly.
"I'll let you know."
He gave her a casual wave and started to go. "You sure you're okay, Jordan? I mean...this isn't about what happened the last time we went out together, is it? I'm sorry I made a pass at you, but it won't happen again. Promise."
She waved her hands in front of her wearily. "It's not about that, Woody. Everything's fine. Perfect."
"Well. Okay." He headed out into the hall but returned again, leaning his head around the corner of the doorway. "Oh, hey. I don't know if you read this morning's paper, but a burglar isn't the only problem in Charlestown. A woman was attacked in her apartment just a few blocks from your place. Stay safe, Jordan."
He was gone, then, leaving her to sit frozen at her desk staring with a rising panic at the spot in her doorway where he had stood.
She rose from her desk and stumbled into the breakroom. As usual, there was an abandoned newspaper on the table. Her hands shook as she tore frantically through the paper.
There it was on page 12, a small item buried in the police blotter:
"A 24 year old woman was reportedly raped in her Charlestown apartment on Sunday night. The victim reports that the assailant broke into her apartment at approximately 10:00PM. He is described as a Caucasian male of indeterminate age. He wore a ski mask during the attack and used a knife to threaten the victim."
The newspaper slipped from her hands and fell onto the floor.
It wasn't over.