Prologue


It was all too overwhelming and surreal, the weight atop her pressing her against the concrete, and hot putrid breath that blew right in her face, but mostly it was the feel of the sharp blade that was pressed against her throat.

"Don't you scream, don't you make a sound," The man huffed down in her ear in a hushed tone as his free hand pulled and yanked at her scrub bottoms. "If you don't fight me, I won't hurt you. In fact I'll make it so good for you baby, promise," He kissed her cheek as he finally worked his hand inside her pants and panties, and then swiftly inserted three of his fingers deep in her core.

"Uhhhnnn," She groaned out as she clamped her eyes tightly shut, squeezing out even more tears and bit back the scream that threatened to claw its way out of her throat, the throat that had begun to sting from where the edge of the blade was scrapping it.

"Fuck! You're so tight and hot baby," His voice came out in pants now, as he began to erratically thrust his fingers in and out of her. "Sssou…oh you're already getting wet. You getting wet for me baby? Don't worry I got something for you, I got just what you want." He pulled his slickened digits from her and struggled a bit with his one hand as he hurriedly yanked at his belt buckled and then pulled at the button and zipper of his pants, in desperation to free himself of their restraints.

"Hey!" Another male's voice echoed in the underground parking lot of James River Hospital. "What are you doing?" The voice got closer.

The weight lifted off of her and she instinctually yanked up her scrub bottoms and re-tied them. As she scurried to her feet she chanced a glance in the direction her attacker was now running in, before she focused on the man who stood before her.

"Hey are you ok?" He asked as he reached out a comforting hand to her, which she jerked back from.

"Yeah I'm fine." She lied as she ran her shaky hands over her slicked back hair, smoothing her hair back over and over as if attempting to smooth out her nerves.

"Did he…we're you rap…"

"No!" She said quickly and vehemently and thought that it sounded too loud even to her ears. "No, you stopped him before he could do…'that'…thank you."

"You're welcome. You should probably get that looked at," The man stated as he pointed at her neck, and her hand flew up to touch the blood that was seeping from the small scraps.

"I will, I can take care of it myself…I'm a nurse," She said around a forced smile as she tugged on the security badge she still wore. "See." The man's eyes skimmed over the name 'Christina Hawthorne, R.N.' before he lifted his eyes back to hers.

"You sure you're ok, you want me to call the police or…"

"No! No really I'm fine, you saved me before any real harm was done. Beside I didn't get a good look at him," She lied again in fact she didn't think she would ever forget his face. "Did you?"

"Naw, he kept his back to me, sorry."

"No worries, I'm just grateful you came along when you did, thank you again. I don't want to keep you so you have a good night." She said and then bent down and grasped her purse and keys that had been dropped during her attack. She then rushed to her car and entered through the door that was still ajar, shutting it and locking it. Her savior had walked off a ways but continuously looked back in her direction as if he wanted to make sure she was ok, she threw him and smile and a wave, before she started her car and raced off.


Chapter one


As she raced through the front door she nearly plowed over her teenaged daughter who had been on her way out. The look of surprise that was on Camille's face instantly turned to a look of fear as she noticed the blood that had already began drying on her mother's neck, and had soiled the collar of her scrubs.

"Oh my God mom, are you ok…what happened?" She asked as she grasped her mother's shoulder and turned her bit, tilting her head to the right to get a better look at the damage to the left side of her neck.

"I'm fine Camille just an accident at work," Christina said as she swatted her daughter's hand away. "Uhm where are you going at this time of night?"

"Uh…it's only 7 o'clock mom and you said I could go to the movies with Jenna tonight, remember?"

"Oh was that tonight?" Christina asked even though she remembered.

"Yeah," Camille said with a nod and she moved to step around her mother, who shot out her hand to block her.

"Sorry but not tonight Camille, it's a full moon and there was a lot of crazies out there tonight, a lot of dangerous things happened at the hospital tonight," Her mind flashed the face of her attacker as he hovered over her.

"Mom, you said I could go." Camille protested with a grief-stricken look.

