Title: Cuts Like A Knife

Author: Stress

First written: May 12, 2002

Edited and replaced: January 21, 2005

Summary: Part I of the Soul Mates Series; She thought that life couldn't get any better. She had friends and a family that loved her – she was taken care of and had no complaints. But that was before he came into her life. And, no matter how hard she tries to escape his grasp, he'll never let her go.

Queens

Spindle paced nervously in the small guest room of the Queens' Lodging House for Girls. "Now, a week is real long time for Rip to be shopping for me present," she muttered to herself as she ran a hand through her thick red hair. "But my girls wouldn't lie to me, so I'm going to stay right here 'til he comes back with my present," she added looking around the room. Ever since the other girls had informed her of where Rip had gone she had remained locked in the guest room, leaving only to eat and use the rest rooms. She refused to sell without Rip by her side and didn't want to leave until he returned.

Spindle's thoughts were interrupted when there came a knock at the door. "Ummm-- Spindle?" she heard Psyche's voice call tentatively through the door, "someone is here to see you."

Spindle ran to the door and fumbled at the lock. "It's got to be Rip!" she thought merrily. She had given strict orders that she was not to be disturbed until Rip came back. When she finally got the door unlocked she flung it open, anxious to see her love.

"Rip-- Oh my God, Rip! What happened to you?" she whispered as she felt faint. Standing right in front of her was Rip, but not the Rip she knew. He had cuts and bruises all over his face, a black eye, a stab wound on his right arm... He looked like he had gotten run over by a carriage!

Rip stumbled into the guest room and collapsed onto the bed. "Water... get me some water..." he panted as he struggled to lift his legs onto the bed.

Spindle raced to the restroom and grabbed a glass of water for her beloved. "Rip, here's your water," she announced as she stood by his side, waiting to hear what had happened.

After snuggling himself against the soft fabric of the blanket, Rip began to talk. For over an hour Rip gave his version of the account. He told Spindle all about how he had gone to Manhattan to visit with some friends and had spent some time in their boarding house. And he told her about how on his fourth day he was jumped by two guys, the infamous King and one of his younger newsies, and left for dead after being beaten to a pulp. He continued his story, explaining how he had laid unconscious in a dark alley for hours before getting up and beginning to make his way back home, back to Spindle.

"It took me three days to get back to you, but I'm here for you now, my love," Rip added. Over the three days it had taken him to walk back to Queens, because of his injured state, Rip realized that he would never have Jess again. "If I can't have her, then no one will," he had vowed before concocting his own scheme. A scheme that would require Spindle's help.

Luckily for Rip, Spindle asked the one question Rip wanted, no needed, her too. "But, Rip, why did they just randomly beat you up?" she asked as she started to clean him up. He was a mess after all.

Rip covered up his laugh with a quick cough. "Well, I didn't want to tall you this, but they were friends of ... well..." he stopped for a second, hoping to build up suspense before telling Spindle that her rival was still alive.

"What? Don't do that to me, Rip. Tell me, tell me, tell me!!" she shrieked.

"OK, you asked for it. Those two guys beat me up cause Jess told them to."

"What? No... Jess, she died. Over a week ago, remember?" Spindle froze in her tracks. "There is no way that Rip is telling me that that li'l goody-goody is still alive," she muttered under her breath, refusing it to be true.

Rip fought back an amused smirk as he assured Spindle that Jess was alive and well. "I'm telling you, she's living over in Manhattan."

Spindle's flare for drama and her uncontrollable temper both jumped to their extreme points as she realized what Rip was telling her. "Well, let me tell you what this means. This means that Im going to at least get the chance to finish her off myself."

Rip faked a look of deep concern as he addressed the threat that the Cowboy left him with. "But, Spindle, they told' me that if they see me again, I'm dead. Jess is trying to forget all about her life here, if you ask me."

Spindle snapped her fingers as she came up with an interesting plan. "Remember, Rip, 'revenge is a dish best served cold'. Don't you worry, my love. We will get our revenge," she whispered huskily as she leaned forward and gave Rip a deep and passionate kiss.

Rip accepted the kiss with a smile. "That's just what I wanted to hear, Spindle, just what I wanted to hear." As he turned on his side so that Spindle could join him in his bed, he laughed as he thought about Jess. "You'll see, me 'Li'l Miss', if you would have just stayed with me like I wanted, none of this would have happened. Oh well, revenge will be ours!"

Drivin' home this evening
I coulda sworn we had it all worked out
You had this boy believin'
Way beyond the shadow of a doubt

Then I heard it on the street
I heard you mighta found somebody new
Well who is he baby - who is he
And tell me what he means to you

I took it all for granted
But how was I to know
That you'd be letting go

Now it cuts like a knife
But it feels so right
It cuts like a knife
But it feels so right

There's times I've 'bin mistaken
There's times I thought I'd 'bin misunderstood
So wait a minute darlin'
Can't you see we did the best we could

This wouldn't be the first time
Things have gone astray
Now you've thrown it all away

Now it cuts like a knife
But it feels so right
It cuts like a knife
But it feels so right

-- Cut's Like A Knife, by Bryan Adams.