Zoe, Tess and Sam- who'd run out to help- looked at each other. Sam shook her head at them, mouthing 'don't tell him.' Zoe turned behind her and relayed this message to Noel.
"Sorry, I don't know where she went. She said something about going to stay at her mum's overnight."
"Her mum's dead, you lying cow!" The man screeched at Zoe, lashing out.
The blow caught her cheek and sent her flying to the floor, her eyes watering in pain. Her hand flew out to stop her fall, but it was too little too late. There was a crack as her wrist broke. Seeing this, the man fled, as Tess and Sam ran to their colleague's aid.
"Dr Hanna, are you okay?"
Sam smirked, "Let's see, shall we?"
Sam pulled Zoe up and helped her into a cubicle, drawing the papery blue curtains.
She took Zoe's hand expertly in her own and frowned.
"You've broken that…"
Zoe sighed, "Nice one, Sherlock."
Sam smiled slightly at this, before looking at Zoe's face.
"Other than being bright red, your face seems fine."
Zoe frowned at her, before sinking back onto the bed with a sigh. She lay there for a while, one hand pressed to her head, the other laying limply on the bed beside her.
"What's up?" Sam asked, concerned. She sat lightly on the end of the bed.
"Hey, Miss High-and-Mighty, just because you're head of the ED, doesn't mean you can't tell someone if you're struggling."
Zoe sat up in bed and looked into Sam's patient, yet expectant, eyes.
"It's, well- it's nothing really. But I let Jessica and Caitlin Smith walk away. There still might have been more to it! But I was trying to be efficient, formal, uninvolved- everything Nick was!"
"Zoe, Nick was…" Sam's voice trailed off. She never usually minded speaking her mind- but this was Zoe, her boss.
"An asshole- if I'm honest. He wasn't efficient, he was brutal; he wasn't formal, he was snobbish; and he wasn't uninvolved, he was unfeeling." Sam bit her lip.
"Point taken," Zoe smiled, calming Sam down, "But what if he goes after her? Caitlin, I mean?"
"Well- if you want to be like Nick, then it's none of your business. You've healed Jess, now you don't have to worry about them. If you're really concerned, inform the police…"
"And if I don't want to?"
"Then use the address she gave you to go and see." Sam said, bluntly. She bit her lip, unsure of whether she'd spoken out of line. She often did- but soon regretted it afterwards.
"I have an ED to run!" Zoe protested.
Sam thought about this for a moment.
"You do, but going out for a lunch break for half an hour won't hurt, will it? Especially not if Tess agrees."
They saw the older nurse walking past the cubicle.
"Tess?" Sam called after her, dragging Zoe out of the cubicle.
"Dr Nichols- and Dr Hanna- everything okay now?"
"Not really, Tess." Sam sighed, "We have good reason to believe that he's going to go after Caitlin- and if how he was here is anything to go by, then…"
"She's in trouble. So what is it you need then?"
"We both need our half hour breaks now," Zoe explained.
Tess frowned for a moment, unsure of whether she should allow them to go on their own. Then another thought crossed her mind. She saw Caitlin and Jessica in her mind's eye- the first time she'd met them, Caitlin sobbing her heart out, whilst trying to control an angry Jessica. She'd seen the hurt in both girls' eyes that day, and it was the first time she'd seen proper, protective love. She remembered Caitlin grabbing Jess's wrists and holding them gently, waiting for the girl to stop screaming and start crying. Tess had stood in the doorway, not knowing how, or wanting to, interrupt. Then she saw them the next time she'd met them. Jess had been fighting again, until Caitlin had arrived to calm her. Something clicked in her mind. Jess needed Caitlin, and if she was hurt then both lives would be thrown into turmoil.
"You can take your breaks, on one condition."
Zoe and Sam looked nervously at each other, then turned back to Tess, awaiting a request for extra hours, never getting cigarette breaks (in Zoe's case) or a request not to mind when they changed the colour of scrubs to luminous pink (Sam's least favourite colour.)
"I'm coming with you."
The two doctors hadn't expected that, but they were more than happy to oblige, as they had no extra hours, could still smoke and didn't have to dress like idiots in bright pink.
A panicked car journey, and plenty of wrong turns later, Sam, Zoe and Tess arrived at the block of flats. They knocked found the right one and tapped the door, nervously.