"And now I'm saying you can't," Christina responded in a harsh tone her strength kicking in as her mind chanted, 'this 'is' something I can control'. "So deal," She added as she set her purse and keys on the small table in the entryway and then walked further into the room.

"But that's not fair," Camille continued her protest as she followed her mother into their living room. She jumped startled as her mother slammed the shoe she had just removed from her feet, to the ground and turned to her throwing her a menacing look.

"I'm not having a debate with you, Camille!" Christina yelled. "I said no and that's it, NO!" They stood motionless for a few seconds that seemed like hours, before Camille quietly turned and trekked to her bedroom. When she disappeared around the corner, Christina's strength quickly deflated. "Camille…" She called out softly after her daughter as her body crumbled and she rested herself against the armrest of the sofa. "I'm sorry," Her voice was meek as her lips trembled, trying to contain the sobs that wanted to escape.

She had wasted no time getting into the shower and when the sting of the hot water finally cascaded over her, she finally allowed the tears to fall and welcomed the sobs that racked her tiny frame. After several heart wrenching minutes she began berating herself.

"Stop it, just stop it. You're fine, nothing happened." She spoke to the wall sniffing back tears, as she grasped her shower gel and poured a generous amount into her hands, and then dipped both hands between her legs. "You're…you're fine," She said even though her voice cracked and her face crumbled a bit, as she scrubbed her inner thighs and then insert a couple of her own fingers inside her womb and scraped at her vaginal walls.

It had taken four hours of watching uninteresting TV, two more hours of just lying in her bed, in the dark, staring up at the ceiling, and what seemed like endless hours of tossing and turning and drifting off only to awaken in a fright, before she was finally able to fall asleep. But when she felt an intrusive probing between her legs she bolted upright and let out and curdling scream.

"Aaahhhhhh! Get away from me, don't touch me!" She screamed as she scurried up against the headboard, pulling the bedding with her, that she clutched against her body like a security blanket. The room instantly became flooded with light and her wide eyes focused onto Tom's fright-filled eyes.

"Hey baby…" Tom spoke softly his chest heaving and heart beating as rapidly as hers was. "It's just me." He held his hands up a bit to show he was no threat.

"Tom, oh Tom," She gasped out in pants, visibly relieved as she dropped the bedding and placed one hand to her forehead and the other to her chest.

"Yeah it's just me, are you ok?" He asked as he ventured closer up onto the bed with her, reaching out to her. She froze for the briefest of seconds unsure if she could take having him close to her, having him touch her, but her worries were dispelled when he finally gripped her and pulled her into his strong arms. She was immediately engulfed with warmth and felt so secure. She was safe, she felt it she knew it and it caused a low, happy moan to tumble from her lips as she wrapped herself around him, pulling him even closer. He welcomed her embraced and returned it with just as much strength as he stroked and kiss her head. "It's ok baby it was just a dream." He cooed into her hair, when the door suddenly flew open and Camille rushed in.

"Mom!" She cried out. She stalled in her steps just inside the bedroom door when her eyes befell her mother clinging to Tom. "Is she ok?" Camille directed to Tom, who nodded his head.

"Yeah she just had a nightmare."

"I'm fine baby," Christina said as she coaxed her head up from the sanctuary of Tom's chest. "It was just a nightmare, you go on back to bed." Camille didn't fuss she just gave a curt nod and then turned to leave. "Camille," Christina called out to her softly and Camille turned back to face her. "I'm really sorry about earlier, I just had a really rough night and I shouldn't have taken it out on you like that. I'm so sorry sweetie."

"It's ok," Camille easily forgave with a small smile.

"I love you," Christina added feeling as if she had to reassure her only child of her sincerity.

"I know and I love you too, good night," Camille replied as she cast her eyes from her mother onto Tom, who gave her a nod, and then she left the room closing the door behind her. Once they were alone Tom sent Christina a questioning gaze, and she closed her eyes and rested her head back against his chest before she spoke.

"Earlier I bit her head off for no reason."

"Really, then you must have had a really bad day today," Tom said as he kissed her head and moved his hand to her neck to stroke the sensitive skin there only to find the bandage he hadn't notice up until then. "What…" He leaned back extracting her reluctant body from his. "Oh my God, Christina what happened?" He asked in a demanding tone as he braced his arms on her shoulders and allowed his eyes to rake over her in a quick evaluation. Then he cupped her face in his hands and gently tilted her head to the right to get a better look.

"I got mugged," She lied and found it easier to do with each retelling.

"Mugged, when…where?"

"Right after my shift, in the hospital's underground parking lot."

"What?" Tom exclaimed in anger, outrage, and disbelief.

"Hey, hey," Christina reached up and cupped his face in her hands. "It's ok, I'm ok," She claimed and couldn't help recalling saying that very same mantra in the shower.

"No, no it's not ok, you could have been hurt…more than you were. The guy had a knife?" Tom asked.

"Yeah,"

"Well tell me exactly what happened, did he hurt you anywhere else?" Tom further interrogated and Christina inwardly cringed at the thought of telling him what 'really' happened, and a vile taste bubbled in her throat.

"Nothing else happened, some Good Samaritan came along chased the guy off before he could do worse."

"Well were you at least able to give the police a good description of the guy?"

"No, because I really didn't get a good look at him…and because I didn't call the police," She stated as she scrunched up her nose already knowing what his reaction would be.

"You didn't call the police?" Tom would have jumped from the bed and leaped for the phone, nestled on the table nearest to Christina's side of the bed, had she not gripped his forearms firmly and held him in place.

"Tom, please, please can we not do this right now, I just want to crawl in bed with you and wrap myself up in your arms and go to sleep, please…just hold me." She pleaded with a look and in a tone she knew he wouldn't resist. And he took a deep breath before leaning in and kissing her softly on the lips.

"Ok, but I'm going to see Morrissey first thing in the morning. We're getting better security down there." Christina smiled as she fell back into his embrace.

"And you know what he's gonna say, 'We don't have the funding,' or 'We can't fork out that kind of money just because your girlfriend was mugged on hospital grounds.'."

"Yeah and if he does I'm gonna punch him in the mouth." Tom said with conviction and Christina could not stop the giggles invoked by the thought.


Chapter Two


The plan had been to go to work, act like nothing had happened and do her job, but the task was proving to be more difficult than she had anticipated. She was jumpy, couldn't think straight even with the simplest of things, and found it too unbearable to treat any of the male patients. So finally she escaped to her office to hide out, but as she expected it wasn't long before she was sought out. When she heard the timid knocking at her door she didn't even groan.

"Come in," She replied in a defeated tone and she rested her body against her plush chair.

"Hey are you ok?" Bobbie's voice filled the room as she entered and closed the door behind her. "I meant to ask you earlier but as you saw things got a bit hectic. I heard about…" She pointed at Christina's neck and then folded her arms across her chest as she stood before Christina's desk.

"It looks worse than it really is," She waved off dismissively.

"Yeah but it's still got everyone on edge. We've set up a buddy system, those who are scheduled off at the same time walk down together."

"That's a good idea."

"Yeah sorry it's a little late for you," Bobbie said as she threw her closest friend a sad smile. "But at least the guy only wanted your purse and nothing more than that, you were lucky." Her words caused Christina's heart the clench in her chest and her breath to hitch in her throat. "Christina?" Bobbie called to her yanking her from her thoughts.

"Hmmm, yeah lucky. I was real lucky." Christina said as she forced a smile that Bobbie saw right through.

"Did something else happen?" Christina's resolve faltered a bit at the question, but she maintained her composure and shook her head a bit, not vocalizing, and Bobbie knew then that something else had happened, and it was something bad. "Sweetie," Bobbie spoke softly much as she would to a frightened small child in the ER. She moved closer to Christina's chair and kneeled down as comfortably as her prosthetic leg would allow. "What happened, were you…did he rape you?" She whispered the last part lowly even though they were the only two in the office.

"No," Christina answered a little too quickly as she shook her head. "No, the guy…the guy who saved me he stopped it before…"

"So he never actually penetrated you?" Bobbie said more as a statement than a question and she quietly sighed in relief.