"Who is it?" Caitlin's voice called. Zoe, Tess and Sam had only heard the frightened, fearing-the-answer tone in the girl's voice once before. When she'd asked if both her parents were dead.
"It's Tess and Dr Hanna from Holby, with a colleague of ours."
The door clicked open and Caitlin peered round it.
"Sorry," she smiled, beckoning them inside and closing and locking the door, "We have a couple of bad neighbours in the same block."
"Ah," Zoe smiled, stepping inside, Tess beside her and Sam behind her.
"This is a colleague of mine- Dr Sam Nicholls."
Caitlin looked at her.
"I remember you as well, you helped me carry Jess into the relatives room. She kicked you, didn't she? I am so sorry. Jess? Come here!"
Jess emerged from a room at the side of the spacious apartment.
"Oh, hello." She smiled.
"Jess, this is Dr Nicholls, I want you to apologise for hitting her."
"Sorry," Jess whispered, and Caitlin wrapped an arm round the girl's shoulders.
She smiled down at her sister. "Good girl."
The three women shuffled awkwardly by the door.
"Do you want a cup of tea?"
Sam, Zoe and Tess sat in a long line on the sofa, clutching a white mug of tea each. They admired the room as Caitlin put Jess to bed, for it was nine o'clock.
"It's quite big, isn't it?" Tess whispered.
Sam nodded, looking around the minimalist, prettily decorated apartment. One wall was in fact a window, and a view of Holby at night stretched out in front of them. The sofa they sat on was lime green, and another raspberry pink one sat opposite it. A fluffy white rug was on the floor beneath their feet and a glass and pale wood table stood between the two sofas. There was a corner of the large space with beanbags, large cushions and blankets, with a massive flat screen TV in front of them. A smallish kitchen area was just behind the three women, a counter lined with bar stool-like chairs blocked the kitchen partially from view. Three doors led off from the room- one was closed, this was Jessica's room. Two were slightly ajar. One room was painted white, all apart from one wallpapered wall with raspberry pink and lime green swirls and flowers. There was a big double bed with leather headboard. The other room was a spacious, blue bathroom with a large bath and separate shower cubicle.
"It looks expensive," observed Sam.
Zoe looked around her, "Some of it's from her parents old house, but the rest of it was just a whole lot of inheritance money. Their parents passed away, the stress and upset killed their frail grandmother- who happened to have shedloads of money- and their great aunt died soon after. They've had a rough time."
"It shows." Sam murmurs.
"Sam, that's unfair!" Zoe complained.
Sam frowned at her, "No, I mean it. It shows. All this stuff, it's just so completely childlike. Beanbags and bright colours- but look around you. It's like a shrine to their parents. There are so many photos of them, and old possessions of theirs. And Caitlin, she's just so mature and motherly with Jess…"
Just then, Caitlin left Jess asleep and returned to talk to the three women.
"Caitlin, we really can't stay long, we just needed to check you were okay."
"Why?" Caitlin asked, worried again.
Zoe bit her lip, "there was a man at the ED earlier, looking for you. He was very violent, and angry."
"No," she whispered.
"What, what is it?" Sam stood up, guarded and protective.
Caitlin stood up too and ran to Jess's room, to check the girl was asleep. She took moved a heavy looking chest of drawers to barricade the door.
"You mustn't tell anyone," she whispered.
"Why?" Tess's voice grew concerned. "Who is he?"
The girl sank once more into a chair, suddenly looking a mere child, not a mature adult. She held her head in her hands. Zoe and Tess sat opposite her, while Sam stood round the back of the girl's chair.
"He is, was, my boyfriend. He came round a few times- Jess was always away or asleep when he came, but one day… it was just after we'd… y'know," she trailed off.
Sam frowned slightly, the girl was looking younger and younger now- she couldn't even say 'slept together' without cringing.
"And he pulled me up violently and told me to pack my bags, and call someone to come and collect Jess. When I refused he got angry. He said that I would go with him, and I would work for him. He told me I'd be special, I'd earn the most and barely anyone would ever touch me… I didn't like where it was going so I grabbed a kitchen knife and chased him out. But I'm so frightened he'll come back."
Just then, there was a crash as the chest of drawers fell to the ground and the door swung open.
It was him.