"No, no not with his penis, he got scared off before he could get it out of his pants." The choice of words shocked Bobbie.

"Did he penetrate you with something else?" Christina's silence spoke volumes. "Did he use his fingers?" Christina's eyes clamped shut and tears she hadn't known were there, spilled from her eyes and down her cheek. "Oh honey, then you were raped."

"NO! I wasn't," Christina said as she forcefully pushed her chair back and stood, Bobbie rose up with her. "I told you the guy never got 'it' out of his pants."

"Christina, don't give me that textbook mumbo jumbo, you know as well as I do that being forcefully penetrated with any object into your body is rape. We've seen it too many times in the ER, women, men, and children who have been violated that way usually suffer the same way psychologically as any other 'textbook' rape victim. And we always give them the same advise I'm about to get give you now. You should talk to someone a professional who can help you through this." Christina shook her head as she paced about a bit. "Sweetie you've been violated and traumatized."

"I am not a victim!" Christina spat out as she sobbed and jabbed her finger into her chest. "I will not be a victim."

"Fine, does Tom know?"

"No and I don't want him to, I mean it Bobbie." She pointed an accusatory finger at her friend.

"You know I would never tell anything that you indulge to me in private. I never have and I never will." Bobbie scowled a bit in disgust. "And the fact that you even suggested I would, tells me that you're not yourself."

"I'm sorry, my nerves are a bit frayed today," Christina spoke more gently as she massaged her temples in an attempt to calm herself a bit.

"Yeah I get that and that's understandable with what you went through."

"Bobbie please don't start talking to me like that, and treating me like a victim. I already told you I won't be a victim."

"Ok, then be a survivor. Talk to someone."

"Am I interrupting something?" A voice sucked their attention to the door where Dr. Tom Wakefield stood with a look of concern on his face. "I knocked but I guess neither of you heard me. Is something wrong?" He asked as his eyes locked onto Christina who was wiping at her face and sniffling as she moved to her desk and shuffled papers about, purposely avoiding his gaze.

"Nope, just some girl talk," Bobbie said calmly as she stared at Christina too. "I was just offering Christina some friendly advice."

"Advice that was unsolicited and unnecessary." Christina quickly added as she locked eyes with Bobbie.

"Fine," Bobbie rolled her eyes and threw her hands upward a bit before they settled at her sides. "But if you do need to speak to someone, I'm here for you…always, even when you make it difficult to like you sometimes." Bobbie didn't await a response she simply stalked past Tom and out the door.

"Ok what was that all about? I don't think I have ever seen you two at odds, usually you're a united front." Tom spoke as he continued staring out the door Bobbie had just disappeared through.

"It's nothing, just a lover's spat. We'll kiss and make up before our shifts over."

"Really, that sounds hot, could you page me beforehand so I can come down and watch?" That brought a genuine smile to her face as he knew it would.

"Sure thing, so what can I do you for?" She asked as she settled back in her chair.

"Oh I just stopped by to tell you that I spoke with Morrissey…"

"Please tell me you didn't knock his lights out."

"Nope didn't have to when I told him my demands he eagerly agreed, the word got out about 'some' nurse being attacked last night. Seems your savior came into the ER and spouted about what happened. Anyway before I could even mention your name Morrissey told me that some nurses had already gotten to him and I think they threatened a boycott. So he said he'd just hire more security details to be station in the parking lots under and above ground, but their shifts won't start until tomorrow. So for tonight I want you to wait on me. I'm schedule off a couple of hours after you, and I'm sure to don't want to hang around while I do the round and some paperwork, but it would really make me feel better if you did…please." He finished with his puppy dog eyes and a pout that always tugged at her heart strings.

"Wow you're bringing out the big guns, the 'droopy face'." Christina said with a chuckle and Tom held the face and nodded his head. "Ok fine, I'll just call Camille and tell her we'll be home later."

"Thank you baby, and I like the sound of that, 'we'll' be home later." He spoke around a smile as he stealthily moved to where she was seated, leaned in, grabbed a quick kiss and then was headed out the door, leaving Christina to her inner turmoil and demons.